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|Of a working Saturday|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence - dining room||1/15/2005 7:48:06 AM|
that elementary school I went to way back when where we played a bunch
of games like Bingo, musical chairs, and that stuffed animal game
(hint: November 13th)? Went there again today. ^__^ There were only six
kids this time (mostly because it was raining and slushing all day),
but we still did some English conversation, played that stuffed animal
game again (I was the judge), and also a round of musical chairs. There
was a Japanese woman there who taught English at another school, and
she kept wanting to talk to me all the time so a lot of the English
conversation was me speaking with her. *has to laugh* I said just about
everything in both English and Japanese, so it was still useful to
whoever was listening. ;)|
I got another page or so written for my sci fi essay... I'm going to need to think about that some more because the writing has been a little slower than I was expecting. For an essay that's supposed to be 5-7 pages, I should probably do some outlining or something... for some reason, I didn't really feel like doing it for any of the essays I've written so far. *has to laugh* I'm just being lazy. Come on Gerf, get your rear in gear.
Today was also a pretty good day for computer/technology learning. I decided to try and lay out one of the websites I'm programming using CSS and the strict XHTML DTD, and I was surprised at how clean things look now. I was a little iffy about the whole thing before, but now I can really see why people push for it so much. I may want to try and recode the DF update to be strict and CSS when I'm done with everything else... probably would yield the most forward-compatable results. Also today after dinner I did some playing around with my host family's digital camera (they said I could use it for the Japanese project). Mainly I wanted to see how well I could get video onto and off of Apsu... and the results have been okay at best. I can capture video just fine it seems, but outputting back to the camera has not yet been accomplished. I don't think Apsu's hard drive is fast enough for it... so I'm using my family's computer which is better suited for that kind of stuff (though first I have to install SP2 on it, since they don't have it... and also so I can get WMM2 on there!).
And the verdict is out: I MUST GET A DIGITAL VIDEO CAMERA AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. Or, at least, when I think I need it and feel like shelling out teh_blingage for one. Not only do they have crystal-clear video quality, but transferring video to/from computers is a SNAP (my current situation here being an exception). It's a filmmaker's dream... no need to complicated cables everywhere. *laughs* It's still ridiculously useful to have the ability to import/output regular RCA signals from Tiamat, but heck, if I can get a digital video camera, I'm so getting one. :)
Wow, my brain has little recollection of what I typed just now. I'm thinking about too much at once again. Time to take a nap. I mean, watch more Japanese TV with Soichiro and Mama and Saki-chan and drink OJ and work on my computer and it's warm down here and I'm wearing two pairs of socks and I don't need to anymore and this sentence needs to end right. Now. D'oh, missed.
|Of English tutoring|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence: dining room||1/16/2005 5:38:45 AM|
went to Mr. Hayashiya's house at 10:00 for English tutoring, but Osaki
was an hour late (he's sick with a cold, he overslept, and it was
raining... understandable) so Mr. Hayashiya and I talked together in
both English and Japanese for quite some time. He is apparently going
to be going to Mongolia soon so he can learn the language and culture
there; I also learned that he recently took a boat around the world,
which was cool. I also realized today that I knew enough Japanese to be
able to understand a very good deal of his thoughts on the war in Iraq
and problems of the world... I may not be able to say everything on my
mind in Japanese, but I can understand a good deal. And that's cool.
^__^ Today's lesson was about commercials on television... which led to
some interesting talks about TV. It's nice to be able to be there and
help out; sometimes I think Mr. Hayashiya enjoys me there more than
Osaki because he's really into the whole English conversation thing.
Next week I'm going to go there an hour earlier so we can all go out
hiking to a nearby mountain, during which time I will be speaking only
Japanese and they will be speaking only English. Should be pretty fun!|
The rest of the day was spent working on my essay (I'm on page 3 of 5-7 now... slow progress, but at this rate I should finish it well over a week ahead of schedule, which works for me!) and researching other stuff. I even took some time and browed the Internet on my cellphone... more specifically the free EZWeb sites where I took advantage of the monthy downloads and picked up three songs (which I still have yet to listen to) and a free game (which seems pretty amusing; it's a Raptor-like shooter). I was going to head over to the Onishis tonight, but apparently I'll be doing that tomorrow instead.
