Calendar In Japan May – July

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5/4 – 5/7 – Okinawa

5/18 – Hakone trip with the school

5/19 – Yokohama/Kamaura

5/26 – Disneyland

5/29 – Ueno Natural Science Museum and Alcatraz E.R Restaurant

6/5 – Akasaka Ninja Themed Restaurant

6/10 – Disney Sea

6/16 – Arabian Rock Museum

6/19 – Ghibli Museum

6/27 – 7/2 – Thailand

7/5 – My birthday bash and Vampire Cafe Restaurant

7/8 – Fuji Q Amusement Park

7/13 – Odaiba

私の授業 (My Classes)

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Well classes are officially over here in Japan and I have 18 days left. I haven’t been as consistent with this blog as I would have liked to been, but hey, I’m in Japan.  So in my finals days before I travel to Kyoto/Osaka/Kobe I would like to post details of things before they’re lost with time.

Monday:
10:45am – General Japanese

Tuesday: 
10:45am – General Japanese
1:05pm – Tennis

Wednesday: 
9:00am – General Japanese
10:45pm – Elementary Kanji

Thursday: 
10:45am – General Japanese
1:05pm – Fitness
2:50pm – Kendo

Friday:
9:00am – General Japanese
1:05pm – Traditional Japanese Culture
2:50pm – Judo

General Japan consisted of an hour and a half of classes every day using the textbook Minna No Nihongo. It was entirely in Japanese as well as teacher instruction. At first, I wanted to kill myself. Then, I found out if I looked up the lesson in English a head of time that it wasn’t so bad. (which was apparently what they’ve wanted us to do the whole time. haha)

Tennis was about the only sport I liked. I suck at it, but it was fun nevertheless. Except when it was 90 degrees out… Those days I skipped.

Fitness was fitness-y. Just worked out in the gym and what not. Nothing special there.

Kendo…what to say about kendo. It is an ancient sword-technique-learning class. I didn’t like it at all. There was at least one point during every class that I wanted to cry. There were 25 forms (originally 50, but apparently my class was slow) that we had to learn. Don’t get me wrong, when these forms are done properly and quickly it looks freaking awesome, but when you have to count your passes and start over multiple times it loses its charm.

Traditional Japanese Culture class was a great course. We did things from wearing kimonos and Ikebana (flower arranging) to playing taiko drums and folk dancing. That class was definitely a good one.

And last but not least Judo. Totally not for me. Too physical. I knew that going in and originally, but once it got too hot I refused to wear two layer of clothing, one that was stiff like a rug in 90 degree heat. Yeah, sometimes I act like a princess.

I didn’t realize how hard it would be going to classes everyday as opposed to my two days at school a week in Boston. There was a lot of adjusting that had to be made which consisted on me skipping a lot of school. Towards the last quarter of my classes, everyone pretty much had the same “I’m-totally-over-this” attitude. With that being said, in no way is this meant to be negative. I have loved my time in Japan and have loved what I’ve gained. But this girl is ready to go home.

Quick post

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I’m on my way back from Narita airport. Ill update on my trip to okinawa soon.

Something that amazes me is that even though I’m in an entirely different country with its own language, extraordinary history and more, there are so many commonalities that are shared among the human race and modernity.  There are many things that, in terms of scenery,  transportation and the banal things of human life that we share. The difference is the way they are interacted with. All of that is influenced by people. I’m not quite sure I am being particularly articulate with this entry, its more of a feeling, something that I cannot find the right words to describe. I just find it truly something special. 

Sometimes I forget in worlds away from America.  All of the sudden the realization of my current coordinates hit me and I have a “oh shit, im in japan” moment. 

Making connections like this is starting to make me see the bigger inner workings of things and what it means to be human. We aren’t that different at all, we’ve just learned to survive in different ways. The little things that used to trouble me so are beginning to seem so trivial. There are many things to be learned.

A home away from home

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One thing I have learned on this trip thus far is that you find out exactly what home means to a person. I can be many different things to many different people. 

I think I mentioned in a previous entry that I was homesick last week for the first time. It caused me to scramble around and grasp onto something,  something that made me feel safe. This sudden feeling  was brought on by repressed feelings of the boston marathon bombings. I didn’t know how to deal with it, so i shunned those feelings away since it didn’t openly seem like the boys were affected. Lo and behold it did. And once I saw how much it affected them,  i was unable to run from it anymore. I cried. I broke. Realization hit and feelings flooded me for the entire week. It opened me up to my relationships back home as well as my new found relationships here. 

I realised that i had two choices with this: I can either deal with it alone and appear as if all was well or I can accept the matter at hand and reach out to people. I chose the latter. By doing so, I have strengthened several friendships and created some new ones.

