A Travellerspoint blog

On to Osaka

Morning of not being able to find my little monkey acrobats:

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I love Japan! Their houses all have these old fashioned shingled roofs like Spain or California, but gray and not orange -ish (usually, but I usually see one or two orange -ish ones per city), and Japanese style with little designs at the end of each row of shingles, and then the large ornate one along the very tops of the roofs, sometimes with little animal spirits on them. And almost every house has its own beautiful Japanese garden.

We reached Osaka around lunch time, so first off we had a picnic with some of Mochan!'s friends.

Junko (on the left, our main Osaka tour guide):

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Eelke and David:

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Then we headed out for a day of touring around Osaka lead by Mochan!'s friends from Osaka.

Heading to the Castle:

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Joe really liked how all the castles have these rock foundations that curve outwards from the wooden castle. I was told this is structured like this so that people could open hatches on the bottom of the Castle and roll stones down the foundation to knock off trespassers. I wondered why not just make them vertical to make it harder fro trespassers so climb, and so you're not always throwing rocks on your own building. I received no answer to this question. But they did tell me that most castles are rebuilt every hundred years, so they aren't really made to last. They are mostly only made as a fortress for battles. And most castles have burnt down (some several times) since they are made from wood, so there really aren't any ancient castles. This on in particular I believe was rebuilt in the 40's.

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Then, as at almost any place in Japan, they had card board cut outs that you can pose with. Joe and Bjarke:

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This is Lili:

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Eelke (pronounced like Erika, but Elk-ka) adopted her with David (yeah, her mom just let her go off with a stranger from another country while she hung out with some of the other women at the picnic a bit longer! Japan is so safe! It freaks me out!).

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Bjarke got an iguana (well, he didn't buy it, but its like a festival there, and everyone wanted him to hold it, and when I say everyone, I mean all the Japanese people who wanted to take pictures of the Guijin (foreigner) holding an iguana).

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This guy was cool:

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He is being a popular Japanese icon who eats too much. That's all I got. I got his name too, but I don't remember. That, and something about his head explodes when he over stuffs himself. But then he always gets a new one somehow. Anyways, he had cups for different amounts of money, and while we were there a guy put in 200 yen ($2) for the maximum show! She started out just drumming, then he added the kazoo, then he added a little tin soldier style dancing, and then he played on his kazoo Adelvise, and Elaina very quietly sang along. I couldn't believe how perfectly she sang these high notes so quietly. Most people didn't even notice she was singing. She told me latter its all about supporting with the breath. I said okay, and it was beautiful.

Then Mochan! drove us to the shopping district and let us go around for a few hours and grab some dinner. It was too bad Mochan! never had a place to park, b/c he always had to drive away out of the city and wait for us to tour around. But he said he didn't mind, b/c while a lot of us slept on the buss, he had to drive. So when he drops us off at these tourist places he has been to all his live, he can park the bus and sleep in it.

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These covered walkways through outdoor shopping malls I guess are really popular in Japan.

The Meiji store:

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Then Mochan!'s friends too us to a very famous restaurant in Osaka. I almost cried a little. While we were still in China, maybe 2 weeks left, I gave up all fried food. I refused to eat anything if it had ever been even grilled. This was not an easy task. I didn't really eat much my last 2 weeks in China. Now in Japan, I had been eating fairly well (at the 7-11's), mostly yogurt and bread, but these women took us to a place where they are famous for deep frying everything!

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I wasn't going to complain though, and I was just going to eat it b/c I was so hungry! Then Joe told them all "Oh no! Rain doesn't eat fired food!" So I got to munch on some cabbage they had just sitting on the tables for free like chips (I hate cabbage, ever since that cabbage soup diet Jessica dared me to eat nothing but this soup for a month straight.) But everything was made right because since I can't eat fired food, they got me a waffle stuffed with green tea ice cream (very popular in Japan, they actually have this thin crust crunchy waffle made like a shell, then ice cream in the center like an ice cream sandwich, but cone instead of cookie).

