September 29th – October 3rd
Finally catching up! I’m surprised it’s only been two weeks since school’s started!
Anyways, here we go, condensed version!
I decided not to take the cinema class, so I don’t have class on Mondays. Instead, I studied for a test, since level 5 had a test on Tuesday (even though I just transferred levels, I still had to take the test). I did,
however, have to go to Mita campus, still, just to switch my textbooks. It was kind of annoying, since I had to go to buy my report notebook for homework – yes, they require you to buy a special notepad from the student store to do homework on – then go to the JLP office to turn in my switching levels form, then go back to the student stores to return the books.
Tuesday, September 30
First day of level 5 Japanese. Not bad. The tests seem to be all about memorizing the stories you read per chapter, though. You basically are tested on really knowing it, the vocabulary, and the kanji. The most trouble I had this day was when the lesson started and we had to repeat sentences we heard on the tapes they play in class. I cannot remember things that fast…
After classes (sat in on an aural comprehension class), I went with Chou (a fellow switchee to level 5) to shop at Musashi Koyama. I didn’t know before, but now I do – Musashi Koyama comes highly recommended from me for cheap shopping. There’s a Mode Off AND Book Off at Musashi Koyama, so if you want to buy ¥100 manga or ¥500 clothing, you gotta go. I didn’t have enough money with me, but I ended up buying my first Engrish shirt from Mode Off. They also had a pair of faux leather shorts I liked, but I decided to buy the shirt instead…
Mode Off is a second hand store and you can’t return items.
There were plenty of other shops at Musashi Koyama, including two hair salons (one for ¥1200!), an arcade, and a pastry/bread shop. Nearly every shop I saw had their lovely SALE signs out.
Well, after reaching the end of the road (literally), we took the train back to Hiyoshi and went home.
I cooked dinner for myself again, and I tried this fish that had the kanji for salt in it….it didn’t taste too good. I also made udon with cucumbers and carrots, and a bowl of tofu.
Looks alright, right? It was my first time making udon. And I just used whatever I had in the fridge. I don’t have many ingredients.
I also ate a lovely vanilla monaka for dessert.
Wednesday, October 1
I also happen to not have classes on Wednesday, but this day was pretty hurried. I fell asleep quickly the day before (as in, without brushing my teeth and etc) and woke up at like 10:30. I had to go to Yokohama to open an account with Citibank, since they take checks and have some English skills. That took quite a while, but I was happy that the person who helped me was fluent in English. I partially recommend Citibank because of that. Either only bring cash to Japan and open an account with Suitomo and experience no problems, or open an account with Citibank ONLY if you have a check with you. It takes time to sign with Citibank (I have to go back again later to sign yet another contract) and they have a monthly maintenance charge unless you have $2000 in the bank (in USD) or ¥500000 in yen in the bank.
After opening an account, I went to the Don Quihote nearby (so convenient!) to buy makeup remover, nail polish remover, and napkins.
*Advice point: Japanese bathrooms don’t provide you with paper towels and most don’t even have a hand dryer, so you need to bring a hand towel with you everywhere, or just deal with wet hands
I went back to Hiyoshi afterwards, cooked dinner (udon again – with tofu), and then had to go to Revolve practice.
Time for all the complaints. So, Revolve seems like they decide where their practices are held on the day of the practice. Members contact each other through LINE, but, as the only new member and the only non-Japanese, I had only one member’s number (the other one I had quit the club), and he didn’t answer fast. Only when I made the mistake of going to the location of last practice and waited there for 10 minutes, did he answer. And even then I wasn’t sure where to go. Honestly, I had to just depend on myself.
And when I went to practice, it was also pretty lonely. Everyone’s already so close and they all have their own cliques, so it’s hard to talk to anyone. PLUS, I’m not native, which makes it worse, because they all basically only speak Japanese (or are very reluctant to talk in English). I honestly don’t mind talking in Japanese, but people tend to talk back to me in English…
Anyways, it wasn’t that great. I think clubs are only good for international students when they are FOR international students, or when you already have a friend in the club. We’ll see if I stick with it. I want to, but so far, I’m certainly not enjoying it…
After practice, I went and bought myself a special matcha flavored hot cake dorayaki with azuki paste and matcha cream from Circle K.
Definitely recommend. I normally hate red bean paste, but these were good, since they barely had any in them.
Thursday, October 2
Lots and lots of classes. Thursdays are my busiest days – with 5 classes out of the possible 6 periods. I had Japanese – still struggled with repeating what I heard. I kind of dread going to Japanese classes now.
After the two periods of Japanese, I met Yan in the courtyard, since we planned on having lunch today (and I hadn’t seen her for a long time!). We ended up going to Saizeriya, by my recommendation, since it’s basically the cheapest place near campus. Since it was a weekday, they also had a ¥500 special – an entree, soup, and salad for ¥500! Such a good deal! I got pasta, while Yan chose the curry doria.
It was all pretty good. You can really never go wrong with Saizeriya. Especially with those prices, you know. We just chatted about our weekends and plans. Then we still had a whole hour or so before our next class, so we headed to the media center. Yan looked through the list of clubs, while I did homework for Japanese class.
Next class was case analysis. We are assigned seats every week, and this week I sat with Miyashita, Rei, and…I’m so sorry I can’t remember his name. It was complicated and had three parts. I know he’s from Turkey, though.
In any case, we watched Money Ball (parts) and examined it in groups. Also learned ways of analyzing cases.
Then went to Japan-America Shared History with Rei…and I was about to fall asleep in class, but then Professor Williams had me take time. I mean, the class was interesting when we finally started watching EMPIRE.
