EARTH, i walk

a photoblog about my feet (a day in the life of dan le)

[second year, first day of school reflections // meito ward, nagoya, japan]

today was the first day of school. It’s been a week since I returned from Sài Gòn, Việt Nam and a month of traveling. My, how time flies. I proctored for “achievement exams” today, which is a test for students that helps gauge college aptitude. Im not exactly sure how it does this, but this is what I heard from a native Japanese teacher at school. Today also marks a year since my first day of teaching in japan and, according to my calculations, 10 more months until I return to L.A. I can’t believe it, 10 more months! To be honest, I don’t want to go back. if my family and friends were here, I’d stay here. There are many reasons why I’d stay but I’ll just share a few. First, japan is more eco-friendly. Sure, japan is older and has more history than the u.s., but isn’t the u.s. supposed to be number one? Well, the U.S. ranks number one in  the following:

Don’t get me wrong, I love my country, I just think it’s backwards at times. This isn’t a copout—im working and will continue to work on myself so that I don’t perpetuate amerikkka’s problems. But I digress. As I was saying, japan is eco-friendly and mindful of it’s waste. In smaller cities, trash sorting options jump to more than 40(!!!), while major cities like Tokyo, Yokohama, and Nagoya have only about 10.

20090818-Yokohama City  english_list

yokohama’s trash sorting list

TEN. Did you get that? TEN! How many trash sorting options do you know of in your city? If you’re from L.A. like I am, you have 3 (not mandatory), a black trashcan for garbage, a blue one for streamlined (arg!) recycling (plastics, glass, paper, metals, what have you), and a green one for grass and plant trimmings. Don’t get me started on streamlined recycling—you have to hire someone on the other end to sort the trash! That’s just foolish because what this means is about 50% of the “recyclable” material is unrecyclable due to contamination (ie. paper gets soaked with a milk carton that isn’t rinsed out, etc.). it’s more work, yes, but this small step will help to reduce our trash consumption and ultimately our precious mother (earth). This is definitely something I’ll miss about living in japan.

Another thing i love and will miss about japan are the 温泉(onsens or hotsprings) and 銭湯(sentous or public bath houses). while folks are shy in regards to the opposite sex—something I see consistently in my classes, Japan is a culture in which people are comfortable with their naked bodies in front of others of the same sex. maybe it’s homophobia or something else, but I have a difficulty envisioning something like this flying in the U.S.. i’ve been to a co-ed nude hotspring in California, but this place was an anomaly and people may view it as a “nude colony” of sorts. In japan, the onsen and sentou are a regular phenomenon that can be found everywhere and in every city in japan.

"rotenburo" or fresh-air hotspring. gunma-ken, japan.

“rotenburo” or fresh-air hotspring. takaragawa onsen, gunma-ken, japan.

What do I miss from L.A.? My family and friends.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on how I judge myself through my perception of how others see me. I let my insecurity of how I think others will see me guide the way that I act. With this being said, I’ve been sitting with these observations and watching them come and go. Im trying not to let them guide the way that I act, but sometimes I notice that I self-censor. I don’t like that I do this, especially when my censoring changes who I am. I don’t want to do it too much to the point where I lose who I fundamentally am or change the way I think. I see this occur in a group where groupthink takes place or when someone says something that I think I should know—though, this my fault, maybe im acting too pretentious and should just admit that I don’t know anything.

As of today, I’ve started a new exercise regimen that is called the “4-day power, muscle, burn split workout ”. It is supposed to build muscle by making me build power (3 sets of 3-5 reps), gain muscle (2 sets of 6-12 reps), and burn fat (2 sets of 40 reps). So far, I’m feeling the burn. Im excited to see look ripped (granted that I stick with the intended plan) in 4-6 weeks.

Im also dedicating myself to reading a chapter of a book a day and studying at least twice a week. Im currently on chapter 6 of bell hooks’ Teaching Community and studying japanese and video editing using adobe premiere. gotta keep learning.

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2 comments on “[second year, first day of school reflections // meito ward, nagoya, japan]

  1. Jackie Gonzalez
    September 2, 2013

    Hey Dan. Great to hear from you. I don’t blame you for wanting to stay in Japan. It’s a beautiful and peaceful country. Looking forward to seeing when you get back.

    • eLnaD
      September 2, 2013

      thanks jackie! can’t wait to see you too.

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