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Then we went out and got some more food on the street. This was a kind of potato pancake with all sorts of gooey stuff inside and on top with veggies all mixed in. (Another thing Osaka is famous for, so of course we have to eat more.)

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I guess this next place is a very famous symbol for Osaka shopping (the Olympic guy in the background). Lili didn't speak any English, and Eelke didn't speak any Japanese; so when we headed to the shopping area Lili attached onto Elaina. Elaina actually told me her exact words were "You are cute, lets hold hands when we get off the bus."

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Also, Lili got a balloon animal at the Castle from this Mexican guy from Texas doing a show in Japanese. She kept messing it up though, so she would run to Joe and have him remake her the little dog. (Joe made balloon animals for a living when he was 16 at restaurants in downtown Akron.) Then I taught her to rub Elaina's hair with the balloon to make her hair stand up. She did not appreciate this. Also, she couldn't put her down b/c Lili was tired, and refused to be carried by anyone else. I helped out by caring her gigantic purse, but she insisted Lili still weighed more. I told her then she shouldn't be so damn cute, and Lili would let other people carry her.

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Next, we went to get our pictures taken! This is one of the most popular things for teenage girls to do in Japan. They get all dressed up, and go and get their pictures taken and stickers made out of their photos. The place was packed, and you can find one above just about every arcade/ gambling shop, and you can find several of those in about every shopping center.

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Lili was so cute! She did everything for us. And then she wasn't even that excited about getting the pictures, she just loved having them taken!

And after your done with the pictures, then you can edit them and put all sorts of cartoons and whatnot over your picture. Then you print out your stickers, cut them out, and stick them on things.

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The final results:

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I like that last one b/c Meri's one eye didn't get captured as an eye, so when Lili picked the enhance your eye size button, it made Meri look a little freaky.

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Lili is going to be trouble when she grows up, what a little knock out!

Then Jorn and Ida took some couple shots:

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Editing:

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Final result:

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The Japanese reads "Yo-n, Ida, Kawai" Which is their names in Japanese, and kawai = cute.

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Its so funny when they open their eyes wide for the pictures, because their eyes are already wide, so it makes them look exactly like anime characters rather than just making Japanese eyes look western.

Some people wanted me and Joe to take some photos together, but it seemed like an awkward proposal. Joe and I aren't really cute at this point. We are kind of on the edge of being comfortable with each other. Something is coming, and I think we both know it isn't good. So we've been avoiding it by hanging out with other people all day. But maybe at this point it was only a feeling deep within my subconscious. Like I knew it was there, my I wasn't consciously thinking about it. The only reason I can mention it now like it is clear as day is because hindsight is 20/20 yeah?

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Then we went out to a temple in the shopping center.

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Lastly, we waited for Mochan to come and pick us up.

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This evening we drove all the way to Kyoto, and then we got dropped off at like 4 separate hostels. Mochan! had us all book our own hostels for 3 days in Kyoto b/c there are so many of us and he didn't have any friend accommodations for Kyoto. Joe and I were the only ones at J-Hoppers, then a big group were at K's house, and then another group at Kyoto's Cheapest Inn. So Joe and I got a lot of things done not hanging out with people for the first night in Japan (with me not dying of some illness). And Mochan! said that he would pick us up in the morning at 9am to take us around Kyoto.

Posted by - Rain 04:09 Comments (0)

One Throw, One Cut, One Death!

This morning Mochan! told us that we could actually see Mt. Fuji! However, we already had plans to be in Nara, so we made one quick stop at another Mt. Fuji viewing location as we got our 7-11 breakfasts, and then we had to leave for Nara. (Please be there when we get back next week Mt. Fuji!)

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Then to the bus for a few hour trek.

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THE Toyoda Factory:

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One of many Japanese amusement parks:

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Reminds me of Millennium Force... oh! Good times at Cedar Point!

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First Stop, Ninja Village!

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(And yes, there are many pink ninjas.)

