Japan 332

we woke up early around 8:30 or so because of sleeping early the night before. still, we felt exhausted from not being able to sleep from the strong aftershocks. i was hoping that the power would have turned back on while we were sleeping, but no such luck. the first thing we decided to do was get food, because if the electricity was out, that meant that no businesses would be open and people would definitely be lining up at the grocery stores. luckily, we still had running water (no hot water though) and were able to wash up a little bit and brush our teeth before going outside...

we ate some peanut snacks for breakfast. a few days before my friend had bought them as a gift for my mom, but we had no food left in my apartment so sorry mom! we had to eat them... i shall replace them for you shortly!

the first place we went to was the saty grocery store at the mall next to my apartment. there was already a long line snaking around the corner of the building so we quickly joined everyone in line. i was surprised to see that no one was panicking, and everyone was actually in high spirits. i couldn't see what was available to buy, but i did check out the bags of people passing by us who had already bought stuff. i saw that they had bought instant ramen, bottles of tea, meat sausages... funny the first things japanese people buy to survive!

we had to wait in the line for at least an hour before getting to the front. all the while the employees had been giving announcements to us while we were waiting. thank GOD i had been studying japanese this whole time so i could understand a little bit of what they were saying. there were saying something like there wasn't any more gas available to buy, or they had run out of certain items and were sorry to report that. even in dire circumstances, japanese politeness endures!! to pass the time and to take our minds off the cold wind, my cousin and i played long games of word tennis, at one point my cousin bought up the category "spanish names" and we had named about 50 spanish names before getting tired of the game, haha. there was a family behind us with some kids who were playing with leftover snow, and how i wished i could be one of them, not worrying about surviving and trusting the adults to do the important things. now I'M the adult...

once we got to the front of the line, we saw that there were only cans of tuna, apples and oranges, and bottles of oolong tea for sale!! that was IT. they were selling everything on tables just outside of the entrance, and wouldn't let anyone into the building. i could see employees inside with flashlights getting more items ready and i watched them roll out more food stuffs on carts. anyway, at the time we had only those 4 things to choose from, so my cousin and i figured it was better than nothing so we stocked up on a few items of each before taking them back to my apartment.

here we had a very short lunch before going back out. my cousin didn't have much of an appetite, but i ate some tuna on some old senbei crackers i found... really stale, bleh. i also ate an orange before we went back out again...

we decided to see if the other groceries around us were offering better items... we went to the grocery called 'big house' a 15 minute away from my apartment, and the line here seemed to be much shorter, plus they had more items for sale. as at saty, they didn't let anyone into the store but had the food out on tables in front. the employees seemed like they really knew what they were doing, and everyone was still in a very orderly line. we bought some junkfood here, as that's all they really had... cookies, chocolate, chips, but we were also able to get some picked vegetables.

the last grocery store we hit up was "maruichi," another 15 minute walk away. this line was longer, but the had the same procedure. we were able to get even more items here, including some yogurt and some more chocolate (essential!! haha) and even some spare batteries for my cousin's flashlight. we went back to the apartment and decided to ration the food out. we had no idea when the electricity was going to be back on or how long we'd have to go living like this, so it was the best thing at the moment.

we both took naps after to pass the time and to rest up. i tried my phone again, but by this time it was really running out of battery so that was still a hopeless thing for the moment. around 6 we proceeded to then eat the saddest dinner ever - tuna with mayonnaise, and some of the pickled veggies with some weird meat we bought that i have NO IDEA what the hell it consisted of... only that that and the veggies together tasted like rubber and i couldn't stomach most of it. but i got full nonetheless... we ate some apples and yogurt for dessert, too.

there were still after shocks going on this whole time, and the sun had set so my apartment was completely dark again. i decided to teach my cousin how to play this card game called "thirteen" before we went to bed. it turned out to be a good idea because it passed the time and kept our minds off the situation. later, i tried my phone again and i was able to receive email!! but i had the hardest time, sending email out... luckily i was able to send 3 emails, one to my mom, and 2 to my friends back home so i hope they'd send the message out to everyone else that i was going okay. i decided to turn my phone off until tomorrow morning to conserve battery...

the rest of the night was spent just talking to my cousin about childhood memories and singing songs and trying to keep positive. we really were very ignorant about the situation in japan and had no idea of how everyone else was faring, only that we had to take care of each other at the moment and see what we could do tomorrow... we were able to sleep a little better this time, at least. before going to bed we decided we should talk about the things we were grateful for instead of focusing on the things that we didn't have...

grateful for a full stomach. grateful for warm blankets. grateful to have each other. and grateful to still have an intact apartment and running water. tomorrow would be a better day...

