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Of my three-day weekend

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 12/6/2004 7:48:43 AM
Blah... living without my watch on my right wrist is like living without... something very convenient. I have trouble remembering what day it is, and I don't know the time down to the second any more. Yeah, I know it's not that important, but it is to me. I'm a walking chronometer, for crying out loud. *laughs* Somehow I'm going to have to get that watch fixed...

Man, I love having more or less a three-day weekend. As far as my mind is concerned, the weekend is over when it becomes afternoon, no matter what day you're on. Therefore, having my first and only class at 2:40pm makes for what my mind registers as a full three-day weekend. And that is AWESOME. I FINALLY managed to get my statistics done (the final problem was a lot easier than I thought it was; as usual, I read WAY too far into it), and I got working on my redesign of Dragon Films again. Also, before/after class today I got two tips/jobs: one to go and fix one of my Japan Study friends' host parents' computer, and one to go DDR Extreme-ing with a friend at a machine in Takadanobaba that he just found. Swoot. I'll have to try and schedule that sometime this/next week. Busy... o_O;

Tonight after dinner, Natsuko was singing "When You Wish Upon A Star," and I helped her with some of the English lyrics that she didn't understand. I also brought down Apsu to play the real versions of the songs for her so she could get a reference. After that, I walked Saki-chan around on my shoulders again (since she had been begging all day for me to do it), all the while singing Christmas carols, mostly prompted by a little dancing Santa they have that sings "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." What fun... had to hide from Saki-chan afterward to prevent her from riding my head all night long, though. I swear, she just doesn't know when enough is enough. *laughs*

Today I realized how much I'm seriously going to miss Christmas. I never really thought about it before too much, but being here in Japan, I'm going to miss out on all the things that I absolutely love about Christmas. Simply put, it's the most wonderful time of the year. Being home with my family and listening to Christmas music... that's something I look forward to every year. I'll have it to some extent over here, but it won't be anywhere near the same. But hey, there are a lot of things and people I miss dearly and have to be away from while I'm over here... and it's all part of what I signed up for. That's what the Internet is for: communicating with my loved ones. ^__^

Well, and doing other stuff, I guess. And I suppose I can also commuinicate using the postal service and over the telephone, but... yeah, time for a bath.
3 replies

Posted by: Videoman 12/6/2004 4:32:17 PM
"Today I realized how much I'm seriously going to miss Christmas. I never really thought about it before too much, but being here in Japan, I'm going to miss out on all the things that I absolutely love about Christmas. Simply put, it's the most wonderful time of the year. Being home with my family and listening to Christmas music... that's something I look forward to every year. I'll have it to some extent over here, but it won't be anywhere near the same. But hey, there are a lot of things and people I miss dearly and have to be away from while I'm over here... and it's all part of what I signed up for. That's what the Internet is for: communicating with my loved ones. ^__^"


Haha, just kidding.

Christmas music! I love Christmas music!
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singin' the Christmas Blues........
Posted by: nancy novak 12/6/2004 5:03:18 PM
We are seriously going to miss you this Christmas too!

Look on the bright side....
your mom and dad are not going to get after you to clean your room this year!

1 reply

Cleaning the room
Posted by: Gerf 12/7/2004 3:39:53 AM
Heh, true... though I still have to clean my room here. ;)
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Of time-space gardens

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 12/7/2004 7:07:20 AM
Heh, I'm going to have to renew my commuter pass pretty soon. It expires in ten days, and I sure don't want to suddenly say, "Oh, fake. Gotta pay ten bucks to get to school." *laughs* That would be a drag. I doubt it would be that much, but still, it would be expensive.

Nothing really happened today, except that instead of having three hours of Japanese class today, we had two hours and then took a walk! Apparently, there's a shrine extremely close to the spot of Waseda we're in... like, so close that I apparently have seen it several times without even knowing what it is! We went as a class (as well as the Japanese Level 5 class, of which I stole a picture while they were posing for someone else's camera, heh heh) and a cool monk showed us around the place. Learned some very interesting things, including the fact that since there is no "book" in the main shrine, anyone from any religion can come and pray there. He mentioned Christians in particular, which made me happy. Also saw a god's carriage, and these awesome kitsune guide statues. Cool stuff... check out the pictures.

