Thursday, November 10, 2011

Doing the Colorado (Taylor Swift) Louisiana Thing

So, last time I wrote, I wrote about things in Japan, but the time before I hadn't finished writing about my trip to the states, so I think it's time to do that now. :-)

After California, I hopped on a plane with Kristen and Shawn (it really wasn't as easy as hopping on a plane - I swear the whole flying thing gets more and more ridiculous every time I go home. Talk about taking away our right to privacy), and headed on over to Colorado. I was super excited to get to hang out in Kristen's classroom and and to get to meet all of her new students and see some of her students from last year.

And then, Kristen and I went with Krist's friend Katie and her daughter Riley to see TAYLOR SWIFT!

Katie had found this wooden rooster and decided that she needed to bring it with her everywhere. So that's J-Z the wooden rooster in the picture with us.

Taylor Swift was absolutely AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL! And her voice was just as sweet and princess-like as ever.

She sang MOST (unfortunately not ALL of them, but I guess that just means I'll have to see her again) of my favorite songs, and it was more like a Cirque du Soleil type thing than a concert. She changed outfits between every song, and there were acrobats or dancers and stories that seemed to go with every song. I think my favorite was Haunted, when she was banging this huge bell and her hair was flying all manically around her. It was just amazing!

Anyhow, so Taylor Swift was awesome, and I had a GREAT time hanging out with Krist and Shawn. Unfortunately, it was over way too quickly, and before I knew it I was on a plane to Louisiana.

Louisiana was fabulous, though I unfortunately didn't really have all that much free time, as I had doctor's appointments every single day. I did get to hang out with Donald and Christine, though, and with Russell and Miranda and Tyrone. And plus I got to meet Mom's new boyfriend!

Mom and I took a trip to Lafayette to see Aunt Debbie and Brittni on my first day back! It was super fun! Brittni's already in college, and she seems to be doing great! Mom and I just about to start our journey.

Mom had a lunch, so I decided to give Russell and Miranda their wedding present. This is them. Perhaps you'll notice how the knives have Baker carved into them in Japanese.

Tyrone, Miranda, Christine, Donald, me

Tyrone loves me!

Dad and Tina also gave me a shopping spree at this really cute store in Alexandria for my birthday, so I went and picked out lots of fun sweaters! Yay! I've been wearing all of them all the time, and every time I do, I get compliments! It's fabulous! Then we had a birthday dinner for me over there, and Tina made the most DELICIOUS chocolate pecan pie with my favorite - polenta stuffed butternut squash. Talk about yummy!

And then it was already time to head back to Japan.
Good times were had, and it seems like it's almost already time to head back for Christmas. YAY CHRISTMAS!!!! I can't believe how excited I already am about it! :-)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!!


I know it's a day early, but still, YAY!!!! :-) I love Halloween! And I have been having a fabulous weekend to celebrate! :-)

On Tuesday, it was Joanna's birthday, so Friday night she had a dinner at her home stay family's house, and it was absolutely lovely! Her host mom made vegan tempura for me, and it was absolutely delicious, and it made me wish that I were capable of making my own tempura. I made cupcakes, and people seemed to like them, which made me happy. :-) It had been a long time since I'd made cupcakes and let other people eat them. I'm always afraid they won't like them.

After dinner, we went to karaoke, and, as usual, it was super fun. Since I might be leaving Japan in December, I've decided that I need to take advantage of awesome Japanese karaoke while I'm here and go lots and lots!

Joanna, Vickie, and Cesar at karaoke

Then Saturday, after a very hard day at work, during which I had about 30 students between the ages of 9 months and 10 years old for an hour straight in a very small classroom with no room to move - すごく大変だった! - Martin and I went shopping to find me a costume so that I could be a mormon missionary with him. I was originally going to go as a visual kei band singer, but in the end it just seemed too much like my normal clothes. So, a mormon missionary.

Me, Martin, and Miho, the Native American

We went out to dinner and then we went bowling with a bunch of friends.

It was super fun, even if I reverted back to my usual terrible bowling self. I think I must have bowled, like, 72 or something. Still, I managed to do better than Chiko and Miho. :-)

I didn't stay out too late, though, because this morning I had to get up super early to run a relay marathon I was doing with some friends.

