Monday, June 3, 2013

The Journey has Ended

Well, I and my family have now safely arrived in our home in America.

I do feel a bit of reverse culture shock, but not as badly as the first time I came back home after being in Japan for some time.  I think reconnecting with my American friends will be the hardest readjustment, but I'm sure it'll all work out.

I know that I am now a different person from what I was before this experience, and these changes will definitely benefit me as an open-minded human being.  I see the world with different eyes now.

It's good to be home. It's even better now that I have two homes. <3

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Family are such Gaijin! XP

GAHHHHHH! needed to get that off my chest, as much as I love my family, being the only one here who can speak Japanese and know how things run here is rather stressful.  My family is depending on me and it's like I have suddenly become a mother to grown adult triplets. XP

Of course, today was their first day here, so naturally they had a lot of culture shock and confusion.  I was the same way, well maybe a little bit better off, as I could at least speak the language when I came here, but still I try to be patient with them.  It's actually quite funny now to watch them react to things that I think are so normal now.  Things like kaiten sushi and maid cafes and walking on the left side of the street.

When I return to America I'll probably have some reverse culture shock, like hearing English everywhere and seeing white people.

I'm sure things will get better as they adjust.  The day was fun regardless so all is well.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Last Day in Nagoya

Today was my last day here in Nagoya. It's hard to believe that it is all coming to an end now.  It seems like only yesterday I arrived here by bullet train from Tokyo.

I have a strange mix of happiness and sadness.  I'm excited to see my family for the first time in 5 months and to see my friends in Tokyo, but I was sad to say goodbye to all of the friends I have made here.

My time in Japan is coming to an end.  I feel so lucky that I get to end my journey with my family here with me.

The person I was when I arrived here way back in August and the person I am now are different people.  I have grown more in this one year than I did for several years in America.

I will never forget the memories and friends I have made here - my life is forever changed.  And although my Japanese is still not very good, I feel like in the end that is just a minor fact.  The journey I traveled here, on my own two feet, is the real reward.

A chapter in my life is ending now.  And I look forward to a new beginning.

I can't wait to see what plans God has in store for me in the future. Only time will tell.

I still got 2 weeks in Japan, so I plan to live it up!

Until next week!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

My final days in Nagoya

This is my last week in Nagoya.  I only have one final left on Monday, and then it's packing until I leave on Sunday to move back to Tokyo for one last vacation.

Today was my last day at Judo.  I really enjoyed Judo, but I realized that I do not love it.  My real sport of choice is dancing.  I could dance forever.  And horseback riding and archery   Still, I enjoyed doing Judo and interacting with the Japanese students.  I have certainly become stronger from it and it was an experience I wont forget.

Also today I went to a kimono-wearing class.  I dont know how any one is suppose to put those things on by themselves! XP Only with the help of the teacher was I able tog et mine on.  But it sure looks beautiful. :)

For my last week here in Nagoya I plan on taking lots of small days trips.  Trying to get everything in before I leave.

My family will be coming to Tokyo soon, and I cant wait to see my family face-to-face after 5 months of being away!

The end is neigh, though I'm not quite ready to leave Japan yet.

Almost there.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Not much

Well I didn't blog last week as quite frankly nothing much of interest as occurred   This coming week is the last week of classes, so my life has pretty much been absorbed in final papers and preparing for final exams.

Hard to believe I only have a month left in Japan.  I cant wait for school to be done so that I can move back to Tokyo and welcome my family to Japan!

We'll be vacationing for 2 weeks together and then we will return to America.

Coming home will be my birthday present, lol.  Looking forward to it.

Monday, April 15, 2013


So this past weekend my school had a field trip to Takayama, a quaint historical town about 2 1/2 hours away from Nagoya.

We rode the bus together and when we arrived at the town we split up into groups.  My group consisted of an American  friend of mine and a new Japanese friend I made previously in addition to several new people.