Japanese shrines are really cool, because they are literally right in the middle of wherever you're going. There's one in a semi-backroads way home that I now take, and it's just... there, complete with wide open spaces and places to pray. This one in Takadanobaba was especially amazing, though, because it was so huge yet didn't seem like it could possibly fit. It was almost like we were unfolding some extra dimensions to walk through it, because I could have sworn there were buildings and roads there.

And therefore, we must have totally slipped the boundaries of space and time after that, because then we walked into this absolutely HUGE (and I mean REALLY REALLY BIG) garden. Unfortunately, I only had one shot left in my camera, so I wasn't able to really capture much of its awesomeness; I'll go back sometime and take some more. There were dirt and stone pathways leading every which way, ponds and waterfalls, benches to sit on, stone-slab and stepping-stone bridges... dang, how the heck did they get this in such a bustling place as Takadanobaba? Seriously... you step into the garden and the world just shuts up like it never existed in the first place. Absolutely magical. It's places like those that I dream of walking through with someone very special to me...

But like I said, nothing else really happened today. I did notice that I was able to breathe through both nostrils at the same time, though. That was pretty exciting. *laughs*
Photos: A shrine near Waseda 0 replies

Of super-geekiness

Location: 12/8/2004 7:20:15 AM
Once again, good sci fi class. That's got to be my favorite class here, hands down. Mr. Campbell, if you're reading this, you're doing a good job. ^__^

Today in class I kind of went off trying to describe the thought experiment behind Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and ended up drawing all these diagrams on the chalkboard (which are in today's pictures). Yeah... you may want to just NOT try and understand them. Your brain might feel better. *laughs*

On my way home, I decided to get a 500ml carton of OJ to drink... because I wanted some OJ, dang it. I usually don't get a drink other than water from the place I eat, but today I wanted some more sweet citrus goodness (I ended up drinking a LOT of OJ today... I'm going to have to buy some more pretty soon). Funny: it can cost upwards of 150 yen for 500ml of OJ at convenience stores, yet 102 yen for a full liter at Itokoyado. You can also pay 82 yen for a single, small juice box of OJ, or 100 yen for a slightly larger one in a vending machine. Strange prices, eh? Another thing that's strange: I decided I'd try out that Tetris arcade game that's on the way to Waseda (or, in my case, on my way coming back from class). Spent 100 yen for two games of low-end Tetris, whereas I spent 105 yen two months ago for unlimited games of high-action Tetris on my cell phone (and yes, I'm STILL playing that one game... I have 19.65 million points and 4000 lines...). Amusing.

At the train station, I ran into a "Rapid Express" train. Hmm... I had never ridden one of those before. So I hopped on to see where it went... which was right by Higashimurayama! However, it did stop at Tokorozawa, which was the stop right after good ol' HMY, so I figured I'd stop there and hop on a train in the opposite direction. The rapid express had just one other stop before I got off, which was at Tanashi... so I had one of the most interruption-free rides ever! I thought getting a little "lost" would be good... also so I'd know how to get around should that ever happen by accident.

Upon arriving home, I saw that Natsuko's dance instructor was over. She apparently had been invited for lunch, because the remains of said meal were on the table. I wasn't planning staying for too long, though, because I needed to shave and head to the bank to pay the last of my (extremely discounted!) health insurance. I jogged there and back in weather that was very pleasant; very fun and relaxing. I got back home about twenty minutes after taking off and joined Natsuko, her teacher, Mama, and to some extent Saki-chan for some cake and coffee and conversation. I didn't really say much, but it was good practice to just listen to the two Japanese adults chatter back and forth. Kind of confusing sometimes (okay, a lot of the time... Mama talks SO fast...), but useful.

The rest of the day was pretty nothing... did homework, ate dinner in front of Naruto, printed out my statistics assignment, drank OJ. I'll probably do more OJ drinking before the night is up... perhaps I should snag some more after school tomorrow or Friday so I don't run out.

