Sunday, August 9, 2009
Adjusting back to life here is like living through a power outage, except the power is never coming back on. I keep thinking that I can message someone and we can go hang out and go for a nice bike ride, sit by the river, or just go eat somewhere. But it's impossible to do those things anymore, and everytime I come to this realization it makes me feel a whole lot worse about being here. We're all back in our respective countries, thousands of miles apart from one another - tell Vanessa Carlton to write a song about that!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
The situation in Charlotte is still the same, unfortunately. Same people, same excuses, same bullshit, all of which are still glaringly obvious. Nothing here ever seems to change for the better.
I know I shouldn't let myself wallow in this self-pity and that I should be proactive, but just being here in my room makes the whole study abroad thing feel as if it never really happened. I have to snap out of this or else I might undo everything that studying abroad has taught me which is that if you want something bad enough you will do whatever it takes to make it happen.
So what is it that I want?
I want to get the hell out of Charlotte and see my friends again.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
The airplane ride was definitely a nice preview of the America I knew so well. I flew on United Airlines and those flight attendents must have big furry hamsters shoved very far up their asses because they were bitchy and irritable as hell. Seriously those United Airlines flight attendents were rude and snapped at everyone and acted like sunshine came from their ass.
"CHICKEN OR BEEF!?! HONEY WHAT CHU WANT!" God Bless America.
I'm back in Charlotte now. It feels as if the whole study abroad thing never happened, and that it was just a dream. I met up with some friends the first night I got back, and things feel the same, yet different, I just felt so very out of place. I'm sure the jetlag doesn't help my emotional state either.
I miss everyone at the Kaikan so very much and wish we didn't have to go our separate ways after becoming such close friends. It was never this hard leaving my friends in Charlotte when I went to Japan, and I've known them for so many years. So why was it so difficult to leave some folks I had only known for such a short time period? Because...
A goodbye isn't painful unless you're never going to say hello again
Keep that thought in mind and let us definitely plan to meet again sometime in life.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I’ve done a lot of growing up while here in Japan. But in some aspects I’ll forever be a kid when it comes to goodbyes. I spent most of today bawling my eyes. I'm such a child.
Whenever it comes to goodbyes, you can always keep in touch through letters and such but it will never be the same again. You can never meet up face to face to just shoot the breeze. You can no longer talk about the plans on what to do for the upcoming weekend, and what to cook for dinner that night. Conversation slowly becomes more difficult and few and far in between. You soon find yourselves only talking about the past and reminiscing together about the good times gone by. But life still goes on, and you eventually become just a distant memory to one another.
Blame it on the circumstances of life.
I know this post is such a downer so I'll end it on a positive note. It doesn't matter where you are, or what you do, it matters most who you are with. This whole experience abroad would not have been as meaningful as it was without everyone here.
Monday, July 6, 2009
It's the little things which I will miss so dearly, like the bike rides out to the aquarium to get ice cream, or just bumming out by the river at night with the picnic mats. Even the bike rides to and from school were enjoyable regardless of the rain, wind, or the extremely freakishly hot weather.
But what made these outtings enjoyable were the people there. Being able to hang out with you guys is what I will miss the most about Japan. The memories I've made here will definitely stay with me forever.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I've never biked so much in my life, we were practically on our bikes the entire day, except for when we stopped to eat and take photos and.. collect rocks/shells by the shore. The scenery there was really beautiful. The weather was nice as well, scattered clouds with light winds. It did rain briefly though, which is expected to occur during most if not all of our outtings.
And of course, we stopped by the local restaurant and got some ice cream! ice cream by the ocean with good friends just never gets old for me. No indians, no chiefs, no drama! just friends.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
There's a good reason why I don't drink often, and that would be one of them.
This is the second time I've gotten really drunk in Japan. The first time was actually one of my first nights in Japan. It was at Mr. Kimura's izakaya; Geoff, Danielle, Mike, and Tuan were there. That night was pretty wild, we got lost trying to find our way back to Kaikan and I remember Tuan tossed up on the streets. Good times.
It feels like I've come full circle in my study abroad journey in Japan. I know it sounds silly to come to such a conclusion from a booze night out with the girls, but there's definitely some irony I find in all of this.
Allow me to elaborate without revealing too much information; It's the same game, but with different players. Sometimes its a swing and a miss! sometimes you swing and its a fly-ball, whooosh, right over their heads!
Anyways I spent this morning hung over the toilet bowl throwing up. Fun!
