Tuesday, October 30, 2007

COR was very well received today, hoho. teachers who have never bothered to talk to me actually did today haha, it was great. the kiddies got a kick out of it too. it was nice to see their "whoaaa..." expressions as i passed by their classes. basic halloween in a nutshell lessons today. i brought the jack o lantern that i made, and pictures of previous UCLA halloween experiences so they got to learn with their eyes. they totally understand what i mean now when i say, "one of my hobbies is sewing." haha.

i brought hella chocolate but it was gone so fast - i think ill need to stop by Valor again and reload. it's good that the first class i have is 3rd period tomorrow - gives me time to make copies of my handout.

anyhoo, i sure had a good time today. i wonder if any of my teacher buddies will cosplay too... i wish i had my WHM hoodie - then i could wear that with white dress and bring WHM chocobo plushie with me and have a low key halloween outfit - but that wouldnt be any fun right? hoho random teacher took pix of me while i was lesson-ing in costume and apparently it's going to be in some future PTA newsletter @_@ hopefully parents wont have anything to complain about, but on the bright side theyre going to give me copies of the pix too, so i can finally have some real school 'action' to show harhar.

if i was back at home, i would have soooo made Naja Salaheem for halloween. it's because i would have sooooo been going to the FFXI fan fest in anaheim ><

Monday, October 29, 2007

so im going to go all out for the halloween - COR all the way at school - cultural ambassador ftw. the only substitute i need to make is black t shirt instead of the black bikini top lol. the black shirt is even the ffxi baby chocobo one that i got at TGS =3 im carving my own jack o lantern tonight and bringing it tomorrow too - cant half ass these things, lol, although im not sure what kind of design to do yet...

pix to come soon hoho

Saturday, October 27, 2007

yay for practice.

today we worked on normal kenjutsu stuff and then idori + kaiken stuff. participation makes me happy. and i got to work with beaufitul man all day today lol lol lol

at the after-practice dinner social gathering thing, i asked what everyone did in high school in terms of club stuff and they were like, "meh, normal stuff like bball club, swim club, tennis club, brass band." then we somehow got to talking about otaku and how our martial art as a whole is teeming with them, hoho. i was like, "dude its totally the same in UCLA." one guy told me that when he was a freshman, and went to see a club practice for the first time, he slid open the door and there was this dude doing saito hajime's zero stance from Kenshin like in his face lol... and that was the first impression he got of kay ess ess arr lol - not even kay ess ess arr at all haha. then he proceeded to tell me that this dude is like the number one otaku of the tsukuba branch. i doubt him not, haha.

it was raining like crazy all morning today. it cleared up significantly by the time i reached gikadai at like 500pm, and after practice you could see clear starry skies. we ate at this chinese food restaurant that every seems to like. they served some pretty fatty portions, so i guess it goes without saying that it's super popular among the college students. i had a shumai set thing and sure enough, i got a fatty bowl of rice - almost as big as a donburi bowl - fatty shumai guys, and your typical jp pickles and shredded cabbage, and their attempt at a wonton broth or something. and of course there was a fatty glob of mayo all over the cabbage... bleh. in terms of taste, they actually almost had it down. their kitchen was spot on, though. they had plenty of grease ball medals of honor on their walls and stuff - it really felt like a restaurant youd find in chinatown.

i think ill start some laundry now.

Friday, October 26, 2007

i had a really awesome time at my almost all boys school today. man, i swear those kids have to most heart out of all the schools ive been too haha. i just did self-intro lessons, but they were so nice and responsive! sure theyre a little ADD, but it's not like theyre ignoring me or trying to disrespect me. they just... have stuff that pops into their head now and then, and they just have to turn to their buddy and talk to them real fast, lol.

working the classroom politics is a lot of fun too. i swear these kids could have been casted as a great homeroom for a gokusen-esque high school tv drama. theyre actually more well behaved than what a gokusen caliber bunch would be.

it was pretty much raining all day today. it got really bad during 6th period and there was thunder and lightening of biblical proportions. i seriously cant recall any thunder storms that were any more badass than what we went through today. walking the 8 minutes or so from school to the train station got me totally soaked from the knee down. i was wearing flip flops - college rainy day habit - so the general public looked at me kinda funny wherever i went. i dont know why it could have been such a big deal - flip flops arent so far away from those high heeled open toe things i saw some women sporting today. after i made my train transfers and whatnot, and got back to home station i decided to mull around the animate downstairs. theyre selling those chocobo plushies i saw at TGS there hoho.

i went to the international food store after animate and bought that wonka bar =3 i also got some chunky skippy =D

and mosquitoes still bite the hell out of me even in the cold and rain - how messed up is that? i have one from today, one from yesterday, and two from the day before. i swear theres nothing i can do to make them not want to suck my blood.

ive been sashimi-ing it out for the past few days. you can always count on freshness and variety at good old Valor Supermarket. im going to eat some miso soup, gyoza, pizza nikuman, and tuna onigiri for dinner tonight - just waiting for rice to ding. time to ww - im like 0.6 away from ww 69 hoho

Thursday, October 25, 2007

so i remember what i was going to write the other day.

im totally mister rogers this season. i go to school with a jacket on, cause its kind of chilly when i ride my bike, but when i go to school i change into a thinner sweater + indoor shoes! i actually sing his song in my head too when i leave and put my jacket + shoes back on. hoho - its great.

there are a lot of dude teachers here totally stuck in the 70s - they wear 'vintage' suits and got their boss glasses going on... hair slicker than crisco... and they all all form a pack! so they look even more awesome together. they all are heavy smokers too so you can always find them near the school gate puffin on their jp cigs like no tomorrow... -- totally stuck in the 70s haha.

what else... there was one more thing...

ah yes. teachers here tend to talk to themselves a lot. they dont just mumble under their breath in a 12 inch voice, but they speak normally as if theyre really talking to someone next to them. at my base school my desk is right next to the fancy copy machine, so a lot of teachers like to chill there while their copies are being minted all the while talking to thin air... its totally groovy.

i spent a long time talking to english club kids today. best group of kiddies ever. i also went with other teacher to watch some more clubs at practice and stuff. we got to see some hardcore volleyball and badminton kids do what they do best. they have so much heart! its always so cool to see so many kids after school all wrapped up in club activities. then they'll go home and their house mommy will have a nice dinner waiting for them =3 ok, maybe thats over-generalizing a bit too much, haha.

ive been scarfing down chocolates as of yesterday, hoho. with halloween coming up ive been craving chocolate, so i went and bought these alcohol-filled ones, and some other simple chocolates as well. the non-alcoholic chocolates are by the meiji candy co - the same company that makes those choco gummy things - and the pack comes in 3 varieties: black, milk, and hi-milk. when i stare t the hi-milk one, i always think in my head hi-potion or hi-ether haha. so when i eat it i imagine im totally LARPing haha. oh, the chocolate~ after school tomorrow i think i'll buy a fatty wonka bar and slowly devour it through the beginning of november. i'll make some chocolate beef or something and bring it as a lunch. i weirded them out when i presented my ham + cheese + nori sandwich to them (the other teachers). they were like, "zomg, wtf" and i was like, "dude nori kicks the shit out of lettuce... and it's so easy to throw in between bread."

tomorrow is almost all boys tech school day~ 3rd years and 2nd years, heres hopin for excitement.

Monday, October 22, 2007

my jp teacher buddy showed me their brand spanking new computer lab today - it's not even a year old yet haha. everything in there is so fatty. i can say the feel of the room was even more spiffy than the newest computer labs at UCLA. we were abusing the technology a bit like messing with the electronic white board... international first year kids at my base school have sure got it good.

we cleaned out the beginnings of a bird's nest in a room adjacent to the new computer lab. we wedged some cardboard in the little nook where the nest was (no babies yet for the year so we didnt have to feel bad). teacher dude said that a few months ago when he first inherited the duties and responsibilities for that room he had to clean out the bird nest stuff and there were actually 4 baby pigeons already chilling in the nest @_@

the air bites of autumn finally. i can even say that sometimes when i ride my bike places, it actually feels... cold... to me. lol.

no not counting my suit jackets, i only really have a thin sweater and hoodie that counts as fall/ winter tops. if it gets as cold as they say it will, i'm going to freeze! huzzah! if it really gets that bad before i get my next supply drop, i can always just find some more clothes i guess... but ever since i got internet back, nearly all my shopping desires have been killed off, clothing-wise that is, because i still wanna buy technology and games and stuff harhar.

something amusing happened today and ive been trying all day to keep it in my head so i could write it down here. but now that i'm actually in the process of recording, i cant seem to remember exactly what i wanted to remember... it was something about my life at school, that's for sure...

anyway, i can confidently say that the best lunch goods are at my mid-level school. they have the best 'spicy chicken' on a stick thing ever. now when they say 'spicy' they really dont mean spicy. it's more like seasoned chicken. in any case, i havent had chicken as good as that for a very long time. so modest! so tasty!

a lot of teachers gave out sweets today. i got a bunch of red bean manju guys as well as chocolate cookie things. i didnt hold back either - right after i ate my lunch, i kept on refilling my teacup and ate all the cakes in one sitting. lol. my tupperware guy that i bring my lunch in is pretty big too. i want to say it's 3 times the volume of a normal pill-shaped bento thing that the teachers and students bring. it's not like i fill it up 100% though, haha. but after im finished eating, while im washing it out at the sink, passer-by teachers kind of stare at the box, then at me, and then at the box again and kinda smile and go about their business. i swear im the only one who has just random tupperware for their lunch box thing and not something of the cute variety like all the others have.

darn, that thing that i was going to write was making me laugh to myself all day too, haha. im sure ill be able to remember it eventually.

i was writing materials for Halloween themes lessons and was getting kind of sad as i realized that Halloween totally does not exist in Japan the way it does in the states. i wont get to cosplay to lecture! or the supermarket! im thinking of bringing my COR cosplay and just showing them what i would have worn if i was in the states, haha.

man, if i was back in the states i'd totally rock COR. we could prolly get away with trick or treating still too, as long as i let my hat cover my eyes i think haha. oh, i can share part of my handout here:

My Halloween Costume Timeline:

Preschool (kinda) – cat

Kindergarten – fairy

1 – ballerina

2 – duck
3 – astronaut
4 – bad witch

5 – good witch

6 – ghetto Sailor Mercury (Sailor Moon)
7 – mad scientist
8 – mage

9 – warrior (pasta strainer sallet)

10 – Lucca (Chrono Trigger)
11 – Freya (Final Fantasy IX)
12 – Rena (Star Ocean II)

Freshman – UCLA
Sophomore – Red Mage (Final Fantasy XI)
& Takuto (Full Moon wo Sagashite)
Junior – Chii (Chobits)

Senior – Haruhi (Ouran Host Club)

behold, all my halloween costumes from when i was 4 years old~

Saturday, October 20, 2007

i feel grrreeeaaaatttt yyeeeeaaaahhhh ^0^

so i went to practice with the dudes at gikadai today and it was awesome

all my fears totally melted away about practicing on a jp level

first of all everyones' general reaction was "holy shit... very good!" and i was like, "uh ok, lol."

i bark like a man apparently haha, and the dudes here arent out to destroy everyone in their path or anything. the head dude is a really nice guy - im not even kidding. he has that cool uncle feel to him. the other dudes seem kinda shy around me lol, so i get all up in their face and enter their personal bubble to enhance the effect! hohohoho they totally dont look me in the eye so i hella stare at their face. lol lol lol - oh, how awesome it is to tease the undergrads~

usually there are about a handful of people who come - head dude says around 5 i guess, but today we had 8 people. so the group size is a lot like non-sunday UCLA practice days.

nest part of practicing with gikadai: BEAUTIFUL MAN GOES TO THIS SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!

the same dude at gasshuku who i said, "i have stared at your face all weekend, and youre the most beautiful man here," to. TOTALLY SWEET! when i was walking with head guy to the practice site he told me, "so i think you might have worked out with one of our members at gasshuku, but im not so sure if you remember..." and i was like, "it cant be him..." and it was!! i opened the door into the room and i was like, "beautiful man!!!" and hella pointed to him. "REALLY great to see you again!!" lol.

its nice because i can speak japanese to them 100% go me. all the independent study stuff ive been doing and will be doing is going to be put to use every saturday evening now =D

oh, how the universe loves me so!

and im happy the group size is just about as intimate as UCLA. ive already memorized everyones' names =D i have first impressions for everyone too - like "this guy is like a nice and no-power jimmy" or "this is totally like freshman year karate man allen" or "this guy is like big steve." but theyre all really nice, albeit shy haha.

oh and this was no big surprise at all but im the only girl again! lol.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

i totally drew a penis on the board today haha

so i was in a 3rd year student english class today and the reading material was about the origins of sushi. we came to the phrase "finger-like pieces" and to illustrate this idea i drew a picture of a glass and explained that sometimes people will say, "i want 4 fingers of this drink" and hold up 4 fingers against the glass. then i drew a dish of the dessert 'lady finger' and proceeded to explain the reason why they call it a lady finger was because it kind of looks like a finger...

but when i stepped back and looked at my drawings, the lady finger picture totally looked like a penis. i gave my students the eye and they all started busting up lol. some kids were like, "zomg wtf!?" haha, but before my jp teacher buddy could look at what was up i had filled in the picture and squared it out a lot haha. we then proceeded with the lesson >_>

3rd years are totally different than the 1st years. it's like theres a whole 5 years in between them i swear. the 1st years look like total kids but the 3rd years look like college students - it's crazy.

penis! lol, my bad.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

posting as slowed to a trickle as i have been able to message people and tell them about stuff that way.

ive had a steady habit of ffxi-ing these past few days. i got the o kote drop in castle O this weekend. i felt like such a winner - it was great. i cant wait to try it in action.

im at my base school for the entire week this week because my other 2 schools are on exam schedules. im happy that i can simply bike to work and not have to wake up so early this week yay~ i really wish that i only had to come to my base school. id feel like more of a part of their daily lives that way. its really uncool when people come up and ask you if you can do XYZ on XYZ days and you have to think about whether youre going to come to that particular school for that particular month.

so im pretty happy that it has finally gotten cooler around here. i really cant wait for winter. i want to see things freeze and stuff haha

ive been drawing little 4-koma for the kiddies as an english writing activity - they have to write in the chat bubbles and stuff. this way hopefully i can slowly get them to think on their toes. they really have a problem with realconversation. they think too much on not what to say but how to say it and its so funny. its not that they dont know what to say... theyre just deathly afraid of saying it all ghetto. my scrap paper game and this manga chat box fill in thing has a purpose to get them to freely use what weapons theyve got at the drop of a hat. i swear they think theres only one way to say things... this way they can see that there are like 5 billion ways to get your message across even if you dont use perfect english

i want to destroy their perfectionist attitude when it comes to oral communication.

they can be perfect or whatever on a written test or an essay, but it doesnt matter with oral communication. if it really did matter, immigrant businesspeople in america would have been screwed a long time ago.

i pumped air into my poor tires yesterday. i forgot about the whole maintenance thing, and ive been working the pink stallion ever since i bought it. do you actually ride faster with tires full of air? will you really go slower if theyre not so full of air? i wanna believe that it takes less energy to ride a bike with normal amounts of air in their tires than riding a bike with flat tires... im sure an expert can tell me all about it sometime.

im going with other AET people to eat at awesome indian food restaurant in a little bit. that place is awesomely awesome. it rivals ambala daba in westwood in terms of taste - it really does. ambala daba still winds overall though. jp selection of ingredients can never beat what you can find in california.

i wonder what i should do for dinner tomorrow... the portion of food that i was going to finish off today for dinner will be my lunch at school tomorrow... so my plans for dinner are up in the air. i think i might make some tuna onigiri guys and eat it with soup and salad...

im happy that i can find the ingredients for my favorite salad combination from the dorms - spinach leaves, tofu and cheese. i used to add olives and bean varieties too, but here i stick with the basics. i still cant get over how people like to use iceberg lettuce so much. sure you see it in all the staple salads and in burgers and such... but spinach leaves, romaine lettuce, butter leaf lettuce, and even nori totally beats iceberg lettuce in every aspect. when i make ham and cheese sandwiches, instead of lettuce i put in nori haha. yea, i get a lot of questions from the other jp teachers, but if you think about it nori probably has a whole lot more to offer nutritionally than iceberg lettuce. although you kind of make a trade in texture and color... but you can keep nori in your kitchen forever!

in terms of your ghetto, "stop eating this, youre not a college student anymore" instant food i still eat ramen. i put in nori, a flat of tofu and an egg into it to make a meal out of it but... it's still instant ramen. all the bowl ramen and udon that i see at the market are all my favorite brands too so its hard to resist... so cheap... so fast... so doctorable... i miss chinese ramen though. i know if i found some id totally buy a box of it... which is like 30 bags of ramen or so... which means i would have a source of lazy food in my apartment... and my eating habits would totally die until the box 'went away.'

i finally found some passable vietnamese food ingredients at an international store in nagoya last thursday, but even after staring at them on the shelf and imagining myself eating it, i got kind of sad thinking how it would only be me eating... so i didnt buy any at all. maybe if we have a nice teachers event i'll go and cook up something cute.

ive convinced myself from when i first got here that i didnt NEED those cute lunch boxes that everyone has... until recently. the cool old male teachers were busting out their cute lunch sets and they looked so adorable... even at my ghetto tech school the boys have their own cute lunch boxes and no one messes with them. they have them out all over the place for everyone to see. jp mommies are so cool, haha.

i think i just might give in to this other want soon, hoho.

maybe i will in december when i can tell people it was a present and theyll probably believe me...

