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Vacation PART 1: Ho Chi Minh

March 14, 2017

Hey guys, last week I returned to Japan from my 19 day vacation to Vietnam, Singapore, and Bali, Indonesia. I will do a post for each of these places, because I have photos from each and they were all quite different.

So firstly Vietnam. If you follow my instagram you will have seen the #VietViews but if not it was a series of photos that wasn’t just landscapes and ‘classic’ sort of vacation pictures. This was because I got a new camera and I was taking the good pics on there. For instagram I had to use my phone, so landscapes were harder to get.

We started in Ho Chi Minh City. Here we were in the city for two days and for the third day (or actually the middle day) we went on a tour of the Mekong River Delta, which is PRETTY FAR from the city on a little tour bus that was trying its best. I think it took about two hours. Side note: people in Vietnam and especially this city drive like absolute maniacs, complete insanity, nearly no traffic lights, stop signs are not even a concept that has entered any city planner’s mind. Uber is also ridiculously cheaper than taxis, as is its Asian counterpart Grabb, so we spent a few rides watching out the window of a car piloted by a guy with a death wish. Didn’t see anyone get hit the whole time, though, and on Day 2 in Singapore I saw a car hit a guy on a scooter and knock him over, so the Vietnamese are pretty good at the act of driving, but have chosen to collectively ignore most of the rules we know and love.

Anyway the rest of the time we looked at stuff in the city. There was the War Remnants museum which was air conditioned (nice) and has gruesome photos taken by photographers during the Vietnam War (not so nice but educational). A pretty good value museum, where we spent about 3 hours for around 1-2 dollars each.

We also went to all the restaurants and bars around, they have really cheap and good food and drinks everywhere, it’s not even worth looking around for a ‘deal’ in my opinion because it would be a waste of time to save maybe 50 cents. I had no issues with language as everyone running a restaurants that had any chance of serving foreign visitors knew enough english to help us order. Everyone seemed nice and I didn’t feel like I was getting ‘totally ripped off bro’. Blink twice if Lonely Planet is holding you hostage making you write nice things. No but seriously it was easier than I expected finding food.

Here is my favourite picture from Ho Chi Minh.

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I like this picture cause it illustrates how HOT it was. It also shows a bit of the communist/military stuff. The guy is probably my age, he looked pretty young, and quite exhausted. I think he had to stand outside, but probably would rather be in that box, although I’m not sure if it was air conditioned. Maybe he was getting cooked in there and outside was COOLER.

Here is a picture OF Ho Chi Minh… yep that is a guy. Everyone else probably knew this. I didn’t. If you’re like me he was the Communist leader who kicked all the french people out to end the war, I think. If wrong leave angry comment.

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That picture is from the oldest post office, quite a nice building.

Since this post is SO long already let’s stop here and do the other parts of Vietnam in other posts. No one wants to read a novel right now.


Welcome Back

January 24, 2017

Hello again everyone! Happy New Year!

Today I just gave my final speech presenation in Japanese class. It is only a short 3 minute thing, like in french class in grade 3 when I talked about Les Grenouilles. But I was proud of that then and I’m also a bit proud now.

You may remember in earlier posts when I got here and had a lot of trouble at the grocery store on the first day. To be honest, I felt a lot of shame and so on for holding up the line and trying to fumble with the money just to buy 1 loaf of bread, blueberry jam, and eggs. As unreasonable as that was - gimme a break, it was day 1 - it’s definitely very difficult to try to do nearly everything we take for granted when you can’t communicate. It’s lucky that most people in Tokyo know a little bit of English. But being able to talk about basic stuff and respond to questions - albeit ones in our ~1000 word class vocabulary - feels good, man.

As last post said, mom, dad and Matt came here for two weeks at Christmas. We were in Tokyo for most of the time, all over the place, and also went to Kyoto for 4 days. I think they were very surprised by the change from Canada. One of the most different things to me was staying in people’s houses as we did homestay instead of hotels for most of the trip. The trend here is to heat one room of the house and freeze to death in the rest of it. Not too sure about that one. I’m glad I only have to worry about one room where I’m staying, since I don’t know how I’d decide which ones to turn into a fridge.

Right now it is still the FIRST semester! There’s an exam on Thursday. Something I really don’t like here is that exams kinda of get mixed into the end of classes along with random assignments. I don’t think profs have any specific date they have to keep in mind when deciding the last assignment, exam or anything, so… I have a class thursday morning, exam that afternoon, paper due the next day, exam the next day… the spaghetti method of scheduling.

Then there will be a 1 month break, but I will not be coming back to Canada. I hope to get a lot of good photos from that to put up here. I might have to look into reasonable cameras, though, because the iphone 4 isn’t cutting it here in 2k17. If you have any suggestions for where you want me to go feel free to let me know too, I am still planning.


Merry Christmas!

December 21, 2016

It doesn’t feel like Christmas is four days away. It’ll be 19 degrees and rainy tomorrow. I think this is unseasonably warm, even for Tokyo. I’m not complaining. It doesn’t seem like people really care about Christmas much here. According to some people, Christmas is an excuse to buy stuff, but most people only get 1 day off or even business as usual. They care a bit more about New Year’s I think. And I still have one more day of class tomorrow. Really going down to the wire here… Matt and the parentals will be arriving here in less than 48 hours, coming for a 2 week trip, so there should be plenty to post about after that’s all over. Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and have a safe, comfortable holiday break, however long or short it may be.