Unlike the other posts, where the most recent is on the top of this page, this one post contains about 6 days worth of updates, and reads from the top to the bottom of THIS POST. Sorry if that confused anyone, haha, but since I can’t update from home, I just type each day I have something to say on MS Word, and I’m just putting them all up at once. Thanks!!
Today was a long one. After waking early to pack, we headed to school for our 3 hour long placement test…one that I didn’t finish :( but I did my best and hopefully it was enough to land me in a solid Japanese class. And it was the day for the Opening Ceremony as well, thus the picture. I figured if this semester didn’t transfer, then next semester would. One semester in Japan is equal to one year in America. So I think I’ll be ok. At the opening ceremony, we had to introduce ourselves in Japanese. After that, we met our parents. Apparently my Japanese shines under pressure. Because people from other families I didn’t even know told me my Japanese was good. One said “Jieshika (my name in Japanese). It’s a hard name, but I will remember it because you’re cute” HAHAHA! Awesome.
We don’t have wireless internet in the house, so it’ll probably be a day or 2 later that you read this. I was greeted today by my host mother and one of the married daughters. We returned home, where I also met my father. They’re all very patient with me, and I hope they don’t get tired of it soon. I’ve been trying my best since I’ve met them to put everything I’ve learned to the test. Mom, you’ll be proud to know I took a 5 minute shower today! For dinner, I don’t know where Dad was, but we were joined by my host sister’s (Youko) husband (Yuu) and his older brother…Oniisan (older brother, haha). I actually seriously don’t know his name, that’s what they told me to call him. But it’s creepy, cuz he’s actually kinda cute. And he likes drifting. He watches it and used to do it as well. Oniichan and Yuu like to talk really fast and laugh a lot. Most of the time, they were laughing at me. But for some reason, it really didn’t bother me. Probably because the whole conversation started with them falsely telling me my pronunciation was really good. Oh, silly Japanese people and their lies. Haha! Youko and I had a good time talking about music and ‘my type’ of boys. And Otousan (dad) and I had fun talking about golf. No, I don’t like golf, but lemme tell you! This Japanese golfer Ryou Ishikawa…he’s freaking hot. And yes, I WILL be watching golf tomorrow! When we saw his age, I nearly flipped. He’s SIXTEEN! But he doesn’t look it. They call him “The Prince of Golf” And he’s from Saitama! I’m going to go find his high school so I can catch a glimpse of him in uniform. Haha!
Tomorrow, Okaasan (mom) and I are going to get my monthly train pass, do some sightseeing in Kawagoe, check out some Japanese/English translators, and buy MUCC’S NEW SINGLE/DVD! It’s been a long night of struggling to find the right words, so I will now retire.
Now marks the end of day 2. OOOH what a long day it was. After waking to an awesome breakfast (why do I feel like EVERYTHING I eat is so amazing? Probably because it is) okaasan and I headed out to the train station to get my commuter pass. It was a little under $30, and from here to school (which is one station) I don’t have to pay for the rest of the month. The card can also be filled with money, so I can just use it for travel as well. It can also be used as retail, to buy drinks and whatnot at vending machines. Some people even put money on them to pay bills at convenience stores. Either way, it has a computer chip, so you just touch it to the little pad, and it’s paid. Pretty nifty. Japan is all about convenience. Hmm, so, list of things I bought today:
MUCC’S NEW SINGLE. 2 songs and one DVD (SoOoO excited…but still haven’t opened it yet, haha)
DAZZLE volume 9 &10 (did I have 8?? Either way, it’s in Japanese, but whatever)
Genshiken official book
Sarah’s b-day present (but I don’t think she even reads this, so she won’t know about it till she gets it)
Some pretty school supplies
New ipod charger
