Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Umeda, Naruto, Imax, Oh my!

>Sooo…it’s been exactly 2 weeks since I’ve last written anything (which is a big surprise, considering the fact I’m always writing). I guess I haven’t really felt like writing anything? Not because everything’s been boring, but it’s just been so hot and heat/humidity make me sleepy. I asked my friend Shota, “Oh my god when is this heat going to END??? And please tell me what I want to hear!” and he said probably not until I leave (-_-) Anyways, a lot has happened. So that I won’t go on a ramble I’ll make a list and then talk about things of interest:

Umeda Sky Building (SO COOL!!! Especially at night)

Suntory Museum: Largest Imax in the world (hmm…the IMAX screen was cool but the movie was boring)

Tempozan Ferris wheel (Kind of scary because it was up so high xD)

Overnight stay at Obaachan’s (host grandmother) house in the country

Onsen (public Japanese bath)

Climbed a mountain

Visited Okaasan (my host mom’s) ancestor’s grave and cleaned it up

Universal studios Japan with my “yankii” (gangster/rebel) host sister and her friends J

Movies with Vicky and her friend Masaki from school

Karaoke with Vicky (and my stalker, I will explain that later)

Tennoji zoo date with Vicky an stalker

Tried to be picked up by guys that were old enough to be my grandfather

Australian kid’s welcome party at Shota’s friend’s house

Most of these things are self explanatory by pictures, but some stuff deserves a bit extra info. We went to Obaachan’s house for an overnight visit. Being in the car for 4 hours with my 9 year old host brother was…well…not fun xD But the scenery was beautiful. I was really excited because I had wanted to go and see a more country part of Japan since all I’ve really seen are big cities and suburbs. We ate udon first (supposedly the best in Osaka, I think it was really oishii [delicious]). When we got to Obaachan’s house we watched “The Day after Tomorrow” and then all of a sudden my host dad said “Ok, Onsen! Let’s go!” Now for those of you who don’t know, an Onsen is a public Japanese hot spring/bath. It’s supposedly very relaxing/healthy. It’s like a giant hot public hot tub and they are very popular in Japan. Only thing is…no bathing suits/no towels/no nothing. You have to be completely naked. Yeah. I kind of had a freak attack but in the end I decided to go (or maybe I was forced, my memory is a little hazy). It was probably the most intense experience of my life, especially since America has nothing like this. In the end, it was quite the experience, but I think just going one time is enough for me J When we got back to Obaachan’s house I had a really bad asthma attack (I didn’t know that obaachan had a cat (-_-;)) so I had to go to this clinic near her house the next day. Her really nice old lady friend drove me. But I didn’t know whether to call her Obaachan (grandma) or Obaasan (aunt) because she seemed so full of energy xD After a painful IV and a bunch of confusion/me slowly dying, the doctor brought out an inhaler and I took it and was all better J But laying on that hospital bed with no air and all those nurses and doctors saying things I couldn’t understand, I honestly thought I was going to die O.o Because I kept saying “Inhalor!!” and “Aerosol!” but all of them were looking at me like I had five heads. However, because I learned Katakana (Japanese alphabet used to write foreign words), I was able to write it out and they understood. Thank god I had learned Katakana!!!!

Pretty much right after I got out of the hospital/clinic, we went to my Okaasan’s ancestors grave. It was a very interesting experience. In america, we bury the dead and kind of leave it at that (and maybe when you’re sad or it’s the anniversary you go and visit the grave, but usually not), but in Japan there’s a law against burying people. I guess because theres not much space? Also, every year on the anniversary of the death you go and clean/wash up the grave and light incest and pray. It was all really sad/deep until my Otosan (host father) said, “Jojo you should pray to find kakkoih otokonoko (handsome guy) in Nihon (Japan)!!!” hahaha I love my host dad xD

I slept in the car because I was still feeling a little sick, and then when I opened my eyes we were at…a mountain. “Hey jojo I know you just had an asthma attack but let’s CLIMB A MOUNTAIN”. At the time I was like “Oh my god” but now its kind of funny xD Everytime we turned a corner there was more steep stone stairs to climb up. I had forgotten my camera in the car, but I’ll get the pictures from Vicky because she was there too.

