Right, news, as randomly as I can manage.

There was a party with my flatmates.

Flatmates

Proof

Say, I haven't introduced any of these guys yet have I? Right then, starting with the poor guy caught closest to the camera, that's Tomoguchi. Tomoguchi gave me free pasta once, so he's good in my book. He's the only Japanese guy I've seen cooking in the kitchen, although it typically is just pasta..

Behind him is Eric, a fella from Sweden in the same program (and Japanese classes, come to think of it) as me. He is nerd and may or may not shred guitars in his off-time.  Further behind Eric is Akihito, who spent most of the night sleeping on the table from lack of sleep.

Moving right from there, we have Ninja, who is everything you could ever want a strange Japanese man to be. His first conversation with me started with "So Matt, have you gone to any perverted stores yet?"  Yeah...

Next, Honda, who recently lost to my team in soccer (more on that below) and who I occasionally see up at Aobayama, the campus where our labs are located. Finally there's Hagiwara, a law student living on the cheap in the dorms. He worked for quite awhile before deciding to go back to school, so that puts him somewhere in his 40s. Definitely a pretty swell fella.

Soccer Semi-Finals

I finally participated in a soccer match, and am proud to say we won it and are moving on to the finals. The game came down to a shootout after overtime getting no one anywhere, and we all came together in a dramatic team mob when we put in the goal that settled the game. Sadly, my camera died as soon as I started taking pictures of shootout, but here's a bit I can share.

The fall leaves I was raving about in the ryuusendou post are mainly gone, but the trees at the game were putting on a great display, and looked nice with the golden jerseys our team was wearing.

I can't recall if I said it before, but yes, in Japan, soccer is played on dirt (or mud as the case may be). Grass is for the pros.

You may have noticed the number of pictures has gone way down. Its a sign that I need to take my nice one to a camera shop and see if it's repairable.

I have a bicycle

It's beautiful and I have no pictures of it, but boy does it go vroom. Riding it up the mountain that is Aobayama every morning isn't exactly a delight, but riding down in the dark is damn-near terrifying. Not the dark part, the down part. Wooooo does it go fast!

Presentation Pro

I had a presentation today that I somehow didn't know about, but managed to put together some photos and talk about how fun Wyoming is to my fellow Japanese students with a little bit of Matt's Magic BS™.

There were some amazing one-liners. After showing one pictures of a buffalo and speaking shortly about them, the next picture was the same buffalo, but from behind. So, "And here's that buffalo's butt" was the only thing left to say. At another point, when a picture of a river came up, I delivered the awe-inspiring "Oh, right, there's water there, too".

I went with the usual, get-grades-for-laughs and it seemed to work. I got the most questions out of anyone, which either reflects how enraptured I had the audience, or else how poor I was at delivering the information in the first place.

Don't worry, it was the first.

Thanksgiving

I had a great American thanksgiving thanks to Eric in my lab inviting me to a great little get-together. Everyone brought a dish or two and dug in. Games were played, laughs were had, bellies exploded. I'd love to share a picture of the event on here, but the only one I've seen is of me giving the camera the bird (to be fair, so is everyone else - there's a story here).

Achievements

I'm climbing in the 11s! Woo progression. At least one thing is moving forward ;)

Also, I snagged a nice little marmot tent off backcountry on sale, so things will be good for some Japanese backpacking adventures next year when things get warmed up.