rinlin: (Tokyo Tower)
I've been way too busy with life to write recently. Now that my whirlwind three weeks are over, I finally have a little bit of time. First up is the half a week I spent in California with DJ!

Even though my flight was over an hour late, I met up with DJ with minimal fuss. He picked me up and we met up with Travis for dinner before heading back to Paul's place.

DJ and Travis are both living at Paul's house now. I like Travis and Paul, so I didn't mind having them around, I just wish I could've gotten a bit more one on one time with DJ (especially now when I really could've used it). Regardless, of that fact, it was still a nice trip though and Travis and Paul both tried to make sure that I had fun, too.

On our first full day, DJ, Paul, Travis, and I went to Monterey Bay. Monterey was quite nice. I liked the sort of quaint seaside feel it has. After lunch, we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They had a pretty cool jellyfish exhibit there (which gave me Kuragehime feels). Then, after a stop for some Ghirardelli chocolate, we were on our way to Caramel. It's a really cute and pretty beachside town. Of course, we went down to the beach. The slope was pretty steep for my sprained ankle, so DJ ended up giving me a piggyback ride, while Paul snapped adorable pics of us. The beach was nice, but it made me a little lonely, since DJ and Travis were being cutesy and then I saw a lesbian couple being cute together. It was one of the many times I wished April could've been there.

That night, after we got back from the beach, DJ and I Skyped with his mom. She wanted to say 'hi' to me and see how I was doing, which was very sweet of her. She told me about her reaction when DJ first came out to her and how her opinions changed for the better over time. She told me that my mom will come around eventually and that if I wanted, she'd be willing to talk with my mom for me. I don't think I'll accept her offer right now (since my mom would just view it as butting in), but it meant a lot to me that she'd be willing to do it.

The next morning we got a bit of a late start, but the DJ, Travis, and I headed to San Francisco. We went on a boat tour under the Golden Gate Bridge, which was nice but pretty windy. Then, we went to the Exploratorium, which a this huge and really cool hands-on science museum. Then, we checked into our hotel room, which Travis had booked for the night.

After a sushi dinner, we decided to go out on the town. I'm afraid I kind of ruined the evening though. The boys tried to be nice and take me to check out a lesbian bar (not to look for anyone, just for fun). It just ended up making me sad though because I wanted April to be there with me. DJ saw that I wasn't feeling it, so we left to do to another bar just to sit and have drinks. I ended up crying before we even ordered drinks though. It was just a combination of everything (being tired, missing April, being upset about my family) and I couldn't do it. I felt even worse about it because we'd set up the evening specifically so that we could go out. The boys assured me that it was okay and took me back to the hotel room so that we could talk. Travis even ran out to get us ice cream and cookies. I talked with the boys about stuff for a while and cried some more as they tried to comfort me. They let me Skype with April too to help me feel better. DJ cuddled me for a bit and I fell asleep not too long after that.

The next day was better. We went to the California Academy of Sciences. My favorite part was the enclose rainforest sphere they had in the middle of the museum. It was filled with trees and free flying birds and butterflies. A beautiful little black, orange, and yellow butterfly landed on my hand and DJ got about a dozen shots of me with it. It made me smile because it reminded me of April.

After that, we called it a day so that Travis could get back for work at the bar. I spent the rest of the evening chilling with DJ and Paul, watching TV, drinking wine, and petting Elton (Travis's snuffly French bulldog). Didn't stay up too late though because DJ had to take me to the airport the next morning.

Despite everything, it was still a good trip. Much better than the week I spent with my family, that's for sure. It's always good to see DJ. It's comforting to know that as much as stuff changes, he'll always be one of my best friends.
rinlin: (Tokyo Tower)
Last weekend was fun! Leslie, Anna, Lilith and I went to Disney Sea to celebrate Leslie's birthday. Japan is the only place that has a Disney Sea park, so it was cool to get the chance to go to a Disney Park that I hadn't experienced yet. The park was divided into a number of worlds that included Disney worlds, like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, as well as real life places like 1920s New York and renaissance Italy. I think one of the coolest things about the park was the giant volcano in the middle, which actually erupted fire every so often. We didn't get to go on all of the rides, but we did go on some fun ones like Journey to the Center of the Earth (which was inside the volcano) and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I'd definitely like to go back again when the weather's nicer to check out some of the rides we missed.

This week I finished up teaching my last classes of the semester at work. There's still about a month of school left for the kids, but after finals I pretty much don't have much to do until the new school year actually starts. Finals start this week, so by the end of the week I'll have all of the grading to do. It's kind of a pain, but at least it's something to do as opposed to having nothing constructive to do (which is going to happen a lot over the next month or so).

I went to Kuki yesterday to meet up with Elly and a couple of the other Saitama JETs to celebrate Elly's birthday. We went to a show at Kuki's tiny planetarium and hung out and Elly's place. Her husband cooked dinner for us and Elly had made a delicious vanilla orange fondant cake for dessert. It was nice to see some of the other JETs. I don't live close to many of them, so I don't often hang out with them. I couldn't help feeling slightly out of place in the group though, just because it's clear that they all hang out with each other more than I do. Not that it matters that much though. I have my own friends group that I always hang out with and I'm quite comfortable with. I wouldn't change that.

I opted to stay home today to save a bit of money and take the opportunity to relax a bit. I've got a bunch of stuff to do coming up over these next two weeks, most notably the five concerts that I'll be going to! That'll be a new record for me (for most concerts in the shortest period of time). It starts on Tuesday night when I'm going to go see Buck-Tick with Aki. Then, this next weekend I'll be seeing exist+trace and Mejibray. April's even going to the exist+trace show, too! The weekend after that I'll be seeing my bbs Miyavi and GazettE again. I'm quite excited about all of it! I just want it to come faster! My next entries are probably mostly going to be concert reports, so be on the lookout for that.
rinlin: (Family)
Today was my first day back at work after six days in a row off. Each teacher at my school gets 4 days of summer vacation to use when they wish, so I decided to use mine to take time off during Obon (since there's hardly anyone at the school during Obon). I was off of work from Friday through Wednesday. I spent a little bit of time relaxing and did some fun things, too.