And pretty handkerchiefs that will most likely be doubling as bandanas cuz they’re sooo pretty. God bless 100￥ stores (that’s a $1 store) I also got to play Taiko again. I had an audience this time, hehe. Okaasan bought me unagi (The eel had a lemon flavor to it, soo good) today, and we talked about oniisan...and his present girlfriend…and how in like another month she probably won’t exist. We were joking about the whole thing, but it was pretty funny. We saw a B-Kei mannequin and I tried to explain the fashion to her. Once I mentioned that oniisan wears b-boy clothes, she understood immediately, haha! I felt bad, but I skipped out on dinner. But she just made me eat all day, lol. We had a big breakfast, then lunch by 2 (big, also), then ice cream. But it’s weird, because we took the train 2 stations away from the house, but we walked all day, and made it back home, WITHOUT the train. Wow. I SHOULD’VE been hungry (there’s a guy in the JSP program from Hungary, that’s a MAN right there) but I think I was too tired to feel it. But after about 2 hours of watching golf and cleaning up my purchases a bit, I went downstairs where I had rice mixed with what tasted like shredded daikon, mushroom, and carrots, miso soup, cucumbers and a pudding (jello) cup, hehe. Whether or not I was hungry didn’t matter, it was too good to not eat. Otousan came home later, and we sat around and talked about golf (though I know so little), then I tried some Chinese tea that he likes (delicious), and some sake (surprisingly, very good. Even the aftertaste was REALLY good…but it’s too strong). After realizing that I was really just too tired to continue with Japanese today, we sat a watched a marathon. This tv personal was running for charity and raised like $3million. And I got to watch Arashi perform. Haha, Sakurai Shou gets cuter with age. They were talking about an onsen visit, but when I told them about my tattoos, otousan said “it’s ok, because it’s becoming more of a fashion statement.” Also, because I’m a foreigner, it’s less likely that I’m part of the yakuza.
Well, tomorrow is the first day of school. Class starts at 9, but I’m going to leave way early for 2 reasons: 1) it’s freaking HOT in Japan. Not only hot, WET HOT! (umm, that sounded like a porno advertisement, Jessica) So I’m going to leave early enough to stroll. 2) I have NO idea where my school is once I get off the train. Though I walked it like 3 times already, EVERYTHING looks the same in Kawagoe. When I mentioned it to okaasan, she was like ‘oh no! What should we do?!’ But I told her I would be ok. I’m not afraid to ask someone for directions, and I also have a poorly printed map in my room from orientation. So I’ll be ok. I mean, the school is like 4 minutes from the station, so I could only get but SO lost. I also want to try to find out more about the dance team I want to join. Sooo, I’ll try to look into them tomorrow too. For now, it’s bed time!!
This post gets longer everyday, but since I can only update from my laptop, and the only internet connection I have is at school, it proves difficult to post. I plan to take my laptop to school on Thursday or Friday, whichever day I don’t have afternoon class, thus, less books to carry. At which point, I will try to include some pictures. Oh! If anyone heard of the earth quake this morning (9.1.08) it was WAAAAY far north. We didn’t feel a thing here, so don’t worry. Though, I don’t think any of you were worried because you probably had no idea.
I got a message from Katie today, saying she already got a phone. We can’t get one here until we get our foreigner cards, sooo, about 3 weeks from now. I’m wondering if she had the plan put in someone else’s name?? I can’t wait to get mine. Even if it is prepaid, I’ll be able to talk to the people I really love for free. I think.
I got my Jasso money today! It’s kind of weird…We’re supposed to get approximately $1500 upon arrival, and $800 every month after that. But listen to this…I get $1500 for plane reimbursement. PLUS $800 for August (you know, the FIVE days of August I was in Japan). PLUS $800 for September. PLUS reimbursement for transportation to and from school. And anyone in Japan who’s reading this and thinking about robbing me now, it’s useless. The school holds my money until I ask for it, since we don’t have bank accounts and that’s a RIDICUOUS amount of $$ to hold onto. So sorry to inform you.