It was a great group! I made several new friends and we had a blast! First we went shopping in the historical district in town, which is a beautiful place full of old buildings and traditional craft shops.

Also, the food was wonderful! Ice cream and special beef stands everywhere.

After shopping we had to return to the bus, which was unfortunate as we only covered one street.  I would've spent a whole day there easily.

Then we went to our next location, Hida Folk Village.  This is an historical (uninhibited) village comprised of very old houses and buildings (maybe...17 century  18th?) and was full of mountain nature.  It was beautiful! Also the weather was perfectly clear so we could see the mountains clearly off in the distance.

After spending some time there we sadly had to return home.  It was a fantastic trip and I made new friends which is great!

Then on Sunday, on my way to church, I saw an amazing thing.  A group of Marios playing soccer  Only in Japan will you find a bunch of guys dressed in Mario costumes playing soccer in the local town park.
Of course I didn't have my camera on me. >.<

Anyway, hard to believe only 3 weeks of school left! I'm counting down the days till my family arrives here in Japan.  Vacationing with them will be a great way to end my stay here in Japan.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gale Force Winds in Da Ghetto

Alright, sorry for the lateness of this blog, but man I have been busy!

To start, I went on a weekend trip with my roommates this past weekend.  Originally it was to just be a one night trip in Kyoto, but thanks to the typhoon like weather coming our way, we canceled our hotel reservation in case we couldn't make it.  Why did we still go you ask? Because we had already purchased the train tickets, so we had to use them!!

Train were still operating, but many were delayed or canceled, making traveling incredibly difficult.  And I don't know why so many Japanese people were also out and traveling, knowing about the bad weather. I guess they were in the same boat as us.  Anyway, trains were packed everywhere.

When we got to Kyoto, it was raining, but the wind wasn't too strong yet, so I still enjoyed seeing the beautiful shrine and bamboo forest.  Did some shopping as well.

After that we decided to go to Osaka since it was close.  We booked a cheap hotel online, rode the train, and collapsed in the hotel (which was in a ghetto I'm pretty sure).

Osaka is basically the Japanese ghetto city.  It's dirty, the people are interesting (apparently if you point to someone in Osaka and make a gun noise, they will pretend to be shot)  and graffiti is everywhere.  Some people like the feel of Osaka, but I didn't really like it.  Glad I only spent half a day there; I much prefer Tokyo or Kyoto.

Other than that I've been busying with school and Judo.  Only 4 weeks of school left, I cant wait!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Back to the Grindstone and Hanami

Well this past week was super busy as I had two tests and two papers due.  A rough slap in the face from school after break! XP

But today was very pleasant   First I had judo for the first time in two weeks, but amazingly my body did not collapse from the work! In fact I was feeling good during the whole practice! And today was a really great day as I finally feel like a real member now.  I fought with both male and female club mates and successfully won a few times (course they were going easy on me, but still) and I am getting coordinated with my throws now.  A black belt completed me! He said I was learning very quickly and was going great. :)

Next some friends and I went to the Pokemon Center   It had just changed to a new, larger location, and I must say it looks super nice now.  Lots more room for stuff now, much like the one in Tokyo.  I bought a Pikachu mug to complete my Pikachu kitchen set, which makes me very happy! ^_^

After Pokemon Center we went to a local park where Hanami was going on.  Hanami is when people set blankets under the cherry blossom trees and eat and get drunk.  There are all sorts of tents set up selling food and booze.  The cherry blossoms are beautiful, and at night lanterns are light among the trees.  We just took a few pictures, strolled around, and then went back home.  Getting a spot for Hanami requires getting there super early cause it is PACKED.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, so I'll be going to church.

Until next week!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring Break in Tokyo

So for spring break I went back to my host family's house in Chiba.  I had a wonderful time seeing them all again and revisiting my old home and town.

The week was pretty hectic; I had lots of old friends and new friend to see and things to do!

