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Pic Spam )
So that was my trip to Iwatsuki.  It's only 50 minutes away on the Tobu Noda line, and is famous for it's doll makers.  The last couple pictures are from the display on the train platform.  It was a bit too late to go look in many shops when I was leaving, but most of them made the samurai armour ones.  I didn't see many dolls for girls, but I didn't honestly look that hard.

I thought there would be a plaque or something in the park that said "This is where Itwatsuki-jo used to be" but if there was, I couldn't find it.  There were two gates still standing, however and quite a few signs.  I haven't deciphered them yet.  I also went to some of the temples and shrines around the castle because they would have been there since the Edo period when the castle was built. :)  I will definitely go back and make changes to Equilibrium to build up the town now. 

I was going to caption all the pictures, but I can't be bothered. :P  The 4th picture is of the old Han office (before Ken [prefectures] there were Han) which used to be a samurai school.  I went in and saw the rooms and talked to the attendant who told me about it all.  They learned reading and kendo but not writing, apparently.  And it was the kids jobs to do chores like keep stuff clean and pull out the storm shutters.  The area where the castle used to be--the Hon Maru, Ni no Maru, and San no Maru and the most of the moat--are now all residential areas.  They still have the same names though!  There were only two gates, the Otemon and another at the back, but now there's a paved road going right through the middle.  Only a little portion of the old castle grounds is the park, the Shin Guruwa (新曲輪).  And as I thought, no valley.

I loved going around the temples though.  I remember reading about Japanese funeral/burial rites when I was writing Nagase's death and read about how the funeral industry in Japan is such a cash cow.  Obviously but the size of some of those tombs!  It's cheaper to just put the spouse's (or entire family's) names on the tomb at the same time so they paint the living relatives' names with red paint until they die.  There was even a pet tomb.  I think the ones with bubble wrap still on are new?

New hair cut. :D  Not really so new because I've had it before but it's lookin' good now.  I'm sad my usual guy wasn't there, but I asked them to pass on the kimchi to him.  It's the first time he wasn't there!  Usually he is on Saturdays.  Maybe he switched with someone.  I'll go back at the beginning of next month and get my bangs trimmed for Yuka's wedding.  UGH I'm SO WHITE.  I took like 5 pictures to get one that didn't look gross.  I'm still having trouble finding foundation to buy. :/  Maybe I should take what I've got to the store and ask them to give me the closest thing.

So screwed

Apr. 3rd, 2009 01:03 pm
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Slept at.. 3?  Maybe 2:30.  It doesn't really matter at that point.

Woke up at 1.  I'm so screwed.  Unless I have a real valid reason to get up with the alarm, I won't.  Sigh.  Bad girl.  Well, I still have 2 weeks to fart around and sleep all day so let's just enjoy it. 

No hair cut today, it's going to take too long.  Maybe Monday when all the kids are back in school.  I should not even bother showering and go to Iwatsuki but that's gross. 

No one wants to come with me so I'm going to go rock out by myself with my book (starting to read Wicked) and some coffee and have a good ol' time by myself.
aide: (翔 → Roadtrip)
So, I am leaving in little under an hour!  Actually, make that 45 minutes.  The house is as clean as it's going to get without me getting a bucket of water and a zoujin and scrubbing like Cinderella.  Maybe emptying my vacuum would help (since I haven't in... ever).  I don't think I've forgotten to pack anything and if I have, I'll just buy it in Korea.  Going to have to remember to get something for dinner at a convenience store or the airport before getting on the plane.  I'm not taking my phone with me since it probably won't work there anyway and I don't want to rack up roaming charges.  Our hostel as internet so I'll be able to check my email there and check lj but maybe I won't. 

I lost one of my earrings and I wanted to take them with me.  I don't want to unpack all my work stuff to look for it, since that's probably where it fell.  Goddamnit.  That'll just have to wait til I get back.

No mail today.  :(  I don't even know when the mail comes during the day.  Before noon?  After noon?  I don't even know.  But there's no letters in my mailbox and that makes me sad.

I think I might win the prize for Biggest Suitcase on this trip. 

I googled my lj name for fun and there were 550 hits.  Most of them were reposts of lyrics or translations I did.  Though I did come across a recommendation for one of my fics.  Interesting.

What the heck am I going to do for the next half hour?
aide: (斗真 → Pose :D)
I'M EXCITED! :D

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day.  I have to clean my house (at least vacuum and wipe down the bathroom and kitchen) and do a load of laundry so I have underwear to take and unearth my suitcase to pack.  I'm meeting Andrew at Ueno at 4pm (so I have to leave home at 3:15) and we're going to go by adaptors at Yodobashi Camera so we can plug our stuff in when we're in Korea.  I think I should try and wake up at 9am... It took me 2 hours to organize today and I didn't even get to the cleaning!  I hate to be rushed, especially when it comes to traveling.  I think we might even be cutting it close by meeting at Hamamatsucho at 5.  I will not stand for lateness and I told the gays as much.  At least I won't have to worry about Andrew and Takeshi is pretty on time.  It's Ben and Justin I worry about.

I changed some money today so I have won on me (I think I'm the only one?).  I am on the fence about how much money to take with me because I don't want to fuck around trying to access my bank account (Japanese or otherwise) overseas in case I run out of money.  I changed 20,000 yen and have another 20,000... that should be enough, right?!  We planned out our days so that puts my mind to rest. 

I just hope I can fall alseep tonight!

Hiroshima

Jan. 12th, 2009 12:04 pm
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So, Justin and I decided to go to Hiroshima randomly for three days from the 2nd to 4th of January. Not really the smartest idea since everything was jacked up for the new year but we have money and time so we thought, why the hell not. So we went. It was a great trip. :D I won't go into too much detail even though I have pamphlets and info about everything. This post is image-heavy, you are warned. Click for bigger! For more pictures, check Photobucket. Justin took twice as many pictures as I did so take a look at his too.

I can't believe this took me 2 hours to write. )

Now, I should do the dishes. Or something pseudo-productive.
aide: (大野 ・相葉 → Bitch slapped)
I'm home.  Finally.  It feels like I haven't been home in about a week.  And... well, I sort of haven't been so I guess that's fair.  I am utterly exhausted.  I hate non-reserved seating on the Shinkansen with a passion.  I've only taken it once, and I don't know if it's that busy all the time, but never again.  I'm not down with standing all the way from Hiroshima to Shin-Yokohama.  That's 3.5 hours of standing.  It might not have been so terrible if we weren't in the smoking car, but we were already in line and I'm stupid.  But the gyaruo pair in matching glittery ripped jeans and black pointy shoes reading shojo manga next to us made up it.  Oh, Japan.

