Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bounenkai: Goodbye, 2010! I hardly knew ye!

Bounenkai: a word made of the kanji 忘 to forget, 年 year, and 会 meeting. It literally is a "meeting to forget the year" and is normally celebrated by going out drinking with your co-workers/club members/fellows. Most, if not all office places have these drinking parties, and thus, the city office is not immune to this tradition.

Best quotes from the night:

"you are almighty girl" (in english)
"Old man spit hit me in the eye, and so as not to be rude, I wiped it away as he poured me a drink.... ABUNAI!" (in Japanese)
"you said "there is a pay slip in the museum" instead of "there are dinosaurs in the museum" (in Japanese)

Considering that the beginning of that bounenkai was rather awkward (as most drinking parties usually start out)... it turned out to be pretty fun. Yeah, I had to pay 7000 yen for it, but I got some detergent and some cute gloves from the prize drawing, and I got to talk to Nat-chan and a bunch of other people from the office (once they were drunk) as well as eat AMAZING food and drink disgusting amounts of Asahi beer.

Nat-chan was in charge of the main event of the evening, which was a giant jan-ken match for the top prizes. Enough prizes were bought so that everyone got something, but the top 10 prizes were actually good prizes: a bike, a bread maker, a mixer, and some expensive sports-wear to name a few. Like I said, I lost terribly and got a low-ranked prize that included gloves and some soy joy bars. One of the people who sits near me in the BOE gave me the detergent he won because it was flowery and girly scented. Luckily! It's the kind I usually buy so now I won't have to do detergent-shopping for awhile. Haha~

I also got invited to go karaoke with Ayashi guy from my office, and the temp girl Sano-san, as well as a few other people from the office. It was nice being invited to something for a change. Being one of the only two foreigners in the office, I can't help but feel like everyone somehow dislikes me... but getting invited along lessened that fear at least a little. I'm always the one who sings the most at karaoke, but it was nice to actually be wanted there, hear other people sing, and talk to people I don't usually say a word to while enjoying the songs. I know things like this don't happen often with the people in my office, but I hope little things like this will let them know that I'm not a scary foreign-monster or something. I think the mere fact that I showed up to this bounenkai gave me some serious brownie points. ALT's usually go on winter vacation by this point.

タイ

もうすぐタイに行くぜよ!

I'm very excited about getting onto that plane tomorrow and zooming off to Thailand for 10 days~ I want warm weather, beautiful scenery, and lots of cool ruins that I've NEVER SEEN BEFORE!!! When it comes to Asia, I've only been to Japan (and 4 times at that). I need to take this time to get around this half of the world! I want to go to China, Vietnam, Korea, The Philippines, Singapore... EVERYWHERE! <3

I had a good year over all. It's been the first year in awhile that hasn't left me with a bitter taste at the end. Instead, my year started off awful and slowly got waaayyyy better. :) I'm happy with my decisions this year, and I can't wait to start another year in Japan!!

Tonight is the BOE's 忘年会. I'm excited, because I actually know some of the people in this office now and thus, getting drunk and eating lots of food with them will be fun :) (特に because Nat-chan will be there). All that's left before I leave for Sea's tonight is to send off my packages and nengajo~

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy Uke!



My new life project, given to me by the lovely Sea at my Christmas party on Saturday night.  I was seriously shocked when I got the gift. I think that was the first time EVER that I've been given a gift that I really want, but never expected to actually receive... which was really awesome. I love my friends. <3

Starting yesterday night, I began learning how to play this lovely little creature. Once I get a little more comfortable with this cheap one (mine is a light blue version of the above pictured ones... which are total crap), I might want to upgrade and buy myself a nice one here. The little blue one will be good to learn on, but if I want to keep playing (and not have to tune every 2 seconds) then I really need a nicer ukulele. I already learned how to play "Hallelujah" and I really want to learn how to play Hoppipolla by Sigur Ross. It's such a gorgeous song, and I downloaded the tabs for it. Now I just have to buckled down and LEARN. :)


The plunger people took shots from.
Other than all that excitement, the party was great! I got to carry on my parent's tradition and play "The Game" with everyone who came to the party, as well as a rousing round of Pass the Parcel. Only in Japan will a plunger be turned into a shot glass... <3

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sawatee Kaa!

Finally getting excited about the Thailand trip next week. I think I was stressed because we didn't have a hostel booked yet, and I have NO IDEA about the country itself. I'm pathetically one-track minded and only care about Japan. haha. But this sad lack of interest in the other countries of Asia has caused me unnecessary stress about this trip.

Luckily!

Stress is over. I'm booking our first hostel tonight for when we arrive, and I have websites, info, maps and addresses for hostels in two other cities we plan on going to. I think I've decided FOR us where we are going.. however, I've left it open so we can also change our minds and stay in a city less/more time.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sleigh Bells Ring, Are You Listening?


Saturday and Sunday night at Aki station, there was an adorable candle festival held in the name of Iwasaki Yataro's birthday. The guy turned 176 this year, and as the most famous individual from Aki-shi, of course there was a "birthday party" complete with home-made candles, a candle processions, and lots of food stands (as well as a traveling pizza cart!!). I finally got to try a piece of cake from Cheese-ya, and I am really quite impressed. For once, a Japanese bakery knows how to make REAL New York cheese cake, and not that baked crap they call cheese-cake here. The pizza cart was also really quite good, and I'm going to have to buy some fresh mozzerella next time I make pizzas at my house. :)

Bee and me also had our first Ioki Taiko performace Sunday morning at the closing ceremony for the "Turtle Marathon." We had to wear these weird turtle socks and alien antenna on our head... but the performance went really well! And I didn't forget any part of the song. :) Also! After, we got to go to "A New Moon: Cafe Gallery" which is the little cafe above Mountain sensei's apartment. He wasn't there, but the french toast at this place was fantastic so all-in-all, it was a good venture.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

久しぶり日本語!


Oh man. It's been awhile since I've felt willing and SUCCESSFUL at holding a fucking conversation in this language. I think I was seriously just really burnt out from that test and studying things I didn't really want to study for the last 4 months. Before tonight, I'd dread having interactions with the Japanese people I knew, because I felt like I'd stepped into this stupid hole. I couldn't understand anything, and I could hardly get anything intelligible out of my mouth. Today in general, I felt pretty decently confident and really enjoyed talking to everyone I DID interact with. I think I'm finally warming up to my friends and JTE's more... I'm not as nervous around them (coughmoutainsenseicough) and don't mind making mistakes because... DUH. I'm gonna make mistakes and I'm gonna say stupid shit so might as well try to communicate and have fun instead of being shy, learning nothing, and having a disappointing time.

Going out with Nat-chan, Ryoku-chan, Sea and Bee was really nice and I wanted to do that SOOOO much more than Taiko. Me and Nat-chan have kept on trying to make plans to hang out so I'm really glad we were able to. I seriously love that girl. She's really nice and funny and odd, and every time we hang out I feel more and more comfortable and able to make up some sort of thing to talk about. I know it'll be awhile before we can talk like me and other JETs do... but that's only because there is a language barrier I think. I'll slowly get better at Japanese, and they'll keep opening up to me until we can maybe finally talk on the same level. :) I'll keep 頑張る-ing until I can be competent.... maybe getting a かれし would help with that, but I don't see that as something that seems to be coming into my life any time soon...

