Don't worry everyone, I've received plenty of goading and pressure from my family for being so quiet, and for that reason, I figured I'd at least post SOMETHING. Not a video, sorry. But during the second week of August, during my Obon Vacation, I went to Nagoya, one of the larger cities in Japan. I stayed there for three days and two nights, and lucky for all my wonderful fans (mostly family, I know), I took bunches of pictures. With an iPhone, but most of them actually turned out okay.
    My itinerary included visiting Nagoya castle the first day, and it was beautiful, if a little hot. It's very clearly rebuilt and modernized (there's an elevator in the castle, for real), and Honmaru Palace was newly reconstructed THIS YEAR. It's so new, it still smells like fresh cut wood. Very nice and clean.
    The next day, I went to the Nagoya Aquarium (probably the low point of the trip, since it was swamped with little children and parents all squished together), a shopping area called Osu, and a nearby city called Inuyama, with its own castle. In Osu, I met a nice Japanese family looking for kimonos, and they were super nice! They helped me get a good size yukata and all the things I needed, meaning that once I came back to Aizu, all I had to get was the traditional shoes. Now I'm ready for the Festival that takes place this September in Aizu. ^ - ^

PictureBlurry picture of me!
    Hot dang, it's been an up and down couple of weeks, that's for true.I guess I'll start with the sakura pictures I got over a month ago.I took bunches, but I wasn't able to find them for a while, so I thought they were deleted. Then, miraculously, I found them again! What a happy day that was. I actually went two days in a row to Tsuragajo. On the Sunday that I went, it was freaking snowing all over the sakura! I took some pictures of that too, but that's not what y'all are interested in (unless you ask nicely ^-^). So, needless to say, I wasn't that satisfied, and I went again the next day (a Monday). The weather was better, but it was as New Englandy as you can ever imagine. It was sunny, then raining, then sunny, then cloudy, then raining, and on and on. Rinse and repeat. In the bouts of nice weather I did manage to catch some good pictures, and followed that up with some public drinking with a few other foreigners.

    I know, it's ridiculous! But I finally got an internet connection at my place, and I can finally give you those pictures me and my lovely lady friend took waaay back in December/January. Remember me mentioning those? I thought not, but here they are anyway!
At an arcade in Akihabara. Yes, six floors. I'll translate: 6-3F, Video Games. 2-1F, UFO Catcher. B1F, Large Scale Video Games.
And after Tokyo, we hit Kyoto! This was at the station when we arrived.
One of our many temple adventures in Kyoto. We tended to just walk around Kyoto and turn into whatever shrines and temples we came across. And there were loads.
Takoyaki at an Izakaya in Ueno
And this was a Studio Ghibli store at the Skytree. Anyone not into Japanese culture, Ghibli is like Japan's Disney...you know, right after Disney.
I wish I could give you some better quality, but I really don't like carrying a camera around. This was at Yasaka Shrine for New Years in Kyoto.
Big old temple very nearby our hotel.
We tried to get a good shot of the famous intersection in front of Shibuya station, but all it was rainy, we were inside the station to take the pick, we were using an iPod touch, and it turned out like this.
The imperial Palace at Kyoto. When we visited here, you folks on the East coast in America were just entering the New Year.
Tokyo Skytree! This was the clearest shot of the tower we could get, unfortunately.
That's me jammed into a seat on one of the buses that took us to our hotel. It was only ten or fifteen minutes, but I swear I still have a crick in my back from the ride. :)
A kimono displayed at a bridal shop we passed every day. That thing's ornate as balls!
    So there ya go! I do have many, many more pictures, but not only would you be forced to stay here all day looking at them, I'd probably have to spend the next week just putting 'em up here, so I'm saving myself a bit of trouble and only posting a few of the pictures for now.
    Besides, it's been about two months, and I've moved on to doing some other things. I've been snowboarding almost every week since the beginning of February at a number of different mountains. I knew there were a lot of mountains near Aizu, but the amount of ski resorts within a one hour drive is just crazy! In fact, I went boarding yesterday. The day started out a little rainy, but pretty soon it turned to snow and I was enjoying myself quite a bit. I spent a good portion of the time on my backside, but even soaking wet, it was a hell of a time.
    And on that note, I'll take my leave and clean this friggen apartment up! It's not that bad, but I'm sure if my mother or my girlfriend was here, I wouldn't be typing this right now. Have a great day, week, month, and year everyone! Only a short time before spring and the cherry blossoms, so look out for my update on that!