I should crash now but I won't for an hour probably.  I'm hungry for one, and I can't sleep on an empty stomach and two, epic LJ catch up.  Since I don't want to wade through the shitton of posts from the comms, is there any spectacular news on the Arashi front that I missed or interesting posts in [livejournal.com profile] jdramas that I should know about?  The only comms I will probably end up checking are the fic ones but I still have buckets of stuff to read as well as Eq to write.  I will finish it before I go back to work.  If I have to sequester myself in my room until it's done, I will.  I'm not happy with it having sat dormant for so long and, well.  Let's be honest, my ego needs a little stroking.  That should be my project tomorrow, after (or during?) my post about Hiroshima.

Part of me wants to get pictures uploaded now but the other half of my brain wants to shut off and not think about it.  It took me 2 weeks to write about Kamakura and I can't let that happen again.  Especially since... I don't know what's going to happen after Thursday with work.  Is Kaneko-sensei back?  Is there someone new taking his place, if not?  Or am I teaching?  God.  I really, really hope not.  As much as it would be a wicked awesome reference and resume builder, I don't want to do it.  I feel entitled to more money for doing a job a trained teacher does, and I know I won't get it.  Not from IES, at least.

I think I need to run scans and shit tomorrow as well.  Compy is running slow and it's pissing me off.  Can't have that.

aide: (翔 → Roadtrip)
It's 10pm Saturday night, I'm on the "One Coin Internet" in the hotel lobby as party-goers depart from their function in one of the hotel's banquet halls...  It's been quite a trip!  Short but I'm ready to throw in the towel and go home.  I want to crawl into by nice warm bed in my cold bedroom and sleep until I can't sleep anymore.  I'm utterly exhausted after not sleeping enough or well for the last week and it's starting to wear me down.  Justin wants to just wing it tomorrow but I want to make a plan.  I guess it all depends on what time we can get tickets home.  I don't want to get into Tokyo too late, since it takes another hour for me to get home from there.  We'll see how much I can twist his arm.  I don't want to split up in case someone he comes back late because I don't really need a heart attack to end this vacation.

It's been great but I can't wait to get back.  Got lots of fun souveniers and pictures.

I can't wait to get back and finish Eq too.  I almost wish I brought my laptop so I could work on it. 
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Why do we feel guilty for being up front about our feelings and intentions?  I didn't know that I would end up not liking Satoshi when we met; if anything I was more sceptical that I would.  I feel like a bitch.  Yes, it was my fault for leading him to believe that something might be there but honestly, I thought there was too.  I was getting warm fuzzies when I saw that he'd mailed me.  Maybe it's because I'm (clearly) more mature than he is and (definitely) have more experience in this regard because I know what I want and I won't settle.  I'm not one of those flakey Japanese girls (or boys) who will date someone they don't even really like just to say they have a boyfriend.  How much could he really like me after only talking through emails?  Even after 3 weeks.  I'm trying to justify this to myself and I talked about it with Andrew while we climbed Mt. Tsukuba today (YES I CLIMBED A MOUNTAIN!) and he said that I'll feel better in a few days, and I probably will.  Satoshi and I are just cut from different cloth, obviously.  Would he rather me lie to him and pretend and have him fall for me more and then break up with him because it wasn't working out?  I think I did him a huge favour, even if he doesn't think so now.

From: Heather 11/24 Mon 15:36
I think I should be the one to apologize.  I think I should tell you that we should just be friends.  I told you my friend said to be careful about meeting because the feeling might not be there.  I don't think any more feeling is there so we should be friends.  [That sounds so ESL.]

From: Satoshi 11/24 Mon 16:03
ごめん。I can't find my words!  Just I feel hurt.  Why didn't you say so before meeting?  Cuz my dreaming was becoming big day by day.  Nope, it's not your fault!  I don't have to blame you!  Okay, I got it.  Thanks for great dream!  Bye-bye.

From: Heather 11/24 Mon 22:06
I feel really terrible about everything but I needed to be honest.  I'm sorry you are hurt but it will be better in the long run.  I am sad that my feelings changed suddently too.  If we had met sooner we wouldn't have gotten to this point.  All the best.

I told him that Andrew said to be careful about it but I don't think he understood what I was getting at.  Obviously not since he says he can't stop crying.  ARkjggakjfd why do I feel like the bad guy here?!  It really feels like he hasn't left his little town--no, his fucking house--ever and I am the first friend he's made and I turn around and dump him.  I really pity him and that feels wrong too. 

I don't even know what else to say about this.  So I won't say anything.

Yeah, so on to not so shitty news.  Andrew wanted to go enjoy 紅葉 (kouyou, "red leaves") before all the leaves fall off the trees so we treked out to Tsukuba today.  I've only taken the Tsukuba Express once and was appalled at the price.  It cost 700 yen one way but the rapid only takes 25 minutes from Nagareyama Ootakanomori and stops only once.  From the station we had to take a 40-minute shuttle bus (another 750 yen) to Tsukuba Jinja on Mount Tsukuba and there we visited the shrine and walked up the mountain.  OH MY GOD.  I just did my exercise for 2008.  It was a 2.3km course up to the 871m (2,858ft) summit of 男体山 (Nantai-san, "Man Body Mountain").  It took us about 2 hours with all my breaks.  I have much respect for Japanese old folks that climb mountains in their free time.  Whenever we passed people, we greeted them (or they greeted us) "Konnichiwa~".  It was really cool.

It started raining when we got to the top and we couldn't see shit because of the fog/clouds and it was fucking cold.  We took the cable car down (570yen) back to the shrine and then at some udon at a nice shop that had a pregnant kitty. :D  And then came home, cold and wet.  I brought my camera but it sucks so I didn't take that many pictures.  I'm going to snake Justin's when he gets his uploaded to Flicker.

Pic spam under cut. )


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Trip was sweet.  I loved hanging out with the teachers at my school, they are all really awesome.  I got talk with Imai-sensei more and go to know other teachers that I don't get a chance to talk to at work. And the 若者 (wakamono -- young people) group made the trip relaxing and enjoyable.  And just fucking hilarious because Imai-sensei and Ohara-sensei took the piss out of them at every opportunity.  We even had "English corner" with Heather and Watanabe-sensei, Tamaya-sensei, and Ohkuro-sensei (Shiratori-sensei, not so much) all tried (harder) to speak English with me. :)  Good times.  It was nice having them around so there were people my age.  Even if I couldn't follow the school-related talk for the most part. 

