Version 2.0 - Tokyo is coming soon. Please excuse the construction and let me know if you have any problems.

A Message to my Friends

Saturday, November 29, 2008 / Posted by Zackary / comments (0)

Dear Friends,

I am trying to keep this blog updated so you know about Zackland. Writing the blog is fun but I have been writing less email. This week I wrote many messages but am still behind. My apologies if it seems I have been blowing you off. My friends in Japan are great but I do miss my loved ones in America dearly. The continued love, understanding, and kindness of my friends and family is what keeps me sane.
Thus has it been and thus shall it always be.

Please continue to send your great email so I know how you are doing. Even the more mundane stuff is nice for me to hear. This year is ending quickly and I feel out of touch with some of you.

Depite everything, I feel better than I have for years.

I am off for the holidays starting on December 17th. After I get a few days of serious sleep (I get up at six and rarely get to bed before 1 anymore), I will catch up on all my correspondence. There will also be many long blog entries about everything.

Please take good care,

Love & Peace,



Welcome to my New Readers

Saturday, November 29, 2008 / Posted by Zackary / comments (0)

Hi Everyone!

A big welcome to all the people now following my blog via Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.

If you are not familiar with Twitter, I have added a link to it on my recommended web page. You can use it to follow my blog and do all kinds of fun stuff. Here is the blip from Twitter:

"Twitter is a privately funded startup with offices in the SoMA neighborhood of San Francisco, CA. Started as a side project in March of 2006, Twitter has grown into a real-time short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices. In countries all around the world, people follow the sources most relevant to them and access information via Twitter as it happens—from breaking world news to updates from friends."

On Facebook, just look under my name, Zackary Prince. My only real problem with Facebook is that you have to join before you can see any profiles. Many of my friends here use Facebook so it is a nice way to keep up with people.

Or I am on Skpye, ZackaryPrince. Skpye video is fantastic and free, free, free! I cannot recommend it enough. Downloading the program and getting started takes about two minutes tops. All you need is a headshet and a webcame if you want people to see you. I didn't think video but be a big deal but it has been fabulous.

As I've said before, I may be the most accessible person you know. If you would like a pagepage or blog linked to this site, please let me know.

As always thank you for reading and keep the comments coming!



Open During Construction

Thursday, November 27, 2008 / Posted by Zackary / comments (0)

I am in the process of updating the look, feel and construct of my blog. If you experience any problems please let me know.

I am still trying to figure out why the big spaces are there.

Thank you for coming by to see my Blog.


Japanese Holidays Update I

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 / Posted by Zackary / comments (0)

To my great surprise they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here. They do celebrate Independent Day with gusto. Wow you should see the futuristic fire works! Or, um maybe I am making that up.


In the Western World Christmas is often the main holiday of the year. Families gather, presents are opened, arguments break out, too much food is eaten, random hugging breaks out, and most people hope for at least some snow. I personally hope for nice big snowdrifts so heavy all you can see is the glorious snow. There are all kinds of advantages to not having a car.

Everyone goes to work in Japan and most people don’t celebrate at all. There are a few stores that have Christmas decorations but they are boring. If I see anything good I will take some pictures and put them up. Some people do talk about exchanging presents and the Japanese do love to shop. Many girls I have talked to think that Christmas is a great time to receive an expensive gift. Another time I will talk about shopping but for now let me say that finding luxury items in Japan is as easy as finding a McDonald’s.

Throughout Japan you will find Christian churches here and there. Two blocks behind my apartment is a decent sized Catholic Church. There are foreign missionaries from many different denominations walking the streets. Most of them seem to be wearing white shirts, ties, nondescript slacks and are just a bit to friendly. To be fair one of my friends here is a missionary and has a wonderful and relaxed demeanor. When we talk he is always kind and listens carefully.

New Years (shogatsu or oshogatsu)

This is the holiday that everyone gets excited about. If you haven’t seen your family throughout the year you see them during New Years.

They never use the world vacation, they always say holiday. This is confusing at first as people say, “I had a holiday yesterday and went to see my parents.” You worked yesterday and knew there was no national holiday. Also, I have problems getting anyone to say or understand what a weekend is in the American sense of the word. People say, “I worked on Saturday but had a holiday on Sunday.” I never knew how much I liked the word vacation until I came here. Tradition says that you should go to a temple within the first week of the New Year. When you go to the temple you pull hard on the cord to ring the bell twice. Then you donate yen to the temple, bow to the Buddha, and clap your hands twice. Temples use the money to keep afloat throughout the year. What Japanese people think while they are doing this I don’t know. I wish for peace and feel the solemn weight of time. In Japan most people visit their families and go to a temple together. For many families it is a time-honored tradition to visit the same temple each year.

Larger temples are open until Midnight and with long lines. Last year I waited for over an hour but it was worth it to bring the bell and clap twice. I don’t know why they clap twice or why I like it so much but it is great fun. Many temples ring a large bell at exactly midnight. The one I went collected donations to ring the big bell. There was a good mix of Western and Japanese people. Some people rang the bell with a gently touch while others flexed strong muscles and made the bell sound like thunder. Yes, the thunder people I saw were westerns. One guy looked liked a professional line backer and had arms of steel.

As I have mentioned explaining food is not my gift so I am pasting this information from
On New Year's eve, toshikoshi soba (buckwheat noodles), symbolizing longevity, are served.
Various kinds of special dishes are served during shogatsu. They include osechi ryori, otoso (sweetened rice wine) and ozoni (a soup with mochi).
(There are pictures but it won't let me post them. I will figure out the picture problem this weekend.)

You can buy expensive pre-made items like this although most people make them at home. Some people buy them to give as gifts. One of the business classes I taught told me about Oschi Ryori you can get at the store for over 10,000 yen ($100). After learning this I often reminded them of my address if they wanted to drop off a present.

Take care, ^^^^Z

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General notes on my Blog

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 / Posted by Zackary / comments (0)

My updated list of websites includes more Japanese newspapers, some guides to Japan and the best place to get meat. Hopefully some of you will find these links useful or fun.

I also added U2’s webpage. U2 has spent serious money to create an amazing site. From lyrics (all of them) to interviews to video to merchandise to U2 news it has everything a fan could want. Well, except for a copy of the new album and a chance to tour with the band. And a weeks stay at the new hotel they re-modeled in Dublin. Wow, is that a sweet place.

I fixed the time/date stamp so most of you will be reading the future. I would tell you stock quotes but they change (and so do the rules) every second now. My recommendation is to hide your money under the mattress. You laugh but Citigroup just got another enormous grant from the government.
On the upper right hand side you can subscribe to or follow my blog. You can be anonymous if you wish.

A big thank you goes out to those of you that have made comments. Please feel free to comment, make requests, or whatever. You can choose to be anonymous when you make comments if you want. I kind of like knowing who comments but being anonymous is okay too.

If you think someone might enjoy my blog, please pass along the link.

After spending two hours with a Norton technician last night I didn’t have energy to figure out my posting pictures problem.