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Stayed up until 4am last night, writing postcards so i could send them before leaving the hotel. I had a great time matching up postcard designs to names, and adding in some Japanese, which I tried my best to make not-too-grammatically-incorrect. Mwah, all of you, and love.

Japanese children are some of the cutest things ever. Can I smuggle one of them home with me?

I think I traumatized one of them at breakfast though. I smiled at this kid while waiting for her dad to get rice. Next thing I knew, she had run from me and was ftugging at her father's sleeve, going 'tousan, tousan' piteously. I feel so guilty!

Lately I have been eating my rice rolled into my seaweed.

I wonder if it is possible to learn to switch hands. Am trying to do stuff with my left that I usually do with my right.

Spent the day in Disney Sea. Rides were too kiddy. Discussed with my parents my desire to emigrate. More on that in another entry.

Have split off from everyone. Now off on my grand adventure to go meet Ju! One train, one hour (well two trains, if you count the ticket for the disney monorail so i can make my way from disney sea to maihama station). It should be easy, right?

I hate train platforms. Always afraid I shall fall in.

i am in maihama station about 30 min early because i was afraid i would not be able to figure it out. I eventually did (got confused because the line i was on only moved one way, while the other line moved in both directions, so i spent some time trying to find the other platform for my line so i would be sure i wasn't inadvertently going in the wrong direction. Couldn't find it anywhere, which was strange.

We stayed at the first stop for a really long time. Almost as long as it had taken for us to travel from the first station to the second...

Aha! Have finally figured out where to look to find the current station name: it is on the pillar!

I jump whenever we pass by a train going in the other direction. It makes a weird sound.

7 stops away! I was sleepy a few moments ago, but not any more :)

Um, is the train seat actually heated? My butt is warm ;_;

Hm, is "silent mode" called "manners mode (manaa moodo) in Japan?

Three stops away!!! All this excitement is making me hungry.

Is no one afraid of robbers or anything like that? People are taking out their laptops and such on the train. I am getting nervous even just whipping out my cellphone o.O

Ohmygod next stop is Kita-Asaka! *bounce*

It took just a bit more than an hour, like an hour and seven minutes. Night air, brr.

I am currently lurking near the ticket machines like a suspicious lurking thing.

Had teeth-blackening pasta and truffle ice cream and very good fake tiramisu! Enjoyed the drinks bar (soda, mostly, and coffee and tea). Also discussed the merits of eating ostrich meat (they deserve to die because the stupid birds have wings but do not fly.) We then stopped by Mister Donuts for something to take home for breakfast. The green tea azuki p(something) ring was interesting. They also have the most adorable things you can get if you have enough points, so I did my share by helping Ju earn points.

Then we went to another train station, on a different line, to head home ("samui, samui"). Got a speed tour of the area/route to her place; took off my shoes before heading inside. It was compact and so nice and cozy <3 space heater! Poster! Groovy (grooved?) rug!

I stole the second futon from underneath the first one, as well as the bottom blanket, and sprawled on the futon while watching oofuri. Which, by the way, oofuri is good! A bit fanservicey, ahaha. Went through the first 10 episodes and then had to give up because i was getting sleepy and loopy and i think i may have started babbling and my eyes were closing on their own even if i was having fun and laughing at the good parts, but still my eyes closed.

And then it was somehow morning, and we ate the donuts and i had instant royal milk tea and it was good.

Took my gym bag with my clothes and stuff and we headed to Ikebukuro, where Juju brought me to HMV, and then we went to Animate (six floors of anime and manga merchandise, each floor having a different kind!) I actually spent a bit of money at the 200yen random-figurine-in-egg machine, trying my luck for various Oofuri characters. I got a lot of Ta...Ta.. whatsisname, batting genius guy, and also Abe. The duplicates I traded with Ju :D (I COULD NOT STOP. IT WAS LIKE GAMBLING. But with less money and more adorable prizes).

Then up a floor to buy manga (where I bought one of a slightly, uh, more sensitive nature). Oofuri has a lot of doujins. It seems second only to Hitman Reborn? Then up another floor for merchandise (bought a bag, ahahhah. I love it *hugs to self*). Then Ju dragged me away, and we ate lunch at a Mexican place, where I was introduced to fajitas!

