Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Oops. I'm back ^^

Hehehe long time no blog, right? I honestly think its because I'm tired of my layout. I want to make a new one, but I just can't be bothered. I also can't remember how blogger coding works, and I don't really want to spend an evening remembering how again.

Alright so, things have been going pretty good. I'm a little behind in my work, but only for 1 class - I can turn that work in by the end of the semesters, so I'm not SOL, just.. stressed. Completely my fault, though. 3 1-page papers for that class, not that bad. Plus I need to do a report for this Friday class coming up... Bah, whatever. I'll get to it!

Things have been happening. It's been cool. I can't really say what all has happened since my last post.. quite a lot, actually. But I can say that last weekend we went & did this "Aichi Industry Tour" thing. It was like a field trip. A surprise field trip, because I thought we'd be back by noon, only it took all freakin day - from 8am to 5pm.

And it was hot as balls outside. Everyday is about 90 degrees with enough humidity to make it feel 100. I have a tan. I'll say that again. I have a tan. How does that happen!? And it's like a farmers tan too... I even have a tan line around my watch area. So not tacky at all.

Anyway, back to my point. The field trip. It was cool, we went and saw a Miso factory (miso is basically.. just like.. umm! To put it simply, a "Spice" I guess. Nagoya is famous for it.) It was really neat because the factory holds hundreds of this huuuuuge buckets (probably 10+ feet high. I have pictures on facebook). And in those buckets is the miso with dozens of rocks piled on top of it, to smoosh. It's slightly amazing because it takes about 5 years to balance the rocks just right, and then another 5 years to smoosh the miso adequately. The rocks are so balanced that even earthquakes don't knock them over. And there are tons of earthquakes in Japan.

I haven't felt any yet. Kind of disappointing, but... a relief too, I suppose. There was another 7.1 earthquake around Tokyo a couple days ago. So many! But none around Nagoya. Good? Yeah...

On Monday I did a presentation at a local high school. It was pretty amazing. I wasn't looking forward to it because - come on - it's a presentation. But they were actually really interested in what I had to say. (Most of what I said was in slow English, but the powerpoint itself was in Japanese. So they could understand what was going on.) I think it's so cute how Japanese girls are so amazed by anything Western. I can give a peace sign and they'll gush, "kawaii~~~" (so cute!). Yes. I am amazing.

The attention is nice, but I seriously can't wait to be home and not be stared at for once. Seriously, I now know what its like to be a minority in a country. There are no other white people apart from me and the 5 other westerners at Kinjo. I've gotten used to the stares, but it'll be nice to not have to worry about it...

Although, there is the good news about being foreign in Japan. I was asked to be in a Kinjo commercial! Me and my friend Nat-chan. Obviously, it was because we're foreign, and they want the commercial to make Kinjo seem so diverse - and say, "Look! We have blonde girls and Americans! We're awesome!" Hehe but I'm not complaining. It was a really neat experience. The shooting was today during lunch. I basically sat a table with Nat-chan and a Japanese girl, and we talked while they played with lights and filmed us. I didn't even know they began filming until the director asked for more hand gestures.

And then it was suddenly over. They gave us presents at the end! I got some special Kinjo chopsticks, and a Kinjo make-up bag. I'm a happy camper. Also, they're giving me a copy of the commercial on a CD, but it won't be ready untilt he 29th. I leave the 30th! Hopefully it's not late!

Hum, let's see. What else is new... I picked out a yukata to wear to the Farewell Party in 2.5 weeks. CIEP is renting them out. But... I think I am going to buy one. I rented one just in case but I plan on going shopping for one this weekend. =] It's still a pretty yukata though. I hope to get one just like it!

Anything else going on? Probably. But nothing immediately coming to mind. Something I still need to do before I leave: VISIT CAT CAFE, AMG.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


 "Atsui ne" - It's hot, isn't it? (A phrase I hear constantly, & say constantly.)

Yea, it's hot. I swear once I'm home I'm never underestimating the power of AC ever again. I have AC here, but it's so expensive. Tell me why I have to pay $50 a month already for just the electricity of 1 little room in a boarding house (and don't give me that 'hot water' crap. I take short showers and am otherwise not using my hot water). I'm afraid to find out how much I'll have to pay if I have the AC on all the time... No wonder Japan is so eco-friendly. Energy is expensive!

I do sleep with it on, though. Otherwise it is way too much... Today will 85F with 90% humidity. So it feels like walking in a children's pool, if you catch my drift. And when it does finally rain (because it will), and you don't have an umbrella, you're fucked. Because you're not drying off for the rest of the day - it is far too humid. (Unless you turn on the AC. There's a "dry air" function. But again, expensive!) I have to change my clothes everytime I come home from classes. I am running through my laundry detergent so much faster.

