(I'll type this now because tomorrow's entry will be long enough without talking about this too)
So after talking to Shota (I'll refer to him as ENG Shota, JP Shota will be the one I've known for over a year) online we decided to go get my cell phone together at Akihabara. He met me at the Aoyama Itchome station near my hotel and we rode the Ginza line to Kanda and walked about 10-15 minutes to Akihabara and to the store which is similar to Bic Camera (or to a Best Buy in America but 10x bigger). There we waited in line at Softbank to get my phone.
The guy who waited on us was super nice. He got it setup fast. I even had the choice to choose my number. I was like "yeah just make it random" and I got to choose from three (I picked the first one... your telling a girl to decide! and a blond girl at that!) I also got to choose my email address for the phone. I'll get a pick possibly tomorrow because I have a field trip and I'm sure I'll take some. It's just a white thin phone. The other choice I had was a flip phone with internet but it was about 3000 yen (30$) more expensive. I didn't need that so I went with this one.
I paid almost 8000 yen for it and my card. I have unlimited mail for 30 days for 300 yen and if I have at least 300 yen credit after 30 days it automatically deduct it and start my mail up for another 30 days.
This will come in handy especially for days like tomorrow. I have class and then a field trip (Tokyo Tour, required) and then I'm going to Yokohama with Jun (Yokohama to Tokyo is like Gulf Breeze to Pensacola). Sunday I'm FREEEEEE!
Friday, July 31, 2009
(I'll type this now because tomorrow's entry will be long enough without talking about this too)
I woke up at 5 am this morning. That's the best yet. I got my breakfast (now I know why yesterday I had to wait on eggs... there's a lot of people down there right when it starts) freshened up and went to school. It was raining a little. I did better navigating the station today! I got to school on time too! Like 15 minutes early! That's good.
I guess my Japanese teacher read my mind. Today he did some questions where anyone could answer but he did call on people so Mr. Loud Mouth couldn't answer everything. He should probably stop that too... he's not always right. I noticed too that, yes, Japanese is pretty fast spoken, but he tries to go so fast he slurs everything and I can't understand him =/ And I know it's not me, because I understand people (or pick up words) but with him, he's saying stuff and I know what he's going to say and I don't understand him. Oh well. I'll let him embarrass himself. We're down to 9 people in that class.
History... let me just say I thought this was a history of Tokyo and Edo... seems like it's history of Japan and let's just point out Tokyo more than other places. I'm not too fond of this class. That class is a long 2 hours.
So after classes I went to the computer lab, talked to Jun online for a bit, then returned to the hotel. It was about 1:30ish maybe a little after. I decided I wasn't going to sit here for the rest of the day. So I looked up the nearest McDs! I decided to go to the one in Akasaka. That and the one in Roppongi were the closest. I remember someone saying something about Roppongi... but I couldn't remember what. So I decided not to go there in case it was something bad LOL!
So I start walking. I know I'm suppose to turn at some intersection. I never find it... I think I had to go down these stairs onto the road below and go that way... but I wasn't sure. So I stood on that bridge like area looking down trying to decide... do I go down? Or head straight toward Roppongi? Well... I can't go lose if I go straight! I decide to go straight and keep going...
I remember on the map seeing a place called Tokyo Midtown. I dunno about you guys but that SOOO sounds like shopping :D I find it about 10 minutes down the way. I was right!!! SHOPPING!!! I go and look around for a bit. There I find Starbucks (#1). I leave there and keep going toward Roppongi. And I pass another Starbucks (#2). I'm still looking for this McDs. I found a TGI Fridays!
