Friday, June 18, 2010

There's no turning back now. . . at least not without a $200 cancellation fee.

For some, this first bit will be old news. I've purchased my plane ticket and will be off to Japan on the ninth of July! I'll be heading down to Vancouver early that week to make sure that everything has gone well with the visa, as well as to visit family before my departure.

Naturally, I'll be updating this blog with tales of great adventure in the land of the rising sun*. For such an undertaking, mere text will not do. So, yesterday, I bought a camera, and decided to test it out last night. I'm pretty pleased with it so far. Below is a picture of the view from the deck of our house. It looks much better if you click on it, but be warned, it is huge (4000x3000 pixels-- I forgot to set the camera to lower resolution before taking this photo).

But what I really wanted to try was video uploading-- yes, my camera takes video. It's capable of HD quality, but for my purposes, I'll be filming at lower quality. Below is a video of my cat, Cedric. At midrange quality (640x480), this two minute video takes up ~150 Mb of data and took over twenty minutes to upload to YouTube. Unfortunately, the quality of the YouTube video is not quite up to par with the original file, but I guess that's to be expected.

Anyway, here's Cedric!

Am I getting sentimental about home already? Yeah, maybe. . .

*I even considered starting a new blog, "Doin' the Nihon Go Go!", just for that purpose, but then I realized it's hard enough maintaining one blog, and ultimately decided against it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

He says the sun came out last night. He says it sang to him.

In a world where disco never died. . .
One man. . . will put the hose on Disco Inferno.
James Franco stars in . . .
Yeah. . . I've been waiting for any excuse to use that pun. Anyway, here's Disco Close Encounters. Wait 'till the very end!

Why people ever believed that you can dance to John Williams, I will never know.

UPDATE: And who's the evil ruler of Dyskopia? John Travolta, of course! "When you were learning how to spell your name, I was being trained. . . TO CONQUER GALAXIES!"

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Well. . . I'm Kinda Screwed.

I writing from a hotel room in Vancouver. My mom came down here to take part in some fancy lawyer course, and I came with her in order to submit to the Japanese consulate my application for a working holiday visa. The good news is that everything appears to be in order as far as the application is concerned-- after submitting all the necessary forms (application form, tentative itinerary, CV, letter of motive, and passport), I was told that my visa would be ready in week, barring any problems found later on, in which event I would be contacted.

As for the bad news. . . the consulate employee to whom I was submitting my forms asked me if I had any work lined up. I answered no, adding that I was planning to find work through the Japanese Association of Working Holiday Makers (J.A.W.H.M.), the only organization licensed by the Japanese government to assist those taking part in working holidays. That's when he dropped the bombshell: the J.A.W.H.M. will be shutting down as of June 19th. I had not heard of this because the news was announced only a day before I left for Vancouver.

The J.A.W.H.M. provided a lot of helpful services for working holiday takers: job postings, help with finding accommodations, Japanese lessons, etc.. Without J.A.W.H.M., I, and a lot of other people who plan on taking working holidays , will have that much harder a time getting by in Japan.

At the same, though, it's not like I don't have a plan. I figure that since I am both a native English speaker AND possess high level scientific education, I can serve as a tutor for a niche market: foreign Anglophone students who need help in physics, math, and maybe even chemistry as well. Plus, there's always demand for English teachers, even if TESOL certification (which I don't have) is preferred.

I guess I'm starting to get cold feet. Shit's getting real now.

Stay tuned.
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