Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I Think I'm a Regular at Mister Donut

This is nothing important, it just kind of made my day. Let me quote you this excerpt from here:

"So you spend a couple of years studying Japanese in the U.S. (or Europe, or wherever) and you finally make it to Japan, ready to try out your Japanese. You walk by this cool cafe and decide to drop in for a coffee. You look up at the menu and -yes!- you can read it since most of it is in Katakana. You go ahead and order a カフェラテ (Caffe'  Latte) and everything seems to be going smoothly. But just then the girl behind the counter asks a question. The puzzled look on your face prompts the girl to break out her English with a "for here" as she makes a downward pointing motion towards the counter. FAIL!"

This is almost exactly what happened the first time Elizabeth and I went into a Mister Donut. Why did we not think of this? We solved the problem temporarily with a simple "Koko" (here) and "Iku" (the verb for to go). Every time I said it I felt like such a gaijin (slang word for idiot foreigner). There's this one really nice girl that basically explained the entire menu to us when we went there for lunch one Monday. Today, I brought another friend into said Mister Donut and she took my order. She asked her usual lengthy, formal sentence of "for here or to go?" and I forgot if my friend wanted to stay or not, so I assume the girl saw my (albeit misdirected) confusion and asked me "koko?" I was like You remember meeeeeee!

So now I have come home and looked up the CORRECT responses for to go (mochi kaeri de) and for here (tennai de).

I hope she's there the next time we go to Mister Donut :)


Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Food Baby's Name is Niku-chan: Tabehoudai

So I really don't have anything of import or interest to say, but I'll figure something out because I really really really don't want to do my homework. I have no pictures of this weekend, but if my friends put up any on facebook later, I'll be sure to swipe them.

EDIT: Picture!

Shelly, I put up Nara pictures at the bottom of the last post; if you don't have the link let me know :)

In Japan, they have these wonderful things called tabehoudai and nomihoudai: all you can eat and all you can drink. This weekend was one of my housemates' birthday, so we went out to karaoke on Friday (I really can't describe that one, its exactly what you would think it to be) and Saturday we went to a Korean tabehoudai barbeque. All you can eat meat of everything.

Holy goodness, I have never eaten that much meat ever. You sit at tables with a grill in the middle of them and you just keep ordering as much food as possible for a period of time (for the Korean place it was an hour and a half), cook it, and eat it all. It was soooooooo goood!! We started ordering random meats, and when we could not recognize them the lady would bring a picture and point to what it was. I ate many things, amongst them intestines and what we think was some kind of stomach. The intestines were gross, but the stomach was pretty good ;p

But really, the pork and things were my favorite. Then we got three desserts (all you can eat, come on now) and rolled home.

As for the title, Niku is the Japanese word for meat. Food babies were had by all :)


Monday, February 20, 2012

Getting Stuck in Buddha's Nose: The First Trip to Nara

So on Sunday I went with a group of students to Nara to see the Deer Park and Todaiji Temple, home of Daibutsu, the giant Buddha. I have pictures I need to load up later of both the delicious food I had for lunch and the millions of deer that were just randomly around the paths. They were right there, and a little smaller than American deer. They aren't scared at all, they run you around and demand food.

Because we were in such a big group, it took us a while to make our way through the deer to Todaiji. Consequently, by the time we got to the temple, we had 20 minutes to go through the entire temple. You'll see in the pictures, but this place is huge. HUGE.

I did not take this picture, but this is just to give you an indication as to how big it is. Look how teeny the people are!!

So we had twenty minutes to take a million pictures of the Big Buddha that resides within as well as the other parts of the temple. I did not have time to souvenir hunt, so I definitely want to go back and take my time.

There is a big pillar in the temple that has a hole in the bottom. The hole in the bottom is the size of Buddha's nostril; if you can crawl through it you will have good luck. Stupid here left her zippie and jacket on and tried to crawl through. I got pretty stuck, and there was no way I was getting through with my own power. Three people pulled me through :) Good luck for me! Don't worry, there are pictures.

I also got a fortune! You shake a box full of sticks and one falls out the little hole, and the corrosponding number is your fortune! I got a "good luck" one. If you get one you do not like, you tie it on a tree so it will go away.

After we returned home, we went to dinner at another "American" restaurant called The Tomato and Onion. It had a bar with all you can eat curry, soup, drinks, and "salad" (there was actually lettuce when there is usually just cabbage, but not much you can put on it) that comes with particular meals. It was a little expensive, but we wanted to try it. I got a "New York" pizza with "mozzarella." There is no real cheese in Japan. There is cheese, and it tastes like cheese, but all cheese only has one flavor. The pizza cheese, which is literally called pizza cheese in the store, looks like mozzarella, but just tastes like generic cheese. I have a picture of the pizza too; it had pizza cheese and parmesan cheese on bread. There was no sauce to speak of. There was maybe a piece of tomato on each piece. It was good, but I don't see how they can call it pizza.

