Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 8

I forgot to bring my camera with me to school today so I wasn't able to take any new pictures. Nonetheless, here's a picture I took yesterday.

 Like I mentioned before, my death route (from my last train station to the school) is a whiny steep climb up a hill mountain. I have another photo that shows a straight steep path but I don't think it accurately depicts how steep the path really is. I'll try to get one tomorrow.

Tomorrow we're taking a field trip to Himeji Castle. However, it's raining a bit right now so hopefully tomorrow the sky will clear up, despite the weather forecasts saying otherwise.

Day 7

Blossoms are blooming. I'm scared for my allergies. I may die.

We registered for classes today and I got placed in Level 2, which worked out for the best because now I don't have a Friday class that ends at 6:20pm. I feel like I can't relax just yet as there's so much things I have to do, and they're super important things to, such as setting up a bank account, getting a cell phone, etc.

A random thought: I've been here almost a week and to be honest, it still hasn't completely hit me yet. I don't feel like I'm in Japan but more like I'm in Japantown, or in a Japanese drama with no subtitles. 

I sometimes get a little confused when talking to my host parents. Just a quick note, sometimes in Japanese, you don't always use pronouns. Instead, some people will use their name or title. For instance, instead of saying, "I'm scared of eels," I could say, "Mogget is scared of eels." Anyways, I called my host mom, okaasan (mother) and my host dad, otousan (father), and since sometimes they refer to themselves as okaasan/otousan when speaking to me, it takes me a moment to register what they're saying because I keep thinking that they're referring to MY parents and not them. Anyways, they're taking me to Shirihama this weekend to watch the cherry blossoms (and other things, I'm not sure what - something about an onsen and holding a baby panda?) so I may not be able to update until after.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 6

I wasn't able to take any pictures en route to school since I was running a bit late. Not a great morning, which involved missing my bus stop and making a 20 minute mountain climb in 10 minutes. But fortunately, the way back was a lot more chill.

The ever so famous vending machines of Japan. These are the closest ones to my house, I think.
Speaking of which:

The houses around mine are actually really pretty. Or at least have a very nice traditional oriental look.

Today after orientation, our Nihongo partners took us to file for our Alien Registration cards and health insurance. It was during this that I realize how extremely kind my partners are. They went with me to the bank to exchange some of my traveler checks, and waited with me at the city hall for the registration and insurance dealio. Neither of them peeped a complaint and were very good-hearted throughout the entire process, talking and laughing with me. Makes me want to treat them to a big expensive dinner with my scholarship money.

Also, can't tell you how relieved I am to have some usable money in my pocket. I don't feel completely helpless now. Just pretty helpless.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention. My parents, or at least my dad, have found my blog. Ergo, let's keep the content here PG, or at least PG-13, yeah? No dirty innuendo, okay Mel? :P

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 5

I think my host family really likes Disney. Or did. The seven dwarfs in particular. On the porch steps, there are some statuettes of the dwarfs along with other random Disney stuff scattered around the house. Actually, in my room in particular.

Today, I went to school all by me onesie. It was nervewracking, especially since I didn't realize I was going on my own until I was heading out the door. After I finished my breakfast, I was putting on my shoes, under the impression that my host mom would take me to the university again to make sure I got the directions down. When she just stood by the door and said, "Bye," that was my first clue that that probably wasn't what was gonna go down. She also told me that if I had any trouble to call her, which I didn't know what to make of as I don't have a cellphone or any actual tangible money.

So once I climbed into the bus, I started of thinking of what I was gonna do once I got lost when I figured my odds would be better if I just followed the large crowds of people since they probably knew which stop led to the train station. Haha, success. I usually have to transfer between 2 trains before I get to my last train stop, and then it's a 20 minute climb up a mountain. Sorry, edit that: a goddamn-haha-she's-wearing-boots-she-hasn't-broken-into-yet-let's-torture-her mountain.

En route to the campus. Even though it's uphill battle to the death for my feet, it's actually a very nice scenic route. Now that I have a better idea how to get to school, I can take my time and take more pictures tomorrow.

When you go through the main entrance and down the main path, the first thing you see is the library. Nice, huh?

I don't like talking about depressing things so I'm going to skip the exams and interview we were given today. Anyways, I actually got to school 30 minutes earlier so I kinda wandered around campus for a bit before going to the meeting room. I'm pretty sure we have around 50 exchange students this semester. I find that so crazy. Most, I think, are from England...Oxford University, maybe? I heard that school name thrown around a bit when we were doing introductions. I also met a girl from Australia with an awesome Australian accent. Sorry, I find that worth mentioning.