I am so fucking tired.  I'm kind of sad that I only had 6 emails... only 2 of which were actual emails but neither of which were important.  I have 50+ new entries on my f-list but I'm not even going to go there.  I feel dizzy and a bit sick so I'm going to pass out now.  I didn't take that many pictures because I was doing stuff most of the time or didn't have my camera with me so I will ask Shiratori-sensei and Ohara-sensei to send me theirs. 

Passing out now.
aide: (斗真 → Pose :D)
It's early... for everyone but we're celebrating today so we can have tomorrow to rest up before a new week. It's going to be a full house tonight... I don't even know how many people are going to come. It seems like we invite new people daily. So far, I've counted 13 people and I'm sure there are others I forgot/didn't know were invited. I just realized Christian is coming but I also invited Sachiyo... but she's so flakey I don't know if she's actually coming. But Amanda and Nikki are and the three of them are attached at the hip. Could but awkward but I couldn't really care less. Grow up already.

Sawara was so freaking cool!! It was a bit of an ordeal making our way out there. I missed my transfer at Abiko so I had to wait 30 minutes for the next train to Narita station and Andrew and Bruno were late too. The Keisei line kept stopping randomly. I feel terrible because Leigh waited in Narita for an hour before I showed up and she came all the way from Goi. But it worked out... it was kind of shitty and rainy so we went for coffee and waited an hour for the next train. Apparently the station master said there's only trains every hour because no one goes to Choshi. LOL

The weather was shit when we arrived but ended up clearing up by mid-afternoon. The historical district is so beautiful! The Ono River goes through and you can take a boat tour for 1000 yen but we thought that was a bit steep so we just walked. There were people in festival garb everywhere and huge carts with figures on top where the musicians rode. They were covered up with plastic to keep them dry at first but luckily we could see them without later on. When the festival actually seemed to get going around 3-4pm everyone was dancing in the street. I took some video but the sun was right in front so it's a bit glarey. Even little kids were dancing! And festival food... YUM. I binged a bit (meaning I had some and not none like usual because I'm cheap) because this is likely the last festival of the year that I'll go to.

We saw a kimono shop on the way in and stopped on our way back to the station and spent nearly an hour in there! There was a resale section on the second floor and two ladies working there were so kind when we bombarded them with questions and asking for suggestions about colours and stuff. I found a green kimono (!!) and got a dusty pink obi (though it's more for yukata becuase it's the half size one) and a black haori (short jacket) with a chrysanthemum? design. All for 3500 yen! Andrew got a few haori and a little bag for Christmas gifts and Leigh got a kimono for 2100 yen. I am going to make sure to go back there before I leave Japan.

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t216/hmccaw/Sawara/PA110001.jpg http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t216/hmccaw/Sawara/PA110002.jpg
http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t216/hmccaw/Sawara/PA110003.jpg












Alright! Now time to get ready and leave in half an hour to meet Andrew for grocery shopping!
*Will edit pictures with descriptions later~~
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Mito was fun. :D  There wasn't really much to see... it's a city just like anywhere else in Japan but the ride out was nice.  Mito is the capital of Ibaraki prefecture so it's mostly an administrative city.  I think Ibaraki is known for it's agriculture because there were lots of farms and crops along the train tracks.  It looked like it was threatening to rain but it was faster than me so it was finished by the time I got to Mito.


I did a little bit of research to find out what there was to do in Mito before I left and so I went out and found a map and looked at the area.  On of Japan's three best gardens are in Mito but I didn't know how far away they were so I had to check it out.  There was a map that showed some walking courses you could take so I went and found the Mito Castle Ruins one and followed that.  It took me an hour or so to finish it because I stopped to read everything!


Mito used to be a Tokugawa stronghold of the Mito clan way back in the day so there were statues and memorials for all these Tokugawa people all over the city.  This is grave of one of the Tokugawa's but I couldn't read which one.  It's just sitting there on the side of the road next to a parking lot.  I walked up the hill afterwards to find the ruins of Mito Castle but there aren't any ruins left.  It's all been constructed over with schools so there were just signs about what used to be there.


When I was stopped to read a sign about the Ohtemon Gate of Mito Castle that used to stand over this bridge, some old grandpa came up and talked to me!  He asked where I lived (assuming I didn't live in Japan, I guess) and he told me that the gate used to be right where we stood and now it's at the other end of the road in the teacher's college and he goes there to see it sometimes.  And then just walked off... hahaha.  I love old people sometimes.


This gingko tree (or maidenhair in English) is at one end of the historical walking route and there are references to this tree in some documents from three hundred years ago.  It's one of the historical points of Mito city.


This is Mito Art Tower.  It's part of a complex that contains a theatre, art gallery and exhibition space that was built in 1990.  It's the most modern looking thing around and they built it to make Mito a "modern city".  There was a patch of nice green grass out front with families playing on it with their kids.

I walked a LOT that day... I stopped in a bookstore to buy a map book because it was hard to follow on the pictures I took of the big map at the station which proved to be really helpful!  I'm going to get a lot of use out of it since it has some maps of Chiba as well.  I walked down one of the main roads with lots of shops, old and new.  A lot of the older ones were closed though, it was getting late and also Sunday.  I walked 2km to the gardens but then it was already 5pm by that time... I wandered around the famous gardens for a bit but wasn't that impressed.  It should be much better then the plum forest is in bloom.  Then I took the bus back to the station and took the train for 2.5 hours back to Kashiwa.

The rest of my pictures are on Photobucket.

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Made a spur of the moment trip to Mito today.  It was fun!  I didn't get to see what I really wanted to -- a samurai residence (or a mock of one perhaps) -- but it was fun anyway.  It was nice being able to go out by myself and get lost and then find my way again and go in circles at my own pace.  And stop and read everything.  I took lots of pictures (and realize that 80% of them are of signs).  I will make a point to take a trip back in March to see the plums in bloom (which would probably make Kairakuen Gardens a lot more interesting) and earlier in the day so that I get to see the samurai house!

I felt a bit ill on the train back... it's about 2.5 hours away.  I wasn't hungry but I got a bit of a snack and it wasn't even hot or busy and I felt nauseated by the time we got back to Kashiwa.  GOD.  Yuito's English teacher (or one of his teachers) commutes from Mito to Yokohama every single day.  Even if you take the express Hitachi train, that's a fucking long way.  The commute must be paid for because it cannot be cheaper to live in Mito when you teach in Yokohama.  That's... freaking 3 prefectures (well, 2 prefectures and a metropolis) away.  You're nearly at the Pacific Ocean!  Unbelievable.  And if you're working at a Keio school, I doubt your paychecks are anything to laugh at.  Or so I would like to think.

