Nar3: Japan

Kyushu: Day 6 (Jan 5)
Posted on Monday, January 12th, 2004 at 7:41am by Brett.
(Monday, January 12th, 2004 at 9:41pm Japanese Standard Time)

Today was the last day in Hita with Sei's family. We woke up early...rather, Sei woke up early, then woke me up about a half our later. We were planning to take a train to Kagoshima to visit my grandmother's realtives. The week at Sei's had been so much fun, that I found myself not wanting to leave. The house was so homey, and there was a strong feeling of family that I have missed since moving to Japan. Nevertheless, after breakfast we were off to the station to catch our train.

Right after breakfast, I went to brush my teeth and get changed and everything. As I was walking back into the main room, I felt a soft pop right above my left temple. I felt a bit dizzy, but just shook my head and walked in the room.

Sei's mom said something to me, but all I heard was Charlie Brown style adult voice muttering. I went to ask her what she said, and what came out was "What did you say?" Then I stopped and realized that the soft pop was my Japanese saying "You've used the last of your Japanese Usage Points for the week. You're on your own from here out. Good day."

And it was pretty much true. The rest of the trip's conversations consisted of me asking Sei "What'd s/he ...(More)

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Kyushu: Day 5 (Jan 4) (Updated)
Posted on Monday, January 12th, 2004 at 5:05am by Brett.
(Monday, January 12th, 2004 at 7:05pm Japanese Standard Time)

(I lost a day somewhere. Urm....yeah. I maybe have combined two days, or something...but...this is just a space filler. Nothing to see here...return to your lives, citizens.)

...I remebered!

I'm not sure how I forgot this day, because it was actually a lot of fun. Nothing exactly notable happened during the day, but the night was a lot of fun.

As I had mentioned, Yuu, Sei's 17 year old brother, is in a band. He was playing in a tribute concert for a band called Dashing Straight. There were like 6 or 7 bands playing before them, and Yuu's band was first. They were pretty good. Played some American hardish rock music.

The place where they performed was called Scar Face. It seemed to be a sort of bar...performance area...thing. It was pretty cool. I was the only gaijin in there, so it got some looks, but that's ok...I'm used to it.

There were some really good bands that played there. Most of them were local to Hita, if not to Kyushu.

Sei was crazy. He was daning and jumping up and down and basically enjoying himself. I, though, am the kind of person who sit in a corner and nod his head to the music. I don't dance. But Sei would grab me and be like ...(More)

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Kyushu: Day 4 (Jan 3)
Posted on Sunday, January 11th, 2004 at 7:30am by Brett.
(Sunday, January 11th, 2004 at 9:30pm Japanese Standard Time)

I woke up and had another big breakfast. Sei's dad was back off to work, and would be gone for the rest of my visit.

After breakfast, Sei's grandpa, Shu, and I went to see a live volcano. Though Japan has many, this was my first time seeing one. I think the name of it was Nekodake. It was pretty cool.

The drive there was about 2 hours. Japan's roads are quite unlike American's. They're narrow...You wouldn't believe some of the places I saw. There were a few times where either we or the oncoming cars had to stop, put it in reverse, and go like that until the road was wide enough to pass. It's a bit scary at times.

Japanese roads are just below proper torture for those who get car sick. Luckily, I am not one of those people. Even though, they were making me feel just a bit weird in the stomach. The roads go up and down, and back and forth, and curve and wind and dip and weave mercilessly.

When we finally got to the volcano, it was SOOOOOO cold and windy. There are some pictures of it in the gallery. We were up pretty high, but it didn't really bother me because there was enough ground around me.

That took about all day. By the time we got ...(More)

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Kyushu: Day 3 (Jan 2)
Posted on Saturday, January 10th, 2004 at 6:40am by Brett.
(Saturday, January 10th, 2004 at 8:40pm Japanese Standard Time)

Sei woke up before me (because that's what the Japanese do) and when I finally dragged myself out of bed, there was another wonderful breakfast ready. There was rice, miso soup, dried salted fish, some Japanese veggies, and an egg and some fried ham. It was all really good.

After breakfast, we all sat and chatted for a while. There was a marathon on TV, and we watched that for a bit. Then Sei and I went to visit one of his old highschool teachers (I think) whose neice happened to be going to school at Tsukuba. We chatted with that family for a while, and then we went and picked up some of his friends and went to an arcade. I played the geekiest game ever. It was this game called "The Typing of the Dead!!!" and it had these keyboards attached to it. It was basically Resident Evil or House of the Living Dead with a keyboard that shot things as you typed instead of a gun. I did very well considering I was having to type Japanese words that I didn't know. Sei was impressed...

After that, we all went to eat at a place called Joyfull. It was good food. We went back to the house, and then after hanging out for a bit we went to Sei's mother's parent's house. They were ...(More)

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Kyushu: Day 2 (Jan 1)
Posted on Friday, January 9th, 2004 at 7:58am by Brett.
(Friday, January 9th, 2004 at 9:58pm Japanese Standard Time)

I woke up, got dressed, and went into the main room, which was next to the room where I slept. Sei had still not come home. The futon I slept in was nice and warm because Sei's mom or grandma had put a heating...thing in it when she laid out the futon. The heating thing was a hot coal placed inside a plastic box, then wrapped with a couple layers of sheets. The room where we slept wasn't heated, so it made it nice and toasty under the sheets.

