Haven’t watched this in a long time. A video that my roommate (when I lived in Japan) made of his one month in Japan. Miss you bud.
Ok. I have very little time to recount everything on a keyboard that doesn´t really have the same conformation as in the states… (i can´t really find the `at´ key)
okay so i came home from japan. the trip to the airport was REALLLLy though carrying over 160 lbs in 4 bags… i just took it a little bit at a time. i left gifts for the lab in the morning and i wish i could post pictures but again.. not much time.. i´ll make up for it later
on the narita express i was planning on paying with my pasmo card (I never could find the ticket station) and had to buy another one… the other times no one seemed to care! i i think it was mainly cuz the train was so full though.
anyways the flight home wasn´t bad and i made it back with little jet lag though it was very odd leaving at 4 pm and arriving at 1 pm the same day. yay for time travel
my time home was awesome. i wish i got to spend a little bit more time with the family but i just really was committed to making any impact i could on the incoming freshman before i left. i spent a lot of the time meeting with friends and doing some inspire slash premajor slash prehealth advising (no one else showed up for their table around me until much later aat orientation) and did the best i could with seeing everyone. i got to see my little cousins too. matthew talks more now>! though his favorite words are still ones involving bathroom happenings.
okay trip to panama
finally got all settled (still hadn´t completely finished the papers.. but ah well… i finished them eventually) and set off for the air port. it was hard saying bye to the family again but it was okay.. i sat at the atlanta jetway for 2 hours before we actually took off b-c of the weather and because of it i missed my flight to panama from houston
i landed right as they took off. but i just made some calls to SIT and to home and it was okay. continental put me up in a 400 dollar a night hotel room and gave me 26 bucks for food (which i used for two HUGE meals. nom nom).. see being nice and patient with the stressed out airport lady really pays off sometimes
next morning i took the first flight out to panama at 9 (after a nice long rest.. seriously a blessing in disguise) and landed around 1.. i spent most of my plane ride dozing and editing my papers.. after i landed and haphazardly filled out the customs and other forms.. i got through and saw my taxi driver Rahul holding a sign with my name on it. I spoke what little spanish i could still speak without sounding horrible and we were off.
my japanese keeps creeping into my spanish and a couple times i said Hai instead of Sí but about an hour later we got to the bus station. Rahul took me in and i bought a ticket on a minibus to El Valle.. the ride was 4 hours… the price? 3.50. nice eh? anyways the ride was not sooooo fun as we were COMPLETELY packed for a lot of the way (if you think japanese trains were packed you have no idea).. it was a ride through the mountains and rain and finally after an entire long day of travelling i arrived at 6 pm in the rain. needless to say i was completely soaked.. including my luggage. but hey.. i was there
last night and today were just logistical things and everyone on my group is really coool. becky, becca, brooks, danielle, lily, andrea, teresa, katie, laila and aly (the last two are the program directors).. so 2 guys and 7 girls… lots of estrogen flowing around. but still cool. the semester is really just like one lonnggg non stop work filled vacation if that makes any sense but i can´t wait
my internet usage will be limited but i´ll try and keep posting.
tomorrow we´re getting dropped off in the middle of nowhere to try and make our way back to camp just to make sure we know how to travel in panama… cool eh?
As my time here in Japan wanes down, my amount of work increases. (I was about to write that “my busy-ness” level increases… but it seems it’d be spelled like business level… anyone else ever realize that your “busy-ness” is your business?)
I’m spending most my time doing various things in lab, and going home to work on those papers. But then again, what is life if there isn’t room for fun?
It’s been a week since we last left our heroes and I must say not a whole lot has happened. During the weekdays, I get back from home late so I don’t go out a whole lot, but I’ll summarize anyways.
In lab, I finally got everything together to run my histamine assay. Each time I run the protocol it costs over 1000 dollars. That’s USD. Crazy eh? And I’m doing it twice. I suggested not worrying about it and spending all their money but man Japanese people are nice. The entire protocol went from Tuesday to Friday and during my free time I worked with other people doing Cord Blood cell extractions, continuing the mast cell from peripheral blood protocol (entire thing takes 6 weeks), and RNA extractions to name a few. It’s FUN .