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(And smoking ninjas. This is their secret to always arriving in a cloud of smoke. Now you know a ninja secret!)

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And on to the main event! The Ninja Show!

This is all of us making the Japanese sound "oooooooooooooo!" at the lowest range our voice can manage:

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Rie is actually really really good at this (probably because she does it all the time). They say "oooooo" when we say "oooohhhh" in a rising pitch, usually when someone does something wrong, and they also use it when there is something interesting or scarry or impressive.

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Then we walked around the Ninja museum, and then to a recreation of a house that a Ninja would live in (secret doors and traps and what-not.) But, waiting outside for everyone to get together for our tour, we were attacked by loads of Japanese Junior High students! "Hello!" *girls giggle/ scream/ foam at the mouth* "How are you?" *girls giggle/ scream/ foam at the mouth* "Where are you from?" *girls giggle/ scream/ foam at the mouth* "Can we take your picture?" *girls giggle/ scream/ foam at the mouth* "Can we take a picture with you?" *girls giggle/ scream/ foam at the mouth* Their excitement built with every question they were able to get off in their shy English. It reminded me of Ang on Avatar day:

This video is unfortunately kinda annoying b/c they repeat the scene over and over again, so you can skip the middle section, or just quit after you see what I'm talking about. But the repeat action kinda also gives you the feel for what happened to us. There were seriously like 9 different groups of school kids constantly passing by us. And the girls went absolutely crazy for Bjarke! (Pronounced Bee-ya-kah in case you've been wondering, but you got to do the kah really quickly almost like a gah sound you kinda swallow at the end like your not really sure how to pronaounce it, and then you will pronounce it right!) I mean, he is really good looking, and his has a very nice accent, so I understood the attraction. But they were crazy screaming things like "I want you!" at the age of like 14 to some stranger. It was hilarious! I wish I had a video of it, but Joe had the camera, and he was reading every caption in the museum, so he missed the junior high girl show, and almost missed our tour through the Ninja house.

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Inside the Ninja House:

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Then, it was back to the Wish Bus and off to Nara, the city where there are as many deer as there are people! This city was a cute little old village that was built up around their large Buddha statue temple, and this year is the 1300th anniversary of Nara Heijo-kyo Capital! So there are pictures all over the place on all the subways and buses with the little Nara man with antlers and these 3 women all posing in positions like statues. I don't know this now, b/c I've only been on the Wish bus. But after we leave Mochan! we start seeing these advertisements for Nara everywhere!

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[One guy we stayed with later after we left Mochan! said that this little guy is way too peaceful looking it makes him mischievous and creepy.]

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I loved these hanging curtains. It reminded me of the Siege On Harrogath video in Diablo II, Extended edition when you first see Ba'al, or Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers when you first see Eowyn in Edoras.

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Elaina taught us how to wash our hands and mouth before entering a Japanese Temple or Shrine:

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Outside the temple was this creepy looking statue that we will see outside a few other temples, but this one was by far the creepiest. You are supposed to rub the part of her body that is causing you pain, and then rub that part on yourself, and she will heal you. So, yes, Joe rubbed her butt.

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Then after leaving the main temple we just wondered the temple grounds for an hour or so until Mochan! came back to pick us up.

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Bjarke's gift for Mochan now hanging from his vizor (not like he could see out the back window anyways with all our stuff pilled on the back seat to the celling).

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This evening we stayed at Mochan!'s friends hostel, so she gave us a place to stay and dinner for the price of a place to stay.

