Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gomen Nasai

It has been forever since I last posted, and I am sorry for that. Circumstances became...odd.

Saturday I sang Karaoke in a group, which was a lot of fun. I was very surprised that Laur new a Patti Smith song that I sung (Because the Night), and that Jason did not know Don't Stop Believing (Nor anyone else, for that matter). Anyway, I sang so much my throat and ears started to hurt -- indicative of something worse than just singing too hard. I would have posted when I got in, but I got in around 5am so I just crashed.

Sunday I basically slept in and went to the Jewish Center with Ben.

It was a long, boring, and painful service. Added to that, despite being tiny, the temple was set up like an Elite inner-city synagogue with reservations and everything. The congregation, despite being small, was rude/impersonal to their own (a young child was crying, almost everyone turned and shhhed loudly, multiple times, until the mother took the kid and left), the Rabbi gave a little speech on how every Jew needs to connect with god on their own. In other words, the 3 hour service had nothing to do with building a sense of community and giving us an opportune start towards asking each other for forgiveness. I'm not sure what the point of it was, waste time so you can go to sleep after and not worry about fasting? Finally, the President just basically asked for money and was generally rude/indignant. Oh, and he gave a speech basically about how Pakistani people are terrible due to some things done to the Jewish populace, and how they don't deserve to be thought of as even human (On Yom Kippur -- the day of forgiveness and repetence, really?) In general, an unpleasant experience. Though, Ben and I got food afterwards from a really nice woman (she reminded me of the Korean that hand-fed me). We also took pictures next to the fake-Mich: (Ben sucks at cameras, apparently)

Monday I had my first class -- Intensive Japanese level 1! It was pretty dull an way below my level, so I took the exam to move up...which was really tough. Oh well, I should find out if I move up tomorrow. After class I got my Hanko (stamp)!

Now, Monday night I got really sick and threw up both food and blood. I also have red spots around my eye, that should be nothing. Pic:

Anyway, I should go to sleep now. I am still a little sick. I'd like to pretend I will fix the formatting of this post in the future, but I doubt I will. I may switch to the old blogger though, as this one apparently sucks.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Should have waited a bit, apparently. Here's my schedule:

Monday: Intensive Japanese (9-12:10)
Tuesday: Kanji (1-2:30), Japan's Foreign Policy (2:45-4:15), Movements in Japanese Intellectual History (4:30-6)
Wednesday: Russia: From Lenin to Putin and Medvedev (1-2:30)
Thursday: Intensive Japanese (9-12:10), Japan's Foreign Policy (1-2:30)
Friday: Intensive Japanese (9-12:10), Russia: From Lenin to Putin and Medvedev (1-2:30), Movements in Japanese Intellectual History (4:30-6)

This is tentative though, as I still hope to test up from level 1 to level 2 in Intensive Japanese, which could effect my Intensive Japanese course times as well as my Kanji course times, and I may drop Movements in Japanese Intellectual History for The Collapse of Complex Societies due to issues with credits (It meets on Tuesdays from 4:30-6)


I don't really have much to say about today, nor do I have pictures. After the nattou I waited a bit, made a decent bowl of smashed potatoes (it was almost more of a stew) and later on went to get a Hanko -- which will read "Shyoru" in Katakana and be ready on Monday. I then headed out to drop stuff off at school, got intercepted by Jesse, who had me accompany him to SoftCell to fix his phone (we decided to call each other before the next tea club meeting), and dropped off my photo with the help of Ben. I picked up some stuff at the Co-Op (Finally got soap and a hand towel! Pretty Pretty brand soap, to be precise). Um...later on I went to a Ramenya (Ramen Shop) with Leo, and just sort of hung around in the lounge. Tomorrow we should go to Karaoke...

I guess I'm reaching a point where it will be sort of silly to update daily. I really am only adding this now because I have been updating around the same time each day so far. I may or may not drop down to a reduced schedule based more on when things happen than on some daily/weekly schedule. We'll see.

