27 12 / 2012
reusable water bottle
external hard drive or laptop
fall and winter coat
- bring your favorite lotion or hydrating lotion because it gets super dry here and they most likely wont have your brand
- bring you favorite soaps (dove, irish, etc) cus they dont have yours here. They do, however, have tons of dove body soaps.. the liquid kind from what ive seen.
-DEFINITELY BRING YOUR DEODORANT! I dont know any Japanese that wear deodorant. Not that they arent hygienic, but most dont give off odor. BUT, you will come across dudes that reek. so beware.
mesh collapsible laundry hamper
costume for halloween
plenty of under garments - you will become too lazy to wash on a set schedule
Dress clothes/dress shoes - presentations & outings
*****LEARN HOW TO COOK!!!! ******
clothes line, for if you have a balcony
$500 worth of yen in cold cash.
Good luck and safe travels!
02 12 / 2012
Today we went to a shrine in Kobe, they gave me money to give to the shrine and bought me a fabric amulet thing. My fortune told me that I should break up with my boy friend, travel lots, and try harder in school. HA, dead on.
Then we stopped at the grocery store where I had the chance to buy flowers for the vase I was giving them. So everything worked out perfectly. My gifts I think appeal more to Yasuki’s mother; I think mothers are the best people to appeal to in a family because they take all the crap and do all the work, you know.
They fed me crab, then nabe, which is pot stew, with mushrooms, cabbage, meatballs, shrimp, tofu and all sorts of stuff in it. Then we had udon noodles. Followed by dessert and talking and a few games of old maid. It was very funny. Also we talked about the English and Japanese languages, and Yasuki’s older brother showed me his textbook for English which he used in college, and I showed them my Genki book. It was pretty interesting.
Using my Japanese is pretty rewarding I must say, it’s nice to learn new things then go out and use it right away. It was good practice for my up coming final exam.
Most of my visits to them have left me sad actually, but in a grateful way. I’m left feeling like I’ll never be able to repay them and their country’s kindness. I need to get Yasuki something. They kept asking when the day I was leaving was going to be, I’m wondering if they’re going to show up at the airport. ughhh I’ll start crying!
My gift to my homevisit family. And a good picture of Yasuki’s brother! lol
26 11 / 2012
As I was coming home tonight from being out with la speaking partner and friend E’Narda, a Japanese guy started beating the crap out of some other guy on the train. We heard him say “impossible, impossible, impossible” in Japanese and, stuff like… “This is Nippon, Nippon”…. or something. idk. E’narda thought the guys were talking before he attacked and that there was a nationalistic undertone and that the guy he was beating up was leaving Japan or something, idk. That in it of itself has got to be extremely rare, and I whispered that to E’Narda. But then the violent guy came up to me (I think because I spoke in English, E’Narda thinks because I was an easy target and am a foreigner), looked me dead in the eye, said somethings in Japanese then asked if I was American, I nodded, then he said in the most impolite Japanese possible to return to America. “AMERIKA NI KAERINE！！” Then he went with the guards. And so, for the first time in my life I experienced rage-filled racism towards me, to my face. Because I’m white. And American. Best make the mans wish come true and return in 21 days! I’m glad I came.
It’s ok because we all suffer. I appreciate him for actually showing it, kinda sick of the masks people wear here, but I know why they do it, I know it’s practical and kind. Without him I would have never experienced nasty Japanese language in-person! And so my experience is well-rounded.
25 11 / 2012
We broke up. Happy times.
Went to a Skrillex concert. Good therapy.
All the gifts and all the money and all the travel!! Busy busy busy!
Focusing on my papers now, finals are almost here! 22 days until I leave Japan! Sad, soo busy, so busy.
today with friends at Fushiminari, Kyoto. Go there!Shinsaibashi! Go there!
20 10 / 2012
Finally becoming immune to the beauty of the train rides. Still, I should document traveling to Kobe sometime, those mountains and valleys are so beautifulzzz.
I was kinda sad today before meeting up to travel with Yasuki, and Yasuki was tired. I was better once we got to Kobe and started playing tennis with his dad and brother.
I’m really not very good at tennis; I played it in P.E. and during some summers of my youth, but I’m still below amateur. Shyota took the time to give me a few lessons and drills.
