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How is it still Monday????

Posted on 2007.07.23 at 21:05
Current Location: Houston again
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
Back, alive, Durin's fine, going to sleep now.



Posted on 2007.07.22 at 19:15
Current Location: Tokyo for one more night
Current Mood: blankeverything at once

I finished everything up today, tied up all the loose ends.  Yoko left early.  That was hard.  Someone came to pick up my luggage this morning.  My closet is frighteningly empty.  I had taken all of my folded up boxes downstairs already, so with the suitcase gone you can see a large amount of floor.  After lunch I cancelled my cell phone in Ueno and then detoured through Ueno Park on the way home and went through a nice little shrine.  Then I took the bus by the grocery store and got working on my mashed potatoes and bread project.  The mashed potatoes look perfect.  The bread took all afternoon, baking in spurts, to never really actually bake.  I got it to the point of edible.  The crust is excellent, but the inside is kind of mushy.  It also didn't really rise at all.  Who knows what I did wrong, but I'm taking it anyway.  I can at least munch on the crust.

Then I cleaned and read.  Now everything's ready for tomorrow.  I'm a little worried because everything is really heavy, plus I have the bulky dog toilet.  Thank god my suitcase is going separately.

I'll post briefly when I get home if I remember to before crashing, but it'll be awhile.  Wish me luck. 



Posted on 2007.07.21 at 17:29
Current Location: Tokyo for one more day
Current Mood: everything at once
Today was... crazy.

I got up early to go meet friends to buy Harry Potter in Shinjuku.  I got ready- it felt just like any other day.  I made potatoes to take for lunch because our graduation ceremony was later this morning and I figured I'd need something to eat afterwards.  I put on nice pants that I had to dig out of my suitcase.  I left at 7 and got on trains.  I found out on the way there that I was only meeting Hannah, and that she was a little late, which was fine except for the fact that I didn't remember where to go.  I wandered a little, but then Hannah got there and we found the bookstore without a problem.  It was just after 8, but there was a long line of mostly foreigners like us winding around through the store.  They had three versions: UK adult, UK kids, or American and we could choose any.  I got the UK adult version because it's really cool-looking.  It was so incredibly exciting.  Not like I'm obsessed or something.

So far it still felt like a normal day.  We got Hannah a donut for breakfast in Shinjuku and then took the bus to Waseda.  That was when things started to sink in for me.  Deep down I've been in serious denial about the whole Leaving Thing.   I'm not sure when that changed today, maybe after the ceremony.  Anyway, the ceremony was basically what you'd expect: various speeches (that were mostly awesome or funny, but still long), everyone walking across the stage and receiving our certificate thingies from the Dean (I was first in line because of my last name- scary), waiting while everyone continued to walk, more endless waiting, and then more speeches, and finally everyone singing the Waseda alma mater.  The diploma thingie is so incredibly cool.  Wow.  It even has an official-looking ancient fancy kanji stamp.  My host family came to watch which was really sweet of them.  I somehow managed to not cry during the ceremony, and even the reception where I went around and said bye to the people I've had classes with and my Friday Japanese teacher and Carol and Michiyo (our program directors).  I stayed longer than my host family and went home by bus.  It was so strange.  Everything was suddenly really surreal.  I realized there are so many familiar places I may never go again, and if I do it'll be a long time and I'll be different and life will be different.  It's really ending.  I knew when I was about to leave Houston that the time here would fly by and that at some point I'd be on the plane going back and really confused as to where it all went.  No kidding.

I almost cried on the bus, but not quite.  I actually made it all the way home, and went to make sure that people are coming to get my suitcase tomorrow.  My host mom called to confirm it and sure enough it should be fine.  We exchanged gifts (I had made them a dreamcatcher) and I got an awesome plate (now carefully stowed in my backpack) and a couple of really pretty cloth things (with dachshunds!) for displaying.  I came back to my room, cried and packed and cleaned and read my new book.  I'm now painfully aware of the fact that I'm leaving the day after tomorrow.  My suitcase is packed now.  A lot of trash is thrown out and stuff has been cleaned.  Tomorrow Yoko leaves for England, my suitcase gets picked up, I stop my cell phone service and then cook tons of mashed potatoes and a loaf of bread for the flight.  Then on Monday I start the next adventure.



Posted on 2007.07.20 at 15:45
Current Location: SILS lounge
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful

I'm writing now since I'll probably get home late and tomorrow's really busy.  Anyway, the good news is that I slept really well last night... or at least better than the rest of the week.  I'm hoping it's a new trend.

I saw my host dad this morning; we left at the same time.  I used to not be able to understand most of what he says, but this morning I could understand everything.  It was so strange and surprising.  I haven't talked to him in at least a month, maybe two, and I thought I had stopped improving but I guess not.  He said that going back is the worst time.  So true.  

I had my last long bus ride today on the way to school.  From here on I'll be using mostly trains, though I'll probably run errands on buses one more time this weekend.  Thinking about it being one of the last times made me sad when I thought about it- the commute to school is such a normal part of life now.  So many last things.