Oh, another note, I was invited to Hokkaido in November by Misa and Abby. I may or may not go with them, though, as I might prefer going later in the Winter...we'll see!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I just tried Nattou, and yes, it is worthy of its own post.

I don't know how many of you have heard of nattou, let alone tried it, so I will try to explain it. Nattou is a fermented soy bean paste, it's extremely sticky and has a very strong flavor. Although known for its smell, I honestly did not notice it until I ate some. However, now that I have eaten it, I am sure its distinctive flavor/smell will haunt me forever. I'd say it's disgusting, but that doesn't really describe what is wrong with it. It's the sort of flavor/texture combo you have to taste to understand, and once you do you will probably not be happy you tried it.

However, this much I pretty much knew and expected beforehand. So I decided to prepare it in a somewhat traditional way, that sounded good. As described in my last post, I put it over white rice with blanched spinach and a raw egg. It came with a packet of soy sauce and mustard, so I put them in too. After a little mixing this is what it looked like:

Please note the gooey texture and appearance, as well as the bubbles. This dish continues to foam as you eat it. The best way I can describe it is like eating a bowl of raw yeast - it's gooey, sticky, warm, foamy, and just in general rubs you the wrong way. Even without the loads of soy sauce and cayenne pepper I put it in, the flavor was much more bearable this way, but it is the texture and foamy nature of the nattou that makes it so hard to eat. I honestly tried to eat it, I even tried warming it in the microwave so it would solidify a little, but it was no good. It just added to the horror.

Since I bought it in a pack of two, I am tempted to try and make it more edible. My main thought is I need to cook the egg, or not use one at all, to help the texture. I might need to use two packs of rice, as well. More spinach, maybe some carrots could help. Hell -- maybe I will just make instant curry and put it in there with lots of cayenne pepper and some salt. Maybe just put it at the bottom of a bottle of Vodka/Soju -- by the time you get to the nattou you shouldn't be able to taste or feel it.

I hope this post can help someone.

Toyama Park

Today I went to Toyama park, and chose not to make a bank account. I didn't take a lot of pictures...not sure why. Here are...all of them:
Afterwards we walked around a bit, stopped and ate, and got very lost.
Though, it was worth it, because we found a Western Fencing Shop! It had Astroboy dressed in a lemee. I want to go back -- it was right near Bunkyou-ku on Mejiro-Dori. Hopefully I can find it again! It was also near a Halloween food shop, or something, so it should be fun to explore in the future.

Tomorrow I was supposed to go to the Pokemon Center, but I think that's being postponed. I may get my Hanko(stamp for documents) tomorrow and open a bank account. Also, probably tonight, I think I will try Nattou - fermented soy beans. It is apparently very hard for Westerners to eat, due to its strong flavor and scent. I will probably eat it over rice, with some blanched spinach and a raw or sunny-side up egg. Also a LOT of soy sauce at the ready. And maybe an alternate meal prepared.

P.S. I'm not sure what format people like for this blog. Do you prefer short daily updates like this, or less frequent long updates like I did in Korea? Do you like pictures embedded in the posts, or on separate albums? Any other ideas? Please -- tell me everything! What you like, what I should change, EVERYTHING! Thanks!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Today Laur, Ben, and I went to Asakusa/Edo area. Mainly we walked around a Buddhist Shrine and took lots of pictures, though we did also stop by the Bandai studio for a bit. It was close, though, so there's not a lot to say about it.
There are 3 blocks between these sites.

I also got a passmo/smart card at the station, and saw this in a few stops:

Later on I went to Santoku and purchased some beef, garlic, and spinach. I used it all to make a standard noodle dish. Then I just sort of hung around, got some Shiroi (white) Taiyaki -- it was the fish-waffle thing filled with vanilla (or just sugar-flavored, really) ice-cream and adzuki beans. Picture:
It is clearly adorable.

