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Of random stuffs

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 11/16/2004 7:56:57 AM
Is the week already more or less halfway over? Geez... seems like just yesterday it was Monday. Wait, it was. Heh. Time flies when you're in Japan. Er, having fun. Wait. Never mind.

Missed half a point on my two kanji quizzes, so my grades were 97.5% on both of them. Yay. Gave my speech today (directions to my home), which was okay, but I could have done much better. But hey... the teacher didn't say I was stupid or anything, so I guess there was no harm done. ^__^

The lady at the grocery store where I bought my lunch today forgot to give me chopsticks, so I had to use the straw of my banana drink (interesting) as a chopstick and sort of slurp my lunch up. Fortunately it was gooey and slimy (Chinese food, actually) so it was easy to eat by smooshing it to the edge of the styrofoam tray and slurping it up, but it sort of left a blah taste in my mouth afterward. I tried to get away with washing it out with water from the fountain, but I had to break down and spend another 110 yen for a can of OJ. I'm paranoid about spending money sometimes. Don't know why. Heh, when I get my own house I'm going to probably flip out when I see how much food (not to mention other necessities) cost on a daily basis. Whew.

I saw some Japanese people speaking in sign language today, which was pretty cool. It's called Ž˜b (shuwa) over here (Ž = hand, ˜b = speech, story), and apparently it's different than American sign language. They even have their own representation of ‚‚‚‚ (hiragana) characters, sort of like we have the alphabet. It's pretty cool. That reminded me of something I noticed a long time ago but never mentioned: it's very... um, (for lack of a better word) unusual to see Japanese people with disabilities, like being in wheelchairs, having Down Syndrome, or having some mental deficiency. Back home, I never saw any Japanese with a disability, and I suppose my brain automatically concluded that Japanese aren't affected by those things. But upon coming to Japan, I realized (well, not really realized, but showed my brain once and for all) that these kinds of problems are not somehow indiginous to America. Interesting observation.

I think I'm going to do my statistics homework tonight, or at least get started on it. Tomorrow I get to come home really early and don't have anything to do for the rest of the day but homework and any other computer stuff that may need doing, so I could do it then... but I also have a Japanese dialogue I need to memorize, and I want to do some kanji practice as well as vocabulary review as well. Since we're burning through a lesson a day now, we no longer have time for vocabulary quizzes. As such, my vocabulary knowledge has pretty much stopped at, like, Chapter 25 or something, and right now we're on Chapter 33. Which reminds me: next week, Tuesday is a holiday! My brain makes weird associations like that. ^__^

Well, time for a bath. Laters!

ADDENDUM: I totally forgot to mention some things!!

- Today I brought the vaccuum cleaner over to the grandparents' house. Whoo. *laughs* But I got to see a little inside their house at least, which was pretty cool. One of Mama's friends also gave me two bags of this granola-like cereal, because she heard I really liked cereal. Cool beans!!

- Last summer, Natsuko went over to America for three weeks and stayed with Benny, one of the previous study abroad students the Yoshitakas had hosted. She couldn't speak a word of English, and she went all by herself. I heard that and I was like, "Wow." I'm impressed. ^__^ Makes me want to host a Japanese student someday. Well, I wanted to already, but now I want to even more.!

- A friend of mine who is also studying abroad in Japan (let's call him "VanV") will be coming over on Saturday and Sunday. First person from back home I'll have seen in over two months!!

- Mama is playing music from "The Sound of Music" on the piano for a concert. So beautiful.!

