Long Read but it spans over the past few days...
MUMBLING GAIJIN = ME
So I woke up at about 8:00 I think from a text message and my phone going off. Soda Jerk and Genki emailed me. I played online, Skyped, and eventually decided to get ready and pack. I left 15 minutes early… good thing. I mean I’m sitting at Tokyo Station now 50 minutes early but if I had waited 15 more minutes than it would be 15 minutes more hotter outside. I took the walk from Erin’s place to Kasai Station by myself with all my luggage because Brad is jerk. I didn’t ask him to help me but he didn’t offer either. Jerk~
I really wanted a taxi… I guess it’s ok now that I’m here, I saved myself about 700 yen walking. It’s about a 15 minute walk normally… took me I think about 25-30 minutes. It’s funny though because the walk seemed to go by faster than usual. So I rode the Tozai train to Otemachi Station. Everyone who came across me in Otemachi thinks I’m a crazy mumbler. This is me walking to my Marunochi Transfer: “I hate this station, I hate this station, I hate this station WHERE’S THE ESCALATOR? I hate this station, I hate this station”.
I thought I was smart finding an elevator… me and my ideas. I had no clue what floor… I just assumed it was B2 because I think that was my only choice anyhow LOL. Not sure though. And I seemed to take a route I believe was different from yesterday but then again I don’t remember too much that had stairs… and no escalator. I eventually, one time, got some help taking my suitcase up some stairs… from an older lady. I thanked her graciously. I hate Otemachi Station more today than I did yesterday… only because I have a lot of luggage though.
So I take the Marunochi line to Tokyo station… one stop. Get to Tokyo station and go to the JR area. This is me in Tokyo Station : “I hate JR, I hate JR, I hate JR SUMIMASEN! I hate JR, I hate JR”. JR really is a pain though. The station was crowded, had to lug my luggage up a tiny staircase (after going up I found a ramp… stupid JR, I’m blaming JR for that). Yeah so people passing me are like “crazy gaijin talking to herself” but that’s ok.
I’m waiting for my train now in an AC’d area. The train before mine is sitting on the track. I’m sitting in front of car 11, I’m car 14. There’s suppose to be free wifi in here… but it’s all password protected. Can’t get on.
You know I really have amazed myself with how well I’ve done thus far traveling… airplanes, metros, JR, shinkansen… I’ve done pretty well finding my way. I dunno why I thought it was so hard last year but 1) my Japanese was not as good, and 2) I had people to lead me so I really didn’t have to try. I guess it’s survivor mode. You know I have a horrible sense of direction (that’s why I hate big stations like Otemachi) and can’t follow directions well. But I think I’ve done a really good job traveling alone.
Arrive in Kyoto in 3 hours.
I mean there isn’t much to say. We only made a few stops. I managed to get on the right train, ride in the right car, and in the correct seat. My Japanese skills are awesome LOL. Or I’m just lucky. I wish I could have more types of luck besides Japanese skill. I sat my stuff down in the seat next to me hoping no one was going to sit there… accidently, I forgot about my bento that I bought. I am sure it was somewhat warm before… but after 2.5 hours on the train shinkansen, it got cold. I took a video on the train. My camera died. So I took it with my cell phone. 2.5 hours later I arrived at Kyoto Station, easily found my way to the exit with a guy holding a KANSAI GAIDAI sign and I guess being American and blonde he automatically assumed I was looking for him. I sat on a wall with some others for about 30 minutes.
My first impression of this area was not a good one… I went to the bathroom and low and behold there is NO TOILET PAPER! Something I have NEVER EVER experience in Japan. I mean, no paper towels, no big deal, BUT NO TOILET PAPER! Good thing I grab those tissues people hand out. So I was ok. But that’s when I was like “Ok, I’m ready to go back to Tokyo.” After sitting and waiting we get on a bus and drive 1 hour to Seminar House (from now will be abbreviated SH) 4 where the two people get off and we unload. It’s about a 5 minute walk to the other 3 dorms.