Finally I make it to Roppongi at a big intersection. I debate whether to keep going. I'm hungry and want a Shaka Shaka chicken! I'm so determined to find it! I figure I'll cross and walking for awhile. So I do... I keep going... and going... for about 5 minutes and don't see it. I feel defeated it. I decide to turn around and just stop at a konbini for lunch and find better directions and go to tomorrow. So I turn and face the road and see across the street........ MCDONALDS! Found it! And I got my Shaka Shaka chicken and fries for 350 yen :D
So I head back to the hotel... passing another Starbucks (#3), Outback Steakhouse, Starbucks (#4... or maybe #2 again, I'm not sure). I saw this big thing... it was like little balls go up in buckets the roll down this track... it was cool. I had to pull myself away from it... it was pretty entertaining to watch. I keep walking and come back to where the hotel is but I decide to walk another 200 feet to the konbini because I'm craving something sweet. I pick up a bag of kitkats. Then I cross the road and head down the residential road to the hotel. And I'm back ^.^
Thursday, July 30, 2009
So yeah I woke up early, go my breakfast, got ready for school and thought I left in enough time. Well... maybe I did. But Tokyo's train stations are so hard to navigate if you aren't use to it. When I was in Fukuoka, it was pretty easy. There was only a few different platforms. But in Tokyo... there's a lot of platforms. I know what train line to get on, but I have to look at a map to see what the train is bound for to make sure I get on the train going in the right direction. I think I need to write it down tomorrow, the train and number. That takes time. By the time I'm done reading the map I've missed 2-3 trains! I almost got on the wrong Ginza train. Like, I have this photographic memory where I'll be somewhere and think nothing looks familiar... but it takes awhile for me to realize maybe I'm in the wrong place. Like a delay there. I should fix that.
So I was a few minutes late to Japanese class. I came in quietly and sat next to Vanessa. Unlike the other late guy who comes in and starts apologizing in Japanese with his loud voice... let me say that the other times I heard him talk that day, it didn't seem as loud as that. He really came off as a show off. Vanessa and I were just trying so hard to not laugh. He just talks so loud. I just think if that class is too easy for him, he should get out. Some of us there want to learn. If he knows it all like he's coming off, then don't be in there. He's so annoying. The teacher would be doing conjugations and grammar on the board or asking us what this is in English when we were doing listening practice and he'd blurt it before I have time to think of the answer myself. Like I'm paying for this class! I want a chance to learn and it's hard with them in there. So Vanessa and actually the guy in front of us too who pair up for speaking practice had comments on Mr. Loud Mouth. Ok well it was mostly me with comments. But I find it annoying. I think he heard us... or I have bad karma.
So next class (History) I'm sitting like the 2nd or 3rd table from the back and I hear someone ask if anyone is sitting in the chair next to me and I say no, then realize it's Mr. Loud Mouth. Oh my God >.< So I sit for a minute while he's talking and realize "I should sit in the front because of my short attention span" and plus I found Kekoa up there (Kekoa is my friend from Hawaii). So if that wasn't enough, during break Kekoa and I were walking outside talking somewhat quietly and vaguely about Mr. Loud Mouth when he passes us. I don't think if he heard anything he knew we were talking about him, he could assume, but that's it. And I guess that wasn't enough... Kekoa and I get in the elevator to go back to class... and guess who runs to get in it with us??? Mr. Loud Mouth. He talks to Kekoa and I kinda ignore him. Nope, he's not even there. Did I mention Mr. Loud Mouth ended up moving to another seat a bit closer to me (a few rows back because I strategically picked a place near a lot of people)?
So a review of my classes: Japanese right now is kinda confusing. Just the method of studying. I knew all the grammar points covered, most of the vocabulary, and majority of the kanji too. We took a pre-test to see how we were and I only missed 2 because how the grammar was set up was different from what I learned. Two people ended up leaving the class. One girl because she wanted to start from scratch and I dunno about the other. I rather Mr. Loud Mouth leave. We have 3 required trips: Tour of Tokyo (this Saturday), Kabuki (like a play), and Meiji Shrine. History... I think the teacher is cool somewhat... but his teaching style isn't matching my learning style so much. We have 3 required trips for that too: 2 museums and we have to pick a picture from Tokyo way back when and go to that place and write a paper on how it has changed. I'm glad Kekoa is in that class with me.
I think it's going to be a long 3 weeks ^.^
I'm sorry for no pics. Honestly I haven't taken any since I got off the plane. I'm sure I will when I do all these trips and stuff.
Anyways, after classes Kekoa and I met with Vanessa and Kojin (I think I referred to him as Mr. Jap guy?). They ate lunch and I, not hungry, went to the computer lab to check emails. After that I just returned to the hotel. Had fun again finding my way back. This time when I got off the train I followed the south exit signs... which took me to the exits I couldn't find yesterday which happened to be the one I first used with Vanessa when we to orientation. So I came up to the street and was like "WHERE AM I NOW???" I walked on way, turned around to go the other way and saw the Post Office and Bank and turned back around realizing I was going the right way already. Not as bad as yesterday. That station is just huge though.
