Miscellaneous Happenings

What did I even do this weekend?

Well, Friday was the English Speech Contest at last! And on Saturday and Sunday… I cleaned.

Boy, did I clean. Shiiiit. I only cleaned the bedroom, really, but now it actually feels livable. I think the problem is the tatami; it just felt really dirty. So I bought some tatami wipes and cleaned it all up, lifting the bed and everything. It was satisfying.

I actually have a lot to talk about for this entry, so I will actually save the English Speech Contest for a separate entry. For now, this entry is a miscellaneous update!

And a bonus—all of the section headings will be song lyrics!

Your songs remind me of swimming

I believe I mentioned finding a pool a while back, and last week, on Wednesday, I went back to the place. It’s called Tateyama Central Sports Club, and it’s a very small fitness club. The pool has five lanes and is probably about three feet deep.

I had trouble expressing what I wanted to do—which was to just swim that day so I could try out the pool—but the employees were super friendly and helpful. They speak minimal English, but we managed to figure out that I just wanted to swim that day. It was ¥1575 for admission for one time.

I arrived too early to swim (lessons were still going on), so I had to wait for the pool to open to lap swimming. In the meantime, one of the employees showed me around, pointing out the showers and the sauna (which I will never use; fuck saunas, I’m sick of them after Akai).

When I finally got in the pool, it was actually okay. It wasn’t too hot, though I did get pruny very quickly. The lanes are also very narrow (jeez, like every other lane in Japan; the pool might as well be the road to my house). When I do butterfly, I’m pretty sure my fingers are about an inch away from the lane lines. Michael Phelps would have a hard time swimming in this pool.

(courtesy of Google images)

As I walked out, one of the employees called me over and handed me a card. He said that if I came back and signed up for a membership within a week, I would get my money back for the day.

So yesterday, I went back and signed up!

I signed up for a night plan, so I can only use the pool between 8:30PM and 11:30PM, I think. That was the best option though. But again, I was too early—I went at 7:00PM today, because that was the time that I went last time. But I guess on a membership plan, you’re kind of restricted more… which is weird. But anyway, they said that today was special and I was allowed to swim right away. They also gave me hella presents—that’s the word he used, “presents,” it was sweet—like a sports drink and some coupons.

So now I have to go to the gym because I’m paying for it! MWAHAHAHA! TAKE THAT LAZINESS!

I plan to go three times a week—Tuesday through Thursday—and maybe a fourth time if I’m not doing anything else on a Friday. (The place is closed on Mondays, and on my membership plan, I can’t go on weekends.)

We drive all night, we haven’t slept in years

Speeds are measured in kilometers per hour in Japan, so sometimes it’s a little confusing how fast I’m actually going.

I have also been told that my K-car can’t go too fast or it will explode. (That’s probably a hyperbole.)

(Probably.)

There are two types of cars in Japan: yellow plates and white plates. White plates are normal cars, and yellow plates are cars like K-cars that are not as powerful as normal cars. Sometimes you have to turn off the air conditioning in order to go up a hill, because they just do not have that much power.

The average speed limit around the ‘Boso seems to be 40 kph, and I was wondering how fast that was in ‘Murrican.

25mph. 40 kph is 25 mph.

That is so goddamn slow.

Also, the average speed limit of the highways around here is about 60 kph. That’s 37 mph.

You guys, what is this place.

The speed limit is higher on the toll highways, so not everywhere is that slow, but damn. Isn’t 45 mph the most efficient speed for gas mileage or something? Where did I hear that?

Anyway, to my point: I’ve been told that K-cars can’t—or shouldn’t—go faster than 70 kph.

You guys, my car will explode if I go over 45 mph.

No wonder Mike got a sports car! Shit!

WHICH IS SUPERIOR?

ANSWER: THIS CAR.
It’s my sister’s, btw.

Just eat a banana

I couldn’t think of a song lyric.

I figured out what a biwa is! It’s a loquat. So now we know. If… anyone was… wondering…

Biwas, compared to a 1 yen coin, which is about the size of a dime.
(courtesy of Google images)

I give up on song lyrics already

I’ve been watching Bleach!

(courtesy of Google images)

For those of you who don’t watch anime, Bleach is… an anime… about a 15-year-old boy named Ichigo. He can see ghosts, and one day he meets a shinigami (Death God) named Rukia. Shinigami are reapers—they go around collecting dead people’s souls and send them on to the afterlife. For whatever reason, Rukia gives Ichigo her shinigami powers, and he becomes a shinigami. So from then on, he has to run around sending dead people on.

And… that’s all you’ll ever need to know about Bleach.

For the longest time, Bleach was like Naruto for me. There are too many gorram episodes, and they’re all poorly written. I’m sorry, I like the artsier side of anime.

And this is coming from the girl who thinks Digimon is a great show. And it is. It’s well written and has character development. Granted, it’s not the best anime in the history of animes, but it’s damn good. Most people I’ve talked to agree. (You know, forgetting the dub, but even the dub was… Well, that’s how I watched it, and they managed not to botch all of the themes.)

