E-mail to Ryan 10.22.2003

What’s up man?  I haven’t heard from you in ages and was wondering how you were doing.  Actually, I don’t hear from anyone back home really.  My family is among the worst e-mailers in the world and it’s a miracle if I get one a month from any of them.  Being over here amazes me how fast we can get cut off from connections and before you know it a year or two or five have passed.  I remember time going a lot slower in high school and college.
Things here are pretty much the same.  The Japanese level 3 class I’m in is finally a real language class, unlike that joke I took last year.  Everyone uses Japanese and are actually pretty good.  I’m actually on the lower end which is good for me because it constantly forces me to improve.  I enjoy being here but in doing so I have to sacrifice a couple years of “work experience.”  I’m doing the job search now, and everyone wants to know how many years of work experience you have in every specific field.  It makes me worry a bit because I don’t have much “real” job experience.  This teaching English stuff is fun, but hardly a way to advance a career. 
In other news, I got H to join the gym.  Every time we were together it was the same old thing, shopping, eating, watching a video and sleeping.  I got really tired of that and told her we were going to have to do something.  I just am not the person who can sit and do nothing for a whole day every single week.  I need to be accomplishing something or at least feel like I am.  I joined a pay gym in Takadanobaba right by the station which is great.  The University gym pissed me off because they want you to get a health check every year, and it turned into a big bureaucratic nightmare.  After 3 weeks of dealing with them I just gave up and joined the pay place.  They have a great shower room, just like at the Onsens we went to, complete with a Sauna, big hot a cold tubs, and plenty of space to relax in my birthday suit.  I love Japan.  I’m sure you can imagine that back in the states it would be filled with homos trying to spank each other in the hot tubs.  They don’t have that problem here.
I still remember I need to get you that CD with the video and pictures on it.  I promise I’ll get to it sooner or later.  Will need your address first though. 
Let me know what’s up,
Matthew M. Curtin
Website: www.mcurtin.com

E-mail to Dad 10.21.2003

Hello Dad!
I’m not sure if you’re going to get this at midday or in the morning.  It is now 2:17am here and I can’t sleep.  It might be because I got 12 hours last night.  I joined a gym and got a really good workout in.  When I went home I just crashed and couldn’t get up in the morning.  So now I’m paying the price for getting up at 11:00am today.  In case you are wondering about school, today was Waseda’s founding day so no classes. 
Level 3 is excellent.  This is what I expected from a language program.  Levels one and two were pretty slow just going over grammar everyday and taking tests on it.  Now I’m surrounded by people who are actually pretty good in the langauge and it provides me with a challenge.  I have to work hard, but I really thrive at this level of intensity.  It makes me glad to actually feel myself learning more with each passing day and be able to use it out in the real world.  I feel I’ve broken another barrier.
Like I mentioned above, I joined a gym.  The university had one but after a series of problems and hassles (I’ll go into it when I’m home,, just the usual unreasonable Japanese anality) I decided to just join a pay gym for $72 a month. It’s not a bad rate for Tokyo and it’s with a student discount.  Also, anality is an actual word because I checked it on the internet and found it in 5 dictionaries.  This gym has a lot more equipment along with Sauna, hot tub, and plenty of aerobic machines.  I am making H join because frankly, we need something else to do as a couple.  In Tokyo there isn’t much to do except shop, see a movie, go to the small park or drink alcohol.  I was getting tired of just watching movies and eating with her but there was nothing else we could really do together.  Unfortunately she isn’t much of a studier and falls asleep after the first 10 minutes.  So I think doing the gym together will not only get her into shape and be a good lifelong activity to get started on, but will simply provide us with a fun activity to do together. 
I am pretty sure I’m going to join an Aikido club.  They have classes in the early morning and it’s actually the “Aikido World Headquarters.”  That would look good on a resume.  It’s also a pay place and they charge $90 a month.  They have practice everyday and you can come when you want.  They won’t kick me out or be so strict like the people in the karate club were. 
Finally, I bought my plane ticket today.  I did about 2 hours of research today trying to decipher the complex code that airlines use to confuse the complete hell out of their customers.  I came to the conclusion that NW wasn’t treating me like a company should treat their customers.  I’ve tried 4 times to get an upgraded seat with my miles but am refused everytime.  I found out that if I fly with American Airlines and chose their 777 jet, I will have my own personal video monitor in coach class.  Not only that but they provide power ports for laptops, so I’ll be able to work/play on my computer the whole time!  So I’ve officially switched to AA.  Now I’ll be flying from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Columbus and be arriving at around 2:10pm or so.  I’ll send you the flight itinerary soon. 
One last note.  I don’t know if I’ll have another chance to E-mail so I would like to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY in advance.  You have one gift from me coming in the mail from Banana Republic and another one from Japan that will arrive late as usual.  (I’m sending it first thing in the morning and it should get there in a week or so). 
Please let me know what’s going on at the home front. 
PS: I’m looking forward to coming home for the holidays and if you have time getting out for a beer with you.  I had a good time the last time at that place next to Oxley Field.  Only this time, let’s try and talk to some girls that are under 50 years old and not from the trailor park.  🙂

Website: www.mcurtin.com

E-mail to Waseda Classmates 10.16.2003

ごめん、 何時も 私の宿題は遅らせています。 今、 木曜日、 11:08午後です。 も、 その早稲田ポ-タルまだ使わない。 そいして私の自分のE-mail 書いている。
じゃ、 私の自己紹介
マシュ ともうします。 勿論米人です。 今目白に住でいる。 目白ではたくさんレストランありますだからとても便利です、 でもせごいうるさいです。 趣味はたくさんある。 コンピュ-タ と 言葉の勉強とフイテネスとか大好き。 日本語は1年勉強した。まだあまりできないでも時々勉強している。多分ね、もし、たくさん漫画見って、日本語が上手に成る。
私のテマついて、  日本人と外国人関係です。この題はとても大切だと思う。例えば、 沢山日本人は外国人と話せることがない。 でも東京ではたくさん外国人住んでいる。多分言葉関は一番めい問題です。たぶん私達の社会はとても違です。私の質問は:
2。 英語話せますか。
3。 外国人と話せることありますか。

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How to understand our young is a question that has plagued the older generations for centuries.  In the common mentality that pervades the thought within a generation, it seems that the young simply get worse every preceding age group.  For them, morals and accepted methods of social interaction are tossed on their head, and the young simply refuse to conform to their peaceful and established world. 

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     Learning a foreign language can seem like a daunting if not unachievable task to many of us.  I am here to tell you that learning a new language does not have to be the boring, monotonous travail that we begin to think it is from the outset of our freshman year high school language classes.  Thus, I write to those of you that are absolutely serious about learning another language and I believe I can offer some practical advice to help you not only enjoy the learning experience, but also to ease the pain and suffering that mass memorization of vocabulary and grammar tends to bring about.