Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'm leaving, on a jet plane...

Well, it's official. I'm at the airport, checked in and leaving within the hour. There is a free Yahoo internet cafe within the boarding gates and I am taking full advantage of it before boarding. Today was filled with more goodbyes and farewell presents. Claudia not only filled my mailbox with pretty pink flowers but also rode with me all the way to Narita and had dinner with me at the airport. Hatim baked me a chocolate chip cookie/cake, and Andrew ran around doing errands for me. Desy came home from school to give me a hug goodbye and Lukas, despite being exhausted after 4 days in Korea (with I'm sure no sleep whatsoever) took the time to mail me and wish me a safe/fun trip before he fell asleep safe and sound in Inage.

Emails and c-mails (text messages) from ppl wishing me a nice trip have been overwhelming, and you would think I was leaving forever the way everyone has been doting on me the last two days.

Thank you everyone, and I'll be home and back to my usual antics soon enough.

For now, let me leave Japan and my bad luck (explanation to come later) behind with a new story:

It was a cold and gloomy day in Inage, and I was dragging me feet around instead of packing early like I should have. By 5 I still hadn't finished, and now had occasional visitors in my room while I was trying to pack up and get ready to leave my room. The result? I got all the way to Narita no problem, Claudia riding with me as I mentioned above, but having forgotten my wallet at home. I KNOW, I know. I'm a big stupid idiot, and you can ALL lecture me later, but let me continue. I had my train card in my jacket pocket, where I usually keep it for easy/quick access, and I had my passport & American money in my purse which is right here safely nestled in under my chair. My e-ticket info was packed into my suitcase and I have my keitai with all of my address info here in Japan. What I don't have is simply my Visa, my Health care (no getting sick in Hawaii for me) and any Japanese money.

I feel more dumb than anything, and can't believe I forgot it. But, Claudia has my keys in case I need anything from my wallet to get back into the country, and I can exchange my leftover US money into Yen on my way home. Other than that, Dad & Steve will have to support me in Hawaii (hee hee) if I want to do any shopping (of course) and I will have to get creative with omiyage.

And with that, I am off to my boarding gate! I hope Hope HOPE there is internet on the cruise ship, free & wireless would be prime, but even the old ppm (pay per minute) style would do. I will update as soon as I can, and more of you need to guess what that golden thing is!!

Friday, February 24, 2006


ok, time for some participation on the blog. For those of you who Don't already know, what does the above picture look like to you?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

je suis finis!

My politics paper is finished and sent to Goldberg-sensei. I'm surprisingly proud of it; for a change I think I learnt something while I wrote it.

and just for fun, my Yamanote Horoscope (The Yamanote is the circle route on the Tokyo JR)



whatever that means, lol

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I wish I had my camera!!

I'm sitting in the park right now, enjoying the sunshine and the solitude. Across the park, Richie & Sack, the action heroes of the dorm, are laying back on the benches catching some rays. What I can actually see of them is their jeans from the knees down, and matching white socks poking out from underneath. They make a cute couple, and it's a great photo-op but my camera is 4 stories up in the dorm a block away! Da-me!!!!

Monday, February 13, 2006

progress report

politics paper - due thursday, approximately 2 pages written but lots of research finished

economics paper - due friday, approximately 5 pages written but all research! I have nothing to add; economics are so dull, ugh.

kanji - already studied for tomorrow's quiz, should get home and write out my homework, but no hurry (5 simple sentences using new kanji, I could do this in my sleep)

japanese - written exam on Wednesday, I am in full freak mode right now. I want to do anything but study, knowing full well that studying is exactly what I should be doing. oral exam is on Friday, we have to talk about an 'interesting' museum somewhere in Japan that we have researched. I chose the Tokyo Sword Museum, in Shibuya. They have swords. Umm.. yeah.

in other news? Coffee with Richie today was nice. We caught up (it's been nearly 2 weeks since his last love-life/drama update) and shared some of the more personal details of our lives. Lots of studying has been going on around the dorms, that is.. procrastinating when we should all be studying. I've heard rumours of playstations being plugged back in, and numerous trips to Tsutaya (the DVD/Video/CD rental shop). I myself have been guilty of random keitai emails full of nonsense, and dropping in unexpectedly in rooms across the dorms just to 'say hi' and find an excuse to delay studying a few more minutes.

