Saturday, May 16, 2009

wtf is a Mountain Crone

Crapload of schoolwork this week, but I will take a brizzeak!

Yesterday my mom's friend brought me to the Tokyo Noh Theatre. Noh is the origin of kabuki and traditional Japanese performing arts. The theater itself was amazing because the setup was completely different from your usual stage, plus the actors all walk SUPER SLOWLY for their entrance and exit. The day I went was "Oni-Gawara"/The Demon-Faced Tile and "Yamamba"/The Mountain Crone (Japanese mythological creature). I will admit that I fell asleep within the first 4 minutes and took 2 naps in the beginning of the performance, but this was also one of the rare times I appreciated being half-Japanese. The huge impact of historic Japanese culture used within the actor's language and script was honestly colorful and beautiful. Either way, I felt like I saw Japan all over again! :)

Quick shady picture of part of the theater since cameras weren't allowed:

A Mountain Crone...

Sunday, May 10, 2009


After 2 hours of Japanese homework (1 hour of figuring out the furigana of kanji I didn't know by doodling on my nintendo DS), I went to work out.

6:30-8 Hip Hop Jazz
8-9:30 Jazz
9:30-11 Pilates

I <3 Life.

Oh, and congrats to one of my dorm-mate for just getting engaged to a Japanese native!! (freaky thing is he's my age)

Friday, May 8, 2009

10 Things I Hate About You

1.) You pluck your eyebrows.
2.) You wear heels on your shoes/sometimes even boots.
3.) You have a hairstyle consisting of tails and other fancy crap. Straightening your hair?!
4.) You go to tanning salons.
5.) You have One pierced ear instead of 2, and if you feel like it--you wear dangly charms or something flashy/barf.
6.) You wear too much jewelry.
7.) You don't hold doors for girls--any girls.
8.) Your average male height in this country is 5'7''.
9.) You need to get over the fear of embarrassment. Man up, have some ballz, where's the swag.
10.) But mostly, I shouldn't have started this at all because I'm a mess even back in the States.

~this was dedicated to Japanese guys in general

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Salmon & Spinach @ Shimoda

Since this past Friday, Golden Week has been going on--which in my case, means I only have one day of school this week on Thursday :). A lot has been going on since this break has happened because Ryan came to visit from Kyoto, however last night was personally kinda big for me.

I moved into my Keio dorm in September but never used my Kitchen to cook, or even eat at the common tables, hell I didn't even watch TV in the lounge. But for some reason I was talking to Fred recently (floor-mate from Belgium) and when he heard that I didn't like French cuisine, he wanted me to try his Salmon cream dish with potatoes. ANNNDD THENN that connects to last night, where a bunch of us worked together from buying ingredients, chopping, cooking, yada yada...and it was GREAT. The salmon with leek in the cream was something I definitely would not have eaten at home, plus the Cream spinach/onion soup that Ayano made was new and incredibly good too. We gathered about 10 people into our 4th floor lounge, and as my first time embracing my lounge--I couldn't have asked for a better way.

Just made me realize how much of a change this year has been...and that I don't want to go back home to forever again.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

dancin in September

Guess what. I finally started dancing this week. After a 3 week delay from something I've done to my body, I am back on track and Optimistic about it. It felt great to encounter that happy exciting feeling I get when I learn choreography that fits my mood perfectly. The classes here are not much different than ones back in L.A.--except everything is done in Japanese ha. I'm just so grateful that I was able to get this feeling again before heading back home. All that's left is to stick a big fat middle finger right back at Them. Thank you for making me stronger.

This past week, I went to my first pro baseball game with Jun (meanass Frenchenese)--Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters vs. Fukuoaka Softbank Seahawks at the Tokyo Dome. Boohoo that Darvish didn't end up pitching, but yayhoo to a really great Japanese experience. I don't think Lakers fans have full out cheering songs? Yea, both teams were full out and fully prepared vocally/physically for the game. Our seats were really good considering we had cheapass tickets, and oh my, the selection of ball game food and beer was insane. Mos def down for another (only) Ham fighters game :)

Last night was another huge international party hosted by 3 guys at the Willing Setagaya dorm--one of them being Nick Adams-Cohen (hollaback San Marino!) This time it was themed Banana and Beer party lol. But before that, me Jess Marj...and I guess special guest Ambrose, played the marker game. Ugh they made it sound so easy before actually playing, but I was so not crackin the whip. We had to travel from Yoyogi-->Shibuya-->Sangenjaya at 8 p.m. on a Saturday night lookin like dis...

