Sunday, June 20, 2010


The other day I was saying something about how my favorite kind of music is really sugary, bubblegummy, poppy punk rock, and Alexis replied with something like "I don't believe you. Every time I hear you listening to music, it's that folk metal or whatever."
And I realized she was right. I'd been listening to so much metal that bubblegum punk was slowly taking the backburner, and this saddened me.
So since then, I've been rocking out to the awesomeness of bands like the 20 Belows, the Yum Yums, the Riverdales, the Queers, the Ergs!, Screeching Weasel, etc. . . And not to be forgotten, of course, the Unlovables.
And I was reminded that, like there is a Southpark episode for every life circumstance, there is an Unlovables song for every Audrey life circumstance.

And right now, the song that describes my life is Disaster, even though, for me, my life is totally not a disaster.
Go here and listen to it, and I assure you, you will be rocked.

Anyhow, things have been fairly uneventful since the last time I wrote.
On Wednesday, we had a big test that was the same as the placement test that we took when we first got here.
We got the results back on Friday.

That orange circle that you see is where I was when I first got here. The pink circle is where I am now. I feel happy because I super advanced a lot (more than the other people in my class, as their original circles were all way bigger than mine). I missed one question from the things that we did this qusarter, and I feel really stupid about having missed it. Immediately after turning in the test, I rethought about it and knew I got it wrong. As for the things I wasn't supposed to know (i.e. that we didn't cover this quarter), well, no shocker, I didn't know them.

Wednesday, after the test, I had dinner at the student village (that's, like, the real Yamasa dorms) with some people I know over there. Laura made the most scrumptions vegan spinach quiche, and I wanted to eat ALL of it, but unfortunately I had to be nice and share. Also unfortunately, the last one got burned to a char. :-(

Laura with delish quiche!

On Friday night, I went over to Lyn's again, and she made a delicious cabbage potato stew, and it was DELICIOUS. I seriously love having people cook for me. We watched Naussica in the valley of the wind, and it was fabulous! It's one of my favorite Miyazaki movies (maybe they all are one of my favorites?), and I was happy to watch it again. Especially as it was super rad to understand some of it.

Saturday, I skipped French teaching (I know, I know, I am horrible) and instead went shopping with Martin for a bday gift for his lady friend. And then we took pictures of us jumping around in the rain.

Apparently Martin and I love taking pictures of ourselves. It reminds me of hanging out with Josh back at NYU, and it is fabulous fun!

Saturday night, Alexis, Jenny-Lyn, Lauren, and some others went over to Aoi Hall/Zig Zag (the school bar to which I can't really go because you're allowed to smoke inside), where they had screens set up and were playing the Japan/Netherlands World Cup game. The game was pretty much boring and actionless (well, until the last 20 or so minutes), and Japan lost (::sob::) but good times were nonetheless had.

Jenny-Lyn, Lars, Laura
I know, I know, I suck at taking night pictures!

It was weird to ENJOY going out and being out and talking to people I don't know again. I feel like I turned into this weird anti-social hermit while I was living in France, and living here is turning me back to myself, when I had previously just thought I was getting old.

And that is all.
(Except that I also apologize for the ridiculous size of these photos. Picasa is STILL not working with my connection, which is ridiculously annoying, and photobucket is screwy. Can anyone think of a better photo hosting site?)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Emza is totally a name

Last week, on Wednesday, our dance teachers brought us out for dinner. One of them was incredibly rich, and we got to go into her traditional style Japanese apartment. It was my first time in a Japanese person's home, and I fell in love. It was traditional with stones and tatami mats and awesomeness, but there were also these adorable pink covers with the cutest stuffed pink elephants on the couch. I wanted to steal one!

Us with dance teacher ladies

They brought us to this buffet style restaurant in a super nice hotel with a beautiful view overlooking the Okazaki castle. I had a fabulous time, and I got to attempt to speak Japanese which was, well, to be honest, painful. It was hilarious trying to understand each other. And they got slightly drunk and kept saying the exact same thing at the same time and then looking at each other and screaming "neeee" which is a Japanese sort of confirmation at the end of a sentence. It was super funny. Japanese ladies are awesome!

