Monday, January 10, 2011


This time home as in the US, not back to Fukuoka. Four days ago I got on a plane at 7:20pm to leave from Tokyo and I arrived in New York 13 hours later at... 7:50pm. Time zones are silly. Finally got home around 10pm or so, getting Bojangles on the way. I hadn't had sweet tea in forever. Never was able to adjust to the bitter taste of Japanese.

But... I'm back. Missing everything over there but there's nothing I can do except hope for a chance to return someday. Adjusting to things and seeing people I haven't in months. I've been tackled four times now, twice by surprise. I'm still keeping up with friends on Skype, at least. Talking to Chris about every day at least briefly. Planning a trip this summer to Minnesota and tickets may be bought after a discussion with parents. On the fence about Animazement still as well, but I need to decide before any plane tickets are purchased.

It's snowing out so I'm confined to my room, since I don't really want to trek across campus to Deborah's half of the world. Had Taco Bell with her and Candie tonight though. My tummy struggles to handle greasy American food at times but I'm dealing. If I get hungry again, since we had an early dinner, I have Red Lobster in the fridge. And.. that's about it. I don't know what there is to say about home.

Going abroad was probably the best thing I could've done. I had the greatest experiences of my life and made the best friends I could have from all over the world.

Edit: I made a website and have added it to the outside links section. It's full of tips and things about studying abroad in Fukuoka.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sweaty Sweat Sweat

Today I sweated. A lot. And I laid on stone. And rocks. And a mat.

I went to a hot spring and we did the whole package; hot spring plus sauna rooms. I went with Meagan and Jen. GOSH. So we start out by taking off our shoes and putting them in a locker by the door. We get a key that we exchange for a bracelet with a bar code. Then we get our bag and go through to the woman's changing area. So we put all our stuff in a locker and then it's time to strip. We awkwardly go out through nearby doors and sit on a little bucket to wash off with a shower nozzle and provided body wash stuff. The hot springs are riiight next to us, but we have to go back inside, put on the provided clothes, and go to the sauna part first.

There were six, kind of. You go in a certain order. First we laid down on stone, first setting down our towels to rest on. It was hot and we were there for a while. Then the next one was a little less hot, and on rocks. White rocks that poked. The next was cool air to recover. Then it was back to hot. The hottest one there. This one had little hourglasses beside each spot to lay down that counted down ten minutes because you weren't supposed to stay longer than that. Stubbornly, Meagan and I lasted the whole time. Next was another rock room that was cooler but still hot. It had blue rocks. Finally, passing through a normal room you get to one where you can either lay down or climb into one of the honeycomb type things in the wall. So I laid down in one of those until me and Meagan retreated to the relaxing/waiting room thing to cool and wait for Jen.

There were several rooms with TVs and chairs set up but we didn't stop. We were sticky and sweaty and gross.

We returned to the changing room where we stripped again, then washed again, then finally got to the hot spring. It was outside, and today it was cold with misty rain. But the water was hot. One was 38 degrees Celsius. The hottest was 43. There were also barrels that you just sat in and we probably stayed there the longest. If I had my arms out, the cold rain balanced out the hot water so I didn't get overheated. So we chatted, then went to the inside hot spring briefly, which were in the same room as the little shower stations.

Then we took our third shower of the day to wash off the salty hot spring water. Finally washed my hair here too. All the shampoo and conditioner and body wash were provided. Then they had a wall of sinks, brushes, and hair dryers in the changing room that we used after we had dressed again to do our hair. Then it was back into the rain.

We met with Chris in Tenjin and decided against yakiniku because it was too expensive. I wanted to try it... :< It's cook your own meat, I think, but Jen is vegetarian. We also didn't know where to find a shabu shabu place. So instead we went back to Sweets Paradise, the all you can eat cake place. They have curry, pasta, sandwiches, and more as well so we all filled up, and now I'm back and exhausted.

