Sunday, October 18, 2009

Various Festivals and Things

This last week or so has been pretty cool. My pictures, start with Rike wearing a mustache, so let us start there:

I have no idea why it is so fuzzy, but you can make out the mustache...almost. She war wearing it for her birthday, I believe is the reason. We all went out for Nabe to celebrate, which was rather tasty.

Anyway, a few days later (Saturday) I went to a Rome/Carthage exhibit with Sho Xiao Yin and Tama. It was depressingly small/expensive, but it was still pretty cool. I am shocked at how much time Sho was able to spend looking at things -- Tama and I ran around this big mall the museum was in once we finished looking around. There were a few interesting pieces I would have liked to take photos of, but I couldn't. Basically there was an unnamed emperor, whom I think was Gaius Claudius, a few frescas of women just doing stuff, some children competing over a prize, and one of Amor (Cupid) and Psyche. I'm glad I went, but I will keep this experience in mind and not go next time. I guess the main interest was I got a new earring, finally (I do not like it very much as it basically looks like a hole in my ear:  

However, the rest of my week/weekend was significantly more fun. On Sunday I went to two different festivals -- Waseda Homecoming Festival, and a Kishimojin festival. The main interest at the Waseda Festival were the cheerleaders: I had only seen them on TV before this, somehow. It was pretty fantastic.

The night festival was way more exciting, as it was filled with food:  

Afterwards there was a pretty cool parade, which is hard to explain even with pictures. There were people of all ages using drums and symbols, holding these shrine things, and twirling weird things on long poles. It was really odd, though, as it went parallel to traffic -- and pretty much was done in a way where the public and the parade people were somewhat integrated. It's really hard to explain, but it was really cool.

Other than that, I've finally gotten my Alien Registration Card and completed my health check. I just need to start planning a Halloween party, get my money from when I was sick (covered by health insurance), mess with my phone plan, get my working visa, get my re-entry permit...and I'm done with bureaucracy and miscellaneous work for the month! Hooray!

Also, shout outs: Mother and Seta, I look forward to receiving both packages!

Here is the gallery:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I am terrible at this

Sorry I have not updated in over a week.

Basically I've just been doing whatever, mainly classes. Last weekend I decided to stop using the dryers, since they don't dry, and ended up with this: This week I am using the balcony/dryers outside...and the hangers for my shirts, I guess. Next week I might try the laundromat down the street, since honestly both the washers and dryers in the dorms sort of suck. I am pretty unsatisfied with these dorm facilities: Washers, Dryers, Bathroom Sinks, Showers, Key Holes, Locked Top-Floor Balcony/Windows, Pillows, Lack of Oven. Basically I appreciate that my dorm is rather cheap, but that's primarily because they're all doubles -- junk should work well. All in all none of it is that big a deal, but it is sort of aggravating - especially since there is a monthly utility fee and I am not satisfied with the various waterworks in the building. Oh well. Somewhat related -- sometime in the next week I'm going to try to get my iTouch connected to campus wireless. Apparently there is a blog with instructions, as the tech people here just turn anyone trying away.

Um...things of interest last week: My Level 2 course is rather difficult and I am feel behind in it, but I hope to catch up. My Kanji course is too easy, and I will either switch or drop. I failed to get credit for my History of Math course as a Philosophy course and will need to contact the History department for it and my Japanese History course -- this may prompt me to drop phil as a major and try for phil and hist minors, as I have about equal credits in both fields after this semester, and am slightly annoyed with the phil department at the moment over this. Thursday was a TYPHOON DAY which I spent doing basically nothing. BUT I SURVIVED MY FIRST TYPHOON! I also went to an International Student Party...which was good in that I got free food. Also, isn't this men's barber shop thing awesome:

This weekend I did some fun stuff, too. On Friday a few of us went to an arcade (Jason, Wu Chiang, and Megan) where we got an attendant to help Jason win Wu a bear, and I blistered my hands playing the drum machine with Megan. I got to play the Lucky Star theme song as well as Tank! The Cowboy Bebop theme! It was awesome.

