29 November 2007

New, nice

Well, here we are! The best house move I've ever done. Less than 24 hours to do it all!

We moved from an older apartment in Otemachi to a newer apartment in Takeyacho (both in Naka-ku, Hiroshima, Japan), only about 2 km apart. The new apartment is newer and much nicer, has an extra room, is on 3rd floor with not quite as good a view, but still a nice open feel.

Our new place has few extra mod cons like: video intercom for visitors, set the timer for the bath to be ready at a certain temperature (eg. 43 degrees C), at a certain time after work. Air con, wireless internet, and everything else you need. And I can't forget the special, Japanese-style toilet... no more cold toilet seats, and, well, it's got plenty of buttons and controls :-)

It's situated just back from Route 2, the main highway down the south-east coast of Japan which connects Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima and Fukuoka--quite busy! (and a tad noisy). But, apartment faces south, which gives nice sunshine from about noon to 4 or 5pm. Good for washing.

It only took 1 hour and 15 min for removalists to take everything out of the old apartment! (and about the same time to move into new apartment). So, after waking up this morning in an old apartment, to now, in the new apartment with most things in their place (and doing 5 hours work this afternoon as well), I'm very happy! That's what moving a house in Japan is like :-)

...and, this is the first time I've ridden my bike during house move. The last time was by plane (from Australia to Japan). Before that, by car (Melbourne to Toowoomba). Our apartment is in the order of seconds bike ride from work (about 2 min walk). I'll have to time it one day.

Keep your posessions limited, don't hoard things, throw out what you haven't used in the past 12 months, and your life will be simpler!

I thank God for this apartment. We prayed for a nice place, a place we can invite people over to, a place where we can live for God. Thanks to our LORD God!

28 November 2007

Last glimpse

Almost time to rip the internet out of the wall...
Moving house. In 4 hours, we'll be gone! New apartment will be nice :-)

26 November 2007

Retreat (from battle)

The annual staff retreat for SDA English teachers in Japan this year was great! Just nice to hang out with about 20 other gaijins (from India, US, Canada, Jamaica, UK, Papua New Guinea, Japan, Africa) who teach in SDA English schools in Tokyo, Yokahama, Osaka, Hiroshima, Kagoshima, Tokuyama, Hayato and Okinawa. Social benefits, spiritual inspiration, physical rest. Thanks to God and everyone one helped and came. It's was a beautiful time together.

Photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/geraldchristo2/MissionaryRetreat

Retreat Blog: http://sdaelsjapan.blogspot.com

Moving to a new apartment on Wednesday! Very close to work (2 min walk).

21 November 2007

Are you an SDA?

I am...

(after following the above link, click "Show Transcript" to read article)

Or listen here:
ABC News feature about Seventh-day Adventists' spirituality and health.

PS: What to live longer? more vibrant? National Geographic article...
(click on the "Sights and Sounds" for a flash video about longevity")

Not hot

Yes, it's cold. Here in Hiroshima, Japan, it's getting cold. First snow in Japan this season, but not here of course.

Yesterday, min 4 degrees, max of about 12 (which are typical December temperatures). It forced me to finally by a warm jacket (to keep me warm riding my bike around town). Still have another month or so of cooling off. Average monthly temps for Hiroshima are here: http://weather.yahoo.com/climo/JAXX0018_c.html

Annual retreat for SDA English teachers around Japan this weekend. Thurs night to Sunday arvo. It's about 1 hour out of Hiroshima city. Be great to catchup with everyone!

Also, this time next week I'll be living in a different apartment. They're refurbishing the apartment here and almose everyone from the 10 story building has gone now. Very noisy! (concrete drills etc). But, because they're redoing the apartment and kicking us out (with very little time to move), we don't have to clean the place, and, they are paying for removal fees!

New apartment will mean I only ride my bike 2 minutes to school, instead of 5 or 6 minutes (so I think I'll just walk). The view is not as good and on 3rd floor, not the 9th. It's a bit noisier, but there are some good advantages... much newer and nicer, closer to school. I think it's a good move. And thankfully, we found a good place in time!

16 November 2007

Monkeys Riding Bikes

Check out the video from our trip to Miyajima:

Yes, the monkey also walks on stilts. See otters running around and Itsukushima Shrine.

