Before my story here are some pics from yesterday's shopping adventure in Ikebukuro...
The Hello Kitty store in Sunshine City. I shopped at the one at Sunshine Dori though because it has more stuff. Happy 35th Kitty-chan :D
My new purse :D I'm so proud of it...
Yeah... I wish I owned that car. It was super awesome. I want it...
Anyways so this morning after lazying around and not being able to fall back asleep, I took a shower got dressed and fiddles with my luggage to try and get rid of some bags. Which I did. Technically it's the same amount I came to Erin's with because I now have a shopping bag to carry... it's all good though. I have my computer bag that has books in it, my suitcase, my netbook bag, my purse, and my shopping bag. It'll be easy.... maybe.
So I went to Tokyo station today to buy my ticket to leave tomorrow. I leave at 12 and arrive around 2:30, pick up at 3. I have time to wander. To get to Tokyo station I have to take the Tozai line to Otemachi station and switch. Otemachi station is friggin huge. It's at the top of lists of stations I don't like... because of it's vastness. You know some of these stations here are so huge? Want to know? Because they have to have little mini malls inside them. GRR. And not only is the station huge but I have to switch lines and the Marunouchi line is like a 5+ minute walk. No, I'm serious. I have to walk through the stupid little shopping area. I really hate big stations. It's because of my poor sense of direction though. And poor sense of following directions LOL.
I got my ticket and after standing around, texting, wandering if I want to go anywhere, I decide to just head back, hit up a place for lunch and rest because I'm still tired. SO TIRED in fact that back my hated Otemachi station... I have a blond moment. So I'm walking and texting at the same time.. there's this starbucks on a corner... I turn the corner... walk... see a starbucks... turn a corner... this repeats for I stop and wander "How many Starbucks are in this station????" Well... probably one. I walked in a circle for quite some time HAHA. I followed the arrows pointing me to the Tozai line up til I was near that starbucks where for some reason I liked to turn the corner when I clearly (if following the signs) go straight. Yeah I'm a weird one... I'll blame it on lack of sleep and lack off attention to what I was doing.
Another story for laughs... Yesterday while in Ikebukuro station (I'll comment how I hate this station too... with it's 40 something exits... and giant shopping plaza... seriously, Japan, why do we have shopping at the stations? Little konbinis to buy sweets, ok, but an entire mall? I guess I'm still use to Fukuoka stations... so simple). ANYWAYS while in Ikebukuro station, Vanessa and I go to the shopping plaza to find a place where she can convert money and I can use an ATM. So we go to CitiBank. 8th Floor. She was told to go the 7th Floor for her conversion so she went while I fiddles with the ATM seeing if it would work... which it did. Then exited, didn't see her, so figured she was still downstairs so I hop on the escalator to go down. And while going down, on the up escalator next to me, she is coming up... I'm not that far from the top so I turn around and try to run up the down escalator... let me tell you... not easy... and didn't happen either. I went down and she came back down. Lesson Learned: Running on escalators going in the opposite direction is not an easy task
Friday, August 28, 2009
Before my story here are some pics from yesterday's shopping adventure in Ikebukuro...
Thursday, August 27, 2009
So after an unexpected visitor turned up at my friend's house at 1 am and staying up talking til almost 4 am, sleeping for about 5-6 hours, I woke up and met Vanessa at Kudanshita station and we went to Ikebukuro to go to Sunshine City. Getting there was easy... finding Sunshine Dori was not. Well.. it is easy but not when you go to the wrong exit (we took west when we shoulda took east). It was funny because Erin told me there are signs all over the place for Sunshine City........ but only at the easy exit I guess LOL. By the way that station had 41 or so exits. Huge station.
So after exiting at the wrong exit, shopping, eating, practicing Japanese to get directions, we do find these signs that point us up and out of the station and BOOM everything looks familiar because I came here last year. And I so see my Hello Kitty store :D WHERE I DO SHOP! Then we head down Sunshine Dori to Sunshine City and shop more. We went to this one store and there was this suuuuuper cute purse and I was like loving it... fearing the price because it was so awesome and I just knew the price wouldn't be. BUT to my surprise it was only about 2500 yen. YES! SCORE! I so bought it. I'm happy. I love it.
Kojin met up with us eventually and we walked around some more before eating McDs and going to Karaoke for an hour because we didn't know what else to do (When in Japan, do karaoke?). Vanessa and I went back to her hotel (same one I was in for the past 3 weeks) and hung for a bit before heading back to Kasai together to do Karaoke with Erin. This was preplanned and I invited Vanessa. Kojin ended up coming. So when we started at 10 it was Erin, Brad, Vanessa, and me and then Kojin came then Erin's friend... who left first... the Erin left at around 2 or 3... then it was just us 4 til 5 am. Note when we got there it was just for 2 hours... then we added an hour... then another hour... then we were like "Ok we just want free time". So we karaoke'd from 10-5. We left... it was daylight... took a taxi 4 blocks down the road... sooooo sleepy. So much fun though. Throat hurts.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
So I left my homestay in Yokohama early. Long story... just a mix of things. Homestays are difficult, I'm glad I chose the dorm at Kansai Gaidai. Don't worry, though, nothing is wrong and nothing went wrong. I'm fine, just need some space. Jun asked me if I would like to stay with Manami and Kimiko for one night, and I offered up finding a different place to stay. When I contacted my friend about finding a place she told me to just crash with her.
I guess if I was the family and someone was my guest, I'd do a lot of the same things... but haha I guess I'm not use to that type of hospitality. Anyways, I'm now in Kasai (YES KASAI, not Kansai LOL) which is like 15 minute bike ride from Disney Land (according to my friend). I'm staying with my friend who is an English teacher here. She's working everyday and Friday has Japanese class so I'm pretty much on my own.
Anyways so tomorrow I'm meeting a friend from Sophia and going to Ikebukuro and then tomorrow night going to Karaoke with my new roomie friend. THANKS MUCHOS BY THE WAY, ERIN :D We are nerds LOL we LOOOOVE Karaoke ^.^
Sunday, August 23, 2009
** Yokohama Hanabi **
So, after a long night, I woke up at about 9:45 am. Jun said we’d wake up at 9… so I was like “Uh-oh, spaghetti-o’s” LOL. But I think I was the only one awake.. It wasn’t til like an hour later Jun surprised me LOL. He overslept too. But after some breakfast... well... brunch… at about 1 we left for Yokohama. Trains are a bit different here. I’ve come to the conclusion that they are probably a little different everywhere...
