Friday, September 29, 2006



haha, so... i've been trying my best to catch the Twins games while i'm here, but thats a bit difficult when their on at the break of dawn or in the morning. guess i got up too late for todays game, but i was able to catch the best part...

Bottom of the 9th
Two outs
Twins are down 0-1 to Royals
Joe Mauer up to bat
deep to left field... goo goooooo GONE!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!! HOME RUN!!!! NO WAYY!!!! AHHHH!!!!

haha, yea somethin like that, amazing, ties it up in the bottom of the 9th, sending us into extra innings where we manage to score on a bases loaded sac fly, oh man, Twins are now tied for the AL Central, woo!

Oh yea umm Japan, right, umm, what did i do yesterday... oh yes! haha, the Amity welcome party. Amity is a club at Sophia for like... idk, i guess you could say traveling. Its pretty much a joint study abroad/local japanese club, so its actually a pretty fun thing to be a part of, and they're gonna be traveling and such to some of the closer cool places and such, so i'm lookin foward to it.

After the welcome party, i tagged along with some friends to a Hub, haha, its pretty much... and English pub. Meh, it was fun to just hang out and chat with friends, feels a lil weird tho being able to just go up and order whatever drink i want since i'm 20, heh, oh and please rest assured, drinking is a social thing as far as i'm concerned, i'm quite responsible about it, so no worries, just havin a good time with all my new friends in Japan ^_^

As usual, pictures... here

Thursday, September 28, 2006


woo! slept through the night baby!!! got a full 10 hours of sleep, i'm lovin it!! haha, i've been having the hardest time trying to get a full night's worth of sleep. I'd go to bed real late, exhausted, and still only get... 5 hours sleep or so. But no longer!!! ^_^

yea... that makes me happy, hahaha

except when the Twins lose while i'm sleeping!!! gah!!! shoulda woken up and watched the game, its all my fault, no! lol, oh well, at least they're still in the playoffs, i'm thinkin about buying the playoff package for so i can watch all the games, it'll definately be worth it if the twins make a good run, only problem is, trying to be awake when they're playin, heh

well, i'm gonna be leavin for the Amity party thats later tonight. Theres this cool club at school that basically... travels and stuff, with both foriegners and locals. Anyways, its right up my alley, cause i'd definately like to visit some of the big culture spots in the area. But for now there's free food and drink at the welcome party, i'm so there

Shinjuku Revisited

Well I registered for classes today, so thats cool. Course i don't find out what classes I actually make it into untill the 2nd day of class.... yea, you tell me what that means. Anyways after the incredibly complicated process of submitting registration, which... involved putting a sheet of paper into a box, we went back to Shinjuku. More rain, but it stoped later in the afternoon.

Course we spent another few hours wandering around Shinjuku again... that was cool i guess, lol. No it was, cause i'm getting more and more familiar with different places around Tokyo. Now i can go to Ikebukuro or Shinjuku and actually... have an idea of what to do or where to go, heh. But anyways, we were gonna meet a friend at Takadanobaba to go out and do something, but it turned out thats the next day instead. Course we finally find this out about an hour or so before we were supposed to meet up in Takadanobaba. So we decide to head home after not hearing back if they still wanted to at least meet up for dinner or something... and then found out right as we got to Ikebukuro (from Shinjuku) that our friends were gonna meet us in Shinjuku to go eat instead... gah! haha, anyways it worked out, we met up in Ikebukuro and went to this really nice restaurant, i forget the name though. But yea, definately a good time, made the day worthwhile

pictures here ^_^

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Hey, just a quick note on the comments for this. A friend of mine just pointed out that only other blogger members or w/e can comment on my blog here... i didn't know that, so i changed it to anyone. Please leave some love!!

Anyways, on to toda-RAIN! lol, yea, its definately rainin good today. Had my classic Japanese moment tho. Umbrella in one hand and cell phone in the other, booyah. We went to campus to for this 'advising session' which was 'highly encouraged' for us to go to. Yeeaaaa... nothin like a big group advising session where they just tell you whats written in the booklet, lol. Actually some people did ask some pretty good questions, and i was able to meet up with some other friends and eat lunch at the cafeteria, but its like, 230 one way just to get there, ugh.