15 November 2007

Breakfast, Bells, Phone, Trash, Christmas

I picked an orange out of the frig this morning and saw a sticker on it... it had a kangaroo on it, and the sticker told me it was from Australia! Wow! I ate an aussie orange for breakky! Felt good.

At the primary school here, I (as well as everyone else) hears the "Big Ben" ding dong bell bong chimes for the start of class and lunch etc. Yet another "western thing in the east".

Finally got my MP3's from my computer onto my phone! To transfer music from my computer to my new phone, I have to use this special program (SD Audio Jukebox by Panasonic). Tried installing it on my English Windows XP computer but didn't work. After much grumbling and annoyance, I tried to install it at work (which is Japanese Windows XP) and it works! What a relief! With a 1 Gb card, I can fit enough good songs and Japanese audio lessons on my phone to keep me happy. Also finally worked out how to transfer photos to and from computer and phone. It's a bit long winded, complicated and NOT intuitive, but finally accomplished. My phone is a P903i by NTT Docomo. Email me if you want tips. Phone can also read PDF's, so I got the Bible on my phone, together with song books and other good reading. Also can use my phone as TV remote controller. Enough of that.

It's 8am and I wake up to the sound of my apartment being trashed! My flat mate and I are one of the last residents to leave the 10 story apartment building. Everyone else has moved out. In a few weeks, the whole building will be refurbished. We will soon not be living here. The nice view over the river will be gone. But, hopefully, a newer, nicer place, but probably not as good view. Not sure where we're going yet.

Plans for Christmas coming along. First holiday is Friday 21 December. Will stay in Hiroshima for Christmas program at church (24th) and Christmas day. Not sure what I'll do. First Christmas away from family! Hmmm... might try an onsen for Christmas, or find some gaijins (other foreigners... maybe Aussies) to do Christmas. Boxing day (26th) hope to get leave for Kyushu, the southern most of the 4 major islands in Japan. It has lots of good onsens (hot springs) especially at Beppu. Hope to briefly visit Fukuoka, Nagasaki as well. Mt Aso might be appealing too. But, Kagoshima is where I'd like to get. Volcano to visit there, as well as some good church friends. I plan on using cheap accommodation (youth hostels) and a 5 day rail pass which can be used on any LOCAL trains (not express or bullet trians) anywhere in Japan for about $120!

14 November 2007

Mominoki & Miyajima

kLast weekend was quite full. Went for a bike ride (cycling) up into the mountains north-west of Hiroshima city. Up early. Left at 8am from Hiroshima. Went on Route 2 to Itsukaichi city, about 15 km south-west on the coast line. Took route 41 inland (under a Shinkansen line) and followed signs to Yuki. Plenty of up hill from here on. One lane each way. Stopped by a nice dam on the way.

Followed on to Route 433 and headed west onto Route 488. Came to Yuki, one of the best onsen places in Hiroshima. Hiroshima does not have excellent onsens (better ones south of here in Kyushu or further east or north in Kansai, Kanto regions).

Didn't stop for an onsen here, but kept riding up to Mominoki Forest Park. The autumn leaves were just beautiful. I'd say early to mid November is the best time to see the leaves near Mominoki. On the ride to the park, I rode through between, over and through some really steep mountains with tall pine trees, beside some fresh, clear water streams, under the canopy of rainforest and autumn leaf trees.

Had lunch at Mominoki and had no time to spare. Took 5 hours to get there from home. The ride down the moutains was so fun! Just wished I could have captured on video what I saw. Cruizing down the mountains past the different coloured trees, clear blue skies, and streams.

Enjoyed a nice onsen at Yuki. Nice onsen, but the one at Geihoku Oak Garden is better. Rode down the rest of the mountain back into the city and then back home. Just over 100km riding for the day. Slept for more than 12 hourse after that. A nice, inexpenseive day trip... only paid for food and onsen (less than 1500 yen).

Sunday, went with English school students (kids and parents) to Miyajima, one of the most famous islands or shrines in Japan. Very nice place. Interesting shrine and torii. I want to go back and take a bit more time to look around the place. Only got to see just a small portion of it. I really enjoyed it, hanging out with the kids. Went to the aquarium. Fed some fish. Saw the shrine, ignored the deer, and ate some sweet bean cakes... yum!

Next weekend won't be so busy (at least in the "touristy" way, anyhow)!

05 November 2007

Photos - October - Hiroshima


Photos from home, work, church, city and out of town.