On top of that, Golden Week is starting later this week, yowza which means I need to babysit Ryan. AND THEN David (+ Spencer) are coming in June and flippin Okinawa-in' it, ow ow!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

1:30 a.mmmmm

First of all, congrats a million times to CADC on taking 2nd place at this past weekend's Fusion competition.
3 more months till I see all your crazy faces, dizzam.

This post is not really gonna be an update, sorry sorry. I'm talking to Brian right now and we are just remembering the earlier times of our EAP study abroad program. The summer was soooo chill/good/perfect, Great schedule. I honestly miss going out with like literally 10 people from EAP everyday at around 4/5 p.m. to go run/ultimate frisbee/soccer. And ugh the 3 minute walk to the station from our mansion, the Lawson's right by our building. The Daiei just 5 minutes away. THE BIG PARK WITH LIGHTS ON AT NIGHT.

Tomorrow I go to a ball game. this was pointless. it's 1:30 am. But I get to see Darvish tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Face

Just wanted to add that things are magically turning up--since end of March/Hokkaido trip. Nothing major, nothing big, no idea why, just things are getting better. Do I want to go back to L.A.? No, not yet. I'm finally at that phase now :)

On top of that, one of my Belgian friend in my dorm offered me and Hanna some Belgian chocolate (Cote d'or)--apparently it's the most popular brand in Belgium and is also well known in the European countries surrounding it. I've never seen/heard of it, but it is balls to the wall good. So smooth, perfectly rich/mild mix, Golden.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ohana means

wOw I woke up sweating today--definite sign that it's gonna get brutally warm in Tokyo very soon.

These past 2 weeks have just been Ohanami-ing. Ohanami in Japan means to go see and enjoy the limited days of the Cherry blossoms during its bloom. For a lot of people, it's a time to gather with friends,family,co-workers,etc. just have a good picnic time and of course draank. I've already gone 3 times and all 3 times were a completely different experience but all good. First time was with Erica and her Japanese friend Azusa? (correct spelling?) and we were just evesdropping on hella foreigners just surrounding us while feasting on Erica's home-made fried rice. Second time...ooooh Second Time, was for my dorm-mate Colin's birthday. We seriously gathered like at least 25 international Keio students, so that was ill. And then a couple of us decided to go rowing/swan boat pedaling at the lake next to Senzoku park. Greatest Idea Ever. It was one of those days where I really felt I was in Japan and totally enjoying it once again. Being the rower and going the opposite direction, I got kinda seasick for the first 10 minutes but after that it was all uphill so w00t. And then the 3rd time was for Brian's surprise bday party. This is with the group of people who I first started hanging out with here in Japan during EAP's summer intensive. I forgot that we always forgot how easily we let the time slip by because we were too busy playing outdoor games. (today was badminton, soccer rally, freezetag, and sardines) Note: NEVER play sardines in the Shinjukugyoen.

And then this past Friday, my mom's good long-time friend invited me for a casual tea ceremony demonstration. She's been practicing it since she was 18, and is a teacher now so I knew this was gonna get deep. She also told me I was more than welcome to bring anyone that I wanted so of course I hit up the girl who happened to tell me the weekend before that she regrets not going to the tea ceremony during the summer--Erica. So we meet her at Aobadai station...sweet sweet area. It was a mixture of nice new houses, but also some Inaka/country touches. And it was actually really cool to have a more casual tea ceremony, plus just me and Erica since we got to do more things at our own pace etc etc. There's not much to say, but we had some SERIOUS never-have-i-ever tasted such smooth green tea, bombass boiled water, and mouth-watering traditional Japanese sweets.

