a cute title @ japon

*10/16/06 ~ 1/8/07* --> the amount of time I will be in that one weird country, as well as how long I have to figure out... at least why denim jackets look so crappy with jeans.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

♪these days...♪

Today is ze last day of the first week at the Chinese restaurant. Things continue to astound me but that's for another day.

Last last night, my friend who I'm staying with aka my Shibuya friend aka SF, took me to Shimokitazawa. Since I know nothing about it except it has pretty stores, I shall rip the first sentence off the article on wikipedia: "Shimokitazawa is a popular and fashionable area in Tokyo for people in their early twenties, and is particularly known for clothes shops, bars, and live theaters, including the famous Honda Gekijō (本多劇場). "

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While we were walking, I saw:

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And then we took lots of purikura (it's amazing what the photo loving culture can come up with) and then went karaoke-ing!! The room we were in was cool, the walls lit up. It also had a warning sign saying how it cost 5,000-10,000 dollars to put the wall up so PLEASE not graffiti-ize it.. which made me want to draw a poop.


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and these lights...

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Shimokita on the way home:

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I don't understand how I've only been here a week exactly, yet I'm already starting to melt into the scenery, as if I've been here forever. I guess it's what places do to you.

And that'sh it!!!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

♪Jobs - ARBEIT♪

So I got a job yesterday at a Chinese restaurant my friend who I'm staying with in Shibuya works at (oh wonderful grammar). I'm in Shibuya now by the way!!! Now if only this constipation would go away... ex-lax!!!!

I work at a coffeeshop in Amerika, and I'm used to super strict, paranoid, obsessive compulsive health codes (shilly amerikans!!!!). You need to really be on your guard to get that A rating. And let's just say... this place, if it were in the U.S., the health department would have closed it down in the snap of a crab's claw. It's not dirty by all means. Or unsanitary. It's just different from the paranoid measures that I'm used to. Watch, by the time I'm back, I'll be shoveling the ice with my fingers and rearranging the shape of the whipped cream with my hands.

I work four days a week, on four hour shifts = 16 hours
The pay = 900 yen (about $7.6/hr)

Which amounts to not nearly enough I originally planned to make.

So onto job searching for a second job!!! Many things seem appetizing, but one thing which catches my eye: Pachinko!!!!!!

Everyone says, ohh, don't work at a pachinko shop, it's dangerous, blah blah, but for me, it'll be a good chance to see Japan from unsheltered eyes. And the pay is good (at least $10 in US dollars/hr). Other objections to working there I've read online have been from people who have worked there long term, but I easily clear those, as I'll only be working for 4~5 weeks.

It's loud. It stinks like cigarettes and who knows what else. But I want to see things!!! And the general opinion of working at pachinko shops is going up... it's not the "OMG SHE WORKED AT A PACHINKO SHOP" that it used to be.

If anyone has any good advice let me know. My other option is teaching at a jyuku (most commonly translated as a "cram school"). The pay is about the same but SO MUCH MORE BORING in terms of people watching, and much too safe.

Okay so the lady I'm staying with is against the idea, as I expected. Everyone else I'm related to will probably be, too. I found this job in this karaoke chain store though... */edit*

And in about two hours, I go to church!!! Even though my dad is the pastor of a Japanese church, I realize I've never been to church in Japan. So I'm excited!! I just went on their website and checked out the program, yeah, it seems all orthodoxy with their hymns and recitation of the Lord's Prayer and such. But I need sustenance for my soul...!!! It's a church just down the street. I was going to go to TBC (Tokyo Baptist Church, a really big international church) first, but decided the way there was much too complex for me. I need to get used to the train/bus/other public transportation systems first. If anybody knows of a church in the Tokyo Shibuya-ku area with a good youth program and somewhat contemporary worship service, let me know!!! I'm fine with the orthodoxyness, yet, just... *runs away humming*

Yesh so I went!! It was REALLY orthodoxy, and everyone was like in the beginning stages of menopause. Not saying that's bad or anything. It was just different from what I grew up in. The pastor was scary. He kept talking about nuclear weapons and suffering children when he prayed. Give me church recommendations!! *wink yufu wink wink* */edit*

The last thing. This is what I've been feeling every time I see someone with a school uniform on:


That's it.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

♪Pictures from the outing @ Chiba City♪

Today Cousin the Younger (or, CtY, or as we now know, Harumi. No, her name's not Harumi, but we'll just call her that, for privacy and other things people get crazy about) took me to go shopping at Chiba City!! This is a pictures entry, since I took lots of pictures. Some of them are really basic for ye who have ever been in Japan, but for me, it was interesting!!!

