Concerning the Rain Dragon

Location: Uryu, Hokkaido, Japan

Sunday, November 27, 2005

My night as a geisha

On November 11, I had the opportunity to dress up in this beautiful kimono. I was invited to attend the Takikawa Culture Festival. Before leaving Japan, I was hoping to be able to pay someplace to let me dress up in a kimono for a little while and get my picture taken. But the people at the culture festival wanted to dress me up for free, and give me presents for being so kind as to let them dress me up in a kimono, do my hair and make-up all fancy, and feed me a free dinner. What luck! This picture was unfortunately taken before I corrected my rather scary lipstick, but luckily it doesn't look too bad here. In the picture with me is my friend Jen, who was rather disappointed with her 80's pop-star hair-style, but isn't her kimono lovely? The picture was taken by her fiance Dave, who also got to dress in a men's kimono.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

My little house

I have a living room, kitchen, bedroom, sink/washing machine corner, shower room, and bathroom miraculously sqeezed into a space roughly the same size as my car. (See "Sweetums" entry). It's a lovely little house and very warm in cold weather.

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

It has begun to snow in Uryu. From what people tell me, it sounds like Uryu gets roughly 500 feet of snow each year. I look forward to seeing how close to the truth this is. As for right now, I think it's beautiful. Rather like living in the North Pole.


This is my car. As you can see, it is roughly the same length as my house. It is a Mitsubishi Pajaro. Tons of fun to drive, but rather interesting to park at times.

Anne spelled with an "e"

Since coming here to Japan, I have developed a special relationship with Anne of Green Gables. I have always been highly fond of the books and movie, but I have since taken that fondness to new hights. For example, I have actually been to Green Gables. Yes, that's right. Green Gables is not in PEI Canada as I once believed, but it is actually in the beautiful Japanese town of Ashibetsu. It is located in a bizar, dare I say creepy, amusement park called Canada World. I went to Canada World with my new good friend Jen in October. We were the only ones in Canada World for a good 40 minutes. (It felt a bit like "Spirited Away", and we were determined not to eat the food lest we turn into pigs).

Canada World was inspired by the Anne of Green Gables books, Ashibetsu being the sister city to Charlottown PEI. They have built a replica of Green Gables complete with Canadian antiques and recognizable items from the book. Look on the bed in Anne's room and you can see the brown puffed sleeved dress that Matthew got for her as a Christmas surprise.

A relavant question to ask is, "What inspired you to go to Canada World in the first place?" Well, it was there for starters. But there is another reason. When I first got here, I didn't have a DVD player and could therefore not watch any of my movies that I had brought. I was wretchedly homesick and in desperate need of hearing English. I have a VCR and the Anne of Green Gables movie was left here by my predassesor. I must have watched that movie over and over again about 7 times in the first month I was here. It always makes me happy.

English Competition

These are three of my students at an English competition they participated in in Fukagawa, about thirty minutes north-east of where I live. They all did a wonderful job and I had a fun time of helping each of them prepare for the day. Here are their names and grade from left to right: Aika 3rd grade, Ayumi 2nd grade, Emi 1st grade. I should note that grades are numbered a little different here. 3rd=9th, 2nd=8th, 1st=7th.

At the competition, I acted as one of three judges along with Linda (my Scottish friend in Chippubetsu) and another AET from Fukagawa who I can't remember his name right now. That was rather challenging and nerve-wracking, but I think the right people came out on top.

This is a picture of me, Maureen, Judy, and Katie in the beautiful seaside city, Hakodate. I went to Hakodate by train in the beginning of October. While I was there, I hiked two mountains (one of them an active volcano), ate hamburgers and Indian food, saw a spactacular night view of Hakodate, rode a tram, and slept in Katie's car in the middle of a cabbage patch. What a great time I had. I mention this as my first truly great experience here in Hokkaido.


I have been living in the exciting Japanese metropolis of Uryu, Hokkaido now for four months. Inspired by my excellent friend Katie, I have decided to make a little page of my own. My intent for this page is that it will be a place where I can post pictures and tell about my adventures, so that I don't have to use up precious email time saying the same thing over and over again and foregetting who I told what. As for the title of my blog, Concerning the Rain Dragon, this refers to my little town of Uryu, which means Rain Dragon in Japanese. I hope all my friends and family enjoy my pictures and comments.