forever_wandering: (Default)
Hair pulled back in to a high pony tail, over-sized military jacket and large sunglasses. My friends think I'm attempting a new style and praise me for finally stepping out of my shell and being a bit bolder with my fashion sense."You're looking great!" In reality however, I'm just trying to hide the fact that this flu is kicking my ass and that I look and feel like crap. My eyes are poofy, skin pale, and I'm short of breath. But I'll take your compliments over reality any day, friends.

Speaking of reality, the other day, I took a trip to Odaiba(お台場) with some friends to see the fireworks. It was the last day of the event, so there had been quite a crowd, but it had been enjoyable none-the-less

Odaiba


Our group consisted of me, Kaz, his friend Sho, and Sha-chan, a mutual friend of ours. I'd been the only one who had actually ever been to Odaiba, so we chose to meet up a little earlier to explore before settling down for the fireworks display. The first thing we did was something Sha-chan had been dying to do--ride the Ferris Wheel.

Odaibaskanransha


Kaz, who dislikes heights, immediately began comparing it to the HULK ride Sho and I had forced him to ride back at Universal studios, shaking his head and saying "Akan, akan!" But very much like with the HULK ride, he ended up getting on it anyway, and we all had a grand time. The view from the top had been amazing!

After that, we decided to go look at the car show, and by that I mean my friends walked around looking at all the cars while I sat on a bench and played with my phone. I really have no interest in cars unless they are sexy ones on the road, engines revving(funny story about this to come later!). From where I was sitting, I spotted a giant One Piece moon bounce on the floor below. I'd grown used to seeing One Piece items promoting the new movie everywhere I looked. I learned to drown out commercials, look past pictures, stay out of exhibits, and glance over the cutesy characters dressed on the street. This moon-bounce however....oh, how I wanted to just jump in and bounce the day away! It was so beautiful, somehow.

OnePiecemoonbounce


Unfortunately, it was restricted to only kids below 12 years old. Boo on you Japan, boo on you!  

My disappointment turned to happiness however, when my friends magically appeared, informing me it was time for fireworks, and though I was dreading the cold, I happily went off after them! The fireworks took place over Rainbow Bridge, so we watched from out on the deck. They were impressive, filled with a wide variety of colors and many interesting shapes such as hearts and flowers. I wonder how much time went in to practicing for this...

Odaiba fireworks


The evening continued with a surprise trip to a small shop in Shinagawa(品川) for amazing sashimi(刺身), since everyone knew how much I loved the stuff. Next to our table, there was some kind of group party going on with late-aged people laughing and singing loudly. It had been annoying at first but then somehow, it became quite relaxing. I hope that I can be as fun when I'm in my late 40's

It was such a fun evening that didn't end as soon as we parted ways. Once I got back to my flat that night, I enjoyed some chocolates Kaz gave me from Kobe(神戸). They were amazing!

Chocolates
forever_wandering: (Default)
お久しぶりでーす♯♪

I don't know if it's the weather, the fact that I've been eating a little more than usual, or a combination of both, but I've been feeling extremely fatigued lately. On top of that, I think I'm coming down with a cold. Ugh. I rarely get sick, but when I do it, I do it well.

Anyway,I went to Tsukishima(月島) with my brother from another mother...Taki* for the first time in months, to eat some Okonomiyaki(お好み焼き) and meet up with two of his friends from school. There were moments where I felt a little out of place, no longer being a student as I listened to them talk about job hunting and the like, but aside from that, everyone was really nice and funny

I'm not sure how he managed to do it, but Taki's first okonomiyaki turned in to pizza. It was delicious but...how the heck he managed...
His second one tasted great even though it wasn't so visually appealing. It was his friends who seemed to have a skillful hand at cooking.....except when it came to monjayaki(もんじゃ焼き). I wish I would have been stuck sitting across from him so I could eat his cooking instead! hehe.  

Total, we had three okonomiyaki and one monjayaki. Including drinks, I'm sure we ran up a bit of a tab, but no one let me pay anything! 

Takaaki's friendMONJA
(Taki's friend with a god-hand for making okonomiyaki...BUT I don't think anyone can skillfully make Monjayaki)


Okonomiyaki
(Yuuuum. This eventually magically turned in to a pizza

Even though we split all the food and walked for a bit to get to the station, I was so full that I barely had any energy to take a shower once we got back to his house. That's how you know you had a good time. When you're all gross, but too exhausted to care. But I somehow managed to get in a quick 10 minute shower, since Taki was letting me borrow his room and I didn't want it to get all icky. I was so grateful he'd be sleeping in another room instead of being like many other guys I know and suggesting "Why don't we just share the bed?"
forever_wandering: (HAPPY&EXCITED)
I used to be the type of girl who never left her flat unless her earbuds were securely in place and the music was blaring at a level loud enough to drown out the sounds of the world without blowing out my ear drums. That all changed when I got my new phone. I haven't yet been bothered enough to transfer all my music to my new phone, so whenever I go out, I have nothing to listen to aside from the sounds of the city around me. Stations are pretty noisy, filled with the chatter chatter of loud and annoying school girls going this way and that, salary men discussing work, and train announcements, but the sounds of the city at night are unexpectedly soothing. 