Anyway, I told Kim I had never seen it, and she said that, like Naruto, you should only watch the canon episodes. For Bleach, that is the first 53 episodes. The author was going to end the series at that, but it was so popular… so he just kept going.

(Naruto is a bit trickier, because it’s so long, and you have to watch all the canon episodes in the first series to get to the actually good series, Naruto: Shippuden. So you really have to sift through the shit. It’s like trying to find good fanfiction.)

(Assumption error: There is no good fanfiction.)

So Kim decided that we should have a Bleach marathon! Awesome. And after this, we’ll probably have a marathon of another anime (yet to be decided, but I might make her watch Trigun, since she hasn’t seen it—horror of horrors).

On Saturday night, we sat down at her house and started the series. I gotta say, it’s very entertaining. XD I liked the first few episodes, and the characters are pretty hilarious.

It’s also the first anime I’ve watched where I’ve actually paid attention to the Japanese. We’re watching it with English subtitles, but I’m also listening to the Japanese. It’s really interesting. People in anime are characterized by the way they speak—with gendered sentence-ending particles and the personal pronoun they choose (ore vs. boku vs. watashi, which all mean “I”).

I won’t go into too much detail, because I actually want to start another blog about anime, but I’m still working on that, so you probably won’t see it for a while.

I will say, however, that Kim and I were cracking up at all the sexual innuendos in the show. XD I don’t even know if it’s on purpose, because it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the show as far as I can tell, but there is a lot of homoerotic stuff going on, at least in the last few episodes we watched. As of Monday night, we’re on episode…. 14, I think.

I’m holding out on sharing my opinion on the show until I finish at least a season, but so far… it was good until around episode 11. Then it got ridiculous. But I’m going to keep giving it a shot until episode 53. Or until I get too annoyed with the poor writing that seems to be looming.

There is a storm in the distance… our only chance is the lighthouse

On Sunday night, I experienced my first typhoon. Typhoons are really big storms, and I didn’t actually know what they were, so I looked them up.

They’re just big ol’ hurricanes.

And hurricanes are just big ol’ typhoons.

The only difference is the regional names for them. :)

I knew there was going to be a big storm, but no one actually ever told me, “Oh it’s a typhoon, btw.” I had to figure that out on my own.

I cleaned my house all weekend, but I was mostly just cleaning the back doors—I hadn’t managed to fight the mold completely yet, but after this weekend, I finally succeeded in banishing it. For… now…

I also cleaned the bathrooms and the kitchen floor, but since there were so many chemicals flying around, I switched rooms often and kept all the windows and fans running.

The last thing to do was to clean the tatami, but I didn’t have any tatami wipes. It was raining a little, but I really wanted to clean, so I climbed into my car and headed toward Tateyama.

Finding cleaning supplies was fun—I asked for a help a little, but that was easy.

And then I wanted to go grocery shopping. What a fool I was.

I had all this leftover cabbage, so I wanted to make kimchi, but I also decided that I wanted some goddamn teriyaki sauce. I seriously couldn’t find it anywhere, even though I was sure it had to be somewhere in Japan.

I went to Aeon for groceries, and after wandering around a little, I finally walked up to an employee and asked for help. They found teriyaki sauce, so I ventured to ask them for something else. I want to make that Kung Pao chicken stuff that I love so much, so I asked about hoisin sauce, black bean paste, and the chili paste with garlic—the, er, main ingredients for the sauce. I tried to use the Japanese words that I looked up, but they weren’t sure if they had those. I told them that they were Chinese sauces, and I pulled up pictures and the Chinese words for them. Finally, the employee called someone else over—maybe the manager—and he tried to help too. They couldn’t figure out what I was looking for though, so he said that they would call an English speaking employee.

|D Oops. I’m such a bother.

Anyway, she came over and tried to help. She wasn’t sure what the stuff was either, but I was able to explain to her what I wanted to do with it and what exactly it was, so we found some stuff that could be what I was looking for. Haha! We’ll see.

So, shopping fail.

But anyway, I got home just in time for the rain to start. Yeah! Good timing! At around 5:00PM, my landlady walked over to my back door, which I had open, and told me that a big wind was coming, so I should close my doors and windows. She also pointed out the storm shutters, which were slid to the side of my back doors. I was wondering what those were! I asked her when I should close them, because I really didn’t want to close them right away, and she said something about 8:00, but I’m not sure she meant to close them at that time. It would have been too late by then.

She left, and when the wind picked up a little more about an hour later, I closed the storm shutters.

The storm was really noisy, and probably made more noisy by the storm shutters banging against the outside wall of the apartment. It sounded pretty crazy out there, but obviously I couldn’t see. I feel like I missed the storm. |D This is what you get when you live at UCSC and people run naked in the rain.

HIDE FROM A STORM? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO RUN NAKED IN A STORM. DUH.

Having all of the windows closed made my house really, really hot, so it was difficult for me to sleep. I felt really uncomfortable all night. It wasn’t the noise of the storm that kept me awakeit was the heat.

If the storm had lasted through the night and into the morning, I would still have to go to school, even if the students got the day off. Teachers are supposed to go to school anyway in case of an emergency, because the school is the evacuation location in case of a tsunami or other natural disaster.

