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.