Japanese class is AWESOME. They did an AMAZING job placing everyone. I’m sure everyone in the class is better at something than someone else, but I feel for the most part, we are on the exact same page. I am, indeed, in the upper level B class. Which generally wouldn’t transfer…BUT, it all depends on the course content. And seeing as I feel like we’re kind of starting off exactly where I left off in America, I think I may be able to fight my way to getting that credit transferred. It was sooo cool. I sat through a THREE HOUR CLASS and understood EVERY SINGLE WORD until the last 5 minutes, when I was burnt out. But I never knew I understood THAT MUCH Japanese. And I feel like in this environment, compared to back home, I’m not as nervous to speak Japanese! Examples: I spoke to my teacher, in front of class, about how cute I thought Ryou Ishikawa is (incase you forgot in the last 5 minutes, he’s the 16 year old Japanese pro golfer). Not only that, but when talking to UGG (the dance club I want to join) we were discussing the upcoming dance event in Shibuya. NONE of the girls spoke English, try as they might. But between my horrible Japanese, some other friends’ horrible Japanese, and their horrible English, we figured out the information we wanted, haha. Which consisted of, we need to buy tickets. GAY! But it’s like an 8 hour event, I’m sooo excited. I can’t wait to cheer on my new school! :) I wish I asked their names, because I really want to be able to identify them around campus. Japanese names are tough to remember, for obvious reasons, but I feel like if I really make the effort to remember and call out to them, then maybe it will make all the difference, and we can become friends. As much as I criticize Asians at Towson for traveling in packs and making no attempts to remove themselves from what’s comfortable and make American friends, I don’t want to become one of those people. But it’s tough, ESPECIALLY since the Japanese students are on vacation for like, another month or so. But if nothing else, I really hope to make at least 2 really good Japanese friends!
Tomorrow, my friends and I are taking our terrible Japanese to TOKYO! Hehe, I can’t wait. I’m soooo excited. We’re going to Japanese class from 9-12:20, but since we don’t have afternoon class, and we’re not exactly thinking about taking the econ class – ever – we’re leaving straight after class for Tokyo. I think we’ll do Akihabara for Denshijishou (electronic dictionaries, or translators). Since Akiba is THE electronics district, I hope to find something good. 1 or 2 of the other girls want to buy a DS also, so we’ll look into those. Idunno what else we’ll do, but at some point, we’re going to hit up ICHIMARUKYU! SHIBUYA 109!! Ladies and gents, this is where fashion meets MORE fashion. I’m so incredibly excited. I may also look up the Takuya Angel store and drag them all there so I can get the bag I’ve been CRAVING for over a year now, lol. And maybe a couple other little things, hehe.
List of things for everyone to know about Japan:
1) Japanese owls sound like they’re rapping at 5 am
2) Cicadas are loud, and huge
3) Crows are evil
4) It is ok to date a 16 year old if you’re over 21, as long as it’s in the 7-8year range
5) Tomatoes taste ok if eaten with Jelly toast (long story, but just trust me…and I HATE tomatoes!)
6) Grilled eggplant is GOOD. Especially with soy sauce
7) The gorgeous men KNOW they are gorgeous.
8) Pretty much all the men are gorgeous…even the ugly ones. HAHA! (I’m still in the honeymoon phase of this trip. I really hope when reality comes crashing down…that it comes down gently. And that I’m wearing a hardhat.)
Bye for now!
Another day, another entry. Umm, try to make this short, because I’m tired. Went to Japanese class. 3 hours really feels like NOTHING in that class. But I am usually burnt out by the end. Then it’s harder to speak Japanese outside the class room. After class, some of the ladies and I bought our tickets for the dance competition…thing, in Shibuya next Sunday. I realllllly hope they keep the plans though, because going to Shibuya alone…yeah, not that great an idea. Anyway, after that, and an awesome konbini (convenience store) lunch, and talking to this awesome guy Nashi…and completely forgetting ‘Akira’s’ name (though I don’t think he even remembers introducing himself to me 2 days ago, we headed to Tokyo. We were in Akihabara for a loooong while. It’s so easy to lose track of time in that place. It’s SICK! We went to my favorite arcade, and there’s a NEW VIDEO GAME there!
