Sunday, December 31, 2006


Well, for those of us that live in the future, it's here, 2007!

How did I ring in the new year? I got off a train at 11:59pm and a few seconds later it was 12am. That was that. Karie and Reid and I went to the end of the train platform to try to see the fireworks and were met by several train conductors also struggling to get a glimpse through the fog. We wished them a happy new year as they did the same and then one of them laughingly told us you couldn't see the fireworks at all. So we stood there for a bit with the conductors and watched the fog-filled horizon light up every now and then in fits of red, green, and yellow. With each explosion, one of the conductors giggled, "ahh, a red one" or "ohh, that one was green". Below us in the taxi bay, a group of cab drivers huddled together and wished each other a prosperous new year followed by several rounds of bowing and laughing. From the other side of the station the temple bells began their first of 109 soundings, with each clang, a new sin purged from the world.

I stood there on that platform, bearing witness to one of the most ordinary New Year's celebrations I have ever encountered, one element held true. People were with their friends and I was with mine. I was very contented.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

White Blight

There is an inch of snow on the ground right now and its still going. Beh.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Overdue Christmas Recap

A couple nights after Christmas, Karie and Reid and I ventured to the home of one of Karie's students for several reasons. First, the student's mother is a licensed kimono maker (by maker I mean the person that ties the kimono around the wearer) and Karie was getting a crash course in kimono tying. Second, since Karie and Reid are leaving soon, the two of their students and their mothers wanted to take us out to have a yakitori party.

We arrived at the Mizuno house, I realized very quickly that this was the biggest and most traditional house I had been in while staying in Japan. It was a huge two story building that looked rather plain on the outside but was amazingly furnished and crafted on the inside. When you first walk in, there is the big area that you take off your shoes in and Mrs. Mizuno had a pair of slippers waiting for each of us. Fortunately, we didn't have to wear the slippers for long because mine were about four sizes too small. We were then led into the parlor of the house and served traditional tea and homemade Japanese sweets made specifically for consumption with the tea we were drinking. We were also shown the household shrine and how it was decked out for the new year. That was a whole separate room from the sitting room. The tea was very tasty and Mrs. Mizumo was in full hostess mode, ensuring that we were properly seated and treated to the tea.

After this, Karie and Mrs. Mizumo along with one of Karie's Japanese teachers vanished and began the process of getting into a kimono the right way. Getting in the kimono is not the hard part, tying the waistband or "obi" is where the difficulty comes in. Tying a kimono is an art that takes an attention to detail and some skill to do correctly. I am not exactly sure how its done because men cannot be in the room with the women while they are getting into their kimono. Reid and I were relegated to a closed off room with frosted glass and basically, were told we could not come out.

After the kimono tying and several rounds of hot tea, we went across the street to a yakitori restaurant and ate a huge meal. Tempura fried lotus root is very very tasty. I am not sure what dish caused it but I was allergic to something there and my face and chest turned very red and it made everyone worry that I was going to keel over. Fortunately, I was okay.

Once yakitori had been consumed, we then crossed the street again and went back to Mrs. Mizumo's house for more tea. Upon learning that I liked pickled plums, Mrs. Mizumo told me that her mother pickles plums and she had a ton of them that she was wanting to get rid of. After vanishing to the kitchen for several minutes, she returned to the tea room with a tupperware container full of pickled ume for me. YAY!

Several nights before the yakitori and kimono tying night, Reid and Karie and I went with two of their Japanese teachers to see Casino Royale at the nearby theater. This was quite the experience, Japanese movie theaters rock. We went to the midnight showing so there were not many people there and we had the theater pretty much to ourselves. I had never gone to a Japanese theater before this and was surprised by the size and the overall atmosphere of the place. I was amazed when I saw a cup of Coke that is on par with US theater portion sizes and ordered it. The thing that cracked me up was the fact that there were two holes for straws in the lid. What Americans see as a single serving, the Japanese see as a serving that two people can share. Also, you cannot just walk into a movie and jump into a seat. All Japanese movie theaters have assigned seating and you can pick the spot you want from a computer monitor at the ticket counter. Overall, it was a fun experience and the new James Bond flick is pretty good. I am not a huge James Bond fan but this was probably my favorite movie in the series.

