frellnik: (blueflower)

Well, I'm sick again.  Spent all day yesterday lying on the couch drugged up and drinking lots of water.  My throat doesn't hurt much today so that is a big improvement, but my sinuses are so blocked up that my head feels like a balloon. My nose hurts from blowing it so much and is stuffed up and running constantly, and my eyes hurt.  The fever is better today too. I'm hoping I'll be good to go to work tomorrow as I'm at my favourite school this week and I only get to go there once this semester.

So, I got some great news!! I was talking to my mom last week and she told me that she had decided that if she could get the money together, she would come to Japan this year!!  This shocked me somewhat, and made me really frelling happy.  My mom had told me numerous times that she didn't want to come to Japan. It's too far away, it's too hot, it's too expensive, it's not her thing..... and out of the blue, she decides to come for a visit! :D

So I tried very hard not to get my hopes up incase money was not available. I knew that would be the only reason she wouldn't be able to come.  Well, earlier this week she told me that she is definitely coming! !

MY MOM IS COMING TO JAPAN!!!
In August!

So I asked her what she wants to see while she's here and she answered, "Disney Land and Ueno Park". LOL  I love Ueno Park! lol  It goes without saying that I would take her there! lol  And Disney Land and Disney Sea will be lots of fun too!  So we came to the decision that we would stay at the Disney Resort for a couple days while we go to Disney Land and Disney Sea so it will be easy to come and go and mom could go for a quick nap at lunch and then go back to the park...sure.  Except, August is TOP season, that's busier than PEAK season...and the prices are REALLY expensive!! Like...$1000 a night.  So...I thought about vacation packages...and what I thought was the price for 2 people, turned out to be the price for 1 person.  That wasn't going to work either.  Then [livejournal.com profile] syuria gave me the brilliant idea of checking out the Disney Partner Hotels which are very close to Disney Land Park and have free shuttles to and from the parks as well as being run by Disney all while being much less expensive.  So I found a great room and thought we'd stay there 3 nights.  Then I tried to find a hotel elsewhere in Tokyo for the other 4 nights we'd be there and found 2 potential places.  Mom didn't like them lol.  So instead she suggested we just spend the entire week at the Disney Hotel.  So I ended up booking us at the Disney Hotel  (Fountain Terrace Hotel) for 6 nights!!

While we're in Tokyo I'm hoping to visit 2 of my host families, who have both expressed a wish to meet my mom; go to the Harry Potter Exhibit in Roppungi, Tokyo; go to Asakusa and Ueno Park, and spend 2 days at Disney Land and Diseny Sea. At the end of the week we'll be coming to Iwaki to spend a week at my place and enjoy the ocean, the country side, some Kareoke parties, good food and just relax after a busy week in Tokyo.  Then I'll take mom back to the airport and have a week to recover before the start of 2nd semester.

I haven't seen my mom since Chrsitmas of 2011.  I am really looking forward to seeing her <3

In other news, I failed the N2 exam I took last Decmeber so I will be taking it again on July 7th.  I hope I pass this time around. I also applied to take the JET Translation and Interpretation Course this fall.  There is an extrance exam at the end of June. If I pass the exam, I can take the course.  If not, I'll try again next year. I hope I pass, because I'm getting sick of failing all the time.  and I have been studyig. lol So here goes!

oh Japan

Sep. 28th, 2012 11:09 pm
frellnik: (Default)
So, Japan has a few seasons...here they are:

Winter (December-end of March), Spring (April-end of may), Rainy season (June and start of July), Summer (July and August and part of Septemeber), Typhoon season (mid/end of September through October), Fall (October through November). 

We are entering Typhoon season.  Things are about to get interesting! =p

I am so happy that it has finally cooled down, and now the typhoons are starting. gah!  I guess running will have to wait until mid October.  Well, in the mean time, I will enjoy dancing!

I got 2 delivery notices in the mail today. They shall be delivered tomorrow evening between 5 and 7.  =D  I'm looking forward to these packages.

I also need to ask my mom to go buy me some new tank tops from old navy and mail them to me.

note to self, losing weight is expensive! it means you have to buy a whole new wardrobe! damn.

oh! Naomi bought me a beautiful, glow in the dark, bright amazing puzzle for my birthday! she gave it to me today! I can't wait to put it together! <3
frellnik: (Default)

Today marks 1 year since The Great North-Eastern Japan Earthquake.  It's so hard to believe that it's been a year already!  My town is just now starting to rebuild and is actually still knocking down unstable buildings.  There is so much damage left to fix, yet, already, so much has been cleaned up and fixed.

A year ago today I thought my aparmtment was going to fall apart with me inside of it.  I gave [livejournal.com profile] ninja007 a heart attack and then she spent quite a bit of time talking with [livejournal.com profile] race_the_ace before calling my mom and waking her up to tell her that I was alright after the earthquake, but didn't know if I was alright due to the tsunami.

What I remember most from the earthquake was all my furniture moving across the rooms, not being able to stay on my feet, everything crashing around me and seeing parked cars in the parking lot bouncing like basket balls.  I also remember hearing explosions.   I had been vid chatting with [livejournal.com profile] ninja007 when the earthquake hit and I managed to get a text to her before my cell phone stopped working to let her know I was ok.

There was no running water in my town for 5 weeks.  The roads were so damaged that vehicles couldn't come into the city so food and gasoline became scarce.  After the meltdown at the plant and all the explosions around the city, it rained acid rain for one evening and night. We evacuated.  I went to stay with a friend in Tokyo for a week before going back to Canada for a month.

Fast forward one year and things are getting better.  I am very proud to announce that after a year of no running water and only being able to use part of the school, Yotsukura Junior High School is fully functional again!  Running water was restored to the 2nd and 3rd floors 3 days ago and 2 days ago water was restored to the 1st floor as well! The students will be returning to their own school, after having been sharing the elementary school for the past year, tomorrow!