My stalker. Yep, I got one here in Japan. He’s this salary man type and he stalked me off the bus. He seemed kind of desperate but nice/harmless enough. And me and Vicky were bored so we decided to meet him at McDonalds. It was SUPER awkward, so we went to Karaoke which was fun. The next day we went with him to the Zoo too. Vicky thinks hes creepy/shady, but I think he’s nice and really funny. Anyways, he said he’ll call again this weekend to do something so we’ll have to see what happens then. By the way, the zoo was SO COOL!!! It had a bunch of animals I had never seen in my whole life!! Like a bunch of cool monkeys…and one monkey that looked like a character off of star wars, you’ll know when you see it xD

Ok now random/off the list stuff. I got my uniform! You don’t really have to wear a uniform at my school but I kind of wanted to (I’m strange) so I’m super ureshii (happy) :D Oh and my Japanese is slowly getting better. It’s just the grammar that’s really hard (T-T) but I will try to study hard! (^0^)b

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Asahi Festival and Making friends

Well currently I am soaked in rain water and trying to keep a very wet (and smelly) doggy Reita away from me. But it’s not so hot! I am so happy! I think Japan weather finally realizes that’s its fall and not summer :D Although I’m a bit scared because now it’s entering typhoon season. I heard from my Korean pen pal the other day that he typhoon in Korea destroyed some streets in Seoul O_o

The past few days have been unbearably hot, but at the same time eventful. On Sunday I went to a festival at my old high school, Asahi. Everybody was really excited that I came to watch, and some people asked me which performances were better so I was feeling the pressure (-_-;) but my old class did really good!! I was surprised to see Kokurin dancing so animatedly xD I inadvertently ignored him though (because I was trying to talk to everyone at once) and at one point he even tugged on my hair. I think he’s mad at me now (-_-;) Basically, all the grades and classes did a dance, and then the ones who sung really well on Saturday were chosen to sing for a competition today. My old host sister’s class lost the singing competition though. I was surprised because I thought they were the best. But everybody gets really into it…like one of the girls in Vicky’s class started crying and Vicky was like “Come on, it’s all for fun right?” and the girl she got…she got so angry!!! <:O But I can see why everyone gets so intense, everybody works really long and hard on their routines so they want some recognition. At the singing competition Vicky and I sat with Yuuki and Shota. We were trying to figure out whether or not the songs the people were singing were in English or not. They kept asking me and I’m like “I don’t hear English…” but it turned out that a majority of the songs were in fact English, just with a very thick Japanese accent xD Like one class sung “We are the world” and well…I thought they had translated it into Japanese but apparently not…but everyone’s voices were very good (^-^)

Ok, now before I talk about what happened on Monday, I will tell you a little about my school. KTC high school is a very…special school. It’s not a school for the mentally disabled, but it’s basically a school for socially awkward people who…well, who don’t like school. Also, the teachers hover around you and don’t really give you any space. Not that it’s a bad thing, the teachers are VERY kind, I love them, but it just makes it difficult to make friends. However, I did J It was very challenging at first. I am a very awkward person in America, but I have never experienced this feeling of awkwardness in Japan. After all, everyone here really wants to know you but they are so shy, so if you act shy too then there will be literally impossible for you to talk to them. So in Japan I have made 3 rules:

1. Ask a person’s name if you make eye contact with them (If you make eye contact it usually means they have been staring at you for a long period of time and want to talk to you).

