demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
I debated a good while about it, since I'm going to be busy with fundraisers in the local Seattle area, but... I decided to, anyways.

[ profile] help_japan is getting a massive response and it heartens me.

My offering is here. Due to Seattle Japan Relief and related, my story will most likely take longer.
demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
Please donate if you can!

Seattle Japan Relief

demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
Ho, and I didn't think I'd back in Japan for a very, very long time. But I am! I'm going back next Friday, so a week from now, I'll be in Japanland again, with all its loveliness. I missed my friends and I had promised my school I'd go for the 3rd Year graduation ceremony; I just wasn't sure if I could. But I can, so I will!

I'm bringing two suitcases filled with presents and backpack of clothes/necessities/crap. So TWO EMPTY SUITCASES TO BRING BACK, YAY! Crammed full of stuff, of course, but that's a given.

And best part is I'll be attending the Tokyo International Anime Fair on my last couple of days. If there's something someone would like me to get/watch out for, do ask.
demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
I just found this link on Youtube and I'm dying of laughter... and a, "hey! I was there!"

There's this little city in Japan that just happens to be called Obama. During the last two years, it grew in prominence and the citizens became devoted fans of Barack Obama. They have manjuu (rice flour buns), an Obama/Hillary cake (chocolate swiss cake with cream filling... don't ask me, it didn't taste that good), chopsticks, t-shirts, and a few other things in between. I ended up going there in... mid-May? I bought a t-shirt, ate the cake, had a manjuu, and took photos. They EVEN HAVE A DANCE. Which I did not see when I was there.


And here's Obama celebrating Obama!

I love Japan! Here's another one!

Someday, I'll have to post my pictures of that epic journey, from my little town to their little town.
demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
I've been meaning to post about this for a while now, but on July 24th, I officially ended my three year stint in Japan. =) I went a little off the wall with the stress of moving back stateside, getting things cleaned and packed up, canceling my gas, electric, phones, and etc, and just saying goodbye to my friends here. So overall, it really sucked. *ponders* To move from Japan is like experiencing a mini-war.

Read more... )

I'm at Kansai International Airport and Russia was beautiful and fantastic, but I literally had a crying bout at the checkin counter; I can't believe I started crying in front of the checkin attendant! She looked so scared that she let me come on with overweight luggage. 0_0 That was surprising, considering how strict they are.

I guess it's also because I came back from Russia with one of my best friends in Japan and we got separated during immigration and customs and I can't find her now, and she's probably headed back towards our old Japanese home city of Toyama... so I basically missed out on saying goodbye. I'm really sad about that.

Anyways. I guess this is goodbye to Japan.


Fow now. Bwah ha hahhahahahahahahahaha.
demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
One of my Japanese friends is a huge fan of Ayumi Hamasaki. Or rather, AYU-CHAN. He loves her to pieces (vaguely scary, but hey, who am I to talk? *cough*DoctorWho*cough*) and me and two other friends ended up splitting the cost of a ticket (along with her own) and took him to the concert. Ugh, getting anywhere in Japan can be such a hassle. We ended up driving down, but what with express tolls and the horrendous cost of gas, it didn't up all that much cheaper than trains would have.


Ayumi's stageshow? Effing awesome! She has a way different speaking voice from her singing voice and it was interesting to listen to her sing old songs with her current voice. When you compare vocals from her new singles against her old ones (circa 2000ish), you can hear a distinct different.

Also, hee, Ayumi was the first Japanese artist I actually really listened to, so it's pretty kickass for me to finish up my three years in Japan with a nice Ayumi concert. ;)

Boy, does she know how to put on a show!


- Gorgeous costumes. Except for the corset. I guess corsets in stage shows are so usual that they're banana. But not really. Gah.

- Hee, a bevy of male dances. I hear they're interchangeable, but she definitely favored one or two above the others.

- I'm assuming she was actually singing rather than lip-syncing. If so, quite good!

- She played Evolution! That, alone, was worth the price of the ticket and travel!

- Found some lovely new songs I hadn't listened to before, including Mirrocle World.

- OMG, AYU FANS ARE HARDCORE. Imagine hundreds of little blue lights turning on at the exact same second and doing the exact same movements.

- I think me and my friends were the only people in the crowd to actually sit back down in our seats for part of the two hour show. Ha.