TokyoTAGGED
(白金高輪Shirogane Takanawa)

I've fallen in love with Tokyo all over again and I regret not having experienced more of it when I lived here as a student. I guess when you live somewhere, you don't really think to do touristy things. I don't want to have the same regret about Osaka, so as soon as I get home, I'm tossing on my knee-high tube socks and fanny pack and heading out to explore the "right way," and until I return to Osaka, I plan on exploring Tokyo in the same way (though necessarily not the same fashion!) 

In a a couple of days, I'll be jumping over to Magome(馬込) to stay with a friend and his family. I'm really looking forward to it since the last time I did a "home stay" was almost three years ago when I first moved to Japan, and even then, it was a small, three member family. I've never stayed with a five-member family, and it'll be interesting to see how they compare to mine!  

Speaking of compare.... 

I had originally left Japan because things were getting out of control for me. After moving to Osaka to be with Take, things were great for a while, but things slowly started to go down hill. I had begun letting myself go because since "I already had a guy, there was no need to keep in shape." I gained back not only the weight I had lost, but an additional 2kilos (about four pounds), cut my hair off. and basically did nothing when I should have been job hunting.  We'd fight about it constantly. He wanted to move in to a more serious relationship but I was too busy trying to cheat through my school work. Eventually, I did get disgusted with myself and found a part time job to help out around the apartment and pay for studies until I graduated. And it was some time after I graduated that I decided I needed to go home and really think things over, decide where I wanted my life to go. 

Before heading back, I returned to Tokyo to say good-bye to a lot of my friends. This is one of the last pictures taken of me before my return to the US at the beginning of the year. 

ME2

And this is the me that returned to Tokyo. Reading back on some of my entries, I feel like I've been a bit hard on myself. If I would have just looked myself in comparison to where I was instead of where I wanted to be, I'd realize that I've done--not to sound cocky--a great job. In 330 days, I was able to transform myself in to a slightly better person than I once was. There is still a lot of emotional work as well as physical work that needs to be done, but I'm not going to consider myself a failure any more. 

(Face covered because my mom had caught me with food in my mouth! lol)

me

I feel like I really want to stay in Tokyo instead of making a jump back to Osaka, even though I'm basically already settled there.  A lot of my friends are telling me to make the jump to Tokyo--that they'd help me out however they can. I'm worried though that that "Help you out however I can" will turn in to basically taking care of me, and that I'll slip in to my old ways....  but it's still something I'm considering. The next few weeks will have a big influence on whether or not I decide to move back to Tokyo. I feel like in Tokyo all I'd be able to do is teach English. I have a degree in business. I'd like to put that to use and in Osaka, I can do that. As much as I love my friends here, I can't just jump over for their sake. Now, I really do need to start thinking about my future. 

forever_wandering: (Love)
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December. Four weeks. Four different guys. My life in Osaka is pretty ordinary. I have fun with my friends, but nothing amazing ever takes place. Yet every time I set foot in Tokyo, I find myself involved in a series of love triangles or being completely swept off my feet by a random stranger. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't already completely absorbed in someone, however that someone doesn't seem to be at a point in his life where he wants to commit 100% to a relationship. He wants all the benefits and rights, but not the titles or the exclusiveness. For a while I was okay with it. I was okay just being with him. But now I'm not. The clock is ticking and though I'm not desperate to find a new love, I realize that I simply can't just sit by and wait for Mugen* to come around any more. 

So here we are, four guys, all very different in their own rights, in four weeks. But one is already standing out above the rest and I'm looking extremely forward to our date. Not only is he handsome and tall (180cm, wow!), but he's settled in his own place and has a steady job. He's already decided who he is, what he enjoys and what he wants. He knows how to have fun, yet he's somehow very calming. On top of that, he does exactly what Mugen* seems to have difficulty doing--he supports my goals and dreams. I'm not as infatuated with him as I was with Mugen* but I can easily see myself learning to love him. 

I left the details of our date to him and it seems like he'll be treating me to dinner and illumination watching in Shinjuku. I'm still trying to convince him to take me dancing in the end! 

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(Pictures from two years ago) 

The last time I was here was with one of my best friends, Michaela. We sat for a long while watching all the couples since neither of us could be with our significant others. This time I'll have my chance to join those happy couples! Mugen* has some serious competition. I wonder if he even knows. With it nearing the end of the year, he's extremely busy at work. He's asked me three times now when I'm free, and though I've told him each time, he's yet to pick the days we'll meet. The boy better hurry himeself up. 
forever_wandering: (EW!)
Like many others, I finally got a Samsung Galaxy III this week and I have to say that I am completely in love with it. Up until this week, I was still using the iPhone 3GS and was constantly being teased for it, so it's nice to finally "be in the loop." Transferring all my stuff from one phone to the other has been a bit of a pain though...

