katekat: (_nihon_lion)
I finally sit down to try to make a post of many parts (including pictures not my own since i often forgot my camera just when it would have been useful this trip), that reminds me to remember certain pieces of the trip, while also explaining where I've been.

I wish I could say I've been out running here to there having the time of my life, so busy that I haven't been able to be at the computer, but the truth was that I was sick.  I think I already bitched about that, but it started on a Thursday, I sat out fun things on the weekend so I could get better, slowly recovered so that I mostly felt all there to take the final (but not entirely all there to study for it - I figured sleep was the best present I could give myself on that score, so the final really became a 'these are the areas you need to study most' thing rather than a 'final' with a grade).  But then the cold came back on Friday of this week, hard enough that my housemate told me I looked like was doing 'pretty bad' at the final school party - so again, I went home and tried to rest it out.

Still sick.

However, in the mean time, I did squeeze some things in. 

pics or it didn't happen you say? sure! )

So today, my last day in Japan, I took two sudafed (nicole still has a stash of the ones with pseudoeffedrine in them, so they actually, you know, work, and keep you alert), and we went to Kamakura (no, really, click the link, it's pretty)

Those pics also forthcoming.

What I'm going to miss about Japan )

What I am looking forward to when I get home )

Things I won't miss about Japan, not at all )

ok, that's that. more posts coming soon i guess!
katekat: (AI_adam_shy)
So, after three days of being actually locked out of my LJ account (there was a password mix up, don't ask, it's all taken care of, hopefully, at this point) I'm back!

To say that my awesome learning experience in Japan has been enhanced with a cold.  Awesome.  Not.

So i haven't done anything interesting in the last week except to drag myself to class and post one set of big bang art and basically thurs/fri/today I've been sleeping and trying to rest and get over this crap.  Especially since it's my last weekend with my classmates all here.  And I would like to celebrate that a little!  But noooo, instead I have awesome runny nose.  At least they're obsessed with vitamin C here and you can get awesome awesome awesome vitamin C type chewable things and drinkable things at every conbini. 

But seriously body? so did not need this. Better than getting sick after I get home I suppose, because I basically fly home, get to spend a night at each parent's house, then have to get back to LA for paperwork and orientation. BLEH. But still.  It is terribly hard to even think in Japanese properly when one's head is stopped up.
katekat: (_nihon-flower)
first off, i have now discovered something i hate worse than sweating while swimming!  (ok, i don't totally hate it, but it does feel gross).  But what feels worse is walking home in the pouring rain when it's like 100% humidity with your umbrella trying to shield you but really doing a rather piss poor job, carrying your groceries in one hand with a loaded backpack on your back.  Because not only are you sweating, you're also wearing what was once dry clothing.  No longer though!  No, indeed, everything was soaked to the gills.  Basically the umbrella kept my face kind of dry.  So yay for that!

Last week was painful - we had a mid term.  I did so so - great on the reading portion, TERRIBLE on the conversation portion because I didn't realize till later what i was being asked.  LIKE HONESTLY DIDN'T KNOW THE WORD.  There was a little bit of stress last week and when that happens I get stressed out in my damn interview things with sensei's and then ... well, brain is down the toilet.  Oh well.

After test was Kabuki - which was amusing and bloody (yay) and half the class fell asleep anyway (LOLZ) and then after that was shibuya where we found a nomihodai to have some dinner at.  Totally cute little basement place (like lots of places in shibuya are), and the food was actually really tasty and kind of korean-ish (there was kimchee, ok).  Then we did Karoke and I have amusing pictures that I will post of that at some point.  Super fun.  And we got home on time!!  (oh, and i think i posted about that, still tipsy and stuff).

Saturday was recovery day and i didn't really do anything but consider leaving the house in an abstract way.  But Sunday!  Sunday I met my old advisor (the one who didn't get tenure, who is here for a couple of weeks) and other of her students for lunch at this vegitarian restaurant called Vegitable Sushi Potager (you can read in english!  don't be scared) that was actually REALLY good.  We even had dessert.