I got up early on Friday morning and met up with Leslie to go to Comiket! This was our second time at Comiket, so we had a better idea of how things were laid out this time and we were able to see a lot more. It would've been even nicer if they'd actually had the air conditioning on in the convention center though. I only bought a handful of doujinshi this time (2 Tiger and Bunny, 1 Sengoku Basara, & 1 Sailor Moon) though we looked around for a while. We only spent a little bit of time walking around the cosplay area because it was so damn hot outside. I give props to the cosplayers who were willing to stand around in that heat. I didn't want to try and cosplay in this weather, but I'd like to finally cosplay at winter Comiket later this year. After Comiket, Leslie and I walked over to Diver City so that we could see the giant Gundam they have on display outside. It was pretty cool and realistic looking. (I'm operating under the theory that it's actually a working Gundam just in case Japan is ever attacked by North Korea.) I ended my day by having dinner with Kaille because I hadn't seen her since my vacation!

On Sunday, Leslie and I went to the Rainbow Matsuri in Nichome. It was a pretty small scale matsuri (since Nichome isn't really that big), but it was still fun. I ended up running into Mihanh and Yuki, who I hadn't seen since January! I didn't even know that they were going to be there (I didn't even know that Yuki was currently visiting Tokyo). Yuki's friend Oriane was with them too and we ended up spending the rest of the evening catching up. Leslie came with us for a little while, but she didn't stay out for long because she had work the next day. The rest of us went bar hopping. We started at Kinswomyn, then went to Goldfinger, grabbed dinner, and ended the night at Adezakura. It was a good time! I don't see very much of them since Elise hasn't been around, and I missed the fun nights we used to have in Nichome.

Anna and I did our usual curry on Monday. After trying several other Indian restaurants, we've concluded that our favorite restaurant has the best curry. We went back to my place and did absolutely nothing because we were so hot and full of good food. That's okay though because we had a nice time being lazy and chatting about fandom related things.

Tuesday was aquarium day! Anna, Greta, and I went to the Sunshine Aquarium. It was a nice aquarium, even if it was slightly smaller than I was expecting. I would've enjoyed it even more if it hadn't been as crowded with small children pushing their way in-front of me to see the exhibits though. My favorite part of the aquarium was the small tunnel you could walk under that was filled with jellyfish. They're so cool to watch.

I spent part of yesterday afternoon bumming around Tokyo. I went to Shin Okubo with the goal of possibly buying another concert DVD and ended up getting G-Dragon's Shine A Light concert. I also ate a yummy waffle at Coffee Prince. After that I went to Shibuya, where I was going to meet up with my friends. I was there early, so I killed some time by browsing the cute new clothes at 109. Then I met Kaille, Leslie, and Greta so that we could see The Avengers. It was finally released in Japan this week! I actually saw it on the place ride back to Japan, but it was a bit hard to hear at times, so I ended up seeing it again. I thought it was a good movie the first time, but I liked it even more the second time! And now I have a huge new fandom to explore for fic, so I'm happy.

One more day of work, then it's the weekend! I have plans to hang out with Eri and Kaille, and then on Sunday I'm going to exist+trace's fan club concert! It should be a fun weekend. ^_^
rinlin: (Tieria)
Saturday was Tanabata, but it was unfortunately rainy. (It's even sadder if you consider the Tanabata legend because when it rains the star-crossed lovers supposedly can't meet in the sky.) I went to a Tanabata matsuri in Kappabashi with Leslie, Kaille, and Kaille's housemate Pei. We decided to wear our yukata anyways, which was probably not the smartest decision in retrospect. Shuffling around in a damp yukata is not the best thing ever. We were still able to have some fun moments during the day though. We also got to write our Tanabata wishes for this next year. and hang them on bamboo branches. Let's hope they all come true! Before changing out of our yukata we also took some cute Tanabata purikura.

For dinner Leslie, Kaille, and I headed over to 80+1. It'd been such a long time (for us) since we last went! It was fun. The ladies at one of the other tables kept buying cheki pictures of the waiters and then getting them to pose in slightly suggestive positions for the shots. (They even had reference photos.) It was like getting dinner and a show! We started clapping after a particularly prolonged posing session and the rest of the cafe joined in (lol). The ladies noticed that we were enjoying it too, so they beckoned us over near their table to watch at a closer angle. XD 

Yesterday, I did a bunch of shopping. I'd been meaning to buy some new sandals and boots for a while, so a bought a pair of each. I also started buying some gifts to take back home. It's only about two weeks until I'll be in Chicago, so I really need to got a move on my gift shopping!

Now, I'm mostly just waiting for Thursday because GazettE! I'm super excited because it's my first time going to one of their fan club only lives. It's also a standing live, which is just what I need to burn off some pent up energy. OH MY GOD, I CAN'T WAIT. Why isn't it Thursday yet?
rinlin: (Default)
Yesterday was a really fun day! Leslie, Anna, Kaille, and I met up at Leslie's apartment in the morning. We spent about two hours doing make-up, hair, and getting all of us into our yukata (which involved conversations that unintentionally sounded like they should be in BDSM porn). Between tying the obi and making sure the seams on the yukata are lined up, it can take a bit of time to actually put the yukata on. It was worth all the time we spent getting ready though.

