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