After that I went with a friend to Shinjuku, for some more domination, lol. Had to buy a new umbrella though, cause my 100yen one pretty much... broke, haha. You get what ya pay for (100 yen ~ 1 dollar). Anyways it was a lot of fun. Didn't really go anywhere in particular, mostly exploration and wandering, but I have a much better idea of the orientation of Shinjuku station now, just like i did with Ikebukuro a several days ago. Did get a nice umbrella, and a cool organizer for my reciepts, woo!


Then we, after a nice ride backwards on the train and, well actually this is funny, let me explain (plus i wanna show off my further knowledge of the Tokyo train system, lol!) Ok, so we took the Chuo Rapid Service Line from Yotsuya to Shinjuku, one stop baby, Rapid Service for the win. And after we were done in Shinjuku we took Shounan-Shinjuku Line from Shinjuku to Ikebukuro. Also just one stop, w00t. But then from Ikebukuro is where it gets interesting. So the Yuurakuchou line runs from Ikebukuro out to Heiwadai where we live. However theres now a "New" Yuurakuchou line that kinda diverts south at Kotake-mukaihara. Well, we accidently got on the train in the wrong direction at Ikebukuro (not my fault btw, cause I was tellin my friend it goes in the wrong direction but noooOOOOOoooo, hahaha), anyways, so after pointing out that Shin-Kiba is in the opposite direction of where we're going (we want Wakoshi), we took that to the next stop, got off, and got on the next train going the opposite direction. Which actually was surprisingly late, of course when it got there, we understood why. Good ol jam packed train. Anyways, this train was the "new" Yuurakuchou line which diverts south at Kotake-mukaihara. So actually what we can do is just take it to Kotake-mukaihara, and then get on the normal Yuurakuchou that continues on to Heiwadai. And thats what we did. But it was really cool though, cause when we got to Kotake-mukaihara, the next train was there waiting for us, rock on baby. We litterally walked straight across the train platform to train on the other side, 2 more stops and Heiwadai baby. Yea, total Tokyo Metro pwnage baby, lol. anyways it was cool, now i konw a much faster way to take the train from like, Yotsuya, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro. Good to know.

So, did you get all that? When you come to Japan you'll have no problems with that right? ^_^

Anyways after we got back to Heiwadai we went to a 100 yen Kaiten-zushi just south of the station. Delicious. Its one of our new happy places, haha. We'll be going back a good number of times ^_^

More pictures of what I took today here


TWINS WIN!! TWINS WIN!!! They're goin to the playoffs!!!!!

hahaha, ok so i just got up and tuned in to catch like, the last out of the top of the 9th to hear the twins win and clinch a playoff spot. I'm super excited, lol, definately gonna wear my Twins t-shirt today

Anyways, guess i'll say a lil somethin about today, goin back to campus for like... advising or something... idk, but i did place into the class i wanted to get into, so thats good. I'll basically be retaking 3rd year from back home, but i didnt take 1st semester of that anyways, so it's all buena, it'll be good reinforcement, and a ton of much needing to be learned kanji pounded into my head, anyways i gotta get going, gotta stop at the bank today too

...GO TWINS!!!!!

Tokyo Shashin - Pictures

Ok, I'll be constantly updating this post for all the picutures I take while here in Tokyo. They're all hosted at a very nice website called flickr, and I might update some comments on them... maybe, I've already accumulated almost 200 pictures in the first week so, I imaging keeping up with the comments and such would be fairly difficult. Anyways, on to the pictures

See the most recent pictures here

At the same time I'm also going to be running a few, shall we say, themed picture sets. Of the non-one day limited type. You'll see what I mean

Digestive Bits and Other Hard to Swallow Engrish
Everybody Engrish love no? Quite possibly some of my favorite parts about Japan, messed up English, w00t. Of course we do the same thing to Japanese/Chinese ourselves. I mean, how many people actually know or care what kanji tatoo they're getting? It just looks cool right? What goes around comes around. Welcome to the world of Engrish. ^_^

Ahh purikura. Guys hate it, girls love it, hahaha. Meh, i think its fun cause its a very Japanese signature thing, plus the girls just seem way too excited to do purikura so its like, an easy way to make their day, haha. Anyways, check out some more about purikura on wikipedia if you want

