“adventure time, c’mon grab your friends”

8/30/11   17:54

まず、投稿遅くなって大変すみませんでした。二日間インターネットは接続できなかったからブログをアップデートするのは難しかった。

*I wrote an entire entry this morning but then accidentally saved over it aspdfaskd;lfaskdjf so this is me rewriting everything from memory*

Word of the day is: 時差ぼけ – jisaboke – (n.) Jet lag.

I slept for about eleven hours after passing out at 8:00 last night. That’s the first chunk of sleep that was longer than an hour that I’ve had in about two days. It was glorious. And now I’ve almost normalized my circadian rhythm. Success!

So we spent the night at Kansai international and by spend the night I don’t mean it in any way that involves sleeping. The chairs were comfortable enough to sit in, but try to fall asleep on one of those things and the most you’ll get is 30 minutes. I promise you. I mean, if the ten million night security guards walking around don’t stare you into wakefulness first. Seriously, there must have been fifty of them walking by every half hour, eyeing us with suspicion thinking, “what the hell are these foreigners doing lounging about the airport at 3AM with their mountain of luggage. 怪しい~”

Instead, we ran around the empty terminal trying to keep ourselves occupied for 8 hours. We got some pretty cool pics of the sunrise and other random things [like fake food that restaurants put outside their shops to advertise their menus], but other than that, there wasn’t really anything to do except marvel at how tall and clean everything is. We met up with the rest of the people that had stayed at the airport hotel in the morning and set off to buy our tickets for the bus to Hirakata. We piled in with all our luggage and really could not have looked more like tourists.

KIX is located on a man-made island in Osaka Bay. As such, you must cross this bad-ass bridge to get to the mainland. You can see the entire city of Osaka and its suburbs which is building upon building all the way into the horizon with a backdrop of mountains tinged with a layer of smog. It’s pretty much the largest metropolitan area I’ve seen in recent memory. We were so moved by the urban sprawl that…there was an immediate flurry of iPhones, digital cameras, and camcorders as we tried to capture what was probably the most mundane thing… ever. The only other Japanese people on the bus were sleeping so there wasn’t anyone to judge us. Although I think we have the right to be tourists. Because that’s what we are, for the time being, anyway.

~ ~

飲み物コーナー [Beverage Corner!]:

If I could describe the drink selection in Japan with one word, it would be–overwhelming. The fact that there is a vending machine near almost every building and on every city block combined with the price range of 100 – 150 yen, my ability to drink is far overshadowed by the amount and variety available. That sounded sort of like I was referring to alcoholic beverages, but I will leave that for a separate 飲み物コーナー.

Forgive me if I truncate the reviews a bit. I don’t want to keep you here forever (笑).

Since yesterday, I have had:

– 3 different kinds of barley tea: All delicious.

– Fanta Orange: Not as sugary as its American counterpart.

Grace said it tasted like carbonated sunny delight. This is accurate

– Fanta Honey Lemon: By suggestion from our friend Saya, [detailed later], Ibought this from the dorm’s vending machine. It tastes exactly like it sounds. Honey Lemon tea, but cool and refreshing. Definitely needs to be exported to America. Up there with my favorite Fantas [Passion Fruit and Tangerine]

– Straight Tea: Delicious fruity black iced tea. Grace says, “Makes you want

to switch teams, huh?” I said, “It’s not THAT great.”

– Two types of Milk Tea: The first was a green/barley tea and milk mix. The second was black tea and milk. The first one sort of tasted like death x_x but the second was the kind I’m used to, which was good.

~ ~

Check-in at the Seminar House went smoothly. We took our shoes off in the lobby and placed them in the shoe room. There was no air-conditioning in the common areas. I have ceased to be surprised, but I’ll just have to get used to it. The seminar house rooms are traditional style. There’s a closet, a futon, tatami floors, and a desk with a window that looks out onto suburban Japan. Sufficient for my purposes right now, but I seriously can not wait to get to my host family’s house at the end of the week.