I took a nap at a decent time so I would have the energy to study tonight. At least if I wake up early tomorrow I can study LOL. I have a quiz in Japanese (yep, second day, and a quiz).
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
It's not really jet lag. My circadian rhythm is fine... I'm sleeping at night. I'm just waking up too early (Japan: Land of the Rising Sun... more like Land of the Early Rising Sun). This was caused by me waking up to early yesterday, making me tired enough to take a nap at 6 pm (woops) for 3 hours then going back to sleep at 11 pm. I was so tired though.
Today is the first day of classes. I realized I had no paper or anything so I'm gonna have to use my notebook I use to study on my own. Hopefully I can get my cell phone today and find some more places to shop. The longer I stay out, the better. I gotta fight the sleep that is bound to take over today.
Japanese word of the day: mushimushi
Yes, you must say it twice. mushi = bug, mushimushi = humid. Which is what it was today! So I woke up at this morning, sun in my room, loud bugs, and was like "oh goodmorning sunshine" and looked at the time...... 4:30 am. >.< Sun rises early here. I'll shut my curtains tonight. I tried closing my eyes but never got back to sleep. Eventually I went downstairs to ask about exchanging money and found out they could do it at the front desk up to 300$. So I took that. Then I went for walk.
I walked one way down a hill and found a konbini (convenient store)about 5 minutes away. I thought "cool, found a konbini" but returning back I realized that the hill I walked down... I now gotta walk up. It's pretty steep. So I kept walking the other direction pass the hotel to the main road and turned to one direction and eventually found another konbini a little more than 5 minutes. Not knowing there was one 2 minutes away the opposite direction, I claimed it as my konbini because I didn't have to walk up that stupid hill.
I came back to the hotel and did stuff online then ate breakfast with Vanessa. I had eggs, toast, and rice (complain if you want but yes I had plain rice for breakfast). The eggs looked questionable but they were actually good. After freshening up we decided to head to the school early just in case we have problems. Too early. And we had no issues. The school is 2 trains, one stop each away (Take one station, switch lines, one stop). We look at the map when we get out of the station which says the school is the white building. Well, which one? The one with the school name of course! Ok, they shoulda said which direction to look too. We saw it eventually.
The school is awesome. It's like a mini city. So we walk to the building we meet, bored because we have an hour. There's a whole group of people sitting outside but we stay inside. They eventually slowly start coming inside and talking to us. It's a large group from Mississippi (wow, that's a long word. I forgot how to spell it up til now) majoring in Public Policy. We eventually go to our rooms to get our welcome packet with ID cards, computer access info, and just extra info on events then go to orientation. If we had known they were gonna start late, we woulda bought our books first. The orientation was just an hour (and the say while going over activities that there is "no remedy for latecomers" so if you are a latecomer don't be sick because they have no medicine HAHA) and then EVERYONE went to the book line. It moved decently fast.
In the line we met this Canadian guy who seemed kinda strange. He was going to Akihabara to get his prepaid cell phone. I thought I'd use him for a bit and figure out where he's going and if I can manage to get back. I decided against because of his strangeness and I didn't want to travel so far. So after buying books, Vanessa and I head to the station. She's planning on meeting her brother and I'm going to head to the hotel. We meet a Japanese student who is enrolled in Canada (I think he might know Mr. Strange guy maybe?) and doing Sophia... so like an exchange student exchanging in his own country LOL! We talked about Mr. Strange going to Akihabara for the cell phone and asked Mr. Jap guy if he knew where Softbank store because I wanted to get my phone. He assisted Vanessa on how to meet with her brother using the JR maybe... then together we went walking to Softbank.
He's a nice guy. We found out at Softbank that I need this card which I'm guessing is my Alien Registration card. I'm getting that in Osaka >.< So we walking to au phone store and was told the same thing. He said he can use his information to register the phone and then I can use it. That was nice of him. We're going to use Softbank though. Unfortunately he had to return home so we couldn't do it today. So hopefully tomorrow...