Picture! )

After taking some pictures, we walked from Leslie's apartment to Asakusa, where Sanja Matsuri (the biggest festival in Tokyo) was being held. Let me tell you, the four of us were quite popular, especially with the old men and old ladies. (I guess seeing a group of young foreign girls properly wearing yukata isn't too common. XD) Numerous people took pictures of us as we walked by. We were stopped a few times for pictures and one person taking a picture of us would suddenly turn into a whole group of people taking pictures of us. A couple people even asked for pictures with us, and after getting her picture taken with us, one little old lady gave all of us candy. We got a lot of nice compliments, too. People told us, in English and Japanese, how cute and pretty we looked. And only a few people commented on the fact that most of our group (except me) didn't have the proper footwear. 

One of my favorite moments of the day was when we came back through Ueno Station. We had stopped to fix Leslie's obi and a couple of obaasans (old ladies) stopped to help us. The lines of Leslie's yukata were also pretty uneven, so one of the obaasans took it upon herself to help Leslie fix it, which involved reaching under the top flap of the yukata, near Leslie's thighs. As she's doing it, she says, "It's not weird, I'm an old lady". XD There was also another nice obaasan who fixed Kaille's obi for her when we stopped to get ice cream in Ueno Park.

When we got back to Leslie's place, we changed out of our yukata. Then, we sat around and talked about ~feelings~ for a long time. Some of us really needed to vent about some things, so I think it was good to get it out. We then went to Johnathan's for dinner and proceeded to talk more about feelings. I didn't end up getting home until after midnight, which was okay, but combined with the fact that I didn't sleep well last night made me pretty tired today.

I had the day off today to make up for working on Saturday. I missed trying to see the solar eclipse this morning because I was so tired. I went to bed late and was woken up a few hours later by a really creepy dream. I was finally able to get myself back to sleep, but then my alarm went off because I had forgotten that I didn't need to set it today. I fell back to sleep because I was so tired, but then by the time I actually woke up the eclipse was over. I did however meet up for lunch with Anna at our usual Himalayan restaurant. Then I did some grocery shopping and a bit of cleaning. Now I've just been relaxing because I'm tired and have a bit of a headache. I think I'm going to try to watch a movie and then go to bed early.
rinlin: (Tieria)
Thursday was the drama festival at my base school. All the different classes put on plays. It was up to the kids to write the play and do the costumes, scenery, props, and lighting. It was fun to see what they came up with. The plays included everything from three different versions of Snow White, a serious piece about the war in Okinawa, and Home Alone, to The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Ikemen Paradise, and Roman Holiday. I basically spent all day at work watching the performances.

I had work today, even though it was a Saturday, because we had an open class day (so that the parents could come in an see their students' classes). I don't have any classes at my base school on Mondays because every other week or so I have to teach at my low level school on Monday. So I didn't have anything to do at work today, but I had to be there anyways because I didn't want to use one of my paid vacation days. The day was really boring, but it was made better after work when I met up with Kaille and Leslie in Harajuku. We ate dinner at an all you can eat pasta buffet and then went shopping so that we can all wear yukata tomorrow at Sanja Matsuri. Definitely looking forward to it!

I've also been listening to Adam Lambert's new album Trespassing ever since I bought it on Wednesday. It seemed like it tossk forever for this album to come out, but it was totally worth the wait! As much as I love For Your Entertainment, Trespassing is a more cohesive album. It's got a nice balance between dance songs and slower, meaningful songs. I've basically been dancing around my apartment to it all week. "Pop That Lock" and "Shady" are my jams~ 
rinlin: (Omi & Miko)
Another weekend has come and gone. It seems like time has been flying by recently.

On Friday, I met up with Yumi after work. We had chatted and had dinner at Wired Cafe in Ueno Station. I hadn't seen Yumi since early this year, so it was nice to catch up with her.

This weekend was Design Festa, so Leslie and I decided to go check it out on Saturday. Design Festa is basically a huge show for selling and showcasing all kinds of art. The best analogy I can find for it is it being like Tokyo's modern and cool version of a craft fair. Neither Leslie or I had been before, so it was fun to go. We browsed and looked at a lot of different things (illustrations, fashion, jewelry, etc.), but I didn't end up getting anything. There was some really cool stuff there, but I was looking to find something that really grabbed me and made me want to buy it, but it didn't quite happen. That's okay though. It was still a cool thing to check out!

While I was out, I also bought a ticket for exist+trace's live next month. Can't wait to see my favorite girls again!

I spent Sunday afternoon hanging out at Kaille's place. She met me at the train station and we rode back to her place on her bike (I sat on the back), joking about how it was just like we were in a drama. Mostly we lounged around watching videos and chatting. I also got to meet Nola, her adorable cat. I got home a little later than I'd intended because we got distracted and started talking as I was getting ready to leave. Not that I minded. ♥ I wish it was easier to hang out for longer periods of time, but our work schedules don't quite match up. :/

Kuroneko just delivered my Big Bang ticket for the weekend after this weekend. Aww yeah! Looks like I have stand seating, so I'll probably be far away, but I'm still excited about it.

And on one last note, Junsu's new "Tarantallegra" MV is completely fab. Been watching it since I got home from work and damn. Love it~
rinlin: (Tieria)
I was unsuccessful in my attempt to get a ticket to Gaga's Japan concert yesterday. They went on sale at 10 AM, but the ticket machine kept telling me that I couldn't purchase the tickets yet. I heard that the tickets sold out really fast, so maybe the ticket machine just couldn't handle it. I would've liked to have gone, but oh well. I'm sure there will be other Gaga concerts and it's not like I won't be able to see her in concert once I go back to America. I think I'd be more upset about it if it had been a Japanese artist because outside of Japan there are much fewer opportunities to see them.

Despite the lack of Gaga tickets, yesterday was nice. I met up with Leslie and Greta in Harajuku. We had delicious real (not McDonald's) hamburgers at an outdoor restaurant. The hamburgers were made in an old 50s style silver trailer and then brought out to the customers. It was slightly chilly to be eating outside, but the food was good, so I didn't mind. I've never appreciated a good hamburger so much before, but it's been forever since I've had one. (Japan isn't exactly the land of hamburgers.) After lunch we looked around Harajuku a bit and Greta stopped at Daiso to get some stuff for her new apartment. Then we went to Ikebukuro. We headed over to Namja Town because they currently have a special event with Tiger and Bunny themed foods. I got a "Let's Believe Heros" gyoza set. For dessert I had the Christmas Eve ice cream. It was green tea ice cream that looked like a Christmas tree and came with a cute chocolate tiger and bunny.

