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58468_0
I've sneezed about 5 or 6 times in the past two minutes. There's something up with the air in the tatami room.
....aaaaand I couldn't even finish typing that sentence without sneezing again.

The past two weeks were slightly hectic for me, life issues aside. I had huge tests in all of my classes but they were rather spread out, so it happened over two weeks. Technically, over a week and one day - so this past week after Monday's gigantor test I was pretty much done. I had minor quizzes every day but Thursday but those meant nothing to me, especially because I decided I was skipping Wednesday class. With my newfound spare time, I've been able to properly reunite with my friends. For the first time in weeks I've been able to hang out with them on campus after class and just sit there without feeling like I needed to be back at home doing some bullshit assignment. I've even been able to ease myself back into drama-marathoning now that I'm not feeling contempt and rage whenever scenes of romance or scenes involving couples happen. Finally broke into my copy of season 4 of The O.C. that I bought all those months ago at fye used. It's been so good that I don't even have ADOS problems while I watch - I'm already on the third disc, which sucks because this season only has 18 episodes AND it's the last one (=_=)'' I was kind of meh about the first three seasons but after they got past all of the highschool bull it got much better. I'm aiming to be done with the whole thing by the time Will gets here on Tuesday. As for Japanese dramas, I'm marathoning Hotaru no Hikari 2 and Zettai Reido before I start any others. Zettai Reido's probably the first Japanese detective drama I've been able to really get into.

It's been nothing but social activities and too much eating the past few days. Thursday night I randomly went to all-you-can-eat ramen with some of the i-house people because I had nothing better to do. I was just going to eat some ramen but it turned out to be kind of like a competition, and I got into it. I didn't even eat enough to get my picture taken, but I never want to look at ramen again. Friday night there was the NUFS Farewall Party for the exchange students who are going back home now that the semester's over. More free food to get stuffed on, and I hung out with Saaya and Marina more after class before the party. Friday night was the big going-away party at the bar across the street, Ohgiya. It was ridiculous. I got roped into joining a team for beer pong and lost, but man was it fun hanging out with everyone. The place was packed and capsule was playing...amazing. I left a bit early though.

This evening was the I-House Farewell Party. I skipped out on shopping with a couple people from the dorm because I wanted to clean. After finally emerging from my room around 2pm today (after not cleaning, btw), I had lunch and went to the drugstore with Mitsuki and one of the girls here who has a really strange rash. (It actually got much worse as the night progressed so they're at the hospital now o_o) That's the only place I can buy the toilet paper I use (it has bunnies and bears printed on it....yes, that's what I wipe my ass with, tyvm) so I went along because I'd been meaning to go. The minute we got back to I-House we rallied up some troops, tote bags, and headed across the street to the grocery store for the party. We bought so much food~!! I helped out with the prepwork for that too, which went up until the time of the party at 6pm (which was a loooot of fun!), so my cleaning plans went down the drain. I feel like I won't be able to do anything tomorrow either because I've got a tutoring job. It sounded like such a good idea at first but now I dread it, even though it's only my second time doing it (happens once a month). In order to get to the family's apartment by 3:30, I have to make it downtown to catch the hourly bus at 2:18. The bus gets to the apartment around 2:40, so I've got almost an hour wait and I HATE it. That and the kid doesn't really wanna learn English...but can you really blame a two year old for not wanting to sit still and read Disney books in a foreign language? I had a meeting Thursday afternoon with the two Japanese girls I alternate this tutoring session with and they've got the same frustrations, so I think we might stop sooner than later. At the same time, I feel bad for abandoning this family so I want to see if I can find replacements...

And so, it will not be until Monday that I feel my winter vacation truly begins. I'm going to go shopping with Julia on Monday (after making a trip to the airport to make sure we can properly find our loved ones when they come to visit), so I'm kinda looking forward to that. I have no idea what to buy for certain people - like my boyfriend. PATHETIC. Ideas? Lingerie's out of the question because my boobs are too big for this country and my torso is a bit wide compared to Japanese girls they're marketing to (><) He likes music (especially piano), video games, wolves, and....oh god I fail at being a thoughtful girlfriend.

