Log in

17 March 2012 @ 11:12 pm
  So it's my last night here and I have to stop and reflect on the week that has past. It's been a pretty long week filled with stairs and lots of walking, but I wouldn't trade any of it for anything! I had a wonderful time here and made many new friends. I'm really glad I made the trip; it's so out of my comfort zone to do things I've never done before (ride a plane, go to Japan with people I only see twice a week lol). but I feel more confident in myself. I know once we get back to the US that I'll be able to do just about anything, now that I've been here and I can say that I've navigated the Tokyo railways, or visited famous temples or been to Harajuku and Tokyo.

    The best part of the trip, in my opinion was a toss up between seeing the shrine the first day (minus the migraine) and going to Fuji TV with everyone and laughing, having a good time. The shrine was really interesting and I learned alot - like seeing that HUGE Shinto shrine and all the tori/gates. Also where they do their spiritual rituals and how they call the dead and put them into a certain object (not sure what it was called) but it was really cool. Fuji TV was just fun, the building itself was beautiful and really unique but we had fun bonding with one another, I had fun buying more useless Arashi stuff and taking pictures of Jun with Sara =). All in all this was a wonderful trip and anyone who gets the chance to go to Japan I highly recommend it. Tokyo is a really convenient city to live in, filled with really nice people and delicious food. I can't wait to come back again in the future!
Current Location: Japan, Tokyo
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
17 March 2012 @ 05:42 pm
 Hi mina!
    Feeling ALOT better today, got to get alota sleep =) Wasn't quite sure what I was going to do for more research, so I walked around Harajuku with Paige for  few hours. I got a good scene of what was fashionable/ or what they consider beauty I can add to my paper =). Also I got to go to a Johnny's type store and also found me a purse to take back with me BECAUSE I have way to much stuff to take home!! Anway dinner later, if its really interesting and pretty I'll post pictures. Anyway, tomorrow is back to the airport as some point and then back to America =) I'll miss Japan.... but I'll be back for sure! And I'll be glad to be back home... just not to have to jump right back into the grind of going to school and work =( Oh well See you all soon!
Current Location: Japan, Tokyo
17 March 2012 @ 05:29 pm
Hi everyone!
    Sorry this blog is a little late. I didn't eat yesterday *ducks shouts and things being thrown* I know I'm awful, but I couldn't help it. I got to get some of my research done =).  And now I can say I have a Japanese Library card! I went through the almost bureaucratic system that is the "standing in line and waiting for EVERYTHING" system. But it was fun. AND I got to see this!

A sakura/cherry blossom tree! Ya they arent in full bloom yet, but this one was!! =) And that's was about it... ya not to exciting picture day, but I got some stuff done that I needed to, and saved some money =) On to the next blog!!!!
Current Location: Japan, Tokyo
15 March 2012 @ 10:37 pm
Hi everyone!!!
  So they have wifi here in Nikko (aka the mountains of Japan) =) and this lovely thing so we can all blog and stay charged up...

Yay thank you Nikko Inn staff.  ANYWAY on to the blog. We took an early subway train, which was SO packed! We left during rush hour and we were packed into that car like sardines and they just kept pushing people in. It was just like you see in the stereotypical Japanese subway scenes in TV shows and movies. An hour later and a few cool mountain pictures later...

We arrived in Nikko and checked into our Japanese style hotel/onsen (hot spring baths). It was really interesting, we have to leave our shoes at the door and wear these little green slippers while we are in the lobby (which is where we all are now, blogging). Once we did that we set off walking. Now, Nikko is nothing like Japan. Their slogan is....

So everything is like what you would think Japan used to be, which means older trains, more trees, shrines, and things are more spread out. Also, when you want to go somewhere you really have to walk. And I'm not talking about normal Tokyo walking, were talking steep inclines and stairs. Lots and lots of stairs! But it was worth it. This is Nikko...

And it was COLD!! Sadly my camera died and I only got a few pictures of the first temple we went to, which the name escapes me now. None of the temples we went to today had a Japanese feel to them. They were all brightly colored (mainly red and gold) and had lots of dragons and animals carved into the side. The first temple was under construction =( but it was still really interesting to see what went into rebuilding the temple. It had this HUGE building built around it so they could better rebuild the building.