I was thereafter supposed to meet housemate and other school friend to go shopping and do the whole Harajuku thing and possibly museum, but housemate forgot her phone, and I ran really late, and there was a train station mix up, so I ended up waiting an hour for them and shrugging my shoulders and going to the book district on my own.  Who says you can't make your own fun?  I dont'!  AND I FOUND I SCI FI BOOKSTORE! And it was awesome.  And has old sci fi magazines.  And six SIX books written by my favorite author.  So I bought four.  I will possibly go back for the other two next weekend.

Monday was supposed to be homework and I got a good start but then got totally reckless.  Oh well.  It was actually a day off from school (our own summer break! woot! sorta) and so I think the resting was probably good for me. 

Now though, it's back to the grind stone.  EEP.  Bye guys!!
katekat: (Default)
let's not be coy, ok?  both you know and i know and I know that i don't drink the alcohol that often.  (or maybe you don't., but now you do - too many issues with it most of the time).  But when in Tokyo.... well, there's this little thing called nomihodai.

that's 飲みほうだい - which means 'all you can drink'.  and admittedly, it's not like all you can drink of top shelf liquor, but it is all you can drink beer, or, in my case, all you can drink 'moscow mule' (which is gingerale and vodka, light on the vodka), for an hour at a time.  Of course, we did nomihodai at a restaurant for one hour, with dinner, and then another nomihodai karaoke for two hours, with, well, songs!   hilarious, filled with eightys songs and lady gaga (and some japanese and chinese  too) and then, well, we had to catch a train and walk home. 

it's all so very civilized, you see, because if you don't catch the last train by midnight you can't get home by train, so you start early, you drink early, you goof around, and then you go back home (well, ok, some other people stay out till dawn, but i do not have that stamina and i never will, nor do i want it).  anyway, fun, goofy, and now i'm at home after climbing an abominable hill (well, two, really) quite tipsy as tipsy can be. 

It's a reward, of sorts, you see, for taking our mid term today.  which, thank the gods is over and done with.  and so since we were in shibuya anyway because of a class trip to a kabuki performance, we did it up pretty right - haggle with the barkers for a cheep nomihodai, and sing yourselves hoarse. :D

ahhh, Japan!
katekat: (_nihon_lion)
It's four o'clock on a thursday and the rain has just blown in with a crash and a bang and the loud whisper of wind shusshing through the leaves of my garden.

It feels like a cleansing kind of thing - the heat and humidity has been fierce the last week, leaving me and Nicole drenched in sweat every time we had to leave the house.  Didn't help that we walk up mountains and back down them both on our way to school and from it. 

Now the heavy moisture-laden air has been cut through with a cool rumbling knife and we'll be able to breathe for five or so minutes.  That is, until the sun comes out again and all the stuff that fell from the sky tries to get back up into it.

For a first week it wasn't bad - I'm in a class that's just a smidge higher than I was last summer, but much of it is review (not surprising that I need it since I didn't really take Japanese classes last year).  It takes up all my time though, from daily kanji and grammar quizzes to the chapter a night homework and daily writing assignments - there's no rest here. 

And as lovely as our little garden hide-away accommodation is, it takes 40 minutes to get to school - and that's on the quick route.  20 minutes walking, and there's no way we can run (remember that up hill down hill thing? yeah, still there every day).  20 minutes on the train.  Add in stopping for little things like shopping for dinner on the way home and you have my entire schedule.  Every day: wake, study, travel, class, travel, shop, study, eat, study, shower, sleep. 

Luckily it's in Japan.  Nothing like being surrounded by a different world to make working that hard worthwhile.  I'm sure I'll go through ups and downs - this week I've been totally jealous of the higher level groups because they're reading about translation or gender studies while we're talking dolphin eco-location and sundials (yes, really, I had readings on both of those this week).