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Japanese cell phones are so cute. Even this one is two years old!!! CtY's. She is writing an email.

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We went to the cell phone shop to see what kind of phone/plan I can have for my close to three months' stay.

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Just some random place by the Kamatori Train Station which I felt compelled to take a picture of.

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The American landscape is devoid of such images. That is probably why we are so obese.

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Where you buy train tickets!! Mmm...

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At the platform. This sign basically says, "It's dangerous to get on the train as it's leaving so don't even try it wusses."

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Train tracks, and CtY's lovely glowing face.

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Another!! Baby...

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Me and CtY.

And then, CtY took me to SHU UEMURA where a nice lady did my makeup and CtY bought this eyeshadow for me and for herself for 2,100 yen each. Seriously, Japanese girls' perception of beauty and the importance of it in their daily lives is so different from American girls'.

And who wouldn't be - the clothes are gorgeous, everything is gorgeous. Fashion is an artwork here. Just by window shopping, I could see, picking apart each piece of clothing, if the same one thing were in Charlotte Russe or Hollister, I wouldn't hesitate to get it. There's just this integrity from the people who made it, the boots, the skirts, the earrings, the necklaces - that they actually created something.

Anyway, that's enough talk about clothes. I got my hair cut. Look below!

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In the background is CtY. If she finds out about this picture she will murder me.

I know what you're thinking. I know what you're thinking. Look below!

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Me shouting, "YES!!!! YES!!! BRING ON THE FOBBINESS!!!!!"

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Japanese Subway. Just. Because.

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Chiba City nearing night time.

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three letters: OMG

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and the purikura we took at the end of the day!!!!

That's it!!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

♪Finally Here!!♪

Yessss I am finally here!!! In Ichihara, Chiba, at my aunt's family's house.

On the plane, I sat next to this middle aged man. I gave him some gum.

After twelve hours of constant sitting (and watching "The Devil Wears Prada"), we finally got into landing, and the first thing I thought, staring as the toy-like buildings and rice paddies got bigger and bigger, was "What the #$'&%#"#&%)(' am I doing here!!!????" And then I looked at the grass and knew I wasn't home anymore. More than the fact that this was Japan, and everyone speaks Japanese, and everything is written in Japanese, and everyone is Asian, nothing convinced me more than the grass.

This place, it feels foreign, but at the same time, it is not. I can read everything, speak everything, write everything, so I guess I never got over the "Oh Japan? It's just like the Mitsuwa Market, except bigger" mentality.

I landed at 4:20 but due to miscommunication, couldn't get to my cousin and uncle who came to get me until two hours later (our mothers were just... so... optimistic... my mom only told my aunt "Oh, she'll be arriving at around 4:30pm on American Airlines." No flight number, nothing else). Then we met up with Auntie and the other cousin and went out to sushi. My cousins are both girls, one is about 26 and just got married to a Coloradoan, and my other cousin is nineteen, going on twenty in a month.

The Coloradoan husband, looking at the menu, exclaimed, "Oh, there's whale!!" which cracked me up so much. I thought it was illegal!! I said.

So cousin the younger asked the both of us, "What does it feel like for Americans to be eating whale?" and the Coloradoan husband answered with two words: "Panda hamburger." (Just for clarification, Japanese people don't eat whale regularly - It's still a delicacy.)

So we got whale and the husband ate whale. We all asked with sparkling eyes, "What does it taste like????"

"Whaley," was all he said.

Anyway, the sushi was so beautiful, I was so sorry I couldn't eat all of it (as I am not a sushi person). I forgot to bring my camera. But honestly, it's art on a plate.

