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I will no longer be updating this journal. If you still wish to follow me, add wapiko =)
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Gahh, found out tonight the gender class I was going to take has suspiciously disappeared from the website. This now puts me at one class below the supposed minimum, and to be honest I'm unsure if they mean credits or classes themselves. I'd be set if it was the former. (=_=) I finally got around to posting a note on Facebook with my schedule and asking my Japanese friends for recommendations, so hopefully they can recommend me a class to take. Otherwise, I gotta figure out a new one on my own soooon or risk getting caught by the school office. =P I'm considering just taking one of the culture classes that the other exchangers take, but I really disliked the one I did take last semester.

Thursday I went outside for the first time since Sunday by going to the supermarket. Upon realizing what a nice day it was (warm breeze!? what is this, I barely remember this "warm breeze" thing) I then went for a walk around the area. Yesterday and today, however, were different stories, as I stayed inside again allll day. (-_-); I really need an excuse to get out, so I'm looking forward to class on Monday.

I started Q10 on Friday and am already watching episode 7. (@___@) I've not been into a drama like this for a long time! And I started watching the sitcom Better With You this morning. I can't remember the last time I watched something new with a laugh track, so that's taking a bit of getting used to but all in all it's a really cute show. <3 I replaced my newly-finished dramas with Guilty, and after I finish Q10 I'll start on Himitsu. I'm working my way backwards on the seasons, so I think I might loop in one of the summer ones just because Guilty's kind of depressing and the majority of the summer ones I have bookmarked are comedy. Amazing how much boob tube you miss out on when all you do is spend time with your friends...and a cute boy. <3 I think my time was definitely spent better, that's for sure ;) But now that I can't do those things, it's been time to get back into the drama scene.

Speaking of, there's only a few dramas this season that look appealing - Shiawase ni Narou yo (for Kuroki Meisa), Muscle Girl (for my girl Ichikawa Yui!!), Rebound (Aibu Saki and Moco), and I'm thinking about Asuko March as well but haven't fully decided. Guess I will once they start airing. I have a feeling Muscle Girl won't even get put on the direct download sites, so I might try to watch it on my phone...hmhmhmhm. I really hope Yui becomes relevant again. <3

I've been considering buying a paid account again, and then those annoying DDoS attacks started...now that they seem to have ended, I might give it more thought.
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Epic laundry day (with the money I withdrew specifically for this) begins now. It's not even that epic, I just haven't done laundry for a week and a half (maybe two?) and this week's batch includes my bedsheet AND security blanket. Maybe it's weird, but everytime I do laundry I feel refreshed.

Decided on all of my classes for the semester. Classes at NUFS (for regular students) happen only once a week for an hour and a half period, and most students take upwards of 20 classes. While this seems excessive, my minimum of 7 classes (to keep my student visa in tact) is considered a breeze to all the other Japanese students.

3:00pm - 4:30pm - International Gender Issues (Japanese class)
4:40pm - 6:10pm - Japanese Culture in Translation (English class)
10:50am - 12:20pm - Comparative Culture Studies (Japanese class)
1:20pm - 2:50pm - Korean 1 (conversation?) (Japanese-led class)
3:00pm - 4:30pm - Korean 1 (reading/writing?) (Japanese-led class)
10:50am - 12:20pm - English/Japanese culture: Toyota (English? class)
1:20pm - 2:50pm - Translation class (Japanese-led class)

No Friday and nothing before 10:30am? I've got it pretty damn easy. :D Now I've just got to get permission to get in these classes. I'm especially worried about the last one on Monday, because it's taught by one of the head honchos (an American) and seems to be specifically aimed at Japanese students with an advanced understanding of English, but I'd like to offer my perspective as a 20-something girl who has actually experienced America within the past five years. Seeing as this man is one of the heads, I'm going to assume he hasn't been back home much.

