Living life…

•October 25, 2009 • 1 Comment

***Uh…hey blog…How’ve you been? Yeah… yeah it has been a long time…Yeah, I know I should have wrote before…yeah, I’m sorry… Wait,What?! Whose been saying that?…You know I care about you…Hey!! Don’t you take that tone with me!! No, You don’t control my life…You don’t know all the stuff that’s been going on recently!!…God, why you always have to be so negative and needy I—I just can’t take it!…Yeah, yeah I know…. Right, We said we we’re in this for the long haul…Mhmm…I know, you’re right…Yes, I’ll make sure to write you more often okay…Ok sweetie…Yeah, I’ll make an entry now…okay- I love you ❤ ***

Yeah, so over a month since the last real entry…Oops. Clichéd as it is, I really can not believe how time is flying by- I didn’t know it was the 25th already until my grandma messaged me at exactly 12:01am wishing me a Merry Christmas two months from now (a monthly tradition for years now- She sure got me this time…) I guess that’s how things go when your studying abroad in a country with a pretty sweet culture.

So, since my last “real entry”, I’ve been to quite a few places and done many awesome-tacular things so I’m not even sure where to start. I guess I’ll just list some with some (hopefully short) thoughts…

(EDIT: To break up the walls of text, I put in some pictures- Yay for multimedia!

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Oshino- a small, slightly touristy, town semi-near Mt. Fuji. I went with my host family during Silver Week and saw an old, traditional Japanese house, had some huge fish suck food out of my hands (really fun actually), and got to see a whole bunch of nature for my first time since being in Japan. Took a long drive through the mountains and nearly had a heart attack while realizing that my 66 year old host father would kick ass at drifting in Mario Kart…A quite different (and much quieter) experience than my trips to Akihabara (Speaking of…)

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Akihabara: The heaven of heavens: The Mecca for all Anime/Manga nerds (aka Me)- It’s pretty much like the rest of Tokyo- Lots of tall buildings and shiny lights but instead of giant signs advertising fashion or music, the 40ft. billboards and TV screens display grossly underclothed anime girls. I went into a ten story anime store and nearly died (lots of these moments it seems) from pure fanboy bliss. I also discovered my new crack rhythm game, Jubeat Ripples (Sort of like full body elite beat agents…) Which I just got back from spending a good $10 on in Kichijoji (And while we’re at it…)

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Kichijoji- I know I’ve mentioned it before but I now feel like I know this area of Tokyo the most and it’s still one of my favorites. I went to this bar-like place modeled on English pubs (very appropriately named “The Hub”) and experienced my first drink of alcohol (Moscow Mule) in a public setting (and illegal at that since the drinking age in Japan is 20…). I’ve also discovered some pretty cool arcades and an anime store that, for the sake of my wallet, is very unfortunately easy to get to, and some neat places to eat. I’ve explored the pretty huge Inokashira Park and went to the Ghibli Museum not too far down the street (Now that I’ve mentioned it…)

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Ghibli Museum- The Aptly named for museum of all things Studio Ghibli . One of the most playful, fun and easily one of the most interesting museums I’ve ever been to- Got to see some cool, interactive exhibits on how still images are animated, posed with a huge robot statue thing, saw an adorable short movie, and nearly got a concussion on this awesome spiral staircase. I bought cookies there but I lost them somewhere along the way home which makes me super depressed just thinking about it. Going here was a mandatory requirement for my even more depressingly boring “Contemporary Japan: Ramune to Anime” class. We also had to give a presentation on another Japanese event/place so we decided to go and see kabuki…(I think you get the pattern now…)

