Recent Thoughts

So, I’ve been thinking for some time now, that I should post more often.  Actually I have wanted to write more often anyway.  I kind of miss venting and putting my random ideas down.  It sort of helps relieve all the stress.  I was going to do a post earlier, had it not been for the fact that I was so far behind on my Japan posts, on Christmas, as well as New Years.  But alas, the new semester has crept up on me, and now I’m back in school.  I think something I want to do, which may or may not be of any interest to you is talk about the movies we watch for my German film class.  I already will have to write 8 two page analysis on the movies, so I might as well share.  Unfortunately due to the hazardous conditions, my first class there was canceled so I have nothing to offer at least until next week.

As for my other classes, I will be taking both Japanese and German Composition and Conversation, Nutrition, and Public Speaking.  The latter being the reason I am up this early.  But I shouldn’t complain, because I did this on purpose.  But hey, I have the language lab to myself, so that’s a bonus.  I’ve also watched a good bit of movies and read a couple of books over the break, which I may or may not decide to review briefly.  I know I do this every year, the whole promising to write more.  I guess I fall into that whole New Year’s resolution trap everyone else does.  Speaking of which, I think I’ve settled on a resolution this year…

I will have/make more time for myself and things that I want to do.

Meaning I will not always let school and work, and sometimes friends, take over and so I’m left with no feeling of self accomplishment.  One of the things I want to do more of is read, so as long as I can make the time for reading, I think I will have a good start.  And as of last year’s main resolution, to get the undesirable people out of my life, I think that went extremely well.  I have a lot less drama to deal with, at least most of the time heh heh.

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My Trip to Japan: Day 7 My Departure : (

So we got up pretty early and we may or may not have eaten breakfast together.  I kind of forgot heh.  Then we went to the train station, and I actually got to see what rush hour on the trains looks like.  The train going into the heart of Tokyo was packed and people had to be really careful when the doors started to close because they were so close to the edge.  Luckily our train wasn’t that bad because we were going away from Tokyo to Narita.  Unfortunately we had to contend with a large suitcase and I felt a little bad because it got in the way a few times.

We changed trains at one point and at that train station I bumped into a guy, who after looking up at me started to apologize profusely.  I added this in because it was the second time I really felt kind of out of place there.  I’m just the big ol’ rude American please excuse me heh heh.  So we got to Narita airport while Shun napped beside me.  That’s something awesome about the train system in Japan.  It is so on time you can look up your arrival time, set the alarm on your phone, and nap.  Shun says it always wakes him up just before his stop.

Anyway, we realized we were a little bit early for my flight so we went to a sushi place to eat.  It was pretty cool because the sushi was put on a conveyor belt and if it wasn’t on there, you ordered it and the sushi chef would make it (he was in the middle of the circle made by the conveyor belt) and put it on there for you.  I tried several different kinds including salmon roe, tuna, salmon, eel, and octopus to name a few.  I didn’t realize it at first though, but they put the wasabi on the sushi for you and it hurt quite a bit on my first piece of sushi.  But at least the beauty of wasabi is it only hurts for a couple of seconds, even if those seconds are terrible terrible seconds.  It was also neat because there was a tap at each place at the sushi bar with hot water.  There was matcha as well so that you could make your own green tea.

After that we went to a couple of different shops because Shun, being the nice person that he is, wanted to buy some things for a couple of my friends and family members.  I also bought a green tea kit kat for the road (or air I guess).  Then it was about time for me to go through security, so after lots ‘o hugs and kisses he made me go.  After some mild confusion I found my gate and my plane and did some reading before they started boarding.  The plan ride was long, and I mostly watched movies again.  Only this time I watched some Japanese films.  One was mildly depressing, but I suppose it had a happy ending.  I don’t remember the name of it though, so I can’t find a trailer.  Oh well…

I thought it was neat that the flight attendants on the flight there spoke only English to me, but on the way back they spoke mostly Japanese to me.  I guess they assumed since I was flying from Japan and maybe I could speak Japanese.  I answered them in Japanese though, so maybe I passed heh heh.  I also had more room this time because the plane was no where near full and the middle seat was empty. We had to circle for about an hour over Chicago before we could land, which didn’t give me a whole lot of time to make my connection.  I again, got a bit lost in the airport and asked for directions.  Then I got irritated because I couldn’t walk down the escalator because everyone was standing all willy nilly on it.  (In Japan people stand on the left and walk on the right).  But luckily I made it.  I probably slept more on that flight than I did the 11 hour one before, even though it was more turbulent, but it was probably because I was super tired at that point.

When I got to Atlanta they put my bag on a later flight because I guess they didn’t have enough time to put it on mine.  That would have been fine except I was really tired and grumpy at that point.  But it was only a couple hour wait for the next flight so we decided to go eat lunch at Ruby Tuesday and just pick up my luggage.  It was probably for the best.  Although I did find another reason I miss Japan.  As I’ve probably already mentioned, Japan has awesome public restrooms.  The doors have no cracks, the toilets can do just about anything, the seats are warm, etc.  Well both of the doors to the stalls of the toilet at Ruby Tuesday were broken, so I had to hold the door to prevent any chance of embarrassment, the seat was freezing, and the toilet paper (while there was plenty on the roll) almost refused to come out.  I know most public restrooms here are fine, but that was just a bad one to go to after getting spoiled like that.  After that I got my baggage, came home, unpacked, and went to bed to prepare for Black Friday the next day.