But our Sensei is allowing us to bring in our own texts, so my plan this weekend is to catch up on work, study kanji, write a couple of paper proposals, do some art for big bangs, and find some readings I'd actually care about having read for my class, even if it means going to the damn bookstore and buying them.  I'll make plans to go explore things later.  This is also because last week I feel as if I was beautifully social with academic and non activities.  Besides, supposedly Nicole and I are going drinking with one of the other guys from the program after class on friday, so, you know, I'll have that too.  It's like a Japanese tradition or something. :)
katekat: (_nihon-flower)
Week 1 is over!  Well, there's tomorrow (sunday) where the owner is throwing us a bbq and i'll basically be prepping for that and doing homework all day, but other than that it's a done week.  We had placement tests!  I was placed!  I'm in a class with people whose speaking abilities roughly match mine, though my reading abilities are a little better, I think, but that works for me.  We have an absolute ton of homework, some of which I did on the train ride today since I went up to Tokyo and it was a 2 and a half hour ride to get to the conference I was attending!  Which was great fun - saw a panel on social activisim that talked about DIY Punk in Japan, another one where the best presentation suggested that films that have the conflict around traditional/modern (past/present) may not be as easily read and categorized as we think, and felt an earthquake (tiny one! don't worry! they happen all the time here).  I really spent most of the day on trains, but even that was entertaining - there was a guy on the train wearing fuzzy leopard shorts with pockets.  Like the shorts were made out of fuzzy leopard material.  I shit you not.  How I love you Japan!

and here are more pictures for your amusement )
katekat: (_nihon-flower)
*waves* made it!  Made it actually several days ago, and it's awesome to be back in Japan.  It's hot, sticky, and the place that I live is luckily only halfway to the top of the hill instead of all the way, and still I have to take a break midway up the street to get there because I'm panting, but it's still awesome.  There is only one other person living in the guest house right now (and I picked it purposefully because it was a small one and only houses 6 people total anyway, but she's upstairs, I'm downstairs, and we're both doing the same language program.  It's awesome.

So yesterday we went to the store and bought actual food to cook since we have a functional and not too frightening kitchen (and ended up going back again later for other non food type necessities), and today we took the train out to the place we'll be attending every day for class, wandered around and got lunch, visited the park next door, and then poked around our neighborhood a bit before heading home. 

There are so many silly things I like about this country - the fact that random strangers will ask you if you need help when you and they are both browsing at a bookstore; the fact that there's a bookstore on one level of the department store that is on top of the closest train station; the 100en (hyaku-en) shops that are so much better than dollar stores in the US; green and growing plants everywhere; the taste of flaky pastry and the twisty little streets.

So, here are my three pictures from the last couple of days - since I've been doing the recovery from jet lag thing it's been slow going, but that's ok, I'm already having a great time.  Hopefully classes will just make it a learning great time!

yep, you can take pictures in japan! )

Tomorrow we have to go take placement exams and get oriented, which, ok, not looking forward to, but at least we'll get some idea of the schedule (i hope) and that will be great since they are supposedly planning field trips and things for us too. :D
katekat: (_nihon)
Well, at least I'm in the airport!  Flight is on time, i'm prepared with everything, even the last minute stuff, i think, and ready to go.... and now comes the waiting and the computer charging! 

I finally got excited for this trip!  And I'll write a longer entry in a couple of minutes once I've done the rest of the 'i'm leaving posts' (and if i have time).  See you guys when I get there!

xxxooo
kate
katekat: (_nihon_buddha)
I have spent the whole day (well, after the morning water-walking class with my stepmom & sister - this was the third straight day of going and honestly? those classes can kick your ass) going through my university email in box.  I started out with more than 300 messages.  I am finished today with 17 in my inbox.

WOO HOO!

now for the other things on the to do list:
  • (today - attempting today) help japan for elizabuffy
  • (today) read and comment on Summer of Giles entries - which are AWESOME right now!
  • (today) tumblr
  • (today) paragraph of Kotani translation (i'm within two pages of the end!)
  • (today) go to Bank
  • help japan for akavertigo
  • help japan for seductivembrace
  • help japan for snowpuppies
  • help japan for gillo
  • help japan for curiouswombat
  • help japan for von gelmini
  • kradambigbang art for aramuin
  • kradambigbang art for samanthirr
  • exchange $$ for japan
  • study other types of japanese
  • create Japan to-do list, since i know there's other stuff other than money!
Because I will be leaving for Japan in 9 days.  OMG 9 DAYS!  Luckily this is not like last summer where I can't speak in English either, so I will be lurking around the internets and you'll probably not even notice i'm gone. :D
katekat: (tara - happy to see you)
things that have been stressing me out )

things that have been going right )