Hm, oh yea. Yesterday I saw a Yu Darvish ad in the Tokyu Toyoko train line. He's wearing a suit, and just looks magical. I want IT.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I've been on spring break since Jan 22, and finally started school today...April 8 woot woot.
Hm I'm gonna apologize beforehand if I in any case hurt whoever happens to be reading this, but something I just have an urge to share about. Most students are super giddy and antz in my pantz excited during the beginning stages of our study abroad time right? Yeh. So today's the first day of class, and I evesdropped on 2 international kids sitting behind me. One of them kept repeating themselves saying being abroad has been so amazing and their best decision in life so far, the people are incredibly nice here, I've yet to meet an evil soul here, etc etc...Oooooh man haha, I felt so sorry for both of them. You've been here what...TWO WEEKS?!

crap I just accidentally sneezed on my computer and forgot to close my mouth, and now my screen's all rainbow reflected and shiny. I'll do this next time bah.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

How Sweet It Is to be loved by them

The #1 thing I always take for granted and forget since I've been abroad, is my parents. I'm not around them 24/7 anymore to see that they work hard everyday for the sole purpose of keeping everyone happy. By going on a week-long trip to Hokkaido with them this past week was one of the best memories I made during my abroad time here.

SO! First stop was Hakodate, Hokkaido. LOVE at first sight, Wow. Yeah it was snowing, Yeah it was single digits Celsius temperature, but when the city itself is surrounded by the bay along with gorgeous buildings and scenery, it's all perfect. We stayed 2 nights there, and unfortunately I did NOT like Hakodate ramen (Shio ramen), but their Bread was unbelievably tasty. And the tourist websites were for sure damn correct about the Hakodate night view as one of the top 3 most beautiful night view cities in the WORLD. On another unfortunate note, because this was the beginning of the trip, my only child side came out and there were lots of usual fighting with me against 2 adults -___-

Next, we trucked on a 5 hour train ride to Obihiro. Honestly there's absolutely nothing there, but my dad's college friend lives there with his family, so we went to visit. They were great hosts with a HUGEEE house..especially in Japan, mos def around the same sizes as the average ones in San Marino, yowza. Then they took us to Lake Akan for a night at this ballin' hotel with an endless number of hot springs omgeezerz. There were some on the top floor where it was outdoors, with the frickin snowy mountain just a short distance away as your view, bah it was unreal. Of course the lake was still frozen (at the end of March -__-), but I got to go snow-mobiling, yeh. We also were able to see Japanese cranes roaming around in the nature marshlands, families of deers running through the snow, and packs of swans floating along the lakes. Oooooh and the legitimate hot springs. It was crazy to see mountains with snow coated on top, yet random smoke coming out midway, with the natural scent of boiled eggs (fart) and yellow powdered rocks. View > Temperature, hands down.

And This is where my mom made her grand mistake of the trip. She planned for us to do a day tour of Sapporo, but previously decided that we would end up staying at Asahikawa instead for our last 2 nights. Before I start, I have already decided that I am going to temporarily live in Sapporo after I graduate. That is HOW MUCH I fell in love with this sweet city. Describing it will just sound like any other great snowy busy city with great food and environment, so I will just leave it as is. After the taxi day tour, we headed for about an hour and a half to Asahikawa. This city is well-known for their zoo filled with penguins, polar bears, and seals. The day we went was the last day the zoo allowed the daily winter attraction of releasing the penguins free and letting them walk as they want in certain zoo grounds. Other than that, the zoo will always be a depressing place for me. After seeing the other animals running free in the mountains of Hokkaido, mannnn the zoo was a prison.

8 days came and went, and I already miss them. Next time I see them is when I come back home to L.A. after my studying abroad term has ended. Until then, let's just hope that Tokyo will treat me and my friends a lot better. Seriously.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Air Salonpas

That. Was. A. fckn. Task.

First of all, I would like to thank all the spectators who were voluntarily handing out chocolates/candies/sweets throughout the whole marathon course. Personally I think the Tokyo Marathon committee gave out way too little refreshments, so additional help from the public was truly a lifesaver. Second, shout out to Erica, Lily, Charles, NOT hanna, NOT jeremy and masaya, my mom's friend, and my Mom for coming out. I swear every random moment I saw someone I knew--whether it was my mom or Brian on the other side of the course, it pushed me to run faster than where I was currently--so props to you guys.

5 hours and 52 minutes. Within that time, I peed, stopped and walked every time the Marathon committee handed out water/food, and posed for my mom's camera. I was also placed in the last starting block group, which forced us to start at least 10? minutes after the starting gunshot. So the Tokyo Marathon is about 26 miles = 42 km. For some odd reason the first 15 km was a b*tch and then from 20-30 km it was a breeze, where I was giving high fives to way too many strangers and smiling for no reason. AND THEN. and then, it started showering around 35 km then mad rain with rapid wind 40-42 km till ze end.

