Thursday, July 31, 2008

So it ends.

My last blog while in Japan! So sad.

I haven't got time to reflect on everything at the moment, but I will do that when I'm back on Hawaiian soil.

It's been real.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Things to do before I leave

I'm heading back to America in a few days, and I've got loose ends to tie up. I'm bringing Christina along to like all of them to translate haha.

1. Have to cancel the cell phone EDIT: Done.

The cell phone was something I needed and despite the cost I'm glad I had it. I will miss its cuteness when I have to go back to my Sprint LG whateveritis.

2. Have to cancel the bank account

Honestly, nothing good has come from me getting a bank account. I could have very well survived on just my American bank card and international ATMs. I got the account because I wanted to have my dorm fees paid automatically, but no one told me you can pay almost any bill at a convenience store (which I did for the first two months anyway because the request wasn't processed for that long). When a friend sent a wire transfer for some Japanese software he wanted me to buy, the bank took out 20% of the $100 transfer and questioned me as to why I needed the money and who it came from. Seriously, the ganguro shop girls at Shibuya 109 have better English and customer service skills than all the well-educated, uniformed employees at the bank. I'm thinking about just taking out all the money and leaving the account open.

3. Have to arrange for takkyubin EDIT: Done.

My trip to Narita Airport is going to be two hours by train, and I'll be damned if I don't know better than taking my huge suitcases along for the trek. Takkyubin services allow people to ship their luggage to the airport a day or two ahead of their flights so they're free to take public transportation without big bulky luggage. Really all I have to do is pack my suitcases, hand the dorm manager some forms with the luggage, and he'll do the rest.

4. Get rid of all my dorm things

Dishes, hangers, clothespins, detergent, shoes, etc. I'm not sure what to do with all of it. I wish I could leave the hangers and clothespins to spare the next girl who lives here from having to go buy it all again. I've got like three pairs of shoes I don't want to bring home, do I just throw them away in the non-combustible trash can?

5. Party

300 Yen Bar in Ginza on Wednesday night. Should be interesting.


Here's some purikura we took last night after a trip to an izakaya:

Okay I'll go study or something.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Finals suck.

I can't go out and do anything, I have to study, blah blah blah. I have three finals this semester -- three days of Japanese (conversation, kanji/listening/reading, grammar), modern Japanese literature, and international politics. I have a paper for history, which I half-assed last night. I mean really, if a prof can't be bothered to give me a guideline of what he wants a 10-page final paper to look like (beyond the paragraph that's in the course syllabus) or even grade the other papers I've written for him, then I can't be bothered to put much effort into it.

I just finished the Japanese finals this morning. I got 10/10 for the conversation, bombed kanji in an epic fashion, and did pretty well on the rest of it. Today I have my literature final, which will be graded by the most opinionated and anal professor ever. Next Tuesday is the international politics final, which is going to be FUN. His teaching style does not justify how ridiculously hard his tests are. Even though he's probably got tenure, I'm going to rip him apart on his evaluation.

ANYWAY I found something funny:

All the major girly shopping plazas have a store like this. You give them your keitai or DS or random crap, and they bling it out for you. Bic Camera sells some pre-made DS plates with bling you stick on like a giant crystal-covered sticker. I haven't seen anyone with a phone or DS like the ones featured on the website, but I don't have any ganguro friends.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I met another Fujiyoshi

Desperate to get out of the dorm last night, I headed to Ikebukuro to wander around. After getting off the train, I felt a tap on my shoulder.


Yeah, like I can read where you live.

I half expected to see someone I know, the other half expected to see some little old lady about to ask me something. It's happened before. Instead I got a short little Japanese guy in his 20's carrying a ton of athletic equipment. Conversation in Japanese as follows:

"Do you speak Japanese?"
"Uh... my Japanese isn't great..."
"You have Fujiyoshi on your back."
"My last name is Fujiyoshi, like on your back." *shows me an ID card, with the same lucky wisteria characters I have*
"So why do you have that?"
"It's my name. I'm fourth generation (implying I'm ethnically Japanese but not Nihonjin) half Japanese."
"Oh, I see. *Takes out keitai* Can I take a picture of it?"
"Yeah, sure."

At least he didn't hit on me. I want to go to Kabukicho one night and wander around with my tattoo showing, maybe I'll get a yakuza come up to me and speak their harsh yakuza dialect.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

CoCo Ichiban and Bling-bling

I found some photos from when Dan was here! My camera battery has been dead for a few days so I kinda forgot about what was on it.

Anyway, we went to CoCo Ichiban in Shibuya. We have this chain in Hawaii but they're called Curry House instead; I would think because "CoCo Ichiban" has no meaning to someone who doesn't know anything about Japanese. Though it's the same chain, you order a bit differently in Japan -- you choose the amount of rice you want (200-700? grams, increments of 100g), how spicy you want the curry to be (scale of 1-10, but 6-10 has its own little red box in the chart they give you), and then what type of curry (chicken katsu, hamburger, etc).

Let's break down what everyone ordered, yes?

Dan: 400g- level 4 - croquette curry

Megan: 200g - level 4 - hamburger curry

Me: 300g - level 3 - some kind of pork curry

Ashlie: 300g - level 2 - katsu curry

Level 3, though seemingly unimpressive, was definitely spicy enough. And it was that kind of spicy that you don't feel until you've eaten a few bites, then you realize your mouth is on fire. It was delicious.