All weekend there have been celebrations all across the city and , indeed, all across north eastern Japan!  Right now there are fire works going off that I can see clearly from my balcony! The beach is only a 5 minute walk from my aparmtment, after all.  So many people died, and many are still missing. However, so many people lived.  Life goes on, and that it worth celebrating. Live life in the moment. Live life like today could be your last day.  No one had expected what happened.  No one could have ever imagined it would happen. What happened was right out of a sci-fi/horror movie.

This is what my city looked like after the earthquake and tsunami.


each town in Iwaki is listed in the bottom right hand of the video.  At the time of the earthquake I was living near Onahama.  I now live and work in Yotsukura and Hisanohama. We have come so far in the year since the disaster. But we still have a long way to go.

I'm just glad to be alive.

frellnik: (Default)

Earthquakes are picking up steam again.  Been having quite a few lately in the surrounding areas and the last two, just a few minutes ago and last night, were right in my area. 2 decent sized earthquakes in 14 hours. Not too happy about that.  It's a little worrisome.

It's already March 1st!  Graduation ceremonies are in 12 days! End of school year is in 22 days! I'm going to have to say good bye to about 10 classes of kids who will be graduating in less than two weeks!  Wow, time flies!

I have no classes today, and only 1 class tomorrow. I have taught 4 classes a day the last 3 days, so today and tomorrow is going to be quite slow. lol  But I have a good book and I am supposed to be studying...so I have plenty to keep me busy.

Rehersals for the SGI performance are going well. I am feeling pretty confident with the dance, and I have one of two songs almost completely memorized.  So now I need to work on the other song and then combine the singing and the dancing.  One more month until the performance!

I know I had more to say, but I can't remember it now. I've been wanting to post for a few days now and just haven't had the time.  Now that I am posting, of course nothing is coming to mine. lol 

OH!!! yeah!~  It snowed ALL DAY yesterday!!!  The kids went nuts at school!  Lunch time had all the kids outside having snow ball fights! No jackets among them. Hell, one idiot was out there in shorts and he ended up on hit but in the snow more often than not.  Needless to say, the all came back into class after lunch completely soaked and hands cold and red from the snow.  Some of them looked like they had jumped into a lake. lol  I bed there will be some sick kids next week.  All the snow is gone today. It rained last night lol.


Ok, off to work.  Have a good day/evening everyone!

pet peeve

Feb. 10th, 2012 08:54 pm
frellnik: (Default)

did I spell that right???

Anyway, yesterday in English class....  how much of my frustration starts with that phrase?

Yesterday in English class the JTE (the other teacher that teaches with me) decides to let the class watch a movie (since they have finished the text book and are just doing reviews now).  He brought "Despicable Me".  I like that movie. It's a good movie.  It's also an ENGLISH movie.  So being an English class and having an English movie, one would think that we would watch it in English with Japanese subtitles for the kids. That way the students can read along with the movie and still hear English spoken in a natural environment.  Makes sense, yes?

NO!!!  No, he puts on the video in JAPANESE with english subtitles.  These are grade 7s.  They can barely read English at all!  There is NO WAY in HELL that these kids would be able to follow along with the English subtitles even if they Wanted to.  Which, lets face it, they didn't.  So there was absolutely NO educational benefit, what so ever, in watching that movie in English class. 

The only good thing about it was that the kids laughed alot.  These kids don't laugh enough. so that was good.  But a complete waste of time!  I, on the other hand, got a good hour's worth of Japanese study in.  hahhaa.  I hadn't seen that movie in Japanese before. The voices suited the characters well.

But this sort of thing happens all the time in Japan. Engish is put on the back burner for more important things.  It really amazes me that the Japanese Government spends all this money for us to come here, live here, and work here and then when the students Englsih skills don't really improve (because English classes get cancelled, teachers don't want to use our ideas, we are not given opportunites to actually communicate with students, etc.) they are dissapointed with our teaching skills.  STOP BLOCKING US LEFT, RIGHT, AND CENTRE AND YOU'RE KIDS WILL LEARN MORE!!!!  How many times have I gone to school this year (by taxi, payed for by the BOE) only to find out that my classes have all been cancelled? And also, the amount of English homework and study that these kids do is laughable!

Ok, well I'm going to stop, before I actually get angry over this.  I'm a little frustrated, if you couldn't tell.  sometimes I need padding on my forhead because I bang my head on walls and on my desk. lol    I really need a WTF? stamp to use when marking lol.  I miss my elementary schools.

frellnik: (Default)

I went home for Christmas at the end of December and I got to see almost everyone I wanted to see.  I missed a few people and I'm sorry for that, and hope I'll get to see them next time I'm in Canada.  I'm on the fence about going home next year for Christmas. I may just stay in Iwaki and save some money. This year's trip was really expensive, and if next year is the same, then I'm not going to go.  But, I did get a few cold days that made me appreciate getting back to Iwaki, and I got to enjoy more than a week of snow! So that made me quite happy.

Now being back in Iwaki, I miss being in Ottawa. Why? Because, although it isn't as cold here as in Canada, it is still below 0 degrese celcius and our houses are not insulated and we don't have central heating.  My water pipes have frozen 5 times in the last month.  I have a new found love of electric blankets too, but that doesn't help my apartment stay warm. I am looking forward to spring.  Spring and Fall are DEFINITELY my favourite seasons in Japan.

While I was home at Christmas, I decided to try to save as much money as I could this year. I realized at Christmas that I really hadn't saved any money last year. I had paid off part of my loan and done a lot of travelling around Japan, but I hadn't put any money aside for when I finish in Japan.  So I decided that this year I wouldn't travel, and I would put as much money as I could into savings. I even opened a tax free high interest savings account.  I feel so proud! lol

Then I got back to Iwaki, and the first day of work we had a BOE meeting.  And 5 minutes after I get there, Susan comes over with a magazine about Hong Kong and says...are you in? lol  OMG!! 3 days back in Japan and I'm already invited to go on a trip...to HONG KONG!!!  and then LITERALLY 2 minutes after that, Chelsea runs over and says "Okinawa, Taiwan, Korea!".  I blinked and asked, "in one trip?" and she said, "YES!"....OMG!!!  So there goes my plans for saving money.  I am only doing one trip...I decided that I do really want to go to Hong Kong....I had been thinking about it last year too. So I am going to Hong Kong at the end of April.  The flight and hotel have been booked.  Now we are trying to figure out where we want to go and what we want to see and do while we are there.  I am NOT planning on doing any more travel this year...but there may be a few short trips to Tokyo at some point.

