Where’s Elmo?

You know, except I’m not wearing stripes.

To preface, I should mention that a few of my friends call me Elmo, a bastardization endearing version of my nickname El.

I’ll start big and end small.

Chiba Prefecture

Chiba is located on the Eastern side of the main island, Honshu. It is across from Tokyo, basically.

I’m not sure why, but one day, someone decided to trace the edges of Chiba Prefecture and create a character from its shape. And that is why we have Chiba-kun.

They have Chiba-kun merchandise everywhere around here.
(courtesy of Google images. Can also be found here: kylemullen.wordpress.com)

Here is a link to the unofficial Chiba-kun song:


I’ve been told that when people from different parts of Chiba talk to each other, they can figure out where the other person lives by asking what part of Chiba-kun they live on. I think this is probably not true, but I’ll just tell you now that I live on his foot. :)

I don’t know much about Chiba prefecture yet, but as I learn, I’ll let you know!

 Minamiboso, AKA “The ‘Boso”

Minamiboso was seven small cities/towns that merged into one city, Minamiboso City.

[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minamib%C5%8Ds%C5%8D,_Chiba]

Right next to Minamiboso is Tateyama, which is a city that I have to go to in order to get anything. XD There isn’t much variety (or much of anything at all) in Tomiura, Minamiboso. But luckily, Tateyama is only about a 15 minute drive from my house.

Speaking of Tateyama, on Tuesday, I drove to it! I wanted to go to Tateyama (at least to know where it was and how to get there), but I was afraid to drive by myself, so I asked Kim if she wanted to come with me. She needed to buy some bed sheets, so she said yes, and I called Jeff to see if he wanted to come too. I picked Kim up after work, and we met Jeff at Aeon Town.

Aeon Town is a shopping plaza, almost a mini-mall. It has a grocery store connected to a department store, a food court, and several other shops around it, including a shoe store. I needed some shoes for work (just simple slip-ons to where indoors), so I picked up some Vans, and then I saw some other shoes on sale. SALE.

Because Japanese people have, like, the smallest feet EVER, I was advised that I wouldn’t be able to find any shoes my size. Well, the joke’s on them; I wear men’s shoes anyway.

They are men’s shoes, but they are very pretty.

The shoe store was supposed to be the Payless of Japan or something, but the shoes were still hella expensive. I rationalized it by saying I did need new shoes (and I did), and they were of good quality anyway, so they would last a long time. (I don’t know how much longer the shoes that I brought with me are going to last! They’re already falling apart… I mean, I’ve had my Converse since high school, and my boots… aren’t the best quality anyway.)

I also found this awesome notebook!

People five years younger than me probably don’t even know what this is.

Yeah! It’s a notebook! I didn’t buy it, though, because I didn’t actually need it, but I thought it was pretty neat.

Kim, Jeff, and I hung out for a long time after we were done shopping. I eventually got home at 10:30, I think.


Today, I fulfilled some requests and took pictures around town. I looked like a crazy tourist. I hope you are satisfied.

While I was walking to the beach to take pictures, I ran into three teenage boys. There was a dog tied up next to a house, and it was barking up a storm. One of the boys was apparently afraid of dogs, but his friends weren’t very helpful. They just walked past the dog, and then turned and watched and laughed at their friend. I walked past them all, and the boy said, “Please help me.”

I’m not sure what he wanted, exactly, or if he was even talking to me, but I stopped to kind of laugh at the situation. His friends told me that he was afraid of dogs. The dog was barking the entire time.

Me: “Hey. Hey dog, stop that. Don’t be mean. You’re so cute. Why’re you being mean?”

The two friends laughed at me, but they noticed that the dog was paying attention to me now, so they started to talk to it, too. The third boy realized what I was doing, and he sprinted past the dog toward me and his friends.

There was no way the dog was going to get him, because it was on a very short leash, but he was terrified enough that he definitely needed help getting past it.

They all laughed, including the third boy, and said thank you (in English, haha), and they told me to have a nice day (also in English). It was all pretty hilarious.

Here is my beach! I took this just when I was walking onto it. As you can see, it is a very short beach.

View of the north side of Haraoka Beach in Tomiura.

Here are the bathrooms, shower rooms, and snack shack! The snack shack is at the end; you can barely see it in this photo.

I walked to the south a little bit to take this picture. I’m pretty sure this is a fishing dock (?). It was pretty low tide when I went, so the water wasn’t spilling over it like last time.

This plaque is at the beach end of the dock.

This is… something. When I took this picture, my back was to the main road. The narrow road behind this fish-thing is perpendicular to the road that leads to my house.

I was on the way to the train station when I remembered that someone wanted to know what a Japanese stop sign looked like. Now you know! It says “tomare,” which means “stop.”