Jidouhanbaiki - Vending Machines
Yes, the ever famous Japanese vending machines! You really can get anything from em, I'll be proving that with this ^_^

Random, yes the best, random pictures of Azalea House, i love this place


Ok, and now the more traditional daily type picture sets

06.10.07 Shinjuku Karaoke
Yet again Shinjuku, for Karaoke, good times, saw some crazy stuff on the way there too, haha

06.10.06 Amity Nomikai
Nomikai!! (Drinking Party) Amity is this like... traveling club... w/e, good times, it was def typhooning outside though, haha, umbrella graveyard all over Tokyo, crazy

06.10.03 Akasaka - Tokyo Tower
The View from Joe's parents place on the 17th floor of a building in Akasaka... just..... wow, breathtaking, these pictures dont even give it justice, holy cow, oh and... also pictures from when we wandered over to Tokyo Tower, wow

06.09.30 Shinjuku
got back from karaoke... and then went out again, this time to shinjuku, lol, all nighter baby

06.09.30 Ikebukuro Karaoke
Went to Ikebukuro and such, ended up callin a bunch of ppl and went karaoke, good times. Oh and there was this fukuro matsuri (festival) going on. Fukuro means bag, but its called Fukuro Matsuri cause its in Ikebukuro, fukuro = bukuro (same kanji), see:
池袋 = Ikebukuro
袋祭り = Fukuro Matsuri

06.09.28 Shinjuku Hub
After the Amity welcome party we went over to a Hub in Shinjuku, it was fun

06.09.27 Shinjuku again
Went to shinjuku again after dropping off registration, saw some cool stuff, gettin more used to Shinjuku

06.09.26 Shinjuku Domination
After the "advising" session at Sophia i went to a friend and... pretty much wandered around Shinjuku for a few hours, it was fun. We went to Kaiten-zushi here in Heiwadai afterwards too, mmmmm...

06.09.23 Shinjuku
Went to Shinjuku for Karaoke and Nomihoudai with a bunch of people. Karaoke is wildy popular in Japan, and if you were to go, you would easily see why. Of course throwing nomihoudai in the mix (all you can drink, yes beer, etc) makes alot of people who may not neccessarily sing start beltin their hearts out, hahaha. Oh oh oh, and i bought a cell phone finally on this day ^_^

06.09.22 Shibuya
Last Saturday was Soren's (from Denmark) birthday, as well a friend of theirs Dominica was returning to Poland the following Sunday. So... we went out to party, haha. It was actually a lot of fun. I got to meet more Japanese, as well as someone who's from Fujisawa, where I stayed with Mia and her family for the 1st week of the last time i was here. Lookin foward to goin back down there to visit for sure. Anyways, we went to a club afterwards but... not exactly my scene. I definately did enjoy hanging out with my friends, but it prolly woulda been a better idea to take the last train home around midnight instead of the 1st around 4:30, ugh. Basically... DEAD TIRED

06.09.21 Ikebukuro Domination
Yea, we totally dominated Ikebukuro today, lol. Basically had a few errands and such to do, like the Bank and a Cell Phone, etc, and then we just wandered around for... several hours. Gotta get used to the closest main station. Ikebukuro ftw yo!

06.09.21 Shinjuku
So after orientation at Sophia, we went out in a HUGE group over to Shinjuku. Alot of fun for sure, but after I bought 3 bags full of stuff at both Don Quixote and the 100yen shop, my arms were killin me, lol. Oh we did take some purikura, with 13 people, hahaha, good times

06.09.21 Orientation
A variety of pictures from orientation at Sophia. This was my 1st time at Sophia, and it was actually a very beautiful campus. Better than i thought it would be, i kinda like it here ^^

06.09.18 Akihabara
After watching the sumo in Ryogoku, we stopped at Akihabara on the way home, ya know, since it was on the way. I was still pretty beat, so i didn't really take a ton of pictures. We weren't there for that long anyways, and I'm sure i'll be back... at least once

