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|Of Dragon Quest and stuff|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room||6/6/2005 8:13:10 AM|
this weekend involved getting, like, no work done at all. No homework,
anyway. Got a lot of computer stuff done and I spent a heck of a lot of
time with friends, but geez... nothing. *laughs* I'm just going to have
to write off that book-reading as a lost cause and focus on my
Today at 4:00 Mrs. Yamamoto picked me up to go to her house. She's the one who is hosting a student from Missouri for three weeks. His name was Chris, and we had a pretty good time. Played some games, ate some food, talked some English, took some pictures. As far as games go, I played what has to be one of the coolest things I've seen since coming to Japan: a Dragon Quest game where you acutally swing a sword around to attack and stuff. And it's not some cheapo thing, either: you can swing the sword in any direction and the game responds accordingly, and depending on how you hold it you can get different options and things. It was so sweet... and it's just a standalone unit that you can plug into any television. Really, really cool. Mrs. Yamamoto's youngest kid was really really hyper and the other one was pretty quiet, but we all had a good time. They're all Dragon Quest and game fans, and after showing everyone some DDR Mrs. Yamamoto realized that she wanted to buy it. *laughs* She had wanted to before, but she lived in an apartment so she couldn't. However, now that she has her own house, she can. ^__^
I probably could talk a lot more, but I blew several fuses today and just need to recover. This weekend has been stressful to the nth degree, and things aren't going to get any easier anytime soon. Dang.
Oh, and they gave me some Dragon Quest music as well as two big Slime plushies. More stuff I'm going to have to send home... but, you know, where the heck else am I EVER going to get a Slime plushie, much less two? ;)
|Photos: Fun with Chris and the Yamamotos||2 replies|
|Of server issues and stuff|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room||6/7/2005 8:43:18 AM|
okay, I suppose. I'm getting frustrated with the Microeconomics class,
but... meh, that's my own issue. Everything else is going pretty well.
Grabbed some more cash today from the post office, too, so that's all
cool. Mama and Papa also said there is a cheap media rate for
textbooks, so before I leave I'll send home all my books via that
method. I could have saved a few bucks if I would have asked about it
before, but I didn't think one existed. Sorry Mom... you were right
again and I didn't listen to you. ;)|
The temperature is on the rise. Today was pretty nice, but right now I'm all uncomfortable and stuff because it's kind of on the warm side. I think it's partly due to my bed... for some reason, this bed and my bare skin simply don't go together well. Even though it's warm at night, I have to wear my long pajama pants (as opposed to my shorter ones) or else my legs burn up and get quite uncomfortable. It's going to be really interesting to get back home to my bed which, compared to this one here, is as soft as a cloud!
Lately I've been spending a heck of a lot of time on resolving server issues. I got extremely frustrated with one, but it turned out to be my fault and now I know how to deal with it. And since it was my fault, I knew how to deal with it. However, this other issue is NOT my fault, which makes it bothersome because now I have to wait for someone else to fix the problem on the remote end, and for all I know that could take twenty years to do. o_O;
I still have a book report for Economic Development I need to write. Maybe I'll start plucking that out in Karuizawa. I kinda doubt it, though. I should probably do it tomorrow instead...
Got an A on my Japanese speech, though. That made me happy. ^_^
|Of two liters of liquid|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room||6/8/2005 8:34:26 AM|
I'm trying to think of something interesting that happened today, but
nothing's really coming to mind. I tried some new drinks today: a juice
mix (not quite the same as good ol' fruit punch) and some cold cocoa
(mmm, very yummy)... and now I just realized that by the end of the day
today I will have had nearly two liters of liquids today. Whoo.|
Got started on my essay a little last night... gonna work on it more this weekend, methinks.