His mom drove us to the station cause it’s a bit far... and it’s a bit hot LOL. So we took the train and met his brother at a station and it seemed like Jun was teaching him how to use a Pasmo (train card)... it’s strange... I don’t quite know. LOL it’s so simple even I knew had to do it! Oh well... I’m sure there was something more behind it... then afterward we continued on to Yokohama where we shopped around. I gave in and bought a bag just for my netbook because 1) I wanted one to begin with and 2) I’m running out of bag space right now... so I may have an extra bag but at least I can unstuff some and not worry about broken baggage... like last year… oh the nightmares!
We went to this foreign snack store. Some things looked familiar... El Paso taco stuff... Pringles.. I bought a giant Hershey bar for almost 400 yen LOL. I bought a water bottle holder too. It keeps the water cool and keeps my hands free. 150 yen or so. Good deal. I decided on what I’m doing for my little sis’s xmas present. But that’s a secret :p
So after some soft cream and more shopping we returned by train, stopping at Kentucky (KFC) for dinner. I thought we were picking up dinner for everyone but it ended up just Jun and I eating it. We had some fried chicken, red hot chickens (wings, I‘d say they were mild), nuggets, and fries. We ate all but maybe one of the fried chickens LOL. His mom gave me a book after dinner... it’s a kid’s book but, hey, my skills aren’t good enough for a juvenile book! It’s actually a Japanese story… pretty pictures. I hope I can read it and understand it one day fully. It’s called “Gongitsune”.
At 7:00 was the fireworks! So we went to the rooftop (we went there last night... I don’t think I wrote about that... he said if I want to cry, scream, whatever, I can go up there. We stayed up there for about an hour talking). We climbed up the ladder to the very top… my legs were shaking going up and down… SCARY! But I did it. The fireworks were pretty! Even though I couldn’t here all the booms and claps, it was worth it having the pretty view (even though it was further away than I expected... but you go to see fireworks… and I could see… so that’s the point) and not having to put up with the thousands of people and crowded trains and sweaty yukatas (not that I don’t like wearing my yukata LOL) and painful getas (can’t say the same for them… I’ll wear my Rocket Dogs next time).
After the fireworks we stayed up there for about 30 more minutes talking... saying the world is big and we feel soooo small LOL. Talking about this one star and if certain people could see it too. Just a bunch of nothing ^.^
** Sea Paradise **
Today, Jun had a date with Manami, pre-planned... didn’t include me. They went to the A-Nation concert (various artists) in Tokyo... LUCKY! So, Jun was trying to plan for me and Kimiko to hang out and I stay out Manami’s place tonight but that didn’t work out. Instead, Jun’s mom, younger brother, and his girlfriend, and I went to Sea Paradise. It’s a small amusement park with an aquarium on the beach. Pretty place.
I didn’t really know where we were going to be honest. Jun told me last night that we were going to the aquarium but when we got there I thought I misunderstood because we were walking near the beach and then toward a pool and I was like “OH NO DID I MISUNDERSTAND??? I don’t have my swimsuit... how do I explain...” but it turned out ok. We just went the wrong way trying to get to Sea Paradise. PHEW!
First thing we went to the aquarium. So pretty. Lots of fishies! I saw some pookie penguins too :D And a bear!
After the aquarium we were going to see the sea mammal show but it was packed and starting soon so we decided to get lunch and go back for the next show. Which we did. After riding the roller coaster (YES! but my legs were long and they hit the bar a lot and now i have a bruise >.< BUT I HAVE PICTURE!) and doing a little shopping. The show was great. Unfortunately when we got back… it was packed again and we couldn’t sit down so we stood in the back. Cute show, but glad it ended because I can’t stand in one place for too long. I believe there is a name for that condition.. LOL
After the show we got some soft cream. They didn’t have a small size and I know my stomach with too much dairy so I decided against one but Okaasan decided to share with me. So nice. Then we did a little more shopping. Then rode the pirate ship ride. Then went back. Seems like a short trip when reading this but we were there for like 5 hours.
After some rest, Okaasan and I made some decorative soaps (with the papers on them) while eating pizza. Tasted like my favorite from CiCis ^.^
Friday, August 21, 2009
Ok, so I'm going to hopefully touch on all the fun stuff that has been happening.
So I checked out of the hotel and headed to the Aoyama Itchome station with my smaller suitcase (still kinda large, it was one of my checked luggage), computer bag, and my yellow pea thing bag and purse (I ran out of room in the suitcase ^.^;; ). I took the Oeno line... you know, that line that is 5 floors downstairs... with no escalator... or maybe there was one or two... LOL but I clearly remember trying to get that suitcase down the stairs by myself. I did get some help from some nice guys, NICE guys, not so nice looking unfortunately. So I have to take the Oeno line and switch to the pink line. And when I switch, I find my platform going to Ogikubo, not realizing right then that the track is splitted, going into two different directions. I've never had this problem before, so I never have to pay attention the signs saying which train is coming and bounded for what (I did finally, this year, figure out what those signs mean!). So the first train comes and I board, look at the map, and it's NOT going to Ogikubo! So I jump right off. That was just warning for the JR station.
I board the correct train and arrive at Ogikubo, by now I've been traveling for about 45 minutes - 1 hour. I call Manami to let her know I was going to board the JR train and head that way. I'm in the station... and I have NO clue where to go now. So..... TIME TO PRACTICE MY JAPANESE :D "Sumimasen, Hachioji-shi ni ikitaindesukedo" (Excuse me, I was to go to Hachioji). And I got directions for purchasing my ticket and which platform. This is where I have to pay attention. Not ALL trains go to Hachioji. In fact, just one of the 3. Then the shinkansens bullet past as well. I go up the escalator and see a train... I have time to get on but I want to make sure I get on the right one. So I check the map and it leaves... that was the right train and I stood waiting for another 15 minutes for the next LOL. Oh well... I did get on the train but it took me 5 minutes or so to convince myself that it was the right train. Those maps are harder to understand. And they are like TVs that keep changing so I can read it fast enough... it keeps changing!!!! BUT I DID IT! BY MYSELF! VICTORY <3
I arrived in Hachioji at about noon. I remember this station. I took a video there last year. Manami is right there so we head to her house. It's cute. I guess it's more like an apartment... on the second floor, small (Japanese size)... long hall including the kitchen area, shower, bathroom, washing machine, and then through the door is the bedroom where we manage to fit 3 people (not that hard, it's a decent size room). I'll tell you later on where we managed to fit 3 people LOL (3 being me, Manami, and Kimiko).