NOW, you ask yourself, what about summer?  I'm asking myself that very question.  I thought I'd settled it for myself - I was going to do the program I could afford, that I was comfortable with.  But I got thrown back into confusion today after meeting with the grad advisor in our dept because he really thinks it would be a good idea if i go to Japan this summer.

Here's my pros and cons list of the choice i have to make )

Gah.  it all makes my brain hurt quite a bit...
katekat: (Default)
I admit it, I dropped the posting ball!  Because I'm actually back home, and have been for a day or so.  Jet lag is either catching up with me or hopefully almost done with me - I slept twelve hours last night and when I woke up I still felt like I could sleep some more.

My last couple of days in Tokyo were filled with preparation - for the end of the semester, for my two finals, and for the trip home.  A month in Tokyo was perfect - I was ready to either get on the plane or stay there (and since getting on the plane was my option ... *grin*).  Finals were taken on Friday,  questions answered in both classes, oral exam discussed, all of that good stuff, and then I headed back to the apt to pack and rest a little.  Because even though they're summer classes I actually put some effort into them and I wanted to do well! 

Saturday night was the perfect ending to this whole journey - I met Gabriel and his friend for kaitenzushi and then later drinks in Ni-choume, we had a fantastic time and mostly ignored the boys hitting on Gabriel and talked goofy fantastic stuff until we needed to catch our trains.  I can honestly say that one of the things that made this summer trip so great was having Gabriel as a companion. 

So, good friends, great classes, a school that actually had interesting activities and me better able to manage myself (since I think last year I didn't say no when I should have) and it all combined to equal greatness (well, greatness with a dirty bathroom.  *grin*)

the last of the piccies!! )

Coming home was a wonderful blur - I got to the airport early but not as early as I thought since I had to repack my suitcase twice to get it under the weight limit, and then it was 10 hours in a middle seat on the airplane with two crying children in the rows in front of me (thus I did not sleep - but watched movies with the sound turned way way up).  Getting off the plane in LA my darling M was there to pick me up and whisk me away to the Malibu Beach House (and yes, it really was in Malibu, it really was on the beach, and it really was absolutely wonderful).  It's a tradition that the house gets rented every summer by our friends or their parents, and this summer was no different.  I got on the porch, was handed a round of hugs, and then a drink, and we watched the waves roll in as the bbq got warm.  I may not have been able to string a coherent sentence together, but I cannot imagine a better place to ... not string coherent sentences together.

That night M put me to bed and left me a key, and I got to wake up and have breakfast the next morning with M2 and then hop on the air shuttle for ... that most wonderful of places... home.
katekat: (Default)
It's 12 midnight my time, and I'm supposed to be in bed, sleeping, so I'm doing a drive by post with links instead of full thoughts.  Will come back, soon!

Monday afternoon I saw two kabuki performances at KABUKI-ZA!!  Kabuki rocks when there are demons in it!

Tuesday I ran down to Akihabara for more kaiten-zushi (see previous post for link to that) and some present buying, then went to an Izukaiya with my rommie B and ate bite size chicken skin and livers and stuff and had my first sake in Japan on this trip

Wednesday was my last tutoring session, and after I took myself off to Yasukuni Jinja and found the best thing about the place, for me, was the little koi garden in the back.  (pictures forthcoming, promise).  After that I went to Ikebukuro for my first American fast food in Japan - KFC and did some shopping and met a school friend H for coffee and cigarettes.

