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Of huge dreams

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 1/5/2005 7:01:51 AM
So last night I had this awesome dream... and I managed to remember a heck of a lot of it. I had 93 cell phone entries (each entry was 8-10 seconds long), and after I typed it all out the total came to 2407 words. That's, like, a full final essay right there. *has to laugh* There are sooooooooo many stories lurking in that dream journal, just waiting to come out... if I could get time to write 'em. Heh. Yeah right.

Grandma left today, which was kind of sad. She was so fun to have around... not because she did a heck of a lot, but because she was the sweetest old Japanese woman I've ever seen (the sweetest woman award so far goes to Mrs. Onishi... I have yet to find someone who is more polite, trusting, and cheerful). Went shopping for some OJ and Pocky (mmmmmmm) later in the day; gotta do that every now and then. I decided to take the elevator instead of the escalator in the station for the heck of it, and an older woman got in with me. One her way out, she said "o-thank you," as in, an honorific "o" followed by the Japanese pronunciation of "thank you." Interesting. On my way back home I also ran into an American/British/non-Japanese man and his son; the guy said, "Hey there," which I found somewhat amusing because it meant he assumed I spoke English. Well, he assumed correctly. ;)

Not much else happened today. Did a lot of reading and working on my website, that's about it. Oh, that's right... because the entire morning was taken up writing that dream! *laughs* I guess that counts as something.

With school coming back soon, I've found my focus is wavering on certain things. I have so little desire to even LOOK at my statistics book, much less open it, and it's hard to make progress with my website sometimes because I'm writing such complicated code. It's hard to tell if I'm just doing a sloppy job, or if I need to think of a better algorithm, or if my form of data storage isn't reasonable... or what, because it's just tough in some places. But, bah, you run into snags in any sort of project. And since I'm not getting paid to do this, I don't have to fret over it. *laughs* I have a feeling that's going to change soon, though... not with DF but with other webpages that I may be making in the very near future...

Bath, bed. Or... probably bath, something, then bed. I wasn't really tired today, though, despite getting to bed late and waking up multiple times. So that's good.

That's enough of that for now.
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Of teaching English

Location: Yoshitaka residence - dining room 1/6/2005 7:24:30 AM
Thursday already, huh. During dinner, Mama said "Tomorrow's Friday already?" and I thought, "Wow, that it most certainly is." Whew.

This morning at 10:00 I went with Mama to what I thought was going to be a nearby school, beacause she said someone wanted me to help teach some English. I thought, "Okay, I can do schools... done 'em before." As it turned out, it was some guy's house (Mr. Hayashi-something, someone I had met before at family gatherings) and was just one student (a high school sophomore named Osaki). We read some literature about the origins of Santa Claus from an English textbook called "One World" (which kind of struck me as funny... a book named "One World" that is teaching English... heh heh). I read some, Mr. Hayashi-something read some, and Osaki read some, too. We also did some chatting over Sri Lankan tea and cakes, and I talked about my computer work while Mr. Hayashi-something showed me his photography (he develops his film at his house!). As we were finishing up, I happened to see "The Circle of Life" written in the copy of the textbook that I had, and I was like, "Whoa... I totally love this song!" and sung a few lines. I didn't sing the whole thing because my voice isn't exactly the best singing voice, but Mr. Hayashi-something was like, "Ooh, encore encore!" so I sang the whole thing (wasn't too bad). Then I read "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" for them, because that was there, too. Quality. I'll be heading there every Sunday (starting next Sunday) at 10:00 to help out... very nice and pleasant.

Except it was COLD. It was so cold, my feet were numb on the short trip home, which by foot is only two or three minutes tops (jogging would get me there in under a minute), and I could even see my own breath in my room. Coldness. ^__^ Yes, I do have a heater in my room, but I haven't used it yet because A) I don't want to run up the heating bill unnecessarily because B) I can take the cold. When it gets too bad, I just hop into the dining room, which is often quite toasty because they usually run the heater in there anyway and the heat from the kitchen wafts over since it's all essentially the same room. That's one of the reasons I'm here now... that and also because there's some very interesting stuff on TV, as there usually is. Got done watching an American dude who built cars that were sofas, bathtubs, and office tables. It was absolutely hilarious seeing this guy drive around in a full shower and bathtub (with water, of course), or lounged on a sofa watching television, or sitting at an office desk with his co-workers. These aren't just miniature floats, either... these things can go up to 140 km/h. Whoo.