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Kabuki (Thank god for wikipedia to explain this stuff so I don’t have to)- One of the most (*coughonlycough*) legitimately “Japanese’ things I’ve done since coming here. Normal kabuki plays last for upwards of four or five hours so we only saw one act (thankfully). It was difficult coming to smack dab into the middle of the play and being stuck in the nosebleed/peasant section but what we managed to get of the story was pretty interesting. The costumes and music are pretty gorgeous but the whole thing moves at the pace of your average Dora the Explorer episode (Yeah- bad analogy. It’s the only thing I could think of that’s painfully slow at the moment- It’s late okay?!). Very much unlike the craziness of the Kawagoe matsuri…(Time to work those eye muscles again kiddies…)

Kawagoe Matsuri– (Okay, so maybe I did do some other legitimately Japanese things) I went here last week and quickly found out that Matsuris are basically big festivals that give people excuses to eat a ton of food and sweets, sing/dance/play music, drink and have…MASSIVE FLOAT BATTLES!

(Okay so maybe it’s not really a “Battle” per se- Still pretty excellent. Sorry for the horrible video-taking and random moments of no sound- I have to figure out what all that’s about…)

Needless to say, pretty awesome. I had an awesome yakisoba, an even more awesome Dorayaki (that had vanilla on the inside and not that red bean crap), some cotton candy, this weird cinammon sugar sprinkle stick…thing I can’t remember the name of at the moment, and some Burger King (Hey, it was either this or fried octopus or some other scary unknown meat items so I decided to play it safe). Needless to say, It was quite worth the hour+ ride and getting lost multiple times while in the city! Also quite worth the long train ride and also involving far  too much walking was…Tokyo Game Show! (Getting old now, yeah I know…)

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Tokyo Game Show- I actually have a semi-coherent, long entry of this already started so I’ll put that up in the near-future…probably. Bummer, right?

Phew. That’ should be most of the place highlights. I’ve also done karaoke a few times now, gone to Shinjuku and Shibuya a few more times, attended some parties, ate way too much food (crepes, pizza, cream puffs, mochi etc.)  and been quite the social butterfly going to parties and such (Which is a pretty big change in my personality honestly- One for the better I think too).

Recently though, the thing eating up most of my time has actually been that little thing that’s actually allowing me to be here: school. Midterms were tough and Japanese kicks my ass on a daily basis; Hard. Super hard- Like, Check Norris roundhouse kick hard (good analogy this time). School’s boring so I won’t go on about it here more but let’s just say I’m glad that the term is over in another three weeks and have already begun to rethink my plans regarding the crazy moon language…

So…Yeah! I’ve definitely been living life and trying to experience as much as I can here in Japanland (Even though I’m hemorrhaging money a bit  a lot…) Always lots more to see and do- Can’t wait to see what’s still in store…

(“Majora’s Mask/ 24/you get the idea” holy crap style)- “8 months remain…”

Ughhhh.

•October 11, 2009 • 2 Comments

 

Ugh.

Words go here

 

(I had apparently saved this as a draft at some point- It’s very applicable right now. Thought it was pretty funny though heh. After I’m done crying about the midterms I’ll bomb tomorrow, I may put actually finish one of my drafts and put it on here…maybe…possibly…)

Random Observations #1

•September 19, 2009 • 2 Comments

(This post has several never before seen, completely mundane pictures- Enjoy!)

Since I’m far too lazy to do a post with any real value, I decided to write down a few (possibly interesting) things I’ve noticed in my time here so far.

1) One of the biggest (aka most painful) things I’ve noticed is It seems that everywhere uncovered, offensively bright, fluorescent bulbs are the light fixture of choice. This is absolutely brutal for my headaches- Whenever I enter a classroom, I turn them off in the hopes no one will care (And I talked to my sensei about it- And they are pretty cool with keeping them off) . If anyone does question why I do it, I’ll just say it’s to save “electorcity”- Yes, the signs in our bilingual school encourage us to save“electorcity”…

2) It gets dark here wayyyy too early. Seriously, by about 6:30pm, its dark. I was talking to my family about it and apparently in the winter, that time winds up getting closer to 4pm. This sucks pretty bad when you don’t get out of school til 7pm- you feel tired so early and then, if you stay up, enjoy the sun kicking your ass out of bed at 5:30am. As controversial as it is, I miss Daylight Savings Time….