Christmas was fun. We opened presents and that night, we had Christmas dinner with a girl that Karie and Reid work with and her boyfriend. Her boyfriend had never played poker before and wanted to learn so I got out the cards and gave him a brief tutorial. Christmas was a tad odd due to the fact that none of my family was around for it and the three of us agreed that it definitely did not feel like Christmas. To cover for our un-Christmasy feelings we did everything we could think of to make it feel more like Christmas. We listened to Christmas music and watched Christmas movies, but in the end, it still did not feel much like one of the biggest holidays of the year. It was odd.

On the 27th, we packed our bags and returned to Fukuchiyama. Karie and Reid are going to stay here until the 2nd. We haven't done a ton since returning to Fukuchiyama and I have had a bit of the flu I think, though it could also be nerves. I am having some trouble with getting my visa extended and it has been stressing me out. I think I have blown it out of proportion as I sometimes do with these kind of things but it bothers me nonetheless. Though I know it probably will not happen, they could kick me out of the country if all of this doesn't go through. The odds of that happening are pretty small I think and I am sure its just a matter of time before its all straightened out. Until then though, I will be a worry wort.

Another Christmas event that I should mention is that my brother proposed to his girlfriend on Christmas day and I think they are getting hitched sometime in June so now I will have a sister-in-law. It also means that I will be returning to the US sometime in June for a few days. That will be wierd, I think I will get there a day or two early so I can adjust my sleeping schedule and not be all wacky for the wedding.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

On Ninjas and Other Holiday Topics

First off, I am here to end the debate between pirates and ninjas right now. Ninjas win hands down. Period. Next topic. Having visited a 350 year old temple and witnessed the amount of ways ninjas can rig a building to trap, injure, or kill you, I am now positive that ninjas would beat pirates any day of the week, including leap years. Out of the nineteen highlights on this tour Karie and Reid took me on, only four of them were not there to serve a double purpose to defeat an invader or foe. The place had everything, trapdoors, hidden stairways that went down to dead end rooms, two way sliding doors, tunnels, you name it. Ninjas are crafty, crafty people.

Last night, I went to see Casino Royale with Karie and Reid and a couple of their Japanese teachers. Japanese movie theaters are also pretty cool. The chairs are much cushier than American theater seats and the experience was very fun. Mind you, movies here are about double the price of what tickets cost in the US but it was still a fun experience. By the way, the new James Bond movie is easily the best one I have seen in a long time and I think I like Craig Daniels as James Bond almost as much as I liked Sean Connery.

I also started collecting these little Hello Kitty cell phone dangles while here. As it turns out, for every city or major attraction in Japan, there is a Hello Kitty dangle to mark the spot or occasion. While I would never put them on my phone I think they are kind of a cool way to remember all of the places I have been to. That and since there are so many of them, its kind of like catching Pokemon in the sense that there are so damned many of them that its fun just to see how many you can amass. Then again, I get obsessive when I start collecting stuff like this...

Well, I need to head to bed or else Santa won't visit me, despite the fact that he already air mailed me my presents. It doesn't really feel like Christmas but it still feels nice to be able to relax with friends and hang out. We watched Christmas movies earlier tonight, including A Christmas Story; that was fun. Before that, we went to Toyama to eat at a very tasty Indian restaurant. All in all, a very un-Christmasy Christmas Eve. Anywho, I need to get going but I do have pics to put up on here, I just don't have the ambition at the moment to do so. Expect a pic post soon. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Holidays In Takaoka

Since I arrived in Takaoka to visit Reid And Karie, its been pretty fun. :)

The first full day I was here we went to an amusement area called, Round One. Round One is basically six floors or anything you can imagine doing that would be fun...minus sex. They have karaoke, mini-motorcycle races, pinball, arcade games, massage chairs, batting cages, ping pong, a mechanical bull, pachinko, they have EVERYTHING. The best part is that when you go, you pay about sixteen dollars for three hours in the complex. After paying, you are free to do anything you want. I also got to meet some of Karie and Reid's co-workers and that was entertaining, I am glad I work with the people I do.

Today, we pretty much did nothing. I got Karie addicted to the Sims and she and I have been playing that quite a bit. For dinner we went to a mall (an actual mall) and ate at a place called Festa Garden. Its a huge buffet of dishes from all over the world and for what you can eat, its a good price as well. We left there very full.