Monday, October 8, 2007

so i was in ffxi all weekend.

i caught up on all of lucky star and lovely complex too

that was just about my entire weekend.

i went out once to take out the trash hoho

Friday, October 5, 2007


so i opened up the door to a salesman from a company dishing out hikari fiber internet for discount rates and for the 30 minutes i was talking to him he thought i was a man

that made my day lol

he apologized profusely and was like, "omg my bad!" commented that i have young male style and taste in clothing and then called me "older sister" cause hes like 4 days younger than i am haha.

im so biseinen!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

so i got to talk with a nice group of 3rd years from english club after school today. to my delight, one of the girls confessed her obsession with anime, games and manga, hoho. after i showed her pictures from my various cosplay and whatnot she told me, "pham sensei... you made my day." lol.

i hope the regular first year kids will grow to enjoy english conversation as these kids did. i told them all about hyphee culture and then about UCLA and how class is like there. they were like, "zomg 300 students in one class?!" when i told them about your typical lower division or GE class.

so some other bug thing has been biting me for the past few days. at first i thought they were the usual mosquito suspects, but these bites turned super red, they became inflamed in a smaller area, and would fade drastically and promptly after only one hour or so. after that hour, they become really small, almost if someone took a marker and dabbed me with it - and they stop itching! they really burn when i first get the bite though, i notice right away unlike for mosquito bites.

i asked a bunch of teachers what they think the number one mosquito prevention plan is and they all seem to agree that this popular incense style coil thing is the best. there must be some kind of food i can eat that makes me non tasty for the mosquito kind...

im going to launch my light hearted comic stuffs in a few days. ive already drawn interesting things, so once i decide how to start off the whole thing, i can expect myself to be posting new things nearly every other day. (rough projection).

i think im going to farm some more in game now...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

04 Aug 2007

So before we left our orientation, the veterans told us to start making a list of stuff we wish our predecessor could have told us before coming. Here I go.

>> Bring extra passport size photos.

>> You don’t have to cram all your omiyage into your carry-on or personal item because you don’t give them out until a few days after anyways.

>> If packing a towel at all, make it small and thin – better for hand washing and air drying during the first few fend-for-yourself days.

>> Don’t pack so much full formal business suit clothes because it will be too hot to wear the jacket or even the pants anyway. Girls, stick to skirt + nice short sleeve button shirt because it’s totally OK to wear.

>> Don’t be freaked out about random insects inside your apartment. It’s normal that bugs run rampant during summertime.

>> Be prepared to feel a lot of “wtf” emotions towards the JTEs during your first few classes as they expect you to run everything by yourself.

>> Don’t slack on learning kanji (or buying a kanji dictionary) because it’s something you use right away.

A lot of the stuff dude left me that he thought was junk actually came in handy. Prime example: at the moment, I’m totally consuming the leftover shampoo he had in the washroom. Now I know a lot of people wouldn’t go for that at all, but what’s pride mean when you’re all alone in a new country anyway?

I saw my first authentic Japanese stray cat yesterday. It was in the grass looking for something… Toyohashi is also home to bats, at least in the summer. It was a very cool sight to see – lots of bats just fluttering and swooping around the stream at dusk.

I also went to APITA, the WAL*MART + TARGET + Albertson’s of Japan. I got a load of stuff for my kitchen because my predecessor dude didn’t cook all that often and there were no essential cooking items left here. I got a cute pot (dude only had a frying pan – but a pretty nice one at that, actually) and a floor mat, some kitchen towels, and a cutting board. I was going to get more stuff, but I had come by foot and didn’t want to carry more than 20 lbs of random stuff all the way back home.

VISA is awesome, by the way. You can use your VISA card at APITA no problem.

What they said about Asians blending in with Japanese people is totally right, by the way. Even though my eyes aren’t as ‘chinky’ and skin isn’t as light as the natives’ I can go shopping and walk around town without people looking at me funny.

I woke up with an insect bite on the outer side of my left shin this morning. This summer seems to be the summer for incurring bites it seems…

Cleaning this place is totally awesome – I don’t have many things here and there weren’t many large pieces of furniture existing here to begin with, so I can run the vacuum through the entire place in a flash. Then I mop down all the flat surfaces with a wet cloth and everything is done. Laundry is a breeze too. I thought that with the humidity, my clothes would never dry, but it does rather quickly.

I think I’ll go to APITA again today and pick up some more stuff… I need a bike, though… As soon as I get paid I’m going to pay the rent, pay for the stuff I bought from dude, sign up for internet, then buy a bicycle. Actually I think it might take me another month or so to do all that…

05 Aug 2007

Sparkles are totally IN here. Everyone has sparkles on everything. I went back to APITA this afternoon after searching for an ATM that lets you take out money from a VISA ATM card. 7 Eleven is my savior. I was going to buy a bicycle today after I bought a rice cooker and some bath towels, but the cool bike shop was super busy when I got there, so I think I’m going to buy one after school tomorrow. I have my eyes set on this 10,980-yen one that has 24 inch wheels and is a frosted pink color.

This part of Toyohashi is totally a bicycle town. Everyone from little kids to old grandmothers ride bikes. I need to join the cool bike riding club ASAP.

On television right now is this show called, “Art no chikara” that I guess takes nice kids and throws them into art activities. On the episode that I’m watching, the people are taking these kids into a Buddhist temple to do calligraphy and paint stuff like bamboo, mountains, flowers, and secular art. Their art is incredibly good and I take it they’re only 13 years old or so.

I made a vegetable + chicken stir-fry last night and ate it with some since I had no rice cooker yet.

Nice. A top music program is on.

And Ayumi Hamasaki is singing now. It’s been a long time since I’ve bothered to listen to any of her music. I like how she sings with a less cutesy voice and more like a normal talking voice. This song, “glitter” isn’t all that awesome, but I like the way Ayu looks right now. She’s rounded out a lot body-wise and looks pretty healthy. I like the poundage around her arms, back, face, and thighs especially. She still has the bleached blonde hair going on, but I think it looks nice and non-trashy.

So I’ve been people-watching the late teens and twenty-something women here to see what kind of makeup is in. I see ladies doing the pale face makeup rarely here. Typical Asian earthen colors are still pretty popular, while colors are pretty rare. I think the only girls I’ve seen use any colors, even safe colors like blues, greens and purples, are the super high fashion, borderline skank girls. Soft pink glossy lips are in.

In terms of fashion, kitten heel sandals are in. They must sparkle as well. Women still do the empire waist, short peasant dress + dark leggings thing, or long top anything + legging thing in general.

The Arashi dudes are popular as ever. The dude who plays Asai-kun in “Stand Up!” stars with another Arashi dude in this one drama that I didn’t catch the title of last night. He’s still as dorky as ever. Maybe that’s a moe factor for some people.

A really cute girl is singing right now. “Lullaby for you” by Jyongri it seems. Her hair + dress + face are awesome, but I hate her shoes. The song is good too - it’s kind of like a slow-jam.

And a Morning Musume-esque song is up now. The group is called, “C-ute.” They totally suck.

Nice. Miyavi is on. Damn - he has flawless teeth. The song rocks – something neo-visualizm.

Boo. The show is over. I think I’ll heat up leftovers and eat dinner now. I need to buy soy sauce, corn starch, and rice sometime, though.

06 Aug 2007

So I’m here at school waiting for a teacher’s meeting thing to start… according to cool girl sensei it’ll last about ten minutes and all they have to do is sit there and listen. I’m also going to introduce myself formally to the school for the first time.

That was painless. Now for small talk time!! What a relaxing morning so far. I left the box of those chocolate raspberry vegan bar things in the snack room and I’m glad they’re so popular. There’s nothing like nice snacks to make people feel happy. Mr. Kawatani says that some people are going to feed me lunch today. I’m looking forward to that.

Oh, I totally forgot to mention the library! It’s a very cute and cozy place where you would find the glasses-wearing hottie-in-hiding. One of the librarian dudes, who we call Kin-san actually inhabits the desk right next to me, but spends most of his time at his library post.

Missions for today: get to know some teachers some more, [(and remember their names, importantly,) see, I have this system where I write down their name along with something memorable about them, or what they were doing when we met,] buy that pink bike, get some rice, soy sauce, and corn starch.

It just may be me, but I think the skirts are shorter than usual here. Either that, or the teachers are being more lenient on the dress code just for the summer, letting the girls hike up their skirts almost two fists above their knees. They don’t even have to tie back their hair, it looks like. I remember in Shimashou, if you couldn’t see the back of the shirt collar, then you had to tie up your hair. It’s a nice sight to see. I’m so glad there are girls at my base school. It makes things interesting. I am not a pedophile.

Hooray – I just met some 3rd years that had this custom to talking to my predecessor dude at lunch every day. It seems they want to continue this happy tradition with me. Man, I’m so excited – why am I suddenly reminded of younger brother? In any case, they seem to be nice kids.

Oh, awesome. It seems to be cleaning time. There are all these students in the teachers’ room getting water and whatnot. Why am I so amused? Holy crap, they’re cleaning up everything! Go grunts, go! Man, this is A-grade thoroughness you don’t get in America.

So I have to go to a moderately far-away place on Wednesday and I’m getting there via bus solo – and it will be ok because I believe!! Hooray for confidence.

Nice. There’s only half an hour to go before I get to meet English club kids (/excitement), and then get fed – yay.

So I’m back at my apt, which meant meeting kids and getting fed already happened, and went pretty well. The girls in English club are super shy, but one girl did not fail to ask me this interesting question, “Do you have a boyfriend?” Ohoho. The president of the club even took it up a notch and asked, (after I told them that yes I do have a boyfriend) “What percent sure are you on marrying him?” I was like, “dude you guys, I’m like 22,” and they were like, “so… what percent then?” /chuckle

I got my supremely awesome bicycle today. After I changed out of my school clothes I took it for a spin around town. It’s been forever since I’ve ridden a bike for more than five minutes but I’d like to confirm the saying that goes, “you never forget how to ride a bicycle.” I think I surprised myself, actually. Maneuvering the narrow sidewalks and alleys and even riding along with traffic sometimes was pretty exciting. I’m happy to say that I didn’t screw up at all, crash or anything. Towards Toyohashi Station all the roads become significantly wider so that was quite helpful. In any case, I had forgotten how fun cycling was, and today’s two-wheeled adventure was quite refreshing.

Along the way to the station I was keen to heighten my senses and take in my surroundings. Opposite direction of the station there was a great number of small-business, Japanese style restaurants along with a few book stores. Around Central Toyohashi near the station were a lot of high-rise buildings, malls, big shops and supermarkets, lots of places to eat, and everything in between. I guess Central Toyohashi, as the teachers have told me, really gives off the big city feeling without being Tokyo-sized in actuality. I went into a kind of thrift store near the station where almost every article of clothing was priced as 525-yen. In the same building as the thrift store was a small purikura and fun center, and on a different floor was a kind of SEARS equivalent. There, I saw the most awesomely cute tea pot that I seriously wanted but have no real need for. It was soft pink, brushed aluminum, small, round, cute and 2,650-yen or so. /grin

At a smaller shop inside the building there was a lot of foreign goods on sale. To my delight, I was able to acquire real Vietnamese fish sauce here! I bought one 200ml (think one Capri Sun pouch) bottle for 378-yen.

I ran into a fabric shop on the way back home from the station but didn’t bother to look inside to check the prices. I saw a lot of normal looking middle-aged women rummaging around inside however, so I trust the prices might have been reasonably inexpensive.

My sector of Toyohashi seems to have a lot of very nice, children-friendly parks. I saw at least 7 large parks with fully functional fields and play equipment along my entire bike journey today. I think the best-looking one is pretty close to my apartment – lucky me! It’s decked out with this geyser-like thing where children can dance around in the water wearing nothing but their underpants. I saw a lot of young housewives there chatting with each other, too. Ah~ the life of a small, but not so small town.

Now I have a good idea on how to entertain guests should the occasion arise like, right now. Information is golden. Oh, at the station I also picked up a load of pamphlets on how to get to Tokyo, so hopefully Comiket 71 won’t be a problem, although I’m getting more and more worried about coming out for gasshuku. When you think about travel via several means of public transportation, Ibaraki is so far away from Toyohashi, it’s ridiculous. So far, my plan is to get to Tokyo (which is fairly easy from Toyohashi) and then find a way to Kashima City from Tokyo as fast as I can.

In any case, I just know I’m going to have crazy saddle soreness tomorrow morning. For the record, I went out at about 140pm got back around 610pm, and was riding about 75% of the time. On the brighter side of things, I feel so blended in here, but at the same time, I can be as American as I want and people are still super nice. I’ve noticed myself speaking Japanese to older people and more English-mixed-with-Japanese to the younger people just to worm a smile out of them. It’s loads of fun.

Last night I was combing through the hand-me-down DVD collection in my apt and saw Master and Commander the Far Side of the World. Yes, I did watch it. Yes it was my first time watching it. If you think that’s bad, I watched Catwoman the night before. Tonight I think I’ll watch this interesting-looking film titled, Bad Bizness. I’m ready for excitement.

710pm means it’s food time!

I ended up watching Electra instead. Hollywood fake Asian bothers me. I’m not sure why, but it just makes me feel uncomfortable.

Oh, I got two more mosquito bites on my left arm. I was able to catch one of them and smacked it dead.

Oof, I can feel the saddle soreness already.

