Aug 29, 2011

Any dream analysts out there?

I used to be really good at remembering my dreams after waking up.. i even remember the first dream i recall having; i was probably about 4 years old, and it was the only black-and-white dream i ever remembered having too.  I dreamt i was walking through my house, no one was home.. i walked into my parents' room and went into their walk-in closet.  Standing there between the hanging clothes was Ronald McDonald, and then he jumped out at me brandishing machetes in both hands.
Kind of traumatizing.. 
But ever since the end of high school it's become rather rare for me to remember my dreams at all.  Even when i do remember them they're really hard for me to convey in words because they are so obscure and disjointed i just can't explain them properly.
Last night's dream, however, i remember quite well.  While it too is pretty obscure and disjointed, i just had to write about it so i won't forget it- though this one i think will actually be hard for me to forget!

In my dream i had stumbled upon some weird, underground fetish gathering.  It was literally underground, in some catacombs underneath the city sidewalks (what city i'm not sure, just one my mind had made up i guess).  I observed them for a while from afar, as they did their fetish-y things and dancing and suspensions and such.  As i was leaving, i found a dead body somewhere along the way back up to ground level.  The body was completely wrapped in duct tape, like a cocoon, except for the head.  The person was on their back but their head was tilted up, eyes wide open with a look of horror frozen on their face, and it was almost as if they were looking at me.  I heard someone from the fetish gathering approaching, and i somehow knew that this person was the one who had killed the one that was lying there.  When the girl came into view and saw me, we got into a scuffle.  At this point we were somehow back on street level, and were fighting around what looked like a subway entrance, which i think was the entrance to the catacombs where the gathering was being held.  I bludgeoned the girl pretty good, but each time she was down she'd get up again and come at me.  Nothing was said but in my mind i knew she would try to kill me.  I had to keep beating her and kicking her down.. i didn't want to kill her but was afraid i would have to or else she would kill me.  Finally i stood on top of her to keep her down, and that managed to work, but i couldn't go anywhere because as soon as i'd get off her she'd be at me again.
I was in tears at this point from the adrenaline, the fear of killing this person, and the fear that she would kill me, but when i looked over to my left there was an Italian restaurant called Mario & Luigi's.  And would you believe that when i glanced inside, there actually was Mario and Luigi?  Real human Mario and Luigi, like from the really crappy live-action Mario Brothers movie from the 90s, except Mario was extremely obese and crotchety.  I called out to them for help, and they brought over a table and served us food.  Both of us- me and the psycho homicidal girl i was standing on.  I don't remember exactly how the girl ate while she was lying down with me standing on her, but she did.  Maybe Luigi fed her under the table or something, i don't know.
I finished eating, and was like, well that was some good food but i'm still in a bit of a predicament..  They then handed me a Squeez-It (remember those?).  There were three layers of colors i had to drink through in one bottle, then there was a last layer at the end that had these little capsules in it.  I had to squeeze the bottle to pop the capsules one-by-one, and each capsule i popped would propel me up into the air, the bottle acting like a jet-pack.  So i managed to escape by flying away using a Squeez-It bottle with magical jet-propelling capsules inside. 
I was finally far enough away from the psycho girl when i landed that i finally felt safe.  I was in an unknown part of town- though i guess really the whole city was unknown- and it was nighttime.  The streets were deserted, but as i started walking i saw Sulley and the other monster from Mosters, Inc. walking down the other side of the street from me.
And that's all i remember.  I think i woke up shortly after that.

I think i might start chronicling my dreams more often.  People sometimes keep dream diaries, so if i have weird/freaky/interesting enough dreams, i'll use this as my dream diary.

Aug 28, 2011


Went on a bus trip to Nikko last weekend with my housemates and some students, but never got around to posting about it.  The Boss Man organizes trips sometimes for the teachers (all of us 'teachers' live together, so when i say teachers here i mean my housemates) and the students, but he also advertises elsewhere so there are usually people who show up just for the trips.  This time it was about half students, half people i'd never met.  Despite having to get up super early (6:30am!! i'm not a morning person...), and it drizzling pretty much the whole trip, it was fun.