It's 9:42... I'm eating my miso soup and feeling quite drowsy.  I should turn in soon and I might be able to get up on Tuesday without wanting to keel over or kill someone (especially since I have a full morning that day).  No plans tomorrow except cleaning house and finishing this fucking fic.  I WANT IT DONE!

Pictures to come tomorrow.  I'm too tired to go through that pain right now.

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So, this is more than slightly overdue but better than when I went to Kamakura, I think.

We took a crapload of pictures between us; the rest are here and these are Justin's pictures. There is more writing about each picture on Photobucket so I would suggest reading that first and then this entry.

It's the middle of summer vacation and I've gotten to do some traveling so I'm happy. :D Justin and I went to the Kansai area of Japan for 5 days. Kansai is the Western region of Japan while Kantou is the East, where Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa are. We went spend a day in Kobe, and two in each Kyoto and Osaka.

I've learned that you need to get your planning done fast and get your arrangements sorted at this time of year because it's chaos! I'm a paranoid traveller and I want to know when/where I'm going well in advance and give myself lots of time to account for and avoid getting lost but I ended up leaving things until about two weeks before our planned departure. Originally, I had thought to take the night train both ways using the Seishun 18 Ticket again but couldn't get reserved seats on the nights I wanted to go because it's peak travel season. I forgot that not only is it summer for all kids in Japan, but also for most of the rest of the world. In the end, I decided we should just shell out and take the Shinkansen to Osaka. It would only take 3 hours in the morning (as opposed to 8 hours overnight) and we could go earlier and therefore get more days in Kansai. Then I could also say that I rode the Shinkansen and check that off my list. And for 15,000 yen one way, I'll only be doing it once!

We arrived at Shin-Osaka station at 11am, August 2nd and my friend Yuka met us there. She was an exchange student in 2005-2006 at UBC and was my next-door neighbour in the dormitory. She's going to grad school in Osaka and lives with her parents, and was kind enough to let us crash with them (and feed us and tour us around!). We left our bags in a locker at Osaka station and then took the train to Kobe. We wandered around the Chinatown there and had lunch before exploring the port area. We went to Kobe to see fireworks that night that were supposed to be some of the best in the area. Kobe is a nice city -- a lot of the buildings and roads are new after the 1995 Hanshin Earthquake. We didn't get to see any memorials because it was so hot and we didn't have enough time but we took a 45 minute ferry cruise around the marina and got to see the city view from the ocean. It was pretty incredible! The fireworks were kind of blah... I've seen a lot better. They were choreographed to music but they stopped every 5 or 10 minutes and the announcer gave some kind of commentary. It was nothing like the Symphony of Fire in Vancouver.

The second day, Yuka and her boyfriend took us around Kyoto. We met up and walked through Gion and stopped at Kennin-ji, a temple that happens to be the oldest (or one of) Zen temple in Japan. It was so peaceful and calm... I learned about Zen in school and the transmission of Buddhism from China to Japan and all that but it was so interesting to be in a place like that that could claim to be the one of the found Zen schools in Japan. There were lots of people sitting and resting and taking in the atmosphere of the place. It's one of the temples that you can sit in on a meditation session but we weren't there at the right time. I think that's thing I would like to do before I leave Japan.

After that we walked towards the Kiyomizu area of Kyoto and climbed the hill to Kiyomizu-dera. The street was narrow and lined with machiya, old townhouses that were shops on the groundfloor with residences above. There were all kinds of shops selling Kyoto souveniers: paper fans (senso), sweets (yatsuhashi), pottery (tea cups and tea ceremony tools), textiles, and your typical cheap "I heart Kyoto" gear with a picture of a samurai. There were cafes and coffee shops selling matcha ice cream which was such a treat in the heat of the day. You could go into the yatsuhashi shops and taste all the different flavours! Yatsuhashi is called a "cracker" in English, but it's not really. One type is baked -- it's a strip of pastry made with rice flour, sugar and cinnamon and baked on an iron grill under wood blocks, and then shaped with bamboo. Another kind is fresh -- the pastry is filled with red bean paste traditionally, but you can get all kinds of flavours: chocolate, matcha, mango, strawberry, sesame, green apple. The only thing is the fresh ones are only good for about a week.



We stopped at the only restaurant around when we reached the top of the hill before going to the temple: a little soba shop. We really got a feel for the depth of the townhouses because we walked down a stone hallway for about 12 feet before we even got to the front door of the restaurant! Apparently in the olden days, owners would be taxed on the width of their property only, so they insides were as deep as they could go. This little restaurant was an open air restuarant on the back of the hill. We were hoping for some air con but the trees were really shady and there was a little stream running through. The ladies of the shop were super nice, altough I wish they had just left the tea pot with us because we kept asking for more every 10 minutes! And the soba was delicious.

After refeuling, we went to Kiyomizu-dera. One of the oldest (although I think they all say that) temples in Kyoto. I can't remember which sect of Buddhism it was, but their claim to fame is a waterfall that is supposed to bring you luck and love. There was a big pretty red gate but the temple itself it's very flashy. The best thing is the view of the city from the balcony. There was also a staff or sword... Justin said it was like "sword in the stone" and there was a bunch of peopel trying to pull it out. But it's more likely that it was the Buddha's staff because his footprints were on a rock nearby. It was also a top spot for suicide because the balcony juts out off the side of the mountain. There was also a few shrines on the grounds -- as typical of Japanese Buddhism -- to the god of love and marriage that was thronging with couples.

Afterwards we were going to go to Yasaka Shrine afterwards, but I had seen the Heian Shrine on a map somewhere and I knew that name from school so we went there instead. We had to take a bus to get there... and it was a big disappointment. There was a huge gate and a huge courtyard -- they sponsor the Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages) every year but you can't go into or even see much of the actual shrine itself. I thought it was older (it was only built in the late 1890's) and more related to the Heian period (794-1185CE) but it wasn't. I wish we had gone tothe Yasaka shrine instead, it's not the biggest but its of the major shrines and sponsors the Gion Matsuri every year. But I didn't know... I really want to see the Gion Matsuri, one of the three biggest festivals in Japan, so it just means I need to go back. After that, we made it back to Gion and then headed home. We were walking alone the main street and -- I had only hoped we would be able to see one while we were there -- we saw a geiko! I feel all tingly and excited just remembering it. She was walking in front of us, talking with someone and I only recognized her as one from the red fabric in her hair. I should have run up and asked her for a photo, I'm sure they get that all the time, but I didn't feelcomfortable about that. I saw her and I remember and that's all that matters. We left Kyoto and said goodbyeto Hiroki and then met Yuka's parents for yakiniku dinner.