- [One more thing that I know I wanted to say but conveniently forgot]
0 replies

Of saving the day

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 11/17/2004 7:30:55 AM
I always look forward to Wednesdays. There is just one class which is usually quite fun, and I get go come back home early. As it turns out, it's a really good thing I was around today (not like I wouldn't have been, but you know). In sci-fi class we watched Blade Runner; it was the first time I had seen it, and I thought it was pretty good. I wouldn't say it made my favorite sci-fi movies list, but it was still pretty good. Our teacher had spent a good while the day before making sure the DVD would play from the laptop he had in the room, and today he brought in a nice set of speakers to make the audio nice and full (I was actually standing at the elevator and he walks by, says, "Here," and hands me this speaker box. I kind of was like, "Oh, um, thanks." *laughs*). We got everything all hooked up and we were about to get going when suddenly (just like I thought might happen) the DVD video wouldn't get piped through to the big external display in the room. Better still, the option to let that happen was disabled. Wah! Two tech guys came in to try to help fix the problem I had already deemed relatively insurmountable at the moment (given my lack of proficiency in Japanese operating systems), so I busted out Apsu and used him to play the DVD. I created a custom power profile, shut down as many programs as I could, and basically made Apsu's sole task that of playing a DVD and piping it to an external display. I was about 95% confident the battery would last... and fortunately it did, with five whole minutes to spare at the end. *laughs* Talk about good timing. So, I guess you could say I saved the day again. Well, actually, you don't need to say it, because the teacher already did say it. *laughs again*

Got an A on my first paper in that class, too. Whoo! My next one is due next week, though, which is a pain because A) the entire weekend is going to be taken up with VanV's visit and B) it's on The Box Man, a very bizarre book that is going to be quite a challenge to try and put in a serious light. I'll get it done somehow or another, I'm sure. Like today... after getting home, I went right to studying. Got my statistics done, studied old and new kanji, and right now am about to get cracking on a long, difficult dialogue I need to memorize for tomorrow's class. Yeep.

I didn't go straight home after class, however. Normally I get an お弁当, or box lunch, from either a street vendor or a convenience store, or I hit up a delicious noodle shop right next to the Takadanobaba station. However, today I thought I'd try a new place that is really close to the SILS building: a sort of cafeteria-like spot called "The Food Place," if I recall correctly. And let me tell you, I'm going to be eating lunch there more often. Not only is the food there good, but it's very cheap. I got a decent bowl of kitsune soba for only 240 yen, and when I'm feeling even more frugal I can grab some kakesoba (just plain soba noodles in the flavored water) for 180 yen. Score! And if I'm feeling adventurous, there are plenty of other things they cook there waiting for me to try them. It's cheap, delicious, and very close... the next best thing would be if they gave out complimentary OJ. *laughs* So, yeah. I think that's going to be my new food stop.

After that I stopped at Itoyokado again to pick up some more OJ (and, inevitably, two little bags of the usual sweet cracker things I usually get and some rice cakes). Either they lowered the prices across the store, or I came on a really good day: the cracker things were 105 yen apiece (normally 150-some), and the OJ was 128 yen per liter, when normally it's close to 200 yen. Double score! I picked up three liters... should have nabbed more, but I don't want to guzzle it all: the rule of OJ drinking is if there is a lot of OJ available, you must guzzle as much as you can until there's not as much... then you need to ration it. Actually, I just made all that up. I've surprised myself quite a bit here, actually: many days, I only drink one or maybe two small teacups of OJ, as opposed to the million gallons per hour I gulp down at home. Hopefully when I actually do go back home, I'll be able to stay in this consume-less-OJ-you-freak mood. Save my parents some money. ^__^

You know what? For the past day or four I've been saying to myself, "When I get back home, I want to go to Rio Bravo and get a big fat chimichanga. And lots of chips. And salsa. And that stuff. Mexican food. Because it's yummy." My thought processes haven't always been that fragmented, but the verdict is out: I LOVE MEXICAN FOOD. At least the kind they serve in Mexican restaurants. Whether that's real Mexican food or not, I don't care. That's what I like. ^__^ That and Japanese soba noodles. I'll have to see if I can find some soba or udon noodles back home and get the recipe for kakesoba. It's delicious.

Well, off to dialogueize. Peace.
0 replies

Of fake coffee chains

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 11/18/2004 7:52:23 AM
Whew... well, today went pretty well. I stumbled through my dialogue in some parts, but it was really long and complex and the teacher knew it. I think I did rather well. Got a 10 on my grammar quiz, too, which made me happy. Whoo!