And just a little while ago, Mama was wiping off the table... I moved Apsu out of the way so she could get my spot, and she said, "The table's already pretty clean there: it's in front of you." I laughed. Mama's a good host mama. ^__^

Almost done studying all 400-some kanji currently in my memory banks... soon, I'll have to shift gears to reviewing about forty chapters of grammar. Yay. I think I might actually do some of that tonight, depending on how much other stuff I have to do. Or something.

During dinner I realized, "Wow, you know, I'm probably going to want to eat with chopsticks when I get back to America." At least, for a while, anyway. *laughs* I think the only thing about me that won't be different when I get back home is the shape of my eyes (though my left eyebrow is going to look slightly different) and the color of my hair (though it'll probably be a lot longer than most people have ever seen it if I don't cut it... which I'm considering not!). *laughs again*
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Of a day inside

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 1/7/2005 8:26:41 AM
Well, today was pretty much a sit-around-and-do-assorted-work day. And eat-lots-of-Pocky day. *laughs* Mama had some people over today, so I didn't even go down for lunch... Soichiro had gone to the place where Natsuko works and picked up a box lunch for us, so I ate in my room. And... well, yeah, I pretty much stayed in my room all day! *laughs*

Mama came up twice with two things for me, though. One was a handful of gifts that Papa had bought me yesterday for New Year's: a figurine and wood slab with roosters and happy Japanese dudes (roosters are signs of good luck and such over here around New Year's time), as well as a handkercheif for my glasses and a normal handkercheif. Neato! Mama later came up with a jar of sweet potato bits (they're pretty yummy) that she couldn't get open. It's not the first time she's asked me to put my muscles to work and get a jar open, but it was the first time I just couldn't do it! I ended up bruising my palms pretty badly... fortunately they healed up. Not to be defeated by a silly jar, I thought for a moment, snatched the light bulb that went on over my head, slipped on a black leather glove, and ran downstairs into the kitchen. Mama's friends were there, and they all (including Mama) were slightly startled by me wearing a black leather glove. *laughs* That's not the first time people have been startled by my gloves, either... I think it's kind of funny. They do, too, which is good. But, needless to say, that did the trick: the extra traction got that sucker off and I was the hero of the millisecond. ^__^

Read a lot of Snow Crash, studied a few more kanji, and worked on my site some more... that's about it. Tomorrow and Sunday I think I really need to pick up the pace with my studying, because there's a test on Tuesday covering all the grammar we've learned so far. I'm not too worried about it, but it would be nice to refresh my memory a little.

Japan, Japan... approaching the halfway point...
1 reply

one glove
Posted by: badcheeso 1/7/2005 11:14:49 AM
There's a joke somewhere in there about wearing one glove for no apparent reason....but I can't remember it all.

1/2 way ......milestone!!!!!!!!!! time for a SAKE celebration!

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Of okonomiyaki in Sumago

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 1/8/2005 7:08:42 AM
So last night I go to sleep thinking that tomorrow (that is, today) I will be spending a good deal of the day working on websites, homework, and reading. When I wake up, I begin doing just that... until 10:00 when Papa comes by my room, all ready to go with his jacket and golf hat, saying "We're all going to go eat okonomiyaki with the Kobayashis today!" I had absolutely NO idea we were doing anything today... but fortunately I had decided to get all dressed and everything a little early today (I had even brushed my teeth, I think) so it didn't take that long to get myself up and out the door. We all went to the station and headed to Sugamo (never heard of the place before, but it's on the JR loop) and met the Kobayashis there. Then we spent a good deal of time walking down one of those streets that are set up as an eternal shopping festival: shops as far as the eye can see, clerks shouting "irasshiamase!" to everyone that passes by, decorations all over. Though I'm not really one to buy things in places like that, I'm going to miss seeing 'em when I return home. I'm going to miss a lot of things...