Huh... I can't really concentrate very well. Maybe it was the sushi and sashimi I just ate, but it's probably more that I'm kind of tired. I think I'm going to go crash.
|Of a busy empty Monday|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence: my room||1/17/2005 10:28:48 AM|
wasn't until 2:40 today, as usual, so I got to spend the morning
working on websites and talking to my friends online. The Internet is
such a wonderful thing for so very many reasons. ^__^ Tiredness drowned
out a lot of Ecology today, unfortunately; for some reason I'm
perfectly awake before going there, yet when I get there and listen to
Mr. Ikeda talk my mind begins turning to mush. Something about
lectures, I know it. That's why I like working at the computer... when
you're tired, you just turn off the monitor (or leave it on if you're
environmentally savage) and snooze. When you come back, everything'll
be right where you left it. Yeah, I guess you could say the same thing
about just about anything, but... be quiet, I like my computers!|
I only played one round of DDR today, and even that wasn't all that great... I just wasn't feeling it today. Worked on more websites after getting home; dang, it's a good thing the Yoshitakas got that wireless card for me. *has to laugh* My experience here in Japan would be very different... and I would likely be significantly poorer, too. ;)
After dinner, I went to the Onishi's house after not being there for about a month. Wow, sure had been a while! Keisuke (I've been misspelling his name) showed me a bunch of new magic, and Kazuki and I agreed to go DDRing tomorrow after my classes were done (I'm going to meet him at Baba). Watched videos, listened to music, talked about stuff, ate lots of cool food. The Onishis are great folks! Mrs. Onishi even gave me the rest of a bottle of these little black pills that are supposed to be very good for you, as well as some medicine for my throat (it's been dry and I've been coughing a lot recently... I need to drink a LOT more fluids, effective immediately). Gosh, those pills are expensive... well over $100 for the jar. o_O;;; There aren't too many left and Mrs. Onishi assured me that it was okay to take them, so... well, now I've got a neat and apparently famous Japanese medicine in my room and in mah_bellay. *laughs* As soon as I took the pills and the throat medicine (tasted almost like powdery candy), I miraculously stopped coughing. Dag yo, Japanese medicine is good stuff.
Oh yes, and you learn something every day: Mama is the Amway distributor, not Papa. *laughs* I would never have guessed. Mama's description on the sheet I got was "housewife"... never could I have known she was not only a housewife but also a piano teacher, Amway distributor, and involved in just about every club and meeting this side of Honshu. *laughs*
The Onishis also invited me to come with them to Kyushu during my spring break, since Mrs. Onishi's parents said they wanted to see me. So... if I can get the time for it, which I'm pretty sure I can, I'll likely be goin' on a road trip with the Onishis over spring break. ^__^
Recently I've been having these... I don't know what you'd call them... "realizations" that, "Hey, I'm thousands of miles away from everything and everyone I know, and yet... I feel at home over here." I have friends, both American and Japanese, I have a few confirmed and a few tentative sources of income, I have a great host family with which I can live, I'm going to a great university, and by golly I'm speaking Japanese. I have a distinct feeling that I'm going to want to come back to Japan at LEAST once more before I die, since part of me has grown up here and as such I'm going to be permanently imbued with Japanese spirit, even if it's just a little bit. And that's... neat. :)
|Of Tuesday being weird|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence: my room||1/18/2005 6:36:16 AM|
today was a funky day. I know I messed a bunch of things up on my
Japanese quiz, and then the teacher said I had a homework missing from
back in November. Gah. I told her I'm positive I turned every homework
in, so she checked me off; I just got done checking my records of every
paper that has passed between my fingers in that class and I don't have
it with me, meaning I either didn't even pick it up when it was
assigned (highly unlikely, seeing as she hands them out to people and
then says she's collecting it the next class... I would have noticed at
least ONE of those times if a paper hadn't landed in my hands or I
didn't have one to turn in), or that I turned it in and it just got
lost in the shuffle somewhere. I came out on top, but still, it didn't
really help me feel any better. After class and lunch I had to take a
nap for fifteen minutes so I wouldn't totally die in Ecology class.