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She was really nice, and her 2 hostels were both Japanese style with western beds or Japanese beds, so it was the best of both worlds. There were too many of us, so we had to split up, the partiers would stay above her restaurant, and us sleepers would go back to her hostel down the road. Sophie, Chris, Elaina, Joe and myself got the western style bunk beds in one room. All of us but Sophie got a bed with a Tempur-Pedic mattress (so freaking nice!), and Sophie volunteered to sleep on the regular mattress on the ground. I told her we could pull straws, but she insisted, and I didn't push. : )

The Norwegians and Finish couple stayed in the Japanese style rooon with the the tatami mat on the floor, and there were several other people there as well in western or Japanese rooms. Joe spent most of the night in the dining room (western style table) on Skype with my mom trying to fix his damn Citi Bank crap. I popped in and out occasionally watching Princess Monanoke with another European, it was his first time seeing the movie, so it was kinda great to watch his reactions to the tree spirits and things that that, and then checking in on the Internet group. Elaina's laptop crashed, so she was using her Aunt's, but it was a Japanese laptop, and Elaina can only speak Japanese, not read it. So we had fun trying to figure out how to connect her to the Internet. We eventually gave up and went to bed. Joe came in like 2 hours later (my poor mother!) and still had no success fixing his account.

My favorite thing about Nara:

Almost every building has these little acrobats in different hues of red satin hanging from strings, cupping the string usually between all four appendages, sometimes doing back bends and such, almost like a child's crib ornament. I was told that they are little monkeys that protect the houses from harm. I love these guys, and I figured I would take a picture of them in the morning. But after we left the little quaint part of Nara for breakfast (7-11), I couldn't find one! I searched and searched, and then in Kyoto I finally found one that was suitable enough:

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I love you little monkey acrobats!

Posted by - Rain 20:26 Comments (0)

Mt. Fuji! (is covered in clouds)

Its the rainy season in Japan

This morning we all got up later than hopped and Mt. Fuji was already covered with clouds. So Mochan! decided that we would go to a spot hear his house where you could see Mt. Fuji, and we would try to look at it, but rather than doing the Mt. Fuji trip now and visiting the Sake factory, we would do it tomorrow, and today we would go to the Onsen (Japanese natural hot spring bath... Onsen is so much easier to say), and have a Japanese Tea Ceremony.

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The shopping mall with the view of Mt. Fuji in Shizuoka:

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Mt. Fuji is over there somewhere by the clouds.

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The tsunami guy is actually running away from the danger... oh hawaiians, you are so hard core!

These guys are going fishing for shell animals to eat:

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Mt. Sushi Fuji! With all the presidents of the different countries (also made out of sushi):

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The couple from Norway, Jørn and Ida:

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Fish Market with Eelke from Holland center stage:

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Into the mountains!

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Rie from Japan passed out:

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On the bus Joe and I got into a discussion withe Eelke about spirituality and science and philosophy. The first thing I thought of too when Eelke started mentioning how this isn't our first time in this world, "This is so much bull shit!" But even then, for whatever reason, I heard that voice in my head, and it was sarcastic, but not towards Eelke, but towards myself. This got me thinking, and I will think on this very though for the rest of the week. Why was the bull Eelke was dishing out sounding like sense? Maybe it was the mention of science that got me first. "Science shouldn't disprove religion, it should back it up. I don't think that people who try to separate the two have it right. I think the only way to find true spirituality is to find it through understanding physics and nature and the world around you." And then to top it off, "Don't trust anything because someone told you it was true. I always have to find things out for myself. I don't believe in blind faith." I liked her. She was completely not my type, but I found I immediately liked, and maybe even loved her. Sure she dressed in stiletto sneakers and reminded me of the poem Buddhist Barbie, but I was beyond seeing her for the stereotypical personality people who look like her often fall into, and I saw her for who she was. How many people can you say that about, that you move beyond first impressions and looks when only knowing someone for a few minutes? That, in my opinion, is something powerful.

Buddhist Barbie
by Denise Duhamel

In the 5th century B.C.
an Indian philosopher
Gautama teaches "All is emptiness"
and "There is no self."
In the 20th century A.D.
Barbie agrees, but wonders how a man
with such a belly could pose,
smiling, and without a shirt.

First stop:

Well, first stop we picked up a half Japanese half American Elaina. She is super cool, sings opera, and can speak Japanese fluently even though she moved from Japan when she was 2 years old, and has never studied the language (she is one of those people who I love to be jealous of. Way to be! I'm glad we are friends!) Then we went to a small village that was once on the rout to Tokyo that high government officials would have to travel, so this town became famous for its quaint Japanese style hotels called Ryokan.

