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!