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A quick stop for the Nagoya Belgian Beer Fest!

At the beginning of Golden Week the Japan Belgian Beer Fest made it’s stop in Nagoya, and after getting news from the previous night of my new employment, a little bit of celebration was in order.

BELGIAN BEER WEEKEND!!! :D

3000¥ bought us a special souvineer glass and 10 tokens to buy food and drink with. Food was 2-4 coins, beers were 2-4 coins. A few stops to get more coins and we had ourselves a pretty darn good time!!!

I am SO HAPPY right now. #fb #belgianbeer #nagoya

Nearly 100 beers, Belgian Frites and sausages, cheese, live music and good friends.

The weekend so far!  :D Beer, food, friends, good times!!! :D #fb

The weekend so far!  :D Beer, food, friends, good times!!! :D #fb

Will be visiting again next year when they come through. That’s for sure! 😀

The #1 reason why I #lovemylife :) #fb

End of April and the beginning of May!

Can you believe we’ve been here 6 months already?

Both Jennifer and I have started Japanese classes, which we attend on weekday mornings. It’s a little backwards though: her classes are every day for an hour and a half. Mine are twice a day for the same amount of time. Jen works full time. I work part-time (or not at all – more on that later!) If only the schedules were switched!!!

I guess that means I just have to study harder!

In new-news: I HAVE A JOB!!!

I interviewed the other week for an 英会話 (えいかいわ – Eikaiwa) teaching position at a school near the Sakae station. I thought things went well, and later that day they called me back and offered me the position! Woohoo!!!
I’ll be working two days a week teaching conversational English here, and I am really looking forward to this opportunity.

Dress clothing, ties, suits … I never thought I’d have a job like this. Guess it’s all part of growing up. Weird.

Golden week (which is a week of Holidays here in Japan) was fairly low key for us two, I started shadowing classes last week and do the same this week before starting my Tuesday/Sunday classes next week and officially becoming a teacher.

Very excited for the upcoming months! A post with some more wit to it next time. Promise. ;D

See food? Yes, lots of Seafood.

One of the things that we have been able to really experience here are various types of fish and all the ways to cook, eat, prepare, and other synonyms that can contend with “make om noms.” There are more grocery stores around us that I know what to do with, and if I wished to venture out into the center of the city more there are some fantastic resources there as far as eating friends of an aquatic nature are concerned.

This is just what we tend to see at one of our local grocery stores.

Fish Fish and more Fish
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Taking in an afternoon.

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Sometimes you just have to sit down, grab some fresh fried chicken, and watch people be accosted by pigeons outside a Buddhist temple.

Weather is turning colder, not a threat of snow at all. Every day for the past two weeks has been sunny, with only a day or two of clouds.

Xmas is an interesting holiday here. Completely secular and a day to be spent with your loved one – it’s a “lover’s holiday” as was explained to me. Makes sense since most of the country follows Buddhism & Shintoism. Decorations everywhere, especially in the retail areas. Seems a whole lot more inclusive to be honest.

I did hear somewhere that many kids here think its Santa’s Birthday. Hehe.

So fried chicken. Pigeons. Xmas gifts. Buddhist charms and some fun plans coming up. The holiday season is sure interesting!

A visit to the Nagoya Aquarium!

An Afternoon at the Nagoya AquariumAs it turns out, we live in a city with a fairly substantial Aquarium near the main port. Gorgeous area, only a 320Y Subway ride from our station as well. We decided to check it out a wee bit ago and see what it had to offer. Even though I was a little under the weather I decided to chance it and see if I would still be OK even after going (which later turned out to be a mistake, was kept essentially in bed for 2 days straight after this sleeping … whoops. Lesson learned.)

An Afternoon at the Nagoya AquariumI love aquariums. Absolutely love them. I used to be an avid fishkeeper myself (looking at setting one up here before the New Year as funds allow, just something small either with a single Betta splendens or some shrimp, live plants, Amano-style all that.) Keeping it under 5 gallons for sure. (Easy to move then!) I’ve been lucky to visit a few back home: Shed Aquarium (of course!), Baltimore Aquarium, Georgia Aquarium(Wow. Just wow.), and the Tampa Aquarium. I won’t go into critique mode, but this is an impressive place – doesn’t have much in the way of Freshwater specices and focuses mainly on Tropical/Subtropical & Japanese ecosystems (which makes sense) but there is, in particular one feature that actually left me nearly speechless.

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Japanese Gardens and lurking danger.

Beautiful steps in the gardens.

National Cultural Day was on the 3rd of November, and Jen was given the day off. That’s a full on excuse to go see cool stuff, so after a quick scan of the handy English-version of the Sights of Nagoya City Map we had our route, and were off.

We did stop the Toganji Temple & the Atsuta Shrine on our way to the Shirotori Gardens (白鳥庭園 – Swan Gardens) However, I’ll refrain from commenting too much on the Shrines, Temples and Buddhist / Shinto religions here till I know more about them.  Besides, keeping things short and sweet sound like a good idea, and I’d rather not go too into depth about everything and it gives me an excuse to write later on too. ;D

The Gardens are in a traditional Japanese Style, lots of water, lots of carefully pruned plants, very serene feel to it all. From the official English map that we were handed, here’s what was written in it:

“The Shirotori Garden is a Japanese-style garden with a path running along the banks of streams and ponds.  The area of the garden is approximately 3.7 hectares.

The mound at the southwestern corner of the garden represents Mt. Ontake and the stream originating from the mound, the Kiso River.

In the center of the garden lies the Seiu-tei, a couple of tea ceremony rooms.

Seiu-tei was designed after the image of a swan, or “shirotori”, flying down to rest its wings.

Seiu-tei was designed after the depiction of the flow of the tides, one of the traditional aspects of Japanese gardens.  The ebb and flow effect is achieved by the use of modern technology.”

Fantastic … so what does it all mean?

Shirotori Gardens

Oh. That’s pretty darn cool.
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Sub-Tropical Island Adventure Part 4: Black Pearls and Okinawan Girls

Our sub-tropical island vacation was finally winding towards the end. Only another couple days left on Ishigaki. The sunshine filled morning set a wonderful stage for the rest of the day. With Japanese-only talks all morning, both Jen and Vladamir cut out early and the three of us went on our own little adventure towards the North of the Island. Kabira Bay was calling, and even without any influence from my love of the Pirates of the Caribbean Movies, I was excited to check out what a Black Pearl looked like, without all the zombie pirate skeletons.

Glass bottomed boat! A visit to the bay is not complete without a glass-bottomed boat trip though! Our wonderful taxi driver even got us setup with a tour company for one of them (I wonder if he got a comission …) and within a few minutes of walking along the soft, white, sandy beach we were off to see what sorts of reefs lie just tens of meters off the shoreline.

Nemo!
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