The next day, Yuka had to go to school so Yuka's mom drove Justin and I to Kyoto. She had to pick up her mom and drive her back to her house in Kyoto and then do an errand for her dad so she dropped us off at Kinkaku-ji and met up with us after. Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavillion, is one of the icons of Kyoto. There's another, the Silver Pavillion, that we didn't see but it's only wood and not even finished with silver leaf. It was a bit cloudy and overcast but the building still reflected prettily off the Mirror Pond. We didn't take very long walking through the grounds because we didn't have anyone explaining anything to us and we were trying to stay ahead of the Chinese tour group that was there at the same time. Justin went there before in the winter and said it was much nicer this time. After Kinkaku-ji, the three of us went to lunch and waited for Yuka to be done at school. She went to Ritsumeikan, in Kyoto, but her grad school is in Osaka. When she was done, we met her in Arashiyama, on the western side of Kyoto. Yuka's mom said she always brings guests to Arashiyama because it's not such a popular -- and therefore crowded -- area. It's definitely more rural but very lovely and reminded me a lot of Vancouver. She planned for us to go on a sight-seeing train that travels through the mountains and we got to take in the amazing views of the river and mountains.

When we got to the end of the line, we were out in the middle of the country. We had bought return tickets so we just got off to look around while waiting for the train to leave again. The train was nice and cool with the windows open through the mountains but the station was like a sauna... and that's when the fun began. We all got off but Yuka and Justin went their own way. Yuka's mom was asking one of the staff where we should sit when I saw Justin in the station faint! I was looking right at him as he collapsed and hit is face on the glass window and fall. Yuka was with him but she couldn't catch him at all. It was really scary because I didn't know what to do or what was wrong but the people in the station were so helpful. One lady was making him drink while this guy told us to get him on the bench lying down and someone else brought ice. Some kid even bought a sports drink for him. The train left without us but it didn't matter. He was alright -- just head exhaustion, not heat stroke thankfully. We rested in the air-conditioned waiting room at the station there for about 30 minutes before getting a cab to the JR station and heading back to Arashiyama.

That night we went to a ... bird show, for lack of a better description. Yuka's mom brings a lot of people to this event because it's really unique. It's actually called an "Ukai show", a cormorant fishing show. I don't have any pictures because my camera sucks at night shots but Justin took some. It was really special because this year was the 1000th anniversary of this fishing practice, so they recreated one of the imperial boats that were used at the time, and the fishermen wore traditional garb. They only fish at night so they have fires in iron cages hanging off the boats over the water and the cormorants on leashes in the water. One guy keeps a hold on the birds while another one or two punts the boat and watches if they catch anything. When one of the birds catch a fish, they yank the thing up on deck and then take the fish out of its mouth and then toss it back in the water. It sounds (and looks) a bit cruel but the birds just jump back in and flop around like nothing happened. It was really interesting and I wish I had been able to get some pictures.




The next day, Yuka, Justin and I went to Osaka and did some touring. We went to Shinsaibashi, the shopping area and Dotonbori, the food area. Justin had a few things on his list that he wanted to see -- namely the Glico running man, and the big pufferfish lantern sign. Shinsaibashi was interesting but it's just a long arcade with all the same shops and things we can get in Kantou. Dotonbori was freaking cool though. Most images of Osaka come from there because there are just so many fantastic and outrageous signs! I got to see the restaurant with "Taro", a clown mascot for this eight story restaurant, that was in the news recently because they closed down and it was a bit to-do about who was going to buy this landmark clown. We ate okonomiyaki and modanyaki overlooking Ebisu bridge - the biggest pick-up spot in Osaka.

We had planned to go on the largest ferris wheel in the world, which was out near the aquarium that night but there was a freak thunderstorm that was just pouring down sheets of rain so we passed. We went to a nice Hawaiian restaurant next to Osaka station with a 34th story view instead.

The last day, Justin and I went around Osaka alone because Yuka had a test for an internship. We went to the Umeda Sky Building and Osaka Castle before meeting up with Yuka for dinner. The Sky Building was really cool. You pay 700 yen to get up there but you get a 360 degree view of the city, as well as a rooftop view. You can go out on top of the building and check out the city. It was another blistering day but the wind on the roof was... not cooling in the least. It just got the air moving but wasn't really that pleasant. We found the castle station with no problems but the walk from the station to the actually castle was a bitch. I thought I was going to get heat exhaustion and made Justin stop lots on the walk there. The outside of it was a lot nicer than Nagoya Castle but it's a museum inside. It's been bombed and rebuilt so many times. The museum retells the history of the castle but is so repetative with the live of the shogun who headed the army... I can't even remember which freaking Tokugawa it was now. It doesn't help that there were about 13 of them in total.

There was another freaking storm that night so we left Osaka an hour earlier than planned because I was paranoid about the trains being delayed again and we had to catch our night train from Ogaki at 11pm. We made it through Kansai to Ogaki (which doesn't even have a McDonald's!) and arrived in Tokyo at 5am the next day.

God that was long.  Jenna's here.  My butt hurts on this chair.  I permed my hair today.  Pics to come!



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But I'm not really since I'm updating now.  But I'm beat so I'm not going to write much -- especially since I'm going to write another 3hr entry about the whole trip when I get home so I don't want to ruin any surprises.  

Kyoto is gorgeous and amazing and I wish I had the time and money to wander around Pontocho and Gion more but it's fucking hot as hell.  Hotter than hell.  They aren't lying when they say Kyoto has the worst summers in Japan.  So bad in fact that Justin fainted today.  I have never been so scared in my whole life.  I had no idea what to do.  I really should take a first aid course when I get back to Canada or find one here.  I wonder if the Red Cross does courses in English in Japan.  Luckily it was just a bit of overheating and not heat stroke or anything serious.  But he smashed his leg pretty hard when he fell on the bench and it's still hurting him.  He hit his thigh so I don't think anything could be broken; it's probably just a really deep bruise.  Jen?  Any ideas?  In any case, he can laugh at himself and the situation so that's good.  And of course I took a picture afterwards, like he would expect from me.  

