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Archive for November, 2011

Ultimate

Posted by Heliocentrism on November 21, 2011

October 1-2, 2011

All Pictures

My team in green and our opponents in black

Frisbee at the beach sounds like fun.

First, let me tell you how I got into this mess, because at the start of this particular weekend, I felt tricked. I got an invitation on Facebook. I didn’t read all the details, but what I got from it were the words “beach”, “frisbee”, and “barbecue”. That sounded like fun! The actual event was months away and the exact details hadn’t been completely worked out, but I RSVPed “attenting” anyway. Then I didn’t give it a second thought.

Getting the rules of the tournament

About a month before the event I got an email from someone asking my shirt size, date of birth, and other questions that may or not have included how heart-attack prone I was at the moment. I didn’t think much about it. I don’t even remember responding. Someone actually called me on the phone and left several messages to ask those questions a few times before I got around to responding.

So tired… and it’s only noon on the first day.

It sounds like you think it’s a real sport

Then I got an invite to practice frisbee one weekend. I didn’t have time, but I thought it was cute that people would get together to practice throwing around a frisbee, like it was a real sport… They had 3 or 4 practices, but I was always too busy to go.

Then the weekend of the frisbee thing, Mark told be that we would be leaving at 4:30am.

Me – “What!? 4:30 in the morning!? …on a Saturday?! Why?”

Mark – “Well the tournament is at a beach in Komamoto Prefecture.”

Me – “Wait, what!? Tournament? I thought we were just going to toss around a frisbee on a beach and then have a barbecue.”

Mark – “Yea. That ‘tossing around a frisbee’ is called Ultimate Frisbee.”

Me – “It sounds like you think it’s a real sport.”

Mark – “It is a real sport. It’s Ultimate Frisbee.”

Me – “???”

I had deadly aim though!

I learned quickly that ultimate is a real sport. Oh my god, the horrible things they made me do! … like running, jumping, catching, and throwing. …for 2 days! I was exhausted by the end of the first day. One girl on my team disappeared after lunch refusing to play any more.

The girl who went missing is not in this photo.

The first day it was just the amateurs. They split up all the teams and put everyone on new teams with people we had never met before. By coincidence I was on a team with a JET I met the week before in Amakusa. We managed to win one game and I scored one point. Both happened after the girl left us one player short. I didn’t hate her for leaving, but I did wish I had the chance to disappear first.

grilling in the dark

The barbecue that night was amazing and we earned it! We stayed in a cabin by the beach. Many JET’s stayed up to talk with other JET’s from around Kyushu, but those of us from Oita city went to bed early. I for one, was tired. We had just the right amount of people. Our cabin could not hold one more person. All our floor space was taken.

Even with our cabin filled to capacity, we did not finish grilling all the meat we were given. We actually opened another pack of meat and ate that for breakfast. (And, because Mark and I brought a cooler filled with ice bags, we took home the last 2 packs of meat and one of vegetables. Someone else took home the other extra pack of vegetables. They gave us a whole lot of food!)

I don’t need no afro wig!

The Disco-saurus Wrex

The next day we played with the teams we came with. These teams were a lot bigger, but now we would play with college teams. We expected to be slaughtered, so we put on crazy costumes and tried to have fun. But we had no strategy. We didn’t think we needed it; we never thought we would win any games.

How can we best punish the winners?

Our reward is to play more games?

But we did. We, unfortunately, won all our morning games. I say unfortunately, because by winning all our first games, we placed into the highest bracket for the afternoon games. We were up against the young, talented, college aged, ultimate frisbee scholarship-receiving teams.

Go Green!

This is where our winning streak ended. But it was not at all shameful. When we lost, we lost by one or two points. Below is a video of one of those points.

In the end, I had tons of fun. I would do it again next year.

Actually, no I wouldn’t.

everyone needs a shoulder rub

All Pictures


 

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards.TakecashandcallyourbanktoaskwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)

1st Annual All-Kyushu Mixed
Ultimate Beach Tournament

(Ichi Kyu Bee)
(第一回全九州ビーチ アルテメツト大会)

Website:

Downloads:

Cost:

  • 1500YEN
    • Price includes 2 days of games,
    • field rental,
    • insurance,
    • and a FREE T-shirt

Hours:

  • 2 full days of exhausting fun

Notes:

If you plan to do this next year you will need:

  • to be in good shape
  • thick socks
  • a hat
  • sunscreen
  • lots of water

Otachimisaki Park
(御立岬マリンハウス)
(Otachinomisaki Marin House)

How to get there:

  • 32°21’44.5″N 130°29’25.1″E

Address:

御立岬公園 Otachimisaki Park, Ashikita

Japan, 〒869-5305 熊本県葦北郡芦北町大字田浦町145

Phone:

  • 0966-87-2390 for a Cabin

Website:

Cost:

Notes:

  • There are many things to do in this park, like go-cart driving, golf, fishing, …
  • There are restaurants open during the summer, but not other seasons.
    • Bring your own food and water if you do this next year (if it is at this park).

Map:

Posted in Ashikita 町, Japan, Kumamoto 県, Kyūshū | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Hangin’ with Hittites

Posted by Heliocentrism on November 20, 2011

September 23-25, 2011

All Pictures

S’more group photo

It’s not really camping, but we’ll take it.

Mark found out about a trip some of our friends from Hita were planning. “They’re going camping on that island we went to,” he told me. “I’ll just ask if we could tag along…”

We went to the Islands of Amakusa (天草) during golden week. That was where we ended up camping in some lady’s backyard.