Current Music: Girlicious - Stupid Shit

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58468_0
Soooo, I've not gone to class for the past two and a half days, and tomorrow's not looking very promising either. But we'll see. I've been downing vitamin drinks, my tea mug is never empty (although I'm trying to conserve what little tea I have so lately it's only been hot water), I've been dilligently taking my NyQuil and the medicine Mitsuki went out and bought for me, and I'm sleeping properly so dammit, I should be getting better soon. It seems my cold is running its usual course: first day I have a sore throat, second day I start coughing but my throat no longer hurts, and the third day I become congested and begin coughing up my lungs.

Yes, after 23 miserable years I have FINALLY become aware of my own sickness pattern. (=_=) Actually, there was a time up until age 12 where I got strep throat during spring of every single year...and then it stopped after that age.

I am going to DisneySea regardless of how I feel because I've already paid for it, and it's DISNEYSEA, man! Disney is the root of all happy (oh shit, I seriously just typed "evil" subconsciously) for me and one stupid head cold is not going to bring me down.

Speaking of spending money: I made a baaaad excellent purchase with my Angel card.
just gonna blame this one on the delirium brought on by my possible feverCollapse )

Current Mood: sick sick

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58468_0
(this is going on Facebook so some things here might be redundant)

It's been almost two months since I kept you guys on FB updated, time to do another bulletpoint-ish summary!

School:
I placed into 501, which is the highest level for the Japanese language classes. One would think this means I have more homework, but I think 501 has it better than 401 =P I also placed into M4 for kanji class, which is the second highest level for kanji (M5 is the highest; there are two people in it and it's more like independent study for them). In terms of class, I have Japanese class every weekday from 9:10am to 12:20pm with a different teacher each day. I'm only taking one culture class, and that is on Monday from 1:20pm to 2:50pm. Additionally, I do this thing called Language Lounge on Mondays and Thursdays from 12:20 to 1:20pm (lunchtime) where I sit with my friends, eat lunch, chat in English, and get paid for it. :D Clearly, Mondays are my least favorite days because they're so long, but the rest of the week is okay despite having quizzes and tests every other day, it seems.

Last week the higher-level classes had "reading week," which meant no morning language classes but we were assigned a fair amount of homework that was due on Monday. I finished most of my homework within the first two days of reading week, so I got to relax guilt-free. :D My next long break won't be until winter break in late-mid December. After two or three weeks of that, I will have class again for two weeks and then break for two and a half months or so.

Sightseeing:
I've gone on two school trips so far. The first was in late September to Shirakawago and Gokayama, UNESCO world heritage sites. Shirakawago is known for the sloped rooftops, and if you go to my videos you can see some that I took there. Buying my iPod nano before coming here was probably one of the best decisions I made. I've also been taking lots of pictures. If you have any questions about any pictures, just comment!

We also went to Hiroshima last weekend via bus. Although we spent more time on the bus than Hiroshima itself, it was a great field trip. We first went to Miyajima, an island off Hiroshima. Apparently now it's called Itsukushima, but what it is most famous for is the Itsukushima Shrine, which has the floating gate. (If you've ever been to Epcot in Florida, there's a replica there as part of Epcot Japan.) Unfortunately, the tide was super low so I didn't get to see this floating illusion. The island is also known for all the deer! :D I got to pet one! Was so happy~ After Miyajima we went to the hotel (which was glorious), dropped our things off, and went off to go find some food. I got to experience Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki - soba inside of regular okonomiyaki. Soooo good. =3 Afterwards I relaxed at the hotel, and the next morning we all woke bright and early for free buffet breakfast before heading to the Hiroshima Peace Museum. It was a really moving experience. I can't believe the damage nuclear war can cause, and I hope our generation never has to go through it. I took videos of almost the entire museum, so I'll upload those eventually.

I'm going to DisneySea this weekend, so expect tons of pictures and video from then as well!

Shopping:
I've toned down the shopping somewhat now that school has begun, but I've also found several more department stores, which was a mistake. I've been reading Japanese fashion magazines for almost a decade, and finally being able to go to these brands' stores and try on their clothing is amazing, especially when you realize the clothing isn't expressly designed for tiny Japanese girls. Shoes are still a hassle, as I wear a size LL in this country, and it's difficult to find stores that sell LL. So for now I stick with clothing! My goal is to have completely replaced my wardrobe by the time I come back home =P And from now on, no more cheapy clothing stores for me....yes, my brand-whore tendencies have kicked in again. But when you go to stylish places like LIZ LISA, ROSE FANFAN and CECIL McBEE it's difficult to go back to Piago and UNIQLO...
I also found out where BookOff is. Big mistake for my wallet. This is a used CD/DVD/bookstore, and I've now expanded my music collection, as well as titles from a few manga series. But everything's really cheap, so I think it's fine for now.

