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Of the daily grind

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 10/26/2004 8:59:30 AM
Back to the daily grind: waking up early, going to school, coming back to study, and going to bed. Well, it's a little more interesting than that. *laughs*

More rain today; another typhoon might be coming. Either that or there's just a bubble of low pressure farting around to the south... I guess we'll see how it develops soon. Japanese class was pretty good today; we've jumped to doing one grammar session each day and two chapters' worth of kanji (around 25 or so) every week, which is pretty dang fast but should be okay. My only concern is now that we no longer have vocabulary quizzes, I won't have the push and incentive to study my vocab like I did in the past. I guess all I can do really is buckle down and learn it if at all possible. The quickened pace is a good thing, though, because I'm learning a lot of Japanese and feel much better about speaking to people now; today I ate dinner just with Mama, and we talked quite a bit about all sorts of things. Ecology was quite fun today: the teacher went on with all these hilarious anecdotes and apparently forgot he was supposed to be teaching a class or something. *laughs* If anyone got the impression that I didn't like that class after what I typed about it yesterday, I apologize for being so confusing. The class is great... I just think it would be even better if it didn't fall on a Monday, because then the entire Monday would be free and I'd have a three-day weekend every week. And that would rule. ^__^

Bought $10 worth of stuff for lunch today, though half of that was for OJ. I think I said this before, but I have a new appreciation for my parents and how they put up with my OJ addiction. That is to say, I really appreciate them spending so much money on OJ for me, because, as I'm finding out, OJ is expensive, even when I'm NOT tearing through a carton every day or two. But, yeah... I probably ate too much today (as well as the past few days... I'm feeling stuffed), so I think I'm going to try and take it easy for a while. Everything is just so tasty and filling, but there can't be too many nutrients so I always try to eat as much as I can. I do have some multivitamis with me... maybe I should start taking those again (I had slowed up with them after orientation because I was being fed "real" food).

Finished "Man in the High Castle" today... what a weird book. It... didn't end. *shrugs* Oh well. Next up is "Idoru," which looks like it might be a little more interesting. It had better be, anyway: I've gotta write a paper about it for class. I might take a break and not read anything tonight (so I can get to sleep earlier) and just start it tomorrow.

Speaking of getting to sleep earlier, I think I'm going to do that. Hop in the bath if it's ready and just go to sleep EARLY. I've been getting between six and seven hours of sleep a night, and while that is nearly double that what I used to get at Case sometimes, it still doesn't feel sufficent. Maybe because I'm doing so much more walking. But, yeah, in any case, see y'all.
0 replies

Of speaking more

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 10/27/2004 8:20:51 AM
Wednesdays are always fun: three hours of science fiction class, then the rest of the day is free! I guess it's sort of the calm before the storm, because on Thursdays I don't get home until after 6:00. Oof. o_O

When Kazuki, K, and I went to the hyaku-en store Sunday, Kazuki bought me this drink from a vending machine that was some sort of lemon and honey drink... very, very yummy. Today I decided I'd try to find a vending machine on the way to/from class that sold the same drink. Unfortunately, the drink I got was bottled by Asahi, whereas the primary bottler in the vending machines I walk by is either Coca-Cola or Kirin... no Asahi. Foo. However, I did find a lemon drink right outside the Higashimurayama train station (or, as I'd say in Japanese, 東村山駅) that is served warm and is very very good. When it starts getting cold outside (which it finally is), I can see myself getting that on my walk back home. It'd warm me right up like a cup of hot cocoa or hot apple cider... mmm, I miss those things. Too bad it's going to be summer when I return home, so I'll have to wait for a few more months before I can really drink hot cocoa and cider without feeling "out of season." *laughs* Couple that with my chocolate chip melon bread today and you've got yourself a nifty snack. Yes, chocolate chip melon bread.

I've been talking with the family a lot during the past two days, and I honestly think it's due to me being in Japanese Level 3. We're doing a lesson a day, and all these new grammatical forms are floating around in my head, dying to be used. It's amazing how many brand new words and grammatical structures I've been able to use in the past few days because of that. It feels very good. And apparently I'm doing a good job at retaining everything, too... I aced my grammar quiz yesterday, and I don't see any real problem with the one tomorrow. I'm going to have to buckle down and study these new kanji, though, because 95% of them are ones I haven't yet learned.