On a random note, the same jerk that threw noodles around the hallways also snuck into my room and spilled drinks all on my floor! RUDE! haha
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Ah it was really fun to revisit Monkey Mtn, the last time I went it rained and the monkeys smelled funny. This time we biked there along the ocean instead of taking the bus, and happened to spot some dolphins.. being.. dolphiny, yunno when they jump in and out of the water? yea that!
Later on that day we bought some ice cream and enjoyed the ocean view. It's the simple things like this that I'm going to miss so much when I leave.
After that, we took random group photos. We're supposed to be like monkeys... FAIL.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
We went there at 11pm, ordered their drink bar(which allows you unlimited access to their drinks) and stayed there till 9am. It was a very productive study session, except till around 6am when your brain gets a little crazy from the sugar/caffeine and lack of sleep. We kind of just stared at each other with glazed over eyes and started laughing for no reason at all.
When 7am rolled around, we ordered breakfast and then my friend left for 1st period. That's when things started going downhill. I could not stay awake at all, my eyes would just lose focus and before I knew it I was asleep and drooling all over myself. I'd catch myself nodding in and out of sleep, and the coffee didn't help, it just made me anxious and jittery. Class didn't start for another 2 hours and I couldn't trust myself to stay awake for much longer. So I packed up my stuff and headed towards school. I ended up sleeping at the bench near school like some kind of bum. It felt really great to lie down and shut my eyes for just a couple minutes, the shade was nice and there was a cool breeze blowing. As I laid there I felt like I was floating, what a trippy experience brought on by too much coffee and lack of sleep. I slept there until my friends came and woke me up.
The test went well and I'm glad I stayed up to study for it. The rest of the day was pure hell though. Around 11am the after effects of the coffee began to kick in and I started feeling really tired, hyper, and sick. My head was spinning and I wanted to vomit over everyone and everything.
Staying up late and having an all nighter is nothing new to me, I'm a gamer, it's what I do on most weekends which sounds incrediably nerdy, I know. But Sunday night I did not get any sleep either because I had to get up ass early for the Mt. Aso trip. So 2 nights back to back without adequate sleep, add in unhealthy amounts of coffee, and there you have a slice of my life here in Japan! The good, the bad, and the ugly, gotta love it.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
In all honesty it was still a lot of fun, I think. The ramen and ice cream there was delicious. Even had a goofy photo shoot taking advantage of the strong winds.
Goes to show ya, certain things are out of your control, but you shouldn't let it stop you from enjoying yourself. It's all about having a positive mindset on the situation, though it also helps if you're with good company.
**On a slightly random note**
While traveling through Japan I've realized it has rained 90% of the time I went out anywhere. It rained while I was in Taketa for the bamboo lantern festival, and then Hita, Sapporo, Tokyo, Kyoto, Okinawa and Yufuin. Twice while biking towards Beppu it rained, and the day we went to Monkey Mountain it also rained. And this didn't even happen during the rainy season!
Seriously, I must have angered the rain gods at some point in time. Perhaps an animal sacrifice shall appease them.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Am I just being too unrealistic by thinking it's actually possible to maintain long distance friendships with people half way across the country/world? I have friends back in the States that I lose contact with and they live right down the street from me! It's sad but it happens. We all get caught up in our own lives, and before you know it you start to drift apart from each other, eventually becoming complete strangers. Sure Facebook will say you're still friends, but you know the truth O_O!
Life takes us in all different directions but I'll be a childish optimist and trust that our paths will cross again, it has to! I want to believe there's more to this life than just random occurances in time and space and that we're somehow connected. Because if we are connected then we can ultimately follow the threads back to one another. It's just too sad to think otherwise.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Here's my list of weekly grocery items :
Eggplant/Tomatoes/Cabbage/Soybean sprouts (I usually just pick 2 of those 4)
And that's definitely less than $15! yes if you notice.. I don't have any junk food listed. Why? it's not that I don't like the chips and candy but it's a bit pricey and doesn't benefit me healthwise. Let me tell ya, it takes a lot of willpower to stay away from the snack aisles! You can also save money by just drinking tap water here, it's safe and best of all it's free.
Now I do occasionally eat out with friends and if I'm really hungry while I'm at school I'll buy a quick snack (usually onigiri) but other than that my diet is pretty solid. I've dropped pork and beef from my diet, except when I eat out. It wasn't the easiest change to adapt to, but I'm glad I did.
