Monday, August 18, 2008

The end of a chapter

So, After much traveling and wrapping up. I STILL haven't been able to upload the rest of my pictures into smug mug but I will!!

All in all this experience was everything I wanted and more. In a way this whole trip was a challenge to myself to see if I could do it. Live in another country, make friends, get basic necessities. Now that I know I am capable of this it'll open the doors to many more adventures....

but for now, I think I'll stick to Rochester and finish up my last year. After this post I will be updating my normal blog D-E-F-E-N-E-S-T-R-A-T-E with my adventures on american soil. :)

Thank you so much for everyone who supported me and rooted me on for this whole trip. I took your wishes and hopes with me no matter where I was. :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

ok kids, time to learn some japanese that can be used in English

after being in the IJST program and leaving I realize that I have picked up vocabulary that isnt english or japanese. here's a few examples.


"I was hanging out with the san kai tachi a few minutes ago and we played a way cool game"

this is basically used in regards to a group. for example, in the IJST program there were groups of people that alway hung out together (no these are not cliques--you don't get mocked or anything like that--its just the people you get along with the best). all the people (including myself) that hung out on the third floor lounge of the apartment building the program took over called ourselves the san kai tachi (the third floor group)

chotto matte-ing

"ohman, we need to chotto matte here to buy some stuff"

This means we need to stop--matte is the te-form of the verb matsu which is to wait. I used the phrase a lot today. chotto can also be used to describe something negative. The Japanese use the word alone when they want to not give a direct negative answer. so we use it for the following;

"that is chotto expensive" "That was chotto scary" "this seems like a chotto bad idea"

the literal mean can be seen as "kind of"


"lets ganbatte this!"

ganbatte is normally used to cheer someone one on. however when used in IJST english its basically to say lets get this started.

*In dopey voice* omedetou

this is used alone and normally after someone does something incredibly dumb. think of the word "kudos" used sarcastically.


this word in japanese is normally used in japanese to say you are good at something.

thats it for now. i'll think of some more that we used.

--signing off for now--


Mission: Mt.Fuji--failed

So I tried to climb Mt.Fuji two nights ago--kinda failed. I have now discovered that I suffer from something called Altitude sickness. I got to the 3010 meters mark when A.the temperature dropped, head started aching and c. I started feeling sick. Needless to say I was escorted back down about 2 stations to relax adn watch the sun rise off Mt.Fuji from there.

i am currently in Tokyo staying at a hotel in Ueno which is about a block from the station--I had a great time today running around and getting some omiyage (souvenirs for friends and family). we went to Asakusa which is a huge folk art and temple complex followed by a fishermans area for lunch (sashimi rice bowl--yum). After than it was a quick walk to Ginza where I listened to a jazz band play on the street before training it back tot he hotel to drop stuff off. I met up with a group of IJST students in daiba and watched the sun set on the tokyo bay before eating american food at a department store called aqua city, more window shopping was done before I returned to Ueno and am now about to start watching Lilo and Stitch which Zander just bought at the disney store--tomorrow is tokyo tower and shinjuku (harajuku too!) before heading out to an overngiht train to Hiroshima. :) I would like to say I should not be held responsible for the fact that I may steal my hotel's yukata (the internet is my confessional).

signing off for now!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My laptop is going to eat me...Oh! cheap hotels.

So I've been so busy with projects and presentations that I have no had a chance to write in english on my blog. instead of carrying around my convenient, cute and tiny EEE pc I have been lugging around the crappy dynabook laptop they gave us since I have to type up so much stuff in Japanese (consent forms, focus group questions, presentation scripts, power point slides, and final essays). Owning this gigantic japanese only laptop has opened up a whole new concept of hating computers to me. Not only is typing in ei-go (english) probably the hardest thing ever but writing in pure hiragana with no kanji is such a pain in the---yea. I really want to get Japanese input on my dell when I get homewhere there is an on off switch that isn't changed every time I graze the capslock button. Drives me a bit insane,

We were talking about spaces in general in Japan and discussed bathroom and the technological advancement of toilets in japan (two words-heated seats). It's interesting because we also talked with a IJST graduate who works in the tech division of Goldman Sachs. It was great having him talk about the work he does here in Japan. He really opened my eyes to what else I could do with my degree. He was really helpful in finding some places where I can look for job openings in Japan. However he recommended I do JET first. I explained to him about my thoughts on continuing my education (no doubt I will, but the when is still up in the air). I've now had two people say that perhaps it is best to do JET/Fulbright then do my MBA. ahh!!! too much conflicts!