2. ALWAYS SMILE. Never stop smiling. Japanese people expect foreigners to be happy, and they’re are already a little scared/intimidated, so if you’re not smiling they’ll think you’re a demon trying to steal their soul

3. Get their phone number/email (because of the language barrier, it’s kind of impossible to have a smooth conversation in person, so you can work to build up a relationship with them through email. Also, you have all the time you need to look up translations and the like)

Ok, so these KTC students…wow. It was a bit of a challenge. And I had a few duds (people who actually really weren’t interested in talking to you) which is something I had never experienced in Japan before. But there were a few diamonds in the rough. I met a really shy, but very nice girl named Shirakawa and we are going to do purikura (Japanese photo booth) together tomorrow! So I am very excited ^^ Now me and Vicky decided that I should also make some guy friends…but I’m not sure. All the guys at KTC seem so..so shady! They are either yankees/ganster types, or they are very super mega “oh my god” awkward. But I’m gonna make it my goal to make at least one guy friend. I think I am close to being friends with this one guy, we rode the elevator down together and talked some. I love all the people here in Japan though because they will look really intense at first, but as soon as you talk to them they get this adorable/happy/honored look on their faces. It makes my heart smile J

On Monday after school Vicky and I went to the revolving sushi bar. It is so oishii!!!!! I had missed good/real sushi in America. Wow, I was about to spell it “Amerika”. Oh lord.

Oh and I have a bug story, when you have to leave your window open 24/7 you are bound to have at least one:

*sitting in my room*

Vicky: So yeah there are these places in Japan where….8O

Me: Yeah??? Where what??

Vicky: Jojo…get down!!

Me: eh why??? *looks up and sees demon bug* OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT???

*me and Vicky both duck to the ground*

Me: *whisper* Is….is it gone??

Vicky: *whisper* I…I don’t know. Maybe…

*demon bug lands in between us right next to our heads*

Vicky and Me: OH MY GOD!!!

Me: what is it??

Vicky: Maybe its batman’s little brother????


It was quite frightening. I live in a forest-like area in America so I do see my share of bugs, but never anything like that. It was like something out of Satan’s insect collection.

Oh and if you’re interested, this is my schedule at school (there’s like different classes everyday but basically this is what I’ve taken so far):

Period 1: Business or Japanese History

Period 2: Art or English or Japanese

Period 3: Geography and Philosophy

The classes go until 12:30 and then there are clubs until 2:30. I did the chorus (which also doubles as the stretching club because that’s all we did xD) and cooking club yesterday.

The teachers are really nice and they cater to my every need (even when I don’t think I need anything), so I’m happy. But I’ve been really tired lately so I feel bad because I can’t smile/speak as happily as I usually do. But I am trying (>.<) And I’m going to make a sleep schedule so that I’m not on the brink of passing out in the middle of the day. And the way to get to school is a bit tiring too:

-Walk about 10 minutes to bus station

- Take bus 8 stops to Osaka station

- Walk through Osaka station to Nishi-Umeda station (about 10 minutes)

-Take train 5 stops to Namba station

-Walk to KTC

I don’t think it’s that I’m tired really though, it’s just been so HOT!! But now it seems to be getting cooler so I’m happy (^0^) And I’ve made a list of places I want to go, so me and Vicky (and any Japanese people that come along xD) will get started on it soon :D

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First few days back in Japan

First of all, IT'S SO HOT!!!

Ok, now back to the first few days~

Well, a lot has happened in these past 2.…no maybe 3(?) days so I’ll have to categorize or else I’ll start a never ending ramble