Health:
I'm currently sick and quarantining myself to my room, so this deserves its own category. Everyone at the dorms is either sick, has been sick, or is showing symptoms of sickness, so it was only a matter of time before I too caught it. (ToT) It's just a typical headcold for me, but because of DisneySea this weekend I'm doing my best to keep it at bay. Everyone's been so good to me! I left class early yesterday to come home and lay down, and when I emerged from my dorm room at 5pm, one of the RAs came by later and offered to get me medicine. Another friend got me some Vitamin C drinks, and another made me a special ginger/honey drink (^^) I've practically been chugging hot tea, so I'm gonna beat this thing, dang it! Even if it means I have to miss class, like I did today. =X
Oh, and Japanese medicine is expensive. Don't get sick in Japan, just don't. I paid approximately $15 for a tiny little bottle with 36 capsules inside. Thank goodness I brought a bottle of NyQuil with me.

Spare time:
Honestly, my spare time here isn't spent a whole lot different than it is back at home. When class ends I come back, eat lunch, do homework, and hang out in my room marathoning TV episodes on my computer. When I'm not doing that, I'm hanging out in the kitchen with friends while we all use the internet, which is much better in the common rooms than in the actual bedrooms. I've also been playing Final Fantasy VI again on my computer's SNES emulator. Whee. When I have money and I'm not trying to save up for something, I buy a day-pass for transportation and go into the city (Sakae and/or Nagoya) and go shopping. Right now I'm saving for DisneySea (and I'm sick), so shopping has been out of the question unless it's for groceries.

It feels like I'm going to be here forever, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. I know July seems incredibly far away now, but I know when it draws closer I'm going to wonder where the time went.
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58468_0
I'm finally into a proper routine in this country. I need to find the time to update more though, because lots of things seem to happen and I'm going to have no way to remember them in the future.

I have Japanese class three hours a day every single day from 9:10am to 12:20pm with a 10 minute break in the middle. On Mondays and Thursdays I have English Language Lounge, which is when I go to one of the cafeteria areas and chat in English with my exchange student friends and Japanese friends and get paid for it. Awesome. Additionally, on Mondays I have an extra class from 1:20 to 2:50pm, so yes, I do hate Mondays a little more than any other day. I've also been trying to drink coffee daily, after I almost died in one class from being so sleepy. Yesterday especially was fun; I drank two cups of some espresso/latte thing and proceeded to have an intense caffeine high. All I really wanted was to do laps around the building I had class in, but all I could do was sit at my table and behave. Needless to say, I was jittery and twitchy as hell. I felt like Tweak. I ended up skipping my second class because I knew it was going to be prison if I had to sit still for another hour and a half in a quiet classroom.

501 in general isn't as bad as I thought it would be. Ironically, we seem to have less homework than the lower level classes. Sure, we have a speech every Monday and a presentation every Thursday, but the speeches are roughly a minute long, and we're allowed to sit down while we read our short paragraph off a sheet of paper. The presentations require a bit more effort, but honestly, when you stand up in front of five people (including the teacher) and read from a Word document, it's not so bad.

My birthday came and went, but wow, it lasted for a few days. I had a little get-together on Saturday with a few of my Japanese friends and a couple other I-Housers. Sunday was homework day, but Monday I got birthday bombed several times with presents and well-wishes from my I-House friends. I'm 23 now. I feel like it's time to stop being immature. I'm already working on changing myself - I want to be able to properly voice my feelings, no matter how afraid I am of what people will think. I might come off as sociable, but I'm quite timid. What pisses me off the most about this place is the number of students who still act as though they're in America. It's so, so frustrating going out in public with some of the people here, especially for public transit - everybody talks so loud and shouts. Do they NOT see how everyone else is quiet? (@_@);; We all get stared at enough, but they just give them even more reason. And then there's the ones who leave their shit all over the place, which shouldn't even be a matter of one's nationality. CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF. Is that so difficult?