On the way home today I ran into Keisuke... actually, he smacked me on the shoulder while I was tossing my reciept for the cocoa in the appropriate trash bin. If I recall correctly, his baseball team is going to be playing a game on the 18th, and if they do well they'll be going to, like, a national competition. Sweet. ^_^
Natsuko and I had quite a laugh trying to serve ourselves some ice cream after dinner. Here in Japan, Baskin Robins tosses dry ice in the bag you have your ice cream in, so when you take it out it's as hard as a rock. Meaning, the three scoops of ice cream, all different flavors, turned into one big rock. I tried separating them with the plastic spoon that came with it, but it was no good. Then I tried a metal spoon... also no good. Even when I put that spoon under some hot water, it just wouldn't cut the rock. Er, I mean, ice cream. So I got out a knife and tried sawing it... but no good. So then Natsuko took the knife and stuck it in the stove fire for a little while then started sawing away at the block of ice cream while I held it still with the spoon. It took us, like, five minutes or so, but we finally got the ice cream cut apart, and I got my mint chocolate chip and she got her chocolate ice cream scoops. It was such a waste of time, but it was a rather fun waste of time. *laughs*
Speaking of wasting time, I need to stop wasting time and get busy with stuff.
|Of lots of Japanese books|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room||6/9/2005 7:55:54 AM|
|Grah, lots of homework this weekend is queued up, but I'm going to be in Nagano. I hope I can finish it all. Mugglesims. o_o;|
Today we finished our J301 book. Whoo. ^_^ And by the end of the semester we will have finished our kanji book, too. That means I will have gone through eight Japanese books here: two kanji, one grammar, two workbooks, and three grammar/vocab/speech books. Well, one workbook and grammar/vocab/speech book was from the class I placed out of, but still... that's a lot of Japanese. *laughs* I think over the summer I'm going to continue learning kanji and try to practice my Japanese SOMEwhere or another... even if it's just on my own. Fun stuff.
Um, that's all I can really think of right now. Time to get to work. *sighs*
|Of going off to Nagano|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room||6/10/2005 9:02:00 AM|
guess there's a typhoon farting around Japan somewhere. I had no idea.
I also had no idea it was going to rain today, so I wore shorts and
didn't bring a jacket. At least I always bring my umbrella around, so
that was lucky. ;)|
I also didn't expect the earthquake that rocked the SILS 22 building on Thursday, but I've gotten totally used to them by now. Hoshino-sensei joked about how earthquakes in Japan are like fire alarms in America... and she's not all that far off. I mean, I know when I hear a smoke alarm going off, my first thought is how to get the dang thing to shut the heck up. *has to laugh* Some of the students in my class still aren't used to them, especially when they rock buildings so much that they disrupt what you were writing at the moment. *shrugs* It's a horribly complacent attitude to have... but, yeah. I guess that's just what happens.
Did some math tutoring for two hours, which was quite fun, then came home and slept. I'm going to Nagano tomorrow for an overnight retreat with all the other Japan Study students (as well as a bunch of Japanese students who will be coming to America, supposedly), and while it's right during the time I'd normally be doing some end-of-the-year homework and essays and stuff, I think it'll be pretty fun. We'll just have to see what happens. Gonna have to get up really early tomorrow morning, but I can sleep on the bus so it shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Mama made okonomiyaki for dinner... and a lot of it. She gave me two whole platefuls of the omelette-like stuff, and while I really like okonomiyaki, it was a LOT of food. *has to laugh* We did have some cool conversations, though, one being about something she heard on the radio earlier in the day. Apparently, someone on Japanese radio said that most Americans throw out leftover food, and she was surprised that we wasted so much. I explained that maybe wealthy people do that, but that most people save leftovers to eat later. Then Mama asked when we ate the leftovers, and I said usually dinner and sometimes lunch. That was new to her, too, since in Japan many people eat leftovers for breakfast. It's always neat talking with her about cultural differences.
Umm... that's all I can think of at the moment. I won't be able to write an entry tomorrow (since I'm going to be in the mountains of Nagano in Karuizawa), so you'll have to wait another day. In the meantime, um, you could go check out my backlogged entries and browse my photo album. ^_^
See y'all soon.
|Of the return to Karuizawa|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room||6/12/2005 8:49:56 AM|
--> 23:23 - Karuizawa Resort: Room 206
And here I am in Karuizawa once again after an incredibly huge party. And, you know, it was ridiculously fun.