After that, we departed at the computer lab at school and I sat there thinking "I wonder if I sit here long enough if one of my friends will want to hang out and pick me up so I don't have to go back to the hotel alone". Yeah right. So I eventually gave in and left. I had no trouble with the trains! I did have trouble with finding my exit. There's basically 4- North, East, South, and West- and by process of elimination I knew it was North or South. For some reason I exit north... I should go south. I walked awhile before realizing this then went back down to the station and looked at the map. I took a south exit and walked, having a bit of trouble. I didn't recognize anything UNTIL I saw the post office. I recognized that. I stood there deciding what to do- cross or turn. The I recognize the bank where Shota pulled off so Jun and I can see if the bank was still open after 5 (NOT). So I turned and past one konbini, then another, then recognized the store across from the corner with "naka" on the sign. BINGO.
I was hungry so I hit up a konbini for french fries and continued to the hotel. My feet hurt. I think that was the most walking I've done since Disney World.
Class tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday. I have my Tokyo Tour Saturday also. They said these trips if required will have some sort of assignment. This is required for Japanese... I'm guessing the assignment is dump us on the other side of Tokyo Bay and see if we can get back on our own. Yes, they are doing that. The tour ends at Odaiba where me and my friends went to Joypolis. So luckily I know that area. But I was suppose to hang out with them again after class. I think we are all just gonna meet there so we can see the fireworks.
There is a Noh play tonight. I decided against it. I'm sleepy.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Flight #1: Balance vs. Layover
So much for not sleeping much that night but it’s probably a blessing in disguise… I would need the energy later. I arrive at the airport at 4:45ish AM to check in. No line. No wait. I was concerned about getting one boarding pass… I coulda swore last year I had one per flight and after talking to my friend flying the same day (he was already through security) he had one per flight… but was flying Delta. I went through security at approximately 5:35ish AM. My gate was all the way at the end which required walking out to the plane. Kinda cool.
Somehow boarding the plan I sat in seat 8…. I’m in 7. I thought I was paying attention to numbering. The person sitting next to me looked like my sister’s gymnastic coach, Coach Tony. He was nice. He was going to Arkansas for work… he didn’t know why. Good luck to him.
We sat there still doing I guess predeparture stuff, running a few minutes late but we eventually started moving and I braved myself for flight. I still have flight anxiety… I don’t mind planes, but I prefer my two feet on the ground. So we move… and sit… and sit… and I’m thinking “any minute” and then that turned to thoughts of Jon and Kate + 8 when they were going to Utah and they went past their closed airport. A guy that went with me to Japan last year, if he was there, would be saying “Let’s sit here longer. I really want to miss my flight. Why not turn off the AC, too?”
Then the captain speaks… we have a balance problem. I ask my neighbor what is that… he says we are overweight. Great. So we go and park again and one stand by passenger had to leave. Seriously? Was that all? Neighbor laughed at me talking to myself “Please let me make my flight.” Either way I started saying goodbye to my layover, to my breakfast, to my potty break… I knew it was gonna be GIRI-GIRI! Just barely going to make it!
50 minutes later we take off. My layover is an hour. Luckily Memphis is central time, not eastern like I was thinking. Otherwise, unhappy Amber. We land with 20 minutes to spare for my flight. We land at the “A” gates… my next flight? “B” gates. B 34. So I walk…. And walk faster… and get on the moving side walk and stumble… and walk… and call my mom while speed walking. My feet hurt.
I’m sitting on flight #2 now. I made it. 10 minutes late for takeoff. I think my next layover is about an hour. I haven’t eaten breakfast. I need to pee. Flight time is 1:22 (captain just said). Then to Tokyo. Hopefully this flight is less stressful than the last.
Flight #2: A little shut-eye
I think the guy that was sitting next to me was religious and did not like the fact that I was reading Harry Potter. He started reading his Bible and praying. I dunno if he was afraid I was going to bring down the plane with my Harry Potter love (it’s so devilish I know I know!). Maybe he just had anxiety. He didn’t talk much. There was this cute little girl sitting behind me who would sing songs and speak Spanish (Dora the Explorer anyone?) She was singing Happy Birthday when her mom started singing the Barney song and she goes “Hey you interrupt me. I haven’t finished Happy Birthday!” and started over LOL! Super cute kid. She had to be 2 or 3.
That flight was pretty turbulent. I slept…. Well, attempted. Never really reached full sleep. The turbulence woke me up… eventually though I got use to it and it was the smooth riding that would wake me up. Kinda like a baby when you rock them to sleep, and then you stop and they wake up. Yep.
That flight took off about 30 minutes late but I had I think over an hour layover. I never used the bathroom. I got comfortable and decided to just use the bathroom at the next airport.