I have not walked so far in the heat for basic things like groceries since last summer in Spain.  Japan is very much a pedestrian based society as far as I can tell. There are so many bicycles [I have been almosthit on many an occasion] and the rest of the people just walk. No wonder everyone’s so skinny. Perhaps I can follow suit. This paired with the fact that I can only afford

Everyone went as a group and ventured out into the sweltering heat to go find something to eat for lunch. Except it definitely felt like dinner due to the jisaboke. We ended up at a supermarket where everything at the deli was cheap and delicious and fantastic. I bought a set for 298 yen. And then…

Adventure Time with Julia and Ryan!

The group was rather unwieldy and hard to manage so I grabbed Julia and we slipped away to try and find an electronics store where she could get a cellphone and a converter for her laptop. We slipped away onto some side streets and they were very quaint and narrow. We ate our food on the side, out of the way, and were surprised at how a lot of the passersby actually gave us a nod or konnichiwa. So nice!

We eventually had to make our way to an electronics store and that meant we had to try asking someone where it was. After chickening out more times than we should have, Julia finally successfully flagged down a young woman who graciously offered to take us there. After refusing politely at first, she ended up insisting on taking us, explaining that she didn’t have anything to do that day except be a guide for us. On the way to the electronics store we made introductions and chatted entirely in Japanese. We actually spent the rest of the day with Saya-san, helping us get cell-phones [although letting us do the transactions by ourselves], following us back to the seminar house, meeting the UF contingent, and even taking us all to a “family restaurant” where we had Thai curry and it was delicious. [I feel like you should assume that everything I mention is delicious unless expressly stated, lol.] But yeah. The main point of today being that if you put yourself out there, you might get spurned, but you might also make a new [really helpful] friend. Yay.

Saya at one point expressed concern about our upcoming placement test, saying something like “Shouldn’t you guys be studying? I hate to take you away from your preparations.” To which we responded, “we ARE studying. Talking with you is preparation enough.” Which is the great thing about studying abroad. The constant immersion is such a great aid to language learning. Whenever I buy anything at the store, the transaction is in Japanese. Chatting with new friends is always in Japanese. All the signs are in Japanese and 99% of the conversations I hear are in Japanese. These things might be the most obvious to point out, but  seriously, they lend to the fact that I am constantly studying. Every interaction I make with the world around me is studying. So 24/7, I am practicing and getting better. And when studying is fun, it doesnt feel like work. I can not even express how awesome that is.

~ ~

Miscellaneous:

– Japan is just as 蒸し暑い[hot and humid] as Florida. This is a little disappointing, seeing as we are at the same latitude as places like San Francisco, but there really is nothing I can do. I try to escape, but… impossible.

– We went into this shop by the seminar house called Shimomura. SHIMOMURA DOES NOT KNOW WHAT IT HAS DONE. I have found a source of cheap [500 yen = ~ 7 dollar] engrish shirts. I am definitely going back. i mean. Come on. Rock and roll world. A glance is coollected. Until becoming a white ash.

– Before our arrival, the university sent us an e-mail with “advice from former home-stay students.” One of them said, I kid you not, “Keep your American opinions to yourself.” Now, I completely understand where they are coming from, but the way it was worded is just so blunt and [borderline] offensive. Incidentally it was also hilarious and has become a running joke with everyone that came on the program. They also sent us another email saying that we shouldn’t get drunk in the park lest it molest the neighboring residential area where there are “young children and elderly people.” They are so concerned about us being loud. ._.

~ ~

But basically, whenever anyone asks me how Japan is so far, I respond that I love it and the sentiment is usually followed by a string of incoherent characters, as follows:

“So Ryan, how is it going over there?”

“EVERYTHING IS AMAZING AND I LOVE IT ASasdpo;sasdf;jas;djlkfdf.”

And that about sums it up.

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