Tomorrow I will get my bank's strange -- I have very little to say about today, but I did take a lot of pictures. I basically just played tourist all day. Please compare them to the Buddhist shrines I took photos of in Seoul.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tea Ceremony

Today has been a long day. It started with grocery shopping, which was very confusing:
The result was I avoided buying meat, and picked up cooking sake instead of cooking oil. Oh well! The food I made later was still pretty good. Everyone in the kitchen/lounge helped me figure out what I got -- Green Onion, Potatoes, Cucumber, Carrots, Cayenne Pepper, Mustard, Cooking Sake, Soy Sauce, and Vinegar.

Afterwards I ran to meet Jesse and Laur for the ICC tour, only to find out it's tomorrow. So, instead, we went to the club office and checked out basically every floor to see what clubs were available. We were greeted rather coldly by everyone, except the Tea club. They told us about their meeting later on, so we decided to go to that, and continued searching. We took a break for lunch, then headed to the Ceremony.

My lunch was "Tanuki Soba," Jesse got "Kitsune Soba," and Laur got "Katsu Don." Pictures are of Tanuki and Katsu (the woman basically told me their Katsu Don was famous so I had to take a picture of it when I was taking a picture of Tanuki. For reference: Tanuki = Racoon, Kitsune = Fox, Katsu = Fried Meat Cutlet, normally Pork as in Tonkatsu"
Tanuki Soba, Katsu Don

The Tea Ceremony was interesting. It was actually more casually done than the Korean ceremony, though this was just practice. Unfortunately Jesse is the only one that took pictures. We got to mix some powdered tea! I think all the tools and the tea were basically the same as in the Korean ceremony, however there was a bigger water boiler. It was pretty fun, and we met some interesting people. I exchanged phone information with a third-year student/possibly the club leader, Asami.

From there, Laur left and Jesse and I sort of wondered around. Eventually he led me to a 100 yen shop to buy a bowl, which was the final product necessary for me to cook. I have taken so many pictures of my food I did not bother this time. I will say it came out alright, better than I expected due to the lack of protein. Didn't do much else -- just some laundry. Though, Damon and Abby finally got phones! Also, they are cooking upstairs now with the aid of a few girls (probably a good thing).

Tomorrow I think Ben, Laur, and I will go to Edo. Should be fun!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fun day!

Today was opening ceremony, which was long and sort of dull, but was preceded by and followed with fun stuff! Also pictures!

Before the ceremony I walked around with a friend, Misa, and found where the ceremony would be. There was a rather cool clock tower:

Afterwards, I was called over by a friend, Jesse, who wanted to check out the social circles (clubs). We ended up putting our names/e-mails on a mailing list for (what I think was) a Kanji circle, and exchanging phone numbers with someone from English club. Basically the hope is to find members of the club that want to do a language exchange sort of thing.

Afterwards I sort of ran off to meet Ben for the open ceremony. I met his host mother, Kazama-san! She is very nice, and invited me to hang out at her home sometime. I sat near her, Ben, and Leo -- I let him take some photos during the thing. He took like, 4 of himself, and some weird ones of the auditorium. I'll put the more interesting photos up. Though, unless noted otherwise, assume I took each photo.
Me and Leo. He didn't seem happy with this one, but I think he looks fairly cool in it. I believe Leo took the first.
Most of the pictures of the stage are fairly washed out, unfortunately. Leo took the first. The ceremony was basically every professor on stage giving a speech...pretty long and dull.
Waseda Glee club! They were pretty good! Apparently they have a lot more members (over 100). They sung 3 songs after the ceremony. The Alma Mater, a song played during soccer games when Waseda scores, and the song sung when Waseda wins. The latter is almost a hymn, it was very entertaining to hear!
The Waseda Symphonic Orchestra played after the Glee club. They were great and played like, 3 opera overtures so I loved them! Very hard to see.