Then she took me to Mandarake (doujin shop) for a quick peek, though we had no time for more than that. I saw LOTR doujins *snerk* I forgot there were those; I thought it was limited only to fanart, but I guess it follows naturally?

Then it was time to go home. Ju escorted me to the station in Nippori and there we parted ways. <333 Juju *smoooch*

Had a bit of a scare. Heard the train announcer say that we were approaching Osaka. Thought I had gotten on the wrong train, though Osaka didn't make any sense at all, so I got up to look at the train lines diagram, and realized that we were at (and had just left) Osakura.

And after all that, I got to the airport almost an hour earlier than everyone else, ahahaha.


Mar. 21st, 2008 10:35 pm
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Akihabara! Stayed in the big building with electronics, but didn't buy anything. My sister bought a new camera (canon g9); that was one of the main things she was looking to do in Japan. I was surprised when my dad bought a camera as well, though (sony t300). His old camera (t100?), he's passing on to me. Or maybe he'll give it to my mom, and my mom will give me her old camera. My ahia doesn't need one as he is the photographer of the family and owns an SLR.

But either way, I'm getting a newer hand-me-down from one of my parents to replace the older camera that my sister handed down to me (sony p8?) a couple of years back. I now have two cameras, neither of which I asked for or bought myself. It's all good. I kind of get all my stuff thay way, hehe. Clothes, gadgets, even my laptop was offered to me (or at least suggested by my ahia) rather than being something I requested myself. I just don't feel the urge to buy stuff, for the most part.

It is only fairly recently that I have begun actively shopping for stuff of my own, and... I don't know, I don't really start the shopping trips, only go along when someone suggests it. But I'm still doing way better with shopping now than I used to :)

Anyway! Ramen! For lunch! I ended up having to translate the menu, mostly unsuccessfully. Umm it was so bad that my mom ended up finding one waitress who spoke Chinese and ordered that way. It would have been all right if I were on my own, since anything would have been good, but my parents have a tendency to want things perfect. (I tend to want to *do* things perfect, but not care so much when it comes to things that I ge, heh. Well, for the most part. When it's a collaborative thing, the distinction blurs)

In general, the noodles in Japan are thicker and doughier (?) in texture than the ones back home.

Then we dropped by Ueno Park where the sakura blossoms had negun to bloom. So pretty. They only barely started, too.

In Takashimaya now. Melon pan! (from Kimuraya, I think) It is so good. As far as I can tell, it is made of two kinds of bread, the top one is like a crust, very sweet. The inner one is soft and filled with cream.

Pocari Sweat, like saltier and sourer gatorade.

I almost bought a Ruby book in Japanese. I figured that if it were just for the code examples, the language of the text wouldn't really matter. In the end, I decided not to buy it because I wanted something a bit more advanced, but if I do find one that looks good, I shall probably try it. (I wonder how I'll know what looks good?).

We went to a couple of shopping places, was okay, was okay. Didn't buy much except for food and some tiny things. Was trying to keep an eye out for certain objects that my friends had requested, but no luck.

I am beginning to feel mildly stressed. There are so many people around me all the time, and some of them talk to me and actually expect me to respond. I like conversation but not when it breaks the silence of my thoughts D:

The night view from the Rainbow Bridge is very beautiful.
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Stayed in a hotel in Nagoya briefly, on our way to Hakone where we hope to see Mount Fuji. Crossing fingers; rainy weather may work against us.

They went out drinking last night,I may join them later. I am not much of a drinker, but I am interested in sake.

Watching Bruce Campbell vs the Army of Darkness on the bus. THIS IS MY BOOM STICK hahaha.
Metal hands with about 2 minutes of transition scenes. Awesome.

"Welcome back to the land of the living. Now pick up a shovel and get digging."

At a random rest stop, and this place has absolutely everything to say about restrooms in Japan. First, the standard: toilet seat warmer, butt washer, bidet, oscillator, derriére(accent?) dryer, "power" odor remover, button that generates a "flush sound" for 25 seconds, flush button on the wall, just about at elbow-level (which i appreciate because it is more hygienic but i don't think it is deliberately designed that way). You also have the antimicrobial fluid you can use to wipe the toilet seat, as well as the more normal disposable toilet seat cover. Then you have the mommy's helper, a chair you can stick your toddler in while you go, and the... I forgot its name, but it's basically a second, smaller toilet seat which goes on top of the adult toilet seat to better fit kids when *they* have to go.