Manami and I went to Karaoke for 3 hours after resting a bit. It was fun :) I may not be an awesome singer, but I love to sing. After stumbling over Japanese songs (I was off my game for some reason... I guess tired from exams and traveling. I went to some English songs. After that we went to her university and met Kimiko for dinner. Then went back to her house. On the way to the bus from the university, one of the (I guess) professors was walking and heard us talking (I guess I have gaijin dialect LOL) and talked to me about where I came from... in Japanese of course. My sign must be lit up (PLEASE SPEAK JAPANESE)
Let me say how much I love the traditional Japanese baths. At the hotel we had showers but at Manami's house it is a traditional bath. You bath on the outside then sit in the tub and relax. So we hang out and talk and at about midnight go to sleep.
The next day I was suppose to go to Jun's house but didn't. Stayed another night with Manami. And glad I did. It was fun. Kimiko has class and went first and then we met her at the university later for lunch then parted... and headed back to the house... where we napped :D It was a nice nap. Then Manami and I went to her work where she works with kids. OMG it was soo much fun. I got my nickname... first in Japanese (besides Hachi)... Kinpa-chan (Blond). I see where kids learn to ride unicycles too. This seemed like summer camp/after school care place to me. We played tag. I tried to teach an American hand game but they were more interested in the unicycles lol. I tried! I got on it but fell. I'm fine though... more like jumped off at the fear of falling.
So we returned. Kimiko came back. Now, in Japan, I've been to public baths but it's always been just me... last year at my homestay I guess because I'm American they give me privacy because that is what we do in America (unless you are a kid). Well I guess I'm only given once chance before we do this the Japanese way. I like to try everything once in this culture... unless it's fish when it comes to food... I draw the line there. OK SO LETS RID THE MODESTY AND HAVE A PUBLIC BATH PARTY! I bathed first so I got that privacy and then got in the tub and after 15 minutes we somehow managed all 3 of us in there... let me say this tub is about half the size of an American tub. I thought it was impossible... but we did it. It was fun though :) We're all girls.
Since studying Japanese I always wanted to make some new word, like American word, that Japanese people start saying. I always thought it'd be "okie-dokie" but I hardly ever say that.... so guess what it is?? Originally it was just "uh-oh" (I said it cutely... supposedly) and then it turned into (can you guess?????? CAN YOU??) "uh-oh, spaghetti-o's" LOL~ Seriously, Kimiko and Manami love to say that now! Maybe it'll become a new cute word little kids say haha...
I wrote that I bought the Tomodachi Collection game right?? That game is bad-booty! (keeping my blog clean lol). Best game ever. Basically I have this mansion where every Mii has room. Currently I have me, Linda, Jun, Diane (Di-Di), Manami, Kimiko, Koda Kumi (Kuu, a singer for those who don't know), Shanaka (Shan), Si Hao(Rico), Nathaniel (Na-kun), and Dionne (Dee). Jun is dating Diane (sorry, Manami... Jun is really her BF in real life). Today Manami said she like Jun (in the game!) and she told him in this pretty dress and on the beach and Jun turned her down... SAITEI (HE'S THE WORST!). Koda Kumi (singer, remember) has this funny intonation that Manami set up where it seems like she is singing everything! She's like "naruhoDOOOO... wakarimashiTAAA" XD It's soooo funny!!! I love this game. I play it all the time. Everyone plays it. Jun is right now.
Now I'm in Yokohama with Jun and his family. Nice place :) I'm here for awhile. Should be able to update more easily. Iiyo~~ Bye bye :)
PS: finally Japanese only right now. NO ONE SPEAKS ENGLISH :D
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I:m staying at Manami:s house still (and can:t type properly on a Japanese computer) and I:m good. When I have time to do a detailed blog I:ll touch on these topics:
1- traveling alone (getting on the wrong train, but not riding the wrong train)
2- awesome house
3- travel pains
7- ridding the modesty
8- new Japanese words
JA NE ^.^
Posted by Amber at 9:26 AM
Monday, August 17, 2009
Today was the last day of classes and tomorrow is finals... SO HAPPY :D I'm ready to get away from this hotel and be with Manami and Jun and maybe Shota... if he's not busy. So tonight is going to be a big night of studying. Mostly Japanese. We have 4 oral tests... basically what we've already done. Then about 30 minutes of a written test. History is about the same as last time.
I liked something that was said in history class today, and I hope it doesn't offend anyone. But we were talking about this one guy in history who was gay but was married and had a wife. And that kinda brought up some question marks... but the teacher told us that it seems in Japan that being gay is something you do and not who you are. You still marry and have family and go to work and being gay is just something that is on the side. Pretty interesting to me, I kinda like that view. Very different from America. Also, last week he made me laugh talking about the desks in Japan... we were talking about WWII and the bombs and how kids learned to duck and cover under desks... which is also what you do for earthquakes and any other disaster... the teacher said that he doesn't know who made those desks but he was a very good salesmen... "BUY THIS DESK AND WHEN SOMETHING BAD HAPPPENS JUST HIDE UNDER IT AND YOU'LL BE FINE!" haha
Anyways, I had a to-do list today. After class I was to go to the library, print my paper, print the take away points from lectures in history, go see if the campus is store is REALLY closed (makes me sad... I never got my hoodie ;_; ), go to the konbini and buy an envelope, and go to the post office and mail my paper to Kansai Gaidai. Yeah... they need it soon... and I kept putting it off (well technically I tried once...). Everything got done :D Well, I couldn't print all the take away points because the Sophia server went down when I was there and was too hungry and impatient to wait for it work again... I'll just have to look those two lectures up later.
So yes, I went to the AM/PM konbini and found envelopes! I had to buy like 10... good though because I messed up the address on one. And I waited for about 5 minutes. I was wondering if they were all hoping that they wouldn't get me... either way it was painless. Except the guy went to weight my envelope and came back saying "80" and I didn't know he was talking to me and it was hard to understand his engrish :p I wish people would just speak Japanese or ask if I can understand them because sometimes I have more trouble understanding people's English than their Japanese. I talked to Jun the other day on the phone and he said with me coming to house his mom is studying English! And I'm like "DAMEDESU! NIHONGO HANASHITEKUDASAI" (No, please speak Japanese!). UUSSSKK! I'm going to pretend I don't understand English.
