In spite of logging onto LiveJournal practically daily and having plenty of time to waste on the internet, with each passing day I grow increasingly wary of actually updating this damn thing. Now that I'm finally sitting down to write something, however, my mind's drawing a complete blank. ()

Eh! I guess we'll pick off where I left off two entries ago, where the second point I mentioned I would bring up in the near future was my close encounter with the Japanese popos:


This may appear to be just a casual photo of me on my mama-chari (apparently short for Mama-Chariot, which refers to the bicycles here with the baskets attached at the front), happily gliding away, hair blowing back in the wind, not a care in the world. But, if you'll look closer, specifically in the area just over my right shoulder, you'll notice a certain vehicle that appears to be sporting a set of bright...red...sirens...?

...Soon after, we were blasted with a megaphone something to the extent of "Please pull over to the side of the road" in Japanese. Of course, we'd get pulled over; David was swerving halfway into the middle of the street as he haphazardly tried to take a photo of me, obviously not paying any attention to where he was riding his bike into. Rolls eyes!

But then Mr. Omawari got out of his car. And went straight to me. And then said something along the lines of "HAY YOU, YOU SHOULDN'T RIDE YOUR BIKE WITHOUT YOUR FEET ON THE PEDALS!! IT'S DANGEROUS DESU YO!!!"

...Well, sure enough, as you can see back in Exhibit A, I certainly didn't have my feet on my pedals. You know why?? Because we were going downhill. And you don't need to be pedalling when you're going downhill. Because if you tried to pedal while going downhill, you'll sooner get your face planted into the back of a truck. +_+

So, we had been warned previously that police here are notorious for pulling aside gaijin and asking to see if they've got their registration on them. But not even giving any mind to the very obviously not-Japanese David, who already had his Waseda ID card out to show the cop, he proceeded to drill me with questions about myself, my bike, my place of residence. Eventually he asked to see my registration card, which I don't think I had at the time so I showed him my passport instead.

It wasn't until after he scrutinized it for a few moments while asking me more irrelevant questions that I finally thought to show him my Waseda ID card as well. After which it seemed like a lightbulb clicked in his head, and he let us off.

::punches Tokyo in the face::

I realize that I wrote this as if I'm actually spiteful of the Japanese cops, but really, the same day I think I ended up running into, like, four more of them, and more than half of the time they were rather helpful; I had rode my bike to Waseda from by apartment near Ueno, which took three hours getting there because I kept getting lost, so on the way back I had to ask a cop at a kouban for directions; the trip back ended up taking only 50 minutes. Shrug! You win some, you lose some. ;o

General Updates

It's been a rather lonesome day, partly due to my own indifference towards seeing anybody in particular under the guise of having too much work to do (which, granted, is mostly true!). The mushroom tempura I had for dinner at Tenya wasn't that spectacular either; for the most part it had the same pieces of tempura the regular 500 yen tendon had, but just with a single extra piece of mediocre fried mushroom that bumped the price up by 190. I should be saving my money.

So, the third week of class is starting at Waseda. In addition to the required Japanese language course, I'm also taking Cultural Anthropology and the Practicum in Japanese Arts. During the first day of Cultural Anthropology, the professor used the typical scare tactic of acting like a short-tempered tyrant, which managed to effectively cut the class size down by half. Last Wednesday when I took her class, she seemed to be in quite a jolly mood, and I think she might have even smiled...? As for the Practicum in Japanese Arts goes, I wasn't originally planning on taking an art class while I was here; this year was going to be my break from six-hour studio classes that always managed to sufficiently drain me every semester I took them at Calstate. However, as it turns out, the class is only about 30% studio work; the rest of the time is spent going on field trips. When we finally do start our studio work, I'll be taking woodblock print class, which is probably just about as stereotypically Japanese Art as you can get, but heck, why not?

There are six levels of Japanese language classes in Waseda's School of International Liberal Studies, and for some reason I managed to slip into the level 5 class. Of course, it's a little difficult for me as I was wholly expecting to place in level 3, 4 if I was lucky, but this is just fine since I guess I should probably put a little more effort into studying the language now that I'm here for the next year. However, this past Friday one of my Japanese teachers (the one focusing on vocabulary and listening comprehension) asked me during our break in class whether I thought the class was too difficult, and if I would like to move down...? Granted the kanji quiz from the first week weren't too hot, but I did perfectly fine on the tests this week, especially on the vocab tests from this specific teacher which I know she graded already, so I'm a little miffed that she asked me this. :\

Before Waseda classes started, the CSU group had gone on our first daytrip together to Narai and Matsumoto Castle up in Nagano prefecture, about three hours away from Shinjuku by bus. My camera was running low on battery so I only got a few photos of Narai, but my cell phone managed to catch a few more of Matsumoto. While I can't say I was all too greatly affected by the trip considering that it was all pretty formulaic as far as visiting old places in Japan goes, I do get to accept the honor of being CSU's first Japan study abroad incident.

