Thursday, October 19, 2006

Okonomiyaki, Azalea, Ueno, and more!

Ok, a lot to cover, apologies if this gets long.

First off, Shibuya Okonomiyaki, only the best. I'd love to explain alot of the stuff i encounter and do while here in Japan, however i think it may be best to leave that up to good ol Wikipedia. I <3 Wiki ^_^ Anyways, i believe i mentioned before about my cousin coming to Japan. He came here 2 weeks after i got here, a bit too soon for me to be used to Tokyo and know what places are good, but fun none the less. We only got to hang out 3 times during the 2 weeks he was here, but hey, i met up with my cousin in Tokyo, how cool is that? Anyways, being a rare occassion of my cousin being in Tokyo, i thought it would be nice to go do something/eat something rather... Japanese, ya know, since he came out all this way, perhaps we should prolly go do something super Japanese, just an idea, lol

So we went and ate some Okonomiyaki, oh btw, planning things and such is a pain, well worth it of course, but you wanna invite everyone, however you dont really know how many ppl you can have come since we've never been there, and not everyone was really definate or not whether they'd be coming, so you end up with, 10-20 ppl possible for coming, and then you gotta figure how many ppl to make reservations for and... ugh, but hey, it was a lot of fun, and i've got pictures and videos to prove it, nothin like super yummy freshly cooked okonomiyaki, mmm-mmm

Yea, we went to a place where you actually cook them yourself. I've eaten okonomiyaki before of course, but i've never actually gone to a place where you cook it yourself... and i'm definately going back, lol. It was a lot of fun, and delicious, as are most places around here in Tokyo, allbeit a bit on the expensive side, course beer does cost about 300-400 yen, that kills ya, anyways, check out the pictures it took here, videos coming later

So that was Thursday night, Friday night was the Azalea party, after my weekly lesson test in Japanese btw. Oh yea, so i'm taking this intensive Japanese class, and its been about 3 weeks of class now. I seem to be doin alright. it was funny though at the orientation stuff one of the speakers basically told us not to take Intensive Japanese if you want to have a social life, lol!! It was funny how much he was like, discouraging us to take it, but then again, that is a good way to weed out those who arent as serious about it. Anyways, it definately is a difficult class (and time consuming!! if it were on the same credit/hour rate, it would be worth 20 credits, not 8), but right now its more quantity difficult rather than... quality or w/e. I'm learning about... 60 or so vocab words a week, 50 or so kanji, oh and then all the kanji from the 90 min kanji class on wednesday, anyways, its not exactly difficult cause its the same ol same ol memorize vocab and kanji, which i've been doing for the past few years now. I have been learning some new grammar structures, but mostly its been review and reinforcement, which is actually good though, cause it should turn into a nice solid foundation to fall back on and reinforce my Japanese.

In other words, I'm likin it ^_^

Anyways Azalea Welcome Party! So every year the owner of World Student Villiage, Haruo Yokoyama has a Welcome party of sorts at Azalea in the middle area where most people keep their bikes. Yakiniku, Oden, Yakisoba, Beer, and others, all free? I'm there! It was really nice to meet and talk to some more people at Azalea that you usually don't see. Theres actually about 80 people that live in Azalea, or at least, thats how much it can hold. A majority are foreign exchange students, many of which go to Sophia, but there are a number of others that go to different schools, as well if i'm not mistaken, theres some people that just... live there... or something, i don't quite understand it, maybe i've seen or met 1/2 the residents so far, anyways, nice to see ppl that arent around quite as much.

Most of the people i know are those who hang out in the lounge -> free internet. Alot of people, even those who i saw more often when i got here, arent around as much cause they have internet in their room now. I'll be getting it soon, but its still fun to hang out in the lounge, i mean, come on, its nice to have internet in yur room (which i'll be getitng), but instead of being cooped up in my room, i'm meeting people from Germany, Denmark, Poland, France, Norway, England, Korea, China, etc. I think thats a fair trade, what do you think?

