Saturday, September 27, 2008

September 21-27 Week in Pictures

Here are some pictures I took this week and last week. Apologies for the poor quality—as you all know if you read my previous posts, my regular camera died, so I am using my phone camera, and of course I have no tripod for my iPhone, hence the blurriness, etc. I just wanted to show what my everyday life is like, to give a general idea, so these should be good enough, I hope ^ ^.

This is a shrine next to my house where I sometimes go to ask for someone I know to get better and healthy again ^ ^.

This is an animal clinic not too far from where I live. Click to enlarge, I thought the name of the hospital is funny.

This is bike parking. Almost every store has special bike parking areas, because so many people ride bikes here.
I had a flat tire on my bike since last Saturday (so for a week now), and no money to fix it (I just got payed on Thursday), so without a bike I felt like without hands. It's amazing how much you grow to rely on it... it's so convenient.

This always makes me laugh: some old ladies (and not so old too) buy these bicycle sleeves. It took me a while to figure out what these were for, but they are basically to protect your hands from the sun. Many women wear elbow-length gloves and hats for protection against the sun, and I've gotten used to the sight, but this just makes me laugh every time.

I took the next three pictures for my dad. He loves tools, so I wanted to show him what kind of stuff one can buy in a dollar store here. All of the stuff costs 105 yen, which is about $1.05, and I think these tools are pretty good quality too.
In general, the dollar stores are quite good here. Imagine Dollarama, only better. Usually the shops are smaller, but in terms of stationary, tools, and kitchenware you can get pretty amazing stuff here. Some dollar stores carry perishable food too, such as veggies.

This is a funny sign. Please click to enlarge and read the first line (on black). "Yakiniku", for those who don't know, means fried meat (table-cooking, Korean BBQ-style). This is a sign of a nearby yakiniku restauraunt.

This white bike *coughrustypieceofjunkcough* is the company bike I am using. Some of my co-workers got lucky but I had to endure until now. Today I went to check how much it is to fix a tire, and basically it cost half what a new bike would cost ($40 for a tire, $80 for a bike) so I bought a new bike instead. Now I just have to go to a dollar store and hope they carry WD-40 or a similar oil, and take care of my new precious baby ^ ^. I figured, I'd be here for a few years, I might as well. If I have to move, I can ship it easily. Once I go back to Canada, I will give it to Rie's sister or brother if they want it. I didn't take a picture of the new bike yet, I will soon.

My Apartment:

My favourite part of the kitchen: the ricecooker :D.

My living room:

I want to print more pictures of my friends and family and put them up in the living room :). I also started a card collection like Joanne has on her piano :D.

My bedroom:
I guess you can't really see too much, it's small so it was difficult to take a good picture with a camera phone, but maybe you'll get the idea anyway. I just have a closet-like thing, and then the bed which you can sort of see, and a small night-table-stand-like thing, and the hanging light (in the next picture). I like it that way, the living room has way too much stuff for my liking, but the bedroom is just perfect. It has tatami on the floor, and it's very bright because it faces the sunny side.

My bathroom:
It has a super fancy toilet, as you can see.

The "bathroom" consists of 3 areas. The toilet is separate and has a door, the shower is also separate, and then there is a sink outside (below), and the washing machine. This area doesn't really have a door, just a curtain hanging outside.

This is the bathtub:

This is the hallway, a view from my bedroom. I keep my kendo stuff there because the balcony gets wet if it rains a lot, and I don't like putting it in the closet. Plus it always reminds that I shouldn't be skipping practice if I don't need to.
On the wall I have a map of Toyohashi and surrounding areas, but I guess I don't need it as much now that I have the iPhone. I do use it occasionally though, it's nice to have a large map. Plus it has some English on it.

This is also my living room. I am too lazy to move these. This is my "closet office", where I keep my laptop (on the left), and the piano (on the right). It was a very bright day when I took these pictures, so I guess you can't see too well... Sorry :P. Now it's too dark to take pictures, so I can't re-take it.

This is my bookshelf and a part of my desk in the living room.