3) The customer is god in Japan. Walk in anywhere, and you’ll be greeted by cascading, obscenely peppy shouts of “Irashaimase!” (Welcome!) from nearly every employee in ear’s range. Even at places that no one in their right mind should be happy working at (like McDonald’s- sorry to you ex-employee readers out there- I’d rather become a hobo than work there), you’ll be greeted by the most saccharine smile possible- and the difference is it’s real (or else they are masters of hiding their misery). Regardless, they will try their best to help you find anything you are looking for and bend over backwards to try to make you happy. Recently, when I went in to have my oh-so-loved phone replaced, they gave me a micro-SD card and reader for my trouble- I should totally complain more often…

4) Some Japanese people speak English quite well and others speak no English whatsoever. This may sound a bit haughty but I think it’s pretty accurate- people could be of the same age, with the same background, and schooling and still have completely different levels of fluency (though I guess this a problem in American schools too). What’s a little bit different though is that there is quite a bit of English around- Inside the train, the announcements and displays are in both English and Japanese, many stores, restaurants, pachinko parlors, love hotels etc. have plain English names- and most of it is coherent! And many things that aren’t in English are katakanized into Japanese with their English pronunciation (more or less) intact (basketo-booru, furaido chicken, suupa- remon souda)

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(As most drinks here, it felt like I was punched in the face with lemon goodness- See that Peach Fanta in the background there too? That stuff is on par with that other joy of my life, Pocari Sweat- beverages in Japan kick are awesome)

5) Anything electronic, appliances etc. here tend to be overly complicated or niche. Case in point, the washing machine-

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I still don’t know what most of these buttons do. You have to let it fill up about halfway with water and then close it to let it mix the water and detergent and then and ONLY THEN will it allow you to put clothes in- otherwise it will beep angrily at you and make you fear for your life. Next, one of the coolest niche products ever…

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The foot massager. Yes for the low low price of 29,800 Yen (About $300), you can have this lovely machine break all of your toes without you having to do a thing! It felt kind of good and kind of incredibly painful at the same time- There were ones that went up to your knees though that legitimately felt amazing (as they cut off circulation to the lower half of your body). Fridges have a multitude of buttons on the outside, the bath will fill itself and yell at you when its done, etc. I’ll try to get more pictures of such things but they are very common…

6) Bikes are legitimately the most convenient and important forms of transportation you can have- they are essentially a necessity in suburban(ish) areas like Musashino. Roads are too narrow for cars and parking is obscenely (3rd time using this word- thesauruses can bite me) expensive. As such, bikes are integrated pretty hardcore into the culture-All the roads all have bike markers, there are designated whole shared streets for pedestrians, cars, and bikes, they are parking lots solely for bikes etc. And because they are Japanese and are awesome, they have bike locks on the bikes themselves. You can either lock your back wheel with a key (my bike has this) or you can put up this kickstand/lock that raises your back tire off the ground, making your bike useless for travel (but excellent for anyone who wants a big paperweight). Also, all bikes have headlights on them that are powered by the momentum of wheel. Seriously! Why can’t we think of such logical things?!

6) In public, Japanese people are both surprisingly rude and surprisingly polite. When you’re riding your bike around town, do not expect anyone to be bothered to move out of the middle of the sidewalk for you. Furthermore, don’t expect them to apologize as they nearly ram you into a pole or accidentally bump into you. However, it’s the trains where this interesting (and highly amusing) dichotomy really shows.