Anyways, tomorrow after my finals I plan to return to the hotel, pack up my suitcase which will be shipped to Osaka so I don't have to tote it and try to get mostly everything else packed. I want to do my laundry too. I want to go back to Shibuya and buy Tomodachi Collection too. And I will cash the rest of my cheques. Kinda easy to do here at the hotel. The plan is I will check out Wednesday morning and head to Hachioji and meet Manami at the station there (like an 1 hour or so train ride). I will stay with Manami and her friend and we'll have a girls night (IN JAPANESE :D). After that I believe Thursday I'm going to Jun's house in Yokohama (yes he is a guy, but he's is Manami's boyfriend so no worries!). I'll be there until the 29th.
I'm not sure if I'll have internet and if I do if I'll be able to use it all the time (kinda rude in my opinion when people are letting me in their home to sit away on their internet all day. If I can get on, I'll do it once or twice for a small time. This is the time where you may have to get a hold of me via my cell phone (email and calling) because I'm not sure what will happen.
I'm very excited :) In a way I kinda regret getting a single room, it's kinda lonely at time but I have the freedom to watch what I want, listen to music all night, stay online whenever, etc etc. So being with Manami and Jun makes me happy.
ANYWAYS right now it seems like they are playing scary story shows on the my favorite channel (ch 8... I dunno why this became my favorite but I usually have my TV on that channel unless a drama is on I wanna watch on another channel). Kinda creepy stuff...
Saturday, August 15, 2009
So in Japanese class we just finished studying and being tested on asking for directions. This is a handicap for me in English so it took awhile for me to catch on to this. Even in English I can't give directions... or follow them. The test was today (Saturday)...
After classes we met up in the library while people did printing/copying/etc and discussed what to do. Right now it is the Bon holiday (or something like that) where people return to their hometowns and visit the graves of their ancestors. So small stores and restaurants are closed or only open during certain times. Here at the hotel too the Fuji restaurant closes at 2 pm. So after about an hour maybe we decided to get okonomiyaki. I've heard of it but never had it before. So we go to Shinjuku to a place to eat it! At first, once finding out what it was, I didn't think I'd like it so I was just going eat later but I was hungry and decided to try it (because I'm a good sport and can't live off the same old stuff here forever).
So it starts off in this bowl...
Egg, beef, veggies, pancake batter mix at the bottom. And you mix it up! Then put it on the hot grill like a pancake!
Diane's and mine... her's the perfect looking one in the back LOL.
Kojin cooking it... he cooked ours and another group's (we were at 3 tables side by side) while the super nice waitress helped another group of us cook.
This is what it looks like when it's done. My half doesn't have the fishy things and mustard on it ^.^ I didn't like or dislike it. The texture and taste was different. I think if someone made it for me I'd eat it out of respect. But it's not my first choice for eats.
Anyways, after lunch we started walking toward some LOVE sculpture. On the way I saw a Bic Camera and decided to let the rest walk while I went in and we'd meet back there. I saw the bag I can get for netbook... now trying to decide if I REALLY need one. I still have 4 months to decide ^.^ I found a DS game I want: Tomodachi (friend) Collection. Basically you make Miis (like from the Wii) and you interact and fight with them, date them, break up, marry, feed... sounds like a fun game. I didn't get it though... not yet.
After walking around more shopping areas, about 7:30 Hayley calls and wants to meet up at Shinjuku station. FYI: Shinjuku is the most busiest train station in Japan... maybe even the whole world. Meeting people here... not a good idea. Especially a person with no phone. So we wait til about 8:15 when she doesn't show and decide to go off. Vanessa and I head back toward Aoyama, stopping in Roppongi McDs to eat (see, those Shaka Shaka chickens ARE awesome ^.^ everyone loves them!), then heading back toward the hotel by foot. While walking Hayley called from the hotel and said she was waiting at the East Gate of the subway station.......... we were waiting at the JR train station East Gate......... communication error.
Anyways, I had a test this morning... and was out til 9:30 that night. Yeah, not much time to study after that long day. BUT I did manage to ask for directions a few times "Chotto Sumimasen! Aoyama Itchome eki ni ikitaindesukedo." ^.^ That counts considering we had an oral exam. The test went well though. The final won't be fun. We have 4 oral practices and a written cumulative exam. I need to rewrite my Kabuki paper if I want to make a better score....... I have to write my other paper for history. One more day of classes (Monday) and finals on Tuesday. Wednesday I'm checking out and going to Manami's house :D I'm excited! Finally someone to hang out and speak Japanese to!
In History today we watched the original Japanese version of Godzilla. I fell asleep. I'm sure that won't be on the test LOL.
After classes I head back to the hotel to eat lunch and wanted to get some money exchanged. Couldn't do it. Forgot it was Saturday. Doesn't feel like it.... stupid classes. Then Brett and I went to Shibuya. My other history paper is going to a place and comparing it now to how it was about 40-50 years ago. Shibuya is easy... 3 stops on the Ginza line. Plus there is shopping there.
Super busy place! We went to HMV (music/movie store) and I was stopped by going down one aisle... I didn't notice they were taking pictures of some girl...... I didn't recognize her. After leaving out the back, going to some places, going back in and exiting through the front, they were outside taking more pics of her.
Anyways, other than that, nothing much going on. ^.^
Thursday, August 13, 2009
This morning I arrived to class (for the record, I have been like 30 minutes early since the first day when I was late) and sat in there, I was the only one. And it was like 15 minutes til class and I was still the only one... I was starting to wonder if class was canceled and I didn't know. Usually there is a few other people in there at that time. Anyhow, once we were all in class, Tara is like "earthquake, I hear it" and I was like "what????" (I don't think there was an earthquake... at that time at least) and that is when I learned there was an earthquake right before 8 am this morning. I didn't even know. I believe I was on the train at that time (probably why I didn't know). I'm guessing this is pretty normal to have so many at a time. Nobody seems to be worried. I asked sensei about it and he says that there will be a lot of earthquakes then there will be none for like 6 months then more. There's no particular season but I guess it's normal to have a few at a time. He tried to explain plate tectonics today it was kinda funny. He's a funny teacher.