06.09.18 Ryogoku Sumo
So i got here on the 17th... and went with 2 Danish and a German to go see the Sumo Tournament going on in Ryogoku on the 18th. Sweet, welcome to Tokyo baby. It was the Akibasho tournament, 1 of the 6 they have every year, 3 of which happen to be in Tokyo. I took a video too, I'll be uploading that to youtube later

06.09.17 Azalea Touchaku
Just some various pictures I took when I got to Azalea, so you can get a pretty good idea as to exactly what I'm living in. But... then again I spend most of my time in lounge though... meh, Azalea House rocks

06.09.17 Touchaku - Arrival
Welcome to Tokyo baby. Left home around... 9am for the airport, and finally got to my room at Azalea around 9pm here, which is 7am Central Time, yes, that would be about 22 hours of travel, 13, 14 or so on a plane, and then a couple hours on a train after i got here, plus an hour and a half layover in Minneapolis, and having to wait an hour for the train in Narita, and of course time to get through cutoms and stuff to and.... yea, travling ftw, woo hoo

Monday, September 25, 2006


Okay, wow i've been busy the past few days. Its already, woah, a week.... dang, but yea, its been a weeks since i got here, and i've been lovin every minute of it.

Today i went to Harajuku, walked around explored and such, and then ate at this nice lil restaurant. After that i met up with a friend again and finally bought a cell phone, yes!!! I wanted to get the vodafone TV phone, but theres some weird deal with it where you have to actually buy the full price of the phone for like, $300 or so when yur done with the plan. Like i can get it now for 1 yen (1 penny), but when i go home i have to buy the phone straight up. Its... kinda stupid. There was another AU phone that i could get thats similar (not as cool), and apparently someone i know got it for 1 yen and then 4,000 a month (about $40 per month) which is actually pretty dang good for a phone like that. But the deals i was able to find were prolly around that price per month maybe, but i have to buy the phone for $200 or so, which is.... no.

So i went with the cheapest simple student plan, haha. Its actually a really nice phone, especially compared to anything in the US, haha. Then again, i prolly really like it just for its super Japanese type qualities... hard to explain, and i'm not sure you would exactly understand, lol, but its good, really good, trust me. and $20 a month is super cheap, so its just right, i'm lovin it. You can do everythign with yur phone here

but after that, we went back to harajuku and met up with some other friends, went out to eat and such, came back to ikebukuro and took some purikura again, lots of fun. I'll have to start a puri kura album of all the puri kura i'll prolly take while i'm here. Puri kura is... well, wikipedia can prolly do a better job of explaining it, plus i'm really tired, and i'm watching the Vikings game on TVU Player

I <3 Internet TV

So yea, i'll be able to get my placement test results tomorrow to see what Japanese i can get into, hopefully that will all work out, getting into the class i want to that is. I hope i dont have to go all the way to Sophia just for that, cause its like 230 each way, thats about 4 1/2 bux just to go find out how i did on a test. and.... i dont think i really wanna know, lol. But after that tomorrow i've got counceling and what not for classes, kinda lookin foward to it but i am having a lot of fun obviously right now just goin out all day to different places all over Japan. I'd like to head over to Fujisawa and visit with Mia before classes start if i can though...

But actually i would like classes to start so i'll know what my class schedule will be like, then i'll be able to say when i'm available for tutoring or teaching. If i tutor or teach it seems i can make around $30/hr. boo-yah. That will definately make karaoke nomihoudai and other fun stuffs affordable. If i have an income of $300 or so a week.... yeeesssss. That will definately let me make the best of things while i'm here.

Well anyways, still working on the picture system, will upload more and more as i get it organized, look foward to tons of pictures. I forgot my camera today tho, and OF COURSE thats the day when i run into a bunch of random things that don't quite happen as often that i wanna take pictures of (ie: a festival, some fire trucks, a street performer, etc) But i did have friends that took some pictures and such, so i'll be able to get ahold of em

Alright, time for sleep, wait... finish the Vikings game (if i can stay up) then sleep, oh and the Twins are winning too.... GO TWINS!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Finally Pictures!!!

Just wanna quick give a link to some of the pictures I've been taking. I've only uploaded the 1st day or so of when i was here, but when i have some more time later, i'll be adding a lot more.