Kansai has such great food, I'm really living in the wrong part of the country.  Tomorrow we're hitting up Osaka -- Dotounbori and Osaka Castle, I think.  :D 

Hiatus

Aug. 2nd, 2008 06:09 am
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I bagged me a roach last night.  I should chuck it out before I leave tonight but I think I'll let it rot in the trap and serve as a warning to others.  Maybe they'll sniff its body and die from the spray too. 

Leaving the house for Osaka in 15 minutes!  Yuka will have the internet but I won't be checking LJ while I'm there, just email as necessary.  If you need to get a hold of me or spam me with the lastest fandom scandal, email me on my cell at heather007@ezweb.ne.jp. 

I just hope I have everything...  But not before I step on a button and drive with pin halfway into the bottom of my foot.  Ouch son of a bitch.
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Went to pick up Justin and my tickets today and all the reserved seats were booked for the night of the 1st AND 2nd!  D:  So I booked for the 3rd... I was going to do the 31st but I didn't want to impose too much on Yuka.  I should have just done it.  Or gotten off my fat ass and done it sooner.  Bah.  Now I am toying with the idea of taking the Shinkansen there, even though we already got the reserve tickets because I want to spend as much time there as possible.  And it'll probably be the only time I'll take the Shinkansen.  I'm still debating.  I emailed Yuka and we'll see what she says.

I need to stop taking naps in the middle of the day.  It's terrible.  I will just lie down for like an hour and doze right in the middle of the floor (but this time on my futon) for no reason.  I wasn't even especially tired or sleepy but had nothing else to do.  XD  I watched some fanvideos on YouTube for some reason and suddenly want to see Nino do an epic romantic role.  I think that would just be *melt*.  Amazing.  As far as I know, he hasn't done anything like that before.  I think it would be a good stretch of his acting chops.  But we'll see.  I doubt this drama rumor will be anything along those lines. 

Okonomiyaki for dinner with Justin!  But in Warabi. :/  Which is an hour away.  Fuck.  But I hardly see him and it's not like I would be doing anything epic at home tonight.  Though I was going to try cooking cod for dinner, just like Matsui-san from the GRA episode on cod. 
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I come home and I'm ready to drop at 8pm.  I stick it out til 10 and then go to pass out.  And I can't.  What the fuck?  I'm exhausted but I can't fall asleep.  Shit. 

My feet are completely shredded by my shoes.  All of my shoes, it seems.  I wore some old flip flops today that I brought with me from Canada and now I seem to have blisters?  Sort of.  They must be really deep because there isn't a bubble on the surface but just feels like a build up of fluid near the arch that I can't drain.  It's kind of uncomfortable to walk but not painful.  We'll see how we go tomorrow.  Maybe I'll just have to drop more to numb the discomfort. 

Got a recommendation today from someone... I didn't really think of what would happen if someone recommended something but we didn't put it up.  I have tried to get passed the first chapter (I had enough trouble with the first paragraph) but I can't.  I really have a hard time taking something seriously when they can't even get their gender references correct.  It's quite bloody confusing.  It's just.. not good enough.  Starr?  What do you think?

Well... I cleaned house today.  Finally, I tackled the bathroom and you could eat off that shit now.  I'm so proud of myself.  It wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be, thanks to my mold killer.  Although I thought I might pass out from the fumes at one point -- even with the ceiling fan going.  Might have been a bit of overkill with the spray.  Whoops.  Met up with Justin and went to find the Tokyo Daibutsu (Buddha), the 3rd largest sitting Buddha in Japan.  It's somewhere in West Tokyo but we managed to find it as well as the Akazuka Botanical Garden where I painted a little picture as a keepsake.  The old ladies were so cute.  I am quite impressed with my skills.  I'll have to take a picture of it. 

I was supposed to go to Ben and Andrew's tequila party but I just didn't have the energy.  And I can't stand stuffy rooms with too many bodies so I wouldn't have had a good time anyway.  I went home and maybe I should have gone to sleep at 8 anyway.  Hrmdfsa.  I guess I could finish watching the first episode of HYD2.  I wanted to watch House but I think I need to restart my computer because the freaking device manager keeps crashing so I can't change the region.  :/
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I'm pissed that my camera died halfway through the day so I don't have many pictures after lunch.  For all of my pictures, they're at Photobucket.  As always, I'm going to reguritate random wiki info to suppliment my lack of knowledge or being able to read any of the Japanese signage.

Justin and I went to Kamakura yesterday and it was a blast.  We did a shitton of walking and I even got a bit of a burn on my shoulders despite there being no sun.  I told Justin as much at one point during the day because he was wanting to get his Philipino tan back.  We were supposed to meet in Tokyo station at 9am so we could get there around 10 and start the day early but we ended up meeting around 10am because Justin couldn't wake up.  We caught the Yokosuka-Sobu line from Tokyo station and an hour later we were in Kamakura.  From the train you could see this giant white Kanno statue amongst the trees - the Ofuna Kannon.  Maybe we'll do that when we go to Enoshima as well. 



We fought our way out of the station and started to make our way through the city.  My original plan was to do a few of the hiking trails in my book, which hit the Buddha first and then a few of the major temples and shrines before ending up at Kita-Kamakura station but that didn't happen.  I side tracked us and took us to a few smaller shrines that I saw signs for and ended up doing the route of the course in reverse. 



Our first major stop was 寿福寺 Jufuku-ji.  This Rinzai sect temple is the oldest Zen temple in Kamakura, ranked third among Kamakura's Five Mountain temples.  Here, they worship Shakymuni, the Buddha.  This temple was founded by Hojo Masako (1157-1225) to enshrine her dead husband, the founder of the Kamakura shogunate, Minamoto Yoritomo (1147-1199).  She installed Eisai as the founding priest, who was ordained in China and brought Zen buddhism to Japan.  He is also credited with bringing green tea to Japan, which was orginally used to keep monks awake during long sessions of meditation.  Look, I learned something in Asian Studies; I bet you didn't know that.



The main hall is closed to visitors, which is a shame.  It was so peaceful and calm there... we could see monks walking around inside and a family coming out of the reception area.  Apparently (as Wikipedia tells me) there are 3 statues of Shakyamuni, an eleven-headed goddess Kannon and two Deva Kings inside.  Behind the hall is a graveyard as well, where all the head priests of the temple are buried.  There are a few graves dedicated to some Minamotos, some foreigners and a few literary celebrities.