First, I went to Akihabara to nerd out in my favorite place in Tokyo.  Since my family has no interest in anime, this may have been my last time there.  Of course I bought many anime things.

The next day - Pokemon Center, where I completed my Pikachu kitchen set! *happy Lindsey*
When my friends wanted to go to Akihabara, I went with them after the Pokemon Center.  I was so glad I did.  I was able to find the .Hack game that I have been searching for a long time for.  Not only did I find the game, but I found a special edition box set of the game with art books and other goodies, all for less than the price of the game by itself at a different store! *bargain!*

I went to DisneySea again with some friends from Nagoya.  It was fun, but the romantic atmosphere there just made me miss my boo more than ever.  I hope to go to DisneyWorld with him someday.  :)

Then on Thursday I met my friend Masumi, it was so good to see her!  We went and saw the Lion King, which is amazing no matter what language it's in.  After that, we went to a huge onsen park, where we bathed, ate yummy food, and chatted the night away.

The following day I met my friend Hannah in Shibuya, where we had a few drinks at the bar, then hit up the karaoke.  It was a good time.

On Saturday I met my friend Haruna for lunch during her break from work.  I was so glad to see her again, she is such a sweet girl!  We took some fun pikura pictures and then said our goodbyes.  Thankfully I will be in Tokyo one more time, so hopefully I will be able to see everyone again!

Now I am back in Nagoya, ready to get this semester done so I can return to Tokyo and welcome my family to Japan!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Today I saw kabuki for the first time. Kabuki is traditional Japanese theater  where all of the actors are men, even female characters are played by men.

Kabuki is very stylized, with certain gestures and sounds having specific meanings and connotations.

The kabuki theater we went to this evening was in Fushimi, and it will be closing down soon, due to the building being too old and unsafe for earthquakes; so this may have been the last kabuki at that theater!

Kabuki has a very interesting style of music and singing.  The singing is more like drawn out throat noises with lots of shouting, and the music is often sharp flute screeches  wooden blocks clapping, and a traditional Japanese stringed instrument.  I enjoy the music of kabuki, but it's not for everyone.

So tonight's performance was divided into 4 different shows.

The first show was a dance, and though I had no idea what kind of story they were telling, the dance was a spectacle to watch.  The next show was a love story between a husband and wife who have been separated for 37 years due the husband being sent to prison for accidentally killing a man.  It was a very touching story, and the man playing as the wife makes a very convincing woman, lol.

A cool thing about kabuki is its rotating stage. While the actors are acting on the stage facing the audience, the stages facing behind are being set up by the stage crew.  When it's time to change scenes, the stage rotates around to the newly prepared set.

The next performance was the actors announcing themselves... I think. Basically they just sat and talked. I had no idea though what they were saying nor was there any description in my handy English kabuki guide I got from my school.

The last show was by far the best.  It had a fox in it (enough said).  The fox was always hanging around this drum owned by Yoshitsune, because the drum was made from the hides of his parents.  He loved his parents very much, and remained loyal to them.  Yoshitsune was touched by the fox's loyalty, so he gave the drum to the fox.  In return, the fox protected Yoshitsune from an invading army by playing tricks on them.  The fox used many trap doors throughout the stage, which was amazing.  I would close my eyes for a second, and he would be in a totally different part of the stage. He came from the roof, under the stairs, from trees, etc.  In addition,  this piece had acrobatics in it.  The fox was amazing as he danced, tumbled, and walked on railings.  At the end, he was hooked to some wires and was lifted into the air.  He was lifted all the way up the balcony, where cherry blossoms were thrown out into the audience.  It was a sight to behold.

I was so glad I went and got to have this amazing experience.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spring Greetings

The weather has suddenly dropped winter and has moved into spring, which I am very happy about.  On Saturday, the temperature was 65 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny.  It was a beautiful day to visit Atsuta Shrine.

Atsuta is one of the major Shinto shrines in which one of the three treasures of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, are enshrined.