Japan 331

it was supposed to be easy living from here on out. i had just finished saying the last of my goodbyes at school yesterday, and for the next two weeks, all i had planned on doing was selling the rest of my stuff and trying to pack and prepare for my brother's visit and for my trip to the philippines before returning back home.

it started off simply enough... my cousin and i woke up late, we got the lunch special at marumatsu, and then i sold some of my stuff at the local recycle stuff. i got about 5000yen, a whole hell of a lot more than i thought i would receive, so i was feeling pretty good about the day already. we went to the post office after to send some final postcards home, and then we planned to go to the mall to buy some KFC for dinner and it in in front of the computer while watching japanese dramas. around 2:50 we started to walk towards the mall, but stopped when we came to the front of a restaurant that was advertising parfaits for half off. hey, ice cream parfaits for only 250 yen! why not, it was friday, we should celebrate.

my cousin and i sat down and ordered the ice cream, and the very nice waitress brought them out a few minutes later. we just finished taking pictures of the dessert we were about to eat when all of a sudden i heard everyone's cell phone go off, including mine. it was surreal from that moment out - i checked my phone - early earthquake warning. i remembered receiving a warning like this a few months earlier but it turned out to be in a far away prefecture, so i wasn't sure if i should just ignore it, but when the room started rumbling and shaking, i knew it was the real deal. everyone in the restaurant, including my cousin and i just sat around dumbfounded until i decided we should probably take cover under the table. the earthquake was getting stronger and stronger and finally my cousin crawled under the table as well, we held onto the pole holding the table up together. the nice waitress from before rushed out while the room was shaking and ushered us to go outside, and once we stood up we realized the whole restaurant had already evacuated! we followed suit, leaving all our stuff behind.

outside, everyone from inside the restaurant was just standing around, and i remembered feeling how strange it was to be experiencing an earthquake from an open area. it didn't feel nearly as scary, instead it felt somewhat like surfing on pavement... the cars on the street came to a stop and finally the rumbling ceased after a while, and everyone just stood around wondering if they should go back inside the restaurant or not.

i suddenly remembered our stuff, and then i told my cousin we should go in and get it. in my head i thought the earthquake felt like a 6 or a 7, but i wasn't entirely sure. not many things had fallen over in the restaurant, only that the power was knocked out. our parfaits were surprisingly still intact!! we actually ATE them really quickly before leaving the restaurant (like a boss!) and it was the saddest ice cream i ever had. my cousin quickly paid and the waitress hand wrote her receipt, and told us in japanese to watch out for any shingles that might fall from the roof.

once outside with our stuff, we didn't know what else to do except to go home. i saw some students walking by yelling in japanese, "that earthquake was the best!!" as we headed back, we soon noticed that everyone inside the mall was evacuating, and all the street lights were out. back at my apartment, the electricity wasn't working at all, and the apartment felt cold. there were strong after shocks all afternoon, and being inside my apartment was freaking my cousin out so we ended up taking a walk around the neighborhood even though it was freezing cold.

students were walking home from school, everyone was going about like business as usual, except for the traffic lights not working. after we returned to my apartment, i tried calling people from my phone, but the calls wouldn't go through. emails could not be sent either. after some debate in my mind, i decided we should walk to my friend's apartment, about a 30 minute walk from my apartment. it was dark at the time already, but my cousin remembered she luckily had a small LED flashlight in her bag.

thank god for that flashlight... walking outside in the dark was probably not the smartest thing for us to do but i was so desperate for news from my friends and what the hell was going on that i decided we should chance it. plus being in my apartment and experiencing after shocks was freaking us out more and more. it was a long walk in the dark, and kinda dangerous as the traffic lights were still not working and it was basically a free-for-all traffic-wise.