One of the things we did before lunch was stop at what I think they called the "Grandmother and Grandfather Temple," where we... well, did the usual temple things. Mr. Kobayashi bought me a little piece of paper folded around some smaller pieces of paper: when a part of your body hurts (you jam your thumb, you have a headache, etc) you take one of the small pieces of paper, rub it on the hurt, and then swallow it with some water. Pretty cool. ^__^ There were also some people (monks, for lack of a better word... I don't know if that's the right word or not) who were wearing those traditional Japanese hats that are big and wide and anointing people with some sort of Japanese incantation thing. I really wish I could explain this stuff better for y'all, but having not taken any real Japanese history courses I don't know how all this cool stuff works!

From there we took a tiny train (more like a trolley, since it even went on rails that were stuck right in the middle of busy traffic, but all the announcements were just like on a train) to a part of town where the streets were narrower than I've ever seen before... maybe, like, the size of a wide sidewalk or something. The okonomiyaki place was tucked in there, a mom-and-pop restaruant whose owners were friends of the Yoshitakas and the Kobayashis. And, as usual, there was a lot of alcohol and a LOT of food (because whenever you get a bunch of Japanese adults together you always get a lot of alcohol, and whenever you go eat okonomiyaki you always get a LOT of food), but the alcohol was taken sparingly and the food was delicious so it was great. I wasn't always able to follow the entire conversation, but when I was spoken to I replied the best I could; when asked what my favorite Japanese food was, I said (truthfully), "Well, okonomiyaki..." and everyone laughed uproariously. Good stuff. Papa suggested we bring my family here when they come up, and I thought it would be a great idea. The woman in charge of the store (a wonderfully nice lady) thought it was a great idea, too, and said she'll be waiting for us all to return. ^__^

By the time we were all done eating, it was about 4:00 or so and we were all full, tired, and some of us were kind of tipsy (read: Mr. Kobayashi was goofy, as usual). Not too much really happened on the ride back, at least nothing out of the ordinary. Got home at 5:40 and promptly went to bed until after 8:00. No dinner for me (or anyone else for that matter)... the okonomiyaki probably took care of about three meals or so! So... yeah, my day has more or less been royally messed up now. *has to laugh* After I get this journal done I'm going to have to just buckle down and finish my kanji studying (only five more chapters) and start my grammar review, because time is running out for that, especially since Monday is also going to be taken up. With what, you ask? Well, here in Japan at this time you have the Coming of Age ceremony, where 20-year-olds are honored with a special festival. I wasn't expecting on going to it at first (since it requires an invitation and everything), but since technically I'm a citizen of Higashimurayama and I'm 20 years old, the city mailed me an invitation! So, Monday will likely be another day of limited contact with my folks and friends back home as I go get festivaled up yet again!

Whoo... New Year's time is quite a busy time of year! Yipes!
Photos: Okonomiyaki in Sugamo 1 reply

No title
Posted by: badcheeso 1/8/2005 11:17:31 AM
Hi Greg! OK...we'll do the restaurant! And congratulations on your Coming of Age! What an honor! Love***Mom
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Of getting tons of stuff done

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 1/9/2005 6:02:06 AM
Aaaaand... we're about a third of the way done with January. Amazing. It feels like it barely even began, and here we are, almost a third of the way through. Time flies when you're on vacation. That's a fact and anyone who disagrees can reply to this and explain why not. Any anyone who replies to say time always flows at the same rate and therefore cannot "fly" is WRONG because special relativity says so. *laughs*

Anyway, today was the day I was hoping yesterday would be (though yesterday was quite fun nonetheless). I finished Snow Crash (a very good book... check it out if you like the cyberpunk genre; it's from 1992 and by Neal Stephenson), finished studying my kanji, looked over about half of the grammar I need to review for Tuesday, and even developed what I think is a pretty slick-looking layout for a website I'm being contracted to create (unfortunately, that means DF is going to have to go on hold, like I figured it would). I'm quite satisfied with myself today... and heck, maybe I'll even go to sleep early to celebrate, since it's not even 8:00 and I'm tired out.

