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Movies and Meat!

Yesterday the newest Studio Ghibli movie, When Marnie Was There, came out in Japanese theaters. Unfortunately not a work of Hayao Miyazaki (since retired...) but it's by the director of The Secret Life of Arrietty, which came out a few years ago.
Regardless, When Marnie Was There is a movie based off the novel by Joan G. Robinson (and is currently out of print and impossible to find, even though I really want to read it...Amazon claims there will be a reprint next year but I'm impatient...)

I won't say too much about the movie since I'm sure an English version will come out eventually, but I will say that I enjoyed it. It was much better than I thought it would be; the background art was beautiful, as was the music. The ending was a little too well-wrapped up for my taste, but there was an element of ethereal mystery throughout the film. I'm really glad I went--and even MORE glad that I understood it!! Probably helps that there's pictures, but still!

Then we all went out for yakitori (lit. grilled chicken) for dinner. Naoko (who visited once earlier) came again, this time with her husband. They're very cute. We had to wait about forty minutes to get seats at this yakitori restaurant, but it was definitely worth it!

And tomorrow is yet another day off! I'll have to start studying for the final exam soon...
T-5 days.


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Short Hair, Don't Care: Model Behavior

I like to think I have a wide range of accomplishments under my belt:

Accidentally over-caffeinated myself conducting ethnographic research--check
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Never (yet) pulled an all-nighter--check
Sung at Carnegie Hall--check
Published a poem--check

But now I can add a decidedly interesting item to that list:
Been a hair model in Japan--CHECK.

It's a bit of a long story.

It all starts with coffee, actually, like many of my adventures here in Japan do. I was checking out a coffee shop in the too, too cool area of Daikanyama (no, seriously, that entire neighborhood is just Too Cool for me, I don't even know why I was there). There I met stylist Yusuke, who asked if I wanted to appear in a PR photoshoot for the opening of his salon brand's newest branch, boy Tokyo, Harajuku. They're (wisely!) making a site to appeal to foreign clientele--it's a smart move because it's really hard to find a place that has stylists who truly are comfortab…

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Tomorrow is my last day. It felt strange to write that sentence, knowing that I've been gone six weeks, which feels like both no time at all but also forever. Even though this is my fifth time coming to Japan (and the fourth for an protracted trip), the coming-and-going is something I don't get used to. Just as I start getting over my "ugh, I just want to go home" hump and settling in, well, it actually IS time to go home.

What have I done the past few days?

Well, on Sunday my host family and I took a drive to Yamanashi prefecture (re: near Mount Fuji) to visit the Oshino Hakkai, the Eight Sacred Ponds of Oshino. According to the signage, when people used to hike up Mount Fuji for pilgrimages, they would purify themselves in the ponds before starting their journey. And having stuck my hand in an (acceptable) corner of the main pond, Wakuike, it was FREEZING. Some other ponds have specific purposes, however. One was for people who wanted a good marriage, for instance.

Cat Cafe

Today I went with my host brother to a cat cafe for "research". Yes it is a cafe and yes it has (canned) coffee, but also I really really really wanted to go to a cat cafe. By doing a little research, I found one off a convenient train station that not only didn't require a reservation in advance, but had free drinks and was actually significantly less expensive for more time than other cafes. On to Nyankoto!

For cat lovers, this is paradise:

This shop had fifteen cats, each with their own names and personality described in a photo book:

This cat's name is Kinta and he's a mix--though most of the cats there were breeds I was unfamiliar with and had fur of various kinks and degrees of fluffiness. 
They were all very social, active cats as well.

Kinta greeted my host brother by literally jumping on his back. 
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