Anyway.....
One of my favorite things about winter has to be Nabe! I met up with H and two of his college buddies at Ueno, where we really just walked around for a long time before going to grab dinner. Hanging out with H and his friends hadn't been all that great but the warm meal at the end definitely made up for everything that had happened that day! 

Fall11
Nabetime
Nabe II
Nabe III
Nabe

I have two more Nabe parties lined up. Honestly, I wouldn't mind eating this for the rest of my life! 
forever_wandering: (UGH!)

I know Japan is considerably safe, but I still tend to snicker whenever I hear someone say it's the safest country in the world. Some years ago, I spent some time working in Alaska as a night shift manager, so I always had my share of weirdos approaching me for a date or waiting for me when I got off work at 1 am. However, there had always been someone there who saw how uncomfortable I was--someone who always helped me out. 
One morning, I was walking to Hibarigaoka station, on my way to Ikebukuro.

ひばりヶ丘

Students walked down the roads and shops opened. It was a noisy morning just like any other. A black van drove next to me, slowly, keeping pace with me. I assumed that it was going that slow because of all the people on the roads, and so, I simply ignored it and kept walking. Together, the van and I rounded a corner together, and a man in his late twenties, early thirties spoke to me from the van. "You're pretty," he told me, to which I pressed my lips together, looked the other way and kept walking. I figured he'd leave me alone if he assumed I didn't speak Japanese. Rounding another corner, he continued "Where are you from?" Once again, I ignored him. 


He continued driving next to me, trying to make conversation as I walked. We got closer to the station and were forced to stop at a train crossing to let a train pass. "Do you understand Japanese?" He asked me from the car, "Do you know what I'm saying? Where are you from? Do you want a ride to the station? I'll give you a ride. Come on."
At this point, I was looking around, feeling eyes on me. People were glancing and yet no one said anything, not even the police officer that was standing just outside the police box next to where we were, so I continued to ignore him. The train passed and I hurried across, taking advantage of the fact that he had to drive slower because of the crowd of people crossing. I turned the corner and entered a convenience store. Even though I waited there for 5 minutes, when I exited, the car was driving around just outside! I was able to just duck in to the station and catch my train.

ひばりヶ丘駅

However, it still sticks in my head that no one said or did anything when I was obviously uncomfortable. 
I wasn't expecting anyone to swoop in and save me. It's just not the Japanese way. However, I can't say that Japan is the safest place because of this experience. When strangers approach me in the US, I feel far safer than when strangers approach me in Japan. 
So what brought this on? A friend of mine invited me to go to the Poconos in December, but because I'll be back in Japan by then, I had to decline the offer. When I told her this, she made a comment about how I was lucky to be going back to the greatest place in the world. I expressed my happiness over going home, but also expressed my dislike about staying in Ikebukuro again while visiting Tokyo before heading back to Osaka. She nagged at me for being spoiled, and so I told her this story to explain why I felt the way I did. 
I guess my story was wasted on her though, because all she said in reply was: Well, you were probably wearing something that said you wanted him to follow you. 
Oh, ok. 
Anyway, as I told her, I'll be staying in Ikebukuro again until I head back to Osaka. I'm not sure if I'll be staying in Hibarakigaoka again though. My friend made it clear that I'm always welcomed, but I don't like the idea of staying alone with guys anymore. We'll see. I don't want to do anything that, you know, makes someone think I'm leading them on. 

 読んでくれて、ありがとうございました!


♡Zia

forever_wandering: (AMUSED)
We took a trip to a Spanish-style garden, where they had this gorgeous bell tower. It's a shame we didn't think to pack a bentou because the weather was just perfect for a picnic! We spent the day walking around the garden, feeding fish and chasing squirrels. It would have been nice to go in to the tower, but it turns out you have to have a kind of membership in order to enter, and the membership was too expensive, so we just enjoyed it from the outside. Every half-hour, the bells would ring and play a different Christmas melody. It was quite cute! 
It was built by the Dutch sometime during the 1920's in honor of the guy who had wanted to create the park in the first place. 
parkBT1
BT2BT3