Cesar, me, Yumi, Nathaniel

I am NOT a runner, nor have I ever been a runner, and I'm not sure that I'd ever actually run an entire 5 kilometers (= 3.1 miles) in my entire life. At the gym on the treadmill, when I make myself run, I usually go about 3 km, and then it's usually more of a fast walk than a run. Yet, for some reason, I agreed to run 5k in the relay today. I wasn't sure if I could do it, and I was certain it was going to kill me.

Somehow, though, I managed. In 30 minutes and 23 seconds. Which for me was amazing, given that I had told everyone to expect an hour, as I just knew I was going to have to stop and die many times. I only stopped to walk for water. :-)

Me after running - proof that I survived

Notice how red my face is and how slumped my shoulders are. Who knew that 5k could be so long?

I was thinking of going to a concert tonight, but running always gives me a headache, so instead I came home and got immediately into a bath so hot it hurt to touch. Wonderful!

Tomorrow, I might try to wear the visual kei costume to school, since it is actually Halloween.

So that's what I've been up to. Oh, last Saturday, I spent the entire day watching Ouran High School Host Club - I literally watched the entire season in one day. It was super rainy, so I didn't want to go out, and I fell in love after the first episode. Totally my new favorite Japanese drama. I highly recommend it. And, um, Yamamoto Yuusuke - totally hot! How did I only sort-of notice when I saw Paradise Kiss?

And then Sunday I went to one of my old students houses to carve pumpkins. Super fun! I think the last time I carved pumpkins was when I was in Montreal.

Next time, I'll try to write about the rest of my trip to the states - Louisiana and Colorado! :-)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Russie does the getting married thing!

So last Sunday the weather here in Okazaki was absolutely GORGEOUS! For serious gorgeous! It was one of those days in which the idea of being inside just kind of makes you want to go crazy (my dad, I am given to understand, has these days almost every day, but for me, they are quite rare). Soooo, after I got off work (yes, I had to work even though it was Sunday; no day is sacred anymore), I decided to take the day off of life and friends and school and work and have a day, just me and the sun.

This of course started with me doing laundry (I was going to do it Saturday, but it decided to rain all day) - luckily, was able to talk a walk around the lake while the laundry thing was happening. Then I went for a little hike on the mountain before heading over to the park to do some homework and read. With my friend the sun.

I'm really nervous about the fact that Healthy Mate has started selling organic vegan ice cream - it's entirely possible that I am now going to want to eat it everyday. WHY do I have to have such a sweet tooth?

Then I met up with Martin for a little walk around the park

and we found this weird walking panda thing.

And the park was beautiful!

Anyhow, so I had a LOVELY time state side for Russell's wedding!!!!

When I got to California (early, I might add), I was able to meet mom and Donald directly at their gate, and then we met up with Grammers and Grampers down by the baggage claim, and it was a happy reunion!

That night was the welcome dinner, and, despite my jet lag, it was lovely! It was SO good to see everyone, and I had a fabulous time, even if I did have to leave around 9 to find sleep.

There were many comments on how overly skinny and terrible I looked (which I guess means I did), but I suppose that's to be expected given that I was practically falling asleep in my food.

What's important is that Russell and Miranda looked fabulous and happy!

Russie and Miranda opening a wedding gift at the dinner

The next morning I woke up early, as my mother thought it was appropriate to wake up at, like 5, and start chattering away. This was okay. There was lots to do! I somehow managed to get to San Diego with next to no shoes, so we had to go shoe shopping! And, happiness of all happiness, Abbie and Evan decided to come down from Los Angeles to say Hello!

We went to Loving Hut, and the food was delicious, and Evan was happy to learn about the supreme awesome weirdness that is Supreme Master Ching Hai. Though our time together was short, I was more than thrilled to be able to see Abbie again. And to meet the soon to come baby. I still can't believe she's pregnant!

And then, that night, the wedding. On the bay. Absolutely GORGEOUS! And then I ate 6 cupcakes.
I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

The happy couple with Mom!

Russell walks down the aisle

Me and Krist with Grammers and Grampers

me and Donnie

The girls with their Daddyo

Grandpa did the wedding ceremony!

The next day we got up for a bay cruise, which WOULD have been super fun had I not had to go off and get all motion sick like. The whole fam was there, though, so despite the sickness, I had a great time, and Donald helped a lot by sitting on the deck in the fresh air with me when I needed.

Getting bay cruise ready with Krist!

Donald goes all Titanic

We got to go see the famous sea lions! They were so cute!