Today was a day off to make up for the fact that I had to work on Sunday. It was relaxing. Not that I don't love wandering all over Tokyo on the weekends, but sometimes it's good to have a bit of down time. I called DJ this morning and we got to talk for a bit. Of course, it's always good to catch up with him. Then, Anna and I met up for lunch and had curry at the delicious Indian restaurant near Tokorozawa Station. She came back to my place afterwords. We had thought about watching something, but instead ended up having long rambling conversations about life, religion, fandom, and politics for a couple of hours. Like y'do. We also ate yummy ichigo mon blanc. 

I should probably think about going to bed, but in reality I'll probably stay up a little bit later. Work this week still won't be very busy, so I'm not worried about missing out on a little sleep. I think I'll watch the new Big Bang episode of Running Man and then go to sleep.

ETA: Ooooor, I could get distracted downloading things onto my Kindle, get to tired to watch anything, and decide to go to bed. Night!
rinlin: (Family)
I was excited this weekend because Greta (Fearless Leader of Kotobukigumi) arrived in Japan! I met up with her and Leslie after work on Friday. We ended up getting dinner at Sukiya and then we went back to Leslie's place. I wasn't originally going to stay the night, but it was cold and rainy and I didn't feel like walking all the way back to the train station, so I ended up sleeping over. The next day we walked to Akiba (because it's close enough to walk to from Leslie's apartment). We had tonkatsu for lunch and browsed around the usual anime shops. On Sunday we met up again and went to Ikebukuro, like the good old days in IES. Anna joined us on Sunday, too. We did a bit of shopping, ate at 80+1 (because we needed to show Greta our new cafe), and did purikura. It's nice to have Greta back in Japan. I'm looking forward to more Kotobukigumi adventures~

Work has been really slow recently, since the kids have finished their exams and I'm not teaching any classes. I won't be teaching any classes again until the new school year starts in April, so that leaves me with a lot of free time. Free time isn't a bad thing, it just makes the days pass really slowly. I bring stuff to do, like my Kindle and Japanese books to study, but the days still seem really long. There's not much that I can do about it though. I'm hoping that I'll be able to talk with some of the (different) teachers that I'll be teaching with in the new school year, so I can see if there's anything that I'll be able to get a head start on. It looks like I'm probably going to be starting an English club during the new school year, but there's only so much that I can do to prepare for that at the moment, too. I'd rather be teaching classes than sitting around doing nothing all day.
rinlin: (Default)
When I was out with Eri this weekend she mentioned that she wondered what kind of music was popular back in America right now. (She grew up in America, even though she lives in Japan now.) It reminded me of something that I've been thinking about recently. I've reached a point during my stay in Japan where I feel very out of touch with things back in America. Right now, I don't know much about the current popular music and movies.

(On an interesting, sort of related note, when I was at the Korean restaurant this weekend they were playing a mix of K-pop and popular American songs. Se7en's "Somebody Else" came on and it took me a minute before I realized that it wasn't in English. Pretty much the only English line in the song is when Se7en sings "somebody else" in the chorus. ^_^;)

I also feel a disconnect with what's happening back at home. I'm sure it was bound to happen eventually, but I've been noticing it more and more recently. This is more relating to my high school friends than my college friends. My life is so different from most of my friends back home. I see what's going on with them on Facebook and I feel like it's getting harder for me to relate with them. We're around the same age, but have such different interests and experiences. It'd probably help if I could talk with them more, but I feel like I hardly hear from most of them. Occasionally they'll post that they miss me on my FB wall. Then, I'll mention that we should Skype and catch up, and I don't hear back from them. I realize that I'm not the greatest about keeping in touch, but neither are they. I don't know if there's that much that can be done about it though.

Anyways, I'm waiting for Big Bang's new album "ALIVE" to hit the internet (it's due out at midnight and I'm sure it'll immediately be everywhere) and then I'm going to go to bed. Can't wait to hear my bbs new songs~
rinlin: (GD&TOP)
I basically went out and ate all of the food this weekend. Leslie and I met up again after work on Friday to go to 80+1. We might make it a thing we do on Friday nights. This weekend the cafe was Arabian themed, so the waiters were wearing fun Arabian outfits. They also had a special event menu, so I got a roll cake with hazelnut ice cream. We didn't get to talk much with the waiters this time, but there's always next time. After the cafe, we decided to get more food at Saizeriya. 80+1 usually has pretty decent portion sizes, but the roll cake set wasn't as filling as usual. We opted for Saizeriya because it's always cheap and delicious. The two of us split one of their tiny pizzas. 

Saturday night, I met up with Masami in Shin-Okubo. She invited me to go out to dinner with some of her friends. I met her friends Yuki and Yuka. Yuki does research on Korea and knows Shin-Okubo well, so she guided us to a yummy restaurant called Tomato for dinner. We had chijimi, which is basically a type of veggie pancake, with melted cheese and a spicy sauce on top and another dish (which I've forgotten the name of) that was made with egg but had a consistency similar to tofu. The main part of the meal was grilled meat and kimchi. After dinner we went to Honey Cafe for dessert. We had patbingsu, a type of shaved ice with ice cream, azuki beans, and fruits. Everything was yummy and we ended up chatting about K-pop over dessert.