Needless to say, I survived. ;)|
Drank a lot of fluids today... since I'm pretty sure I'm sick with something or another, I'm not going to take any chances this time. Down the hatch dem liquids go, be it milk or OJ or water or noodle broth or sake or whatever. I'm probably going to want to stop by the supermarket tomorrow to pick up more OJ and maybe a few other things; I've realized that I need to stop being so frugal with myself and BUY THINGS. I know frugality is not a bad thing at all, but when you're being so frugal as to deprive yourself of stuff you need to keep going, that's just being stupid. *laughs* Plus, I've got several jobs at the moment... so even if I needed to spend, like, fifty bucks a week until I go back home, I'd still come out on top in the end. o_O; Not that I'd spend that much, but...
...heck, spending more than fifteen bucks a week for me used to be unheard of. o_O
But yeah, enough of that. I forgot to mention that on Sunday, Papa and I didn't go to Ikebukuro because the weather was bad... so we'll be going techno-shopping sometime later. Today I was supposed to meet Kazuki at Takadanobaba station at 4:30 to go play DDR, but some unforseen circumstances plus a little communication mishap (which, cool enough, had nothing to do with English/Japanese confusion) we ended up not playing, so I just came home and did stuff until dinner, after which I did more stuff up until now, after which I shall take a bath and go to sleep or something. All my energy has been sucked dry... like I told Mrs. Onishi in an e-mail, it's a good thing I didn't go DDRing since I probably have a cold after all. Coolness: I was able to use some of the grammar we're learning! お宅にうかがわせていただきたいのですが (otaku ni ukagawasete itadakitai no desu ga) is not only a very, very polite and humble way of saying "Can I go to your house?" but it's also pretty dang long! *laughs* Fun practice, too. I'd like to do more Japanese writing, because then I could actually take the time to use all these neato constructions we've been learning.
But yeah, bathtime. Latah.
|Of a strange movie|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room||1/19/2005 6:17:56 AM|
|Looking for a brilliantly weird movie? Watch Brazil.
We watched that in sci-fi class today and... whew. It started out
brilliantly awesome, and by the end it was brilliantly WAAAAAAAAAAY out
there. Very, very, very strange movie... I probably shouldn't watch it
again for at least ten years if I value what's left of my mind. o_O;|
Hung around the Japan Study office today for a while, working on a fellow study abroader's laptop and talking with Michiyo-san. Nothing super-important, really... just idle chat and trying to convince myself that the laptop could be saved. *has to laugh*
Came home, went shopping, got to my room and worked on websites... vocab studying was also thrown in there, as will more as the night progresses.
Wow, except for the movie, today was a very, very drab day. Yipes!
|Of movin' files|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence - dining room||1/20/2005 7:45:40 AM|
another Thursday done. Whoo. I never really look forward to Thursdays
much these days, but at least they'll be leaving soon.|
Japanese class was kind of blah... combining general tiredness from being a college student and listening to "THE TAPE" for three hours... yeah, gets pretty muggled. I like being able to take naps in the Building 19 lounge, though. And eat lunch there. And access the Internet there. And do work there. Heck, it's a great place... and it's usually pretty quiet! Funny thing, though, is that I see SO many Sony laptops there (several TR3AP models, too, which is what Apsu is), as well as a lot of them that are newer and smaller than Apsu. Yes, smaller. Yowza!
