Incoming Jets, Outgoing Jets

June 2nd, 2008 Posted in Gifu-ken | 2 Comments »

Over the last few week, (really in some ways since February) we have begun to realize that so many of our friends are going to be leaving soon. The jet program is only a one year contract, you can re-contract up to 5 years, but most people do not do that. So in the end every august, at least a third, and up to a half, of the JET’s in a given region leave. This is tough, as many of the friends you have spent a year getting to know, will be gone, and you will have to make new connections. On the other side there are lot of people you met and thought, “Wow what a nice guy, I should hang out with them.” But they will soon be gone as well. So it has been kind of a melancholy time.

However, this weekend, we got our first comment from a new incoming JET. It serves as a kind of reminder, as many of our friends will be leaving, so too will a new group will be coming. New friends to make. So I am just a bit curious. Are their any other new incoming JETs reading this? Do you know where you are placed? Leave a comment, let us know.

Sakura Season

April 5th, 2008 Posted in Gifu-ken | No Comments »

Old Sakura

The Cherry Blossoms are Here!!

Danielle and Sakura

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Car Blessing

February 28th, 2008 Posted in Daily Living, Gifu-ken | 1 Comment »

A few weeks ago, on Eric and Virginia’s last day in Japan, we went on a tour of Ogaki with one of Aaron’s supervisors. He took us to see the much loved Ogaki castle (a mere concrete shadow of what it once was), the Basho memorial (and site where he wrote his last haiku) and then to a few shrines.

At one of the shrines we spent some time asking his supervisor about some of the symbols that we had seen so many times before. He was patient, answered the best he could, and when he didn’t know the answer he went to ask someone else. As he was talking with a monk that worked at the shrine, we started chatting with another woman. She came to the shrine that day because she had just purchased a new car and wanted to have it blessed so that she would have safe travels in it. Not only were the monks ready and willing to do so, she also invited us to come and watch her car blessing ceremony.

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February 22nd, 2008 Posted in Gifu-ken | 4 Comments »


When we toured Ogaki castle over the weekend there was a little miniature reproduction of the castle and surrounding areas when they were under seige. My favorite part of the whole display, however, were the little miniature decapitated men lying by the side of the river. Somehow that level of detail, and realism, sort of surprised me.

Second Earthquake

February 12th, 2008 Posted in Daily Living, Gifu-ken | 2 Comments »

So, just a few days ago Eric asked if we have felt another earthquake after that first one. Well, now, the answer is yes! Today, right after we got home from work and were sitting around checking our email and whatnot the earth started to shake.

This one was a magnitude of 3.7 at the epicenter and was much closer than last time. It is such a strange feeling to have the earth just start shaking with the walls making a little bit of noise.

Second Earthquake

I do kind of wonder when, if ever, this will get old. Or, will we leave in a few years with a half dozen posts about all the different minor (hopefully) earthquakes that we have felt.

Conquering the Mountain

January 30th, 2008 Posted in Gifu-ken, Travel | 3 Comments »

Mountain View

This past weekend I went skiing for my third time ever. My first time at Lutsen Mountains was a total disaster. I hated it. The weather was really cold. The snow was really icy. And I wasn’t really ready for it. I took a lesson which was too short and didn’t really teach me all the skills that I needed to feel confident on a bigger hill, the lesson didn’t even cover how to ride a ski lift! Needless to say, after that first experience I never really thought that there would be a second, much less a third, obviously something changed!

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Indoor Toilet

January 26th, 2008 Posted in Daily Living, Gifu-ken | 1 Comment »

“Indoor” Toilet

Everytime we go to our favorite hangout in Ogaki we stop and stare at this little wonder. It is, essentially, a port-a-potty that has been affixed to the second story of a temporary structure. Not only did the people not want to go through the trouble of going outside to use the toilet, they didn’t want to bother going down the stairs either. The only thing that I am left to wonder is . . . how on earth do the empty it??

Toilet Close-up

Japanese Doll Making

January 23rd, 2008 Posted in Daily Living, Gifu-ken | 4 Comments »

All Done

This past weekend we had the fantastic opportunity to go to Seki and take a traditional doll making class with Chisako. Chisako is a wonderful woman who is a good friend to the JET’s. In addition to being kind and friendly (and speaking FANTASTIC English), she is excited to share her skills with foreigners and teach them a beautiful Japanese craft.

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Gifurougakou (Gifu School for the Deaf)

December 19th, 2007 Posted in Gifu-ken, School Life, Teaching | 7 Comments »

So last week I spent three days at the Gifu school for the deaf. I had been very nervous about this visit for several weeks. When I joined this program I had no idea how to teach english to students who could hear me speak english. I was somewhat terrified of trying to teach it to students who could not necessarily hear me. However, all my nervousness was not as important as I thought, for several reasons, and I ended up having a great time at the school.

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Igo at the temple

December 17th, 2007 Posted in Gifu-ken, Just for Fun | 2 Comments »

More accurately I should probably call this post an Igo update. I have still been playing Igo, both at my school and outside it. I really enjoy this and I always come home very excited and wanting to talk all about it. Danielle, however, as much as she may love me, can’t seem to fain interest quite long enough for my liking. So this time I am going to bore you with my igo stories. (Actually, I don’t think they are boring at all, but when I started talking about it at a dinner party this weekend the room emptied faster than I thought possible. woe is me…) The first part is at least a bit interesting. I have been playing go with a buddist monk

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