Friday, December 10, 2010

MYC, not where you wanna be...

Just got done with Kochi-Ken Mid-Year Conference.  If you were to look up "waste of time" in the dictionary, you'd see MYC. Instead of terribly fun and informative, it just ended up being a huge PAIN IN THE ASS (めんどくさい one might say) and only made me irritated and exhausted.

I thought that seeing EVERYONE would 1. allow me to meet new people (in actuality oldies I haven't run into yet), 2. get to HANG OUT with those people I like and chill in the city, and 3. waste three lovely days in the city instead of going to class. But actually, I would have rather just gone to class and been on my normal schedule. I ate like shit these last three days and I feel crappy and tired. Not only that, there were TOO MANY people that I wanted to hang out with so.... it was just a giant cluster fuck in which you can't hang out with everyone at once, and at the same time , I didn't wanna hang out with anyone because I was so tired from the 8 hours of fucking workshops, lectures, and silly business we had to attend to this week. I just feel really thrown off and not on schedule any more. It felt like the week end.... but really, the weekend is coming up tomorrow. WTF. Whatever. Lesson learned. MYC is a big waste of time, and find ways to ditch it next year. :)

I guess the one nice thing about the concert was the evenings. I stayed at Jaspers so I got to rome around the city and play. We went clubbing Tuesday night, and I got to see an AWESOME international music concert on Wednesday. It was sooo what I needed. Although listening to Christmas music has made me homesick a few times now, I loved listening to the Jazz groups play their beautiful songs (as well as the Beatles). Not gonna lie, THAT was well worth it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Punk as Fuck!

MALL!!! YOU ARE MY FAVORITE!!

Probably the best thing to describe my weekend. Seriously <3 Kochi :) 

But really. Saturday's show was perfect. Saturday night was perfectly awesome. The show was put together by Pall Mall so Mall was there, drunk before the show even started! Which of course was hilarious, since he's the tiniest punk I've ever seen.
It was great to hear stuff that I actually like too, rather than only enjoy the live-ness of screamy hard-core punk (which is FUN, but a drag to listen to later). There was a band called Tin Soldier from Tokyo that I haven't been able to stop listening to since the show (as well as Mall's other more melodic Punk band FRAGMENTS). They sing in (terrible) English, and are just... much softer, much more about the melody and the harmony between vocals and instruments than the bands that usually play at the wonderful Chaotic Noise record store. Going to the show this weekend, I felt really good about being there. Matto's friends recognize me now, and Mall even mentioned my name in his text (that he wanted to show me a good time at the show). I'm feeling good about being here in Kochi~ 頑張ります!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Are you smarter than a first grader?

Whenever I go to A-D I always have to remind myself... there are smarter first and second graders in Japan, let alone AKI-SHI, so.... don't give up yet.

Seriously though, these children have the memory of goldfish and just... ugh. I mean, I don't know how many times I've gone over the word "eggplant" and they still just made grunting noises when they repeated it. I have schools where fucking "Frankenstein" is easy to remember, and they can't get "eggplant."

I also really can't comprehend that defense mechanism that kicks in with Japanese children. They tilt their heads to the side and just stare silently if they don't want to answer. I guess it used to be that they would just be skipped over if they were silent, or something... BUT REALLY. We all just stare at them until they answer. Clearly the defense mechanism isn't working out for them, because if they want to sit down and NOT be stared at, they should just fucking answer like all the other kids so we can move on. I seriously don't get why gets stand silent for two minutes while me and the JTE repeat "I Like... I Like... I Like..." over and over again.

Also, it's only December, and already I can see that two of my JTE's have broken.... the one 5th grade teacher at Inokuchi... it seemed like her brain broke or something. She did NOT try to contribute to the class like usual, didn't explain things in Japanese like usual... just didn't seem to fucking GET what was going on around her. She was also dressed like shit and looked like she hadn't slept in a week. These teachers need a vacay. The other teacher was the 2nd grade teacher at A-D. She rushed into the 職員室 with tears in her eyes. I wanted to ask them if ushimado sensei could just explain the lesson to the other two teachers since they seemed busy, but that fucking office assisstant (she treats me like a tard, and speaks like she got hit in the head 100 too many times. I want to kick her every time she talks to me) was like "Oooh, well... since maybe ushimado sensei knows the lesson, it is probably okay that he teaches it to them and so now that you are finished..." GUH, I mean, YEAH, so you don't want me clogging up your office, but SERIOUSLY just GET OUT OF MY FACE LADY.

Yeah, today was frusterating. And it was only two classes... I have that damn school Monday before Mid-Year Conference and I have all five classes to do... shoot me please.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

About Love...



Really good movie I just watched. I LOVED how multi-cultural it was. Seriously was soo awesome how many languages were being used (I think 5 different ones in the span of 100 minutes) and how many multi-cultural relationships were being displayed (even though they were all of Asian Heritage). But seriously a cute/sad movie. Although it was three rather un-finished stories, I thought it was really thought-ful and deep. :)

Saw a little bird today while pulling out of the shiyakusho parking lot. It wasn't a normal bird. That bird was clearly a house pet. It was BRIGHT yellow and hopping around by the cement wall, picking at the ground. It seemed like it couldn't fly and was lost or something. :< I wanted to help it, but I had to get to Ioki...



Sunday, November 28, 2010

Crotch Grabbers and Wine That Tastes Like Old-People

Usually I'm not one to make last-minute plans. I call, text, and confirm with people about what we should do on the weekends at least a few days in advance (not to say I'm not easy going, it's just easier to confirm with people here in advance than the last-min stuff I'd do in college). Friday, I was scrambling for something that me and Hotaru could do together. I had told her we could go clubbing, but I also realized that clubbing isn't fun unless you go at like... 11PM or later, and I wasn't about to have her sit at home with me until we could finally drag our asses into the city. I tried making plans with Nat-chan and Yumiko, but unfortunately both fell through. Luckily, I was chatting with the Brit on gchat and all the while complaining about how I needed something to do that night with Hotaru. He offered letting us come to Yakiniku with him and De-. Not only that, but they weren't going to eat until at least 8:30! やた! I quickly complied and told Hotaru and Sea the plans that were about to go down. At 6:45 we jumped into the car and drove off to Kochi City in order to pick up Sea and get over to Yakiniku.

Yakiniku was eaten alongside the Brit, De-, Sea, Hotaru, Bear, and Ash (びっくり!)and was of course, terribly delicious. After we'd all filled ourselves to the brink, me, Sea and Hotaru drove to Obiyamachi to park and wait for the others, all the while pre-gaming in my car (cheaper yo). We all managed to finally wander over to Stylish, a bar and dancing place, after much noisyness and sloppy drinking (笑). The highlights of the night happened from here on, where I got double groped by an older Japanese woman, had to run to the train station to save Sea and give her her house keys back, and Karaoke until 4 in the morning when we drove home and crashed at 5AM. What a night.

