Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010-

Tokyo's My City
I rode into Tokyo today with my host parents, arriving around 10 in the morning at Shinjuku. Before long they had to go to a university ceremony so I spent the afternoon shopping for some more souvenirs and grabbing a delicious sushi lunch
Shinjukugyoen Park
Right in the middle of the city
It's as close to "silent" as you can get in Tokyo
June is Ecology Month and today and tomorrow are free entry into the grounds
The whole area is laid out in ponds, gardens, teahouses, frisbee lawns, meditation grounds, and greenhouses
The rose garden
Yoga on the great lawn
Lunch in our favorite sushi spot in Japan, remember where that is?
The Tsukiji Fish Market
Salmon, Octopus, and Tai Red Snapper Rice Bowl

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010-

It’s already eleven at night and I have had yet another killer day of fun. This time my host family’s bank hosted a day of Cirque du Soleil in Tokyo meaning my host mom and I got to go with.

“How was it?” you ask. Well, to put it lightly, Cirque du Soleil single handedly taught me a whole new meaning of the term mind-blowing. They pulled off the incredible only to be followed by the impossible. I am still turning some of the stunts and performances over in my mind and I cannot understand how a human body could bend, twist, flip, jump, crawl, dance or fly like theirs did today…absolutely unreal!!

It’s late, I’m tired and because the darn usher lady (who was dressed like a clown, by the way, making it really hard to take her seriously) scolded me for trying to sneak photographs, I only have a handful of shots from the day. Therefore I grabbed a couple off of Google, uploaded the few pictures I do have, and even shared the link to the program's homepage below. Actually I recommend you click on the link, it'll only take a second, because when you open it, a really cool 30-second clip of the show comes on so you can can a glimpse of the show. So there you have it, the end to a fantastic day – again!

Check out the website, it's worth it:

ZED is the name of the resident Cirque du Soleil performance here in Tokyo. It focuses on a main character, Zed (Upper Left), who brings together the people of the sky and of the earth.
Copying directly from the program, acts included: Bungee, Flying Trapeze, Charivari, Hand to Hand, Juggling, Clowns, Straps, Batons, High Wire Tightrope, Lassos, Banquine, Poles and Trampoline and Solo Tissue.
This is one that I snapped right at the beginning, those are clown in front of us. We were seated in perfect position, right in the middle, five rows back!!
The opening act was enough to show us we were in for a treat
Yet another fun, fast and intense performance featuring ropes, flips, and lots of spinning
This is when the crazy clown usher came and stopped me. Sorry =(
My host mom at lunch
Our first course
That's the bank VP across from me, he reminded me of a bespectacled Justin Stets
Tajima-San from the Rotary Club also works at the bank
Our awesome dessert: Mango White Chocolate Cake, Grapefruit Sorbet, Crème Brule, and a Egg Yoke Pudding with Currants

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Saturday, May 29 – Tuesday, June 1, 2010-

June 1st – the best day of the year for Bato High School students. You want to know do you? Really?

Well I’ll tell you. It’s because we get to spend all day outside celebrating the school’s annual sports festival AND it’s also the national fishing opener for Ayu Sweetfish in the surrounding rivers!! Score =)

<-- My Fishery Homeroom Class

Haha, but I would say that today was undoubtedly one of my favorite school events of the year. Somewhere above the day I got to make sushi rolls in foods class and below when I got to spend a week in tropical Okinawa! Wow, I’ve done a lot this year, haven’t I? That being said, today and part of yesterday were spent out on the Bato High School athletic fields battling it out with my classmates in a fun, surprisingly high level soccer competition worthy of this month’s main international attraction: the 2010 South African World Cup! We scraped, we jumped, we shot, and we scored. It was the best feeling to be back on the pitch with teammates, reaping the rewards of a hard day’s play: sunburn, blisters, and sore legs!! Aka a feeling I will always associate with summer and my soccer crew back home.

Synchronized School Stretching

We ended up winning almost all of our games, but tied the eventual champs 1-1 in our own bracket, but ended up competing in the consolation bracket nonetheless. It was still an excellent afternoon with flawless weather, and I couldn’t have been more relaxed and at home than when I was once more out playing the world’s most popular sport. Thank God I chose soccer because it truly is a game that can be played all over the planet, connecting races and cultures that might not otherwise find themselves together. Now I can’t wait for the World Cup!!

PS at the bottom are a handful of photographs taken by the newspaper reporter during our kayak trip. Luckily I could copy some of their shots onto my computer in order to share with you all. Enjoy

All 12 homeroom classes at the school fielded a boys soccer team
Back on the pitch
Sekiguchi-Sensei snapping our class' photo down the line
Lunch with Oshima-Sensei. The guys are in the background playing pokemon on their gameboys...welcome to Japanese high school
Some of the daily lunch crew
I asked Miki to watch my camera while I played and he even took some photos for me!
I feel like this describes each of us rather well
Some of my third year classmates lining up for their homeroom photos
More kayaking pictures from last Friday
Our send off speech
Out on the river
One by one
It was kind of like a colorful follow-the-leader game
Shioda checking out the rapids ahead
We actually went through patches much rougher than this, even one I think ranks as a level three rapid shoot, but the photographer couldn't get close enough for those spots
Slowly meandering down the calmer patches
My "I sure had a great time" face and accompanying thumbs-up