Not only am I the local computer whiz around these parts, but apparently I'm also the plumber: today I went to our neighbor's house (the grandparents) and installed a bath filtration system for them, which was identical to the one I did for the Yoshitakas. I had to get a monkey wrench for their pipes and hoses, though, because they were much older than the Yoshitakas' it seemed. I didn't really know how to say "monkey wrench" in Japanese, so I pointed to a small one I had and said, "Do you have a bigger one of these tools?" The grandmother said, "Oh, yeah," and called out, "Can you get a big monkey for Greg?" Yes, they're called monkey wrenches here, too, or monkey for short. The spelling is different, of course, but the pronunciation is more or less the same. Good stuff.

For dinner we had a big feast for Mama's aunt who had turned 89 (though she seems quite healthy and still looks quite young). The main attraction was a big crab from Hokkaido, a hairy, spikey thing that Papa cooked after lunch. Boy, eating crab legs with chopsticks is one thing, but eating crab legs covered in hairs and sharp chitinous spines that will slice your fingers if you're not careful is quite another. I guess if you're into seafood you'd like it *peers over in Mom's direction*, but I sort of thought it was more work (and pain) than it was worth. Pretty good, nonetheless.

Also today I managed to finally get a video/audio clip of the wonderful music that plays at 4:30 PM every day. Check out the link and enjoy!

Good day today. Tomorrow will be my last before vacation is over. Good vacation... will be sad to see it over.
Video: 4:30 Music 0 replies

Of coming of age

Location: Yoshitaka residence: my room 1/10/2005 6:34:07 AM
Today was the annual Coming of Age celebration, a national holiday where all the 20-year-olds get to dress up in suits/kimonos and attend a big ceremony in their honor. I was invited by the city, but since I'm not a Japanese per se, I didn't stay for the ceremony part of it. Actually, it was because Papa said it was long and not too interesting. ;)

The celebration started before the ceremony itself, it seems, because around 11:00 or so people began walking through the streets playing drums and flutes, pushing around carts and wearing costumes much like at the Higashimurayama festival I went to a few months ago (that long?). They actually passed right by our house and "backyard" of sorts... pretty neato. Around noon Papa and I set out through Higashimurayama and walked quite a long distance... more than a kilometer from the train station, which is probably a kilometer or more from home. The ceremony was being held at a large sports center, and boy it looked like a cross between prom and graduation: all the guys were in suits and all the girls were in very fashionable kimonos, and everyone was gathered outside. Papa and I made our way in where I was presented with a bag o' stuff, and then we took some pictures of the auditorium where the ceremony was going to take place. That was it, really... we left after that because, again, Papa said the ceremony was really long. *laughs*

The bag contained some pamphlets of stuff, including one on HIV/AIDS and one on alcohol (yay for public service announcements), and it also had a box with two special mugs inside. I still have yet to translate the paper that describes exactly what they are, but after glancing over it for a few seconds I think it said that the mugs were made in Higashimurayama, and that there's a special meaning to them. I'll have to find out sometime what it means.

One of Natsuko's friends, a 20-year-old guy who went to the ceremony, came and ate with us for dinner. We talked about football for a little while, of which I didn't know too much, and then computers and viruses for a while, of which I knew a lot. *laughs* Good stuff.

Classes start again tomorrow. I did all the reviewing I think I need to do, and will probably get to bed early. I've been tired and sort of blah recently again, but I think that's just because vacation is ending/is now over and I'm just mentally bummed that I'm going to have to get back into the grind. But after I hop on the train I'm sure it'll feel totally normal once again.
Photos: Coming of Age ceremony 0 replies

Of spending lots of moolah

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 1/11/2005 6:39:55 AM
Back to school! Got up about quarter after 6:00, got home about twelve hours later. *laughs* Like I predicted yesterday, as soon as I hopped on the train I felt like I was right back into things. It was an earlier train, though, which was kind of different... but it was nice not to be totally jam-packed (it was a semi-express so it's not as popular) and to get to class fifteen minutes early instead of five. Gives me more time to relax or study should I need to.