M and I had our first major issue, which involved me just walking away for almost two hours and not talking to him for some time after that. When I did finally talk to tell him why I had gotten angry, he only snickered and said "Oh okay," which made me mad all over again.....
Sometimes it's like talking to a wall, honestly. 
A friend of mine who is very in to gyaru, gave me a reddish-brownish wig as an early birthday present. Before we went out today, I put it on for her so she could see how it turned out and I was surprised at the difference. It really made me miss having chemically straightened hair as opposed to this wavy mess I now have. When my hair is straightened, it actually looks very much like the wig, give or take a few inches. Anyway, I think I'll be taking the wig and wearing it around Tokyo during my last few weeks of freedom before I before I begin working! Unless I start straightening my hair on a daily basis again.... I don't really want to do that though because I don't want to damage my hair. I need it to grow out so that my waves aren't so poofy....
Photobucket

Speaking of birthdays, mine is less than 10 days away and I've finally decided that I really don't want to do anything. I won't even buy myself a gift. Instead I'm going to save the money for my trip to Kawagoe (川越市) in Saitama.
Photobucket
I had gone once before, but at the time, I couldn't appreciate how beautiful historical settings were. I love going to places that make me feel like I've stepped back in time. I'd rather spoil myself in Kawagoe than spoil myself here =) I wonder if it's as nice as everyone says.

 読んでくれて、ありがとうございました!


♡Zia
forever_wandering: (HAVING FUN)

浴衣着物  BE YOURSELF! 

I can't remember how old I was the first time I ever wore a Yukata or a Kimono, but I do remember how uncomfortable it felt having my friend's aunt dress me, pulling me this way and that, tugging here and pulling there. I remember thinking "Oh God, I can barely move. How am I supposed to do this?" and I remember my friend's boyfriend snapping pictures as I stood there with a complete look of confusion and fear on my face. Now, I wasn't a stranger to Japanese wear. I had seen many girls walk around donning their cute colors, and had seen different styles in magazines. I'd always thought it was cute and even owned two myself, but had never had the courage to try it myself. 

Until the day I misunderstood something that was said to me and I was forced to give it a go. Ao's mom decided we'd go to a festival being held in Nagoya, which meant we "had" to dress up. I now know you don't actually have to, but at the time, I knew nothing, so I just stood there and endured it to the best of my ability. Once they were done, I found it almost impossible to sit and walk and despite all the things I was wearing, I felt naked somehow. It was definitely an unusual feeling. Even though it was hard for me to walk most of the night, I got used to not actually being able to breath and had quite a bit of fun. 

I thought that it was a rental at first, but in the end, they told me to keep it! So it was another to add to my collection =) 




Since then, I've gotten dressed many more times and now, I feel relatively comfortable in such clothing, though I definitely wouldn't make a habit out of wearing it every day. I've even come to appreciate the fact that someone can help you get in to it. When Ao's aunt first did it for me way back when, I was horrified, almost, but now, I don't mind. It's part of the fun. 


I have a bunch of magazines I need to look through in order to pick a new kimono for the new years. Take's mom advised I look in to something red, since I don't own one yet and because she thinks it would suit me. I told her I wasn't sure if I had the money for a new one this time around and she told me not to worry about it, so I'm guessing it's going to be a gift? Such expensive gifts...  But if she HAS to get me something, I would love: 

Anyway, I recently started reading a new blog about a woman who incorporates kimono and yukata in to her daily life as much as possible. I'm amazed at how confident  she is in her wear despite the fact that her current location doesn't really call for it, especially on a daily basis. I need to learn from her. I've always been shy about what I really enjoy and tend to do my best to simply blend in with the others. That has to stop. I should enjoy what I like, even if it does make me stand out a bit. Now, I'm not saying I want to run around in Japanese wear all the time. As I've said, this is something I just wouldn't feel physically comfortable doing. It means I want to mimic her ability to do what makes her smile and feel beautiful despite the norms around her. 

But why should I feel embarrassed about practicing things I enjoy if they in no way, shape, or form, harm others? 
forever_wandering: (ASHAMED)
FROM GOUKONS(合コン) & NOMIKAIS(飲み会)

TO SADOU(茶道)


 Goukons= Group dates, Nomikais= Drinking parties, Sadou=Tea Ceremonies

When I first moved to Japan, my entertainment consisted mostly of Goukons, Nomikais, and Sadou. Drinking and dancing with the boys, that's where the fun was at. I had absolutely no interest whatsoever in the actual Japanese culture. My boyfriend at the time didn't mind, since his friend thought it was so cool he had a wild girlfriend. Every weekend consisted of goukons and nomikais with neighboring schools.

We broke up only two months after my arrival.

Some months after that, I began dating Take. He never asked me to stop partying, but it was obvious he didn't approve. I began to explore other things such as Karaoke, Bentou making, and Kendo. Surprisingly, the most interesting turned out to be Sadou


I began by working on my Japanese and reading as many books as I could with Take's as well as my roommate's help. I began sitting in on the Sadou-club meetings to help myself get more used to being in such a calm setting. Eventually, I was able to visit real Tea Houses without a problem and began frequenting a tea house a friend of mine often went to in Chiba. 

