I'm still alive! AND WELL!

It’s been an incredibly long time, and I don’t really know where to begin. Well, after a trip to the hospital, I’m feeling tons better with these new drugs. Apparently it was a mix of allergies and, get this, ASTHMA. What?? So that’s good, the whole, not dying anymore thing. This past weekend, I experienced my first earthquake. It lasted all of 3 seconds, and wasn’t even strong enough to knock over my empty water bottle. But I gotta say, I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life. You can actually HEAR earthquakes, it’s like thunder, but not as loud. Like a low rumble. Pretty scary stuff. Have any of you ever been in one?? I dont think so...

For my birthday this weekend, ill be going out to ikebukuro for some shopping and video games with ayla, then returning to kasumigaseki (the area where my school is) for drinking and karaoke with Sean, this guy peter who goes to school in canada, and also one of the peer assistants here named Tomoki. Who has refused me many a date, and he won’t marry me either. He’d be the perfect house wife too. A couple others may join, but I was trying to keep it pretty small.

School is going well. Japanese class is tough, but I’m learning a lot. The other classes aren’t so interesting, but I’ll survive. I don’t care much about Japanese history, since the present and the future of japan are what fascinate me most. And literature would be interesting, but the teacher is like listening to ben stein talk politics for 3 straight hours.

The program coordinator here, I didn’t take to well at first. I felt like when we had a problem, his attitude was usually like, 'oh well, things happen'...gaaaaay. But I’ve been sick for 3 weeks now, and when the nurse said I needed to go to the hospital, he came immediately. He helped translate my issues and get the medicine I needed...which was an inhaler for my nonexistent asthma and Claritin for my newly developed allergies. God bless that doctor. It was so hard waking up everyday and feeling like complete crap. Wondering if I’d make it through the day. Wondering if whatever I had would eventually progress to something worse. I was so scared, and it made adjusting to this new life THAT much harder. But I feel like I can now look at things a bit differently, I’m very happy for that. On the way back from the hospital, we bumped into Matt’s Japanese lady friend. He spoke very fondly of her, and I feel like it helped us talk to each other a bit easier. That’s the kind of guy I’m waiting for. The type to get shy and smile a lot when he talks about me. But alas, I’ve lost all hope in the male species. Even though it’s his job to help us out, I offered to buy him a drink sometime as a thank you. He was there when I really needed someone, and I was very grateful. I’m really starting to regret the first impression I had of him, I think I was really wrong.

When I was in akiba the other day, some dude popped in money on the machine next to me, waited for me to pay, then (without asking) set the game to vs. mode. Jerk face. He beat me on beginner, then I beat him on advanced, then he redeemed himself by OWNING me on expert. Lucky he was so cute when he bowed and walked away or I would’ve kicked him in his face.

Then just the other day, Ayla and I went window shopping for stores. That means we hopped on the train, and just rode around, and if we saw something interesting, we’d get off and check it out. But alas, we just ended up in Tokyo, like always.

After some shopping, Ayla wanted to get dinner and go drink. Well, she wanted to go to this bar that she likes, and since I’m always dragging her around, I agreed. The bartender was soooo cute. But an older man. haha. Still, cute. So we sat there drinking and giggling in a bar not much bigger than our living room back home. Oh, let me just mention all the wonderful comments I said about him…I later found out he understood. Afterward, we did an hour of karaoke...nomihodai (which is all you can drink) Sometimes its person/hour. Sometimes it’s room/hour. Then went BACK to the other bar, because it was still early, and that bartender was still cute. Who was there but MATT, program coordinator! Studying to take the level 2 Japanese test. And it’s really hard too. Some japanese people even have trouble with it, not unlike our SATs in America. Since he was there, I bought him a beer, like I offered, and we sat there cracking up over the incredibly stupid things that Ayla and I would say. She likes to drink, I’m not a fan, so I don’t think we work out in that aspect, haha. But anyway, it was a really fun night (And no, I didn’t take those drugs while drinking. Because that would be dumb, right? right.)