On the bus ready to go!
Taking a picture of everyone getting their picture taken
Torii gate in front of Tōshō-gū shrine

The famous Three Wise Monkeys- mizaru, iiwazaru, kikazaru
Another torii in front of the shrine
The path to get to Tokugawa Ieyasu's grave (wanted to go, but didn't, because i didn't know that this was the path to it at the time! *fail*)
Housemate G in the front, a couple of our students, and a first-timer
View of the shrine grounds
Yudaki Waterfall
Went for a hike around the falls area
The whole group.  Pretty sure i'm the youngest one there by at least a few years lol. I was also surprised by how short a couple of the students really are.  Since i've always seen them sitting at a table, to stand next to them for the first time and realize that their height didn't even come up to my shoulder was kind of surprising!
Our last stop before the ride home.  Not sure what lake this was exactly.. it wasn't too far from the waterfall though.  Would definitely like to go back some time though and explore things a little more thoroughly.

Aug 23, 2011

Gaijin Card!

Yes, i have finally acquired my... Gaijin Card! *fanfare*  Formally known as the Gaikokujin Touroku-shoumeisho (Certificate of Alien Registration), but that's quite a mouthfull, so it's usually just called the Gaijin Card.  By non-Japanese at least.  Took me a while to get down the Japanese name for it, and the first time someone asked me if i had it, i had to give them a blank stare because i had no idea wtf had just come out of their mouth.  
But!  Now that i have it i can do all sorts of neat things, like get a cell phone!  It's frustrating having to pay an arm and a leg to rent a cell phone to use here, because you can't even get a cheap-y prepaid phone here without the Card, whereas in the US anyone could just waltz into a Walgreens and get one.  Can also open up a bank account, rent an apartment (so long as the landlord has no qualms with foreigners... i've heard stories), buy a car, rent movies from Tsutaya... the possibilities are endless!

Look at that mugshot!
One of my housemates has just started the whole visa application process.. he went by the immigration office today so we were just discussing all the discrepancies between what the officials say and what actually happens.  For example, housemate was told that:
*You can't apply for the Certificate of Eligibility (needed in order to get a working visa) from within the country
*Application for the CofE takes about 3 months to process
*Your tourist visa can't be changed to a working visa within the country

That's pretty much the exact opposite of what i went through.  Company sent in the paperwork for my CofE while i was in the country.  Processed in about 3 weeks and i got my Certificate.  Took it to the immigration office, they sent me to the post office to buy some 4000yen official stamp to put on some document.  I signed it, and they cancelled my tourist visa and gave me my working visa stamp in my passport, easy-peasy.  Then i was told i had to register at the Kuyakusho (Ward Office) within the next two weeks for my Gaijin Card, which i promptly did.  So everything is all done and good to go.  First order of business tomorrow is to go by Softbank before work and get me set up with a phone!

Aug 18, 2011

Hisashiburi ni BESTIES!

Nothing too exciting going on recently.  This week was Obon so a lot of people had a few days or a whole week off.  Not me however.  The daycare i work at Monday through Wednesday wasn't closed for the holiday, and the place i work at on Fridays and Saturdays is only closed until today, so we're open again for the days that i'm supposed to work, lucky me!

I did have a lot of fun last week/weekend though!  J had last week off for Obon so he came up to Tokyo on Wednesday.  After work that night i hopped a train to Ueno to meet him and our other friend Sho-sho!  I led J to the hostel he was staying at, since it was the same one S and i had stayed at in May so i knew where it was.  Then we went to get some dinner.  Found a neat little place not far from his hostel and had all sorts of sushi and different fried things and drinks, before moving on to Denny's for desserts. :)

We were surprised at how quiet it was in there, we felt like we had to whisper the whole time.  It might've just been the area, or the time (though, from my experience Denny's are loud even late at night!) but the atmosphere just wasn't very Denny's-ish!  Still, we sat and talked for a long time before we realized that it was after midnight, and i had missed my last train!  So i had to wait around until the trains started running again.  Finally got to sleep at 6am, before i had to wake up again at 11am to go meet J.  We just hung out around Ueno, trying to find things to do indoors since it was so stinking hot and we were super sweaty.  Walked through Ueno Park, then went and got some really delicious pizza at a restaurant just in front of Ueno Zoo, and sat in there and talked for a couple hours.  Walked up Ameyayokocho to look at all the little shops, stopped in to Tsutaya to browse the books, then had a short rest at a cafe before i decided i'd better head home.

Had to work Friday until 9pm, though i did get off a little early because no students came for the last hour.  Headed off to Shinjuku to meet up with J again, and our friends Yu-yu and Mr. Rich Man!  We walked around a bit, popped in to an arcade and wasted some money on some claw machines.  Well, they wasted their money on it, i opted to save my money for Taiko no Tatsujin.  :)  Afterwards we headed to a bowling alley for to play a couple rounds.  Tons of fun!  I beat everyone the first game, but completely sucked the second time around.  That's how it usually is for me whenever i go bowling for some reason..

