早稲田祭 pt. 2

Waseda-sai is a huge, two-day school festival with performances, art displays, food, and games put on by students, clubs, and some guests. Many, many students come and even people not affiliated with the school come too. This is about how many people were there:

And that's only the main street. When I came in, I got an entire book filled with a schedule and descriptions of events. Saturday I spent mostly just going around to see the dance performances.

That's the girls' dance done by one of the hip-hop groups. There are 3 or 4 street dance clubs, and they all have at least 40 people in them.

This guy was an mc for one of them. He danced a bit too.

This is Shockers, the all-male cheerleading group. I thought they would be kind of lame, but they are really awesome actually. They did some crazy stunts and even made a four-story human pyramid! They have tons of fans.

I'm not sure who this group was, but everyone was cosplaying a random character.

This is the tap club. They had some really cute dances~

This group was doing taiko, Japanese drumming. I've loved taiko since I started going to Michelle's performances about 3 or 4 years ago, so I was happy to see some taiko here.

The next day I was in one of the performances! :D I got to be in one of the pieces done by the modern dance club. It is the only modern dance club here and there are less than 20 of us... but I thought it was a great performance. One guy who graduated last year did a hilarious solo. Most of the pieces we did there are going to be in the performance in a couple weeks also.

After that I had a little time to get some food. I went to the Niji booth and got some pon de queso (Brazilian food). I helped carry a sign around for a bit through the enormous crowds too.

After that we had rehearsal all afternoon, and then went out for a cast party. It was another really fun day, but I was exhausted...and I had 1st period in the morning.



November 5-6 was Waseda-sai! I got really lucky that week too with holidays, and ended up having a 5-day weekend :D

One of those days I went to Shibuya. A few days before that, I stopped there to wander around by myself. I found a Sbarro (which is the only place I know of that puts pizza sausage on pizza instead of the kind of sausage you eat on a bun...), a 5-story fabric store, and a bunch of other sweet stores. This time I went with my friend Liz.

This is in Shibuya 109, 9 floors filled to the brim with the most stylish fashion in Tokyo today. It's really awesome in there, but unfortunately it's pretty expensive and also most stores only carry one size of everything. This pillar was paper-mached like how we did Kelly's bookshelves this summer ^_^

This is a random, really long wall on one of the back streets that's filled with graffiti. It was really interesting art.

I went back to Waseda a bit early for dance that day a happened upon the pre-festival.

They were still setting up the main stage. Then I found some people practicing a sketch on another stage.

They were dressed up Ultraman style is sweet costumes. The play was really hilarious. The announcer girl got kidnapped by the yellow guy, and the Blue Ranger came to save her. But he got overpowered, so Kumaizo...

...came to the rescue. He gave the Ranger the Waseda sword and he defeated the yellow guy. It was like watching anime in real life hahah (note: Waseda's mascot is a bear, and kuma means bear, which is where Kumaizo comes from)

After that I went to dance to practice for our performance in Waseda-sai. More on that later----



First of all, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This is my first Thanksgiving not with my family...I feel like I should have had this week off. But I'm looking forward to the Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday with the Japan Study group~


The day after Halloween was the first round of soukeisen, the baseball finals. Soukeisen is the name for a game between Waseda and Keio universities which have a quite intense rivalry. They were playing for 1st in baseball between the Tokyo Big 6 universities. The game I went to Waseda lost, but they ended up winning overall!

The actual game itself was just like any baseball game I've been to before. But the crowd is completely different. For one, there are cheerleaders. The whole school band was there too. Then there are a group of guys called ouen-dan who make people sing and lead chants. The cheering is super intense.

Things started long before the game actually did. This is the glee club--

cheerleaders with ouendan--

super intense...

Meiji Jingu Stadium.

It was really fun even if they lost, because by the end I had learned a bunch of the songs (including the school song), and the ouendan was super amusing.

Also, the Waseda pitcher, Saitou, is playing in the pros next year and I got to see him in action ;P



I've been so busy lately! But before all that, I want to tell you about my Halloween--

Halloween isn't really very popular here; actually I was surprised to see anything related to it at all. But I guess that recently it's been becoming more mainstream, at least with kids and college students. Unfortunately for the kids though, there is no trick-or-treat.

