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Of a busy Tuesday

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 1/25/2005 7:59:14 AM
Whoo, another busy day. The class was confused again about which quiz we were supposed to have, so people who studied vocab (like me) took a vocab quiz and people who studied grammar took a grammar quiz; Thursday we'll switch it up. After that, Hoshino-sensei was nice enough to let us do filming for the rest of the day. And boy, did we need it! I suddenly have a TON more work to do... but it's better than having not enough, I suppose. I don't know how much I feel like working on it tonight, though... I'm kind of tired and burned out from all this worrying about it. I think I'll just go to bed early, get a nice night's sleep, and work on it all tomorrow since I'll be getting home around 1:00 anyway.

Luke and I went to Ikebukuro to film his segment, and afterward I returned those headphones I bought last Saturday for some that are MUCH better (and three times as expensive!). Now I can say I've officially returned a piece of electronics in Japan, and I can also say I bought myself a quality pair of headphones. They really envelop my ears but don't smash them like my old ones did (they're padded with felt and feel nice... warm, too), and they sound fantastic. The only problem really is that they're not really shielded on the outside, so whatever I happen to be listening to can be heard by other people quite clearly if the volume is high enough (which is not too much). But that's why I have several pairs of headphones: when I want to listen to something quietly, I pop on my small earphones... when I want hi-fi stuff, I pop these on. ^__^ They're also constructed with thick wires, durable metals, and all in all look like they could last a long time. Awesome!

Treated myself to Wendy's for the heck of it after that and looked over ecology notes. The final exam was to pick two of twenty different prompts and write a page essay about each one (the page was one side of a rather large piece of paper... A1, I think?). It would have been a TON easier if the questions hadn't been so specific, but since it was open-notes I was able to find two prompts to which I had oodles of notes (biogeochemical cycles being one and precambrian organism evolution the other) and pump out what I think were two decent essays. I suppose we'll see how I did later, but I think it was okay. Afterwards I went to get a gakuwari (discount ticket) for Michiyo-san to use when booking my transportation to/from my cultural practicum, and on the way I bought what I thought was fruit punch but what ended up being CARBONATED FRUIT PUNCH. GAH! I mean, who the FAKE carbonates FRUIT PUNCH?! *laughs* I tried shaking it up to get some of the fizz out outside of a building, but ended up making a mess. Mika, who happened to pop out of the building as I was shaking the bottle, commented that I'm "so hilarious." *laughs* I really, REALLY come off as an oddball to some people sometimes. Don't know what it is. ;)

So, yeah. I think I'm just going to unwind tonight and not really worry TOO much about the video... maybe just put some pieces in place to make working on it easier tomorrow, but just leave it at that. The week's almost over... Thursday is the last major hurdle, and then it should be relatively smooth sailing until the end of the semester, which is next week I do believe...
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Of editing video like crazy

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 1/26/2005 6:17:42 AM
Today was almost literally a "work on video project all day" day. Got up to go to class at the normal time, arrived 10 minutes late because of a train delay, and left two hours early because all we were really doing was turning in our final essays and getting a brief review for the final exam. This isn't the first time I've ever heard of the trains in Japan being late, but this is the first time I've been on one that was so late they gave out what essentially were "passes" to your school or job or whatever, which basically said "Please excuse this person because the trains were late today." Do they have things like that back home when public transportation gets delayed? I've never heard of it before.

I got home around noon, plopped down at Apsu, and after checking e-mail and stuff got to work. I stopped for a snack and for bathroom breaks every now and then, but more or less it was nonstop work. And boy, it was sure worth it! I'm pretty close to being done with it... there are just a few quick scenes remaining and then the ending credits. I think since tomorrow is the last "Horrible Thursday" of the semester (and perhaps of my life, thank goodness) I will have no problems staying up late should I need to in order to get the video wrapped up. Once statistics is over, I'm just going to be one happy Gerf... and after the video is finished, I'll be even happier.

The only issue right now is dealing with statistics. *sighs* I'm still not pleased with my performance in that class one bit, but if I can get at least a C on the exam tomorrow, I should end up with a B overall (but only because a C transfers as a B). If I don't do at least that well, I likely end up with a D. *sighs again* I have no idea why, but since about last year my ability to do math has plummeted. Like, abysmally. And I'm embarrassed and ashamed of it, but... that's just what happens.