More and more houses are being torn down around my apartment building.  I noticed 2 more yesterday and today that are in various stages of being demolished.  That brings the tally up to 9 houses in a 2 block radius of my apartment.  And of course, that's not counting the many houses closer to the beach that have been gone since I moved in back in August.  So far only 3 houses in my area (2 block radius) have been rebuilt.  The place is looking kinda empty now.

In other news, March 16th is Kosen Rufu Day (Buddhism) and the youth are putting together a performance.  Youth (under 30) acorss the entire prefecture are participating. Our celebration is going to be on April 1st instead of March 16th because of lingering earthquake stuff...but I am really looking forward to it.  Practice meetings started last week and will be every Tuesday and Thursday night. Iwaki group will be singing 3 songs and dancing one of them.  I have been given lyric sheets and I'm already working on learning the words :) Junko has been driving 4 or 5 of us from Yotsukura into Taira for the meetings every week.  I'm going to have to get her a nice present as a thankyou for always driving us to the meetings.

This past Friday we had a BOE meeting and we were given our confirmation about recontracting for next year (August 2012-August 2013).  I got my confirmation that I have been recontracted again. So I will officially be in Iwaki until August 2013 :)  I also got my first review from my three schools.  The review is 9 questions about how I do at my job and each question is graded from A to D.  I got all As and Bs this time around. =D  I'm glad everyone seems to like me and how I work.  The kids seem to like me too which makes me pretty happy :)

After the BOE meeting on Friday we had a welcome meeting for Colin, the newest High School ALT who came in December last year.  He had only met me and Chelsea before Friday, so it was a great chance for him to meet some of the other ALTs in Iwaki.   There were 12 of us there, including one other High School ALT whom I had not met yet, Andy.  We had a good time, ate way too much food, and possibly drank too much (not me, I only had one alcoholic drink, but I enjoyed it a lot) :p  Then Mareli and I came back to my place and watched some SGA and had a sleep over. I made us some banana chocolate chip pancakes for brunch, and made hamburgers and poutine for dinner. 

Things are going well, except for how cold it is. This is, apparently, the coldest winter in the last 10 years.  Which I can believe, as I don't remember my water pipes freezing at all last year. lol.  But we are already in February now, so hopefuly it will warm up soon.  My Japanese lessons are going great too.  My teacher is awesome!

and that's enough for now :)

I hope everyone has a great week!!

frellnik: (Default)
I wanted to give people outside of Japan a look at what people in Japan are still facing. I don't live in the worst hit area, but I do live in a town that was affected by the earthquake and the tsunami and the melt down at the nuclear power plant. Please don't forget about the people of Japan because we are no longer all over the news. — in Iwaki-shi.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v334/frellnik/Yotsukura%20Iwaki/?action=view&current=MVI_8050.mp4
frellnik: (Default)
another opens?

I have finished my last shift at Costco! I am no longer working!! YAY!!! I now have to start the not so fun process of packing up all my things. I have about 20 boxes to use and I'm really hoping I don't need any more. I better not need any more! 20 boxes! LOL

Mom and I were supposed to go to Québec this weekend but our car died a tragic death. We need the transmission fixed...so if it turns out to only need to be flushed then it will only cost about $400...but if there is something else wrong then it could cost up to $1500. Yikes! So out trip has been postponed to the 14th of July. yay.

[livejournal.com profile] ninja007  is coming to visit July 10-13!!! I can't wait to see her again!  We'll pick her up at the airport and get her to her hotel then probably take her out to dinner.  And her hotel (inn) is right near my place so it will be great! Convenient! lol I'm excited!!!

Also have a trip up to a friends cottage where I will get to spend 2 or 3 days will most of my friends and will be coming back from that 3 days before I move to Japan.

So it's going to be a busy month!

Tomorrow I have to go downtown and stop by the Japanese Embassy to drop off a copy of my degrees.  I'm hoping to hang around sparkstreet and the byward market before coming home.  Should be fun.

I hope you are all doing well!

frellnik: (Default)

This morning when I got back to my room after chatting with mom, I checked my phone and noticed I had a missed call from about 2 minutes before.  I recognized the number as being from the Taya family (my second host family) so I called the number back and my host mother answered.  She wanted to know if I had the Mizogami family's home number (my third family) so she could invite my host mother to lunch with us tomorrow.  It just so happened that I spent yesterday with Mamiko (Mizogami) and had gotten her home number from her before heading back to the hotel!  LUCKY!  So I don't know if my Mizogami okaasan is coming or not but I know that Mamiko can't make it because she has to work. But I hope her mom can come.  I really like her!  Taya Okaasan told me that Saori (my host sister from that family) will be coming too so I can give her her gifts in person! YAY! I'm really happy about that.  

So I went back to Ueno park today. I decided that I would go to the zoo and then go to the Museum of Science/Technology and Nature. I got to Ueno Park at about 11am and went straight to the Zoo.  My camera died about 10 minutes into the zoo. I can't believe that! I thought the battery was about half charged. It wasn't...so I'm going to charge it tonight.  I figured out how to take pictures with my cell phone and I can e-mail them to myself, but it will cost 40 yen for each e-mail/picture.  So it might be cheaper to just go back at some point and take picture with my Charged camera. lol  I saw this one animal that had the head of a giraf, the legs of zebra and the body of something else.  the weirdest looking animal I have ever seen.  It's called Okapi.  from Africa, same area as the giraff.

I spent 3 hours at the zoo and didn't quite see it all, but I was too hot to stay there any longer.  It was 35C degrees today and very humid!  I don't know what the humidex was but it was high, probably in the 40's. too hot for me.  Too hot to eat. I had a big breakfast and that held me over until dinner, but I did drink a lot throughout the day.