Tomorrow is going to be sweet. I am getting part of my Christmas present tomorrow and I am stoked. The area of Japan that Takaoka is in had its fair share of some of my favorite people, ninjas, back in its day. Karie and Reid know how much of a fan I am for those that lurk in shadows with black pajamas and swords and they found a way for a group of us to go on a private tour of a ninja house that has been preserved. Now I am not exactly sure if it was a ninja's house or in many a stealth assassin were trained in this house. Either way, there are supposedly trap doors and secret passageways and whatnot scattered throughout the building. I guess there was even a secret tunnel that ran to the castle that used to be in this town. The only downside to the trip is that the tour is in Japanese. Hopefully, I will be able to figure most of it out but I am sure there will be many cool things that will not need Japanese in order to be understood. Secret nooks and crannies are cool in whatever language they are being described in. I will definitely be taking pics I am allowed so if there are any cool things worth showing, I will have them on here tomorrow night. Yay....ninjas!

Aside from visiting the ninja house, I think there is also a shopping area in neighborhood that we are going to check out a bit as well. So far, the trip has been pretty fun and there are no signs that the holiday bliss will cease to flow throughout the week. Anywho, its time for me to get some sleep and dream of shadowy figures silently sprinting through secret tunnels of doom. Say that a couple of times fast.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Preparing For My Christmas Voyage

Twas the night before the trip and all through the house
Only Mogwai was stirring, there better not be a mouse
All of the bags were packed with with presents to share
And some of Mogwai's gadgets, more than a pair
If he could only go to sleep, of sugar plums he would dream
But tommorow he can nap on a train, electric not steam.

Yeah, its past 3am and I am bored and excited all at the same time. Tomorrow, I take off for Takaoka to spend Christmas with Karie and Reid and in keeping with tradition, I can't sleep to save my life. There is something about trips that make me all antsy and excited. I love to travel and I love to travel by train, its not that I am going anywhere spectacular, I just like to travel. Its a break from the routine and I think that is why I like vacations so much. Breaks are no fun unless you do something out of the ordinary.

Anywho, I may try to sleep soon but I doubt it, I am not tired in the slightest. From tomorrow to about a week from tomorrow, I will be out of town. I will still have my laptop with me and I will have internet access so I don't think there will be any lack of posts. If anything, there may be more, we are actually going to do stuff that will be worth talking about so stay tuned.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Let Christmas Begin!

As of a few minutes ago, I completed Christmas shopping, minus one very small item that I will get tomorrow. Other than that, I am ready. My last day of teaching was on Friday and now I am indulging in one of the many perks of the teaching profession, vacation.

Yesterday was my day in which I pretended I was "El Presidente de Rancho Relaxo". Basically, I did nothing of constructive merit. What I did do though was play Battlefield 2142 for about nine hours. I love that game, its my new addiction. You know you have been playing a shooting game for too long when you make your one token trip outdoors for the day and upon being startled by a guy coming around a corner talking on his cell phone, you instinctively begin to draw an imaginary gun on him. He was close range so I knew my imaginary sniper rifle would be of little use so I went for the sidearm. Yup, played way too much of that game yesterday.

Today, I was much more productive. I cleaned house, did laundry, aired out the futons, and went Christmas shopping for the last time this year. Tomorrow, I will totally finish every tiny bit of shopping I have left, take in a Japanese lesson from Maya, and pack for Tuesday. On Tuesday, I am getting on the train and going to Reid and Karie's house for Christmas. They said I could come whenever I want so I am coming then and they can cope. :) They tell me there is a new and bigger mall in a town that neighbors their own so I will definitely check that out. For one reason or another, American-style malls are a novelty here so when you see one, its worth checking out. I miss malls for some reason. The Japanese department store just does not have the feeling of a mall and for some reason, I miss that feeling sometimes.

Anywho, I am all excited for Christmas now and have even decorated a little. My family sent me a very small Christmas tree that I have erected on my nightstand and have named, Milo. Yes, I am a traditionalist when it comes to trees and would have liked to get a real one but real Christmas trees seem to be a rarity in Japan, at least in my neck of the woods. There are no Christmas tree lots you can go to to pick out the perfect tree. So I am content with Milo and may even post a pic of him soon if I get the ambition to get out my camera. I am telling you, I have been in full braindead relaxation mode for the past couple of days.