Last class was an art workshop. We created our groups for presentations on a type of Japanese art, then worked separately on our self-portraits/collages.
Then Hiyoshi! Had to make a stop at Yamada Electronics to buy a micro SD to SD adapter, since I stupidly deleted pictures from my phone without saving them first on my computer, and needed the adapter to restore the pictures.
*Advice point: bring one of those adapters yourself, because everything is more expensive in Tokyo. I had to pay ¥410 or so for my adapter, when i have plenty already back at home in America, and they’re only worth like ¥175 or less.
And I fell alseep quickly again.
Friday, October 3
I had two classes, one during 3rd and the other during 5th period. The first was Japanese Business & Society, which was….interesting, but a lecture, so I saw someone else also falling asleep. The next class was a kanji class, which wasn’t too hard. In between, I had an hour and a half break, so I went to the library intending to do homework, but bumped into George (friend from Australia, but he’s Taiwanese-Australian) and we just chatted and made plans to eat dinner with everyone.
So after class, I wanted to take money out of the ATM, but THEY CLOSE EARLY! Banks close at 3pm and their ATMs close at 6….I just don’t understand why. On weekends they are open longer, though. And they charge you a fee at certain times…you really have to be careful with ATMs.
Kyuu, Ching, George and I met up and left for Hiyoshi. On the train, met George’s friend Bob (from China), and we all just chatted the time away. They were wondering how I could be a business student when I hate finance (also George said it was “so American” to call business school “B school”).
Anyways, back at Hiyoshi, we waited by the Gindama (metal ball statue) for quite a long time, until three more people (Takahiro, Kungqi, and Sunny) arrived. Then we finally got to go to Hamazushi for dinner. But we still had to wait like 30-40 minutes. Because it was a Friday.
And the staff had us split into two groups of four (Juu joined us, too), and we played hei, bai, hei (黒、白、黒）to decide who sits with who (essentially nose goes, but with hands – traditional in China/Taiwan?). I got
placed with Kungqi, Sunny, and Takahiro. Juu and Kyuu were wondering if they’d make fun of me the whole time
lol. But it really wasn’t bad. At one point, Kungqi tried a new concoction: sushi, pudding (purin), wasabi + soy sauce, and vinegared boiled mackerel. Together. He said it wasn’t bad, so I tried it too, but oh my dear god was it disgusting. Too sweet. I also tried wasabi (still just sushi wasabi – not the real root) and nearly started crying.
We still had energy afterwards, so we decided to go karaoke-ing (everyone but Kyuu) just for the sake of it. I still didn’t want to spend that much money, but it was both nighttime and a weekend, so prices were high regardless of which joint we went to. So we just settled on one and waited out turn. In the meantime, they had a free drink (soft drinks, coffee, milk tea)
and soft serve ice cream bar. I had like literally three glasses of ice cream with some drink (coke, milk tea, and caramel macchiato).
I had a huge stomachache afterwards. I ate seven plates of sushi before that, after all.
Karaoke itself was just okay. It’s fun, but when you sing alone, it’s really not. Everyone, for instance, had fun when Butter-fly (from Digimon) was on, but not when I had SHINees 1000年、ずっとそばにいる on. But Juu has a super good voice! And Kungqi has a lot of energy (笑).
A couple of Chinese songs were also put on (everyone in the room was Chinese/Taiwanese but Takahiro – but he’s studying Chinese).
Annnnnnd we sang for two hours (Ching and I actually did homework during that time) for ¥1500. EXPENSIVE. I also only had like ¥1000 so now I owe Juu money (´^｀ )ゞ
I was also the only non-Shimoda-ite and had to walk home by myself.
And proceeded to fall asleep.
Saturday, October 4th
Yep. Japanese class. Again, the struggle was so real. My listening and reciting back…sigh…
I was happy when class was over. Ching (who’s in my class) and I went to Saizeriya (yep, my second time this week) to eat lunch. Since it was Saturday, they didn’t have the ¥500 special, but prices are still really cheap.
I tried the squid and anchovy pizza this time for ¥399, while Ching had the ¥499 Seafood Gratin. The pizza was pretty good. It’s like the saltiest thing you’ll eat in Japan. Ching was worried about the happenings in Hong Kong the whole time (she’s from CUHK) and wanted to go home.
And we separated at the JR station, since she was headed to Harajuku and I had to make a stop back at Hiyoshi.
I was supposed to go to Harajuku and Musashi Koyama with Tina, but she canceled last minute, so I ended up doing homework instead. I also attempted to FINALLY get the matcha oreo sundae from McDonald’s ONLY TO FIND OUT THEY’RE NO LONGER OFFERED.
MY MATCHA OREO DREAMS ARE CRUSHED!!! ლ(ಥ益ಥლ
Seriously, though, I wanted to try it ever since I came here, but I didn’t realize it was limited edition….dang….
So I ended up sadly going to a grocery store and buying konnyaku instead to cook myself. And treaded home.
Cooked shirataki for the first time, but I really need to buy sauce or something. I tried combining egg, oyster sauce, salt, and soy sauce (the only sauce-like substances I have) to flavor the noodles. It tasted like egg.
But it wasn’t terrible. I just don’t know if I want to make shirataki again. I think I prefer konnyaku to the the noodle variety.
Around 9, I headed out to Union for the half off deals, but there weren’t many this time. Just bought some bread and a snack. I intended to buy mochi to make mochi kinchaku, but MOCHI IS SO EXPENSIVE. I don’t even believe it. Why is it just so expensive….I love mochi….
sigh. So I left it behind and went back to Hiyoshi International House to skype my dad. And then write my blog.
And so ends my day. I’m so tired, I barely got any sleep because of that karaoke the night before.