I’ve NEVER seen it before. It’s like OUENDAN…but with bigger buttons. I for real had a game-gasm playing that. (Sorry mom and family…but that game was pretty much the epitome of awesome.) I also tried out the arcade version of Drum Mania. But there were 2 girls next to me playing Guitar Freaks, so I couldn't hear :(
After that, we headed to SHIBUYA 109!!! Which by the way, yeah, not that great. It’s awesome to see the culture clash, and all the different genres come together in some funky way, but I guess my expectations were just a LITTLE too high. But it’s ok…because I soon hope to be in Harajuku, with Takuya Angel and my girl Vivienne. Though I did get this awesome guitar bag (glad I did, because otherwise I would have bought the Vega bag…ugh). It’s very MJ ‘Thriller’-esque.
Following, we went to this crazy delicious restaurant that served ridiculous portions for very low prices. This whole thing was $14.AWESOME. And I had to grapes there, that – I think we were all in agreement – were the BEST PIECE OF FRUIT I’VE EVER HAD IN MY MOUTH.
If you have only 1 reason to some to Japan, go to that restaurant, and get the huge soba dish…and just eat the grapes. *drool* After that was a long, full-of-gaijin-fun train ride home. Then I watched this tv show with okasaan with TEPPEI in it. It was sad, but also just kind of dumb. Except when they stripped him naked. That was pretty umm, pretty cool. Lemme just say guys – all of you who laughed when I showed you his girly picture – boy’s been working out. He’s still petite, but he finally got some arms, legs, and even a bit of a chest on him now, hehe. Ok, tomorrow’s going to be hot and long. We’re going to apply for gaijin cards, then go on a tour of Kawagoe. Though after that walk a couple days ago, I’m not sure I really need the tour. And if I can convince someone, anyone, to follow me to Harajuku…I guess I’m doing that as well. Must remember my camera…Takuya has been known to lurk around his store…NIGHT! ^^
I’m thinking about taking my laptop to school tomorrow and just having to deal with 2 bags I suppose. I don’t know though, because the PAs were talking about helping us set up our cell phones. Which, btw, I applied for my foreigner card today, and with the receipt, I can set up my retarded prepaid phone. Whatever, at least now I can talk to Katie. I’ve decided that the program coordinator, yeah…not a fan. I feel like he can be really cool, and he’s definitely hilarious, but he has absolutely NO compassion, and I think in this position, you need to say things a certain way and ACT a certain way in the presence of others in the program. But that’s all I’m going to say on that matter. No Harajuku today. After applying for our gaijin cards, we were all pretty hell-bent on getting our cell phones. I don’t want to go into detail, because I’m tired and have homework to do, but we went to no less than 6 stores, not including the Softbank stores, and NONE of them had prepaid phones. By this time next year, you won’t be able to find any anywhere, so TIU needs to start signing some contracts, for REAL! Anyway, so I got my crap phone. And I think you’ll be proud to know, I DIDN’T buy the $400 Vivienne purse NOR did I buy the $240 Vivienne wallet OR the $147 Anna Sui wallet JUST because I could…doesn’t mean I won’t crack and buy one later, but I really want to at LEAST check out Harajuku before buying any of that stuffs. But let’s see, I DID buy: this awesome Mukku storage box (mucc is pronounced like ‘mukku’…hehe); cute kitty stickers for my cell phone (you can’t have a plain phone, it’s illegal); something cute for Katie (something I’m sure she could find anywhere, but I saw it and thought of her, so I bought it); from the same store, I bought a purse/wallet made from a black lace dress (it’s a tote bag, but I feel it’s still dressy enough for a night out…not to mention I can always goth it out with some chains, loli-syle, haha!); this pretty music bag that I was considering sending to Sarah with her other birthday present, but it would cost too much since it would be heavier, so I’m going to use it (sorry Sarah, but I’ll try to get you something even cuter later, haha); some pretty earrings because mine were missing all their stones (for the record, nothing I’m mentioned so far – minus the cell phone – has been over $11…just so ya know haha); some nice face wash from the body shop, along with some lotion (yeah, that cost a little more, but I’m willing to pay for something familiar at this point); and probably the most exciting purchase of the day…A SHIRT!