There was another earthquake today at about 10:40. I was on the seventh floor of the SILS building when it happened, so we were moving quite a bit. It wasn't really that bad of a quake, but it certainly was noticable. It's funny, because some people who were walking around totally didn't feel it (which I guess you wouldn't if you're walking), and others who were sitting didn't notice it, either. It's almost like it's such a common occurrence that nobody really seems to notice. *laughs* Fortunately, nothing bad has happened in our area in terms of quakes or typhoons, so that's good.

You know what's cool about Japanese cell phones in terms of text input for things like e-mail and memos? You can start typing a word, and then it automatically predicts what you're going to say and brings up this list of possible matches. That way, you can type in one or two characters and then just select the word from the list, without having to go through and hit the right buttons to get the right letters. Better still is it knows Japanese grammatical structures, so when a particle should be next it will put that as the first item on the list, and when a certain form of a verb should be next, it'll put that first, too. It makes typing in Japanese much faster and easier than typing in English... so I find myself replying to e-mails in Japanese! Good stuff.

Had some black sugar Pocky from Okinawa today for dessert... I'm sure Kristin would be interested in that. ^__^

Well, I'm off to study kanji and try to memorize a dialogue for tomorrow. And read. And sleep. And get a bath in there somewhere. And stop typing in fragments. Right.
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Of Apsu being popular

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 10/28/2004 8:18:16 AM
--> 12:54 - Waseda Building 19, room 414
Awesome! I found a vending machine that sells that awesome lemon/honey stuff! And it's RIGHT outside of the SILS building; I can't believe I didn't see that yesterday when I was actually looking. They sell this stuff hot, to... so now I can get a hot drink that I'll really enjoy either as soon as I get out of the SILS building after classes or after I get to the Higashimurayama station if I can hold out that long. Or both. Sweet. Action.

--> 19:07 - Yoshitaka residence: my room
Sony said the TR3AP laptop (the one I have) would turn heads and draw comments. They're totally right. All throughout my visit here, people have been saying what an awesome piece of electronic equipment Apsu is. Today in Japanese class, he was totally inundated. *laughs* Small, light, speedy laptops are really popular. ^__^

Aced my grammar quiz again. Awesome. Hope my kanji quiz goes well tomorrow, too. I learned that in Level 3 Japanese, there is no final exam, nor is there a large test of any sort. It's just quizzes and dialogue recitations every day. Cool. And I found out that my statistics homework isn't due until next week after all... which means I got all frustrated for nothing, really... especially because other people in the class said they were getting the same (un)results that I was. During the break between our classes (an hour and a half), I went to the 8th floor lounge with two Chinese students (one a freshman who goes to Waseda, and the other a senior studying abroad) and helped them with the homework assignment. It really helps to know stuff about computers... everyone asks you questions and it just feels so good to be able to answer 99% of them. Makes me all warm and tingly inside. Ooh, and when I was up in the lounge, I saw someone else had a VAIO just like Apsu! Twins..? *laughs*

I want to head over to the Onishi's house again tomorrow if possible. I haven't at all this week, and I'm not going to be able to this weekend because all the Japan Study folks are going on an outing to Karuizawa. I've been learning some card magic tricks I want to show them, and also perhaps go over some dialogues or something for practice. Kazuki and I are e-mailing each other in the meantime, mostly to practice writing in our different languages and to fix each others' mistakes. Fun stuff. Which reminds me... I need to reply to his message right about now!
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Of lots of "awesome" and "good stuff"

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 10/29/2004 11:07:45 AM
Heh... missed at least two questions on the kanji quiz. One because there was a Japanese reading that was never used that I had to know (blah), and another because I was stupid and forgot the left radical for one kanji (which I now know is... dang, I forgot it again... oh yeah, that one). But still, I think I did rather well. Our Friday teacher is really fun. She always tells us these funny and interesting stories; one time she told us how she was so sick once that she left her body and saw Heaven, but then had to return because they had resucitated her. Her description of Heaven was interesting: everyone was wearing white, and there was no gender... everyone was unisex, somehow. Good stuff.