While waiting for the train people are the epitome of politeness. Regardless of how busy it is people will line up single-file to get onto the train (My friend has a picture of this- I’ll need to get it. It’s truly impressive). The second those doors open up though all bets are off- prepare to lose all claim to personal space and potentially get touched in places you don’t want to be touched. The orderly line of people becomes one big blob of people with only one mission: to get on the train- no matter how full. You will get shoved by other people and you will be crushed, and you will be crushing others. At every stop, you’ll go through the process again as people shove you off and then back onto the train. The one convenient thing about it is that you don’t have to hold on to anything as the mob of people will keep you in one place. It’s also nice in that you can up close and personal with some “hottie hot hotties”- (Before anyone says it, No, I don’t actively grope anyone on the train but as I said, you will wind up unintentionally touching places you do (And definitely do not) want to, and you will wind up feeling a bit violated yourself). The last few times, I got lucky to have my face shoved into people’s cell phones as they were watching anime- Pretty sweet.

Well, I’m sure I’ll have more to comment about soon. I’ve already gotten pretty used to these things already but I know this is just the tip of the iceberg. Japan surprises me (in mostly good ways) everyday and there’s much more to come in the next year.

(If I can’t think of a clever closer, from now on I’ll just do a random potentially related song lyric- this one’s a cop out because I’m tired though)

“She’s just a small town girl. Living in a lonely world!” (I think you can figure this one out…)

From Ducks to Gods…

•September 17, 2009 • 3 Comments

(It’s much harder to keep up with what’s happening than I thought. So I apologize for the lack of updates)

Since I sort of completely ignored the events of last weekend, I think I should talk about them first before my memory completely fails me… Enjoy the following wall of text- Eventually, I’ll figure out a way to add pictures to this confangled technology.

So last Saturday (I think…) I went to Harajuku and it was pretty awesome; after going through the laborious process of getting a phone. Here’s what went down: My friend and I decided to go to the Softbank store in Harajuku because it’s one that they specifically advertise as having English-speaking representatives. The guy who helped us was very nice but it took forever to go through the entire process. See, getting a Japanese mobile is quite different than getting one in America. For one, there’s no such thing as a text or email message limit- You pay a flat fee of about 300 Yen and you have unlimited. The next difference is that there’s no such thing as “minutes”. According to your plan, you pay a flat rate per minute depending on whether or not you are calling a Softbank phone (usually free) or other carriers. On the prepaid plan, it’s something like 100 Yen a minute (That’s over a $1 a minute)- Insane. I decided to go for a postpaid plan as the rate is much cheaper (about 40 Yen a minute for calls to other carriers)  and I assumed (correctly) that my host family would have trouble texting me if they needed me. I got a free phone with signing up for a 2 year contract which will cost about 9000 Yen to cancel before I leave (About $90) but I was convinced it was would be worth it because the cost of the phones themselves are also insane. I think I’m starting to regret that decision.

I absolutely despise the phone- It definitely looks pretty sweet but the method of texting on it is just god-awful. It  takes me a good three minutes to write a two line text- seriously. I’m highly considering getting a new phone cuz it’s so bad. Oh, it also doesn’t hold a charge for more than a day no matter what I do. So much for saving money that way…

After spending three hours (I ❤ italics) at Softbank, , we got to wonder around Harajuku. The”Symbol of Harajuku”; the main road Takeshita-dori.  It was definitely a  a sight to behold. The street is incredibly narrow and absolutely jam packed with people with all the latest (weirdest?) fashion (if you can call it that), and definitely some of the most awesome hair I’ve ever seen (I didn’t know- anime hair could exist in real life) (I also ❤ parentheses). There were some pretty entertaining Engrishy shirts and outright weird store names- (My particular favorites being the “Nudy Boy” and “Store My Ducks”)  Ultimately though, the “no smorking” sign was the winner of the day. After walking along the more upscale, haughty Omotesando-dori, we went to one of the coolest places I’ve been to yet- Meiji Shrine.

Pictures don’t even come close to capturing the feel of the area. For one thing, it is exceedingly quiet- Which is really impressive considering that the train runs parallel to the park. Also, in quite a a big contrast to the rest of Harajuku, it is incredibly spacious- I don’t think I’ve seen so much open space since coming here yet. Even though there were quite a few people around, it did not feel crowded at all and everyone seemed to, perhaps subconsciously, understand that this was a place where you should be quiet.