Then we climbed some stairs, and then got to another temple at the back of that one, that had large, red animal covered buildings-

And this carving some of you might have seen before....

They are pretty popular here. There were a lot more interesting carvings in these shrines, like the sleeping cat and also one tori that had TONS of dragons on it.... but my camera =(. However, when we stopped for lunch I bought some post cards, not the same but at least I can say I've been there!!!!
  After about 4 hours of walking, we came back to the hotel, got settled into our room- pics tomorrow of the room if there is time. Here it is with the futons on the floor-

Ya all 5 us girls are rooming together. Gonna be interesting, but a fun experience =) At 7 we had dinner which was awesome. So many different foods, and I got to try real miso soup for the first time. It was awesome, and the tempura (mainly the fish and the mushrooms) were out of this world. And shabu shabu... awesome! It was a  traditional Japanese dinner and it was beautiful. I'm off to bed now, early day again tomorrow. Back to the big city, and to start research on my 15 page paper that's due at the end of the semester. Night everyone, see you all soon!!
Current Location: Japan, Nikko
Current Mood: mellowmellow

Hi everyone!
    So day five is done. The first stop was the Yanaka district which is really a residential district, which meant alot of older people, kids, animals, and a little slower pace. There was a shrine in this district... although the name escapes me.

It was really peaceful and it had these really cool smaller tori/gates past this larger one, and by smaller I mean smaller lol. It was a tall persons nightmare, but it was still pretty cool.

This went on for a little while then we came to this..

There were the cutest kids were running around everywhere! And pigeons galore!

It was a real relaxing place, and I loved it! After that we went to a grave yard (ya strange I know, but it was pretty relaxing too) and saw where the last shogun was buried.

Then after that we split up and had lunch, me and SaraX2 at this little shop that served the BEST gyoza (pot stickers) I have ever had.

There was these two little old ladys sitting next to us and heard us going "MMM YUM!" and asked us, "Uishi desu ka?" (is it good?) And we emphatically said HAI!!! Then after we ate and met back up with everyone else, we went to Asakusa, which many of you may know or have seen this in pictures before...

The shopping... oh the shopping! I spent way to much on stuff (like the Miyazaki store next to the intro and then a small shop that had ARASHI stuff!!) We had a little bit of time to shop and then we went to take a boat tour (Tokyo Cruise),

and thats when the interesting stuff happened. The whole boat (the second one we were on) was filled with Chinese tourists and as soon as we sat down two women started arguing, at first it wasn't to bad just a few raised voices, then it got worse and LOUD. At one point i thought they were going to go to blows. It was nuts.
  The boat docked at Ohdaiba where we split up, but most of us went to Fuji TV studio/hq.

**Fangirl alert!**
  So when I heard Fuji TV I knew I had to go, I knew at least one of Aarshi's TV shows was there, or their individual dramas were produced by them. When we went inside we were greeted by this....

Oh isn't he lovely!? And of course I had to take my picture with him... numerous times =)  And in the gift shop there I got an awesome Lucky 7 (his drama) cellphone case, and got to take a picture of this-

Oh I love my boys =)

**End of Fangirl moment**

Then we went to Pallet town (which if your into Pokemon you know what that means, but I didn't but went along anyway.) And had dinner... well I had desert which was delicious!

Teramisu YUM! Then we walked around in this beautiful mall, but I think everyone was a little disappointed that Pallet town wasn't  they had expected, but I think we all had fun. After that we got on the train and one stop from our station the train stopped, and everyone's phone started going off. We all looked at each other in confusion and Paige said translated for us that there was a small earthquake and the trains had to stop for a moment as a precaution. Thankfully I didn't even feel it, and other people on the train didn't even blink an eye. Once we got back to the hotel I learned that there was a 6.8 earthquake in Hokkaido, which is pretty far from Tokyo, but still a bit scary. Keep your fingers crossed there wont be one here.  So tomorrow is an early day, having to travel to Nikko and go on the train pretty early- during commuting time... which will be an... experience... lol. Wish me luck and I may not post tomorrow, depending on if there is wifi at the hotel which I doubt there is... but I'll see you all soon!!!