This is my balcony (pretty long), and the next picture is the view from my balcony :P. That's why it's dark in this room: because I live on the first floor, I have all the bushes blocking the view, but I don't mind, because it allows for privacy. Plus the juniper bushes smell very nice.
Oh, and as you can see I have a BBQ grill, so in theory, if I have wood or coals I can have a BBQ. One of these days I'll probably do it :D.

This is just a random street intersection in my neighbourhood.

This is a convenience store I go to sometimes. These places are amazing, you can get really cheep food there, and they have so much stuff in general. The drinks are pretty cheap too, and you can get alcohol there as well. I haven't bought any yet, but it's nice to know that I can. Many of the convenience stores are open 24/7.

You can't see too well but I was trying to take a picture of a guy in suit riding a bike. It's a very common sight, and I am still getting used to it. In Canada I always had this feeling that it's students and younger people who don't have much money who ride bikes. That or people who are concerned about the environment. Here though everyone bikes. I guess my rich students and their parents drive, so maybe it's similar to Canada, but still so many people bike it's amazing. 70-year-old grandmas and grandpas bike too, it's always so good to see.

This is my friend Eri, she came over for dinner. We are going to Nagoya tomorrow, for an orchestra concert.

These are pictures from Toyokawa, a city neighbouring Toyohashi. It's a small city, people say it's inaka, and I guess it is. I like it a lot, it's a small quiet town. One of our schools is there, so I go there two or three times a week. That's the same city where the big shrine is (from a few posts back).
The clock in the picture is broken, it always shows the same time, and the sight of it always makes me laugh.

This is a flower bed along the side-walk, and these flowers make me smile every time I pass by—they are just so beautiful. It's so nice actually, many people have flowers outside of their houses, right on the side-walk.

This is just some random house along the street on the way to work. Same for the picture below. Oh, actually the first picture might be a buddhist shrine with a cemetry, not a regular house. I can't see too well, but I think that's what I was trying to take a picture of.

This is what our school looks like from the outside.

And this is the inside of the classroom.

These are the flashcards all of the teachers and kids love *coughyeahrightcough*.

This picture didn't turn out well unfortunately, but this is a view from our school window, and the place next door is a fancy hair salon. They have this gorgeous chandelier hanging from the celing, and all the kids, together with me, always stare out of the window at the light once it gets dark outside. I forgot the full name of this hair salon, but I think it's called "Spice Heads". I could be wrong though, I can't recall what the second word is.

Back to Toyohashi:
This is the river next to my house. I walk or bike along it when I go to work in our Toyohashi school. This river flooded the surrounding houses a few weeks ago, after it rained for hours non-stop. People had to dry their stuff outside, and a lot of stuff got damaged. I was super lucky, because while my apartment is on the first floor, we have a small set of stairs we have to take to get to the first floor, so none of the residents here had any damage. People's cars got flooded though, the water was up to the waist level, I heard. There should be pictures of the flood on facebook somewhere, but I haven't found them yet.

This is a view from a pedestrian bridge, close to the city centre.

This is my $2 lunch from a convenience store. The juice is some veggie juice mix (it was good, and that's how I get my vitamins often these days, from juice). The burger is a teriyaki burger, and it's quite good. I usually don't eat that kind of stuff, but I got sick of eating onigiri (rice balls) for lunch, and this was the cheapest thing they had after onigiri. This was before the payday, so I was really short on money :P.

This didn't come out too well but basically it's a drinks machine. Guess you can't see too well due to the poor quality, but anyways, they have drinks like green tea, juice (orange, apple, peach, mango, etc.), different sodas (also random flavours like grape, tangerine, and melon), lemonade, sometimes cola (but not always), and there's often canned coffee. I know some people are picky about their coffee, but I am not too picky (although I can't stand airplane coffee), so I love canned coffee. Speaking of coffee, I need to go buy more, I ran out, and some mornings I really need it.
This is a cheap vending machine, most drinks are 100 yen ($1)—usually they have those next to stores, so it's kind of like a store promotion thing, I think.

This is all for today. Please stay tuned for more pictures next time. ^ ^

Hope everyone is doing well, and I miss you guys!


Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

I think you have the same washing machine as I did

Jeff said...

Oh wait, you don't. I just looked at an old picture of my Japanese washing machine and it's different. Sure reminded me of it though.