When I got to school I had my last Japanese class.  The plan had been to do kanji but we ended up just watching the rest of that movie set in the 50s.  It was really good so that was cool.  Then we all went to a restaurant.  I got a giant salad and ate it with no problems, and I'm really glad I got it because I didn't have a lot packed for lunch.  I have dinner with me too because we're going to go see the new Harry Potter movie, which is really exciting.  Tomorrow will be kind of crazy- buying HP7, going to a graduation ceremony, and then frantic packing.  Wow.  Almost there.



Posted on 2007.07.19 at 18:35
Current Location: my room
Current Mood: indescribableindescribable
The day started, once again, with lack of sleep.  Argh.

This morning I did some more packing and dog walking and house cleaning.  Then I went over to Nezu Shrine one last time- I've been meaning to go take a couple of pictures there for about a month.  It was really strange.  The lack of sleep combined with my current denial of the fact that I'm leaving here in a few days to make it really surreal.  I can't make myself believe that I'll be someplace wildly different next week.

I made lunch, which went quite a bit better than yesterday's lunch, and then went to Waseda to give Michelle something and talked with her and Hannah for awhile.  When they went to class I ran a few errands in Takadanobaba, including selling my terrible art history textbook to the English used books store (for 300 yen- not bad for a terrible book).  Then I came home and played with Durin and watched some tv. 

I'm looking forward to Harry Potter coming out, especially because it's going to give me something to do.  I'm out of schoolwork, I'm mostly packed, most of the place is clean and I have to start avoiding the internet because of Harry Potter spoilers.  I'm going to continue posting here and checking my email, but I'm not going to any of my regular sites until I've read the whole thing.

Oh yeah, and in case you're wondering, I'm going to continue posting here every day or so if I can at least until I'm readjusted to the US.  I want to have a daily record of the readjustment since it's also technically part of this trip/experience.  Feel free to keep reading as I rant about oddly-shaped coins.  After that I haven't decided yet- I might just keep going, but post a little less frequently.

I'm excited because I'm going to see the new Harry Potter movie with friends tomorrow.  Should be cool.  It's the first day it's showing in Japan even though it's been playing in the US for awhile.  Not like I'm really into Harry Potter stuff or something.  >.> 



Posted on 2007.07.18 at 19:41
Current Location: my room (that for now is in Tokyo)
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: Durin running around with his nose shoved into an empty bag of treats
Today didn't start out too well.  I woke up at 4:30 (again!) and had no luck at all getting back to sleep.  I tried really hard at least four times over the next four hours, giving up in between to pet Durin, and finally just got up fully aware of the fact that I was catatonic.  Or at least, I was as aware of it as I could be while zoning into lala-land every three seconds.  I made breakfast, half-heartedly considered trying to sleep again afterwards, gave up that idea and finished studying for my art history test instead.  Then I tried to figure out what I should eat for lunch.  I finally decided on pancakes, as I didn't have time to go grocery shopping until later and that was about all I had in the kitchen (I've been steadily eating all of my extra food in preparation for leaving).  So I mixed everything together (the egg might have looked a little funny... it's so hard to tell because Japanese eggs are already a strange color) and made my pancakes, then took my jam (given to me by my host family from when they went to New Zealand- might have smelled/tasted funny) and started eating them.  One pancake later there was definitely something wrong.  My stomach was telling me to stop, so I did, and realized I was starting to feel kind of awful- tired and weak and nasty.

And I was still hungry.  I didn't have time to make rice, and all I had in my fridge was chicken and onions (not a lot of either), so I cooked them quickly and ate a small second lunch and continued to feel terrible.  It was in that state of lack of sleep and food-caused yuckiness that I went to go take my test.

Luckily it was an easy test (once I had memorized all of the artist's names and gotten Hishigawa Moronobu, Suzuki Harunobu, Hasegawa Tohaku and a list of other similar-sounding names all reasonably unconfused) and I aced it without a problem, though it felt like forever as we went over it afterwards.  I had slowly gone downhill during the period and was barely functional on my way to the bus.  The ride home seemed to take forever, but I survived it and a stop at the grocery store to resupply my fridge.  I barely caught a bus home, and it was one of those great light changes and stops the bus just in time for you to get to the stop kinds of moments.  I got home, started the rice for dinner and collapsed on my bed after giving Durin an empty plastic bottle to distract him.

Not long after that my host mom came over with the figures for the cost of the carpet, so I went ahead and paid her for that.  It wasn't that much at all.  Then she brought me fruit (including half a cantalope which I have to try and eat before I leave- it looks tasty and those things are way expensive here).  Dinner was good, and then I did some more packing and cleaning and playing with Durin.  Things are looking up now.  I'm feeling a lot better and very accomplished because now I just have one Japanese class left which will basically just be going over some kanji and watching a movie.  Yay!  And I should have no trouble at all being ready to leave by Monday.