The pictures I DID take:

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12 hours later... Narita!!
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and at my aunt's house - this is to my IAG sweeties. Your crumbcake made it to Japan!!!!
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Going to Shibuya for a month (in Tokyo) on Friday!!! Excited.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

♪A Couple More Loose Stringies♪

I thought there were going to be no more posts here until I got there, but I changed my mind. Girls are allowed to be fickle. Oh, there I am, supporting gender roles at the same time that I'm totally bashing them. Kudos to Walt Whitman, or whoever said, "I am contradicting myself, I contain multitudes," or something like that. I'll look it up later, as it seems to be my life story.

ANYWAY, I just wanted to say, God, thank you that so many people care about me in all areas of my life, and thank you that I have a heart. Thank you that I'm able to love people, places, and times, even songs, so much that I'm able to cry about them.

It took every fiber in my being to compose myself today, Saturday - the last day of work until January. The first couple hours were fun and normal, and then came lunch break. I was just walking around outside, and it was just the most beautiful weather, humongous, puffy clouds, the right temperature, and for some reason it gave me this overwhelming urge to cry. But I held it in by squeezing my butt, and telling myself (excuse the language), "Just say 'fuck' over and over." Yeah, it seems funny, but I was desperate.

And then I got back to the coffeehouse, and I sat down, heard everyone talking, and laughing, and the blenders going, and just, all of the racket that usually goes on there, realized I wasn't going to be listening to it for close to three months, and I couldn't hold it in anymore, so I decided to go to the bathroom. No, I'm not talking about pee, or that other thing which looks like a... never mind. Turns out the women's bathroom was occupied, so I went into the men's, turned off the lights, bawled my eyes out, made sure my eyes weren't red, and then made my way out again.

I thought I was fine, I thought I was done, but when it came time for me to leave, I knew doom was upon me, especially when Wames played the finale of Rent on the speakers and everyone gave me this more than cool signed thing. All that went through my feeble brain then was, "I'm not going to cry, I'm not going to cry, crying is stupid, eff word, eff word, eff word!" And, yeah. Repeating profanities which you rarely say out loud over and over has a shocking effect for a while, but for the most part, it doesn't work.

This was an incredibly sappy, and kind of emo entry, but it won't be the next time I post, which will be when I'm there. It will be filled with mado-isms and charlie-isms and all kinds of stuff you never wanted to know about. Hehhehhheh.

Tomorrow, I say goodbye to everyone at Hanjyuku, at church - now I'm positive about my eyes melting into all the salt water. And the day after that, I will be on the plane. And the day after that, I will be --- there.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

♪twin-banana - thoughts before leaving♪

No, I am not a twinkie, or a banana. I don't get how that works. Yellow on the outside, white on the inside?? Why white? I understand how Brit is a hoho, black on the outside, and white on the inside, because she is actually half white. I am not. So I have come to this conclusion: I am a blended twinkie, a blended banana, except the white will symbolize not the color white, but every un-Japanese trait I have acquired since I was a fetus. YAY! And yellow is, well, I am actually more brownish than yellow, but meh, yellow will be my physical appearance, as well as everything which makes me distinctly un-American.

I am blended, not layered, because I can be in either country and pass as a local, thanks to my parents' Spartan and stereotypically Asian language retention methods. I sound ungrateful and negative, but I really am thankful, because I am a cross dresser, a spy, bisexual, in the culture sense. There's probably an actual word that means that, but I don't know what it is. Should Japan and the U.S. war again, I am fleeing to France, or, hmm, Italy, where I will not have to worry about shaving.

YAY for coffeehouse blenders. I really am going to miss them. One of them shall be named mangoberry.
I'm trying not to think about how much I'm going to miss everyone back home. My eyes will probably be in liquid form by the time I'm back.

I won't post anymore until I get there. Six days.

P.S. What ethnicity are the Simpsons, really? Oh never mind. I tried thinking about it, but it made my nose runny, so it has been thrown away in the dumpster of my soul.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

♪Charlie... *sob*♪

I'm getting homesick already. I watched Charlie the Unicorn, and while usually it makes me laugh continuously like a broken faucet, today it made me cry.