Sunday, August 9, 2009

Power Outage

Whenever the power is out do you find yourself forgetting about the little things you can no longer do until the power comes back on? You try to entertain yourself by turning on the TV.. or perhaps microwaving up some food... oh yea no power. So you figure if you can't watch TV then you'll just pop in a DVD! oh yea that requires power too huh? oh well movies are boring anyway, how about playing some console games?...oh yea riiiiight.. no power.

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


I've just been bumming around since I've been back. It feels miserable being back. I'm lacking energy and motivation to do anything productive. One of the reasons for wanting to study abroad was to leave Charlotte, and just to get away from the place and the people here.

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


And so the day to depart from Kaikan finally rolled around. It rained the day I left, of course. I was unable to get any sleep for the 2 days prior to leaving because of exams and packing and I did not wish to spend my last hours in Japan asleep, rather I wanted to spend it with the people I might not ever get to see again.

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.


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

All Aboard the Emo-Train

Today is never the same as yesterday and tomorrow will never be the same as today. Sometimes you have a really shitty day and hope to never experience that day again. But then there are times when it’s great and you wish those days could go on forever.

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

2 Weeks

No matter how full each day is it still doesn't feel like it's enough to stop me from feeling sad about leaving. In a way, I'm ready to leave Japan and go back home. It has been an amazing experience to live in Japan these past 10 months, but the time is coming for me to go back to America.

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

Saganoseki Bike Ride

So on Sunday a group of us decided it would be a good idea to bike from Oita city to Saganoseki. We set off from the dorms around 6am and returned home at around 9pm. BEST. BIKE RIDE. EVER. Did the unnecessary usage of capitalized letters and periods emphasize the amazing experience enough?

At first we were a bit unsure of how things would turn out since the weather forecast predicted rain (of course..) and none of us had biked to Saganoseki before. But we made it! I believe we covered the distance of about 80 km (50miles) that day. We even made it as far as Usuki, by accident of course.
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

Never Have I Ever

Never have I ever gotten drunk and decided it would be a good idea to toss noodles onto the walls, floor and ceiling of my dormitory apartment complex.


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

Revenge of the Monkeys!

So I went to visit some of my relatives at Takasaki Mtn last monday. I'm the one on the far left, can ya tell? The one in the middle is my Aunt Bertha, she's busy picking the clumps of shit out of Uncle Dave's fur, he's the one lying down, probably drunk again no doubt. Oh that Uncle Dave!

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

Not so Joyfull

Last Monday, right after the Mt. Aso trip, I had to do an all nighter to study for a test on Tuesday. A test that I did not study for during the weekend like I should have. So I went with a friend to a restaurant called Joyfull which is open 24hrs a day.

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

Mount Aso

Went on a road trip to Mt. Aso on Monday. For once it did not rain, but in place of the rain was strong winds that prevented us from going to the top of the mountain peaks. The wind was blowing the volcano gas around so they closed the path. The strawberry picking thing didn't happen either because they chose to randomly close for the day... and we did not make it back in time to the other strawberry picking location. Great day at Mt. Fail, opps I mean Mt. Aso :)

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

Tick Tock

Only a couple weeks left and time is still flying by at 100mph. I blink and 8 months have passed. I'm trying to make the most of the time left by hanging out more but I realize the more I get to know people, the tougher it will be to say goodbye. I hate saying goodbye, it sounds so final. Does it really have to be a goodbye? Why can't it be a "see you sometime later in life!"

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

Grocery List

Ever since I have been in Japan I have pretty much eaten at least 1 banana every single day. Considering I've been here for 8 months that's a lot of bananas. It's definitely the cheapest fruit all year round in Japan and it does have nice health benefits for sure. I've trained myself to stick to a strict diet in order to save money while still staying healthy. It's definitely possible to spend less than $20 USD on grocery foods each week in Japan. If you're really short on cash you can also survive on just $15, or even $10 per week.

