Just stuff you know?

The Drain of Death
I’m having trouble keeping my apartment clean, but I have fantastic and simultaneously disgusting news. The drain in my shower that has been clogged and flooding since they day I moved in finally declogged all at once. I’ve been putting tons of chemicals into it that are supposed to clean it out. I think they all eventually just built up in it for like a month and finally overcame the power of the clog. So when I was taking a shower this morning I just heard a weird gushing sound, and I look over and all the flooded water is just pouring down the drain as fast as anything. I was totally stoked.

Organization and Arrangement
Part of my keeping this place clean problem is organization. I don’t have a great system yet for where to put things. I’m planning on changing sleeping rooms soon which should help that quite a bit. Right now my computer camps out in the main living room/kitchen. I’m going to take my heater-table into the room i’ve been sleeping in and setup all my computery stuff in there. Then I’m gonna move my futon into the tatami room, which I’m hoping will help me sleep a little better since the tatami is softer than the hardwood of the other room. That leaves me with a little problem of, what do I do with the ridiculous amount of leftover space in the main room. I have not yet figured out the answer to that, but it may involve buying either more furniture or another table, or figuring something else out.

I’m definitely doing a better job with my digital organization. Starting over from scratch when I formatted my hard drive really helped. I’m also using google calendar like no other now… It’s nice to just have the visual aid. I also color coded my schools on my travel planner with colored pencils so I can see how my schedule falls much quicker.

Kochi
I’m planning to spend this weekend exploring the prefecture and maybe taking some pictures. We get Monday off for Sports and Health day, and I could take another day off as well if I want to, but I’m thinking of stacking up all of my comp time, which my supervisor told me doesn’t expire at the end of each month. If I do that then I could potentially take some time off during winter break in addition to when my family comes. I really want to get up to the northern reaches of the prefecture into the deep of the mountains. There’s a place called the Tengu Kougen, which I don’t really know what is but everyone tells me I should go to. I need to get on the ball with the photography that I’ve been promising everyone. I am definitely still blown away by the beauty of this place, there’s tons of natural sanctuaries waiting for those who want to seek them out.

Pointing With Chopsticks
Matt and I are working on a new project that we’re calling “Pointing With Chopsticks”. It’s a blog where we review restaurants in the area. The name mostly comes from the fact that pointing at things with chopsticks is really rude, bad etiquette, and commonly done by foreigners. We’re also using chopsticks as our point system for rating the restaurants we’re reviewing. It’s still in the formative stages and not particularly useful for anyone that’s not in Kochi, but none-the-less you may be interested so here’s the link: http://pointingwithchopsticks.blogspot.com/

Work
I’ve been so much busier so far this month than I was last month. It’s looking like that might keep going for a while. The problem with business seems to be more like the school breaks, where there’s really just nothing for me to do. Around now I can pretty much always be working on prep or planning for a class or event. Speech contests are coming up, and I agreed to help some kids out with their speeches. I watched the video of last years and I was totally impressed. You don’t normally see Japanese school kids getting into oral presentations, but these folks were doing a really great job with this storytelling business. I’ve finally made it to all of my schools now and introduced myself to 99% of my students, the ones that weren’t absent. I know like 6/400 of their names. I feel like that’s pretty good considering how often I interact with their names, which is essentially never.

Video camera and Chobitto film festival
There’s a film festival coming up as this year winds down, and the deadline is the 26th of this month. So! I bought a video camera… well sort of. I had Miu help me order one from a website and I gave her the cash to pay COD for it, since that’s basically how shipped stuff works here. Chobitto film festival is like a competition between a bunch of foreigners in Kochi prefecture to make a good short film about how Kochi appears to foreigners. I’m doing a weird artsy interview-oriented film about the green plastic grass you find in bentou lunches. I’m totally psyched about having my very own video camera for the first time. I’ll finally be able to make films whenever I want… more or less.

Beer
Japan is actually doing pretty well on the beer side of things at the moment. Kirin has a limited time brew called Aki Aji (Fall Flavor) It’s semi strong at 6% and it has a very solid flavor. Ebisu just released a new Red Can Amber beer. I’m about to pop that can as I write this. It’s pretty good as well, a lot of flavor, and a very decent texture, as I’ve come to expect from Ebisu. In other beer news, I finally hit the jackpot on Japanese craft beers. I asked a co-worker for help finding a guide to Japanese micro and craft breweries and he totally found a website that shows all of them by geography. It’s all in Japanese but that works for me. http://www.kitasangyo.com/BEER/beer_index.htm

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