Got a 300 yen lunch today that was great. It was at a streetside vendor... and from now on I'm going to grab my food from there if possible. Also got one of those hot honey lemon drinks... man, those are awesome. At work today I got the distinct pleasure of tearing out an iMac. Very fun. I seem to be quite appreciated there, which is good because I'm working for some pretty nice folks. Got paid for the first time, too. Bling bling! Also, coming home from work I picked up some aloe yogurt. Remember how I ate it for dessert that one time? Well, this was aloe yogurt. Mmmmm, delicious. Might have to start getting that instead of anpan... it's a little more expensive, but I think it's a little healthier. Anpan runs at almost 400 calories per piece. o_O;

I felt so bad for Mama today: not only did she have people over for lunch and make cakes for that occasion, but people were calling for her on the phone all day, she had a thousand piano classes, she had to make meals for everyone, and Saki-chan was being in an upset mood and kept demanding her attention. I really wanted to do something to help, but she insisted that I not worry and eat. There's genuine Japaneseness right there. Despite the obscene hardness of the day, Mama totally kept her cool and didn't take a break. Wow. She also made a really really good meatloaf for dinner, which we compared to American meatloaf to no end. Mom, if/when you read this, check this out: the meatloaf had some cheese mixed in with the meat, the loaf was smothered with bacon, tomato sauce, and ketchup, and it was surrounded by sauteed onions and potatoes. Absolutely delicious. Must try that out when I return home. ^___^

After dinner I went over to the Onishi's house for a little while (about two hours). More magic, more English-Japanese conversation, more fun. Mrs. Onishi always gives me all sorts of Japanese snacks to try... they're some great folks. All this makes me want to host a Japanese student when I grow up... it would be such a wonderful experience. Of course, I'd have to make sure it's okay with my future wife. Nobody's moving in with us until we both say it's a go. *laughs*

I'm going to be heading to Karuizawa tomorrow for a trip with the Japan Study folks, so I most likely won't be able to update this journal for a day. Which, of course, means that when I return there will be twice as much stuff to read. *laughs* See y'all later!
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Of Karuizawa day 1

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence: my room 10/31/2004 8:05:41 AM
--> 8:20 - Karuizawa lodge: Room 201
Yesterday was quite fun, if a little drunk. o_O Before dinner we all sat around and played assorted card games, mostly because the rain outside coupled with the coldness just made outdoor things unappealing. We got about nine people to play Spoons at one point, but because we didn't have spoons handy we first tried sticking out our tongues, but that proved somehwat problematic because it's just so quiet and hard to see if everyone's tongue is out. So we moved to aces instead... as in, we took out all the aces and put them in the middle. Heh... I now have two bent-up aces in my deck. D'oh. Maybe I'll buy a new one from the dollar store for magic. A bunch of people went to the bath, too... I don't know where it is, and I didn't want to walk around out there while wet, so I didn't go. I'll go to one eventually, I think.

After dinner, we had a meeting to talk about our host family and academic situations. It seems that most people are having a great time with their families (with one or two exceptions), but a lot of people are seriously not pleased with their Japanese language placement. It's slightly reassuring to know that I'm not the only one (by far) that thought the placement test did not gauge people's Japanese ability well. I'm just glad I was able to move up to somewhere I feel I belong. "Wish-lists" for the cultural practicum in the spring followed, which was subsequently followed by a party with drinks, drinks, drinks, and snacks. Yeah, lots of alcohol, but it all got drunk. o_O I eviscerated a bag of chocolates (despite my best efforts to resist), and tried some other goodies like squid jerky (which is actually quite good; I had eaten it several times at my host family's house) and these cheese sticks mixed with strips of dried cod. If I drank, I would have probably gone for the cans of screwdriver... but alas, I don't so I didn't. Fortunately there were juice boxes of really yummy OJ out in the vending machines, so I got one of those.

Man, people here got totally wasted. Well, maybe not totally, but quite. Drinking games were going on in one of the adjoining rooms, and by the time people started coming back to their rooms, lots of drunken talking, fighting, and singing was going on. It was all in good humor and good taste, though; nobody swinging punches with the intent of incapacitating the other... which was a good thing. *laughs* We all busted out the futons and got to sleep around 1:00, though, despite the inflatable Pocky thingies flying around all over the place. Man, those things were quite popular. Kristin, if you saw these things, you'd go nuts and probably try to eat them. *laughs*

Fortunately, everybody seemed to be sobered up in the morning, which made me happy. They played this nice wake-up music at 7:30, and we all (well, okay, those who were awake) went to eat breakfast... a very nice large breakfast. I've eaten so much here. o_O;

Also, on a side-note, I used one of those squat toilets for the first time yesterday. Very... different. This place was also the first that had special wooden shoes to wear only in the bathroom. Oh, and there's only cold water.