THEN, I spent the rest of the night reading our homework assignment for class and:

EVERYONE INTERESTED IN ALTERNATIVE FICTION (i'm talking new forms of writing), please check this out - it was a sensation in Japan.  It's a supposedly true story from a single-men's BBS (online forum) in Japan - this guy was worried about asking a girl out on a date.  The BBS of single men (they call themselves poison men because they're the kind of guys who, here, are expecting to be geeky confirmed bachelors their entire lives) gave advice to the guy and basically coached / followed his story.  So, this happened on a forum right?  Well, the owner / mod of the forum compiled the threads into one single narrative, and then it was consumed by millions in Japan.  AND THEN.  they printed a book that is the *exact* same thing you can get on line... and know what?  It sold in the MILLIONS.  I sound like add copy, but it blows me away that the thing that most of us take for granted is our daily life online ... and it was published as a  new form of media and not only sold, but was one of the most popular books of the year here.  Also?  A TV series AND a Movie and I think also a manga and WHOAH.  That's a lot of readers.

I want to write more about alternative writing forms, but have to stop gushing.  Check it out here:  TRAIN MAN  電車男

Today!  Today G & I got together after my class and went to Ueno Park: the National Museum, and also the old black market of Japan that used to be right next door (it's now not a black market, but a market, still!).  And I had falafel that was FANTASTIC and should be on a show about Tokyo - a $5 falafel.  MMMM.  Then we finally, after two previous abortive attempts, saw the new Batman movie and ... well, it just about blew the top of my head off with the goodness.  Even though I was supposed to go home right after we stopped and got some food so that we could discuss because AH! there was so much to talk about!

tomorrow (friday) i'll try and put up the pictures - studying for my finals on saturday, yay, and then on Sunday I depart for LA!

(and this is what I call a short post)
katekat: (Default)
Tueday's child:  Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging)!

Well, I know the rules of one school of flower arranging!!  The Sensei did 7 different arrangements, including one gigantic tree that was ... colossal.  They gave us the opportunity to make our own ... in a group of 5.  The thing I learned?  Ikebana is not suitable as a group pastime by any stretch of the imagination.  I basically sat back and let other people cut the flowers because it wasn't worth it to bicker over the heights.

Some of the highlight pictures )


Wednesday... I studied.  Got ahead in my reading.  Waited for a friend to drop off his suitcases in my room since he's just finishing a year in Japan and is headed to Okinawa for diving.  At first we were going to meet at 5, then at 8, then at 10, then at 10:20, then finally 11 pm rolled around and he made it to our station.  Funnily enough I didn't really hold it against him - it was still lovely to a familliar and dear face even if it was only long enough for him to lug his luggage from the station to my room.

Thursday... Sophia put on a Rakugo performance - a one man comic who made us laugh for about an hour, even though he'd learned english from tapes that he'd put together to get the intonation down.  Pretty impressive, and since the guy's full time job is as a musical signer his voice and range was incredible.

Tried to see the Batman movie with my friend, but sadly we misjudged the date and it wasn't playing at the movie theatre we went to. So we went to Ni-choume (the gay district in tokyo) and had some drinks and talked instead. All in all a totally pleasant evening.

Friday's child:  Nekobukuro!  (Kitty-town)

Friday afternoon a friend from school and I decided we'd go pay to pet kittens!  Hey, when you go through pet withdrawal, you'll do anything to catch up.  The cats were absolutely beautiful, and some were even sleeping down close enough that we could actually pet them (sadly, no picking up).

So, the kitties looked like this... )

Last night I got a roommate!  A friend from Texas needed a place to crash for a couple of days, so now I have a roomie - and last night was his night to grin and goof around with his Tokyo friends (and he of course invited me and the friend from school).  We landed in one of those tiny places in Shibuya that makes fantastic food and brings you lots of drinks (all of which are... well, not as cheep as they could be).  Hilariously some of Blake's friends had opted not to take the class I TA'd for in fall.  Apparently talking about Harry Potter on the first day of an adaptation class is a no no according to them.  Other than not taking my class, they were quite lovely people and I had a great time.  Oh, and I had a mahi-mahi / avacado salad to die for!  Sadly I pooped out at about 11:30 pm - getting up at 6 am really puts a crimp in your ability to stay awake until a decent hour.  I split off from the group as they moved to a dance club and managed to catch the last train home (yay for trains!)