Bah, Thursday tomorrow. Might as well get it over with.
Photos: Gerf's hypotheses 3 replies

Posted by: UNFDAardvark 12/8/2004 11:16:36 AM
So many metric system!

Comments on the pictures:
Equilibrium of Life: I swear they stole my idea. From what I've seen, college life seems to strongly resemble the dynamic thingy, and summer vacation and/or summer jobs tend to resemble the flatline. More on this, tonight at 11 on Action News.

Hypothesis "Get Out": TIME BOMB SET. GET OUT FAST. shoots open blue door resembling airlock and runs through

Hypothesis "Um": To quote that one guy from that one reality show way back in freshman year: "WHAT is going ON?!?"

Hypothesis "TAMMS": You're probably right, I shouldn't have tried to understand this after an EECS 337 final that I had to wake up unnaturally early for. :)
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And I just realized...
Posted by: UNFDAardvark 12/8/2004 11:17:51 AM
...that in my sleepiness, I messed up the equation. It should read, (GERF)^(-1)-E+A=FRAG. MEH!~
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Posted by: Gerf 12/8/2004 10:32:56 PM
Yeah, that pretty much sums it all up.
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Of miserable Thursdays

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 12/9/2004 8:39:12 AM
Yipes... where did the time go? I still have to take a bath and study my kanji for tomorrow. Whew. Better get on that soon. o_O;

I never like Thursdays. I just don't. This morning was okay, fortunately. I think I aced my vocabulary quiz, and I got back two other quizzes that had minimal errors, so I was relatively happy. We're learning the Japanese form of the passive voice, which has constructions that have no English analogue and therefore are difficult to understand sometimes. I guess after practicing it some more I'll get the hang of it. The teacher also had some ("real") Japanese students come in to help us with the compositions we're working on and are eventually going to have to present in front of the class; I'll have to work on memorizing it starting this weekend. Wah.

Statistics, though... blah. BLAH. That class went from being ridiculously simple to ridiculously hard to follow, almost entirely because I have never taken a statistics course before (and this is a "second-semester" course). We got our first homework back today (finally) and I got a horrible 73% on it, and after turning in today's homework we got the model solutions and I realized that my grade on that will probably be worse. The things we're doing are not that difficult... but if you don't have the background knowledge to know the exact process of how you do these things, you get lots of points off. I'm trying to make do with what little knowledge I have, and it's not working as well as I had planned. I'd really like to know what the class average in there is, because I'd like to know if I'm just a little behind everyone else or if I'm in a completely different time zone. o_O The comprehensive examination is next week, too... so that ought to be buckets of fun. *sighs*

I was so messed up today that during my hour and a half break between stats classes I slept for an hour and then drank two cups of cafe au lait, because I could (and it was actually pretty yummy... for 70 yen apiece, anyway). Then on the way home I got some anpan. I would have bopped into the AM/PM by the Higashimurayama station and bought some more stuff there if I didn't check myself. Sometimes I just get into these miserable moods where I need to eat sugar and lots of it. Sugar and sweets and bread and CARBOHYDRATES. Ahem. Sorry, things are starting to heat up now that we're getting to the end of the year here (not the semester, mind you; the semester's not over until sometime in February).

Ate dinner with Mama and talked about Christmas, food, and other stuff. It's nice to talk one-on-one with her... don't get to do it all that much.

Quote of the day: "I've GOT to get back to America," said by one of my classmates after describing how he was chased by some guy who singled him out in a crowd, shouted "YOU NEED JESUS!" and started chasing him through the streets. o_O;
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Of stealth gardens

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 12/10/2004 8:17:54 AM
Hah! Despite having studied the wrong kanji set until just last night, I still managed to get a perfect 20/20 on my kanji quiz today! Booyah! That made me happy. I must be the oddball, because I actually enjoy Friday Japanese classes, whereas everyone else hates them. In particular, they dislike the teacher. *shrugs* I don't know what their gripe is. o_O;

But that's just me, being a silly Gerf as always.