Statistics today was... amusing. We literally spent about two and a half hours going over problems from two weeks ago. That's one problem with the class: the students ask questions that are meant for the teacher's office hours, and the teacher doesn't tell the students to ask her during her office hours. She wanted to go through two lessons today; we barely managed to finish up the first one. Ah well... at least it gives me time to work on other stuff. I wish there was more class time for actual lesson discussion, but, ah well. Such is life.

Between statistics classes I worked a bunch on the redesign for Dragon Films, which made me really happy. I figured out a lot of things and got a lot of great ideas that will make developing the website much easier and streamlined. Fun fun fun. It's just going to be a LOT of work. But it'll be fun.

Amusing: I walked by an Excelsior coffe shop on my way back from school today (in the rain, mrr), and I said, "Wait, that looks exactly like Starbucks." And then I walked by a Starbucks about ten seconds later. What the heck? Apparently it's mostly a Japan thing, but the logo is almost exactly the same as Starbucks's logo. Which, I guess, makes sense... if you're trying to mooch customers. Wah.

Saw K at the train station today after coming home. Then I saw his mom coming to pick him up in the car. Funny stuff. ^__^

Gotta study kanji for tomorrow as well as get this dang book read so I can type up my paper on it that's due Wednesday. And there's a composition due next Friday in Japanese. And this weekend will be taken up. Muggle. *laughs* Oh well. It'll all get done. It always does.

Study study study...
0 replies

Of another day

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 11/19/2004 7:27:14 AM
My brain left me today immediately after taking my Kanji test. I'm pretty sure I only missed one point on it, which is good... but afterward, I felt like I was a level too high or something. We had a substitute, and the stuff we did was so rapid-fire that I didn't get time to think about it and therefore made lots of really silly mistakes. I still think I'm where I belong level-wise, but today was just... disheartening. I'm sure things will be better when the normal teachers return.

After another lunch at the Food Stop/Shop/something, I went to work in the GLC/ACM office. Nothing much to do again, so I mostly hung out with the people there and did some DDR on the computer (which is becoming more of a test of skill now that I've been downloading crazy-mad songs that are meant to only be played with the keyboard) until it was time to go to the second group thingie with the engineering students. We watched all but the final decision of the season finale to The Apprentice... pretty cool stuff. It was interesting trying to explain all these things to the Japanese students, though. It reminds me of how we used to watch La Catrina in Spanish class... except then, we sort of had an idea what was going on. Here, it's all in fast-paced, colloquial English. Yipes!

And on my way home I saw another Starbucks ripoff. Not that I'm counting or anything. Oh, and I found another 1-yen coin. I'm slowly building up my empire of dropped coins in foreign lands...

You'll never guess what I saw a commercial for today while eating dinner (which was a very yummy yakisoba dinner, by the way). Come on, take a guess. Take twelve if you want. You'll never guess.

I saw an ad for "Don't Break the Ice." I'm not kidding. If anyone other than my parents knows what that game is, you deserve a Jolly Rancher. That game was awesome beyond awesomeness.

Haven't planned out what I'm going to do homework-wise quite yet. Tuesday is a holiday, so I think I'll just get most of it done then. That sounds like a plan.
0 replies

Of Kevin coming over

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 11/20/2004 9:04:30 AM
Whew... today was quite a full, fun day! I met Kevin today at the train station around noon, and from there went to Waseda, Asakusa, and then home. He's spending the night right now, so I'm going to be weak and have to make this a really short entry. Sorry! I'll try my best to get everything typed out tomorrow.
0 replies

Of a good friend's visit

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 11/21/2004 8:55:27 AM
Oh dear... now I have two days' worth of stuff to catch up on. Okay, I'm going to try my best here. There was SO much that went on. *laughs*

Saturday morning I went off to Takadanobaba to meet Kevin; he had taken the Shinkansen to Tokyo Station and the regular train from there to Takadanobaba. The meeting went rather flawlessly, except for one moment when it appeared that they wouldn't take his ticket (it turns out he went to the wrong gate... which is exactly what I did later that day! D'oh!). But he found his way out fine, and before I knew it, I was with the VanV! Quality. We chatted for a few minutes, then headed out to the noodle shop I frequent for lunch. From there, I took him down Waseda Dori to my campus, where I showed him around. We went into the SILS building to see the lounge and the library, headed to the Okuma garden, and even stopped in where I work/where the Japan Study office is. Along the way, we took lots of pictures; in fact, we took so many pictures along the way between the two of us because we had two cameras. *laughs*