Still have work to do, tests to study for, baths to take. If you see an entry tomorrow, that means I haven't died of stress yet.
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Of the last evil Thursday!

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 1/27/2005 6:44:46 AM
Hey, I'm alive! And I actually feel pretty good! Figure that. ;)

Only got five hours of sleep, and it didn't really help that I was smooshed up against the door of the train... otherwise I would have sort of snoozed. Though I was able to rest my head against the door... not like I had much of a choice, though. Got to Japanese class, took the grammar quiz, did some grammar stuff, showed the class the almost-completed video. They like it quite a bit it seems! Whoo. There are just a few little parts I have to add in and it'll be alllllll done. Yay!

The statistics exam was actually a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. At least... I hope it was. Here we have one of those classic situations of "Was it really that easy or did I totally misunderstand it?" I'd like to think it really was that easy... which means I very well may end up with a "decent" grade in the class after all. Yay. Glad it's over! Afterward, we all went with the teacher to a nearby cafeteria where she treated us all to drinks and food. I got some strawberry yogurt and strawberry drink (mmm, strawberry) and talked with a couple classmates for quite a while. It's interesting... in that math class, I'm the only American. Everyone else is either Chinese or Japanese, plus there's one Hungarian. I'm friends with one of the Chinese guys, so he, I, the Hungarian guy (our friend too), and another Japanese guy all talked about a bunch of stuff. The teacher offered to get me and the Japanese guy some Thai curry, so we tried it out. Mine was red and his was yellow... however, they really weren't that hot at all. Didn't even make me get close to breaking a sweat... or even have problems swallowing it, for that matter. You call that hot curry? I want some REAL Thai curry. *laughs* I'll be sure to get some at some point or another.

Two random things:

- A loooong time ago, back when I was at Saki-chan's kindergarten sports festival, I saw a girl with a shirt that said "Shine glitteringly" on it. Thought it was funny.

- Today I saw a bookstore guy putting out some old books for the garbagemen to pick up... but before leaving, he poured hot water all over them. It kind of reminded me how sometimes farmers used to (and may still) destroy excess crops that weren't needed. Bah, I say. If you don't want those books anymore, maybe someone who can't afford them does. Is it really going to kill your business to let them take them if they'd like? You sure as heck aren't using them. The same goes for crops: there are millions of starving people across the globe that would kill for some of that food you're wasting. Capitalism causes us to be inconsiderate sometimes, it seems. Or maybe a lot of times. Or something. *shrugs*

I'm too busy right now to get into a socioeconomic debate. Gotta finish this video!

And... by golly, Thursday is DONE!
2 replies

Posted by: Tare 1/28/2005 8:31:22 AM
Is our class film uploaded yet? I wanna send it to my friends n what nott. yoroshiku!
1 reply

Posted by: Gerf 1/28/2005 9:31:57 AM
Not quite yet; I need to make some very small modifications and then compress it for the web. I'm far to tired to do it tonight, but I'll likely do it tomorrow sometime. I'll send y'all an e-mail when it's done!
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Of the week being finally over

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 1/28/2005 9:35:26 AM
Holy hep on a stick, the week is done! The stress that clobbered me a week ago is almost entirely lifted, and I can breathe again. Man, what a good feeling that is.

I had to start the day with very little sleep, though, because as Murphy's Law dictates, something that could go wrong with the movie did. I began rendering the final version at about midnight last night, and it took over an hour to finish (so I napped until it was done). Then I brought it downstairs, at something like 1:30 or 2:00 in the morning, so I could transfer it to the Yoshitakas' computer and then onto the digital video camera. But for SOME strange reason, the intro scenes didn't come out! The sound played, but there was no video. What the hep. It took me until 3:00 in the morning to do some hack-fu with Windows Movie Maker to do some cheap splicing work, but I finally got it together, got to sleep, and got it displayed at school. Turned out really well! The class liked it quite a bit, and the teacher said she was quite surprised. Today was Akane-sensei's last day teaching in Japan (she's going to be moving to the USA soon), so we had a mini-party and watched My Neighbor Totoro and ate some snacks Hoshino-sensei brought us and drinks Akane-sensei treated us to. Two random unrelated observations: apparently Japanese teachers treat their students to stuff often, and Totoro is an AWESOME movie. I want a bit plush Totoro now. *laughs*