Pictures from the wonders of free food and drink here, as well all night karaoke afterwards, not sure if that was exactly a good idea, but it a lot of fun. Turns out theres a pretty nice and cheap karaoke place in Heiwadai, only 15 min from Azalea. It was only like... 1200 yen for all night nomihoudai, only soft drinks though, no alcohol, but... well there was enough served at the lil outdoor party of ours, so that wasnt a problem, haha. Actually it was really good karaoke cause half the group left around 2:30 or so, but 3 of us stayed until 5, when it closed. Got our money's worth, and I got to sing a LOT more than i usually do (big groups are fun, but you don't get to sing as much), plus i got to try out some new songs i wasnt sure i could sing or not, all in all, gotta say it was a good time... as well as exhausting

Unfortunately... or perhaps fortunately... well i slept in past when i needed to leave for the Amity picnic in Yoyogi Park Sat morning at 12, which was really a bummer, cause i wanted to go pretty bad. However a group of my friends were going to Ueno for the day, so I tagged along, now that was worth it ^_^

We left around lunch and headed off for Ueno, which is on the northeast part of Tokyo. We can get to Ikebukuro for free with out commuter pass, and then from there it only cost what... 170 yet to get to Ueno on the JR Yamanote-sen. And then Ueno park is free man, one of the rare wonders of Tokyo, cool places that are free, haha. Its actually pretty big too. We walked around all day and didnt hit all the cool stuff. Temple, shrine, museums, a zoo, etc are all there, its pretty cool. Course the museums and zoo cost money to get into, but the park itself is free, and its definately a really nice day trip to go walk around the park. My friend Davy brought his amazing camera with him again, so we left alot of the sweet picture taking up to him

Before the park however, we walked around the shoping area in Ueno, as well as this giant toy store in Ueno. I'll be doing my best to try and give examples as to just how things are over here, but i really gotta get pictures of all this stuff, cause you gotta see some things to believe it. Streets and intersections are easy to take pictures and videos of, and i'll prolly be able to get some pictures of the stores, but i think i'll have to manage a video here and there to really show you what its like. They dont waste space, lemme tell you that. Its amazing the shelves and stuff dont turn into a giant junk pile in 1/2 hr. Its like... I used to work in Kohl's, but they prolly pack 5-10x as much stuff in the same area, yet its waaay cleaner as far as product being where its supposed to than we had it at kohls, course... theres stuff EVERYWHERE so i guess even random stuff out of order looks like it belongs there, haha. As well i'll have to see if i cant capture just how crowded the trains can get. Hopefully i wont be accussed as a pervert or voyeur while doing it -_-;;

So it was quite an exausting day in Ueno, afterwards we stopped in Ikebukuro at an Izakaya place called WaraWara for dinner. Izakaya places are pretty much... order food and such, mostly appetizer type portions, and drink, haha. We just ordered food though, and like a soda or juice or something, but its just appetizers. So regardless of getting a number of them, it was nowhere near enough to fill me up, lol. They did put us in the back corner of the restaurant after a kind of surprised look upon seeing 5 gaijin walk in, haha, i'll have to mention a thing or 2 about the different treatment i get on account of my gaijin'ness later, course the most fun is surprising ppl big time when i start speaking japanese, haha

So thats saturday, I had planned on doing Karaoke with my cousin that night before he left back to the states, but he had headed somewhere else for the day, as well i was in Ikebukuro for dinner and... well things just didnt seem to work out i guess, oh well, next time ^_^

oh yes, many many pictures here

Still have more to write about, I'll get to it sometime later, I don't have any homework tonight, amazingly, just a test tomorrow, but... you dont really need a whole lot of studying for that, 15 hours of class a week is more than enough study, haha

ok, borrowed DS + Ossu! Tatakae! Ouendan! come make my ride home super easy! ^_^




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