Apparently there was a speech we were supposed to prepare over the winter break, but when the teacher asked who had done anything for it nobody in the class (which is now down to 10 people) raised their hand. *has to laugh* I explained that we thought it was supposed to be an extra day of speeches if for some reason we hadn't finished the ones we did at the end of 2004... but... yeah. Pretty funny. We all just gave off-the-cuff speeches; I realized I lied through my teeth because I said "冬休みに別に何もしませんでした" (over winter break I didn't really do anything in particular), when in fact I did all sorts of stuff! *laughs* You just get total brain farts when you go up in front of people, you know? The test was okay... it's obvious I've become a little rusty, because after writing six pages in that test I realized I had completely forgotten the imperative form and was still shaky on the passive. Blah. But hey, that's what class is for!

Ecology was ecology, as usual. Mr. Ikeda ("ikeda" more or less means "stone field," by the way) got his hair cut, which I may need to do at some point or another, too. *laughs* I met Lars earlier in the day, after Japanese class, and he said he was letting his hair grow out, too. We're not quite sure whose is longer: his certainly looks longer, but he said mine might actually be longer because it's all waved up and everything. Ah well. In any case, we found out that the test for ecology is going to be in two weeks and that it's open notes. *peers over at my notes* Score! I was like, "Woohoo, I've got notes!" and the girl who sits in front of me was like, "You lie through your teeth." So I pulled out all ten pages and she laughed. As did I. ^__^

Afterward, I went with Aaron (with whom I had also eaten lunch) to the arcade to play some DDR. I've decided I'd like to play a round or two every day for a while, or at least when I can. It would be good practice (not to mention good exercise), and 100 yen for four songs really isn't all that bad. I'm so bad at the arcade, though. I can't get anything higher than an A, no matter how hard I try. The metal platforms and my feet just don't agree with each other yet. But hey, practice makes perfect. Or marvelous, if you're playing Nonstop. ;) Went shopping after that, too; picked up three more cartons of OJ, more cereal, and a bunch of Pocky. There are so many flavors here and they all look good... but unfortunately I can't buy them all at once. But I'll probably pick one box up every now and then so that by the time June rolls around, I'll have a nice big collection to bring home and share with a special someone. Well, and anyone else who's interested. ;) So yeah... today was a "Gerf spends more than $20 in one day" day. Yipes. But... it felt good. I'm probably too frugal for my own good sometimes, and it's good to be able to buy and do things that make me happy by throwing some foreign currency at people or into machines. Or, rather, politely handing it to people or carefully inserting it into coin/bill slots.

We watched a show about Hawaii during dinner in which this pair went around and checked out resorts and restaurants and stuff, which included this 11 billion yen house. Gah! During the show, Mama picked up this bowl of random veggies and was like, "Wah, we need to eat this soon!" She pulled off the cellophane wrap and popped some in her mouth, then immediately spat it out and gagged, "Gah, yuck! This stuff tastes like cigarettes! Hey, Soichiro, take a whiff." So he did and said, "Yeah, that sure smells like cigarettes." Later I decided to take a sniff myself (because I'm stupid like that)... and yes, they sure smelled like cigarettes. And on a completely random sidenote, I drank some New Year's sake that had pieces of gold leaf in it. A little gold's good for ya, no? *laughs*

Tired, tired, tired. Got a big essay due in two weeks, plus... gah, lots of stuff. But after all that, it'll be another break, this one over a month long. I'm both looking forward to it and sort of worried about it at the same time... it will be fun to go out and see more places of Japan and stay with different families, but at the same time I have no idea what my Internet situation will be and I have no idea what my time situation will be, either. In short, I'm going to be taking a big leap of faith again. Twice. Bwah. But, hey... it's all part of the experience. And if I can't get Internet, at least I can work on my websites on Apsu since I have IIS installed. I hope I can get online SOMEwhere, though...