In drama news, I love this new Australian one called Winners & Losers. Makes me wish I won the lottery (@_@) I'm about to start The Borgias. Popular is cute, only finished episode 2 but so far I love all the 90s references. (And Christopher Gorham.) Making my way through the Shinzanmono special, Akai Yubi. It's sad so far. =/ But I've also decided that after alternately watching and finishing CONTROL and LADY, both crime dramas, I am officially through with crime/detective dramas unless they have an actress or actor I'm downright obsessed with. (I said this a year or two ago as well but clearly I didn't mean it then if I started two new ones -_-)

I realized today I haven't been outside since I went to 100yen Lawson with Yumena (one of the new RAs), and what's more, I can't even remember when THAT was. I was in the little patio area the other night when I-House had a BBQ, but that doesn't count =/ It's gotten nice-ish, maybe I'll go for a walk later...or maybe I'll just stand on my porch for a few minutes. =|

Time to go rotate some laundry.
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- I've gotten to talk to Will on webcam the past two days in a row. Even though the circumstances involve drama, the drama was not involving our relationship, but rather our friends, so it's been stressfree chats. :D Also, his phone was found, so happy times for my own phone again. Additionally, when I told him today over webcam I'd bought him some cool ninja toys from the ninja village, he was pretty happy (and then displayed mock anger when I admitted they weren't real). I never know what to get him, so it felt like I'd done something right. (^^)

- My videos folder is the emptiest I've seen it since I got my computer. I had well over 70 files in there after nabbing all February television I missed (that, and the other dramas I needed to watch) and now I've got 19 files, 6 being subtitles. It's kind of nice. :D Though I'll be replacing Nagareboshi with Himitsu as soon as I finish it.

- My room remains clean a whole two weeks after I organized it!!! :D :D :D

- I've started using bath salts by Bathclin. My aunt always loved the lavender one, which she would buy at Epcot (and occasionally Amazon, though it's hella expensive as an import). It's much cheaper buying it at an actual Japan store, and lately I've wanted something to make bathtime more awesome, so I bought the rose-scented box. Rose is one of my favorite scents, and Japan can't seem to get enough of it. I've been taking a bath almost every night as a result (^____^); I like sitting in there, playing sudoku.

- I'm suddenly more optimistic about surviving on 6000yen until the 18th, but dammit, why does it seem I only get invited to do things when I am hardcore pinching my money? I've been invited out to lunch twice, shopping once, a friend's hometown in a different prefecture (for shopping and hanging out), and dinner with another friend. It was completely my fault I'm in this mess, so now I'm atoning by making myself keep my wallet closed. It doesn't necessarily suck turning down some of these invites, because I'm anti-social by nature (no matter what people think! I put on a damn good front), but I rainchecked on the hometown invite because I definitely want to go. <3 One thing's for sure though, I'll be going to thrift stores for my brand items next time I get paid and not the actual stores themselves.

- School starts tomorrow for the regular exchange students. I really hope this makes the new students settle down, because I can't take their late-night bullshit anymore.

What about you? :D
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It's been an interesting past few days. Interesting, and yet completely boring. That doesn't even make sense. Because I took the mock 2kyuu in January to become tokuchokusei, I didn't need to take any of the placement tests that happened last week. In fact, I had little to do around here after my big shopping sprees. I was without any sort of direction until going to the graduation ceremony in support of my former RA Mitsuki last week, when I went to the offices to ask about the attendance slip for tomorrow's excursion (more on that) and was told I'd get it at the tokuchokusei orientation. Uh, what orientation? Nobody had told me a damn thing. That turned out to be Monday, and I was rather excited for it because it was a change of pace, but it only lasted about an hour and then it was back to the usual. Of course, now I get to pick out which classes I want to take. It's looking promising, let me tell you - just like school was back at Iowa, but in Japanese and even LESS frequent. No morning class? No problem! Now it just doesn't start until the 11th...so I have one more week to kill. Can I do it? Yes I can. :D

I've been speeding up when it comes to catching up on my dramas and even some movies. I'm not often in a movie-watching mood. Tangled was adorable, would watch again. Morning Glory was cute and fun. TiMER was a disappointment. In terms of Western dramas, now that I'm finally caught up on everything (with the exception of American Skins and the latest episodes of Harry's Law, SVU, and Celebrity Apprentice) and TV shows are on hiatus until mid-April, I think I'm going to start another one - I've been recommended Popular before, so why not? It's only two seasons, so I think I can make that happen by the time I leave Japan.

