Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why I Didn't Watch the Grammys

First off let me state that I love music. I've always loved it. From the day I got my, "My First Sony" radio/cassette player till I started using Spotify to listen to the newest stuff out there. I also have played in many bands...nothing crazy but I've performed live. I kinda feel like I know what I'm talking about when I talk about music.

Secondly, I enjoy pretty much every type of music (remember dubstep isn't music). I respect any one who is going to sit down, take a life experience and turn it into music. It takes a lot of talent to do that. I love being able to sit down, and hear a story or see an artist paint a picture with words. For me it's very essential to making a great album.

The problem with the grammys is that they don't really celebrate why I love music. Rather the opposite. While I enjoy live performances I don't see the need for an over the top carnival stage show of someone "singing" their song. If the song is good enough to win an award why do I need to be distracted by someone floating around in the air?

Also I was watching the Detroit Red wings win 20 games in a row at home against the Flyers. I was then watching the Walking Dead.

Sometimes...there are things more important than music. Click here to find out what!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Morning Post

There are so many subjects that I would love to talk about. Politics, religion, and of course Japan. The problem is those first two things tend to get people really heated. So, this is why I focus on the third so often. That is why I will be talking about all three! So, settle in. Grab a cup of coffee or tea...it's story time!

Shortly after I got back from Japan in 2008 I interviewed at a church to be their new youth pastor. I had been in contact with them a couple times while I was in Japan and they wanted to wait till I got back in the states before they made their decision. This way they could talk to me in person, ask me questions, etc.

I was still coming off my Japan high when I settled into the interview. Which, might I add wasn't just between me and the pastor. I sat down at a table 14 people...no lie. This is not a good idea. Mostly because it feels like you are on trial. It also gives people a forum to ask questions that shouldn't ask questions. (This is where the real story begins!)

As I sat down at the table I started to look around at the 14 or so people seated around me. All various ages, backgrounds, and personality types. There was a woman there who just scowled at me the whole time. Some youth who looked like they had been forced to be there. The head pastor was there, and then there was...lets call him Jim. Jim was an older man, I would say in his 80's. He had his own oxygen and was proudly wearing his World War 2 hat and bomber jacket.

I knew right away that Jim wasn't going to like anything I had to say about Japan. And, I was right. Towards the end of the interview (which didn't really seem like it went all that well in the first place) the senior pastor asked if there were anymore questions. This was Jim's chance. I shifted in his chair, sat himself a little more upright than before, looked at me, and asked, "Why do you want to live in Japan so much?" Everyone in the room could tell that this was going to turn ugly.

You see, Jim didn't ask me the question because he cared for the people of Japan like I do. Nor did he care that I had just come back from a completely life changing trip. But, to my surprise, Jim continued, "Because every time I watch them play baseball, all I can see is them throwing grenades and killing my friends!" At that point the interview was over! I was quickly escorted out of the room like I was the president heading for a bomb shelter.

Seriously though, this threw me. But, this wasn't the first time this has happened to me. After I returned from Japan the first time my grandmother told me that she was "glad my grandfather was dead, because he wouldn't have liked me going over there". For me people like Jim have the right to be angry. I'm pretty sure he saw a lot more than I will ever see. He was probably 18 years old when he was sent off to war. I thankfully have never had to do that and I honestly don't know if I could. He (and many others) have experienced a lot that I haven't. But, that doesn't make him better than me.

I'm saying all this because of one thing. There are a lot of politicians who want to use their religion as a means of pushing their hatred upon others. They see their faith as a means to change our country into this Christian utopia. They want to pass laws that make hate legal. They want to oppress people because they think that being gay is worse than whatever sin is in their own life. They want to invade other countries and kill thousands of people to make my life "safer". They want to pass laws that would allow the president to control everything we say and do (because I'm obviously not smart enough to think for myself). There are those who want to just throw endless amounts of money into inner cities instead of educating people.