Anyways, in History we took a field trip to Yasukuni Jinja. We had like 45 minutes to walk around. I walked around a bit with Lauri then we went inside the museum, well the first floor which was free... with a Japan war plane (see pic), steam train thing, and other things and a gift shop.
The museum part cost money on the second floor. I stayed in the gift shop area for most of the time... in the AC... like majority of the class. Afterward we did a discussion outside about the controversies of the Shrine (which I spoke up and got something right :D). Then Lauri, Jessica, girl (I can't remember her name >.<) and I went to McDs for a quick bite before, after seeing Lauri off, we went headed for the Kabuki theater.
We arrive at the theater 1 hour early. Here is the theater. It's going to be torn down I think in 261 days. I think it's being renovated but I'm not sure. I hope so. It's a nice place but you can tell the age.
Anywas, 1 hour, that's a lot of time... and it's hot. So I thought we should walk around and find some shopping places (we are in Ginza, come on!) and cool off inside them. So I look around and see one place that ends up being Pachinko... yeah, no. So we keep walking and go into this one place that has a store called "Brand Off" and I'm like "OH I WONDER IF IT'S LIKE BOOK OFF!" yeah, no. So we exit that building and cross the street and go into the big Gucci store (yes, like 7-8 stories!). The moment I walked in I just thought these people are going to kick us out LOL. They didn't. We went up to the second floor where there was some clothes that I looked at and laughed at the price (about 300$ for a belt) and Jessica and girl sat on these comphy seats. The sales lady who spoke some English talked to use for awhile. She was nice. I think she thought we were funny. Especially when we got on the elevator to go downstairs... the door opened up and there was a bench, a nice comphy bench, inside (see pic of Jessica and I, looking a bit rough...). And we just freaked out it was awesome. We stood there taking pics, forgetting to push the button to go down.
After that we head back toward the theater stopping in the store that is advertising Snoopy. So we take escalators up to the 8th floor (we never found the elevator, but we didn't really look either). OMG! I want to go back... there was a BIG SNOOPY/PEANUTS store. Selling EVERYTHING PEANUTS! It was awesome. We didn't spend much time because we didn't want to be late (now, I wish we had stayed longer). I saw a place with water... SNOOPY WATER BOTTLES... and wanted to buy one but the line was long and we didn't think we had time. Well we did.
So we return to the theater and it's SOOOO crowded. And we stand outside in the head with the crowd making it hotter for like 20 minutes...... I SO HAD TIME TO BUY A SNOOPY WATER! I realized I couldn't get the English guide for Kabuki because you needed a 1000 yen deposit plus 400 yen (which I thought was all I needed...). So if I had skipped lunch that day I might have been able to afford it.... well, maybe not now that I think of it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not poor, I just didn't have that much money on me today. So I couldn't get the English guide (which is ok because I was told it kinda sucked).
So inside, we are in the nosebleed section, 3rd floor, last row, I can hardly see let alone hear. Note that in the Kabuki theater there is like a path that goes through the audience so if the actors go on that, I can't see. Also, for those who don't know, Kabuki actors are ALL MEN. Even the female characters are played by men. So kinda awkward at times. I understood pieces of it, but there are still gaps so I didn't understand the details. But I got the overall picture. DESPITE THE FACT that 30 minutes into it (maybe... it may have been like 15 ^.^) I put one headphone in my ear... then maybe after about 15 minutes of that I started shutting my eyes.
Here is a pic. By the way, no cameras were aloud. I'm just on a role today with not doing what I should be doing. Not touring the shrine, taking pics, leaving early...
During intermission I pretended to think it was over and left. I was tired, I've got homework, I can't understand, can't hear, can't see.... not trying to be rude... but I think my schoolwork is more important at this point. I enjoyed what I saw though. I'm sure if I could understand, was tired, a bit stressed with school, it would have been awesome.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
With the earthquakes having me a bit paranoid, my new habit is to always a part of my body moving, usually me bouncing my leg while I'm sitting LOL. I find when I sit still (or attempt) I'll move slightly unconsciously and think it's an earthquake coming on again... so I always keep something moving so I don't scare myself ^.^
I'm doing good :) Surprisingly. End of the semester is right around the corner. Japanese class is great. A lot quieter now. Know why? Mr Loud Mouth seems to be gone. He hasn't been in class for 3 days. Missed 2 quizzes and a test... I don't see the point in coming back now. I didn't realize he was staying at my hotel. I came back early one day and the ladies were cleaning my room so I sat in the lobby til they finished (took 30 minutes) and I saw him with 2 guys. Tara says he just using Sophia to be here in Japan and told me some more weird stuff that went on between her and him (they were partners in class). But if he has family here (he's been here 8 times!) then why does he need Sophia as an excuse? He seems to have lied to Tara so I don't know what all is believable when it comes to him. For all I know he has an earpiece in his ear during class. It would explain how he seems to know WHAT to say but cannot say it properly :p
History is ok. I've heard some people just taking one class. I never thought into looking in that. Especially with this being 3 weeks, the classes are difficult. Japanese is difficult enough. I should've asked about just taking Japanese. None of the other classes were really appealing. History wasn't really appealing. I already studied the history -_-
Anyways, today after class friends and I went to LaQua (I think it is the name) for lunch. Ramen.
It's an awesome place. It's like an amusement park and shopping place in one :D Awesome rides, I'd love to go back and ride some of them. After eating, Diane met up with us and we went to karaoke :D 2 hours. Half the price of last time. After that we split up and with (Eng) Shota's help returned on my own. Now to study. Kabuki tomorrow!
Monday, August 10, 2009
So I woke up this morning to something going off... I thought it was my cell phone at first and I grabbed it when I felt a familiar shaking. Another earthquake. It wasn't my phone. I'm starting to wonder now if it was the TV doing some sort of warning. I sleep with it on. I dunno though if there is time to do some sort of alert to surrounding areas when an earthquake begins. This one was about 150 miles SW of Tokyo. It was about a 3-4 here again.
A typhoon is close to us as well. We may get rain... that's it. I think we will be ok.