Not sure exactly what we're going to do between checkout time and leave time... but I'm sure we'll find something. Very fun weekend. ^__^

--> 22:01 - Yoshitaka residence: my room
Whew, home and re-situated at last. I've got a lot of really cool things to say about the trip today, but unfortunately I have suddenly become ill with something. I hope it was just something I ate (I seriously overate today... WAY more than I should have), because it's really, really not fun. As such, I need to get to bed right now. I'll describe things more when I get better... because there certainly are many things to describe!

Oh, and by the way, I updated the Japan photos page so it's easier to know what folders have what kind of photos, and I also added all the pictures from the Karuizawa trip. I kind of had to stop partway with the descriptions because of this sudden illness, but I'll finish them eventually.
Photos 0 replies

Of the rest of the Karuizawa trip

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 11/1/2004 8:19:09 AM
--> 17:37 - Yoshitaka residence: my room
RABBITSRABBITSRABBITS. If you know what that is, then you're either a Kip or a Strnad. *laughs* Anyway, sorry about not being able to fill y'all in last night about what Sunday of my trip was like. I got really sick-feeling and needed to go to bed right away, but I'm all better now. So, on with what happened:

Checkout was at 9:30, and we had to bring all our stuff downstairs into the room where we had our party and hang around for two and a half hours until lunch was served. So in that time, Wade, Esra, Bill and I decided to go walking in the back woods. We had wanted to go the day before, but it had rained and thus trudging through the woods would have been absolutely miserable. Things had dried out enough to be walkable, and we saw lots of really nice plants and trees and good stuff. It was very nice to be able to see trees and woods again... Japan isn't all that different after all. Reds, yellows, oranges... ah, my heart got so warm. We were warned that there were bears and wild boars in the woods, but fortunately we didn't run into any (though Esra and I thought we saw the tail end of something run across the path we were on).

After walking for a while, we came to a three-way fork in the road. One path led back home via another route, one path was bright and clear, and another path was a little darker and totally overgrown. Esra and Bill decided to head back, and Wade and I went down the overgrown path. And it was a good thing we did, too. First we came out in the midst of these houses where people were living (one house had smoke coming out of the chimney, and another had a garden growing on the roof... as in, it WAS the roof). We doubled back and took a path we had skipped over before, which put us on a mountain trail. Now, remember, Japan is essentially a bunch of mountains and volcanoes sticking up out of the Pacific Ocean, and because of that the entire trail was scattered with all sorts of igneous rocks. Usually they were pretty small, but sometimes they got quite large and made the going tough. We went on for quite a while... over an hour, I'd say. During that time, we talked about all sorts of things; Wade's a cool guy.

At one point we got to a sign that said "3.6km," and we calculated that we probably would have enough time to make it before we had to turn back and go home. Unfortunately for us, we only were able to make it about a kilometer before we were totally worn out and had to go back home. Oh yeah, and when we saw that there was still a TON of mountain left to go, much like in the Simpsons when Homer climbs the Murderhorn mountain. So we decided to head off on a slightly narrower trail before heading back home, which was quite treacherous. It was only two-some feet wide, and immediately to the side it dropped off to a large mountain stream that went over waterfall after waterfall. Eventually we hit the end of the trail... and, also much like on the Simpsons, we found a cave. Inside were two Bhuddist statues, complete with urns to put money offerings (which we both added to) and ancient Chinese writings. It was very very cool... check out the pictures and you'll see what I mean. That was an absolutely wonderful hike... too bad we didn't make it to the top of the mountain. When we made it back to the lodge, we looked up and saw the most amazing view of what we had just climbed, with clouds slithering around the top and all that... that's in the photo album as well.

We ate lunch at noon and headed out at 1:00, and during the trip I mostly slept (though I did show some more time-attack NES videos and talk modern physics with Matt). I also bought an omiyage for my host family (some leaf pies... hard to explain) and random snacks for myself because I wanted chocolate and calories. That's probably what gave me my stomach problem last night... I SERIOUSLY overate. Well, okay, maybe not "SERIOUSLY," but I ate more junk than I probably should have.

And then, well, I came home, ate dinner, and went to bed. *laughs* And now I'm here, having come back from my single class today. I've got some Japanese I have to study for tomorrow, so I'll probably do that after dinner. There's some work in Statistics I want to do, too, but I'll probably take care of that on Wednesday because it's a holiday... though I may do some of that tonight, too. We'll see.