when we reached my friend's apartment, i knocked on her door but she wasn't home. i tried my other friend who lives right next door, and he also wasn't home. i tried my phone again, and i was able to call my friend who lived in tono for a few minutes. he was safe, but was in kitakami with some of his teachers. he had been working at school and was in a gym when the quake hit. after i got off the phone with him i tried my friend who lived at that apartment, and i actually got through to her, and was relieved to hear that she was with another friend who lived not too far away. unfortunately we soon got cut off, so i couldn't find out where he lived, or how i could meet her. while my cousin and i talked about what to do next, another strong after shock happened and we decided we better just go home and see what we could do in the morning.

on the way home we saw ONE building in the sea of darkness that had light, and that was a grocery store. there were a lot of people in line, and we weren't sure what they were able to buy, but as we drew closer we saw that they were buying food, water, and toilet paper... we decided not to wait in line at the time because it started snowing and it was getting much colder, so the issue of food had to wait til the next day. also, i had no idea when the electricity was going to be back on, so i figured maybe people were just panicking.

we made the long walk back to my apartment in the snow and when we returned, of course my apartment was still dark. we used my cousin's flashlight to set up my futons on the floor and we put all the blankets i had down so we could sleep underneath them to keep warm. there were more after shocks all throughout the night, so every time one happened i could feel my cousin's body stiffened so we held hands until each one passed. finally exhaustion got the better of me and i was able to sleep for a few hours...

how funny life can change in the blink of an eye. at the time, we had no idea how lucky we were...

Japan 324

fridays come a lot faster now that i'm not worrying anymore about lesson planning or staying after school. today was pretty easy, same lesson as yesterday, and only one class at that. this second year class was pretty quiet at first (thus causing my JTE to worry about how they'd receive my lesson) but after they got into the game, the students really liked it! i'm telling you... giving students points suddenly changes everything for some reason. maybe it's the glory of winning! or bragging rights? either way it doesn't cost me anything! mwahaha...

right after school, i went to the recycle shop about a 15 minute bike ride away, the same one that i bought my kotatsu at to see if they did buy backs. turned out they didn't, but they told me to try the place next door. and the place next door was one hell of a recycle shop, that's for sure. it was basically a junkyard in the front with all kinds of old bikes and refrigerators rotting out there, and so much useless crap inside, choking every shelf with its age. pretty neat place to be in actually!! i asked the lady there if they bought kotatsus, and they did, and i asked if they could pick up (since i don't have a car), and they definitely could! they said they could come the next day too! so sadly my cousin and i have only tonight to enjoy the kotatsu, but i was worried that i wouldn't be able to get rid of it by the time i had to move out so i'm glad i've got that settled.

i biked back home after all that, and dear god was that a JOURNEY! the wind was especially harsh and i thought i was gonna faint. i ended up walking my bike back the last 2 blocks because i wouldn't have gone any faster by riding it. as soon as i got back i took a really warm shower and then chilled out with my cousin who had been lounging around all day as usual! we didn't leave the apartment until around 5:00 when we decided to eat dinner out tonight. we went to kappa sushi, and i showed her the wonders of ordering by TV screen and having your food delivered to you on a mini-bullet train, haha. we probably ate about 10 plates each, and she even tried natto (fermented bean) sushi and didn't gag herself in disgust surprisingly. shudder... i tried natto once or twice living here, and never again!!

you always get so full quickly after eating at sushi places like this cause you don't realize how much rice you're actually ingesting with each slice of fish (it's a lot!) to walk off our dinner, i took her to the crazy recycle shop across the street and we took our time wandering around and experiencing the various stimuli that surrounded us. i watched some k-pop music video near the cd section, and i think i'm somewhat scarred for life...

we went to the grocery store after to pick up some snacks and a bit of alcohol (hehe) to enjoy finishing watching the rest of 'satorare' under the kotatsu! we ended up watching it to the very end and stuffing ourselves silly, but it was a good and satisfying night. tomorrow shall be a long eventful day...

