Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 36: Omiyage

A photo we took at the luncheon on Thursday.

The lady's apartment was really nice with two tatami mat rooms and since she lived on the first floor, she had a very gorgeous garden in the back. All the obaasans were very kind and sweet. One of them, I swear, looked like she was in her 60s, so when she told me she was 84, I was so shocked I couldn't even pick my jaw off the floor. What was also very cute was that all of them love Korean dramas and whenever the subject of said dramas came up, the atmosphere would pick up as they would all start chatting excitedly about this popular actor or this popular drama. 

Also, here's a little tidbit about Japanese culture. There's a number of social obligations in this society and one of the most common ones is called omiyage, which basically means "souvenir" and is more or less the art of gift-giving. Whenever you go on a trip or go to some special event, it's expected that you return with some sort of gift. Since space is sparse in Japan, usually these gifts are something that can be consumed or take up very little space (like a cellphone strap), but preferably none. Throughout Japan, there are stores devoted to omiyage and as I mentioned before, Japanese people usually buy confectioneries. Before coming to Japan, my dad, who has lived in Japan for nearly 10 years, insisted that I buy omiyage for my host family. Usually when you buy omiyage you want to get something that's local to wherever you're coming from. So I got an "I <3 SF" t-shirt for my host dad, make-up and a traditional Vietnamese ao dai (my mom's idea -_-) for my host mom, a lotion gift set for my host sister, and a See's Candies box for my host brother.

Omiyage also applies when you're visiting someone's home, and again, people usually buy sweets or snacks for such an event. This is where the story that I alluded to in my previous post comes in. So when I told my host mom that I was going to E's for the luncheon, she reminded me that I should buy omiyage. She offered to go get something for me while I'm in school but I told her that I could just get it myself on the way back home from school. My brain was still jumbling about what I should get when my host mom said that she was going to buy flowers today and that she could get some for me. In my jumbled state, I made the mistake of accepting her offer. I'll tell you why it's a mistake.

Later that day when I came home from school, I saw a huge basket/bouquet of flowers next to TV, to which my host mom nonchalantly pointed to and said, "It's your omiyage." And to which I thought, 'Oh shit." And when I tried to pay her back, she wouldn't accept my money. She wouldn't tell me how much it cost so for five minutes, I just stood there awkwardly with 2000 yen in my hand listening to her saying no repeatedly. Me: 0, Host Mom: 3.

When I brought the flower monstrosity to the luncheon, they were shocked at the size of it and insisted to H and I that next time we come visit that we needn't bring omiyage, stating that since we were ryuugakuseis, they knew we weren't rich. But I'll be honest, even though they said that, I feel it'd be awkward not to bring anything as omiyage is such a common and important part of Japanese society. While non-Japanese are not expected to abide by these customs, since I'm fully aware of it, I feel like it's only polite and right that I participate in it.

Anyways, later that night, my host family took me out to eat yakiniku, which translates to "grilled meat" and it's where you basically cooking bite-sized meat over a gridiron. Really, it's the Japanese version of Korean BBQ, and it's deeeelicious.

The place on the right is raw liver.

Here in Japan marks my first time eating raw meat. Last week, my host dad cooked steak - very rare. Basically the outside was cooked but the inside was completely red. I was so surprised but out of politeness, I ate it anyways. I'm so glad I did because it was soooo good. When we went to the yakiniku restaurant, I was offered a dish of raw meat that was mixed with alfalfa and raw egg. And then afterward, there was a dish of raw liver. I know some of you are thinking, "Are you crazy? That's RAW meat." And I was really apprehensive of eating it because hey, I'm still young and would prefer it if my dog didn't outlive me. But then I also thought that since I'm in a completely different country, I should be trying as many new experiences as I possibly can, and really, I shouldn't back out just 'cos I'm a wuss. So I went for it. And it was fantastic. :D

And one more thing before I go, I also got my Alien Registration card yesterday from the city hall.

I look like a sickly clinical care patient. 

There are these photo booths where you can take passport pictures or ID pictures for like 600 yen. The flash was so bright and I had forgotten to put on some blush that day so the flash completely paled out my face. Doesn't help that the skin under my eyes came out a little pink too.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 34 & 35: Golden Week and my Host Mom

Yesterday I couldn't update as my internet stopped working in my room. Actually, it's still not working and I'm right now typing from the living room.