I know every girl says this like five billion times in her life, but I think I’m getting fat. I could reason it out and say that the humidity is making me bloated, especially my thighs, oh god my thighs… or that all the high endurance walking and biking over the past week has made my limbs swell up a bit… or that the full length mirror in the hall really does in fact distort your image like a funhouse mirror but… I still feel and look horrible. I’m even eating lean and low-fat foods at normal times! I eat breakfast too! This isn’t any different than when I’m at home or LA. As a matter of fact I eat less snacks and sweets here than home or LA. Disgusting, I say. /shudder

Time for sleep.

07 Aug 2007

My saddle soreness wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. My quads on the other hand were a different story. Despite taking it easy along the way, it only took me 15 minutes to bike to school today. I spend most of my morning on the internet trying to find out how gasshuku will work for me in terms of transportation. After I get some more info I think I’ll be set for sure, but in the meantime I’m still a touch worried on how things are going to work for me. On top of all this confusion, I think I’ll have to skip out on Comiket 71 too I think if I want to be saving money for gasshuku. It should cost me like 35,00-yen and another 35,00-yen for transportation between here and Kashima… then 70,00-yen per day for the actual gasshuku… then 1000-yen per meal or so… I’m going to be extremely broke. I don’t even get paid until after the gasshuku too. Anyway, there are always conventions in winter… and all year round for that matter… or maybe I should just wait until they hold one in Hamamatsu and go to that.

Fifteen minutes until I bust open my instant chicken ramen bowl, haha… Ding! And now for those eternal 3 minutes… Hooray for being a loser!

Crap, I need to stop subconsciously scratching the bites I have on my arm.

Nice. It’s got egg in it too! I’m trying to look cool by reading and eating at the same time. Having the laptop open in front of me and occasionally typing something makes me look even more cool, ohoho. Dude it had chucks of chicken in it too!!

So, one of the cooler and older teachers really believes in treating high school kids like they’re in high school. He doesn’t want to do any dress-up or hide and seek games for English learning, which means I need to learn/ come up with and choose the best kind of activity for the kids to learn well in addition to making him feel like we’re all cool and mature and stuff. He’s actually a pretty awesome fellow in the teachers room so I was shocked to hear him tell me that he doesn’t like the kids approach to learning. I’m glad with the female teachers I get to be more fun and crazy.

I have this incredible urge to draw right now.

Nice. This male student just walked in toting a SKA-inspired bag with a snoopy plush keychain thing. That would so not fly at De Anza.

I like how students come into the teachers’ room every day to ask their teachers deep questions about the material and chat with them and things like that. I think American school, at least from elementary to senior high, should follow the same system. We need to have a teachers’ room where the faculty can mingle with each other talk about school issues, and have their own personal space away from the students. This way, teachers don’t need to worry about the traffic from so many students every day. I think it’s better to have the teachers move around into different homerooms instead of having the kids move all over the school themselves. This goes off the notion that you can probably rely on a small group of reasonably responsible adults to be punctual and professional rather than a large group of teenagers who might not care about getting where they need to be on time. Even if Another advantage of having a teachers’ room is safety. In a teachers’ room, the big cheese dude is always there so no one needs to worry about getting their stuff stolen. Not to mention, all the desks have locks on them. A lot of the trust issues we have between co-workers in America do not apply in Japanese society because of the honor system. This is at least what I believe.

And I’ve got to stop scratching this bite before it becomes a monster like the others.

There’s more of a bond between the teachers here than I see in America. They eat lunch together, play sports together, know where each other live, all about their families, and are more or less friends. American teachers seem to stick to themselves almost entirely, and as soon as they mingle with one another all the students totally get into their business and gossip like no tomorrow. I remember it was always a big deal at school when the teachers would do things together. The biggest occasion was in 8th grade when Mr. Iwawaki and Ms. Le Paige had dinner together. It was the talk of the school for the year and my friends still remember that occasion even now. Also, in 12th grade when we found out that Mr. Graham and one of the new teachers carpooled together, my reaction was, “Wow, they drive in the same car together to school.” It sounds pretty ridiculous that something as normal as that would illicit such a shocked reaction from me, but that was the climate of things at American public school in the East Bay Area, at least in my eyes. On a broader note, I never thought that my first real job would be in a foreign country, much less in the education department, but now that I’m here and talking to a few of my kids for the first time, I’m actually pretty pumped about the next handful of years in my life.

I’m glad that I don’t have to write essays for brownie points anymore. I can just write what I want to write for the sake of writing without worrying about some college grading rubric. It’s really quite liberating. This is the kind of writing I enjoyed in 2nd grade – when I would stare at an entire page of something I had hand-written and feel Nutri-Grain caliber great.

I want to talk to more kids, although people-watching in the office produces boundless entertainment. Let’s talk about ‘clean girl’ right now. Clean girl, upon first impression, was exactly that – a clean looking young woman. My guess is that she’s nearing her late 20s and she already has fiancée and is going to get married within the next two years or so. Her desk is straight ahead from me, but two people are in between us. In other words, when those two people are gone, and if she is at her desk, I can stare right into her face. Oh look, she came back. I think she has the highest fashion sense out the faculty here in the office. Today she’s wearing a short sleeve, scoop neck shirt – black with a single vector image of a flower near the left side of her belly area. The neck and sleeve trim are white to match the flower design. She has a white flared skirt on that falls right at knee level – very elegant look. Her hair compliments her whole image – kind of a low French twist thing secured with a glittering hair clip. Oh, sweet. She just changed into some sportswear. Now she’s wearing a short sleeve, v-neck, black Hanes shirt with some navy blue basketball/ jersey shorts that fall around her knee. As for her personality, I think she’s pretty shy, but very nice. We exchange pleasantries every day, but still haven’t small-talked about anything yet, as she looks very busy whenever she sits down at her desk. The desk itself is supremely organized with her books and papers sorted by size, tallest to shortest across her shelf. She seems to like the color pink as well, having nothing but pink folders and even pink tissues on her desk. The way she walks is not in the cutesy manner you would find with the stereotypical, “oh look at my cute self!” but it’s very classy. She in no way gives off a snooty air, but just by being around her and seeing the way she carries herself lets you know that she either came from a nice family. What would be even cooler is if she actually is a fishmonger’s daughter and spends all her money on looks to bag herself a rich husband like in Yamato Nadeshiko!

I should really bring more personal things here to adorn my own desk – show people the kind of spirit I have – hohoho.

I feel like as I have been getting older, adults have been threatening me about the anguish the real world, but as the years have been passing, from high school, through college, and then now to the present, I feel like I’ve drifted further and further away from what I’ve been imagining the real world to be. Talk about an anti-climactic transition into adulthood. As a matter of fact, I think life has been getting more and more happy and breezy for me. I have this cool and prestigious job that lets me chill in Japan up to 5 years in a stupendous apartment that I didn’t need to hunt for myself, and I don’t have to worry about freeways (especially the 405) and traffic at all anymore.

Oh, and I do say that if this was totally my first time in Japan I’d be so screwed in terms of Japanese customs and etiquette. For instance: bathrooms. We learned in high school all about bathrooms and the anti-paper towel thing which forces people to carry around handkerchiefs. Also, the bathroom slippers along with the hole-in-the-ground toilets would have been a shocker. I would have so screwed up with the school-shoes only thing. Push-button meals where you get a food ticket from a vending machine, and hand that to the shop-keep dude was something I learned in the past too. A lot of JETs in Shinjuku were waiting 30 minutes at this kind of restaurant before noticing the get-your-ticket-first method of getting food. Thank goodness for Japanese class, anime, and high school. Not being a n00b really matters here because of all the stuff they take for granted but foreigners don’t necessarily know about.

Looks like I have just about 2 hours on my laptop batter remaining. The time now is 2:10pm.

I always get excited when kids come into the teachers’ room. Just like now. I people-watch them like no tomorrow.

I think I’ll bring my tablet to school on Thursday so I can work on some art or something instead of rambling about nonsensical things in WORD. The first and only thing I’ve drawn since coming to Japan was for an activity during the team-teaching demonstration during out orientation in Shinjuku. For that activity, we were supposed to get our partner to draw a picture in front of us using English to coach them, then vice versa. Another drawing activity we did was to imagine a really happy or depressing experience we had in the last few days and draw that in one minute. My partner was actually totally blown away by my rapid yet highly detailed and stylized sketch of my “height of the storm in front of karaoke 747” experience. I guess I had a lot of pent-up artistic energy that day.

1.5 hours until going home time. I could actually leave here now if I want… I can even leave at 1:00pm if I want and that would be totally fine too, but there is no internet at home so that’s no fun. I deal with boredom quite well I think, and I haven’t even brought out the DS yet. I think I really can play Harvest Moon forever. Thank goodness I’m not snacking to pass the time; otherwise I’d be more of a fatty in no time. I am drinking a lot of the complimentary tea here though, so that should prevent the onset of pudginess right?

Sweet. Some extremely shy girl walked into the teachers’ room. She didn’t even say the usual “‘scuse me” like the rest of the students do. She’s even taking on the shoulders folded into the chest shy pose. Oooh, she didn’t even say “‘scuse me” upon leaving either.

Wow, I was totally about to not bring my laptop to school at all today. That would have been being an internet rat all day hoho. Instead, I am here in front of my computer diligently typing away at something seemingly important! Am I doing real work? No! But it is important that I appear to be doing some meaningful work, especially in front of the students to happen to waltz in – because this is Japan.

Holy crap, I have my very own locker. This is incredible! The teachers have a special locker room/ sitting room for changing clothes, relaxing, and even sleeping. There were blankets and futon inside the closet, and it had a nice sink. I wonder if there’s a shower somewhere for teachers to use even… maybe it was inside the downstairs bathroom. In any case, it was a very cute room. It had a raised area adorned with tatami too. Anyway, it was nothing less than lovely. I wish American schools had nice things like that too. If I was in high school still, I would be very envious.

Hey, clean girl has returned and changed back into her black and white outfit. I wonder where she went and what she was up to… I’ll ask her sometime later.

My laptop battery is at approximately one hour energy.

Maybe I should just go home now… but I want to use the internet… boo, they’re all being occupied at the moment.

So I’m at home now. The super nice landlord people treated me to this wonderful kaiten sushi place for dinner tonight. It’s pretty close to the apartment too, so the directions were easy to remember. I was subconsciously scratching the bite on my leg that had just begun to gone down and now it’s a monster again. I drenched the whole area with calamine lotion and now it seriously looks like I have some badass disease there. I put some lotion on my arm bites too just for good measure. The bugs here sure don’t mess around…

08 Aug 2007

What a day. The only point to going to this mandatory meeting thing was… nothing really. Alright, maybe I should look at this in a super positive light. The point of today’s meeting was for establishing important networking connections. The fact of the matter is new AETs like us have no real purpose but to observe, listen, and participate with feedback during these workshops. Today, the 2nd year and older AETs wrote their names down to sign up for what presentations they would do for next, next week’s orientation thing. What I did at the meeting: I talked with some of my fellow n00bs for the majority of the time and afterwards they actually offered me a ride back to Toyohashi station, which was super nice of them. Halfway back, Mr. Ireland invited us to dinner in Shinshiro, a town about 20km away from Toyohashi Station. At first I refused, but after they convinced me some more I thought it would probably be better to hang out with them (Mr. Ireland, Mr. Canada and the other Viet girl in Aichi). I actually got pretty carsick on the way there, and it didn’t help that we stopped at 3 different places before settling down at a ramen shop. I could barely eat the meal because I had a headache from the ride and felt like throwing up, but after I had a strawberry ice cream (it was just soft serve too!) and I felt almost right as rain. I hopped on the train back and it only cost me 320 yen.

On TV now, there’s a show on security systems from locks to finger vein recognition and it’s pretty crazy.

When we were all small talking in the car, I learned that Mr. Canada has a fiancée waiting for him in his motherland. She’s still chopping though college though it seems. Viet girl has a fiancée too and is marring him in November. I was kind of pissed off that people were talking to me but ignoring what I had to say. It was the most bizarre thing. We would be having a conversation about something. They would turn to me and ask my opinion, and then totally turn the other way immediately and would talk to the other people just like that. Even when I stared at their face, we would make eye contact, and id start talking about something as they’re still staring at me, they’d look the other way and start talking to other person. Now this was absolutely not a case of them not hearing me or anything like that. I’ve never felt disrespect like that in an extremely long time, and I was in Richmond all summer. It didn’t help that I was feeling sick, either. I thought it was in my best interest to not say anything to them anymore unless they were specifically talking to me. Damn, even when they were trying to read signs and stuff I would simply say, “that says XYZ.” They would look me in the eye after I said it, and then look away again and say, “I wish I knew what this said right there.” I wanted to shoot myself in the head. What’s worse is I’m not even doing the extremely annoying oh-I’m-a-foreigner-who-knows-a-bit-more-than-others thing by just pointing at EVERYTHING and saying, “That’s a post office. That’s a udon place. Do you know the difference between udon and soba? Oh, that over there are green tea bushes…” BELIEVE me, there were JETs who did this ALL THE TIME during orientation and it was so freaking annoying. /rant off

Sleep time.

I want to wear a skirt tomorrow but I can’t if I want to bike… rats.

Yeah, today was tiring.

Mr. Predecessor dude kind of visited/ barged in last night for about half an hour. It was good talking to him though… if only it hadn’t been 1130pm…

09 Aug 2007

A mosquito got me again today after school. The place where they tell teachers to park their bikes happens to be in a mosquito breeding ground, so I try to rush in and out as humanly possible. I still loose to the mosquitoes, though. On the brighter side of things, I can try to convince myself that I’m somehow building up resistance against the poison.

If someone saw the ancient macaroni and cheese that I’m eating, they would probably rip it out of my hands and throw it in the garbage… just like the country time lemon drink that I enjoy preparing… and the 1999 antibiotic ointment that I slathered on my wounds for several years.

I bought some rice finally at the store, along with all my other essential cooking ingredients like soy sauce, sugar, salt, and corn starch. I have to visit Mr. 7-Eleven ATM again tomorrow after school. The only cash I have left is in coins, which all add up to… 1250-yen!

Oh, sweet! Mr. Predecessor left a thing of change in his random belongings! 1250 plus 81 more yen makes that 1331-yen hoho. I’m kind of fascinated by the grapes they have here. A teacher gave them to me 2 days ago, and when I first tried it, it tasted like grape candy, I’m not even joking. I can even compare the flavor to even grape flavor Juicy Juice drink. It’s that taste that screams artificial, but you’re getting it out of a real fruit so it’s very strange. I get sad when I stroll through the fruit section at the market because all the fruit there look so very awesome, but they’re all so very expensive. I was about to buy this mixed fruit set for only 150 yen or so, but remembered I had these grapes at home still.

I’m going to feed my unborn kids real well. I’ll keep the meals varied and exciting too so they won’t get bored. At the same time, I can’t let them get fat, so I’ll sign them up for whatever physical activity they feel like doing and let them climb trees, bike around open meadows, and splash in creeks like my parents let us do during our childhood.

I’ve gotten two more bites from stepping outside today within the last few hours; one more on my right ass cheek and another near my right shoulder blade. Just to recap, in total I have three on the right arm, two on the left arm, one on the back, one on the left shin, and one on the right ass. I’m looking quite freakish indeed. As long as nothing bites my face again, I can deal with half a dozen more bites like these. /knock on wood

Mr. Predecessor came to visit again today. We met Ms. Chinese Canadian today and that was nice too. We all got to mingle and get bitten by those nice mosquitoes at the same time. I’m getting phantom feelings of itchiness in random parts of my body now. I think it’s from the combined levels of poison in my system. My body is tripping out.