Here's my list of weekly grocery items :

Natto x3!
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

Back on Track

I finally got myself motivated enough to start doing my ANKI flashcards again. I was really active with it up until March when I went to Vietnam. When I got back from vacation, I knew my flashcards had piled up and would take me forever to do, so naturally I did what any other college student would do, which was to ignore it and let the flashcards continue to pile up. When I opened up the program today there were about 470 neglected cards waiting to be reviewed. I was so tempted to just turn off the program and goof around on youtube but I managed to do about 50 of the cards and surprisingly still remembered a lot of the vocabulary and kanji. If I keep at this for a few more days I can finish all the reviews and start learning the new cards in queue and then start adding new vocabulary and kanji into the program.

Baby steps are better than nothing. I have to get that ball rolling again somehow, right?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Living Without a Car

I decided to compile a short list of things I've noticed while biking.

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

Stranger Danger Part III : The Conclusion (hopefully)

Ok so after the incident that occured in part II, that guy raised the bar to a whole new level of creepiness. He kept calling and left a bunch of voice messages for me all week. So I got curious and actually listened to one of the messages and it was a little unsettling. To be blunt, he said he loves me and used the word 恋人. Ewwwies!

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


Joined Kyudo Club (Japanese Archery) 2 weeks ago and I totally love it! It's the first time I've ever really participated in a school sport. The people there have been super kind and helpful to us. I would highly suggest all future study abroad students to join a club or circle because it's a great place to practice your Japanese and meet awesome people. I regret not joining sooner, especially during the Fall Semester.

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

Stranger Danger Part II

So yesterday I went on a dinner date with that guy from the supermarket. Don't worry! a friend came with me! At first everything was fine, until he asked if he could come to my room to play... yeaaaaaa.... no. And then after dinner he offered us money, I heard him mention 五千円 which is about $50. Let me tell you guys, nothing in this world makes a lady feel more like a princess than when she's offered cash money after a dinner date. That's so very classy. And no we did not accept the money, that would've been a very whorish thing to do.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Concert 2009

I was finally able to see Gackt live in concert. It means a lot to me because 8 years ago I was in the 9th grade daydreaming of how amazing it would be to see him in concert.

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

Stranger Danger!

A couple days ago I was doing some grocery shopping and all of a sudden this guy looks at me, then does a double take and then proceeds to profess his love for me. Dead serious. I look at him confused and started looking around for hidden cameras thinking this must be a joke. I never expected Japanese guys to be so straightforward.

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

3 Weeks in Vietnam (March)

Returning to Vietnam after 19 years is quite an adventure. It was the first time I experienced culture shock, and it was in my own homeland. Everything was just so different and I was totally caught off guard. I think what got me the most was the lack of toilet paper. This may sound silly but I actually have nightmares about unclean toilets that are either clogged or overflowing, and especially toilets that don't flush properly. I'm super anal about clean working toilets, no pun intended - just kidding I love poop jokes. To make it worse, I ended up getting a stomach virus which was very uncool given the toilet situation.

Being in VN and visiting my relatives made me realize how undeniably American I really am, and will always be. Growing up in America you naturally develop certain levels of expectations for things such as sanitation and it's difficult to adjust so drastically to Vietnam's sanitation level (or lack thereof).

If you go to Vietnam, bring toilet paper and anti-bacterial soap! and don't drink the tap water unless you want the muddy-buddies to pay you a visit.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Keeping the Dream Alive

This is a long post so if you have a short attention span and don't like bedtime stories, stop reading now!

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

Vietnamese Vs. Japanese

When I was 3 years old my family moved us from Vietnam to America. My parents always worried about me having an accent that would affect my English so they did not place me into any Vietnamese language classes. The only Vietnamese I ever heard was from my parents and a couple poorly dubbed Hong Kong TV shows. Several years later, in spite of never taking a single Vietnamese language class, I can speak it fluently.

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

Fall Semester Done!