Sadly, this picture of Dad and Tina turned out blurry. :-( Still, I think it's cute!

That night we got delicious Thai food, and even though I got us lost (despite having the GPS right in front of me the whole way there), we had a great time, and the Thai food was mega delish!

Next day: San Diego zoo tour!

The whole gang in the hummer limo on the way there

Dad and Tina seal with little children seals

I look more like an elephant than the elephant bush, right?

Apparently the span of our arms is about the wing span of a vulture

Shawn feeds Russie giraffe. I wish there had been actual giraffes so that you could see how much more Russell looks like an actual giraffe than a giraffe does.

The caged animals were somewhat sad, but for the most part their habitats all seemed very comfortable, and all of the animals were SO cute! I realized recently, though, that I am OBSESSED with turtles. I don't know when this happened - every time I see a turtle, I find that my feelings for turtles grow, and now it has gotten to the point in which I absolutely find them to be the cutest animal in the entire world. So I was really hoping to get to see a giant turtle (and the best would have been to see a giant turtle in the process of eating lettuce), but I was unfortunately disappointed.

Saying goodbye next to the flamingos

Still, the zoo tour was fabulous.

After, we went on a little driving tour, and we got some reinactments of the kiss statue (it's apparently based on a famous picture that I'd never heard of before)

Anyhow, so that was San Diego. Tina pretty much planned the whole wedding, so a HUGE thanks to Tina for making it a seriously awesome trip! I know she put a lot of hard work into it, and that definitely did NOT go unappreciated!

The next day - after some hassling from the baggage people (seriously, I am SO over the way the high terrorist threat is taking away my flying freedoms), I hopped on a plane with Kristen and Shawn to make our way to Colorado!

But this is already super long, so that will have to be for another time!

(Oh, also, I'll make a wedding photo album on Picasa sometime soon - maybe - and then come back and post the link here)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Typhoon 15, Roke

Typhoon Roke is here, and I have to leave for work in about an hour. We got school off today because of the typhoon, but I still have to go to work. The winds are so ridiculously fast and gusty that I have no idea how I'm going to make it to the station without being blown right off the road.

This is what it looks like outside. Not so bad, right? No flooding, and aside from that tree in the corner, the craziness of the wind is barely noticeable.

That said, I'm sort of glad I have to go to work, as I have done absolutely NOTHING today. Except sleep. And study kanji for about an hour. And stare at the wall. And not study for the test I was supposed to have today that has now been moved to tomorrow that I'm worried about failing.

So I figured, before work, I could at least update the blog. Even though I've really done nothing of interest lately.

I went bowling with a bunch of people from my class, and I bowled my highest score ever!!!! 139. I'm really good at bowling zeros, and somehow I just didn't this time (of course the next two games, I returned to my typical score of around 70).

Cesar, Sandra, Vickie

It was the first time (and probably the last time) that I've ever even come close to beating Martin. But I did!!!!

That 131 is Martin, and the 139 is me!!!!

It almost makes me want to practice and try to become a good bowler so that I can be better than Martin at at least something.

Notice his inability to believe my awesomeness!

We also went to the gay dance party again, but this time with more people than just me and Martin!

Martin, Alexis, me, Miho, Paul, Cooper, and our new friend, Leo

The hot drag queen came out and talked to us, so we took a picture with her.

Other than that, well. . . I went to a pet store with my friend Tatsushi, and it was SO sad to see all of the little puppies in their little cages. I really think I hate pet stores. At the same time, I was once again overwhelmed with an unbearable desire to have a pet dog. Please.

I want a shiba or a husky.

Please. Thank you. Okay.

We also went to this Japanese/English language exchange thing, and it was the best one I've been to yet, and if I get a chance, I'll totally return. I spoke lots of Japanese, which I NEVER do, because I'm too embarrassed, and I realized (as I regularly do) that if I'm even going to advance, I need to regularly put myself in situations like that in which I'm forced to speak Japanese.

Other than that, I've just been working like a crazy person and trying to keep up with my school work. Tomorrow is the last day of term, and Friday morning I head to the states for Russell's wedding!!!! I can't believe my little baby brother is getting MARRIED! I'm so old.

That said, I should have packed today, since I had miraculous and unexpected free time, but I didn't, and now I don't know when I will.

And that's pretty much it for now! I'll be sure to post wedding pictures, once they exist and all. :-)