Now that I have been out of country I wonder why more people haven’t done it. (aside from money of course).  It is a life changing experience and I want to go to so many other places, as well as back to Japan.  Maybe it’s just my love for other languages and cultures, but it was truly one of the best things I have ever done in my life!

And also a special thanks to Shunsuke, who showed me around and made my first experience out of southern United States a wonderful one!!!

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My Trip to Japan: Day 6 Ramen, Akihabara, and Tokyo Tower

Yes, I mean the actual Tokyo Tower Sarah.

So Shun had an early class to go to that morning and he offered to let me come with him, but I didn’t feel 100% so I decided to sleep in.  I felt a lot better after waking up the second time and I knew it wouldn’t be long before Shun got back, so I watched some Japanese tv.  Oh, and because I’m a dork I watched a program talking about cells and mitochondria and Shun was a little confused as to why I was watching it heh heh.

So after watching a bit more tv and me getting dressed, we decided we were hungry.  And I really wanted to try ramen.  After telling me about different kinds of ramen, he decided it would be better if I ate the more traditional kind first so we headed over to Tokyo Dome.  About the best way I can describe it is a hotel with various different sculptures with a small amusement park (a ferris wheel, a roller coaster, and a couple of other small attractions) with a lot of fountains and a two story row of restaurants and small shops.  The neatest thing was that the roller coaster went through actual parts of maybe a 20 story building.  Sadly I didn’t get a good picture of this like I thought I did.

So we went to the ramen restaurant, which was a different experience for several reasons.  There was a curtain in front of your little stall so you could not see anyone serving your food or taking your order.  There were also little walls between you and the other customers beside you, which you could also remove if you so wanted.  It was very private, but I found it a bit weird not to be able to see your server.  There was also your own individual tap in which you could serve yourself water, so I thought that was neat.

The ramen was delicious!  It was a sort of creamy broth with pork and green onions.  There was some sort of red spice and you could apparently ask for different ranges of spicy.  The noodles were also very thin and not really the same texture as the ones in the ramen noodle packets.  It was probably one of my favorite foods I ate while I was there.

After that we rode the train down to Akihabara, which for those of you who don’t know, is really famous for anime, electronics, and maid cafes.  We went into various interesting shops.  One of them I wasn’t sure what the theme was, but there were some really interesting items.  We also went into an anime store, but after about the fourth floor I decided I was tired of looking because I’m really not as into anime as I used to be.  We also went into an arcade and played a taiko drum game, which is kind of like rockband only with the big taiko drums.  We also did purikura, which is the Japanese version of a photo-booth.  Only you can write on it, change your physical appearance (for instance I gave myself green eyes), and put pictures and backgrounds on it.

Then we went to a large electronics store and looked at all the pretty electronics.  Oh, and expensive.  There were whole floors dedicated to things like computers and tv’s.  We also tried out 3D tv, which was kind of cool but I don’t think I would want to own one.  We also looked at some electronic dictionaries, which could do everything including surf the internet and watch tv.  Shun played around with some piano/keyboards which were also pretty fancy.  Then we headed over to his old job at a discount bookstore called Book Off.  It was an awesome store, especially considering I got about 5 mangas for around 400 yen.  I can’t really read them, but I’ll get there one day maybe…

It was starting to get a little dark around the time we got done in Akihabara, which worked out pretty well for going to Tokyo Tower.  So we rode some more trains there and it was completely dark when we got there.  The tower was glowing orange against the black sky, and it was gorgeous.  There is only one really good picture I got of it on Shun’s camera.  So we went in and decided to get a little snack before going up.  We ended up getting some french fries from McDonalds because we wanted to eat something else for dinner later.  After that we went 150 meters up, and we were about level with most of the taller buildings in Tokyo, even though some still had us beat.

The view was amazing!  I took so many pictures and you could see so far!  Next we went up 250 meters, and we towered over all the  buildings and you could see the whole city.  It was a little bit more crowded this time, but Shun and I eventually found a place next to a pillar and stayed there for a little while.  Then we really got lucky because someone was shooting off fireworks!  So we watched those until they had finished.  It was really lucky because Shun wanted me to see Japanese fireworks but they didn’t really shoot them off as much in the winter.

After a little while we went back down and I got to try matcha ice cream.  I only got a little though, and shared it with Shun because I didn’t want to fill up before dinner.  So then we rode a train back to Kameido and ate at a dumpling shop really close to Shun’s condo.  It was pretty good, but not too different than the dumplings I’ve eaten before at other places.  After that we went back to Shun’s place and went to bed, because we had an early day the next day.  I had to be at the air port : (

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