The ladies spoke to me as though I had a clear understanding of the Japanese language. It was a bit hard to follow at times, but they were really patient with me and helped me along. It did wonders for my Japanese! Spending time with these ladies helped spark my interest in Kimono as well as the Koto. Take's mom rewarded my giving up the clubbing life for something "more lady-like" by buying me a yukata, then later on buying me a new kimono for the new year. Getting involved with Sadou was one of the best things I could have done. Not only did it please my new boyfriend and his family, but it taught me a lot about Japanese culture and inspired further change within myself. I admired these classy ladies and wanted to be like them. 

The following pictures are from my last time at the house. 



(I realized from this picture that I had horrible posture! This was actually me sitting straight! Now, I've fixed my posture and no longer have back pain ^^) 

Many of my old friends began distancing themselves as my interest in Sadou and things related grew. Many of them were still very much in to drinking and partying. However, the ladies were kind enough to introduce me to an entirely new group of people. I started growing up. It was around this time that Take asked me to transfer campuses to live with him in Osaka when he left. 

I've decided to take Shaimsen lessons again at the local culture center, even if only to feel a little closer to a time in my life I felt challenged and a little more alive.I had attempted to play the Koto but it proved to be too much of a challenge and instead  turned to the Shamisen. Having experience with a guitar, learning to play a Shamisen had been slightly easier. The woman I spoke to had been so surprised to hear me ask about Shamisen lessons that she offered to teach me for two months for a minimal one time fee! 

Whenever I meet new people and tell them I'm in to Sadou, they give me this unusual look. I met a guy not too long ago who assumed I was interested in Anime and Manga. I confessed to him that though there were a few series I still enjoy from long ago, I really had no idea about half of the things he mentioned. "Then," he asked me, "What do you like?" I told him one of my main interests was Sadou and he seemed genuinely surprised, telling me my type was rare. 

I don't think that we're rare...but I guess we're not as "easily seen?" 
I dunno. I know a lot of people who are in to it. I just don't get why it's considered rare. 

forever_wandering: (RELAXED)
              
Hi! This week has been exhausting, but I survived! I increased my work out to 4 miles (2 running, two power walking up-hill), and added 10 minutes of yoga. I was also a little depressed over finding out via Facebook that my sister planned a family reunion in Hawaii that I wasn't invited to, but I decided not to think about it too much. 
  I leave for New York in a few days and I still have a million things I need to do before I go. I made a long list in my schedule book. I'll start tackling the tasks tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll also be giving myself a hair conditioning treatment! My hair has been getting a lot better since I stopped using all these heating products. Sometimes, I get tempted to Chemically straighten my hair, but then I remember how damaging it is...
Photobucket 

I also narrowed my make-up kit to five simple items! =D I'm going to go with more simple make up this time around. No fake lashes or bold colors. When M-san was here, I wore no make up at all. I felt so naked, but I liked how natural I looked in the pictures. I'm going to try to keep that look with my make up now. I'll keep the flashy make up for the club scene.

Photobucket 

There is also a wig in my closet I need to re-style for days I don't feel like brushing my hair. Haha. Oh Jesus, am I getting that lazy? No! If Lolita girls can wear wigs when they want, so can I, damn it. 
I keep getting calls from someone in Puerto Rico. I don't know who they are but every time I answer, they say "Ei ma, que hace?" Hey girl, what'cha doing? I have a few guy friends still in Puerto Rico, but he doesn't sound like any of them, and I figured that after a week of creeping me out, they'd finally confess and laugh at me for freaking out.  I thought about blocking the number but it's almost 6 dollars a month to keep that one number blocked. That's $72.00 a year on someone I don't know...

That's money I have but don't want to spend at the moment. I just finished paying $300.00 at an evaluation center to get my transcripts from フェリス女学院, Rosemont and UAS combined. I should have done this a long time ago. I was two courses shy of completing a degree at 
フェリス女学院. I was one course shy of finishing a degree at Rosemont. Courses I took at UAS had been for fun so I never expected credit for them, but it turns out I can. Now that the three have been combined... catch this....if I take only two more courses, I can end up with two different Degrees. I guess the $300 was worth it.  I need to e-mail Ferris and arrange to take those two courses.  Even with a degree though, I don't know if I'll look for a different job once I go back. I kind of liked working at the restaurant I was at before. The pay was decent and my co-workers were tremendously kind. I'll call Kanae once I get back from NY and see what my chances are of going back to work there. Until then, I should have fun and practice my "いっらしゃいませ~”'s~! 
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forever_wandering: (AMUSED)

日本語の版:http://ameblo.jp/eternalkirichan/entry-11209770029.html

We had decided a few days before on meeting at Roppongi at 18:00. Even though he had been mad at me, and was probably even more annoyed with me for not calling him as I had been instructed, I assume our plans still stand. I shower, change, then head off to meet him. Upon reaching Ueno Station, I get a message from M-san,*: You didn't call me. I'll see you at 20:00 instead. What? 20:00?! What in hell was I supposed to do for two hours?! "That's fine. I'll wait for you," I reply, which sparks a small argument. He blames my not calling him for his being late and I apologize but argue that my call had nothing to do with our pre-arranged meeting. He tells me he's on his way and we end up meeting only half an hour behind schedule. 