    So it's been a while. Yo everyone. I've been pretty busy la... Nah, screw that, it's just making excuses. I'm just the definition of procrastination. I mean, I went to a place called Oyakuen last weekend, which is an old herb garden that belonged to the Aizu lords for years, got a bunch of sweet pictures, and then didn't post them anywhere. What's up with that? So the first pictures are from Oyakuen.
    Strangely enough, I didn't mean to go to an old, historic-y type place at all that day. I was just looking for a nice park so I could get out of the apartment for a while. I've just got a way of picking 'em pretty good I guess. Oh, and on the way, I passed by some shrines and stuff, and I couldn't pass them up. (^-^)
    THIS weekend, I was pretty busy. I went to Sendai and some of the towns nearby with one of my students on Sunday, and we checked out some of the places that were damaged pretty heavily by the earthquake and tsunami, as well as some historic buddhist temples. It was kind of eerie standing where there used to be a whole town. Shinchi-machi (the last place we went) looked at first sight like it was just an empty plain, but as we drove by, we could see all the foundations of houses and remnants of roads that were leftover after the cleanup.
    The only building that was still standing was an old elementary school, but the damage was pretty obvious. You'll see it in the pictures. I don't even have any family in Japan, but it was very eye opening and a bit depressing.
    Today, I met with a friend from my volleyball group and a friend of his and we checked out places all around Aizu. The first was Kitakata, which is famous for having the best ramen in Japan. I agree. Everything was amazing, and the whole bowl was devoured in minutes. Best ramen I've ever eaten in my life. And I loved ramen BEFORE today.
    Then we went to some places near Inawashiro, a small town very near Aizu that is home to Japan's second largest lake (as far as I was told). It was a great day, though I didn't really take any pictures. You'll just have to believe that it was super awesome cool.
    And that's all I've got for now. I'd promise a speedy update, I already know what would come of that, so I'll save you the disappointment. See? I'm such a nice guy. But until next time, じゃね~!
    Aaaaand...Back! And I'm sure everyone's excited. I thought this last semester would be fairly straightforward and dull, seeing as I have only 12 credits, but of course, I had to pick electives that were more difficult than your typical English and history classes. I had to pick high level one filled with English and history majors, respectively, showing my mechanical engineering ass up. Luckily, I think I still managed to jam a few things into my brain right beside all the numbers.
    But hey, I've got some real cool stuff going on, and by god, I'm gonna tell you's people about it. For starters, I just purchased an instruction book a few months ago and started building myself a shamisen. Damn straight. If you don't know what that is, you can head over to the multimedia page and check out the video I posted or just type "shamisen" into goolge or youtube. There are about a gillion videos of all types of people rocking the shamisen and showing off. I've been working on it in my free time and I'm hoping to have it finished before June.
    Now the reason I chose June is because something else is going on Starting June 3rd for me, which I'm ecstatic about. I was lucky enough to land a job teaching English in Japan for a year starting in June! It's not quite what my major set me up for, but when's the next time I'll get to spend a year in Japan? Never, ever again, in case you weren't sure about the answer. I'll be going to a city called Aizu Wakamatsu, a few hours north of Tokyo, which, as far as my research tells me, was one of the last places the samurai fought in during the Boshin War in 1869. There's a castle and everything. But here, look it up for yourself. I can't be holding your e-hand all the time.
    At this point, I've only got less than two weeks left at this school, then a few weeks of working (and a graduation party), and I'll be headed to J-Land. Unfortunately, what this means for all of you is that once I head over there, it may be a while before I get reliable internet service, so it'll be another big long wait (this time not my fault!) before I can write about the goings on in the land of the Rising Sun. The good news is that I'll try to take tons of pictures, and I'm confident my Japanese will be bitchin' by the time I get back to the U.S.
    Until then, I'll try to update some more, add some pics, post some videos, and brag my skinny ass off (to an extent. I'm not that good at it anyway). And on that note, I'll leave you all with a fond "じゃあね!" and let you get back to your flash games/youtube/illegally downloaded movies. Happy days!
    Honestly, I didn't even know it happened. I was on the subway when it happened, and I didn't feel a thing. My girlfriend did, however, notice the digital sign that listed which train we were on flickered for a second, and she felt like it was some horror or sci-fi movie thing. And I, of course, told her it was nothing, and that she was just being paranoid. It wasn't until everyone was in the streets on their phones that we heard someone mention an earthquake. So I guess from now on when I tell her it's nothing, she'll remind me about the earthquake.