Flying over : This was by far the WORST experience of my life…it was actually like an out of world experience because I was so tired/confused throughout the whole thing. America to Tokyo was fine, but once I got to Tokyo international airport, it was a different story. Because of so many rules and regulations due to terrorists in Japan, I had no idea why I was sitting in a shady basement terminal waiting for an airplane for 4 hours. However, it did turn into a very cool experience (one which I will probably NEVER experience in America) and this bus took us to the plane. So there were no tubes or anything, we were like out on the runway outside taking stairs onto the plane. It was quite amazing, as I’ve never been that close to a plane before (at least without all the tubing and security). That was actually one good about the whole experience J When Vicky (my bestest friend from my previous exchange to Japan), Yo chan (my new host sister), and Shinya (Yo chan’s boyfriend) saw me we all FREAKED OUT. I think all the Japanese people around were scared xDD Me and Vicky had a total spaz out hug fest, but then I realized it was about…oh, NINETY DEGREES HOTTER THAN AMERICA (!!!) and I stopped. Seriously, I hadn’t walked even five steps before I was drenched in sweat (-_-) mecha atsui (very hot) !! And the humidity is like 110 percent if that’s even possible. But I was so excited!!!! I AM IN JAPAN!!!!! And all the bright lights in Higashi Umeda (train station in Osaka) seemed even brighter!! Even now I can’t believe it, I’m back. This is so cool!

First Night: I think Monan (my 8 year old host brother) is trying to kill me and Vicky (-__-) Everybody loved all the present I got for them though J I bought a couple shirts for Shinya, but Yo chan wears them instead because she said she liked them, poor Shinya haha xD My new host family lives right across the street from a vending machine too, so 24/7 access to Coca Cola Muwhaha >:D Anyways, we all walked Reita (my new adorable host dog) together to the park and laughed and took pictures. Me and Vicky were too slow though so Monan kept yelling “HYAKU HYAKU!!! (faster!!)” but we just went slower xD The park is really nice though, and it has a really pretty view of the river, I think I’ll enjoy going there mainichi (everyday). For dinner Otosan (host dad) made me sashimi and we all had sushi, it was very oishii (^0^)b I really love my new host family. They are so down to earth so I feel so comfortable around them!! Watashi wa ureshii (I am happy) J Oh and I met my sister’s yankee (gangster(?)) friend Sho and I said he was “kakkoih (handsome), so now Yo chan is very excited for me and Sho to talk again. I only said he was handsome to be polite though.. But he seems like a really nice person. They all do!! After meeting Sho, Okaasan helped me with my application to Yo chan’s school. I had to write a letter about my dreams for the future…in all Japanese!!! I was pretty nervous at first but I got it all done so I was super happy (^0^) It’s a good thing I learned Hiragana (Japanese writing system: used for words that don‘t have a kanji) before I came! Okaasan was really impressed that I learned them all in just 1 month, but I used a Hiragana pictogram app on my phone so it wasn’t too hard to memorize them. Even though I drunk like 50 bottles of cola (I get thirsty so easily here!!) I slept like a baby my first night J

First Day of school: Okaasan took me to school my first day to talk to the guy who is going to be my teacher. The way seems a bit…complicated though. It’s like we take a bus a lot of stops, get off at Higashi Umeda station, walk down a shady staircase (haha xD) and then take a train. But the good news is, KTC (my new school) is basically right across the street from the train station :D We sat in a room and conversed with my new teacher, he is so nice!!! Actually, all the teachers are!! And I was a bit worried about the students (my okaasan said that KTC is a school for kids who…well…don’t like school xD) but everyone was very kind, just a bit shy J We decided which classes/clubs I would take (I’m actually not quite sure what those were, as everything was decided in Japanese, but I guess I’ll find out tomorrow J After this we me and Okaasan (mom) went to Makudo (McDonalds) and I tried the “McPork”. Huh. It kind of tasted like sausage. Kind of…haha. Okaasan was telling me about when there were the bacteria in the cow beef in America so all the places in Japan that had gotten their beef from America were losing money because people didn’t want to buy it. So that they would still make money they came up with an all new pork menu. Which is how the McPork came to be in Japan McDonalds :) I found that quite interesting.