Next stop was to the ice cream truck from a few days ago.  They had just got there when I was walking up and so I waited for a few minutes to let them set up.  I got the same ice cream as last time, Chocolate and vanilla twist. SO GOOD! yyyuuummmmmm!

At about 2pm I went to the museum.  The price to get in was the same as at the zoo, 600 yen ($6.00).  That was where I saw THE MOST AMAZING THING I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE!!!!   

INTRODUCING THE THEATRE 360!!!

It's a round theatre (dome) with no seats.  Nothing but a bridge that goes from the entrance straight across to the the exit.  The floor is kind of a long way down, and parts of the bridge are see through plexi glass so you can see down.  The theatre is 12.8 metres in diameter.  The screen is the entire surface of the inner wall (including ceiling and floor!!).

IMAX EAT YOUR HEART OUT!!!!

visitors stand on the bridge across the theatre that shows the images/movie in 360 degree panoramic. OMG!!!  Theatre 360 is the world's first theatre of this kind.  You feel like you are floating!!  Or well, more like you're standing on a bridge that is flying and taking you on the most amazing journey ever!!!!  The video is soooo real looking (it was dinosaurs).  It was so life like and it was everyone (above, around and below you) it was like actually being there!  The most AMAZING thing ever! I don't even thnink I'm explaining it good enough.  At the begining they take you on this little 2 minute journey through the rainforest, throught this beautiful area with water falls and you go under water and see all the marine creatures (whales, fish, sharks, coral....) and then you're in space! SPACE!!!!  and the earth comes up to your right from underneath your feet and there are no barriers..jus the earth (big as life) to your right, the moon out to your left (or behind you depending on how your standing) and nothing but open space and stars all around you for as far as you can see and in EVERY direction!  

I cried.  

I'm almost crying again just thinking about it.  OMG!!! I'm in awe..or maybe shock..or both????  I'm definately in love!  SPACE!!!! I was in space!

And it was free with admission to the museum!  I went again on my way out of the museum, I just had to go see it again.  The movie was short, about 8 minutes long, but it was so amazing!

The museum itself was a combination science/technology and Nature.  They had an exhibition on dinosaurs and the earth, one on marine biology, animals of the Earth, Evolution of Humans, COmputers and planes and clocks (Japanese Technology from the Edo period to now). There was also my personal favourite (I bet you can guess), Space!  Complete with movies, cinematics, games and lots of info. I need to go back, maybe Saturday and bring my Fully charged camera with me.  I wanted to take so many picutures!!  

All in all I spent about 4 hours at the museum. I went to every floor and looked at every exhibit.  it was a long day and wow do my feet ever hurt!!! Today was a lot of fun, I think I'll sleep well tonight!

When I got home at 6:30 I went upstairs and started getting stuff ready to cook dinner.  I made a new friend from Florida who is teaching in English in Korea and is here for 3 weeks.  I invited her to join me for dinner and I made us pasta with chicken, green pepers, onions, and lotus root with a white sauce and cheeze.  It was really really good!  I made almost too much for the both of us (so I'm glad she ate with me or I would have had left overs and now way to store them!).  Then we had Anko Dango for dessert (mochi balls on a stick covered in sweet red bean paste) I love them!!

After we cleaned up I came down here to write this and she went up to her room to unpack (she had to change rooms today).  We're going to hang out for the evening.   should be fun, she's a lot of fun!

Well that's it for today, tomorrow I'm meeting my various host families for a reunion lunch.  should be a lot of fun!
Take care everone!
Have a good day!

frellnik: (Default)
Today  I got up and talked to mom.  At about 10:20 I left to go get the train to Toyoda to visit Motegi Sensei.  Motegi Sensei and Naho's husband, Riki, met me in front of the bank across from the train station.  We went to KFC for take out.  I had 3 pieces and some fries.  I told Motegi Sensei how mom doesn't like KFC because it's guarbage. She laughed and told me not to tell her! LOL

Hey Mom!!! I ATE KFC!!!! And I liked it!! as always. LOL

After lunch we watched the olympics on tv and I got to hold Naho's baby.  His name is Rion (Leon) and he's 1 month old.  I got lots of pictures of him and of me holding him.  He's so cute!!  He's like a little rag doll, little button nose and you can do anything to him while he's sleeping and he won't wake up.  He's sooo cute!

We watched tv for about 2 hours and then Riki drove Motegi Sensei and I to Hachiouji so I could go to a fishing store and buy a present for Kasai Otousan ( my host father).  His birthday is on the 14th.  I bought him some lures, it cost me about $17.  Then we went grocery shopping for dinner.  I helped make dinner, we had Curry.  It was a little too spicy for me...so I had to add more rice to my bowl.  I ate it all though so that's good!

Okaasan called me at one point to tell me that she had talked with my other host families and that they had decided to meet for lunch with me this coming Friday the 15th in Hachiouji at Bikkuri Donkey.  That's when the battery in my phone died....  Motegit Sensei let me use her phone to call my Okaasan back.   So I am supposed to meet Okaasan at her house this friday at 11:30 and we'll go to the restaurant together.  Saori is going to be there too so I will get to give her the gifts I brought for her in person! I'm really happy about that.  I'm hoping that Mamiko will be able to go as well.  I will also be able to give Otousan his present when I go to his place before the restaurant.

The day went by fast, we did a lot of talking and gawking at the baby.  We talked about my schooling, about the baby, Motegi Sensei's trip to Korea two months ago, Driving in Japan and what the various signs and marks mean....it was fun.

OH!  the baby sounds like a cat...he makes all these cute little noises that really do sound like he's a cat.  So they call him neko-chan (neko means cat).  He's so cute!  I'm so happy that I got those pictures of him.

Tomorrow I get to meet Mamiko (my host sister from the third family I stayed with here).  I'm going to meet her and her friend Yoko (who I supposedly know....oops., I hope I'll recognize her when I see her.) at about 2:30 in Shibuya.  I'm looking forward to it!