After class was over I worked in the Japan Study office for an hour then zonked out in the lounge for about an hour and a half. Woke up with a pretty stiff neck, but it was well worth it: I was fresh and ready for the dinner tonight, in which we got to meet the five new students who are here for the spring semester. They seem like pretty nice people. We ate at a place that is normally geared for all-you-can-drink parties, but since Japan Study was sponsoring it there was no alcohol involved. I certainly didn't mind, though, because there was OJ. ^__^ We didn't get a whole lot of food there, so when they kicked us out at 8:00 I went with some of the people to the nearby Wendy's and got a Frosty (they call it "Choco Frost" here). Haven't had one of those in a loooong time. Yumyum. Then I went DDRing with Becca, Matt, Rob, and one of the new students, Gayle... gotta get new DDRers acquainted with the local DDR place!

I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do this weekend; it'll probably involve a lot of computer work, though, as there are websites I need to get working on and I'd like to reformat Apsu soon, too (mostly to reclaim the recovery partition). I'm also probably going to be meeting with the Onishis and Muni Mishima, too, so we'll have to see how that works out. So many people want to talk with me all the time!

And now I'm tired out... better not strain myself after finally having finished everything! See y'all around... and yes, I'll have that Japanese video up soon. ;)
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Of catching up

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 1/29/2005 6:39:50 AM
Wow... I had no idea how much stuff I had mentally backed up to do after I finished with this week! There are websites to code, computers to reformat, videos to stick online, pictures to name and upload, people to talk to... man, all sorts of stuff! I'm going to need a few days just to catch up with everything! *laughs* But that's okay... Sunday is free and so is Monday since I have no class, so that'll be cool. Should give me a good deal of time to get caught up and back on track with my life.

I spent most of the morning talking online with Kristin, as usual, while working on some final touches to the Japanese video and exporting it into lower-quality versions for web distribution. I currently only have a 13 megabyte version available now; check the link below to access it. Users with broadband access should be able to get it without much problem... dialup modem users are going to have to wait for the low-quality version; hopefully I'll have it by tomorrow. I'm also working on making a video CD version of it, as well as possibly a VHS version... we'll just have to see what people want. Too bad I probably won't be able to keep the source video... it's over 3 gigs, and it'll just take up way too much space on my computer. However, by freeing up that five gigs from my recovery partition, perhaps there will be room to save it after all, and then... hm.

Oh well, anyway, after lunch I discovered that a package from home arrived, and it was full of all sorts of yummies and goodies and MORE PILLOWCASES! *laughs* Then I went to the post office to drop of a letter and picked up some more OJ at the store. Came back, talked some more, took a nap, had a big dinner with the grandparents and the Kobayashis (during which we watched the video my family sent and talked about the Fahrenheit/Celcius thermometer they also sent... the Yoshitakas say "Thanks!"), and once again explained English to Mr. Kobayashi. He is such a nut it's hilarious. :) Now I'm going to be going off to the Onishi's house soon... with the tape, of course!

It's good to be free.
Video: Class Video Project 2 replies

Good job!
Posted by: jmexico 1/29/2005 1:01:14 PM
Good job on the video Greg. Pretty neat...and preeeetty weird but hilarious-looking when everybody had to look shocked at the end. What was the video for anyway?
1 reply

Posted by: Gerf 1/29/2005 6:01:03 PM
It was an open-ended video for Japanese class, so we got to make up whatever we wanted. Unfortunately, we only had a week to do it, and we had ten people in the class so it was hard to get everyone together to work on it (especially because a lot of them kept skipping class on shooting days... what the..?!). It's finally done, though, so that makes me happy. It totally sucked up my life for this past week. o_O
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Of the Japanese video!

