Slowly, slowly moving forward

Country life has left me busy as ever.  Tuesday night after a good judo practice, I made the extremely classy move of drinking a little too much and then falling asleep on Ki-San’s couch.

Teaching the past couple of days has been the most challenging/rewarding thing of my life as ever.  Tuesday, as I was warned, during the warm-up I made a girl student cry.  Today, in the first worksheet I created, the Van Gogh picture was fine, but apparently the Dali picture was too complicated.  What I get for trying to introduce these kids to modern art. My second worksheet didn’t fare much better, not helped by the fact I failed to include “I am” in all of my sentences, rendering it stupid.

Anyway, here is a brief second Toko entry.  Goals are to finish Tokyo recap by Friday, then get to all the reader’s questions by the weekend.  Sumimasen.  If you haven’t read the Tokyo recap part I, look here.

Tokyo CFA Trip

December 2008 Recap Part II – 12/7/2008

Subway ride to the test.

from my father,

“december 7 th  a notable day

pearl harbor day…your step grandfather was there

danoff family leaves for japan

charlie danoff takes an epic test in tokyo”

Woke up several times throughout the evening out of fear that I’d sleep in, but finally stood up out of bed around 5:20 A.M..  Took a shower, threw on my suit and my shined shoes then hit the subway.

Around 7:15 got off at Mitaka station, around three stops before my destination with the silly hope of finding the calculator store open.  Of course it was not.  What self-respecting business opens before 9 on a Sunday?

Accidentally got off one stop ahead of where I wanted to end up, then finally got it right, arriving around 8 A.M..  Boarded a full to the brim bus on the way to the test.

The bus was clearly full of fellow CFA candidates, sneaking in some last second studying before the final judgement awaiting us all.  Seeing all these people clearly realizing the painful experience they are about to endure, but at the same time mostly ignorant about what will actually come to pass reminded me of how I felt in Girona in the summer of ’07.]

That is to say, the only thing I can compare watching all the anxious folks Sunday morning to, is the fellow idiots I was standing with on an early summer morning before the running of the bulls.  Some of us had gone through it before, but everybody realized there was a very good chance their ass was about to be kicked to another dimension.

Similar to how my unprepared bulls outfit consisted of whale shorts and a wife beater, I lacked the proper calculator for Sunday’s test.

Warriors readying themsleves for the battle ahead

Shortly after arrival at Tokyo Gakugei University, I asked at the help desk if they’d have any sympathy for my difficult calculator situation … in so many words … no.

To be continued …

What was that about kino?

Night Guardians

These two took care of me on the road.

Last night made the 3.5 hour drive down from Hamatonbetsu to Asahikawa, for my flight this morning to Tokyo.  Didn’t leave till after 7 PM, and driving in pitch black with either rain, sleet or heavy snowfall the whole way is the absolute best way to spend a Friday night. 

Thankfully only fishtailed out of control twice, and managed to end up in the middle of the road as opposed to a ditch.  Getting lost driving in the opposite direction of where I wanted to go was also a nice touch.

Stayed the night in a pleasant hotel named le Petit Hotel Pie.  Everything I needed, a bed, shower and location near the airport. 

In and out of sleep on the plane, at one point I swore we were just hovering motionless above the clouds for some reason.  Could’ve been a dream.  Tokyo was absolutely gorgeous on the descent.  Clear sky, blue water and city as far as the eye could see.

On the monorail ride in I saw more new people than I would in a week at home.

Tokyo Subway

Train friends.

Proud of myself for finding my way to the hotel via trains without asking anyone for directions.  A lot better than last Tokyo stop, where I took the Limousine Bus, upon arriving at Shinjuku station looked so lost a gentleman came up to help me even going so far as to call my hotel for directions, and then when I couldn’t understand him, I panicked and jumped in a cab.

Upon arrival was greeted by an utterly kind receptionist.  Said “Charles-des.”  I was impressed she recognized me, until she said something about “kino,” yesterday …

Checking my reservation, I had indeed booked a room for Friday and Saturday night, when I needed one for Saturday and Sunday.

Excellent news considering money grows on trees.

Thankfully she and/or her manager were utterly kind and did not charge me anything for Friday night.  The Oak Hotel is officially Tokyo’s number one lodging destination.

OK.  Now, off to figure out the route for tomorrow morning’s CFA test.  Will be busy in Tokyo until I leave Monday afternoon.  Not sure how many blog posts I’ll be able to get in.

Will do a recap of the trip when I get back to Hamatonbetsu, until then, will be giving short updates on my twitter account, @

Finally, please send good vibes to my friend Nic whose taking the Japanese Proficiency Language Test tomorrow.

Curry Rice Lunch

Back on the road again

Company trip was exactly what I did not expect from start to finish.  Will have a more detailed recounting of it tomorrow.  To bring you back, I’ll leave you with the details that there was in-car drinking on the way up and back, and this photo:

The Baddest Ass Board of Education in Soya

The Baddest Ass Board of Education in Soya

For now, am heading up to Wakkanai to meet up with some friends who flew in from Hakodate for a relaxing weekend up north.


To answer the two questions recently asked by my Grandma in the comments.

From the “Drinking and Riding” post, “Charlie: Who is in the photograph? Love ya!”

  • Those men in the car with me are co-workers who were also attending that night’s office party.

And from the “Japanese Relax Uniform” post, “Charlie: When do you wear a relax uniform? Love ya!”

  • You wear a relax uniform usually as a hotel patron, or after you visit an onsen as far as I can tell.  I am unsure about the official Japanese name for it.  Does anyone know?