I've only been out of class for a few weeks and I can feel my Japanese slipping already so I've been doing extra studying. But lately I find myself being distracted by silly ghost hunting investigations around Oita(I'll explain later). I realized learning a language takes time. Whenever I feel frustrated at my inability to understand Japanese I just remind myself that even the dumbest person in the world can grasp at least 1 language! They don't necessarily have to be that smart or have a formal education, but just being around that language long enough they will be able to speak it. You don't have to be a genius to speak a foreign language, you just have to put in time and effort into actually learning it.

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

Biking to Beppu

A group of us biked to Beppu last Monday and it was amazing every second of the way there. It felt so nice to be in the warm sun again after hibernating all winter long. It's exciting to feel the cool ocean breeze blow through your hair while you're biking! I've never been able to bike around so freely in my life. Back in America I never bothered getting a bike because I don't live in a very bike friendly area at all. But in Japan, especially in Oita, some of the best places can only be reached on foot or by bike. It's extremely convenient to be able to stop anywhere you'd like and just take photos or enjoy the view, and best thing is you don't have to worry about finding parking!
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.

I definitely plan to go back and have that picnic on the beach though.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Semester or Full Year?

It's really quiet here now, so many students have returned to their home countries. I do miss them greatly and wish they could have stayed for the full year duration but it is nice to get their stuff when they leave :)

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

When it rains, it pours!

The rain in Japan is pretty amazing, there's really no scattered showers, or partial rain here in Kyushu. When it rains, it seems to rains all day! I love lying in bed watching the rain fall outside my balcony. In fact, my first few days in Oita I experienced a week of non-stop rain so it really brings me back. However! the rain is a bit unforgiving if you choose to go outside, but if it's a school day and you're like me (can't afford to buy a train pass) the other transportation option is biking... so yea...

Exhibit A!
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

Winter Break

For Winter vacation we traveled to Sapporo, and then Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and finally to Kobe. 17 days to travel Japan! It was definitely a fullfilling trip.
Sapporo had lots of snow and great food. The Hokkaido milk and ice cream was fantastic. I miss it already!

Tokyo was very busy and packed with people. Never before in my life have I ever seen that much porn in 1 city. I got to see Tokyo Tower! it's always been one of my childhood dreams to see Tokyo Tower. Why? because don't cha know!? that's where Sailor Moon lives! and we were lucky enough to see Mt Fuji. On my last night in Tokyo we got stuck on the last train leaving Shibuya station. HOLY CUPCAKES. It's insane how many people they can cram inside that train. It was so tight in the train that I could feel the air getting squeezed out from my lungs. What an experience that was. I also saw a drunk business man touching himself on the train, and then fly across the train because he was too drunk to keep his balance when the train stopped.

Kyoto was by far one of my favorite places, the temples and shrines were breath-taking. I wished we could've stayed there longer. Unfortunately quite a few temples and shrines were closed or under construction, but we still got to see a bunch of stuff. Fushimi Inari Shrine was fantastic and definitely worth the hike to the top.

Now.. as for Osaka and Kobe.. I can't say I did much. Not that they weren't great places, however I got some kind of stomach virus or food poisoning and.. yea.. that was very uncool. It was also very uncool to find out that a bunch of toilets at Kyoto Station did NOT have toilet paper! They weren't out of toilet paper, the bathroom stalls did not even have toilet paper holders. Needless to say while in Osaka I got to know their public toilets very intimately. We orginally planned to sleep at an Love hotel and Manga Kissa while in Osaka, but we were only able to do the Manga Kissa. My friend and I even ended up taking a nap inside the bathrooms for a bit since we did not have a hotel room and since we had to leave the Manga Kissa at 6am. Nothing was open and we couldn't find a nearby McDonalds and it was cold! so yea, into the bathroom we went!

We were only in Kobe for half a day, it was where our ferry to Oita was leaving from. Not much to say but we did happen to catch an awesome street performance by a local musician named Satoshi Yajima, I bought his CD and got his autograph!

So what did I learn from this trip?
-I knew a lot more Japanese than I realized, but there's still many more things to learn
-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!
-Always O_O carry toilet paper with you
-Even though everyone we met along the way was super nice and helpful, Kyushu folks are by far some of the nicest folks you'll ever meet.