I know we had been thinking of perhaps going on the trains somewhere, but I wasn't sure we'd have enough time (since we were supposed to be home at 6:00). We decided we'd try to go to Asakusa and see the Sensoji Temple, since I liked it when I went last time and everyone Kevin had talked to said "GO TO ASAKUSA!" *laughs* That was the first time I had actually bought my own tickets and had to navigate through the train system all on my own... well, with a friend, anyway. It reminded me of the field exercise, but this was different because the cards we were using weren't given to us... we had to buy the right ones and figure everything out ourselves! However, we eventually found our way to Asakusa. Or at least, that's what we thought. In fact, it was Asakusabashi... which was two kilometers away from Asakusa and the temple we wanted to go to! Whoops! It was all cool in the end, though, because that just gave us a great opportunity to walk through somewhere completely new to us and check out what there was along the way. It turns out there wasn't anything super-fancy... just a bunch of buildings and shops. The buildings seemed rather high-class, and there were a lot of very, very expensive wares in the windows.

Some spring water and aloe yogurt later, we arrived at Sensoji Temple. It was just the way I remembered it... big lantern thing, lots of shops, awesome temple. Like I had done before, Kevin and I walked down and browsed through all the shops leading to the temple. Talk about deja vu! One shop was selling these spiffy kimonos, and one that was black with dragons and tigers on it caught my eyes. Uh oh... more dragon and tiger stuff! I looked at it and was about to keep going when the salesman came to me and said (in a mixture of Japanese and English, though I responded in Japanese) that I could try on a similar one to see if I liked it. And so I tried it on and was just about sold, except for the fact that I didn't want to spend all that cash for it. But when he said I could pay by credit card, I couldn't help but say I'd be back to buy it. And after going through the temple, I did just that: 5000 yen for an amazingly comfy, perfect-length black and gold kimono with dragons and tigers (but no bears, oh my) on it. I think I look pretty neat in it. I'm not sure where exactly I'd wear it, but I always wanted some Japanese clothing and now I have some. May not be "traditional," but it's quite Japanese.

The temple itself was quite like how I remember it being. I mean, it's been around for a very, very long time... I don't know why it would be much different after just two months. *laughs* I managed to get some pictures that I had missed last time (or that I wanted to retake), which was really neat. Tossed some money into the collection... things (hard to explain, but really neat) and even got my mikuji fortune. It was a pretty rotten fortune. *laughs* Fortunately (no pun intended), I'm Christian so it has no power over me. *laughs again*

Just a random note before I continue: one thing you have to keep in mind when writing journal entries is the balance between preserving as many details as possible and just being long-winded. While I suppose I've written a nice deal so far, there were SO many little details that were funny, thought-provoking, educational, and so on (yes, getting confused in a train station is very, very educational). I'd like to record as much as I can, but some things just seem to be meant to be absorbed in the moment and then left as an imprint in your soul... and so I'm leaving a lot of tiny details out. Ten years from now if I should read this journal, I'll say, "Oh, yes, I remember the details after reading the basic gist of what had happened." And, at least as far as I'm concerned, that's exactly what I want this journal to do.

But, anyway, back to the story. After I take a bath, that is. *does so*

Ah, that's better. After two days of walking, a bath does a body good.

So where was I.