Japan 323

easy day at the coed school today as i only had one special lesson for a 2nd year class. my JTE was nervous, because she wasn't sure how she was going to be able to control the class... apparently this class gets pretty energetic and since i was teaching them a quiz trivia game (and they rarely play any kind of games) she was afraid they'd go nuts. and they did go kind of nuts, but nothing we couldn't handle together, and i've handled much worse back in america, haha. the students enjoyed the competitive nature of the game, and i was surprised that some kids were able to spell really difficult english words correctly!! like "thoroughbred"!! (of which i didn't even know the meaning of til i had to make up questions for the game, haha). i'm constantly surprised working here, even up to the end of my contract...

i left school after lunch, and went back home to my cousin and we did pretty much the same thing that we did the day before. more j-drama, more cooking... more healthy veggies and soup (aww yeah!) i had to go meet my tutor after that, and it was pretty rough biking out there in the cold, but it was worth it because we had a good session. she checked my essay over and all was well. we read some student letters that were printed in a graduation newsletter i got from the coed school, and one of them read something like this, "dear mom, thanks for always making me bentos and waking me up everyday! i bother you a lot but i appreciate it!" cute...

made the cold windy bike ride back home. lately it's been crazy windy and i don't know why but it's been getting COLDER instead of warmer like i thought it was getting!! last week has thoroughly confused me, and i guess winter's still not completely over...

木曜日の小論文 - 一人暮らし

日本へ来る前、一人で住んだことがありませんでした。 私はいつも家族とルームメートとすんでいましたので、家に帰る時、だれかいます。 一人で掃除したり、料理したことがありませんでした。日本に行くはちょうと緊張しました。 寂しい一人で住むのが怖かったです。

最初は一人で住むのがぜんぜん好きがありませんでした。 私のアパートの壁は空っぽで、活気がありません。 学校で遅くまで働きますから、アパートに帰りたくない。 しかも、一人で何もかもしました。 皿を洗わなかったら、きれいになりません。 食料品を買わなかったら、食べられません。 なによりも、とてもホームーシックになりました。 カリフォルニアは別の世界で、遠くの場所です…

でも、一人暮らしは完全に悪くないと分かりました。 私は壁に写真と葉書を飾りました。 もっと色がでてはうれしくてなりました。そして、一人で家事とお使いするので他力本願な人になりませんでした。 時々、仕事量が多いですけど、私がしなかったら、だれもしてくれない。 時間が経つにつれて、どんどん友達を作り、仕事が忙しくなりました。 私はホームシックの時間がありませんでした。 すぐに、一人で住むことはいいことと分かりました。 人生で初めて、平和と平静の価値が分かりました。 私のアパートは自分の避難所になりました。 盛岡のような小さい街では平和と平静は可能ですけど、ロサンゼルスでは無理です。 今、一人の時間をありがたがっています。

一人暮らしはとても違いますけど、いい経験です。 新しいレベルの自立に達しました。 もっと自信を得ました! もうすぐに、アメリカに帰ります。 お母さんと住むことを楽しみにしています。 でも、早晩、自分の場所に住みたい。 世界中どこでも、私の家になりうると分かりました。

Thursday Essay - Living Alone

Before I came to Japan, I had never lived by myself. Because I always lived with my family or roommates, when I returned home, there was always someone there. I never cleaned or cooked by myself. I was a little nervous coming to Japan. I was afraid of living alone and being lonely.

At first, I didn't like living alone at all. My apartment walls were empty and lifeless. Because I didn't want to go home, I would work late at school. Moreover, I did everything myself. If I didn't wash the dishes, they'd never be clean. If I didn't buy groceries, I couldn't eat. But more than that, I became very homesick. California was a different world, a very faraway place.

However, I soon learned that living alone wasn't entirely a bad thing. I decorated my walls with pictures and postcards. More color made me happier. Also, doing my own chores and errands made me a non-dependent person. Sometimes, the work would be too much but if I didn't do it, no one would. As time passed, I gradually made more friends and work became busier. I didn't have time to be homesick. Soon, living alone became a good thing. For the first time in my life, I learned the value of peace and quiet. My apartment became my haven. In a small city like Morioka, peace and quiet was possible, but in Los Angeles, it's impossible. Now, I appreciate my free time.