To keep my mind off the pain while running, I judged the other runners based on their appearance. Not cool? Let me elaborate. There were obviously a lot of runners dressed up in costumes from Spiderman to an Eggplant, but there was Santa Clause and Mrs. Clause. They ran as a couple with a elastic bracelet attached on their arms with the reason of being--the wife is blind. There was also a group of middle aged men, just running together and joking around with each other and to a lot of random spectators. And then there were 60-70 year old grandmas and grandpas just hauling ass, doing what they could. How? That was the kind of stuff going through my head during the course.

After somehow successfully getting back to my dorm, I was at the point where my body was screaming when I just had to walk to the bathroom.

But today?
2 words. = Air Salonpas

Friday, March 20, 2009

56281 out of 56299

Ok before I forget, remember how I compared Tokyo's recent weather to that children's book, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs?? WELL, THEY'RE MAKING IT INTO A MOVIE AND ITS COMING OUT FALL 2009!! YES, I'LL BE HOME!

And now the Real Ish...
The day is finally here. Tokyo Marathon 2009 is tomorrow--starting at 9:10 A.M. until 4:10 P.M. The course is crazy long, circling and winding through countless popular Tokyo spots. Something interesting...the Tokyo Marathon committee can only allow 30,000 runners and when internet applicants went over that number during the sign up period, all entrants were selected lottery style. So out of 30,000 I am listed as number 56281 out of 56299 under the non-athlete females. Yes, I am the last foreign person listed lol.

The Tokyo Marathon Expo completely hyped up the event, which has made us a lot more excited for it. There are a total of 5 UC EAP students running: 4 representing UC Irvine, and 1 from UC Santa Cruz. On top of that, they gave us hella. HELLA. free stuff during registration and at the expo...reminded me a lot of the States. Anyway, thanks to everyone who have been constantly reminding and asking me about my marathon training -____- you know who you are. Aaannnddd if you're in Tokyo, come out and watch us!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Cure

rah! As mentioned earlier, I went to Hiroshima for the weekend, as well as Miyajima--an island right by Hiroshima. Everything about this 3 day trip was wonderful except the departure. Holy cow, so our shinkansen was set for 7 am which means we have to bounce out of our dorm by 6 am. The. Weather. Was. A. Bitch.
Our transparent umbrellas completely bent and went out of shape within 15 minutes of walking outside in the terrible mix of wind, rain, and grumpy gray clouds.

Food in Hiroshima is basically Okonomiyaki, but mos def no complaints on that. This city, like Nagasaki was also full of trolleys?/trams which made stops at countless historical areas. The Historical Museum was packed, PACKED with foreigners from all over the world. Other than that, this city was a great walking/strolling city.

Miyajima...Miyajima...taking the ferry to get there reminded me how easily I can get sea sick by just sitting in the opposite direction of the boat, ok anyway. THIS WAS THE FIRST DAY from the past 4-5 weeks where I had absolutely no stomach pains for the whole day. The weather was gorgeous, the town wasn't too cramped with tourists, the biking around was calming, the bambis were chill and cool, and the Momiji Manjyu was divine. THe whole environment just hits you with the fact that you're really in Japan. *Miyajima > Kyoto , I'm sorry. That's just how it goes.

The MoF*ckn Bridge at Iwakuni. It's titled the Kintai Kyo--Brocade Sash Bridge. Once again, the scenery just blew your mind away and let you know that you were for sure living and breathing in Japan.

Now back at home, things are honestly back to crap again. But that'll all be over when my legs break off my body after this Sunday's Tokyo Marathon.

Days until Marathon: 4
Days until I see my parents: 4 (yes, they are flying out and cheering me on)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

10 Days to Go

so I'm kinda mad right pretty furious. Maybe not the best time to blog, but I Do What I Want.

I will not get into detail of my current mood because adding stress and talking about it is Not something that my stomach needs at this moment. On a happier note, I am gonna peace out to Hiroshima/Miyajima this weekend with my R.A./friend from my dorm, Ayano. For my American readers, Hiroshima is the main Japanese city that was attacked by the atomic bomb during WW II. So w00t to that.

