Thursday, September 28, 2006

Japan: Free (sic) weekend!


Woo! This weekend was our free weekend. We got to do whatever we wanted. This weekend was also the weekend before some pretty big deadlines in the class, so a lot of work had to be done. In any case, Sara's brother Steve came to visit his sister in Fukuoka this weekend. He'd been living in Busan in Korean as an English teacher for about a year and Fukuoka and Busan are just a ferry ride away, so he took the opportunity. Early that morning Sara and I took the train to the hotel he'd be staying at. We got there and he was nowhere in sight. Not even that, but the people at the reception desk told us that they couldn't even check anyone in until 2:00pm (this was about 11am). So we didn't really know what to do. We waited in front of the hotel for a little while until about 30 minutes after the time Sara thought we were supposed to meet him. Apparently she was off by 30 minutes. We met up with him and rushed off to meet Nacky-sensei and Masuda-sensei in Tenjin.

This weekend was also when a few old LBAT students came to Japan to visit. They contacted Masuda-sensei and asked if any of us current LBATers wanted to have lunch. So Masuda-sensei, Nacky-sensei, Sara, Steve, and I had lunch at this excellent restaurant in Tenjin. Apparently it's one of the most famous in Fukuoka and we were barely luck enough to be able to get in before they stopped letting people in. Lunch was about 2,500 yen + dessert but it was sooo worth it. Very standard Japanese food, but the quality was so good. Upon entering, we saw them catching squid out of a pond to serve up. Now that's fresh... One of the dishes serves fish so fresh that they're still twitching (to the discomfort of some LBATers).

After lunch, we escorted Steve back to his hotel to check in (on the back we found this excellent Predator/Alien bronze statue thing that the group took a picture in front of). His hotel was rather nice and he was very impressed with his toilet. After letting him settle for a bit, we headed back towards the Ropponmatsu to meet up with the past LBATers for some Karaoke goodness (they were getting DS Lites at a local game store there). We picked up some straddlers at the Seminar House then headed out for some awesome karaoke! Then after that, we had some Okonomiyaki to top it all off (fully introduce Steve to the Japanese culture). In all, it was an excellent day!


Well, Sara and I hung out with Steve some more in Tenjin until it was time for his Ferry back to Korea. We went to the apparent "Mecca" of otaku in Fukuoka... We... decided not to go up any further than the 3rd floor or so. But, I purchased my DS Lite there. A light blue one. I also purchased the most awesomest "game" for it, a Kanji dictionary! Using it, I can write various Japanese words/kanji and find the meaning. I figured it'd be quite useful for me when I started working (and it has been). After a yummy Italian lunch at the "Italian Tomato" we took Steve to his bus and let him get back to his life in Korea. Then it was time for us to buckle down and do the work that we'd been kinda putting off (homework and presentation stuff... joy...)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Japan: Half-way point

The end of this week marks the end of half of my Internship here at CDL. I don't really like this company at all and I work way too much, so I'll be glad to see the end of it, however I'll be sad to leave Japan.

I've been here for just about 4 months now and I've definitely experienced a lot. My Japanese has improved and my English has... unproved... I'm much beyond the halfway point in terms of time in Japan (4/6.5 months).

I miss a lot of people and the various things we take for granted in America (like being able to actually understand what's going on). I miss a lot of things, but I really like being here and proving to myself that I could do something like this. I love Japanese food and the various aspects of Japanese culture I've seen. I feel oddly seperated from everything and everyone my life in America has known and I'm always eager to come back to it.