- Ayumi merchandise is mind-bogglingly expensive. Who pays 3500 yen for a cheap towel?

- The crowd was mostly female, which is a marked difference from the Morning Musume concerts, apparently!

- Seeing it with my friend probably made it a much better experience than it might have been. I like Ayumi Hamasaki a lot, but I'm not a concert person. Like, at all.

And there you have it! I still like Otsuka Ai better, but that's just personal preferences rather than anything else. ;)
demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
I passed the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test), level 3. My three years hear have suddenly been validated! ;)

However, following rather quickly on that, I had one of the worst first year junior high school class ever. Today was the first day I've ever cried over something that happened at work, and I ended up going into one of the spare classrooms that are removed from the rest of the school and having a good cry on a desk. Why?

Because Japanese junior high school students are like junior high school students everywhere and they can be real jerks. I was so frustrated and mad and they went above and beyond the unruliness they usually display. They were throwing paper airplanes at each other, talking to their neighbors while I was trying to demonstrate a grammar point, and they kept messing up all the activities I'd lined up. Most of this is normal, but today, today. When a bunch of them were at the board writing words, one of the girls hit me on my head and then no one would tell me who it was. (which, to a certain extent, is admirable... but I still want to drag that girl by the ear and throw her out) At the end of class, I felt like I'd just failed and the thing is that I know that if they don't want to learn, there's not a lot I can do, but DUDE. If I'd ever shown that much disrespect, my parents would have throttled me... and they have! I mouthed off to a teacher once and my dad gave me a huge spanking.

... anyways. Just venting.
demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
Happy Holidays! Forgot to mention that I'm home, stateside, for winter break!

Hope everyone got their cards! Had a heck of a time organizing them. Total kill this year? 86 cards, to eleven different countries. It was awesome in the post office as I had a chat with the two guys manning the twenty-four hour window about who these people were.

demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
One of my students secretly brought FFXII: Revenant Wings to school along with her DS and we hid in the bathroom to play during the cleaning break. It looked very pretty. Not having finished FFXII or even gotten very far, I didn't understand it at all, though the chibi characters were just a little startling. I was looking at it and playing (with her directing... this involved a lot of finger pointing and miming) and I entertained the thought of buying the game for, oh, five seconds but then realized I'd need to be a lot more pera pera in Japanese before I can even contemplate buying a video game with this lovely language.

;_; This is what happened with Dirge. [ profile] akujunkan had to sit by the side and translate what was going on during the parts where there were no written words.

... maybe I could buy Tetris.

I've seen three movies in the last three weeks. This is a record, you must understand, since movies are about TWICE AS EXPENSIVE AS IT IS IN THE STATES. 1700 yen for a regular ticket, though it goes down to 1200 if you're a woman on Wednesdays (true!) and/or are catching the last show of the day. Because trains in the area stop running around 10/11 and tough luck to you if you miss the last train! TAXI!

Blood Diamond )

Hannibal Rising )

Babel )
demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Demeter - Doraemon Fear Me)
A month and a half ago, my sister decided, out of the blue, that she was going to come visit me. There were issues with work and stuff, so it made sense. What was originally going to be a one week, two week visit spiraled into a month and a half! Then one of my younger brothers was like, yo, I want to come too and my mom was like, aww, my kids are traveling together... that's it! I'm too young to not travel! I'm going too! and I was like how am I going to fit you all in my tiny apartment?

I'm really excited; I haven't seen my family since August and while that's not actually a terribly long time, I'm really close to my mum and sister, so I've missed them lots and more. I'm also about to start fire-ant dancing with happiness that my sis is staying with me for a month and a half! She's like a prettier, more fashionable version of me. ;) No, seriously. She's really awesome. I'm so proud to have her as my baby sister. (baby, I may say, but she's only year younger)

So anyways, today I head to Tokyo for three days. My brother is all gungho about the kaiten sushi and the Animate, my sister is all gungho about shopping, and my mum is happy she gets to spend time with her three oldest children. We've been out of her sights for so long that she's feeling happy she has a chance to spend a week together with us. I suppose it makes sense; For the past year and a half, I've been in Japan. After my sister graduated high school, she immediately went to China for a little over a year. After that, she moved to L.A. to go to FIDM. My baby bro has been in China for the past four years and visits periodically and she goes to Shanghai periodically, but definitely, she doesn't see us as often as she'd like.