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This is a common statue in Japan, the one with the babies all around the Buddha. This is the Buddha for healthy children. You pray to it when you or someone you love is pregnant or has a small child so they will be healthy. Also, all the Buddhas in Japan generally have clothes because one winter a monk thought that the statues outside covered in snow looked cold, so he started to clothe them, and its propagated from there.

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Next we drove to the beautiful little village where we had a professional Japanese Tea Ceremony.

Singing on the bus:

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Elaina:

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And they gave us little mochi sweets to eat since the tea was thick and bitter:

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Mochan! explained that this room was called the rising moon, so thats why the rice paper walls have the circles on them that appear to rise into the ceiling. And he also taught us how to drink the tea, holding the cup in one hand, and then lifting it from the bottom with the other. Then allowing it to rest in one hand, turning the cup 90 degrees in one direction, sipping the tea, then turning the cup back. This is to change where the decorations on the cup are when you drink, but most of our cups didn't have decorations on only one side, however, tradition is tradition.

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This is a small door that samurai's would have to enter this room from to force them to 1. take off their sword, and 2. bow as they entered the room. (Japanese are so polite. They would never tell a samurai to do these things, but they simply change around the environment to give the proper circumstances.)

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Feeding frenzy!

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Then, back on the bus, and on the way to the Onsen.

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Taboo! No tattoos allowed in the Onsen (b/c tattoos mean Japanese maffia! So we had to hide Eelke after this:
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Joe went in immediately, but everyone else got lunch:

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Eelke with Meri from Finland:

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Me with Merri's boyfriend (also from Finland) Esa:

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Sorry, no pictures at the Onsen (we all have to get naked, so you can't take photos). There were mostly old Japanese women there, so the 5 white girls really stuck out. But, we didn't really care. They had 2 baths in doors, and then outside there were another 3 baths all with different hotness levels and waterfalls! It was great, but every time I got out of one of the hot baths I kinda felt a little light headed. I also got into the hottest of them all for like 4 seconds, and then jumped in a cold shower (they had normal water showers where you can was off with shampoo and body wash there too). My body was tingly all over, and I felt a little high from the experience.

The guys, however, I guess all lined up along a fence about waist high and were waving to the train that goes by the Onsen. So about a half dozen white naked butts were waving to the train from the Japanese men's perspective. (I wish they let us have a camera in there). But I guess they didn't notice an old Japanese woman working in the farm not too far away who had a perfect view of all of them. Joe says he saw her pull out a camera and take a picture of them when she though they weren't looking. Hell, they deserved it. Guys!

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Then that night we headed back to Mochan!'s place and had another great dinner and stayed up far too late drinking and hanging out.

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Rei and Hitomi:
(Hitomi taught us how to remember her name by making a fist "Hit" then hitting her own arm "On, me" While we remembered her name fairly easily from this point on, we didn't have the heart to tell her how we were really remembering what it means to "hit on me")

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Nono (yes, that is his name. And his little brother is Woolie Woolie) from Holland and Chris:

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Me and Elaina:

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Rie, Bjarke, Ida, Jørn, and David from Montreal:

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And all of us taking a picture with Mochan! who was completely passed out (not drunk either, I think he only had 3 beers, but we did run him ragged with driving today, so I think he was tired.)

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Bjarke:
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Posted by - Rain 03:03 Comments (1)

To the Wish Bus!

In the morning I was feeling better, so instead of feeling drugged, I only felt drunk. I decided to take a bath while Joe went downstairs with the computer to see if they could get the internet working. The next thing I knew after running the bath water was that there was a very helpful sounding Japanese girl in the bedroom with Joe. This went on for at least a half hour. I couldn't really hear what was being said, and that was annoying enough. Joe and I were fighting, I go to take a bath, he hangs out with a Japanese girl in the bedroom for over a half hour. I couldn't leave the bathroom either b/c all I had was my towel. My clothes were on the bed. The only furniture in the room actually. Do I care? No, of course not. They aren't doing anything in there with me right next door. Did it bug me? Hell yeah it did.