And I did when arrive and I had 40 minutes til my flight (why do I keep losing layover time??). That was my first stop. Then off to my gate A50. Of course I started at A1. So I’m walking using the sidewalks, talking to family, and wanting food next. I still at this point haven’t eaten anything and my last drink was on my first flight. Sorry I do not care for your peanuts or spice cookies, Northwest/Delta Airlines!
So I walk past McDs, find my gate. There’s no one there so I figured it’s still 30 minutes before my flight… just no one there yet (Yeah, mighty blonde of me now that I think back). Let’s go find food! So I walk a little ways realizing there no food places close, and decide to just eat my food in my bag at the gate. Then I hear me being paged to my gate. So I walk back and they’re like “Burns, Amber Burns?” and I’m like “Yeah???” Ok, so these international flights load 30 minutes before takeoff. I didn’t know that. They were waiting for me, that guy up there and I think someone else. Or maybe I was the last person ^.^; Woops.
So did anyone notice reading this blog that all my layovers disappeared??? GRR!
Flight #3: Here’s your complimentary drink
WITH MY COMPLIMENTARY ICE CUBE! Yeah, singular! I got a Pepsi because I’m kinda shakey considering I STILL HAVEN’T EATEN! Well, no real food at least. Just one bag of teddy cookies and a few Pringles. So I thought the sugar in the Pepsi would help. And I got ONE ICE CUBE! GRRR. Thanks. Whatever.
I would sleep, but they said the “m” word. FOOD!!! (ie “meal”). I smell it. It better be good. On a good note I have all 3 of these seats to myself :D On a bad note I have defective headphones. On a good note there is more than 1 movie and yes I have heard of them. On a bad note I’m not interested in them. Looking at the bright side… I’ve got 12 hours to relax. Not so bright I guess… that’s a loooong time! After food I think I will try sleeping (heck, I can lay down!). I guess despite my stress of late flights, no layovers, and sore feet from running to my gates (this trip has been joyful, yes, I know), I have some luck. This might be the last time I get a whole row to myself.
*8 hours later*
4 hours or so left. I’m so freaking hungry. The first meal was chicken in some nasty sauce. Some nasty tasting veggies, and I think mash potatoes but I never figured it. Mystery airplane food. The roll was hard. And two salads… one had what looked like raw shrimp in them. Why can’t they give normal food? Like chicken nuggets and French fries??? So I ate about half my can of chips, watched 3 episodes of America’s Next Top Model (about half way through all the windows were shut on the plane), slept for 2-3 hours using two seats (this is the highlight of my travel. No, seriously, it’s the only thing that has gone right, except the fact that I’m actually making it Tokyo on time), play video games, read a magazine. Now to find something to do for 4 more hours.
We have these controls on the arm rests that controls the light, channel, volume and what not. Well I turned my light on at one point to fill out immigration forms and when I started playing my DS I was going to turn it off. Come to realize mine is no longer working. My light button is jammed (no more sleeping for me >.<). I’m not sure if I did it… the only thing I can think of was when I came back from the bathroom and I knock one of my seatbelt straps between the seat and wall and had stand up and turn around to find it and get it out… I might have sat on it. It was unintentional of course. Another meal came by soon after I noticed and I let the lady know. This meal was a maybe turkey sandwich with all this condiments on it… gah. Grapes and a cookie… that wasn’t an Oreo. The food was better last year. I blame Delta. I gonna fill out a comment card complaining about condiments and sauces being put in/on my food. Put them on the side please!
PS: Kaitlyn, I’ve been creeping open my window to look out and shutting it fast before I disturb anyone! I’m not the only one that does this, not in my area at least… I’m one of very few that has been doing it, but not the only one.
Compared to last year’s flight to Tokyo, this flight is less crowded. It’s nice. A little lonely. But it’s ok I guess ^.^ I dunno if my first flight anxiety was due to be not flying in a while but I’m more comfortable on this flight. I was OK on the second flight too.
Now the question that is haunting and will continue to haunt me for the next 4 hours or so… will my luggage make it Tokyo with me due to all the late flights?? With my luck thus far… nope!
*A little over 3 hours later*
About 40 minutes til we land. Niiiiice. I spent most of my hours napping/resting (not quite sleeping). At one point I realized “Man it’s quiet” like I felt like I was in that movie The Langaleers and everyone disappeared but me. Nope. Majority of the people were sleeping because in the US it’s nighttime! Sucks for you people if you have jet lag :p I won’t!