The family really does try to meet me half way, they use as much English as they can, they’re so kind :) and funny. It was so nice out today too!
I love my homevisit family; I haven’t had a decent meal all week til today; the dad did this (2:59) when pouring me a drink after downing 2 sapporos himself.
They served me alcohol too because they knew I just turned 20, so I took a few swigs of a Horoyoi; It was good in sips, a bigger swig was disgusting though. It had 3% alcohol and tasted more like soda than anything except when drinking a lot.
So ya, the families here are just like families all over the world; the dad loves beer and gambling, the mom stays in the kitchen mostly, the dad becomes very animated around his wife and pretends to criticize her cooking or something even though her cooking is great.
The mom always sends me home with sweets too <3.
Yasuki always brings me back to Hirakata. Tonight he didn’t stay at a friends house at Hirakata either so he went back home after traveling 2 hours to Hirakata, so in total, he traveled 8 hours today for me. ahhh so kind!! I can never repay the kindness~~!!
15 10 / 2012
Today I told my homevisit partner, Yasuki, that I would meet the tennis club because they are his friends and he loves tennis.
So I show up after class and have yet to eat lunch, it’s 1 pm, so I meet Yasuki, he gives me one of his rackets, and I buy food and eat real quick and meet some of the members. Yasuki tells me he has 2 more classes today, so he’ll go to the club by 4:30 or so and told me to simply follow these guys he was introducing me to. So Yasuki leaves, and we get our bikes and depart. Next time you learn a language, chat in that language while biking uphill to an unknown place with strangers. YOU WILL BE A MASTER.
These tennis courts turn out to be a good 10 minute bike ride away, the only bad part was that it was up hill, so I was already exhausted once I got there, but I enjoy seeing new parts of town on my bike, tis an adventure!
We get there and unpack and I meet some more people, then we do practice drills and I haven’t played tennis in a while so I’m sucking it up, lol, I hit the ball too high, I’m not professional at all but I can volley it well enough.
Eventually we get to playing actual matches and I get paired with a boy, I don’t remember his name, but I have totally forgotten the rules of tennis so it must have been like playing with a mentally handicapped person who is also deaf (ie doesn’t know Japanese), lol, but they were so nice even so. lol I think he even called me beautiful, (in English) but his accent is so strong, I’m not entirely sure he said that, I just laughed and the other team laughed, ohh it was fun <3 Me and my teammate chatted while we weren’t playing, and he said he lives in Osaka and wants to go into fashion I think, or something, hm. I thought to myself, it isn’t socially acceptable for guys to say that’s what they want to do in America, or at least not straight guys. lol and the men here even throw around “kawaii’s” far more than any American man or boy would. tis interesting…
After the first half of this 2 pm to 6 pm session, part of my skin on my index finger on my right hand was coming off and it was painful, but I survived. Then the second wave of members came because the class following lunch was over, still no Yasuki of course, but a few more curious, giddy Japanese girls. They asked me of course where I was from, how old I was, lol they asked about my boy friend and stuff too. I did another round of practice with them in a different court.
I played with more girls this time around, still I must have been like a mentally handicapped person, but they are kind.
Eventually Yasuki came and we continued playing the games we were in. It started to get dark and a little afterwards he came to my court with his friends and we did a little more introducing and questioning. Then they invited me to Kappa Sushi, which I want to go to, but I told my Finnish classmate, Jaakko, that I would study with him at 7 and asked if I’d make it to that meeting, and Yasuki said we can go to Kappa Sushi after another tennis club meeting. :) so I was lead back to school in the dark while chatting in Japanese and avoiding the gutters, cars, and bats (which swoop and fly way low!). I wish I could have played with Yasuki more, hopefully this weekend with his family in Kobe :)
I made myself dinner and Jaakko came to my seminar house and we studied for a bit. And it was a good day. I feel like I always do the randomest crap for long periods of times on the days before big exams, and I never plan or intend to be busy or do that thing for that long but I do. Like last semester when I started a music project or fun drawing before midterms and final exam time. wtf.
14 10 / 2012
I’m almost half way through my stay here, I need to do more cultural stuff, if I go home and tell my professors I only did all this Otaku stuff they will be unhappy and think I wasted the schools money, lol.