Last night when I came back from shopping with Erica (this girl is a curse when shopping), I found a colorful bag hanging on my door handle. Turns out, there was a bouquet of flowers inside...haha lemme explain. This past week I have been helping my RA with her application to study abroad in France, and she needed to turn in a Japanese, English, and French personal statement. She asked me to help on her English paper, and we really churned it and nailed it after lotsa drafts. So yeah, it was an extremely sweet way of saying thank you. Just an FYI, the only time I've gotten a bouquet of flowers my entire life was from my mom at the end of dance performances. Now you know how widely I was smiling when the flower surprise occurred.

Countdown: 10 more days until Tokyo Marathon
Number of hours I ran today: 2
Number of miles: I don't give a Hoot. (like 10)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Since mid-summer when I first moved here, I have had deathly painful stomachaches which I always blamed on my period. Nah. Turns out I have had stomach ulcers from the clash of "foreign country syndrome" (from carolyn loo)and stress. To be exact, my first major one was in August with just homesick-ness and new individuals, and then a minor one in early December right after the Mita Festival with my dance circle. I guess the current one really got to me with a mixture of overwhelming amounts of unneeded packaged food consumption plus the dance circle. It has been going on and off for about a month now, but super heavy and hard hitting these past 2 weeks.

Along with my daily dose of Ester-C, Cod Liver Oil, and Zinc vitamins, I have 3 more pill friends to add, according to the doctor. THREE FCKN PILLS for a stomach problem built on stress that I brought on myself.
I'm gonna go shopping now, bye.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

So this was my first mental image I had when I was walking back to my dorm in the horrendous weather. If you're still not going "ooooohh man I remember salivating on this book", let me help. Remember images of a huge pancake taking over roofs of houses, or hamburgers with chicken drumsticks falling like rain...yes, you're on the right track. This whole week has been raining cats and dogs here and when it rains, it Can pour.

On the other hand, I have about 2 weeks to play my music at my maximum volume, AND ALSO argue with my mom on skype with my normal voice tone. All of my neighbors have moved out--right side, left, front, diagonal, under, you call it. Until then, our dorm will get about 80 new residents at the end of March...from all ova da World. And thanks to them, our school is pushing back our school session start dates to mid-April with all the new student festivities, opening ceremony, etc.

Oh yea I forgot. Today me, Anna, and Brian went to Yokosukachuo (in Tokyo, but not. wtfunk?) and watch JADE's spring dance performance. From the time that I quit, I will say that they did helluvalot better than what I remember rolling my eyes to. (again, sorry) For those who know me well, you should be proud that I tried to make eye contact with everyone in the dance circle as much as possible. I wanted to let them know that there were no hard feelings, and I still was there to support them...aaanndd the reactions I got were cheerful and positive :)
One thing about growing up is that, you learn on your own how to appropriately depart from social situations right before it gets awkward. Do I love it? Well, do you? Yea now You're in an awkward situation. shoooot.

Hi, my name is Tina Tomomi Tsai and am a proud owner of 4 umbrellas since moving to Japan this past July. -___-

Friday, February 27, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


woops. SO I went off to my relatives' house in Hamamatsu for a week, and my vaio is back in my hands now.

First 2 days there I feasted like a queen and went to the gym for 2 hours. My ass had not touched a bike machine since the ARC in July 2008 -___- I thank my mom everyday that she maintained speaking Japanese with me, otherwise it would be torture for my Japanese family here. They are such a blessing, and very well deceive my beliefs of shallow artifical Japanese folks (well, some. i'm sorry) I can't even begin praising my Grandma right now, but that I tear up every time I think of the day I will lose her. Okokenough, (this mariah carey &boys II men playing in the background is not helping) The day after, I went down to Nagoya to spend the day with Hanna from Sweden who was down there visiting her broham too. We ended up walking endlessly around shopping areas and a park...and hella bakeries with good looking buns of breads (both our weaknesses). Oh yea while we were walking, this man on a bike cussed her out when she accidentally walked in front of his way with the nastiest face. 1.) You're a dude, you just dont do that to girls. 2.) You are not superior because we are Half-foreigners. 3.) We're not sorry.
Next day, I headed down to Kyoto to visit my mom's good friend. Kyoto...Kyoto..., its basically everything that Tokyo isn't. or at least to me. One thing I really liked was that everyone didnt HAVE TO PICK THE RIGHT OR LEFT SIDE on the escalator in order for people to walk past them. The Golden Pavilion was mos def breathtaking, and the fewdz were delicious.

