The excitement level continues to rise here in Osaka, Japan.   The month of July has been rather eventful, and, as a result, my updates continue to grow in length.   If you can put up with this nonsense, read on to get a flavor of some of the most recent experiences.
Independence Day:   Never do you feel so connected with your home culture as when you are in a foreign land.   Surrounded by raw fish and bowls of ramen, I suddenly found myself strangely sentimental as the month of July began.   For the 4th of July, my roommates and I celebrated our heritage by partaking in pleasures from the homeland ... McDonalds and KFC.   Fireworks from the local discount store were in order, followed by a special DVD viewing of "The Patriot."   God bless America.
Birthday Party #1:   On July 10th we celebrated the birthday of our friend, Masaaki.   Masaaki is a graduate student working in the same lab with Greg.   We enjoyed inviting students from the lab to come to our apartment to celebrate our friend.   There was plenty of Japanese curry, cake, and ice cream to go around.
After dinner cardgame to celebrate Masaaki's (far left) birthday.
Visitors from Shizuoka / Birthday Party #2:   From July 11th to July 13th, we were honored by a visit from five friends.   Snow, Sharon, Nathan, Kyle, and Jon all work with the Navigators in Shizuoka, Japan.   They decided to come hang out with us for a few days and check out Osaka.   Upon their arrival, we had lunch together downtown, then made our way to Osaka Castle (pictured on Summer 2001 page).
July 12th was a special day ... Jeff's birthday.   To celebrate this festive occasion, we took Jeff to Universal Studios, Japan.   USJ, which just opened this past March, provided an excellent environment to enjoy quality time with friends.   Not to mention, where else in Japan can you experience out-of-place foreigners roaming the streets in ridiculous costumes and hear Stephen Spielberg belt out a hearty "Konnichiwa" to welcome you to his ET extravaganza.
Excitement builds at the entrance to Universal Studios, Japan.
Happy Birthday, Jeff!
Flaming cupcakes for the birthday boy.
Special Appearance:   The week of excitement continued on July 14th as we had a surprise visit, much to the pleasure of Chris.   Chris is engaged to be married on August 25th.   Being away from his fiancee, Corinne, has been tough this summer.   So it took some effort to convince him to come to dinner with us on the 14th as we were planning on dining with several young ladies.   Little did Chris know, but this was just an elaborate ploy.   There was only one young lady waiting at the restaurant ... Corinne.   Silence was in answer to the shock ... they embraced, cameras flashed, girls at surrounding tables giggled and clapped.   Leaving the love birds to themselves, we made our way home completely satisfied in our "work."
The moment of surprise, captured forever on digital media.
The last few weeks have been packed with memories ... too many to adequately cover in this simple update.   Many dinners with friends of all ages, various escapades around the city, a going away party hosted by the English Speaking Society (ESS), rogue bicycle bandits ("the bad boys of Kita Senri"), bicycle massacres, and general bicycle mayhem to name a few.   But the adventure's not over yet ... on the 25th, I take off for a two week excursion, traveling the railways of Japan (the fast ones) to visit the far reaches of the country.   Then, it's off for a 12 day visit to China.
Signing off until my return home ...
Real-life action photo:   Greg conversing with our friend, Rio.
Group photo at the ESS party.
You go girl!   Snow makes the web page
by doing a pull-up on a crowded train.
From the Desk of Jeff Lindsay - actually from Dave's computer on Greg's desk