Entries by Tom Curtin

Some New Stuff

A sampling platter of some recent happenings and thoughts: Bowling observations: Considering how technical Japanese culture tends to be in terms of refining skills and crafts, bowling seems to be an anomaly here. It’s the most chaotic, instinct-based activity I’ve seen in Japan. My score was notably affected by the distractions in the lanes on […]

Video Exchange #1 (CCHS to Nanae)

A project we are working on right now between the CCHS Sci-Fi Club and the Nanae High School English Club is creating an ongoing video exchange. Ideally, this will be a way for the club members to become familiar with each other and interact. Below is the Sci-Fi Club’s first video, which David Nurenberg created […]

The Mochi Guide

Last month, I attended two mochi-making events at nursery schools. Mochi is rice-paste made from pounding sticky rice with a wooden sledgehammer (kine). The rice is hammered in something that looks like a partially hollowed tree trunk (usu). Usually, several people take turns hammering with a continuous rhythm, while one person quickly readjusts the paste-ball […]

License to Terrify

One of the nursery schools invited me to participate in a special event last week called Setsubun. It’s a cultural event celebrated all over Japan. To celebrate, some people dress up as demons, and others throw beans at the demons. The point of throwing the beans at the demons is to make them run away […]

Shaving, Snowboarding, and a Dog

Today was the first time I shaved in three weeks. In those three weeks, I visited my family in Concord, spent a lot of time on airplanes, and did some traveling in Japan. I didn’t shave in that time because my plan was to come back to Nanae and make an event out of going […]

Back to Nanae

I got back to Nanae two nights ago – I spent 10 days with my family in Concord, one night at a hotel in Hakodate (city next to Nanae), and 3 days at Niseko (big ski-mountain in Hokkaido). I’ve made two large cultural transitions now: one when I arrived in Japan and one visiting Concord. […]

Squid Eyeballs

These are squid eyeballs – they don’t taste like much. When you bite them they explode kind of like fried-eggs. -Nick

Month #2

I am now almost two months into my time in Nanae. I have had a lot of ups and downs, plus a little time in between. My ups have been much richer than usual. Some of the connections I’ve experienced here (with people, culture, and myself) have felt very lucid to me – exhilaratingly real […]

Yes, I’m alive.

Hello everyone, it has now been a little over a month since I arrived in Nanae. In that time, I have home-stayed for two weeks, moved into my apartment, explored the town by foot, been upgraded to a bicycle and eventually a car, learned to play shogi (the original form of modern European chess), lost […]