I met up with Eri for the first time in a while yesterday. We met in Tokorozawa and had delicious Indian curry and naan at Himalayan Dining for lunch. It was really good to catch up with Eri! After we ate, we went to an arcade where Eri kept trying one of the crane games until she won an adorable stuffed bunny. We also did purikura, as usual. Then we spent an hour or so browsing books at BookOff. First I got a copy of the Nana artbook because they were selling it pretty cheaply. My most awesome find of the day was a copy of Miyavi's "Je vous souhaite un bon anniversaire" photobook for 105 yen (it normally sells for around 4,000 yen)! Of course, I had to buy it. It's as good as new and full of adorable pics of young(er) MYV frolicking around Paris. The cutest!

I also got official notice of my JET contract extension last week! At this point, I should be in Japan until at least August 2013! Even though I miss my friends and family, I'm not ready to go back to America yet. And, luckily, my parents are also coming to visit me from March 29th-April 6th! I'm really excited about everything!
rinlin: (Default)
This was a really fun weekend! I met up with [livejournal.com profile] meepalicious after work on Friday because it was her birthday. We decided to do dinner in Ikebukuro. It was raining by the time we arrived at the station and both of us had forgotten our umbrellas, so we picked up a cheap one at the 3 Coin Store. First we went and took cute birthday purikura. Then, we made our usual stop to check for new clothes at Closet Child. By the time we left Closet Child, the rain had turned into snow. Then we went to our favorite 80+1 for food and cross-dressing ladies. It was around 8 PM by the time we got to the cafe. Much to our surprise, there were two male customers at the cafe and one of them was dressed like a butler. It was the first time I'd ever seen actual guys in a dansou cafe. We were at the cafe a bit later than usual, so it wasn't too crowded. I ordered a delicious choco waffle for dinner. Leslie and I were pleasantly surprised when when of the waiters came over to talk with us for a while. (The waiters at the cafe are always really nice, but some of them tend to talk to us more than others. I think it's because they're not always sure how much Japanese we understand. We also tend to be kind of shy around them when they come to our table.)  Her name was Kazuki and she was super nice and cute, telling us not to be embarrassed when we told her we were shy about speaking Japanese. Then we talked about anime for a bit. When she found out that I like Tiger and Bunny we had a conversation about who we ship. She asked if we liked Kotetsu or Barnaby on top. xD Leslie and I also each got a picture taken with her and we commented how my shirt matched her tie. She wrote a cute message at the bottom of the picture about how she was surprised to learn that we also liked anime and that she wants to learn English, so let's study together. :3

Picture~ )

On Saturday, Leslie and I spent half the day at Oedo Onsen Monogatari, Edo themed hot springs located in Odaiba. It was so nice and relaxing. When you enter the building you get to choose a yukata to wear for your stay. Leslie and I chose matching pink ones. When then spent the rest of the day alternating between going in the onsen and getting food. First, we went in the onsen for a bit, but then we were hot and thirsty, so we got out to get ice cream and something to drink. Then, we went back in the onsen. There were both indoor and outdoor onsen. It's cold as fuck when you first go outside to get in the outdoor onsen (because you're naked), but it's so nice and warm after you get in the water. This cool winter weather is perfect for spending time in the onsen. We went in the foot baths. You're clothed in these baths and you just dip your feet in the warm water. The signs near the foot baths also suggested walking along the rock path inside the baths. The rocks were pretty uncomfortable to walk on though, so I'm not sure how that's supposed to be relaxing. When it got closer to dinner time, we got out of the onsen again and ate some yummy sushi. We had though about staying overnight at the onsen, but that was an extra charge, so we decided not to do it. We left after we went back in the onsen one more time.

Oedo Onsen )

Then, today was fantastic! I went to exist+trace's first Vanguard fan club live in Shimokitazawa. I'm planning on writing my usual live report, but the important details are that I was front and center at the stage. Jyou was literally feet away from me. After the show, everyone got to meet the band members and Mally gave everyone cookies that she made! I was so excited meet the girls! And Omi told me I was cute. ^///^ I'll definitely write more about it soon~
rinlin: (Tiger & Bunny)
Here's the last part of my winter vacation updates.

On Thursday night, Kiri and I slept over at Leslie's apartment so that we could get to Comiket bright and early on Friday. I was so excited to get the chance to go, cause Comiket is only one of the biggest anime and manga events in the world. There's always a huge line to get into Comiket, so we arrived over an hour before doors were supposed to open. We met up with [livejournal.com profile] serria and got in line. By the time we lined-up, there was already a giant crowd waiting that must have stretched around ten minutes away from Tokyo Big Sight (where Comiket is held). We huddled like penguins in the cold until doors opened and we could go in. Very soon after entering Big Sight, we saw an awesome cosplayer cosplaying Barnaby in his hero suit and had a fangirl moment. Then it was off to look at all of the doujinshi. We looked through four huge halls of doujinshi and still managed not to see all of it. Luckily, as soon as we entered the first hall, we immediately found the Tiger and Bunny doujin. There was so much of it that I think it took up a quarter of the huge hall. I was quite pleased and immediately made a couple purchases. After some browsing we met up with Ali in the outdoor cosplay area. We had to separate from her earlier because she had to go change into her cosplay and we weren't cosplaying (but I do have plans to acquire a new cosplay for the next event). Ali was cosplaying Aeris from FFVII. We spent a bit of time trying to look at all the cosplayers, but it was too crowded since all the cosplayers and people trying to take pictures of them were essentially crammed into a courtyard area. I didn't get too many pictures of cosplayers due how crowded eveything was. We managed to find the awesome Tiger and Bunny cosplayers though (including the Barnaby cosplayer from earlier) so I was happy. (There was also a photographer who asked for pictures of the four of us gaijin girls together, even though Ali was the only one cosplaying. Our pictures are probably floating around somewhere out there on 2ch...) My final doujinshi shopping count for the day was 5 Tiger and Bunny (plus a free T&B cloth bag and clear file because they were gifts being given out by certain circles if you purchased their doujin), 1 Gundam 00, and 1 Saiyuki. We stayed over at Leslie's apartment again that night and continued with Tiger and Bunny and Booze.