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 1/30/2005 6:02:44 AM
Whoo, they sure keep me busy over here! This morning I went to do English tutoring with Mr. Hayashiya and Osaku, and in about fifteen minutes I'm going to head out and meet Munii at the train station to do more English conversation. Whew! No rest for the weary. ;)

Aside from those two things, nothing super-interesting happened today (well, not in Japan, anyway *laughs*). More or less I just stayed inside and worked on websites and getting the Japanese video up in full operation. Even got a DVD version of it set up! Cool beans. As for web versions, these are the two "final" versions:

Class video project (high-res 18.2 MB) | (lo-res 4.21 MB)

Enjoy! I showed it to the Onishis yesterday and my host family today after dinner... they all thought it was pretty neat! It was a lot of work, but also a LOT of fun. Hopefully I'll be able to make more videos like that in the future. Digital video camera = a very cool thing!
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Of finishing this video for good

Location: Yoshitaka residence - dining room 1/31/2005 7:19:59 AM
This has got to be, like, the fifty-third time I've put this video out onto tape! *laughs* This should be THE last time, though. After I finish this, it'll all be done. Like, forever. It had BETTER be, anyway! At least people seem to enjoy it... I showed it twice for some kids today, and I'll probably be showing it tomorrow one more time for the class. Last night while I was coming home from talking with Munii-san I realized I had forgotten to put in some subtitles at the very end, but... oh well. Kind of adds to the funniness, actually, especially since you can infer what happens.

So yeah, yesterday at 8:30 I met Munii-san at the HMY station where we went to Mr. Donut for some English conversation. We were going to meet at the Maru, but it was closed. D'oh! I found that Munii-san had changed jobs: she's no longer going to be a travel agent, but instead is working as a telephone operator for the waterworks. She doesn't like her new job all that much, but the pay is better and she says she needs the extra blingage. We talked about various things over some drinks and doughnuts, ranging from jobs to relationships to how it's faking hard to learn English. Gosh, English is SUCH a hard language... and I'm not kidding! Gosh. We'll probably be doing conversations like this every week from now on; next week she's going to bring me to a nearby restaurant that's very popular with school students. Should be amusing.

Today I did some kanji studying and website work, but I'd say the highlight was talking to Kristin over the phone. Earlier in the morning I was so tied up with people and wouldn't have been able to talk to anyone, but things changed and I got to talk to her. Gosh, it was so good to hear her voice after not having heard it in so long. Talking with anyone over the phone is such a wonderful thing... I'm going to have to do it more often! And heck, for two cents a minute, I can do it as much as time permits.

I got some food from home in the package my parents sent me, and I've been enjoying it quite a bit. Today, though, I realized something very strange: American food has become kind of... weird. The flavors aren't as "normal" as they used to be, nor as they as "familiar" as they used to be, either. My taste of what is "normal fare" seems to be changing; I wonder what's going to happen when I come back home and suddenly start eating all the foods I once knew. Am I going to not be able to handle them? I mean, you'd think after eating whole fish, bones and scales and all (though Papa was nice enough to cut the head off for me) for two days in a row I'd be able to stomach anything... yet at the same time, the thought of going back to American food just feels strange right now.

Or maybe I'll bounce right back to what's "normal" for me as soon as I get home. In any case, I know exactly what I want to eat when I get home (be it the day I return or soon thereafter): a shredded beef/chicken chimichanga at Rio Bravo. And LEMONADE. LOTS. OF. LEMONADE. Here I was all this time worrying there'd be no OJ in Japan, and I didn't even think what I'd do without lemonade. I miss that stuff so much. *laughs*

Oh, yeah, and today I didn't go anywhere because ecology class was done. Whoo! ^__^
3 replies

Rio Who-O?
Posted by: badcheeso 1/31/2005 11:44:07 AM
Sorry gerf,
Rio Bravo is out of business. Perhaps you were thinking of Cozemel! ? They have lots for lemonade.
2 replies

Posted by: Gerf 2/1/2005 12:17:28 AM
WHAT?! When did that happen!? Yikes! o_O;;;

Well, I guess Cozumel will have to do. *laughs* And yes, bring on teh_lemonade.

*misses Rio Bravo, though*
1 reply

Where were you?
Posted by: badcheeso 2/1/2005 7:16:04 AM
It closed over a year and a half ago. The one in Southpark that we used to go to is now a Red Lobster.

That's why we've been going to Cozumel, besides it's closer to home. Remember home? Remember your room? Well, it's not quite ready for you to come home to. Give us a couple of months.