I actually got a little bit of real food in me. The choice was fried rice or eggs and sausage. I learned my lesson last year about airplane fried rice… so I went the eggs and sausage. At this point I’m so hungry for real food that if it’s edible I’ll eat it. I ate about 1/3 of the egg and all my sausage and the potatoes were nasty. My stomach can’t handle anymore airplane food. When we land… I’m getting food. Well… first I gotta call Shota… then I’m getting food! >.> Wait, I guess I should exchange my money before that…. THEN FOOD! ^.^
Being on the airplane is like riding in a car to me. There are times I want to ask my mom if we can stop for food… then I realize I can’t. I just noticed that. I can freely open my window since the lights are on. Nothing but water still.
I wrap this up with 35 minutes til landing. And about an hour til real food. <3
My luggage made it. Shota picked me up. First thing getting entering I went to the bathroom (found that before the phone) and changed. He found me buy the phone after I stupidly locked the money up and was starting to get it out to call him. He did drive. I picked on him a lot for his driving but it's drivers here in general. Scary. But then again I think I'd get in a wreck in a minute. The way things are here. No wonder the cars have GPS. You can't memorize how to get anywhere!
We ate lunch and then picked up Jun and Kai. Then we came to the hotel, checked in, I checked in with my family, and we went to JoyPolis. At this time I realized I forgot to exchange the rest of my money... luckily I had some yen already! I'll exchange it in the morning. We did the Room of Living Dolls. I joked afterward with Jun which was scarier... that or Shota's driving! LOL. I just got back. I'm good. Tired.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
...well, almost. I take off in less than 9 hours. It's bittersweet. I'm excited though. My friend is meeting me at the airport in Tokyo :) I'm not sure what all he has planned for that day once I get my stuff to the hotel. I believe he asked once in the past if I had plans that day... which I didn't. Still don't.
I really want to take a lot of pics in travel this time. I didn't take hardly any last year when I went. I guess if some point I'm worried that people think I'm weird for taking so many pics... I'll just use my computer's webcam (Dell Mini 10 has one installed). They'll think I'm just using my computer. HEEEEY!!!! That could be a good time killer on my 13 hour flight!! Take funny pics on the airplane ^.^ I do wanna type up a traveling journal. I don't think I'll be able to update my blog while traveling.
Some questions on my mind... will my flights be on time? will I sit next to good people (last year on one flight I sat between two complete strangers and they were awesome)? will I sleep through a meal and be denied food? will I have good food to eat? will I have more than one movie, preferably a movie I've heard before? will customs and immigration be a total headache? will I be able to accomplish brushing my teeth in flight? will I be able to sleep enough to fight jet lag?
Yep... they haunt me.
Currently I'm watching the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on ABC Family. I'm debating watching Order of the Phoenix tonight. I guess it's still too new to show on TV. They never show it on their "Harry Potter Weekend". I bought the Half Blood Prince in paperback for my trip. I decided against the Deathly Hollows in paperback. One book to read there... one book to read back (Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress" was my choice). I'm not a big reader.
I'm staring at my big (old, beat up) Japanese dictionary..... I need to pack that. I think I overpacked. Oh well.
Thinking how much I want to see the new Harry Potter movie. I'm seeing it with my friend like I mentioned previously. My friend here wonders if he really likes Harry Potter and wants to see it... or if it's just an excuse to go to the movies with me HAHA. Could be... I mean I emailed him asked if he like Harry Potter. Of course he said yes because obviously I do. He probably even knew what I was going to ask if he showed interest. I mean wouldn't that be odd to be like "Hey, do you like Harry Potter?" and be told "Yea, I do!" and then be like "Oh, well, I don't. Just thought I'd let you know." LOL! Yeah... that's a funny thought. I'm going to do that randomly to someone one day. "Hey do you like ______" "YEAH" "I don't!"
I think I'm getting tired ^.^ I didn't sleep much last night. I doubt I'll get much sleep tonight... even though I'm trying not to. I hope that mosquito that was in my room trying to bite me before is dead... or gone. Stupid mosquito. Stupid English for making the pronounciation of mosquito "MUHSKEETOE" and not "MUHSKWEETOE". I like "MUHSKWEETOE" better. English with it's exceptions. More exceptions than rules! It shouldn't even have rules........ /end of tired rambling.