Current Location: Japan, Tokyo
Current Mood: blahblah
So day 4 is over, calling it an early night again while everyone else went out- ya I'm a granny I can't help it. But hey I'm saving money on my subway pass and saving money in my bank account so =P. Today we went to the Tsukiji Market (the HUGE fish market in Tokyo).  It was CRAZY! We didn't get to see the auction (plus it started at like 5 AM... sorry but thats WAY to early!). Even though the auction was over, the place was still hopping. The pictures I'm about to post might be a bit blurry, but thats because I had to take them while speed walking- until Sara D. showed me how to move and take a pic at the same time (Thanks Sara!!).

It was very fishy smelling (duh) and large. And people were darting in and out, weaving around through the small isles. You had to look out for running into people AND these wonderful things...

These drivable carts were everywhere and were able to bob and weave through the isles, but if people were in the way, sometimes they didn't watch out for people (Or maybe it was me being a silly foreigner and expecting other people to watch out for me and not the other way around lol). But we made it out in one piece then we briefly visited Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple.

As you can see its a very beautiful building, but not very Japanese looking. It got even more... un-Japanese (?) and the closer you look the more you notice it.

And on the inside....

Pretty isn't it? The inside was pretty interesting to, even to the non-architect person like me =)

(its the ceiling) =) After the temple we started walking and made our way to Ginza, and all I can say is WOW! There were so many buildings they were all so tall!!

**Fan-girl alert**

Ok so, there were so many awesome buildings in this area I couldn't take pictures of them all BUT when we got back to the hotel I showed by roomate Sara the Arashi- Japan endless discovery- promo video where they are showing all the great things about Japan, and at one point they are in Tokyo. I had assumed it was Ginza they were walking around in, but at one point Sara goes "HEY we saw that building" and sure enough it was... Here's a pic from the video-

Ya, I'm sad I know, but it tickles me to no end =).
**Fan- girl alert end**

ANYWAY! After we walked around Ginza, we went into the first Japanese Department store-

and then walked some more, and saw some great architecture-

I had seen this building before- the apartments are removable. Say one gets old they could take it out, and replace it with a new one. But it wasnt very cost effective and what not so they scrapped the idea, and they might tare it down soon =(.
  Then it was time for lunch, and I had my first real ramen at one of those little ramen shops down a small alley way. It was really good and I was able to slurp my noodles like Japanese people do, but no where near as good as they do =)

  After lunch we hopped on the subway, and went to the Edo Tokyo Museum, which had exibits on both Pre-Modern and Modern Tokyo/Edo. One of the Pre-modern exibits that I found interesting was the carrage that the Daimyo rode around in while he was being trasported to from Edo to the city that they lived/ruled in. These were carried in large processions, and helped the Emporer keep the Daimyo under control.

(kinda blurry but you get the idea) AND a bonus pic-

(Sorry Dr. Takenaka =) darn picture was blurry again)

  The Modern exibit I liked the most was the Kanto earthquake. The artifacts they had were really interesting-

And this one really messed with me-

Twisted metal that was in brick, that was probably on the side of a building or in the street. The earthquake killed 71,00 people and caused a large portion of the city to burn down and killed 52,000 people-

But one "good" thing that came out of that was that there was a mass movement out of Kanto and into the farm area around it and urbanized it.
All in all it was a good day, feet still hurt but its worth it. Tomorrow is the Yanaka district, Asakusa Sensoji Temple, and a ferry to Odaiba... going to be another interesting day in Japan! Stay tuned folks!
Current Location: Japan, Tokyo
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
12 March 2012 @ 08:42 pm
Whew, what a day! We walked from 9 AM to 6 PM lol, and I have blisters on my feet... and I love it! Japan is what I thought it would be and more =) We walked around the Imperial Palace ( well the moat) and saw the bridge where the Emperor used to greet the people. (the black bridge is where he stood and the spectators would stand where I was)

Then we walked around and saw the Diet building (we didn't tour it since it was such a pretty day out)

Then we went to a war memorial for people who had died while they were over seas.