Coming back from Asakusa was an amusing treat: we got screwed up in the stations again. It was mostly my fault because I didn't check to see which lines we were actually going on... though at the same time, I couldn't necessarily read all the kanji, either! We didn't screw up too much, actually: we were only down 70 yen apiece in the end because apparently some tickets we bought weren't the right ones, and we couldn't find a fare adjustment machine. So, if anyone ever happens to go to Ueno, I've got a ticket for ya that may or may not really do anything. *laughs* On the way home, we ran into the lady I went to the high school fair with a few weeks ago. Funny how she just randomly decided to hop on that exact train! We talked for quite a while, and she joked about how she and I had "gone on a date." Heh... no. ;)

Got home a little after 6:00 (mostly because of the silly mixups), and VanV got to see the Yoshitakas for the first time. They were setting up a Christmas tree when we stepped in the door, and Saki-chan was absolutely bawling. She pepped up within about five minutes, though. *laughs* We introduced each other, dropped Kevin's stuff off in my room, and came down for a huge tempura dinner. We talked for quite some time... I think it lasted over two hours easy. Then we went upstairs, I showed him how to take a bath, and we pretty much went to sleep (after watching some funny videos on the computer). He slept on a futon on the floor in my room, and was asleep before I could finish answering a question he had asked me when we turned off the lights. *laughs*

Sorry I blazed through this part; Kevin will probably have more to say about it in his journal. ^__^

The next morning, we got up nice and early and had some leftover tempura for breakfast. We wanted to head to Itoyokado to see if there were any neat Super Famicom games (since Kevin had bought a SF system), but Papa said it was closed at this hour. *smacks head* Duh. So instead we just transferred some photos and watched a few more videos, then hopped downstairs to head off to a Walking Festival with Papa. Natsuko drove us all to a place somewhere in Higashimurayama that was the meeting point for Papa's group of friends, which included his boss at work, and soon we were off on a hike through the woods, village, and nearby stream. Well, we didn't exactly go hiking in the stream, but you know what I mean. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and the scenery was absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, my camera's batteries randomly decided to kill themselves (despite the fact that I had recharged them just recently), but at least Kevin had his camera and I had my cell phone camera. I would have taken a ton of pictures with my normal camera if I could have, though: there were just so many beautiful places to look at. And here's something Mom might find interesting: the leaves here certainly are changing colors and falling, and the trees seem to have a bajillion tiny leaves instead of a lot of big ones. Very interesting.

We passed by so many interesting things: a fantastic pond (which I'd call a lake by my standards), a Japanese cemetary, a spot that overlooked the entire city (or at least a pretty dang good deal of it), and all the while talking with Japanese folks and walking through amazing wilderness. It was very, very cool. Kevin couldn't have picked a better weekend to come along!

We stopped at about 12:30 or 1:00 or so for lunch, which was miso soup, onigiri, and some cake that Papa had made. While we were eating, some people caught fish in the nearby stream and put them into little tanks they had brought out so people could see them (the biggest fish were maybe only four or five inches long, for comparison). They were just for show, of course; we had enough food already. *laughs* A lot of Japanese folks wanted to talk with us, too; it's so nice to be able to converse with Japanese people, even if you don't always know all the vocabulary and even if you do have to ask "What does ~ mean?" every now and then. Just suck it up and ask... that's all it takes. ^__^ Good stuff.

We left after that and headed back home (which is actually quite close... I could totally go back there sometime on my own if I wanted to!), at which point we packed stuff up so we could head over to the Onishi's house. I had wanted to introduce Kevin to them at some point or another, and this was the perfect time to do so. As you might guess, K and Kazuki showed us some cool magic, and Mrs. Onishi fed us with all sorts of food and drink (including a very yummy fried egg on toast with ketchup and melted cheese on top... Mom, make note, because it's quick and easy and delicious!). Very, very cool. After juggling the time around a bit, we decided that we'd head back to the Yoshitaka's house to pick up Kevin's things, and then from there go to a video game store, the hyaku en shop, and then the station. So, we did just that: Kevin said goodbye, we went to the video game store, stopped by the hyaku en shop, and then got dropped off a the Higashimurayama train station. We said our goodbyes, and then Kevin and I hopped on the express train to Takadanobaba.