Before entering the shrine, you are supposed to clean yourself by washing your hands and mouth (First left hand, then right hand, then mouth, then left hand again- And do the hokey-pokey and turn yourself around…)- It was neat.  Upon entering the shrine, you walk into this HUGE tiled, open area.  On the left there is an small offertory box in front of a sacred tree (as marked by those white, diagonal strips of paper) and on the right, there is another tree around which, you can hang a plaque with your wishes for the future (I thought the irony of hanging some chunks of wood around a tree was amusing…). What was somewhat interesting to me about this was the fact that many of the wishes we’re not super idealistic; there were very few that wished for world peace,  an end to poverty, or other trivial things. Many we’re very personal wishes for things like good health, to become rich, to become famous etc. I found this very interesting in comparison to teachings in Christianity and such that assert that people should always be giving and never think of themselves.

Of course, this stuff ain’t free. You have to pay 500 Yen for the plaque and of course,  being the cheapskate I am, I passed on writing a wish here but I probably will when I get the opportunity to go to another shrine.  Still, as good gaijin, we still made an offering (With 1 and 10 Yen coins of course.). The process for this is to throw in some money, bow twice, clap twice, bow once again and make your prayer. We made another offering once we went into the inner shrine, where photography is very strictly prohibited (they actually have people standing there watching to make sure that you don’t do this).

Well after getting cultured out, we went back to Harajuku- had some crepes (which are crazy popular here), sat and watched all the freaky people for a while, and went home. It was quite fun- I’d love to go back and actually do some shopping in Harajuku when I’m brave and feel like spending some money (which I have been surprisingly good about so far!)

Since then, I wound up losing my wallet (and getting it back- with everything still inside I ❤ Japanese people), almost losing my scholarship that’s allowing me to stay here (I had to write an “apology letter” for missing the orientation for it- It was a bunch of bureaucratic BS that I hope to not get involved with again), finally getting my classes in order (Taking Japanese, Contemporary Japan: From Ramune to Anime, and History of Asian Music I- Everyday I have school til at least 12:40- On Mondays and Fridays, I’m there til 7pm- I dont know how Japanese kids have any sort of social life…), and many other trivial things.

Since the time of this post, I’ve gone to Akihabara, Mitaka, Kichijoji, and Shinjuku so look forward to my reports on those places soon (…maybe).

Where will I go next…

Frustrations and Explorations

•September 4, 2009 • 6 Comments

Well, It’s been just about a week since I got here and, though a lot has happened, it feels like I’ve been here for a long time.(Whether that’s good or bad though, remains to be seen…)

All this week, we had to go to (endure?) various orientation presentations and such. It’s been quite exhausting though the worst part of it was the Japanese placement test… (Feel free to skip this part as it’s probably going to get kind of “Rant-y”

Words can not really describe how hard this test was. I mean, I went into it not expecting to do very well but after the first 20 questions or so, I was wondering how the hell I was able to get into this country at all. The three hour (yes three hour) test was split into three sections-A comprehensive part, a reading/writing/vocab part, and an aural/listening part. The “comprehensive” test basically consisted of about forty or so questions about Japanese particles (<–link for the sadists curious), another 10 with pure walls of text, and another 5 graph/sign/short readings that I actually understood and would maybe have some real world value. Part 2’s “Reading/Writing/Vocab” part might as well have been called “NAME THAT KANJI” because thats all you did for the 90 (!) questions in this part- (I was able to answer 16….yeah). And Part 3 was some pre-recorded lines of dialog that were only played once (along with the questions and answer choices themselves).