--> 22:15 - Yoshitaka residence: my room
Dinner today was great: fried chicken and fried lotus. Yumyumyum. Made me happy. ^__^ I talked with Mama and Papa quite a bit about all sorts of things once again, and even with a visitor who came in and had a beer. Saki-chan tried to feed us plastic food throughout the entire conversation; it's hard to think and speak in Japanese when you've got a four-year-old shouting things at you. *laughs*

Tonight I should probably shave. o_O
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Of magic

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 11/2/2004 9:53:03 AM
Nothing much happened today in terms of unusual stuff. Went to school, came back, worked on homework. However, I did go to the Onishis again tonight, and once again was inundated with lots of cool magic tricks. They sure like their magic! Tomorrow I'm going to head over there at about 8:30 or so to watch TV with them... there's going to be 90 minutes of professional card magic! Sweet action. They said they were going to tape it; perhaps I can score a copy of that tape before I leave for home.

I also gave them a copy of StepMania so Kazuki can play DDR on his computer. He's totally addicted now. Yet another thing to keep him from studying. *laughs* What have I done?

The self-imposed projects are coming back in full swing. Time to get busy once again. o_O
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Of a busy holiday

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 11/3/2004 9:48:16 AM
Wow... this may have been the busiest holiday ever! *laughs* Got up at 6:00 to get a head start on the day, and before I knew it it was already 10:00. Around that time, I left with a family friend and Saki-chan to go to a nearby high school festival (it was actually maybe 30 minutes away... but that's still sort of close). Anyone who knows what a normal Japanese high school festival is like (or has seen the anime Azumanga Daioh) will know what kind of stuff I did and saw: all sorts of randomness! For my folks back home, think Funday Sunday but without having to buy anything. Each classroom is basically a different activity room... we visited ones for papermaking (Mom would like that), bookmaking (Kristin would like that), balloon twisting (Mrs. Zap would like that), and walked by countless others. We even went into the kitchens where they made and packaged their own Jello-like snack. Lots of pipes there (Dad would like that). I thought it was really neato, but the family friend (I seriously can't remember her name for the life of me) said that she had been to many others before and that this one was actually kind of boring compared to those. *laughs*

Afterward, we went around the city to find a place to eat. Mrs. Somebody wanted to go to a ramen shop, but Saki-chan kept saying how she hated ramen and didn't want to go (though in actuality she loves ramen; she used this same tactic the night before when she said she hated her brother *laughs*). Instead, she dragged us into a McDonald's. If this were America, I would have protested... but since I wanted to try out a Japanese McDonald's anyway, I didn't really mind. I got one of those McGrands that are apparently only being sold over here at the moment (I saw a commercial for them on TV a night or two ago... there was this "sexy" female version of Ronald McDonald eating the McGrand... eh, it was quite bizarre). In case anyone was wondering, McDonald's is McDonald's, wherever you happen to be. And a McDonald's hamburger is a McDonald's hamburger, no matter what name it's being sold under. You know, not once have I seen a McDonald's burger actually look as good as it does on TV and on ads... in fact, 99% of the time that applies to everything. Just ONCE I'd like to see 'em deliver on what they advertise. That would seriously make my day. Not that I'm expecting anything more than the same old from a fast food chain, but... you know, one can always hope.

Upon returning home I hung around and ate mushroom and seaweed pizza and drank coffee with the Yoshitaka parents and several of their friends, and even had some yummy chocolate cake (Mama makes cakes all the time here!). I didn't last too long, though; I needed a nap. And then I needed to work on statistics. And then eat dinner (where I talked quite a bit with Mama and Papa about the election and such). And then head over to the Onishi's house, where we watched this IQ show (very cool) and a half hour of nonstop closeup card magic (also very cool). K had bought a trick earlier today, but the instructions were in English and he couldn't read them at all. So, what to do? Have an English-speaking guy learn it and teach it to him! It's a really cool trick... a little wind-up robot toy essentially walks over and chooses the card you selected from the deck. He even spins around to fool you sometimes. It's creepily cool if you have no idea what's going on. ;)

Sorry this was so brief; it's late and I really need to get some things done before I go to bed and then wake up early. I took many notes of things I want to discuss; perhaps I'll have time to type more tomorrow, since Friday is a holiday and today my free time was practically nil. Though I did find this guy's website that describes how he programmed an Atari, Commodore 64, and a printer (!) to make awesome-sounding music. Don't believe me? Check out the link. It's awesome.