To summarize, I have a strong dislike for most of the Americans here.

Naps have become common for me, even if I don't really fall asleep. Just lying in bed after a long morning of class feels so nice. (=__=) I've also been going for nightly walks with some friends here as exercise. I'm really getting to know the area as a result, and it makes me feel better about myself the weight I've been gaining. (Seriously, fuck my life.)

Really, things aren't so different here. I think I have it better than most because I am able to get through daily life with my Japanese level. Sometimes I really don't know how people get by without knowing any Japanese, but that's just me...I've always wanted to understand everything going on around me, which is one of the reasons I put off going to Japan for so long. I'm happy I did, though. Had I come here two years ago I wonder how I would have fared.
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58468_0
I wrote this last night around 1am before falling asleep, but the internet cut out.
-------------------
Don't know if I mentioned this, but the kanji placement test was on Tuesday and the results posted this morning (with kanji class beginning today). I thought I bombed it and would make it into a lower level class, something I was kind of looking forward to as a nice complement to getting into the highest language class (aside from the "tokubetsu choukousei" - students who did so well on the placement test they're allowed to take classes in Japanese [most culture classes are taught in English])....so naturally I got into the highest class. (=_________=)

So far it's not bad, though. A lot of the characters we learned today I already knew from Iowa. I'm really grateful for the four years of classes I took there; I know other students don't have this sort of foundation even if they've studied that many years. My university really had a good program. Additionally, I had my first real day of 501 class after kanji class ended. Today was a reading class, and that didn't go so bad either. Afterwards I had lunch with friends and came back home to attempt homework and try to find a proper topic for my report outline. I was really getting frustrated because I couldn't think of anything good. (Fun story - when I asked my teacher if I could write about gay rights [or lack thereof] in Japanese companies, she replied saying she didn't think there are many companies with gay employees. =| Ah, Japan.) I let it sit for the time being and considered the recent "don't ask, don't tell" controversy, emailed my teacher one last time, and went off to hang out before getting a big group going to Apita, a mall half an hour away (walking distance) from here.

I had yummy zarusoba (I've only ever made it for myself before with some easily-cooked stuff - not properly made, really) for dinner at the food court and then a bunch of us got donuts at Mister Donut. I'm trying to get to 100pts on my point card so I can get this scratchcard for a chance at winning a Licca-chan Misudo phone strap...73 to go (=____=) It might just be easier/cheaper in the long-run to find someone auctioning it. xD We played around in the arcade for a bit (I won a Jack Skelington phone strap! That makes three things I've won from the UFO catchers) and then headed over to Book Off, which ate more of my money when I found some cheap Ayu albums and a photobook of Hayami Mocomichi's (105yen!?!?). The last time I went I got about five or six CDs for the price of one or two CDs, so I think I'm doing pretty well for myself.

When I came back to the dorms, the landlady told me I had a package (*____*)!!! SO HAPPY. I lugged that huge box back to my room - Mom told me when she had sent it last weekend, so I knew what to expect, but she put in tons of things I wasn't expecting! I had asked for my Skechers sandals and instead found a note saying something to the effect of, "Uh, about your sandals - they were old and gross so I tossed them and got you new ones instead. They were having a sale, anyway..." AND THERE WERE TWO NEW PAIRS OF SKECHERS SANDALS <33333 Come to think of it, I had my old ones since my senior year of high school, so maybe it's about time. I love Skechers, at least the sandals I've gotten (new ones included) because they provide proper foundation and aren't just flat pieces of foam like most sandals I've had...I'm so, so happy \:D/ Along with my winter clothing was a pair of rain boots she'd bought me, acne cleanser (I've had body and face breakouts since arriving, it's terrible), body lotion (!!!! thank god), a huge bottle of ibuprofen (because it's prescription-only in this country), and my requested dryer sheets, because I refuse to pay outrageous prices for it here. My room's a ridiculous mess as a result of unpacking this box but I don't care (^___^) I've got the weekend to clean it.

