On June 1st 2001, I arrived in Japan.   Osaka, Japan ... quite the happening place.   So, how did I end up here?   By plane, of course.   But believe me, after 14 hours of endless cycles of "Finding Forrester" and 60 Minutes, I might just try swimming next time.   I came to Japan on the invitation of my friend, Greg Durgin.   Currently, Greg is involved in a special research program at Osaka University.   I came to help Greg and do a little independent study of my own.   And to relax, take a break, and enjoy a summer visiting old friends, making new ones, and experiencing different cultures.
View from outside Greg's apartment building.
My first week in Japan was overshadowed by a nasty little Osaka flu bug which left me on my back for several days.   Although its effects still linger, it has not kept me from beginning to enjoy this great city.   I'm living in the outskirts of Osaka, but I've already had plenty of opportunities to explore the city through its vast train network.
This first week's highlights included:   visiting several churches (including the "Funky Club" at the J-House), visiting the local dump to look for furniture (yes it was a highlight ... and standard practice among foreigners in Japan), visiting shady downtown districts (such as "America Village" - known for its interesting characters that roam the streets on Saturday night ... sounds like America to me), countless near-death experiences while biking (you wouldn't believe the pleasures of Japanese roads), and fulfilling the duties of "Practice Master" at the weekly English Society meeting.   Work and study have also been going well, and I've already met many new people as I've begun my summer in Osaka.
Route 171 - Mister Donut, McDonalds, KFC ... 5 minutes
from home ... exciting news for an American in Japan.
Dave enjoying a visit to Mister Donut (aka "Misdo").
Typical road in Japan:   Various hazards include perilous
drainage gutters, concrete poles, and endless pedestrians
... and we haven't even mentioned the vehicles yet.
Pauli (from Hungary) cooking pizza in his (rather small) kitchen.