The Hita people, or Hittites as I like to call them, said we could join them. We didn’t have all the information about what was going on that weekend. We knew that they were going to rent a cabin, but we didn’t know how big it was going to be. We brought our tent and camping gear just in case everyone couldn’t fit.

plenty room for everyone!

We got there before the Hittites and we were given the key. There was more than enough space and bedding for all. The cabin had a flat rate price and with all the people that showed up, I think we paid about 2,000YEN per person per night.

When our friends arrived we went swimming, or rather they went swimming. I thought it was too cold to swim, so I along with those who didn’t want to swim just chatted in the cabin. There was a waterfall at the campsite where Mark and some other jumped off of for some cheap thrills.

I prefer my good old terra firma.

newly wed toast

That night we had a big barbecue complete with smores for dessert. During our dinner, someone made campfire cooked broccoli and we all went crazy for it. Many of us hadn’t eaten broccoli since coming to Japan. Mark and I don’t eat broccoli much because they are imported vegetables and tend to be quite expensive. I missed broccoli.

ramen for all

Beach hopping

The next day we drove around from one beach to another looking for the ideal spot. The first beach was too rocky, didn’t have interesting underwater life, and had a big old jellyfish on patrol. The next beach didn’t have enough sand. We finally found a great beach and decided to make cheese ramen with egg and kim chee there for lunch.

If you like beaches, but you’re not that into sand…

We played Marco Polo in the water for a few hours. Yes. I jumped in the water too. It was hot that day and, even though I hadn’t planned to go swimming on this trip and did not bring my swimsuit, I dived in.

Jen’s photo of the beach

The beach was really nice as you can tell from the pictures I stole from Jen.

Mark and I with our Hittite Friends

We then went to see one of the most beautiful sunsets in all of Japan. By now, if you read this blog often, you may have noticed that every city by the sea in this country  boast that it has “one of the most beautiful sunsets in Japan”. Well, it is the same sun…

The next day they went whale and dolphin watching. Mark and I headed back to Oita instead. I live in Florida when I’m in the US. We have whales and dolphins in our backyards there.

All Pictures


 

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards.TakecashandcallyourbanktoaskwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)

Todorokimantarou village campsite
(とどろき万太郎村バンガロー)
(Todoroki Mantarō-mura Bangarō)

How to get there:

  • 32°25’05.2″N 130°02’07.9″E

The directions are a little tricky.

  • You must get on road 24.
  • From road 24 you will turn into the campsite’s parking lot. But it is easy to miss it, so don’t drive too fast.

Address:

2971-1 Shimodakita
Amakusamachi

Phone:

  • 0969-42-3956 Bungalow
  • 0969-42-3424 Camping

Website:

Cost:

  • ¥ 16,000 Tent (permanent)
  • ¥ 1 2,000 per bungalow

Hours:

  • 7:30 – 22:00
  • May – September for tents
  • Bungalows available year round

Notes:

Map:

Posted in Amakusa 町, Japan, Kumamoto 県, Kyūshū | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

I Want to Hold a Baby Tiger

Posted by Heliocentrism on November 20, 2011

September 22, 2011

All Pictures

These capybaras would rather eat that give us any attention.

Eye of the Tiger

After we got married, Mark and I felt like we should do something… We didn’t have enough time to do a long trip because we had plans to meet up with some friends that weekend. But, we really wanted to go somewhere. So we thought that it would be fun to visit one of the hundreds of amusement parks in our prefecture.

Mark wanted to hold a baby tiger, but as you can see from the video below, the tiger didn’t care too much for Mark.

We got on one of the park’s caged buses. They drove us around the park and stopped to let us feed the many animals. We stayed on the bus and fed the creatures through the bars of the bus. There were many animals that are not to be fed like the buffalos and baby giraffes, but we didn’t know this at first.

If you can’t tell these pellets apart, there is no hope for you.

They did give us lots of extra instructions and information about each animal, but it was all in Japanese. We don’t speak Japanese well enough to understand something like, “This lion has lion pox. Don’t let him sneeze on, or near you or all your hair will fall out and your skin will turn green.” It was only after we did something that the guide would say, “No. No feed baby!” or “No. No feed buufaaroo!” or “Dis giraffes food, dat rhino food.” Honestly, all pellets look alike to me.

Below is video of Mark having fun with the giraffes.

All Pictures


 

Japan
(日本)
(Nippon)

How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards.TakecashandcallyourbanktoaskwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)

African Safari Wildlife Park
(アフリカンサファリ)

How to get there:

  • 33°21’02.8″N 131°24’51.1″E

From Oita by car –

Take route 10 heading to Beppu. Turn left onto route 500.

After you pass the Hells, you will see signs to Africa Safari writen in Romaji (Roman Letters). Just follow the signs.

Address:

〒872-0722 大分県宇佐市安心院町南畑2-1755-1

Phone: 

  • 0978 (48) 2331

Website:

Downloads:

Cost:

  • 2,300YEN
  • You can get a 200YEN discount per ticket if you buy your ticket at Lawson.
  • 1,000YEN to ride the Jungle Bus and feed the animals.
  • 500YEN to hold baby lions or tigers.

Hours:

  • Check Website
  • The available time for holding baby tigers and/ or lions ends earlier than the times for the park itself.

Notes:

  • Parking is Free.
  • You can drive your own car in to where all the wild animal are, but you would have to be crazy to do that with a k-car. (Your average rhino is bigger than a k-car.)

Map:

Posted in Beppu 市, Japan, Kyūshū, Oita 県 | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

 
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