Sunday, December 27, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Avatar (Non-3D version) - My opening day review

This video is getting quite a few views on my 2nd YouTube channel - TaishaJason - where I talk about geeky stuff I like - movies, comics, etc.

I did a review from Japan for the movie Transformers 2 and it became the most watched video on this channel, so I'm not surprised this video is also getting many views. I'm probably one of the few reviews (out of a ton of 3D reviews) on YT for this movie talking about it as a non-3D experience.

Did you see it? What did you think?


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Picture of IzumoTaisha from 2005

IT - Giant rope
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

I'm looking thru older pictures trying to find some of certain students for their New Years Cards and graduation presents.

I didn't take many pictures during my first year as a JET from July 2004 to July 2005.

I didn't even have a digital camera when I first arrived in Japan. I "won" my first digital Nikon at a year-end party with my Japanese co-workers in December 2004. So that's when I started posting regularly to FLICKR and taking more pictures.

And when I first joined Flickr I was limited in how many pictures I could upload during each month, so I was much more picky about what I posted.

Looking thru an archive of pics from 2005, I noticed about 15 pictures of IzumoTaisha Shrine that I had never posted. They're perhaps interesting to anyone who has been to the Shrine in the past few years, since it doesn't quite look like this anymore - new buildings have been built, stairs have been changed and right now their in the midst of rebuilding the roof of the main shrine.

So I hope you enjoy these pics from the past.

I also posted a few pics of some "enkai" (parties) I went to during my first year so you can see what it's like - how we sit, what type of food is served, etc.


(Click on any picture to be taken to my whole online Flickr album of photos)

Looking down main st of Taisha-cho

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Snow on my scooter

Snow on my scooter
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

Lots of people ask me about getting around in Japan - using public transport, buying a car, etc.

This is how I got around from October 2004 to August 2005. A scooter or moped - 50cc - and I loved it for the most part. Easy to use, to park - gas was cheap, insurance was cheap. But in bad weather, especially rain or snow - you got wet - and it sucked. So I traded up for a car in my 2nd year as an ALT, but I missed my scooter from time to time.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One of my favorite quotations

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. ---Marcus Aurelius, philosopher and writer (121-180)

Love from the Argonauts

I've been feeling a little blase about YouTube lately. I still log on every day - check my vids - respond to PMs and check comments - and watch vloggers I'm subscribed to - but the energy to create my own new vids seems to be waning a bit.

So I asked my viewers (I have almost 3,000 subscribers, but of those about 1,500 watch regularly) to ask me questions - they could ask just about anything - and I would answer. It was fun making the response vids, and two of the 4 (I have a problem with brevity) are posted now, with the other two coming later this week.

It gave me a nice shot in the arm and a bit of motivation. Not being in Japan these past few months, I was worried that my channel would languish and not attract any new subscribers, but it just keeps chugging along.

I also get incredibly nice emails from folks I've never met thanking me for all the videos and information - which is really great.

I thought I would share two recent examples with you below - edited a little to keep them relatively anonymous.
I've spent a fair amount of time over the past 18 months on YouTube, so it's gratifying to know that people appreciate the time and effort I've put in.

Hope all is well with you. I'm hopefully off to see Avatar at theaters this Friday - first time I've gone to a movie on opening day in a long, long time. Just can't decide if I want to see the 3D version first or the regular version. I want to see both for comparison sake - but maybe if I see the 3D version first I'll feel seeing the regular version is redundant.
I'm also gonna see a movie called "The Hangover" this week on DVD- my sister got it in her Netflix shipment so we're gonna watch it together. It hadn't come out in Japan before I left, but had already left theaters by the time I got back. I've heard it's really funny.

Be good,

Email 1 -
I just wanted to contact you to say thank you. Your videos are great, I look forward to them all the time. You are able to communicate a deep love of teaching. Through your videos I have been able to see many of the joys and difficulties you found in JET. You manage to be positive often, and when faced with hardships, you are honest about them. You seem to have an attitude that compels you to help others. I remember you sharing the video to help someone in their speech competition, an entire series on Japanese language, and the many video requests. You released a whole series on applying to JET and commented on essays for the program. Within this context, you have shared so much of yourself. I am amazed you can put yourself out there like this. I have no doubt you will make it back to Japan. Thank you. Ganbate ne!

Email 2.
Hi Jason! New generation of JET applicant here--hoping to go to Japan in 2010. My name is XXXX and I'm graduating this year from college, so I'm kind of whippersnapper, but I don't plan on going crazy once I get to Japan. I'm genuinely interested in the kids and teaching. Your videos have been a godsend for me in that way, because reading BigDaikon and even the official JET forums has been depressing for me. I just wanted to thank you for being so positive and extremely informative in your vlogs. They are an inspiration to me, and I hope to vlog about Japan myself once I get there, hopefully providing a different perspective, because I think your vlogs are still the best, and they're still relevant. I've been recommending them to every applicant I know this year!

Anyway! Don't lose that genki spirit!!! Know that a whole new generation of JET's are gearing up and you're the best out there for actual advice and not incessant whining!

One last thing: we have 5600 applicants this year for JET, so it's going to be really competitive. We're going to need lots of advice, haha, so I bet your views will be going up a lot.

(Jason again)
Thanks for the nice comments and PMs - each one is read and appreciated!
Mata ne.

Monday, December 07, 2009

RENTリハーサル風景 シーズンズ・オブ・ラブ

and here's a nice version sung in English with Japanese subtitles - I absolutely love this song!

Rent cast from Tokyo

Nice little video moment. I taught this song to my school's chorus club a few years ago and they sang it (In English!) at our culture festival in 2008.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Alternatives to Rosetta Stone Japanese

If you're learning Japanese and have considered buying the Rosetta Stone software to learn, watch this vid.
Some good info from my friend, Koichi.
And then head over to for all the other ways to learn Japanese.