This morning I had my awaited Skype date with my bestie Sabrinaaaa~! <3 We chatted for about two hours, which was great. I feel like I've been going through a lot of changes here both in how I look and how I am in general, but she's the one whom I've always been able to relate to best (>w<)

Ah, so tomorrow is the first field trip of the new semester: we're going to Iga Ueno, the ninja village! A lot of people in the Japanese program back home seem to have this obsession with ninjas (my boyfriend may be part of this - I say this based on his Halloween costumes <3), but I can't say I've ever been truly into it. =/ Still, I'm actually looking forward to sitting on a bus for an hour and a half so I can zone out with my iPod and watch the Japan scenery go by.

Tonight almost turned into an unintentional mental disaster after having a chance conversation with an old friend from high school, but without thinking about it until now, I've managed to distract my mind away from it. Keep up the good work, Amanda.
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More of my friends are leaving.

A lot of my friends are in relationships here, and I find myself wanting to cry like a baby now that they're being separated. They should have had more time together, at least four and a half more months. I'd love to say it isn't fair, but I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to say that anymore after you grow up.

I'm so worn down from all of this. (>_<)
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Hey everyone. Due to sheer busy-ness and yet, lack of anything happening, I haven't felt the need to type up a new entry.

I am fine. In fact, I don't have anything to tell you in regards to the earthquake or tsunami that followed. I live roughly 10 hours away from the affected areas, so that would be like something bad happening in Minneapolis and worrying about it in St. Louis. Yes, we felt the earthquake in Nisshin (a suburb of Nagoya, Aichi prefecture), but it was only half of what was felt in Miyagi at the very most. We - okay, I - thought it was fun when the floor began to rumble. Yay, an earthquake! This is Japan! It wasn't until we turned on the news after it happened that we realized we only felt the outskirts of it.

We got new exchange students beginning last Thursday. The earthquake happened within 24 hours of most of their arrivals. The next day, one of them was forced back by his family and home university in Australia. We thought this wasn't going to happen again.

Just now, two of my friends from a British university were sent an email saying if they didn't purchase the plane tickets home, the university would for them. Carmen is one of my closest friends here. I don't know how I'm not crying. The other girl is the girlfriend of another close friend here of mine, and I've never seen her this rattled before. They're both going to try to talk to the NUFS office tomorrow morning, but it doesn't seem promising. Two other girls from China are also going home. One of my close Chinese friends is also considering it.

So far, no word from my university. My extended family wants me home. I've had email requests from two Iowa newspapers asking for my story. I have little to tell them. Everybody here is so unaffected by this; the earthquake and terrible things that happened/are happening because of it seem like another country.

I don't think being called home will happen for me. (They'd have to pay for my plane ticket, for starters.) This is my dream. I can't go home, not yet.

Current Music: Girlicious - Stupid Shit

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It's funny, but I really do feel Japan's my home now. I get on with everyday life just fine. The shopping's better suited to my tastes, as is the food. Even though my room in St. Louis still has the majority of my things in it, it feels like a shell ever since my mother took down all of my posters and shoved everything under the bed or in the closet. It doesn't even have a bed I'm comfortable sleeping on - they both have "guest bed" feelings. And with everything that's been going on at home, I don't like being at "home" there. I don't have an apartment in Iowa City anymore, and even though I know Will's apartment like the back of my hand, it's not my apartment. That said, my Japanese room IS me, like a unicorn barfed up cute randomity and idols. I know I have to leave in five months, but I'm going to make the most of it and hang some more posters before my break ends.

