Monday, October 25, 2010

Lunar Rainbow

Hi all,

Here we are, last week of October. Been in Japan officially a month and after everyone complaining that autumn didn’t want to come, it came- Hurray boo-yah in your face gloomy cloudy foggy dreary days galore.

I hate it.

Halloween isn’t as big deal here as it is in America. Kids don’t go trick-or-treating. And the decorations are generally mild.

This week has been pretty low-key in terms of anything happening. The school’s festival is next weekend and everyone is busy. We went out a few times but didn’t have any of our Japanese friends with us.

We went to yakiniku (焼き肉) which is similar to the Korean BBQ restaurants of New York. It was a bit pricey for the quantity of food, but very very delicious.

We went back to the big mall “Sun to Moon” and finally got to explore a little further. We went to the equivalent of a food court. And then went some-what “window shopping”.

pillows!!!!! I want one =( My current pillow is a rock- or a bag of small rocks cover with a thin sheet of cloth.

too funny!

We found an arcade and that was pretty much all we needed. Talk about finding 4 Mario Kart racing chairs together. You can race *four people at the same time ::glorious:: Sweetest thing about it is that it takes your picture and you can race with your friends whose face is on the characters they play. I played like 3 times!!--So much for my budget.

taking my picture. how are characters look after our pictures.

After which we decided to have desert…

Now I’m all for crapes - which hilariously sounds like “krap” when I hear Damien say it “the correct way =P – But the crapes we had were huge (funny right!!! I mean this is Japan!! They love everything small). It had the most whipped cream you can consume without eating it straight and plain. So we all started drooling over how yummy it was until about ½ way through. Then we started giving up on eating that much whip cream.

We loved it, but we’ll never get them again.


We went to a kaiten sushi (回転鮓) place. Finally! What is there to do in Japan if you don't eat sushi?? lol.

Be proud—I had sushi! I had Tuna salad (of course it was cooked) and I had shrimp (which though I have renounced eating out of saturation, I made an exception) and yes of course it was also cooked. But it was really cool to see the sushi on the conveyor belt go around and around as you select what you want to it.

And shocking!! I tried A fish egg. Weird, salty, I can say I did it and tried it and no I do not like it. Caviar is not for me.

I think these are all the able fish in Japan? ... It's quite a lot if that's the case.

So I tried the scallops sushi. Regrettable. Damien loves it and convince me to try it. It was like fishy gelatin. Yuck! lol
One last thing really cool about the sushi place. They charge you by plates that you eat, and the way the count the plates its by a remote that picks out the quantity and color (because each color plate is a different price) and they give you a plastic chip that you give at the register and pay it off your bill. Neat right!!


Saw a lunar rainbow for the first time in my life.

"Moonbow: it is usually

22° halo

produced by refraction through hexagonal ice crystals in cirrus cloud. Colored rings close to the moon are a corona, a diffraction phenomenon produced by very small water droplets or ice crystals in clouds. A true Moonbow appears white, and is lit from the Moon itself." They are little rarer.

So we went to the Mishima public library. And yes we got library cards. Nothing special about it though lol. And yes, no matter where you are in the world all libraries look exactly the same! Lol

Our Japanese TA works at the Sushi place so we got 10% discount. So now I’m thinking you can give discounts to your friends when you work at restaurants because it’s the second time we get a discount at a restaurant for knowing someone there.

America, why don’t you allow this??! It’s sooo good.


Well, some weeks ought to be slower, quieter than others right? though I did
Have quite the nice talk with Billy and Damien, covered a million and one topics ranging from religion to songs and animation on Damien’s balcony. Yay for bonding and being severely sleep deprived. Lol


Monday, October 18, 2010

I won't waste rice any more.

Hi all,

In two days I will officially have a month since I arrived!


Nice day outside, a cool 22°C/72°F sunny. I am doing laundry and updating you on these weeks’ events. Hmmm let’s see ---

I realized that I love Ritz bits vanilla flavor! that's right the same cheesy crackers from home only with vanilla filling and "Why, Oh why do we not have these home" I ask!!

Yes this IS a Quesadilla, and no I don't care that I traveled half way around the world just to eat food I can have at home!

Aah, yes! I had my first assignment of any class was due this week. A 300 word essay on the concept of amae (あまえ), my paper was close to a 550 words because my introduction alone was nearly a 100 words lol .