Comiket! )

Saturday, New Year's Eve, was a more relaxed day. Kiri, Leslie, and I did karaoke. Then, later in the day we met with Anna and Ali. All of us put on our warm layers and headed out to do hatsumode (the first shrine visit of the year) around midnight. We ended up at Gojo Tenjin Shrine in Ueno Park to ring in our New Year. There was a line of people waiting for midnight. There was also a large bonfire to burn the previous year's good luck charms. After midnight people were allowed to start making their offerings at the shrine. We went up to pray for good luck in the coming year. We drank traditional sweet sake afterwards. Then we bought good luck charms and fortunes for the coming year. Then it was time to go to back to Leslie's place and go to bed. Also Kiri, Leslie, and I have officially declared that 2012 is going to be the Year of No Fucks (figuratively, not literally). It's our goal to become the most awesome individual we can, by being ourselves and not caring about what others think. I'm also hoping for good things from this year because it's the year of the dragon, which is when I was born.

Hatsumode )

Sunday was New Year's Day. Leslie, Kiri, and I went out without Anna because she had a bad headache. We had already done hatsumode, so we spent the day shopping at all of the New Year's sales in Harajuku. New Year's Day is when all the stores start selling their lucky packs. Lucky packs are bags of items (generally clothing or accessories) that are sold at greatly discounted prices. The only catch is that you usually can't see what's inside the bag before you get it, so a lot of it is up to chance. Most of the brand name stores sell lucky packs, so we took the opportunity to get some brand clothes for cheaper prices. We went to Laforet and I bought a Sixh. IBI lucky pack from h.NAOTO. It had four pieces in it: a coat, a cardigan, a skirt, and a tank top. It also came in a nice cloth bag. I'm pretty pleased with it! (It also made me realize that most of the clothing I've bought so far in Japan has been shades of black or gray. Not on purpose though. I do like colors!) Then we took a break from shopping and used Kiri's iPod to tune into the online broadcast of the ball being dropped at midnight in NYC. It was kind of a surreal moment, realizing that I was in the middle of Harajuku watching the New Year arrive in America when it had already been the New Year for over half a day in Japan. Then we stopped and did a little shopping, since Ikebukuro was on our way back anyways. Then Kiri and I picked our stuff up from Leslie's place and went back to my apartment. We finished watching (or in my case re-watching) Tiger and Bunny and had lots of feelings.

Monday was Kiri's last day in Tokyo. It was also the day of the Emperor's annual New Year's speech, so we headed into Tokyo in the morning and made our way to the Imperial Palace. January 2nd is one of the two days a year that the inner grounds of the palace are opened to the public. Things were pretty efficient when we got to the palace. We went through the most polite bag search and pat-down that I've ever experienced. Everyone was given a paper Japanese flag to wave and it was off to the inner court of the palace to see the Emperor's speech. We got to the court just in time for the speech. The Emperor appeared with the royal family in a glass enclosed balcony. He gave a short speech about his wish for Japan's recovery. I was honestly expecting the speech and appearance to be longer, but the Emperor is getting pretty old and I guess that appearing in public is getting harder for him. It was still a cool experience though. Anna, Leslie, Kiri, and I then went and got fried rice for lunch. Kiri and I had all of the Tiger and Bunny related feelings about fried rice. Later in the day we had a goodbye dinner for Kiri at one of the 270 yen izakayas. Then Kiri had to go to Shinjuku to catch her bus back to Tokushima.

The Palace )

It was great to see Kirsten and I was sad that the break had to end. At the same time though, it was nice to have time to relax again. It was a really fun ten days, but we were so busy. We're hoping that Kiri might be able to make it up to Tokyo again during Golden Week.
rinlin: (Family)
I'm on my winter break right now and it feels great!

Thursday night was the bonenkai (end of the year, or literally "forgetting the year") party at work. The first part of my school's bonenkai was the annual bowling competition. I was on one of the all ladies teams with Akiko-sensei, Shono-sensei, and Obara-sensei. Our bowling scores weren't that great because none of us were particularly good bowlers, but we had fun anyways. We also shared a lane with the men's team from the English department, so we cheered each other on and gave high fives all around anytime someone did a good job. After the bowling competition was the actual bonenkai, with food and (of course) drinks at a nearby izakaya. They had us draw numbers as we entered the room to figure out where we'd be seated. I ended up being the only girl at a table full of male teachers. They were all very nice though and Ogura-sensei and Amagai-sensei were seated near me, so they were able to help translate any Japanese that I didn't understand. The food was good and because it's winter there was nabe (hot pot). Nabe is so yummy. After we'd eaten a good deal of food and people were tipsy, it was time for a bit of entertainment. They announced the winners of the bowling competition and the winners were given random prizes that were lovingly bought at Don Quixote (a huge chain of discount stores in Japan) by Kuroda-sensei and Takatori-sensei. Then, Kuroda-sensei and Takatori-sensei did an amusing two person comedy act poking fun at some of the teachers at our school. After that, one of the older teachers (who's name I've forgotten) did a rakugo performance, which was a bit difficult for me to understand, but the other teachers really seemed to enjoy it. There were a few speeches given after that by various teachers, the principle, and the vice principles. This seemed to signify the end of the party. At the very end, Shono-sensei pulled me in as back-up in a semi-drunken argument she was having with one of the PE teachers about whether you should go drinking with other girls if you already have a girlfriend. I have to admit, I was pretty amused. It was a fun night! I'm pretty sure that office parties in other parts of the world aren't nearly as fun and amusing as Japanese office parties.