That is, I hit my head underneath a bridge after carelessly standing up too fast. And after curling into a foetal position and being laughed at for a few minutes, I took my hand off my head to find it soaked in blood. 8D

Of course, the other students in the class were all like "holy shit"; David may or may not have felt bad about having snapped those photos of my agony from earlier; and the Resident Director Dr. Shek, a usually cheerful and petit man of good humour, quickly changed his mood as he muttered a solemn "Oh my." At first I didn't think it was a big deal since, despite the blood, it hurt just as much as any other time I've ever hit my head. But, after being repeatedly warned not to fall asleep in case I had a concussion, I started to worry just a little...?

Long story short, the periodic snaps of camera phones going off behind me from the Japanese students trying to take a picture of the band-aid that was sloppily applied by Takako (the program associate who has been working with the CSU International Program for 20-some years, who had suggested shaving my head for the band-aid to hold a little better) as they exclaimed how "kawaii" I looked in my pitiful and injured state served as a good enough hint that I most likely was going to survive if I decided to take a nap after all. (Which I did, because what the hell else are you going to do riding home on the bus for three hours, right?)

We were told during our orientation that pretty much everybody falls into a cycle when they study abroad, especially in a place like Japan where the society is so contrary to what we're accustomed to in the United States: first, you're elated about your new surroundings and everything is absolutely splendiferous; then, once that feeling has died down, you start feeling homesick, and eventually everything you loved about your new living situation turns into everything you hate about it; and finally, you adjust, and you come out of it a better human being.

I don't know if I'm just being optimistic or not, and I honestly hope I'm not deluding myself, but so far I don't think I'll ever be hitting that second stage of the cycle. I've yet to find anything about this city that I actively dislike; rather, I still find pleasure just walking around on the streets on my own and indulging myself in the urban atmosphere. Furthermore, in spite of the language barrier, I feel more at home here than I ever did going to school in America. Well, who knows. I was always kind of socially awkward back in California anyways, so anything's a step up from that, am i rite??

I'm hungry again.

Oh, Japan, you JERK!

Japan decided to spank my ass today without any warning nor explanation. I felt a little violated for the next few hours before it finally thought to let me know that, "BTW JK LOLOLOL."

I shall elaborate!

I finally went back to the ward office to pick up my alien registration card this afternoon. Namioka-san, the sister of the priestess of the temple, took me in her hot red sports coupe. As soon as I got the card, I thought to put it in my wallet, but seeing as Namioka-san had an appointment to make, we rushed back into the car. What followed was a complete lapse in my memory that lasted until we had arrived back at my apartment:

Last night I had borrowed money from Namioka-san's husband because he took me to shop for a computer desk and the place we went to only took cash, and since I stopped by the ATM earlier today, as I got out of the car I handed the money to Namioka-san to give to her husband and then waved her goodbye. After she drove off, however, I thought to myself, "Hey... did I...ever put that registration card into my wallet...?" I had my wallet in hand since I drew out money from it for Namioka-san, but when I opened it back up to check if the card was there... Nothing.

Checked my bags, checked my jacket, my jeans, inside my boxers... Nothing.

There was a typhoon today so I dropped my things off in my room first before running back out to the temple, not minding to take my umbrella with me since it was only a short distance away. I told Hibino-san, the priestess, about my situation, and she gave her sister (who had already left for her appointment) a phone call to see if the card was anywhere in the car. After a few minutes, Hibino-san returned saying that it wasn't. I suggested that perhaps it was in the wad of cash I handed to her. Hibino-san told me that she'll let Namioka-san know about it after she gets back. I return to my apartment and took a nap.

Two hours later I got a call from Hibino-san: apparently the card was nowhere to be found in the car, nor in the wad of cash. I told her I'd check my stuff once more and I'll call her back if I find it, or if I don't find it for that matter. Did my rounds through my belongings. Still no good.

Now by this point I was really hating myself; earlier when I was taking the train back home, I ended up jumping onto the train going the opposite way. ...And then after that I took it one stop too far past my station. Suffice to say I was probably in no condition to be seen in public. And then, of course, this whole ordeal with the very-vitally-important registration card happens, and I was just about ready to throw my arms in the air, declare today as the Worst Day in Japan Evar, and then starve myself as punishment and eventually go back to sleep.