Interesting factoid: the video game store we went to was the same one I had passed when I walked for nearly three hours that one day! I was like, "Oooh, I've been here!" I'm very glad I was able to go in this time, though. Let's just say if I had a PS2 with me and I could understand the Japanese language much better, I'd be several hundred dollars poorer right now. There are so many games that are Japan-only that I saw and could have bought (like the final/international mixes of Kingdom Hearts and FFX-2, as well as the Playstation remake of Dragon Quest IV!!!), and no schoolwork would EVER get done. *laughs* I found a little candy machine that gave me a small cupful of these pebble-looking candies (they were essentially M&Ms, but ones that looked like rocks) for a whopping 100 yen. o_O Expensive, but yummy. Kevin bought a game (or two?), and then we stopped by the hyaku en shop for some snackies to eat when we got to Takadanobaba.

Which warps me back to Takadanobaba. We arrived about a half hour before we really needed to be there, so we hung out in front of Big Box and chomped on Japanese snacks and chatted until it was time to leave. And when said time came, we shook hands, said farewell, and that was that. Coming home, I realized just how cool it is to have friends, especially ones that have done all the same things you have for the past nine years.

I'm sorry this entry seemed kind of rushed and not exactly "deep." With so much bulk that just needs to get out, I find it hard to elaborate on everything that happened. But hey, that's the nature of the beast.

I've concluded that while I seem to have adjusted to Japanese life very well, seeing people from home is absolutely wonderful. If anyone wants to visit me, all you need to do is set up a date, reserve some plane tickets, and head over to Narita. Easier said than done, but... yeah. After having one visitor, I'm looking forward to having another some day. ^__^

I wonder if the same will hold true with roller coasters. There's a local amusement park (that supposedly is in the middle of some very beautiful surroundings) with a roller coaster that K and Kazuki want me to ride with them. Heck, I've done so many things in Japan for the first time already... might as well do another. *laughs*
Photos: Kevin's visit to Tokyo 0 replies

Of being silly

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 11/22/2004 9:38:49 AM
Back to the swing of things again... well, at least for one day, anyway, because tomorrow is a holiday! Score!

Got my composition all written up, and after dinner (which was preceded with lots of playing with Saki-chan and one of her friends) I went to the Onishi's house to see more magic and go over my composition to check for silly mistakes. They seem to have new magic each time I go over! *laughs* They let me borrow some magic videos, too, which was really nice of them. I'll have to watch them sometime. One is in English (though I think I left it at their house) and the other is in Japanese; in the Japanese one, it's set up so that there are spectators that watch these cool tricks, and if they can figure out how they're done they get a nice sum of money (like $10,000). Cool stuff.

Random note: kitsune and tanuki noodles are NOT meat whatsoever. They're a kind of tofu. *laughs* Rather, kitsune and tanuki are animals, but when you say "kitsune soba" or "tanuki soba" you're just getting some veggies put in your noodles, and the dish is called "kitsune soba" or "tanuki soba." That makes me feel better... because I'd feel weird eating fox. It also makes me feel pretty dumb for not knowing that beforehand. ;)

Tomorrow = essay day. And other stuff day. Whew... this week is going to go by fast. o_O
0 replies

Of a spectacular holiday

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 11/23/2004 8:09:23 AM
Man, I'll tell you something: not a heck of a lot more could have gone so well today. This is the kind of holiday I've been hoping for for a long time: one in which I can get a huge chunk of homework done, clean out my room, clean out my computer, and even talk with a bunch of people. What an awesome day!

Random thought before I begin: when I get a house in the future, it is absolutely imperative that it be near a park, some woods, or some natural reserve. End note.

The day began much like yesterday, except today I had cereal instead of leftover tempura for breakfast. *laughs* I've gotten into the habit of mixing together different kinds of cereal to make one uberbowl of grainy goodness. Right now the conglomeration contains frosted corn flakes, slightly sweetened puffed rice and wheat, and a granola mix. I don't think I could mix four American cereals together like that, though... the sweetness would be killer. However, perhaps I'll take a look when I arrive home for cereals that would be safe to mix. Perhaps puffed rice, Cracklin' Oat Bran, Wheaties, and some granola. I dunno. o_O

Anyway, this morning I resolved to get my sci fi essay done, which I did... before 10:00! Sweet! I also got my Japanese composition all written up and studied kanji, two other things I wanted to get done. Right now I've got my statistics book next to me and will finish up that homework before heading off to bed. But now I'm just getting ahead of myself.

