Check out my Japanese learning materials!

Click this link to go to the Kakehashi Educational Materials Website

July 2008 Last Summer, my friend Sean and his girlfriend Margot came to visit us and we ended up touring Japan together.

April 2008 Spring brings sakura in Japan and that means loads of flower-viewing! Here are some sakura by my office. For our official sakura-viewing of the year we went to Habu Park which is a beautiful area on the edge of the city. My new friend Yuuki happens to live by the park so we visited his VERY nice house and he gave us a lift home! My neighborhood is also lined with cherry trees so we went for a stroll around the block as well.

Nov, 2007 This past November, I was sent to Tokyo to attend a seminar for work. I went a few days early and spent time having fun in Tokyo with my friends Mike and Takashi . After the seminar was over I lingered in Tokyo and visited several famous temples/shrines & gardens the garden, however, is japanese style... after which I visited the classy new "Tokyo Midtown" neighborhood . Not wanting to pay for a hotel or bug any more friends I spent the last couple nights of my trip in internet cafes which was not as bad as it sounds but still an experience I will not willingly repeat. On my way back to Kyushu I met my friend Joe and his girlfriend Aki in Yamaguchi prefecture and we went to the quaint town of Hagi where Aki was (then) living.

Dec 01, 2007 This past December, I went with Sumika to Nagasaki to check out the "Huis ten Bosch" dutch-inspired themepark. Proof that the Japanese are crazy, they deemed fit to completely recreate Amsterdam brick for brick in the middle of Nagasaki. This recreated dutch town was then turned into a themepark of sorts with hotels, rides and fancy restaurants!

Jan 28, 2008 From mid December to early January I was in California with Sumika traveling around seeing old friends and introducing her to my family and the town/state in which I was born.

Sep 19, 2007 I went with my fiancee, Sumika, to Taiwan for 9 days recently. Click on the link to see a slideshow of my crazyass adventures!!

Jul 23, 2007 This past weekend I partook in the 3day "Kokura Gion Taiko Festival" which was complete mayhem!! Here are some videos to illustrate the kind of awesome performance the group I am in is capable of! vid01 vid02 vid03 vid04 vid05 vid06 vid07

Jun 14, 2007 The other day the taiko (traditional Japanese drumming) group I am in held a photoshoot (at night since that is the only time everyone could get together). Some of these photos will be used for posters to advertise our group and the huge taiko festival that we will take part in later this month. Our group is part of a style called "Kokura Gion Taiko" which has two set rythms/styles called "doro" and "kan" which each group offers their own take on. Doro is the basic backbeat while "kan" is a total crazy artistic beat. As I am just starting out I am learning doro and will eventually work my way up to kan.

Jun 08, 2007 Recently I had to attend a conference in Tokyo for work. During the time that I was not actually at said -boring- conference I was out and about meeting old friends, visiting my sister and having wild adventures !!

May 2007 Alas, sakura (cherry blossom) season is so short but so beautiful! This year the trees bloomed a little earlier than normal thanks to global warming. The first two weeks of April or so were absolutely stunning especially in the area around the government office and the adjacent castle!

May 2007 The other day I went with my girlfriend to the southern part of the island of Kyushu as part of a trip organized by other people at the government office. Among the various places we went to, we stopped by a temple famous for the most delicious water in Japan. I was skeptical at first but having tried it, I have to say it is TRULY DELICIOUS!!! Also while there I tried some other local specialties, namely roseleaf and cherryblossom ice creams!! Admittedly they had a subtle flavor, but still WTF?

Jan 2007 The other day I woke up to my first snow ! That is not to say I have never experienced snow before, but that day was my first time actually waking up to find snow covering.... everything!!! We literally got 30cm of snow overnight and it was gone in two days. If that is not reason enough to trade in your car for a bike, I do not know what is!!!

Nov 2006 One night I went to a see a jazz concert that was being held at the cafe my friend works at and happened to enter at the same time as this guy apparently ruining his surpise gag as the Japanese people were more surprised by the foreigner [me] than the freaky dude in neon glittered samurai garb! That said, it was a really kickass concert and I got to hang out with the band afterward and eat free sashimi!!

This is some random engRish I found on some trains and on a building in my neighborhood...

December 2006 On thursdays I often go, as part of my job, to read to kids at the local day-care center.

Nov 2006 Some of these bonsai were part of an exhibit during the "Eco Life Stage" environmental awareness event here in my city of Kitakyushu while some of the pictures are of my friend's garden.

Oct 2006 One day while innocently working at my desk I was accosted by several coworkers who dragged me over to see the mayor make some speech thanking these maiko (traditional dancing girls) for gracing our city with their presence. After the speech, my luck turned for the better and I got to get my picture taken with the maiko girls. At least I thought my luck had changed until I found out that under all that rouge they were both really 65! I guess too much really is never enough when it comes to make-up. They did dance very well though, I must say. For those not in-the-know, maiko used to be young girls (4-12) who were training to become full geisha but are now just specialists in traditional dance styles and do not ahem, privately entertain (usually).

layout ganked from Jonas John.