Sayonara, Yamasa, Sayonara, Okazaki. Tadaima, Tokyo.

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Dec 162011
 
Sayonara, Yamasa, Sayonara, Okazaki. Tadaima, Tokyo.

A whirlwind of a day as I thanked everyone at Yamasa during the closing ceremony, had lunch with all of my classmates and said goodbye, then rushed to finish packing and got out of town. I made it to Tokyo and passed out in my favorite hotel in Shinjuku.

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Last Trip to Anjo

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Dec 142011
 
Last Trip to Anjo

Today was the last big testing day. I forgot to attach a file I was sending to one of my teachers, so I had to race home at lunch to send it. There was an earthquake in class, too. After class, I went to the calligraphy store in Anjo, where everyone was really nice again. I bought more packing materials at the Daiso, and frantically packed until 2 a.m. Oof.

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Jackson Pollock and The Tallest Toilet in Nagoya

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Dec 112011
 
Jackson Pollock and The Tallest Toilet in Nagoya

Today I went to see the Jackson Pollock exhibit at the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, then went to the Midland Square Building to see some great views of Nagoya. More book shopping after that, then expensive crepes for dinner, and a train ride back to Okazaki. I managed to take some really good photos with my cheap little IXY, too!

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Calligraphy Lesson

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Dec 052011
 

Today was my first calligraphy lesson in Japan. I’ve been doing it for about five years in the US, but I’ve never had a chance to study it here. It was a lot of fun. Thanks to the teacher’s info, I’ll probably go to Toyohashi this weekend for supplies.

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First Night in Kyoto

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Nov 252011
 
First Night in Kyoto

I made it to Kyoto; discovered a few things about buying shinkansen tickets, ate some delicious food in Kyoto, and some not-so-delicious food.

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Okazaki-jo and Anjo

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Nov 202011
 
Okazaki-jo and Anjo

The Tokugawa theme continues from yesterday, when I did some local Tokugawa-related sightseeing today. I visited Okazaki Castle and the Ieyasu and Mikawa Bushido Museum, then went to Anjo to pick up some calligraphy supplies. This time, I took pictures!

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Not to Brag, But I Think I Did Well on My Tests…

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Nov 172011
 

The writing and conversation exams went pretty well. Even now, though, I still have a lot to learn about Yamasa. Today in JBPP, we covered job interviews and all of the things that need to be done the proper way.

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Makes Me Want to Eat My Phone!

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Nov 132011
 

I went back to Nagoya for more wandering around. I found an international market that sells oatmeal, and some fake plastic candy to stick on my phone. I also found the dictionary I’ve been looking for!

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And So It Begins…

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Oct 122011
 

Finally! My real first day of class! I still feel like hell, but my fever is gone, so I didn’t really have an excuse to stay home and lounge around. Besides, we’re on the fast track here at Yamasa. Every day I miss is like missing 3-4 days of Japanese at a univeristy. Keeping up

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…As A Dog.

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Oct 072011
 

Ugh. I think I caught a cold on one of my trips to Nagoya, because I’m so sick I can barely move, and I feel really gross. They brew up some downright nasty colds here. Sadly, I’m going to have to skip my first day of class, and be that mystery guy who doesn’t show

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We’re Not Through Orientating Yet!

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Oct 062011
 

More orientation today, and the 入学式 (nyuugakushiki, or school entrance ceremony.) We got a lot of info about various things, what to do, what not to do, and we introduced ourselves in Japanese. What I said before about this being the UN of Japanese Language Education? I’m serious. We have a bunch of different countries

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Orientation and Okonomiyaki in Okazaki

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Oct 052011
 

Orientation at Yamasa started today. We learned lots of things that don’t apply to me, because I’m on a short-term visa, and will be gone in 3 months. It’s kind of a bummer, but there you go. But there was a lot of really useful information, too, like what to do with my trash. I’ve

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Nagoya Again!

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Oct 042011
 
Nagoya Again!

I decided to head to Nagoya one more time today, to pick up some odds and ends. Before leaving town, I stopped by the Post Office to take out some money. The postal ATMs are a great deal. There are no fees, other than whatever your bank charges, and there’s English support if you need

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It’s Saturday, So It Must Be Nagoya.

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Oct 012011
 

It’s Saturday. No classes, and it’s beautiful outside. So I went to Nagoya to do some shopping for some much-needed necessities. No photos on this trip, because I didn’t take my SLR with me. It was too heavy to carry around while I went shopping. I needed to buy sheets, a wireless router, and after

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Getting Used to Apartment Life

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Sep 302011
 

More classes today. I have a lot of gaps to fill in in my Japanese. Today I have my private lessons, then I’ll probably go to Nagoya to do some shopping. I need to get a wireless router and some kitchen supplies, as well as some sheets ASAP. Those are all top priorities. I’m getting

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Back in Okazaki!

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Sep 292011
 

Today I made it back to Okazaki and Yamasa again. I got up early, and grabbed a shinkansen, the Nozomi from Tokyo to Nagoya. I could have grabbed it in Shinagawa, which would have made more sense, but I know the way to Tokyo Station better, and I didn’t want to get lost and miss

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Going Back to Okazaki.