Statistics wasn't AS abysmal as I thought it was going to be. I actually feel somewhat confident about the test next week, and I really misread my scores on my previous tests: I'm actually not doing very bad at all. I got my second assignment back and got a 92 on it, which really made me happy. My barely-passing grade on my final exam wasn't as happy-inducing, but the teacher said she was going to adjust the grade because apparently the average class grade was pretty bad. In any case, I need to be able to pull at least a C on the test next week to get a C in the class (which means it will transfer as a B). I am horribly embarrassed to be saying "I'm hoping that I'll get a C in the class," but... for studying second-semester statistics overseas after never having taken a statistics blass before... I guess it's okay. *shrugs*
Right now I'm copying files from Apsu to my host family's computer so I'll have space to work on the soon-to-be-filmed Japanese video. Gonna need all the space I can get! I think afterwards I may take advantage of the fact that a bunch of files will already be on their system (a fellow VAIO ;) ) and reformat Apsu so I can reclaim its recovery partition and gain an additional 5 gigs of space. That and start over with a fresh SP2 install (as opposed to an SP1->SP2 upgrade) as well as fresh versions of all my programs (not to mention the latest versions of some of them... might as well upgrade as much as possible all at once!). Classes are almost over, meaning I'll have the time to do so very soon. Oddly, I'm really looking forward to it. Not exactly sure why... I just like starting over and making things even better than the last time. I'm a perfectionist like that and it eats time faster than I drink OJ! *gets more OJ*
|Of a lot of firsts|
|Location: Takadanobaba - Taito Inn game center||1/21/2005 9:24:57 AM|
I'm in the game center in Takadanobaba right now, typing up this entry.
*laughs* Here with Aaron, Rob, Becca, a Japanese guy we met today at a
dinner, and also Matt, though he left a little while ago. We've been
DDRing for... oh, maybe an hour and a half or so... very fun. And hey,
I finally passed Max 300 in the arcade! SWEET! Got a B... next goal: A.
Just like back at home. Then when I get back home: AA. MWAHAHAH.|
Anyway, today was a day of a lot of firsts... but a very tiring one. I've been up and going since 6:00 AM, and after returning home to finish this entry it's become 11:00. Got up, went to school, took a kanji test (on which I made some silly mistakes, but nothing too bad), and then went to work shooting video for our class project. We... eh, didn't get nearly enough filming done, to say the least. I knew it was going to happen, too. But... meh, just means more work for me trying to put it all together. Nothing new, of course. We had a lot of fun doing it, though; Akane-sensei got a tripod for us to use (though we only used it in one shot), and we went around Takadanobaba to some different spots. Much time was wasted with frivilous banter, but... yeah, that's what happens. No sense in complaining... not going to solve anything. Got some good video... it'll be fun to stick together, even though there is only a little of it.
The videotaping allowed me to experience some firsts, mainly watching Pachinko being played up-close and personal, and going into a karaoke room for a half hour. The latter was for Becca's scene, but we ended up staying in there afterwards since we had the room. Karaoke is... interesting. You've got a bajillion songs you can choose from, and the whole (small) room lights up for you. I sang "Staying Alive" by the Bee Gees and got about a third of the way through "Yubiwa" before we had to go. Funny how I always thought I had relatively accurate pitch, but now hearing my voice on a microphone I realize it's a little more off than I thought. But then, of course, singing Bee Gees with a super-squeaky voice isn't exactly easy for someone like me. *laughs* We did a little DDR before that for my scene... pretty fun.