Interesting adventures. I'm typing this up at school, so when I get home I will put up pictures! You'll probably all still be sleeping anyway :)

EDIT: Here are those pictures!


Thomas the Tank Engine

So this post needs to be seen by Alex, my little cousin. There is a Keihan train that is Thomas the Tank Engine. All of the places it stops are also tricked out in Thomas the Tank Engine. My friend takes Thomas to and from school every day. I have stolen her pictures:

Inside the train:

I hope I get to ride this train :)


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Can't Make This Up if I Tried: The Drunk Dial from Kanagawa

Before I get into the fun story, I forgot to show you the best part of my apartment's kitchen:

These are our 6 trash cans. They are for glass, cans, PET bottles, plastics (2 cans for plastics), and burnable products. We separate everything into these separate bins. 

Example: Lemon tea bottle gets the wrapper ripped off and put in plastic, the bottle top goes in plastic, and the bottle goes in PET bottles.

Fun right?

Now for the title. Yes, drunk dial, you read that correctly. My housemates and I were singing 90s karaoke in our living room (yes, and it was awesome) when one of them gets a phone call from a blocked number. She leaves the room to talk, and comes back saying it was the wrong number. Not a minute later, the same number calls again. We explain (in Japanese) that he has made a mistake and this is the wrong number. He says oh! My mistake but continues to stay on the line. Then I take the phone and explain it again, and he asks if I'm a man. 


My friends laugh when they hear me say I'm a woman! in Japanese. We explain again he has the wrong number, and he says my mistake but stays on the line. We ask if he's bored, but he doesn't answer. We ask if he's drunk, and he laughingly says no. (We're pretty sure he was). He says its the first time he's spoke to foreigners. We ask him where he lives, and he says Kanagawa prefecture, which is near Tokyo. Eventually, (around 10 minutes later), we get him to hang up.

He called back again but hung up as soon as it started to ring.

We got some practice with Japanese conversation?

Goodness. I also added my favorite Engrish so far to the Engrish album here.


Friday, February 10, 2012

The Bookstore is EIGHT FLOORS?! A Trip to Umeda with Riyo

So today I went to Umeda, which is the central part of Osaka City, with my speaking partner Riyo. I met her at Osaka Station, and this being my second time using the trains ever, my journey there was....interesting. I made it on the first train okay (thanks to the helpful extremely detailed instructions written by my housemate), but the second train loop I got on it the wrong way, so I had to get off and turn around...but because it was a loop it was okay.

Once I finally arrived and met Riyo, we first ate in the train station in what I would equate to an extremely squished food court where everyone stands around tables and eats food. I had ikayaki for the first time. This is squid. I still don't know how I feel about it.

Then, we decided to first head for the bookstore. The eight floor bookstore.

Eight floor bookstore.

That has an entire floor of manga. I was excited. We did not look for an English section, but I am sure it is there. But we did run around in the manga section. There is one manga I am particularly interested in because it is now out of print in America, and I cannot find it translated anywhere. I may or may not just buy the rest of the series in Japanese and bring it home with me, as an "investment in my future." It would be about 50 dollars though, so I need to think about it.

Then, we headed for Animate, which is the anime chain store in Japan. I am on the hunt for phone charms, but I did not find any good ones. I did find some folders for school though.

Then we went to HEP, the giant super mall with giant whales in the entryway.  I kid you not, we don't know why they are there either. But we did some purikura, and because Riyo has a real phone, I can show you some! She only sent me a couple, I'll have the rest later:

It's really fun. We also played the Taiko game, and we both sucked at difficult level, so it was fun! Then we went to dinner at an udon restaurant, even better, and shopped around at some of the stores in the mall.

On the way home, I took the trains in all the correct directions, except even though the damn sign SAID the express train was arriving, somehow I got on the Sub-express so it took a little while. I don't know. It was fun! Here are some pictures!


My Beautiful Apartment

So let me just say I noticed my 'fifth favorite uncle' is following my blog and it is awesome :)

There's been talk of wanting to see where I live, so I took some pictures of my apartment. So here are a couple:

This is our room. Notice how we fold our futons every morning, and there is laundry hanging up. 
This is the kitchen! As you can see, it is already well lived in. 
This is the entryway before the bedrooms and the living room/kitchen. There are closets for shoes and things.
This is the living room! The not-in-picture television provides us with much entertainment. 

Ta da!


Monday, February 6, 2012


I just wanted to say I put pictures up from Kyoto! They're backwards again, so you know.

I also am not sure if the comments were working right before, I went into the settings and fixed it so you don't have to login to comment or verify you're a human with funky letters. Just click view comments and add a new one!