She was all like, no way I'm to suffer empty nest syndrome! and then a year later, she was like yeah, yeah, I have it. Sue me. XD

I love my mum.
demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
I feel as lazy as a kitty with a bowl of warm cream.

I also pulled an all-nighter for the firefly squid viewing. Oh, my body isn't as strong as it used to be. I was barely keeping my eyes open at work yesterday; methinks it's time to break out the heating pads.

Oh man, I had the most surreal conversation with a JTE today:

JTE: So, is 'interesting' a good word?
Me: Um, yes?
JTE: Because JTE2 says that you can't use it.
Me: Wait, what?
JTE: You can say interesting orange, or interesting hair, or interesting rubber band, but you can't say interesting person.
Me: I didn't know rubber bands could be interesting.
JTE: Can you say interesting, for a person?
Me: I want to say yes.
JTE: See, I knew I was right! HA, JTE2 is wrong.
Me: ... I'm going to go away now. And check the internet to see whether there's some archaic grammar rule that says you can't call a person interesting.

I still don't get what's going on, but I sense a POWER STRUGGLE between my two JTE's.

Office politics; more bloodthirsty than Congress!
demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Death Note - darkchan - tea instead of w)
The NTT boys said that it had something to do with the fiber optics and I nodded and hmmed and generally went along with them speaking in rapid-fire techspeak Japanese. ;) Awesome experience, by the way! So they're coming on Monday to check it out and I guess they think they can... install more? What? Or find a new one? What? I'm not too sure what he actually meant, so we'll see on Monday. Maybe he was really saying I needed pink flamingos to stand in parallel lines.

Meanwhile, so many new anime series! So many and I can't watch them yet. ;_;

Note: take this chance to study Japanese.
demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
Or not know it. Seriously, another year in Japan. It sounds like many kinds of awesome on paper but I'm starting to feel the grind of work. Or rather, of non-work. I'm required to come in during school breaks unless I take nenkyu (paid vacation), but those precious days (twenty in total per contracted year) are usually saved for some vacation, so I sit at my desk all. week. long with nothing to do but surf the internet. Paradise you say? Loveliness? It sounds like it! I like the sound of it. But, alas, it just means a slow bleeding of my brain cells to a better place. Rest in peace, it wasn't like I needed you anyways.


The cherry blossoms are out again! I still haven't gone on my great cherry blossom adventure, but next year, for sure. It's my last year and I'll have a lot more motivation than I have now. ;) There's a famous spot in Nara that I've been hoping to go to, so yes, April next year will see me, Nara, and maybe a picnic munchies to tide me over as I enjoy hanami.

Doing lots of random cleaning. I want my apato as clean as possible when my family arrives, so that means a lot of cleaning on the weekend before rather than now, because it's just going to get messy again. Man, I wish I was better at keeping thing tidy. I mean, seriously. I clean in the morning and by the afternoon, it's like a tornado hit... maybe I need to get rid of some of the things I've amassed in this past year and a half. No, seriously. I buy so much manga and anthologies that they take up at least a bookcase. And the food in my pantries... I need to eat everything before buying more!

Ah, Japan. I didn't think it was possible, but you've turned me even more into a packrat than before!
demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
I'm not bored with LJ! I've been busy with work, friends, trips, video games, reading, etc. etc. Updating LJ at home is a bit of an ordeal because I can't make long posts for some odd reason. I can do it at work and making witty posts at work is a bit beyond me since the place sucks me dry sometimes. ;)

Anyhoo! I was also hit by a small truck last Saturday so I was out of commission for a few days as I recuperated. No broken bones, no head trauma, nothing except sore limbs, hellacious bruises and a better understanding that trucks and bikes don't mix. Considering my head slammed into the windshield when it hit me, I consider myself very lucky! I'm also am down to my sixth life. Hmmmm.

One thing I've been doing a lot lately is baking. I've made tons of different kinds of cakes and cookies and as soon as I get a bit of real time and patience, I'm going to make a pie completely from scratch. What kind of pie? Hm, not quite sure since I'm not actually all that fond of fruit pies.