Anyways, today was the first day of Golden Week. Golden Week is a period of public holidays and for some Japanese jobs, is the longest vacation period of the year. It's actually kind of strange as it doesn't actually last an entire week. During this "week", the actual days that are public holidays are: April 29 and May 3-5. However for my school, we don't get May 3 off due to some school policy that I don't understand. If you look at the calendar, you'll see how not having that day off is extremely inconvenient.

Anyways, today I had the day off from school and went to Koyoen, where E lives, to attend a luncheon that her host mom and her friends were hosting. Basically it was E, H, and I surrounded by five obaasans, being asked our life stories. I forgot my camera at their place but once I get it back, I'll post the photos.

Last night I had a long conversation with my host parents and after learning a bit more about them, I thought I'd devote the second half of this post to my host mom.


My host mom is an extremely kind woman in her mid-40s who likes to trick me into letting her pay for things and loves her beer. And as her husband had put it last night, "Her hobby is taking in foreign exchange students."

I'm foreign student #11. Holy crappers, right? And two more students from France are coming here for several weeks this summer. Even though I'm #11, she still remembers the name of every student she has taken in and where they're from, and every Christmas, she sends them all gifts. 

Every night, this woman drinks at least two cans of beer. Tonight we went out to eat and she drank three mugs of beer, and right now as I'm typing, she's finishing a can of beer. I can't even finish half of one beer. And every time we go out to eat, she always asks me if I want a cocktail. I wonder if she thinks that since I'm of legal drinking age, I should be downing alcohol like water. 

As for the money dilemma, it was a small issue that has grown a bit when I began to realize that it was even an issue to begin with. I think I mentioned before how my host mom insists on paying things for me and now I finally discovered why - she may think that I'm more or less...shit poor.

I was talking to Kiyoko, one of my Nihongo partners, the other day and she mentioned how my host mom had told her that she was worried about me financially and requested that whenever we go out to eat, to try and pick someplace cheap for my sake. After this, I thought, 'Crap, it's probably because I told her I got the scholarship.' When I told E, she confirmed this, explaining to me that in Japan (and in Korea as well), the only students that receive scholarships are either the very top of their class or extremely dirtshit poor.

And of the two, my host mom thinks I'm the latter. Awesome.

But it's all starting to make sense when I look back at in retrospect. Back when we went to Adventureland, when I wanted to buy Bob, I knew my host mom would insist on paying for him so I had to sneak to the cash register. However when we left the park, she handed me a pass wallet that she had bought for me when I wasn't looking. Me: 0, Host Mom: 1.

A week or two ago, I bought shampoo and toothpaste and put them in the bathroom. Later that night, my host mom told me that I didn't need to buy those things as she could provide them for me. I didn't know how to respond as I felt it was strange that she would do this (however, with the scholarship theory, it makes more sense now). And during orientation week, we were asked to buy our own detergent which I have yet to do as she has insisted in doing all my laundry for me. Me: 0, Host Mom: 2

I have one more story that just happened yesterday since it relates to today's luncheon and this post has gotten way too long, I'll save it for later.

Anyways, I'll end this post with today's Engrish of the day:

Aww, so close.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 33: Naga's Birthday

I just realized that I missed the 31-day mark, oops! But yay, I've been in Japan for over a month now...and my Japanese ability is pretty much the same. Oh wells? Not like I had high hopes or anything. :P Anyways, I think the next important count will be 50. I'll try to make that post extra special. :D

On Sunday, it was Naga's 3rd birthday so my host mom bought a small birthday cake that dogs can actually eat.

 Happy Birthday Naga, who likes belly rubs, hates newspapers, and pees when I come home.

Tonight we had takoyaki for dinner and actually made it ourselves. Oh wait, I did learn something today - that I can't make takoyaki. 


Just a quick info bit for those who don't know what takoyaki is. Takoyaki literally translates to "fried octopus." It's basically dumplings made of batter with diced baby octopus, tempura scraps, green onion, and red ginger inside, and then usually topped with mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce. It's a really popular Japanese dish/snack and while I know for some people octopus doesn't sound too appetizing, it is really delicious. You can go anywhere downtown and find at least one takoyaki street stall or shop. There's actually one right outside the entrance of Juso station (the first train station I take to go to school).