After the ceremony, Ben, Kazama-san, and I took some photos (I don't have copies of them, unfortunately), and Kazama-san went home. Ben and I chatted a bit with some people, then wandered around, and finally met with a group for dinner. We went to a curry place! It was pretty cheap and delicious. I just got a Crocket curry, but they had an "Otoko Karii" or Man's Curry. I have a picture of it, it was apparently really tasty (I didn't notice it or I would have bought it too!).
Otoko Karii!Group shot! From Right to Left: Ben, Abby, Alex, Damon, Don't know, JiHaen, Yaz

After dinner we stopped at a McDonald's so some could get desert, than phone shopping. Everyone but Abby, Damon, and I left at some point. The three of us wandered around and got Taiyaki, and then some ice-cream...and some more phone shopping. It was pretty fun. I couldn't pick a favorite of these shots (They are actually in reverse order here, but it looks like the right order, doesn't it?):

Anyway, while phone shopping Jesse called so a group of us will be going to some International Communications club tomorrow morning. Could be fun!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Today was somewhat non-eventful as I spent most of it waiting to use an ATM. However, the few events that happened were rather interesting.

After I woke up and got some breakfast (Milk Tea!) I asked Kim for some help with my Japanese. Basically, I wanted to say "The back of my phone is broken. Please replace it." or "Wakareteru no de, Koukan Shitekudasai." So, on my own, I went to the au shop to have it replaced...and was promptly greeted with the English speaking attendant, as I was instantly recognized from yesterday. Oh well. They didn't even replace it -- they just bent it into place, but I guess that's ok as I have insurance for it.

Later on I met some people over lunch - Yan and Hakleh(I assume this is spelt wrong). Pretty interesting, we had a rather long conversation about world politics. It was somewhat surreal as the conversation was long, was in multiple languages, and involved multiple people helping translate without really adding anything besides the translation.

Later on I walked out to find an ATM that would work. On the way I found this, and took a picture specifically for Father:
I hope you enjoy this.

I walked around for a rather long time, checking the area. I was going to walk to Shibuya, but it was rather far away. I think I entered part of the Shibuya area, though? It is sort of weird how the sections are done. I also managed to enter the red light area (twice) by mistake. The second time an Eastern European man tried to sell me a room in a love hotel and "Beautiful, Japanese girls." It was rather creepy and awkward. I took a few pictures of the clean section of Shinjuku (I will maybe go back and take pictures of the seedy part):
This one is of interest because I WENT IN HERE THREE YEARS AGO!!!!

In the end the building with the ATM I wanted was closed. I ended up working my way back to find the Post Office in order to try it again, but on the way I found a 7-11 with a "Ginkou ATM" which worked! So, I guess I could have used any of these at any point and saved a lot of trouble. Oh well! I celebrated my victory with Tempura and Calpis Soda (It is a Milk Soda -- like Milkis from earlier posts, or a plain Egg Cream for new readers). Tasty!

Anyway, I updated my situation from last post in the comments for it: Basically father will try to take care of it, and if he can't then I will have to call. It seems like it was a mistake on the bank's part, though, that should be cleared up alright.

Edit: I almost forgot. Since I can now do the picture thing, I will probably go back and do picture-tours of my dorm, Nishi-Waseda area, and Waseda itself. Like, maybe a full post per each thing sort of deal. I will do other areas like this too, and am willing to take requests (so long as they are reasonable places for me to go and take pictures of). I will try to spread out these posts over periods where I may have little to actually post about to keep the blog updated, so I won't just do a bunch of them now that I have a camera. So, if there's something you want to see, comment and tell me!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


So, another mixed day. I registered for my optional class today (I still need to send all the permissions and things back to AU, but I will do that later. There are more pressing issues at hand) and got my new cell phone! Laur, Ben, and I went out to find out about them and eat some lunch -- cheap noodles. I accidently ordered an enormous bowl of them. They were good...but I got too much! I almost finished it, though. Afterwards Laur ran off and Ben and I went to another phone store, where I got mine. It is awesome. It has free streaming-TV, and can exchange contact info via infrared. Also it has an 8Mega-Pixel camera, which is 2MP better than Ben's camera-camera. Awesome.

