One Potato Two

・・・仕事中毒在宅翻訳者の日常・・・

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Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

My distant cousin is a teacher for a local elementary school,
so I asked him if I can visit his school to see how English is being taught in Japan.

Before I joined this industry by chance, I had a tiny dream of teaching English in Japan.
So I was really excited when my cousin said that the principal approved my visit.

Abushima Elementary School

It was a nice, sunny day.
It was supposed to snow, but lucky me, it didn't.


I went in and thanked the principal.
We talked a bit about how all the ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers) left after the quakenami because they were scared of radiation and stuff.

And after discussing what we were doing for class that day with my cousin and the Japanese ALT, we went to class.

The children were so cute!
It was a combined class of 5th and 6th graders for the English session.

I went in and introduced myself in English first.
My cousin (their teacher) asked if they understood what I said.
They understood some words such as "translator" and "movies."

I then introduced myself in Japanese, and we started class.

The topic of the day was "What I want to be when I grow up."
An electronic text book thing played an audio recording of various occupations,
and after the students practiced the pronunciations they answered what they wanted to be.

During practice, the kids asked me to repeat the occupations.
They were surprised that "photographer" and "sumo wrestler" was pronounced differently than what they thought.

At the end of the class, I gave them my impressions in English.
Again, they were asked if they understood any of the words.
Then I translated my words into Japanese, and left.


Sigh... The children were so cute.
And their dean (dressed in P.E. clothes that day!) was so cheerful and funny.

I hope I can go back, because I really liked the staff and students.

Maybe I can have my niece attend that school for a summer or two.

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

Niigata-city day!

S-san of GAINAX was in Niigata for the weekend, so I went to go see her.
Niigata-city is the hometown of S-san and Yamaga-san,
as well as other famous people in this industry like Rumiko Takahashi and Takeshi Obata.

I hopped on the Shinkansen to Niigata-city.

S-san took me to a sushi restaurant for lunch.

Marui

It was so freaking delicious.
I actually don't like sushi or sashimi much, but I finished my plate in seconds.


We then went to the Nihonkai Tower.
We had a nice view of the Sea of Japan.

Nihonkai Tower

S-san also showed me the area where Megumi Yokota was abducted by North Korea.

She showed me the city for about half the day.
We visited a movie theater where Yamaga-san used to work,
and where they still work with GAINAX to do some screenings.

It was fun seeing S-san outside of Tokyo and the United States, in a non-work environment.

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

My uncle works for a sake company and he makes one of the best sake in Japan, the Kubota Manju.

Today he took me to his company so I can take a look at how they make it.
Unfortunately, my uncle is not a very skilled guide and I learned NOTHING from the visit.
But I'll post the pictures I took anyway.

Asahi Shuzo

Asahi Shuzo

Asahi Shuzo

Asahi Shuzo

Asahi Shuzo

Asahi Shuzo

Asahi Shuzo

Asahi Shuzo


And this is the final product, to the right.

New Year's Eve 2011


They have this sake in high-end Japanese restaurants, so if you have a chance, please try it.

By the way, this sake was mentioned in the movie "Ocean's Thirteen."
So please look for it in there, too.

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

My uncle works for a sake company and he makes one of the best sake in
Japan, the Kubota Manju.

Today he took me to his company so I can take a look at how they make it.
Unfortunately, my uncle is not a very skilled guide and I learned NOTHING from the visit.

But I'll post the pictures I took anyway.

Asahi Shuzo

Asahi Shuzo

Asahi Shuzo

Asahi Shuzo

Asahi Shuzo

Asahi Shuzo

Asahi Shuzo

Asahi Shuzo




And this is the final product, to the right.

New Year's Eve 2011


They have this sake in high-end Japanese restaurants, so if you have
a chance, please try it.

By the way, this sake was mentioned in the movie "Ocean's Thirteen."
So please look for it in there, too.

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

I was slaving away, finishing multiple projects in the boonies.

Since that's boring, I'll show some of the food I had while I was there.

Omede-Taiyaki
Taiyaki.

Sakata-Ya
Dango.

Gindako
Takoyaki.

Satsumaimo
Yaki imo.

Homo Sausage

Nishimori-Ya
Rolled cake.

Tawara-Ya
Nabeyaki udon.

Mister Donut

Friend
Curry yakisoba and meat sauce yakisoba.

Yamaroku

Yamaroku
Chashu ramen.

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

It was my friend's last day in Japan, but I couldn't do much for him because I had to go to Niigata prefecture in the morning.

I have a problem with the JR East Pass regarding some issues that came up this morning,
so of course like an American I wrote them a letter of complaint.

By the way, I got the JR East 4-day Flexible Pass for this trip.
Basically you can choose four days within a month's time frame to use any JR East trains as much as you want.