Amaterasu's three treasures are the sword, the mirror, and the jewel, and it is the sword that is enshrined at Atsuta.  Note, however, that the sword is not displayed to the public.

The shrine was gorgeous.  The trees and flowers were blooming, the plum blossoms were my favorite.  There was a pond filled with turtles!

But the biggest surprise was seeing three large roosters in a tree! At first I thought they were monkeys, but no, ROOSTERS!!

I know chickens can fly to some degree, but they were very high up, and I was surprised to see them there!

I was lucky enough to catch a priest and some shrine maidens performing a blessing on a couple's newly purchased car, to protect it from accidents on the road.  It was cool to see the priest chant and sway his holy stick (there's a proper name for it, but I's a stick with white paper stands hanging down from one end, kind of like a mop).

After exploring the shrine, we went to a Turkish restaurant and had some kebabs.  It was nice to eat something not Japanese for a change, lol.  The man at the restaurant spoke to us in English, which was also refreshing   As the weather turns nice I begin to think about how I'll be returning home fairly soon.  I love Japan and so grateful I was able to come here, but I look forward to returning home to my loved ones.

Next week will be spring break, I'll be going to Tokyo to visit my host family, can't wait!

Saturday, March 2, 2013



I cannot express my joy at finding this teapot.  You see, when I first visited the Pokemon Center here in Nagoya, they did not have it.

Nor did they have it the second time I went.  So I assumed that perhaps they simply stopped making it; much to my disappointment.

But then, today, there it was in all of its glory! Not only the Pikachu teapot, but the whole Pikachu kitchen set! Today I got the teapot and the cooking pot, but next time I go I'll finish the set!

I love my Pikachu teapot! <3

Other than that my week was been rather non eventful.  I went to a Christian church here for the first time, and it was really nice.  The people were friendly, and hearing everything in both English and Japanese was great for my language comprehension.

I've been playing a lot of Pokemon Conquest as of late, I am very addicted to that game.

School has been going well, pretty easy semester for me so far.

Looking forward to going to see Kabuki here soon.  Followed by spring break in Tokyo.

Until next time,

Have a pleasant day!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Zen Training, Judo, and Da Club

This week has been very eventful for me.

First on Wednesday a group of us went to a Zen Buddhist training temple for Zen Buddhist nuns.  For half a day we got the experience the life of a Buddhist nun, and boy it's hard!

First was mediation, which I enjoyed, but my legs were killing me after squatting for half an hour! XP
Next we had the head priest give us a lecture, which was interesting, though rather long...we had to squat the whole time as well, needless to say my legs were not happy.

After that was tea.  We learned some basic rules to tea ceremony, though the pain in my legs was taking up most of my attention.  The tea was served along with a sweet, both were good, though I'm not a big fan of tea.

Last was dinner, which was all vegetarian   It was by far the most stressful part of the day.  There were so many regulations on how to eat properly, I just wanted to table flip!  They use up everything; the goal is to not waste anything, which I can appreciate, but boy it's rather extreme.  You wash your dishes with tea and a radish, then eat the radish and then drink the tea!

I am glad that I had the experience, though I will definitely not be a Buddhist nun anytime soon, lol.

Then on Friday, I went to a new club called Ozone in Sakae with some friends.  This club was much smaller than ID, the club with 5 floors.  This club was only one floor, and there was much less people, but I liked that.  Much more dancing space.  Also, there was a chocolate fountain with marshmallows!

On Saturday, I had Judo as usual, but today I had my first throwing match! It wasn't a match per se, just a practice run with a more experienced girl who would teach me various moves during the match.  I actually got her down once! It was fun; I am looking forward to having real matches someday!

After Judo I went to Osu; a large shopping area in Nagoya.  Osu has just about everything you can imagine, street after street of shopping, dining, and even maid cafes!

I bought a nice hair pin called kanzashi, which is what Japanese women traditionally wear with kimonos, but now there are modern ones for everyday wear.

