Archive for February, 2009

Earthquake #5

Sunday, February 15th, 2009 by Chris

We felt our fifth Japanese earthquake today. We were having pizza with friends in Odate city, about an hour east of Noshiro. This one was very light; the epicenter was way off in the Pacific Ocean on the other side of the country. I didn’t even feel the thing; my first inkling was when someone noticed all the lights in the restaurant were swaying. We probably wouldn’t have felt it at all in Noshiro.

Feb 15, 2009

Feb 15, 2009

For reference, the previous four earthquakes were:


Thursday, February 12th, 2009 by Steph

One of the fun things about being friends with a reporter is receiving that 3 a.m. phone call, and doubly so in Japan. It’s always exciting to hear “Help! I need a foreigner’s opinion, ASAP!” on the line and realize that you are about to single-handedly represent everyone in your entire country to a sleepy little Japanese town of 50,000 in the middle of nowhere.

I got this phone call a few weeks ago, just after Obama’s inauguration. Reporter Friend asked me for my opinions on Obama vs. Bush and the current political climate in the U.S. (a place I haven’t lived for 2+ years, may I remind you). While Reporter Friend has a commendable working knowledge of the English language, there is still an appreciable communication gap between my faulty Japanese and her decent 英語, especially when it comes to topics like anti-intellectualism, wire-tapping, and fear-mongering. When it comes down to it, anything with a hyphen is probably kind of off-limits.

Nevertheless, Reporter Friend made valiant efforts to break through the 言葉の壁 and was able to produce her article. I know this for a fact because one of my spastically-endearing 15 year-old students texted me the morning the article was published to tell me how famous and amazing I was for having opinions (?_?). This all made me a little self-conscious… who knows if anything vital was lost in translation. For all I know, the article says that I’m a hard-core supporter of Gitmo and that I hate babies.

The finished product is below, peruse if you like. If any of you Japanese-speaking superstars out there would like to translate, I’d love to know what I “said”.

Until then, I can neither confirm nor deny that I may or may not have opinions about stuff… and things.