Ok, enough of my rambling. My next update will be from Japan!
PS: Dear people sitting next to me! I know where the headphone jack on my computer is compared to my microphone jack! It's the hole closest to me! So no plugging my headphones into the wrong one, turning the sound up all the way (wondering why I cannot hear it) and disturbing you... until I realize why... Nope, none of that.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
So I got an email from my adviser yesterday (and I'm going to take the time now to say how great she is and how thankful I am that my school has her!) telling me that my visa should be shipped Thursday and arrive Friday or worse case scenario on Saturday.
So I'm sitting in my room today and I hear the big truck sound (that can be a garbage truck, FEDEX truck, noisy neighbor truck... any of those) and I think I hear the glass door close (I'm right above it on the second floor). So I'm like "nah.... can't be..." About 15 minutes being my lazy self I get my tracking number for my passport and visa and it says "delivered" and I'm like "YOU'RE KIDDING ME!" and I go downstairs thinking "this can't be good... I musta forgot something and they sent it back to me..." But by golly I have my passport with my visa!
So a happy ending to my visa horror story.
Countdown: 5 days.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
So as of 9:40ish AM my time, my COE was in Jacksonville with the courier... 6 hour drive away. Some how at 11:45ish AM my time... the door bell is ringing and I'm like "MY COMPUTER!" and open my door to DHL O.O HOW'D THEY DO THAT!?!?! Ok... so I still diss DHL for it's lack of dependability and for it's horrible online tracking. But I'll give the kudos for magic tricks.
Now to figure out if I should ship it or just hold on to it.....
Please stand by...
EDIT #1: I believe DHL has made a mistake on it's tracking. Up until delivery it said the destination was my city...... now that it's been delivered it says it's delivery site is Jacksonville >.> I still prefer FedEx.
EDIT #2: So I was told to ship it overnight. I'm going to trust my adviser... if she really didn't believe I would get it back before I left... she would not have told me to send it. So it is overnight'ed there (VIA FEDEX!) to be delivered Friday morning... and overnighted back to me. Now to find a way to contact the consulate to tell them "If you can't do it or if something is wrong, send it back NOW"
Also, I was wrong about it costing $100 to send.... cost about 50$
Kudos goes to FedEx for their awesome service- tracking, delivery, and doing what they are suppose to do. GO FEDEX! IN FACT! My netbook is suppose to be 2 day delivery! And it was shipped YESTERDAY! So I get a day early :D
Disses go to DHL because their service sucks and so does the their tracking. COE was shipped NEXT DAY delivery. I know some people wonder how that is possible from Japan but it is, because some people have received their COE next day. It surprised me, too. Well my COE took a detour to Hong Kong. Currently, it's in Atlanta. It's been in Atlanta since about 5:30 am EST. Has not been processed, has not left. I think even if I do get the COE today (I'm starting to doubt that), there is no way I'll get it in time to overnight it to the embassy.
My biggest fear was shipping it, passport and paperwork, and it not come back before I leave (you know it'll cost me over 100$ to overnight and send an overnight envelope to have it back to me). That would suck, to not have my passport when I need to leave. Basically, overnight, take 4-5 days to process, and overnight back... Embassy is not open on Saturdays. So 6-7 days. It needs to be there by Friday (not sent, BE THERE). This is SOOO not gonna happen.
Plan? Apply for visa in Japan. I'm not sure how this will work. I'll be enter Japan on a tourist visa..... I'm not even 100% sure I can change my status. I've hear I can, I've heard I can't, I've heard I can but I have to re-enter the country. Well, this is a set back... but I'm sure it's making my blog a juicy read.
I'm not telling people not to use DHL, but if you are rushing something, don't count on them. With this experience being my first with DHL, well, first impressions are hard to change, and my first impression of DHL is not a good one.