It was so hot though. That's steam you're seeing fogging the camera lens.

I recently put in a site counter on this blog and it's really nifty. It counts page loads like any basic counter, but it also tells me how many "unique visitors" and "returning visitors" I have. And I have to be honest, I was really surprised by how many people are actually coming back here. Now that I know that there's actually a significant number of people reading, I feel like there's added pressure for me to put more effort into this blog and make higher quality posts.

Oh hold on, I have an itch on my back. ...Oh wait, nope, shoot, it's just my fingers crossed again! ;P

And a note to all you UOP lurkers: get out of here and go study! That's right N and T, I'm talking to you.

EDIT: There's been some confusion so I just wanted to add that the counter does not tell EXACTLY who is visiting. Don't worry, I do not know the names, ages, and social security numbers of every single visitor of this blog. The counter I signed up for is legal, you know. -_- The counter does, however, tell me where my visitors are from (which is pretty standard for site counters these days),  and it tells me that at least 90% of you are from Stockton, which gives me kind of a big hint as to who most of you are...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 32: Izakaya

Due to recent complaints in terms of the quality of my posts (you know who you are, rawr), I would like to announce that I will make a better effort to deliver posts with greater sustenance and enlightenment.

...Wait, what's this? Oh snap, my fingers are crossed! \O.O/

Just kidding, no changes are going to be made. You can count on me to deliver the same level of suckage as I have been doing so in every post. b(^_^) Some posts may suck more than others, but you know, sometimes it can't be helped. And if a post sucks so much that it seems like it was something that I could've written while sitting on the toilet - I probably did. :P

And the toilets here do not flush in a different direction than they do in America. I'm still in the same hemisphere as you guys. I'm in Japan, not Australia. -_-

Anyways, getting back to businessss, like in my last post, I mentioned that I went to an izakaya on Saturday night. An izakaya, as Wiki puts it, " a type of Japanese drinking establishment which also serves food to accompany the drinks. They are popular, casual and relatively cheap places for after-work drinking." If you want more details, here.

The food that came with our drinks. They were very good, but were 6 bucks a plate! That's a $1.50 for each little thing you see there. Ridiculous.

But the drinks were pretty cheap. Lucky for me, I'm incredibly lightweight (practically to a fault), so it's even cheaper for me. =D

We were in (I wanna say downtown...?) Nishinomiya so we walked around for a bit before stopping at this tiny takoyaki shop, which was delicioussss. And I forgot to take a picture of the takoyaki

But I did take a picture of this:

Not only is it one of those classic glass bottles, but it says Coca-Cola in Japanese. XD!

And the irrelevant anecdote of  the day: a couple of posts ago, I mentioned seeing the skinniest girl I've ever seen in real life. I take it back. Today, I saw THE skinniest girl - I mean, I see them anorexic celebrities online and what not, but I never thought I'd witness something like this with my own two eyes.

I was walking to the convenience store with E during lunch break when I saw the twiggiest of twig legs ever. I actually broke off mid-sentence because I was so shocked at what I saw. I'm dead serious when I say that her knees were significantly wider than her thighs (if you could even call them thighs). You know those photos you see of malnutritioned, emaciated kids from Third World countries, or something? THAT'S what her legs looked like. When I realized I had stopped talking, I tried to continue like nothing happened but I just ended up gurgling. When the Twig passed us, I couldn't help but turn around and gape.

Now that I think about it, she really looked like she was made out of those K-Nex pieces that my brother used to play with when he was younger.

It must suck when she has to ride the train or bus - every time someone bumps into her, she must break into a dozen pieces and then has to put herself back together.


I almost forgot! A shameless plug. Not for me, but still. I have known this girl for almost 4 years and I can tell you she's the pickiest eater I've ever met. She's just getting started but refer here (GASP, linking her twice??) if you wanna know where to go for good food. In California, presumably.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 31: Spanish Guitar

Yesterday I went to a Spanish Guitar concert that was organized by E's host mom. It was a very small concert at a very small venue, if you could even call it that. But it was very nice and very intimate.


He was incredibly talented and his fingers were strumming through the strings like they were water; it was very cool to watch up so close. Although I have to admit that I try to avoid these kind of events because classical music in general, tends to make me sleepy. Dim the lights and put me in a comfy chair and I'm a goner. Fortunately, the chair wasn't very comfortable but the music every once in a while would lull me into a doze; so every time I felt my lids getting heavy I had to fight to stay awake because the room was full of obaa-sans (grandmas) that were staring. Oh, I should explain.

