Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thank You for Being a Friend...

I've come to find out that Japan is full of my people... the kind of people who love short skirts and love women in them. However, if you thought that skirts were short on me, with my long legs, then you would freak out over here. I see girls in micro mini school girl skirts here, the kind you might see on a skanky Britney Spears' video. When I say they leave very little to the imagination... I mean it. It probably sounds like I am a little obsessed with skirts, but I really can't get over how tiny they are in Japan. When I first saw them walking around I asked Ajax why people were going out clubbing in the middle of the day. His response: "Meg, they're just getting out of high school classes." It's their uniform. Hell, I should have grown up here! I got in trouble constantly in the US for my short skirts and shorts (in my defense though... I'm 6'2"... it's extremely difficult to find shorts and skirts that meet the "fingertip length" rule). 

Work is good. It was weird being away for several weeks. I missed the routine stuff. I'm a gal that needs a schedule. Put me to work. Make me feel useful and efficient. That's the kind of thing that makes me happy.

I have to tell you about my crazy weekend. Friday night we stayed at this awesome (and cheap, because all the Americans evac-ed Tokyo) hotel in Roppongi, a part of Tokyo. Friday night we got to hotel and immediately left to go find friends in Shibuya at an awesome bar. So much fun. I ended up meeting this one fellow named Simon. Probably the most crazy Australian ever. Exchanged info with him so we could hang out again with him and his wife sometime soon. 

Next day got up and headed to Yoyogi Park near Shibuya. Gorgeous weather. Thousands of people were there. It was fun. The guys tried (Please note that I used the word "tried") to fly a kite. And the Japanese looked at us funny because the crew we were with brought a grill along to BBQ lunch. We watched people play football, kids playing soccer, and a weird martial arts-type of class. Around 2pm I decided to leave because I was having a major allergy attack.

Let's talk about cherry blossom season for a bit. I LOVVVVVE the cherry blossom trees or "sakura" here. They are gorgeous and breathtaking. Literally... they are breathtaking, because along with cherry blossom season comes allergy season. My eyes constantly itch, my nose runs, I'm hacking and wheezing like a 90 year old asthmatic. It's bad. I'm currently on crazy Japanese allergy meds. I asked my coworker what was in them and he said "Well... it won't kill you." I'm not sure if thats a comfort or not, but oh man do I feel better, I may not be able to feel my face, but I'm not sneezing. :)

So I must have looked a little confused and/or out of place on my way back to the train station to get back to the hotel because I had a young Japanese man walk up to me and ask if he could help. Now, I knew which way the Shibuya train station was... but I was going to wander and find another train station (because I'm like a professional train-taker now). But this gentleman wanted to walk me to Shibuya train station and practice his English along the way. Who am I to discourage learning? So I walked with him. Matsuro was his name and he lived in Seattle for a year for college abroad. I exchanged information with him so we could do dinner sometime and he would teach "you and your bifrenn" Japanese. lol

Sunday was ball game day. After the game we headed home on the trains to our small little station. Once there we wanted to grab dinner before trekking home. Popped into a small restaurant and had the best two hours I've spent in Japan as of yet. The couple who ran the place were amazing. I really think we were the first Amerika-gaijin in their building. (Also, for future reference, when I talk about a small restaurant in Japan, Im not talking about Huddle House small. I'm talking about the size of a bedroom, small. These people run businesses on the first floors of their homes and live on the top floors. It's just how they do things here.) They took pictures of us for their advertisements and used a translator to try and speak with us. The pickled octopus or "tako" was sooooo good. And the gyoza was the best I've ever had. YUM! The wife was from Korea and the husband was Japanese and they were sweet and just so dern cute, they were the kind of people who you hope have grandchildren because they would spoil them so much. When we were leaving, they gave us a gift of salted seaweed flakes. I opened a pack the next day. I like them! Im already ready to head back to that place to visit again. We'll have to take them some sort of gift. They'd really appreciate it.

Just so you all know, it's not always super easy to live in Japan. A lot of the time it is easy, because I'm working hard at my job, traveling all over, eating amazing food, and hanging out with Ajax. BUT, there are lots of times where I miss my people and life back in the US. When I get frustrated at my job, I wish I was back with my old coworkers. When I get lonely when I'm home by myself, I miss being able to see friends whenever I wanted to hang out. I miss being able to go to my used bookstore and pick up something random to read (base store does not have anything good and the stores in my area are all written in Kanji and Hiragana.) I miss calling my mom every day after work just to chat on my drive home. And I miss not having to deal with a crazy, mangy, caterwauling cat outside my house every night (seriously, I'm going to make a video to show you how loud this thing is!). So if you think I don't miss you or the US, you're wrong. But the good far outweighs any negative here for me for right now. I'm having a most excellent time, don't get me wrong. But I do miss old stuff (no mom, that's not an "old person" joke). 

Anywho, I need to go grab some lunch and be productive. If you haven't sent me your address yet, please do, along with any Japanese item requests you might have. :) If I don't know what you want, I can't get it for you! Also, if you have gchat... add me so I can keep up with my peoples.

Stay out of trouble,


Monday, April 18, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ball Game...

Japan is really great! 

It's definitely been a whirlwind. It's calming down pretty quickly though (thank goodness- because I dont know how much more crazy I can take). My favorite thing is still the amazing vending machines. It still blows my mind that I can get a hot can of coffee out of the same vending machine that I get a cold water! So weird. Those brilliant Japanese!

I got to go to my first baseball game yesterday in Tokyo. The Yakult Swallows versus the Yokohama Baystars. I happened to have a red shirt, so I guess I officially became a Swallows fan. First off, I would like to say that the Japanese do baseball right. We were near the stadium about 2 hours before the game and ALREADY people were inside cheering and singing. I guess they do their tailgating inside the stadium as opposed to outside in the parking lots like I'm accustomed to. Also hugh on my list of things I love about Japanese baseball... the fact that they let you bring pretty much anything into the park to eat/drink. I mean anything. We showed up with plastic bags full of Asahi biirus and ChÅ«hai drinks. In addition to the drinks, we also brought in: strawberries, cooked kale, chips, edamame, peanuts, frozen fruit balls and many more other items we thought we'd never get away with bringing into a game.

You think the FSU Animals are nuts? They don't have anything on the Japanese!!! Almost every single person brought several different accessories for the game. They all wore jerseys, they brought umbrellas (there's a chant that goes along with it about the other team being washed up), they all brought team towels, and they had bats that they banged together. Probably about 90% of the time they were chanting and singing! It was awesome! I started making up words so I could chant along! It was a phenomenal experience.

I have so many more things to tell everyone about the past few weeks. There's just too much for one blog post! :)

More to come,