It has been a full week for me!

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Japanese Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day in Japan differs from that in American in the sense that while it's all in one day for us, it's split into two separate days for the Japanese.  On Valentine's Day, the girls give guys chocolates ONLY. Girls do not traditionally receive anything on this day.  However, fear not ladies, a month later, on March 14th, the have White Day.  On this day the guys MUST give the girls chocolates or other gifts, usually in the color white.  And usually more expensive than what they received, lol.

My first Valentine's Day where I have someone special to share it with...but I'm across the world from him. Sigh. So I went with my dorm to a sweets parlor  a magical place where you can stuff your face with as much candy, cakes, and other yummy things until your stomach is about to explode.  It helped fill the void, lol.

I've recently joined the Judo club here, and I have now begun throwing instead of just falling.  It works my body to the core! But I enjoy it, the people are very nice here.

Another random note, I love Japanese shoes, but my normal size American feet are huge here in Japan (US 7 1/2) which is about 25cm, so I can rarely find any that fit! It makes me so sad indeed.  But I wont give up! I will find those adorable leather shoes that I keep seeing everywhere in my size SOMEDAY!

Until next time!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Adventures in Hakusan

So I've finally returned from my vacation in Hakusan.

I stayed at my friend's house the entire time, and she and her husband were so sweet to me!

On my first day there, they took me to a famous shrine at the base of Hakusan (one of Japan's large mountains).  It was snowing that day so it made the mountains superbly beautiful.  At the main shrine gate there was a large, ornate white horse statue.  This was the first time I've ever seen a horse god, it was very beautiful.  Then at the main shrine, a shrine maiden was dancing for the local god there; we were lucky to catch a bit of the performance!  She was so pretty.  Being a shrine maiden must be an awesome job I would think.  Next, we got our paper fortunes; mine was for just a little bit of good luck.  Better than bad luck I suppose.  The near the parking lot of the shrine there was a water bath area specifically for cars.  Newly purchased cars are brought here and washed with the sacred water to bless it and protect it from accidents.

Next up was a festival dog head museum.  I forget the proper name for these things, but they look like the heads of dogs.  They are suppose to represent local gods during festivals.  The largest dog heads in the all of Japan are located here, and they were impressive.

Next we went to a bug museum with a live butterfly garden!  I loved seeing all of the butterflies and the fresh greenery in the middle of winter.

Finally we went to a Taiko drum museum.  Where a HUGE taiko drum is free to play! I had a great time playing with all of the drums there.  And since we were the only one there, we had them all to ourselves!

The next day, my friend took me to the International Lounge where she volunteers at.  There, I got to try on a real kimono! It was so pretty, and the girls had fun dressing me up in it.

The following day, I made pottery at my friend's pottery class!  After that, we went to a snowman festival up in a mountain village.  Every house made their own snowman to have a display, it was a sight to behold!  So much snow!

The last night I was there we went to an onsen, which I love.  This onsen had a Valentine's Day special, "Chocolate water".  Sadly it was not real chocolate, but it looked like it and had a chocolate scent.

I had an amazing time with my friend that week.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


So today I went to the Shinto shrine in Osu Kannon to celebrate Setsubun; the Shinto holiday on the last day of winter according to the old Japanese calender.  Setsubun is basically a celebration of the coming spring and for the wish of good fortune and happiness in the coming season.

So en route to the shrine, I got separated from my group due to the large crowds, but this worked in my favor.  I actually ended up being right next to the oncoming parade of the Treasure Ship!  I was able to get great video and pictures of the beautiful ship passing by with Shinto priest and Maiko (shrine maidens) on board.

Once I rejoined my group, we made it to the main shrine, which had a large platform set up where people could toss beans from it.  During Setsubun, you throw beans to scare away evil spirits and say "Oni soto, ungaii uchi!" which means "Out demons, in good luck!".  And people below the platform had bags or hats to catch the falling beans in.

