Sunday, September 30, 2007

Steve, you were right...

So, I'd been without a sword here for around 3 weeks. I had started going into sword withdrawal, so I did some research on sword shops in the Tokyo area. One that was mentioned several times was a place called Sakuraya, near the Nihon Budokan. I went there, and managed to not drool. It is to iaidoka what General Nanosystems is to computer geeks. The shopkeeper was an older Japanese man who spoke some English, so between that and my woefully inadequate Japanese we were able to go over what I wanted. I suppose most foreigners who make it to his shop want to buy the longest iaito he offers, because he initially tried to sell me a 2.5 shaku sword. I said that I generally prefer something around 2.3 - 2.4 shaku in length, and that's when I think he realized I was actually looking for a sword to use for iai, rather than yet another dumb gaijin looking for a souvenir. He started pulling out many swords of the length I asked for and the price range I was looking at, and after about a half hour of him showing me different swords, I decided on the one I wanted. I paid for it, and he packaged it in a nice little 'to-go' package, complete with carrying handle. So, yes, you were right Steve... I wasn't able to make it very long without a sword. Here's a link to some pictures of it:

p.s. John, you might be interested to know that my electric Kanji dictionary actually has BOTH ways of writing Karate! I was kind of surprised, because usually they only show the modern way of writing it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

This weekend

I went to the Tokyo JCC for the first time on Friday. The experience was less than enjoyable. They demanded ID at the door, flipped through our passports, and demanded to search our bags (because obviously we were carrying bags loaded with weapons... it couldn't just be that we had our bags with us because we had class until 4:40 or so...). After services, one of their rabbis decided to make a speech about how any Jew who didn't actively belong to a Jewish community was the same as an apostate or a heretic.
Also, I went to Tokyo Game Show. Saw some stuff; didn't find anywhere around there to buy a PSP, so I went to Akihabara, figuring they'd have one there. I found exactly one place in all of Akihabara that still had the PSP, and the only color they had was pink, so I went ahead and bought a used GameCube for the apartment for cheap.
When I got home, I busted open the GameCube box, intending to hook it up and try it out, only to find that apparently in Japan GameCubes come with everything you need EXCEPT a cable to connect it to a TV. One of my roommates suggested we try heading over to a mall at a nearby station to check there for the necessary cable.
While waiting for the train, I bought a drink from a vending machine that looked interesting. It turns out it was barley tea, and it made me very sick. We went to the mall anyway, and eventually found a game shop. The shop, however, had no GameCube cables. They did have PSPs, though, so I bought one (although they didn't have any copies of FFVII: Crisis Core left). We then went home, where I promptly ran to the bathroom and vomited forcefully enough that half the contents of my stomach went out through my nose. I'm still feeling somewhat queasy, and have yet to do my Japanese homework. I am very glad I don't have school tomorrow.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Updates, and why my hands smell like fish

The second level Japanese class is way better than the third level one. The review we're doing is ACTUALLY REVIEW for me! *GASP*
Apparently, our dorm manager is convinced that we don't eat enough. I guess that's what happens when all three of us are skinny and she's convinced that we can't even handle turning the rice cooker on, because we're guys -_-(). On that note, one of my roommates made a tasty fried udon dish tonight. I got to be the official cutter of ingredients. That job included gutting and chopping up the fish, hence why my hands smell like fish.
Plans for tomorrow / this weekend: buy more RAM for my comp (one of my RAM chips appears to be bad =( ), buy a PSP and FFVII: Crisis Core (because it's an FFVII tie-in!), and go to Tokyo Game Show. I suppose homework and studying fall somewhere in there, though I don't have school on Monday, so I could always wait until then. Also, my hands continue to smell like fish. Yuck.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

My new quest (and recent events)

The last few days have been fairly busy. I switched into a lower-level Japanese class, which involved a more in-depth interrogation than I would have liked. I went on a bus tour of Tokyo, which was interesting, although it took the whole day. I walked around Akihabara, and looked at many geeky things that I would buy if I had the money. Also, I realized what my quest will be while I'm here: I shall try and sample as many different kinds of wacky pastries as I can. There are tons of pastries, and they are tasty and cheap. I got a pastry the size of my head for only 105 yen! That's less than $1! Also, I've come to the realization that two things I'll miss alot when I go home are the trains and the pastries. I really like riding the trains here; hell, I wish my morning commute was longer so I could spend more time on them in the morning. I'll miss the pastries because they're cheap, tasty, and everywhere. I also found out that my hair is now too long to go into a full jewfro. I think that just about covers the events of the last few days.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Best. Dinner. Ever. (and other oddness)

So, the Japanese classes here are divided into 3 levels. Level 1 is for students with 1 year of Japanese; level 2 for people with 2 years; level 3 for people with 3 years. Somehow, the placement test put me in level 3, though I can't speak worth a damn and I suck at kanji. It also placed one of my roommates (who has 3 years of Japanese) and another guy who's got like 5 years and has lived here before in level 1. WTF, seriously... on the plus side (at least for me), they freely allow people to drop down into a lower-level class than the one they tested into. I'm seriously not a level 3 student... I might be able to pull a C or perhaps a B- if I bust my ass, but that's not what this is about.
On a less annoying topic, I had an interesting dinner tonight: rice and toast... now that's class! Apparently, the dorm manager will be making us dinner tomorrow night. She can't speak English at all, but seems nice enough (though I'm not quite sure what's going on half the time when she's talking to us... vocab is a bitch!).
To-do tomorrow: deal with alien card registration, pick up my meal subsidy money from Shin-san, and hopefully buy a denshi-jishou (electronic dictionary)... and study so I'll not make a total ass of myself in level 3 Japanese on Thursday... blearg -_-()

Monday, September 10, 2007

Placement test

I took the placement test today. It didn't seem too bad, though that could just be because I'm such a moron that I don't even realize how little I know. Also, had the campus tour type thing, and posed for a picture. Had onigiri and odango for lunch (I should put that in Japanese, but I'm too lazy to switch over to hiragana). Got some type of opening ceremony to go to tomorrow. I'm supposed to wear 'formal' clothes, so I might tuck in my shirt. I think that's about it for now.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

So, when my blog was in Japanese...

I apparently accidentally deleted everything... oops ^_^()... at least my links are now all in English again. Also, I moved into my dorm today... it's pretty nice, I'll post pics sometime... my roommates both seem all right, too... and I've got free internet!!!