I should get a T-shirt that says "I LOVE NATURAL DISASTERS"
Nothing big happened in school today... got both my 2nd Japanese test and midterm for history back today. Passed both :D I coulda swore my paper was due today but it is due tomorrow and I have another one due Thursday -_- I wish we could like drop one of those grades...... I can't wait for this class to be OVER! Japanese can keep going.... but history BLAH!
After class I met Tara in the library, we were going to look over our history papers together. Nothing much to say. But while checking my email to get my paper, I noticed Kansai Gaidai had emailed my Speaking Partner information :D Basically, it's some who I can practice Japanese with and show me around and I can help with English and what not. My partner is Kanako. About my age. Super cute. I emailed her (in Japanese ^.^) and she emailed back with a pic and I sent her one back. Seems like we have a lot in common.
I kinda have a to-do list of things I wanna do before leaving. I wanna go to Ueno Zoo and the aquarium and planetarium and still wanna see Harry Potter. I wanna go to Tokyo Disney and Tokyo Sea too. ANYWAYS! Short entry.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
So I experience my first earthquake at about 7:57 pm tonight. It was about a 4.0. I felt this shaking... I thought it was like the stuff going on with the hotel because I know they are adding on. But I was like "wait, it's too late, and I've never felt shaking before" then it got stronger and I freaked out. I got under my desk and called Shota going "JISHIN! JISHIN! KOWAI!!!" (Earthquake, I'm scared) and he kept telling me it's ok.
Scared me... I called Lauri afterward. They are common here and somehow I managed to go 6 weeks without feeling one last year. I guess I handled that well for my first one. Maybe. I hate that this might scare my family though. I'M OK! Just shaken up (haha get it? Earthquake... shaken?)
I'm almost at half of my allowed pics for the month... and I only get 2 videos less than 90 seconds so I had to pic the best video.
ANYWAYS... here is some pics of us girls and a video of Japanese fireworks!
The girls: from left to right: Diane, Vanessa, Hailey, Me, and Justine.
The guys Kojin and Lawrence??? Or is this Jon???? ^.^;;; I'm not sure, SORRY >.<
Anyways, he didn't have a man's yukata so he took the robe that our hotel gives us XD
Saturday, August 8, 2009
This morning I hit up the Edo Tokyo Museum with Lauri. I have to say, I think wiki would be a better source for my paper. I don't have the attention span for museums. And at the time I didn't have the full stomach. And shopping was planned afterward. That cut my attention span in 1/2.... and probably in 1/2 again ^.^ It was kinda a cool place though. I'll get pics from Lauri. My camera was charging so I didn't have it. We went to Ueno and I got my shorts! (did I mention them? I thought it was a white lacy layered skirt, but it's actually shorts). I wanted them so bad... and I got them :D SUUUUUPER CUTE! Then we ate McDs over a discussion about the weird barcode things on everything in Asia. Lauri went to the museum to see the stuffed Hachikou. I took the Ginza line subway back to the hotel.
I did laundry, rested, started my paper, and eventually made my way to Vanessa and Hailie's room where we all got in our Yukatas in preparation for the fireworks. Diane dressed everyone. Kojin undressed himself and couldn't figure out how to redress (took an hour or 2 and a youtube video later for him to just get himself tied up where it worked). Fireworks started at 7 and we left at 6ish in our Yukatas and Getas (wooden shoes... I think ours were more plastic wooded shoes lol). We didn't go to Odaiba, at Tokyo Bay, where they were being fired (because we were kinda late...) so we went Tsukishima. I'm thinking we are going where we can see them, a place not as far or crowded as Odaiba because we'd miss them if we go that far. Well, I don't know if Odaiba was more crowded but I was SOOOOOO WRONG!
So we get off at the station and sooo many people. Like a line just to get out of the exit. And we just follow crowds and crowds of people for 15 minutes when we kinda split up for some people to go to the bathroom. I keep going with others to get close and find a spot. At one point we stop and I take a picture, turn around, and everyone is gone. WELL GOOD THING I HAVE A PREPAID CELL PHONE!!! not... the lines were so jammed with people calling and sending pics, I couldn't get through for like 10 minutes. So I figured the lines are jammed, they didn't realize I was missing, or they did but they didn't come back to find me (I didn't move.... I stayed there thinking someone would come back)... I figure the best idea is to find the station and head back. So I ask one of the nice police officers directing people where the station was that I can go back to my station and he points me in the directly. 1 minute later walking Vanessa gets through to me and after some time finally get back together. There's a video I took and you hear me say "I'm glad I came back" so that's what that means LOL.
At one point I took my shoes off and stood in the rocks. That honestly felt better for 5 minutes then I stood on my shoes... then I got back in them. There was no comfort to be found. None. Zero. Yes, we were standing. The fireworks were awesome. Every time I thought it was over, it started again. Then the finale ended... and I guess they forgot one because this last little firework went off. I got some video and pics that I'll post and get up when I feel better.
Afterward after 15 minutes of walking or so, we met up with the other people and went into the mall to try to find food. Our choices were basically get on the crowded trains or go into the mall with crowded food places. I didn't care, I just wanted to sit. My feet hurt so bad that I could have been starving to death and not realize the pain in my stomach! Even now I don't but maybe because I'm munching on chips. I haven't eaten since noon-ish.... I guess I'm ok. But man... my feet... STILL HURTS! Sitting or standing is painful LOL.
At the mall we split up again, some people ate (it was too crowded and no one had room for all 9 of us) and some of us returned. Well majority of returned. So we had to wait in line OUTSIDE the train station to get in the station, got in, waited for the train, and the train was so crowded... so I thought... then we go to the next station... even more crowded train... next station... well I didn't think we could fit more people but we did. I'll admit though it was as crowded as the train I rode in Kyoto last year but I don't think it was as stressful. Maybe because I was against the opposite door that wasn't opening or closing rather in the middle LOL. I just kept my mind on other things while walking back.
Right now I still wonder whether all this pain is worth fireworks........ but after surviving, maybe tomorrow I'll think it was worth it. Maybe. If Shota is working, I'm not going anywhere LOL. I guess that's a given, I got a lot of school work to do too. Technically just a paper, the Japanese work is optional (except for studying for a quiz) but I want to do it and possibly finish the other paper due this week in history.
I want to soak my feet.......... I don't think I can stand a shower tonight (haha because I can't STAND LOL that is funny). I'll take it in the morning... stick my little "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door... sleep in, shower, work...