One of my favorite stores here is called Tokyu Hands. They sell practically everything there. The store in Shinjuku is 8 floors filled with travel supplies, wood, paint, toys, cell phone accessories, etc etc etc. Anyway, they had set up a section for Halloween costumes there, so that's where I got the makeup for my costume. The dress I got at a second hand store, and then I decorated it myself.

That's my friend Kate from MN and her host sister. We got ready together at her house so I got to meet her family. It was interesting walking back to the station and riding the train...like I said, not many people celebrate Halloween. We definitely got some looks ;P

We got into costume to go to the Niji no Kai party. It was at a place in Shinjuku and we took up a whole floor. There were probably about 70 people there. There were drinks and food and dancing and even a costume contest.

It was lots of fun and I was glad to still have a Halloween :D Unfortunately, I had to ride the train home by myself and I probably looked like a hobo. But actually not many people were out because there was a typhoon that night. I thought it would be really bad, but it was just raining and a bit more windy than usual.

Next post coming soon~



Hey everyone! Sorry it's been so long, but here we go--

Back in October, everyone in the Japan Study program had a retreat at Waseda's facility in Karuizawa for one night. It's about a 3 hour drive from Tokyo in Nagano up in the mountains.

I'm really not used to mountains, so I thought it was really exciting. It's very pretty out there too and the leaves were just starting to change.

Most of the other people live in Tokyo, so they were really excited to see trees and grass. They were fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, and a baseball diamond.

I got to play some tennis and ultimate frisbee and throw a baseball around (which I haven't done in a long time).

Besides the 29 of us exchange students, our 4 Japanese assistants came, our accompanying professors, and also 6 students who studied abroad last year at GLCA colleges. We got to talk a lot and had a party that night. I wished we had had some more time; I would have gone hiking. But it was a nice break :D


busy weekend


On Friday night, my family threw a birthday BBQ for me :D So now I had a BBQ before and after my actual birthday haha
My two friends Kate and Kei came and so did my entire family--

This BBQ was more American style than the last one. We had chicken, pork chops, scallops, burgers, fruit salad, salmon, mushrooms and potatoes! And there was ice cream cake too ^__^


The next day I traveled all the way to Saitama to go to the Kawagoe Festival. It was way bigger than I expected and took up all the main roads of the town. There were tons of people there and stalls set up all down the streets.

I ate soooo much good food there! I had kara-age, a ramen burger, and sweet potato soft serve. I also got to try some other stuff like jaga-butter (potato w/ butter), banana choco (Naomi bought one, then she one rock-paper-scissors with the guy selling them and so we got one for free), and some other matsuri food.

Besides food, there were also 10 huge floats called dashi that represented each of the neighborhoods of Kawagoe. They had people on them playing music, one person in a mask, and got pulled through the streets. When they met another float they had a battle and eventually one float becomes the winner. The construction was really detailed and impressive; the whole 2nd level could be lowered down manually, and the floats could rotate around the base.

The rest of the city was really pretty too. This town is known as "Little Edo," so there are lots of traditional looking places and buildings.

Although it was extremely crowded and we did a lot of walking, I really enjoyed it! I'm looking forward to going to more matsuri next July~



First I would like to introduce you to my new favorite place: Yoyogi park.

I went there on a whim one Saturday afternoon. It's right near the Harajuku station and near the Meiji Shrine too. The weather was really nice that day, so there were people everywhere.

That's right near the entrance, just a huge long field. On the other side of the path is a rose garden. Then you come up to a giant fountain.

There were people there playing frisbee, baseball, badminton, riding bikes, eating lunch, breakdancing, playing those long Australian instruments, all kinds of things. There were even a bunch of groups of people having dance practice, so I got to watch them too.

The place is so big, but basically there are more ponds, trees, and fields for acres and acres. I stopped for a bit to read by a man playing his violin, but the mosquitoes were eating me alive so I left. I love how this giant park is right in the middle of such a huge city. It's really a lovely place~


The next day I went to the Niji no Kai (international club) BBQ. It was at a place called Izumi-Tamagawa which is right on the river that divides Tokyo and Kanagawa prefecture. I cross that river to get to Waseda for class. (To Deb- I take the train, 4 different lines, and it takes about 1.5 hours from home to classroom.)