Everyone signs in at SH 2… which is my dorm. I think there is walkways that connect them all to SH 2 but I’m not 100% sure on that. So I get in, and slowly unpack. This day is a blur. I can’t remember what happened first. Genki, a Japanese student at the Uni, emailed me and we decided to meet up. So I asked someone downstairs how to get to the Uni. It’s really far and not really complicated… but me and my bad sense of direction in an unfamiliar area, I only walked 3 minutes before deciding I can’t do this without a map… I forgot my map…
So I try to tell Genki where I’m at and he finds the library that I stared at the whole time wondering if that’s the building that I turn at and I meet him there. He’s super nice. We walked to the Uni, he showed me around a bit and then we hopped on a bus to Hirakata City. Pet Peeve about this place… there is NOTHING near the dorms to do. In fact to go shopping just at a konbini or supermarket it’s a 30 minute walk. Yeah, I miss Tokyo. I can take the bus… but that’s 220 yen no matter how far I go. Really sucks. I may have to get a bike and some elbow pads/knee pads/helmet/bubble wrap.
Anyways… yeah… Genki and I go to Hirakata and we were going to go to his favorite little restaurant but there is some sort of party and we can’t get in so we go to Starbucks. I try to avoid Starbucks in the US because 1) expensive, 2) the dairy in my fave drink makes me sick… yeah I know that never really stops me… and 3) I don’t want to get addicted. In Japan they don’t have my favorite drink (Double Chocolate chip Frap for those who don’t know). So I tell Genki I don’t want anything, he offers to buy, but I tell him it’s ok… he still bring me back a Java Frap. Not that bad actually but too much of a coffee taste. If I really need to pull an all nighter I’ll grab one. We go to the rental store and look around. We came back to the dorm and hung out for a bit… don’t worry guys, no boys aloud on my floor (except for the RA, who is usually accompanied by the female RA, and Otoosan). Actually guests can only enter the lounge. So we sat around and then he left because he had plans. I hung around, my temporary roomie came, stuff happened, I realized before going out with Genki that I left my camera charger at Jun’s house in Yokohama.
We went to sleep, and she woke up really early… when I woke up, we were talking about how Japan is the land of the early rising sun which woke her up… I looked at the window to see if I could hang up a curtain…and saw the shade that I can pull down. Which we did the next night.
The next morning (the same one that I ended off with) my roomie and I hung around until 10:30 or so before going off. First stop was the clothing store (for fun) then supermarket, then a konbini, then 99 yen store, then a konbini again. At this time we I have a bag with my new shirt and socks (that say HOT AND SPECIAL BOYS lol) and we have a bag full of food and a giant water bottle. We walk to the school, walk around, past the tennis courts where some guys are playing and I holler at them and they holler at me at get hit by balls because he wasn’t paying attention haha… we go to the East Gate which is closed and walk back and sit down and watch the tennis guys. Before leaving I yell at them in Japanese “Good luck” and the guy yells back “THANK YOU” in English lol. The number of students who can speak English here disgusts me. I really regret not staying at Sophia for the Fall but it woulda really messed up my graduation.
We get back and I’m SO tired, it’s so hot and so much walking… I was suppose to meet my Speak Partner, Kanako, at the school at 3… and it’s already 1. I really really didn’t want to walk back to the school so I email her and ask if she can meet me elsewhere… like the clothes store in front of the bus stop. She kindly does. We go to Kyoto together and meet her sister. It’s like 340 yen I think one way to Kyoto… I think Osaka is more expensive than Tokyo. It’s going to be a long semester of whining from me.
We meet her younger sister, and we walk around in Kyoto, looking at store, shopping around… I didn’t buy anything. Afterward we went to Karaoke for an hour. Then headed back. Kanako took me to the bus stop and explained the bus system to me. The difference between buses and trains is that the trains usually provide English info, buses, not really, even in Tokyo, which is why I avoid them. I basically know how to check the time and to get on bus 12 or 13 and to push the button after we pull away from the stop before mine. I remember the kanjis for the one before mine.
L.L. = Language Lab which most likely I will use heavily because of my level. Easy enough. Seems like fun. We can listen and record our voices, and save it and bring it home to do and submit homework through the LL. After that I went down to the office to deal with my insurance and turn in papers and get my other suitcase. I was in a pretty bad mood today, PMS, tired, moody… blah. I came back to the dorm via bus (because of the suitcase, not my mood) and unpacked before sleeping for a couple hours. I then began studying for Japanese while eating my secret snack stash (no dining in the rooms). Around 5:15ish my roomie got back and I invited her to go Hirakata with me for dinner but she declined… that’s fine though. I waited awhile in case the other roomie, the one I will actually be with all semester, showed up, but she didn’t so I went on alone.
