After seven years of running avoidinglife.com I think the time has come to call it quits. Since returning from Japan, getting married, buying a house and getting a proper job I can't hardly say that I'm still avoiding life, can I? Over the years this site has steadily devolved from a popular and innovative video blog about life in Japan into just another random pile of links to stuff. I think from now on I'll save the link posts for Facebook and Twitter and leave this site as a reminder of the amazing times I had for three unbelievable years in Aomori prefecture. Anyway, if you're thinking that avoiding life might be just want you need then I highly recommend signing up for JET Programme. It was certainly one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. I would even go one step further and recommend that you request Aomori prefecture and maybe even Noheji Town where I lived as your #1 desired location. Just make sure to get a really good dehumidifier if they stick you in my moldy old apartment.
A new McDonald's advertising there campaign centers on one Mr. James, a bespectacled idiot who tortures the Japanese language and is quite literally crazed for McDonald's burgers
I spent three years in Japan teaching people about North American culture, and until now I wasn't really sure if I had left a lasting impression on anyone. All I can say now is that I've never been prouder. I only wish they had asked me, the real Mr. James, to do these ads instead of hiring this imposter.
Note to Debito... Mr. James is not a stereotype.. he's real! I'm living proof. If you have a problem with Mr. James, then you have a problem with me buddy boy!
Kate pointed out to me this blog post about a nifty little program called Key Hole TV that you can use to watch several TV channels from Japan online. The video quality isn't great, but the program works fairly well and streams several of the major Japanese TV networks. Key Hole TV also provides broadcasting software that lets anyone stream video through the service if they like. At the time I looked at it there was a clearly illegal feed from CNBC running, as well as a Spanish sports channel, a music video channel from Switzerland and a bunch of random radio stations. Key Hole TV is not nearly as sophisticated as new streaming video players like Boxee, but it's probably the only place online you're going to find many of these Japanese TV channels.
I stumbled across this interesting blog belonging to a couple of JET Programme ALT's that have taken over my old job and home in Noheji, Japan. If any of my faithful readers from back in the day are still reading this, you may notice a number of similarities between my old blog posts and theirs, such as posts about climbing mount Eboshi (mine here) or the battle of man vs. mold. From the looks of this post, mold has completely taken over my old apartment! As anyone who visited the place while I was there can attest, the mold smell was really quite bad despite my best efforts to eradicate it. The school even half-offered to move me into another building because of it, but my supervisor suggested that I turn down the offer as they were just being nice offering it to me and didn't actually want to give it to me. So there I stayed for three years, and while I miss Noheji and might have stayed longer if I could, I'm kind of glad I got out of there before the mold completely took over!
Going shopping to Goodwill isn't really one of my favourite ways to spend a Sunday afternoon, but sometimes it can pay off. This weekend I discovered these neat TTC glasses from 1978. One shows a subway and PPC streetcar, and the other a deisel bus and an electric trolley bus. Kind of makes me wonder what other neat merchandise the TTC has put out over the years. These glasses certain beat anything sold at that crappy "Transit Stuff" store at Union station.
Thanks to the TTC strike, I didn't get very far from home this weekend. With High Park being situated just across the street, Kate and I used this break from our usual weekend shopping sprees to take in a little hanami. We weren't expecting to see much as the cherry trees didn't bloom until May 6th last year. Instead, we were pleasantly surprised to find them in full bloom as you can see in this photo:
Of course under the trees were lots of people sitting on tarps having picnics. Perhaps some of them were even having Sushi Picnics!
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