And all that is still pretty normal, including the metal rail you can grip along the side, until you realize that there is also a *holder for a cane*. Oh, and tissue paper. There is always tissue paper. Told you the toilets in Japan are good.

On the way out we saw a map of the restroom, which pointed out which restrooms are Western-style and which ones are Japanese-style, as well as the special amenities available in each. What it does not show you is the vanity area: mirrors with ledges on the wall across from the sinks. Also the cute little half-height sink, again for the kids.

Rode the Hakone Ropeway (cable cars). It was pretty foggy so i did not get to see much, but on the upside, i got to walk through fog. *Fog*!

It is pretty cold up on Owakudani (volcano) and Hakone Lake (lake). Guide said it was near zero. I think he is exaggerating a bit, but still, my nose and fingers went numb. Heehee.

I suspect i am not supposed to get my gloves wet. On the other hand, they'd be pretty useless if they were destroyed by the first sign of bad weather... wouldn't they?

Passed by Mt. Fuji briefly, but weather was pretty bad so they did not let us up past the gate at the base. Aw.

So the day pretty much didn't go as planned, but we ended up staying at a(n almost) ryoukan, or Japanese-style inn. It was modernized, but there were tatamis, and the beds were pretty much mattresses on the floor, and the food was more in the traditional manner. My family did not appreciate it as much, because there were so many pickles *g*. However, the ebi tempura was pretty good, despite their objections. The batter was light and flaky, not the floury thick mess that you usually find in cheaper restaurants.

There was also an onsen, both public and private baths. Decided to take the public one because a. the experience; and b. private baths are ¥3150 for 50 minutes.

I went with my sister and it was...interesting. Not too awkward. I would have stayed longer but hot water is *hot* and I am not used to feeling so cooked. My favorite pool was the open-air one, because it is so cold above then you get into the water and ohshit your legs are suddenly superwarmed.

After that, we went on a hunt for sake. The vending machines only served overpriced beer, so a few of us walked twenty minutes through cold winds and light rain to the nearest convenience store. We got several oversized cans of not-overpriced beer (Asahi and Kirin), a bottle of normal sake, and a carton of plum-flavored sake.

The best beer I have ever had is still that in China, and I don't even know the brand. Kirin was very strong and sour, almost made me gag. Asahi was more to my taste. The sake is the best alcohol I have ever had, though (except maybe for vodka ice, which is sweet). Normal unflavored sake was slightly bitter, but pretty smoorh not too bad. The plum-flavored sake was sweet and slightly plum-tart. Pretty good! I hear that there are other flavors; that is probably worth pursuing.

Think I've mentioned that I am not much of a drinker? I had one papercup total of all the alcohol on the table, and i was already feeling tipsy so i excused myself and went up for a bit. When I came down there was an old samurai with the group, telling stories (it is possible that he was lying, but he was very strong for a 79-year old man) (He said that he had kissed a thousand American girls and five hundred French girls. Now that, I don't believe. (Maybe if it was the other way around.)). I am slightly envious because I only caught the tail-end of the encounter.

And then in the morning, it began to snow! I have only been where there was snow a few times, and only actually stood in falling snow twice, if today counts. Snow on the ground: Lake Tahoe 2x, Whistler (Canada) once, and some other mountain in Canada where we used snowshoes. Falling snow: Whistler (skiied once!) and then today at the base of Mount Fuji. But like I said, I am not sure whether today counts, because the snow melted as it hit the ground -- or my hair, cheeks, shoulders, skin. So it was more like standing in fat, icy rain *grin*

Also four and a half degrees. Μmm.


Suntory White Water tastes like de-pinked Pepto Bismol. Suntory Pop Melon > Fanta Melon Soda. Suntory Ginger Ale is just ginger ale.

Went to the Tokyo Tower and stood on a thick plexiglass hatch and stared down 150 meters. *shudder* i hate heights.

Dropped by the Imperial Palace. The wind flayed the canvas off the metal skeleton of four umbrellas. Our fault, we were trying to go against the wind.(someone just defined "windchill factor" for me ahaha).