I took the bus, carefully, making sure I get on the right one. I did fine. This whole trip I was texting people. The bus go to Hirakata and honestly thought I was lost. My Japanese isn’t that bad, I know the next stop was Hirakata (OH, by the way, when the bus stops at Kansai Gaidai, it says in English that the next stop is that… that’s the only English you hear LOL). I walk around and find BOOK OFF and McDs and Kentucky. Ok that works. I go to Book Off. I love Book Off. I try to find a CD or DVD (something cheap because I don’t have much money on me) to cheer me up. I look around. This store just happens to be under the railway station which I didn’t realize… but when I hear d the “RRRRR” I was thinking “OMG EARTHQUAKE”… hehe false alarm. I spend about 30 minutes looking before settling on Yuna Ito’s Endless Story Single… 105 yen. CHEAP :D
I go to McDs after that. For some reason I couldn’t get any water. That’s ok. I studied. I texted Erin when I came across Genki (this is the name of my textbook, also the name of my Japanese friend, also is how you ask someone “how are you” and you reply “fine” with the same word “Genki?” “Un, genkidayo”)… when I came across Genki acknowledging how mean Mary is to poor Takeshi-san. “Takeshi is often laughed at by Mary”… Takeshi is also felt up by an old man on the train… and rips his pants and Mary laughs at him… poor Takeshi. And he’s probably still waiting for Mary to come back to Japan after she graduates… ANYWAYS…
I came back and my roomie is a little under the weather and wearing a mask. I’m not too worried. It’s about that time for me to start feeling like crap, too. Around 8-9ish, my other roomie comes. Ash from England. Ash her nickname. The other is Jessica btw. She is homestay and is leaving this weekend. We talk… blah blah nothing much really happens.
I’ve turned into bit of a nightowl. I should sleep. Now. Gnight.
TEST OF DOOOOOOM
Another crappy feeling day. Yay for being a girl.
Today was my Japanese placement test. Before, I stopped and had my computer registered for LAN and WIFI access. For some reason I can only access some sites with IE... GRR. If this doesn't correct itself tomorrow (they kept claiming I could not access stuff til after tonight so I don't know) I guess I'll be using IE and Firefox. No need to toture myself too much with IE... it's only a few webpages I hardly access. One include my UWF email though.
Anyways, lucky people who haven't studied Japanese got to fill out one form and leave. The unlucky ones who got to take the test... well... I'm sure some of us felt pain in our booties. The Listening and Comprehensino was a pain. My listening is fine... when I'm face to face with someone. But I find those CDs or tracks or whatever are more difficult because I don't even know what the situation is before listening. I'm just listening. Kinda hard to explain... it's just easier to listen AND comprehend when I know what the situation is. After that was the writing test to test our knowledge of writing hiragana, katakana, and some sentence translations. That test made me feel smart. The last part was grammar. I zoomed past part A and B... C gave me trouble, I read through D and decided to not try it. The optional part was the kanji test for the Reading and Writing Japanese class which I will take. I got about half way on both parts before hitting hard kanjis.
I'm anxious to see my placement.
After that I walked around campus before feeling moody and returned to the dorm. I continued to be moody and eventually took a nap before heading off with Jess to help her get medicine at the medicine store and going to get her laptop registered. I checked my mailbox and found my paper saying I have a large box waiting for my pickup. I get it... YAY FOOD! and we get dinner and take the bus back.
My eyes lit up when I saw all that food. I can't wait to make Mac and Cheese :) YAY! I met up with Danielle and talked to her... she cheered me up. Hard to be cheery when I'm moody. I was thinking all day today if it was too late to transfer to Sophia for the Fall. Hopefully things work out here soon. It's just my mood I'm sure. Sucks for KGU's first impression to be bad because I'm moody.
This weeks blond moment... because I was sure I was going to hang my clothes to dry to save money, I decided on softner... thinking it is soap too when I wash clothes... yeah wrong. Blond. My pants get really rough when I wash them and hang dry them... so I had to do laundry today... and I decided I'd dry them in the dryer so I know they are dry for tomorrow... 40 minutes and they are worse than the hotel's dryer. I don't think they dried at all. They are hanging on the balcony now.
No pics right now but I'll make a big huge crash your internet picture entry soon enough.
Busy day tomorrow. I should sleep.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Long Read but it spans over the past few days...