Like clockwork

Sign of the timesLast week I was talking to my Japanese teacher that I had not heard any cicadas yet. That was Tuesday night. Since the rainy season seemed to end a little early this year, I thought that maybe the cicadas would be out soon. Also, the Nagoya Basho was on, and the cicadas always come out for the big Sumo event. Then, Wednesday morning, June 13, as I was walking in to the office, I heard the familiar buzz of some early arrivals out in a little garden near the office. The sound has intensified over the days.

I’m heading to Kyushu soon, weather permitting. I wonder if summer will have the same buzz there?


When I was a kid, I thought that if I walked into a room backwards, no one would see me because I couldn’t see them. Maybe that’s why I’ve always had trouble with the commutative property in math. I’ve been walking backwards though to my repatriation. If I don’t look at it, it won’t notice me and I’ll get to stay longer in Japan. Just like 6 divided by 5 is NOT the same as 5 divided by 6, I must go home sometime. And if that simile makes any sense, you are smarter than me.

My last day in Japan is October 15. Well … it had been until Thursday, then became August 31, and then became October 15 again. That 6 week shortening of the time really knocked me off my feet, and also made me realize I need to get crackin’ on things. So I’m taking vacation this week.

After over 3 years on a 19 month assignment, and after being told I’m too expensive, it is time to go home. Plus, I need to reconnect with my home organization before they start saying “Jon who?” or spelling my name with an “h.”

This blog will still report on stuff, and I’m sure the trials and tribulations of repatriation will move to the forefront. Even sadder, is this blog is likely to be closed (although it will not be deleted). I plan to have a new blog, but I suspect the content will be less.

You’ve got three months stuck with me on this blog still, and all my entries will still be available even after I return home, so continue to enjoy the ride and remember it in the future!

Congratulations on the Women’s World Cup Championship!

Congratulations to the Japan National Women’s team on their World Cup Championship victory. It was a beautiful match to watch, as a matter of fact it seems more precise and better played than a lot of men’s matches I’ve seen. I’m not a soccer player and I’m not even an armchair wing (get it?), but I do understand a little of the game. It was high tension, and the Twittersphere and Facebook were full of friends watching and posting as well.

Japan wins 2011 Women's Soccer World Cup!

Credit Michael Sohn / AP


One of the personal highlights of the night was a Twitter exchange with Fumiyuki Beppu, the reigning Japan Time Trial AND road race national champion who rides for Team Radioshack. He was tweeting, in French, that the Japanese were at an advantage because they understand English but the US women can’t understand Japanese. So I responded back in Japanese AND French that I am an American and can understand Japanese. He responded, “C’est Bien!!” Ha! Pretty cool. He tweets in Japanese, French, and English. I guess after last night you can say I do too, but it would be a stretch.


My friend Ken, who is probably the only person in the world that follows me and Fumy Beppu on Twitter noticed.

Another オタク


Another interesting tidbit from the Twittersphere – Ken and I tweeted at exactly the same time, “Oh. My. God.” Same punctuation, same capitalization. Same. Pretty scary.

Oh. My. God

Linked in some way or another

If these are for fingers, how do I wear them?

Comfy Japanese socks


These looks like socks to me. Well, at least socks in Japan. Not every pair of socks have individual toes, but they are pretty common. I’ve learned to like them. I’m sure I’ll stock up before I move back to the US and then never wear them. I figured they be called “toe socks” right? I mean, after all, each toe has its own space. Kind of like the difference between gloves and mittens for your hands. Except, on closer inspection –



These are FINGER SOCKS. Say what? Are they gloves? Are they for your feet? What are fingers doing on your feet? Are Japanese fingers really that stubby?

Perhaps I’m exaggerating a little looking for Japanese peculiarities, but I thought I’d point this out.

Let’s try beautiful look!

I was out and about shopping today and in the men’s beauty section of Loft. I was looking for razor blades as somehow I have gone through my stock. I was unsuccessful finding replacement blades, so it looks like upgrading to even more blades per “blade” is necessary. As I was looking for the blades, I was quite surprised to see what I hope does NOT become a new fashion trend.

Let’s try beautiful look!


Yes, it is “1st in the world” fake eyelashes for men. “Men’s lash, Let’s try beautiful look!” Wow. That’s a new one. I’ve often talked about men’s fashion obsessions, for example here, here, and here. I hope it doesn’t catch on. Don’t they look natural? Glad I’ve got a full, long set of lashes, otherwise I might feel the pressure to try a beautiful look.