And the Japanese rice cooker I bought seems to work on time and not weight for some reason, because it took the machine one hour to steam one cup of rice. It’s like it works on a flat rate or something. Maybe I should look at the instructions again…

10 Aug 2007

I had a really nice day today at school. A lot of the ladies were there and I got to talk to them about everything.

Oh, my goodness, gross. I’m watching this infomercial where there’s this machine that just vibrates and you attach it to parts of your flabby body like belly or triceps or thighs and it’s supposed to vibrate the fat away. It’s pretty graphic because you can see all these peoples’ fatness jiggling away. Oh~ baby.

What shall I eat tonight… I think I’ll definitely eat something with rice, eggplant, egg, carrot, and onion because those are my leftover ingredients. That sounds like a nice vegetable stir fry to me. I think I’ll have canned relic beans too. Tonight is going to be fiber-riffic.

I was just trying on some clothes at some of the clothing shops inside VALOR. There was this really nice store that had cute clothes and it was actually pretty inexpensive even going by American standards. It still doesn’t beat the thrift store near the train station in terms of price, though. I think when pay day (I think it’s kind of funny to be talking about pay day. I feel so a part of the working class,) rolls around, I’m going to treat myself to some second hand clothing. The jeans that I brought here feel baggy on me (probably because I don’t use a drying machine to dry laundry anymore) and I need some other pants that I can feel nice wearing (and when I say ‘need’ I really mean ‘want’).

Awwww, there’s a show on TV about interesting pets, and I saw a dog and a hen behaving so lovingly with each other. The dog was older so they called him the ‘father’ and they showed pictures of the two when the hen was only a baby chick riding on the dog’s shoulder! They proceeded to show pictures of the chick growing up into a hen and they showed videos of the dog licking the hen and the hen pecking at the dog. They even nestled into one another and went to sleep at the same time. They even ate out of the same pan.

11 Aug 2007

Last night Mr. Predecessor came to visit again as I was just finishing my dinner. He gave me some butter panda cookies and some Cheetos that don’t taste like the Cheetos back at home. They were very nice to munch on, though. We ran into the upstairs girls outside as we were looking at the bats zooming around, so we all talked about random stuff until it was time for the girls to eat food. Mr. Predecessor took me around the other side of town showing me how to get to good stores and places. Our destination was a game and entertainment center which was a pretty fatty institution. They had a McDonalds and a Denny’s and a shopping mall, arcade, Cineplex, bowling alley, and other good stuff. The surrounding area has a lot of internet cafes and comic shops too, so I’m totally checking those out later.

I got two more bites to add to my body. They both are on my left foot. Four of the older bites are almost 100% neutralized. I really can’t wait until winter. I want to experience the snow, and the so-called unbearable bitter cold.

Today was a full out shopping day for me. It was full of fulfilling all the wants I’ve been having clothing-wise since I got here. I have to admit that I gave in and bought a pair of sparkly kitten heel sandals. They’re the cutest shoes I’ve ever bought to this day. I got a pair of nice jeans that I actually wish were two inches shorter in-seam, but at least when I wear it with heels, they look fine. I also got two shirts that are business-ok that I’ll be wearing to school. Lastly, I got a cute minnow-themed panel for the washroom/ toilet area entrance. Like I said, wants and not needs.

Everyone in the apartment buildings around me have their lights off right now. They must be partying it up somewhere. I’m such a loser for staying at home during a young Saturday night; it’s not even 9:00pm yet. I had actually taken a nap right after I ate dinner at 6:00pm. I guess I woke up 20 minutes ago and turned on the TV to old school Japanese music performed in a contemporary manner. Ah I see the sign. It’s the 39th annual Omoidasu Melody. I think I’ll watch another relic DVD.

Gosh, my new sandals make me so happy. Go material desires!

Oh, yukata are all on sale everywhere at all the stores. They have the most wonderful patterns and accessories too. The super cheap sets go for around 5,000-yen and the upper class ones are 20,000 tops. I saw a really awesome white, pink, and black pattern that was simply wonderful. I was looking for a black obi but I wasn’t sure if those obi are the right width for Kashima or not.

I think I want to eat an ice cream now. Then it’s DVD time. The sky was a bay area blue today. It was a nice but rare sight.

12 Aug 2007

What a relaxing day. All I’ve done today is eat, sleep, and clean. I’m thinking of checking out that mall at the entertainment center sometime, but I just know that if I go there, I’m going to spend more money on clothes or shoes.

And I just pretended to not be home just now. It was Mr. Predecessor dude, and I didn’t feel like doing anything remotely social. I’m such a loner.

Lying around feels quite good, actually. I marvel at the neatness of the apartment and it makes me feel cool. Hey, a Mondrian art piece is in the background of some show right now.

So I took a nice nap. I thought it would be later when I woke up but it’s only 4:30pm. During my nap I ignored another ring at my doorbell. I heard the voices of Mr. Predecessor, and some girls, most likely the girls from upstairs. And I’m sure chomping away at these Ritz crackers. I’ll switch to other snacks now. There’s no way for me to gauge if I’m eating at a normal rate or not. I think for the first time ever I tell myself, “Noooooo don’t eat that!” I fear the fat ever so much, especially in jp society where the vast majority of women are like sticks.

13 Aug 2007

They’re running a GTO drama marathon on TV right now, and I’m supper happy to catch it. Tonight’s dinner is curry! I’m excited to make it, actually. Oh, rats, that was the last episode of GTO for today. Now it’s some old school anime. Oh snap, HYDII rerun on another channel! Oh, My Boss My Hero is on too haha.

Curry is almost ready. I feel happy hoho. Way to make Japanese style curry in Japan. The variety shows here never cease to displease. These guys are doing the same thing the HYD kids are doing, except not as awesomely as they did it.

Ah. Detective Conan soccer ball action. It finally got a little bit cooler today. You can really notice it at night. I can open the window and actually feel a cool breeze instead of the usual humid hotness. I just put a load of laundry into Mr. Washing machine. This DS commercial makes me want to play Mario haha.

I think I’ll have a fudge-sickle now.

I had an elaborate lunch today. I had some chicken ramen with an egg in it and some takoyaki balls too. Along with that I had gyoza too! It feels nice to pass the days like this, but I really do wish that I had internet. Probably this way, I’ll appreciate my connection once I get it.

How cute! There’s a place somewhere in Japan that lets their kids get close to summer beetles and touch them and pick them up and whatever. The kiddies really seemed to enjoy what they were doing.

I am so ready for tomorrow. I’ll pack myself a curry lunch and go home right after I eat it. It really is cooling down here. According to the weather, it’s only going to be 32C tomorrow here. Lucky me. The Princess Di movie – the last 90 days, is on dubbed into really good Japanese haha. This is how dubbing should be like. They have all the different voices for the ages down perfectly. They even put a lot of effort into lip synch.

14 Aug 2007

Today was a breeze at school again today, but the battle with the mosquitoes is ever-rough. I got 4 new bites from those critters again today. Lucky for me, they weren’t feeding on me for a long time (legs and arms go akimbo technique!) so the bites are unusually small and non-inflamed. Either that, or they did bite me hard and my body is just getting used to jp mosquitoes. They don’t even itch like crazy like the previous ones did.

I went to the wonderful 100 yen shop located one floor above the second hand clothing store. I also took another good look around that store today and tried on a bunch of skirts. They’re already featuring fall clothes for some reason even though it’s still blazing hot outside. I can be proud to say that I did not purchase any more clothing for myself today. Instead, I went up to the 100 yen store and bought stuff I really needed like a potato peeler (I found one that was pink!) and a burgundy raincoat for later. There was another store on the basement level that I found some 1000 yen black crochet flats that are super comfortable.

I took a leisurely ride home trying really hard to find the best way back from the station but I messed up again. Riding to the station itself was great, though; I only made one unnecessary turn. I’ll get it right sooner or later, I’m not that far off – just two streets over and my path would be perfect.

Tonight for dinner is leftover curry from last night. I suspect the curry should pull me over until tomorrow’s dinner too, which means I’m eating curry for lunch tomorrow as I did today. I am going to buy some drinks from valor right now. I praise lemon tea and no-name regular tea. Item on sale means Thi will buy it. I feel so cool! Curry over rice, gyoza, miso soup, lemon tea: a fine dinner for me! I can even eat ice cream for dessert… but I’m not because… I’ll eat ice cream tomorrow.

Oh, of all things holy, there are these cousins on TV who are drowning their udon noodles in mayonnaise. This kid has a mouthful of mayo in his mouth right now. There must be two tablespoons full of mayonnaise in his mouth on this mouthful alone.

15 Aug 2007

Wow these magical girls are totally grooving. I watched them transform, and now they’re singing down their enemy. And now they’re mermaids. Damn it all to hell. IF I had internet I could totally research what the anime is. I believe from a cosplay hypothesis that this is mermaid pichi pichi melody magic something. And it’s Korean-animated! Dude, they have some big ass breasts… maybe that’s what it means to be a mermaid…

Time for miso and then school time!

Man, that Sakura-nantoka dude from My Boss My Hero is so awesome-looking. Good job for doing a popular curry commercial.

Lol lol lol – there was a candy commercial similar to ring pop and push pop, except it was called flip pop and you flip out the licking part like a cell phone and lick that. There were a bunch of white kids in 90s clothing trying to look badass, but it was ultimately lame.

Ooo Naruto is on haha.

And I have returned. School was as it always was with being on the internet until go-home time. I stayed at school until 410pm or something today because of forums hoho. They burn up time quite well when you actually read a really long thread post by post.

So for tomorrow, they said they would feed us in Nagoya, so I’m excited about the bento they’re going to order… but I’m excited about seeing Nagoya Castle and all the other sights too. It’ll be my first time getting to walk about Nagoya.

I just saw this dude chip his ball uphill and get really close to the hole. I did that once in sophomore year except I did it from a sand bunker AND got it in the hole. It was luck, really, but I looked extremely cool in front of all the old guys who were watching.

And I really want to be in-game, oh my goodness.

Oh shit, it’s the flip pop commercial again. Whoa, I get paid paycheck style for my first time ever tomorrow.

Dude, there’s a fun and entertainment center called Oakland here. Oakland represent hoho. And look, Yi-Gi-Oh is on now.

In Gunma prefecture it got up to 40 degrees C today.

Oh shit! It was Arashi in a corn chip commercial! They looked so effortlessly cool eating those chips up close and stuff haha.

Now on to more serious thoughts, today is the anniversary of the Aug 15 bombing in Hiroshima. There’s all kinds of media coverage about it today. They’re showing a lot of the older war victims’ families and their thoughts and feelings. Most of them have comments like, “we should never be part of another war again.” I wish the same thing, but as long as humans are humans, they’re going to want to go to war. What I really think in my heart is that males are really the root of the problem. If it wasn’t for men being stubborn and wanting to solve things using crazy earth-destroying means, then I think this planet would be a better place to live in. I think if women ran everything, sure we would still argue with each other, but I don’t think women would ever use nuclear weapons or anything on innocent people. I think this is a really narrow way of thinking about men and women, but I think I’ve felt this way ever since I was a little kid. Men need to stop being so needlessly aggressive and GET BACK! I’m sure people can argue that it’s because of women that men act in certain ways or something like that, but I’m not about to go into natural human breeding instincts. War is stupid. If fighting really must happen (which it shouldn’t) country leaders should just play a game of war with a deck of cards to settle their disputes. Competitive nature and desire just messes everything up. Competing in sports and games and such where no one has to die should be enough to vent anyone male or female. People need to enjoy games more or something. It’ll be cheaper than making stuff to kill other people, definitely. I guess then there’s the issue of how to make the opposition give up if they don’t have fear of dying. People just need to broaden their imaginations and have some honor, and accept defeat when the other person has clearly won. The thing is, it is very un-American to give up – ever – and we must not accept defeat. We must even seize victory from the very jaws of defeat like a hero! Americans hate to lose.

CRAP! I’ve been such a chump to these mosquitoes! I got a new bite just from opening my door to greet a re-contracting JET guy. Now there are 2 or so mosquito guys just buzzing around the apartment like they live here.

Oh man! Makino Tsukushi drinking juice!!!!! I’m so amused by the commercials here.

Oh very interesting! They have this top 3 show again – The Best House – and one of the themes they’re featuring this time they’re featuring octopus. Murasaki Tako is so pretty it’s number two! Mejiro Tako is number one and Mizu Tako is number 3 (in amazing things they do when they’re scared). Oh shit, best 3 old Japanese toys! The rubber band gun is freaking awesome! The modern rubber band gun incarnation has semi automatic function! It’s so badass!

16 Aug 2007

Today was pretty tiring and stressful but only because of the trains. I woke up at 600am this morning and was out of the door around 640pm on my way to Toyohashi Station. I got on the Meitetsu train to Kanayama and that took me about one hour. I got on the subway after that at Kanayama to the Shinyakusho exit and followed the maps to the building I was supposed to go to. The meeting was scheduled to start at 930am and by the time I sat down in the lobby meeting area it was 845am, so I basically got there 45 minutes ahead of time. Now that I know how to get there for sure, I won’t have to wake up and leave as early as I did today. Another good thing about the meeting tomorrow is that it starts at 1030am. I’m also thankful for my school because if they were really strict about regulations, they could have me report in before I go to Nagoya, which would be pretty troublesome.

I was talking to one of the English teachers on Wednesday about the crazy amount of mosquito bites I’ve gotten and she offered to get me some cool anti-mosquito gear. I’m not sure if she’s going to get one of those crazy ultrasonic things, or a cream or what, but I’ll just be happy if she remembers.

I didn’t spend that long in Nagoya today because I’ve decided to save the happy post-event energy for the festivities tomorrow night. I think I walked around the Kanayama Station area where there happened to be the Boston/ Nagoya Museum of Modern Art and right at the entrance they had a Paul Gauguin piece that I actually remember from ARTH 54 class, “Who are we? What are we doing? And where are we going?” or something like that. It was a replica, though, not the original.

In any case, the actually meeting was surprisingly helpful. All I really wanted were example lessons, and stories from the classroom and that’s what we got. We did a formal acceptance ceremony with the big cheese people of the Aichi Board of Education, and everyone received a certificate with our name saying we’ve accepted all the terms and conditions to work etc. Tomorrow the coordinator guys said they would go more into detail with lesson plans and different kinds of activities we can do with our classes and the like: basically the bread and butter of our job. I wish they actually trained us during the Tokyo orientation the way we’re getting trained now, but I think they probably know that each prefecture might have a different game plan and such, so they leave it for the prefectures to sort out themselves.

It was up to 37 degrees C in Nagoya today. The only walking we did was from one building to another which were only 3 blocks away, but they were large government building blocks so it was a chunky walk. I’m glad I brought my hat. At the end of the meeting while walking through the heat back to the train station – it was around 340pm I think – I started getting this very light headache. By the time I got on the train that took me back to Toyohashi, it had become a little worse. I closed my eyes for most of the time, which helped the pounding, but the motion of the train didn’t help how I felt either. I tried to zone out which went surprisingly well, and before I knew it we were back. I walked to my bike and pedaled home – I actually found a very nice path and didn’t have to backtrack at all! It still wasn’t the one I wanted – just one more street over and I could have avoided the last busy and potentially dangerous intersection. I was glad to be back in my apartment. I took a cool shower and lounged around for a bit after eating an Aspirin tablet. I decided to fix dinner around 700pm which was a ramen with egg and some gyoza. I feel very relaxed right now.