On Saturday, Hashimoto-san and Orihara-san took me out again. We met up in Machida and went to Yokohama. And boy is Yokohama gorgeous. But first things first.
In Machida, they took me to an Okinawan style restaurant. Now, Okinawan people have the one of the longest life spans in the world with lots of people living to be over 100. And when a Japanese person tells you that someone else as a long lifespan, that’s saying something.
We ordered a noodle bowl, a taco rice (it was really good and really did taste taco-ish. How did Mexican food influence Okinawa?
We shared our food (it seems pretty common, no one really worries too much about being germaphobes. I guess when you assume the country is clean, all the people must be clean too . ) After lunch we hopped back on the JR line for Sakuragicho, a station after Yokohama.
When we first walked around I saw a queue (a word UK and Japanese people use a lot instead of saying ‘line’) that was just in the middle of nowhere. It wasn’t ’til we went up a floor that I realized the line had extended all the way downstairs to get into the Pokemon store. Walking past those kids was nuts! It’s like the day the Ipod is released outside an Apple store, ‘cept the voice frequency is about 10 times higher.
In one section of the mall there was a Motomachi Street (not really a street but a collection of stores) that were selling Yokohaman things. Yokohama was the first port opened to the Western world and thus they have a lot of Western good and are known for it. The local jewelry was all gorgeous (and expensive).
We happened to walk out just as a street show was starting. So we sat down to watch. To be honest, nothing he was doing was actually that impressive. Most all the tricks and skills he was exhibiting I could do just as easily (jugglings, diablo, coin magic)… granted I’ve never done it in front of an audience. The audience however was AMAZED. Perhaps we just learn more weird talents than Japanese people do? But not to discredit him at all, because he was VERY entertaining. I couldn’t always understand what exactly he was saying and it was still really funny. He walked over to a girl who had been holding his jacket (he had thrown it over there before) and put it on… just to take it off dramatically two seconds later to prep for his trick. lol. This picture is of 6 volunteers holding him up on a rope. He didn’t really do much on it, but he kept making the volunteers do really funny stuff (for example, at one point they all held hands and looked up into the stars dramatically).
About an hour later the show and we headed for a SeaBus to take us to the actual city of Yokohama. (No pictures from the boat ride. Sorry). I did take some night shots before we got on the ferry though.
Afterwards, we walked through this mall-type place in Yokohama for a while and explored/shopped until dinner time.
We started with a little salad with the most amazing dressing on it. Apparently the dressing is called Karamiso. We asked the waiter where to buy it, but apparently they make it themselves. Soooo good.
And lastly, our okonomiyakis. There was actually a third… but it seems I didn’t take a picture of it. We had one hiroshima style, one Osaka style, and one gre
en onion on. You’ll be surprised to hear that there was kimchi in all of them. Apparently that’s common in okonomiyakis. The kimchi influence is spreading. AHH.
After our amazing meal (twas a great day for food), I hopped on the train and head home.
Oh by the way, there is this used bookstore called BOOKOFF near where I live. Actually there are two near me, but at one, they had English book that I think they were trying to get rid of, b/c they were in a small corner in the store. Well, I hit jackpot. I bought a couple Harry Potter UK version books for 400 yen and a Garfield book for 100 yen. Who cares if I already have all the HP books, it was four bucks!
On Sunday, I went back to Machida (I wanted to explore Tokyu Hands more) and bought some really cool rubik’s cubes (a 2x2x2.. if you can imagine it) and some stuff for Panama (they have great travel stuff! Imagine the typical Japanese tourist and then you can imagine why they have such a good selection of travelling goods). At one point I wanted to buy a book. Well this moment was a HUGE breakthrough for me b/c using my dictionary I slowly put together a question I wanted to ask the clerk, walked around for about 30 minutes nervously trying to get up the courage to ask, and then did it. Man, it was a great relief when I could finally engage in a conversation… well pseudo-conversation. But still. It was a level I conquered.