Needless to say, I was fuming by the end of that exam. I was incredibly frustrated with not only the language itself, but also (completely unjustifiably) with the people who spoke it fluently. I proceeded to be somewhat of a jackass foreigner for the rest of the day cutting down on the bowing, not apologizing when I almost ran over people on my bike, laying down on the bench in McDonald’s and giving all the people who looked over at me the evil eye- etc. Thankfully though, I had a friend to talk to about it (In English) and I got over it pretty quickly. I found out today that I got into J2 (the level I should be at) though I’ll have to do some remedial work with the kanji. Still, I hope this doesn’t set a scary precedent for the inevitable frustrations I’ll face later on…

On a more positive note though, I finally got a chance to actually go to the city- and it was pretty sweet. I got a taste of the rail system and all it’s craziness (and efficaciousness) though I didn’t need to be pushed into the train which was disappointing (next time hopefully). My friend Rebecca and I decided to visit the only station whose Kanji we could actually read on the subway map- Tokyo (東京).

(Short lesson time- what we refer to usually as Tokyo is actually made up of 23 different wards, who although they all have their own mayor and such, make up Tokyo prefecture- And that’s just what makes up the main/most populous part of Tokyo. This doesn’t include the 26 cities (including Musashino- Where I live) that make up “Western Tokyo”. Confusing, right?)

Anyway, Tokyo’s station was pretty crazy- I think almost all of the train lines go through the station though it doesn’t feel crowded like I later found Shinjuku station to be. Sadly though, the area outside the station is a predominantly business district. We wandered along a line of small shops and Japanese restaurants before deciding to be completely unadventurous and instead eating pizza at an Italian restaurant. Next we went to Shibuya on a whim since it was still early and we felt like wandering a bit more. As we stumbled into Shibuya crossing,  I had another one of those “Holy crap, I’m in Japan” moments. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people all moving in different directions all at once and in such an ordered and nonchalant fasion- It was surreal.

Although all the neon lights and huge buildings of Shibuya were fascinating,  it was the sheer noise of Shibuya that struck me the most. There is music playing everywhere- in front of the storefronts and from giant screens playing music videos, to trucks driving around whose sole purpose is to drive around and make you go deaf.  On top of this you have people standing around yelling at you (politely) to go to their stores, check out certain clubs, parties etc. Know how they entice you to listen? They give you packs of tissues- Yes, tissues. People are always in need of tissues in this age of swine flu infestation so it makes a lot of sense I suppose…

My first real “free” weekend in Japan starts tomorrow so I wonder what will happen. The only plan at the moment is to go to Shinjuku to finally buy a keitai (cell phone) but the rest of the weekend is fair game. Clubbing? A trip to a Shinto shrine, perhaps? More pointing the sky and cursing ‘WHY AM I HEEEERE!?!? (As my brother would say)

Ahh, the choices…

(More pictures coming soon…)

ここにいる!(Koko ni iru) I am here!

•August 31, 2009 • 5 Comments

Well after one of the most miserable travel experiences of my life, I am finally in Japan! And there are so many things to talk about- both big and small. First though, getting here…

Getting here really, really sucked. I mean like, uber sucked. Traveling 6000+ miles in a day is exhausting- And that’s not even taking into account the time difference of +13 hours…

It’s also true what they say; airline food really does suck. The first meal was all right, it was chicken and rice (with a piece of sushi-which was actually good!). Next was a ham sandwich which was downright terrible because it was completely frozen in the center and the cheese on it tasted like salty milk. The last was a pizza- like one of the ones you throw in the microwave and its not amazing but it does the job. Let me tell you, it did NOT do the job on the plane. It was all right until I got to the center where there was a heaping glob of tomato sauce unlike anything I have ever tasted before. You know how when you get to the center of a jelly donut where there’s the most jelly and it’s one of the greatest sweet joys of the world? Think of that, but instead of jelly, there’s pure tomato paste. Yeah, I nearly threw up on the guy next to me (who moments before had sneezed all over my arm). You have no idea how glad I was to get off that plane…

Thankfully though, the actual process of getting here went very smoothly. Getting through the airport was easy enough (though having to get my fingerprints taken was a little unnerving) and I would up getting onto the bus right on time (though I kinda cheated and found someone who spoke English).