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Of not a heck of a lot... again

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 2/1/2005 6:37:46 AM

Not much today... kanji quiz (on which I changed a correct answer to an incorrect answer... AGAIN), some practice, watching the video again. Tried to fix someone's laptop afterwards to no avail, came home not feeling all too hot and slept for an hour. I'm trying to think of what else went on today, but I'm drawing a blank.

Oh... the course schedules for next semester came in, finally. I like how they give you all of two or three days to decide which courses you want to take and then two days to sign up for them. Yay. I've only found two courses which seem interesting right now: Ethics in Science and Fundamentals of Generative Syntax. I doubt I'll be able to apply the second one to my major very well, but the first one may be able to fulfill something. I dunno... everything looked so good before I came here in terms of completing my degree speedily, but after actually seeing the real course listings I'm about 90% sure I'm going to require an extra semester of classes at Case at the very least. Not that that's such a horrible thing... it's just going to be costly. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, though. If I have to take out more loans, then I have to take out more loans. That's what they're there for... just means I'll have to pay a little more per month to lift them off my shoulders. Fortunately I've been squirreling away lots of money in the bank anyway, so by the time I need to start paying them off I shouldn't be in that bad of shape.

Yesterday during dinner Papa asked me which lifestyle I thought was busier: American or Japanese. I couldn't answer because I had forgotten what American life is. o_O; I'm losing touch with America... which is a weird feeling. I've been pretty rock-solid in terms of adjusting to Japanese life; I can only hope my transition back to the American way of life five months from now will be relatively painless.

At least there'll be lemonade. Gosh, I miss that so much. All the "lemonade" here is either carbonated junk or mixed with honey, the latter of which is delicious but doesn't quench my thirst like a cool, tall glass of sweet lemonade. I guess I'm just starting to miss things (finally)... and it doesn't help either that I don't seem to be in the best of moods. I've got a final exam in sci-fi tomorrow but I don't feel like studying any more for it, and there are two big Japanese tests coming up but I don't feel like studying for those, either... at least not until after my sci-fi test. *sighs* I think it's just end-of-the-semester blues.

Lookin' forward to having teh_family come up...
3 replies

American Life
Posted by: TheDude 2/1/2005 12:24:13 PM
Hey Gerf dude, don't worry about getting used to your old lifestyle. It's like a new pair of underwear; at first it's constricting, but then it just kinda becomes part of you...*crickets chirp* So Japan rocks, right? Because if it bluegrasses I'll be very upset. (Boy, that was cheesy.)

Ohhhhh, this tall glass of sweet lemonade I'm gulping down right now is extremely refreshing...oh, um, sorry. You should ask your family to bring you some! So you like OJ? Jmexico does too.
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Posted by: badcheeso 2/1/2005 6:15:19 PM
This is Mom...NOT badcheeso!
Anyway, I'm trying to think of a lemonade that we can send you in a powdered form that's not too yukky. I didn't know you were missing it so! Definitely we will bring some with us!!
1 reply

Posted by: Gerf 2/1/2005 11:21:59 PM
Yeah, powdered lemonade doesn't really float my boat much. Canned lemonade is okay, but nothing beats the stuff you can get at Cozumel or, like, from a fountain. I know the fountain stuff is fake (and Cozumel's lemonade is probably a fountain), but heck, it tastes good. ^__^
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Of a day of deep thoughts

Location: Yoshitaka residence - dining room 2/2/2005 6:46:24 AM
Took my sci-fi exam today... whoo, it's done! I filled up two front sides of A4 paper with writing... not much, you say? Hah, you haven't seen my handwriting lately, then. *laughs* I write small, but I write legibly. Actually, the reason I write small is because I think larger handwriting has a tendency to get sloppy and illegible: keeping things tight and compact forces you to be more accurate in your writing and therefore produces more readable results. I liken it to small type on computer printouts: those are quite easy to read, whereas large text is bulky and bothersome. I just try to emulate computers so much, don't I? Or perhaps they emulate me. DUN DUN DUNNNN.

Anyway, I actually liked that exam. It was a fun exam to a fun class... long but fun. Got me into a very creative, pensive mood, and I wrote what I think is some rather clever and "deep" stuff. I'd like to hold onto that test when I get it back and add it to my "Deep Thoughts" list, not because I'm that egotistical but because I think it turned out pretty cool.