Latest Picutres here

Last night we went to Shibuya for Soren's birthday party (which was last sat actually) and another friend Dominica who's going back to Poland on Sunday. Maybe.... it would have been a better idea to take the last train instead of the 1st in the morning.... haha. Not gonna lie, it was pretty rough taking the train in the morning. I now understand why and how so many people are able to sleep on the train, lol. Anyways, more sweet pictures from Shibuya comin later.

Tonite i'm off to Shinjuku again with a big group of friends, but right now i gotta get read to head off and meet a friend in Ikebukuro. I'm finally buying a cell phone!!! yesss!!!!! It's seriously so rediculous to try and get around and contact people without a cell phone. Pretty much a social requirement to have one. Theres this really basic and very cheap student plan for like, 2000 yen a month and 1 yen for the phone (20 bux, 1 cent), but if i pay like, 10-20 more a month, i can prolly get a really sweet phone. I think i might get the one where the screen folds out and you can watch TV. Its a vodafone too, so i might be able to use it when i get back to the US. haha, cant wait to be like, "yea, this is what they had in Japan... last year"

Seriously this place is amazing >_<

Friday, September 22, 2006

Ikebukuro Domination

Well its after 1 in the morning here, and i'm exhausted from walking around Ikebukuro all day today, so i'll keep this lil update short.

first off Yesterday... what was yesterday... oh yes! Wednesday, Wednesday was Orientation at Sophia. So i went there for the first time. Boy its a beautiful campus, supposedly many others in Tokyo are quite as pretty as Sophia. Now i must say... its small, but when i have the U in comparison, well... nothing compares, haha. But its a really cool place. And i've already met and made friends with a number of Japanese at Sophia, so its very exciting.

After orientation, some friends showed us around campus, which wasn't really much cause its kinda small, but then we headed off to Shinjuku. Now that was fun. Shinjuku at night... well any part of Tokyo at night, wow. But anyways, we went to Don Quixote, a really big and cheap department store, actually, the dept stores in Japan here, they have everything... EVERYTHING. you can seriously just get anything you would need at these department stores, and the selection too is usually top rate. Very cool. But anyways, Don Quixote, then a 100 yen store, and then we went to take PuriKura (Print Club).

For those of you unwares of the insanity of PuriKura, check out wikipedia or do a google search on purikura. All girl in Japan are just obbsessed with it, lol. nah, its kinda fun. I like it more just on account of it being almost a staple of japan, haha. Anyways there were 13 of us... yes, 13. Somehow or another we managed. I'm going to be getting the pictures from that later, so i'll upload them later on here.

And now today. Well today was alot of fun too. Why haven't i come to Japan earlier, i'd be at home studying right now if weren't here, haha. Anyways today we first went to the Nerima-ku city office, which is basically like, the city gov building/office or w/e, i had to register as an alien within 90 days of arriving here, plus i need the certificate from registering for that so i can buy a cell phone ASAP!!! without a cell phone you like, have no social life, haha.

So after Nerima, we went and uhh... Dominated Ikebukuro, lol. Ikebukuro was kinda on the way home, we just had to go past Kotae-kukaihara on to Ikebukuro on the Seibu Ikebukuro or Yuurakuchou line. piece of cake man, less than 200 yen even. But after getting to Ikebukuro we kinda... wondered around, exploring the station and such. Then we finally went outside looking for a place to eat. I forget the name of the restaurant, but it was really good traditional Japanese food. After that we kind of just wandered all over Ikebukuro, ya know, dominating it, haha. my friends with me quick bought a cell phone since you need them so bad here. One also signed up for a Shinseiginkou bank account too which i'll probobly do that once i get a job.

Ok, i will add pictures later, but for now.... good night

...GO TWINS!!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ryogoku Sumo

Alright, I'm in Tokyo now, slept well through the night, surprisingly, so uhh... you wanna go see some sumo?


So yea, apparently theres one of the 6 tournaments of the year goin on here in Tokyo right now for another 5 or 6 days or somethin. These other guys from Azalea were going, and they asked if I wanted to as well.