Like I said I'll work on pics and videos ASAP. I'll try tomorrow if I can if not maybe Monday.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Yesterday was the second test in Japanese... after my oral test, sensei said it was perfect. I didn't understand what he said once I narrowed down my choices (we are "shopping" and I'm looking for a small white bag). I really wanted to decide not to buy because deciding to buy is easy and I wanted to try a difficult one... but because I didn't pick up what he said (I'm pretty sure it was what I was asking for, I just can't remember now) I just decided to buy it. Test was pretty easy.
We didn't get the history midterm back. Probably a good idea, I'd like to enjoy my weekend without the thought of grades on my mind. But I think I did OK on it. We spent half of class time in lecture then he put a movie in. I excused myself for the last half to return to the hotel and "take medicine because I was sick" and I wanted to go to Ueno afterward and needed to be well. That quote will be line when need be HAHA. I'm not sick though, no worries!
I met my friends back up at the school and we decided to eat then go shopping in Ueno for yukatas. I was hungry but I guess not much of an appetite. I ate like 1/4 of katsudon. I think Vanessa and I though did a good job reading the menu :D
After lunch we went to Ueno. Kojin was funny he kept counting us to make sure we were all there. Nice shopping area. There was this one store with purses... all 3150 yen (about 31.50$). All the price tags read like 20000 yen... I'm not sure if those purses really were worth over 100$ but 31.50 seemed like a good price. I didn't buy one though. I wanted to. Still do. We went to this department store to buy Yukatas for those who didn't have one yet. I was the only one that ended up buying one. I think that makes about 5 of us wearing yukatas tonight? For those who don't know, yukata is a summer kimono. It's thinner than a kimono... imagine wearing that thick heavy kimono in the summer >.< DEATH! A yukata is torture! I got the yukata witht he fake bow because it came with every thing except the baggie and fan and was the cheapest still. It's purple with a a yellow gi (sash).
After Ueno shopping we headed back. As we crossed the intersection to go to the station, I notice this little old Japanese guy talking to some foreigners (I figured the were foreigners because they kept telling him "wakarimasen" I don't understand) and eventually he left them alone and walked past me and whoever I was walking near. I figured he was trying to ask directions. I turned around and saw him talking to Justine! She told him wakarimasen as well and he followed us across the intersection. Kojin started talking to them and all of us girls are standing there not sure what is going on... THEN KOJIN GRABS HIM BY HIS SHOULDERS AND STARTS PUSHING HIM! Not hard... but like trying to get him away from us. We realize we should go down the station and wait. Justine says he was drunk. So we go down there and Kojin still doesn't come, we look up the ramp and see the old guy still trying to follow us so I decide to go tell someone. While in the midst of trying to tell a station attendant, Kojin comes back and it's all ok. He was a crazy old man =/ Wanted to have tea with Kojin too.
Anyways, we headed back, eventually it ended up just being Vanessa, Hailie, and me. We stop at the konbini and because Vanessa was going out later with everyone else, Hailie (forgive me if I misspell her name) and I decide to go to karaoke. I hang out for awhile in Vanessa and Hailie's room before freshening up and going to karaoke.
SOOOOO MUCH FUN :D Cant' wait to go again. We did it for an hour (it was after 7 and was expensive at this point). With 15 minutes left, I found the stop button. Good thing too because Hailie was trigger happy and would send the same song to sing like 3 times LOL. I did it too though... once... funny ^.^ I just saw the "stoppu" on the machine but couldn't read the rest... so I was like "should I push it????" and then try and it works. So now I know how to stop the songs. I had fun with my Japanese songs... especially "Kiseki" by GReeeeeN... it just put the words up there but no highlighting to follow it. I did a lot of "lallala nananan nenene" in the songs. I think we had fun though :) We'll have to go before 7 so we can pay like 133 yen/person (compared to 650yen/person/30 minutes!)
After karaoke we walked around and went down that one road I've been wanting to explore since I found it when trying to find a McDs (but I went to Roppongi instead). Seemed mostly residential. I don't know if that is where the McDs is that I was looking for... good thing I didn't go that way. We turned around and went back up the stairs to the main road and decided to go into that park area (I want to take pics there) but as we went around the corner there seemed to be two people trying to have some private time so we decided to not go in. We were singing Mulan songs this whole time while walking. Maybe people thought we were crazy LOL
We returned to the hotel and watch Death Note. This is when I realized for some reason my Death Note on my computer doesn't work with subtitles because of this stupid file... I'm gonna try to fix it.... but I may have to let a friend figure out if I can't =/ This is because last year my external HD broke and I had to replace everything and I haven't watched Death Note since before my old one broke. I wonder what else isn't working.
I'm going to the Edo-Tokyo Museum with Lauri this morning and then returning to get dressed for Hanabi (fireworks). There's a big show in Odaiba... it's going to be very very crowded so we are getting there a couple hours early. The show should last a couple hours. So there should be lots of awesome pics come soon :) STAY TUNED~~
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tomorrow is my history midterm... I feel like classes just started last week!!!! ...wait, they did HAHA! We have a total of 16 classes and our 8th is Friday. In Japanese class we have a quiz or test everyday. I've made 100s so far!!! I got a 67/68 on my first test (the one I took yesterday). Now, Amber, what did you get 1 point off for???? 2 sentences were in the wrong tense... I had them in present, and should have been past tense... that's it. I dropped a particle on one part, but it's ok... I'm a big particle dropper after I learned how to do it, no points taken off for that. Everything else was correct. My oral exam was perfect... This means...
...my comprehension is very good, I understand virtually everything immediately.
...my pronunciation is very good, I control all consonants and vowels, stress and intonation.
...my fluency is very good, I speak words and phrases smoothly.
...my grammar is very good, I demonstrate mastery of new patterns, and control previously introduced patterns equally well. Grammatical errors are rare.
...my vocabulary is very good, I have the ability to use new items in a rage of appropriate contexts.
...my task x2 is very good, I have completed the task very well.
I'm curious on how Mr. Loud Mouth did considering he said my Oral went very fast (we all went out in the hallway one by one for it). HAHA it's because I know what to say and how to say it correctly.
I need to hit up my required places for history this weekend and write those papers and get it over with. I have another paper for Japanese due Monday about the Meiji Shrine trip. Nothing right now coming up... a weekend... 2 day weekend :D No class Saturday. I think (JP) Shota has the day off Sunday so HOPEFULLY we get to see each other. Not going anywhere today due to midterm tomorrow, not going anywhere tomorrow (maybe, I usually don't know what I'm doing til the day comes) due to Japanese test Friday (yeah, we just had one yesterday, too!).