Saturday's adventures:  Vampire Cafe!!

Today, after my tutorial I met up with my gothy school friend and we went to Ginza to go to the swankiest goth place ever - a Vampire cafe!  The menu was hilarious, we ate in a velvet-draped alcove, had to ring a bell every time we wanted service, and it was actually really good food (not the kitchy kind you'd expect from a themed place in the states, to be sure!)

Check it out! )

and now.... to bed!! 

xxxooo
katekat: (_nihon-temple)
there's a man I see on my way home from school sometimes, a small and thin bent-backed, white-haired man who has a container garden.  A little gray fence screens a square meter of green, with a long-needled pine tree and another leafy vine reaching into the alleyway.  But outside of the perimeter of the fence is where the containers lie.  Three days ago I swore he was pulling carrots from one small pot, and yesterday he was trimming dead leaves off of his geraniums.  Each pot is hardly bigger than the plants I used to have on our porch in LA, although he probably has fifteen pots, some bunched together in one small space like little terraces, four others strung out along the outside of the fence with late-summer plants growing valiantly in the summer humidity.  It's a marker for me, when coming back home, that I'm more than halfway back to my little room - a place to set my burdens down and cool off from the sweating, sweltering, cloying heat of the day (no matter how cold the air conditioners on the trains run they barely cut through the air).

but my recent days have been less filled with quiet things )

And now, since I haven't taken pictures, but I succumbed to the temptation of snapping away while at Meiji Shrine, the three pictures that I actually liked from the bunch.

they're not too bad, for touristy pictures )

Ikebana (flower arranging) tomorrow. Possibly movie Thursday night, and a friend from Texas is coming to stay with me on the weekend!
katekat: (_nihon_lion)
I just had this pizza



for breakfast, at a Coco's Restaurant (Coco's Japan, mind you).  And it was ... really good. bbq pork on one side and panchetta & sausage on the other.The only thing that would have made it better was corn.
katekat: (_nihon-flower)
Scintillating things have happened to me since the last time I posted.  Absolutely scintillating.  Or titillating?  Possibly dizzying or dazzling.  Ok, I'll stop with the thesaurus and the sarcasm.  Especially since it wasn't the most exciting of the last couple of days. 

The highlights have been: )

No new pictures though.  I suppose at some point I'll take my camera to school with me and take pictures of the campus, but as of right now I'm kind of settling in to life.  Perhaps there will be some great Harajuku girls who want to be photographed tomorrow!
katekat: (_buddha)
Ok, so... anybody ever read anything about a place in Tokyo and wanted to go there? I'm looking for things to do and I've gone through a bunch of the travel brochures and websites, and I thought... why not ask the online friends? So, if you've heard of someplace that you think is a must see, I want to go see it!

Let me know in a comment, and if you have a link to the place description that's a bonus!
katekat: (_prayers)
Time ran away from me yesterday a little bit, and it was a fuller day than I expected.  We had our orientation for summer school - big differences from last year's program - this one actually gave us student ID's, we have access to the Sophia computers/library/internal internet, and generally the whole thing went off like a well oiled (of a sort) machine.  They've been doing this summer program for years and it shows.  There are about 200 people in my program (up from last year's 80 or so), and we all sort of wandered around introducing ourselves to each other in piecemeal fashion...dribbles of hometown, or major, or Japanese experience, or just who found a way to buy a phone or not.  Most people in the program seem really young, but we'll see how that sorts itself out as we get into classes. 

As a fantastic bonus for showing up at school for the orientation (well, and as one of the planned activities) we were herded onto four buses and driven down to the port so we could take a cruise up the Sumida river to Asakusa.  The river was beautiful and possibly slightly cooler than the rest of the city, and I started talking with a couple of people from my bus (Japanese natives taking the non-Japanese classes for summer credit).  We arrived in Asakusa and they gave us the option of sticking with the tour or heading off on our own.  I stuck with them for about 15 minutes, until I couldn't stand hearing one more word that I already know about temples and fortunes and the whole shuffle-shuffle-snap picture-shuffle  process of being in a group on a tour.  Not that it's not interesting, but I think there's one generic spiel about the functions of temples, how to cleanse yourself, how people gift their prayers, and I heard it three or four times last time I was here.  I want to get a religious specialist to come with me someday and tell me about each temple's distinctive personality, but until then I'd rather walk through the temples and the stalls of food and touristy things (Mom, I got one of your requests already!) on my own.  That's how I found the Buddhas at the end of the first set of photos.