Next we made our way to 銭洗弁天 Zeniarai Benten, "Money-washing Benten".  It was near by but you had to up this steep hill to get to the entrance.  This is when we started to see some crowds, and a lot of foreigners.  It was quite nice and cool up on the top of the hill though because there was a lot of shade from trees and nice cool caves.



This is the second most popular spot in Kamakura, even though it's a good twenty minute hike from the station.  Inside there were dozens of torii and the smell of incense.  There were a bunch of buddha statues as well, which was interesting.  Before the Meiji restoration, most shrines and temples had elements of both Buddhism and Shinto but due to this shrine's remote location (you can only reach it by this tunnel and it's surrounded by rock on all sides) they managed to keep their Buddhist icons.  The two Deva Kings that are at Jufuku-ji were originally at the Hachiman temple before the restoration.  The main deity of this shrine is



According to the sign at the entrance of the tunnel, the shrine was founded in 1185 when Minamoto Yoritomo on the day of the snake in the month of the snake dreamed of the God Ugafukujin. The god told him that "In a valley to the northwest, there is a miraculous spring that gushes out of the rocks. Go there and worship the gods of Shinto, and peace will come to your people." He found the spring and built a shrine for Ugafukijin. Later, the Shinto god was fused with Buddhist goddess Benzaiten, who is the incarnation of water. Ugafukujin is a god of harvest so people would come and wash their seeds in the spring in hopes of better harvests so the two gods came to be considered one and the same.  



The water of the spring inside Zeniarai Benzaiten's cave is supposed to have the power to multiply the money it comes in contact with.  This unique tradition of coming to wash your coins began in 1257 when Hojo Tokiyori came here and washed his coins with the spring's water, expressing the hope that they may be doubled.  People heard the story, and the tradition was born.  We found a huge pile of baskets inside the cave of the spring so we washed some money.  I could always use more.  LOL.   There was signage in Japanese all over with random English on it that said, "Dries naturally".  I wish I had taken a picture of it.  I think they meant that you should let the money air dry instead of wiping it dry with a hankerchief to keep the luck of the spring water. 



After dipping our money and exploring Zeniarai Benen we wandered around and found a sign pointing to another shrine, the next we were going to visit.  It was a path at the back of the shrine, leading down some stairs instead of going back through and walking down the hill.  We went that way instead, saving some time.  It was also deserted so we didn't have to fight with the crowds.  It went through the neighbourhood surrounding the temples so we could see all the nice expensive houses.



Our next stop was 佐助稲荷神社 Sasuke Inari Jinja, a shinto shrine at the top of a long set of stairs under a series of red torii and flanked by red flags.  It was cool and dark at the top because of all the trees and serene and quite.  The story goes that when Minamoto Yoritomo was in exile in Izu, he fell ill and an old man appeared to him in a dream.  The man held some herbs in his hand and showed them to Yoritomo, saying, “Make these into medicine, take it, and you will be cured.  When you recover, immediately take up arms against the Taira. Victory will be yours.”  Yoritomo asked the man his name and he replied, “I am the god of the hidden hamlet in Kamakura,” then vanished.  Yoritomo succeeded in establishing his government and believed the success was due to the advice of the old man. He later ordered his men to search for the abode of the god, and in Kamakura, west of the hidden hamlet they found a shrine. Yoritomo immediately replaced the old shrine with a newly-built one and named it Sasuke Inari.  The sa (佐) in Sasuke was part of the name Yoritomo held in his youth, 佐殿
(but pronounced Sukedono).  The suke in Sasuke means “to help.”   The name “Sasuke” was used as the name of this shrine because “Sukedono was helped by a god.” 



All over the shrine were these tiny fox figures that people left as an offering to the gods.  Apparently there are five deities enshrined here, according to the sign I read.  The main object of worship in an Inari shrine is a Shinto deity called Uka no Mitama, who is believed to be the patron deity of agriculture, grain in particular.  Inari shrines are closely associated with the fox, which is believed to be the messenger of the Inari deity. A pair of fox statues are always sitting in front of all Inari shrines just like a pair of dogs at other Shinto shrines.  Why it's a fox?  I don't know.  I thought they were cats at first, but after doing some research, learned they were foxes. 

After finishing at Sasuke Inari, we headed back down and made for the main attraction, the big Buddha.  As we walked through the streets and saw the swanky houses, I saw this name plate, and just had to take a picture:



When we got to the main road, there were hoards of people, heading to and from the Buddha.  There were souvenir shops all over the place and it was just... gawdy.  I doubt if Kotoku-in has any religious significance left amongst all the tourists.



In any case, I was impressed.  Nikki says the one in Hong Kong is bigger, and the statue of Kuan-yin in Taiwan is probably bigger than this, but I was awed.  The bronze statue of Amida Buddha stands at 13.35 metres tall, weighing 93 tons.  It was said to be contructed in 1252 but there is no proof that this is the orginally statue.  I made a prayer to Buddha with the rest of the people and got some postcards.  For 200 yen, we were there for a max of 10 minutes.  You can buy all sort of amulets and charms and for 20 yen you can go inside the Buddha but Justin said it's not that impressive so we didn't bother.  We didn't really feel like sticking around because we were getting hungry. 

Every place we looked into was either full or too expensive for our tastes (but not wholly unexpected in Kamakura) but we eventually made it to the Enoden train and took it back to Kamakura station and found a kaiten sushi restaurant and ate.  I had wanted to have something more local but we were getting desperate.  After eating we headed in the other direction of the station to see more stuff! 



We made our way through the crowded shopping street to 鶴岡八幡宮 Tsuruguoka Hachiman-gu, the most important shrine in the city.  When we go there, there was a wedding party taking photographs in front of the arched bridge.  Everyone was taking pictures so I thought, why not?  How often are we going to get to see a wedding party in full kimono?  The arched bridge was supposedly for the shogun's use only; there are two other flat bridges for use by the common folk.



After walking up the long 1.8km boulevard and climbing a big set of stairs, we got to the shrine.  This shrine, which used to be also a Buddhist temple and far bigger than today, was originally built in 1063 in Zaimokuza where the tiny Moto Hachiman shrine now stands, and was dedicated to the Emperor Ōjin, his mother Empress Jingu and his wife Hime-gami.  Minamoto Yoritomo moved it to its present location in 1191 and invited Hachiman, the god worshiped popularly among warriors, to reside there and guard his government. 