So yeah, “Tokyo Airport” is actually not close to Tokyo- At. All. It’s actually in Narita which is a much more rural area so, I took the “limobus” to Kichijoji station- supposedly a 1.5-2 hour trip. My luck as it was, it took almost three and a half hours. I imagine there was a bunch of traffic or something but I passed out pretty quickly (and left a lovely bunch of drool on the window).

For the short time I was awake though, I made a few observations, the first being that, like everyone says, Japan is humid. I’m not talking like, “Oh it’s a bit muggy, let’s turn on the A/C” humid, I’m talking like, “Holy crap, I think I’m going to suffocate- It’s raining in my lungs” humid. Another was that Japanese cars beat American cars hands down. Almost all of them had a built in TV/GPS on the dashboard and a whole bunch of other gadgets on the inside. Sadly, I fell asleep too quickly to really absorb much else.

Anyway, around 7:30pm I finally arrived at Kichijoji station and met my host parents Hiroko-san and Junji-san. They have been wonderful so far- They are both very nice and understanding and have been quite patient with me despite my pathetic level of Japanese comprehension (aka me nodding my head a lot and “hai”ing even though I have no idea what they are saying). The house itself is very comfortable and decent sized- My room is kinda small- I think the room next to me is for the other 留学生 (Ryuugakusei- Foreign exchange student) and it’s pretty nice so I’m kind of jealous but I’ll get over it. The only thing I don’t really care for is the bed; it flat out sucks- it’s probably harder than the floor. Once I get over my phobia of speaking Japanese, I have to go to the デパート (depaato- Department store) and get a cushion or something.

Besides those few things, it’s been a good experience so far though I’m still somewhat out of it from the jet lag and just adjusting in general. It honestly doesn’t seem real but once I take a look out my window at the tiled roofs around me…
View from my window

and I think…Wow, I’m in Japan! I am here…

And so it begins…

Sacrifices

•August 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment

As of about four six hours ago (this entry took a while), I am officially unemployed!

Due to the fact that I’ll be studying abroad for over 10 months, I had to resign from my job that I’ve held over the past three and a half years. I had originally thought that they would let me keep it because A) I’m going away for school and not just for funsies B) I have a scholarship through my work and C) Well, I’m still there after three years. But oh well; しょがない(Sho ga nai) as they say. ” It can’t be helped” ( I hope to talk about this phrase in a later entry- I wound up touching on it on a book report once and and the cultural significance about it is pretty deep and somewhat controversial).

With that nerdy bit out of the way…

It is exciting, somewhat depressing, and definitely surreal to have given up my job. Even though I plan to reapply for my job when I get back, I feel a new sense of freedom; like there is one less thing to tie me down while I’m away and when I get back.  At the same time, I don’t want to leave the great people that I’ve worked with and I almost feel guilty that they have to stay while I get to go to the land of the rising sun/ kawaii (You’ll throw up rainbows) / anime (Cant wait to see this- It premieres on my birthday) / cheap cars (Girl probably not included) / Hello Kitty (Now on men’s underwear) / sushi (Obama-themed?) / fashion (Man skirts?)/ tentacle porn (Not putting an example) and all the other things people associate Japan with.

Ridiculous stereotypes aside, there’s so much I want to see and do in Japan. Ever since I was hooked on the children’s form of crack better known as Pokemon when I was a kid, I’ve dreamt about going to Japan. My opportunity has come and I’ve had to make some difficult sacrifices- Aside from my job, I’ll miss a whole year at my home college which I absolutely love and I’ll be away from my friends and family pretty much for the first time in my life.  Not to sound corny, but once again, I think it will all work out in the end.

Now’s the time to get psyched…