After classes today, I ate at the Food Shop as usual (though now I'm hooked on their curry... mmm, curry) and then bopped over to the garden we visited on Tuesday. I wanted to take some more pictures of it (which I did; follow the link to see them) and just sit there for a little while; it's so peaceful. There were all sorts of birds singing (screeching?), huge carp swimming in the ponds... even a black cat that must live there because it looks like the same fella we saw on Tuesday. What a neat place.

From there I headed up to the Building 19 lounge, which I think might be my roost from now on instead of the International Student Lounge. It's quieter, less crowded, the drink selection is more varied and cheaper, the wireless Internet WORKS, and there are plenty of places you can plug in your computer (both power and network, though I haven't gotten the network part to work yet). Best of all, there are couches where you can stretch out and go to sleep! I napped for a while today, which was good because soon thereafter I met Aaron and went to a nearby arcade where they had a DDR Extreme machine. You get four songs for 100 yen, which is pretty comparable to what you can get back home. We played three rounds together, and by the end we were beat. We both agreed that we were totally out of practice, though we were still able to bust out As and Bs on 9-footers. I even got a AA on Matsuri Japan, but the faking machine only registered it as an A. Guess I got too many Greats. Bah. *laughs*

In any case, I had a good time. Three dollars poorer, but I think it was three dollars well spent. We were there for quite a while, and by the time we were done, well... yeah, like I said, we were beat. Continued my Tetris game on the train ride home... same one, still going. Upon arriving I stopped at Itoyokado to pick up some more OJ and (for once) an apple, which I ate on the way home (all the way home, actually: it lasted the whole way!). And let me say, that was one dang fine apple, as it better have been for costing a buck. I think any time I stop at the supermarket now, I'm going to pick up an apple to munch on on the way back home. Delish.

The rest of the day was kind of fuzzy. Tiredness combined with not really wanting to do anything important... yeah, time for the week to be over. Might go to bed early tonight just because I can, I dunno. *laughs* Sorry, I don't really have anything cool to say today. Tomorrow and Sunday should bring some interestingness, though. We'll see what happens.
Photos: The stealth garden in Takadanobaba 0 replies

Of an amazing cookout party

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 12/11/2004 10:18:14 AM
Boy, I smell like smoke, even after taking that bath. *laughs* Good smoke, though... the kind of smokey smell you obtain after spending six hours at a cottage party-esque cookout. It's the days like this that you don't expect in a thousand years, but somehow manage to come across nonetheless. The chances of me getting everything that happened down in this journal are slim to none, but I'm going to give it my best shot anyway.

So the day started out like a "normal" Saturday: wake up, eat breakfast, do some work, clean the room, work some more. The weather has been ridiculously good lately: we must have a high-pressure zone totally sleeping on top of us. If I were home, I'd be fake-cursing up a storm because of lack of snow... but here, it just seems natural. Probably because I've never been here before, eh?

From what Papa had said earlier, it sounded like today was going to be some drinking party at the local pub, and as such I actually wasn't really looking forward to it all that much. He said we would leave at about 2:00, though we actually ended up going at about 2:30. In the meantime, I pseudo-babysat a girl who takes piano lessons from Mama for a little while until her mother came. These were all people I had met at my welcome party, and in fact the mother said that her son wanted to come along for the sole purpose of seeing me. *laughs* He didn't end up saying anything after all that, but hey, he got to see me! All three of them (and the father) ended up going to the party later in the evening, so I got to see them again.

So Papa, Natsuko, Saki-chan, and I got into the car, and Natsuko drove us somewhere (I have no idea where I am in Higashimurayama unless it's a road I've walked on before, of which there aren't TOO many) and dropped us off. From there we picked up Mama and one of her friends (actually, we just waited for them and they came on their bikes) and headed to the party. It wasn't at the pub after all... it was in someone's backyard. They had a whole pig on a spit over a fire, tables of food, and a shed/cottage/something with a fire pit (yes, an indoor fire pit) and lots of food. So basically, the party started out with me just eating food and being introduced to all sorts of people. As the night went on, though, things just got better and better. More people came, including a guy with a big 81-key keyboard and amp who played improvizational jazz very well, and... well, gah, it's all a blur of smoke and laughter now. *laughs* I wore a t-shirt and tech vest there, and when it got chilly people kept asking if I was cold. They were perpetually amazed at my resistance to the cold, though to be honest my hands and fingers got quite chilly several times. One of the ladies there gave me a pair of gloves as a gift, which was amazingly nice. They fit quite well and will be a nice compliment to my leather gloves.