Ha! This song I’ve been hearing everywhere was indeed by Mika Nakashima. Her voice is one of a kind. I think her new hair style is a good move. It makes her look meatier because it covers the scrawny look of her neck area and puffs up the top of her head too. I wonder if she’s still a recreational smoker, because if she still is, then she had so better stop before it messes up her voice beyond the point of no return. I can see that smokers tend to have to rich and pleasantly ‘raspy’ sound to their voice, like the kind Britney Spears got when she started smoking, but you shouldn’t use drugs to make your singing better or to get more skinny or anything, because it’s totally not worth it if you end up dying of some horrible disease in the end. Then again, some people are willing to give up several years just to live a handful of their years with a good reputation or to look cooler or something. I’d rather just try to stay as healthy as I can.

Wow, that was my first time seeing a feminine care product commercial on television here.

I had pets in my dream last night but I don’t exactly know what really happened. Hopefully I’ll have a really cool dream tonight and remember it too in the morning.

The butterflies here are the most beautiful ones I’ve seen in nature ever. I’m not even sure if this is the peak season for butterflies, but I see a lot of them everywhere in Toyohashi. They have exotic shapes to their wings and are really big. I suspect this is the perfect climate for butterflies too; at Marine World, I remember that their butterfly dome place was pretty humid and warm too.

Oh my jealous goodness, lady in Pantene Pro-V hair product commercial has Korean grade AA hair. It’s so long and straight and healthy-looking and beautiful.

I think I’ll go to sleep before my headache comes back or I get more jealous of the beautiful and physically perfect women on television.

17 Aug 2007

Here’s for going to Nagoya again. It’s [(1080 x 2) + (230 x 2)] in travel costs alone… so I guess I had better make the most of my time there tonight…

18 Aug 2007

Nagoya was meh. I got to see a lot of people sitting around. It’s funny how people like to do things in groups but all everyone actually does is sit around, drink and get fat. I would have much rather walked around more, kind of tourist-ish things but the problem with that is looking like a lone wolf. Maybe I should just eff people and do what I want. Then again maybe I should just suck it and stick around in semi-boredom. I know you gotta make an effort to be social and things like that when you first join a group or meet people, but this was really pulling teeth. It really doesn’t help when it’s too hot to be drinking and you just sit there making as much small talk as you possibly can, all smiles.

In any case, I got to take pictures of Sakae, Nagoya which was wonderful. We strolled among the Rodeo Drive of the city which meant passing by Tiffany & Co., GUCCI, LV, COACH, and actually went inside a home furnishing store (kind of like SEARS I guess) and looked around at everyday things which was pretty exciting for me (sadly).

I had a really awesome mango soft serve under Nagoya Tower. It was 300 yen, but it was worth every refreshing bit.

Haha, The Last Samurai is on.

So today’s Okazaki BBQ thing was like pulling teeth again. There wasn’t one group activity at all, and it was mostly the older people socializing with each other, and us new kids all over the place bored out of our minds. My favorite thing for today was wandering with the non-drinkers to the actual shrine and castle where I got to take pimpin pictures. I bought a anti-mosquito device thing that resembles a watch and wore that all day to see how it would keep the bugs away. I have to say it did something! Other dude actually got bit a lot today and not me.

Hahaha. HYD Akira dude in another drama and he has bokuto no ryu hair.

Boy, do I want internet.

19 Aug 2007

All I really want to do today is sit around and do nothing, either that, or someone magically whisk me away to comic market right now. Cute girls all over television make me /sigh. All my bites are oozing. Japanese television is so full of wedding ads at the moment. Maybe it’s a summer thing. I think I’ve mentioned before how I miss Chinese ramen and Chinese food in general. Man, do I want at least some Chinese ramen here.

There was this cool domino exhibit/ tournament thing that went down in a town a little east of here. They had this domino rally thing with 15,000 pieces and it was super cool even though some of the parts didn’t work. Boo, these guys aren’t SOUL*d OUT. They’re wannabes!

Maybe I should go out to the mall today at the entertainment center, but I don’t want to feel bad when I look at all the groups of kids and couples running around. Maybe I should go anyway. Oh snap, Arashi is next.

20 Aug 2007

Yesterday turned into an all-out shopping day as well. I even spent 3 hours at this awesome internet café near the entertainment center, and finished the day off at Denny’s. I got this crochet outer shirt thing, a button-up white top, and a dark floral patterned long shirt/ tunic piece which all look great. I also bought a game/ manga/ anime magazine at the bookstore inside the mall. I was debating whether or not to get this nicer and fatter wallet for myself, but I think I’ll hold that off for another time when I feel like shopping again. Then at least I can convince myself that I somehow ‘need’ a new wallet as opposed to just buying it because I feel like it. Wandering a mall is a good way to kill time when you’re alone and bored. I treated myself to vending machine Coke and a vending machine ice cream during my wanderings. I looked at a lot of shoes, but didn’t buy any… Nothing beats those sandals I got the other week. They’re amazingly comfortable and they make me feel pretty. Shopping has really been a crutch for me these past few weeks. That, and being a forum rat. I really need internet. At the internet café that I went to I got to play FFXI! I ate up 2 hours and 10 minutes or so updating and patching files, but I got to go to facebook which is blocked at school. I should have looked at my Korean but forgot to… There were a lot of young couples in there too. The style of the café resembles a cubicle and a bed combined, so I guess it’s the premiere place for people to get their /cuddle on without having to check into a love hotel. Maybe for the more shy couples it’s less scary to go to these kinds of cafes instead of a full-blown love hotel or something. In any case, my number 33 box was totally awesome. We got to drink all the drinks we wanted, and were free to use all of their facilities including (but not limited to) full manga library, full anime DVD library, magazine library, a whole slew of PS2 games and games of other consoles, internet, cable television, and a shower. The place was as quiet as a library too, despite the number of guests they had. I’m totally going back there again, at least until I get internet here.

Looking at all the coupes and families there was kind of a downer, though. I saw this housewife (maybe) who looked pretty blue in the home section of the mall sitting down just looking at her hands forlornly every once in a while. She looked like she had come to the mall alone too. I busied myself exploring things to the fullest, taking time to pick things up, try things on, read stuff, etc. I’ve also been putting off buying that ‘sono mama kanji’ DS game until I really needed it, but I guess as soon as I get it I can start actively researching the kanji I see on the streets, or in the office, or in the markets or something. The cheapest I saw was 3700 and some yen at APITA.

Hoho. I got pretty lost today. It was quite the adventure. First, I thought I was supposed to be somewhere totally different than school but once I got there, I looked at my schedule and it said “Office Day,” for today and I was like, “crud…” The problem was that the bus that I take to get to that location arrives at the most irregular intervals, so I had to wait over an hour just to catch the bus that takes me back to the train station. The ride there is like 25 minutes too, so it took a pretty long time to backtrack. On top of messing up on where I had to be, I actually got off at the wrong bus stop (I saw the entrance to the place and my mind automatically thought, “dude get off” so I did and I was like, “oh wait, the bus voice didn’t call my stop… I’m totally at the bus stop before or something…” which tripped me out because I couldn’t see the building (that I had seen only 10 seconds previously on the bus) anywhere for 360 degrees. Now this building is like at the port, which resembles the port of Oakland, port of Los Angeles, and pretty much any port besides San Francisco; it was all out in industrial wasteland with nothing but factories and warehouses by the waterside, with long and wide streets full of nothing but big rig trucks. I walked every cardinal direction just to get my bearings but none of that helped. I spotted some cars pull up to this place across the street and decided to look around for someone. I saw Mr. Smoking Japanese Man outside and asked him how to get to my place. I got good directions and was able to get to my place with 10 minutes to spare…

Anyway, I got inside the building and there was almost complete darkness. That was the time I looked at Mr. Schedule and saw that I wasn’t supposed to go there today, and that the session actually starts tomorrow. Go me. After all the waiting, Mr. Bus took me back to the station and then I got on my bike to school. Now, I have gone from home to the station, and home to school but never the station to school before by myself. I was pretty confident because of my first biking expedition that happened to dump me right next to APITA from the station, so I knew there was only one street to ride on and to just stay straight. I got out of the station area and saw that the light to the other side of the street was green. Thinking I’d save time (because the way to school was on that side anyway) I crossed and proceeded to ride down on the other side. After a little while I was forced to veer left a bit away from the main road, but only a few blocks I veered right again and so was back on track, or so I thought. In reality I had gone off a few degrees I’m guessing and never really returned to the correct road. The result was me getting lost. After about 8 minutes of riding with just intuition I stopped at a gas station and asked Cool Girl behind the desk how to get to APITA. Man, I was so far left from where I had aimed, it was nuts. She gave me solid directions and I was able to get back to school. I still couldn’t believe how far I strayed from where I wanted to go.

23 Aug 2007

Boring days at Life Port for the lose… lots of happy participation, though. Those teachers are real troopers. Everyone was glad to hear this is the last year for this 5 day workshop thing.

Oguri Shun is so awesome. I wonder where in Japan he’s at now. Man I hate that Umi girl in the hospital.

Yay for tea ceremony! I just blasted through a few hours at the Toyohashi tea ceremony place. There were nothing but girls there which was cool. I hope they felt comfortable around me. Everyone seemed like they were having a good time. I ate very nice sweets and tea.

The Densha Otoko guy is in this drama about swimming: Water Boys. Lol lol lol they’re sportin the Speedo gear. Something is very amusing about watching these guys in Speedos. They called this guy fat and he’s not even fat. What the hell? He’s pretty ok in terms of weight… put him in the right clothes and he’ll look even stylish. They make him carry Pringles cans and Snickers bars and stuff. They put him in a shirt two sizes too small too. He is so not fat. He just stripped down to his undies and jiggled his body. He’s like… just a little pudgy. The other dudes are like grossly skinny, it’s disturbing.

Zomg, gonna be in Ibaraki by tomorrow night!

I hope I don’t get owned too hard.

Snap, I totally forgot the most exciting nature-watch part of my day. Outside before you start the tea ceremony, you have to walk along this path and cleanse yourself at this water station thing. For some strange reason there was a crab at the water hole! I have no idea where they could have lived besides that water source so it was really strange to see it. Maybe it was some super crab spirit guy. Also, (sweet, rumbling thunder outside!!) there was this hornet-looking flying insect that was black and red buzzing around. It defeated this huge spider (the spider really was huge – I was so very horrified) and was carrying it up a stone step. It climbed a vertical stone step with that huge spider in its jaws or something. The high school girls were like, “Oh man, it’s really trying!” Japanese insects are incredible. The spider was terrifying. It was light brown with white markings on it. Its body was about the size of a half dollar maybe and its legs were long and pretty meaty, about 2.5 inches in length on average. Oh, so very creepy.

Now it’s raining crazy hard outside. I want to get my bike and ride to internet café or something, but boo for the rain. Wow, the sky became really pink for some reason.

Television Champion 2 is on. The challenge for this time seems to be making things out of driftwood. This guy can make such beautiful furniture out of just driftwood; it’s amazing.

Last night we salvaged some ero hon from the garbage heap. I have a nice collection now. Crud, just when I thought the mosquitoes would stop feasting on me, here they come again. I got another bite just one minute ago when I was trying to hunt the little devil out. It got in when I opened the door for Ms. Chinese Canadian, and I was all the while trying to stalk it. It got to me faster even after I applied anti bug spray to my face and arms. Looks like that bug spray doesn’t protect parts of your body where you didn’t apply it to. The little mosquito guy bit me around my ankle right where I have this huge vien. I actually felt a little pinch this time. All other bites didn’t hurt at all, but this one actually kind of stung. When I whacked the little dude dead, there was such an explosion of blood, it was ridiculous. I examined its crumpled thing of a dead body afterwards and its belly was still pretty fat from my blood. It was pretty creepy. There were so many mosquitoes at the tea ceremony place, too – I’m surprised I didn’t get any bites there. The poor high school girls got a lot more bug attraction than I did for some reason. Crap. After closer examination I actually got a bite on my neck. How gross.

27 Aug 2007

And then there was gasshuku.

What an intense event. First of all I want to say that all the stories are true; the drinking insanity, practicing intensity, crazy humid climate (although Toyohashi was actually more hot and humid than Kashima that weekend), super cool people, and awesomeness of the shrine.

Now on to the crazy stuff. Team America got owned this summer. It was all going pretty well when I got to the Shinbuden around 1030pm on Friday. I got to the place and immediately joined in on the drinking action, in a manner of speaking. I was only offered alcohol twice, and took up only one of the offers which was around 15 ml of tequila. For the rest of the night I watched other random people wander aimlessly around drunk. Steve was throwing up a lot towards 100am and I think the rest of us went to bed shortly after we felt he would be okay by himself. The next day was practice after practice in a really crowded room with a lot of people. Then all the groups did the enbu, in which I performed 懐剣術 with Allen. After the enbu was a lot of wandering, then I took a bath, and then was the BBQ. Professor introduced me to a bunch of jps and after some time, we (team America) went upstairs to rest and just chill. Then around 1000pm I think, the actual drinking party began. The rest of the guys were pretty tired from practice, jet lag, and drinking the previous night so it was pretty much me and Thanh at the party. We got to talk to a lot of jps and Thanh dolled out his homemade beer. Before I knew it I had downed like 6 beers when the time got to 200am. I still had my balance, and I could still walk and even climb into my top bunk bed! I got my bathroom stuff, brushed, and settled down for the night with ease. I didn’t know how much time had passed, but I suddenly woke up with a really bad feeling in my belly and was like, “oh noes!” I grabbed my towel that was luckily hanging on the side of my bed, clamped it to my mouth, climbed down from my bunk and rushed towards the door. I took around 5 steps and a rush of vomit came surging out of my belly. I tried to keep it all in my mouth, but a hot splash of it managed to escape. I was out the door and run-walking towards the bathroom. When I got to the halfway point, another burst of vomit came out and I really tried to stifle most of it with Mr. Towel. At last I hurled myself into the toilet room and released all my demons. I remember how comfortable it was just chilling there on Mr. Toilet Guy and I actually wanted to just fall asleep right there. I thought about it realistically for another minute and decided that I should at least plop myself outside, so if something bad had happened, someone would have been able to carry my body to safety. I hand washed my towel for at least 5 minutes with the provided soap, and when I saw that my towel was free of vomit chunks and such, I laid down on a group of stools outside, folded the cool towel around my face and prayed that I would gradually lose the desire to throw up again. I don’t think it had been any longer than 20 minutes, but eventually I heard the voiced of some jp girls from my room say something like, “Whoa… what are we going to do with this one?” “Wait, it that a guy or a girl, I can’t tell…” “Oh, wait, I think it’s Pham-san!” (I was laughing on the inside). Then about 2 minutes later I got prodded. “Pham-san, are you ok? Here, drink this tea.” They handed me a PET bottle of tea and after I assured them that I was going to be ok, I took a big swig of the tea, replaced the towel over my face, and crashed back down again on the stools. Another several minutes had passed in which I actually fell asleep! Then I heard jp girl voices again. “Dude, she might catch a cold if she stays here.” “Yeah, maybe we should drag her into bed.” “Hmm, what do you think we should do?” I felt another prod and a girl said, “Pham-san~, don’t catch a cold~, go sleep in your bed~…” I got up, thanked them, waved, and after I felt I could probably lie down without throwing up, I headed back to the room, climbed up to my bed and fell asleep without any more episodes. I had no idea what time it was.