Too bad for us, our weekend of drinking and partying had JUST started. Tonight was Kikusui's second foreigner-only Zadankai and I had gotten me and Hotaru two seats at the free drinking and eating festival. :) The food was delicious (and Chisel had even made tons of Vegan food for Matto, which I mostly took part in), and the drinks were also excellent. Unlike last time, there was no Imo Shochu (nastiest alcohol this earth produces) and instead, were the CUTEST triad of drinks called "Otonashi Love Story" which had little flecks and hearts of edible gold floating in them. I was a little sad that my cup was SERIOUSLY the only one that didn't have hearts in it the first time around (but after that time, I got a couple of them). :( The place we had the Zadankai at was Kikusui's restaurant, Seiryu, which is GORGEOUS and nice and quiet so we could actually hear Dana explain each of the drinks (and the employees could drink and eat too, unlike last time). After the Zadankai, we went to Pieno for a little afterparty and pretended to understand every Enka song that came on the Karaoke. Hahahaa. Silly old Japanese people. Don't you know EVERY Enka song is THE SAME? :D

Good Weekend.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mori no meet-up


I love taking days off of work. I get to go into the city and bullshit around for awhile with no care for time limit or when I'll get lunch, or whether or not a kid will sneeze on me or SOMETHING disgusting. Just really nice to wander around Obiyamachi, look at the junk sale in front of Hirome, and eat a Taiyaki if I want to (the taiyaki in Obiyamachi was delish, btw. must note that place for future visits).

The plus side of today! Hotaru who is studying at a university in Kyoto, came to visit me today and will be staying until Sunday. Hopefully I can make her time in Kochi fun, and not the dullness that inaka can be. Since she's making the trip out during her fall vacation, we can't go to the beach or do warm-weather things, but hopefully I can show her some of what my job entails, and go clubbing in the city Friday night~ That, and we have another Kikusui Zadankai to look forward to. :)

On a last note, I got my Belle Maison bed today in the mail, and It. Is. AWESOME. As I expected, sleeping off the floor, and being able to step off a bed-like platform in the morning is sooo much nicer than just rolling over and getting up. I even got a 300 yen night table to put books and such on. It feels like a REAL room now!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

On the lash again with KFC~


I've been converted. I honest to god enjoyed playing and watching soccer this weekend and it was amazing.

Me, Sea, The Brit and Tall-Matt drove to Awaji Friday night, arriving at the hotel after getting lost a few times and parking on two.... TWO lawns (笑). The banter began as soon as everyone was situated in a hotel room (we were in a sports hotel, so they had four beds crammed into one room that would be the size of a single in the U.S. Not so bad, just very cozy and warm). Scotland presented the shirts, talked about the next day's line-up, and got the excitement started for the next day's games. I went to bed earlier than everyone else because I was just feeling the drag of the previous week.

We had to get up bright and early at 7 to get breakfast and head over to the pitch. We all looked amazing in our obnoxiously bright yellow stripes, and we were even greeted by other teams with a "OMG! KFC! So glad you guys are here!!!" I guess our reputation preceeds us. Girls played the first game of the morning, and it was... sad, to say the least. We aren't great at soccer but we have some stunning spirit and enough genki to kill a man. We lost 8-1, the only goal being scored by MY LEG (the goalie from the other team had kicked the ball away from their goal, it bounced off my leg and rolled right into the goal. beautiful, in a word). Some how I adopted the position of forward (how the HELL did that happen?) and ended up running like a mad-woman all Saturday long through our other two games.

The boys did much better, considering they had a NUMBER of players that had actually been on soccer teams previously. They slaughtered in their first game, 6-0; tied their second game; and lost their last two games of the day by a small margin (6-4 in one and 5-4 in another I think). While they played, the rest of us cheered, danced, sang the KFC song (we're on the lash again, where is the meat raffle?), and banged on the drum Scotland stole from his elementary school. We were the noisiest team on the fields all weekend.

The evening consisted of a terribly fun "awards ceremony" in which the captains awarded certificates to some players (I got "woman of the match" for getting the first goal with my leg) and awarded penalties to everyone in the form of pink slips and shots of tequila. My penalty was studying Japanese during breakfast on Saturday morning instead of studying soccer strategy. The rest of the night was great, and although it only involved going back and forth from the combini twice and having a dance party in the lobby of the hotel, we were proudly on the lash and enjoying every minute of it (and although there was lots of fraternizing with the enemy... good times were had).

Sunday was rougher. I was exhausted on my 5 hours of sleep (but NO hangover ;D) and I could hardly move my legs... luckily we only had one game and it wasn't until noon that day. The poor boys had the first game at 9:30, and then won that game and had to play semi-pro Osaka 4 minutes later. Needless to say they lost the 2nd game, but it was still great fun to watch them run their asses off and be brought to victory at least once. Lovely weekend. I will now think twice before I say "I hate soccer" again. ;)

Friday, November 19, 2010

うれしい overload

Seriously. BEST WORK DAY EVER.

1. New flooring to replace bug-infested carpet
2. Drove to 東川 by myself
3. Okano sensei and me actually got to TALK for once, found out his first name is Hideya, got his (and the other sensei's) address so I can send Nengajou, and general HAPPY HAPPY times
4. McDonalds
5. Found out I get to work with kindergarten kids on my non-class days/times
6. Driving to Awaji for soccer and drunken fun.

ヨシャ!週末始まろう!! (><)/

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Super Mario and Middle Schools

Last night was soo much fun! Me and Bee got to hang out with Nat-chan, Shu-chan, and Ryoku-chan and went to Yasuda to play Badminton! I used to love to play badminton in high school, so I was REALLY excited about playing again; especially with people who wanted to play/play in their free time. The Yasuda gym was simply amazing. It was this giant dome out in the mountains (never would have guessed something so new and pretty was out there) and had a huge basketball court where you could rent out sections and play for a few hours with the gym's equipment. We all played for a few hours, and even had a bet on one of the games in which juice was rewarded to me and Nat-chan at the end (because we dominate, of course).

Later, we went for Ramen at 2niban, which I've been wanting to try out for awhile now. They had kimchi ramen and since i've been on such a kimchi kick recently (with my kimchi bento and the kimchi nabe I had at S-Ono's the other day....) it was a perfectly spicy yet salty and amazing ramen. Very happy we got to go there. The 2niban set looked massive and beautiful, and included gyoza and chahan. :) After 2niban, we all went to Ryoku-chan's house and played the New Super Mario Brother's Game, which I'd never played on the Wii before, and was actually really hard. Since there was 5 of us and only 2 wii-motes, we ended up switching off between levels and/or deaths haha. It was so much fun, hanging out like I usually do with my friends back home... it actually made me feel really welcome finally. I finally felt like I had a little place here, with some nice friends, in this alienating country. I'm so glad I kept pursuing friendship with them; it's hard sometimes to make Japanese friends when you aren't perfect at the language, and I felt like the time I'd been taking was paying off!

幸せだ


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dani may be there, but I feel like a hundred bucks

OH MAN. Never in my life would I expect that after a shitty discovery like yesterday's (carpet dani in my apartment... biting me in my sleep and investing who knows WHAT linen in the place) to be taken in so quickly and kindly like I was! S-Ono, my heart goes out to you. You deserve about 100 pumpkin cakes and loafs of bread from me (since I've discovered that's all I'm good for ahaha). After buying some Dani spray, I took all my sheets to the laundromat and used their industrial sized laundry machines to ちゃんと clean my futon, futon cover, sheets, kotatsu cover, jeans, skirts.... EVERYTHING I'd been putting off washing because my little machine is just too pathetic and tiny to hold (also, I hate waiting like... 2 days before I can wear pants). It was freakishly expensive (4000 yen) to wash everything, but once it was all done, I felt a lot better about it all.