Am a bit cranky. Spent three hours at toyota car dealership and the mall beside it. That's three hours of cars, people, clothes, and aching knees, none of which fit into my definition of a good time.

Dinner was good! Beef sukiyaki, hotpot style. On the floor below the restaurant was what seemed to be a Japanese festival permanently transported there (Odaiba), complete with horror house and the fish/paper ring thing. There were some cute little things, but the cheap stuff looked cheap and the expensive stuff was expensive. Maybe we'll have better luck at Akihabara tomorrow.
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This is belated, and I should have done this before I set out, but there are still some five days left, so, who wants postcards from Japan?

Leave a comment here with your address (all comments screened), or PM me ;-)
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At a temple in Nara. The expressions and details on the bronze demons guarding the gate are absolutely amazing.

Mmm, temple springs. Cold and sweet.

Hm. Stayed in deer park a while (though I can't quite call it deer park in my mind. Already means something else)
There is too much time while sitting on a bus to think.

Ahahaha I just bought the slamdunk boxset. I actually just meant to buy a couple of the volumes at the end to fill out my deluxe version collection, but then I unwittingly stumbled upon the boxset corner, saw a plastic-wrapped collection of all 31 regular volumes, and my control deserted me. SD is my One True Manga. There has never been one like that for me before, and there may never yet again, but see that is perfectly all right.


Need to convert money the next time we have the chance, though, and need to stop buying things for myself.

I honestly had no intention to buy any manga before we left the Philippines. And now I have, ummm, 37 (i was filling out holes in my eyeshield collection as well; I think that I have conpleted that up to the latest, unless 28 is not the latest tankoubon).

Hm. Gold-plated temples are not my thing, but the garden is really pretty.

There are many places where you can make wishes. I am not entirely certain what I want to wish for.

Wow, the bullet train is pretty amazing. We were still walking down the length of the train when it started moving, and it was smooth. Not one jostle or bump; did not feel myself lose balance at all. It's like a roomier, slightly noisier, version of an airplane. It is going to take us less than half the time to from kyoto to nagoya than it would have taken us if we'd gone on the luggage-laden bus.

The problem with 100 yen is that it is a coin, so it does not seem worth much. Even 500 yen feels disposable, and it really is not ahaha.
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It is kind of silly to be eating salad with chopsticks, especially cherry tomatoes. I gave up and grabbed a fork.

Ate breakfast all together as a family. Would never have fit into one table before.

It is like 18 degrees here or something. The cold is making me giggly!

At Osaka Castle. There are crows cawing everywhere, but they sound more like 'uwa uwa uwa'.

There was a grove, the trees all branches bare. And for a moment the only human sound i could here was my own footsteps crunching on the soil.

I have found a new role! Old pigeon-feeding woman in the park. Mwaha. Except am not yet old, and i did not have food so i didnt exactly feed them, just sort of wandered through.

Umm love.

Going to universal studios japan. Last time i was to a universal studios, i was a kid, maybe 8 or 10.

Mei hua (of the song) is plum blossoms. I did not know that.

Found a charger for electric cars in the parking lot ahaha.

I have no idea what anyone is saying, but i know they sure are being polite about it.

Watched wicked, a hybrid of english and japanese. I definitely want to watch the original at some point.

There is an interesting thing here called the singles line, where you can cut ahead in line if you're willing to break up your party.

I loved the ultimate spiderman ride. It's a cross between a roller coaster and one of those 4D shows, and the thing is, it really works. Drives me crazy that i cannot figure out the trick, and how far we moved or how much we tilted. However, the best part is that Spiderman talks to you in japanese "yokatta ne" and gives you a thumbs-up. How is that not one of the most awesome things ever?

From the buffet table: tomato pudding (it looks kinda like red-tinged cheesecake).
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The internet in this hotel is free! :DDD I've been typing in my phone all day, so I just transferred everything from my phone to my laptop:

It is evening and i am now in japan! The flight took a bit more than three hours, but we sacrificed an hour getting here so it is now just about seven.

Am pretty stoked. Signs are in japanese, english and korean which i am finding funny for some reason.

Took some time out in the plane to get up and look out the emergency hatch window, like i always do, to look at the clouds .from the top. Ostensibly my reason is that i needed to go to the bathroom but i had gone just before we boarded.


