That Is Japan (TIJ)

“TIJ” – goes the saying, That is Japan. For the unexplainable, of which there is plenty in this world of extremes. Like the little car I drive, and all the little cars here have a “reverse beeper!” Look out, little car backing up! And there is not a “piece of crap” car on the roads either. Some sort of pressure in this ultimate consumer society to constantly have the latest and greatest… all the cars are in great condition, and I’m told that’s the case with TV’s and stereo’s as well. The roads are all in excellent condition and painted with all kinds of lines and stripes which makes them feel like a race course and promonts fast driving. That explains why nobody follows the speed limit.

We toured around to the diffrent locations I’ll be teaching at. I mostly teach at the school, but also have a few private classes at homes and teach in a few community centers around the area. Classes will run from 9.30am to 11pm on varying days and mostly 5 hours of class time a day. Except Wednesday which has about 6 hours of class and lots of driving. The appartment I’m living in is nice. Small… very small, but nice. Not that I expect to be spending much time here.

The grocery store was an interesting expereince… I can’t read any of the packaging! Cereal and Laundry soap are pretty easy to recognize, but choosing a shampoo? And how do I know its not conditioner, or hair remover in a similarly shaped bottle? I’ve also found out that their deoderant selction out here is a little sparce… we’ll have to see what I figure out with that. I’m sure more stories will spawn from the language barrier.

The washing machines are interesting. The wash and spin cycle are done seperatly in diffrent compatments of the washer. So you have to run the wash cycle and then move it over to the spinner when it’s ready. I don’t have a dryer here at the pad, so it’s going to be the clothing jungle in here as it all drapes from the celing and dries.

Yesterday we went to a local festival where they ride horses up this hill and try to jump over a huge wall of dirt. Some make it, most don’t. The riders get dressed in some amazing traditional outfits and put on quite a show. Tomorrow, we’ll visit something described to me only as the “Ninja Castle.” More on that later.

I haven’t fixed my web update system yet to get new photos up at this point, but they should be coming soon, stay tuned!

About the author

Adventure Correspondent Cameron L. Martindell is a freelance adventure travel and expedition writer, photographer and filmmaker who founded in 2000. He has contributed to Elevation Outdoors Magazine, The Gear Junkie, National Geographic, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Outside, Backpacker, Wired, Australian Geographic, and others. He has been to all seven continents and lived on five of them, including a four-month stint at the South Pole. Cameron has more than 10 years of mountain search and rescue experience, is an Eagle Scout, has been an Australian bush firefighter, competes in sailing regattas, plans national and international youth programs, guides Oregon rafting trips and Australian bush backpacking trips.

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