That umbrella comment - you don't really notice how amazing umbrellas are until you come to Japan. I know in America, yea you hold an umbrella a couple times if it's raining. But Japan takes it so much farther. For example, you can find an umbrella to buy almost anywhere. Anywhere. There will be baskets of umbrellas for sale in restaurants, bars, furniture stores, wherever you might be. 95% guaranteed. They're cheap too. About $5 for one of those cheap clear plastic ones. (Although they fall apart if the wind is blowing too hard.) The International Office at my school lends out umbrellas to borrow if it's raining. Very nice. Also! A lot of girls walk around with an umbrella even if it isn't raining. They're black parasols that block the sun from their skin. Nifty.

Not to mention all the umbrella accessories. Stands for your umbrella outside every establishment & home (always). And little plastic "condoms" to cover your umbrella - they keep all the water in so it doesn't drip on the floor. If you don't want to leave it outside. Japan is very safe, however. Rarely someone will steal your umbrella. They will if they get mistaken which one is their's - or if they're an asshole and just want to take it anyway. But still very cheap to replace.

I wish the AC was as cheap as umbrellas.

Omg, why am I talking about umbrellas?!

Noo-sensei and Sano-sensei visited Kinjo yesterday. They just wanted to make sure we're still alive. I was so nervous beforehand because I expected them to go crazy with the Japanese talk, and they would in turn be very disappointed in my improvement. But they didn't =D They were very nice. (Actually, on the contrary, CIEP told me that I was one of the best students, and Noo-sensei was proud to be my teacher~ Aww.) But anyway - I feel a lot better about getting the credits for 302 I need. Now all I have to worry about is getting WVU to take some of my Kinjo credits as "analytical" classes.

Oh god. Don't get me started on WVU's graduation requirements. I swear, I have taken nothing but GECs and Major-Required classes my entire college career (30+ credits each year, only 1 or 2 BS classes) and I still don't know if I'm going to graduate on time. Their GEC requirements are way too much. Seriously.

But enough about that. I could talk about the speech I gave Tuesday morning, but I am a little embarrassed lol. It's a huge problem I have when talking in front of large audiences. I am not nervous - I repeat, I am not nervous. But my body (yes I'll say it) my body betrays me. It starts shaking uncontrollably. My heart isn't even beating fast! I used to sing in front of 500+, maybe 1,000+ people (although shaking). I am fine with public speaking. Honest to goodness. But I can't seem to stay still. It's really annoying!!

I couldn't read the paper because I was shaking so much, so I had to fold it against my stomach and read downward. Ugh. Such a proper speech giving stance, right? But my pronunciation was super. CIEP director told me I spoke so fluently! =D Happy. (Granted, I had a lot of help writing the speech from my Convo Partner....)

But okay that's enough. Took me 30 mins to write this post, jeeze. What's wrong with me. I have to go to class in 20 minutes. Better get ready.

Oh did I mention it's hot?

Sunday, June 12, 2011


This is how I'm counting down the days: 3 more days until it's halfway through June! Then it's officially 1 and a half months til I'm home! Luckily, they are going a little quickly.

I realize that my "counting down" is probably making people think I hate it here. I don't. I love Japan, it is an amazing country! And I don't regret for a second that I went. ^_^ But people need to understand that I haven't been away from my boyfriend for more than a month at a time (less than that; winter break is the longest I've been away). It's really getting to me. It's not that I'm not having fun here, its just me being lonely. Four months away, and he's suffering as well, which makes things even worse. He's working from 9-5 and then coming home to an empty apartment. Sometimes I sit back and think, how could I have done this to him? I was so selfish to want to come to Japan, I barely thought of how this would effect him at all...

I can talk about him because he doesn't even read my blog =P DO YOU, SEAN!? (If he yells at me later about this, I will be extremely surprised.)

So! Counting down the days. Meanwhile, there should be plenty of stuff to keep me occupied. There's a Pot Luck party tomorrow at CIEP. Meaning, all the international students are going to be bringing in special dishes from their home countries. I'm excited to stuff my face. I'm making "mini burgers" for them. Hopefully they'll be easy. Only problem is finding ground beef... There are 3 supermarkets around where I live. One of them is bound to have some beef. Probably not mini hamburger buns, or buns at all, but their bread is really thick - I can use that.

That's one thing I would tell potential study abroaders. Japan study abroaders. It's going to be difficult finding food you recognize. I've seriously underestimated how amazing Walmart is, or any food store, for that matter. When getting food here, everything is in kanji, sometimes katakana - such as fruit and vegetables, or imported foods. The latter tends to be extremely expensive. I have a picture of two cantaloupes costing Y9,000+, each! That's more than $100. For a melon. o.o;

But - anyway - Pot Luck party. That's tomorrow. Should be fun~ Then later this week on Friday, a big group of us are going to karaoke. Yay karaoke! I am going to miss it so much~ After this week, and then every Monday until I leave (I think), I'm going to be 'working' at a local kindergarten. Just sitting around, playing with kids, and being American. It's not exactly my cup of tea, I'm not a huge fan of kids, except that Japanese kids are absolutely adorable. Along with that, it definitely counts as work experience if I'm getting paid. I need whatever I can get for my graduate school application. My only work experience, besides that 1 day serving pizza at a carnival, is being a housekeeper at a resort. Wow, impressive.

