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My Life Page 3
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Ok it's not exactly an office. My new school is small, but I like it that way. Since I came back from Canada I've been pretty damn busy. Not only am I doing some teaching, I've also been doing a lot of web design work for the school as well. Actually it's kind of like I have two jobs now. Sometimes I work 12 hours a day! Despite the craziness, I'm not too unhappy. It's a good opportunity for me to continue working on my web design skills (as well as make money).

office work


I started playing the violin when I was 4 years old. After 12 years of practicing I rebelled and quit, much to my mother's disapointment. Now, another 14 years has gone by and I've come to realized how much I regret having given it up. I've wanted to start again for a while so the other day I finally made up my mind to spend some money and went out and bought my own. It was fairly cheap as violins go, but even a cheap violin isn't cheap if you know what I mean. Surprisingly after 14 years I can still play!

mike violin


If you're Japanese you definitely know where Guam is. If you're Canadian you probably have no idea. Guam is a tiny island in Micronesia owned by the US. However since it's only a three hour flight from Japan the tourists are 99% Japanese. The food is definetely American though. The beaches are amazing, white sand and clear blue water. Hotel plus airfare was about $400, what a deal! They also have a huge K-mart with American products you can't get in Japan, so of course I stocked up. Fun!



In Japan space is definetely at a premium, so it comes as a surprise to find something like this. This is the balcony at the school where I work, and the school is essentially an apartment. It's hard to tell from the picture how big it actually is. I couldn't get the whole thing in, but it's easily big enough for a small swimming pool, or at least a large jacuzzi. So what's being done with all this great outdoor space? Strangely enough, nothing. Not even a picnic table you might ask? Nope.

big balcony


Hanami's the time of year when people skip work or school to go look at the flowers. Yoko and I had a nice walk through Shinjuku Gyoen one Monday afternoon. Gyoen's the kind of park you have to pay to get in, which is kind of annoying since it doesn't have much to offer except lots of trees. Anyway it was this fact, and the fact that it was Monday afternoon that led me to expect we'd have the park to ourselves. Boy was I wrong, there was a line up of people waiting to buy tickets to get in. Only in Japan...



Those of you who know me well know that weight training is one of my hobbies. I don't talk about it too much because I'm not really big enough for people to take me seriously when I bring it up. Anyway I've been going to Gold's Gym for about a year now. It's one of the better gyms in Tokyo, not too expensive, and not too crowded. Here's me benching 80kg (just under 180 pounds), which is more than my own body weight. Surprised that these skinny arms of mine can do that? Don't mess with me!



I found Barbapapa in Haneda airport and I just couldn't resist. My sister Cathy has a huge Barbapapa fetish so I know she's going to be soooo jealous when she sees this. Why is Barbapapa in the airport in Japan? Good question. He has a little pouch hanging on him which you can see, but it was empty....



Okinawans love their pork. While on my brief trip there I ate fried pig's ears (not good), boiled pig's feet (not much better) and a big slab of pork fat (lard anyone?). I didn't eat raw pork but I did eat raw goat. Still, goats aren't as loved as much as pigs. In the store you can buy a whole pig's face and if the pig is smiling it's more expensive, no joke. I'm not sure how many pigs can keep smiling when their faces are being peeled off, but I guess it's happened. Oh, the head is fake, were you fooled?

pig face


Did I ever mention that I have housemates? I live in what's called a 'Guest House' which means that I share a bathroom and kitchen with other people but I have my own room. Gathered in the tiny kitchen are the current members. From left to right is: Fumie (Japan), me (Canada), Dillon (England) and Gregory (France). Quite the international group. I'm the longest reigning member at one and a half years and have outlasted 2 Americans, 2 Germans and 1 Brazilian before these guys came along. If you look carefully you might also notice that I seem to have no legs.

sakura housemates



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Recent Artwork:
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Blogroll - Friends:
Michael John Grist
Comicrocosmos by SZLIN
Jason Collin Photography
Philbuchan's Weblog
The Itinerant American

Blogroll - Japan:
Alive in Kyoto
An Englishman in Osaka
As I See Japan... From L.A.
Gaijin Tonic
i, cjw
Japan Probe
Japan Sugoi
Tokyo Times

Blogroll - Elsewhere:
Buy Absinthe
The Daily Kimchi
Travel Photo Blogging

Great Art Sites:
Red Bubble
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