The next morning I woke to a chorus of “Pham-san~ oh, Pham-san~...” It was everyone trying to drag me to breakfast. I had the most difficult time getting up. It wasn’t because I had a headache or body aches or anything. I had these phantom feelings of wanting to toss. I sucked it up and miraculously went to breakfast with everyone. I even ate all of my miso, some rice, and had a bite of mystery meat too. Needless to say, I still felt super drunk even after downing a few glasses of water, and a thing of apple juice.

We migrated to a different location for practice that morning. It was actually quite close, thank goodness, to the dorm building, and we didn’t need to walk far at all. Me and this other girl were the messed up ones on the girls camp so we kept each other company a lot. I got one set of kihon in with one of the girls, and then I felt even tipsier – it was ridiculous. My blood felt as if it was going to burst through my veins. I was sweating like crazy – yes even crazier than I usually sweat – so I decided to have a sit-down with other intoxicated girl.

A few more minutes passed, and as I was watching the crowd, I saw a group of students zip by me really fast, and then zip by again carrying the fat medicine kit that they have. I looked towards the direction where they were running and saw a larger group of people gathered around in a mass. I suspected that someone had just gotten owned, and casually continued to stand in line for a turn to practice. A minute later the mass got even bigger, and everyone who wasn’t near that group started asking everyone else, “Hey, do you know what’s going on? Who got injured?” I got a bunch of shrugs from people and decided to go over myself and investigate. To my horror I caught a glimpse of Steve with blood speckled everywhere. His right hand, with a great deal of blood streaming down it, was clutching his eye. He was sitting on the floor against the wall and the rest of us could do nothing but observe. [Holy crap new idea! – corned beef hash onigiri is going to be the shit.] Everyone looked really concerned. Kobayashi was receiving Men tachi zuke for him apparently and then it just happened. Team America was pretty freaked out. Professor and Quinn went with Steve to a hospital and the rest of us stuck around the gasshuku. Somehow we got back to practicing… Allen left soon after and Marcus saw him to the station. Then, there was just me, Thanh, Alex, Carlos, and Lynn left from Team America. After the workout had ended, it was time to go to Kashima Jingu Shrine for another enbu. We spent some time cleaning the room, packed up, and loaded our things into cool guy’s car. As we were walking back towards the entrance to the dorm for lunch we saw Professor, Quin and Steve! We flocked over to them and they began to tell us the details about Steve. In a nutshell, there wasn’t any crazy damage done to his eye – a gash on the eyeball that was being treated with some eye drop medicine – apparently a part of his eye socket is broken though, which sucks. He said it throbbed a good deal, and he had to keep his eye covered up with an eye patch like a pirate.

Cool guy gave me, Steve, and Professor a ride to the Shrine after we got to chat. We got there early, so we unloaded Team America’s luggage, and got to walk around the shrine grounds for a while. Professor gave detailed explanations, and it felt like being in his class again. When the others got to the shrine, we got suited up for the last time, and then did the enbu. Professor and some others wanted to catch the 330pm bus no matter what, so they had to leave the demonstration early. After they left, there was only me, Thanh, Quinn and Lynn left to represent Team America. I did Aishin with Thanh while Quinn did Kasen with Lynn. I thought we were strong and ferocious.

In the end, another cool guy gave Thanh and I a ride back to Kashima Jingu Station, and Team America rode the bus back to Tokyo Station. Oh, I told bishounen Hokkaido guy that I thought he was a beautiful man and he was like, “ lol, thank you… thank you…” Steve was like, “I can’t believe you actually told him that…”

I caught my happy kodama train back to Toyohashi, caught the astumi line back to Yagyubashi, and just crashed. Monday was hell. Tuesday was better. Today was very relaxing. It’s great to be back at school again.

I had to ride bike to school today with a raincoat on. It was raining and they don’t allow umbrella + bike at the same time, as I think I’ve mentioned before. It was nice to have the raindrops on my arms and legs for a change, though. I went home at 300pm because some tech dudes were scheduled to do something with the school’s computer network, and so had to cut off the internet connection. Luckily it wasn’t raining when I left. Just for kicks, I went into APITA and looked around for sales. There was this 2000-yen wallet I really wanted to have, but I didn’t need it… of course I could have convinced myself that I did… I was thinking of buying a bunch of other stuff too – wants not needs again – but I successfully stopped myself again. I’m not sure how exactly I did it, but it did. I think it was because I semi made plans inside my head for a shopping weekend already; I think I’ll go to Akihabara this weekend just for the hell of it. If I flake out, then I can go shopping around Toyohashi and have fun here. I’ve really got to put a limit on the amount of clothes I buy. Bringing everything back home is going to be killer if I don’t… although I think I’ll be able to pull off a coordinated move-out and people-visiting-me thing…

30 Aug 2007

Oh snap, this commercial makes me really want a doughnut. Notice that this is another want and not a need. So I got to mess with some kid’s speech today. I was too glad to receive some real work. I can’t wait to meet the author in person on Monday. Oh, and I went to tea ceremony club today and got fed sweets and green tea. Those girls are awesome. Also, Toyohashi Higashi has the most beautiful tea ceremony room ever. It’s so beautiful and clean! Mrs. Muroi herself said that she thinks we have the best tea ceremony room in all of Toyohashi. Yay, Water Boys in on again. Man, Densha Otoko guy is so awesome. It’s weird to see cosmetic commercials on TV and then go to the store and see them playing on monitors in the makeup section… maybe they do this in America too and I just haven’t noticed? Maybe I should make strange onigiri tomorrow for lunch. I gotta remember to buy seaweed tonight, then. Men’s perfume harhar. Wtf, scented steel for business card cases!

31 Aug 2007

Lol, guess who just owned her foot with boiling water? See, usually I’m pretty good with these things. It’s only when I’m totally thinking of something really random in the kitchen will I get hurt. So I was boiling water for miso soup in the frying pan because the pot I have was dirty in the sink. Now I’ve done this like a million times, but ive never screwed up as badly as I did this morning. So after I poured most of the water into my bowl, I poured the rest of the water into the sink and returned Mr. Pan guy to the range to dry. I didn’t see that the pan still had some water left in it, so when I waved the pan back over to the range, a volume of it sloshed out and hit me right across the toes (mostly the big toe, the index toe, and all the way up an inch past the area where the toes meet the main part of the foot) of my left foot. I can’t bear to not have ice or ice gel on it for more than 30 seconds. The last time I burned myself to this degree was when I was making rice over the range in the apt when our rice cooker was broken. The burn that time was on the majority of the outside of my right thumb, and man, that hurt so bad. That time was with steam too, so it was significantly worse. Good thing I wasn’t wearing full on pantyhose today, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to take them off all that fast… Oh, how these foreign gods punish me so! I should resume being over-cautious again.

I called Kawatani Sensei and told him my situation and that I couldn’t walk at all and he was like, “ZOMG we need to take you to the hospital!” But I told him that wasn’t necessary and he said he would tell big cheese dude that I wouldn’t be coming today. Hopefully I can walk by tomorrow or even Saturday…

Ah, there’s a news segment on right now about the new Evangelion installment. The newscasters are all excited, lol.

Yay, pain is for the most part, gone!

Yay for Music station! Porno Graffiti is back! Not as if they were ever really gone, but it’s good to see them perform new songs! This song, ベアーズsounds different than the usual Porno Graffiti flavor, but I still think it’s ok. Yay for hikki’s new songs! She’s so cool. She also makes me feel good about my weight and stuff because even though she’s Japanese, she’s confident about being her real self instead of conforming to the stick thin jp girl image. Lol, Arashi is so goofy. What the hell are they wearing… Snap, it’s L’ arc en ciel. They’re performing a song written by Hyde. Stephanie, this artist is really good. She’s like 20 and she was born in America. Man, her voice is really awesome.

01 Sept 2007

So I’ve been here in Japan for just about over a month now. I have most of my needs down, and I’m slowly chipping away at the wants, like internet… I think I’ll go to the place today and muddle through the people until I sign up successfully.

Ugh, this runner on TV has his junk all hanging out of his short shorts… technically it’s walking, but still, he’s got his stuff lolling out everywhere and it’s pretty gross. I guess they can get away with that kind of stuff because they’re athletes.

Hooray, I just signed up for internet. This means I can get it around the beginning of October, which is kind of a long time away, but I think it’s better that I get myself away from the internet at least in the beginning so I can’t use it as a crutch… if that makes any sense. I just feel like if I had internet right off the bat, I would never get out of my apartment and stay inside and play games all day and get fat, etc…

Dang, these elementary school kids are such thugs, it’s ridiculous. Man, I wouldn’t stand for this bullying! I’d kick their asses. Effed up kids, damnit… especially this evil one, man. Dude, that was effed up. Man this show! /frustration Wtf, he has a freaking box cutter in class. Arg!! /frustration Man, my unborn kids are gonna be heroes when they go through school. They’re not going to stand for being pushed around, and they’re gonna save the weak and all that good shit. They’ll be mighty. They don’t even have to be number one in anything. They’ll have heart, and that’ll be good enough for life. Being on the top will be just for bonus points, hoho.

They have new colors for PSPs coming out on the 20th this month. They have a pink, purple, and blue I think. Holy shit, this kid is outta control! He totally used a box cutter, baseball bat, lead pipe, tool box and other shit on his teacher! /outraged Anyhoo, if there were any PSP games I’d like to play, or games that were in English rather, I’d get a PSP, but there really aren’t any at the moment I’m dying to play so there’s no real reason for me to get one, other than the sole reason of having another pink colored electronic, hoho.

Man, it’s been a while since I’ve drawn something, let alone entirely in photoshop. /disappointment It’s so flat… Every time I color something, it looks extremely flat...

Roaches in my kitchen are always exciting – I mean, it’s not like I enjoy having them around or anything, it just gives me a chance to sweep/ beat/ golf them out of the veranda like a savage, hoho. I give myself 10 points if I can get them from the sink out the door in just one stroke. Usually I use one stroke to get them out of the sink, onto the floor, and another shot to send them flying outside. If I’m lucky, I can get them onto their backs, in which they flail around helplessly, and then I can get a good aim. If I suck, I totally miss them, and they end up running away behind the splash guard thing. I bet there’s a whole ugly mass of them and all their babies and grandparents behind there. I plan to seal that whole area sometime soon.

I cannot find contact solution anywhere. They didn’t have it at Valor, so I walked over to the 7 eleven and they didn’t have any either. I’m going to go to the drug store in APITA tomorrow and they had so better have some. Hopefully it won’t be ridiculously expensive. Everyone wears lenses nowadays, so I was surprised to not see any at Valor. I was even really careful about reading packaging too, as to not get tricked, but alas, no solution to be found.

Sweet, a Korean drama is on. Wow, this dude’s lips are rose red!

Why are puppies especially cute in Japan?

Housewives are so polished here, damn. Maybe because they’re younger… or maybe they’re not any older than housewives in the States, but they can conceal their age better than we can… Holy crap, these Koreans’ English is superb! They’re totally American educated. Lol, they dubbed over Paris Hilton with this really slutty jp voice haha. Ah, an interview with Paris Hilton post-jail. I wonder how she’s gonna run her life now…

Yay for fun and excitement. Today I went to APITA for contact solution, and it turned out that Valor did have contact solution, they just put them in aerosol cans near the deodorant section and call them “O₂”. I got my familiar Bausch & Lomb brand for the same price I would have paid for in America (for the same volume). I wandered around APITA some more to stare at all the wants I wanted, like more clothes, this wallet, some shoes, a whole slew of dishes pots and pans, COPIC markers, and kanji sono mama for the DS. I gave in to buying more clothes today. I got 2 crochet outer shirt things (don’t know what you would call them – they’re like really thin, short sleeve dusters). I think I’ll be wearing those to death all fall season. One is silver and one is white, so I can pretty much wear them to anything! I’m such a victim of fashion here, it’s a crime. I think this is only because I don’t have FFXI to keep me busy… yet. FFXI is so much more cheap and fun than clothes shopping. I don’t take up all this closet space, and I don’t need to consume resources and energy in laundering anything. FFXI only costs me $13.99 a month, whereas clothing has already hit me 5000-yen in September alone, and it’s only September 2nd today. To be very very honest, I will now add up all the money I’ve spent on shoes, clothing and other ‘want’ accessories since I’ve come to Japan…

Sandals: 5145

Clothes: 7535

Clothes: 4950

Cosmetics: 1701

Hair Accessories: 200

Internet Café Membership fee + 3 hours: 1900

Clothes: 4960

Shoes + Phone accessories: 1270

Anime and Game Magazine: 880

That’s 28541 yen. I’ll round up generously for all the other small knick knacks I’ve picked up and forgot to include. We can say that’s close to 30000 yen I’ve spent on just myself in about month. I swear this will not become a habit. Actually I will decide right now that I will not buy any more ‘wants’ until December. (Kanji sono mama is a need by the way…)

03 Sept 2007

I actually felt like a full-fledged instructor today. I got to chat with Mr. English enthusiast today which was cool. We talked about music – he’s an alternative band enthusiast. I got to talk with Mr. firs year student, Yuki today as well and helped him loads (hopefully) with his speech. I think without jp skills I wouldn’t have been able to convey what I wanted, so go me. I wish him the best. My formal intro speech thing was today. It was well-accepted by the students and I got nice comments from the teachers.

The Fujimotos took the JETs to kaiten sushi for dinner just now. I totally stuffed myself. I’m going to sleep early tonight. I have to be at Toyohashi Nishi by 800am-ish tomorrow for a special teacher thing and then they’re going to throw me into work haha.

04 Sept 2007

I can’t believe I let myself talk about ghost riding for my first lessons ever.

They seemed to have a “omg wtf…” reaction as their first impression and were lol-ing silently. As for the kids’ attitudes, they’re pretty much what I had expected; shy, deathly afraid of actually speaking English in class, and delinquent-like. I chopped through 3 classes today without much stress. I mean, I just talked about myself – how hard it that, right? I think I have a pretty good pace going on as well. My jp teacher dudes are the bomb. It’s harder for my woman jp teacher, Matsuura, to control her class though. In that one, the kids were so rambunctious, it was nuts. That particular class was right after the lunch break too, so the kids were even more off the walls. My favorite teacher buddy to teach with is Sugiura, while the most awesome and quirky jp teacher dude is Kato. He reminds me of Aoki from Shall We Dance. All his mannerisms are so jp outlandish, it’s great.

Lol – one girl in the last period said “wow, her teeth are so pretty… im so envious” and I don’t think she knew that I could understand a lot of jp conversation, so I was like /chuckle on the inside. I was like, “lol – out of all first impressions, she likes my teeth.” For a moment, I thought she was going to ask if they were real, haha. I liked the last period the most. All three of us, me, Sugiura and Kato were all there so we got to overpower the students real good. We forced them to participate like no other, haha.

Tomorrow I go to Toyokawa Kogyo for the first time by train all by myself. I wish myself the best of luck.

5 Sept 2007

So I got to the place ok after much confusion. The meitetsu line is on a totally different section of toyokawa station so I had to go out then around and stuff like that... The fare to Toyokawa is pretty cheap, but… damn the confusion. Going back home was significantly more confusing. I got tricked twice. First, I went the wrong direction on the train, because since every single person at suwacho station got on that train, I thought that at the end of the line, it would just have to pass through the station again on the way back, and these dudes just wanted to sit down and get a seat. (Yay, I got a new kitchen fan.) I got off at the very next station and hopped on the train going the opposite direction towards victory. When buying the ticket though, this is where I got tricked again. I read this happy little sign that said “If you want to go to Toyohashi, buy this ticket right here!” and I didn’t want to trust it, and just wanted to take the exact same way back, but I decided to try it anyway. When I got to toyokawa station there was no meitetsu train to Toyohashi… otherwise I would have taken it in the first place in the morning right? So i had no choice but to go out of the wickets, and buy another ticket for the other line. It only cost me an extra 200 yen but… man! Tomorrow is a Nagoya day for prefectural meeting thing. That should be pretty relaxing.