Living in Japan doesn't have to be expensive.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Baby steps are better than nothing. I have to get that ball rolling again somehow, right?
Friday, May 1, 2009
1.) The bugs that would normally splatter all over your car windshield will now splatter all over your face.
2.) Sharp turns + loose dirt and gravel = bad times
3.) Expect to get awkward tan lines (especially if you wear glasses) of course this doesn't apply to you if you bike naked. Please do not bike naked.
Other than that, life without a car isn't so bad after all.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
I tried to let him down easy prior to this by saying I had a boyfriend, but to that he responded by saying to keep it a secret from my boyfriend, what a great guy huh? When he asked if he could continue calling me I told him it's not good to call me anymore because it's expensive. So then he asked for my address so that he could mail me letters... O_o yea I'm not falling for that one. I've already removed my name from the door and was very tempted to put my name on room 303.
Luckily a friend of mine was kind enough to pretend to be my boyfriend and call the guy up and yell at him in Japanese. I had to admit that was pretty amusing and should've been done a long time ago. I haven't gotten a single call from him yet. Thank you Japan for teaching me how creepy men can really be.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Kyudo is really fun and I want to be able to get good enough to practice on the shooting range before I return home. Right now we are on bows, we've moved up from the "stick and string". It's a little challenging because though the bow itself isn't heavy the force of the draw string is and you must maintain absolutely perfect form in the process. Everything has to be まっすぐ！まっすぐ！(straight) that word has become permantly etched into my brain now.
I have a feeling I'm going to have giant beefy arms by the end of this semester from practicing Kyudo. Maybe that will help even out the proportions of my thunderous thighs... my Thighs of Thor!
Monday, April 20, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
It was more than just a concert for me, seeing Gackt was something I never thought I'd have the opportunity to do and as the years went on, it seemed more and more unlikely to ever happen.
But hearing his voice echo throughout that concert hall made this whole study abroad experience in Japan feel more real and for that I am entirely grateful of life playing out the way it did. Both the good and the bad things that happened in my life has brought me to where I am today, which is exactly where I want to be.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Is this normal? Back in the States random strangers never came up to me and professed their undying love. It is flattering and creepy at the same time, it would've been a little less creepy had he not suggested to go to an onsen together.
Long awkward story short, we exchanged numbers and will probably go get dinner next Sunday.
I'm not good at saying no! What's the harm, right? right!? It'll be a good chance to practice my conversational Japanese.
I hope I don't end up at the bottom of Oita River... haha.. hah..
I forgot to mention that this all happened in the alcohol section. Curse that delicious green tea sake!
Friday, April 10, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Where is Your Dream Vacation Spot?
That question put a smile on my face because it's one of those secret questions you must answer to retrieve a lost password. It came to mind while I was filling out my FAFSA(which is highly depressing to fill out by the way) because I had forgotten my pin. So where is my dream vacation spot? Japan of course! :)
So I am living in a place I once considered a "dream vacation spot"? I'm living a dream!? no way! Now that's fancy stuff right there. Reality is going to come and wake me up in 5 months though. I wish there was a snooze button, or a time machine!So how does one keep the dream alive? I know what I personally need to start doing from now on, I need to be more proactive with school. I lost motivation during my err.. not-so-happy years and it really showed in my GPA and I had given up on trying to improve it.
Then in the fall of 07' on a whim I decided to go to a study abroad information panal my Japanese teacher told me about. I fell in love with the idea of being able to escape from reality and live out my dream. So even though at that time I had 2.49 GPA which is .1 shy from being eligible to even apply for the study abroad program, I tried my best to improve my grades that semester so I could apply for the fall of 08'. By January 08' I was able to get my GPA to 2.51 and turned in my application for the study abroad program.
Let me tell ya... the wait for the acceptance/denial letter was pure agony. It made me so crazy emo waiting for it because in the back of my head I kept doubting myself all over again.
Why did I even bother applying? my study abroad advisor said because my GPA was so bad I wouldn't have a chance at being selected, "waste of time" she said.
If I can't study abroad in Japan then what's the point of even trying to improve my GPA anymore?Because of those persistant pessimistic thoughts, my GPA did not improve that semester. For 7 months I waited for an answer. Those months would've been a lot more productive had I just believed in myself and kept a more positive outlook on things.
But needless to say, I got accepted! that's why I'm here in Japan! and writing this blog to encourage those people who are having second thoughts to go ahead and apply. The application process is not all that difficult and certaintly NOT a waste of time.