Well, I am going to go find something to eat for dinner and then take in a little more Battlefield 2142. Have a good one and I will post more later!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Shopping Done...Mostly

Sorry I haven't written in a few days, its been busy around here trying to tie up everything before Christmas and whatnot. Oh yeah, I am not going to Thailand anymore. I thought I posted that on here but I guess I never did. Karie and Reid are getting married when they go back to Canada in January and thought it prudent to save the money for all of the wedding stuff they are going to need to pay for. I can't blame them on that one but I must say, I will miss not riding elephants in a Santa hat. Oh well, maybe next year. Since we are not going to Thailand, I am going to hang out with them in Takaoka over the holiday and then they are going to come back here and hang out with me over the New Year. It should still be a pretty fun time.

I went into Osaka the other day and loaded up on Christmas goodies for everyone. I will hopefully be shipping it all tomorrow. I can't wait to see how much money that sucks out of my account. On the upside, when I account for shipping, usually my guesses are high and I am pleasantly surprised by the cost. Hopefully, it will be like that tomorrow.

Other than that, I do not have a ton to report. Most of what I have been doing is christmas related just like everyone else. If something comes up, I will post it on here but probably for a day or two, news is going to be pretty slow on this page. Until then, everyone have a happy holiday season and try to stay away from the ravenous crowds of jerks that seem to be prowling about all of the stores these days.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Let The Christmas Shopping Commence

Tomorrow is my only day off until next Saturday so I think I am going to have to do my Christmas shopping. I really do not want to leave my house tomorrow because after this week and knowing what this next week is going to be like, I just want to be alone in the peace and quiet of my apartment. But with Christmas looming over me, I think I am going to make a trip into either Osaka or Kyoto tomorrow and see if I can't finish my Yuletide shopping. This could be the first time in a while that I don't want to go to either of those places. Oh well, I will end up having a good time and it will probably go pretty quickly.

Tonight yielded a kind of funny moment. I have this one kid in my class that is weird. When I say weird, I mean too smart for his own good and he can't stop moving and yapping all the time. I like the fact that he is eager to learn but this kid eats at me, especially when he is in the fifth class of kids for the day. Anywho, I am pretty much done with teaching for the day and we have about half an hour left so I figured I would take advantage of Christmas and put them all to work making Christmas cards. Hallmark should take note of this, instead of giving all of the work to poor machines to do, they should just buy some construction paper and crayons and come to Japan. All of my kids love to color and would do so the whole hour if I let them, I know this because I have let them. Anywho, my little card makers are busily drawing and coloring and Mr. Smartypants starts singing "White Christmas". I have never heard other kids sing that song before and after listening to him for a couple of seconds, I realize that he isn't singing Japanese lyrics, but English ones. He had no clue what any of the words meant and was just kind of letting them run together like an American would do if he was sloshed at a Christmas party. So I decided it was his time to learn the true meaning of Christmas. Or at least a subtext of one of the true meanings of Christmas.

I went to my backpack and grabbed my iPod and radio transmitter and went to work getting the FM dialled in on the stereo and hooking everything up. Once the setup was complete, I turned on my iPod and went into my "Frank Sinatra and Other Badasses" playlist (yes, that is the real name of the playlist) and found Dean Martin's rendition of "White Christmas". The second the kid heard the tune he lit up and started saying, "White Christmas" over and over. It was kind of touching to know that the Rat Pack can still charm people of all ages and nationalities. After the song was over, I selected Dean Martin doing "Jingle Bells" and all of the kids were able to figure out what song it was, though I am not sure they were all Dean Martin fans. Oh well, it was good to know that I was able to give the gift that keeps on giving to so many kids, not a subscription to the Jelly of the Month club but the next best thing, the Rat Pack.

When I came home and jumped online, I found a really funny story that had me laughing outloud. This guy is a man after my own heart.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A New Cosmetic Retreat

Just now, I made my nightly visit to the sheriff's website to see if I knew any of the people that were busted yesterday. Finding people I know and saving their bright and smiling mugshots is somewhat of a hobby of mine. The sad part is that I have a pretty good collection of familiar smiles.

Speaking of smiles, I found one that scared me tonight. Actually, I found two.

Looking at the two pictures, I noticed something, both of them have striking resemblances to one of my favorite comic book characters of all time. The one on the left has the menacing face and the hair. But the one on the right has a crazy big smile and creepy meth fiend eyes. So I thought to myself, why not turn that ugly smile into a....


So Ms. Brianne Davidson won an all expense paid trip to become the first customer of the Mad Hatter Makeover Institute and Spa. And to think, all she had to do was get arrested for forgery; who said crime doesn't pay?