We were also introduced to our Nihongo (Japanese) partners, who were for today, suppose to give us a campus tour and help us buy a commuter pass for the trains. I was assigned to two girls who were very cute and extremely cool. While they walked me home (showing me a flatter route to the train station), they were very kind and we spent the whole time talking and laughing. Kind of a bad thing though 'cos now I can't remember said flatter route. Haha, sad. I think I'm still going to take the death route though because I need the exercise. Also I forgot my sneakers back in the U.S. And I don't know where the gym is. And I'm pretty sure I'm going to be too lazy to go the gym so the death route is a good way to force me to exercise. I'm going to sooo hate myself later for this.

OH. I still have not mentioned the highlight of today. At the end of the Orientation for today, the CIEC staff told me that I had been selected to be the recipient of the JASSO scholarship (of which they almost forgot to tell me). It's a really good damnass scholarship so needless to say, I was THRILLED. Having the luxury of spending time in Japan without having to worry financially is well, extremely rare. So I'm extremely grateful. And will now spend it all on food.

See? I need the exercise.

Oh, and one more thing. Tonight it snowed! Which is crazy since it rarely snows in Osaka. I didn't have my camera with me so I couldn't take a picture. However today was extremely cold and the winds were on steroids so I don't think I would be able to take a good picture anyways. :\

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Just found out that there are NO level 1 classes offered in the Spring.


*studies fervently*

Day 4

Right across from my room is the balcony. Yeah. I'm pretty sure my room's the attic.

Looking back at my previous post, I realize that the photo made my room look incredibly tiny. I mean, it's small, but it's not as bad as it looks. What the photo didn't show are the corners of the room, which make the room a lot bigger.

Just a tidbit about my host siblings. I have two, one is a 16 year-old girl and the other is a 11 year-old boy. The boy has a surprising amount of energy. I was lying in bed this morning and could hear him stomping around the house singing at the top of his lungs. When I ran into him in the bathroom (to brush my teeth), his demeanor immediately switched to a polite one and he gave me a quick bow and a small "Ohayou." And then I stood outside the bathroom, listening to him gurgle for 2 minutes. He started singing and saying random phrases loudly again while I was eating breakfast and my host parents would just look at each other and mutter, "Damn, he's loud."

Host mom: "A-chan, quiet down!"
Him: "Okay! (Five minutes later) YOSH! (starts singing the Japanese version of Do-re-mi)

I'm not a huge fan of kids but this boy cracks me up.

In other news, Orientation week starts tomorrow and I'm taking the language placement test the first day. I'm so effing screwed. I'm always joking about how shoddy my Japanese is but I stopped laughing when I looked at my Orientation packet. I meant to study during the flight but I ended up watching movies for the first 9 hours and then sleeping for the next 2. So stupid, Mog. So so stupid.

Looking through my orientation packet, they're giving us reading, listening, writing, kanji tests, the works. I think what terrifies me the most is the interview. I'm so screwed. My only hope is that they don't place me in the level 1 class (beginner's class) and that I at least get into the level 2 class. If I do get placed in the level 1 class, then I guess that's just the true testament of my Japanese abilities and confirms that I have just wasted hundreds of dollars of my parents' money. Sorry Mom and Dad.

And if I get placed in level 3, then there is a God.

I shall now resume studying my Kanji.


Day 2 & 3

Right, so I missed a day, but not my fault because I was on a plane. Anyways, I'm going to post up 3 photos and then turn in for the night 'cos I'm pooped.

Mah plane. The photo quality isn't that bad, huh? I am impressed by my camera.

At the Narita Airport in Tokyo waiting to get my next flight to Osaka. Only an hour flight but I'm pretty sure I conked out the entire time. That's right, I said pretty sure.

My room. My host family's house is 3 stories high but it's a pretty narrow house. I'm on the very top floor, and I think it's the only room on this floor. So I guess that makes this the attic, doesn't it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

first post, last night

So this marks my first post of this blog. I mentioned already in my About Me section that this blog is for the purpose of keeping my folks by home updated and to document my time abroad. I'll be spending the next 9 months in Osaka, Japan and I've decided on a small project for myself, inspired by a friend who did a similar project. Basically he took one photo a day for 365 days to document that year. I hope to do something similar, but instead of 365 days, I'll attempt to record my next 9 months abroad.

So I'm leaving tomorrow, my flight departing in my afternoon. I'm pretty much packed and ready to go. Here's my first photo:

Had to repack a couple of times because my duffel bag was seriously bursting at the seams and I had difficulty closing my suitcase. I'm a pack-rat. :\

Random anecdote: I had my hair cut today. During which, my hairdresser said to me, "You have a lot of baby hair." To which I thought, "Oh, that's good. Because that means new hair growth, which is very good since I have less hair count than a 65 year-old. Or MAYBE it's not baby hair and instead is the broken ends of the hair you snapped off tugging your damnass comb through my hair."

We're hoping for the former though.