After lunch, we went through the epic Shibuya 109 5-days Clearance. I may or may not have a sound byte of what you hear when you enter this overly crowded cornucopia of ganguro-techno-clubbing-trashy madness, but I hope these two photos suffice. I was afraid to take a picture of the shop girls, who are all on stools or small ladders with cones in their hands shouting out the latest price cuts at their store. INSANE. EDIT: If you're friends with Dan on Facebook, he took some photos of the shop girls. Like a freakin' gaijin.

Yeah, that's a cop.

Today, I went to Bic Camera to get a new pair of earphones, as the left side of my rip-off $35 iPod earphones is going dead. Bic Camera has an entire wall of all sorts of earphones, most of which you can try out before you buy. They keep a display rack of earphones that you can put into your ear, and each set is connected to some music source playing a pop song. Apple's advertising techniques work on me, so I wanted to buy some white earphones to keep the iPod look. I FOUND THE CUTEST EARPHONES EVER I LOVE THEM. And I managed to get some other CUTE bling too:

Charmy Kitty iPod sticker and new earphones

I bought them like that.
They also come in pink and black if you wanna send me $15 to buy you a pair :)

I have yet to bling out the keitai

Ooooh Japan why must you make me spend money and make me overly girly?

Monday, July 14, 2008


Haven't been doing anything of much interest lately, but we did see this guy hanging around Ikebukuro. We were in a restaurant overlooking a busy street, and this guy stood out for obvious reasons.

We couldn't figure out what he was doing. He was hanging around with his umbrella, checking his phone every so often, obviously waiting for something or someone. Ashlie suggested he was getting stood up by his girlfriend. Kawaisou (pathetic/pitiful), ne?

But then an associate showed up, and it became apparent they were recruiting for *something*.

And Mr. Cool Hair Guy is probably a pimp of some sort. He lets his not-so-cool-hair minion do most of the work, and he just sits around like a monkey.

Christina gets these kinds of guys come up to her all the time. They'll say, "Aah! Onee-san! How old are you? Are you legal? Come to my bar! You can be a hostess!" These two weren't the only ones out at this particular time, either -- there was another guy (who I didn't get a picture of) who must have gone up to a dozen or more different girls doing the same thing but didn't get any responses. Three cops passed by these guys, so I assume these practices aren't completely illegal, just annoying.

Just a few weeks left! I've got a 10-15 page term paper to write that I haven't started, and three other tests to look forward to! Hooray!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Things the Japanese Do that We Shouldn't in America

1. Nampa

I've heard nampa translated as a few different things (girl-hunting, flirting, skirt-chasing), but basically it's when a guy randomly hits on a girl on the street. Not in a bar, not in a club, not in an izakaya, but literally on a street corner or sidewalk.

Some afternoons in Shibuya, you can see j-rocker types waiting around like lions observing a herd of water buffalo. They'll hang out on the edge of the sidewalk until the Hachiko intersection gets busy, then they'll wait in the middle of the sidewalk waiting for a pretty girl to walk by. When one comes by that they like, they'll try to walk next to her and get her to go to bar or restaurant or something. Why you'd do it in the afternoon in Shibuya, I have no idea; I've never seen a successful attempt at that time of day.

I was a nampa victim last night waiting for Dan. The Hachiko statue* outside Shibuya station is a big meeting place, so there are lots of teenagers and 20-somethings waiting around for their friends. We were minding our own business, waiting for Dan, when a Japanese guy comes up to us and starts talking in Japanese. I thought he was on his phone not facing us, so I ignored him until Ashlie started laughing. He had a friend with him who was a bit embarrassed and kept trying to get the first guy to quit the nampa, but he kept going. I got a drink at Atom out of the whole ordeal; he offered to pay my cover but I declined because I thought that might mean I'd owe him a trip to a love hotel.

Anyway so my ORIGINAL point, having to do with the title of this blog and all, is that we should not adopt this practice in America. The number of pepper spray-related emergency room visits would skyrocket. I find the short Japanese boys who speak broken English kind of endearing, but I don't think I'd find it so cute coming from a frat boy. There were some American boys hanging out around the bathrooms, hitting on the girls who came in and out of the ladies' room, and they were just embarrassing to all Americans (especially on the 4th of July).

Speaking of my grand nation's independence day, I totally forgot about it. But once I was reminded in Japanese class, I decided to go to McDonald's, a truly iconic American institution, to celebrate. No pictures, but I had a salsa chicken burger thing. It was okay. Go America.

*The Hachiko story is the cutest story ever. Go read at Wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A month left?

I have about one month left in Tokyo! Oh the horror...

As soon as I finish my stupid history paper due on Thursday, I'm going to go to the Pokemon Center in Hamabatsucho (something like that), Tokyo's gay district Ni-Chome (fun fact: Ni-Chome has the highest concentration of gay bars per block in the entire world), and probably out for clubbing this weekend.

All the great shopping places are having crazy sales this month. 109 is having their very well-advertised five-day sale this weekend and Sunshine City/Alta are in the middle of summer sales as well. I'll have to go get something nice :D

Dan will be here this week, and Brian told him to basically do everything he did. SO one more round of the Lock-Up, Club Atom, and maybe my first trip to a standing bar. YAY.