Upon getting home, I did a once-over of my house and sprayed the carpet and couch with the spray then made dinner. At one point, I got a call from S-Ono, offering to let me stay over because of the bugs. I didn't want to put her out, so I declined and said that I'd try to see if I get any new bites in the morning. On second thought and inspection (I didn't really want to sleep in a chemically room all night.... and I found Dani crawling up the wall as well) I decided to take her up on the offer. Man... was that a good choice. :) I had an ACTUAL bed to sleep in, a REAL shower in the morning, a hair dryer to dry my hair.... and we got to chat once I got there (which was really nice!) and I got kimuchi nabe and beer <3 It was honestly the best outcome to the shittyness that was the Dani discovery. Hopefully we can solve this issue SOON. I'm going to bomb my apartment tonight and stay over one more night. Maybe that'll kill the little fuckers for at least a while. I also think I'm going to buy a bed. If a single frame only costs 1 or 2万, I can afford to be comfortable AND safe from that nastly floor.


Other than that, I feel like posting some cute links and such. First, I signed up for this website yesterday called Swap-Bot which is a website about sending postcards and little packages to other people all around the world. I'd love to be a part of that and get my artistic side roaring again. Even though Japan Post has made it impossible (from TODAY ON) to send packages to the US over a pound.... I think it'd be fun to send little stuff to other people and in return, get something fun sent to me (my ugly mail box is lonely!!). Because of this site, I re-discovered my love for Etsy (blog), and all the is adorable and hand-made. I need to get back to making stamps like I had been at camp. I even bought the little chisel and everything!! In response to my love for etsy, there is also a cute blog called Regretsy, which posts hand-made things that are just too WTF for life.

On a side-note, here is some ridiculousness. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

When my house bites back...

Because I love this picture of me and Mall, I'm putting it up. :)
Joyous events have not happened today. I found out that I have carpet ticks so I'm going off to the laundromat in order to properly get some things washed and dried. The BOE is looking into getting me flooring for the upstairs because the ticks are well into the carpet I'm pretty sure. If I have to sleep on the couch for a couple of weeks, so be it, but I'd rather do that then continue to find these mysterious little AWFUL bites everywhere on my arms. Hopefully this, and some heavy-duty bug spray will do the trick. I plan on going to Maruni to investigate their dani spray stock and also buying a bug bomb for when I go away this weekend. Maybe I'll bring all my dishes and things out to the car so that they are REALLY safe from the nastyness that is that bug bomb....

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chick peas and lovely ladies

I love my friends here. Seriously. Having Sea and De- over for dinner, and just being able to chill and chat and LAUGH... made the shit that was 5th period with the 5th graders so much better... (that, and I bought blue bike finally~). They are the reason I wanna stay longer. They give me hope when I'm down, and make me smile at the end of the day. Life can be tough here... BUT IT WILL BE OKAY WITH MY AWESOME FRIENDS HERE! <3

Also, my Kikusui internship has yet to start! hahaha

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Speak-easys and birthday bashes~

Lady legs in cool stockings abound.

My polaroids make everything so much cooler. <3

Saturday started off busy and ended up busy. I woke up at 9 to start cooking for S-Ono's girls-day-in luncheon. I made some pumpkin soup and started baking the dessert for De-'s birthday. At 11AM, S-Ono came by to pick up me, De-, Panda, and Bee and we all drove down to her house, followed closely by Sea. This luncheon was the most delicious and filling meal I've had in a long time. We sat around, chatted, and stuffed ourselves full of pumpkin soup, minestrone, bread, spinach and yogurt, pasta salad, miso soup, cookies, brownies, banana bread, and cakes. After, we were introduced to the beautiful game "Dodgebe" by S-Ono's children. It was actually a pretty fun game, but was hard to play in our small playing area. After lunch and games, a few of us went over to the Akishiminkaikan to see my photo that won in the contest! It was rather exciting to see if up, even though this was only a small contest.

After being dropped off back at my house, the cleaning and cooking frenzy began. For the first time I had some helpers that could run around and do some chores for me while I finished baking and putting things away (it was soooo nice!!). We all got ready at about 6PM and waited for the others to arrive. For the first time ever all the foreigners arrived long before the Japanese people got here, but even so the party was great as soon as most of the east-side dream team had assembled. Nearly everyone had dressed up in the Party's theme: 1920's speak-easy. There was lots of black and white, fringe, and feathers, as well as suspenders and adorable hats and beads. I was really happy and rather impressed that most everyone tried!! De- made a couple of different Gin drinks, which were surprisingly yummy, considering I'm not the hugest fan of Gin. Kei and Tomo showed up around 8PM and most of De-'s co-workers showed up around that time too. There was even a baby!! De-'s co-workers were really nice and brought lots of food and even tried to dress up too! Buchou even came! I was way too excited about that and kept calling him Buchou, which only made him laugh, hehe. I even got a picture with him. Matto's friend Mal came and I terrorized him at the end of the night with my feather band by continually put it on his head and calling him adorable.

At one point, I told some of the women from De-'s company that I liked the one guy that had come (Kei) because I wasn't sure how to say "I think he's cute and wish we could hang out more" and they took it upon themselves to grab him and forced us to henpai and drink beer (way more beer than I wanted...) over and over again. I found out that he likes baseball (the Cubs, in fact) and likes art to a certain extent, and the fact that he's a fireman in training (and works out on his off days lol) and is still in school for it until the end of the year. Julie had found out from him that he thinks I'm cute but he's bad at texting so I guess that means I need to try harder? Dunno. I need to stop getting all work-up over being perfect at Japanese and just try to communicate and have fun. I get too stressed out over not knowing what to say... I just need to talk. Anyway! The night ended with me falling through the gap between my door and the outside (I wanted to harrass Australia and Matto, and so went out yelling about Australia getting me peanuts and then just went down), cleaning up the millions of beer cans all over my kitchen, and getting everyone a place to sleep that ended up staying (Juri, Panda, Mall, Matto, Australia, and Sea). De- had ended up getting a Daiko home, and all her co-workers managed to get home too. Kei and Tomo went home because Tomo had to get back to Susaki in order to take De- out on a bike-ride the next day and Kei wanted to keep him company (although we all said he could stay).

Despite the hangover (due to too much beer henpai) it was an awesome night, awesome party, and I can't wait to have another in December~ :)

As usual, Shu-chan makes a face while we all try to look normal.

Friday, November 12, 2010

ベキーだ!

Some of the girls at Aki JH told me I was "cuter than Becky" today. Wow. That actually made me feel really good. Becky is that half-Japanese, half-English talent that's always on TV and is super cute and spunky. They could have been being nice, but they didn't think I understood them so I don't know how that would have been possible.

In other news, went to a concert with Matto and Panda tonight in the city. The bands were fun and I love that kind of music live (not really into hard core punk otherwise). Matto's friends at the venue are also really nice and fun to listen to. I love how the one guy is named "Yousuck" like.... spelled in the Japanese way, but pronounced like that.

My new love for seisui and the search for the perfect school

I had the most pessimistic thoughts going to Seisui today. I thought that these Jr. High students were going to be EXACTLY as horrid as Aki Chu... I thought that they were going to make fun of me, make rude comments, not listen, run around, and interrupt during class like Aki Chu...