Maybe I was just really tired or the test burned me out or something, but after I got home I slept for something like two or three hours. I've been tired again lately, and kind of blah... the test perked me up, but I don't think I'll stop really feeling tired until the last exam is finished on Friday. Not too much longer to wait, whew. Oh, and that reminds me... I need to find a third class for my next semester schedule, since signups are tomorrow. Blipes. I'll find something, I guess.

Another interesting thing I remembered from the dinner conversation two nights ago: Papa said (to the guest we had) that an interesting thing about me is that I came to Japan without much intent of traveling to different places. I came to study the language and the lifestyle, not to see everything. I guess that is kind of odd, especially since I might as well see all there is to see while I'm here, because coming back will be expensive and likely won't happen for quite some time. But... that's not why I came here. The only place I may like to see is Kyoto, because I hear it's beautiful and Big Bird and Barkley went there in "Big Bird in Japan," but other than that I have no real desire to go out anywhere. Being here and experiencing the life and culture and language is what I came to do, and it's kind of a full-time job! *has to laugh* Maybe I'll head out sometime over the break just for the heck of it or something... but, I dunno. Travel just is not me.

I ate dinner alone today, since everyone had places they needed to go, but Mama had taken the time to prepare me some food. Saki-chan came over and wanted to eat with me, so I gave her half of my hamburger and fished an egg out of the pot of stuff in front of me (interesting note: there's a difference between ハンバーガー, "hanbaagaa," and ハンバーグ, "hanbaagu," in that the former is a burger on a bun and the latter is without a bun; I had ハンバーグ today). After she and Mama left, there was something on television that just made me really stop and think about life. It showed some girl, born during the middle ages in a time of war and all that, and how she grew up and went through happiness and sorrow. It was in Japanese so I couldn't understand ALL of it, but the music had that kind of haunting quality to it that is hard to describe but easy to pinpoint when you hear it. Here I am, a guy growing out of my childhood, going through all these new changes and looking forward to seeing what lies around the next bend, and yet at the same time, I miss being a kid. Saki-chan's innocence seems to radiate outward more often than not (sometimes annoyingly so, hehe), and it reminds me of how I used to have so few cares in the world, too. How I would cry and Mom or Dad would come to see what's the matter, or how I'd pester them to let me go over to my friends' houses for an unheard-of FOUR HOURS (wow!!!1one). The world was a frosted cake, and no matter how many times you stuck your finger into it to scoop off some of the delicious icing, someone would always cheerily slather some more of the sweet stuff and make the cake whole again.

But then you grow up and the cake is finally cut up into pieces. It's delicious, but it's never whole again... you can't slather more cake onto an empty pan like you can icing on a finger hole. The cake is so good and you want to eat it as fast as you can... but sometimes you stop and consider that when you're done with your piece, there is no guarantee there will be another one left for you to take. When you eat the foundation of your childhood... or when time eats the foundation for you... it's impossible to return to it.

And that's why, sometime down the line, I want to bake another cake. It's not going to be for me, because I already have mine and am eating it... don't want to get fat, after all. No... I want to make this cake for someone else, and I want to slather more icing on it when his or her finger scoops some off. I want to be there when this person cries, I want to be pestered into letting this person play with friends, and I want to eventually cut a real slice of the cake for this person, in the hopes that one day he or she will bake his/her own cake. If I end up baking two cakes, all the better.

I guess living with Saki-chan has taught me a lot more than I would have been able to infer otherwise about being a kid.

Of course, I'm not saying my parents wouldn't come to me if I cried or I wouldn't ask them to go to a friend's house or something. The situations may be different, but the actions are the same. And by golly, I'm very thankful to have parents that will do that for me. I'm thankful to have friends who I want to spend time with, and I'm especially thankful for a very special friend in whose arms the world always seems right and clear. I'm thankful for being an American, for having the opportunity to do crazy things like travel to Japan. I'm thankful for being a Christian, for knowing I'm loved even when the world says otherwise.

And I'm thankful for those folks who take the time to read these ramblings. You all mean a lot to me, and by golly, I can't wait to see y'all again sometime.