I woke up a little before 6:00 this morning so I could catch up with some online stuff and get myself packed, ate some dry cereal for breakfast (since there wasn't any milk at the moment), then hopped on over to Takadanobaba where I met everyone at the Okuma clocktower. It sort of felt like orientation again in an odd sort of way... and in a way it reminded me of something really cool: I've been with these folks for almost an entire year, and by golly these are some really awesome people. Some drink more than others, some are more vulgar than others, some party more than others, some are more reclusive than others, some are just "normal" people... but they're all great people and I'm so glad I was able to spend such a wonderful year with them.
While waiting for the bus, I noticed Nakajima-san from my trip in Ibaraki was there. He actually made his appearance by coming over and lightly slapping me on the head; man, I had no idea he was going to be there! We talked for a while, and a little after 9:00 we all got on the bus and headed out for the three-some hour trip to the Karuizawa resort. We accidentally left one of the students behind at a rest stop on the way there, but we got her again and made it to the resort just fine, despite the insanely foggy weather that made it look like the road ended twenty feet in front of us. And being in the mountains... heh, yeah, you can put two and two together. ;)
The place is pretty much the same as I remember it, except the nice driveway with all the pine trees and stuff is halfway dug up. What a shame... that's a really awesome view. Anyway, we all ate lunch and had some nice discussions about our experiences in Japan and going home and such. Most people had some good stuff to talk about; for the record, I'll jot down the things I said as best as I can remember.
The first thing was one experience in Japan that really sticks out. It's not supposed to be a summary of the entire stay in Japan or anything, but rather something that you remember well. My memory was the nearly opposite family experience I had on so many different levels. On the family level: I'm part of an efficient family unit as opposed to... well, a "family" as I am used to. On the sibling level: I've got two siblings who don't say too much to me and one who uses me as her personal servant, jungle gym, and train, as opposed to a single brother who treats me as... well, a brother. One the community level, I've got a lot of neighbor friends with whom I speak English and other guys in the community with whom I go to community festivals and stuff, as opposed to back home where I don't really know too many people in my immediate vicinity very well. In particular, the time back at the cookout where everyone was dancing to the Totoro theme song and Mishima-san said, "Greg, Greg!" for me to come and join in... gosh, that was absolutely amazing. Really.
The second thing was something about going back home. I know for a fact that my viewpoints, mannerisms, attitude, and basically lifestyle has changed as a result of me staying in Japan. However, I seriously couldn't tell you how they've changed because the change has been very, very gradual for me, so gradual that I don't notice that anything's odd or different. When I return home, though, everyone there is going to remember me as the Greg that left for Japan in September, and I'm going to remember them all as the people they were when I left. I mean, it was kind of a shock to see how my family had changed a bit when they came to visit in March for just a week... I can't begin to imagine what it's going to be like to suddenly have to essentially re-learn everyone when I return home and to have to have everyone re-learn me. Being a freak for analogies, I likened it to studying in a room with the window open. During the day, the sun comes in and it's bright so you don't need to use the lights. As you continue studying into the night, the sun sets and the room gradually gets darker. However, you really don't notice anything is amiss until you realize, "Oh, I can't see my homework anymore." Then when someone goes and turns on the lights to bring the lighting back to the level it was when you first started studying, your eyes can't adjust immediately and you're like, "GAH! SO BRIGHT!" That's kind of what it's going to be like when I get back home.
One of the things we discussed at some length was how when we all go back to America, a lot of people will probably ask us something like, "How was Japan?" I may have already mentioned this before, but when I get back, please don't ask "How was Japan?" It's kind of like asking "How is America?" There really is no answer. Instead, you could ask something more specific like, "How was your host family?" or "How was the Japanese food?" Things like that I can answer... but trying to describe Japan without writing a million-page journal (like I have been here) is just impossible.
