Jun 30, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

*Gotta love cloudy days like today... means it's not unbearably hot and that i won't be soaked in sweat the second i step outside!

*Costco cheese pizza. :)

*Shibuya on Saturday night!  Such good times, still gotta post about that.

*3-way Skype chats with the besties, S and J!

*Video chats with my older sister and adorable baby nephew. :)  If the rest of you would get on board with Skype i could enjoy video chats with you too!  ;)

*Sakanaction. Been really into them recently.  I've already posted their video Rookie on my Facebook, so i'll put another good song of theirs up here instead:

*Music swaps!  A friend/classmate i've known since grade school and i shared some links to bands we've been into recently over Facebook, and he recommended Clazziquai Project.  Been listening to them a lot since. :)

I've found that my taste in music has changed quite a bit.  I still enjoy a lot of the stuff i listened to back in high school, but recently i've been more into pop-y electronic music, like Clazziquai, Sakanaction, Owl City, Mika (well, he's more just pop and not really electronic-y, but you get the idea)

*Love our students!  The school's closed on Thursday, but one of my favorite ladies (there's a group of middle-aged housewives that come here nearly every day we're open.. mostly for the social factor than for actually learning English, lol.  They're a great bunch though).. anyway, my favorite lady just stopped by with a huge bag of anpan!  She's always bringing us homemade breads and cakes and sweets from her baking class, and another lady is always bringing us fresh veggies from her garden- just had a sandwich today with the cucumbers and lettuce she brought. :)

Jun 29, 2011

Costco Adventures

I mentioned last week that i discovered a Costco and Ikea not far from here, so yesterday i took the 20 minute train ride out to explore.
Although we had had a few days of cloudy, cool weather this weekend, yesterday it was back to being hot and ridiculously humid.  Just the 5 minute walk from the guesthouse to the station left me completely drenched in sweat! 
Anyway, i got off at the station and decided to head to Costco first, since i was starting to feel hungry and had intended to eat late lunch there, since they serve the same pizza at the Costco here as they do in the US.  Was more excited about that than i should've been, haha.  I do enjoy some of the strange pizza they have here (Tuna, corn, and mayo anyone? Though i usually end up getting margherita pizza), sometimes i just crave a nice New York style-sized slice of plain cheese pizza!
Getting inside wasn't as easy as i had anticipated though.  Back home i'd never had issues just walking in with a crowd despite not having a membership card.  I guess it was always just assumed i was with one of the families going in or something.  But here i definitely stick out, lol.  The lady at the entrance directed me to the exit, under the assumption that i was going to buy a membership card or something.  When i walked in through the exit i was accosted by another worker, but he spoke English to me.  Asked if i had a membership card, i told him i have a US Costco membership (lies!!), but that i just wanted to buy some food from the food court.  He decided that was okay and let me in.  xD  So i got to enjoy my pizza and a pineapple smoothie (I was sad they didn't have the mixed berry one that i'm used to, but the pineapple one was just as delicious).
After that, i slipped in to the main part of the store going the opposite way through the registers, so i was finally able to get in and look around!
It was fun, and nice to see that they carry most of what i'm used to!  Cheese, tortillas, cereal, Quaker oatmeal, seedless grapes, etc..  No whole wheat bread though.  I don't think i've seen whole wheat bread sold anywhere here!

Looks exactly the same!

They do sell some things specific to Japan, like octopus and fish eggs

After that adventure i walked through LaLaport (just a big shopping mall) and checked out some of the stores before heading over to Ikea to have a look around. 

Same as every Ikea i've been to.  :)  

Hard to believe i've already been here for about 2 1/2 months!  I think back to the first week here and it feels like a lifetime ago, but at the same time it feels like these nearly 3 months have just flown by!  I've adjusted pretty well, i feel.. i don't feel homesick or anything, but it is nice to know that there are some familiar comforts (pizza!) close by. :)

S came down from Ibaraki last weekend for a night out- it was the first we'd seen each other since she left Osaka over a month ago.  We had quite the adventure in Shibuya, but i'll post about that next time as there is quite a lot to tell!

Jun 23, 2011

Lazy days

Was a super lazy day today. A hot, humid lazy day. Yes, summer here has definitely started! While i could've stayed in my room and been nice and cool with the A/C on, it rather hurts my neck to sit in my bed hunched over my laptop, so i sat out at the tables in the lounge/school area for most of the day, without air. We had the windows open, but that didn't really do much aside from let in the mosquitoes. I got bit 5 times today, and caught the little buggers in action twice. Needless to say they didn't survive. Had run-ins with a couple more in the kitchen, and yet another in my room. Definitely on a roll today!
I am proud of myself too that i actually did some studying, despite being sweaty and miserable. Been slacking on that and i really should be more studious now that i'm not surrounded by the language all day like i was at the guesthouse in Osaka.