So if you didn't know, the title of this blog is "Grandma" in Japanese. It's not just about my gratefulness for my grandma, but I happened to sit next to one in the Shinkansen (bullet train) when I was going to Kyoto. She saw me reading an American novel then asked me in Japanese if I was studying English hard right now. This led to the usual brief explanation of me studying abroad for a year, and that I was originally from L.A. yada I thought I was going to end my small talk with her within 5 minutes...nah turned out to be 45 minutes. But a really Encouraging 45 minutes. This grandma, she's 85. With so much energy and endurance. She's a doctor and was on her way to speak at a lecture in Kyoto. What 85 year old grandma still has enough passion to share her knowledge to the future??! She couldn't fluently speak English, but she spoke all these difficult terms without any global warming, a bunch of diseases/sicknesses, political terms. Her hometown was coincidentally the same Japanese hometown as my Japanese family, and her grand-son or something is also currently a Keio University student like me with a dorm in the Yokohama area. Yowza! What really made me warm inside was that she kept telling me that she was so happy that she got to sit next to a young girl like me. Someone who was interested enough to study abroad in Japan, when I came from a big place like Los Angeles, and to successfully speak in a bilingual lingo. (heh) Bottom line, grandmas these days do not make the effort to talk to young people like us because they know we are foolish people still. And Yea, we are. And some of us, Really are. Think about it.

AAANNNDDD...when I came back to my dorm, my Amazon order of 5 novels plus snail mail from Jungle was waiting for me. A very happy face.

Okonomiyaki in Kyoto/Nara...I forgot...


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's Over : )

It's official. I quit. It's a done deal. And you know what? It felt sooooo damn good. Like it was healthy for my body. I even went out in my dorm hallway and said "I QUIT" out loud just to hear it echo and echo and echo. Oh yea, I quit my dance circle that I'm in here at Keio University. Why would I want to re-live the social depression when it already drove me insane right?
But I will admit, I did feel a pinch, like a tablespoon...nah maybe a teaspoon full of guilt when I told them. It was sudden news for them, but What Can You Do? You really thought I was joking when I told you this news? When I was treated like a straight-up foreigner? When I refused and screamed in my head to behave in a pathetic way to show "respect" to the upper-classmen? Hit that bitch with a bottle.

On top of that I want to thank quite a handful of my treasures--my friends, the ones back at home, and ESPECIALLY THE ONES in Japan, who talked the sense out of me and was basically everything NOT that the circle was. Surprisingly, the 2 people that I told in the circle who remained to be genuinely friendly to me, were not wholly shocked to hear that I suddenly wanted to quit. I hope this country will breed more natives like them <3 Good Luck Japan.
Anyway, I have a feeling this girl is reading this so I really wanted to give a shout out to Erica S. Lampkin. That night I really needed an American blooded person to blab to, and God gave her to me at the wee hours of 1:30 am? She even just came back from Taiwan that night and ugh, although I don't talk to her as much as I should, she gave me responses that I needed to hear.

CADC, I know you guys may be disappointed that I quit dancing, but I'm not. I'll take classes on a weekly basis and such please don't worry (honestly I'm more scared than you guys are). The experience of love you guys show to me, No to everybody equally in the team, would probably be preposterous if the Japanese dance circle here knew about it. (If they caked me, I would've honestly said F*CK TRADITION and not kid about it. ) Gawd, you guys spoiled me...

From now on, just Happy posts. The Good Garbage of Japan. Yeah.

Steven Ni made (MYFAVORITE) banana cream pie. Happy thoughts already -___-

Monday, February 16, 2009


I don't usually call myself a quitter, but its 5 months now and I am seriously considering it. I keep telling myself things will get better, things will turn around, but its either steady or going downhill. I never dreaded practice/call times/performances at UCI, and if I was late, there was always some kinda reason behind it. Over here, I make myself leave for practice in the last minute until I won't be late. I LOVE walking back to my dorm after practices. On top of that, the days I have practice is another additional day I am pissed at myself. So f*ckin pissed that I am too pussy to admit to myself that I deserve better.