Even if things don't turn out in your favor, don't let it get you down, just know that when one door closes, another will always open, you just have to keep holding your head up high enough to see it.
Go 'head gurrrrrrrl! Do the damn thing!!
haha ok /ghetto_mode off
Being here has definitely revitalized my motivation for living and learning.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
This is nothing new or unique, a lot of children grow up bilingual, or even trilingual. But what always amazes me is that children can learn language without having to sit through a single class.
Now the only downside to not having a formal education in Vietnamese is... I can't read. In fact looking at Vietnamese text gives me a headache. It's just an explosion of letters.
As for Japanese, I can read, write, and speak it, but I am nowhere near being fluent. But the upside is I can actually use a Japanese/English dictionary, whereas I could not do the same with Vietnamese.
So where would I rather be lost? in Japan, where I can read/write/speak but not on a fluent level? or in Vietnam where I could easily speak but would be unable to read a single word?
To be honest, I would prefer the former. Because not being able to read is a scary thing. Reading is an extremly important aspect of language. Because if you can read, then you can write, and once you can write, then you can speak the language with ease and confidence.
Sure I could always go back and take a Vietnamese language course, but I'm a bit biased against it. Since my parents were the only ones that spoke Vietnamese to me, they often used it to belittle and yell at me or at each other, so I see it as a harsh oppressive language.
But putting childhood drama aside, I think Vietnamese is a very simple and efficient language. Every word is 1 syllabul. There are no counters. There's really no past/present/future tense, there are only markers to indicate the action has been done, is being done, or will be done, etc. And last but not least, there is no kanji! thank the Frenchies for that one.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
so yes back to the ghost hunting!
I'm not sure if this place is haunted or not, but I've been thinking about it a lot. If a ghost tries to contact me... will it speak to me in Japanese? 日本語をできない!.. will there be subtitles at the bottom? do ghosts in other countries follow different "rules" of haunting? I suppose Japanese ghosts would be of Shinto/Buddhist origins, so therefore.. Christian/Catholic holy water won't work right? the whole "Power of Christ Compels You!!" thing won't work here!
Either way I think I'm covered, I have rosaries and a room protection scroll. It pays to play on both teams *ahem* I meant this in regards to one's religious affiliation!
BUT! I'm glad I don't live in room 103. buahahaha!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
We stopped a couple times just to take in the scenary and to play in the pirate ship. Yes! there is a random pirate ship at one of the beaches we stopped at. We hung out there a bit and then continued on to Beppu where we planned to meet up with Tuan and have a group picnic on the beach. It started to rain though so we couldn't do the picnic on the beach. Instead we went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of half priced meats and made dinner at Tuan's dorm. It was really fun, good food, good people, perfect day despite the rain.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I felt a bit down in January because if I had gone for a semester I'd be back in America by now and my dog Ein would be sitting beside me begging for attention and love. But emo-time ended really quick because I look forward to the next 6 months of my stay here in Oita. There is so much I love about this place, and still so much more for me to see and experience. My time here is not done yet! and I will not spend the remainder of my stay day-dreaming about being back in America.
My return to America will come soon enough, but I'm not ready to go back yet. I feel as if I've finally settled in, perhaps getting Molly's blanket helped :) no more cold toes at night! But really.. my diet has also adapted to the smaller sized meal portions. I can no longer stuff my face in 1 sitting anymore. I realized this while at the buffet last week. I had this strange feeling in my stomach, I think people refer to this feeling as "being full." Nonsense! what?! me? full?? I was unable to eat much more, but I did manage to cram in a couple dishes of dessert before I left the battlefield in defeat.
One day I shall be able to eat like an American again, and when that day comes, I'm going to clean out that buffet! ... REVENGE!
Monday, February 2, 2009
see that bit of light blue near the top? that's the original color of the jeans. The dark blue is what it looked like due to the rain water soaking into my pants.
Exhibit B! that's the result of biking in the rain for 40 minutes but hey! I saved $5 by not taking the train :) I miss not having a car during times like this, but I wouldn't trade my study abroad experience for anything in this world. Also it would be wise to listen to the weather reports, it's actually more accurate than the fickle weather I get back in North Carolina.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
-It's probably not a good idea to eat free mayonaise left in the hostel's fridge...
-Tokyo is not as expensive as everyone says, food is really affordable and you can easily spend only $3 for food per day. 99yen cup noodles work wonders!