Ghost riding is so popular at Toyokawa Kogyo, haha. Actually, I really, really like the kids at Toyokawa Kogyo. They’re so energetic and loud and they participate! They actually shut up and listen too! They understand most of the English I throw at them, they’re just too shy to answer in English themselves, even though I force it out of them. I must make them come out of their shell. These guys don’t belong in any kind of social shell, shoot. B1-1 class for the win!

I’m going to make some ham and cheese onigiri for lunch tomorrow. I can’t wait to see the wtf faces of everyone haha. I’m telling you, lunchmeat plus cheese onigiri is good. It’s better with real American cheese and turkey or bologna lunchmeat though, but I only had jp sandwich stuff to work with. It looks like rain tomorrow in Nagoya I see.

And I didn’t catch a cold, I really was insanely parched that one day and it make my throat feel “I’m sick”- grade sore. The Fujimotos gave me the most beautiful, aromatic, luscious peach just now. Crap, a typhoon is coming soon. Typhoon number 9. Max winds 50 meters/ second. Holy crap, that’s some intense footage. Around midnight tomorrow it will be around western Tokyo if it stays on its predicted course. 250mm of rain is forecasted. Rats, Friday is crazy rain, and that’s the day I usually bike to school.

Lol lol lol, this jp dude on the news is rocking a Hitler moustache.

Damn, there are always stories about people killing each every day other in Japan, damn… suicide too... it’s nuts.

Jp veggies: onion, eggplant, mushroom, asparagus, tomato, daikon, bell pepper, carrot. Jp AXE commercials are funny.

06 Sept 2007

How about that getting to the meeting 3 hours and 45 minutes ahead of time? Aichi prefecture meeting in Nagoya was pretty pointless… I guess you can say it was just a big chill time for all of us. A big lot of the people went to a drinking event afterwards but I just came home. Same thing with other Viet girl and uber Christian dude. If it wasn’t typhooning I would have stayed. Those guys are crazy. But yea, typhoons here are so freaking crazy. The don’t mess around. The footage on the news right now show waters of biblical proportion. Just now there was this clip of this woman under her umbrella and raincoat getting owned by torrential rain and wind.

So the burn on my foot turned into a white scar. Lucky me.

Hate is a strong word, but I really, really, really don’t like… mosquitoes. The bitches bit me on the second floor or the prefecture building today. Wtf… there we’re even any open windows. The only entrance was the front one, and that’s a sliding automatic glass door. I was one hundred or so feet, and a whole floor far away from that entrance. There are four ugly ass bites on the neck and one on the left arm. I stare at my legs every night and grimace at how many bite scars there are. Eff you, jp mosquitoes. I think I’ve gotten more bites here in a month than I have my whole life in the states. That’s not an overstatement either. Here’s hoping that they die off for the rest of the year. Who exactly benefits from having mosquitoes around?

07 Sept 2007

Whoa, there’s going to be a 2008 doraemon movie and they’re accepting applications from kids age 5-15. I wonder how that movie is going to be haha. This honey commercial makes me want to eat some honey and bread. These bites on my neck are pissing me off. Oh shit, this energy drink is advertising royal jelly contents, so they had this really cute girl dress up in a smexy bee costume and dance around all smexy-like. Hooray for music station. This semi-rock-ish song is only ok. And Aiko looks like Evali on cosplay.com. Yay, Hikki is number one this week! Lol, Arashi’s dancing always cracks me up – their clothes too – they’re all wearing a different color of tights this week… Hikki’s songs are always unbelievably difficult to karaoke. I have no idea how she does Beautiful World live! Her voice is so incredible! Lol lol lol damn those Arashi dudes. All their junk is bulging out of their too-tight tights, haha.

8 Sept 2007

Tony Taka is my idol. I discovered an all-purpose otaku shop inside the MEIHO near Toyohashi Station and it’s pretty badass. They even sell HQ cosplay there too. I even saw a Guy Cecil costume. I bought a bunch of art books including a Speed Grapher one, a FFXI one, and two T2 books. It only cost me 5000 total. I noticed a sign getting onto the Atsumi train last Thursday and it just so turned out that it was for that very store. I think the dudes were surprised to see me in the guys section as I was picking though all the T2 stuff haha.

Holy crap, these fisherman are hardcore. They caught this nice sized octopus and its all writhing about the cutting board…

9 Sept 2007

Go, cleaning, go.

We went to watch the evangelion movie yesterday, and the ticket cost 1800-yen. I also got a commemorative drink top thing. It’s a figure of rei posed to hold your straw. It’s pretty badass. The movie was pretty much a remake of the first four or so episodes – all up until before they meet Asuka. All the new 3D renders made everything look really awesome. Although I wanted them to reveal some exclusively new material, they pretty much stuck with the plot from the first anime. They did add a lot of non plot-critical scenes though. It was also kind of funny to watch the movie and have scenes from popular eva AMVs and run through my head (like Chibi Things That Kill, Soul of an Angel, and Redeath and Afterbirth of course).

After the movie, out 4th was having a migraine, so we all just walked back to the train station. Me and Ms. Chinese Canadian felt like checking out this Toyohashi festival thing near city hall so we biked there and got to watch some good jp culture. The fireworks were crazy, the little kids were all cute donning yukatas and the women were dressed in clubbing clothes down the high heels (as usual). The men were really manly – they were dressed in festival clothes and had ninja shoes or something on. Some were even topless and had like zero hair on their body at all. We ate dinner afterwards near the train station at this super cool jp place called Watami. We got home around 100am I think and after I had bathed and brushed and stuff I must have gone to bed around 140am.

I think I’ll go out again just so that I can use public air conditioning and not mine, haha. I actually spent a lot of money yesterday at the movies and for the artbooks, so I need to see Mr. ATM again. I think I’ll go ahead and buy the kanji sono mama as well. It’s about time I start my self-study at least in the kanji department.

I’m back. I want to praise myself for not buying any more clothing, but I did by kanji sono mama. I eyed that one wallet for a hell of a long time, though. It’s just the right combination of pink gray and white hues to make it irresistibly desirable. It was even 10% off today and I still held my ground. I had to lay back on the trying on of clothing too, otherwise if I liked what I saw too much, then I think I really would have bought some more. See, this is what happens when I don’t have internet. I indulge in other, more expensive things to entertain and keep myself happy. I’ve even talked about this a few days before. In any case, I want to make it a policy to not indulge in food, even if it’s good and tasty. The number one thing I must avoid is gaining weight, because no one likes to see a fat Asian, especially in Japan. Now I try on a lot of clothing every time I go to the mall. I try to convince myself that I need to know what sizes I am on the Japanese female standard, for multiple brands. Scientifically speaking, if I were to just try on one bra, one shirt, one pair of pants, and one pair of shoes, that wouldn’t be enough to really know what size I am here. If I want to do it accurately, I’d have to sample a wide range of clothing brands and styles and then take the average of my results. This way I won’t get pissed off if waist 67cm for one brand is cavernous on me, while on another brand it’s love-handle city. Even going by EU and US sizes I can wear pants anywhere from 1 (GAP) to 4 (Ralph Lauren). Some lingerie brands even have conversion charts on the tags, but they’re so wrong. B32 is so not B32 here. I wonder how much more expensive Victoria Secret is here than in America…

10 Sept 2007

I get hungry pretty early into the day here. I think it’s because the sun is setting earlier and earlier. I got to do mock interview with one kid today, and read over more scripts for speech contests. The third year kids apparently have to memorize a whole five minutes of content too. Maybe that kid just wanted to memorize it just for kicks, but I think not. I actually want to be there at this contest. Hopefully it’ll be a Higashi day for me and I’ll be able to come.

My only classes today were 1-8 (first half) and 1-8 (second half). I made hyphee culture the focus of my self introduction as usual today. I made another lesson in my boredom last night. Basically I took FFXI screenshots, printed them out, and wrote a long sentence on the back. I then cut the card in two. I did that with about 10 screenshots, which yielded 20 bits of paper with long sentences on the back. Now, the sentences are divided into four sections, easily seen as four lines. I highlighted each section alternatively pink and yellow. For example: I like big butts and I cannot lie: 1) I like 2) big butts 3) and I 4) cannot lie. Since the picture card is divided in half, kids or teams must go around the class to find the other half of their picture, and then read the sentence on the back that describes the picture. Thanks to the subdivision, I can play this game with 20 or 40 students; they either start off in pairs or singles. Then when it comes to reading time, they either read ¼ of the line or ½ of the line. I only came up with this activity because I missed FFXI and was staring at my screenshot memories. Shiina doing ranged attack screenshot: My hobby is kyuudo and I have been practicing it since I was only ten years old.

It was raining as I biked home just now. Luckily I had forgotten to take out my raincoat from my backpack! Haga sensei offered me one of his raincoats (he happened to have a few packs just offhand at school – I guess it comes from years of experience as a teacher), but I told him I had brought mine. The cool rain was very refreshing, and I didn’t really want to put it on, but I did anyway because I didn’t want to tempt the illness demons. I’m going to cook up some relic pasta tonight with relic meat sauce. I’m even thinking of adding some of the relic canned fish into the meal. What’s even more awesome is that on the can, in the ingredients part of the label it says, “fish,” and doesn’t list a specific kind of fish. I’m going to assume it’s Pollack, but I really can’t be sure until I actually open that bad boy up.

Hey, the meat sauce guy smells alright. The expiration date is only January 2007 as well, so it’s only about 9 months over… Now when I say expiration date, I really mean the “best by _____” because those are different things. Expiration date is for milk, meat, bread (unfrozen) and stuff that can grow fuzzy mold on it. “Best by _____” labels are for canned/ bottled soda, canned food, candy, cookies, and other not-so-perishable things. I would eat a 2 year old marshmallow if the bag was still pretty full and untouched.

Jp dramatizations are the best. There’s this news segment on right now about adult asthma, and the actors are totally over the top.

There was just a commercial for the PSP game ffvii crisis core and I was thinking Hermes from Densha Otoko would make an awesome, if not perfect Lenne from ffx-2. If she cut her hair I would say Yuna, but her hair is so beautiful the way it is, I have to say Lenne. She’s really tall too, so I think it would work extremely well.

Hana kimi drama with rui in it, yay!

Whoa, they brought out Kimura Takuya on this show.

OMG Tsukushi is so gorgeous! The drama is First Kiss something…

These drama bloobers are pretty good, haha.

Umi from HYD has fatter cheeks these days.

Jp tv is so crazy, lol.

Lol, these variety show people cosplayed Billy Blanks, as Billy Blanks was a guest on the show, haha.

I’m so amused.

So the printer that I got from Mr. Predecessor dude really was plug and play. I just need to buy new ink cartridges and I’ll be all set. It’s a photo printer too, so big win for me! I really should find a better place to set up my computing station, but until I get FFXI I really have to need for back support and all that for long-term computing.

I wonder if it’ll rain in the morning tomorrow or not…

11 Sept 2007

Happy Twin Towers Day, everyone. It did indeed rain today and I got pretty soaked as I rode back from the train station… but it was worth it!

Did I ever mention that I like Tony Taka? Well, I visited the Animate store on the basement level of Toyohashi Station and ran across the Shining Wind Collection of Visual Materials book. Now before running into this, I saw a lot of cute pinky street figures all over the place in there and I wanted them pretty bad. I was able to hold off on the pinkys, but when I saw the awesomeness that is Tony Taka I couldn’t resist. I even tried to walk away, but I just couldn’t do it! It was almost Hollywood… I picked up the book, ogled the cover, put it back in its slot, walked a few paces, and then turned around again. I went back and held the book and stared at the front and back for a solid minute. Then I put it back in its slot and stared at it some more. Then I walked it over to the counter and paid the 1800 yen for it, lol. The book is beyond satisfying. There’s no H, but the girls are just drawn at such a stunning level. The costume design is to die for, and everything screams, “Cosplay me now!” I think my favorite outfit belongs to a character named Shiina who appears to be a left-handed swordsman of some sort. She even has short, pink hair! /stare Man, I’m so happy with this book.

So I’m eating [(ramen + egg) + (ritz cracker + relic fish)] right now. I wonder how long ago these fish have been canned… oh well.

Tony Taka is my idol.

13 Sept 2007

I had a headache yesterday from the rowdy kids, so my plan was to go home straight after school and sleep, but other people called and wanted to food up together, so I sucked down some Bayer and went to curry place with them. It turned out to be a highly amusing meal. We talked about random adventures from the week and had some good laughs. The restaurant was pretty much across the street and a little down from our apartment, so the walk was just around 3 minutes.

I got back home, stared at my Tony Taka books again, bathed, and went to bed.

Today was pretty good. I did my usual ghost ride self introduction with the classes that I hadn’t visited yet, and for the one class that I had seen already, I played the FFXI screenshot game that I had made a few days ago. The Higashi kids are more or less good at reading out loud, so the sentences were no problem it seemed. We played summer camp style or youth group style games after that, and that was pretty fun. I got to talk to a bunch of kids about their essays or speeches or interviews and such, so there was always something exciting for me to do.

Lol, while I was gmail chatting with Allen, I had a pretty good laughing reaction in which I buried my head into my folded arms and bent over the keys laughing, and the teacher next to me was like, “!!! Are you ok?” and I was like, “Oh, yeah, I was just… read something funny, lol,” and she was like, “Oh, I thought you were crying, lol,” and we had a good laugh about it.

Oh yeah, before I forget, the other day at Nishi I saw a dude wearing a shirt underneath his school uniform that said SEXY in big, capital letters. I said to myself, “Man, you gotta be effing sexy in order to wear a shirt that says SEXY like that. You can’t not be sexy and wear a shirt like that… you just can’t.” I waited for the guy to turn the corner so I could see whether or not he was really sexy and he was just a little better than ok. He had the hair down right, but his face was just alright enough to look good. So his shirt was, I would say, only three levels of sexy above him.

They’re having some public welfare thing on TV about saving kids in life-threatening situations. They’re on CPR right now. Whoa, on another channel, they’re building these crazy ass sand art things.

14 Sept 2007

Yay for Friday. Today I got to help first year dude Yuki with his speech and stuff. It was so awesome. I never felt like I’ve agreed more with the saying, “Work is life!” more than I did today haha. Helping kids is rockin.

There’s that TV program on right now about animals that I love. They dub peoples’ pets’ voices so well, lol. This has got to be my favorite show so far here. Sweet! There’s a surfing dog! Yay, Daisuke kun~

Lol, so for 1-4 class today, we went over “How about _________?” as in, “How about a beer?” or “How about a movie tonight?” or “How about we go to the park tomorrow morning?” something like that. A couple of guys came up with, “How about we explode the Earth?” and I was like lol, lol, lol. The boys were pretty nerdy looking too so it was totally sweet.

JETs have a saying that’s like, “We’re like really expensive and totally revolutionary machines in the office that no one knows how to use right. It’s like if you take someone’s gaming and media distro computer and use it only for typing on Word.