I just finished finalizing my plans two weeks ago and the prices are fabulous!!! Ive got a climb to Mt.Fuji followed by 2 days in tokyo 2 days in hiroshima 1 day in himeji 2 days in osaka/kyoto 1 day in Nagoya and 2 more days in tokyo. YAY!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I must have broken some sort of language barrier.

So, This is a blog-worthy small victory that happened on Friday but I felt I needed to mention since I talked with a Japanese student on the phone yesterday.

So on Friday it was decided that we were going to Karaoke, however some of our SGE students didn't know where or when. So in the middle of class someone called me. I missed the phone call so I texted the person in Japanese letting them know I have class but if it was ok that I would call them at 12. I received a text saying that person would call me. At around 12:15 I got a phone call from Kazuya asking where and when is kareoke? I tell him I have no clue where we are meeting but that its at 9. I thought we were meeting on the 3rd floor. I then concluded that I would talk with the IJST ryuugakusei (exchange student) that is organizing it, then text him where we are meeting. He replied that he understood and would look forward to my text. with that we hung up.

sure you're wondering--what's the big deal dre? so what?

I HAD THIS WHOLE CONVERSATION IN JAPANESE!!! Without gestures pictures or the person infront of me.

I remembered this because another Kazuya (yes I know two of them) invited me to shyogi club (japanese chess) and I had to tell him I had tons of homework, projects and presentations to deal with.

WOO HOO! Go me for little victories!!!
まったね! <--I totally want to get this input on my laptop to type in Japanese.

--signing off for now--

Monday, June 30, 2008

Why Karaoke before Home Stays is not the best idea.

So last Friday I went to my first Karaoke ever. I'm thinking that if marketing doesn't pan out one of these establishments is what I am going to open up in the states (haha just kidding). I want to take one home with me!! Basically you pay a flat fee for either no drinks or all you can drink. Then you are pretty much allowed to stay there for long periods of time (like...oh lets say 8pm-1am). All in all this was fabulous time filled with awesome duets with the SGE students. I sang Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne with an SGE students who was the best back up a girl could ask for *laughs* All for the flat price of 1300¥ this all in all generally sounded like a good idea until the next morning--Where I met my host family at 9am.

I would like to start my home stay experience by announcing that I did not embarrass myself--despite the fact that I was a few hours short of a full nights sleep on my first day with them. I stayed with the Takada family which is a family composed of a mother (okasan), a father (otousan), and daughter (Yuuko). The father works a whole bunch so I only saw him in the evenings. The mother and Yuuko were fabulous. We started my homestay by going to a artists village where I made some Japanese arts and craft, then went grocery shopping for sukiyaki--which I must make again in the states. the next day we went sightseeing around Kanazawa and dropped by a department store on crack (department store/supermarket/amusement/food court/video game area/ and cinema.) nNeedless to say my host family rocked. I'm currently writing my thank you letter for them--almost done!!

--signing off for now--


Thursday, June 26, 2008

5 guys and a baccho

So 2 weekends ago was my program's long weekend. In an effort to escape the grasps of Kanazawa at least for a bit, I planned with 5 other guys to go on a trip to Kyoto and Osaka. Last minute another 2 girls were added.

Sometimes traveling with that many people was a bit of a mendokusai (pain in my ass) but also with that many people I had a great time.

There was a lot of stuff that I discovered while on this trip.

1. hotels can be very good and cheap at the same time in Japan.
2. I actually have the power to stop mysef from buying a cheap computer screen in den den town (osaka's version of akihabara).
3. Japanese women spend a ton of money on clothing
4. I will always compare US public transportation to Japan and the US will never be up to par with the convenience and timeliness of Japanese public transportation.
5. I cant wait for the end of this program to do more sightseeing.

In Kyoto I saw kinkakuji, kiyomizutera and went to gion (geisha district). I had my first taste of shabu shabu which is thin slices of meat that I boil myself. There were a lot of us so we got our own room--tons of fun.

In Osaka I went shopping tried my hand at pachinko and ate some delicious okonomiyaki (i can't describe it so look it up!!) oishii desu! (tasty!!)

I gotta run to class but I'll post about this last weekend with my host family.

--signing off for now--