Anyway here now done with immigration waiting for customs. Traveling with family so we need to pass through it as a group together. Immigration was pretty nifty: stick both forefingers into a little machine, press down, stare into a camera. Whywhywhy? But i am happy to do it anyway as long as i dont have to see what the photograph looks like afterwards.

Finished princess bride on the airplane. Now i dont have anything to read on the way home. Hopefully i would have gotten something in japan to make up for that oversight ü

Am still waiting. Wonder what is taking them so long? I kinda want to head back up the stairs to the immigration area but from experience, that is pretty strongly frowned upon.

Oh dear my hands are getting cramped from all this typing while clutching at the phone. Maybe I should start reading Buttercup's Baby now? The ending of Princess Bride was somewhat painful; am not sure whether william goldman's comments helped or hurt on that account.

Tours are all right but someday i plan to come back here on my own -- or better yet, with friends.

Oh man i forgot my old enemy in other asian countries: the squat toilet. Heavens. I mean they're not as bad as some people make them out to be, but they're bad enough.

Oh and i just managed to contact Ju! Omg omg omg omg.

Okay so absolutely full from dinner. First dinner here was buffet grill. Awesomeness. Loaded up our plates with lots and lots of meat. I took shots of two platefuls ahaha. So full right now.

Osaka, as seen at night from the highway, is very similar to south korea, hongkong, and certain parts of thailand. Just something about the way roads and buildings are laid out, as well as the cars and character sets.

Am at the hotel now. It is very cozy, sort of moody. Ceiling is so low that i can actually reach it (with uh a bit of jumping but still).

Also there are like cheapo pajamas (3 pairs) in a drawer. Put on a pair now so i can save up clean pajamas for later in case other hotels dont provide.

I wonder what bexhill-on-sea means? It comes up in autocomplete. I dont really see how it would be in common enough use to warrant an entry n the default
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Am at the airport now reading princess bride. It is amazing. I love it to bits and i am just at the beginning of chapter two of the good parts version. Oh god it is so good. I suspect that most of the people i have chatted with over irc have been infleunced by this same book because something about the way it flows brings me back to many an early morning conversation. And apparently we have the movie. When i get home i must dig it out and watch it. Yes, yes i really should.

Anyway i am so excited about chapter one that i cannot quite bring myself to read chapter two. That is often the case with me, for the record, by the way. Most of the time, it takes me much longer to finish an episode or read a chapter or listen to a song because i keep *getting up* in the middle of it.

1By the way this new phone may yet be the best investment that i have ever made. I am free to keep on typing and typing and typing even as i stand in line. And believe me, this line is a long one. It looks like people are beginning to leave the country in preparation for holy week. Guess we were not the only ones who had that bright idea. Who would have thought?

Oh dear so i gave my phone to my brother to read and he just proofread it. Am too lazy to correct my mistakes though, so you'll just have to suffer :)

Am at the airport lounge. free wifi! am checking my mail and all. trying to pry myself away. trying not to check up on my baby oh god why am i calling it that?
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There should be a banner here or something, but I was too lazy to make one. Also, it'd only be for a week. How sad would it be to work so hard on a banner only to have to take it down almost as soon as I'd put it up?

So anyway, on my way out. Here's to hoping I don't forget anything embarrassing like books for the airport underwear.
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So many things I need to wrap up before I leave on Sunday, and I still haven't packed as well. And I've had no time to brush up on my Japanese. Ack ack.

I'll only be gone eight days (Japan!), but that's a long time in internet land.

I'll be leaving this Sunday, and coming home next Sunday. I'm trying to finish as much as I can, to make sure that things are in good shape before I leave for my vacation :D
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JUJU MY LEAVE JUST GOT APPROVED. I WILL BE IN JAPAN FOR NINE DAYS IN MARCH. Ummm. Some of it is going to be traveling around, so I may not see you for more than a day or two, but Japan, Juju, and you, Jujuju. For real, and certain, unless something interferes which I hope nothing does and oh man I have got to start saving up not that I don't really have some money saved up, but I need some more money I think. And I need to brush up on my Japanese again because I have forgotten everything I ever knew *dork*. And and. And!



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