E's host mom is pretty old, around her 50-60s I think. And so this venue mostly consisted of well-dressed, presumably rich obaa-sans, and five early 20-something ryuu-gakuseis (international students, read: us). Why yes, it was a bit awkward.

But that night was a pretty fun night as afterwards we ate dinner and went to an izakaya. I'll go more into detail next post. I'm trying to space out my stories over more posts just in case I have days where nothing special happens and I'll have to resort to taking pictures of my chair.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 28 - 30

Just wanted to make a note for the record that I usually update this blog around 10-11pm at night and it's usually while I'm in the middle of doing homework. So usually during this time, I'm pretty tired and I'll fall asleep and forget to update. So if there's a gap between updates, now you know why.

A couple of days ago, it was so cold and wet outside that we got this foggy effect on the windows.


I just remembered that I never took a picture of the stuffed animal I got from Adventureworld. He is the cutest thing everrr. And his name is Bob.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 27

It's crazy how the blossom trees went from the left picture to the right within a week.

This also marks the debut of my camera phone pictures. I don't remember the details of the left picture but the right picture was taken with my phone's lowest quality setting, which looks closer to the highest quality setting of my American phone. Although one complaint I have about this phone is that the microSD card slot is placed in the back with the battery, similar to my old LG phone. So in order to take in/out the microSD card, I have to turn off my phone and take out the battery first. It's already annoying.

A couple of days ago, I was having a conversation with my parents on Skype concerning my scholarship. I was the only one in this semester's exchange program to receive it so they wanted to know some details.

Me: It was probably what I wrote in my personal statement.
Dad: What did you write?
Me: About you, our family's financial situation - I think I made myself sound like a tragic sap case and may have inadvertently implied that if you guys had to support me while abroad, my family wouldn't have enough money to send my siblings to school.
(Mom and Dad start laughing)
Dad: So you got the scholarship because of me?
Me: (starts to become apprehensive) a way, I guess.
Dad: ...Gimme my half--
Me: No.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekend + Day 26

Sorry for missing updates. Spent most of the weekend hibernating and then my internet stopped working in my room yesterday.

I was true to my word and spent most of my weekend in bed.

I think I mentioned before that Mondays are my worst day in terms of classes. The school class schedule consists of five periods and I have class four out of the five periods, starting from 1st period (which starts at 9am) to 4th period (ends at 4:40pm). Yesterday, the novelty wore off and the monotone of school started to creep in. And that's when E and I started drawing cartoons. 


And yesterday I saw the skinniest girl I've ever seen in real life. Now it's not like I've forgotten that I'm in Japan where everyone is skinny, but this girl could give Gollum a run for his money. She looked like a pair of stilts wearing high heels. When I was walking past her, I was sorely tempted to lightly tap her behind her knees to see if her kneecaps would pop off and if her body would collapse into a heap of toothpicks.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 22 & 23

Further evidence that my room is the attic:

Its poor design that makes it unsuitable for human habitation.

As you may have very well notice, the ceiling is slanted 45 degrees over my bed. Every day I bang my head on this at least once every day. Notice again that I said "at least". On a typical day, I bang my head 3-5 times. Whether it's when I'm in bed and I bang my head against the flat slanted surface, or on the corner when I'm climbing into bed. This needs to stop happening. It's not like I have an endless reserve of brain cells to spare. In fact, many people can contest to the fact that I have very few and that it's a miracle that I don't fall down more. Especially considering that I'm someone who continuously without fail trips climbing up stairs.That's right, that's not a typo. Up.

But ooh lookie! Pretty! 


It even has a feature that calculates how many steps I take a day and how many calories and grams of fat I've burnt a day.

Here's also an glimpse in how much walking I do every day. The week isn't over yet but I've well passed my goal for the week. Totally this week I've walked 57,682 steps (40km). So now that I've reduced my shins to toothpicks, I'm taking a break from all forms of movement this weekend. 