Yesterday, Kirsten arrived in Tokyo! [livejournal.com profile] meepalicious, [livejournal.com profile] corvae_regina, and I met up with her in Ikebukuro last night. We also met with Zandra, another Tokushima JET, that Kirsten knows. We all went to an izakaya for dinner and had a good time eating, geeking, and chatting. Kiri gave Leslie and I couple's charms that look like cute little sudachi fruits because we're "the biggest lesbian couple" she knows. (We're not actually a couple, though she is the Hakkai to my Gojyo, Issac to my Miria, and Miria to my Issac. XD) We ended our night by taking purikura. Yesterday was a national holiday because it was the emperor's birthday, so we naturally had to include that in our purikura. 



And now today is Christmas Eve. We're going to celebrate by getting KFC and a Christmas cake, like the Japanese do. We're also spending the night at Leslie's apartment, so we can all have Christmas together tomorrow. It'll be different, but I think it'll be a fun way to celebrate Christmas.
rinlin: (Family)
I'm on my winter break right now and it feels great!

Thursday night was the bonenkai (end of the year, or literally "forgetting the year") party at work. The first part of my school's bonenkai was the annual bowling competition. I was on one of the all ladies teams with Akiko-sensei, Shono-sensei, and Obara-sensei. Our bowling scores weren't that great because none of us were particularly good bowlers, but we had fun anyways. We also shared a lane with the men's team from the English department, so we cheered each other on and gave high fives all around anytime someone did a good job. After the bowling competition was the actual bonenkai, with food and (of course) drinks at a nearby izakaya. They had us draw numbers as we entered the room to figure out where we'd be seated. I ended up being the only girl at a table full of male teachers. They were all very nice though and Ogura-sensei and Amagai-sensei were seated near me, so they were able to help translate any Japanese that I didn't understand. The food was good and because it's winter there was nabe (hot pot). Nabe is so yummy. After we'd eaten a good deal of food and people were tipsy, it was time for a bit of entertainment. They announced the winners of the bowling competition and the winners were given random prizes that were lovingly bought at Don Quixote (a huge chain of discount stores in Japan) by Kuroda-sensei and Takatori-sensei. Then, Kuroda-sensei and Takatori-sensei did an amusing two person comedy act poking fun at some of the teachers at our school. After that, one of the older teachers (who's name I've forgotten) did a rakugo performance, which was a bit difficult for me to understand, but the other teachers really seemed to enjoy it. There were a few speeches given after that by various teachers, the principle, and the vice principles. This seemed to signify the end of the party. At the very end, Shono-sensei pulled me in as back-up in a semi-drunken argument she was having with one of the PE teachers about whether you should go drinking with other girls if you already have a girlfriend. I have to admit, I was pretty amused. It was a fun night! I'm pretty sure that office parties in other parts of the world aren't nearly as fun and amusing as Japanese office parties.

Yesterday, Kirsten arrived in Tokyo! [livejournal.com profile] meepalicious, [livejournal.com profile] corvae_regina, and I met up with her in Ikebukuro last night. We also met with Zandra, another Tokushima JET, that Kirsten knows. We all went to an izakaya for dinner and had a good time eating, geeking, and chatting. Kiri gave Leslie and I couple's charms that look like cute little sudachi fruits because we're "the biggest lesbian couple" she knows. (We're not actually a couple, though she is the Hakkai to my Gojyo, Issac to my Miria, and Miria to my Issac. XD) We ended our night by taking purikura. Yesterday was a national holiday because it was the emperor's birthday, so we naturally had to include that in our purikura. 



And now today is Christmas Eve. We're going to celebrate by getting KFC and a Christmas cake, like the Japanese do. We're also spending the night at Leslie's apartment, so we can all have Christmas together tomorrow. It'll be different, but I think it'll be a fun way to celebrate Christmas.
rinlin: (Claire & Chane)
The birthday weekend is off to a good start! I Skyped with my parents and stellawind like usual this morning. I was also able to briefly call DJ on Skype! Since leaving for Japan, we've only been communicating through Facebook messages because he doesn't have very good internet access right now. As a little present to myself, I bought a limited amount of minutes on Skype so that I can call his phone occasionally. He wasn't able to talk for very long this morning, but it was so good to actually hear his voice!  I'm hoping that I can talk to him again next weekend and get more of a detailed update about how he's doing (because he tends to brush aside those questions sometimes). I miss my bff.

This afternoon I briefly met up with Eri. She's too busy with her job searching to join my birthday celebrations this weekend, but she stopped by to wish me a happy birthday and give me a present! She gave me a fluffy brown blanket that has buttons at the corners, so it can also be worn as a poncho or bolero. It's quite cute. :)

Now, I'm looking forward to going out for drinks tonight!
rinlin: (Claire & Chane)
The birthday weekend is off to a good start! I Skyped with my parents and stellawind like usual this morning. I was also able to briefly call DJ on Skype! Since leaving for Japan, we've only been communicating through Facebook messages because he doesn't have very good internet access right now. As a little present to myself, I bought a limited amount of minutes on Skype so that I can call his phone occasionally. He wasn't able to talk for very long this morning, but it was so good to actually hear his voice!  I'm hoping that I can talk to him again next weekend and get more of a detailed update about how he's doing (because he tends to brush aside those questions sometimes). I miss my bff.

This afternoon I briefly met up with Eri. She's too busy with her job searching to join my birthday celebrations this weekend, but she stopped by to wish me a happy birthday and give me a present! She gave me a fluffy brown blanket that has buttons at the corners, so it can also be worn as a poncho or bolero. It's quite cute. :)

Now, I'm looking forward to going out for drinks tonight!
rinlin: (Tiger & Bunny)
I was going to update last night, but LJ was down. There's so much less to do online when LJ is down.

I had a nice time this weekend. I met up with [livejournal.com profile] meepalicious on Saturday afternoon. We went to a matsuri at some shrines near where she lives. We didn't know much about the matsuri at the time, but I later found out a bit more online. It was called the Tori no Ichi Matsuri. It always takes place on the day of the rooster in November. Besides the usual festival food, this matsuri was filled with booths selling decorative rakes. These rakes were covered with Japanese symbols of good fortune and are thought to rake in wealth and good fortune. It was neat to see everything. After we explored the matsuri, Leslie and I ended up wondering around the town. We unintentionally ended up in Asakusa and decided to go to Sensoji since we were so close to it.