On the flip side, I am now terrified to go out as I am low on money and cannot withdraw from any of the ATMs. I had this issue last time I was in Japan, too. I'm going to call the bank when they open in an hour or so and see if they can't help me, but I am uncertain they can. I also can't go to any banks as they are all closed until Thursday due to national holiday. Thankfully I have some USD, some Canadian dollars, and some Won so I can probably find a cash changer somewhere in Tokyo if I need to. I just hope that doesn't become my only option.

More bad news -- my loan application has been withdrawn as they have not received all of the necessary documents. This is pretty scary too, as I have no idea what I can do about it being out of the US. I may have to call the bank as well and see if something can't be done, otherwise I have to restart my loan application. Added to that the semester has started, and I was relying on that loan money to pay for my dorm here, this can be really awful. I will try to call my father and see what he thinks, but he is normally out on weekends so I may not be able to reach him.

I'm sure this will all turn out alright, but it is a rather scary place to be in. In the best of circumstances I will be able to clear all of this up in the next 3-5 hours. In the worst of circumstances I could have to return home, take the semester off, and be out tons of money.

On a side note -- the backing of my cell phone is broken and I will have to bring it in to the store.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Alien Registration and National Health Insurance

Mmm. It has been a mixed bag since the last post. Let me start with the most interesting occurence.

Most of my plans for last night fell through. I ended up trying to get passport photos with a friend, Abby. She ended up leaving to get pictures taken while I went back to the dorm to get my SD card to print from a copy machine. When I got back, I ran into a lot of trouble trying to work the machine that my slight knowledge of the language could not help me overcome. An older woman, Elaine, came to my rescue...sort of. She helped bridge the communication gap, but I ended up with the wrong sized photo. She ended up talking to me outside after to try to help my situation (maybe?) Basically she told me that my picture was no good because I don't look like that anymore, so she told me that I should get a cheap razor (and told me where to get one a few times). She also assumed and asked if I was Jewish, and then invited me to call her to celebrate Rosh Hashana. To make sure I could do so she gave me a phone card, so I will likely call her soon (though I doubt I will go, I am rather tired now.) It was a rather surreal experience.

Afterwards I went back to the dorm and went with another friend, whose name I am not sure how to spell (Bathusi? Sorry if this is wrong and you read this! If you don't read this, I am less sorry!) to campus so she could use the 'net and I could get my photos. This plan failed (though I let her use my computer afterwards). I went back to the dorm and, looking sad, asked a Korean girl (I have learned better than to try to spell Korean names until I see them in either English or Hangul) for help. She eventually showed me to the booth. After this I just sort of hung out in the dining room/lounge and discussed music. It was pretty nice.

As for today, most of it was spent registering as an Alien and getting National Reduced Health Insurance (I only pay 30% if I get sick!) I actually didn't put the sound on my iPod, so I didn't have a working alarm -- my roommate woke me up (thanks Kim) at 7:30 when I had to go. We didn't get out until like, 1:00 or 1:30. It was awful. We went for food afterwards, where my meal (which was good) was delayed signficantly (I believe they forgot to make it). Pretty much the chefs just worked in like, any order they felt like. It was rather awkward.