We then headed to a gay bar, at Yu-yu's suggestion, for some drinks.  I guess it's a bar he frequents with his boss/coworkers (for reasons unbeknownst to me, since Yu-yu isn't gay) and he knew the owner quite well.  He was a very nice man indeed, calling me ojousama- which the closest English word would probably be Miss or Missus, but it's a little more formal that..  What would the Missus like to drink?  How does the Missus like Japan?  Etc, etc..  haha!
Hilarity ensued, as some of the patrons got a kick out of Yu-yu's reaction when they got too friendly with him, and i got some glorious pictures that i'm sworn to never show another soul for the rest of eternity.
We finally headed out, and decided our next move was to get some food.  By the time we were done eating it was a quarter til 5am, and the trains had started running again so we all said our goodbyes and headed home.

Poor behbeh fallin' alseep at the table


Got home at 6am, only to have to wake up at 11am again, this time for work.  Had a hard time trying to focus and talk to the students, but luckily i got the last hour off again since no one else came (everyone gone home for the holiday, most likely).  Headed out to Ueno again to meet J, and we were also finally joined by S!  And our friend H. :)  It had been the first time in about 5 months that S, J, and i had all been together, and since we had been pretty much inseparable during our school days, it was quite a big occasion!
We first went to the Hard Rock Cafe in Ueno station, but since they were a bit too pricey for our budgets, we settled for sharing an appetizer pizza before heading to Shibuya to go to a restaurant where H's friend works.
We decided to do the nomihoudai, all-you-can-drink, since it was only about 800 yen- super cheap!  Got some munchies too, and just sat around talking and drinking and eating for hours.  H's friend then led us to the karaoke room where we hung out and sang our hearts out.  The servers popped in once to bring us a ton of really awesome desserts, saying 'you must be hungry'!  And in the end H's friend informed us he had taken care of the bill!  While there's no custom of tipping here, we insisted on tipping him since it was the least we could do.  "American culture" we explained, haha.

Reprezentin' the West Side
It was a really awesome night, got home at 6am again, but was finally able to sleep in.  :)

Aug 12, 2011

Back with a vengeance!

Or at least, the heat is.
We've been lucky in that this summer has been a little more mild than previous summers, probably thanks to all the typhoons we've had recently.
But, of course, it's still summer, and it's been nice and sweltering again the past few days.  Nothing like feeling the sweat drip down your back after merely 5 minutes outside! 
For some reason, summer is a time when a lot of people (ahem.. women) like to cover up.  Everywhere i see stores selling UV-protective clothing, like 'arm warmers' (i'm not sure what they're called in this case, since they aren't meant to keep your arms warm) and scarves and full-face sun visors.  So you end up seeing people walking around looking like this:
From the people i've talked to, the reason for this has more to do with wanting to prevent freckles and tans, and keep there skin looking nice and pale, than it has to do with preventing skin cancer.

Umbrellas are a very common sight too on sunny days.  I can't diss on those though, because if i still had mine i'd be using it too.  Portable shade, it's genius!  And while a lot of companies here hand out advertisements in packs of tissues (very handy, i'm almost never without a pack of tissues in my bag), in the summer a lot of places advertise on uchiwa fans, so if you're out walking around you'll likely be handed one, and it's hard to pass them up when you're looking for any way to ease the torture.  I myself have a small collection of fans that i have displayed on my wall.  They make for good souvenirs too. :)

Melons seem to be a huge hit in the summer, despite being ridiculously overpriced at times.  Some "gift" melons can cost around $50, but the ones being sold at the market down the street from me are going for about $15. Melon soda and other melon-flavoured things are very popular here too, and today i happened to find some melon-flavoured Ciscorn Cereal (pretty much Japanese Corn Flakes).  I've tried all the other flavours- plain, frosted, chocolate, and my favourite maple pancake!  I was intrigued by the melon though and had to buy some. 
It's.. okay.  Haha.  Can't say i'm crazy about it.  Normally i love fruity cereal like Trix and Froot Loops and such, but this cereal tasted too much like melon soda, and while i do like melon soda, soda in cereal-form with milk on it is just.. eh.  I'll be sticking with my maple or frosted ones, thank you very much!

Aug 7, 2011


Fremont Troll
Feeling nostalgic- got to watching some videos i took throughout last year, and it made me really miss and long for Seattle.  (Listening to Owl City's "Hello Seattle" always makes me feel the same way too..) 