Living alone is very different, but a good experience. I've reached new levels of independence. And I've gained more confidence! Soon I will go home to America. I look forward to living with my mom. But eventually, I want to live in my own place. No matter where I am in the world, I learned it's possible to make my own home.

Japan 322

graduation at the coed school today. it went by a little bit faster this time! even though they said every individual student, the pacing was a lot faster, haha. i sat next to my favorite JTE and we talked about how we wished someone would sit in front of us so that we wouldn't be seen falling asleep. graduation at the coed school wasn't nearly as solemn as yesterday's graduation at the girls' school, and even though there was no singing, the brass band played some pretty good tunes.

i drifted in and out of sleep for most of it. i think there were about 4 speeches. the last speech was by the student class president, and it was a bit scary because all students had to stand for her speech and one kid fainted!! but the teachers were quick on the scene and he was fine. after graduation was over i was surprised it was already 11:30, and 5 minutes after i sat back down at my desk my vice principal called me over to give me a free sushi lunch! so happy!! i thought i was going to have to pay like yesterday, but nope! i guess someone must have paid for me! in any case i always knew i liked this school better, haha. and not only that, my old man JTE bought me a copy of the 3rd year's photo album (kind of like a yearbook but with only staff and graduating students' pictures!) my photo is in there too so it's a good keepsake. so sad to be leaving such awesome co-workers, but alas, i still have 3 more days to enjoy the easy teaching life...

i got to go home early after school, and my cousin and i spent the whole afternoon watching j-dramas (this one in particular called 'satorare' about a dude whose thoughts can be heard outloud, but he isn't aware of it! so good!) she made some soup a little bit before i left so we ate some dinner together too. i was so lazy to leave the apartment again, but i had to teach at my part time. tonight was pretty easy, but i had to announce to all my students that next week would be my last week. siiigh, i hate disappointing all of them, as i really grew to like these students (and it seriously was an easy job for easy money), but life moves on and more goodbyes need to be said.

tomorrow i have a total of one class to teach, a special one for the 2nd years, and the same deal on friday. then the weekend rolls around again...

Japan 321

today was graduation at the girls' school today, and also the first day that it's SNOWED in a while... sigh. i couldn't bike to school today, so i took the bus again. once i arrived at school, i could already detect a different atmosphere... all the teachers seemed to be in lively spirits, and everyone was dressed so nicely!! even some female teachers were wearing lovely kimonos, and here i was in just a regular sweater and pants, ugh. i felt so underdressed while everyone else looked amazing. i should have known that graduation was going to be a supremely formal occasion...

i watched the graduation from beginning to end. it started at 9:30, and all the graduating students came in with a song played by the brass band. it was a lively song, yet the expressions on all the students' faces were of seriousness. every time the students finished filling up a row, those students' bowed, and then when the row behind them filled up, those students bowed as well, and so on. there were 199 graduating students, so it took a long time. and at this school, they actually read out individual names and the students came up to receive their diplomas (which were huge sheets of nice paper!) NO CLAPPING WAS INVOLVED AT ALL, only solemnity, and the room was quiet, save for the quiet violin music coming out from a stereo. it was cold in the room too, since japan doesn't have central heating anywhere, and of course the gym was no exception. i tried not to shiver too much, as it probably would have made too much noise...

after all the students were awarded diplomas, (and after drifting in and out of sleep), 5 speeches were given, all without applause at the end. just lots of standing up, bowing, and sitting down. i was totally not used to this type of graduation ceremony. where was the yelling?? where were the balloons and crying parents/students? i soon learned that all that stuff happens AFTER the formal ceremony. after two hours of this, the graduating students exited to another happy tune, and right outside of the gym, lots of merriment finally happened! balloons, tears, flowers, presents, yearbook signings, the works... ah, now that was what i was expecting.