Visiting Asahi: So when I was last in Japan, I attending a Asahi high school. I made a bunch of good friends there, and Vicky still goes there, so I decided to visit. Sunday is the day of the Asahi festival so there are no classes this week and everyone is training super hard. When me and Vicky were walking up the stairs to my classroom, we saw some of my old classmates and they FREAKED OUT!! Hahaha:

Vicky: So yeah I…

Old Classmates: *dead stop when they see me* Jojo….Jojo?….JOJO????? JOJO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *runs up and grabs me*

Me: Oh god! Konnichiwa??!!!

Old Classmates: JOJOOO!!!!!

And they just kept saying my name over again and saying how it was impossible for me to be there xD Oh and we saw Kokurin (one of my best friends from last time…we have a bit of a love/hate relationship though), Jun, and Hiro (my old classmates) and they had pretty much the same reaction xD I asked Kokurin is he had missed me (expecting him to be like “Oh no whatever”) and he went “OH YES!!! YES!!!! So…so much” hahaha oh god, these Japanese sure know how to make a girl feel special xD They made me promise to come to the festival on Sunday. And I will, because Vicky kindly bought me a ticket J I’m excited, I’ve always wanted to see a Japanese high school festival! Oh and Kokurin looked quite different. He changed his hairstyle, and he wasn’t wearing his uniform shirt, but a bright turquoise undershirt. Vicky was like “What the heck! You can’t wear that in school man! >:O” haha

After this it was time to see my favorite Japanese people: Chibi and Misato They were my bestest best Japanese friends last time and they are so kind/funny! They taught me a lot of Japanese and they can speak very good English. We had to meet them in the room above the cafeteria (it’s like a meeting room type place) because they were painting. Vicky walked in first and said “Hey guys I’m back!!” and they said, “…Where’s jojo??” and when I walked in behind Vicky they were like “OH MY GOD!!!!” and ran over and grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go xDD I missed them so much though!! We all sat/drank juice/laughed together and then another one of my favorite people came! Shota! He’s really nice too. He speaks really good English because he went to America for a year. By the time we left it was really dark/shady outside and Vicky didn’t have a bike so we asked Shota to take us back to my house. He rode Vicky the whole way, even up all the really steep hills (which I couldn’t even get up by myself xD) so we were like, “Whoaa!! You are strong!!” Once we got back we walked Reita with Monan to the park again.

Jenga and friends: After my second day of school, everybody threw me a welcome party J We all played games (Jenga/card games with Japanese people is the best thing ever) and I met this guy names Shide. He’s half Japanese/half Filipino and he speaks good English so we were talking and he asked me a bunch of questions about America. They taught me rough Kansai ben (Osaka Dialect), so basically instead of saying “O namae wa nan desu ka? (what is your name?) J ” its, “Omaidyanen?! (Who are you man?!) >:O” hahaha

After school I hung out with Yo, Shinya, and Sho. Yo kept trying to get me to tell Sho “Ashiteru! (I love you) “but I escaped and went to go pick up Vicky at Asahi and went with her to a hair salon near my house and it was pretty cool. I want a cute Japanese hairstyle (T^T) After I take out my braids in October the hairdresser ladies said they could do me :D And that they can handle my unruly curly hair, we’ll have to see about that xD When we got back to my house we had the funniest dinner in my entire life (Vicky is quite hilarious), then went to the park to play soccer with Reita and Monan.

My first few days have been quite eventful, and I can’t wait to experience all things Japanese!! I’m back!! \(^0^)/


I'm Jordan, nickname: Jojo :)

I recently went on a 6 week exchange to Japan from June-July (blog: http://www.jordan-in-japan.blogspot.com) and it was the most amazing and life changing experience of my life! Because of this, I have decided to come back to Japan. I will be staying in Japan for 2 months, starting August 31st. I will be living with my friend Rafa's old host family in Osaka and will be attending high school with my 16 year old host sister, Yo. I am very excited and I feel so blessed/grateful for this opportunity! This blog will document the second part of my adventure to Japan. Enjoy! \(^0^)/