A little tank top with a short sleeve knit top over it. If I could read it, I’m sure it would say some sort of Engrish, but it’s hard to make out. I did like it on, and Ayla said it looked good, so I got it. It was $20, worth it, I think. Good quality, it’s realllly soft. Almost TOO soft. Oh, and my ‘thriller’ bag got 2 scratches on it today, but that’s pleather for you. Whatever, adds character. I miss everyone a lot. I haven’t been able to keep in touch well, not having skype at home and also never been on campus and sitting long enough to do anything internet related. I’m almost afraid to check my e-mail at this point. But anyway, I hope everyone is well!
MOMMY! I MISS YOU VERY MUCH! AND I LOVE YOU EVEN MORE THAN I MISS YOU! If you could, please call Daddy for me and tell him I will try to call him sometime over the next day or 2. With my card, I have to call from a certain kind of phone, so if I see one while I’m out I can make the call. But payphones are becoming less and less uncommon, But please let him know I love him too, and I’ll call soon! Leo and John, if you’re reading this, I love you and miss you as well! Please relay the message to the others as well. And as soon as the semester kicks in a bit more, and I settle down, I’ll make sure I get some postcards out there! Haha! I’m going to stop writing now. Writing about everything I’m doing is fun, but it’s actually very sad. Being here without everyone I love. It’s hard. And it only JUST hit me how much I miss everyone. But I’m a strong girl. I have a looong way to go, but know that I REALLY TRULY feel that I’m going to be ok. I’m going to have fun, and work hard, and cry, and laugh, be lonely and overwhelmed, and make friends, and have a wonderful time. And I’m going to think of all of you who helped get me here. Thank you so much!
This is hopefully the last of this ridiculously long post. But I have to make it quick because I need to get ready for school. So 2 days ago we applied for our Alien cards. Nothing like a card to remind us we just don’t belong here. With the receipt (which I learned yesterday, we didn’t even need it) we’re able to register our stupid piece of crap phones. By the way, my $60 prepaid phone is like 10 years more advanced that my brand new Pantech Duo from back home. Only thing is, it’s made of cheap plastic, which isn’t really much different from the other phones here. Yeah, so uhh, I registered my phone. Went through a ton of crap to get my prepaid card to work. But it’s finally finished. I pay $3 a month and get unlimited texting, so that’s exciting. Finally got a chance to talk to Katie, though not very much. And I got to talk to Justin as well. He actually has a phone plan, so he was kind enough to hang up and call me instead so I didn’t have to pay. (Don’t let anyone tell you prepaid is cheaper than getting a plan. The truth of that statement varies drastically.) I was also able to message this guy Ryo I’ve been talking to on mixi since last semester. He decided to not use mixi anymore, but gave me his phone’s e-mail address so I could contact him once I got to Japan. We’ll probably meet up for coffee soon, in Crea Mall, which is full of people. I’ll feel comfortable going to meet him alone in the middle of the day in a place like Crea Mall where there’s a ton of people, but if he wants to prolong our plans, I’ll make sure to bring some friends. I think he even mentioned wanting to bring friends, but then when we both bring friends it’ll seem more like a group date, and I’m sooo not down with that. Haha! I told him I would like to meet him, but my spoken Japanese is still pretty horrible, and he said it’s ok because his English is really bad (and it is) so we can gesture a lot, HAHAHA! That’s gonna be one awkward cuppa! But yeah, stayed up pretty late texting him and doing Japanese homework. Which was dumb because I was already sick to begin with and I feel even worse today. I’m not even going to begin to list the things I’ve eaten lately that I would NEVER eat before. Wait, no, I will begin. I had natto (fermented slimy soy beans) but they didn’t make me eat it all, they just wanted me to try it. Surprising, NOT BAD. The initial taste one would even say was GOOD. But the after taste had me guzzling water for a little while. Mushrooms galore. I want to cry when I see them, but they’re always in miso or some other kind of soup, and it makes it easier to stomach. The ones last night were also pretty good. And I had pumpkin. That’s not exciting. It was really mushy. It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t chalk it up as ‘something I’ve never had that ended up being remarkably good’ at all!