A Day of Renewal

Today, I had to make my way to a town on the Sea of Japan called Maizuru. Since my visa expires next month and I am planning on staying at least another year, I had to go to the immigration office and apply for a renewal. As long as you have the correct paperwork, the visa renewal process is pretty much a formality. It is just one that requires a lot of paperwork. Since Maizuru is about an hour and a half away from Fukuchiyama, I do not want to keep having to go back and forth. Fortunately, all of my papers were in order and I will only have to return once more to get my actual visa stamp. After that, I have to go to my city hall and have my ARC card changed to reflect the new visa information. The process of extending my stay is an easy one, I just don't like dealing with all of the bureaucratics of it.

I was able to talk Maya into giving me a ride to Maizuru today because she teaches there and it was on her way. Good thing too, the immigration guy knew absolutely no English and Maya was an asset as a translator. After submitting my paperwork, she dropped me off at the train station and took off to class. Upon getting my ticket, I found that a direct train to Fukuchiyama was a couple hours away so I explored the area a bit. I went to a department store and then I stumbled upon a very good Indian restaurant named, Karachi. Anytime I can get Indian food, I am happy, Anytime I can get Indian food and some donuts for dessert, I am very happy. All in all, the trip went pretty well and it was a good outing.

This week I am in Miyazu so that means it a pretty laid back week. My Japanese lessons are going well but Maya is pretty hardcore about them. She bought me a new textbook and the accompanying workbook and has me reading outloud from it. I am kind of uncomfortable doing this because it puts me in a position in which I must correct mistakes and figure things out on the fly. It is also going to pay off dividends for those same reasons though. She also has me practicing writing kanji as well as reading Peter Pan. She also give me homework to be completed by the next lesson. For ten bucks and hour, I am getting a smoking deal.

Now on to other news that, while not important to some of you, will be very helpful for others. Since I have started this blog and come to Japan, I have attracted readers that are also considering jumping ponds and hanging out over here for a while. I have been asked for websites that I use here that would be helpful for newcomers and after a bit of thought, have come up with three.

The first site is the page that will tell you train times and fares in English. It is run by Jorudan and I use it at least once a day if not more. Simply, input your station of origin and destination and when you want to leave or arrive, it does the rest. If you have to use this site, one thing to remember is if you input a trip and it gives you back several possiblities that will work for you, always look at the price. The trains with weird names like Thunderbird, Tango Explorer, Nozomi, Hikari, Max Toki, etc, are all limited express trains or shinkansen and will cost you a lot more money than the local trains. They may get you there faster but they will cost at least double what a local train would. Anywho, here is the link:

Second, is the Japan Meteorological Agency's English website. This site will give you weather forecasts, typhoon and earthquake information, and any other advisory that is weather related. What I like to do is go there after I feel an earthquake and see how many stations felt it and how strong it was. The information is displayed in real time and can be pretty interesting. Here is the link:

The last website is also the least important but the most fun. It is the MSN-Daily Mainichi Japanese News site. It is all in English and it is all of the headlines from throughout Japan. I like to know whats going on and this is a good site for that. My personal favorite section of the site is called the Wai Wai section. The Wai Wai is comprised of strange articles about Japanese culture, usually sex. Some of the stuff that gets printed in this section of the site would make most Western news editors blush but its usually pretty entertaining if not somewhat disturbing. At this moment, there are articles about hymen restoration surgery and some college girl that decided to make a porno out of her fisrt time. Anywho, for your Japanese news needs, go here:

I hope you find these sites useful, the train one is a definite must have. As usual, for those of you with questions about life here or anything else, let me know via the "comments" section and I will do my best to help you. I am glad you found my site and I hope you find it entertaining and informative.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Wii-lease

The day has finally arrived when thousands of Japanese gamers get to buy their Wii's and rejoice in the flailing of limbs that is Wii Sports.

Unlike the PS3 release in the States, there were no drive-bys or robberies, just a bunch of Japanese people happily and patiently waiting in line for their chance to snag a console. Other than that, I can't say a ton about what went on because I did not buy a system today and I wasn't near any of the major outlets that had 1000+ people waiting in line.

What I do know is this: Out of the 400,000 Wiis slated for release in Japan today, I think all of them are gone. All of the major suppliers like Bic Camera and Yodobashi Camera were out by 8am this morning. Some of the Tokyo stores reported crowds of 1500 people lining up for the Wii and that is when they had to turn away people because 1500 was their entire supply of units. Oh yeah, that was at 5am. The whole camping out for the new systems seems to be an American fad. There were some people that stayed overnight in a parking garage in Tokyo but other than that, I haven't seen widespread reports of people pitching tents and having a nerd-fest in front of electronics stores. The fact that Nintendo has promised to make available one million units by Christmas has probably helped that somewhat.