One of Papa's friends that I met actually lives, like, 30 seconds from the Yoshitaka's house, and has quite an interesting history. He started working for Unisys, then moved to Dell, then moved to Microsoft, and then started a mobile phone company with his friend. We talked (in English, as he had worked in America for over six years) a lot about the computer industry and market, and he said I should stay away from Microsoft because he thought it was boring when he worked there. Granted, that was a long time ago, and this is also coming from a guy who says mainland China should merge with Russia, the US should drop three nuclear bombs on North Korea, and that he would disown his daughter if she came back from working in the US with an American boyfriend. *laughs* What a character... very good guy. I've never heard so many amusing things come from one Japanese person in such a short time so far. Now I have!

The pianist, Mr. Iwasaki if I remember correctly, looked to be in his mid-twenties, wore black shades and clothes, and smoked... the perfect improv jazz dude. He could tickle the ivories (or plastics, in this case) amazingly well. Papa wanted me to play some songs for everyone, and when I got to Solfegietto Mr. Iwasaki said, "No no no, too complicated, don't play that!" A little while later, one of the girls there wanted to see a picture of my girlfriend, so I showed her the one I had on my cellphone (never leave home without one!). Mr. Iwasaki took a look at it and said, "Wah, anyone who has a girlfriend is my enemy!" And then later when I told him I studied at Waseda, he said, "Gah, you're smart, too! Jeez, it's totally not fair! You've got a girlfriend and you're smart... bah!" *laughs* Despite what you might think, though, he's a really friendly guy, and he was just saying those things in jest. Later in the evening (when the drunkenness had gotten to most people, though it had done so a while before... though when asked if he was okay, Papa said, "Oh yeah, I've been drinking since the afternoon and I'm just fine!") I played "In the Mood" on the piano and he filled in some improv accompaniment in the lower keys. Good stuff.

Mr. Iwasaki was also responsible for what could quite possibly be the most amazing experience I've had since the Higashimurayama festival. As you may or may not remember, Higashimurayama has the mountain around which the movie My Neighbor Totoro takes place. As such, the Totoro theme is pretty much Higashimurayama's theme song as well. Mr. Iwasaki started playing it, and a few people started dancing together. I thought it was pretty cute, and then suddenly more people joined in. I busted out my camera to take some video of it (which was sort of interrupted by someone offering me more udon noodles, since the udon delivery man had brought two trays full of noodles for everyone), and at the very end you can hear one of the guys dancing shout, "Greg, Greg!" That's when I stopped the video and joined in the dancing circle where we all held hands and jumped around... only to be joined by more and more people, until EVERYONE was joined in a circle (or in the middle of it), dancing to the Totoro theme song. That right there was one of those things you never expect to happen but wish would go on forever. Just like time stood still and the world was at peace during the festival, everything was just perfect at that point of the communal dance. Irregardless of age, gender, nationality, or whatever, we all danced together. Yet another deep imprint has been left on my heart, one that I will never forget.

Papa also introduced me to Muni-san, a 24-year-old travel guide who spent three months in New Zealand and will be going to Australia for a year. Our goal: speak English, and lots of it! She's pretty good at speaking, and was very eager to speak as much English as she could. Actually, come to think of it, everyone seemed to want to speak English! As Muni-san explained (even though I knew already), everyone in Japan begins to study English in middle school and continues throughout their educational career. Because of that, most Japanese people can read some English and know how to spell English words. However, it's the conversation that they lack in, because there simply aren't too many native English speakers in Japan to talk with! We are probably going to get together some more to talk English (perhaps with some other people, too), so that should be fun.

