Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I'm back! ただいま!

For some of my Japanese friends who only understand Japanese, I'll be writing this post in English and in Japanese.

I got back yesterday, though my plane was delayed because of the snow in MN. Also, they sent my luggage on the wrong plane, so I didn't get it until around 11PM (at which point I was already in bed). So far, I haven't done much besides sleep. I did have a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast, which was good, as cheese is expensive in Japan.
Now I've gotta clean my room and unpack, so catch ya later.



Sunday, December 23, 2007


Well, got through the last of my finals. Got through the sayonara party. Got most of my stuff packed. Pretty much everyone else has left, so I've got the apartment to myself, and it's really empty. I've now got two days to kill, and it seems like almost everyone who came here for the program has left, and my Japanese friends all are busy at work. Really boring. I'm done with most of my packing. All that's left is killing time for two days (and hoping my flight doesn't get canceled).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Updates (some of which might matter to non-Iaidoka)

It's been a busy few days. Friday I had my final presentation for my hellish Architecture class. It was made even more 'fun' by the fact that my rib started giving me serious trouble while I was on the train to head to class. I managed to make it through the presentation without dying, though, so it's all good. Just have to get through my Japanese final on Tuesday, and I'm good to go.
Yesterday, I spent time in three different prefectures (Chiba, Tokyo, and Saitama). Finally met up with Risa (my Japanese conversation partner from last Spring at the U). She's doing well, and is hoping to make it back to MN to visit people in February (although that is likely the WORST time to go to MN). We wandered around Kawagoe, a city known as 'Little Edo' due to the large numbers of Edo-era buildings that are preserved there. We then had some traditional Japanese food for dinner; she thought it was hilarious that I had never eaten raw fish before, so she ordered me some raw tuna. Also, I ate too much wasabi.
Today, I went to the budokan for Iaido class as usual. They decided they were testing everyone today. The guy who's been teaching me decided that he wanted them to test me, too, although I've only been training there for less than two months. He told me to just do Mae, Ushiro, and Uke-Nagashi (because those are all similar in Japan to the way I'm used to doing them back home). I managed to survive it. I'm really gonna have to make time to buy a Japanese hakama and dogi before coming back to the States, though... they are way nicer than the ones I've been able to buy in the US. Also, surprisingly enough, doing Iai in an Iai hakama is alot more comfortable and convenient than doing it in an Aikido hakama.
I think that covers just about everything. I'll be back in MN a week from this Tuesday, so expect me in class at the dojo on the evening of the 26th =D

Also, finally got around to uploading some more pics:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Finals time... ugh...

I figured it's been two or three weeks since my last post, so it was about time I do another. It's about finals time here, so I've had very little time for much of anything. Although I'm done with my history final, I still have to prepare my final presentation for architecture. Also, the Japanese teachers seem to enjoy piling tons of last-minute final assignments on us -_-
Last night, I decided to give the other branch of the Jewish community in Tokyo a chance, so I went to the Chabad Channukah party. Just like Chabad things in MN, it involved paying a large amount of money (after I was lead to believe it was free!) to get food that was mediocre at best and spend time around people I don't really have anything in common with. Is it strange that I felt like more of an outsider when surrounded by all these Israeli Jews than when surrounded by Japanese people? Also, most of the people there were Israeli, and quite a few spoke neither English nor Japanese. A few got loudly drunk, and I felt sorry for the Japanese staff at the hotel where the party was held.
For the next few weeks: prepare a two-minute presentation on solutions to deforestation in Japanese (if anyone knows how to take two minutes to tell people 'just don't cut down so damned many trees' in Japanese, please let me know!) by tomorrow. Test in Japanese on Friday. Speech at the Funabashi English-speaking society on Saturday. Iai-do class in Urayasu on Sunday. IES movie night on Monday. Probably gonna have to get my re-entry permit from one of the government centers on Tuesday. Sometime before Friday, I have to prepare my architecture presentation (which, by the way, is expected to be done as though I'm an architecture major... because the prof is INSANE). Meeting my Japanese conversation partner from the U of M last year the following Saturday. Got another Japanese test the following Friday I believe, and then I'm done. Found out that alot of the full-year students will be having a big party on the 26th here, which I won't be able to attend because I leave on the 25th.
I'll leave you all with a final random statement: I have been told by people of at least 3 different nationalities that I look like Johnny Depp.