But, yeah. Tired. Early to bed, early to rise, makes a Gerf less tired and want OJ.
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Of writing off the cuff

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 1/12/2005 4:58:43 AM
Yay... I can feel the presence of lots of schoolwork suddenly weighing down on my shoulders once again. Brings back many memories... not necessarily fond ones, but rather ones of how normal college students feel day in and day out!

I decided I'd write my journal a bit early today, because this evening is going to be mostly dominated by a business call. As such, I want to try to squeeze some extra time out of the evening for me to do some of the aforementioned work, which mostly consists of studying Japanese and thinking about the five-to-seven page paper I have to write for sci fi class. It's really not that bad yet... but my mind has a way of making any project seem like the end of the world... sort of. That's kind of too strong an image there, but more or less my brain tends to make things seem more significant than they are so when I finish, I feel more accomplished. Or something. I don't know how the human mind works... do you? ;)

Anyway, today in sci fi class we discussed Snow Crash (which, again, is a superb cyberpunk book... I think you'd like it, Dad; it's by the same guy who wrote Crypto-Nomicon, which I think I remember seeing on your bookshelf once... could be wrong though!) in a rather interesting way. The teacher gave everyone an index card and had us form four groups. In those groups, we each had to describe the thing on our card (mine was the Kourier), and then put them all together and form a "narrative." Now, being a writer (an on-and-off one, but one nonetheless), I saw that as nothing short of a written story. So, that's what I did. In maybe twenty minutes or so I took six or seven kind of random topics/people/things and made a story out of them, written in the style of Neal Stephenson. It reminded me a lot of Power of the Pen... and by golly, it was fun! Not the best piece of literature I've written by far, but for having to take all these random ideas and make SOMETHING out of them in so little time... the class seemed to actually be rather impressed. We downloaded it to the computer that was displaying stuff on the huge LCD display in the room so the whole class could read along as I read it aloud; the imagery that got the class laughing the most was "...the bimbo box sloshes over into a left-hand turn, somewhat resembling an overly corpulent man rolling out of a chair to get some more fried chicken from the fridge..." Fun times. *laughs* You can download the randomness below if you are so inclined, though you may not get many of the references if you've never read Snow Crash. And again, this was written off the cuff; if I were to actually work at it, I could most likely produce something much more readable. I had never written in such a "relaxed" style before, though... at least, not since ninth grade where my teacher said that kind of writing in school papers wasn't very professional. He was absolutely right, but what my brain failed to realize until just recently was that when you're writing a book, you can write whatever the heck you dang well please. ^__^

Anyway, after that I ate at the Food Shop with Aaron again (mmmm, curry... I am SO finding a place back home that sells curry, even if it's a supermarket), and when we finished I realized I had left my Clie up in the sci fi room. Gah! Fortunately, not only was it concealed inside a desk compartment, but there was no class going on at the time (it was the lunch hour, after all). Whoo... yay for memory. I had gone to hit Play on my remote and realized, "Oh drat, I don't have my Clie out! Oh drat, I don't have my Clie at all! Oh drat, I left it in the room! Oh good, chances are slim that anyone would have found it." *laughs* Needless to say, my Clie and I were reunited, and I walked back to the station. Before going home, I bopped over to the arcade and played two rounds of DDR. Daily practice is a good thing! I got my first arcade AA ever (Kind Lady, though that's only seven feet), and actually did quite well despite still not being able to move nearly as fast on the metal platforms as soft pads. I ended up with Max 300 on heavy, but I'm still not familiar enough with the platforms to be able to pass it; I did make it to the freeze, though, which I was proud of. I'm getting better, though, and that makes me feel good.