After that I took myself home and managed to save some money not taking the train all the way back from the school.  Talked to my darling man on the interwebs (much better access this year) and got ready to get up at an ungodly hour in the morning.

And here you go, the pictures of the day )

Today was more exciting for me but less exciting to read about, since classes probably aren't interesting unless you're actually in them.  Japanese looks like it's going to be great, and my literature of Tokyo class is going to be fantastic - a smart woman from University of Washington is teaching. When she heard about my major interests she promptly gave me the name of someone on their faculty who does a cyberpunk class.  Yippee for making connections in Tokyo!  While sitting around / having lunch / etc I also managed to read the book we're reading last in the class, so I'm already ahead of schedule on day one. And I may have a class buddy or two - there are three really sweet German students, two of whom are in my Japanese class, and then one in my lit class, and we talked a bunch today.

I decided to spend another hour or so walking around my neighborhood instead of freezing this evening while watching a Noh play (school activity, yay). Every time I ride the train back to my stop I see these pretty flower streamers hung up on the north side of streets leading away from the train station, so I decided to follow them.  Turns out there's a little shopping district down there with more bookstores, cds, kimonos, groceries, and everything else that seems to be found on every other corner here, but I had a lovely time and took a couple of pictures worth sharing.


My neighborhood - a couple of streets )

and finally, since *someone who shall not be named* yelled at me for using photos from last year as my Japan icons, I have a couple of new icons from the things I'm posting today... *neener, neener, neener*  ;)
katekat: (_nihon_lion)
when buying yogurt in Japan be very careful to not only look at the picture on the yogurt container, but also be on the lookout for the tiny label that says アロイ (aloe) because it is not a pleasant experience when expecting only blueberries to be eating yogurt with blueberry and small chunks of aloe.  My tongue feels funny now.
katekat: (_nihon-flower)
Since I have the leisure to do so this year, I thought I'd start posting pictures now instead of waiting forever and posting them in one massive overwhelming bunch.  Besides, my day wasn't so exciting as I pretty much managed to

a) find my way to my school campus, which may take up to 45 min to get to from door to door - but on the good side one of the administrators was actually there and informed me I don't have to be on campus until 9 am tomorrow instead of 8:30 (yay!)
b) eat lunch at a little cafe
c) go to Rikugien Koen (Rikugien Gardens).  The garden reproduces in miniature 88 scenes from famous poems - although I didn't actually wander around to every single scene, I did see a bunch, and all of them were beautiful.
d) discover the "little" grocery store in my neighborhood is actually a 5-story ... department store with a food component in the bottom.  I got dinner and an alarm clock!  And I'm seriously thinking about going back to the housewares section to get myself a second comforter, since I'm actually using my first one as padding because the mattress is so lumpy.

To start off the photo tour, you get the neighborhood I'm living in as seen from my 4th floor window. )


Now, photos from my garden adventures )

Finally, once I got back home this afternoon it had started to rain, including lightening and thunder that I could see in the distance reflecting off the buildings.  At one point the sunset turned everything an almost starteling deep yellow-orange color, and low and behold, I saw a rainbow! 

That's right folks, a rainbow over Tokyo. )

So there you have it - day two in all it's glory.  I'm sacking out early tonight with a movie and some JapanesePodcast language lessons to get ready for class tomorrow, after which I will continue my search for a cell phone (which was, again, the only thing on my personal agenda that didn't get done today).  I checked online and it appears there are only *certain locations* where I can pick one of these suckers up, or I have to order it online and get it mailed to me.  So I'll be heading to the depths of (or possibly wilds of?) Shibuya in search of the mythical pre-paid cell.

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