Posted on 2007.07.17 at 18:54
Current Location: my room
Current Mood: excitedexcited
Current Music: endless drizzle...
We had our last Japanese class with our Monday/Tuesday teacher (we have our Friday teacher one more time).  The tests went fine, and then we took group pictures for forever.  It was really surreal.  I had forgotten what it's like to have a year-long class with the same people in it the whole time, and when you reach the end it's so strange to think it won't happen the same way next week.  After that I ate lunch and Laura told me about a special Harry Potter event at Kinokuniya (the 8-story bookstore in Shinjuku) on Saturday morning.  They're opening from 8-9AM and then closing again until the normal opening at ten, and the first 500 people get big discounts on English books including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  After that you can still get in until 9, you just don't get the discount.  Also, the book's only coming out in English (both British and American versions), so we're hoping it won't be all of Tokyo descending on Kinokuniya.  Laura and I at least are getting up early and going at 8AM.  SO EXCITED.  AAAAAAAA

Anyway, then I went to Meiji Shrine one last time.  I got really sad leaving it, knowing it'll be years before I come back.  I think the idea of leaving, like really, actually, physically leaving and not coming back immediately, really hit me for the first time.  Not happy about it.  Think of the food... must think of the food... and the people of course >.> Yes.  People...  <.<

After that I came home and walked the dog and did some more packing.  Actually I kind of almost finished packing.  Um, probably to the point where I'll have to unpack and repack several times between now and when they pick up my suitcase on Sunday.  I think I win the award for most paranoid early packer ever.  Woohoo!  Oh yeah, and I did lots of headache-inducing memorization for tomorrow's art history test.  Yuck.

So that's the story....




Posted on 2007.07.16 at 18:15
Current Location: my room
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Today was kind of interesting, more so than yesterday.  This morning I talked to Yoko some (she got a really good job offer!! Yay!!) and my host mom called and set things up for my big suitcase to be picked up next Sunday and delivered to the airport so I don't have to haul an impossibly heavy amount of stuff on the train.  I also figured out which train I need to take to get there and what time I need to leave.

After that I walked Durin.  The weather was amazing this morning, really clear.  We got back and I flopped down on my bed, procrastinating studying.  I was amused to note that when the world lurched sideways and started shaking a little more violently than usual that I didn't move or react, simply said (in the direction of my host sister's room) "I don't like this!" in Japanese.  She was exclaiming about it, too.  It was quite a bit stronger than previous earthquakes, but still nothing even thought about falling over.  Durin woke up for it though, for once, and looked kind of confused.  I guess it was Japan saying bye to me in a way I didn't really appreciate.  Back to the world of jishin nai [no earthquakes] soon, and I'm not complaining. 

So after that I studied for Japanese and ate a quick lunch and went to meet Hannah at Waseda for more studying.  We spent the afternoon in the library and I memorized things endlessly and she did endless mathy things.  After awhile we got snacks (I got tasty chips that didn't poison me) and ate them, and then went home.  When I got home I met Yoko's friend (from college I think) who's over for dinner. 

Tomorrow's Japanese and maybe a trip to Meiji Shrine or some other useful errand.  One week.  Wow.



Posted on 2007.07.15 at 20:37
Current Location: my room
Current Mood: relaxedrelaxed
Today was a lazy, lazy day.  I didn't do anything constructive except a little cleaning.  It was a nice break.  I go back to doing lots of stuff tomorrow.

I talked to parents and grandparents on skype this morning, which was fun.  Then I messed around on the internet for awhile until I got tired of that, and then I watched tv for a few hours.  There was, of course, dog playing mixed in there too.  The weather's been interesting.  A typhoon did in fact make an appearance, or rather the edge of one did.  It rained all morning and the wind gusted kind of half-heartedly, and just when I had decided typhoons were kind of disappointing the clouds started getting darker and going by way faster than clouds normally do.  No rain happened, but the wind picked up to at least Minnesota strength.  It's still strong.  I watched the clouds out the window for awhile.  According to the news Tokyo got just the tiny tip top of it after it damaged stuff in western Japan and then started heading offshore again.  Sometimes I forget that I'm not on a continent.

I had fun watching a game show with interesting puzzles that I mostly understood and occasionally could do (when they didn't involve kanji, that is).  So life is good.  I can't believe I'm leaving one week from tomorrow, but that might be good because if it is true I have no idea how I feel about it.



Posted on 2007.07.14 at 20:48
Current Location: my room
Current Mood: relaxedrelaxed
Today was a lazy and slow rainy day, but I needed one so it was good.  In the morning I did the last of my non-studying homework, and man does it feel good to be done with all that kanji.  I also talked to my grandmother on skype again and chased Durin around a lot.  Then I did a lot of cleaning in my room and the bathroom.  I plan on my room(s) being spotless when I leave, which means starting now so I can be sure I have plenty of time.  I made more progress packing, too, and relaxed through the afternoon except for a quick grocery store trip because I ran out of rice.

There is a typhoon coming tomorrow it turns out.  I was going to hang around here and do more cleaning anyway.  I also have some drawings to work on.  I wonder if Yoko will be around.

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