Been getting kinda bored lately, so i'm actually kind of looking forward to 'work' tomorrow. Will give me something to do! I have been entertaining myself the past couple days by taking the train in to Tokyo and exploring. Yesterday i spent the day in Ueno, and the day before in Shibuya. Found out there is a Costco, Ikea, and Lalaport (big shopping center) about 20 minutes from here by train, so i think i'll make a trip out there some time next week to explore. :)

And now, just a couple pictures of my room. My mum was asking about it today on Skype, so i figured i'd post a couple pictures. (Was going to actually post these sooner, but Blogger for some reason isn't loading pictures correctly using the 'easy' method, so i'm doing this whole post in html-format.. Kudos me! And thank you, high school computer programming class)

View from the doorway of my bed. Haha, you can see my dinner on my little bedside table- toasted tuna salad sandwich, Cheetos, and those yummy packaged "pancake sands" (haha, gotta love Engrish!)

My wardrobe and shelves. Got a lot of things hanging on the doors- bath towel, scarves, shirt airing out... Got my pants suit and jackets hanging up inside, along with my unmentionables hanging up to dry in there! Don't really like the lack of dryers here..

But yeah, that's it. Nothing spectacular, but after living out of a suitcase for 2 months it's nice to have a place to put away and organize all of my things.

That's it for now. Gonna take a quick rinse in the shower and hop in to bed before it gets any later! Trying to get back on a more decent sleeping schedule.

Jun 20, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Hope all of you fathers and father-figures had a great one!
"Someday, I'll be a dad."

Jun 18, 2011


Left Osaka rather suddenly, and a month earlier than previously planned, to head back up to the hustle and bustle of the Tokyo area.
Found a part-time job of sorts from Craigslist, offering a room for free in a guesthouse in exchange for teaching English conversation 2 days a week at an Eikaiwa Club.  I called the owner on Saturday the 11th.. said he'd love to interview me in person and show me the "school" and the guesthouse (which are all together in one building- the "school" area in the front, and the rooms, kitchen, shower, and toilet in the back area), so we agreed to meet on Wednesday the 15th.  
Monday the 13th i took a day-trip down to Hiroshima to visit an old friend who's there for a summer study abroad.  It's about a 5-hour trip by bus, so i caught an early bus down and made it there just after noon.  We met up (she had brought her roommate with her) and had lunch- okonomiyaki, both Osaka-style and Hiroshima-style!- then wandered around to look in some fun stores.  We all then went for some parfaits and to sit and chat a little before the two of them had to head back to their dorms to finish their homework and start writing their reports.  I killed time around town, walked around and managed to find the A-bomb Dome and wandered around the surrounding park area.  Also walked down the huge shopping street before taking the street car back to the station to wait for my bus back.  Got some food from the convenience store for dinner.  Boarded the bus just after 10pm.


Arrived back in Osaka just after 5am the next day.  Sleeping on the bus is not exactly restful, so as soon as i got back to the guesthouse and showered i passed out in bed for another 5 hours, before getting up to pack.  Then went out and about with one of the guys from the guesthouse.  I had mentioned before about my favourite food being Mexican food, so he had found a supposedly good Mexican food place online so we went to try it out.  It was pretty freaking good, indeed!  Definitely not disappointed.  They even had a "vegetarian plate", and it came with soup and salad; 2 tacos that came with veggies, corn, lettuce, tomatoes, refried beans, sour cream, and guacamole; tortilla chips; and quesadilla.

I then had to go catch my overnight bus to Tokyo around 9pm.  It was really sad to have to say goodbye to all the people i'd become so used to seeing everyday at the guesthouse.  :(
All the guys here though are really nice, though it's just not quite the same.  Too much English here i suppose, haha.  I'm used to being the only American, and for everyone around me to be speaking Japanese (or Korean or Taiwanese).
Anyway, got in to Tokyo around 7am Wednesday, and headed over to Ueno to check in at the hostel S and i had stayed at previously.  I was at the last station, about to head up the stairs and make the walk to the hostel, but as soon as i got off the train i noticed the handle on my big suitcase was really bent.  I knew that wasn't good, and of course and i was trying to straighten in back out it completely snapped off.  Sooo, no handle to pull my suitcase!  I had to drag it by the small handle on the top and carry the duffel bag that previously had sat on top of my suitcase over my shoulders, along with my backpack and bag of leftover groceries that i didn't want to leave behind.  Not a fun walk at all.  But as soon as i checked in i got to trim my hair (finally!  It was getting scraggly), shower, and relax a bit before heading out to Saitama to meet the guy from the Eikaiwa Club.  The "interview" was hardly an interview.  He just showed me the 'teaching' guidelines and was all "You think you can do it?".  Of course.  So then he showed me around, asked which room i wanted, gave me the keys and told me i could move in tomorrow (Thursday).
So i did just that!  Got up early to check out, and brought my luggage over in 2 trips, since i certainly didn't want to have to carry it all at once with my stupid handle-less suitcase again.   
Yesterday, Friday, was my first day on the job.  It wasn't half bad.  There's no structure at all, really.  There are 2 of us native speakers per day, plus Owner Man, and the students come in when they want.  They're then separated by speaking ability, and then placed with one of us and we start conversations.  We're supposed to correct them if they make any mistakes and have them repeat the sentence correctly.  We're also encouraged to introduce new words or grammar to them too as the conversations progress.  But yeah, no textbooks or anything.  They can take notes if they want, but it's all just conversation.  