after graduation was over, i didn't really know what to do with myself. i paid to eat lunch, so i sat in the teachers' room waiting for my sushi bento to be delivered to me. i soon discovered all the sushi bentos were in the corner, and some teachers were just taking them, but i felt extremely out of place for having to do it myself (after working almost a year in japan, i still don't know what's okay for me to do!!) finally, after about 40 minutes of just twiddling my thumbs and trying not to look pathetic, i asked a teacher who looked like they were in charge of the food if i could take my bento and she said of course it was... sigh. i ate my lunch in peace (and completely alone, as all the other teachers were running around, sniff) and once i finished, i got my work sheet signed and left the school while the students were still enjoying their celebrations. i didn't really get close to any of the graduating students since i mostly only taught 1st years so i didn't feel any strong emotions throughout the whole process. but as i left the school for the bus stop, i still felt a sense of loss... i had come a long way since i first started, and i couldn't believe i have already come to this point!!

tomorrow's the coed school's graduation so i gotta go through all this formality once again. i wonder how different (or not different) it'll be. anyway, today, for the rest of the afternoon, i didn't do much else. since the weather was crap outside, my cousin and i watched a j-drama called "school!!" about an idealistic principal who deals with the pressures of running an elementary school (and i ended up bawling after one episode... sigh, those kid actors know how to pull at your heartstrings.) we ate curry for dinner, and that was pretty awesome. siigh, once again, it's so nice to have someone living with me again. makes the afternoons/evenings less lonely.

and so the week moves along...

Japan 320

equally productive and lazy day in morioka. i had the day off work so my cousin and i slept in leisurely, and then headed out around 11 to go mail a box back to the states. i packed some clothes i wasn't wearing anymore, along with some books. it was pretty difficult trying to get it all the way to the post office, cause it was a 30 minute walk away. i found out later at the post office that the box was only 17 lbs, but my arms still felt like jelly once we got there. the woman at the post office who helped me is the same lady who always helps me when i get there, and we had a little chat in japanese... i told her i was leaving to america at the end of the month and she gasped and couldn't believe it. snifff... she asked if that was all i was sending home, but i said i would come back later to send more stuff. the cheapest way to send that package was by sea, even so, it still cost about 6200yen ($80?) i need to get rid of a lot of junk asap, don't wanna spend more to send more crap back...

after that hassle, my cousin and i walked to across the big bridge to the station, where we met my friend, who had to come to morioka today to get a visa out of the country. we went with him to the immigration office, and then after we got some lunch at a ramen restaurant. it was a cloudy day when we started this adventure, but by the time we were done the sun was shining and it turned out to be a lovely afternoon. my friend had to catch the train at around 2:40, so after we said goodbye to him, we took a walk back to my apartment, but not before stopping at some random places... first, the ice arena, so we could find out how much ice skating costs (plan to go soon, maybe!) and then daiso (where i bought some japanese playing cards for our boredom later), and then lastly the grocery store to buy some snacks and some more food for the week.

once we got back to my apartment, it was only about 5, but we were already wiped. had been walking around the city all day! i think my cousin still isn't used to the peaceful days here in iwate, as she's more used to the hustle and bustle of seoul... we spent the afternoon watching some anthony bourdain, playing with the cards (hanafuda games are kinda confusing!) and then making and eating a healthy vegetarian dinner while watching the simpsons. it's nice to have another person in my apartment to share the laziness with...

tomorrow i have to go to the girls' school graduation, while my cousin will laze about here at my place. wednesday is the coed school's graduation too. japanese graduation seems to be a whole lot different from american graduation, as i've heard they don't go through each individual student, so at the very least it should be quick? haha. there's a sushi lunch involved for teachers after, so i'm pretty excited about that! will see how it goes...

Japan 319

got up around 9am, after some restless sleep! i was worried about my cousin and hoping that she'd get to morioka okay from sendai, so around 11, my friend and i took the bus to the station in the hopes that she took the right shinkansen and would show up at 11:22, when i told her she should. it turns out she did!! and it was a happy reunion after the craziness of last night! she told me that she got up really early at her hotel, and was waiting at sendai station since 7am waiting for the 10:38 train, just to make sure she would actually make it, haha. man oh man! to celebrate her arrival, the three of us went to the 20th floor of the malios building for the 900yen lunch buffet (even though i was just there last week, hehe) and ate to our hearts' content. good food, and i felt extremely hungry, cause after yesterday's ordeal i didn't feel much like eating. after lunch, i showed my cousin the view from the top, and told her it was the tallest building in morioka, haha. nothing like seoul for sure! she's gonna have a lot of adjust to in this quiet little country town...