That reminds me of an interesting situation that happened. At one point during the party, I sat down between Muni-san and one of her friends (also female), and Papa's boss said, "So, Greg, you've got two beautiful girls there, one on either side of you. How does that make you feel?" Everyone laughed hard when I kind of shrugged and said, "Eh, okay." *laughs* As I explained after the laughter subsided, it wasn't that I thought they were ugly or bad people or anything, but rather it was because I already have a girlfriend and she's the most beautiful woman I could ever have hoped for, both on the inside and outside. Papa's boss smiled and said, "The girls here are good, but your girlfriend is the best, right?" and I nodded in agreement. No matter how nice, smart, and/or good-looking the Japanese girls are here, there's nothing they could ever do that would make me give up Kristin. Ever.

And... well... a bajillion things happened there. I juggled some lemons, ate WAY too much food, amazed people with my cold resistance, and even did some magic and Capoeira stretches for the heck of it. We ended up leaving at about 10:00, to which the Microsoft guy said, "Oh, you're leaving so soon? The party isn't even halfway over!" As funny as that sounded, though, I could believe him: there is actually a word in Japanese, 二次会 (nijikai), which means "the party after the main party." In Japan, when there's a party you eat and drink until it is physically, psychologically, and monetarily IMPOSSIBLE to do so anymore. *laughs* And to some extent, I'm totally serious.

On the way home, the boy who wanted to see me and the girl I "babysat" came home with Papa and me as we walked through Higashimurayama. The boy said that it was his dream to have me stay at his house overnight sometime... quite an amusing dream if you ask me! *laughs* But I suppose if I were nine years old and a 20-year old Japanese student was living in my neighborhood, I'd want to befriend him and have him stay over. It's just... cool. ^__^ When we dropped them off at their house, he ran in and came out with three huge apples to give to me as a present. I'm going to munch on one tomorrow after breakfast, I think. Man, they look yummy! From there, Papa and I walked home through the mess of streets, talking about everything from pro sports players to vending machines. I swear, vending machines are EVERYWHERE... and Japanese residential areas are crazy-nuts. Actually, everywhere there is a road, there is craziness. Only in Nagano did I see roads that actually seemed to make sense. *laughs* I mean, for crying out loud... most streets aren't named or labeled in any way. Makes me NOT want to work for the Japanese postal service!

I'm going to look back on this entry and kick myself for not writing more about it, but not only can I not recall much else, it's also getting quite on the late side and there's another "party" tomorrow at 1:00, but we have to leave at 11:00 and therefore I've gotta get up early again. I'm so glad to be able to get these experiences, though. Never have I totally "fit in" with such different people so quickly. But then, as I was explaining to Muni-san earlier on, we're all humans living on the same planet. Though we may speak different languages and eat different foods, we're all pretty much the same. And by golly, whatever it is that makes us human sure came out tonight, especially during that Totoro dance. In those amazingly precious moments, American and Japanese, male and female, old and young, smart and simple, wealthy and poor... everything was stripped away, and what was left was nothing short of a miracle.
Photos: Fabulous cookout party 3 replies

cottage party
Posted by: badcheeso 12/11/2004 2:23:40 PM

This makes the cottage parties real SNOOZERS!

About the only thing we do differently is dance around the bonfire - naked. Real interesting when it's 32 degrees, 0 for you celcius people.

Just kidding about the naked dancing.

2 replies

Posted by: Gerf 12/11/2004 6:02:23 PM
Yeah, I was going to say... I don't recall any naked dancing. *laughs* Maybe you did that back in your In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida days or something, but not in my memory!
1 reply

Posted by: Videoman 12/11/2004 6:17:09 PM
"As I explained after the laughter subsided, it wasn't that I thought they were ugly or bad people or anything, but rather it was because I already have a girlfriend and she's the most beautiful woman I could ever have hoped for, both on the inside and outside."

Honorable, dude.
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Of more parties

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 12/12/2004 9:06:42 AM
The parties! They don't stop!