Well, I really need to go get ready. I wanted to leave on time today, so I could get to school, add some pictures to this before I post it. Later guys!
Nope, this is the last of it though. I’ve been feeling pretty under the weather lately. I think it’s a mix of homesickness and just a regular cold, but it’s really killing my morale. But I’ll be ok! So today, Japanese class sucked because I felt like crap so I really wasn’t performing well. And people in this program get to me. The girls are all so catty, and boys are just that…BOYS. And they are SO SURE of themselves. But whatever, they’re not what I’m here for. There are a couple girls I get along with, but I think they tend to gravitate toward each other, and I’m not much of a follower, so you see where that leaves me. I never really thought I was bad at making friends (keeping friends is a different story) but I feel like in this environment, it just won’t come easy. I really hope I can make some Japanese friends when their semester starts. And I hate to say it, not being tall and skinny and drop dead gorgeous REALLY doesn’t help. It’s not even me looking for an ego boost. I’m telling you, almost EVERYONE IN JAPAN is superficial and shallow. If you look like me, people don’t give you a second glance (unless it’s to critique your style or lack thereof). And the nice ones are usually trying to sell you something. But I knew this before coming here, so I’m really not fazed by it. Haha, but that’s not everyone. I have met some really nice people on campus, who are just looking to reach out to more people, and those are the ones I want to meet. Let’s hope Ryou isn’t one of those superficial punks. We have a lot in common, and it would be cool to have a friend my age in my town.
So anyway, after deciding I’m not a fan of the other Americans in the JSP (there is one Canadian dude who’s really nice, I like to talk to him. His accent’s awesome too, lol) I headed out to Harajuku for some more shopping. Let me just start off by saying, I found a mall SOOO much better than shibuya 109. It began with an L, but I can’t remember. But they had EVERYTHING! Black Peace Now, H. Naoto, Algon Quins…it was so exciting. Here’s pictures of what I bought.
I also went down the famous road in Harajuku (I think it’s Takeshita Douri) where I found a second-hand goth store FULL of Vivienne. From there, I got 2 pairs of earrings and an H. Naoto Blood Hoodie.
I’m not at liberty to discuss the cost of these items, but hey, they were perfect condition second-hand goods, so I’m happy. Tomorrow, I set out for Shinjuku…for more shopping. Though I think I will just be a sightseer tomorrow. I can’t think of anything else I want to buy right now.
I went to the Takuya Angel store, to get the bag I’ve wanted for 3 years…it was closed. Like, metal-gate-pulled-down, closed. I checked with okaasan, and she said the site looks like it says they’re remodeling. The only other places to buy are online or in Nara. So Takuya shall have to wait.
Oh, and mom, don’t worry about me freezing in winter. All the disgustingly skinny Japanese girls have this habbit of wearing clothes that are 10 sizes too big for them, so I’ve been able to buy plenty of long sleeve things :) Now to officially update! Thanks for reading everyone!! Very soon, I'm going to do a post of ONLY pictures. Not just of stuff I've been buying, I have other pictures too!! :)