(Pictured to the left)

Japan Rail Pass


Anyway. I took the Shinkansen to Nagaoka, where my relatives live.

I ate the Suica bento on the way.

Suica Bento

Suica Bento

Suica Bento


When I got to my relatives' house, my cousin was there looking bored,
so I asked him to rip up my next manga I was to work on.

Hee hee, it was yaoi.

He had to look at the pictures because I asked him to number the pages too.
Man, I'm evil.

I worked for the rest of the day.
Some video game stuff (not announced yet),
some manga, and some Hollywood stuff.

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

Day 2 in Hakone.

I like waterfalls, so I went to check out one called Chisuji Falls.

Hakone


Then I headed to Hakone Sekisho Ato, the reconstructed site of the Hakone checkpoint.

Hakone Sekisho-Ato

Hakone Sekisho-Ato

Hakone Sekisho-Ato

It was freezing cold (it was around 9am in the morning) so I was the only one there.

The water on the trees were frozen.
(Not sure if the picture is big enough here...)

Hakone


I left Hakone Sekisho Ato to walk around for a bit,
but it was too cold, wet, and slippery so I had to give that up.

I did get a nice, foggy view of the Hakone Shrine torii gate though.

Hakone


For lunch I had the yuba bowl at Naokichi.

Naokichi


I bought souvenirs and left a little after lunchtime to beat the crowds.


I think I worked on deadlines when I got back to Tokyo.

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

Today we left for Hakone.

Hakone is famous among anime fans from Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Unfortunately, I didn't do anything Evangelion-related.
Maybe next time.

From the Odakyu Station in Shinjuku, we took the RomanceCar.

Odakyu RomanceCar

We dropped off our stuff at our inn, Sushi no Yado Keisho.
It was a small, cozy inn and I loved it.

Sushi no Yado Keisho

Sushi no Yado Keisho


We then took the Hakone tozan train up to Goura.

Hakone

The tozan train is known for their railway zig-zag.

Hakone


We had lunch at Tamura Ginkatsu-Tei, where they are known for their tofu katsu.

Tamura Ginkatsu-Tei


I ditched my friend here and went off on my own.

The ropeway gondola was fun to ride, but unfortunately it was raining and I didn't have much of a view.

Hakone

And because of the rain, I decided to skip the Owakudani volcanic valley.
I wanted to just get back to the inn and relax in the onsen (hot springs).

So I took the fake pirate ship across Lake Ashi.

Hakone

I found this funny because I just finished translating a game about pirates.


I rode the bus back to my inn, and enjoyed the onsen.
Since there was no one else in there, I enjoyed the large baths (there was one inside and one that was roten, or open-air) in peace.

(Sorry, there are no pictures of the onsen because I didn't want to look suspicious.)


I took it easy for the rest of the night.

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

Today was the day to leave Kyoto.

Before hopping on the Shinkansen, I went to Tofukuji, which is the best place for autumn foliage.

Tofukuji

Tofukuji

Tofukuji


I had a little time, and I wanted to make use of my Rail Pass, so I went to Nishi-Akashi to eat some Akashiyaki.

Hana Gonomi

After I ate I headed back to Tokyo.


I checked in and spent the rest of the day working.

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

I woke up early, so I walked to Nishi Hongwanji because it was only two blocks away from our inn.

Nishi Hongwanji

Nishi Hongwanji

I took the Shinkansen to go south, to Okayama.

I missed my first train while I was shopping for ekiben.
Luckily with the Rail Pass I can reserve another seat for free, so it was no problem.

At least the lunch was worth it.

Ekiben


Okayama

Okayama
Momotaro statue.


I only had time to visit the Okayama Castle.

Okayama

Okayama Castle

I didn't have time to go inside.
Maybe next time.

I barely had time to buy some kibi dango before getting back on the train.

Kibi Dango



I headed to Iga Ueno next.

Iga-Ueno

Iga-Ueno Castle
Iga Ueno Castle.


The Ninja Museum of Iga-Style is in the same area, so I went there next.

Ninja Museum of Iga-Style

Ninja Museum of Iga-Style

I took a lot of pictures here for reference.
I translated a bunch of stuff about ninja (KAGETORA, NARUTO, etc) and I wish I had the information back then.
Oh well.


I went back to Kyoto in the evening.

After a hearty meal...

Tamago to Watashi (The Egg and I)

I walked to Kiyomizu Temple from the station.
It was a looooong walk. I don't really recommend it.

But it was worth it. It was so pretty!

Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizu Temple


Kiyomizu Temple
Entrance to the "Garden of the Moon."
Unfortunately pictures weren't allowed.
It was really beautiful.
Worth the extra 600 yen.

Kiyomizu Temple


My pedometer was still on California time, so it only counted half of my day.

