T-minus 15 hours

Photo 22.jpg

Quick update. I’m currently sitting at Newark Airport in New Jersey (god I hate Jersey), waiting for my flight. About a half day left and I will be in Japan. Plane is behind me. Thanks Fred for the T-Mobile hook up. I’ll get you back.

I’ve got some exciting news to share with everyone soon, but I will post it when I get a bit more of a chance to write. Now I’m being paged … gotta run. 🙂

Foreigner ID Card

Shinagawa City Center

Original Photo from Flickr Member Oimax (url)

It is now just 14-days until I step on a Continental flight to Japan.

I’ve been getting some administrivia done this morning. It looks like the foreigner ID card issue shouldn’t be too bad. In getting my location bearings a little more straightened out, I found a great website for the ward of Shinagawa. Shinagawa contains the area of Oimachi where I will be looking to live. The site for Shinagawa contains some great information for foreigners, broken down by section.

Amusingly enough, one of the many things that I am apprehensive about is getting yelled at by some old cute Japanese land-lady because I didn’t sort my trash the right way. Now, I can successfully avoid that. Yay! ^_^ Also, there was some great information about the foreigner ID card registration process.

Since the foreign resident registration card takes a few days to produce, you will be asked to return to pick it up.

This doesn’t sound too bad. If I can get this all done before getting a bank account, it should make the apartment process much much easier. We’ll have to see if my experiences in Japan are any easier than those of my counterparts in Europe and South America.


It’s been an incredibly long day of work, chores, and getting organizational things done. But before I turn in, I just wanted to give a shout out to the people at Japan Travel Bureau who just saved me over $1,000 on my flight to Japan.

I bought through Northwest earlier this year and spent a ton. On the advice of my good friend Alex, I checked out JTB and they were so much cheaper that I will be calling Northwest tomorrow to cancel my existing ticket (even though I will loose about $100).

If you are ever flying to Japan, give JTB a call. I am now their official cheerleader.

The Beef is Back

Kobe Beef Podcast Logo

This morning, I somewhat mozied on out of bed like I usually do on Sunday mornings. But man, I would have bolted out if I had know that one of my favorite podcasts just made its comeback last week. Terrance over at the Kobe Beef Show podcast has started it up again for the new year. His site has a new design but the cowbell is still there in the intro. (I was beginning to worry when he did his check sequence on episode 55 before the intro song). It’s like getting back on a bike again, you remember how much fun it is and then it all comes back to you like it was yesterday.

Terrance has not only a unique outlook on Japanese like, but also an interested approach to the language. T-Bone and Terrance will teach you the Japanese that no book will teach you and keep you straight with the Japanese street slang. Terrance is also a kind soul, hosting both me and a friend when we visited Kobe for some sweet Kobe beef followed up by unnumbered rounds of sake at a bar that I will never find again.

If you are learning Japanese and interested in fleshing out your vocabulary or just like listening to a cool cat get his groove on, get on over to the Kobe Beef Show podcast now kids. 聞くよ!

Happy 2007 From Amsterdam

It’s taken me a while to post anything from my recent trip to Europe, but I hope the wait was worth it. I apologize whole-heartedly but blame KLM completely for throwing me off a day. I think the day delay coming back from Europe threw off my entire schedule – the downfall of being organized is that any kinks make you a helpless quivering blob of inactivity. But alas, I digress.



My first impressions of Amsterdam where a bit unnerving. Just the rawness of the city can be a little unsettling. Being an American in Europe doesn’t put me completely at ease given recent events in the world. In addition, Europe in general seems to have a lack of explicit safety precautions. The trams and bikes will run you over if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is your own responsibility as a human to keep yourself alive. If you get crushed, your fault. I somewhat like that. Europe seems to enact a sort of species selection this way – evolution in action.

New Years Eve in Dam Square was incredible. (see video). I’ve experienced the human cattle herding of New York City’s Times Square event and, unlike this event, Amsterdam is completely different. Dam Square is blocked off from traffic and pedestrian traffic is completely unrestricted. You can drink, shoot off fireworks, or just generally cruise around the entire area. People are shooting off fireworks nearly constantly for the 24 preceeding hours up to the countdown. At the countdown, this amount nearly quadruples into explosions of light directly above your head.

After checking out most of the museums, taking a canal tour, and eating way more than I should have we finished our touring of the city after nearly 6 complete days. Though I think that such an extended period of time in this city is a bit overkill, I enjoyed every minute of it and had a great time. Photos are available here.

Bottom line: Amsterdam for the New Year, highly recommended. Enjoy the brief video.

Off to Europe


Christmas has been incredible. All of the gifts have been given and unwrapped. Now, I am off Europe with my girlfriend and a few friends to bring in the new year. Upon my return I have a long drive back to South Carolina and a Japanese quiz waiting for me.

Enjoy the new year celebrations everyone. Happy New Year!

Japan Trip – Day 8/9 – Shimbashi/Ginza


From: Saturday, November 19th: I think I had mentioned before that I had accidentally deleted the backup footage from my trip. I gave it the old college try and even looked for the footage on various hard drives. Please accept this slideshow as a proper substitute and just pretend the objects and people in the photos are moving.

This post contains sights from around Ginza and Shimbashi on our last night in Tokyo and will also be the very last video edition of this particular trip. If you missed any of the prior espisodes, you can still catch them here. I will start to post more current videos next week. (^.^) またね!

Japan in Pictures

Scooters in Shinjuku

(click above for photos)

Ok, I apologize. I’m going to take the easy way out this week and forward everyone to my photos of Japan taken from last year. This week at the school has been a busy but rewarding one for all of us. During this week, we have had a mid-term exam, two papers, and a quiz. This Friday night cannot come soon enough.

I promise I will be back this weekend with the very last installment of the Japan trip podcast and will then start documenting the future instead of dwelling on the past. I’ve also got some Japan related news, marketing research, and excellent blogs to share. Stay tuned…

Japan Trip – Day 7 – Finding Kobe

Day 7 Picture 1 Day 7 Picture 2
From Friday, November 18th: A bit different this week. Posting an audio podcast episode instead of a video one like the last few.

Immerse yourself in the sounds of Japan, well at least just the first 10 minutes of train sounds, and just cruise around on the JR line with us, getting lost in Osaka on our way to visit Terrance in Kobe. Works best with headphones. ^_^

Japan Trip – Day 6 – Osaka Aquarium

Japan Trip Day 6

From Thursday, November 17th: Day six of my Japan trip was spent wandering around the underground malls of Osaka. When we finally popped our heads up for air, we realized we were fairly close the Osaka Aquarium. Let’s head on over.

I present to you, “Today’s Zen Moment” with a dozen or so photos of the critters inside the aquarium, and not always just the fish. More photos here.