I-House is lonely without the majority of my friends in it. (ToT) Yesterday a few of them went off to homestay - it's so different without them~ Julia, I'm counting down the hours till you get back. XD We have new RAs, Mai and Yumena - Mai I was already friends with before, and Yumena and I have quickly become friends in the past day and a half I've been here. New exchange students are coming at the end of this week, and I'm looking forward to being an intimidating senpai. *evil laugh*

My flights were annoying. The first one had an annoying couple on it seated in front of me being all adorable, like the gods were laughing at me. The second one was 12 and a half hours (originally slated to be 13 and a half hours, when they announced it I felt like cheering). The third one had nice seats, but I was so exhausted and just wanted to pass out in my own bed. I'd been in the air and airports a combined total of 16+ hours by the end of it all, and then I had another hour+ bus ride AND a taxi to grab to get back home. Cold, tired, hungry, and a headache. Yay! But all of that was remedied when I finally got to sleep after eating some katsudon I bought from Lawson after getting back to Nisshin.

But apparently even the 9-10 hours of sleep I got that night weren't enough, because I was exhausted by 10pm and accidentally fell asleep with my light on after watching an episode of Glee. I woke up at 2:30am and worried I'd officially fucked up my sleeping schedule, but I managed to go back to sleep until 7:30am.

Now I've got oodles of dramas (Western and Japanese - I missed over 50 new episodes in the month of February) to catch up on and over an entire month to do it in before break ends. Hurray! :D

P.S> new capsule album out the 23rd? Looks like I'll be making a special trip to Sakae's HMV just for it! Or maybe Tower...mwahaha, the possibilities are endless.
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I still can't believe it, but Will is here, in my St. Louis apartment, until I leave for Japan.

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It has been requested that I post pictures of my room. I just rearranged a little bit, and I'm way more settled in now than I was in the fall, so here you go. <3 All taken with my cell phone.

weekend in my roomCollapse )

I've been in class the past two weeks, and my last day will be Monday. Freaking FINALLY. These last two weeks have been pointless. I thought I was at my bullshit limit in December, but apparently my buttons can stand to be pushed even more. We all have a presentation this coming Monday that the teachers have been holding our hands for. Presentations? These are no big deal, I was giving presentations every single week. Those all ended up being 30+ minutes. This time we're told to talk up to 6 minutes (it was 5 minutes but people complained). I had a dinky little 4 page paper to write that got ironed out several times by the teachers (who have conflicting viewpoints on Japanese language, no less), including pointless "feedback" days when you get assigned to a certain timeslot during class. But once you're done with it, they frown on you leaving class to go home because they want you back before class ends. Why? WHO KNOWS. It's bull. On these days, like today, I come home anyway and just make sure to be back before class ends. Rifreakingdiculous.

Today has some merit though, because I have to hand in forgotten homework...and an hour later, I have to take a mock JLPT 2kyuu test in order to take classes with the regular Japanese students this spring semester. When I was first told I'd probably become a tokusei (short for 特別聴講生-tokubetsu choukousei, or special auditing student) I was a mixture of elation and sheer anxiety at the thought of taking actual Japanese classes and not just language class, but now I'm more than ready to become one. The teachers in the language program nitpick everything, pile on the homework and weekly tests, and I can't stand it any longer.

For today's kanji test, one of the words was ゆうびんきょく (yuubinkyoku). This is like, second year Japanese level. Instead of 郵便局, however, I wrote 〒. (It's a good thing my Friday teacher loves me, at least she'll laugh. =_=)

Slightly nervous for this mock test, and at the same time I'm finding it hard to care anymore. I just want to get it over with so I can come home and be nonbiri. Or go shopping. Either work.
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