I actually found food to eat, and I guess the waiter felt bad that there was next to nothing for me, as he delivered a fruit plate that he had made. It was very nice of him, even if it meant I had to eat some grapefruit. He also gave me a "special drink" which was Japanese tea ceremony style matcha green tea, and it was one of the most disgusting things I'd ever tasted. I felt obliged to drink it nonetheless. One of the teachers kept telling me I should just accidentally spill it. It was funny, as she kept miming a disgusted face and me throwing it out the window. I mean, it was basically that green powder stuff with a small amount of water. Talk about ick!

On Friday night, Alexis and I went over to Lyn's house with some people for dinner. Lyn made the most delicious vegetable lentil soup, and it made me want to go eat at Lyn's house all the time. I was falling asleep, so Alexis and I left early, but we ended up going to see Sex and the City 2 instead of going home.

That's Lyn (and Jenny-Lyn and Lauren and Alexis and Tom and Kevin (I think that was his name)!

It was THE WORST movie I had ever before in my entire life seen. Seriously. It was SO BAD! It was sexist and racist and horrifying, and to top it all off, it was BORING. I really don't know what they were thinking. I feel like the ruined Sex and the City for me, and I felt so guilty having made Alexis sit through it, as she hadn't really wanted to see it to begin with. No movie should have the right to be that horrible. I am pained thinking about it.

On Saturday, after teaching French, I met up with Martin on the beach by the river, and we studied kanji and took pictures of ourselves making faces. It's funny how fun it is to pass the time taking pictures of yourselves.

Don't know if I remember what this face was, but I look miserable, and Martin looks scared. Hmmmm. . .

Saturday night, Jenny-Lyn was going to make dinner for me and Jin Han, a sort of dance class dinner thing. Unfortunately, I had to leave early, so I didn't get to benefit from the free food thing. I did, however, watch three straight hours of the BBC's newest version of Emma. I can't believe I have never read the book, as the awesomeness of this 4 part show totally made up for the destruction that Sex and the City 2 caused on my desire to watch movies.

Sunday, Alexis, Martin, Uri, and I all decided to make lunch.

Martin brought chocolate mousse, and I hear it was delicious, but since it was not vegan, I did not try.

Make a vegan dessert next time, Martin!
I felt kind of bad, though, because Uri's English is not perfect, and we were totally NOT speaking in Japanese, so I feel like we kind of lost her quite a bit.
I felt even worse when she sent me her pictures from the class barbecue, and quite a few of them looked something like this:

Alexis, Martin, and I are totally anti-social and exclusive, even if we don't mean to be. It made me think that I should make an effort to be more friendly with other people. And as I love hanging out with Uri, hopefully we will hang out with her more often!


Now, I have two weeks of a にっき to catch up on for my private lesson tomorrow.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I kind of love onions

Last weekend was, once again, kinda crazy.

Last Friday, our class had a Bar-B-Q on the beachish thing by the river (the same place Martin and I discovered while biking and then where Martin, Alexis, and I hung out last weekend).

back:Uri, Alexis, me, Martin, Chin, Yo
front: Andrea, Matan, Ken, John, Ii

It was, oddly enough, the first time I really actually talked to some of the people in my class (other than about class things).

Don't ask what Alexis and I are doing, because I do not know.

It was a lot of fun (even if I, not at all shockingly, didn't eat anything). Someone from the class had brought a ball, so we played at throwing it around while standing barefoot on the rocks in the river. And I determined that not a single person in our class (with the possible exceptions of Martin and Matan) is athletic.

Ken's birthday was Sunday, and the bar-b-q was sort of like a birthday party for him. They threw him in the river (from what I understood, it is a Taiwanese tradition to throw people celebrating birthdays into bodies of water - I don't know if this was made up or not), and, because he was so cold, he fell asleep afterward.

Ken being tortured while asleep.

me being too cool for Martin and looking like a blue-lipped man in the process

It was fun hanging out with all the people from our class. I'm glad I decided to go, as I was sort of hesitating in the beginning.