The rest of the day was spent with Ghazal and Tobby. We travelled all over, to get electronics, to the Shinjuku Observatory, to Kinokuniya, to get Taiyuki, and back to the dorms. It was a lot of fun. The electronics store was a lot like I remembered the department/electronic stores from my last trip to Japan, and similar to those in Korea. Lots of stuff everywhere, cheap netbooks (about 10,000 Yen!!), lots of floors. The Observatory had an amazing view of everything, I will have to go back with a camera, so I won't describe it much. The Kinokuniya (there ARE chains in the US, I believe it is the same store) was enormous (like, 8 floors). It was interesting -- we just stayed no the foreign books floor, where I mainly looked at english grammar books (they are pretty funny and use outdated phrases). Finally we came back, got Taiyaki (fish-shaped, Adzuki bean filled, crispy bread). Overall I rather enjoyed the day -- a good note to start the new year!

I will probably call Elaine later today and explain the situation, and maybe give her my e-mail. I was hoping to bring a group to Rosh Hashana, but it just seems like it won't work at this point. There's also a party at 7 that would compete with this (I'm not sure I will go as I am rather tired). Anyway, TOV HASHANA EVERYONE!!! Eat some apples and honey for me.

(Edit on 9/22/09 at 12:04: Corrected a name)

Thursday, September 17, 2009


So, last night ended much better than it began. After my post I ended up wandering around a bit and got some Tempura for dinner -- which was absolutely fantastic (and cheap --500yen!). This was followed up by some Poker, which is always fun (No money game, I was the runner up out of five players. Not too bad).

Today...well, yeah. It was really long. I had orientation from 9:30am - 4:30pm. Most of that was filling out forms. I also got my exam results back -- Level 1. I hope I can test up to level 2, but I guess it is not too bad -- my Japanese is pretty basic at this point. On the other hand, having Level 1 Japanese on my transcript two years in a row is rather unappealing. My other classes should be pretty good, though I may need to drop one. I am looking at taking: Japan's Foreign Policy, The History of Intellectual Movements in Japan, and Russia: From Lennin to Stalin. We'll see what I decide to keep and drop (Most likely The History...Japan will be dropped for The Fall of Complex Civilizations, though I may want to drop the Russia course instead? It sort of fullfills a requirement I want out of the way).

Later this evening I should go out and get an electric fan, some passport photos, and some dinner. I also will have to help a group with their internet at some point, so I want to combine the activities. It should be alright.

As for tomorrow, a big group will go down to Shinjuku Ward Office thing and submit various paperwork -- which should allow me to open a bank account, which in turn will permit me to pay the rent and buy a phone! Awesome!

Anyway, despite my last post, I am enjoying myself and do intend to continue enjoying myself while I am here. Wooo Japan!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I am in Shinjuku, Tokyo now! It is pretty cool. I will go through everything now.

The first plane was pretty alright -- it was really tiny. There were only 9 passengers. YYZ was not as exciting as I was hoping for, it was a lot like NYC's airpor (but a bit nicer and less crowded). I did not listen to YYZ until I got into the plane to leave, nor did I take touristy pictures. I would have like to from the plane coming in, though, as Toronto up against the rising sun was beautiful, but I didn't want to turn on my phone while the plane was moving.

I mainly tried to sleep in the airport to mixed success. Though, as some may know, I was planning on meeting a friend at YYZ as we were on the same flight. She was not there -- I looked for her for about an hour and a half. I even asked the front desk about the incoming flights from Philly to see if there was an issue. I searched for her getting on the plane, and when we got off. I even asked one of the team that picked me up at Narita about her. Nothing. I just recently learned that she was the same flight number and time, a DAY EARLIER. Yeah. That's crap, but doesn't really matter now.