We argue as we walk. He's genuinely annoyed that I hadn't called, and I'm genuinely annoyed that he was acting so...possessive. He was annoyed that I had been hanging out with another guy, drinking with another guy. I assure him that nothing had happened and that T-san* was no more than a friend. "That kind of behavior.." he begins to tell me, but then says nothing more. What behavior? My behavior? Sorry, but what had I done wrong? "I don't like it." He finishes off, rounding a corner. "So, where do we go from here?" I ask, wondering if we'd be parting ways or not. "Roppongi Hills. You know Mori tower?" He asks back, and of course, I know. I remind him that I'm afraid of heights, which seems to bring a smile to his face. Damn him. I smile back and the tension disappears. 

PhotobucketThe elevator doors opened and as we stepped out on to the deck, we were greeted by a beautiful night view of the area, Tokyo Tower glowing majestically. I'm both amazed and terrified at the same time.  He asks me if I want to take a picture. "Uhh...." I answer, holding on to the rail. Actually, I'm fine right here, clinging to this rail, I think to myself, but find myself walking with him in the direction of the designated photographer positioned on deck.  Once our picture is taken, we begin to walk around deck, trying to identify different landmarks.

"And that area over there is...." M-san* peers at a map, trying to figure out what he was looking at. "That's Shibuya," I finish, standing next to him. He asks me how I know. "I'm awesome," I answer.  

"Okay then. So." He points in another direction, "That is....hm."  I tell him that that area is also Shibuya. It's all Shibuya. Everything in Sight is Shibuya. "Trust me, I know these things." I assure him. We laugh and continue looking around.

He starts staring at another map and as he does so, I stare at him. He had me figured out, but he was still a mystery to me. I stare so intently that I fail to notice he's now looking at me instead of at the map. He snaps his fingers in my face, "Is that ok?" My blank stare tells him he needs to repeat his question. "I know you have to go to Kansai but I wanna see you one more time before you go home, ok?" 

I agree to meet him again and promise I'll call him from Kansai. He gives me a skeptical look. I laugh. "I will!" I assure him, "I swear I'll call you."

But did I? 

★★★


I am loving LJ's new "Scheduled entries" feature! It really is speeding up the posting process. I can type up all my entries ahead of time then just walk away.

In other news, Operation "Instead of losing weight, focus on living a healthier lifestyle" is going very well. I haven't stepped on the scale just yet to see if I've actually lost any weight, but I can see a difference when I look at pictures most importantly, I feel the difference.  Is anyone else working on losing weight? If so, how do you keep motivated? How do you measure your progress?  I only have 5 more kilos to lose in order to meet my final goal, but I've read that the last 5 are always the hardest.  I'm looking for creative ways to keep myself motivated! 9 months to lose 5 kilos for a bit day! MOTIVATE ME LJ

forever_wandering: (ASHAMED)
日本語の版:なし、ごめんなさい!

I ended up borrowing the $3,000 we needed from my grandfather so although it does need to be paid back at some point, there is no interest on it. Take that banks =D. Now we just need to finalize some things for the car we're interested. Anyway, things are slowly getting back to normal and I'm feeling happier than ever. I've been trying to get back in to the habit of working out after a practically three-week hiatus while I had company. I also re-started 神様のカルテ, since I forgot what was going on over the past three weeks.At some point, I still need to upload a million pictures.....

I hope everyone's week is going as well as mine! 

Oh, and before I forget,  hello to all my new friends =D. 

★★★

T-san* and I decided to meet at Tsukishima at around 18:00 for Okonomiyaki. Having never been there, I left the apartment early only to learn that he would be arriving late because class was taking longer than expected. No problem, I thought to myself as I read his message, I can just sit outside the station and wait. As soon as I arrived, I realized what a horrible idea that was. The air around Monja street smelled delicious. My stomach growled and I groaned. Why had I decided to skip lunch again?   Several stomach growls later, T-san* arrived and after exchanging hellos, we rushed off to stuff our faces. Erm, I mean, enjoy a meal.  

We ordered a few drinks, two types of Monjayaki, and three types of okonomiyaki. In hindsight, it was a bad idea but hey, we were really hungry at the time! 

PhotobucketWe talked about his life at the University, my social life, then struggled to finish all the food we had ordered. In the end, I became too full to eat another bite and instead only cheered him on as he struggled to finish the last few bites of Curry Okonomiyaki. "You can do it T-san*! COME ON!! LOOK!! Two more bites!! Do it, do it!"  Once he finished, we rested then tipsily made our way out of the little shop and decided to walk around a bit to sober up.   