However, my host mom told me today that tomorrow she and my host sister are going to Honmachi, which is close to Namba and is a good place to shop for cheap clothes. So I could either go with them this weekend and more or less, die. Or, I could go next weekend when I have more energy. Also, if I go with them this weekend, my host mom will undoubtedly try to pay for anything that I show any hints of interest toward (and I really do dislike it when she tries to pay things for me :\ ). That would change the former option to not being able to buy anything and more or less, dying.

I think I'm gonna go next weekend. 


Yesterday I forgot my sweater on the train. I knew that no matter what that this was going to happen in some shape or form. In the back of my head, a tiny voice said that maybe I should put my sweater in my bag. But instead, I thought, "Nah."

Why am I so stupid??

Oh yeah. Because of...

...and other things, but this post is long enough, yeah? :P

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 21: Allergies

Tonight I had dinner with one of my Nihongo partners and she told me that my Japanese was better than the last time we've spoke. I thought, 'Wow, she really is a kind person.' I know my Japanese professors would never say it outloud but it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say that they're probably thinking differently about my speaking abilities.

My collection of tissues.

Right outside of Juso station, there are usually people who pass out free tissue packets with some sort of advertisement on it. They have these all over the place in Japan but usually on main streets and outside of train stations where it's busiest. I'll be the first to admit that I love these free tissue packets and I intend to accumulate as much as is humanly possible. When I see the people in the bright red jackets, I start walking faster and try to be in the direction that they're passing out these tissues as nonchalant as I can. And when I don't see them, I'm sorely disappointed. 

Where does this obsession come from? I can't really tell you. Maybe it's the free thing and that I'm typically in need of tissues. Especially now that recently, my eyes are started to feel irritated and a bit swollen, my nose is starting to itch, and I'm starting to squeeze in rows of five (which will soon escalate to 10).

That's right. It's freaking allergy season and my death route is filled with trees. Blossom trees and cedar trees. I am going to die.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 20

Last week, I found a small temple near Juso station, the first train station I take to go to school. It's a quiet and quaint place next to a kiddie playground. Even though there are tons of these all around the city, I felt like I stumbled upon a small treasure.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 19

Yikes, it was raining pretty badly today. Made me wish I brought my rainboots (even though it was a good decision not to, practically).

I think it was about a month ago when I found out that the sushi rolls that sushi restaurants in the U.S. are totally fusion food. With your Rainbow rolls, Dragon rolls, and Teriyaki Buttcrack rolls, the sushi served in Japan is nothing like that. And I made up the buttcrack roll, if you couldn't tell. Nearly all the sushi served are nigiri or the simple maki rolls. It's that or you order sashimi if really what you want is the raw seafood.

I believe it was when we got back from Shirahama that we went to a sushi boat restaurant.Well, not really sushi boat but the sushi is passed around on a conveyor belt, which I think is the same concept.

Oh, and I want to mention how ridiculously CHEAP it was! It was 109 yen per dish, which is about $1.15 USD. I ate about 10 dishes, which would amount the same as one roll in the U.S. And I can state for a fact that one roll of sushi does NOT fill me up.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 18: Kyoto

Today my host mom took me to Kyoto to watch more of the cherry blossoms. As beautiful as everything was, all the walking killed me. When I look back at the past couple of days, most of what I can remember is just walking. Recently, my body, especially my legs, has been feeling just tired all the time.

My poor feet. :(

I think in order to survive the rest of my time here I need to take a break on the exploring/excessive walking and take it easy this week. Otherwise, I'm convinced that my feet will snap off from the ankles.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 17: Birthday

Today for my birthday, I went to Umeda to celebrate instead of Namba.

Many thanks to E, who did her best to make sure today would be awesome, and our group. :)
(And yes, I took a picture of the polaroid. Me no have scanner.)

I also finally got a phone today and for the first time in my life, I have texting. And it's unlimited. Abusive use is in the foreseeable future.

I also was looking to buy an electronic dictionary but all the decent ones were extremely expensive. I have a friend who uses an iTouch and uses an application that basically serves as an Japanese-English dictionary. I weighed my options and as the iTouch is significantly cheaper than most of the electronic dictionaries available...I bought the iTouch. \O.O/ 

I don't know how I'm going to tell my parents. 