Well that's it for me today.
Have a good day everyone!
frellnik: (Default)
Today I talked with mom for a bit.  She lost track of time and Mark ended up texting my brother to find out if mom was coming online to chat or not.  At 10  I went upstairs to make breakfast and then after I ate  I worked on a bracelet that I'm making for Aya.  I also studied my Japanese books (grammar and Kanji reading) until almost 1pm.  At about 2pm I showered and headed out to the train  station and I went to Ueno Park.  I got to Ueno at about 3pm.  There is so much to see and do in Ueno Park.  There are 5 museums (2 art museums, the Tokyo National Museum, the Royal Museum, the Nature and Science Museum....there might be one more.....I can't remember.  There is an art academy, a music academy, a children's zoo, a small amusement park ,  a play ground, baseball diamond....a huge water fountain,  and lots of shrines, temples and statues.

I watched a little cat, not quite a kitten but not full grown either, attack a group of ravens.  It was funny to see.  Kitty didn't catch any but he camped out under a tree to wait for them to come back. lol  I saw a few cats, all smallish, running  around the bushes and grassy areas of the park.  Lots  of homeless guys too.  Sad to see.  and no one pays any attention to them at all, it's like they're invisible.  :(

I spent almost 3 hours walking around the  park...minus the time it took me to leave the park and find a department store so I could go to the bathroom....there were lots of bathrooms in the par but they were the traditional Japanese whole in the ground (or sideways urinal) type and none of the stalls had any  toilet paper...I was at the point where I would have willingly used the awful style toilet...but not without toilet paper!!!  So I walked for about 6 minutes to a department store and had nice clean bathrooms.

It was 34 C today and I didn't find it too hot!  So I guess I am getting used to the heat here.  It's still really really humid, but there was a nice breeze today.  I'm planning to go back to Ueno Park later this week and check out the museums. I really want to go to the museum of nature and science.  They are having an exhibition on Gold too.  could be interesting.

Jessica and Stephanie have gone to the grocery store to buy food for tonight.  Steph was kind enough to let me use her laptop while she's gone.  So I don't have to spend any money tonight to write my journal!! Thanks Steph!

Well I guess that's it for today. Tomorrow I'm meeting on of my teachers, I'm to meet her in front of the bank outside of the Toyoda station (one  stop away from Hachiouji) at 11:30am.  I can't wait to see her little grandbaby. still don't know if it's a boy or a girl... oh well, It'll be fun!

Have a good day everyone!

ETA: I forgot...I got ice cream at this little ice ream truck.  The guys working there were really nice.  As I walked up one of them smiled at me and said HELLO!  so I smiled back and said hello.  He asked me if I want ice cream and I  said yes.  Then in Japanese he asked me if I understand the signs (the different flavours), I told him I did.  He smiled again and complemented my Japanese  and said I speak Japanese better than he does. LOL  I said no way and shook my head no, which got him laughing.  The he told me in English that he only knows one sentence in English: I LOVE YOU!   (HAHAHA!!!) I looked at him and told him in Japanese: "That's two sentences!"  He laughed so hard!  I ended up getting chocolate vanilla mix. It was really good!! it cost 350 yen....so about $3.50.  expensive....but really really good!!!

Love it!  so much fun!
frellnik: (Default)

This morning I made Egg Mcmuffins for breakfast!  They were good, but I cooked the eggs a little too well.  I couldn't figure out what temp to set the stove at...just a little different from what I'm used to.   I left to go to Tachikawa to meet Aya at 10 and I got to Tachikawa at about 10:50am.  I discovered that Tachikawa has changed a lot since I was here last!  There is an entirely new section of the 2nd level of the city.  Tachikawa has a ground level that cars are allowed on and a second outdoor level that is about level with the 2nd or 3rd floors of the buildings.  No cars allowed up there.  It's kind of like a glorified sidewalk excpet that it goes all throughout the city and branches out to other areas..there are even street signs. I'll have to post some pictures when I get home. The train station has been expanded too so I really didn't recognize the place, at first I thought I had made a mistake and gotten off at the wrong stop.

Aya met me in front of Granduo (department store attached to the Train Station) and we went to eat lunch.  We went to a "healthy" restaurant and I had this really good dish. It was in a bowl that was sooo hot that the bowl actually cooked most of the food.  There was rice (already cooked) and lots of different kinds of vegetables, and a raw egg that got cooked by mixing it into the rest of the food...so it ended up being kinda scrambled. It was really good.  Everything was cooked through and I couldn't finish it all.  Most people think Japanese people don't eat much and the portions at restaurants are small...let me tell you, they are not small.  They are more than I can eat! hahaha.

After lunch and quite a bit of talking, we went to the movie theatre to buy out tickets... we saw Gake no ue no Ponion.  I forget what the English name is bit it's something like...On top of the cliff, Ponion.  It's a really cute movie.  I think I'll go see it when it comes out in Canada.

we did quite a bit of shopping today. I bought 4 books...all Japanese tutor type books.  One book is a preperatory course for Exchange students who want to enter Japanese Universities. The other three books go together and are to help you get ready for 2nd level Japanese Language Proficiency Test.  There are 4 levels, level 4 is the easiest and level 1 is the hardest. If  you pass one then you are the equivolent of a native speaker and can get any job you want  in Japan as long as you have the qualifications.  It also covers the cultural aspects.  There's one book for reading, one for listening and one for culture.  

Aya gave me my favourite cake!!  She was traveling recently and she bought me Kasutera!  And this stuff has gold flakes on top of it that I've been told are edible.  This stuff is amazing!  I can't wait to eat it! I wish I could bring some home for mom to try but I don't think I'd get through the airports with it.  

Dinner was pasta. I had a really good dish, have no idea what it was called or what was in it really...just that it was really good.  Tomato meat sauce...lots of different kinds of meats....garlic...Aya ate the mushrooms and egg plant that was in it.  I didn't finish that either.  But it was really good.  