I did go into one electronics store today and they were sold out of their Wiis by the time I got there at 2pm. They did have plenty of accessories and extra controllers so the massive contoller shortages in the States seems to be localized to just the Americas. There have been no reports of accessory shortages so far.

The Playstation 3 came out here a few weeks ago and I have to say, there was not much fanfare awaiting it. The initial shipment of units did sell out, but thats pretty easy to do when you only ship about 100,000 of them. The only thing of note about the PS3 release was that businessmen in Tokyo were paying Chinese nationals and homeless people to wait in line for the systems and then turning around and selling them for at least three times their retail value. Also, the amount of games purchased with each PS3 has been less than one per system when you average it out. What that means for Sony is they are eating about 1.7 billion USD for at least the next fiscal quarter or so. Console manufacturers usually make a profit on the games and take a loss on the system itself, since Sony isn't selling too many games their profit is non-existant so far. The funny thing is that I can walk into any store here and buy PS3 games but A)There are no PS3s to play them on and B)Their launch lineup has been less than spectacular as far as good titles are concerned. It kind of reminds me of my PSP in that sense, a really cool peice of gaming hardware with almost no good games to play on it. To be fair, if it were not for Zelda, the US launch lineup for Nintendo would not have been great either. At least here, Japanese people have Warioware and the US will not see that for at least another month for some reason.Too bad, its one of the main games I want for that system.

All in all, Nintendo's choice to go with an innovative system instead of another graphical behemoth like Sony and Microsoft seems to have paid off so far. I say this quite literally, Nintendo is the only console manufacturer on the market at the moment that is making a profit the second anything that has to do with their system sells. Nintendo is making a profit on the Wii itself and all of its toys the second a customer buys anything. The system may not be the best graphically but Nintendo made a wise choice financially.

As for me, I will be waiting for Santa to ship me a US Wii before I can give you an actual review of the system. Nintendo is being annoying as far as region locking goes and therefore, I will need a US system to enjoy everything that the Wii has to offer. Later on though, when a boot disc or mod chip is available for the system, I will grab one just so I can play a handful of the Japanese games that I have seen here that look awesome but will probably never come to the US. For now, I will just look at pictures and read reviews and dream, just not for too long hopefully. I haven't wanted a game system this bad since I was ten and the Super Nintendo came out. And just for the record, the Super Nintendo is the best game system ever made in my humble opinion. Commence flaming

Friday, December 01, 2006

Stupid Flat Tires

The title says it all, I am sick of coming out to my bike and finding that a tire is flat. This past month I have had two or three flats and I am sick of them. I think next time when I take it in to get repaired I am going to see about buying some of that armor that you can put on the inside of the tire itself and maybe some tire goo. As dumb as it sounds, it really throws off my day when my bike has a flat. It puts me in a bad mood and it adds another 20mins. on to my commute to the train station. As far as going to other places when I have a flat, forget it. Most of them are a little further than I like walking, especially when I can see my breath in the air.

In other news, I had a good series of classes tonight and for one reason or another, all of them went unusually smooth and fast. Not sure why but I am not going to argue it. Tomorrow, the Nintendo Wii debuts in stores all over Japan. This means that the Nintendo DS may be de-throned as ruler of the title of "highest selling console in Japan" on a weekly basis. It also means that I will be surrounded by all sorts of accessories that people in the States may never see.

As for me, I am hoping Santa ships me a Wii from the United States. As tempted as I will be to buy a Japanese one, it would just be too much of a pain to own. Before the Wii came out, Nintendo at one point said the system would be region free and games from any country would be able to play on any other country's system. Now, it seems Nintendo went the exact opposite direction. The Wii is region locked for all games, the Japanese Wiis will only allow for the Japanese language on them, the Japanese Wiis will only be allowed on the Japanese Wii network and the American Wiis are segregated as well. Eventually, I will be able to get the Wii to play games from all regions but I would rather be able to do that in English rather than Japanese. Nintendo has made me happy lately but all of this region locking crap has pissed me off.

Anywho, now I am settling down for the evening to watch an episode of the Office and eat some noodles. I am glad tomorrow is my Friday and my Christmas break is only two more weeks away.