The front of Tomiura train station.

The bathrooms and a mural at Tomiura train station.

Tomiura is known for biwa, a fruit, so here is a mural of biwa at the train station!

Here is more of the train station! You walk up those stairs and cross the bridge to get on the train.

This is a statue outside of the train station bathrooms. I don’t know, either.

This is a pretty something just to the north of the train station entrance.

I found a park north of the train station! Like, 100 meters away from it. There is more to it, but it pretty much looks like this, and then a strip of grass. There’s a circle of grass, too, I suspect for picnics (maybe an 8-person picnic).

The grocery store right near my house. It is a block away from the train station, on the main road near my house. It is very small, but it is very convenient.

A mural across the street from the Odoya grocery store.

My Apartment

And here are pictures of my apartment! It’s much bigger than I expected it to be. It’s also very filthy, which I think is what happens when it’s left alone for a few weeks.


The back of my building; these are my two back doors. My car is in its parking space to the right.

Other side of my building. My door is the second one!


View of my bedroom. Behind me are the two doors leading into it, and to the right is my closet.

Another view of my room, from the door between my room and the living room.

I don’t spend a lot of time in my bedroom, because it’s bloody HOT, and I haven’t cleaned the fan in there yet… I mostly sleep in my living room, because that room has air conditioning.


View of my kitchen upon entering the house. I literally took this picture when I stepped inside the door after work.

A better view of my kitchen. The bathrooms are behind me, the living room is to the right.

I’m standing in my kitchen now, taking a picture of the front door (in the right corner) and the bathrooms. That dark cave space — that’s the bathrooms. The door on the left is my bedroom door.


View of my living room from the door between the kitchen and the living room.

View of my living room from the back door.

View of the door between my living room and my bedroom, as seen from me standing on top of my couch.

Also, I kill plants. :( There were all these plants in the apartment when I first arrived… And I’ve killed them. I have no idea what kind of plants they are, but apparently I don’t know how to take care of them.

Today I spent a lot of time cleaning my bathroom and kitchen. And yesterday, I cleaned my living room—I picked up the rugs and shook them outside, swept under them, and rolled them with this neat sticky floor roller that the BOE got me. I got really sweaty! It was disgusting. But at least my house is clean now. Well, most of it is clean. There’s still the second bathroom and my bedroom.

I hope those pictures satisfy you. You’ve probably seen as much of Tomiura as you will ever want to. :)

But in case you want to see more, I have about six futons, and I’m always up for company. I am full of the lonelies. :D

My next entry will be about my work, and then this blog will probably slow down, because I’m just answering everyone’s questions at this point. Please leave questions on my “About” page if you want to know anything specific!

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5 Responses to Where’s Elmo?

  1. Alison Mok says:

    I’m so glad that you are doing better. i love the pictures of your place. I’m sorry about the loneliness. The video notebook is awesome! your stories are so good to hear. nice thinking with the dog, and your previous story about the cockroach….. i was laughing so hard. tell me when you need anything from state side. I miss you so much Elmo!!! And yes i still call you elmo to everyone because of Mary.

    • Thanks for the comment! It’s great to hear from you! I’m glad you are enjoying my stories. XD

      So far the only thing I’m sorely lacking here in Japan is milk in a larger container than 1000ml (1 quart). That, and government cheese. (I need a big block of cheese like government cheese, because I eat a lot of cheese…)

      I miss you too. <3 Please e-mail me and tell me what's been going on with you! Write me a letter!

  2. Kim says:

    :*( I miss the apartment!!!! Yeah… I bleach cleaned all of the fans and the floors and the walls etc etc. The BOE always says they are bringing in cleaners to deep clean everything before the new folks arrive, but I dunno.. it was FILTHY and covered in roaches when I arrived, so I am a bit skeptical since it looks like everything is exactly where I left it.
    BTW, did they get you that new washer yet?

    • It’s a nice apartment! Not too fancy, like Victor’s, haha. I think I might be a little uncomfortable in a nice place like that… This is more like what I’m used to.

      Everything just got really dusty. I haven’t seen any mold yet, except maybe around the edges of the back doors. It’s not too dirty, but in the kitchen, it’s really sticky. Nothing too hard to deal with, though! I was pleasantly surprised by how clean everything was, really, though you seemed like a pretty clean person anyway. XD If it was a dude’s house I was moving into, I would have expected the worst.

      I’m not sure if the washer is new, but it looks nice. The dryer still sucks, though. I’m not even going to bother to buy dryer sheets… Or to even run the dryer. XD It seems like a waste of energy.

  3. Jane Clement says:

    I love the pictures! The beach picture of the fishing dock looks a little like the view from rat beach.

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