All righty... later dudes.
http://www.qotile.net 0 replies

Of forgetting to type

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 11/4/2004 9:32:57 AM
Heh... I was going to get a nice entry typed up today, but managed to dive into other things instead. Blah. Tomorrow's a holiday (during which I'm going to actually rest), so I'll try my best to get out all the things I've been meaning to say for these past two days. *laughs*

Japanese class was pretty good today. Aced my grammar quiz again, and did well on the presentation. The class seems infinitely more interesting when we go up and write on the board, too... I wish we'd do that more often. Ah well. For Tuesday we need to make a one-minute speech about our future, in addition to prepare for the usual quiz. That should be fun. I think I'll practice it with the Onishis, since they're Japanese and could, you know, fix my mistakes. ^__^

Statistics is going to become quite interesting. We've gone from super-easy stuff to other stuff that would be easy had I have had taken a statistics class before. But alas, I haven't so this is almost over my head. Not quite; I've read some of the book and I think I know what's up. But we'll see. Fortunately, the test next week isn't over this new stuff, which means I've got lots of time to prepare for it.

Mama made paella for dinner today (a Spanish rice dish). It was dry so you could eat it with chopsticks (normally it's swimming in olive oil), and it was quite delicious. Other than that, I didn't really do much at home but work on stuff. And do dishes. I like doing the dishes here. ^__^

Okay, bath and read. Gotta get this book read. And tomorrow I'll do my best to type up a nice long entry for y'all. No promises, but I'll try.
2 replies

dishwasher?
Posted by: badcheeso 11/4/2004 11:15:34 AM
does this make you a japanese dishwasher made in america?

sometimes you actually have to open a book AND read what's inside it to understand it.
1 reply

Indeed
Posted by: Gerf 11/7/2004 12:49:36 AM
Yeah, that's me... a dishwasher made in America. *laughs*

I actually read through the book... it's just much easier to understand when the teacher explains it to you in practical terms.
0 replies

Of backlogged thoughts

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 11/5/2004 8:39:26 AM
--> 8:13 - Yoshitaka residence: my room
Okay, enough fooling around. I'm getting a head start on this journal today. I'll probably collapse from tiredness halfway through (okay, not really), but it's about time I get some of these backlogged observations out. *laughs* Be warned, though: at the start of each new paragraph, there is a good chance the topic will change drastically. If you cannot handle randomness, you may wish to visit, um, Amazon.com. Or something. Yeah.

The great thing about having this cell phone is if I ever need to record about 10 seconds of voice for a memo (well, 10 seconds at a time, anyway), I can do that very easily. It has helped me recall dreams, remember things to write here, and remind me of important things I probably shouldn't forget. I only actually make calls with it rarely; in fact, it seems like many Japanese don't often use their phones to talk. Whereas in America everyone you see on the street is chattering away on their phones, all the Japanese you see are e-mailing each other and surfing the Internet. Which makes sense, since there is no such thing as unlimited calling over here (at least, not as far as I'm concerned, anyway).

I've noticed that my speaking style has changed quite a bit within these past two months. While I'm still not "fluent" whatsoever, I do feel that I can utilize the grammar and vocabulary I know well enough to speak relatively smoothly and accurately, all at a rather nice pace, sort of like how I used to speak Spanish... which, I've found, has become increasingly difficult to speak not because I've forgotten words, but because I'm trying to use Japanese grammar forms that just aren't in Spanish! If I get around to it, I think I may go back over some of my Spanish notes from high school after I return home in June... it would be really cool to be able to speak three languages somewhat well. ^__^

And you know what else is odd? Whenever I purposely put together a sentence in my mind of something I'd like to say (such as, "I'd like to send this by air mail to the USA, please," and such), I stumble over myself 99.9% of the time. However, if I just speak naturally, I only stumble over myself maybe 10% of the time. Well, okay... maybe placing numbers on these things isn't the best way to describe it, but I think you catch what I'm saying. Basically, if I stop pretending Japanese is some alien tongue, I can speak it better. It's kind of cool.

Oh yeah, I totally forgot. Two days ago at the high school festival, there was a room for the Photography Club that had pictures of clouds tacked up on the walls. I'm sure Kristin would like those!