After the funk I sank into after the Japanese proficiency exam, I'm finally starting to get back into the groove of studying. Yeah, I failed the third level, something I'm not too terribly surprised about. I've only been studying a year and I wanted to take the third level? Yeah, right! Worst thing though? I missed passed by only twenty-some points. Now there's a pity.

I've also been skiing and I went up to Nagano for a completely awesome weekend. Hm, been going to the gym before I got hit by the truck, and once my left leg is fully healed, I'll be back there. I hope. 0_0

I've discovered the AMAZING CHOCOLATE-COVERED BISCUIT KNOWN AS TIM-TAMS. They're from Australia (I think?) and they're like nirvana in one little chocolaty cookie. MMM.

Reading a LOT. Books, manga, fanfiction. It's been a reading time! Best of all? Some of my writer's block is finally fading away after nearly a half-year length. I'm working on a Tifa and Cloud piece for Kingdom Hearts II and I'm trying to finish that goddamn Sakura and Kakashi genfic. Lots and lots of unfinished Akito fic, lots and lots of new Gundam Wing fic. (OMG, YES. RELENA!) And maybe one or two Harry Potter stories though I seriously doubt it. I just... don't have the urge to write HP fic anymore though I still devour other writer's stories.

A friend is on the verge of finishing Okami, that gorgeous new game for the PS2, and I'm on the verge of borrowing it!

I'm going to get a DS from Japan instead of the US; it's region-free and just simply easier.

I've become somewhat interested in American Idol. Somebody help me!

Heroes is THE BOMB and Claire is just so effing awesome!

Um. I think that's all. There's a lot more, but I do believe that Demeter is getting some of her old schnanglings back! =) At this point in my life, I'm so content and happy and just pleased in general.

And the occasional angst fic to make me sniffle is just the cherry on the cake.
demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
Oh, Abe. I had some hopes for you. This alone makes me wish for Koizumi back.

I can scarcely believe that he'd even attempt to deny the issue that many Korean women were subjected to sexual slavery during WWII for the Japanese military. I mean, WTF YOU RAGING IDIOT?


Nov. 10th, 2006 04:43 pm
demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Akito - Nemkess - Enraged)
I'd like to preface this with the fact that I absolutely hate bullies, bullying, or anything of the sort. If there's anything that will grant my rage, it's me seeing someone bullying someone else. Normally, I'm pretty laidback. I rarely get angry and even when I do, I usually forget about it after a few hours, sometimes a few minutes (happened once!). But bullying? Oh, I'll remember your face for the rest of my blissfully long life. I'll remember your face and I'll gleefully do everything I can to screw you over. Let me see you picking on that kid who looks at the table all the time? Don't blame me if my finger reaches for your ear. Don't blame me if you're completely humiliated among all your macho friends. And certainly don't blame me when I make a ruckus to the other teachers and they're forced to have a nice, long talk with the parental units.

Really. Blame yourself.

What brought this on?

well, this. )
demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
Okay, seriously. I'm not dead, I really am not. I've just become... incredibly bad at updating and doing things online that I usually did a few hours a day back in college. I don't really know what happened, but now, I glance at LJ maybe twice a week and that makes me a sad kitty. For one thing, nothing has replaced LJ for me. It's like the networking portion of the internet has faded away and all I'm concentrating on is looking at interesting sites, reading fanfiction, surfing for random things, and just the oddball internet activity... like finding scary flash animations and watching them over and over.

Another thing is that I'm SO ready for my winter trip! Once December 23rd hits, I'll be on my way to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam for two weeks of sightseeing, shopping, and just random sunbathing. Except maybe not so much with the sun. Maybe I'll lie under an umbrella or something so I don't look like a lobster when I come back.

Also... CHRISTMAS IS HERE IN JAPAN. Everywhere I look, lights! trees! santa claus! everywhere! It's pretty cute, actually. For one thing, it's not about the holiday of the birth of Jesus Christ to them. It's an excuse to make everything shiny and sparkly and pretty and oh yes, a way to get people to spend tons of money on the most random things (though, OMG, some of their random things are to die for!) to give to other people. They set up special sections that are exclusively Christmas shopping. They advertise limited edition plates, cups, microwaves, Hello Kitty dolls, pencils, wigs, anything you can put a decent price on, it'll have some sort of special Christmas edition. And it warms my little capitalist heart to see it. ;)

Seeing all the things and remembering last years fiasco of:

A: Happy Holiday!
C: HAHA, you're both wrong! It's a commercialized holiday created in order to sell billions of toys and create loyal shoppers for the future!!!1111
D: ... wtf?