Oh, and this hot spring was in Hakata, by the pier with the red tower. Or something.

Tomorrow's my last full day.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Returned "home"

After a long 5 hour ride on the shinkansen/bullet train, I'm finally back in Fukuoka! Have to say I missed it and waaay prefer it to Tokyo. So many tourists there! And crowds and everything. D:

Though, I did find the last book of the Princess Mononoke manga I was collecting. I also got a 1000 yen Simon figure from Gurren Lagann to make up for the Viral I never found. We walked for 9 hours to find that thing, and failed (probably because it's no longer made and most stores mainly carried perverted female figures). BUT. We did find one online, and Chris got it for me. MERRY CHRISTMAS he said, as he threw his card at me. This is the one I got. It'll be in the mail.. someday. I got an email that it's processing.

Anyway, I said we were going to go back out later at night to avoid the tourists. Well... instead I got sick. I was throwing up all night and suffering from a killing headache. It finally faded a little after I vomited the first two times so we headed out to a convenience store for dinner/bread for my stomach. I threw up at the first place again, but then got a corn dog (American Dog, according to the Japanese), along with a pack of bread, and after eating them I felt mostly better. So... I was well again in time to go to sleep, though the headache never really faded and I still have a remnant of it 24 hours later.

But, I did take a couple more pictures in the station and on the way back, since that's all we did today. Had to be out of the hotel by 11am and on the train by 2pm. We couldn't exactly lug our bags around everywhere, so we hopped in a taxi and went straight there. Ate at a little sandwich shop and then looked around the underground subway mall area.

Then it was back on the train for the five hour return trip from Tokyo to Hakata station in Fukuoka. Kinda miserable. The guy in front of me had his chair leaned back, and my bag wouldn't fit in the overhead tray thing, so I had it in front of my knees. Due to his leaning back, my knees were shoved into my bag and I was unable to move for most of the trip. But, I did take some pictures and videos from the window.
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Also, videos.

Sorry there's a lot. What they are is in the title/description of each. Mostly just views from the window to show how fast it's going and also how quickly scenery switches from city to countryside. The first is the shinkansen pulling into Hakata station, the next two are views shortly after leaving, and the last is a view of Tokyo as we were headed back.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


So today we went to Sensoji to see the giant lantern and stuff. Here it is.

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Also, a padoga.

And me!

Didn't really do much else so far. It was really crowded.

We're going back tonight to see it better, get more pictures, maybe be in one. We'll see how well that plan works out.

Tourists everywhere!

Also, there was a tiiiny amusement park and we're glad we didn't get our hopes up about it being awesome.

More pictures

Friday, December 24, 2010

Live, From Tokyo

Hey! Just arrived in Tokyo a little while ago. We left the dorm at 1pm, boarded the shinkansen at 3pm, and arrived at 8pm. A short taxi ride later and it's now 9:40pm. The taxi driver was awesome. He went on a back road to the wrong hotel at first and started rambling to himself in disgruntled, confused Japanese until he realized he should've stayed on the main road, and turned two corners to find the hotel. He'd barely missed it. But we're here! The Chisun Inn in Asakusa.

Pictures! The room is tiiiiny.

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There's working internet though, obviously.

Oh! And the first thing we saw while driving through Tokyo in the taxi waaaas...

A Dennys.

We're about to venture out into the city to find some dinner, then come back and hopefully fully plan what we definitely want to do here. There's a Pokemon Center somewhere for me to find! Also, we have to go to Akehabara, a palace that's only open on holidays where you can see Mt Fuji from, and Tokyo Tower, at least. We're still considering that amusement park as well, but it is kind of cold. Currently 38F according to google. Mika was also telling us about a park. We forgot to pick up a tourist map at the train station... oh well.