You know yet another thing in Japan that just makes sense? They put speed limits right on the roads themselves. Like, painted on along with the road lines. That just makes sense. Not only do you not have to take your eyes off the road to find out how fast you can go (though I don't know how many people actually obey those limits here...), but it's almost impossible to miss them, whereas a little sign off to the side of the road is so easy to miss.

A while ago I mentioned there was a used clothing store in the area. I'd like to make a correction: there are a LOT of used clothing stores in the area! I'm almost tempted to drop into one of those places sometime and see what they have. Though, somehow I don't think I'd be able to fit into any of them (big ol' American that I am... well, tall, anyway). *laughs*

I think I'm going to call it quits for now; I've got homework that needs homeworking and sleep that needs sleeping. But at least it's only 9:00 now (no, I haven't been typing ALL that time... I kind of went in and out with other stuff), and I essentially have a four-day weekend (since today is a day off, and I don't have class until 2:40 on Monday). Awesome! I like this thing with holidays spread out through the year. Fun fun fun.

--> 21:56 - Yoshitaka residence: my room
Heh... today was such a beautiful day and I was going to go out for a walk after my siesta... but alas, I ended up sleeping until about 4:30. *laughs* Oh well. I'll take my walk tomorrow. And read outside tomorrow. And pay for a third of my health insurance tomorrow. Tomorrow, tomorrow...

Soichiro and I were watching baseball during dinner tonight when all of a sudden I said, "Whoa, that's Manny Ramirez!" And then I said, "And Roger Clemens! And David Ortiz! And... wait, why do I know all these guys?" Apparently this game was the MLB versus Japan! Kind of like a REAL World Series. It was quite interesting... did anyone back home know about this? I thought it was pretty cool.

When I was walking to the high school festival thing on Wednesday, the lady with me asked if I had made a lot of Japanese friends. I responded, "Not really," and after thinking about it a little, I really haven't made any outside of the Onishis and the Japanese students that helped us during orientation. But then, after thinking about THAT for a while, I realized that there's not really anything too odd with that. I'm not a particularly social person anyway; even back home I only have a small circle of friends with whom I "hang out" with. While I'm sure I'd improve my Japanese quite a bit and see more of Japan if I had some friends to hang out and go places with, that's just not me. I want to grow and learn and change, but I also want to be myself... and one very fundamental aspect of my being that I've had since as far back as I can remember is that I like to keep to myself.

Somehow I have a feeling that things might change a little when I get out of Tokyo and go on my spring practicum. Or maybe it won't. I don't know. I don't think I'm being asocial on purpose or anything like that... I'm just being myself. And you know what? I'm quite happy with who I am, though at the same time I still look to the future to see what I might become.

Yesterday I bought a can of OJ from a vending machine. A normal-sized can. Real orange juice. Only 100 yen. Normally I pay 120 yen for a can half that size. Swewt.

I've taken 280 pictures and 114 videos since September 9th, which is when I left for Japan, not including ones I deleted or ones I've taken with my cell phone. I need to take more. MORE!
Photos: High school festival 3 replies

Japanese version of MLB World Series
Posted by: momvanv 11/6/2004 8:49:47 AM
Hey, Gerf, I knew about that MLB game with Manny Ramirez and Roger Clemons!! Kevin told me about it. If I'm not mistaken, I believe he said he was going to ATTEND that game! Or one in a series of games, if it's like the World Series in the US. He had/will have off several national holidays recently, too, and I believe it he said in an IM (that I unfortunately didn't save) that he was going to it on one of those days. I just checked with dadvanv and he said Kevin told him a game was going to be played at the Osaka Dome, the place Kevin had already attended a minor league game earlier in the year, and that, yes, indeed, he and some friends were going to go to it. dadvanv suggested that he thought a Victor Martinez might be in it as well? Small world!!

I enjoy reading your adventures and tune in almost daily!! You write more frequently than Kevin, but you write about different experiences, so I'm getting a sampler platter of a foreigner's life in Japan!!

Enjoy yourself and I look forward to seeing you when you return!!

momvanv
2 replies

Awesome
Posted by: Gerf 11/7/2004 12:48:09 AM
That's great! I'll have to see if I can hit VanV up for some pictures then. ;)
1 reply

updated info on MLB-like game
Posted by: momvanv 11/7/2004 2:05:21 PM
dadvanv says that Kevin is going to the baseball game on the 10th of November - let's hope he takes some pictures! Also glad to see you read and respond to people who read your journal (I saw you replied to ksmith as well)
0 replies

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