September 21, 2007

Awaji Soccer Tourney

When I first came to Japan, there wasn't much ultimate being played in Kansai, so I decided to join the Hyogo JET soccer team. I was pretty bad when I first started but after 4 years of off and on practice and tournaments I have attained some level of competency. Last weekend we brought two womens teams to the annual ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) Awaji Soccer Tournament. James and I didn't take many pictures but he did get a video of me tripping a girl (sorry!)

The Tishanator strikes again

Both Hyogo teams were split evenly and my team Hyogo B went on to win the whole tournament! While I wasn't too interested in the case of beer we won, it was pretty cool to win. It was also nice to have my own personal cheerleader for the whole tourney. ^_^

The Akashi Bridge

Last weekend, I accompanied Tisha to a soccer tournament (which I'm sure you will hear about soon). The tournament is on the island of Awaji. The ferry ride to the island gave us a great look at the longest single span bridge in the world, the Akashi bridge. The bridge is nearly two kilometers long, or fifty percent longer than the Golden Gate bridge. For more details, here's Tisha (never mind that I clearly have no idea what I'm talking about):

September 20, 2007

My 1st Post

So James and I finally got our blog going, but the first 3 posts have all been by him. Originally after James set it up he kept bugging me to write the blog about the day we got married. When I started to write it he said it was too long, so he ended up writing it and changing the look of the blog. So now I am writing my first (short) post. I am pretty bad at keeping in touch with people and I am also bad at keeping journals. I have a paper journal that I started in 2000 and it still isn't full! Hopefully this goes a bit better then that. I think it will, since there are two of us and we can both poke and prod each other to update it!

So if you want to know what is going on in the lives of James and Tisha, bookmark this page and check it out every once in a while!

September 19, 2007

Japanese Baseball FTW!

Two of our friends here in Japan, are a married couple, Heidi and Naoto. Naoto loves baseball. Heidi does not, so I think both were happy to learn that I enjoy catching a game now and then. So far I've been to two ballgames with Naoto. The first game was decent. We went to the Osaka Dome to catch the Oryx Buffaloes play some other team. Neither was a contender, and their play showed why. Still, I was struck by the dedication of the fans, who bring drums, trumpets, trombones, and huge flags to show their enthusiasm.

The other game we went to was in the legendary Koshien stadium, to see the Hanshin Tigers play the Tokyo Swallows. Now this was a game, and the fans of both teams showed fanaticism on par with a Scottish soccer hooligan.

Tokyo Swallows fans cheer for Alex Ramirez

Naoto is a die-hard Swallows fan, so we were sitting in their cheering section. When I say that Japanese baseball fans are dedicated, I'm not kidding. Our little cheering section stood for easily half the game. Every player has a song or cheer which is performed at least once per at-bat. These and many other cheers are orchestrated by a leader who shouts encouragement to the fans and uses a whistle to cue the drums and horns (seriously!) It is really amazing to see how into the game these people get; the average Japanese fan easily surpasses the American in enthusiasm.

So that was the Swallows cheering section, but what about the home team Tigers?

Hanshin Tigers fans, doing what they do best: going crazy!

Naoto tells me that the Tigers fans are the most dedicated in Japan, and I'd probably say in the world. This video was taken during a Tigers at-bat, but there wasn't anything particularly exciting going on. The place was still rockin' like Safeco after a big win, and while I don't have video of the Tigers' game-winning hit, I can assure you it was pandemonium. I can't imagine how absolutely insane Koshien is during a playoff game, but I hope to get the chance to find out!

September 10, 2007

That Was Quick!

For those who did not know, at the end of July while Tisha and I were visiting friends and family in the Northwest, I proposed to Tisha, and she accepted! For those who need proof, or a good chuckle, you can check out the video.

Well, just two weeks later we were living together in Ono, Japan. We, of course, knew that my tourist visa was only good for three months, and that we would need to find a way to keep me in Japan. With our parents' blessings, and guarantees of a big bash when we get back to the states, we decided to get the official paperwork taken care of, and to get married!

It turns out that getting married in Japan is a bit complicated (if you are not Japanese of course). We thought a trip to the consulate in Osaka would do the trick, but there we were informed that we would have to get the marriage license back in Ono. In Ono, we were told to come back with witnesses and given some paperwork as well. Tisha has met a lot of nice people in Japan, and we were able to wrangle two of them for the big day.

Mike and Fujikawa-san: witnesses

Our witnesses Mike and Fujikawa-san live in Ono. Mike is an English teacher, like Tisha. Fujikawa-san is the "tea lady", as Tisha puts it, at the first school she worked for in Ono. Here they are posing for the camera at the city hall on our big day.

At the city hall there were a lot of papers to sign, and I wasn't even sure which ones were which. After each paper I signed I would jokingly ask, "Are we married yet?" I think that this picture, is the actual moment I signed my soul away. Doesn't Tisha look thrilled!

Is Tisha smiling, or chuckling maniacally?

So that was it! The papers were all signed and we were married! But the fun was just beginning. Outside of city hall we ran into some teachers from Tisha's old school, who were shocked and delighted to hear the news. It turned out that all the teachers were meeting that day at city hall for a conference, and it had just let out. Of course, it wasn't long before Tisha and I were surrounded by Tisha's former coworkers who wanted to meet me, offer their congratulations, and of course take hundreds of pictures with their kei-tais (cellphones).

After many photo-ops and refreshments at a nearby cafe, we finally left the city hall. Getting married is hard work, and we had worked up an appetite, so we hit a local restaurant just down the street from our apartment for dinner. It's a small establishment, run only by a nice married couple. It has a bar and just two tables. The place is frequented mostly by the hard working men and women of Ono, who regularly stop in for dinner and a brew after work.

We took one of the tables, and before long, two middle-aged gentlemen took the other. After giving them a glance Tisha said that one of them looked familiar. After a while, these two fellows struck up a conversation, and as it turned out, that familiar looking man was none other than the mayor of Ono! Of course it wasn't long before the cat was out of the bag, and we had a free bottle of wine on our table, courtesy of the mayor, and his friend from the city council.

Tisha and I with the mayor of Ono (right) and the city council-man.

So we wound up chatting it up with these fellows. It turns out that the mayor has visited Seattle, including our alma mater, the UW. Before he was mayor, he worked for a wheel manufacturer and did a lot of traveling in America, visiting tire plants in Ohio, Arkansas and elsewhere. The city council-man was a nice man as well, who remarked that we were probably the only foreigners ever to get married in Ono. I'll have to put that in the Wikipedia article for Ono.

So there you have it, Tisha and James got married on August 27th, 2007 in Ono, Japan. While we didn't exactly have a wedding, it was a very memorable and wonderful day anyway.