As I mentioned earlier,  this homesickness caused me to find something to hold on to. That became evident quickly. To those who don’t know me, I am a huge Disney fan. I mean HUGE. Some may think its childish, but i have no shame. I relish in it. It is my childhood. It is my present. It is the glue in the bond with my mother and my sister. You are supposed to surround yourself in things that make you happy right? It is my happiness. And upon the reaffirmation of that fact, I’ve gained a stronger sense of exactly who I am.

Tonight,  I had a disney movie marathon with two girls from my dorm, Hadas and Hilary. We watched Monsters Inc., Brave, and parts of Aladdin. We ate tons of junk food, belted out lyrics to our favorite disney songs and swooned over the wonderful man known as nick pitera. It was refreshing. It was comfort able. It was my home away from home.

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To me, Disney is that one thing that brings people together whom i can get along with. It provides me with many more things that I cannot even verbalize. 

In summary of a rambling entry, I have finally found my ground here and I am ready to face other challenges that with arise with my head held high and an unwavering spirit.

Life in Cosmos Dormitory

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I thought it would be more difficult adjusting to life in a dorm setting. I come from a household of two people, my mom and my self. When I lived in California, I had three flat mates and had to share a room. That was more than I could handle and because of that, I was nervous coming into the dorm. The only savoir was having my own room. When I first came to the dorm it was overwhelming. All of the girls are waiting at the entrance to welcome you and get you settled in. I was in a daze from traveling for hours and then trying to listen and speak in Japanese, it was quite the feat. I felt like a deer in the headlights the whole time. But as time progressed and I got to know the other students here in my block and in Cosmos, made friends and hung out with them, its gotten a lot better.

My block 三号 (san go, block 3) is amazing. My ざんりょうせい (zanryousei, equivalent to an R.A) is a sweet heart. We speak mostly in Japanese and we are teaching each other new things all the time. The girl to the right of me, Rokku is a ball of energy and everyone loves her. We have a handful of things in common. Currently, we are in the same judo class! Rokku is also my translator for said class and for meetings back at the dorm. God bless her, i’d be so lost without her! In terms of the other 3 girls in my block, they are sweet and friendly, but our language barrier prevents us from much communication. It’s also because we have all found our cliques as well so any time for bonding has passed. But as a whole, we are a family. One morning we all made pancakes and had breakfast together and one night we all went to the grocery store and got ingredients for/made nabe, which is a japanese stew of sorts. My most fun experience together as san go was preparing a dance for the Welcome Party that we had on April 6th.

All of the blocks had to think of something to do that introduced the new/current members. We chose to dance to 2ne1’s I’m The Best.  Others did dances as well and one block had a magic show. After the introductions we had a MASS of food from different countries that everyone made. Me and Mel, the Australian girl, made cakes that actually came out pretty good!

I just had a block meeting and found out that we are having a pot luck in our block on thursday! Also, Rokku made Yuki the cutest bear cake for her birthday. We all ate it together. Oh, thats another thing! Whenever it is someone’s birthday, the block’s zanryousei  makes a cake for the block  member as well as a card and everyone from the dorm comes to sing happy birthday and eat the cake!

Below are pictures from events listed above. There will be more to come!

 

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ひさしぶり! (It’s been a long time!) and Calendar In Japan April

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ごめんみんな!に本でとてもいそがしいだよ! (Sorry everyone, I’m very busy in Japan!)

So this is going to be an entry dump since its been a month since my very non informative post. Lets see…where to begin… I’ll start with a list of days with events and then separately elaborate with photos and what not.

3/31- Ventures in Ekimae

4/2 – Entrance Ceremony

4/3 – Finding our way back home

4/5 – Classes started

4/6 – Welcome party in Cosmos Dorm

4/7 – Shinjuku/Harajuku/Ginza Adventures

4/14 – Shinjuku/Shibuya

4/21 – A night in Roppongi

4/26 – Mafi’s birthday bash!

あさほがん!(breakfast)

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I woke up today at the asscrack of dawn, so I had some time on my hands. I thought I’d try to cook something for once and chose miso soup! I got the ingredients when I went shopping on friday. It was suuuuper easy and thought I’d share.

These are what I used:

And the steps to make yummy miso soup are as follows:

1. Boil water
2. Add the miso paste, you don’t need a lot, maybe a teaspoon. But you can add more for more flavor.
3. Add tofu. Note: there are different textures of miso- got the soft kind. Put in as much or as little as you want. Don’t leave it for too long on high heat because the tofu will start to deteriorate.
4. Add seaweed. Mix it a little and voila! Miso soup!

On a side note, yesterday we had a welcoming party and recieved the japanese equivalent to a rape whistle! I’m not too sure how it works since I couldnt understand them, but I think you just press the button on it and it sounds an alarm!