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April 29, 2009

Spring is here!

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Today is the first day of the Golden Week holiday. It is always difficult for me to figure this out because there are four days off, but they are not always consecutive. This year, the first three days of next week are holidays also...so if someone takes Thursday and Friday off, then they have eights days away from work. Confusing, right? Of course, I do not need to worry about it!

I have been quite busy recently. First of all, I have been going surfing a lot (I am still crap). So, that is one thing. In addition, I finally went to Atami and picked up the mobile phone I lost last month. The woman I talked to at the police station was surprised that it ended up there considering I live in Zushi. Well, she was not half as surprised as I was. It was a pretty strange journey. It takes about 90 minutes on the train and I was in the police station for five minutes before getting right back on a train and returning. I wouldn't mind going back and spending some time in the area, but yesterday was just not good for me. I also had to go to the bank, the city office, the tax office and the post office. I think that covers pretty much every civic institution in the area. I really was busy!

I stopped by the city office because I needed to change my pension payments to automatic withdrawl and while I was there, I filled in my application for the stimulus payment. I will get 12,000 yen!! Woo hoo. It seemed less exciting, after I compared that to the monthly 14,000 yen pension payment I had signed up for. As for the tax office, there was a mistake on my tax form and they could not automatically deposit my refund. The mistake being that on my tax form, my last name comes first, while at the bank my first name is my first name. Hopefully that is sorted out.

Here are a picture of the surfing conditions on Sunday at Shichirigahama. It was not really that good for someone like me. I was out for thirty minutes before I gave up.

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I would post a few more pictures, but I haven't quite got the hang of resizing these using Microsoft. At least there is one picture this time!

Posted by Kirk at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2009

What goes around, comes around

I got a notice in my mailbox today that the apartment just below mine is going to be renovated. It mentioned that it could be noisy between 9am and 6pm for the next two months...except for Sundays. Well, I never gave much thought to how my apartment renovation impacted my neighbours, but I suppose I will have a much better understanding now.

When I did mine, I gave all my neighbours chocolate. This time around, I got a towel. I guess I could turn it into ear plugs. Maybe I should get a job, so I am not around.

So...it is cloudy today. I have absolutely nothing to do and I did not make a plan for Tokyo because I am going surfing tomorrow morning. This is an interesting issue, because I moved down here last summer, but I haven't really fully made the change mentally. I've found that I go up to Tokyo less often as time goes by, but it still seems to be the default option in my head when I am trying to think of something to do. I really should change that or I should move back. Of course, the bigger issue is whether I will be in Japan at all six months from now and, to be honest, I have no idea. My life would be simpler if I did.

Posted by Kirk at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2009

April Fool's Day or something like that

I am always caught out by April Fool's Day, so it is a good thing I live in Japan, where the tradition for playing practical jokes on your friends, colleagues or family is not really celebrated.

In fact, this is a very serious day as it is the beginning of the fiscal year. That means that many people are starting fresh, maybe in new jobs (well, probably not this year) and classes. In addition, there are always changes in various rules/regulations etc/ For example, from today smoking has been completely banned in railway stations in the Tokyo area (which apparentrly extends all the way to Zushi). The newspapers also publish a big roundup of what to expect, but I haven't looked so I really can't tell you anything else. In any case, I am not starting a new job or going to school, so this is a fairly typical day for me. Having said that, I have been doing a bit of spring cleaning and upgrading some of the things at home. I am quite pleased how things turned out.

The weather has slowly been getting warmer and I have been spending a lot of time outside. I have been surfing a few times, which is good as I REALLY need the practice. I feel like I am getting worse as time goes by. Then again, I do like being in the water even if it is because I can't stay up on my board. Oh, did I mention I bought a board and wet suit?

One thing I have not been doing is taking pictures, as you may have noticed. This is prime cherry blossom season, but I think I will take a break from taking photos of that this year. There are 127 million people already out there snapping away and I dount one more person will make a difference.

Ha! The one other major thing I did was lose my mobile phone. I know I lost it on the train: as usual, I was on a late train from Tokyo and fell asleep. When I realised I had missed my stop, I got off as soon as I could. Without my phone. The annoying thing is that I knew right away and went straight to lost and found to see what they could do.Which was nothing...in case you were wondering. I also went three times the next day, but they said no one had turned it in, so I was pretty much out of luck. I ended up shelling out 40,000 yen for a new one. The hardest part was losing nine years of phone numbers/addresses stored in the phone. The good news is that it has been found after all and I can pick it up if I go to Atami Police Station. I always wanted to go to Atami and I can think of very few things nicer than spending a few hours on the train to visit a police station. Of course, I will probably oversleep on another train and end up there anyway, so no need to make special plans!

Posted by Kirk at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)