Michiyo-san had a little meeting today for me and the rest of the guys going to the intern practicum at 1:30. Apparently we're not going to Shizouka but somewhere else, and we're not going to be staying with host families either: dorm life for us. But, you know, that's cool... I'll get to see how Kevin was living, and how some of the guys and gals in my Japanese class live. The stuff we'll be doing sounds cool, too. And, since I know Mom is dying to know about this, they ARE going to provide us with the uniforms we'll need to wear, so you need not send any expensive clothing this way; I'm all set. ;)
After that, I pretty much spent the rest of the afternoon in the office doing computer work for Becca, Mika, and Michiyo-san, everything from trying to install software to copying files from a dead computer to adding text fields into a PDF so people could type into it. Three hours... and I got paid for it, too! Excellent... all the money I spent today (and this week and the week before that) has been more or less paid off by those three hours of work. ^__^
There was a dinner party at 6:30 where Japan Study students were going to meet some Waseda students who were going off to America in September for a year (much like we're doing in Japan), and I left early with Megan and Becca to get some drinks and help set up. The dinner was pretty nice... we had pizza and sushi. Go figure. *laughs* Unfortunately, there was not nearly enough pizza for everyone to have their fill, and there weren't enough chopsticks for everyone to properly eat their fill of sushi, either. Pretty much everything got consumed in the end, though. Got to talk to a bunch of people, including a girl who is going to be going to Denison. Good stuff.
Afterwards, I went with the group of friends mentioned above to the game center by the Takadanobaba train station (by way of the subway... another first for me!) and played there for about two hours. It's odd, because I have never really spent a day out with friends doing stuff and spending money... but today I did just that, and it was pretty fun. Very tiring, but quite fun. I'd like to spend some more time with these dudes in the future... preferrably DDRing, because that's really fun. ;)
Just so much to do here in Japan, and when you have friends in the same boat as you are in, it just makes it so much more fun.
I know I've probably forgotten some things I wanted to mention, but I'm too tired and in need of a bath to remember them. Oh yeah, my hair has finally gotten too long and I think I want to get it cut this weekend. That's right. That and boy, I've got some work to do for our video. Oh yeah, and there are two exams next week and one essay due. Joy. The work! The work! Out.
|Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room||1/22/2005 9:51:09 AM|
I forgot to mention last time: in the game center, there are all these
notebooks where people who are waiting in lines for games can sit down
and draw. They're full of awesome anime pencil sketches... why don't we
have those things back home?|
But yeah... the stress is beginning to pile on here. I don't have the energy to type a full-blown entry today, so I'll be brief.
- Woke up, worked on Japanese video project (for which we need MORE VIDEO grrr).
- Ate lunch, went with Papa to Bic Camera in Ikebukuro; I bought a pair of headphones (which I'm going to exchange for a more expensive version because these have very poor sound quality) and Papa bought a 5 megapixel digital camera... I'll show them all how to use it eventually. Afterwards I went to an 8-story tall computer shop and browed around... man, they have everything there! Well, except for things I was looking for, like cheap thumb drives and flash memory. *laughs* Probably there somewhere, but I didn't see it.
- Learned how to get prepaid train cards... will be useful for when the folks come up.
- Worked on the project more when I got home.
- Ate dinner, went to the Onishi's house to relax and help Kazuki study for an English test on Sunday. Had hot milk for the first time (at least the first time I can remember) and learned that "nekojita," "cat tongue," means you can't eat really hot foods... which describes me exactly! Yay for me having a cat tongue. Fits perfectly.
And now I have to take a bath, go to bed, and figure out how the heck I'm going to survive next week. o_o;;;
|Of walking out of Tokyo|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence - dining room||1/23/2005 6:20:15 AM|
beautiful day in the neighborhood for a walk. Actually, it was cold!
But if you have a heavy leather parka, it's not so bad. Oh, the
beginning? Psh, why didn't you just say so? Oh, you did? Well, I, um...