Now, for those of you who may not be completely aware of this, an average Japanese person... really isn't as tall as the rest of the world. No offence to the Japanese or anything, but demographics are demographics. Theres no bias, its just facts. But lets compare Japan to the USA shall we? The average Japanese male is about 166 cm (or about 5' 5"), whereas the avg American is around 176 cm (about 5' 9" or 10"). Now I'm around 191 cm (about 6' 3"). So that puts me about 15 cm taller than the average in America which is about 10 cm taller than the average in Japan. Yes, 25 cm taller than the average (about 10 inches or so). And as you can see, my friends in the picture are more of the same, or even taller. Oh, from left to right two sumo's (idk their names), Nys (Denmark), Soren (Denmark), Stefan (Germany), and oh yea, me... go usa! lol

So, with that said, image 4 gaijin (foriengers) who don't look anything like the locals, and on top of that are practical giants, walkin around Tokyo, takin the train and such, hahaha. Good Times. But yea, the sumo arena was quite something. Its actually quite a fascinating sport once you learn more about it. Whats really amazing is how they have managed to keep such impressive tradition with such an ancient sport. I'll upload a video I took of a match to YouTube when i get the internet in my room (the free internet in the lobby here is super slow -_-). But yea, it's kind of... a clash of the ancient traditions and modern advances. It's a little funny to hear and see all these ancient traditions in the middle of a match, while there's TV camera's and camera flashes all over the place in a very modern looking and comfortable arena. Oh, and the seating in the lower level is all cushions. As in, on the floor. It is Japan you know ^_^

We watched the sumo for an hour or so, and then ate at a small restaurant in the arena. We all had chanko, a sumo wrestler's meal. It's kinda like a typical udon noodle soup but... very fatty, haha. It was really good tho. Well, with all the fat in it, of course it was. So then we went back into the areana, and watched a whole lot more sumo. Oh, did i forget to mention? Tickets are around 50 bucks. Tokyo is rediculously expensive. Actually we got reserved tickets which are a bit more expensive than the cheaper ones, but even those run around $20-30. But hey, I'm in Japan, this will probobly be the only time i'll go and see Sumo in person. So i'm ok with it. I'll prolly be getting a job later teaching or tutoring english that pays around $30/hr. So that should take care of a few expenses while i'm here. Way better pay than i've ever made back in the states.

Anyways the sumo was cool but kind of.... how should i say, anti-climatic? Cause it took a few minutes sometimes before they start the match that would last less than 10 seconds at time. Its all because they're supposed to start at the same time based on like, eachothers... psychological feeling or something, its kinda... well its different yes? In a way that makes it more exciting but, when you compare it to boxing or wrestling its like, n o a c t i o n but its still pretty cool, especially when you get a longer match. But then again... from the looks of it, it seems they can't really last too long with out geting tired quick which... well its understandable.

I'd love to write more, but its getting close to 4:30 am here, i really need to get some sleep. Maybe i'll write some more tomorrow, but i've gotta get a ton of stuff done yet though, anyways, Sumo wrestling is definately cool, I might get into it some more before i leave, haha. Gotta go to an onsen (hot water spring), get an ice cold glass of beer, and watch some Sumo. The best

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wait... what time is it?

Screwed up sleep cycle + moving my life + different language = zombie

So yea, got here with actually very little trouble. my first time in a 747, so that was really cool but... well felt like any other plane i've been in really, haha. Except... they didnt have the personal video systems in each seat!!! i couldn't believe it, grr!! haha, the flight got in an hour early though, so that was nice. But lets see... went through immigration, picked up my luggage, went through customs, and then i really had to start using Japanese to get around ^_^

Now theres a delivery serivce at Narita that will deliever your luggage to wherever your ending up. However, once you get past customs, less and less people know english. So i couldn't really read the form i had to fill out for the delivery, but they don't really expect you to know a whole lot of Japanese (being obviously NOT Japanese) so they're really nice about helping you out. Most people know a certain amount of Japanese, but not usually fluent of course. Anyways, i asked one of the guys at the delivery service counter for some help and said that i couldn't really read the form but i want to have my two suitcases delievered to Azalea (i had the address on hand). So he just showed me where to write the address etc, well ok, actually i knew that there was a line for an address, phone number, name, etc, but there were like, two places for that, and i wasn't sure which i should put where, etc. Anyways, worked out without much trouble, and they should be getting here sometime in the next couple hours i hope. They said they would be delivered by tomorrow morning (ie:... now) So, i'm hopin they arrive soon cause... i'd like to shower, oh wait... crap i need a towel -_-