Last night something happened that I don't want to get into further detail, but it ended up with me walking back to the station at 9:30 pm in a city where I had no idea where the f*ck anything was. I dance so often now to release anger, instead of to bring me to a happier place.

This country was just turning into a more exciting place for me on a normal basis. BUT I DONT CARE ANYMOREEEEEEEEEEEE. afjlsafkjdweiwefj, go ahead slap me, b*tch at me, I deserve it for being this weak .

Friday, February 13, 2009


Happy Valentine's Day. Today is GORGEOUS in Tokyo, it is currently 72 February!!! Started off the morning with my lovely RA-- Ayano, to an appointment at the Orthopedrics--like I mentioned earlier, my upper back/neck has been hurting since my Mt.Fuji climb in August. Long story short, I have to stick a Salonpas-like patch errday around my back.

So ever since I updated myself with American culture from watching the latest Valentine's episode of 30 Rock this week, I've had a much more positive mood for this holiday. To be honest, it may have been the recurring scenes with the McDonald's McFlurries. Food can make people just Grin sooo easily. Plus this morning, the Starbucks here in Japan gave each customer a chocolate covered candy (like M&Ms), with the word Hugs or Kisses on it...I caught myself smiling like a fool afterwards walking from the cash register to get my sugar/napkins.

...With my spare time here, I've also decided to post up food that has brought me disgust and laughter at the same time. On the left, I don't know if Spencer would approve of me posting his creation, but ANYWAY, haha I fell in LOVE with this photo the moment I saw it. It's an undercooked choco/caramel cake. The picture on the right undercooked pumpkin pie. Just imagine drinking pumpkin pie-- it was cold too.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Everything in Eight Months

It is February 2009 aka my 8th month here studying abroad in Japan, but 5 more months to go! I'll kick this off by posting a photo or two from each month highlighting significant events.

All the UC students studying through the EAP program in Japan for a year were bundled into this Tokyo-Kameido, Weekly Mansion for 2 months and a bit. While our summer stay here, we were assigned to take a Japanese intensive course. We easily got to know each other by just looking up/down our floors as you can see, and it was most definetly a blessing...Fast Forward-->Many of us still hang out with each other, no matter how much we get to know other people in our Japanese university inernational dorms. : P That's just how Californians roll.

I made a friend. A friend that I ended up having 30 mutual friends with, according to Facebook. Me and Jess (De la Merced? I still don't know how to spell her last name correctly) decided to go to one of many Japanese summer night festivals where we ate Japanese sweets and other authentic food. Of course we decided to take sticker pictures/プリクラ, because we look G. Fast Forward-->I love her, I love her. I'm so thankful that I met her early in the program. We still hang out with each other we make the best of both worlds later in September.

This is me, Brian, Mike, and Anna probably during level 9 of climbing Mount Fuji. About 10 of us decided to hike an all nighter climb to Mount Fuji. It took us 8 hours to climb up, and 4-5 hours to come back down. Long story short, I was the last/slowest for the trip down (downhill is major killer on the knees) and I still have a recurring backache from the backpack I carried throughout the climb (1 liter and a half of water, hella chocolate, hi chew candies, airbreathalizer can, etc.). Fast Forward-->This climb is still my most memorable and proudest thing I've done since I've been here studying abroad in Japan.


Anna invited me, Brian, and Mike to her relative's house in the country side. We went to Yamagata with an 8 hour bus ride (I haven't gotten that carsick in a longASS while which made me act like a 100% drama queen during the drive, sorry.) This trip was what we all needed at the time. Some time out completely far far away from the city, and just appreciate the country we're studying abroad in all over again. BTW, Anna's family prepared feasts for every meal. It was more than what we needed, but at the same time we were so thankful and satisfied with it. *Thanks Anna for your folks, plus you too : )

And then...Jess decided to enter a video contest that our school back at home (hollaback UC Irvine) was holding. 2 full days of walking around and filming Tokyo was unexpectedly exhausting...but it was worth it. Enjoy!

So I've known this kid Joshua Mou-Jay Shiau since 2nd grade, and luckily he also decided to study abroad for the fall semester in Japan. This is one of our all nighter days after hanging out with MY UC friends. We stopped by for some Japanese style late night grub that Marj suggested near her apartment (baller-ass)...this is also probably around 4 am--right before trains start again at 5 am. Fast Forward--> It helped A LOT to whine and vent to a homie when I honestly hit rock bottom during my study abroad time later.

