Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 89: Tsuyu

Sorry for the lack of updates. This week has been kinda crazy so I didn't have much time to do any blogging.

Anyways, last week (or it might have been the week before...) the rainy season, or tsuyu, started. It is a delightful combination of heat, rain, and humidity that lasts a duration of roughly 4 weeks.

See? ...It's wet.

The woes of living on the top floor (read: attic) is starting to take effect. Almost every day when I come home from school, I climb up the stairs to my room to find that it has transformed into an oven. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but 86 degrees is pretty uncomfortably warm. 

Crap, I just realized what the heat could be doing to my makeup. Oh nooesss! You're suppose to keep your makeup in a cool area, right?? NO such environment exists in any area of my room. Boo.

Anyhow, the rain has lighten up as of late and it's mostly heat and humidity. I'm sure the rain will come crashing down again (like it did 2 days ago) and I'll try to remember to take a picture to show you all.

Oh, and I would like to mention, as though you couldn't figure it out yourselves, the climb up to school has becoming increasingly more painful. Yes, while my school campus is in the mountains and you would think that the air is thinner, the campus is not high enough and the humidity is so great that that kind of logic seems not to apply. So with so much moisture in the air, the heat, and the just makes you want to die. 

Whoever invented the air conditioner should have a country named after them. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 83: 55 Steps


Last night I went to a musical called 55 steps. Although it wasn't so much a musical as it was a compilation of musical numbers from popular musicals interspersed with several dance numbers. Nonetheless, it was a great performance and really enjoyable to watch. All the songs were sung in Japanese but I knew a good number of them so it wasn't much of a problem. Some of the musicals they pulled from were Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, Little Mermaid, Cats, and Wicked, so really popular musicals. 

I think my favorite performance was their rendition of "Be My Guest" from Beauty and the Beast. Everyone was dressed in tuxes and there was a dance bit with canes that was just plain amazing.

Although I think what I enjoyed the most that night was watching my host sister react to the musical. It was so adorable - she was so into it, clapping with the rhythm and squealing excitedly when her favorite songs came up. I think she started crying in the middle of a Cats song and when "Music of the Night" was performed right after it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 77: Bunraku

Sunday night I went to a bunraku, which is a traditional Japanese puppet theater show founded in Osaka. It was extremely interesting and beautiful to watch. And about midway through, I dozed off.

But for the part that I stayed awake for, the puppets, I swear, moved like they were alive. And it was really interesting to watch the narrator/main chanting singer guy get so into it that he was sweating and spitting, face turning red, and looking like he was about to die of a heart attack at any moment.

The pamphlets we were given at the beginning of the show had summaries of the stories in English but otherwise, I didn't understand a single thing. But in my defense, bunraku uses a very old traditional form of Japanese that even my host dad admitted that most Japanese don't understand, including himself. At the entrance of the auditorium, you can actually buy audio aids that you can listen to to help you follow the stories.

Anyways, I couldn't take any pictures since it was banned. Also, I was completely conscious for the last third of the show because my phone vibrated (I got a text), and I was so surprised by it that it shocked me wide awake for the rest of the show.

At the end of the show, you can participate in a raffle and I won. Well, the paper I drew out said, "atari," which I assumed meant that I could pick any of the prizes they had available (everyone wins something and the worst think you can win is a tissue packet). I picked this:

I thought it was a handkerchief at first but it turned out to be too big.

So now it's Bob's cape.
Yes, he knows it needs tailoring.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 76

This is has nothing to do with Japan but my dad sent me pictures from a recent family trip to Lake Tahoe. There's was one picture that was so...typical of my mother but I couldn't stop laughing nonetheless.

The lengths my mother will go to NOT get a tan.
She looks like a poor man's beekeeper.
(It's weird though, right? How her legs aren't covered up.) 

It sees me.
I now have a strong urge to run for my life.

