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


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!


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


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. ;)