Then we went to a different place to dessert. I had chocolate brownie and ice cream.  We ended up sitting next to a girl that went to high school with us.  So we talked with her for a bit and I learned which of my old classmates are married, who has kids (already) and a few other things.  Manami got married to an American (to which I replied: go figure, not surpirsed at all!) LOL.  

It's a good thing that I didn't have to go to Hachiouji today (I'm going tomorrow though) because the train isn't running past Tachikawa tonight due to someone jumping in front of a train earlier this evening.  The line is now closed until they get things cleaned up.  Someone did the same thing yesterday on the Yamanote line...and I think I saw something about another person doing the same earlier last week on the Chuo line.  Why people feel there are no better options than to jump in front of a train is beyond me....I understand that maybe people are unhappy...but if you want to end your own life go jump off a building.  Not to be insensitive...but when you jump in front of a train in Japan, the line stops and the company loses a lot of  money...so to make up the lost money they fine the dead person's family. A lot of money!  Enough to buy a house in Canada!  I wouldn't do that to my family.... not only do they have to deal with that loss, they now have to find the money to pay for that loss.  Ouch.


okay that got kinda depressing. sorry.

So I'm back at the hotel and I'm going to go look at my books for a while before going to bed.  The german guys have left to go to Sapporo, so I don't know what it's going to be like upstairs now. I got used to having those two around, they were a lot of fun to hang out with.

OH!  Also, today wasn't as hot as it has been...I didn't sweat much at all and I didn't need to drink a tone of water either!  And now it's rather cool outside, I almost wish I had brought a sweater. It's really nice!!!

Well that's it for today.
Have a good day everyone!

frellnik: (Default)
Today I went to Shibuya with Emanuel and Julian.  We left the hotel around noon and took the Yamanote line to Shibuya (190 yen).  When we got there we decided to go to the Tokyu Food Show.  It's like a big underground market full of food stuff.  Bread shops, meat shops, french foods, german foods, sweets and cakes...you name it.  Everything was kinda of expensive though.  I ended up getting crispy chicken with garlic cheese roasted baby potatos!  I also bought some bread things at the bread shops...it was a fresh sweat stick bun with chocolate in it.  yummy!! :)   We took some pictures by the statues and then walked around the city for a while.  I went looking for a Book Off store, found it, but it was closed.  I was dissapointed.  We spent over 2 hours there just going from place to place.  We stopped in a sega arcade and I played taiko drums for a few minutes. it's 200 yen for 2 songs/turns.

We found an all you can eat place with soup, sandwhiches, pasta and cakes! I think it was about 1,840 yen (about $18 CAD).  Not bad for Japan. And the cakes looked really good!  You can only stay in the shop for 90 minutes though. They don't want you eating too much cake! lol

Then we headed over to Harajuku.  We went around the train station to the park and walked down the nice paths to the temple shrines.  I got a lot of beautiful pictures. Julian was really nice and took a bunch of pictures of me posing in front of various things. I got a few pictures with the boys too. While we were at the Temple there was a wedding.  We watched the procession from the main temple to one of the smaller areas for the ceremony.  it was really neat.  I got some pictures of it and a video but I don't know how good the quality is.  I got to use my french for a bit with a guy from France.  he says I barely have an accent and that my  french really doesn't sound like Quebec French. lol ! Well that's good I guess. haha.  At about 5:30 I decided I had had enough and headed back to the hotel to do some laundry.  The boys decided to stay and look at the shops and they haven't come back yet...that was 3 hours ago. I guess they are stil having fun! lol

I got back to the hotel and found out that our laundry machine is broken so I went up the street to the 24 hour coin laundry place.  It turns out to be faster and cheaper there.  It cost me 200 yen for the washing machine, 200 yen for 20 minutes in the dryer and 30 yen for the soap.  So total of 430 yen... at the hotel it's 500 yen and it takes over 2 hours to do one load instead of 50 minutes down the street.  So I'll be doing my laundry down the street from now on!

I had chicken and rice and tomatos for dinner tonight. I bought eggs and will be making Egg McMuffins for breakfast tomorrow! 
I'm meeting Aya in Tachikawa at 11 tomorrow so as soon as I finish talking with mom in the morning I'll be heading out to the train station! We are going to go see the new Miyazaki movie that just came out in theatres! (the next in line after Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away)
This next one doesn't have an English title yet but it's about a fish that gets caught by a boy,...and likes the boy so wants to be a human..or something like that. It's supposed to be really good.

Well that's it for today.
Have a good day everyone!
frellnik: (Default)

Well today was an easy day.  I went online this morning to talk to mom but she didn't come online so I chatte with Tricia and Dr. Phil for a bit. I also did some reading.  Then around 10:30 I went walking around the city and did some shopping in Tobu stor.  I bought myself a nice science book on space for kids (all the kanji have furigana over them so I can read them all no problem) and then around 11:30 I went back to the hotel to eat lunch.  At about noon I took a train to Akihabara to go to Book Off to see if they had Chibi Maruko-chan DVD's.  I still haven't found any and I've checked 4 or 5 difference cities!  IT's like all the stores have everything but the ones I want!  go figure.

I also bought myself a small 3D puzzle of the moon.  I put it together this afternoon. It was fun and it's made of plastic so I can throw it around! lol

Now I'm just hanging out at the hotel. I made plans to go see Motegi Sensei on Tuesday and to visit Mamiko on Wednesday.  Might go see a movie tonight too.  Other than that, not much to write about today.  Tomorrow I will be talking to Aya to determine when to meet her on Saturday! I am really looking forward to seeing her!  She's my best friend and I haven't seen her in about 6 years!  I can't wait!

Have a good day everyone!

frellnik: (Default)

Today was kinda cool.  Jessica and Stephanie decided to go to Odaiba and I asked them if I could tag along.  They had no problems with that so we went to eat up the street from the hotel and the caught a train to Shimbashi and then took the monorail to Odaiba.  It was really cheap to get there and only took about an hour.   Odaiba is a peninsula (sp?) and the monorail went over Rainbow Bridge.  Our First stop when we got to Odaiba was this place called DECKS.  It went along the beach.   We went inside for a bit and looked around then decided to go eat some cake at a cake shop.  I had Gateau Chocolat and a coke for about $9CAD.  It was expensive but it was really good.  From the second level Deck we got a really good view of the Statue of Liberty...not sure what it:s doing there, but it's a lot smaller than the one in New York.