I got home relatively early on Sunday and just crashed for a couple hours (I didn’t end up going to go see Batman, which just came out in Japan). Woke up and finished 1 of 9 papers. (Don’t worry, I’ve worked on all of them, just haven’t finished them yet). I ended up not sleeping that night and went into work on Monday… I was newly reintroduced to caffeine. One latte kept me awake for a day, even though caffeine generally wears off in 4 hours.
Yesterday (Monday), I spent most of the day making the four hour trip to abd back from Nihon Medical University to pick up some antibodies I needed from Okayama sensei in preparation for the next Histamine assay… which I started this morning.
Oh before I did finally get to sleep I went with Nakamura-san to Shinjuku to check out some massage chairs. And let me tell you, Japanese massage chairs are SOOO much better. The sensors figure out where all your body parts are and adjust accordingly. It really feels like you’re in a really big bear hug b/c the chair massages every part of you. Your hands, forearms, biceps, shins, calfs, thighs, back, neck, feet… everything. And they’re cheaper here too. (Something Brookstone doesn’t want you to know about).
Oh and we figured out that my chinese kanji name changed into Japanese becomes Sosean (So-say-an) as opposed to the chinese (soo-shi-an).. pretty close eh? I really wonder how much of Japanese is ONLY Japanese. As in could Japanese people today even talk to those Japanese people before the Chinese and Western influence?
I had designated Sunday as my ‘catch-up’ day as I still had much work from the week that I hadn’t finished (Panama stuff mainly).
Well, that didn’t really get done either.
I slept in for a while and finally got a haircut. I walked in and asked for a haircut. She kept asking me things saying “shampuu” and motioning, but I just said I wanted only a cut. I motioned that when my hair was short that I spike up my hair, but she took that to mean I spike all of my hair. All in all, the haircut itself wasn’t one of the best, but I hadn’t expected it to be since I just wanted to see how she would cut it w/o my input (I wanted a Japanese style haircut). Watching her cut it, however, was very cool. These stylists definitely knew how to handle Asian hair well.
The rest of the day was spent doing laundry, reading, running, logistical things for when I go home, and making a healthy dinner. (Grilled chicken salad) Around 8, a bunch of people from the building were going to go and set off fireworks in Yoyogi Park. At the time I wasn’t really up for it but I didn’t want to be antisocial either so we head out.
We came across this sign that seemingly means “don’t try and run into the train really fast” and played off the fact that he looks like he swimming. So they wrote “do it at the beach.” Unfortunately for these unwary translators, the entire group took it with a slightly different connotation. Ahh, to be in a foreign land.
So we got there and fireworks started going ablaze. Apparently Yoyogi Park is a popular place to set off fireworks because we definitely were not the only ones. The pictures below are all with slow shutter speed; unfortunately with all the light pollution, it made the night look like daytime once the shutter speed was jacked up.
In between fireworks we also did some light writing. This ones particularly cool b/c Jose stayed in the spot just long enough to have an image of his silhouette in the picture. (He was trying to write Jose… and failed)
By the way I keep referring to ‘he’ but they’re all Chris, which doesn’t say much because the two Chris’s were the only fireworks launchers. (For the most part).
This is where it gets even more ridiculous. Chris and Chris each took a roman candle looking thing with about 20-30 shots of fireworks in them and were fighting each other. (i.e. paintball on drugs). Made for a cool picture though.
We managed to catch the first train… but once we got to Shibuya our train home had already left. Twas 12:30 and we had no way home. Now, it wasn’t really that far away, about a 3 mile walk. The others (Monday being the start of their weekend) took missing the train as a sign and wanted to go out for drinks. So we compromised.
We split a taxi where Sandro, the guy who knows German, English, French, and Italian completely fluently, revealed that he was also fairly competent in Japanese. I barely had time to comprehend what the driver was saying when Sandro was already conversing. Dang.
Anyways the compromise was we’d split a taxi to the halfway mark (to Sangenjaya) and those who wanted to go could walk and those who wanted to drink could go to the bar there. For some reason I felt like running so I ran the last mile + change home…
Until next time,