I'm honestly not sure why I am posting this...I guess I'm just tired of Christians using politics and their religiousness as a way of promoting hate. Yes, there are things that are sins. But, lets show some consistency. Because if you are going to hold up a sign that says "God hates fags!" then hold up a sign that also says "God hates murdering innocent people". Or "God hates when we give billions of dollars to corporations who waste it on vacations" or "God hates when we think it's OK to leave 2 of our wives to marry the woman we cheated with".

Am I asking too much? Probably, but I will ask one other thing. That you donate money to me...I promise that 100% of it will go into my bank account to help fund my trip to Japan. And, I won't use it to promote hate or anything like that!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Show the Money to Me!

I put up a bunch of stuff on Craigslist, the social media site for people named Craig. Just don't tell anyone my name isn't Craig.

Here are the links to the stuff I'm selling. Please note that the money is going to fund my trip to Japan as well as a growing happy meal toy addiction.

PS3 Listing

Ipod Listing

Sega Genesis Listing

And if you don't want any of my cool stuff that I touched...click here and just "Show the money to me!"

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Post 100...Is About Japan...Big Surprise!

I was going through some files on my computer last night and came across a lot of cool things. Mostly, old poems I wrote in high school, none oh which I will be sharing! But, instead I came across an essay that I wrote about wanting to live and work in Japan. I know, that most of you have heard it, read it, or tried to get me to stop talking about Japan...but it's not going to happen anytime soon!

With post 100 I thought I would share with you that essay. I hope you enjoy it and I hope that you continue to keep reading! Moving to Japan isn't going to be an end of my blog but a new beginning...cheesy as that sounds. So, instead of boring you with words...here is the essay.

From the age of ten I have always had a fascination with Japanese culture. I’m not sure how to explain it other than saying that this passion didn’t come from my surroundings. I grew up in Texas, about as far away from Japan as you can be! I taught myself how to use chopsticks and wouldn’t eat a meal without them. As I got older I realized that my passion for Japan coupled with my compassion for helping and teaching others was a perfect fit. When I was eighteen I got the opportunity to go on a trip to Japan. I had just graduated high school and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. While I was in Japan I quickly began to realize that this was the place I needed to be. I immediately fell in love with the people I encountered and the spirit of Japan took me over.

It wouldn’t be for another eight years that I would once again get the chance to visit Japan. Once again my trip was a sign that Japan was where I needed to be. The summer I spent in 2008 was memorable for many reasons, mainly the children I got to work with while I was there. Being able to teach and interact with kids made everyday worth waking up early for. There wasn’t a night that I wasn’t out exploring the city, finding new places to eat, or stopping by a vending machine to experience something new.

For me, Japan has been a place for me to experience life in a completely new and exciting way. It has allowed me to see the person I am inside; adventurous and excited to try new things. Unfortunately for my friends here in the states it makes them hesitant to even bring up the subject of Japan for fear of me sharing another story. Going to Japan for me always reminds me of when I was child on Christmas morning. There is always an excitement of the unknown and the thrill of adventure.
Living and working in Japan would be a dream come true and a life experience that I would be proud of. Japan makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself. I have always felt welcome in Japan as if I were returning home from a long trip. Living in Lancaster Pennsylvania has made it hard for me to find good Japanese food, so I always make sure that I try and experience as many different types of foods while I’m in Japan, not limited to my eating of natto.

As I said before Japan has always been a great host to me and teaching in Japan would be something that I would never forget. As for teaching in Japan, I love being able to work with students and help them grasp the difficulties associated with learning a new language. No matter the age of the student we are never too old to learn new things. Being in Japan would afford me the opportunity to not only teach, but to be taught.

Click here if you want to help save baby animals from... poison...factory jobs...or something!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Are you excited??!!

What gets your heart pumping? Like seriously, what makes that surge of adrenaline shoot through your body. Your pupils dilate, your heart races, your mind is focused! Well, here is the big surprise...mine...is Japan!