But the storm cleared up by morning, and life went on. No flying cars here!

Darn.

Give me your heart, make it real—or else forget about it

Hey, remember the 90s? Maybe you don’t. Maybe you are too young. Maybe you were born in 2000! Whoa! You are so young! And you missed out on the 1900s. Boy, that hundred years was a trip. You missed quite the show.

What? You study history, you say? No you don’t. You’re American. Americans don’t study history. They rewrite it to suit their own prejudices.

Anyway, here’s a great video about the 90s:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bRdjmm_-5g

I like how people think that music from the 90s “meant more” or had “more meaning.” …I think nostalgia is corrupting their brains. I love 90s music, but it’s not really any more meaningful than what’s coming out now. I think people just aren’t listening.

Also, I hate some of the songs in that playlist. XD

Anyway, I shouldn’t read Youtube comments.

Also, I looked at the statistics for this video, and it was really surprising. Females between 13-17 watch this video more than females my age. Wut!

And Madonna still kicks butt.

That cake’s my most bestest creation. Why’d you eat it?

Okay, that wasn’t a song lyric.

I’ve been spending too much time on Youtube, so I found some great videos that I want to share with you. XD For now, I’ll just share some Bad Lip Readings! They are hilarious. This is the Twilight one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmxSk0wZxss

The Hunger Games one is also really amazing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjGk_jU6t5A

That’s all for now! Remember to leave a comment for me about your day!

Cast of Characters

Mike as… a 1st year ALT in Chikura. He is from New Jersey. He has a nice car. I don’t.

Kim as… a 1st year CIR. She was a 1st year ALT last year in Asahi, in northern Chiba. She lives in Tomiura and works are City Hall, which is across the street from my middle school. She is from Ohio. She watches a lot of anime, but she hasn’t yet seen Trigun. This is a serious problem that must be remedied. A doctor might be required. A doctor called “El.” Dr. El is medically certified to administer the correct dose of anime to cure this disease.

Vocabulary

Bleach: A Japanese anime that began airing in 2004. It is about a 15-year-old boy named Ichigo. “Ichigo” means “strawberry,” and it can also sound like the words for “one” and “five” (“ichi” and “go,” respectively). Kim and I noticed that when his sisters say his name, they say “Ichi-nii,” which means “big brother Ichi” and sounds like the words for “one” and “two” (“ichi” and “ni”). So there are a lot of numbers in his name, haha! Anyway, he sees ghosts and works as a shinigami/death god/soul reaper. He runs around collecting dead people’s souls and sends them onto the afterlife.

Typhoon: According to the Wikipedia definition, a typhoon is “a mature Tropical Cyclone that develops in the northwestern part of the Pacific Ocean.” Here’s a great chart that explains the differences (or rather the similarities) between hurricanes and typhoons: http://www.diffen.com/difference/Hurricane_vs_Typhoon

The 90s: The most bestest decade in the history of time, because yours truly was born in it. :D It ran from January 1st, 1990, to December 31st 1999. According to Wikipedia, in an un-cited comment, it is “seen by many Western nations as a period of peace and prosperity.” Hahaha, oh the West.

Songs Referenced

Swimming || Florence + the Machine

Have to Drive || Amanda Palmer

Some banana song, possibly from Sesame Street?? And to think, I could have gone with “Eat It” by Weird Al.

Lighthouse || The Hush Sound

Smooth || Santana, feat. Rob Thomas

P.S. I went swimming again tonight, and I made a really bad dessert pun in my head on the drive back… You know, like the ones in The Office.

Jim: “Dwight, I’ve always been your biggest flan.”

Ryan: “You should put him in custardy.”

And here’s mine: “Well, I do eclair!”

…You can just kill me now.

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3 Responses to Miscellaneous Happenings

  1. Kim says:

    HAHA.. yeah a lot of folks say that about K-cars.. but I have driven 100mph on the highways with no problems. Keep up with the maintenance and it should be good to you :D

    • Haha, okay! Actually, I’ve been meaning to ask you about the breaks. They seem kind of weak… I want to get them looked at, but so far I’ve been too afraid to go by myself. XD I totally wouldn’t be able to communicate what I want. I’m working on looking stuff up though. Should I go to Yellow Hat? Is that the best place to go?

  2. Kim says:

    Yellow Hat is awesome! Don’t go to Tomono because he overcharges like WHOA. Also there is a dealer right down the road from Yellow Hat that you can go to. They are pretty nice and fixed the luggage rack for me when a drunken ALT ripped it off ($400 to replace that damn thing!)
    Frankly the brakes are AWFUL and mostly it is just due to it being a 15….16? year old car. I just learned to push them really hard and brake early, but you can also always ask Tomono-san (or ask Enoguchi to ask) about trading in for a newer car? If you found one with a shakken far away it may even save you money…. but maybe not >_>

    If you think you want to stay more than one year it may be worth it though…. maybe keep blue awesome car until it only has 6 months until shaken (which runs about $1200 O_O) and then trade it in? What I am saying may be ultra confusing… maybe one of the other ALTs can explain better ..

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