My poor mother was never so unsure of what to say to people. Especially since she's a lapsed Catholic, forgets Christmas if I'm not there to remind her to get something for my younger siblings, and generally thinks winter holidays are an excuse to get some more sleep and to go see a movie. Seriously. When we were younger, my parents would put in some effort (though they drew the line at a tree) but after we got into high school, it was money in nice envelopes and a beaming smile that we were old enough to pick our own presents. After a while, it was like, as long as we don't have to do anything, you can celebrate Christmas however you like!! And that was fine with me since I like planning things, so Christmas was usually a big dinner the night before and the day of, and then presents in the morning that I usually shopped for, bought, placed various names on, and then pretended it was from one person to another. It was GREAT. No, really! It was great because we always had a laugh over the fact that no one in my family really cares about Christmas.

And then the news reports of last year made it more ironic.

demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Relena - yankeerose - Relena's Too Wonde)
Princess Kiko has a baby boy, thus averting a so-called "succession crisis" in Japan.

There are times, really, that I fucking hate Japan. Or at least, when they're acting like such fucktards as to believe that a male heir is somehow, just somehow, better than a female heir. By whose standards? The conservatives? Some who think that the practice of concubines should be revived in order to replenish the imperial line? The Imperial Household Agency who have practically driven a women, who once had a flourishing and bright future in diplomatic relations, mad under their pressure to produce a male heir? The second prince? Who's philandering is well-known and not spoken of and who has criticized his older brother, the crown prince, for not doing his duty to his country? The conservative media, who continually criticizes Masako for not producing a male heir and her selfishness in not having more children?

From the beginning, I had known from an intellectual standpoint that there were many things different about Japan in regards to their treatment and thought of women, but this is the first time here I just want to scream. My starry-eyed view of Japan had faded a long time ago, but this, this just reminds me of why Japan is often criticized for it's sexism, racism, and classism.

... I'm going to go calm down and then rant about this a bit more coherently.
demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)
Okay, in one of the weirdest moments of my life, my flight back to Japan was cancelled midair.

I was supposed to depart Tuesday and after the whole checking in (a couple problems with my heavier-than-me-luggage), security (piece of cake), and waiting for an hour, we boarded and were in prepatory measures to take off. But not yet! There was an odd odor emanating from the air-conditioning system, so the United mechanics were checking it out. After about a half-hour delay, they decided to go ahead and depart, thinking it would clear up once the outside air got into the vents. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. The smell grew worse and smoke was coming from somewhere. I was kind of dozing, so I missed the brouhah, but they decided to turn the plane around and head back to Seattle. We landed and the fire department boarded to see what was up. They couldn't figure out what was wrong, so they asked to leave the aircraft, wherein I discover that the odor was so bad in first and business class, that people were actually feeling nauseous. One of the flight attendants actually had to go onto an oxygen tank. 0_0

We hemmed and hawwed around the airport for a few hours before we're told that the plane couldn't possibly be put back into the air and that they were scheduling a flight for Wednesday morning. I was a bit peeved, mostly because I would be late to my job and I had no way of contacting my school. I was also really tired because I'd stayed up late to finish packing... but anyways, I call my mom, she's really surprised (but obviously pleased because that meant I was staying an extra day), they leave work early to come pick me up, I surprise my grandma (I mean, seriously, I've never seen her shocked into stillness before!), I scare my brothers into thinking I missed my flight, and lots of good fun. XD

And the next day? Plane is supposed to leave at 9:15 AM, but we couldn't depart until 11 because there were two flights with the same number and NO WE COULDN'T HAVE THAT.

... good days, good days. Either way, it was kind of fun in it's own way. Just happy it ended up mostly okay. Wouldn't have wanted to crash into the ocean, y'know.
demeter918: blue doraemon cat (Default)

I live in the countryside of Japan. And that suddenly became clear to me as some teachers at lunch started talking about cows. COW this, COW that, oh, my COW, dear COW, COW COW COW. Oh, COW!

No, really. Cows.

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