In anycase, I miss my boy friend, I miss him more than anything else, <is this bad?>
He doesn’t talk to me enough, lol I feel stupid complaining on a public thing like this but, it’s important. It’s because my last boy friend didn’t talk to me enough the first summer we were dating that we eventually broke up, so, I mean it’s a big deal. Luckily their isn’t another guy involved who is completely one-upping him (yay no horrible love-triangle this time), instead there are a couple other guys that fill in for him and who treat me more as a girlfriend, which makes it a little better yet I’m still left unsatisfied, this way I’m not just wishing he was like the 1 other guy who is giving me enough attention.
I mean we do chat, we send emails and I call him, but it never seems like enough ya know.
I give him the benefit of the doubt by saying that he’s old and has a life, where as my ex messed up because he just didn’t talk to me enough because he would have rather played games than talk to me, where as the other guy involved at the time made time for me and games. Both my ex and current guy weren’t/aren’t used to having girlfriends, I think, thus did not/do not talk to me enough. But the couple of guys who are filling in these days aren’t super used to having gfs either, they just have no lives thus are always starting up chats online where as with my ex and current guy, I always have to go to them. But it’s one thing to have no life and another thing to be uninterested, not that my current guy has no interest, he does things for me truly but… I mean if you just compare how much he came at me for convo early on in our relationship compared to August, it was vastly different. Perhaps it’s because I am so open, so after a month of chatting he had me pretty much figured out, there were no more questions to ask. Maybe, perhaps. Perhaps all guys would slow down their chat with me, or perhaps I keep dating losers who don’t appreciate me, idk.
I guess what I’m really worried about is history repeating itself. I held on to my ex’s lack of communication that first summer til the very end, it stained our relationship to me because it told me he did not care about me or us. I don’t want to be hurt by my current guy not talking to me enough while I’m in Japan, I don’t want to hold onto it again and use it against him and wish he was doing more. I want to be satisfied.. I’m doing all I can to stay in contact… but I try not to push it because I don’t want to demand too much and he’s busy and I don’t want to seem needy or clingy even though I am both of those things.
Truly Japan is a huge test on our relationship, if we can weather this we can weather any distance. It just makes me sad thinking about things I could be doing with him in MN, then I get angry at myself because I might never come back to Japan thus should enjoy it now as much as possible. I mean I met him last spring thinking things wouldn’t last and that we’d go our separate ways no later than August but I grew too attached and now I’m wasting thoughts and feelings on him and turning people down here. I didn’t anticipate these feelings; had I let go of him, things would be different, I don’t know if they’d be better, but they’d be different.
He’s just a way better boy friend in-person. And now that I think about it, I’m kind of a better girlfriend with distance, because I’m just so used to it, it’s a huge part of my life style now. Don’t have a long-distance relationship, it’s horrible.
14 10 / 2012
I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while;
couple weeks ago I watched Grave of the Fireflies and Barefoot Gen 2 for the first time, in the mix of that I went to Hiroshima and listened to a survivor. And it just makes a person sick; I’d learn about the war, and about people’s skin melting off of them, then I’d walk out into Japanese society and see the passersby as I went home and think about how disgusting that would be. I think about all the kindness the Japanese have shown me although my country destroyed 69 of their cities and how horrible that all was.
The general thesis of the survivor was that the nuclear bombs shouldn’t have been used and should never be used again.
Of course Japan did it’s fair share of horrible things back then, and I’m biased because I love Japan and the mentioned anime are a bits of a victims history and don’t give the context of the war and are from the viewpoints of children. But, still, I’ve been emotional about the whole thing. The war was truly thee worst time in human history. There have been genocides before, there have been other major wars but none that contained simultaneous massacres occurring all over the world.
And now in class we’re looking at differing opinions on whether or not Japan really did come out better; do they really have peace or are they too materialistic (and they are materialistic I must say from my own experiences, but it’s because they are materialistic that they create such beautiful things and have such attractive citizens), or have they lost a valuable fighting spirit (bushido), sacrifice and and aspect of their culture as well as their pride in their country. I don’t really know; I believe they are peaceful, and thus living here is safer than in America, at the same time, their global image has been feminized to a degree I think, but I think it makes Japan beautiful… idk.