Everyone was already in the family room when I woke up, and Sei's mom had prepared the breakfast. I can't remember what everything is, but it was all good to eat. I do remember that the plate on the upper left had warm sake in it. As tradition, we all took a drink of the sake. I thought Shu was going to gag himself to death by coughing, but he managed...

After breakfast, Sei's grandpa took me around to the two shrines and showed me the ceremonial things to do for the new year. Shortly after that, Sei got home, had some breakfast, and went to bed. He had stayed up all night...

Sei's mom took Shu and me bowling. The Japanese bowling balls seem to ...(More)

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Kyushu: Day 1 (Dec 31)
Posted on Thursday, January 8th, 2004 at 2:04am by Brett.
(Thursday, January 8th, 2004 at 4:04pm Japanese Standard Time)

For the next 7 days, I'll be writing about the trip I took to Kyushu with my tutor, Sei. Kyushu is the southernmost island of the Japanese archipelago. While I was there, I visited Sei's family and my relatives. Sei's family is in Ooita, which is on the north west side of Kyushu, and my relatives are in Kagoshima, which is on the southeast side.

Check out my gallery for images.

Our plans were to leave Tsukuba around 9:00, take the bus to Haneda airport, and then fly to Fukuoka. From Fukuoka we'd take the bus to Sei's hometown's bus station where his mom would pick us up. We were set to be there by dinner.

We got to Haneda airport on time around 11:30, but ran into some problems there. We were trying to buy our tickets but they were sold out. The soonest they could get us in was a 2:45 flight. That wasn't too much of a wait, so we grabbed some lunch and then went to the counter to buy our tickets.

No such luck. We were bumped back again. It was only to 3:15, so we waited by the ticket counter. We went to go buy our tickets for the third time. When we got up there, they were only able to take one of us ...(More)

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Posted on Monday, December 29th, 2003 at 7:52am by Brett.
(Monday, December 29th, 2003 at 9:52pm Japanese Standard Time)

Nothing much has happened since Christmas.

I've been playing my Zelda game...which has 0wn3d me more than once or twice. I don't remember these games being so HARD....

Plans for going to Kyushu with my tutor to visit his family and my relatives are falling into place. I spoke with Yuuko, who is my grandmother's niece (my 2nd cousin???) and we are trying to set things up. Sei and I leave for his hometown, Oita, on the 31st. My relatives are in Kagoshima and Kumamoto, but we're probably only visiting those in Kagoshima. Yuuko speaks little English, so the entire conversations have been in Japanese. I'm supposed to be calling her back telling her what days to expect us, but Sei hasn't told me yet...

I'm currently overcome with...alright I'll say it, laziness. I don't want to do anything. Well, that's not exactly right. I want to do something, but I just have no idea what that something is. Hrm...

From the odder side, and continuing a trend, I'm having computer problems. Basically what it boils down to is that if I touch my computer, and then touch anything metal, I get shocked. This applies even to the plastic bits of my computer. Now...I haven't taken ...(More)

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Merry Christmas!
Posted on Thursday, December 25th, 2003 at 8:10am by Brett.
(Thursday, December 25th, 2003 at 10:10pm Japanese Standard Time)

Merry Christmas to everyone in the West!

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December 24th, 9pm...
Posted on Wednesday, December 24th, 2003 at 9:00pm by Brett.
(Thursday, December 25th, 2003 at 11:00am Japanese Standard Time)

...Eastern Standard Time. From here on in I shoot without a script...See if anything comes of it...

I'll stop there ;)

Merry Christmas to everyone in the East! It's right now Christmas morning for me. I just got off the phone with my mom and dad. Opened the gifts they sent me. Got a Gamecube with the promotional Zelda disc....mmm. So good. If I disappear for a couple weeks, don't worry about it.

Well, again, Merry Christmas to everyone on this side of the international date line!

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Tokyo Again
Posted on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2003 at 11:39pm by Brett.
(Wednesday, December 24th, 2003 at 1:39pm Japanese Standard Time)

Yesterday I spent all day in Tokyo with Yuki. It's always nice to see her. She's the only person I've seen here that has known me for more than 4 months, so that's nice.

We went to the Chinatown in Yokohama, which was really cool. We were going to go to some big Christmas lights display, but it didn't open until today, and Yuki had to return to her hometown this morning.

She wants to go back to Ohio a lot, she was saying. She was interviewed for a job at IBM here in Tokyo. She said it pays well, but she misses Ohio.

Going to Tokyo has become like going to Columbus from Jackson. It's a bit weird being able to hop on a bus and be in Tokyo in about an hour...

That was the first time I had to get myself to Tokyo alone. Usually I go with friends. Even though none of us really know what's going on, it's a lot nicer to be lost as a group instead of lost individually. I got there and met up with Yuki fine. It really wasn't that hard...

Being on break is so amazingly wonderfully...uh...amazing and wonderful. I'm going to be going to Kyushu on the 31st to celebrate new year with my tutor and his family, then hopefully meet up with my grandma's family that lives ...(More)

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