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Showing posts from August, 2011

HARAJUKU (*Fangirl squeel*)

Probably the most tourist-y thing I've done at all since I've arrived here! A haven in Tokyo for teenage fashion, strange or not. I went their with Ayuko(left) and her friend, Miho(right), who is super nice and super smart!
We took the train from Sayama to Harajuku and MAN as we got closer did the train get CROWDED! But considering it was the last weekend of summer vacation for most schools, it shouldn't really have surprised me.

Let me indulge in my girlish-ness and say OMG: so much shopping and so many people!! Let me give you guys an idea of how crowded it was:
That is the place where we ate crepes (so delicious...a strawberry cheesecake crepe...I couldn't finish it). Kinda hard to see from this angle, but the line stretched around the corner and it was so hot! Aaah! But the crepe was worth it.

I can't really remember how many stores we looked at...probably ten or so. But it was worth it! If anyone cares about what's in in Japan right now the answer is
1. P…

Baby Talk

I'm pretty sure some of you have been wondering how the heck I communicate (and if you haven't been wondering that, well, hopefully you are now). A typical conversation might go like this:Host Mom (HM):
Me: Nnnn...nnnn....un! Wakarimashita! (FYI the "nnn" noises are understanding noises, like "yes, yes...yes"

It's amazing what a deep conversation you can have with different inflections of the "Nnnnnn" noise! One of my friends put it quite nicely when he said you essentially become a child again, unable to communicate for yourself the majority of the time. My host sisters' electionic dictionary is greatly abused, and I'm marking my level of language success by the frequency I have to use it.

I have been learning new words etc. (However, some of them are probably a little useless.) Still here is an example of some of my new vocabulary:
せみ (semi) -cicada
蝶 (chou) -butterfly
湯便局 (yubi…

Let's Play a Game: Guess What I Just Ate

Sup peoples. I just ate something very interesting and also slightly disturbing, so in honor of that fact here are some more food pictures:
Believe it or not that was at a Chinese restaurant.
And I guess that's my only new food photo before my surprise. So DON'T SCROLL DOWN until you guess what I just ate. Take a few minutes, and I'm pretty sure you won't get it at all.
Keep guessing...5...4...3...2..1.. OK SCROLL DOWN.

That, my dear friends and family, is small dried fish and almonds. Surprisingly, it was good. The fact that I thought it was good scares me.

Japanese Life (Just some Stuff you should know)

Hey everyone! Life is pretty quickly settling into a routine here. Summer vacation leaves us with a lot of free time, though since school starts September 8th that will quickly change. Be forewarned: this post is going to be pretty long since there's a lot of stuff I want to mention.
1. Walking around Sayama (my new home). Sayama is pretty nice with everything you could need within walking distance; and if you can't get there by walking the train at least is only two minutes away so catching one is no problem. ((Quick note on trains: they are ON TIME. Last night we checked a train time-8:28 am. Guess when it arrived: 8:28 am ON THE DOT.)) Here's a quick look at Sayama:
The view from my おばあさん’s room on floor 14.

That large building on the right is our apartmet complex. We're on floor 6.

A cute sign and the train.

2. Found a book store! Guess what I found inside of it??
MANGA. (My little piece of heaven.)

Also found a tennis magazine.

SIDE NOTE: Want to see what my current…

New Food and New Lodgings

Arrived at my host family's home! My host-mom Asako Arai and my host-sister Ayuko Arai picked me up and drove me to their apartment in Sayama. They are both very nice and evern though my Japanese needs a lot of work we manage to communicate (Ayuko's electronic dictionary is a lifesaver!!)

I figured I should put up a few pictures of what I've been eating:
イチゴミルク: strawberry milk that I bought from a vending machine (I LOVE those things). Very sweet, but delicious.

One of the meals at the Marubeni training center: cold pork, miso soup, dumplings, rice (that stuff is everywhere!) and a fruit pudding dessert.

This is the meal that my host mom made tonight: cabbage, miso soup, and a hamburger which was melt in your mouth delicious!!!

I got to take a Japanese shower (where you sit on a small stool) and I got to watch strange TV game shows. I've unpacked completely as well and my room now feels almost like home. We spent a lot of time talking about Chicago, and they looked a lot…

Finally Orientated

Sorry for the large rush of posts in a row guys, but since I found the internet cable--haha!--I decided to post as much as possible about the week. But still, not much to say, so really this post will be a lot of photos. Tomorrow I leave the orientation and go to my host family. It's very difficult to describe how I'm feeling about that, but ultimately I can't wait!

Here are some photos of the orientation that took place:
That is Furufuru (right) and Haruka (left) my group leaders.
And here is my group, Group 2, at a shrine. We were all American.

Japanese culture both old and new!

Tokyo and Orientations (Again?!)

FINALLY IN JAPAN! It's kind of hard to believe that I'm really here. To be thinking about this date for months and to finally have it happen is surreal. Everyone at the orientation is really nice; and meeting people from around the world is something you don't get to do everyday. We have a lot more in common than you'd think, and I've already talked to people from New Zealand, Australia, Finland, Denmark and Belgium. It doesn't get much more multi-cultural than this! (Oh, and the video above is just us as we were just getting into Tokyo.)

And that's probably the most interesting that's happened. We've been getting "orientated" these past two days about culture and experiences and a lot about AFS structure. My group leaders--Hanako and Furafura (isn't that the coolest name?!) are super cool. Lost of the stuff is things that I learned already from my previous trip to Japan, but it's allright. Getting to spend lots and lots of time w…

The Waiting Game

こんばんわみんな三!(Good evening everyone!)
This will be my last internet opportunity for a while since I depart from LAX tomorrow morning and won't have any internet until after the Japanese orientation once we arrive. (Which apparently is supposed to be 1-2 days. I can't believe they have that much to orient us on, but I'm quite sure I'll be proven wrong.)

Today has been pretty dull, all things considered. Long flight delays, introductions, and general waiting made for a pretty SNAFU. The orientation today was definitely the most interesting thing. The two groups that are leaving out of LAX are AFS China and Japan, and of the group that is here probably 17 of us are going to Japan. Everyone is very nice--and very quirky! I met someone who would be staying in my prefecture, as well as some people I remembered from the facebook group. Everyone seemed to get along pretty well, though I'm alone in the room I'm sharing right now since most people went to Walgreens or somet…

日本世こそ!(Welcome to Japan!)

Here I am, sitting at my computer, and typing away my thoughts before I have to crack down and finish some last minute summer homework. You could consider this my procrastination. Almost everything is done; I just have a few loose ends to tie up and then my life will have been compressed into one 27" suitcase, one carryon, and one backpack. My life is now portable!

A lot of people have been asking me if I'm excited and the answer to that is yes. People have asked me if I'm nervous and the answer is yes. Scared, worried, happy...yes, yes, yes. I've got a little bit of everything inside right now.

I've also been asked a lot where I'm staying, so here are the facts: I'm staying in Sayama-shi in the Saitama prefecture, which is just northwest of Tokyo (yes! weekends in Tokyo!). I'm attending Musashino Joshi Gakuin Buddhist school, which is an all-girl's school that goes from kindergarden to college. My host sister, who is 18, is attending their colleg…