Thank freaking God for my scholarship.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Day 16

Tonight I went to a welcoming party held by Bisky, a international circle at school. If this party was an accurate representation of what all young people parties in Japan are like, then I think Western party lovers will be pretty disappointed. Maybe people weren't drunk enough? Hahaha. :P

Yesterday when I went to Namba, we stopped at a Starbucks to get some coffee. I didn't know there was a short size! Apparently, American Starbucks have them too but it's just not on the menu. They're super cute and perfect for someone like me who likes to drink hot coffee slowly.


ETA: I forgot to mention, the train stations late at night is sooo much more interesting than during the day. You get to see groups of middle aged men in suits making constipated faces while trying to walk in a straight line and yelling really loudly. I watched a group of three businessmen in particular zigzag down a corridor while conversing with each other, not in Japanese, but what I'm pretty sure was gurgling. And on the bus, there were these two guys slumped in their seats completely knocked out. I felt bad for them though because it would be horrible if they woke up, only to realize that they had missed their stop five bus stops ago. 

And everyone has Asian glow. It's fantastic.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day 15: Hosts in Namba

I went to Namba today with some friends. Some quick info: Namba is a famous entertainment district in Osaka. Popular for shopping, bars, karaoke, restaurants, etc.

Anyways, while we were there, I spotted a buttload of hosts!

They're extremely easy to spot. They usually have dyed styled hair and wear a lot of designer brand clothes and accessories. Our fellow host to the left was sporting a Hermes belt and carrying a Louis Vuitton briefcase/bag/thing.

There's this bridge where groups of hosts hang around trying to pick up girls. And I actually spotted one in action. 

I later saw this same guy walking down the street in the direction opposite us when he suddenly swerved around and started to walk alongside this girl and tried to talk to her. I think it's safe to assume that he spotted her as a potential customer. 

I'm going to Namba again this weekend so I'm going to try to take more pictures of hosts because some of them look pretty hilarious/ridiculous.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 13 & 14

I forgot to post yesterday. Haha oops, sorry. I'm pretty beat when I come back from school so usually the moment I come home, my brain plans out how's the quickest way I can get to bed.

Here are the zoo pictures:

 Yeah. There were penguins swimming. In the fountain. In the front lobby. I don't know what to think of it.

 We were taking a "safari tour" and the old ladies behind were laughing, saying that the bear was relaxing in an onsen.
Chilling like a villain. 

You could walk up to the flamingos and feed them. Crazy. And that big one in the background. It was huge. Almost as tall as me.
It's a baby polar bear. SO CUTE.

The pandas were easily the park's main attraction. Evident by the gazillion panda souvenirs that were everywhere.

I'll post the rest of the pictures on Facebook some time later.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day 12: Himeji and stuff

I got the photos from my friend. There's quite a bit of them so I'm just going to post some here and the rest on Facebook.

After the castle, we went to Kokoen park, which was very pretty. My friend, E, and I are planning to come again in the fall because the picture in the brochure was supppperrr gorgeous.


We also went to the longest suspension bridge in the world (?).

 It's harder to enjoy when you're freezing your ass off.

I posted a lot of pictures here so the zoo details/pics will be in tomorrow's post, promise. 

Today I picked up half of my scholarship money for this month 'cos it's way more cash than I'm comfortable carrying around. I went to the mall afterward to shop for a few school supplies as well as some presents for upcoming birthdays. Japanese clothing really confuses me. I don't understand the sizing system. What is size F?? Right now I'm size? (ETA: Kay, I asked E (who's Korean, FYI) and she confirmed it meant free size/one size). Also, I thought their sizing system was the standard S, M, L but everywhere I went there were NO size S. 

Me no comprehendo.

I walked around 3 stories for about 2.5 hours wondering what happened to all the size smalls. At the beginning, I found something really nice but it was only in size M. It wasn't 'til near the end of my shopping fiasco that I started to noticed that these size M's look like they could fit me. It was THEN when it occurred to me that maybe size M was the smallest size. So I started running around the mall, looking for that store again, quickly coming to the realization that...I couldn't remember what store it was. Memory, how could you fail me when I'm shopping, of ALL things.

After all that "shopping", I was too pooped to do the exploring in my neighborhood that I had planned to do and just went straight home. I bought a little plastic container to hold my tape, stapler, and etc. though. 

One last thing, I filled out the form to set up my bank account today and was told that it wouldn't be ready until next week. It's a little unnerving because it means I have to wait another week to buy a cellphone, which my lack thereof is starting to grow increasingly inconvenient.