We went down to the beach for a while and Stephanie and Jessica went to walk in the water.  I just watched them.  I got some really nice pictures of the surrounding area and a really friendly/brave butterfly.  I decided to do some experimenting with my camera and discovered I have a foliage setting that takes really good pictures and gets all the subtle differences in colours.  I also have a Beach setting. lol

After that we walked through this really long (360 metres) overpass/tunnel across the highways to another section of Odaiba.  There was a REALLY BIG Ferris Wheel and the Fuji Channel 8 building (the one with the big Ball that always goes rolling down the streets in the Godzilla movies), and most importantly there was Venus Fort!!  Venus Fort is a really nice shopping centre complete with statues and Fountains and Roman architecture...and the ceiling is made to look like the sky.  It changes from Sunrise to midday, to afternoon, to sunset and then night sky.  It takes about 20 minutes to go through the cycle.  I got some really good pictures there too.  

There was also a special ride set up outside...well maybe ride isn't the best word for it.  They had 2 trampolines set up and they put you in a harness and let you jump...I think you end up going more than 10 feet in the air.  It was really neat to watch but I didn't want to pay the money to try it out.  It was about $10 for 4 or 5 minutes.  Looked like a lot of fun though.  

We got off the train at about 12:30pm and we headed home a little after 4:30.  It seemed longer though.  By the time we got on the trains all I wanted to do was sit down.  My hip has been hurting me most of the day, the slower I walk the more it hurts...hurts less when I walk fast, weird.

We got back to Ikebukuro and it really looked like it was about to pour rain again...I made it back to the hotel just as it started to rain, but it didn:t rain long or f\very hard.  It:'s just spitting. 

So, yeah, good day, good compnay and wow, I:m tired!  Hopefully the guys in my room won't keep the frelling lights on past midnight again tonight. I finally had to ask them to turn them off at about 12:45 this morning!  

Have a good day everyone!

frellnik: (Default)
TODAY WAS HOT!!!  it was about 40C today!  Right now there is a very big thunderstorm going on...it was raining so hard a moment ago I could hardly see down the street. I made it home about 10 minutes before the rain started  over 2 hours ago. I'm hoping that things will cool down now. I don't think I can stand another day like today...I must have drank 4 bottles of water while I was out today.

Last night I met a lady from Oregon.  Today I ended up going sight seeing with her.  We left the hotel around 10am and took a train to Ueno and then ttransfered to the subway to go to Asakusa to see the temple there.  The temple at Asakusa is the oldest temple in Tokyo that is open to the public.   Once you enter the main gates of Asakusa the main street that leads to the temple is lined with shops on both sides.  There is a little of everything.  I bought a small wall scroll for ¥300 ($3).  I took a tone of pictures, that place is really pretty. I think we spent over an hour looking at the shops before getting to the temple.  

We decided to take a ride on the water bus from Asakusa down the river ( I think it was a river...) to Odiaba.  The ride was about 45 minutes.  The tour guide spoke only Japanese but that didn't really matter because my new friend really likes to talk...she talked non-stop for most of the day.  Seriously mom, she talks even more than I do!!  But the boat ride was a lot of fun and I got some really nice pictures.

Next stop was the Emperial Palace.  We took the train from Asakusa to Tokyo Station and walked to the Emperial palace to see the gardens.  We spent about an hour walking outside and around the palace grounds.  It turns out that the garden is closed Mondays and Fridays so we didn't actually get to go in, but by that point I was so hot and tired and sore, that I just wanted to go back to the hotel anways. I got some nice pictures of 2 swans that were swimming in the moat around the palace.

So, my friend went on to Ginza to look for a camera lense cover and I took the train (no transfer, thankfully) back to Ikebukuro and headed to the first convenience store I saw to buy more water! and supper....I only ate half of it and didn't eat lunch...way too hot!

So I got back to the hotel at about 4:30 and started my laundry at 5:30...someone else's clothes are in the dryer so I'm waiting for them to be claimed so I can dry my clothes.  I've decided that some of my clothes are going to be put in the bottom of my suitcase and ignored until I get home because it will be too much trouble to clean them...and others are just to warm to wear in this weather..I brought too many clothes.  

I called 2 of my host families today and talked for a bit, made plans for next week. I also called Aya's place and found out that she's travelling with a friend and should be back on the 9th....so I have a few days to spend by myself just looking around and stuff.   As long as it isn't raining during the days it should be fine.    

I'm sore from all the walking I did today...and really tired...wishing it was later so I could go to sleep.  Reading a Stargate Atlantis book: Blood Ties.  I'm on chapter 4 now. So far it's pretty good.
I'm gonna head back upstairs and get some more of my water...god I'm so thirsty.

Have a good day everyone!
frellnik: (Default)
Well I ended up getting about...maybe 3 hours of broken sleep last night.  Really hard, uncomfortable beds, and I know I am not the only one not sleeping well. Hopefully I'll be able to spend a few nights at Aya's house next week, I'll have to wait and see. 

So Aki called me when she woke up this morning and we decided to meet at 1pm.  I met up wit Phillip (sp?) in the lounge and we talked for a bit.  He and David (both are from France) decided to go check out the Hachiouji festival today so I decided to go with them until it was time to meet Aki.  It took just over an hour to get to Hachiouji by train and we spent another hour or so wandering around the festival.  Most of the city was done up for the festival with probably close to 100 booths set up along the sidewalks with games, and different kinds of foods and sweets (wood steamed baked potato, chocolate dipped bananas, cotton candy, Tako Yaki - octopus balls, yaki soba - fried noodles and so much more!!)  There were also floats for each section of the city.  I got some pictures of some of them.  There was traditional Japanese dancing in the streets (two lines of dancers that stretched more than 2 blocks in each direction!!) and Taiko drum performances by adults and kids alike.