EDIT: As I was typing that entry, DHL updated my tracking... at 10:40 EST my COE arrived in Jacksonville, and with the delivery courier... in Jacksonville............... >.> Uhm, that's worse than FedEx. I was O.o when my FedEx package was in Crestview... but I'm just O.O to think my COE is with a courier in Jacksonville. That's on the other side of the state >.< Dear DHL: YOU FAIL! Dear KG: Let me introduce you to FedEx! And I hope you got reimbursed for a failed next day delivery service.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
So I got my email today that my COE has been shipped next day delivery (let me comment again on how Japan can manage this yet my netbook is still being built *tsk tsk* Dell... you lose). I plan on getting all the visa paperwork filled out today and have my keys in my hand when DHL delivers my COE to go ship it to Miami. I hope I still have enough time to get this done. Wouldn't it suck to send it to Miami and it doesn't return before my flight??? I have to send my passport with it.
Man, my blog is getting exciting!
Stay tuned for there is less than 2 weeks to go!
PS: I'm seeing the new Harry Potter movie in Japan with my friend :D WOOT WOOT
PSPS: I've been trying to figure out how to link my online photo album to my blog... this may take time and may be figured out when I get there and have pics to share.
Friday, July 10, 2009
I believe I promised this entry...
If you are one of those people who like things done and done fast, you get stressed out when things are getting down to the last minute, you are female whose PMS can cause you to get extra stressed out and emotional, etc etc... I do not recommend a Two Part Adventure at Sophia and Kansai Gaidai.
For those who are wanting to study abroad for a semester/year, you will need to acquire a Certificate of Eligibility (abbreviated CoE/COE) from the school are attending to get your visa. Kansai Gaidai says that they do not recommend people come TOO early to Japan because they, KG, cannot guarantee you will get your COE in time to get your visa before you leave. Now, I'm leaving at the end of July, that makes me think I have plenty of times especially when I have been told so and read past blogs where people receive their COE at the beginning of July.
Well..... KG must be taking their sweet time this semester. If you have Facebook or any other social networking account try searching for others who are going abroad as well to your school to get to know people. I've already got a roomie :D The downside to this lately is hearing about everyone getting their acceptance before me, getting their COEs before me, and at times I'm just like "If I don't go, I don't go, oh well". Currently, though, I will admit I'm very "moody" *cough*PMS*cough* Although some people may hear you cannot apply for your visa in Japan, I have been told I can but their is a higher chance of being denied. So basically, the worst case scenario is that I will not go to KG. Hopefully it doesn't come down to that.
No word from Sophia since my big packet of maps. Though I'd like to comment on my ability to now figure out how to get from point A to point B on the map via train(s). Kinda awesome. I know buying my train ticket and getting on the right train is going to totally spoil that ability but..... hopefully I will be ok with travels.
I have bought my plane ticket (technically, it is on hold while my card is pending). I'm flying exactly what I flew last year to Japan. I leave at 6 am and should walk through customs into Japan by 3 pm :D Kinda nice. Only costed about 1225$
For those students going abroad, here is a nice website (Orbitz links to this, and I've heard of others using it so you can trust it unless any future posts say otherwise):
The only thing annoying on that site is if you do your name wrong, you have to call them to change it. So go on and register and type your name EXACTLY as it is on your passport. I wanted to get angry and complain about that (like I said I'm moody) but the lady was so nice I didn't want to yell at her. Also, if you are a UWF student there is a possibility you may need to help them verify your student status. Just take screen shots of your account balance via Argus from the most current semester, even if it takes two shots, and paste into a word document. It needs to have your name, UWF (the address is at the bottom so that works), and the semester name and date.
Anyways... I'll be sure to update when I get my COE (which is sent next day delivery... now if Japan can manage that why can't Dell manage to build my new laptop and ship it in a week? Yet again, Japan wins).
I believe I had a TO DO list in an earlier post
*Buy a plane ticket |||CHECK|||
*Receive my visa |||STILL WAITING FOR COE|||
*Meet with Uni personal to get classes registered |||WILL BE REGISTERED ABOUT A WEEK AFTER EACH SEMESTER BEGINS|||
*Pay for summer tuition |||WILL BE ABLE TO AFTER I'M REGISTERED THROUGH MY UNI|||
*Double check my financial aid |||AWAITING REPLY|||
*Shop |||STARTING THAT SOON BUT MAY TAKE A WEEK|||
*Pack |||WILL DO A FEW DAYS BEFORE DEPARTURE|||
*Buy some new flip flops |||CHECK|||
*Maybe get some travelers checks |||WILL DO BEFORE DEPARTURE|||
Countdown: 17 days (I can HAHA at this point to all the KG students who are waiting 50 days or so... HAHAHAHAHA)