Today was the Japan Study Farewell Dinner, which was basically Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled up into one big party to celebrate our being here and to say goodbye to the people who will be leaving in about two weeks. Michiyo-san brought not one, not two, not three, but FOUR turkeys for everyone, and all the host families (who were invited as well) brought some sort of snack, desert, and/or drink to add to the fun. First time I had had blueberry muffins in a long time. Yum. ^__^

Random note: first time I had ever been in a taxi, be it in Japan or the US. The back door on the taxis here open automatically for you... and actually, if you try messing with it yourself, chances are you'll break the opening mechanism and the driver will pull a shotgun on you. My verdict: taxis are expensive, but if you've gotta get somewhere fast, they're the way to go!

But yeah, back to the party. Almost all the students were there, and almost all of their host families were there, too. Most of the host families just sort of sat on the sidelines and watched while their host students chatted in the middle of the room, which was kind of unfortunate. I did introduce a few friends to my family, as well as Mr. Campbell. Good times. We got some amusing pictures, too. More good times. Everyone thought Saki-chan was absolutely adorable, and since I was playing with her most of the time (sometimes by choice and sometimes not, heh), they all said I made a good brother and would make a good dad someday. I suppose I can only hope that comes true. *laughs* Saki-chan can be a real pest when she wants to, but when she's in a good mood she's the cutest thing in the world and a real pleasure to be with. I guess kids are like that everywhere in the world, no matter what you do to/with 'em. Japan has given me new respect for many things, one of them being parents: they put up with SO much! All you parents out there reading this journal, I salute you. *salutes*

After the party I kind of came home and crashed... for, like, almost two hours. Two parties in two days... whew, I can't keep doing this every week! *laughs* The Yoshitakas are a party family, though, so I'm getting used to it. Good learning experience... just like everything over here is. Seriously, if you want to learn about yourself, throw yourself in a foreign country. You suddenly become so aware of so many things about yourself, both good and bad, and are thus given the opportunity to enhance or fix them. And by golly, it's fun, too.

Oh yeah, and I ate four full meals today. Oof.
Photos: Farewell dinner 3 replies

the thumb
Posted by: badcheeso 12/12/2004 9:08:37 PM

cool it with the thumb

2 replies

The thumb, eh?
Posted by: Gerf 12/13/2004 3:30:57 AM
Hah, not a chance. ;)
1 reply

the thumb - again
Posted by: badcheeso 12/13/2004 8:43:22 PM
or else i'll fake in you holding a lollypop
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Of tiredness

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 12/13/2004 9:02:43 AM
Whew, I'm tired. Probably going to be quite a short entry today. Mostly because nothing much happened. Woke up and chatted with a lot of friends this morning and got some good work done on several things (including my website; later in the day, I figured out how to make the page load three times as fast, and there is another optimization I want to try that may double the current speed). Renewed my commuter's pass, and yes, I even asked where the place I had to go was (and understood the directions given to me: go out of the station, turn right, and it's right past the police box on the right-hand side). Ate some anpan on the way home from class. Got home and napped and read. Ate dinner, got my cell phone bill (I can handle around 20 bucks a month, I guess...), talked with my host family for a while.

A pretty average Monday. Nothing much else to really mention. Except that when you're away from your real home, it's hard to pack things. o_O;

I'm too tired right now. Time to fall asleep in the tub. G'night.
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Of dead trains

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 12/14/2004 6:38:55 AM
You know what's creepy? Trains that are not in service. Every now and then I'll see one go by... they're completely empty, the lights are off, and they just slowly roll along, like a dead ghost train that is just sliding because it has momentum. Or is posessed by a ghost. These trains have a sign that says 回送 (kaiso, "Not in service"), and depending on where it's written it's either red LEDs on a black background or red characters on a white background. The red on white looks especially creepy. Like, totally haunted. They scare me when they roll through, especially when you're at a rail crossing and one of these dead things rolls by. It's like stopping to wait for a zombie to cross the street. o_O

Speaking of zombies, the train stopped halfway between Saginomia and Takadanobaba today for about five minutes. Had to run to class. Dang delays. *has to laugh*