Saturday night Ben and I went to Nichome, the sort of gay district of Shinjuku. It was kind of...really small and lame. It was maybe two~four blocks, depending on how you count it, and it was mainly tiny one-room bars and sex hotel things. We ended up going to this club, that kind of picked up and was fun after about 11, and a bar called Usagi (rabbit) where there was a cosplay event. At Usagi I got creepily stared at by a worker dressed as a pirate, then we conversed with some drunk middle-aged locals/regulars. At the club we danced with some various groups -- most notably these two, probably straight, girls. I am rather satisfied with this club experience solely because they played Daft Punk (One More Time!! Though I would have been more impressed/excited with something off of Alive 2007 or with Superheroes or Digital Love) and not Kanye West's song that samples Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. But....other than that, basically the people dancing were doing one of two things: Trying to show off their poor dance skills to pick up guys, or just sort of grinding against their boyfriend and making out. It was rather disgusting and I could not have stayed much longer than we did because of that. Oh well, sometime I will go to Roppongi to one of the clubs that plays bad-90s pop music. I basically can't see any way a club like that could not be loads of fun.

Sunday I went to Yokohama in a rather large group, which was enormous fun. It is a harbor, and home to China Town. Basically we got there, walked around taking pictures of the pier:

After the pier we went to an International Food Festival thing, which means I got to have a delicious Peruvian Burrito filled with Chorizo, a Mango Smoothie, and Indonesian Fruit Tea!

Soon afterwards, we went to China Town...which resulted in a lot more pictures and really delicious dinner. Some highlights:

After all of this we got some Anman (adzuki bean filled buns) and walked around the pier area at night. Basically, what I came to Tokyo for:


I'll update later with a full photo-gallery.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

New Schedule/stuff

So since my last post I have gone to some more classes, and did a bit of a revamp of my schedule. My current classes look something like this:

Monday: Off
Tuesday: Intensive Japanese Level 2, Kanji, Intellectual Movements in Japanese History
Wednesday: Intensive Japanese Level 2, Russia: From Lenin to Putin and Medvedev
Thursday: Intensive Japanese Level 2, History of Mathematics
Friday: Russia From Lenin to Putin and Medvedev, Intellectual Movements in Japanese History

Scheduling and class material wise it should be a lot easier to deal with. If you're wondering why I dropped Japan's Foreign Policy in favor of two courses that will not count for my major (I have been arguing with my Philosophy advisor for the last 2~3 days over History of Math to no success) it is because I perceived some issues with the Professor, as well as major overlap with my China, Japan, and the US. Pretty outright, despite some unintended flaws in the course, Prof. Bong did such a good job that this course would add nothing new -- something I hope to avoid doing. Just the way I prefer my academics. Plus, if the same thing occurs next semester with my History of Science course it will likely just inspire me to drop Phil down to a minor/completely and pick up a History minor or major, more than anything else. After this semester I will have equal credits in both fields, and both require the same number of credits for a major (and presumably a minor).

Anyway, that's boring -- let's switch to more interesting things!

Yesterday (Saturday) Ben, Laur, Ghazal, and I went to the National Museum in Ueno! We had a few adventures along the way, mainly in a Toy Store. Although I didn't take many photos in the museum, far too similar to the museums I visited in Korea, it did have some cool/unique things...such as grouping Egypt with Asia.

After we walked to Asakusa for my first crepe in Japan!

That was about it for the day, as we were rather exhausted. However, today I did some fun stuff too: I went to a Hokkaido festival! It was an experience hard to describe, as it was filled with a flabby Bruce Lee, two encounters with a Rockabilly Club (which I hope to join in the future), and LOTS of food. I will give a quick photo snippet:

I intend to make a photo album for the last two days when I wake up tomorrow, so look forward to that! I'll add it to the bottom of this post, most likely. I guess I will also buy my remaining books and pay my rent tomorrow, though that's not very fun. (Also thanks mom for transferring my rent money in!)