There was a pavillion after the first set of stairs, then another set leading up to the main temple structure.  We could see priests roaming around in robes and hundreds of people.  There were two moms (or grandmas) with new-born babies getting blessed.  Justin took a picture, I'll post it later.  At the top you could see a view of the city and the first torii at the edge of the grounds.  I got a fortune from the temple, 吉 (kichi, good luck!) and took in the view.  When we got down to the pavillion got to witness a shinto wedding ceremony!  After taking a few vidoes, my battery died.  :(


After that, we left and hit a few more shrines: 鎌倉宮 Kamakura-gu,  宝戒寺 Hokai-ji, and 源頼朝の墓 Minamoto Yoritomo no Bo, the grave of Minamoto Yoritomo. 

Kamakura-gu is a shinto shrine and I thought would be pretty major because it is named after the city, but it was pretty minor.  The Shrine is considerably new, erected to the spirit of Prince Morinaga (1308-1335), child of Emperor Godaigo (1288-1339).  It was back in 1333, the year the Kamakura Shogunate terminated and the ruling power was temporarily handed over to Emperor Godaigo. The Imperial Court finally restored the sovereignty as a ruler of Japan. However, his regime did not long last. Takauji Ashikaga (1305-1358), the founder of the Ashikaga Shogunate, first sided with the Emperor and helped him to win the battle against the Hojos in Kamakura. However, he changed sides suddenly and tried to establish his own government betraying the Emperor.  Across the street, up the hill on the east of the Shrine is the graveyard for the Prince. This grave is now under the care of the Imperial Household Agency, and the tomb faces south as is the case of Imperial tombs.  Prince Morinaga cannot be entombed inside the Shrine precinct under the Japanese Constitution, which guarantees the freedom of religion and prohibits the government from giving any aids to a specific institution, be it Shinto, Buddhism or Christianity, and therefore, the Imperial Household Agency, a government body, placed his grave separately from the Shrine. 

This shrine performs Noh plays in October and there are also some clay bowls you can break to ward off evil, and lion head charms to buy.  We took a rest at the rest house adjacent with some ice cream and continued onto Houkai-ji.  This is a Tendai Buddhist temple constructed in 1335 by the order of Emporer Godaigo.  The site was where the Komachi residence of the Hojos, for nine generations, had been located until the family, regents to the Kamakura shogunate, fell in 1333.  The emperor ordered the construction of the temple for the repose of the deceased Hojos.  In 1538, the temple burned down and a priest of another temple requested shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu at the beginning of the Edo period to officially support Houkai-ji as it was an important temple of the Tendai school.  According to the print out I got (and just copied all that infromation from), it continues to play an important role of being a place for learning Buddhist teachings. 

This was the first temple we could actually go into, so I went in and took a look around.  There were some charms for sale, of course, and alters of buddhas and offerings.  There was a guest book as well, so I wrote a short message.  The monk gave me a weird look as he stowed away the vacuum cleaner sitting in the middle of the room. 

Our last stop, only because we passed by and it wasn't listed as a temple or shrine on the sign post, as the grave of Minamoto Yoritomo.  Only after having written this out, do I realize what an influential person he was.  I doubt that he is actually buried there, but it was cool to see anyway. 

And that was my day.  It was so cool to see all these places that had so much influence and have remained in history for so long... I studied Japanese buddhism in school and seeing these places that were founded by people I read about first hand, was just amazing.  :)  I definitely want to make another trip (maybe when it isn't a weekend) and see some of the places I missed and maybe even go to a meditation session at one of the temples.  
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Kamakura was amazing!  It's a shame we couldn't go on a weekday and avoid the crowds (probably even worse now than in February when Justin went because it's travel season) but it was great nonetheless.  We went to... about 8 temples and shrines.  I totally had my guidebook out but didn't end up making much use of it.  I found that tenugui shop I wanted to find but didn't buy anything.  There were just too many people and no AC in the shop and couldn't handle looking around for something I liked.  They had a few nice ones with buddha prints.  I will go back once more before I leave Japan and get one, unless they have a website.  They will make nice presents for family and friends.  I might make a trip there when Justin and I go to Enoshima, which is next on the list.  And this time I'll make sure I take my camera out with a full battery.  I need to get the rest of the pictures from Justin because my camera decided to die after the big shrine.  I got home at about 7:30pm last night with my McChucks for dinner and managed to download my pictures to my computer and then upload them to Photobucket before crashing at 10pm.  Hence why I am up so early.  But I'm glad for it; now I have a full day to catch up on blogging, write a bit (I'm at 2,945 words!), download Marathon ♥, watching Marathon and Zettai Kareshi 10... do some tidying up.  It's good luck that we went to Kamakura yesterday becuase it's rainy today. 

I'm going to go and organize my pictures; post about Kamakura later!
aide: (Arashi in Concert Glory)
So much for planning to be in bed by 10.  I am waking up at 5am, will be out of the house by 6am and at Shinjuku by about 7:10.  I should feel jittery and stuff but I think I will be paranoid until the bus leaves.  : /  I am still torn on what to wear (yes, I'm such a girl) and which bag to take.  I'm packing light and the backpack is always the best choice for comfort but its annoying when you just have a bunch of little stuff all jammed at the bottom.  My messenger bag is better for that kind of thing, and easier to access, but it hurts my shoulder eventually.  Although... I don't think I'll actually be wearing it and walking for extended distances.  Whatever.  I could just take a purse if I didn't bring any clothes... I washed my pj pants but they are still wet.  They are the only ones that would scrunch small enough but still.  Grrr.  I guess messenger it is.  It was actually cold tonight when I went out to buy my new Ipod (henceforth known as Kazushi) that I had to wear a jacket.  I find traveling in cooler weather much more comfortable so I hope it stays that way tomorrow.  Damn, it says rain in Nagoya... But that means it'll be cooler... but also that I should take an umbrella.  FUCK.  Oh well.

Anyway... I should try and get to bed.  I will be in the presence of glitter and glory tomorrow night!  My camera is charging to document as much as possible and I have an Ipod chock full of music and video (didn't quite get through all 20 something Arashi PVs... maybe half?).  I even went through I got album artwork but only for half because I got frustrated and bored. 

I didn't remember to get my book from work.  I guess that's a plus because reading in vehicles makes me sick.  Got in contact with work and I have to go to the office and pick up those fucking papers for immigration.  What the shit.  At least I'll be in Tokyo already so that's not so bad but still. 

Sorry Ro, I didn't watch Clerks II yet. :(  Sunday night, unless I'm dead from the gayness.

I would think I would be more tired since I felt like utter ass this morning, it being Friday and having sang Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes five times today.  It must be the adrenaline.

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