Heyyyyy music station. Angela Aki is hella good actually. After listening to her stuff, I’d have to say she’s pretty damned talented. She plays her own piano while singing, and she emotes like crazy too. Zomg, Kinki Kids, and Koda Kumi hae~ oh shit, Ayumi Hamasaki on TV! I haven’t seen her on TV in a hella long time. She’s dressed like a nymph, it’s hot. Oh, she’s singing her Lumix camera commercial song, hehe. She always has five billion backup dancers these days. Her voice isn’t all that strong these days. I like Koda Kumi better, but Ayu is still cuter. Whoa, theres this road in Japan that’s called Melody Road, and when you drive your car across it, you can hear the song Sora wo Miagete or something. The road texture generates a pitch depending on how far away the grooves in the road are to one another. Yay, Koda Kumi’s Ai no Uta is a good song. I’m glad it doesn’t blow. Oh, shit. Kinki Kinds dance so slick. They’re totally awesome. This jp looks like a Persian, lol. He’s the artist who did Fake Star. Ken Hirai, that’s his name. Ew, gross, this is a song you just do NOT karaoke, even if it’s your song. If you can’t pull off impossible to karaoke songs like Hikki can, then don’t. Omg, this is painful. I’m counting on BoA’s cuteness to redeem today’s show. Yay, Love Letter. It’s repetitive, but BoA sings it cute and nice, like a teen in love harhar. Oh, she’s so loveable. /heart

Man, they show cute animals on TV all the time and it’s so cute! This is nuts…

15 Sept 2007

I feel even more proud at myself today for not giving in to buying more clothes today, even the really cute 500 yen tops I saw. I bought food stuffs instead, and not just sweeties, but fruits and other good stuff too.

16 Sept 2007

I decided to put some effort into a drawing last night and worked from 700pm to 200am on it. The coloring is funny, like it always is haha, but all in all I’m more or less proud of what I cranked out. I have to think of an appropriate place and time to post it though if I don’t want to go to an internet café... I’m sure it won’t be that strange if I post random artwork at school, right? It’d still be strange, I’d better to it at an internet café.

OMG baby ostriches are so cute. There’s this show on TV with hard gay on it with this other dude and they’re learning about ostriches and they just ate a fatty egg. Now they’re picking up the babies and the babies are so cute. Their feathers are all fluffy and everything, and they all move in a group.

Aw, they have alpaca too! They’re shaving them! /heart

17 Sept 2007

…but it was only 1520 yen!

I went to the internet café place today and then to the neighboring mall/ Cineplex/ Sega game place. I uploaded all the art that I did this weekend, went around on facebook for a bit, and then I was out. I was going to log into FFXI for a bit, but since I decided that I was only going to spend one hour tops there, that wouldn’t have been a good idea.

At the mall I saw these you-gotta-be-crazy-to-pass-this-up jeans and gave in. They were made for me, I swear. I walked away from them three times but… they were only 1520 yen! They just might replace my 5-odd year old favorite pair of jeans, and I say this after poking around at countless shops during all my college days.

The mosquitoes still bite me. Recently, they’re been targeting my elbows for some reason. The only thing I can thing about as to why they like to go there is maybe because I rest my elbows on several surfaces during the day, so it might be tastier to them? I guess this means I’m feeding myself well at least.

Lol, I got all excited because I got 2 minutes of leeched internet. I like how the first thing I did was log into POL and started to update files, haha. Priorities! I guess I shouldn’t have been that greedy because the owner reset the connection… oh well. I paid 600 hard-earned yen today for one hour of internet at the café, so no one can say that I’m evil. I should have gotten a drink or some ice cream or something… I think I’ll live it up at that café one more time before I get internet here, just to max out on all the super cool facilities they have.

On the way home from the mall I stopped by one of the large bookstores around, right across the street from Frante, the “open til 1100 at night” supermarket. I was just strolling around the comic section and there was this dude who was obviously trying to look at the adult books discreetly, but I just happened to meander where he was looking and I saw him go frantic a little and he kind of walked away really fast but stayed in the vicinity. When he thought I was going to turn the corner and walk down the next isle, I backtracked instead, and I kind of cut him off from the adult section. He uttered a nervous little jp etude, made a mad grab for whatever he was looking for, and by the time I turned my head towards his direction again (I was actually looking for DNAngel manga, haha) he had dashed away.

I really should NOT buy any more clothing here… but I know I will. It’s just like saying, “Oh, I really shouldn’t be logged on right now when I have to wake up at 700 tomorrow morning,” but you do it anyway. I’m always stomped on by wants, lol.

18 Sept 2007

Today was a pretty fun day at Nishi. The kids were more or less cooperative and the last class that I had in the end, the almost all girl class was the best. I think the fewer the kids the better lessons go in general. We played telephone and my ffxi screenshot game. I got to talk a lot to the teachers today, and I even showed my advisor from the school the extent of my otakuness by showcasing my cosplay.com page to her. To my surprise she said that I should totally talk about it to the students and I shouldn’t have to hide it. She said that especially at the tech school, they might seem like normal boys, but they’re actually super otaku there, haha.

I’ve been trying to color better as of late. My inspiration is Tony Taka of course. I just don’t know how he gets that painted look without looking so digital. Every time I try, I either get a really flat look, or a really messy look. When I try to add more dimension in my coloring, it always ends up looking really clunky, and you can totally see like, the kind of brush strokes I did here and there… and when I try to clean up my lines, I lose all the depth and flavor that I have in my original sketches. For the longest of time I’ve been trying to preserve my original lines but making them look clean at the same time and it’s still a battle.

19 Sept 2007

So we played dengon game in one of my classes today and after I fed them, “On Saturday I saw squirrels,” they gave me, “On Saturday, I played fighting game very, very strong combo.” I got a kick out of that.

25 Sept 2007

Tokyo Game Show 2007 was a fantastic experience for me. We got to play a bunch of stuff, watch a lot of trailers, and take pictures of some really awesome cosplayers. The site was Makuhari Messe International Conference Hall in Chiba, near Tokyo Disneyland. The best thing about the site was that moving from hall to hall was very easy and straightforward. We hopped the Shinkansen from Toyohashi to Tokyo and then rode the Keio Line past the Disneyland stop to Makuhari Messe.

If it wasn’t for the super strict policy on posting pictures I would have already had them up already, but I’m going to wait until I get internet here to read up more on the picture posting deal. They had signs all over the cosplay areas saying that you had to straight-up ask the person you wanted to take a picture of. First of all, I want to say that I do not think this is outrageous or harsh at all. This was just unfamiliar to me, with having attended American conventions for the past eight years. So an American anime and video game conventions, there’s nothing wrong with a group of photographers flocking around a person or a group, snapping a pix and proceeding along their way. The cosplayer expects this will happen quite frequently, and having your picture taken without the photographer expressly asking if they are allowed to photograph you is very normal. Now for me, at American conventions, if the person isn’t already posing for a pix, I will go up to the person and ask, “Hey, can I get your picture please?” If they are already posing for one or two other cameras, I will just saunter up next to the other photographers and take a picture too without asking the cosplayer. I will always say thank you no matter what, though, except if I am among a sea of other photographers taking a picture of a massive group. In Japan, each group or person has their own line, so photographers have to line up one by one. There’s none of this flocking business we see in America. In America, if a cosplayer notices some random photographer or photographers aiming a camera at them, they will automatically strike a pose for the cameras. I want to say this will happen at least 70% of the time. The other 30% of cosplayers who will not pose for a picture even if they notice people aiming cameras at them are the ones who are too tired, busy doing something else, don’t have all parts of their costume on, or just plain weirded out by someone randomly trying to take a picture of them. In Japan, even if the cosplayer sees a lot of photographers flocked around them with expectant looks and their cameras ready to shoot – even if they make eye contact with the photographers the cosplayer will not pose for them unless they are asked to. At TGS I saw a group of Kingdom Hearts cosplayers just lounging about, and a flock of foreign photographers aimed their cameras at them ready to shoot. The Kingdom Hearts cosplayers noticed the several cameras pointed at them, stared briefly at the people, and went back to chatting among themselves. I heard the group of photographers whisper among themselves in confusion and then proceeded to take paparazzi pictures of the Kingdom Hearts group and then walked away. In any case, I think part of the reason why the photographers in Japan form lines is because all they really want is to shoot the kind of picture the way they want, which means getting the right angle, pose, lighting etc. Some photographers I saw even had a light reflector screen thing that they carried around with them. So assuming photographers want to shoot their much tailored photos, the only way they can do this is if they get up all in the cosplayer’s face. Doing this, you pretty much get in the way of any other photographer who wants to take a picture. This is why I think you gotta line up for your shot at cons in Japan. I noticed several other differences between the cosplay photography culture here and back at home. In America, usually the photographer will shoot a single picture, and be on their way. In Japan, almost always will the photographer shoot at least five different shots of the cosplayer. I think after I saw this at TGS, I made it a policy to shoot around 2 to 3 photos per person, just so they cosplayer wouldn’t have felt weird. Usually at American cons, if I botch the photo or if I really, really like what I see, I will shoot only one other photo of them. I can actually name the few costumes that I’ve shot more than one photo of for the dear-goodness-I-love-you reason. One was a Star Ocean II Ashton (RPG version), another was a WAR Rikku from FFX-2, another was the Lil’John Mario and Toad combo, another was a yaoi Sephiroth and Cloud, and another was towel-only Sora and Roxas. Generally speaking, if their costume is so good that it can’t do anything else but burn into my memory, I’ll take another photo of it.

I’d really like to start on another costume, but without internet, I totally can’t do anything in terms of referencing and researching. It’s pretty funny how without internet all my really big hobbies have like… come to a stand-still. In any case, costumes are going to cost a lot more for me in Japan where textiles are so high in quality. I guess on the brighter side of things, I’ll have some badass cloth to choose from.

28 Sept 2007

Lol, so I showed some kids the extent of my otakuness at Higashi yesterday. They got a kick out of everything. “You are crazy!” lol.

Anyhoo, today I have a speech rehearsal thing to do after school with the speech kiddies. I’m putting my money on the first year boy, Yuki, cause he’s the bomb.

29 Sept 2007

My girl won 2nd place at the speech contest today which means she gets to compete in the Aichi Prefecture tournament! She got bumped to 2nd by this super charismatic boy from Mito High School (the high school that is known for its super English language program), but I’m glad those two are representing the east side of Aichi hoho. The first year boy that I helped a lot is going to try again next year. I can say without bias that I thought his speech as a whole was better than the guy who won. My boy’s delivery was far superior and his pronunciation was the bomb too, it’s just that he took some major hits for writing a non-gut wrenching speech like so many other people did. I think out of all the speeches, my boy had the most original one: the essence of food. My boy’s speech was actually the ONLY speech today that made anybody laugh, so I thought that was worth a lot at least for my peace of mind. In any case I was proud of them all, even the super shy first year girl who was a trooper all the way through.

Tomorrow I think I’ll bike to internet café place and use their awesome facility for the last time – at least for a while. I’m scheduled for the internet dude to come on Tuesday, so hopefully I can get the internet rocking in my apartment that very same day.

I made myself some cute onigiri for dinner tonight. Tuna and lunchmeat! I think I’ll take the time now to say that the tap water in Japan is totally awesome. (Have I mentioned this already?) When I say awesome, I’m comparing the taste and quality to that of Los Angeles (ew…) and the Bay Area (meh…) so the differences are leaps and bounds, yes I know.

I was debating over whether or not I should doodle something and post it when I go to the café tomorrow, but sleep sounds good too. I think I’ve mentioned before that I get in lots of quality sleeping hours because I haven’t been distracted in my evenings by the internet and FFXI hoho. I can return to all my crazy hobbies after I get the wonderful, wonderful internet! More importantly I can actually be connected to the rest of the world, not just back at home but here in Japan as well. Earlier today and after the speech contest I went to Nishi to attend their Open Campus event thing, which is kind of like an open house where junior high school students come and explore the campus, experience the high school’s curriculum, get a feel of how the teachers run things and things like that. Our job was to make the school as appealing as it can get. I was with one of the English teachers doing my thing, trying to show them that English class with AET is super fun and exciting feel-good kind of place. I could have played the “Omg, AET-san you is hella doin to much…” but I didn’t want to scare them away from learning English for the entirety of their high school career. The lesson was breezy and just for coming in on a Saturday, they let me have Wednesday off! If everything goes according to plan, I can game all day… /joy

I got to listen to myself delivering the kids’ speeches the other day when I recorded my voice into several devices several times. I discovered that I can be really crisp and clear when I want to be! When I had been doing my lessons for all my classes for the past several weeks, I had been using a hyper enthusiastic and clean voice, but only yesterday was I able to actually hear what I had sounded like… and… I’m pretty impressed with myself. Now I can say that I feel pretty good about being an educator.

Mosquitoes still like to suck my blood. I waited outside around 7:57 in the morning, got picked up at 8:00am and managed to get bitten in those 3 minutes of waiting outside… surrounded by concrete buildings… Luckily these bites don’t itch as bad as they used to as when I first got here. I’m just kind of annoyed at how ugly they make my skin. My legs look like a battlefield and every once and a while, I’ll get phantom feelings of itchiness and scratch the old bite areas which have inset scabs on them. Even if I scratch just once in a strong swooping motion, sometimes that’s enough to break the scab and I’ll start bleeding like crazy. Just the other day, something like this occurred while I was cooking, and by the time I was done cooking my meal, and sat down to eat it, I took a look at the area that I casually scratched and had a river of blood tricking down my leg from the mid shin area all the way down to my ankle. It was pretty crazy. I really hope these mosquitoes will go away soon. I can’t wait for this oh-so-famous cold ass Japanese winter.

When we were at Nishi, I was talking to the other teachers about the weather (SO Japanese, lol) and they said that maybe this Fall and Winter won’t be as cold because of global warming and all these badass environmental problems, but he told me that Winter in Japan is pretty cold in any case. I told him that I’ll evaluate exactly how cold I think it is when the time comes, haha. I actually will welcome a cold ass winter. At least then, I can wear different clothes finally! I can’t wait to wear the pink suit that I have! Putting it on makes me excited, hoho. Makes all the cosplay desires burn brightly from within!

I wonder if I’ll ever get to making AC Tifa for Halloween… I think I will eventually… once I get a sewing machine in the apartment, it’ll be all over. I hate the way Aeris looks in Crisis Core by the way. She looks far too cutesy for who she’s supposed to be. Cute and pure are completely different attributes. Smaller eyes, softer hair, and definitely a different seiyuu would have made her ten times better. I get so bothered when I see the FFVII Crisis Core commercial on TV, just because seeing Aeris like that is so ew…

I wish some amazingly awesome games come out for PSP soon… I need a good reason to buy a PSP… so I can get one of the new colors! Although I like pink technology and all, the new purple color looks really, really good.

01 Oct 2007

Hooray for splurging! I went out and got a PSP yesterday along with Katamari Damacy. I ended up getting the pink one after all, and spent pretty much all day yesterday having a… ball… lol. Since I didn’t have any classes at all today, I went all out with my PSP there too. The teachers don’t seem to mind, and the only funny looks I got were from the students who happened to come by.

02 Oct 2007

I knew it was too good to be true. The dudes at EIDEN said that more likely I’d be able to get Mr. Modem the same day they press the button at my apartment but no…

Sucks to be me. I was all excited and everything. They had better bring it tomorrow, when I’ll be here all day…

03 Oct 2007

I don’t want to go outside, because I don’t want to miss the modem dude should he happen to drop by… I need me a housewife.

Uh ohs! Seething man throwing his coat across his pristine office! He’s got to be Korean! Yea! He’s totally Korean, lol. I like how you can always stereotype Koren men in dramas haha.

ZOMG!!! My prayers have been answered!! The modem came in just now!! Setup time!!