Throughout the day I did a LOT of cleaning and straightening. Clothes went back on hangers, floors got swept, drawers got efficiently rearranged, and Apsu's hard drive got cleaned up quite a bit (and is still in the process of getting cleaned). I sat in on another one of Mama's cake-and-coffee parties, took a picture of Natsuko and her friends after they had put makeup all over their faces, and even helped Mama put up some Christmas decorations outside. There was this really neat praying mantis crawling on the tree out front that I was putting ornaments on; I feel bad for bugging it so much, but it was just so cool to hold and let crawl all over my hand. Them suckers can hurt if they grab you with their forelegs (or, as I called it, being "mantised"). Felt like my finger was paralyzed or something... but I think that's just because it had gotten all of its little spines onto the length of my finger, so there was a light dull pain everywhere instead of a sharp pain in one spot. I can see how insects that get mantised wouldn't have a chance! Praying mantises rock.

Other things that went on: played with Saki-chan and her friend again for a good while, talked about how my definition of fun doesn't include going out (rather amusing), did some dishes for the family (I do that whenever I can... it's oddly relaxing and I enjoy it), and agreed to go with Mama somewhere tomorrow where there will be people who can speak all sorts of foreign languages. I'll be the English/Japanese/Spanish person there. *laughs* Should be interesting.

I wish all of my holidays and weekends were as productive, relaxing, and just so gosh-darn neat as today was. Whew.

Well, got a little while before I want to head to sleep. Better finish shaving what I missed the first time (grrr) and get this statistics stuff done.
1 reply

Good for you
Posted by: Videoman 11/24/2004 12:14:33 AM
Sounds like things are going good for you. Cool, honorifics are, like, the best. I wouldn't mind being called Marc-san for a while. *sigh* Just have to wait until I got to Tokyo U.
0 replies

Of plan changes

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 11/24/2004 6:44:53 AM
Just 55 more minutes to go before I will have listened to this one song for over 1000 minutes. MWHAHAHAHA!

Anyway. Today was another nice one-class day (well, two of the same class smooshed together, anyway). I think the best thing about it is now I'm DONE with The Box Man. Ugh. Disliked that book. Well, okay... I didn't find it interesting. That's better. I suppose I still have to worry about it for the final exam, but that's not for a while so that's okay.

Today turned out to be a lot less full than I thought it would be. Got home a little before two to another cake-and-coffee party Mama was having, and once again I barely walked into the house when Saki-chan grabbed onto me and asked me (more like commanded me, actually) to bring down the ladder for the loft again. *laughs* I didn't do anything until she said the Japanese equivalent of "please" and "thank you," which I think I may do from now on just to try and teach her some manners. Though, of course, I don't know if that's standard practice in Japanese homes between family members... it may not be. But still, it would be good practice.

Pretty much studied kanji, worked on my website, and talked online for the rest of the day after that. As it turns out, I didn't go to the multi-language thing today because things were too busy on the adult end, but Mama said I could go some other time when less things were going on (like winter break, which is actually coming up relatively soon). So I ate dinner with Soichiro and watched anime on TV. This may have been the first time I had actually watched the "stereotypical" Japanese anime with the flashing lights, talking robots, and flying people. One show starred these CG cell-shaded Gundams whose motions were extremely fluid (I'm guessing they must have been motion-captured), and another show was Naruto, a rather famous anime series that has been going on for many many years. Jassim, if you're reading this, it most certainly IS on at 7:00. *laughs*

I'm not sure whether or not I'll be able to get to sleep early tonight. I'm in another serious website-working mood, and whether that will end before the hour gets late I don't know. I also want to study some more kanji, and... hm, there's gotta be something else that needs doing. Oh yeah, read Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Hopefully that'll be a little better than the last book; I hear it is, so that's cool.

For no real reason, I've been checking out new desktop computers. It's amazing what you can buy today for what Tiamat cost back in 2002. Yipes. I don't plan on buying a new one until Windows Longhorn comes out, though. Nevertheless, it's still fun to check out prices. I've always liked reading through computer magazines for no real reason.