Anyway, today at 9:00 I went to Mr. Hayashiya's house and met him and Osaku (I've been misspelling his name, too... whoo, I'm screwing everyone's name up!) to go walking. We headed to 八国山 (Mount Hachikoku, "eight countries") and walked around the bottom of that, and eventually left Tokyo and entered Saitama. We were going to a man-made mountain off somewhere (about an hour's walk away), and on the way we spoke English to each other. It was really cold and my semi-runny nose was upgraded (downgraded?) into a "normal" runny nose, but the walk was worth it: we went through grungy villages and beautiful forests alike, and eventually ended up at our goal: [insert name of mountain here because I'm lazy and forgot]. It looked like something right out of the Lord of the Rings movie: a large mound of earth with trees, paths, and little shrines sticking out of it. Very, very cool... at that point I sorely regretted not bringing my digital camera, but I did manage to get some pictures on my cell phone (which I'm e-mailing to myself so I can post it here at some point). The whole "mountain" was about... um... maybe thirty meters tall or something, and there were all sorts of shrines at its base. The path to the top was a narrow, winding, one-way thing, and at the top there was a small plateau with a shrine for the "mountain's" god and also a map that told you what you were looking at when you looked at the beautiful panoramic view. One of the reasons that place is so popular is because you can see Mt. Fuji very well from it; today it was cloudy so you couldn't really see anything. We went down and had some cakes and tea at the bottom (yes, cakes and tea), then headed back home. All in all it took about two and a half hours.
On our way to the "mountain," we ran into a guy who was walking to golden retrievers who were each only one and a half years old. That reminded me how much I absolutely LOVE golden retrievers... as far as dogs go, I think they're my absolute favorite. They're so kind and friendly, and they are drop-dead gorgeous. Not overly-flashy like some dogs and not overly-badbutt like others; they're a beautiful balance between the two (with a slight bias to "flashy," I'd say) and they're wonderful creatures. ^__^ If I ever end up getting a dog at some point in my life, my first vote will be for a retriever. Whether or not I end up with a dog or not will be determined later. ;)
After that I kind of collapsed into a puddle of tiredness and overstressed-ness, and felt quite rotten after I woke up. However, my parents and Kristin were there on IM to cheer me up, and in an hour or two I was feeling quite happy... happy enough to finish my final sci-fi report due Wednesday and get more work done on the Japanese video we're doing for class. I even spent a little time tidying and cleaning up my room, and now it looks much nicer! A nice room makes for... uh, a nice room. Yes.
Ate WAY too much tempura for dinner... dang, I love that stuff. Afterwards I stuck what I have so far of the Japanese video back onto the digital video camera and therefore further cemented my desire to get one of those puppies in the near future. The quality is PERFECT, and I don't need to worry about crazy formats and compression and differences between computerized video and analog video; what you see IS what you get. It's crisp and clear, and it's really really cool. My only gripe is that Apsu's hard drive isn't fast enough to output to camera, but the Yoshitaka's (and Tiamat's, for that matter) is plenty fast enough and outputs the video flawlessly. It's a digital video creator's DREAM MACHINE!
Awesome. Anyway, back to work.
|Of buying a lot of lunch|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room||1/24/2005 7:48:11 AM|
today was work on computer ALL DAY day. Mostly did the Japanese video,
though I also finished my essay for Wednesday, worked on Megan's
computer a little (hopefully accomplishing something useful, even if
it's only a second or two of time saved by preventing a few services
from loading), and had kids climb all over me again. I swear, Japanese
kids have something about climbing on American dudes. o_O;|
Spent a lot of money on food today, too... just on lunch, to be exact. If I total everything up, it was somewhere around 700-800 yen. Gosh. Normally I spend 180-300 a day. I guess I felt like buying lots of stuff today and shoving it down my gullet... though, come to think of it, I really didn't get ALL that much...
Anyway, one problem with doing this video project (which is coming along quite nicely... up to four minutes and we still have a few more people to film...) is that doing other stuff is difficult. I have a dialogue and quiz in Japanese tomorrow, as well as the ecology final exam that is worth 100% of the final grade. It's going to be two essay questions, but since it's open notes I don't really think there's much I need to do to prepare but go over the ten-some pages of notes I took and know where everything is. I'm pretty confident I'll ace it... besides, 80% and up is an A as far as Case will be concerned. ;)
That's it for today, I suppose. Guess I had better prepare for my quizzes tomorrow...
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