Then Saturday morning, Alexis and I went to the special farmer's market that was in town. Onions were so cheap that I might have bought at least 15 of them. I've still got some left over! Man, I love onions! And here, they are so huge that I only have to use one.

On Sunday, Alexis, Martin, and I headed over to Gamagori. It's this cute little town on the water about a 20 minute train ride from Okazaki. It was a LOVELY day, and we had a great time walking around and exploring.

Me and Alexis with Gamagori behind us!

There was this really cool island a bridge walk away. The trees puffed out of it in a funny way, making it completely adorable and making it resemble the turtle island (that was actually a turtle) in the Swamps of Sadness in the greatest movie of all time, the Neverending Story. It was love for me.

Us with the adorable turtley puffy island behind us!

We also saw this little statue thing on a rock that I thought looked like an oversized fat duck-billed platypus. Alexis and Martin thought I was crazy.

Do you see it? If you can find it, it's really cute!

Oh, and on the walk to attempt to find a grocery store, I came across the weirdest thing.

I don't know why they decided to hang their onions out, but it was kind of awesome. I want to do it now, too!

Fabulous times were had. Can you tell that I am absolutely ADORING my time here in Japan? This weekend has been great, and I will write about it soon. This week is looking to be pretty test crazy, though, so I'm off to read fiction and sleep to prepare for it (sounds like a great review plan, right?)

Saturday, June 05, 2010

And then and then and then and then and then (aka resto and Nagoya and karaoke and biking and dance)

So, it's been a ridiculously long time since I last updated, and to be honest, I don't even know where to start with the whole update thing. I can't really remember everything that I've been doing.
And thus - brief summaries!

Two (three?) weekends ago, a bunch of us got together and went to this nice buffet restaurant. I, of course, could eat nothing there, but it was still cool to get to hang out with everyone.

I believe, Martin and I took another bike trip around Okazaki, and this time, we went all the way over to Anjo, which is where he lives with a Japanese family.

Martin in front of his host family's house!

There was a cute little temple right by it

with, yet again, super awesome dragon fountain

and very pretty flowers.

And I really don't think I will ever get tired of these gate things.

Some weekend in there, Alexis, Martin, and I hopped on the train over to Nagoya.

Alexis got a beautiful pink donut!

We mostly just walked around and shopped, and it was super cool.

There are apparently ALWAYS festivals going on everywhere in Japan (there was a festival going on behind those things)!

We were for some reason all extraordinarily tired, though. We were planning on getting our hair cut, but we ended up not being able to find anywhere that would do it for us.

Last weekend, on Friday night a group of us went out to karaoke. I of course forgot to bring my camera, so I am sad to say that I have no pictures. We had a FABULOUS time, though! I got to sing "Nichiyoubi yori no shisha" by the High Lows, which is one of my favorite Japanese songs, and I totally rocked it (well, I managed to read the hiragana and sing along - my voice, however, is another story).

Jenny-Lyn, Lynne, and Laura all had FABULOUS voices, so it was embarrassing attempting to sing after them, since my voice is horrible. Lauren kept picking metal songs, which was sort of fabulous. And Alexis did wonderful old school 80sesque songs. Good times.
I will definitely be karaokeing again, and next time, I will remember to take pictures.

Other than that, I had my big kanji test two weeks ago, and I got 100%! Ohhh yeah! All that kanji time with Martin is totally paying off. Then we had our big test last week, and I totally rocked it. I didn't miss a single point for lack of knowledge, just a couple points for stupidity (i.e. writing things in that were already there). Just one more left and then the quarter is over. Time really has been flying by!

Oh, AND, I started doing this Japanese dance class thing. Jenny-Lyn and Jin-Han are the other two Yamasa students in the class with me, and it is super fun. It's good because it's like exercise.

me, Jin-Han, Jenny-Lyn

We already learned one whole dance, and then this past week we started a new one. Yay!

And that's what's been going on. Life is good. Japan is fabulous. Rachel and Josh are coming at the end of June. Guillame is coming at the end of July! And I might just come out of this all being a speaker of Japanese.

And I'll try to update more often, as I've already got things to say about this weekend.