I know right big surprise! Seriously, every time I get on the web, I check my email, hit up facebook...and then...then I gravitate towards the website for Tokai Village. I load up the 150+ page pdf and start reading. Everything is covered in this pdf. Trash disposal, child care, swimming pools, post offices, banks, you name it it's covered! That is what gets me excited. Reading all this creates a picture in my head. I wonder what the town looks like, where my apartment will be, who my neighbors are, and everything in between.

I have a very creative imagination and it takes a lot of energy for me not to go crazy with the thoughts of the unknown. There are a lot of things I can't control. A lot of unanswered questions but, that's what I love! From the second I step off the plane in Tokyo up until I move into my apartment is going to be an adventure.

I do however find the awesomeness in the small things. For example, cell phone shopping. I know this is a major nerd moment but please stay with me for just a second. This phone...is amazing! It's a Gundam Wing phone...I can't even talk about it anymore. You just need to see a picture of it!

Boom! There it is! 12 megapixel camera, gps, HD video, Global roaming, and the big seller...it's in English.

So, there you have it. Please don't get me wrong. This phone is not the reason why I'm excited...but added to everything I'm going to experience it gets me excited.

Going here...would do two things. First, I would be grateful. Second, I would make me not stress about finances. So, do it!

Friday Fun Fact now with 100% More Pictures!

So, the other day I posted some fact about Tokai Village, Ibaraki. Today I wanted to share a couple cool pictures. These are the flags of Ibaraki Prefecture as well as the flag of Tokai Village.

Ibaraki Prefecture Flag

Tokai Village Flag

Each Prefecture and town has their own flag. Ibaraki's flag is of a white rose on a blue background. The blue symbolizes the Pacific Ocean as well as Mount Tsukuba. I'm not exactly sure what the flag for Tokai stands for but I did see a picture of people with their hands over their heads imitating the look of the flag. It still doesn't really help because I don't know what it means.

Either way, it's Friday! Enjoy the weekend and enjoy this last fun fact for the week!

Don't forget! I need some support in getting to Japan. Pass this along to your friends, neighbors, enemies, rich uncles, creepy uncles, crazy aunts, British nannies...whoever!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fun Facts!

So, what's up? Yeah? Me? I'm moving to Japan!
(Theme song!)

I don't know what that was...but, I do know that it's time for Fun Facts!!!!!

Ok, you all know I'm moving to Japan in March. Tokai Village in Ibaraki prefecture to be exact. But, do you know what a prefecture is? Do you know what goes on in Ibaraki prefecture? No! Since you don't know I'm going to tell you! First off, a prefecture is similar to a state here in the US. There are 47 prefectures in Japan. There are a ton of facts about prefectures on Wikipedia (a trusted site for my college papers since 2006).

The capital of Ibaraki prefecture is Mito.

As of March 2011, the prefecture produced 25% of Japan's bell peppers and Chinese
cabbage. Yum!

Ibaraki is known for natto, or fermented soybeans. Natto, is made by cooking soybeans and then letting them ferment in the ground...and is not something that I enjoy.

That is all you get for this episode of Fun Facts! I'm watching 30 rock and eating an apple...typing is hard.

Don't forget to donate to my trip! Please!! I will need to buy toilet paper when I get to Japan!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What is Tokai Village?

Tokai Village

Population 37,503...about to be 37,504!

Tokai village, Ibaraki Prefecture is where I am moving to! Last night I received my call about placement. I will be teaching at one of the six elementary schools in Tokai.

With an average temperature of 14 degrees (57f) this Pacific coast town is know for it's black Japanese pines as well as having the first nuclear power plant build in Japan.

Tokai, is located 120km (74miles) north of Tokyo. During the month of April, Tokai will celebrate the annual sakura (cherry blossom) festival at Akogigaura Park.

From the town of Tokai: "Japanese have a strong affection for cherry blossoms. In spring, Japanese get together with their colleagues or neighbors under the cherry trees and enjoy viewing the cherry blossoms with food and sake (liquor)."

Stay tuned for more post about my future home...and don't forget...Donate!