A preview of this email..is don't send me money...where are your
favorite actors from 6yrs ago, and watch out for pronounciation,
        So a friend of mine was sent a check for 7,000 yen...how nice huh?
Well you haven't tried to cash a check (cheque) in Japan before.  Here's
the process...go to the bank...that is after you get a translator...and
then give them the check...they look at you as if you are from Mars since
checks don't really exist in Japan and then after 2hrs of hassle...they say
that the commission fee is 1,500 yen and that another bank might charge
another 1,500 yen, but the bank couldn't tell him that until 2days
later...he still doesn't know why or if that second bank will  charge him
now that he went ahead and cashed it...cashing it means it goes into your
account within a week...nothing happens sudden here.  So if wonder thought
crosses your mind to send me money...don't...my parents have been told to
        Where do washed up American actors go after their limelight fades
in the US?  Japanese commericals.  Yes, Kevin Costner went from the
blockbuster hits of Waterworld and the Postman to advertising for a
Japanese automobile company...over and over he says.."Legacy"...really
nothing else...this isn't "Dances with Wolves" material...maybe Dancing
with Ito-san.  Though I haven't seen it, I've been told Brad Pitt does a
Levi's commerical and actually says something in Japanese, it's probably "I
know I look really stupid, but they are paying me so much and my acting
isn't going anywhere...so why not?" ...from "Legends of the Fall" to where
Legends go after they Fall.
        A Japanese woman asked me at one of my enkais if I like
konyoku...thinking that she meant a jello-like food that I am quite fond of
here, I replied "Yes, apple is my favorite"...she gave me a very strange
look...come to find out what I meant was konYAku..why hers was
konYOku...mine was the jello and hers was skinny dipping at a spa...now you
can see why she gave me a strange look.  Needless to say I didn't answer
the question, nor do I know why she asked.  Still this conversation is one
of my "go to conversations" with the people I meet...right up there with
the taxi ride.  In one of those conversations I found out that konnyaku
(notice a longer "n" sound) is something that is done during an
engagement...what exactly it is I wasn't told...nor did I pursue the
matter.  So when you come to Japan...be very careful or you might wind up
engaged while skinny dipping with a bunch of old women, which I was told
were the only women who do it.
        Last week was interesting for me to say the least.  Four schools
and about 15 introductions...the kids make interesting sounds when I tell
them my weight and shoe size.  The sound compares to the sound of a
motorcycle right before it needs to be shifted (for those of you who don't
know that sound listen just ask...I'm sure someone will imitate it).  On
Friday, after my introduction, another teacher wanted me to teach the whole
school that silly hand whistle thing...so I did...again the teachers joined
in...some students as well as teachers got it.  At the end of the day, two
boys asked me for my autograph...seeing this all the neighboring students
did the same...must be that whole idea if one Japanese does it all do
it...well I signed more than 30autographs...and felt like a celebrity...one
girl even told me that she like Leonardo Dicaprio until I came..now she
likes me.  These little esteem boosters are nice since I feel really stupid
most of the time...and no it won't go to my head.
        On Sunday I went hiking with a couple natives and some ALTs in a
town about one hour away...we saw a volcano with the most acidic lake in
the world...with a PH balance of 1.8 (if you don't know what that means
consult your local science teacher)...so I won't be brushing my teeth in
that...the town was really awesome...and I even brought my video camera.
        Today is a national holiday...Respect for the Elder's Day..so for
all of those who are older than me....here's some respect...don't expect a