But they didn't.

Honestly, I was amazed. These kids were well-behaved, polite, they participated, we all made jokes together (and they liked my retarded hana marus and everyone wanted one on their worksheet) and I had a really good time teaching today. I mean, I didn't REALLY teach, but still, giving my self-intro to the second years and actually getting good questions from them (unlike Aki chu, they could form a sentence, or at least follow a fucking pre-written pattern) was really fun. They didn't obsess over my height (I mean, of course there were kids who mentioned it a lot) but I think that comparatively, they didn't mutter 『背高いね〜』 every two seconds. The day went by REALLY fast because I was actually enjoying all my time being there. I mean.... I left at 10:00 and I got back at 2:35. That's four and a half hours that just FLEW by. I wish Aki chu was like that... I have to go there tomorrow and teach four classes I think. I don't do much in terms of work there, but the kids can be so unbearable... There were only a few girls in the second year that were nice (band kids, inconsequentially) and we talked about music.

Please let every lesson at Seisui be like that!! I don't want this beacon of a school to be soiled in any way. I want them to be my perfect school. :)

And although it's completely irrelevant and strange, today is Pocky day because, 11/11 looks like a bunch of Pocky sticks lined up (learned that from the Jr. High class 2-1 today).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Struggling for Inspiration..

As an artist, to say that I'm struggling for inspiration is a really depressing thought. Especially when what I'm hoping to be inspired to do is to study for the goddamn JLPT2 (日本語能力試験) I'm going to take in less than a month. I've been setting goals for myself and trying every day to get in some practice but... I seriously don't feel like I've improved at all (even with the 500 kanji and the 45 pages of vocab I've crammed). I started a few weeks ago writing goals into my schedule book so that, while I was checking what school I had to go to that day, I'd look at those goals and have to face them head on. I even started giving myself stickers (little shiney stars) for finishing the goals. Anyway, I'll keep 頑張る-ing and see what I end up getting on this test. Maybe then I can finally start enjoying my studying...

Where I'm not lacking inspiration is actually in my art endeavors. I recently entered a contest in Aki City and ended up winning two awards! The 新人賞 (the newcomer award) and the 努力賞 (the effort award). I think my entry was almost too modern-art for them.... I entered a diptych in which I put two photos together and had them all presented as a single photo. The people at the photo place seemed to have a lot of issues with this but.... IT'S ART, damnit. A diptych isn't THAT forward thinking (笑).



In other news, I've been following a little blog here called the "SAKURA Project" which is a blog for a private college which has been hosting this running art exhibit called "フォトフォトミュラルフォトミュラル" and just update occasionally about cute things and events going on. I guess it's a way for me to practice my comprehension skills and find some new vocab. I really want to find some new blogs in Japanese that are interesting and worth checking frequently.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Guy Fawkes Night~


Guy Fawkes Night... where shall I begin?

On Saturday, after a well-deserved house cleaning session and some studying, I headed into the city to pick up De-, The Brit and Tall-Matt so that we could start our westward journey into gorgeous mountains, and sickeningly windey roads. Both times I've been out toward the Shimanto area, I've been driver and have yet to be able to really appreciate the beauty of the area.... but alas. My day will come.

It took us a few hours to get out there to Gab's house, and then another hour to get ourselves to the store to stock up on drinks and food (me and De- split a lovely bottle of Nakamura sake, since she is the sake queen herself and I am her apprentice). Once we finally got to the camp site, it was rather dark, and greeting everyone was really difficult because we could only go by the sound of voices and cell-phone lights. After some scavenging of the food left over from the day, we all headed toward the lake side to partake in the heat and light of the bonfire Jon scrapped together for the ritual burning of the effigy. Although Guy Fawkes night was being celebrated a day late, we all lit sparklers, and various people set off little dollar-store fireworks above the lake. Soni had used her amazing sewing skills to create a fabric doll to toss into the fire to burn (as the effigy). After much banter and fizzling fireworks, we counted down, tossed the girl into the fire, and gave a few hurrahs before heading back to clean up and go to the bar that Jon had reserved for the night.

The bar we ended up at was very cute and had a door handle made from a wooden hand (so odd). It had karaoke capabilities, so of course hours of entertainment. Many of the chairs in the bar were shaped like hands as well. Unfortunately, one of the hands lost a finger that night.... After the bar, we went to a ramen shop and then back to Gab's house to crash~ The next morning, before taking on the 2 hour drive, me and De- stopped to take a lovely and refreshing bath in one of the Shimanto onsens.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Umaji Mura and Yuzu festival



Tuesday night, after sitting around and doing some studying, me, Matto, Bee and Sea all headed up to Umaji so we could spend the night, party, and enjoy an Umaji-style yuzu festival the next day. Although we got there rather late, we all went to the local snack for some karaoke until about 11PM and then headed back to Irelands's for some drinking and conversation.

The next day, at around noon we all went over to the bright and shiney yuzu festival! I ate some yummy yuzu-salted karage (which has made me crave karage ever since that moment) and drank as much free gokun yuzu juice as I could manage (which was a lot, apparently). After the festivaties were over, we all went for a walk around Umaji, road the little rickety train ride and the big red incline, then me, Bee and Matto drove home so I could get ready for a little pizza party. Nat-chan, Ryoku-chan, Shu-chan and Bee all came over so make pizza at my house. It all turned out surprisingly well, and we had a good old time chatting about random stuff. Some of the best quotes sit below. :)

"My hobby is fan."
"Where do you buy tofu?"
"Danger Boy"
"My Hobby... BIKE..... VRRM VRMM"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"I was having fun and then i stabbed myself." ~Scotland

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hello! Hello! Halloween!

This weekend went by in a blur.


Best way to start off the weekend was by going on a GROUP DATE. Yes. De-'s friend Kei (who she met at Music Lovers) suggested that she get 3 friends, and he bring 3 friends so we could do a 4 on 4 boys meet girls at an Izakaya in the city. In Japanese, this is called a "gokon." It was rather nerve wracking to begin with.. we had to do little self-intros and English became the secret language for us three foreign girls. However, as soon as intros were over and the food was served, we all had a chance to relax and feel more like ourselves. All in all, it was fantastic fun with 4 very attractive, young, Japanese firefighters from Susaki. We went to 3 places that night, including the original izakaya meeting place and two cute bars in the city.


Saturday night, me and De- drove into the city to meet up with Orlan, The Brit, Juri, and De-'s co-worker Chisel. The night started out with a delicious yaki-niku dinner at a place called "Gyu." After dinner, we all went back to The Brit's to costume ourselves up and then headed over to Hirome for the party. I was amazed by how they transformed Hirome... it was really cool! There were live bands, DJ's, awesome decorations and great dance lighting.  Before we entered Hirome, Orlan kept scaring girls by running up with his joker costume (ligit creepy but awesome). I ended up meeting a couple of girls who were really nice and wanted to hang out in the city sometime!

I was princess Mononoke from the Ghibli film.
 After the party was over, we went to Chisel's friend's bar on Sunday Market Street for a bit of a drink and some ramen. Although I wish we had gone to the club everyone else was going to instead, I was glad to go home around 3:30. Extremely exhausted.... (Also, Chisel had found this creepy guy that kept following us around and wanted us to stay out later with him because he hadn't been to Kochi in 15 years.... weird).