After that I got home and slept for something like two hours or so, mostly because I knew I'd probably be up sort of late tonight and also because I was just tired (understandably). With two hours of every day being sucked up with commuting times, I'm re-noticing just how little time there is in the day anymore. Blah. Hopefully my future jobs will let me work at home... no commuting times there! *laughs*

Well, off to study Japanese. Vocab quiz tomorrow... I need to study vocab more often, because it's good to know. Yes. 2 replies

Posted by: badcheeso 1/12/2005 7:05:46 AM
Don't know either sci-fi titles. Read a lot of them but not those.
Remind me about them when you get home and I'll look them up in the library.

Missed placed Clie and wallets. What in the wide, wide world of sports is a goin' on here?

1 reply

What's going on
Posted by: Gerf 1/12/2005 9:34:56 AM
What's going on? Either far too much or much too little. ;)
0 replies

Of Thursday...

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 1/13/2005 8:12:11 AM
Yipes! My Japan journal is almost as long as my dream journal... and I've been writing in that thing since 2002! *has to laugh* I suppose, though, it's easier to remember things in your waking life than it is your sleeping... and even when you do remember your dreams, it's not like you can always write a novel about 'em. I recently managed to type 2407 words on one dream, but that was... heh, yeah, pretty fluke-ish. ;)

But anyway, today was one of those Thursdays that I just absolutely loathe. The way the statistics class is placed makes it so I don't get home until after 7:00, which means I have very little time to do useful things like study or work on my website job. I ended up getting an 89.8% on the 6-page Japanese review test... mostly dumb mistakes as usual, and there were plenty of places where I could have done a lot better if I would have read over what I had written. But I felt I was taking too long on it, so when I finished it I turned it in right away. Ah well... I don't think it's really going to hurt my grade all that much. :) We're getting into some rather tricky grammar right now... it's not a heck of a lot of fun to learn and I probably won't really be using it in conversation that much, but it's useful to know. Stuff like "I had my brother wash the car" or "The teacher told me to shut up"... things like that, among other... things.

Statistics was, well, statistics. In the second half I actually felt like I was able to understand a little bit of it, especially since I toyed with my calculator and figured out a lot of the awesome functions it has built into it that do statistics analysis automatically. Still not happy with my performance in that class, though. Not a heck of a lot I can do about it, though. Just gotta takes what you can gets.

We had gyoza for dinner again today... MMMmmm I love gyoza. I could eat them for dinner for a week. And curry for lunch. Mmm, I love curry, too. When I get home, I'm SO finding out where I can score some curry and some gyoza... them foods are so teh_bomb they're almost dangerous. Afterwards I brought my headphones down to the kitchen and took them apart with some tiny screwdrivers the Yoshitakas had (since, as you may remember from my very first entry, I stupidly forgot to put my screwdriver kit in my checked luggage and as such it was confiscated at the security gate, though the lady was kind enough to give it to my parents instead of chucking it). I noticed earlier this week that the right speaker on my awesome big headphones just stopped working, and after tinkering with the wires today I had to admit defeat and concede to buying a new pair. Foo, I liked those headphones, too. But fortunately I got a LOT of money for New Year's which would be perfect to use for some new headphones (as per Papa's suggestion), and plus Papa's going to Ikebukuro on Sunday to get a digital camera at Bic Camera, so he suggested I tag along and he could show me around Ikebukuro and also where my parents' hotel is in Shibuya. That should be fun. Also, Mama recently came into my room, phone in hand; someone wanted me to speak English on Saturday at 9:00 AM (oof), and I said that would be okay. I'm quite a popular guy in these woods. *has to laugh*

And because I think it's more than worth mentioning, yesterday I got an absolutely WONDERFUL gift from my favorite Kristin: a calendar with pictures she made herself! Gosh, it's one of the most beautiful things in my room, seriously. I don't have anywhere to really hang it yet, though, but I'm looking for places I could jimmy a little clip-hook or something to hang it. Such a beautiful, thoughtful gift... and one that keeps giving for a full year, and then becomes a photo album/journal of my year after that! ^______^

Time for some kanji studyage. And OJ drinkage. And, unfortunately, a bar on Pocky eatage: I've consumed WAY too much today already. *laughs*
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Of one busy Friday!