Tori no Ichi Pictures )

We then took the train to Ikebukuro, to wait until the time we were meeting up with [livejournal.com profile] corvae_regina. I stopped at a Lawson and bought a ticket to LM.C's fifth anniversary concert in January (the first of multiple concerts that I should be going to that month)! Then, Leslie and I browsed Closet Child and Otome Road, like usual. I bought one of the Tiger and Bunny comic anthologies (there's about half a dozen of them) at Animate. After that, we met up with Anna because she was off of work. We went to KFC to continue our tradition of Thanksgiving fried chicken in Japan. Anna and I then spent the night at Leslie's apartment. Before we went to bed, we had slices of apple pie (that we'd bought on the way back to the station in Ikebukuro) while we watched an episode of Tiger and Bunny.

We woke up fairly early on Sunday morning. Most of Sunday was a lazy day, with the exception of walking to First Kitchen to have lunch (where we discovered, much to my dismay, that they no longer have cheese flavor potatoes). The rest of the day was spent watching anime. First, we watched all of No.6. Oh my god, so many feelings about the ending. ;_; Shion and Nezumi were so cute though. I seriously think Nezumi might be going on my cosplay list along with Barnaby. After No.6, we watched about six more episodes of Tiger and Bunny. I needed that after No.6, cause Tiger and Bunny always makes me happy. Then, it was time to go back home and get ready for work the next day. It was a good weekend.
rinlin: (Tiger & Bunny)
I was going to update last night, but LJ was down. There's so much less to do online when LJ is down.

I had a nice time this weekend. I met up with [livejournal.com profile] meepalicious on Saturday afternoon. We went to a matsuri at some shrines near where she lives. We didn't know much about the matsuri at the time, but I later found out a bit more online. It was called the Tori no Ichi Matsuri. It always takes place on the day of the rooster in November. Besides the usual festival food, this matsuri was filled with booths selling decorative rakes. These rakes were covered with Japanese symbols of good fortune and are thought to rake in wealth and good fortune. It was neat to see everything. After we explored the matsuri, Leslie and I ended up wondering around the town. We unintentionally ended up in Asakusa and decided to go to Sensoji since we were so close to it.

Tori no Ichi Pictures )

We then took the train to Ikebukuro, to wait until the time we were meeting up with [livejournal.com profile] corvae_regina. I stopped at a Lawson and bought a ticket to LM.C's fifth anniversary concert in January (the first of multiple concerts that I should be going to that month)! Then, Leslie and I browsed Closet Child and Otome Road, like usual. I bought one of the Tiger and Bunny comic anthologies (there's about half a dozen of them) at Animate. After that, we met up with Anna because she was off of work. We went to KFC to continue our tradition of Thanksgiving fried chicken in Japan. Anna and I then spent the night at Leslie's apartment. Before we went to bed, we had slices of apple pie (that we'd bought on the way back to the station in Ikebukuro) while we watched an episode of Tiger and Bunny.

We woke up fairly early on Sunday morning. Most of Sunday was a lazy day, with the exception of walking to First Kitchen to have lunch (where we discovered, much to my dismay, that they no longer have cheese flavor potatoes). The rest of the day was spent watching anime. First, we watched all of No.6. Oh my god, so many feelings about the ending. ;_; Shion and Nezumi were so cute though. I seriously think Nezumi might be going on my cosplay list along with Barnaby. After No.6, we watched about six more episodes of Tiger and Bunny. I needed that after No.6, cause Tiger and Bunny always makes me happy. Then, it was time to go back home and get ready for work the next day. It was a good weekend.
rinlin: (Gaze Rocker)
This has been another three day weekend for me, though yesterday was the only day I did anything noteworthy. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon in Ikebukuro with [livejournal.com profile] meepalicious, [livejournal.com profile] serria, and [livejournal.com profile] corvae_regina. It was a lot of fun to just geek around Ikebukuro like we used to!  We had ramen for lunch and ate at a cheap (but good) izakaya for dinner. In-between we went shopping. I finally got my copy of GazettE's new CD "TOXIC" that was released this week! (I had wanted to get it on Wednesday, the day it was released, but I didn't have time to because Leslie and I were too busy moving her suitcases to her new apartment in the rain.) I also went to Lawson and bought a ticket for exist trace's concert next month! I had originally wanted to go, but was saving my money for GazettE tickets. When the GazettE tickets sold out, I decided that I could go see exist trace instead. I also bought some Tiger and Bunny doujinshi at Mandarake (because I couldn't resist it), a teru teru bozu that looks like Celty, and an adorable stuffed pink llama (because I've been needing something to cuddle with while I sleep). We also ended up taking purikura. I'd missed having friends to properly geek out with here, so I'm glad that they're living close enough to hang out now. ^_^

And now the rest of this entry is going to dissolve into fangirling about GazetteEs new CD. I bought the limited edition of the album, which comes with a gorgeous photobook and a DVD of the making of the "Suicide Circus" PV. TOXIC is such an awesome CD! GazettE's sound has definitely evolved since DIM, but I like it. I was not expecting the dubstep in "Infuse Into", the intro track, but it has a cool sound. Of course, the rest of the album is rock. My favorite of the new songs on the album are "My Devil on the Bed", "Suicide Circus" and "Untitled". I'm still a big fan of "Red" and "Vortex", which have previously been released as singles, too. I've basically had the CD on repeat all day, cause that's what I do when I get a new CD that I love. I listen to it over and over and over again. I may not listen to them quite as much as I used to (back when I had a lot of internal anger and bitterness that I needed to vent), but GazettE is still my favorite band. Their music has been there with me through a lot of ups and downs and I adore them.

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