Today for no reason I got hungry and sort of had two lunches: my normal bowl of curry, immediately followed by two peanut butter bread sandwiches (don't know what else to call those things... you get them at the convenience store) and some OJ. Wah. Before that, though, I successfully exchanged some traveler's cheques. They seriously don't take cheques in yen here, which is odd. At least, you can't exchange them for yen. Instead, you can exchange them for US cash. And guess what? You can exchange US cash for yen. If you haven't made the connection of why this is silly, reread the last few sentences. Yeah, that's right. What the hep. *shrugs*

As soon as I walked in the door today, three little girls (headed by Saki-chan, of course) ran up to me, squealing "Greg! Greg!" Of course, they wanted to play and ride my shoulders and climb up to the loft and play in my closet and whack me with badminton raquets and jump on my bed and watch a Simpsons clip on Apsu. *laughs* What a bunch of rascals. Fortunately I wasn't in a really bad mood anymore (yesterday was... meh), so I managed to play with them for a while. Those little kids... gah, if I ever have more than two kids when I get married, I'm going to go nuts. *laughs*

Tomorrow: movie in sci fi followed by a long-awaited trip to the Onishis. Funness.
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Of PSPs being awesome

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 12/15/2004 6:23:55 AM
My how time flies when you're in Japan. Already almost done with December. Yeesh.

Today in sci fi class we watched Dark City. Very, very cool movie. Dad, I think you'd like it. Before watching that, though, I got to see, hear, and even play a PSP. Swoooooooooooot. Two guys in the class had gone out the day before and waited in the huge lines to be some of the very first to own one of the little things, and I must say they are awesome. The screen is immaculate, the controls are easy to handle, the external speakers are actually quite decent, the little disks are neat, the wireless connectivity is awesome, and the case is drop-dead sexy. When I get back to the US, one of the first things I'm going to want to purchase (along with a second hard drive for Tiamat) is a PSP. Too bad I don't have long commutes back home. *laughs* After the class, I talked with a friend in there about all sorts of video games for about half an hour or so. Very fun to talk to and very cool to actually be able to talk about all these different games and have the other person actually know what you're talking about. Video games = quite possibly some of the best things ever made, for many reasons. I do not feel I need to elaborate here. ^__^

Also, another very interesting thing: within the course of one days I've gone from having two potential website jobs to four, two of them being very very likely. Holy muggle. I wonder if I'll be able to handle it all! But, you know... if I'm doing it for a job, then that means I can sit around at my computer all day AND GET PAID FOR IT. HAH! *laughs* That's what I'm talking about.

In all seriousness, though, I'm really looking forward to it. I've been wanting to do this for a long time, and it seems like my chance has finally come. Sweet.

Got money for my commuter's pass from Michiyo-san today. Yay for money.

Around 4:30 today I went over to the Onishi's house and chatted around there for about three hours. They're great folks; Mrs. Onishi even made me some food (since the kids were eating dinner around 6:00), which was extremely delicious. I asked her to teach me the recipe sometime, and she said she would. Score. Went over my Japanese presentation I have to give tomorrow, and they all said it was very good. I think it's as boring as hep, but... meh, I guess it'll have to do. Sometime over winter break we're going to head to a nearby arcade and play some DDR; they haven't done it before, but they want to try. Mrs. Onishi also said they had some friends who wanted to meet me too... everyone wants to play with the American! *laughs* It's nice to feel wanted, though.

I just wish I weren't so tired and pressed, though. I've got that Japanese presentation tomorrow, which is just going to require more reviewing, and there's the statistics final for which I haven't really done a heck of a lot of review but at the same time know there's really not much I CAN review. Studying has never been a strong point for me, because normally I learn the material during class and through homework. I think I'm just worrying far too much. Even if I get a D in the class, it'll transfer as a C, which is a passing score and should get me my credit. I'm not planning for a D, of course, but just knowing that is pretty comforting.

We're going to be going to a soba restaurant as a class tomorrow, too, which should be fun. Expensive, but fun.

Blah. I need to take a nap. And then wake up and review, take a bath, review some more, and then go right back to sleep.
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