Take it easy, everyone. Someone over here really appreciates you.
0 replies

Of the future

Location: Yoshitaka residence - dining room 2/3/2005 6:47:57 AM
Tomorrow is the last day of the semester. It's also the last day for this iteration of Apsu's software... tomorrow I plan to reformat him and get him nice and fresh for... well, spring, I guess. I suppose you could call it spring cleaning. He's not really that dirty, but there is that dang 5 gig partition that's blocked off that I wants. I mean, want. *laughs*

Fun fact: I'm drinking some OJ that I bought from the store yesterday... for 108 yen a liter! Whoo! Sure beats the 180-some yen I had to pay for a liter last week. Blah. I wonder how these prices compare with those back home...

Today and yesterday were the days for the soybean throwing. Fun stuff! I seem to be the only one who likes roasted soybeans, so the teacher gave them all to me in the end. *laughs* Got enough soy protein there to last me for, like, six years or something. Yipers. In a completely unrelated note, I registered for next semester's classes. Due to scheduling conflicts I wasn't able to take that Fundamentals of Generative Syntax course, so instead my schedule looks like this:

Tuesday: Japanese 3A, Ethics in Science
Wednesday: Phonetics and Phonology of Japanese and English, Kanji Workshop 2, Economic Development
Thursday: Japanese 3A, Economic Development
Friday: Japanese 3A, Ethics in Science

That's right baby, 3-day weekend EVERY WEEK. S-C-O-R-E. The only downside is that every other day in the week, I have classes in the 5th period, the one that lets out at 5:50. Gosh dang. Oh well... I'll just be spending a lot more time in Takadanobaba and a lot less time at home. *shrugs*

After Japanese class (which included a 4-lesson test, on which I don't think I really screwed up too much), we had a meeting with all the Japan Study students to discuss the cultural practicum. The guys going to Shimane are leaving this Saturday! Wow! I had no idea. My group of guys sound like we'll have a good time... we're all computer dudes, and we're going to be working in a factory and businessplace on some different projects. It should be really cool. Michiyo-san even asked for our weight and height so they could order suits for us to wear in in the businessplace. I was marked down at 75 kilograms and 185 centimeters, which is about 165 pounds and 6'1" or so. For those keeping track, I've lost about ten pounds and I've barely grown vertically whatsoever. *pulls upward on hair* Come on, grow! Taller! Come on! *laughs*

I'm doing some kanji studying now... fourteen chapters of kanji to review! I'm quite pleased to be able to recall most of them pretty well... kanji is just fun to me for some reason. That's one of the reasons I decided to take that kanji workshop next semester: I only get one credit for it, but it should really augment my kanji abilities. Now if only I could do that for vocabulary, too... blah, my vocabulary is awful. I mean, I guess it's enough to get me this far, but I seriously would like to be able to know a few more words. I think I'm going to work on that over break... in addition to going over kanji, I'm going to look over all those vocab words we skipped over and try to actually remember them. I find that words I learn and then use I remember right away; the problem is finding useful words to actually remember. Ah well.

Today I thought about what I want to do with all these Japanese skills I'm gaining here. I'm probably not going to be able to turn this into a Japanese major, and I certainly don't plan on living in Japan in the future (not anymore, anyway... a year ago I may have considered it, but times have changed)... so why am I spending all this time, money, and effort to learn Japanese? I think I'm more or less planning on having this experience under my belt to bust out if/when the need arises. Maybe I can land a job translating websites for Japanese or American businesses, or perhaps I could work with a foreign company online. In any case, I want to be able to work from home and use my computer skills along with my developing Japanese skills to help everyone.

Also realized something... or, rather, reaffirmed a suspicion that I've had for a while: CITIES ARE NOT FOR ME. They're too busy, too impersonal, too crowded, too loud, too crazy, too sleepless. I'm glad to have the experience of living in one for a change; however, it just further cements my desire to live in a town or at most a small city. When I first start out I may settle for a temporary city dwelling just to "get myself off the ground," but by the time I really settle down if I'm in the city I'm going to go nuts. Hopefully the world will not have turned into one big city by the time I get to that point in my life.

Well, this will likely be the last entry I write before reformatting Apsu. If my entry tomorrow is a little late, it's because I'm still in the process of bringing Apsu back up to speed. But then, most of you will be asleep by that time anyway, so you may not notice anything odd at all. *laughs* Yay for being on the other side of the planet.
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