So much to see and 3 days to see it in...but I missed the first day while in transit.  I get to back tomorrow with the Kasai Family.

I took the train to Hino for 1pm and Aki met me at the station.  We went back to her place and chatted with her parents for a while.  Then we all decided that today would be a good day to go visit the old high school.  So Aki's dad drove us back to Hachiouji (avoiding the festival) and went to sleep in the car while Aki and I went around to surprise everyone.  After we signed in at the front desk ( and were greeted really warmly by the secretary) we went upstairs to the teachers room.  Ishida sensei was in the room and Aki stuck her head in and told him to come to the door beacuse there was a special guest to see him (me!).  The look on his face when he saw me made me feel really good.  So we talked for a few minutes then he went across the hall to get another teacher that was there 6 years ago when I was a student there....and we talked for a few more minutes.  Then we started talking about different teachers and Harada Sensei came up. I really really like Harada Sensei. He was definately one of my favourite teachers at Junshin High school.  Turns out he's now the Vice Principle!!!  So Ishida Sensei called him on the phone and told him to come down to our floor because there was a special guest here he had to meet.   We met him in the stair well as he was coming down the stairs and I waved at him and he just stopped for a second and his whole face lit up and he practically ran down the stairs to greet me!!!  He shook my hand real firm with a huge smile on his face and we ended up going into one of the confrence rooms for iced tea and sweets while we talked for about 30 minutes.  We were joined by one of the nuns (also really nice) and then the secretary joined us and brought these little ice treats that were made to look like pineapple pieces. (yes mom, I actually liked them!! I had 3 :) )  That's when Aki mentioned that her dad was still in the car waiting for us!  LOL  The teachers freaked! LOL It was rather hilarious!  Turns out he was sleeping, and one of them went out to get him and bring him inside then ice airconditioned building to wait while Aki and I went to the gym to see Suzuki Sensei.  (the high today was 35C...tomorrow is going to be hotter and it is REALLY REALLY HUMID!!!)  

After that Aki and I went back to the festival for a bit and then went to Book Off (cheap books, movies and music..all second hand stuff) and I got two movies. (one is called Shinobi and I can't remember the name of the other one.)  After that we went back to Aki's place and her mom made Okonomiyaki (think pancakes but with vegetables and stuff ...not really pancakes but that's what they kinda look like). I had 2 and a half...practically the only thing I had to eat today besides drinking tones of water...just to hot to be hungry.  I left Aki's place and caught a 9pm train back to Shinjuku and then transfered to another train to get back to Ikebukuro,,,, I was falling asleep before and after dinner...barely stayed awake on the train...and now that I'm back at the hotel, I'm wired again. go figure! lol

I figure I'll go upstairs and chat with Phillipe for a while (he's in the same room as me for sleeping) and then go to bed around midnight (iun about 45 minutes).  It was an amazingly fun day and tomorrow promises to be about as good because I get to see my host family and go back to the festival for the final day.

off I go.  Have a good day eveyone!
frellnik: (Default)
I spent over an hour tossing and turning in my bed, trying not to wake up the other people in my room,,....

The beds suck...well, they don:t really, I:m just picky,..think Rodney McKay and his perscription matress and you have me...well I don:t think I:m as bad as him...but whatever.  So my problem is partially that I:m just too tired to sleep and have gotten my second wind right when I didn:t need it, and that the matress is A LOT harder than I am used to and my pillow doesn:t fit right. LOL

So it:s just a matter of me getting used to it, really.  in the mean time...I:m gonna go crazy!   I can:t find the right buttons on the keyboard so I appologize for the weird punctuations but they are going to keep appearing until I get home in three weeks. LOL

I have not been up awake for 32 hours...and I:m ready to bounce off the walls!!!! OMG!  But I:m sure  you don:t want to hear about that anymore.  


SO!  I got to Narita Airport and rented myself a cell phone (cause you can do that here!) and bought myself a ticket to Ikebukuro on the Narita Express (about $32) and 90 minutes later I was walking from the train station in Ikebukuro to the hotel/hostel.  I didn:t get lost at all!!!  haha! I:m very proud of myself!!  Now tomorrow I just have to find my way to Shinjuku station and from there I can go to Hachioji and visit my old stomping grounds!  (I JUST FOUND THE ' KEY!! YAY!!!) I'm too lazy to go back and change all the mistakes.  

Well I'm gonna go puruse facebook for a bit and then take another stab at sleeping...maybe  I'll end up just listening to music for the rest of the night.... who knows.  I hope I get to sleep.

Sleep well everyone!! \(^o^)/
frellnik: (Default)

It's 7pm in Japan and I have just gotten to my hotel in Ikebukuro....that's 6am in Ottawa...which means I have been in transit for 26 hours! I am in desperate need of a shower.  Just wanted to let mom and friends know that I got here in one piece and didn't get lost...even got a cell phone that can send e-mails and make international calls. incoming calls are free!!
anyways, e-mail is limited....so I'm gonna go grab that shower now and find some food.  This place is really nice! and cheap!!! 
I love it!
more later!

frellnik: (Default)
Well, I'm in Vancouver now.  I have 4 hours until my next flight.  I just checked my e-mail and found out that my friend who was supposed to meet me at Narita Airport can't meet me now...so I have to find my own way to the hotel.  Not really my biggest worry (I have a map), staying awake long enought to get there could be a problem though.  I left home 8 hours ago, by my watch it's about 1:30pm...but here it's only 10:30ish...so everyone is still eating breakfast and I am ready for lunch. I'm currently waiting for Milestone's to open so I can get some food....not fast food or airplane food.  :)

So, one 5 hour flight down and one 11 hour  flight to  go! I'll  worry about figuring out what trains to take when I get to Japan.

So on the plane I watched 1000BC....I liked it.  I think my mom will like it too.  
Anyways, the restaurant should be opening very shortly so I shall wander on over there and wait.

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