Natasya & I have begun looking into details for our Kyushu trip. So far it looks do-able, but not very cheap so I'm not sure if Desy or Katya are still interested in joining us. I know that as soon as exams/reports/classes are finished this Friday we will get more serious about our trip planning, but until then, I can dream about the beach, the onsen (hot springs), the strange southern dialects and all the other surprises that Kyushu will have to offer.

Anyways, my 20 minutes are almost up (100 yen = 20 minutes of internet @ the bookstore near home) so I'll sign off now...

And KRISTINE, ahem, I am still thinking about the best way to respond to your kanji question. For some reason, I am a bit of a kanji-junkie and therefore I'm trying to figure out what it is I love about it so much to help inspire you to continue learning the heiroglyphs. Also, I'm putting together a care package - any requests? I can rent 5 CDs for about 10$ if there is any music you're dying for, or used manga is uber-cheap on this side of the world.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Feb. 12th, where does the time go?

As I sit here in Excelsior, the only decent chain coffee shop in Japan, I can't help but watch the sunset outside and wonder where the time goes. I've been here for nearly 5 months now, and there are times when I feel like it's been forever, but today, I can't for the life of me think of what I've done recently that's any different than if I was living back home. I wake up every day, scrape my way into class minutes before it starts, eat lunch with friends (from the Japanese program, yet!) and then work my way home where I spend my time somewhere between working productively on papers and slothfully nesting my time away curled up in bed (ok, so at home it would be on the sofa) watching studpid tv/movies/misc.

Back home, when I needed a break from my reclusive lifestyle, I would saunter on down to 2nd cup, visit with old friends or chill out somewhere along Whyte Ave, just taking in the sights. Here is really not much different, I head to a friend's room, or the meeting rooms, where everyone congregates, or I visit Excelsior for a coffee/internet break, and then occassionally, I wander around Inage, either taking in the sights or wondering what the hell I'm doing walking without even a dog in tow as an excuse.

There is one shining difference to being here, or rather, two. The first, obviously, is Japanese. I can't help but be exposed to new kanji/vocab/grammer/etc on a daily, sometimes even hourly basis here, even from the comforts of my own bedroom. (yay for Japanese TV). When I have the energy, and the time, I am constantly learning, partially things I know I should have learnt in the past, and more often, much more useful things that the textbooks never covered. I can try to converse with Japanese people just about anywhere, and there are throngs of international students who I can practice with, and vice versa.

My second, and somewhat more unexpected pleasure has been Karaoke. I've always sung when listening to music in the car or @ home, but I had no idea how much fun it would be to go out and do it in a claustrophobic room with a few of my nearest & dearest, subjecting them to the musical stylings of yours truly. I, of course, must sound like a dying dog, but I don't care! I love to sing, I love to sing some of the worst songs ever written, and most recently, I love to sing in JAPANESE! I feel like I've accomplished something now that I can belt out the latest by Hirai Ken, or make a fool of myself trying to reach the vocal ranges of singers like Chihiro and Utada. And it doesn't hurt that the all-night karaoke includes all you can eat soft ice cream, and free drinks (soda, tea, coffee, water), soup and cotten candy, as well as a relatively greasy looking menu should the cravings arise.

If only I could figure out a way to incorporate singing into my future career, along with practicing Kanji and specializing in testint mattresses, I would have found the ultimate dream come true.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

spring tea

I forgot to mention, in a moment of procrastination, I decided on Kanji for my Family name. Any opinions?

パル さ

. . . . which translates as Spring Tea.

A reminded for those of you without Japanese knowledge, Kanji is the 3rd alphabet in Japanese, consisting of approximately 5000 Chinese characters (only 2500 are in popular use). The characters can stand for individual meanings or merely represent phonetic sounds, but are extremely necessary in a language composed of hundreds of homonyms.

Anyways, I really should get back to studying, which I promise to stop mentioning/whining about in about 2 weeks when the stress period is over!

Monday, February 06, 2006

done and done

Kanji exam this morning? Aced it!

History exam this afternoon? Bafflingly reminiscent of exams back home, but then again, equally easy.

two down, so many more to go