Second flight was pretty awful. It started alright, and the people next to me were pretty alright. But the lights were off pretty much the whole time, and I became sick as the plane went on. I managed to listen to some music, watch the entirity of the Billie Jean King Cup(Good job Serena!), and two episodes of Flashpoint(I have been interested in this show as an actor I irrationally adore is in it. He plays Sam Bradley) before becoming too tired and ill to do anything but try to sleep. This was all compounded with two fears that I feel were somewhat rational: 1) Concern for Lauren, who I felt missed the flight, an experience I greatly emphasize with after Korea, and 2) Worry over my Japanese Exam. I felt I was pretty well-studied, but I know and I knew then that I could have prepared more fully. I also, for the first time, felt true pangs at my decision to study abroad for a year. A few may know this but I did not want to go for a year -- I was hoping for a 6 month program. I love the US too much, and can say I will miss home more than I have realized before I got on the plane. However, I also wanted to go to Tokyo and AU does not offer a shorter Tokyo program (that I have found, if you know of one I would like to see it for a laugh). I think the main issue was that I was sick and already filled with various anxieties, but I was and still am slightly nervous about being in Japan for a full year. Added is the fact that my loans have not completely gone through yet. And, as much as I love Japan, there are various beaurocratic tendencies and a few cultural issues that are strong warning signs that I will have issues here, that would not be a problem if I were studying abroad nearly anywhere else (Compounded by the fact that I just travelled to S. Korea and loved it for the few differences that made it very distince from Japan, as well as my ever-lasting love for Italy. Honestly, if I were going to Italy for a year my anxieties would be: I don't know much Italian, and it does not easily fit into my major/career path. I am unsure I would even think about home, because I loved Italy so much last time. I still consider dropping everything and becoming a fisherman in Amalfi. Man, Italy is awesome.) I am totally over most of these anxieties now, and am getting back into the correct: OMG I AM IN JAPAN mindset, but it is a bit hard because my concerns are at least somewhat rational. Not to mention I have been to Tokyo before, and am still a little under the weather. Oh well, once we get through the various forms (I think we are all here so early just so we can do all of our paperwork?), I am feeling a bit better, and I actually start exploring the city I am sure things will look up.

Actually, they have been looking up for the most part since I got off the plane. The group that picked us up, the group that went on the train, and the group that brough us to the dorms were all very friendly and cool (Ones I have met again: Liz and Elliot, everyone else was Japanese, though one of them was at AU last year. We apparently ran in the same circles and just narrowly avoided meeting, somehow?) My dorm is pretty nice, too, as are everyone I met here -- including an AU student, JyuHi, and my roommate, Kim (I find it interestingly coincidental the two people I list here are Korean).

Today was pretty interesting too (though its not over, I think I might be missing an orientation or something now, but I don't have that info). The test was REALLY TOUGH, as it tests EVERY ONE of the 8 levels the school offers (Compare: I expect to be either level 2 or level 3). It was so tough that I actually do not feel very bad about preparing better earlier -- most of the stuff in the exam was well beyond my text book, and the stuff I did know I knew without studying. Maybe some more studying would have helped by essay, but it probably would not have made a difference (Most of it was fill in the blank, where each blank was a character. It would make more sense if you saw it). After the exam, Ben, Laur, Liz, and I all went out to try to get Waseda IDs(got them later, at orientation), and food. I got Hanbaagu, which is the version of hamburger altered to Japanese tastes. Basically: just the patty slothered with some sort of sauce, with some pasta flavored with ketchup, mixed pickle, cabbage, an egg, daikon(I have really missed daikon -- I loved it in Korea!), miso soup, and rice. It was pretty awesome. Though, I am now dissappointed in my Japanese as I feel way more comfortable ordering off a Korean menu than a Japanese menu. Oh well, we didn't cover a lot of this in class (but we totally should). Afterwards was orientation, which was sort of dull, but I got my netpass, ID, and almost rented a phone (rates were too high, though).

Afterwards Ben and I explored campus trying to buy towels (succesfully purchased two), then I came back to the dorms and spent about an hour getting Japanese language to work on my netbook. Turns out it is there and fine -- on IE. I can't get it working on Chrome, for some reason. It's rather confusing.

Anyway, I will post more soon, I'm sure. I unfortunately do not have a real camera at the moment, so I don't have any pictures yet. But, be patient and endure! I will have better, happier posts in the future!