Whenever people here ask me where i'm from, i always reply with "Seattle".  Yes, i know i was born and spent most of my life in Phoenix, but i hardly remember life before Seattle.  Choosing to move to Seattle all on my own was my way of starting over.  I didn't like where i was in life at that time, didn't like a lot of things about myself, or anything really.  Being all alone in a brand new city, not knowing a single soul for miles.. it was definitely the brand new start i needed.  I grew and changed so much during those years, and have come to refer to Seattle as 'home'.  It's where i came to escape it all, came to start anew and improve myself, to start my future; it's where i met some of the most amazing people and spent some of the most awesome years of my life, where i left a piece of myself when hopped a plane across the Pacific.  And, on the day that i take a plane back (for good?), it's where i'll go back to.

I came across this article the other day and it gave me a little chuckle- "10 things you should know before you move to Seattle".. oh so true!

Oh how I miss my awesome, crazy, quirky, beautiful city...

Amazing view from the Space Needle

Aug 5, 2011


As if to reaffirm what i wrote about yesterday, i stepped outside tonight and in the span of less than 10 minutes i was bit 3 times by (a) mosquito(es)..

I've made it this far without anti-itch meds, but i think i might cave soon.. *damn* it!

Aug 4, 2011

Bug Wars

If there's one thing i hate about summer here more than the humidity, it has to be the bugs.

I've never really been afraid of bugs- i quite like ladybugs and butterflies and the like.  Used to catch crickets and beetles and rolly-pollies, and dig up worms as a kid- hell, even spiders i was okay with.  Would even hold them sometimes.
But for some reason, i just can't deal with cockroaches, which unfortunately appear abundantly here!  I remember back in May while watching TV with S in our hotel in Tokyo, seeing a commercial for cockroach traps and laughing at the silliness of it and the morbidity of the fate of poor papa and son cockroach.

I have to say though, that the other week i considered getting one of these.  If you're friends with me on Facebook then you've already heard the story, but i'm telling it again because it was just horrifying.  I turned on the A/C in my room before going to bed, and as the little flap dropped down to let the air out, out fell a huge cockroach right over me!  I screamed, and it scurried under my bed and disappeared, so needless to say it was not easy to fall asleep that night.  Luckily the next day a friend brought by some cockroach "caps" for me (little black domes with poisoned food enclosed) and i stuck them under my bed.  Went to straighten my shoes before going to bed only to find the huge bugger hiding amongst them, and he again scurried under my bed.. hopefully to make a meal of the poison.  I've still been paranoid since though.

Even worse than the roaches, though, are definitely the mosquitoes.  I can't remember a time this summer that i haven't had at least a few bites that i'm trying my best to not scratch.  According to the Japanese i can attribute my deliciousness to my blood-type (a lot of things here are attributed to one's blood-type), which i am willing to believe.  Doesn't help me though, or make it any less irritating.  And it also doesn't help that my skin overreacts to the bites, so i end up dotted with huge, ugly reddish-purple bumps everywhere..

One last thing about bugs- there are some pretty monstrous spiders here!  Like i said i'm really not bothered by spiders, and even had the guts to hold my sister's pet tarantula she used to have.  Regardless, it's still a little unnerving to walk into a room to find something this huge just chilling there:

Which is what happened at the guesthouse in Osaka.  We were all freaking out after we found one hanging out in the shower room, but i found out later that they aren't poisonous or anything, which is good, and it makes me feel kinda bad that one of the guys ended up killing it.  You can read more about them at this guy's blog.

Gonna go now and enjoy the interesting variety of movies on TV!  And ice these bug bites.

Aug 2, 2011


Got my blog featured on The Japan Blog List!  Yay!  Hop on over there if you are interested in other Japan-related blogs (adding a little link button in my side-bar too).  And if you've found your way here from the site, welcome welcome.  I hope my posts are interesting enough and that you'll stick around.

Aug 1, 2011

Trip to Nagatoro 長瀞

Took a trip with YB up to Nagatoro on Sunday.  It was a really nice place, very beautiful, only about an hour-and-a-half drive from here. There weren't a lot of people there, probably because of the rain (which, it hardly did rain, just a sprinkle here and there), so it was nice and peaceful.  The famous iwadatami, or "rock-tatami", were pretty amazing to see too, as well as the river (although muddied by the rain) and the waterfalls.  Would definitely like to go back there again sometime, especially for rafting and camping.  :) 

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