Nakahama Apartment, Fukuoka

Today I went with Nakahamasan to Itoshima town, just west of Fukuoka. We visited a little peninsula called Keya, with some really neat igneous rock formations, the hexagonal pillars. It was windy and cold, but still really nice. After that we visited a place called Futamigaura, one of those beach shrines.

We went to Marinoa city and did some shopping (lego store is promoting a new pirate line), and then went out to dinner with Kabasan, to an all-you-can-eat buffet. I think I overdid myself.

Now I'm staying the night in Nakahama's teeny little one-room apartment. Tomorrow I move in with Kadasan.

Murata Apartment, Fukuoka

There's a college mate meeting every (other?) friday here, in the evenings. I hung out with a few of them before the meeting, playing with legos and juggling.

We played futsal again. This time a lot more people came, and we split up into three teams and rotated seven minute games, playing each other. Our slot went from ten to midnight, so now it's really late. Had loads of fun, even if I'm a bit tired.

Murata Apartment, Fukuoka

I walked down to Tenjin today. On the way I saw a little shop selling go boards and related equipment. I poked my head in and looked around, but the shopkeeper didn't seem too happy to see me, so I didn't stay long.

They released a new picross game, this one is three dimensional. I rarely buy new release games, but I might need to look into this one.

I gave Mari a set of Legos, after dinner we spent a few hours tooling around with them.

Murata Apartment, Fukuoka

Today I helped babysit at a tutor class.

My host dad got us out of the office early, and we went to the Marinoa City shopping center. There, I found another LEGO outlet store. Those things are awesome. They've got all the aesthetics of an Apple store, construction tables, play areas, and best of all tons of Lego sets way below MSRP. Got some Legos.

Also got this elegant little cast-iron puzzle. It took me a couple minutes to figure out, but my poor host dad has been tooling with it all evening.

On the way back, we stopped at the Toyota dealership. My host family has some sort of trial system going, where they can swap out their model of car each year for a different one until they find one they like. It doesn't make sense to me, either, but they sure treat you well at that dealership. Free orange juice and butterscotch candy.

Murata Apartment, Fukuoka

I went on another walk this evening, not so far out this time. I somehow cricked my neck, and I'm trying to walk it off, so I just sorta meandered around the neighborhood. Japanese street planning is something of an oxymoron; you don't get any of that fancy grid stuff we have back at home, just narrow lanes weaving away in every direction except the one you ought to be going in. The fact that it was well after dark didn't make things any more intuitive, but despite all that it was really nice out.

Murata Apartment, Fukuoka

I made lemon pepper pasta for dinner tonight. Or, I should say, I helped my host mom make it... she had already done most of it by the time I got home. My host sister helped, too. It came out a bit strong, a little heavy on the pepper I think.

Korea played Japan again, and this time they won.

Murata Apartment, Fukuoka

Today my host dad and I drove down to Nagasaki for a Labo Songbird program. They were all in languages other than English, so they were new to me. We took a scenic route back, through a mountainous region with a few quaint little villages.

In the evening, we all went to a public bath. It really wasn't very relaxing, for me at least, there were too many people.

Murata Apartment, Fukuoka

Today I went on a walk. A nice, long walk. Turns out that the beach is less then ten minutes north of here.

As I was approaching the beach, I was thinking about how I'd seen way less foreigners in Kyushu than I tended to in Tokyo or Nagoya. A moment later, I found myself standing next to one. He introduced himself and his wife, and we actually had a conversation in English. He's even a Californian as well. They pointed me on a good trail, and I kept walking for a good two hours. There were 800 year old stone walls built to fend off the mongol invasions, bridges, parks, shrines, and a very friendly kitty cat.

I've made up my mind; I like this city.

Murata Apartment, Fukuoka

Today the office threw me a little welcome pizza party at lunchtime. That was cool of them.

I wandered around Hakata for a bit after five, and then went out to dinner with Murata, Kada, and Nakahama. Came home pretty late. Sleep time now.

Murata Apartment, Fukuoka

Kadasan, the head boss, is really pushing me to answer the phone at the office. I'm really not very good at it, and tend to end up just confusing whoever is on the other end, but he keeps telling me to do it. Y'know, I'm flattered that he has such high confidence in my Japanese ability that he thinks that I can do this, but this is starting to get ridiculous.

Today I played in my first futsal game. We got our butts handed to us, but we're just playing for fun.

A tutor gave us a lift to Hawks Town (the place with the futsal court), she had two sons, Tomoya and Shota. On the way back, she said that she had been considering hosting me, but decided not to because she was afraid she wouldn't have enough room for my bags. I think I'm traveling pretty light, at least compared to the other interns... it's one wheelie bag and a duffel bag. The only way she would have considered my bags is if Mr. Murata had mentioned them at the tutor meeting the other day. That means that all the tutors in the area have now heard that I have tons of scary luggage. Murata must like me, because this means that I may be staying at his place for a fair bit longer than the week or so that the original plan was.

Murata Apartment, Fukuoka

Today my host dad took me out to a little town called (I think) Kuko, to see the ume blossoms. It was really neat, I took a ton of pictures.

On the way back, we got pulled over in a speed trap.

My host mom actually asked me to wash the dishes while she went out to some dance program with Mari. Kind of comforting, actually, as if it's something that reminds me of home. I've hardly washed anything since coming here, most of my host moms have gotten pretty cheesed off if I invaded their kitchens.

Murata Apartment, Fukuoka

Went to the office again today, although there weren't many people there. There was a tutor meeting, so I got to introduce myself to all the Fukuoka tutors with a little juggling routine. I don't have any parties lined up for this month, but I understand it's gonna get a little bit busier down the road.

I've been working on my speech... they want me to give it in Japanese as well, so yay reverse translation. It's not so easy.

Tonight we had a little Hinamatsuri party, the old couple from next door visited and we had temakizushi. Mari had this nifty korean style dress, pretty cute.

Murata Apartment, Fukuoka

Today was my first day in the Kyushu office. It's got a different atmosphere than the Chubu one in Nagoya, but I think I like it anyways. The hours are forward-shifted a bit, and although the computer is about five years newer, they don't want me using it for anything personal.

I went out to lunch with Kaba and Nakahama, to a little place under Hakata station.

Murata Apartment, Fukuoka

Today my host mom and I made a tissue box size basket, Mari helped too. Went out to the park and kicked a soccer ball around with my host dad. Went shopping with my host dad and got some indoor soccer shoes, though I'm not allowed to wear them outside. He's a big futsal nut, and so is most of the Labo office here as I understand it. Looking forward to playing with them.