Anyway, after we had our meeting, I went out in a very foggy field with Megan, Becca, Gayle, Cally, and two Japanese students and played frisbee for two hours or so. The ground was wet, the weather was cool but sweat-inducing, the frisbees hurt my fingers after a while, but it was dang fun. I was planning on working on my book report then, but I totally said, "Nah, this is much more fun" and just frisbeed. However, that meant I was sweaty and disgusting. So what does one do when one is sweaty and disgusting? Take a bath! The only bath here was a public ofuro, meaning I got to experience my first public bath. There were actually two, separated by gender. But anyway, what you do is go into a changing room, get your bath stuff, go into the bath/shower room, sit on a stool, fill up a bucket of water and dump it over your head as you scrub yourself down, and then you hop in a huge communal pool of hot water and soak for however long you want. This ofuro was pretty big and could hold something like, I dunno, 20-30 people, and it was about a third full at any time. I had forgotten to pack my large towel so I kind of had some problems drying off (since I just had a hand towel), but it worked and I got clean. And now I can say I've been to a public bath. ^_^
After dinner, some students and I presented some skits a la the ones the Japanese students presented for us back in September. I played a teacher, an RA, and a random guy at a party... rather fun. ;) Then we had a huge party... and GOSH was there a lot of alcohol. I did a lot of good mingling with both American and Japanese students and stayed quite sober, thank you, and you know, that was a really, really fun party. I'm very glad I stayed for it. I even helped clean up at the end. ^__^
During the party, Nakajima-san came over and talked with me again for a while. I was the only one there he actually knew (aside from Andy; Lars was elsewhere), so I made sure he was kept company. When he finally left after a good long while, I had to smile: back in Ibaraki, I wasn't a huge fan of him... now, I'm going to seriously miss him. Good guy.
And now I'm laying in the tatami room again, waiting for Lars and Nathalie to finish up an RP session they have going on. I just got done having a pretty long chat with Naoki, one of the Japanese students in our room here, which was really cool. He's going to Du Pauw University next year for study abroad, and I talked to him at great length about things we had discussed during the day and other stuff involving Japan-America relations and cultures and all sorts of stuff. It was totally awesome.
I feel like a broken record here... but it's late and I need to go to sleep. ;)
--> 21:30 - Yoshitaka residence: my room
Ah, home sweet home. Except in two weeks, home sweet home is going to change. That's another thing we talked about yesterday: where is home? *ponders*
Anyway, today I woke up at 8:00 so I could go get some breakfast, then promptly went right back to sleep until 9:30. I was too tired to go out and play tennis or basketball with everyone, which was kind of unfortunate but hey, I'm not that kind of guy. *laughs* I plucked out some words on the book report I have to write, but I'm still not entirely sure where my stance on it is so I'm likely going to end up doing it all over anyway. I lent out the book for it, too, so now there's not a heck of a lot I can do until Wednesday or Thursday anyway... which, in a way, is kind of nice. Now I can worry about other things. Whoo.
Around 10:45 I went out and talked with Mr. Campbell and Michiyo-san about some website stuff, and then Mr. Campbell and I and Megan talked about all sorts of random stuff while sitting under a nice pine tree. It was really awesome. And you know what else was awesome? There was a little brown inchworm that crawled onto my finger. Now I can say I've said my famous "inchworm" phrase in Japan. My parents are likely the only ones that will appreciate that one. ^__^ I also noticed a little anole running along the ground, so I chased it over to where some people were playing ping pong and we all worked together to catch the little guy in one of the students' shirts and pet it and stuff. We let it go after a minute or two, though, because we didn't want to scare the poor guy any more than we already had, but it was still cute. ^_^ The cicadas were blaring, people were sitting around playing some Japanese duck-duck-goose-like games, other people were quietly playing guitar and talking with folks, others were playing sports, others were just sitting and chatting or studying. It was such an amazing time.