...But before that, I thought to check outside the apartment again; maybe it was somewhere on the ground between the entrance of the apartment and where I got dropped off (an area of about 10 feet in diameter which I had already checked earlier, but perhaps not quite so thoroughly). Billy was just leaving his room at the same time to stop by the konbini for some drinks, so I whined to him a little about my situation, and he sympathised.

The rain was a little harder now than it was earlier when I had ran out to the apartment so I had my umbrella in hand. I followed Billy out the door, and quickly raised my umbrella and clicked it open.


...My alien registration card.

It flew out.

Of my umbrella.

ffja;kdkfajsfhdklsadf;jaskdla WHAT.

I-I mean, thinking over the situation a little more, it kind of makes sense how it could have dropped into my umbrella without me noticing it, especially since it wouldn't have made a sound. But. Still.


Of course Billy laughed at me. And then I called Hibino-san to let her know about it, and she and Namioka-san probably rolled their eyes out of their sockets at me from behind the phone. Either way, my opinion of Japan has been briskly rescued away, and I celebrated by buying 1000 yen's worth of food from the konbini tonight. 8D

Other things have happened over the past week and a half (class starting for one, in addition to my near-death experience and run-in with the law), but that stuff can be saved for another day.


(There's still a chunk of Directions of Destiny orders that haven't been sent. After I finish giving all the shipping instructions to my mother, she'll have it taken care of. Apologies!)


Tomorrow we register for our Fall semester classes finally, except that after spending a good hour or so trying to figure out how the freaking hell class scheduling works at Waseda, I threw the syllabus book aside and had a smoke drank tea.

... I'M JUST JOKING, GUYS. I didn't smoke just now. Really. ...Although to be honest, I did end up following up on my suggestion from the last entry to give it a shot. 8D() It was a few nights ago when apparently I was "comically plastered", as David put it, and I appear to have a few e-mails in my Sent folder that offer the ugly proof. :( Apologies for my obnoxious drunken revelry? Anyway, so I had like three puffs of these menthols, and I'm pleased to say I didn't keel over coughing my kidneys out like a noob! However, I am not pleased to report the stinging bite it had in my throat, so I suppose this puts a short end to my assimilation into Japanese society, as far as tabacco consumption goes. (Progress down the Alcohol Consumption route of assimilation TBA.)

What else is going on... Ah, yes: I gots a cell phone! I-I don't quite understand it completely yet though, partly because I got a completely Japanese cell phone rather than one with an English language option, because I'm vain and I needed to have the only black model they offered, so that it could match with my black DS Lite. D8 (And they go so well together too, trying to figure out how to change my wallpaper settings on my cell phone while using my DS to translate what the crap all the kanji mean. OTP!!) In any case, I get unlimited text messaging between AU customers, and like 1500 e-mails or something, SO, if you are ever bored, I suppose you are welcome to zap a buzz into my pants at: slimu [at] ezweb.ne.jp.

Today, I slept and then I slept some more and then I played video games (Tokyo Game Show came and went and I did not attend; more on that later) and then I went to eat SQUID INK PASTA that stained my mouth and then everybody laughed and laughed at my grossness. No wonder Japanese people commit suicide. D8 (Incidentally, the squid ink pasta wasn't that spectacular either; it wasn't offensive or anything, but I guess I have no incentive to eat it ever again, really. Particularly because it actually had squid in it; if it was just the pasta with the ink sauce and like some broccoli or meatballs or something, it would've been spectacular. But for now, I've decided from here on out that I am not a fan of squid.) After that we went to light fireworks and cause ruckuses, and stuff--be proud of me, for I turned down alcohol TWICE tonight, and instead had an apple juice!!

Yesterday was the Autumnal Equinox, and as such, many people were visiting their family's graves in the cemetary outside my window. Since I'm getting free rent from the temple for this apartment (ssscore), I was obligated to help them out for a few hours (which is why I could not attend the Tokyo Game Show; I was supposed to work both Saturday and Sunday originally, but they cancelled my schedule for Sunday since they were getting less customers, but by the time I got the memo it was too late to head out for the show. Oh well). I originally thought they were just going to have me conduct manual labour or something, but I ended up staying in the lobby for the majority of the time serving tea and cleaning back up the cups.