OKAY! NOVEMBER (rock bottom):
Phase 2 was slowly creeping in by November (the period of time when study abroad students are ridiculously homesick and hates their new residence), but because my birthday(20 yrs) is also in November...things spiked up a bit. A bunch of us gathered first at an izakaya, then went karaoking. I tried a cigarette for the first time in my life...and there are better things in life, 'nuff said.

This is me with Yuki-chan, backstage at one of our 4 dance performances during our Keio University fall festivals. Uhh, long story short...I joined a hip hop dance circle (160 ppl) at my Japanese University, and things were good in the beginning but I felt really distant and HELLA fake vibes during our rehearsal week for the festival. At the same time, my old dance crew back at UCI (hollaback CADC) was prepping for Prelude and placed 2nd place (1st obviously), and it made me realize how much love and care people naturally had back at home. I eventually broke down in public during intermission at one of my performances...and Fast Forward--> It still feels kinda the same right now with our dance practices. I guess some things won't change even if we put ALL our efforts into it. I admit it was an experience I needed to snap out of my spoiled bubble of friends, but this...this was pretty f*ckin painful. *on the other hand, the girl in the picture with me is a really really sweet and nice girl who luckily used to live in the States.

I escaped to my Japanese side of the family, right after the performances ended. This is me and the love of my life (my Grandma), at her house. Being out of Tokyo, away from college students, fellow hormones, PMS, was what I needed...I also needed homemade meals, fresh fruit, vegetables...and spacious rooms. : P


LOVE. A bunch of EAP kids needed this, especially around this time of the year. For some of us, we found this by walking to the LOVE sign near Shinjuku lol...nah nah, we also had a secret santa party. For me, I came back to Love when I went back home to L.A. for the holidays. After being abroad for so long, you kinda HAVE to be at home for the holidays. I have cried at airports at the departure wing, but this was the first time I cried at the arrival wing. Seeing my parents was the best Christmas/late birthday present I could ask for at the moment. You see, the holiday season for Japan is even more commercialized than the States and it is soooo difficult to even feel love in this country. I still remember when a business man cussed me out under his mutterings when I accidentally walked in front of him at the suica ticket gate. Yea, sucks to be you, you Age, you walk Slower, cussing at me won't make you younger. Ass. Fast Forward--> You witness so much sin in Japanese train stations. Heartbreak, crime, foul behavior-it's all there. I've passed by 2 huge painful breakups between young mid-aged couples...Goodness, where is The love.
I don't need to discuss seeing my home friends, CADC, ex-roommates. They define Love for me.

(this is also when the Twilight madness hit me and I turned into a major hermit crab. Oh, and 30 Rock too.)

1st Semester at School has ended...EARLY! I have 2 months and 2 weeks of spring break. Soo, decided to drag Margarine (Marj from 626 Arcadia) on a week-long trip to Kyushu. We visited Hakata/Fukuoka, Nagasaki, and Kagoshima. Each city was completely different, where Hakata was basically like Tokyo but in Kyushu with BETTERMUCHBETTER Fewdz, Nagasaki is basically the Japanese San Francisco, and Kagoshima was the perfect mix of the city/nature where an active volcano was in the neighboring island.

Luckily, our hotel in Nagasaki was in the heart of Chinatown...completely safe too, and we honestly had the best access to our meals ALL DAY LONG. I'm also going to spill it and say that I couldn't have asked for a better person to go on this trip with. She dealt with me when I got my period the night before our trip started, and then when I got a fever 2 days later...and when I had to delay our schedule for an hour with my Peeing pit stop. I'm super glad that I met you from this program (PRETTY LATE THOUGH). Everything just worked out well, to the point where I conveniently take night showers and she's a morning shower person. Ok enough lol, anyway.

No pictures yet for this month, because it is still midway...but we started dance practice this weekend for our performance in March. Basically we have practice everyday ranging from 3-4 and a half hours for a month. No Excuses. Ah well, it's at least definitely helping me with my endurance for the Tokyo March.

Currently Reading: Currently Listening: Stevie Wonder-For Once in My Life