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Aug 162011
 

I mentioned earlier that I was dissatisfied with the way my Japanese was progressing when I took the JLPT N2 last month. After talking to Michele, I realized that I have completely neglected my spoken/written Japanese in order to prepare for the N2, which tests neither skill. I considered my options seriously, and realized that

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Sayonara, Okazaki; Konbanwa, Kyoto!

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Oct 262007
 
Sayonara, Okazaki; Konbanwa, Kyoto!

I’m back in Kyoto, safely out of Okazaki now, although I kind of miss Okazaki. The Sky Is Crying Way Too Much I’m so happy to finally be dry. Why is it whenever I go to Kyoto, it rains? (Does two trips count enough for a “whenever?”) It started this morning, during “The TP incident,”

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The Stupidest Thing I Ever Did… For Today, Anyway

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Oct 262007
 

Well, I have a new Stupidest Thing I’ve Done So Far in Japan. And it’s up there with other Great Stupid Things I’ve Done. I brought some U.S. toilet paper with me because, well, let’s just say that me and Japanese toilet paper haven’t been getting along very well. In general, the stuff I’ve been

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Touring Around Okazaki

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Oct 252007
 

Fun day today. I got back on the ol’ Buttbuster 9000 and did some touring around Okazaki. I’m going to miss that bike… okay, no, not really. I managed to send about 20 lbs. worth of stuff home for only about $60. Fortunately, it’s all stuff I won’t need for the next 8-10 weeks, because

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The Bells, the Bells! (Because “The Chimes!” Sounds Lame)

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Oct 242007
 
The Bells, the Bells! (Because "The Chimes!" Sounds Lame)

Okazaki Castle happens to be too far away for me to get to today. But at least I have a way to show you where I am on an interactive map. (It’s in Japanese, but a map is a map.) http://tinyurl.com/3d6cgv There’s a zoom-scale-slider-thing at the bottom of the map, to change it from 500m

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It’s Log, It’s Log, It’s Big, It’s Heavy, It’s Wood!

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Oct 232007
 
It's Log, It's Log, It's Big, It's Heavy, It's Wood!

Something I saw yesterday that I forgot to mention– I was walking by the local high school, and it sits on top of a pretty steep hill. Well, I saw the baseball team out there, in their uniforms, acting lively and cheering, while someone was blowing a whistle. Intrigued, I looked as I passed by,

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The Trash Heap Has Spoken!

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Oct 232007
 
The Trash Heap Has Spoken!

Yesterday was interesting. I got up at 8 a.m. I was freezing, and my throat was killing me. The window had been leaking cold air into my room, and it was right above where my head is on the bed. (Or was– I moved the other way on the bed so my head and feet

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Noodling Around Okazaki on a Sunday

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Oct 212007
 

Today was nice. I woke up at 8, was freezing to death, cranked up the heat (once I figured out how), then went back to sleep until 10 a.m. (Which is exceedingly late for me.) I goofed around for most of the day, played on the computer a bit, did laundry, and then I went

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Off to Kyoto for the Weekend!

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Oct 182007
 

I’m still in Okazaki, but I’m leaving for Kyoto in just a few minutes for the weekend. I need to rest for another 5-10 minutes, then I’m heading out. That’s one thing I’ve discovered I have to do– make time to rest. If I don’t, I suffer. Classes are hard. For some reason, the Japanese

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Kyoto Plans

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Oct 172007
 

So far, I think my tentative schedule is going to be: 10/26 last day in Okazaki– go to Osaka. 10/26-10/28 Enjoy Osaka, then head to Nara. 10/28-10/29 Enjoy Nara, then head to either Hiroshima or Kyoto again, if I feel like more Kyoto. 10/29-11/1 Hiroshima or Kyoto 11/1-11/3 Kyoto or Hiroshima, or move on to

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Blue Monday

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Oct 152007
 
Blue Monday

Today was a slow day. I got up early, fiddled with setting up the website (I finally figured out why it wouldn’t resolve), did my homework, went to class, then rested. All of the running around from this weekend took a lot out of me. On the upside, I’m learning a lot in the Japanese

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Oct 142007
 
COPS: Okazaki and More Nagoya Festival Fun.

I went back to Nagoya today, because even though I got sunburned, the festival was going to go on with or without me. I rode my evil little bicycle to the station today, because even though it’s uncomfortable, it beats walking. On the way to the station, I saw two guys riding on the same

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Oct 132007
 
Flower Cars and Feudal Lords. Parade!

Big day today! For starters, I woke up at 7 a.m. On a Saturday. Can’t help it. Then I did laundry at the laundromat next to the QuickMart. I lead an exciting life! Laundry was completed without much incident. Wandering in Nagoya Then I set off for Nagoya. This time the trains worked! At first,

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The Bicycle from Hell.

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Oct 122007
 
The Bicycle from Hell.

Today I discovered a few embarrassing, yet very important things. The 2,000 yen/week bicycle you rent will probably look bad no matter what. The 2,000 yen helmet you get extra somehow makes you look even worse. The 2,000 yen/week bicycle rides even worse than you thought a bicycle could. Using the 2,000 yen/week bicycle means

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Off to Japan!

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Oct 112007
 
Off to Japan!

I have arrived safely in Okazaki. I have a high-speed Ethernet connection in my room, so I am happy. Let me tell you how I got here… The Flight Over My flight from Raleigh to Dallas-Ft. Worth left at 6:00 a.m. I’m an international passenger, so I had to be at the airport 2 hours

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