The next day, me and De- drove home and I baked and cleaned all day until around 7 when I went over to her place to cook some stew. It was nice just to chill out and chat after such a busy weekend. We also made a playlist for her awesome birthday party we'll be having later this month at my house. All-in-all. Good Halloween weekend. I'm surprised at you, Japan. I didn't think you had it in you. ;)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kikusui, Crotch Grabbers, Aki-baby Halloween, and Fuck U! :D

Kikusui Boss that I've met like... 3 times now I think. BUCHOU!

The drinking game they taught us and I promptly lost and had to drink 5 cups of sake because of.
Friday started off this fantastic weekend with a FREE (無料!) sake tasting and dinner at a nice little Izakaya in the city~ (worst part of the night was having to take the train back... but honestly not bad. especially since it was the BEST TRAIN RIDE EVER). Kikusui was putting on a sake tasting for the foreigners of Kochi so many East-siders and some Kochi-ites came out to get hammered and dine with the great De- and her awesome company. We tried 15 different sakes (sake, shochu, hard liqueurs, sweet liqueurs, Korean liqueurs, and some in-the-making liqueurs) and had to write comments about each one we tasted. Considering I'm not a huge fan of sake... there were some really decent sakes being distributed and I was proud to make some helpful comments. The Imo-shochu was the hardest to drink, and I couldn't get past the 2nd sip of it (just too damn strong and NASTY). The best group of liquers was the sweeter ones. There was a Korean liqueur that tasted like a banana-smoothie, a honey liqueur that was AMAZING, a yuzu liqueur that tasted like lovely juice, and an Ume-shu which had syrup residue dripping from the sides of it. My favorite, however, was this champagne-esque sake that was in the still-in-the-making group of liqueurs. I miss champagne so much.... I drank most of the bottle of O1 (O2 was not sweet enough. O1 was PERFECT). We got to take some of the left-overs home, and each got a cute bottle of sake as gifts. The food for the event was also verrrryyyy good, and included some lovely salad, sashimi, edamame, karage, and cha-han). After that, me, Bee, Orlan and Sea left on the train (much fun was had... we played Janken half the way, and then made up some stupid story the rest of the way) and went out to Pieno after for some Karaoke. At Pieno, as usual, all of the Aki "youth" were out, and I got to see crazy Natsuki again (from the last drunken outing we had). Poor Orlan had to do battle with some drunk Japanese guys and arm wrestle all of them multiple times (as well as protect his man-hood from prying hands). I got called cute by some attractive guys (huzzah!), even though they were 28/29 and not the 25 I always hope when I see the "youth" of Aki-city.


Happiest little girl EVER.
On Saturday, The Brit arrived at my house around 12:30 and then we all headed over to the community center to help out with S-Ono's Aki-children Halloween party. We did some prep work, tried on costumes, and surveyed the area that we would be trick-or-treating in before coming back to the center and getting ready for the children to come at 3:30. Once they all came, we broke into 5 groups and went out trick-or-treating. I got to be one of the photographers for the event, so I didn't have a group and instead got to run around and laugh at everyone else as they struggled to keep their children in line. None of the kids knew that I was princess mononoke (not their generation I guess... wtf), and one kid asked me why I was wearing a towel (It was an APRON fool!!). Anyway, after trick-or-treating, we all came back to the community center for games and a cape-design contest. They were very impressive capes (even though they were made from garbage bags).

The weird game we were playing at our enkai-after halloween party where the picture taker would say a word right before taking the picture, and we'd all have to make the appropriate face.

My Fav bartender with my FAV cynic. :)

One of the "youth" that called me cute and then actually asked ME to take a picture with him. That's a first.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Art Islands and a revival of my artistic spirit

Port of Ogijima and the gorgeous decay that is happening on this oddly arranged island.

Many attempts at jumping and getting photos in front of the FLOTSAM fish produced a number of awesome shots. :D

This last weekend, me, Sea, De-, and Bee took a little road trip up to Takamatsu in Kagawa Prefecture to see the Setouchi International Art Festival (Inner Islands). Friday, after work at 7:00 we all took off from Dana's place and started the 3 hour drive up to Takamatsu. Luckily, a few weeks prior, I had e-mailed the CIR of Kagawa so that I could see if he knew anyone that would put up 4 strangers. What luck! Two people offered up their homes to us and we took to the home of "James" Justin outside of Takamatsu and only 30 min from the port! :) His house smelled like moth balls..... but that was well worth getting to crash in a place for free.

The rest of the weekend was full of beautiful art and island hopping that I'm too tired to go into right no. :P

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hang Ten (or at least get up to your knees!)

FANTASTIC WEEKEND.

This weekend started out fantastic, ended fantastic... couldn't have asked for better, really. :) It started off with a nice rainy half day at home (I took off from work because I had Daikyu to take and just took the rest of the 3 hours off too). It was really lovely to sleep in, laze around, get my paper products strung together, clean, buy some stuff for the house, and get ready for the rest of the weekend. That night, was eating and drinking at its best. Me, Bee, Ireland, Scotland, and Jar went to Nahari hotel to eat and drink all we could for 3500 yen at a Hokkaido food festival. It was basically like a giant enkai. The food was buffet style, so you could go up and get as much as you wanted, and the drinks were endless (delicious Ume-chuhi and beer). The food was stupendous, there was this one dish I wish I could have eaten more of. It was potatoes, salmon, veggies, and CHEESE baked in a dish. There was also amazing crab nabe and circular koroque. Me and Jar and Ireland sang Karaoke songs when it came to that part of the night, and I challenged Jar's co-workers in hashiken (the janken chopstick drinking game). Me and Bee decided to skip the last train and crashed at Ireland's house for the night.

Woke up the next morning at 6:15 to get on the 6:30 train back to Aki so I could sleep in my own bed, take a shower, and finish packing for the surf camp over the long weekend. It was raining, and I was worried that the 3.5 hour drive would take longer and the surf camp would be shitty... but that was totally not the case. We made it in perfect time (got there at 12:20 for the 1:00 start time), and even picked up Holly at Kochi station along the way. The drive was gorgeous, if not a little abunai. Once most people had gotten there, we went over to Bruce's "Hata Surf Dojo" and suited up in rash guards and board shorts. Then we were assigned a board according to height. The rain, at that point, was really light, so it really wasn't a nuisance and only made it so that we didn't have sun in our eyes. We got to the beach, practiced balance points and then went out into the water to catch some waves (with out standing). Once we did that for awhile, we came back in to practice standing and popping up (which was by far the hardest considering my weak-ass arms). We played around in the ocean for awhile even when the rain started coming down harder. Once it got too tiring, we went back to Bruce's place to change, get showered and wait for the amazing feast that was ahead of us. Bruce made the most amazing food for us. We had pumpkin soup, pesto pasta, taco rice, home-made pizza, chicken, garlic bread, and enough beer to kill a man. I was staying with Amy, so we left a little early (10:00ish) but I really appreciated the good food, not too much beer, and a REALLY good night's sleep.