It was only then that I thought to look at my phone and realized that M-san* had called me. Twice. Oh boy. I called him back and as soon as he found out that I was with T-san* a boy, he asked if I had been drinking and seemed annoyed. We talked for two seconds before he hung up on me, and me being slightly tipsy, found the fact that he was annoyed with me hilarious. T-san and I joked about his "jealousy" as we wandered down the street, turning at random corners and getting ourselves lost.  

"He's not even my boyfriend!" I shouted as we reached a park and stopped to set up the GPS to get back to the station. "I know!" T-san* shouted back, "And you know what?! He's not even your boyfriend!" I gasped and answered, "YOU'RE RIGHT!" 

We laugh some more, then head to a convenience store to ask for directions since we can't seem to get the GPS to work. After chit-chatting with the obaa-chan and attempting to follow her instructions, we realize we're still lost. Luckily, we spot another group of young people laughing loudly and staggering around obviously drunk. "Hey!" I shout in Japanese across the street, "Wheres the station!?" The girls laugh, we get an "I don't know!" or two from some of the guys, before the group waves for us to follow. We decide against it and suddenly realize that we could just walk back the same way we had come. Brilliant! 

So! We re-track our steps and eventually reach the station. We part ways after some random rambling about how stuffed we still feel, and as soon as I get to the apartment, I call M-san. He sounds annoyed, tells me I need to change my ways, tells me what I did to annoy him (note that despite having talked for half a year, we had only physically met once at this point....) then tells me to call him early the next day. Of course...because I'm tipsy, I don't remember that I'm supposed to. 

Big mistake! 
Who would have thought that when a guy tells you to call, they actually expect you to CALL? 

From this point on, things got only more interesting! 

Tsukishima 月島 :: Man-made Island in Chuo, Tokyo, known for it's insanely large amount of amazingly cheap restaurants. 


     
forever_wandering: (PENSITIVE)
Organizing all my photos has reminded me of so many things I didn't even realize I forgot. One of those things, for example, is moving in Japan. Many of my friends are in the process of moving to new prefectures or new apartments. I read about how hard it is for them and usually comment with things like, "I can't imagine having to do all that!" but I realized today, I can't imagine having to do it, but I've done it.  I just didn't have to do it alone. 
I moved from Ikebukuro to Yokohama to Osaka. 


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The first place was a little studio for two in Ikebukuro. There, I lived with a friend of a friend. The neighborhood was nice but the studio just didn't have the space I wanted. After that, I moved in to a small house in Yokohama, provided by Ferris University. Again, it was meant for two. The neighborhood here was also nice but full of children, which drove me a little insane. Our neighbors were a bit weird too. Some time after that, I was moved to a different apartment meant for three people. I loved living here. The building was above a shop, an across the street there were several convenience stores and restaurants. My best friend at the time was living next door and my future new boyfriend lived on the top floor. Eventually, I followed him to Osaka. The place was nice...though the apartment was a bit small, and the area wasn't in walking distance of a train station. So, in the end we moved again to the final place, which is currently where all my things still are. 
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In all cases, I've had people to help me move or to share the cost of moving with me, so all in all, it hadn't been too difficult, as far as I remember. I'm still paying that apartment despite it being just me now. A friend is helping me with it. These days, I'm wondering if I'll stay there or move some place else. When I first came back to LJ I mentioned that it had been too hard for me to even step foot in to that apartment again but...now I can't decide if I want to stay there because it's where all our memories are. 

Hm. 
What to do. What to do. 
forever_wandering: (HAVING FUN)
We had planned on going to Asakusa at around noon, but since I was still jet lagged and didn't wake up until around 16:30, Y-san* and I ended up going at around 18:00. It wasn't as crowded and everything looked so much more impressive in the dimming light, so despite not being able to spend the entire day there, but it was still really enjoyable. 

Y-san* is one of those people who knows a lot about everything and isn't afraid to show it.
The majority of our conversations begin with "Did you know..." Usually, I don't know, he explains it further, and I learn something new.  I had been to Asakusa a couple of times before going with Y-san, but being there with him and listening to all he had to say made me feel as though I was visiting it for the first time. 

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As we made our way down the street, Y-san* tried to get me to "try" just about every treat there was, and I'm sure he did that to bug me about watching my weight. When I finally found a snack I did want to eat, he looks at me with those big eyes of his and asks, "You...want to eat that?!"  Which of course, made me not want to eat it at all. We stared at each other before we started laughing and carried on.  On our way back, we ended up splitting some dorayaki which was what I had wanted to eat in the first place when he teased me! and green tea. 