Anyways, from there i had to purchase my train tickets. So, i'm pretty much like, 'i want to go to Ikebukuro on the Narita Express' (in Japanese of course), and she explained that there would be an hour wait for the next N'EX that goes that far, and that was fine. So i had an hour to kill. What did I do? Found where i needed to go, saw a Starbucks nearby in the station, got a frappacino and parked it. Now the only problem with the train however is that at, i believe Tokyo station half of the train continues while the other half goes down SW of Tokyo into Kanagawa on to Ofuna, I needed the half that goes to Omiya, which is the route with Ikebukuro. So i just asked one of the train attendants on the platform. I told him i was going to Ikebukuro and he told me i needed to be on car 1 through 6 for that, but my reserved seat was for car 5, seat 12a, so he showed me where car 5 would be, piece of cake. Oh, and i already learned something, 'gosha' is the counter for train cars. Good to know

So that got me to Ikebukuro without much trouble. Sat next to some buisness man, had to ask him if i could get something out of the overhead while en route (in Japanese, w00t), as well I asked about the rain, oh, its raining by the way, well it was last night, and it was this morning, but seems to have let up. You see its Typhoon season, and one went through last week and theres another coming through this week as well if i'm not mistaken. Nothing really THAT serious, but lots of rain/thunderstorms. Oh well. But yea, found out from the buisnessman that there was a typhoon, haha. Then i bought a bottle of tea, SO GOOD!!! real tea again, omg so good!!!! haha, and after about 90 min or so, i got to Ikebukuro, easy

now comes the hard part. You see, the airport is an international hub. Therefore, it is very common for there to be quite a number of foriegners, and english isn't that difficult to find. Leave an international airport, and the english disappears quickly. Fortunately enough through, Ikebukuro is a giant station, so there is actually a pretty descent amount of English, or at least romaji (so that i can read where my line is since i dont really know the kanji yet). Well first i had to purchase another ticket for the subway line, and I just asked someone to make sure i got the right amount. You see, the train system in Japan works like this: Theres a giant map above the ticket machines, and it shows you where to go and how much it costs. So you put your money in and buy a ticket for how much it is to get to where you need to go. Anyways, i found where the track was, but wasn't... exactly sure which direction i needed to go, like i knew what the next stop was and was looking for the train in that direction but... well w/e, a bit confusing. so then this lil boy is like motioning to her mom to go help me out (i looked so totally lost btw), and they ask me where i need to go, I then proceed to surprise the crap out of them speaking Japanese how i did, hahaha, that was funny. Turns out they live in Heiwadai or the stop right before close to the station. hahaha, and the little boy wants me to come over next time, hahaha, that was funny. Had a nice little conversation with his mom. Turns out she went to Sophia as well

So anyways, I made it where i needed to go, with... a little bit of help, but safe and sound. the walk from the station to Azalea was a bit... difficult, it was raining a little and such, but i made it, dropped my things in my room, settled in a bit, oh yea, and then met someone from Germany who's here this year as well, had a nice little talk with him, mostly in english tho. i have more of a tendancy to speak english to foriegners and Japanese to the locals, haha. anyways, then i found my way to the lounge (where i am now) so i could get the internet and check up on things. this is definately a nice place. my room may be a little small but ya know what? i dont need anything more than what i've already got. It's just right for what i need. Plus this lounge is very nice, its a nice gathering place, and the people here are pretty cool. Representing quite a number of nations around the world, primarily Europe and other Asian countries though. Germany, Denmark, Poland, France, China, Korea, etc. Very interesting to know people from all over the world like this, heh. It is kinda weird now to refer to the US as 'back in the states' since not many people around here are really all that familiar with it. I definately feel in the minority, haha.

