i have internet.

yes, that's correct. I HAVE INTERNET! I couldn't be happier. Somehow the modem got delivered to my school, so when the vice principal walked in and said "Lyle! Package!" and I saw it had Yahoo!BB written on it. Well, I almost hugged her.

So, Japan. Yes. It's been great so far (minus my sad, sad internet situation). Kurabuchi is a small, mountain town about 26K (40min-1hr drive) northwest of Takasaki in Gunma Prefecture. There are a few 'conbini' (convenience stores), the largest of which is a 7-11, hot springs and a surprisingly awesome park with a huge slide. I mean HUGE. That's pretty much the town. The location though is beautiful. It's in a mountain valley, there is a river dividing the town. There are trees and rice fields.

My house is probably the best part of my situation. Unlike most JETs I have a house. It's up on a sort of small cliff (not probably more than 10 meters high) overlooking Kurabuchi. I can see lots of rice fields, mountains and the river from my house. At night with the windows open I can even hear the river. With my bedroom sliding glass doors open (that open to my awesome deck) I get a nice breeze sweeping through the house. It's great.

I have a car. It's a Nissan Sunny. Nothing to write home about. The tape adapter gets stuck in the tape player all the time, and the speakers are blown out. But, other than that it gets me where I want to go. I like it. Plus, it's a car! I can drive to McDonalds (about 30 minutes away)!

School is also great. One of the buildings is brand new, and I think the whole school is fairly newly refurbished. When you go in the entrance you can smell the wood the building is made from. There are about 150 students.

I'm finally teaching. School started yesterday and it's been a long couple of days. Today I had to teach every period. Oh, I didn't mention that I'm not only the English teacher. They had need of a sax instructor, so I'm teaching saxophone as well. So today I had 3 english classes and 3 sax classes. It was a lot.

In the English classes so far I've just been doing a self-introduction. I've been showing lots of pictures of Benin and passing around pagnes, CFA and the like. It's been great. I even taught some Dendi and Fon today. Perhaps soon I'll be greeted with "A fon gan'jia" in the morning instead of "Haro!". ... not likely.

Well that's about it.

still alive, believe it or not

I am still alive... but still restricted in my internet access. Sorry. I should be getting Internet in my house within the week. Finally!

Other notable things:
- I have a cell phone, it rocks my socks off
- School starts this week.

Sadly I have little more news than that that I can type out in my limited time.

kurabuchi at last

I finally got to post Weds evening. All I can say is 'wow'. Kurabuchi is so awesome. My house is so awesome. The main school I'll be teaching at is so awesome. I really don't think I could have a better situation.

Sadly internet has been elusive, and will continue to be for some time. I'm currently using the schools' connection... but I don't want to spend too long on it.

I'll write more soon. Sorry!

finally leaving for japan

In about an hour I'm finally forever leaving the Gaijin bubble we've all been living in for the past couple of days. The Tokyo Orientation was pretty good overall... although the days were long. I sadly don't have much time to write more... since I've still yet to eat or check out of the room. Expect updates in the nearish future.

i am alive

I made it to Japan! No incidents, no lost luggage... just very tired right now. We're staying at the Keio Plaza Hotel (yeah, the one in Lost in Translation). It's really nice. I've only been here about 5 minutes so I can't say too much more than that. Expect more in the near future.

goodbye usa

Pre-departure orientation was so painless it was amazing. Peace Corps staging made me want to explode my brain, but JET... well they've got the efficiency going on. We talked about what needed to happen for departure and very little else. I was amazed when it was over so quickly. "Wait, we don't need to do some other sort of lame activity... or talk about cultural integration... or make poster papers about our goals?"

Post pre-departure (hahaha) we were invited to a send off party at the Consul General's house. It was an awesome party. Many former JETs, awesome food (oh such awesome food) and generous amounts of free and sake. I had a blast. Of course the party continued post that at a few bars around SF. Also, very fun.

So, all my bags are packed and I'm ready to go. Leaving for the airport in about an hour. Goodbye USA!

One Day More

In San Francisco, enjoying the culture, the food and the awesome hotel room my aunt got us on Union Square. All in all a pretty rocking couple of days in SF. Yesterday we went to Sausalito a little across the bay. It was awesome. When I'm rich and ready to retire from my younger days in the city, that's where I'm moving. It was really, really nice.

Every time I come to SF it makes me want to move here even more. It's just an awesome place, with such a different feel from any other city I've been to.

I've also been playing with Facebook applications. I tried the 'Cities I've visited' application, but quickly abandoned it after they allowed me to add Dassa, but not Parakou in Benin. (For those not in the Beninese know, Dassa is a nice little town on the main road. They have a really awesome church and some ostriches... but really that's about it. Parakou is the TRADE HUB of Northern Benin)

Tomorrow I leave for Japan. Since people keep asking me how I'm feeling, if I'm ready to go, or just plain assuming "you must be really excited!" I'll unfold a little. I am excited, but not that giddy school-girl excited that I was for Benin. Maybe I will be that when I get to orientation and all the new college grads are. I'm happy to be going, I'm excited to start. It's just still hard to believe that it isn't Benin that I'm going back to. It really hasn't set yet that I'm going to Japan.

For those that haven't yet seen Gaijin Smash you really need to check it out. It's a (former) JET's ramblings on the craziness that is known as Japan. If I could write half as well as he does, well I'd have an ad-supported website! Most of his writings do contain lots of geek references, so if you're not hip to Transformers, Street Fighter II and other 80's child shared experiences... you might be missing a little (okay, half) of the humor. But, it's still an awesome site.