Did you know that I am completely gay for keigo? :( Did I mention last year on the plane ride to Japan via All Nippon Airways, there was a rather dashing male flight attendant wearing a nice uniform vest and tie, sporting a commercial-worthy smile, who spoke keigo at me despite my obvious lack of proficiency in it? I think I developed a very mild crush. (The female flight attendants were pretty nice too, but they spoke English at me for the most part after they noticed how incompetent I was in my broken responses, but Mr. Dashing went all out the whole way through. Long sigh! I wouldn't mind being a Japanese male flight attendant for a day...)

So I was actually assigned to just clean up the cups from the tables while this girl (Ushio-san) served it, but it got so hectic during the day that eventually our jobs became intertwined. It started out with just me giving out candy to some children, but sometimes there would be like three separate parties coming in to sit down, so the job of server unofficially transferred to me as well. They told me that just saying "Douzo" would be fine, but eff that; I had a male flight attendant fantasy to fulfill!!

Basically, what I mean to say is, お茶を召し上がってください 8D


It's just past midnight of my fourth day in Tokyo as I'm writing this, and all four days I've been drunk...? Well, at least for dinner. Apparently I'm a victim of the Asian glow, as evidenced by the 15 or so people every night who feel the need to point out how beet-red I am--as it turns out, it's quite noticeable from 20 feet across the room. :( Today I moved into the apartment here on the Buddhist temple, and at dinner with the temple family, after having half a cup of beer and a quarter cup of sake, I accidentally gave into this passing urge to giggle at absolutely nothing. Eventually, said giggle turned into a prolonged guffaw, and I'm sure the temple family had at this point made a mental note that, No, don't ever let this Hans kid near alcohol, EVER AGAIN.

Oh my God. Japan. :<

Snaps, they fed us blowfish and I'm still alive! There was also toro. And of course the nihonshu, which tasted really sweet (unlike the sake from two nights ago that tasted like rubbing alcohol) ...Basically the whole dinner consisted 90% of stuff I've never had before, and I was pretty content with life. (There was another nihonshu later in the course that I didn't get to try though, for reasons that can be deduced from the first paragraph.)

Umm as far as my room goes, it is quite cozy? The existing furniture and curtains here are absolutely dreadful (if I were a gay interior decorator, I'd have jumped out the window by now; instead I just whine about it on LiveJournal), there are stains on the walls that I'll need to wipe off before I start putting my stuff in place, it looks like one of the closet doors got a hole in it because there's this piece of fabric covering a corner (I was thinking of covering it up with something slightly less ugly, but I think I'll just paint over it with acrylics to match the colour and pattern of the rest of the closet door--put my Beginning Painting skills to some sort of use) and somebody wrote/drew a bunch of crap on the refrigerator ("ICECREM SHOP", with an "A" floating above the "E" and "M", plus arrow. Either somebody living here before was not a native English speaker, and the next tenant corrected them, or it could be the same tenant who wrote it in a night of drunken stupor, and later correct themself), but it's got its own kitchenette and toilet (sorta--the toilet is right outside the door and nobody's going to use it besides me), the room itself is actually quite spacious compared to what I had been prepping myself up for after all the horror stories of Japan's lack of square footage, and I've got more closet space than I know what to do with (so far I've been using the top shelves to hide the more offensive-looking crap that came with the room).

Billy (guy living below me) assures me that the 20,000 yen rent a month for this place is actually all going towards utilities, and that the rent itself is pretty much free, save for the two times a week where we teach somebody in the temple household English, and when we tidy up the temple a bit (it doesn't look like I'll be able to wear a hakama for this after all, but we'll see!).

I want to talk trash about some of the people on the CSU International Program here, but they probably read this. :( But actually, most of the people here are quite tolerable, if not downright enjoyable (interpretation left to the reader!), and hopefully they're not talking trash about me in their LiveJournals? All Japanese guys are at least 40% gay, but we all knew that already.

I probably won't start smoking here even though it appears to be The Thing To Do next to excessive alcoholic consumption, but maybe I'll try a cigarette once while I'm indoors, just so I can say that I smoked indoors and it was completely socially acceptable.

Here's my shopping list:

coffee table
computer desk
beige tablecloth
computer chair
resting chair
floor pillows
bed pillow
bathroom cup
hair dryer
trash can(s)
laundry basket
laundry detergent
jet black DS
TV with DVD player
paint supplies

The Clear Skin Regimen works and my life is forever changed. Too bad I've got no energy to do apply it to anywhere besides my face. Oh well; Japanese onsen will just have to wait (until my body decides to finally move past adolescent puberty, or something).

In conclusion, I played with for like three days straight before I left America and you didn't; nya, nya, nya!


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