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 1/14/2005 7:56:32 AM
Whoo, lots of stuff today. Sort of. Wow, worst intro ever. *laughs*

Kanji quiz = 100%. BIGGITY BAM! ^__^ We also did a good deal of kanji review; if you've got some sentences with kanji words missing, I usually know how to write 'em in. Feels good to be able to do that! After our kanjiness the teacher unveiled the video project to us: basically, we do whatever the heck we want. *laughs* We need to make some storyboards, assign director, cameraman, editor and all that, and, well, film! We sort of have an idea what we're going to do... but with ten people, it's going to be a big mess to get together. I'm going to be the editor, and if we can get a digital video camera I'll probably be doing it on Apsu. Whoo, video editing! *laughs* Might have to strip some programs off Apsu to free up space before we go at it, though, because I only have about five gigs free right now, and we may need a good deal for our video. Or not... we'll see. In any case, it should be fun, provided we can get our hands on said camera. I'm going to ask Papa if we could borrow his... but, yeah, we'll just have to see what happens.

*goes off and returns two and a half hours later* Whoo, a lot can happen in two and a half hours! Let me finish describing my day first, though. After classes, I ate lunch and talked to Michiyo-san a bit about the Japan Study website. I'll be starting work on that in April, which will be very nice because it means I'll have time to work on my current website job, plus I won't have to worry about anything during these last few weeks of this semester, which are going to hurt badly! *wipes sweat off brow* I was beginning to worry I had bitten off WAY more than I could chew rather than a little more than I could chew, but Michiyo-san didn't want to have to deal with the site until later anyway, so all is well. I'm going to be paid hourly for that one... nice way to see the pros and cons of each payment type. :)

After that, I went with Aaron and Becca to the game center to do some DDRing. Aaron came down with the flu, unfortunately, so Becca and I played for most of the time (and then I did a round by myself because I wanted to keep going... did 15 songs total). I got AA-quality grades several times, but it didn't give me a AA at all. Gah! I guess I just had too many Greats. Fake. However, I did get to witness with my own eyes a guy get AA ratings on Max 300 and The Legend of Max on 1.5x reverse (as in, the Extra Stage), which was faking awesome. I would have taken video, but I didn't want to without his permission, and he was too busy absolutely burning it up so I didn't bother him. I was very, very impressed and inspired. I too can be a DDR master if I try. Or something like that. *laughs* Also saw a dude totally pwning people in Tekken 5... the games are set up so they face away from each other, and someone can sit down on the other side and challenge you while you're playing a game. This dude played King and totally beat the snot out of everyone I saw him play! Arcade-goers in Japan are seriously zealots. I love it.

Before dinner, I went over to the Koizumi's house (a family friend; one of the sons practices piano with Mama) to "troubleshoot" the bath filtration system they bought. Everyone's buying one of these things! *laughs* She had inserted the batteries into the filter, but thought it was broken because no lights came on. I told her no lights come on until you get water going through it, and my job was finished. ^__^ It's fun to be of help, even in a country where the native tongue is not your own. Then during dinner, I talked to Mama about mathematics and computer science: started off with multiplication tables and eventually gave a whole schpeel about binary, decimal, and hexadecimal and how computers process this information. All in Japanese. ^__^ Mama admitted she couldn't remember most of what I had said, which is totally understandable since if you're not a CS major, most of this stuff wouldn't really make any sense to you anyway. Heck, even CS majors might find it hard sometimes! But we had a lot of fun... afterwards I held out the paper I had written to explain things (e.g. write down a bunch of numbers) and said, "Now study this well, because there's a test tomorrow!" When Mama and I get talking, we enjoy ourselves quite a bit.

Kristin's second package came today, too! Eeee! I don't know if she'd want me saying everything that was in there, but one was a really cool t-shirt she designed. Yay! Happy Gerf. ^____^

Well, off to the ofuro now. See you all around!
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