I wanted to throw beans myself, but it costs 3,000yen! So instead I bought a lucky bamboo branch with beans tied to it.

Despite the large crowd, it was definitely worth going to and seeing.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pokemon Center and Sakae

So, Sakae is the Tokyo of Nagoya.  It has all the main shopping and high end stuff one could want.  First off, the Pokemon Center.  Though no as big as the one in Tokyo, it stills offers a lot of the same stuff and is an awesome place for anything Pokemon. I spent waaay too much there.

Then, to my delight, there is a Ghibli store next to the Pokemon Center! I an a Ghibli addict, I cannot leave a Ghibli store without buying something. My goal is to fill my house with as much Ghibli as I can, much to the dismay of my suitcases.  Today I bought a Spirited Away water fountain, simply because it was awesome.

Then for the thrifty, there is Book-Off. I love Book-off for two reasons. 1. Everything is used and thus cheap, but still is good shape (especially the games, some look like they're new!) 2. You can find some pretty rare, old manga and games there. I bought a Japanese Pokemon Silver version for the GameBoy Color for a mere $3.  I was also lucky to find a good collection of Tales of the Abyss manga, hoping to read it for good Japanese practice since I already know the story line from the game.

Then there's shoes.  Sadly, my normal sized American feet (size 7-8) are HUGE for Japanese women's feet.  So I often find cute shoes that I cant wear, which is depressing.  But, I did find some cute leather moccasins with leopard print that did fit.  Basically I need a large, which can be hard to find sometimes, but they do exist!

Clothes, tons of clothes. But the best place I found was what I like to call "Little Harajuku".  Basically I was wondering inside this mall. Until I reached a floor FULL of lolita, goth lolita, and other very niche styles of clothes! It was super cool! Most of the stuff is uber expensive, but if you browse around you can find some reasonable stuff, considering that lolita clothes always run high in prices.

So far those are my favorite places in Sakae

Friday, January 18, 2013

Nagoya Castle and my first dance club

So now classes have started and I'm finally settling down into my new home and town.  Nagoya is much smaller than Tokyo, but it has it's charms.  I do like the less people thing, and thus less crowded trains.

For a class field trip we went to Nagoya Castle, which was beautiful.  The only downfall is that it's winter so the grounds weren't very green.  However, I hope to go again during the cherry blossom season - it'll be gorgeous then!

This Friday I joined a large group from my dorm to a dance club in Sakae.  This was my first time ever going to a club, and I had a blast!  I was a bit nervous at first. With the scary looking bouncers peering down at my small, mortal being.  But ladies got in for free, which was nice. We put our belongings in a coin locker, and hit the first of the five floors of the club.  The club was very nice, since I've never been to one before I have nothing to compare it with, but I'd say it was a very nice place.  Each floor played different music, so you could find one you liked and stayed, or switch it up throughout the night. I explored every floor and stuck with 3rd floor as my favorite.  It played rap/hip-hop, which is the best music for dancing in my opinion. And so I danced the night away for a solid 3 hours. By the time I left by body was crying on the inside.  But it was so much fun, everyone had a good time I think.  I will likely go again.  The only downfall was the smoke, I'm allergic to cigarette smoke so once it got thick my eyes were burning and my throat was sore.  But I ignored it as best as I could.

Today I'm going to the Pokemon Center in Nagoya, and I can't wait!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

New Places and New Faces

Hello everyone!

It has been awhile since I posted, being home for the holidays was great.  But now I'm back in Japan.

I now live in the city of Nagoya, attending school at Nanzan University.

So far I find Nagoya to be much quieter than Tokyo, though I miss the Tokyo excitement   But I'm sure I'll find fun things in Nagoya as well.

I live in a dorm now and it seems very fun and lively; lots of international students from all over the world!

Class starts on Wednesday, so I'm still in the adjusting stage.

Trying to find the train station, grocery store, and all that good stuff.

I'll keep you posted!