Amae (あまえ), : it’s the concept that the Japanese are very group and community orientated. It’s the “reliance on other’s people benevolence”. It is said that あまえ is needed in Japan in order to interact with others, And none of the European languages have a direct equivalent to the word because it’s unlike love. It stems from the relationship between a mother and child, where the child can indulge knowing fully that the mother will take care of them. This is then applied to a larger scale and between others such as Employer and employee, Teacher and student and so on.

Yup… And in another two weeks a even more difficult assignment, a 3 page paper on what bushido (武士道) is.

--I think I love school here –

There was an attempt from Dale and I to join valley because they said “come join us we’re the volleyball club”, little did we know that they’re actually a team and practice hard core! So Dale and I made complete idiots of ourselves because neither of us had played before. So it wasn’t until after the second practice that we were told that they’re a team (because she still said club) but there are other clubs that are less intense. You have to love the Japanese; really they can’t say no, so instead of telling us the first day that we couldn't join they let us be. This is another example of amae.

This brings me to a personal observation: you have the Japanese students who keep to themselves, shy quiet and reserve, and then the ones that love foreigners and love to speak English. So while we can’t really approach people and befriend them, we make one friend and it’s like a chain reaction. Every time we have hung out with Yuriko we have met new people! --Problem, they want to hang out with us and speak English!! I want to speak Japanese!!!!! —lol

We went rice picking this weekend! Yay!

It was nice because I have never done it and we got to meet people! While there we met two individuals on English teach programs, one of which was the JET program. Both where from the West coast of the US (very interesting)

We woke up early for this!!

this was some extreme hard work! Geez. You cut you pile you tied you hang to dry. In the words of Ka Lai " I will never waste rice again"... Yes I do know where my food comes from! lol
these frogs were every where!! Tons and tons! It was like the Christian Biblical plague-- as some one noted.

We didn’t BBQ sweet potatoes but we did get treated to “country style” soup. It was phenomenal!!

After farming we went to the egawa (江川) family house (located in Nirayama, Izunokuni City, Shizuoka Pref.), which was designated a national treasure shortly after WWII.

The Egawa family was a warrior clan descended from the Seiwa Genji (Minamoto) line. An ancestor of the Egawa clan, who fought for Sutoku Joko (abdicated emperor) and was defeated in the Hogen Disturbance in 1156, escaped from Kyoto and settled in Izu province in the Edo period (1603-1868), the generations of the Egawa clan were appointed as the local governor.The main building (omoya) is known for having the highly elaborate structure of beams that sustain a beautifully curved roof 12 m above the ground. The residence is said to have been built during the Kamakura period (1192-1333). The house has withstood for such a long time as 700 years.”

This tree has oak Sakura and third type that grew one on to the other
The roof has no nails which makes it resistant to earthquakes because it makes the structure flexible traditional style classroom

After we briefly visited and took pictures with the statue of Morimoto, who is acknowledged as being the founder the Kamakura period, ending the Heian period.

We went to the major mall around here “Sun to Moon”. Made some more new friends, and Damien and I got a little lost debating about Starbucks and DD but then were rescued by Seiji-san.

We didn’t explore all of it but it was big and hurray for finding a backup something to do when all else fails. I did really like the architecture and then theme of the moon and the sun.


One of my classes that’s once a week is canceled for 2 sessions and then we have a week off for the school festival—I won’t have that class for a month? What the *cough! But I won't complain.

I have met lots of people that have met or befriended the SBU Mishima summer study abroad students. Or like Mio, who did the EEP (Extensive English program) at SBU 2 years ago. The program is to focus on their English skills for a month.

Finally got a cellphone!! ::3 cheers:: Prepaid phones are better and come with a better deal that American phones. Let me explain, I paid about $100 for a phone that has a camera, e-mail and inferred capabilities. The inferred is to transfer information between phones (like the bump app for smartphones). I get unlimited e-mail for a month and 25 mins of calling (no one calls here though). Neat!!

Put the photo stickers that are very popular in Japan on my phone
the numbers have "kana" assigned to them as well as the standard roman letters.

Interesting fact:
1- In Japan the shutter sound of camera phones cannot be switched of. There had been a high rise in incidents involving men taking pictures under girls skirts.
2- In Japan many major train lines have train cars designated "Females only 7:30am-9am". As to avoid groping during times when the train is too packed.
3- In Japan school days (including higher Ed.) are from Mon-Sat. (this is apparently very common through Asia)
4- When you get a phone in Japan you get to pick the last for digits, which ever 4 you like.

All right laundry is done and I am about to go cook the chicken that has taken its sweet time defrosting. Let’s see what weird mixture that I like to call food I come up with.