At school, the Japanese students have finally returned. I’ve spoken to a few, but just the friends of people I already know. It’s really hard to just walk up to someone and talk to them, I don’t even do it in America where I can speak the language. But pretty much all of the students are really nice. And in the 'English lounge' –I don’t think it’s really called that, but may as well be-- all the people hang out who want to meet international students. And they each speak Japanese and English to each other. Today is the first day of dance practice for the club I want to join. Keishya and I are going to go watch and meet some people. Others, including Ayla, may join us. I’m easily the biggest girl they’ve ever had want to join their club, plus I have no experience, but I think I can do it. Wish me luck :)

Also, just for giggles, I asked Matt if my Jasso will still be made available to me in the off months. Like, when I’m in Osaka in December through March, can I still get jasso, and he said...YES. It piles up. So if I don’t go there and get it, by the time I return in march, I would have collected $2400 from jan-march. Pretty cool right?

Today I’m meeting up with Tomoki after class and buying tickets to a MUCC CONCERT in November. I just hope they’re not sold out already :( Only thing to do after that…is find someone to come with me, haha. I’m buying 2. If an American comes, they have to buy the ticket. But if a Japanese person takes me, they’re not paying, and here’s why. They’re going to have to show me how to get there, and the rules of the venue and such. They’re basically going as a tour guide and translator. Haha, but I hope I can find someone who actually LIKES their music and would really like to go. That would be awesome. Too bad Sarah isn’t here :(

*edit* 9.23.08

So yesterday, as I said, was the first day of dance practice. After a ton of stretching and a pretty fun warm-up, practice began. I feel like even the freshman there knew everyone and knew how practice was handled, but us JSP’s were just a bit clueless, so I asked. Apparently, after warmup the groups are split. For the first half hour it’s hiphop or lock. Then it switches to jazz or pop (pop & lock) for 30 miuntes. I think house met after everything was done and over. But yeah, because of this, you learn a little of the dance each week, and you’re able to learn different styles. I ended up in hiphop and jazz. Though I wouldn’t say they’re easy – because they’re not – they are easily less involved than freestyle or pop & lock. But I gotta say, after only 1 hour of dancing…I was hurting, lol. You guys back home know I can dance for hours, but this stuff is just a little crazy. I’m wondering if I’m really going to be able to do it :( But I’m going to try really hard. I’m even giving up shopping trips to Tokyo so I don’t miss practice, which is every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Ugh. The 2 who were leading hiphop, Miki and Hiro, are incredibly nice. While everyone else was owning the dance, me and the other 5 white girls were struggling to figure out not only what they were doing, but what they were saying. Eventually I was tired of not getting and asked Hiro to show us again, SLOWLY. Then Miki took over since time was up and he had to move onto the next group. She really took her time with us, over and over until we were ready to move on. It helps a lot that they both can speak English, but every time they tried to, I told them no, haha. “This is a Japanese club, and you’re Japanese. I’m trying to join a Japanese club, in Japan…so I need to be speaking Japanese!.....but for now please explain again in English” HAHA! So now I know the part of the dance we need to know for this week, now it’s all about practicing it and learning to execute it better and make it look natural. But I think by tomorrow, we’ll be learning the next part, and that worries me. It’s pretty hard to practice at home since I’m on the second floor with wooden floors and I don’t want to disturb the parentals. I think I may drag Keishya around Kawagoe or Kasumigaseki and try to find a place we can practice outside of the club. Oh, and btw, Hiro is freaking HOT. He’s like 6’5”, shaved head, and just a BIG guy. Me and Ayla were just like o_O *blank stare* *drool* And he still seems to be a perfect gentleman even though he’s gotta know he’s so freakin cool. Apparently all this practice now is for the school festival in the beginning of November. I really hope I become good enough to be in it. After practice, we went to old fashioned for a drink – and to stare at the bartender – then headed home. BTW, he’s not married. I asked.

For now, I must go get dressed. I’m meeting Ayla and Keishya for a bit of shopping.

Japanese Karaoke room for larger parties

Here's a PERFECT example of NOMIHODAI

Here's a perfect example of what happens when you order nomihodai

One of Shrines I visited. It's a shrine, right? Not a temple? Who knows.

Cleanse yourselves!

Very pretty

Cosplayer in Akihabara. Not all cosplayers are cute maids and kitties...

Private room at a bar and restaurant near campus.

LEO! I finished 3 beers that night. Are you proud of me? :P

Me and the bartender from old fashioned. Don't let that awkward smile fool you. I wanna see this guy on Ninja Warrior sometime. Haha! He makes me special drinks when I ask since I don't like alcohol much. Bailey's and Kahlua on ice...delicious!

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