Also, merry Christmas Eve. o uo

Mountain Dew in Fukuoka is 120 yen for a can 350ml. Here, a 500ml can is 120 yen, and it's EVERYWHERE. I have to search all over in Fukuoka! D:

And we found a restaurant that we often go to in Fukuoka. May end up trying it here too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Toward the End

So we had our going away party a while ago with just our group. I posted pictures of the ice cream. Last week was an I-House goodbye party. They made those leaving do a little speech in front of everyone. I almost lost it and started crying right there in front. I did later, when accepting a board thing all the advisers had signed for me with little messages. But the real trigger was a video that was played with pictures from the entire semester. A lot of them were from my facebook page, actually. People started sobbing right there, and seeing them set me off too. So then people went around taking pictures and my face is red from having to constantly regain my composure. At one point right after I'd recovered, Andrey walked up to Chris and said "you'll be here next semester". Then he looked at me and said "You won't". I lost it right there, and he froze in utter shock, handed me a cupcake from the nearby table, tried to hand me an entire cake pan, and then excused himself.

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Meagan, Me, Natsumi and Me and Misa. I'm waiting for more pictures to be uploaded. My (chris's) camera died right at the beginning of the party.

My health class and teacher. (top) Dimitri, Jen, Brian, Meagan, me, Chris, Tess. (bottom) Allena, Edwina, Shinfuku sensei, Ayuki, Nancy, Don, Rebecca.

In other news, exams ended as of Tuesday morning. Tuesday afternoon I sent in my final paper too, though it wasn't due until New Years Eve. I just rather it be out of the way, so it is. Had three finals for Japanese class. Kanji, grammar, and speaking. After the grammar part, the last one, Jo sensei made us all hug her. 8 of the 12 beginners are leaving for good. I had her sign my board thing with the adviser's signatures too. Takahashi sensei signed it at the party. She was the only teacher who attended. I also have a scrap book I've been filling with little things. I don't think there will be enough room so for now I've packed up all I want in a bag together.

Anyway, other than Japanese I had a Natural World final. It was literally four questions with five options after each and we had to mark which were true. I have no idea how I did but it counts for 70% of my grade. Originally we were told it'd be an essay and I think I would've preferred that. Manga class's final was to read some manga, about nuclear bombing victims in Hiroshima, and write responses. Besides final exams, I had papers for health, intercultural communications, and the aforementioned economics. None proved too difficult.

I've moved out of my room now. All my bags are in Chris's room, and on Friday we're going to Tokyo for a few days. We'll be in Asakusa and we're visiting Akehabara, an anime and technology focused place. Determined to find that ever elusive Viral figurine! I'm convinced one exists, somewhere. May meet Josh somewhere in Tokyo if we can find each other. Might also go to an amusement park, and definitely a castle or something that's famous for its giant red lantern. Mika was also telling us about a park. I wrote down his suggested places to visit.

I'm not sure what else to talk about. I'm out of my room. Have to turn in my key tomorrow. I also need to cancel my bike registration and figure out how to send it home in a relatively cheap way. Then there's the course enrollment form I have to have signed for UNCG. My card might no longer let me into the library so I'll need Chris to print it for me.

Let's see... we had our final dinner all together last night. Meagan and Brian are currently in Korea. Christ is leaving Japan on Friday so we'll have to do stuff tomorrow, like climb Fukuoka Tower finally. We went to Yayoikin for food. It's one of Christ's favorite places. I'm about to start uploading all of the videos I took all semester long on facebook, so if you know me on there, check them out. There's some of karaoke, food, bowling shoe machines, and whatever else I've seen/done.

Random photos!


My Yayoikin meal. Hamburger, hotdog, chicken, with bean sprouts and onions and green beans, and also potato chunks. That empty space is where my rice was before Chris took it.

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Where I've been practically living the past few months.

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Going away party photos
Meagan, Chris, Allena, Me - Meagan, Me, Maki
Me, Chris, Meagan, Cayleen

KFC for Christmas, anyone? "Yes!" reply all the Japanese.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Canal City Christmas

So here's the video I couldn't get to upload properly yesterday.