We woke up the next morning at 8:00 so that we could get ready, eat, and be at Bruce's by 9:30 to start the next lesson. During the night, the clouds had cleared and left the most amazingly blue and clear sky. It was a perfect day to be outside and we were allowed to surf with Bruce's boards until 4:00pm. I got to the point where I was so exhausted I couldn't push myself up any more (good time to stop, I'd say). Unfortunately, that day left me with a little sunburned cheeks (but well worth it). We all set up camp at the camp site and got food ready for the BBQ that we ended up having on the beach (with a bonfire!!). Me and beer buddy chatted and we all ate so much amazing meat and veggies. A bunch of us went to bed around midnight, and I woke up at about 8:15 to get things put together so we could do yoga. Yoga wasn't on the beach (as originally planned) because the sun was just so hot and direct, but we all did yoga at the campsite, and it really helped to make my muscles feel better and more relaxed. 

A three hour drive later, I ended up exhausted at home (and unfortunately had to cancel some plans). Instead, me and De- made curry and watched "ダリングは外国人" which was actually the first romantic movie I've ever seen in Japan. It was sufficiently awkward but cute and me and De- had a good time laughing at it and dissecting the awkward parts. :)

Surfing on Sunday was AWESOME and gorgeous!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ramune chugging and an onsen belly

Saturday, instead of my awesome idea of a beach party and BBQ, we all headed up to Umaji for an onsen-dinner and drink fest with Ireland. The drive up there was a little scary (narrow mountain roads, fast trucks zooming along.... Sea screaming in my back seat ) but it was beautiful. I wish I could have stopped more often to take pictures or explore the random caves and bridges along the way up into Umaji. The weather there was also quite a bit cooler (which didn't stop me and Ireland from jumping into the freezing river water... so freshing) but the sun stayed out all day, and I'm not gonna lie, I was a little disappointed about not getting to do the totally plausible BBQ on the beach.

The next morning (after many a strange dream), I woke everyone up at 8AM, ran through the downpour to my car, and some how made it safely down the mountain in one peice (even though my car kept fogging up :<). Sunday's sports day was surprisingly a lot of fun! there were only like... 12 kids? 14 kids? So parents, teachers, and staff got to participate in just about every event. I participated in about 7 or 8 events (always with an invite from the kids). I got to show my drinking skills by chugging ramune and winning my round of drinking, as well as grab bread with my teeth and run around come cones (among other silly activities). I also got to see and talk to cute mountain teacher (even though it was only for a little while) who was adorable in his basket ball shorts. haha.

That night, Nat-chan and Ryoku-chan came over (along with Bee) to make okonomiyaki and yakisoba. We met up with Em in the super market and invited her along as well. The okonomiyaki was thus far, the best I've ever eaten. I can say that with all honesty. I feel like before this, I'd been lying and just SAYING I liked it because it was OKAY but this stuff was awesome (and had kimchi in it!). We sat around, listening to music and chatting about random stuff, and I tried to use a Japanese top with a string (almost killed Bee with it hahaha). But really, it was a lot of fun getting to speak so much Japanese and such. We also helped Nat-chan out with some English :) Good Weekend.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Glimpse

Just saw my boss make the most horrible face after he ate/drank something. I'm pretty sure he thought no one was watching. I just felt like I had to document that.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Life is never boring when you live in a circus

I finally own and CAN DRIVE my new little Mitsubishi Toppo! He still needs a name.. and I'm kinda broke until the 20th of October.... BUT now I can get around faster AND further!


The reason for this post on a Tuesday morning is that... they kept us an hour after work yesterday to meet and greet the same Sumo wrestler from the first day I came to Aki. There was also another wrestler (who had a very small face and looked really annoyed) and me and Bee had to present flowers to them and (for some reason) I had to retake the picture of me giving my wrestler the flowers. Which of course ended up in the news paper (I can't seem to stay out of the media lol). I just found it hilarious how the guy from our office asked me and Bee to do this. He suddenly came up from the side of me, and got really close to my face and leaned on my desk and said, "goji... GOJI..." like we didn't understand what 5 o'clock meant. OMG I almost died laughing at the way he was talking to us. And then he asked why we were laughing, and Sano-san just giggled along. I got so light headed laughing at him....

Out in those fields...


I made good use of the hot HOT weather and went out to take some pictures around town. It felt so good to take the kinds of photos I had been taking back in the Spring for my show... I need a tripod.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Shake it like a poloroid baby


I never though 14 people could spend so much at a restuarant... but our rag-tag and drunken group managed to spend 500 and some odd dollars at our favorite Aki izakaya last night. I'm pretty sure it was because of all the "giant" orders of beer rather than the quantity of food... and there was so much food that I tried for the first time. I had this wonderful sashimi in a tare sauce, and "Korean Ramen" which was fantastic, even though I thought the giant raw egg on the side looked suspiciously gross... I even tried the natto that was ordered which ended up mostly tasting like spicy mustard.
After divying up the bill, most of us went over to Karaoke at Pieno, and partied it up with a bunch of young nihonjin that shuji knew. I had fun screaming karaoke at evey opportunity I could. After karaoke and more drinks, the people staying at my house came along with me and we went back to my house after picking up De- along the way. Since Steph was sleeping, we grabbed some drinks and sat outside for awhile before going to a combini to get food and stuff. On the way back from the combini (after taking copious amounts of pictures and posing for some odd photobooth) we visited my car along the way. While I was petting it, the car (which had been suspiciously running near us the whole time) opened, and a guy leaned out and vomited on the pavement. We took that as our cue to leave, and went back to my house to sit, talk, give massages, and watch "super bad" until 4 in the morning. Good night~

Saturday, me and De- went to the beach after everyone cleared out of my apartment (and me and Sea made pancakes). It was sooo relaxing to just sit, study a little, talk, and take a dip in the water. It was a little chilly, but seriously perfect weather for relaxing. At around 5:15 Sea came to pick me up to take me to Geisei for the Taiko festival! Our muroto Taiko group was performing and although me and Sea didn't get to join in, it was fun to sit on the beach and watch the performers. There were some REALLY cool groups who danced around and wore masks and really made a performance out of it. :) It got a little cold on the beach, however, and after it was all over at 9:30, me and Sea weren't aloud to go to the enkai and instead watched "Up In The Air."

Sunday was also a good day. I went to Ioki E.S's sports day from 9:15-12:00 and only had to participate in the PTA tug of war with all the other teachers and parents. That was actually pretty fun. The kids were also ridiculously cute and I was mesmerized by the strangeness of the whole event (like kids on unicycles and climbing poles.... and the big band version of "thriller"). After sports day, I was picked up by De- and we drove into Kochi for the Sunday Market, and Yoga. It was nice getting cheap veggies, and finding some hidden shops to explore in Obiyamachi. Yoga was also fantastic and felt sooo amazing after feeling tired and achey all day. It was a lovely way to end a good weekend.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Return to Film

The ringing in my ears proves it...

Statue from the abandoned castle Monday.
Boom boom kid's singer riding the guitar case.
Best Day Off Ever. On Thursday (also known as the Autumnal Equinox) I got to sleep-in, go running around 9, and laze around until I went to a "local music event" at the city meeting center. It turned out to be middle school bands and such, which were actually really nice to listen to. I only stayed 40 minutes, but I got to see both of my middle schools play. I'm so jealous of Japanese middle schools! They get to play the coolest music and it's all sooo recent. I remember being in middle school and high school and it was treat when we got to play a "Chicago" medley.