Gotta love 3 week programs!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Yesterday after class was the yet another required field trip to Meiji Jingu/Meiji Shrine.
Here is the link to the photo album, but you can see the pics here as well
A nice place. We went in and walked around to a lecture building where a Shinto Priest talked to us about religion in Japan... stuff I mostly already heard. He did quote Dan Brown "Angels and Demons" though so I totally give him some kudos for that :D They played some weird musical instruments. I couldn't quite see well from the back though. One had to be warmed up before being played and sounded like a harmonica (but I'm sure it didn't look like one) Another one was a flute like. There was a third I believe. After the lecture we went inside the Shrine.
Me and the Shinto Priest who talked to us.
Friends and I at the Shrine
I'm not sure if this is Sanpai... but we did see Sanpai, which is a Shinto ritual. This is the last of the pics I basically took because when we went inside we couldn't take pics. I wish we could have though because we saw En-bu performed which is a dance and it was sooooo pretty. So precise, all the movements.
After the Meiji Shrine trip, me and my friends went to eat and walked around Harajuku (Harujuku?). We did some cuuute Purikuras (which reminds me, Kojin never sent it to my phone). I was tired afterward I came back, showered and crashed for the night.
I was pretty much in and out of it all night because I slept with the TV on but too lazy to turn it off. But it was the first time my wake up call actually woke me up ^.^ We had a test in Japanese which includes a written and oral test. Oral tests are sooo scary, I've never had one before. He even records us. Of course Mr. Loud Mouth finished first, but then again I like to make sure my work is complete and use as must kanji as possible (which includes writing hiragana over it). Basically I'm trying not to make stupid mistakes. Sensei said as long as I have the write hiragana written, if my kanji is wrong, then he'll count it write and correct my kanji.
Today in History we went to the Imperial Palace but this time to the East Gardens.
This is a sign found in the train stations and on the trains. Basically at the bottom is says not to cross the white lines because it's dangerous. I understand that. What I DO NOT understand is the top that says "Do it at the beach"..... Do what???? It's strange and makes me laugh.... Best sign ever so far I've seen.
Here's pic of the entrance to the East Gardens. Nothing much to talk about there.
After the trip I went back to the school and printed powerpoints from History then came back to the hotel and rested. I couldn't find any good food on the way so I decided to head back to Roppongi to McDs. I was craving a Shaka Shaka anyways! So I walked there, stopping at the Tokyo Midtown again... I love that place. The walk didn't seem to take so long. But on the way back I decided to take the subway. Oedo line, 1 stop. I'm really curious to find out what takes longer... walking or taking the subway. The subway is fast and convenient, but not when you have to walk down 5 flights of stairs (to 5 floor basement) to get on the train then of course up so many numbers and walk 5 minutes and OH I had to wait 5 minutes for a train.......
But I did manage to use an unfamiliar station and train line and get back!! :) So that's good I guess.
One more thing... either my pants are getting bigger... or my butt is getting smaller. I'm not sure which one... but I felt like I needed a belt all day. And I coulda swore these black shorts were a bit snug...........
Sunday, August 2, 2009
OK... I guess with my online photo album, I'll have to be somewhat picky about the photos. But if you have facebook, add me because I'll get all the pics up there. See my previous blog of info on my trip!
Here is the link to the photo album of the Tokyo Tour
Outside the Imperial Palace. People are only allowed in twice/year like I stated in the previous entry.
It says on a sign that the reflection of the tea house behind me on the water is the most beautiful thing in this garden. I guess 300 year old trees aren't beautiful LOL
I think the 300 year old tree is looking pretty good for it's age ^.^
This is the lady that does tricks at the end of the walk. I saw the crowd and was thinking it was another dancing monkey.
Kekoa, me, and Vanessa at the Statue of Liberty, given by France. This is in Odaiba.
The group and I at the big Gundam robor statue thing.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
I guess nothing much to talk about before the field trip... woke up, ate breakfast, freshened up, go to school...
Kekoa and I met Vanessa, Kojin, and (ENG) Shota downstairs after classes. We found that we had to meet at the North Gate for the Tour at 1:10... currently it was 12:45. So we were like "Lunch?" We have to go to the 7-11 on campus and buy food to eat on the bus. OK, awesome, 7-11 is right at the North gate... that is close... so we have to walk back to the main gate (east gate) and walk all the way around to the north gate. Walk fast. I walk fast with my chicken ka-bob thing ^.^ That was yummy. And we ride the Friendly Airport Limousine buses :D We are bus #3, blue bus, with tour guide Yuki-san! We had the best tour guide.
First stop: Imperial Palace
You can only go past the gate twice a year... this day happened to not be one of those days so we couldn't go very far. Yuki said the emperor called her that morning requesting we have lunch with him... but she kindly asked him for a raincheck because we were busy that day. (that's a joke you guys). Pretty view... but not really much to see there.
Second stop: Hama-Rikyu Gardens
Very pretty place. I love Japanese gardens... at least for the fist 10 minutes on hot humid days like this. I took lots of pics here. This place is home to the oldest pine tree in Tokyo which is 300 years old. There was also this lady performing tricks at the end. Nothing much to say about this place, just a place you have to see. I took lots of pics there.
Third stop: Odaiba
I've been here a couple times. This is where Jun and Manami was meeting me. I went with my big group of friends and new friends to Aqua City (mall) and we walk around until my phone rang... it was Jun then someone tapped me and IT WAS JUN :D So I was starting to part ways with the group and head off with Jun and Manami when they wanted to find the big Gundam robot statue thing. So Jun kindly showed them... not listening to me... I remember the tour guide pointing to where it was. We walked this huge circle and coulda got there 15 minutes sooner -_- Men... So I said goodbye to group there.
Jun, Manami, and I were going to Yokohama... I didn't know Jun was inviting me to stay his house with his family and Manami. I was soooo tired though. So either way, going or not, I had to return to the hotel, we came back here and decided to hang out and I'd just go another night. We hung out til about 9 pm then they left. I showered and fell asleep. Lights and TV still on. I think I got the most sleep last night then I have since I got here.
Today is a free day. More like laundry and homework day.