    And of course, I knew I could count on you, internet. I knew a natural disaster could never occur without someone mocking it openly on the internet. Ok, it wasn't really a "disaster" in NYC, which made it all the funnier when all the reaction in the city was parodied by others. One of my favorite quotes I read yesterday was from someone's Twitter account (don't remember whose, it was on some website listing people's reactions) was this: "In retrospect, I resorted to cannibalism rather fast after the earthquake."  Oh, and this picture, which many have commented over:


    Well, only a few more days until I head back to Vermont for my last two semesters of schooling, and I'm actually looking forward to it this time around. Maybe because I'll be off campus, not have to wear a uniform, only have 11 credits of classes, and not have to go to any parades, formations, or any of that crap! I guess it also helps that the people we're staying with are super chill. They're down with putting in a bar and doing some beer brewing. Plus, they've got chickens. Yes, I said chickens. にわとり。Galline. I can't wait until they have to get rid of some and we get fresh chicken meat. It's just another one of those things to look forward to.
    I have to be off to figure out some things before classes begin, so unfortunately, I have to leave now and actually do some work, make some calls, run some errands. The next time I write, I'll be in the state of green mountains, enjoying my normal college experience, so until then, しっかりして。 Stay belìssimo internet.
    So, how is everyone liking the new idea so far? I mean, all I have so far is really a new home page, but I guess it's the way it feels to me that is more different than anything else. This summer has really been all about new things and experiences for me. I have my first internship working with a contracting engineer, I've started doing things on a weekly basis like rock climbing and kung fu lessons, and a lot of people I know have been traveling, so I've been hearing all their stories and getting really excited about traveling myself. Heck, that is what spawned this revolution of my website, after all. And it was all long awaited excitement to really jump start the motivation.
    But about some languages! Like I said, everyone's been traveling. My parents got back from a week in Italy about a month ago, and my dad was fortunately mistaken as one of the locals while he was over there. And when I say fortunately, I mean he came back and was telling us everything he knew in Italian, and he sounded pretty good! And of course, my girlfriend got to see almost all of Europe for six weeks doing research. And now she want to go somewhere for Spring Break this coming year. Hopefully we can swing a trip to Italy, since she didn't get much of a chance to see it while she was abroad.
    Which is why I have to get a move on with learning some Italian! It's been a little less than a week, so the most I can say or understand right now are some greetings and phrases. Things like "come stai?" or "a piu tardi," which I have been trying to use exclusively with my parents to get them involved with it as well. But who would have thought that the other country where Hamtaro was fairly popular (or popolari) was Italy, right? I guess it just makes it easier to have a learning aid that I can see and hear in all English, Japanese, and Italian. Even if it is a kids show.
    But seriously, if I was a child living in either Japan or Italy and learning the language, that's the logical step, right? I can't hope to watch something like ざといち and understand much of it, since it's intended for adult audiences if I can't understand colors or other basic ideas, can I? I'm working in steps here, so before you consider me weird for watching a show like that, just take a minute and use your brain, kay?
    And just look at that! Five paragraphs of wordy, (hopefully) humor-laden lingual vomit, and it hasn't even taken me a full half an hour! I dare say, this could actually work out for me. And maybe someday when I'm finally fluent in Japanese (or Italian, it could happen!) I might be able to do the same thing for the few who would read this and are fluent themselves. But that's just daydreaming and wishing. We'll see when that day comes. For now, I'm off to watch some Italian shows, listen to some Japanese music, or do whatever the hell I want, as long as it's not in English, so farewell everyone, and I hope it was enjoyable. じゃね!
    二日間前(5日)にドリル競争がある。上手な公演があったとして。マーディグラーがたのしいでもこれについて話さない。 :) とても込みだよ。ほとんど歩かないんだよ。

         Hey there everyone! I'm back once again. I wrote this entry at the beginning of this month. It was at an airport and I was going to be staying at a hotel for the night. Anyway, I can't watch Youtube videos right now so there won't be a video of the week for a while. Sorry about that! Anyway, here it is:
         Three days ago (March 5th) we had our drill competition. We had a pretty good performance, and we placed second. Mardi Gras was a lot of fun, but I won't talk about that. :) It was crazy crowded. You almost couldn't walk.
         Now we're stuck in an airport terminal. We were trying to get back to Norwich yesterday, but the weather is pretty bad. So we're staying in D.C. I have a lot of homework, but all my textbooks are at school. I'm going to be real busy this week and Professor Wallace isn't going to be happy.
         This part was written in a hotel. Another hotel. Really, we're still not back home. Now we're in Boston because of all the snow in Vermont. I'm pretty bored, but at least it's a nice hotel.
         I'm drawing out a uniform plan right now. ISIS is a world drill competition and I'm hoping to compete sometime. When I record some video, I'll make sure to upload it. For you! Pretty cool, right?
         It's night now. Today is almost over. I'll make sure to write again when I get some spare time. So goodbye for now everyone!