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Free Fabric Softener and Chai Tea? : The Search for the Watch Battery

The third or fourth day I got here, my watch started slowing down and not keeping the correct time. Considering my watch is made in Japan, we were certain I could find a proper battery for it. There were watch batteries at the grocery store, but they were all too big for my watch. I decided to use my fancy new bike to travel to Midori, the electronic store down the road. I got there, and the helpful lady and I looked at the watch batteries. Of course mine was not there.

When I went to leave, the lady who was helping me flagged me over to where she was standing at a table. Together, she helped me sort of kind of fill out a survey that I think was about the internet and electronics, but I really had no idea what was going on. She kept asking me which electronic I wanted for one question, so I asked her if it was a contest and she was confused; I assume it was some kind of hypothetical survey.

At any rate, after "filling out the survey." I was allowed to spin for a prize. It is a little box on a wheel that when you spin it, a ball comes out. The little girl in front of me spun it and did not win; she was given tissues. So I thought free tissues, sounds nice. That'd be nice, I don't know what will happen if I win...

I won. They rang a bell and people yelled in congratulations. I won fabric softener. :)

But I still needed a watch battery, so I had to go to a different electronic store called K's. It was a harrowing bike ride down the street, but I arrived there and the helpful sales man and I found my watch battery! Yay! It is now working nicely.

My friend and I also went to eat at a popular restaurant called New Delhi, which is an "Indian" restaurant. It was very expensive, but I ordered chicken and nan. We were also given a free orange drink, which was nice. When I asked for the check, because we were not sure if the Indian restaurant worked like all the Japanese ones, he came out with chai tea. We were like ....free tea? Did he hear us wrong? Then he brought us ice cream. We still only paid for our food. It was a very very nice place.

Classes start tomorrow :)


Kinkakuji, Setsubun Matsuri, and Shinkyogoku: The First Trip to Kyoto

So on Friday we were placed into small groups to go on a day trip to Kyoto with some Japanese students of Kansai Gaidai. A friend and I went with three Japanese students on our first ever Japanese train ride to sightsee in Kyoto. Once we figured out which train to get on, it was a very nice ride. On the limited express train, the seats shift back and forth so you can sit facing your friends. I just happened to meet with my speaking partner earlier in the day, and I showed her pictures of Harry Potter world in Universal, so unfortunately I carried my tablet around for the entire trip.

The first place we went to was Kinkakuji: The Golden Temple. The temple is literally made entirely of gold. We took many pictures. I am very excited to go back to the shrine when the cherry blossoms bloom. I also bought an おまもり、or an omamori. This is a charm for luck that lasts one year. There were many amulets there for 'traffic safety.' I bought one for 'dreams come true.' Then I promptly dropped it. But I also threw a coin directly into the rock bucket a la throwing a coin into a fountain, so I guess that would cancel out that bad sign.

I also had the pleasure of forgetting my tissues; so we had to pay 30 yen for tissues to use the Japanese toilet.

Don't ever use a Japanese style toilet.

Afterwards, we went to a festival at a shrine celebrating setsubun, which is a Japanese ceremony that happens in February. Families throw beans to ward off evil demons; you are supposed to eat your age in beans. I ate two; they look like they should taste like a peanut but they really do not taste like anything.

However, the festival was fantastic. I ate so much food from random stalls I cannot even remember what I ate. It was all so delicious.

We also then stopped at Shinkyogoku, which is a giant mall of stores and arcades. We did purikura and played the Taiko game. We also went to an anime store where I bought a phone charm.

It was very fun; I will put up pictures soon!


Thursday, February 2, 2012

There's Dandruff in the Air: "Snow," Things, and Mr. Donut

Everyone was up in arms because it was supposed to snow today. For a minute I thought, real snow? but then I remembered I'm in the wrong part of the country. The "snow" were little flakes of dandruff in the air. But the wind was grade A Ohio wind though, so it was still very cold. Boo.

This is a Thing, as one of our orientation teachers so aptly named it. It is designed to keep cars off the sidewalk and mess with every pedestrian and bike rider. Because they are "cleverly painted the color of darkness," they are very easy to run into on a bike. Thought I should share :)

My friend and I also went on a journey to Mister Donut across town today. It is the equivalent of Dunkin Donuts, except it does not have as many options for tea and coffee. The tea is a little expensive, but it is delicious :) The donuts are also cheap and fantastic too! I got a point card for the future, which is the equivalent of gaining Kool Aid points with purchases for cute stuff ^^

They also played 'Domo Arigatou Mr. Roboto' when we sat down to eat. Win. And because you are not supposed to walk somewhere and drink, when I purchased a drink to go, they put the cup in a cardboard holder. And then put the cardboard holder in a bag. And taped the bag shut. And then put that bag in another bag. There's a picture.

I'm trying to upload some pictures, but the internet is not cooperating.

This should show you (most) of the pictures I have taken so far. They loaded backwards, so start from the end of the album. I'll load them to facebook later with descriptions, this is just simpler for now.

This should be a link to the Engrish I have found so far :)