Well i'll write some more later. I gotta go check in with the superintendant or w/e runs the place, as well my luggage SHOULD be here soon i hope. Sufficed to say, i'm definately having a good time ^_^


Alright well... i made it to Tokyo alright, but i'm pretty much a zombie at the moment so, i'll give details on stuff tomorra when i have some free time. I'm here a day early so i'll be free for the most part.

Anyways, safe and sound, and alot easier than I thought, still feels like i'm dreaming though, haha

Saturday, September 16, 2006

ugh... no more please

ok, a few words of newly aquired wisdom: It is IMPOSSIBLE to pack what you need for a year into 2 suitcases while maintaining weight restrictions... ugh

My flight leaves tomorra (Sat morning), and I had originally planned on being completely packed Wednesday. Didn't happen. Not to say i've been totally slackin about this, but holy crap its way more involved than you think until you actually get to doing it. Just goes more to show how America is in love with too much 'stuff' haha, but i'll rant on that later

hmm... I was just thinkin, I'll have to change the time zone on this blog then when i get around to that, or maybe i should stamp it on my own

Sat, Sep 16, 2006 3:20 AM GMT -6 (Central Time)

So anyways, here I am, 3 in the morning, debating on whether or not I should go to bed. Theres absolutely no point in trying to preserve my sleep cycle since it'll get royally screwed over with the 15 hour time difference anyways. So i'm kinda thinkin, stay up, double/triple check my luggage, and sleep on the plane. Its almost a 13 hour flight, which I've done before, and well... i do not fit well in plane seats. The last time i couldn't sleep a wink, not fun. I'm takin some NyQuil with me this time, haha

Well I think i've got everything packed. It's been drivin me so insane i keep forgetting that i'm actually going to Tokyo tomorrow... holy crap, I'm goin back to Tokyo tomorrow...... HOLY CRAP!!

lol, nah i'm still too spent, stressed, and tired for it to hit me like a brick wall yet, hahaha, that'll prolly smack me in the face on the plane, or the train enroute to my dorm, which, by the way, i will be taking by myself. I looked up the times for the N'EX (Narita Express) which I'll take from the airport to Ikebukuro, which is apparently a really... REALLY big station, and then from there I'll, well first somehow find, and then take the Yuurakuchou line, which is actually a subway, to Heiwadai where my dorm is in Nerima-ku, and then after that, its a 10, 15 min walk from the Heiwadai station to my dorm

Simple, right?

Meh, i'll survive. See ya in Tokyo

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

始めまして - Nice to meet ya

Nippon Seikatsu -> Japanese Daily Life

Alright, about time I set up a blog for this, lets see, shall we cover the details of this coming year?

I will be studying abroad at Sophia University (上智大学) in Tokyo the the 2006-2007 academic school year. The school system in Japan runs differently than in the US. We go from the beginning of October to the end of January with a break over new years, two months break (FOR TRAVELING!!!) and then 2nd semester from April through July. I'll be back early August of '07. So thats 4 months school, 2 months break, 4 months school, 2 months break, etc. Interesting eh? No, not weird, just different, lol.

Anyways, I'll be living in an apartment style dorm in Heiwadai, a part of Nerima-ku on the northwest side of Tokyo. It's about a 10 min walk to the nearest staion. From there I've gotta take the Yuurakuchou line from Heiwadai to Ikebukuro, and then another train from Ikebukuro to Yotsuya, where campus is. All in all about 45 min or so I've heard... so I bought a really nice mp3 player, haha (check out my cool mp3 player tho at samsung).

As is to be expected, definately very small room T_T less than 180 square feet for a bed, desk, kitchenette, closet, and bathroom. Prolly gonna be around 9x20 from the looks of Azalea's site. Dorm information and the address can be found here. But thats alright, I'm not going to Tokyo to be cooped up in my room. Plus this place has no curfew, huge bonus. Seemed like all the other arranged housing either had a strict curfew and tons of forms you had to fill out in order to have a friend over or stay out over night, meh. I'm gonna look into possibly an apartment with friends for the spring semester. Can't say thats what i'll be doing next semester, but i'll for sure be lookin into it.

So thats about the basics for now. I don't find out what classes I take till I get there. That gets taken care of with orientation. I do however have to get to Azalea from Narita (the airport) by myself when i get there. bleh. Not too worried, i'v