And you know what else was amazing? THERE WAS A RAINBOW CLOUD. I had never, ever seen anything like it before. It was... like... a cloud that was acting like a rainbow. There was this one patch in the sky where these cirrus clouds were just glowing different colors of the spectrum, and it was absolutely amazing. Unfortunately I wasn't able to snag many pictures of it when it was REALLY bright and shining like it was sometimes, but I did manage to get quite a few photos. Really awesome. Kristin, I think you'll love these pictures. And Dad, I think they beat the cube cloud we saw. ;)
And, well, got home around 6:00, plopped my stuff down, did some Internet work, ate dinner, and just now I'm finishing up the rest of my Internet work. Funny how I can be gone for just a day and a half and have so much backlogged work I have to catch up on. Imagine what it would be like if I didn't have Internet here at all... o_O;;
Anyway, I've still got some non-book report homework to finish up, so I'm going to take a little look at that and then go to sleep. I'm planning on just doing most of my work tomorrow, since I've got the whole day off. Two weeks. Two weeks and I'm going to be home. Add a few days to that and I get to see Kristin again. Eee! :)
|Photos: The return to Karuizawa||1 reply|
|Of nothing to say, really|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room||6/13/2005 8:37:23 AM|
|A day of
relaxing and studying = what today was. Nothing special happened. *has
to laugh* I honestly don't know if I have anything to say in this
entry, especially after going all-out in my last two entries.|
So... yeah. Read my last two entries again. Or for the first time if you haven't read them already. :)
|Of reading a Japanese book|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room||6/14/2005 8:25:51 AM|
do you think we're doing for the "final project" in Japanese class? A
presentation? Another video? Nope and nope. We're reading a book... at
our own pace. In Japanese. And did I mention at our own pace? The book
we're reading is about a guy named Hirotada Ototake (name flipped
around to reflect the American naming convention), a fellow Waseda man
who was born without arms or legs. We watched some stuff about it prior
to starting reading, so we had some idea what to expect. I bet you
wouldn't expect a guy without arms or legs to do things like play
basketball (he was seriously on the basketball team at school), conduct
news interviews (he did that too), or take photos (photography is a
hobby of his). I managed to read a whole three pages in class today,
which means there's no way in heck I'm going to finish this book
anytime soon (it's 300 pages long). However, I was reading it and
understanding it and it was great. Most of the time was spent looking
up words I didn't know, but since every kanji has its reading in
furigana, it's really easy to look up unknown words. Some Japanese
students came in to help out, too, in case we still couldn't understand
Somehow, it's really cool to read Japanese books. I wish I would have had more time to do it earlier. Maybe when I get home I'll keep up with my Japanese comprehension by reading some manga every now and then. Or, rather, go about translating a whole book so I can understand it. *has to laugh*
I'm going to have a faking full summer ahead of me, but I'm going to give it my best shot. Not much else I can do, huh?
|Of MySQL and rain|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room||6/15/2005 9:17:48 AM|
getting home late = tough stuff. It's worth it, though. Tutoring math
is great fun, plus I get to have some really nice conversations. And I
get money. *has to laugh* It's all good.|
Today was... well, Wednesday. Again, nothing really special, except some rain. That and I installed MySQL on Apsu so I can start getting away from MS Access. Yay. 'Bout time, ya slob! *pokes self*
That's all I can think of at the moment. Almost at ten days. Wow.
|Of Bubble Tape and influences|
|Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room||6/16/2005 9:43:22 AM|
|You'll never guess what I'm eating now. BUBBLE TAPE. Remember that stuff? ;)|
Today was pretty fun: read more of the Japanese book with the aid of a Japanese student (very, very handy), had a semi-last Micro class, had a mini-session with the Micro prof and two other students, and had my final Economic Development class. Then I tutored again and had a great time... just an overall nice day. Rainy, but nice.
And you know what's odd? This morning, Mika met up with me as I was walking to school and said something to me, and later in the evening the Campbells said the same thing to me. It's not really socially acceptable for me to repeat that kind of stuff to other people, but let's just say that people really do notice your character, actions, and the things you do for others... even folks whom you don't necessarily see all the time. You really do influence other people, whether you're trying to or not and whether you notice it or not. And, you know, you never know when your influence is going to show in other people. You know?
In other news, I've got a kanji test tomorrow, a going-home party on Saturday, a Japan Study lunch on Sunday, and a book report to do on Monday (or earlier if at all possible). Aaaaaand, it's 10:40, I haven't taken a bath, I'm totally unshaven, and I've got Bubble Tape taste in my mouth.
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