42 minutes...
2 replies

Cool
Posted by: Videoman 11/24/2004 5:53:35 PM
You've been watching anime, eh? Wel, just watch a few more and you'll get hooked (and I'm rather serious about that).
0 replies

No title
Posted by: Ned Carlson 11/25/2004 12:57:15 AM
Lol about trying to teach the lil' girl manners... funnny. I do the same thing with my little siblings... I wonder if that's considered proper in Japan. ^__^

Later, Greg... Happy Thanksgiving. =)
0 replies

Of Thanksgiving

Gerf
Gerf
Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 11/25/2004 9:30:27 AM
Whew, I'm beat. Left the house at 7:40 AM, didn't get back until a little after 11:00 PM. I'm crazy-tired, but I'll try to type what I can before I fall asleep here...

Kanji test was good; got a 100% on it. Tomorrow's test is going to be interesting, because I haven't had nearly as much time to prepare for it. However, I'm pretty sure I've got a handle on most of 'em, so it shouldn't be too bad. I was tired in a lot of my classes today, though. Blah. Got an 82% on my statistics test, too, which didn't really make me too happy. Though, for never having taken a statistics class before, I guess it was okay (especially since I didn't take the prerequisite course). As long as I can at least pull a B in that class, the grade will still transfer as an A. Wewt.

After statistics I headed off to the Thanksgiving dinner being held at "Good Honest Grub" in Harajuku. Getting there was kind of funny. I started out running over to the SILS building (because I heard people were going to be waiting there), but nobody was there. So I ran back to Takadanobaba station and got to Harajuku (a very cool place, much different than places I've been before), and basically retraced my steps at least twice going around the city trying to find the restaurant. It was supposed to be on a rather main road, right past the Gap store. I started walking down that main road, but wasn't sure if it was right and therefore ended up running back to the station and asking a guy around there (who was wearing a uniform and holding one of them flashing traffic directing wands), in Japanese, where the road was. His response (in English), "I'm sorry, I don't know anything!" as he held his hands in front of his face. Kind of reminded me of the very silly video we watched about Japanese gestures today in Japanese class.

Anyway, I eventually found the place and sat down with the guys and gals. They were mostly done with their second course (a salad), so I had to speed through to catch up with them. First course: very yummy pumpkin soup. Second course: said salad. Third course: the turkey dinner (turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, veggies, cranberry sauce). Fourth course: dessert of coffe/latte and pumpkin pie. I must say, it was a pretty good meal; not quite like at home, but it was still worthwhile. Several people had computer problems they needed fixing; tomorrow I'm going to be handling no fewer than two of them. Memorable quote: "That problem must be fixed IMMEDIATELY." *laughs* They know who to turn to for computer help. Lots of funny antics going on there, too. They served that raw brown sugar stuff with the coffee/latte (that was the first time I had had a latte... very, very good, actually... wouldn't mind another somtime), and the crystals were really big, almost like rock candy. We ate that stuff with spoons. Heh. Got a rather memorable picture, too... everybody died laughing when they saw it. You'll know when you see it on the photos page. ;)

Afterward, Sarah (one of the people "in charge" of us here) and I went to a Jonathan's restaurant to work on a Power Point presentation we need to give tomorrow with those engineering students. We ordered the drink bar (pretty good, especially since there was OJ) and got some decent Power Pointage power pointed. Now we just have to finish it up tomorrow.

Note to self: never try to get on the limited express at Takadanobaba. IT DOESN'T STOP THERE, AND IT NEVER HAS. Wasted 20 minutes. Again. *has to laugh* Another note: whipped cream in Japan is just that: whipped cream. It tastes like white. No sweetness whatsoever.

I probably missed some important things, but I'm too tired right now to think of them. Though I do know one thing for sure: there is a lot I am thankful for this Thankgiving. I'm thankful for Kristin, I'm thankful for a wonderful family, I'm thankful for being able to experience Japan in a once-in-a-lifetime sort of way, I'm thankful for friends who can share this experience with me and with whom I can share this experience. Lots to be thankful for. ^__^ Have a happy Thanksgiving y'all.
Photos: Thanksgiving dinner 0 replies

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