After 40 min of that, Matto came to pick me up and we headed to Kochi city! We stopped by a hard-off on the way, and oggled at all the used instruments that were SUPER cheap. I got a 315 yen camera (which I finally figured out how to work) and 2 shirts and a necklace. After looking through there, we stopped off at Aeon mall to look at more guitars and my future Ukelele. The Uke's are a bit expensive.... (like 16,100-100,000 range) so I'm going to wait a month to get one... Then we went to hipster store, where I bought film that was twice as much as my camera cost... haha.

After the mall, we headed over to Obiyamachi to pre-game, and tool around before the show started. The show was surprisingly fantastic. Although I can't hear right now because my poor ears are still recovering... punk rock is really great live, and everyone on stage has so much energy! The head liner was a band that Matto had seen 2 years before in Chicago, and who came from Argentina. The main singer was small with HUGE dreds and at one point, rode a guitar case around the room. Also met a cool Japanese guy named Tomokaza. He played in one of the other bands that often performed at the record shop. I was also really excited to see girls playing in the bands! Only the first two had girls, but they seriously rocked out on those drums (Turn Coat and Reveal). :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Long time no write~

Sea floating down the river.
The beautiful landscape of the None River.

It's been awhile, journal! I never got to update you on the None River Run! The River run started way into the Mountains of Toyo, which took 2 hours from Aki to drive to. :P Me, Sea, Bee, and De- all rode with Sea along the winding roads of the coast, which is absolutely beautiful and has a giant statue of a pilgrim (the weekend I learned what "pilgrim punch" was. On Shikoku, we have the infamous "88 pilgrimage" so you'll see people dressed in white, carrying canes, and wearing big straw hats walking along the roads. They are called "henro" or pilgrims!). We got there late, but the river run didn't start at its planned time of 11:00 and instead started at about 1:30pm. We all drove out there, inflated our inner tubes, got our beers ready and started floating down the BEAUTIFUL river. However, after only 10 min of floating, we came to some shallow rocks and a little rapids. Right from the beginning our group got separated because of the various usefulnesses of the floaty devices people brought along with them. I was able to float along pretty well, because I had gotten a tire from the Aki Mitsubishi dealership (fo freeeeee~) but other's weren't so lucky....

All in all, the river run was gorgeous and fun, but it took us 5 hours to get to the end because the river was so shallow. We didn't even float the whole thing but got out and walked a good portion of the float. Once everyone got to the end, we all played around in the most beautifully calm body of water, tossing people in the air and enjoying the river. After a little while, we all got out and drove back to Orlan's to have a feast. Seriously, it was an amazing spread. We had home made guacamole, home made corn chips, sausage, chicken sticks, burritos, cookies, sweet potatoes, salad.... it was amazing. After eating, we all sat around and talked (THAILAND TRIP) and then once it got dark out, the people who were left went skinny dipping in the ocean. THAT was amazing. The ocean was warm, the stars were out, and when you moved your arms around in the water, little glowing things lit up in the water. SO COOL. The next morning, me and De- road back with Sasha and I went to Aki JR high's Sports day (the last 45 min of it) and then me and De- went into the city. She went shopping for furniture, and I went to frisbee and the most amazing yoga of my life <3 In comparison to what the first time was like, this yoga was life-changing. I wasn't aching from Rugbe and had just had a good sweat at Frisbee. After we went to a restaurant called the "Shokudou"because it resembles a high school lunch room.

Teaching has been good. I love going to Higashigawa because I have a huge girly crush on the English teacher, Mountain sensei~<3 and the two kids who go there are adorable and well behaved. Ioki E.S is great, except for the terror that is the 6th grade class. I guess when they got a new homeroom teacher in the spring, the class just went to shit... which really sucks. It was my first class on Tuesday and it just got me into a fowl mood.... (that is, until I met the ADORABLE 2nd and 3rd graders. OH GOD so cute). A-D is also a nice school because I love 1st and 2nd graders. I've only been to those three schools so far, as well as Aki Jr. High (which... i won't even go there. They are a bunch of little uninterested brats).

Other than teaching, I'm almost done with the application for the JLPT N2. I really wanna work hard and pass this test.... I really hope that I can do it. Every day at work, if I'm not teaching, I try to study the whole time. I am going through Kanji by grade level. I've gotten 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade down pretty well, and I'm starting on 4th grade. That, and I started going to Taiko regularily (too bad I can't perform this weekend... but I understand that I've only been to a month or so of practices :<). I also joined a sign language club, which is a LOT of fun. The first meeting I went to, everyone was so surprised to see me, and we did introductions and talked about differences between America and Japan. In this week's meeting, we talked about なぞなぞクイズ's (which are riddles) and 言葉遊び (word play) which I could understand a bunch of them and made the woman presenting them VERY happy.

People in the club! It was PACKED.
This must be at the beginning of the night because I was next to the stage most of the night. <3 MUSIC LOVERS!!!
This last weekend was a three day weekend (WHOO!). Friday, we had a really intense Taiko practice. Saturday, me and Bee went to lunch at a French restaurant down the street from my house, and I watched "1 liter of tears" so I could have a good cry (as well as going to a park to study). At 7pm De- came to pick me and Steph up and take us and her co-worker Yuki to Kochi to have dinner with Sea, Dan, and Yen. We had Hirome's amazing Indian food, and went back to Dan's place to drop off bedding and get dressed up. We got to the club at about 11pm and danced until 5:30am, in which I got up on the stage 3 times, lost my shoe, got a shot of tequila from an equally drunk Japanese man, and danced myself into many mystery bruises. It was amazing, to say the least. We all went out for ramen after clubbing, and drove De-'s car back to Dan's to get some sleep. After only about 5 hours, we all woke up, ate breakfast, dropped Sea off at the station and I went to the book store to buy a JLPT application while the others went back to the club to try and find Steph's gaijin card (which was found and given to the police about an hour later). After I was dropped off at home, I thought I'd have a quiet night at home until Ireland e-mailed us about dinner!

Monday was the day me and Matto had designated to hang out. He picked me up at about 11:30 and we went to explore the abandoned castle in Konan city, which is actually an abandoned museum. I got to be photographer-y and take lots of fun pictures of the area and see an AMAZING view of the surrounding area. It took us a while to find the path to the actual castle, but in finding the castle (which had a gate blocking the road to it) we saw a little rendezous between two people in separate cars, and I swear we saw a ghost man walking around the castle grounds. After ghost-hunting, me and Matto met De- for a relaxing afternoon at Yasu beach. It was sooo nice in the water, and the sun wasn't terribly cruel. Eating kakigori (shaved ice) was also awesome. It just feels like a perfect summer, even though it's late September. After that me and Matto went back to his place to make Vegan sweet potato curry and watch some "Three Sheets," as well as decide that on our off day this Thursday, we are going to a concert at the Punk-record shop in Obiyamachi.

I came home Monday night, just feeling so perfect. I started off my adventure in Japan still stuck on Rentarou, feeling lonely and un-settled... and I realized Monday night that I'm feeling at home. Not completely of course, but I have a routine, I have friends, I'm having fun with no regrets and no complications, and I'm not stuck on that boy so much anymore (even after Tuesday night when I got to chat with him on skype... it was just so fun to catch up with him for the 2 hours and give him a run-down of my life here, and find out what he's doing and give him my yoga videos). I finally feel like I'm making a little place for myself here. :)