After that we went to Tokyo University...

to hear a lecture by Jason Karlin give a lecture on Treaty Revision, Foreign Settlements and Baseball in Meiji Japan. It was rather interesting, it made me feel like I was back in school again lol. I wish I could say that everyone thought the lecture was interesting, two of my male classmates that were sitting across from me were simultaneously nodding off while sitting up trying to listen to the lecture... Guys you know who you are lol. After that I was so tired, so a small group of us went back to the hotel by ourselves and made it!!!   Sorry there wasnt to many pictures this time, my camera died and I had to use my cell phone and I haven't transferred the images yet. Maybe tomorrow I'll post some more pics =) Tomorrow is... Ginza shopping! And the Tokyo-Edo museum. Pray my feet last!!
Current Location: Japan, Tokyo
Current Mood: soresore
11 March 2012 @ 08:17 pm
Hi all!!
    So today started out kinda bad. I had to force myself to eat a little bit of breakfast. It was so bad I almost opted out of going to Yasukuni Shrine. But I knew this was a one in a life time opportunity and I had to go. Three stops and a little walk later we were at the HUGE tori that led to the shrine.

(Tori/gate) from far away.

(kind of dark... but once again you get an idea of how tall it is.) The guy who gave us the tour was pretty cool. The girls who translated for him were funny, sometimes they didn't know how to translate what he said, or don't remember what he said and kind of looked at one another and giggled then looked at our professor who helped them out. One of the first things we saw were a pair of Fuu dogs who guarded the shrine. Which were taken as spoils of war.

Fuu dog #1

Fuu Dog #2

A little way up we passed through another Tori/gate, this time it was a little bit smaller and made out of bronze.

There were many interesting things in this shrine, but what I noticed the most was how everything was so put together and revered. Like the Cherry/Sakura trees. They are being held up by logs, carefully keeping them from falling over.

And here is the shrine itself-

After we toured the shrine we went into the Yasukuni Jinja Yushukan to eat lunch. I had Yokohama curry and it was delicious!

Then we toured the museum. It was very interesting, however it was interesting to see how they put a Japanese spin on everything, or putting it in their favor. The thing that I remembered the most was the wall of pictures, of people who had died fighting for their country. Another thing that struck me was towards the end of the there was a picture of a man holding a baby then below it there was a hand written letter. Luckily they had translated that letter in English. It talked about how he loved his daughter, and she shouldn't feel like an orphan that he would always be with her. I wont lie, I started to tear up.

All in all today was an interesting day, that ended better than it started. Tomorrow is the tour of the diet building and a lecture at Tokyo University. =) Stay tuned for day 3 =)
Current Location: Japan, Tokyo
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
11 March 2012 @ 06:42 pm
Hi everyone!!
   Sorry this blog is so late, but I'm a bit tired. My first plane ride went alright. Thankfully I slept through most of it, but I had the stereotypical crying baby behind me, and with that baby was a 2 year old who cried a lot and when she did, it sounded like a puppy whining. Once we landed we had to go through customs, which wasn't bad at all. In my minds eye I saw me sitting in a white washed room with a spot light on me and the Japanese officials grilling me, "why are you here?!" and "when are you leaving?!". However it wasn't like that at all. He asked for my passport, asked if I was declaring anything, and that was it. After we got all our ducks in a row, I got to go on my fist train ride. I would have taken some pictures but it was getting dark at that time and the inside of the train was pretty light. Also I kept drifting off.  Then was the subway... which was interesting with luggage and jet-lag, but we made it to the hotel. 
  After we thew our things into our rooms we went out to eat. Now, those of you who know me, know I'm a pick eater and didn't eat much while we were at the restaurant. The spread was beautiful, but I was more interested in sleep than food.

However I got to stop at a Lawson conbini and got some melon pan. I was able to eat a little bit of it, needless to say I got a huge migraine and wasn't able to post this blog on time. Now this is day two and on to blog 2!! See you all there with more pictures =)
Current Mood: tiredtired
01 March 2012 @ 04:26 pm
This is just a test to make sure I can operate this website right for my Japanese Visual class. Also to give all my friends the place where i will post my daily happenings while in Japan. Even though its a week away, I'm planing ahead =) Talk to you all soon!