Some more life changes will be happening soon, but as this post is already quite long, and as i don't really want to jinx anything, i'll wait to write about those events as they start to happen!  :D

Jun 9, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

*Love tortillas.  Was overjoyed when i found some at a shopping center near here (although they were quite overpriced..) and bought some, along with some overpriced salsa and overpriced cheese, and made some delicious quesadillas:

*Love my friends, and i especially love getting to meet up with them after not having seen them for a while. :) 

*Love Kansai people.  I've posted about their friendliness before, but last night one of the homeless guys who sits along Piss Row (as i've come to call it, since that's where the homeless people gather. And pee.  So it always stinks of piss) has started greeting me when i walk past.  Last night i went out for a walk, and he said to me as i went by, "ハロー姉さん .あぶないよ、気をつくんな." (Hello Miss.  It's dangerous, so be careful!)  While it's really not dangerous here (at least I've not ever felt scared or threatened, especially since the majority of the people in my area are all old and hunched over), it was still nice of him to be concerned. :)

*Love Japanese TV.  There's always some sort of variety show or something interesting or crazy on to watch.  Like right now, a few of us are gathered in the living area watching some show where these two people are trying to live on $100 for a whole month, for food and utilities and everything.  While the girl has had a bit of variety with her food, the guy kept making all these weird foods just using rice, salt, and oil- like making rice and then pan frying it and reserving the water that the rice was washed in for soup.

*Japanese commercials.  Sometimes they're just so weird i have no idea what they have to do with the product they're advertising.

Jun 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

(This picture makes me laugh every time i see it.. just the whole composition of it!  From some time last summer-  our Boo [Ghetto Booty] at his best! haha)

Jun 6, 2011


Yesterday i finally got to meet up with J after far too long!  Sadly S was not here though.. but hopefully the 3 of us can get together again soon.

Anyway, he arrived in Osaka the other day to begin training before going to work in Himeji.  Yesterday he met me at my station and we walked around the area a little bit, went to the 100-yen store so i could get something for lunch, and on the way he found 10,000-yen bill on the ground, the equivalent of a $100 bill!  I always used to complain to my coworker, because he would always find large amounts of money on the ground but the most i've ever found was $5..  Coulda really used that 10,000 yen too, haha.

After that we made our way to Kyoto, and met with C-chan at the station.  She had brought a friend who had also gone to UW ("P-suke", pronounced "pee-skay") and together we took another train out to go surprise K-chan at his yaki-niku restaurant.  Since J only has Sundays free, but K-chan works on the weekends we figured we could at least go see him at work, since J hasn't seen him since he came back to Japan last year.
He was quite surprised, i think!  He walked in to the little room where we were seated to take our order and stopped and kinda stared at us with a confused grin on his face like, what the hell?  Haha.  It was really fun, and delicious.  I just had a tofu salad, rice, and shrimp and other veggies that we grilled at our table, but the others had lots of things like yukke, beef tongue, and innards.

  On our way to the restaurant!

Reunited at last!

Our spread!  Cooking meat and stuff at the table

Our handsome waiter, K-chan~!

Meeeeeaaaaat...  :p

The whole crew :D

After we were done eating we headed out to a little street festival down the road.  Lots to see and lots to eat!  Couldn't resist a chocolate banana, and J got one too.  P-suke did kingyo-sukui, and C-chan did.. something similar to that but instead of scooping fish it was scooping little squishy marble-like balls.

Really enjoyed yesterday, i wish we could all get together more often!  Especially now that both of my good friends from the guesthouse have left.  :(   I guess now it'll leave me with more time to apply to more jobs though.  Still waiting to hear back from the company i had the phone interview with last week, so still crossing my fingers for that but i do have to prepare for if that falls through!
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