I'm in a pretty good mood. Lots of new TV to watch, I finished my outline earlier, it's the weekend, and...well, life is just good.
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58468_0
Seeing as so much has happened since I've been here and it's only been a week, I'm going to try to sum it up into separate categories.
it's kinda longCollapse )

I can't really think of much else at the moment...any questions? :D
(crossposting this at Facebook so family and other friends can read it - might seem a little redundant to those of you who know about Japan as a result!)
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58468_0
Had a really nerve-wracking flight over here (the long one, anyway), but I'm here, and wooooow~~~ That's all I can say. xD;;

I still haven't bought adapters for any of my outlet things (and my laptop's a 3-prong) so I can't use my own laptop at the moment, which means I can't use Skype (=________=) But sooooon. There's a city tour tomorrow I'm going on that includes a stop to an electronics store.

Also, scholarships + stipends are really, really awesome. Holy crap. Part of my scholarship requirements include not being able to get a part-time job, for some reason, but I won't complain for now. :D

Anyway, letting you know I'm alive and I should have real internet (and not just having to use slow-ass communal computers) soon. <3

Japan people who wanna hang out, hit me up on Facebook.

Current Mood: hungry hungry

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58468_0
As Japan nears, I find myself with my friends stretching me by the arms in both directions and no time for my internet life. This greatly saddens me (=_=) So of course, everything BAD is happening. I'm leaving Iowa City tomorrow and will be back in the STL area in the evening, so I'm looking for things to quiet down so I have enough time to sit down and get my e!life back in order.

If you've made any posts (significant or not) you'd like me to read, just link <33333 I wanna know what's been going on.

Gotta get back to packing. Ughhhhhh.
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58468_0
So this morning as I was getting ready to go to work at 6:15am, coughing my lungs up and blowing my brains out through my nose (welcome to my week), I was completely hating my boss for scheduling me an hour before my written availability. I got into work and was in the back getting ready when my boss saw me, asked how I was, and almost immediately told me to go home.

=|

Not that I'm complaining, but I mean, I did wake up and get dressed and everything...but this is probably better than working for six hours and feeling like shit.

(For the record, I worked Wednesday with the boss that I love and I sounded a lot worse, and she didn't even mention once sending me home. I survived, but it was rough for the first two hours. I think because she's worked when she's been puking her guts out before from the flu that she has no compassion. xD I still love H.E.R.)

And now I've blown my nose so hard I made it bleed. That's disgusting. Probably a good thing I'm at home. (@_@) Hello, couch.
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58468_0
We're having a pretty big thunderstorm right now. One of the thunderclaps shook my apartment so much, and I heard something fall down. I thought it was something in the kitchen but it seems the light fixture on my bathroom ceiling fell clean off. (x_x) I'm just glad I wasn't in there. To top that off, there was a rainstorm over the weekend and even though my windows were closed shut there was a puddle of water on my A/C unit just below the window. Turns out I have a leak at the top of my window, which this storm has illuminated for me. I should really call maintenance but that requires me getting dressed and I just feel like crap today. Don't get me wrong, I love my apartment, but...wow. She's breaking. D:

My lovely Sabrina came to visit this weekend! We hung out with Jaz and did a photoshoot for her (this is my second one for her). I hate photos of me so much (=_=) But I liked the coordinate I was wearing, and afterwards we went to the casino all dressed up - around 2am. At least we walked out of there ahead :D I won $9 from one of the machines after spending about $2. Afterwards we came back to my apartment and crashed around 6:30am. I woke up at 10am or so. (x_X)' Sabrina left shortly after that, and the rest of the day was spent at Jaz's with our friend Lara playing Tetris, marathoning Ouran Koukou Host-bu, and all-around awesome hang-out time with no plans. After Lara left, Jaz and I watched a couple episodes of Pushing Daisies.

So after no time to myself I'm devoting the next day and a half at least to only me~! Well, for now. I don't work until Friday anyway. I've just been watching dramas left and right and now my bookmarks folder is stuffed with all of the pages at jdramas I'm watching. I really need to clean out my drama folder anyway, so one by one I'm watching episodes, and I'm jumping around a lot in terms of series. One moment I'll be in the mood for Coffee Prince, then I switch to Sunanare (which I'm caught up on for subtitled episodes), the next it's The O.C., and then Tsuki no Koibito...I also started a few new ones, and I'll probably watch Shinzanmono today. Yay Osamun~

Cleaning, showering, no need for any of it. =P
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