Stay out of the sun, kids. Or skin cancer....and my mother will get you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 73

When we went to Miyajima, there was a wedding! The shrine serves as a great backdrop for photos, so I can see why they picked this place. 
I bet the bride is dying in that heavy kimono. It was so hot that day.

Another wedding, different couple. I saw a total of three brides that day.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 71: Hiroshima

On Saturday, I went to Miyajima, Hiroshima.

I did not know they had deer there. o.o

Went to Itsukushima Shrine. The vibrant red-orange color was gorgeous.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 67

I like that they have small sizes here. I hear that the U.S. has it too but it's just not on the menu? 
Anyways, I find that this size is perfect for me as I'm not a big coffee drinker.
Always makes me pee after 15-20 minutes.

The last couple of days, I've been feeling fairly irritable and easily agitated. I'm thinking it's culture shock, maybe? From the cross-cultural class I took before going abroad, that's the conclusion I've come to. Anyways, whatever it was, it was affecting my appetite. Always around lunchtime, I never felt like eating and when I tried, the food would taste bland. 

Then on yesterday, I decided to go to the training center at school for a run on the treadmill. Honestly, it was like I pressed the reset button on my body. The moment I started running, I instantly felt relaxed and relieved. It was like I could breathe again. Back in the U.S., at the school gym, I ran almost daily so finding that I could keep this routine here in Japan as well felt so good. Sinking back into this routine felt like pulling on your most comfortable pair of sweat pants after a long hard day. 

Afterward, my mood instantly lifted and my appetite came back like everything was normal again. So now, I'm restarting my routine, running three times a week. Last year, I ran 4-5 times a week but this is the most my schedule is allowing me right now. So with my daily death route in the morning combined with three times a week running, I should be getting a good dose of exercise. 

I feel very proud of myself at the moment.

Oh, and most importantly, I found a pair of running shoes for 2,000 yen ($22)!! They're cheaper than the shoes I bought back home. \O.O/

Anyways, I went to the Osaka Aquarium today. It was amazing and an awesome fun time. Will post pictures when I get my hands on them from my friends.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 66

Going back to the post from a couple days ago, I wanted to continue where I left off.

After the takoyaki party, we started our trek to Kabuto Mountain. Not joking. It was an hour-long trek that was steep and painful for me. However, once we got out of the suburbs and into the forest, the scenery turned green and very beautiful.

Can you see the Green Bridge in the back?

My friend said he saw wild boar when he was on his way to the last mountain party. I saw no wild boar.

But once we got to the meeting place, the view was pretty amazing.

Now normally I would not climb a mountain just to watch a bunch of people drink beer, but I took this opportunity to meet more people, especially more Japanese students. And I did, so it was a worthwhile trip.
More or less.
Can't say I was thinking that when I was climbing back down in the pitch dark.

Edit: By the way, thanks for the 2,000+ hits. :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 65: Aww, nostalgic :)

I was going to update this post with the rest of the mountain details but something happened today that I had to report it here immediately.

I went to a Vietnamese restaurant! \O.O/

Holy theme, Batman!

Whether their interior decoration is still accurate with present day Vietnam, I have no idea. But it did remind me a lot of the Vietnam I remembered. And seeing all those crazy familiar dishes' names, also written in Vietnamese no less, made me pretty nostalgic.  :)

Oh, and the Vietnamese food back home tastes a lot better but I appreciate their efforts. :D

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 64: Deodorant

I recently found something contradictory about Japan. Amongst their awesome heated toilet seats and free tissue packets, Japanese deodorant is crap. Most of the deodorants here are sold as "deodorant power sprays," and I swear, they are not deodorant whatsoever. They're really just body mists labeled as deodorant. You spray it on, and it pretends to be deodorant for like, an hour, and then goes, "Haha, psyche!"


This is a concept I'm having trouble understanding. Do these companies just believe that Japanese people just don't sweat/smell that badly? 'Cos I can tell you, I will gladly point out people on the train that I ride home  with who can prove otherwise.

So a note to people who are coming to Japan: bring your own deodorant.