Pedometer
This is what Kyoto will do to you!

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

I finished work around 4am.
I worked on "Oku-san's Daily Fantasies" for SuBLime, by the way, so please check it out when it's out.

I stayed awake to pack up for our trip to the Kansai region.

We checked out of the hotel, and went to Tokyo Station to ride the Shinkansen.
I really wish we have these bullet trains in California.

We got to Kyoto Station, and headed to our inn.

Sakura Inn

Sakura Inn

Sakura Inn
Our room had its own yard.


We put our stuff away and headed to Fushimi Inari Shrine.

Fushimi Inari

Fushimi Inari


At night we went out to dinner with my uncle and his family who lives in Kyoto.

Sumibi Wakura

They gave us tips on where to go in Kyoto this time of the year.
Luckily, we came to Kyoto on the day the autumn colors started.
So that's what I'll be seeing tomorrow.

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

Sunday!

I had my old co-worker and kohai from high school, K, show us around Akihabara.
I haven't really visited Akihabara since they cleaned up, so I was pretty excited.

I also wanted to try out a maid cafe for the first time.

We met in front of Gamers, since it's the store of our former company.
And it's also easy to spot.


I got there a bit early, so I took a picture of a man sitting around.

Akihabara

Surreal and a bit creepy...



Anyway, K took us to a maid cafe of his choice.

Pinafore

Pinafore

Pinafore
My friend H got the omrice with the option of having our maid draw something with ketchup.

Pinafore


In the end, I think I had the most fun because our maid happened to be a Hunter (as in, she plays Monster Hunter).
I asked her where I can get Monster Hunter goods and she named two stores.
K was nice enough to show me where they were.

Monster Hunter
A sample of what Japan has to offer!


There were lines at the AKB48 Cafe (which I wasn't interested in visiting) and the Gundam Cafe, so we didn't go in.

AKB48 Cafe

Gundam Cafe

I think I'll come back to visit the Gundam Cafe...
Well, I have to come back to buy all the Monster Hunter goods...


We visited other cafes, and one of them was the Wonder Festival Cafe.
It's more of a food court than a cafe.

Wonder Festival Cafe

Wonder Festival Cafe


There was a work station area where you can build your plastic models.
200 yen per hour.

Wonder Festival Cafe

When we were leaving, there was actually a man building something.
I wanted to ask questions (because I always do), but didn't want to cut into his time.



I had to go back to the hotel to work, so I was only able to spend half a day with K, but hopefully I'll see him again at Winter Comiket.


Thanks, K!

Winter Japan Trip 2011-2012

Since today was a Saturday and my friends (L and Y) who have normal jobs were free,
I asked them to take H and I out and about in Tokyo.

We met up in Asakusa.

Asakusa

This is what we see right when we exit the subway station.
It's such a touristy place! LOL.

Asakusa



We went to lunch at Rokumonsen, a place my friend A recommended.

Rokumonsen
Inside of store.

Rokumonsen
Beef tendon okonomiyaki (front), squid mentai monja (back).

Rokumonsen

I didn't take pictures of monja because they're not the prettiest thing in the world.



I did take pictures of the temple and stuff, but they're pretty boring.
You know what's exciting?
Food!


What I like about coming to Asakusa is the deep-fried manju.

Asakusa

Asakusa

This was kabocha deep-fried manju.



We traveled to the Hamarikyu Gardens via the Tokyo Cruise.

Tokyo Cruise

Asakusa
It was such a nice day.

Tokyo Cruise

Hamarikyu Gardens

The contrast of the Japanese garden and the city in the background is pretty spiffy.

Hamarikyu Gardens

Hamarikyu Gardens



We then went to Roppongi Hills.
It's mostly blah blah holiday boring stuff, but the one awesome thing about this place was...

Dragon Quest Exhibit

This!


Dragon Quest Exhibit
Even the ticket dispenser is cute!

Dragon Quest Exhibit

Dragon Quest Exhibit


We then went to Shinjuku, where they were having a festival at one of the shrines.
It was for Tori no Ichi, where people would go and buy decorated kumade (rakes) to wish for good fortune and a thriving business.
The kumade is so that they can rake in good fortune. (Or money. Heh heh.)

Shinjuku


I don't really believe in buying things for luck and stuff, so I didn't really show much concern...

I was mainly looking at the food.

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Shinjuku



We then went the Shinjuku Golden Gai area.

Shinjuku

My friend H wanted to go into one of the bars, so we chose one with an anime theme.
Obviously the guy is an otaku...
I wanted to keep my occupation a secret, but I had to reveal it in the end.

Haha, not that I really mind...

M2S

M2S

I was so tired at the end of the day, but I had a LOT of fun.
Thanks, L & Y, for showing us around!!
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