Oh! Right! No trip to Asakusa is complete without some kind of omiyage!
Y-san* bought me a little cellphone strap with the five yen and sandals attached. I thank him but explain that I already had a new cell phone strap I had purchased the day before. "But," he begins to say, "Look. This one jingles." He shakes it a bit, and it does indeed jingle. I nod slowly, thinking it was very unlike him to be attracted to something noisy. He must have sensed my confusion because he finishes with, "If you have this on your phone, I can't lose you and I always know when you're coming." 

.....So I'm like a cat, Y-san*? 

"I like cats." He says and proceeds to put it on my cellphone. "Plus..well, we won't discuss how you always get lost. I like cats. Lets leave it at that." 

We left it at that and headed back to the station, my new cellphone strap jingling jangling all the way.  


Y-san= My friend's name starts with a Y, but in order to protect his privacy, I did not use his full name. 


forever_wandering: (綺麗)
Good morning, Good evening, Hello. 

I'm sitting here sipping on Organic Green Tea, which actually isn't as bad as I expected it to be, wondering why it has to be so cold. Seriously, you think that after living in Alaska, I'd develop some kind of tolerance for the cold--seriously. But no. I wasn't that lucky Probably because I kept leaving.

A conversation I had through comments on my last entry really got me thinking about all my friends and the relationships we have. Someone once told me that a best friend didn't need to be told they were a best friend--nor did they care whether they were or not. They were too busy enjoying the time you guys spend together. That friend, would have to be a girl named "Lisa." 

We met for the first time when I started studying in Philadelphia. She was there for a year on exchange. Once her year was up, she went back to Japan. A few months after that, I ended up transferring to her college in Yokohama. We were never the hang out 24/7 type, but we always manage to get together for good, long, much needed girl-talks. There is no drama in this relationship. No jealousy, no competition....just friendship. I love it. 

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It's been four years since we first met. I've only managed to hold a friendship with one other person for that long and unfortunately, I don't have any pictures with her. It's something I need to remedy when she comes to see me in March.  


Also, a few days ago, I actually sat down in front of a TV and started watching this drama: 

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★Main Page: こちら

I caught it somewhere towards the middle, so I'm not sure what Kamikawa's deal is just yet, but this drama is GREAT! It's hilarious in an evil kind of way (Of course it is, isn't that how it always is with twins?) but so touching at the same time! I've never been sucked in by the first episode like this. I'm in love. 

forever_wandering: (RELAXED)
I have a lot of guy friends. By a lot, I mean I'd need to grow four extra hands if I wanted to count them all on my fingers. And unfortunately, most of those guys are the same. They like the same music, same fashion, same food, same places...and they're all pretty predictable.This means that when I tell one of them to surprise me, I don't ever actually expect to be surprised Though I fake it rather well! 

K-san however, managed to score one for the team. I don't him to surprise me--and he DID. 

ジャン・ジャン・ジャン!!

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This wasn't my first visit to Kyoto. It was however, my first trip that didn't involve drinking under bridges with people I didn't really know, followed by a drunk round of karaoke. 
We had originally planned on heading out bright and early at 8AM, but we had ended up drinking too much the night before and Kaz ended up crashing at my hotel. We both woke up at around 10PM, then decided K-san would run home, change, then we'd meet again at Osaka station at noon. 

.....We ended up meeting at 1:00, both of us still feeling...well, hung over. But! We were troopers! And we still walked all over Kyoto taking random pictures and laughing at things that weren't even really that funny. 

Aside from Kyoto Tower, we chose to stay away from major major tourist spots because neither of us felt like dealing with crowds. So, we went to smaller, still somewhat popular temples instead, and even got to watch a wedding!  

After all that hiking, we headed to Kyoto tower so I could get my precious night view!



A year ago, I would have had no interest in Kyoto, it's Temples and it's history...but now...let me say, I wouldn't mind settling there. 

Profile

KURICHA(栗茶)

1356502152374

"An ugly duckling growing out of her feathers."

Hello. I'm Zia, and this is most obviously my journal. I write about my life between Japan and the US, and all the adventures I find myself in. People often say they are envious of the life I seem to live, but the truth is, I feel a little unsatisfied with it myself, so I've decided to do something about it--to find what really makes me happy. Hopefully by documenting my life, I can figure out where I need to be heading. This journal is my way of opening my world to those around me in hopes of meeting people searching for the same thing or encountering people who have already gone through this kind of struggle. 

Back in my high school days, I used to be a bit of a nerd. I was really in to comic books of all kinds, action figures...all that jazz.  These days, though my interest in comic books re-surfaces every so often, I'm very much more in to things like fashion, dance, music, travel, tea, baking, writing letters, photography, animals and fitness. I'm a straight shooter--meaning I do not (or rather, can not?) lie. Keeping up with lies is too much trouble. 

Anyway, there is more information about me on my profile. Feel free to take a look there or catch me on another site★




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