Saturday, June 24, 2006

Another week.....

Brought about some changes. First of all, instead of this translation job that I'm doing, the powers that be have decided to transfer me to their counter intelligence division to do work there. What they'll have me do, I have no idea, but they assured me that it'll have something to do with language training. We'll see. I don't know if this is a good thing or not. Either way, I'm just trying to make time go by faster here so I can get back home to the GF and everyone!

The weather here has been getting warmer and warmer, and the monsoon season came and went with a few big episodes of rain, not as bad as the everyday rainstorm that everyone said that would happen, so that's a good thing!

The GF is going to come next week to see me, I can't wait! We will take some pics. of our trips around Tokyo and the surrounding area and post them after she comes back. I am really hoping that she'll have a good time and get as much out of this trip as possible. I'm looking around to see if there are places that we can go eat at, and be entertained.

I will write more later, as the changes continue.....

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The biggest place I've ever seen in Japan

Yesterday I took the simple yet convuluted Japanese train to their Chinatown in the city of Yokohoma. The plan was to meet up with someone from the unit that I am working at and then we'll go around Chinatown, but because of some really bad direction, it took me forever to get there. (at least I got there, right?)

When I finally met up with my co-tourist in the gigantic train station (most of Japanese train stations have these shopping malls in them so the commuters can shop after they get off of work.), he lost motivation to go further because it was approaching rush hour (even though it was Saturday, most Japanese people work 6 days a week.). So we took another train to this city called Ebina.

That's where I saw the biggest place that I've ever seen in Japan. The Vinawalk Shopping center. It's acres and acres of shopping and food court, followed by 3 floors of arcade and movie theaters. I think Japan will continue to face land shortages for their people with more shopping complexes like this. I had a feeling that I was in Colorado as I looked outside of the mega-mall, it was surrounded by mountains. Even though I know that Japan is 80% mountaineous, it's still sort of surreal to see all these mountains. I wonder if anyone live on them, and how much thinner the air is up there.

Ended the evening by having some nasty Japanese food. When I said nasty I meant a fusion of Japanese and American styled food. Why would you put mayonnaise on fries? (The Japanese LOVES mayonnaise, they'll put in on just about everything.) I'm paying for that now still, even into the next morning.

On the bright side, I'll get to see my GF soon! She'll spend a week with me where we'll visit Tokyo and I'll hide her in the barracks so we can snuggle up and stuff! ;-)

After she leaves, it'll mark the halfway mark of my time in Japan. I can't wait to go home! Hopefully get a semi-real job, and concentrate on the task of moving and spawning!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

More from here

I went to the Marine base at Mt. Fuji yesterday for my annual rifle qualification. The base was really plain, overtly symmetrical in its architecture (which is only half-true, since when did military buildings become "architecture"?), and the air was also colder because of the higher altitude.

They stuffed about 30 of us, with all of our equipment, into this small bus and I think we slept most of the way to and back from where we are. We supposedly fired our weapons at the base of Mt.Fuji, and the rocks and soils there were all black, indication of the volcanic soil in the area. There were too much mists and clouds to make the mountain visible, and that was kind of disappointing. I hope to really be able to see the mountain up close before I leave.

Speaking of leaving, I kind of can't wait to leave here. I don't think I've yet met anyone here on this base who is happy with their jobs or with their lives or the conditions that they have found themselves in. My issues here are mainly pay issues, not being able to eat enough fruits and veggies, missing the GF,not knowing the Japanese language, and having to deal with some real dickheads from time to time. I don't think it's anything all that existential, but still, it makes me sad to see other people feeling stuck in it all.

I think I'm talking to the GF more now that I'm away. I go through 1-2 phone cards each week at $20.00 a pop, but she's worth it. I've got to apologize to my dear dog Ramen for petting other dogs while I'm not around him, they were just so cute!