after lunch, my friend caught the train back home, and then my cousin and i took a taxi back to my apartment because her luggage would be too annoying to take on the bus. we chilled out for a little bit back at my place, and i pointed out all the quirks about my apartment, like the stupid faucet that needs to be twisted shut extra tight in order for it not to leak, and the door to the hallway that doesn't lock properly, and i also introduced her to the wonders of space heating, haha. she really took to the kotatsu though!! ahh, the laziness that the kotatsu brings...

before we got entirely settled though, i took her to the mall right next to my apartment so that she knew where to buy essentials and how to go to the grocery. i remarked that the mall is usually super crowded on weekends, and she looked back in me in disbelief. "this is crowded to you??" she said, incredulously. haha, i sometimes forget how skewed my view of reality can be living here sometimes...

anyway, we bought some groceries for the week, and took them back to my place, and then we settled in for a long stint of laziness watching youtube on my computer. for dinner, we made some spam and eggs and rice!! she brought some spam from korea, and it was oh sooo awesomeee... i hadn't had spam since i left for japan!! good dinner...

spent the rest of the night watching some anthony bourdain, and then after that we went to bed early like a pair of old ladies. tomorrow will be another lazy day...

Japan 318

slept in ridiculously late today. after skyping with my brother til about 3 am last night, i didn't really have to do anything today until the afternoon except clean clean CLEAN. around 2, my friend was coming into town so we decided that we should eat the miami burger at mcdonald's for lunch. we invited our other friend to come with us to join in the festivities... but when the 3 of us got to the mcdonald's in the basement of the station, the miami burger was already discontinued!! wahhh!! disappointment. i ended up eating a big mac instead, haha. i felt no regret at this intake of fast food though, because we ended up walking all over the damn city it seemed after we ate.

first we went to the main street downtown, because my friend wanted to stop by this game store that he said he found on the internet. but it turned out the place was already closed down, and a medicine shop of sorts had replaced it! so that idea was scrapped, and instead we decided to hit up the recycle store to see if they had the game there, plus he wanted to buy a capo for his guitar. so then we hoofed it back to the station, got my friend's bike there, and then headed across one of the bridges to make the long hour walk to the recycle shop. along the way, we stopped at an electronics store where my friend actually found the game that we wanted there, and he ended up buying it... so we didn't really have to go to the recycle shop, but we decided to go anyway, since another friend wanted to meet us there. i didn't really have anything else to do in the afternoon anyway, since i waiting for a call from my cousin! she was supposed to be arriving in morioka tonight, and i told her to call me from tokyo station with the time that she was going to be arriving at the station...

time passed... we went to the recycle shop, met our friend there, and then went to the mall for some dinner... 6:00 passed... then 7:00... and i was officially worried about my cousin! her flight from seoul was at 3, she definitely should have bought her shinkansen ticket by now! she finally called at 8:00, while we were in the food court, and i was extremely relieved, but then also worried again, as it turned out she missed the last shinkansen to morioka and could only make it as far as sendai that night!! she had to hurry to catch the train, so i couldn't really ask her anymore questions... my two friends and i hurried to my apartment to weigh my options as to how to get my cousin to morioka... the train was out, there weren't anymore trains to morioka. the bus was also out, cause that crap is complicated!! finally, i decided i should probably go to sendai to meet her, but that was going to be a long train ride and expensive at that!! so in the end, we decided to book a hotel for her to stay in over night... my friend who speaks japanese helped me out, so i hoped that my cousin would call me as soon as she arrived in sendai...

it was only 9:30 when we working all this out, so i had a while to worry my ass off until 11 when she arrived. when she called again, i told her the plan, and found out she had been planning to sleep overnight IN THE STATION! i immediately shot that idea down! no, dude! we booked you a hotel! go to it! so all was good... in another hour she called me from the hotel room, and even though she had another kink in her journey (the taxi driver took her to the wrong branch of the hotel we booked, sendai has four toyoko inns!!) she was finally safe and she planned to come to morioka as early as she could the next morning. knowing that things were finally okay, i was able to breathe...

still i had trouble going to bed... i hoped that all would work out tomorrow...