So this BBQ is nothing like a BBQ you are thinking of. It was under that bridge and there were lots of groups of people and I think all the barbecues were rented from the same place. And the food was kalbi beef and vegetables.
Our group was about 200 people. We took up an entire street when we were walking from the station. This is all niji no kai people-

Food for everyone-

It was a lot of fun and I met a ton of new people. Later that week I hung out at their table in the student lounge and met more people again and talked to people I know already. This club has lots of fun people and they are all interested in meeting people from around the world. It's a lot like the COW House at OWU, so it's right up my alley. I'm going to continue going to there events and chilling at their table~


Thursday was my birthday! Thank you everyone for birthday wishes :D
I don't have classes on Thursdays, so I already had the day off. I planned to meet up with one of my friends who is also on the program with me for dinner, but when I got there there was a whole group of people waiting for me! They got me a little pastry with candles and sang too.

Most people were busy, but of few of us went to this English pub called Hub. It seems to be pretty popular with Waseda students.

On my way home, the takoyaki stand was open so I finally got some! This stand is only open a few times a week and it's right near my station. But every time it's been open, I was either full or late or something so I didn't get any. So I finally got my takoyaki and they were delicious :D Takoyaki is octopus cooked into a ball with batter, and then you put sauce and bonito flakes on top.


Lastly, I have a quiz/survey for you guys: Name public places or situations in which it is socially acceptable to be touching total strangers.

I'm curious to see what kinds of things you come up with. I'm thinking of one place in particular that might surprise you haha


first week of class


This week was my first week of classes. Actually, it's not over yet; I have class on Saturday mornings...

My classes are Japanese, Economic Modernization of Japan (a modern economic history class), and Comparative Cultural Studies (looking at how Japan is viewed by the West and vice versa). The nicest part is that I have Thursdays and Fridays completely free!

I've uploaded some pictures here so please go look at those!

For orientation we had to keep a journal, so here is an excerpt from mine:

II. Differences
Bathrooms: Bathrooms are really different than ones in the US, both public and private ones. Most public bathrooms don’t have dryers or towels, so I bought one of those cute hand towels to carry around. And sometimes they have the squat toilets which I don’t know how to feel about. Actually I first saw one of those in the airport and I was a bit confused. Also, bidets are everywhere here. I thought that they would only be in people’s homes, but some public bathrooms also have bidets. I still haven’t ventured to try one, but I do like the heated seats. Something I really don’t like about the bathrooms is the rushing water sound-maker. It turns on when you wave your hand in front of it I guess to cover up any sounds you might be making. I think they are kind of annoying though, especially when they turn on just from me walking into the stall. Private bathrooms are really different too because the toilet gets its own room and then the shower, bath, and sink get another room. In some ways it’s really nice, for example no waiting to use the toilet if someone is in the shower, although it’s quite convenient to have everything in one place. Another nice thing is that the shower/bath room is really big!

IV. Surprises
The food here is really, really good. I knew I liked Japanese food in general, but I was surprised by the quality of food. Even stuff from the conbini tastes good. I’ve been to a bunch of random restaurants and haven’t been disappointed once. And it’s not that everything is just decent. In the US I ate a lot of things that were just OK but still edible and slightly enjoyable. But here in Japan almost everything makes me think, “Mmmm, this is so good!” Something else that surprises me sometimes is what I am eating. I can’t always tell what things are by looking or by the name, so I’ve been consuming a lot of unknown items. There isn’t always someone around that I can ask either, so there’s a bit of mystery surrounding my meals.

And lastly, I've been writing down words I don't know as much as possible, so I'll share some with you-

maegami - bangs
risu - squirrel
kayui - itchy


China Town

Hello~ Today's trip was to Yokohama (a different part from where I live).

They have a China Town there, but it's much nicer than China Towns that I'm used to. The architecture on this temple was really something.

A light post-

These are people's wishes I think.

After that we hiked up this super steep hill in 33 degree weather. But I think the view was worth it; what do you think?

GIANT cruise ships-

A park on top of the hill.

When it turned dark, I walked down near those cruise ships. There's a big long port there with a ferris wheel, so I kind of felt like I was in Chicago walking along Lake Michigan. It's really pretty in Yokohama.


Yesterday was the entrance ceremony for SILS school in Waseda. I went with my host mom (she really likes kimono a lot).

Also, for those who know, I found Beard Papa's!

It's right outside Shibuya station and it smelled soooo good.