I'm kinda tired today, somehow I didn't sleep enough last night to recover from the rifle range, so I'm going to hit the sack for a bit.

Sorry for not having posted much lately, I'll explain why in my next entry.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Putting the $ where their mounths are.....

Fort Lewis Soldier Says He'll Refuse To Go To Iraq

June 6, 2006

By Keith Eldridge

SEATTLE - As thousands of Fort Lewis Army troops prepare to head back to Iraq, one of their officers is making a stand.

A lieutenant says he is going to refuse to go, saying it's an unjust war. Anti-war groups are rallying to his defense.

Lt. Ehren Watada of the Stryker Brigade writes, "I refuse to be silent any longer. I refuse to watch families torn apart, while the President tells us to ‘stay the course.’ I refuse to be party to an illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression.

"I wanted to be there for my fellow troops. But the best way was not to help drop artillery and cause more death and destruction. It is to help oppose this war and end it so that all soldiers can come home." - signed LT.....

*You can read the entire story on the Komo news website.

Lt. Watada just happened to be a member of the brigade that I had deployed with to Iraq about two years ago.

By signing up as a member of the military, you've sworn to defend your country by participating in war, regardless of whether or not you think your country was in the right. While I admire Lt. Watada for boldly expressing his opinion, I'm afraid that the army will either put him in jail or succeed in shipping him to Iraq.

I realize that he did try to resign his commission, but the army with their shortage of people, is not likely going to let him go unless he has some kind of catastrophic injuries.

However, it makes me think about how the politicians who govern us are big on talks and not action. GW Bush's children are not contributing to the war effort, nor are his relatives, to my understanding, in fact, he did not even complete his duty tour with the nationl guard. I find it very hard to fathom that people who have never been in the military claim to know what is best for the military, and I think you see where I am getting to.

I'm not wholly opposed to this current administration, in fact, I am sure that the powers that be are probably made up of many good people. I just think that they've somehow lost their ways, keeping their focus on non-sensical issues, and not being specific about how to resolve some really serious domestic issues, plus how to take better care of soldiers currently serving.

And that's my two cents.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I'm Ernie!

You Are Ernie

Playful and childlike, you are everyone's favorite friend - even if your goofy antics get annoying at times.

You are usually feeling: Amused - you are very easily entertained

You are famous for: Always making people smile. From your silly songs to your wild pranks, you keep things fun.

How you life your life: With ease. Life is only difficult when your friends won't play with you!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Japan, week 2

I've settled in just a bit more here in Japan, the highlight of the week was when the air conditioning finally got turned on in the barracks that I live in! Summer is coming on fast here, and I take whatever comfort that they can hand over to me!

For the amount of exercise that I've been doing, I've not lost an single ounce! A bit bummed about that but otherwise alright.

The people here really tend to stay to themselves, but some are friendly if you seek them out. The key is to know when they're not feeling social.

Speaking of social, I've got a loaned t.v. in my room now, as well as a dvd player courtesy of some nice people in the army unit that I now am attached to. This unit attachment thing is like being a foster child at a foster parent's place.

Miss the GF and the kids immensely. Even though I've only been here for two weeks, it really felt like I've already been here for two months!

Went to an amusement park situated near Mt. Fuji called the Fujikue Highland. It was like a smaller version of Six Flag theme parks. It was fun getting out of this military post and getting to hang out with some of the other soldiers here. I don't know if activities like that happens often, but it can be kind of fun if you go with the right people.

Had my first sushi meal yesterday, my army bosses took me out to one of the local sushi restaurants and I had about 7 small dishes of different things. The neat thing about fresh sushi is that they don't taste or even small fishy at all, and the full feeling that you get is not an uncomfortable one.

I'm now blgging once a week because the computer at work doesn't allow me to do much else aside from work and e-mail, but I will try to update as much as I can in my weekly posting.

Sorry if I don't yet have a lot of adventures to report, but I assure you that if I do, I will do my best to post them!