Let it Snow!

For me December has always been a time of warm sunny days that are spent relaxing at home with family or hanging out with friends at the beach. Japanese winters though are a beast of a different nature. Especially now that I’ve moved to central Japan where snow is all too common during the winter months I’ve found it pretty tough to drag myself out of my warm futon to try and brave the blizzards and icy walkways on my way to school in the mornings.
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Staying Fit in the Cold of Winter

One of my main gripes with the winters here in Japan is that I lose the chance to get out for regular jogs. It’s exacerbated by the longer commute I do at my new school which sees me arrive back home when it’s pitch dark and freezing cold, not exactly the most wonderful environment to go jogging in. So with my much needed jogging sessions not being viable any longer and the threat of good home cooking and too much kotatsu time adding up to a potential gain in winter fat I was desperately searching for other ways I could stay in shape during winter without having to brave the cold of winter.
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Testing the Jawbone Up24

About a year ago I took to using a Fitbit Flex in the hopes that being able to see the raw numbers behind my daily activities would spur me on to exercise more and to lead a healthier life. Fast forward to now and my Flex is sitting in the dusty confines of a drawer as it sadly sobs in its loneliness. That’s always been the problem with wearable tech for most people, it’s only as good as the advice it gives you.
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See You, Space Cowboy

Nowadays I don’t watch much anime which is pretty surprising given that I live in Japan and used to watch epic amounts of anime as a college student and young adult. I think it came down to a combination of burnout and just that the quality of shows started dropping off pretty sharply. I’ve also never been into shows such as Naruto, Bleach or One Piece that stretch on and on over what feels like decades.
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The Narrow Roads of Japan

To paraphrase Forest Gump, driving in Japan is like a box of chocolates. There’s a lot of awesomeness awaiting you as you first head out onto the road in our new little car and realize that there’s a whole world of beautiful and captivating sights and places to visit. But there is also the sudden realization that to balance all this awesomeness there is a lot of downsides to driving in Japan.
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The Return of Agent Cooper

It’s hard to believe that a show such as Twin Peaks is now a quarter of a century old when it feels like just the other day that I was enthralled in the lives of the show’s characters and the underlying mystery of the town of Twin Peaks itself. But even though it has been 25 years the show still seems to have the power to keep staying in the public’s collective unconsciousness with its unique mix of small town America drama and David Lynch twists.
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Seeing Japan Anew

It’s been a whirlwind two weeks for me recently with my parents and two friends coming through to Japan. I’ve had to try and organize hotels, itineraries and transport for them as well as helping them navigate the many subtle things that make Japan so Japan. It was tremendously fun to spend some time with them in Tokyo and Yokohama as I haven’t had much chance to go outside of my little countryside town for the past few months.
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Thoughts on iOS 8

With September and October each year comes the arrival of the latest and greatest phone/s from Apple and of course that also means that there will be a new version of iOS for those of us who who be sticking with our old iPhones and iPads. Ever since moving to Japan I’ve been an Apple device user and so I thought it might be useful to jot down a few of my thoughts and opinions now that I’ve had a chance to play around with the released version on iOS 8.
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On Being Sick in Japan

One of the main drawbacks with working in schools here in Japan is that you’ll be exposed to a multitude of germs and viruses that almost every kid seems intent on spreading on to you. Especially during the winter months from December until February there’s usually large outbreaks of influenza that see many schools shutting down in hopes of stopping the illness in its tracks. Of course one of the first things I got in Japan during my first winter was a terrible bout of influenza which is officially the first time I ever got actual flu as opposed to just a bad cold.
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Full Throttle

After a long and hard 3 years of trying I can finally join the ranks of the driving elite here in Japan after having successfully having passed my drivers license test to transfer my South African license to a Japanese one. The Japanese driving test is one of the most infamous tests of patience in Japan. Every step of the process takes ages to do and most people take anywhere from 2 to 10 or even more attempts to pass the practical test.
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