Okay, so potluck, karaoke, kindergarten. Then there's going to be a presentation to give to a High School about America and such. Should be interesting. They don't speak English, and I don't speak that great Japanese, but whatever. It's an experience! And that's what matters.

tl;dr?: I miss my boyfriend but hopefully things start speeding up. 7 more weeks!

(Oh. And my knees have been killing me for the past week. I can barely walk. Everytime I stand up, I almost always fall back down. I think its from the exercising I did at the Gym? I'm not sure. They made me do stretches afterward, so its not like I didn't cool down from it. And it's been a whole week without improvement. No fun.)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's June...

and time is starting to slow down. I'm not having that much fun anymore. Just homework and stress and homework and stress. I spent the entire day in bed today. Tried going out and paying my electric bill and collapsed once I got back home. It might be a fever, but my face is sunburnt, so I can't really tell if I'm hot or not. I am so mentally exhausted. I just have to get through the next two months relatively unscathed. I hope it goes faster than it's going now. It's only the 7th. 50-some more days! I can do this.

By the way, I quit my diet. I don't want to look back on my Japan days and remember hunger & exercise pains. I'm eating whatever I want to eat now, albeit healthily. People seem to think that because I'm not on a diet, I'm going to just eat whatever is in sight and gain weight like no one's business. Thanks, guys. I'm feeling the love.

Ah, the love. I miss him.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Gym

Ever so self-conscious about my weight (being surrounded by so many skinny Japanese girls!), I made the decision to go to a "nearby" Sports Center and try working out, instead of just running around the block. It is starting to get way too hot to be running around, but in a gym, there's AC. And it's nice.

My friend In-chan went with me. She's Malaysian but studies in Tasmania. She's pretty cool ^_^ The center is 30 minutes away (!!) so it's already a work-out going there and back... But inside is good too. The staff was very friendly toward us and slow with their Japanese. I'm actually surprised at how well I could understand them. To an extent, anyway. I'm glad In-chan was with me - we have the same level of Japanese but her listening comprehension is better. So she helped me a lot.

I figured we'd go in and have some fun on the machines, but instead they set us up in our own little... personal training. Or something similar. We were beginners, so they gave us a list of things to do and how to do them and how long. We worked out for more than an hour~ But it was really nice. ^^ We're going again on Monday!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nothing too crazy

has been happening across the seas in Japan Land. There's a Pot Luck party on the 17th, if thats considered cool. Everyone makes a typical dish from their respective home countries. I had no clue what counts as a typical American dish, so I'm gonna try to make burger sliders. Should be fun. =] Except the 17th is when we were going out to karaoke with a bunch of Japanese girls. I hope the Pot Luck doesn't get in the way of that.

Rain, rain, rain. That last post I made was a little misleading. It actually didn't rain Monday or Tuesday. But June 1st, right at the stroke of midnight, the heavens opened up to unleash its torrent of little, evil water demons. Gonna rain non-stop for a while. No fun! D=

Really hope the rain doesn't get in the way of my exercising. Because after the rain stops, its supposed to be summer summer, when it's really hot. And no one wants to run in the heat. Kinjo has a school gym but it is only open during certain times, and most are them are in the morning. I'd really rather not get all hot and nasty before my classes - there's no shower at the gym.

But my diet's going good. Lots of fruits and vegetables. Except... last night I caved a little. My body was so shaky and in actual pain from lack of protein - totally not used to it! How do the vegetarians survive?! Anyway, I went to the grocery store to buy carrots and bananas, and came out with a bunch of sushi and yakitori. And ate them! Bad Lauren >[ At least the only thing bad with sushi is the rice.... and yakitori, well, it's meat, but there's that sauce. Who knows whats in the sauce.

I'm not stopping until my belly looks flat like it did in High School! Rawr! D<

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rainy Season Hath Begun

And here we have the rainy season.... Or, as an article online put it, "Rainy Season Boot Camp." Meaning - no it's not quite rainy season, but the training period before it. Because it's only the end of May! We should have at least a couple days....

Oh well. Now is the time to be grumpy! First of all, I'm itchy. There are going to be bugs living in my room, due to the moist environment. I need to vacuum every week, lest there be a tick infestation. I need to find time to hang out my futon, or mold will grow. Mold will grow everywhere if I'm not careful.

Did I mention the bugs.

I want to buy a mosquito net but I don't think I'll be able to make it work over my bed, since it's a temporary room. Life is sad sometimes =P

I don't know where to run now either. I can try to take advantage of every sunny moment... That'll be exciting. =P

I do want to buy rain boots though, and maybe even a rain jacket to go along with my umbrella. I wonder if those are "in style" at all in Kinjo...? I feel bad enough wearing flip-flops when no one else does, hehe.

I'll figure it out! Two more months here. I'm half-way done. It's kind of bittersweet. I'll really miss my friends here, but at the same time, I'm not looking forward to the next month and a half being non-stop rain. Of course, once the rain stops, it'll be sunny - and that's when I'll need to come home! xD Oh well. It'll be awful summer weather. So that's one way to look at it.

Okay! Enough of this rant. Hope everyone is safe, warm & dry back in the States! <3 Love you!