When she finally left I was grumpy, and my fingers were all wrinkly. We left on the shuttle bus back to the airport b/c our hotel was in the middle of nowhere. The staff actually thought that this was where we wanted to go naturally, and said that they hoped we had a nice stay in Japan (they picked us up at the airport last night... I was confused as to why they were confused). We spent the rest of our 24 hour internet we bought at the airport, and then we started figuring out the bus schedule to get into central Tokyo so we can hop another bus to Shimizu to meet Mochan! (His name naturally comes with an ! at the end.)

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In downtown Tokyo we got our first mini loaf of 100% whole wheat bread since the USA! Joe almost wet himself.

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Then we grabbed some lunch while we waited for our bus.

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Our bus ride was going to be about 2 hours, so they told us that we would have a 15 min. potty break half way through, and then we were off.

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The bus dropped us off near the train station where Mochan! said he would pick us up, so we walked to the train station and gave him a call. At the station there was a short brunet woman with a tall blond guy right next to the phones, and they seemed to be listening in on my conversation with Mochan! which kinda bothered me a little until I realized that they were probably waiting here for him too. Very cool like I hung up the phone with Mochan, turned to the woman and asked her if she was also meeting Mochan at the train station. “Ves! Hou did vou know?” I'm not sure if my spelling gives off the proper impression, but this was Sophie from Germany. “Muy name is Chris.” His accent also said German, but his was much sharper. She rolled a lot of her vowels, while he attacked them. Not that it really matters, just an observation. Neither of them sounded like Luna. Ahhh, Luna, hope she is doing well.

Joe was watching some kids practicing breakdancing, or so he claims. When he brought the three of us over to see, they were gone. I think he just got lost.

Mochan! arrived in a small hatchback, and his eyes opened wide when he saw the 4 of us with all our luggage. I guess I would have been cooler if I had asked Sophie if she was meeting Mochan! while I was still on the phone with him to give him a heads up that there were more of us. We all fit though, so it was all right, and he didn't live too far from the station.

“WELCOME! WELCOME! WEL – CO – CO – CO – ME! TOOOOO – aaaaa – my home!” he announced as we crossed over the threshold. Inside there was already a decent group of backpackers at his Japanese styled kitchen table who all made room for us to squeeze in. “I WILL BE MAKING DINNER SOON, so, ahhhh, no worries.” I sat down next to a group I thought were from Finland, but it turned out that only 2 of them were, and they had also only met the other guy a few minutes ago. Awkward... well, he was from Denmark, so they told me that they all really did look the same, so I was cool- well, at least in that situation I wasn't uncool. Joe went out to the 7-11 to buy some beer since it seemed that all the Europeans were drinking, and when a couple from Norway came and said they were going to head out to do the same, I asked them to keep an eye out for a lost looking guy with long brown hair and a long sleeved red t-shirt. They found him in the 7-11, and said that they only found him b/c of the shirt and the hair, not the lost look.

Anyways, Mochan! made us all really good Japanese food. He had rice (of course) with all sorts of stir fried veggies and what not. It was delicious. And he also taught us how to eat Japanese pees in a pod. They are really big, and you can't eat the outside its so ruff, but they just pop the pees in their mouth like smarties, and its actually a really great snack food. Then, when everyone showed up for the evening, we had the Wish Club famous (the name of his traveling group), “INTRODUCTIONS!”

After this Bjarke said that we had to do new introductions, this time we had to introduce the person next to us! I got paired with him, and then we had 3 minutes to learn everything about that person, and then they had 3 minutes to do the same, and then we would reintroduce the person next to us to everyone else. Joe was supposed to be keeping time on my watch, but we all agreed that he wasn't paying attention either.

[will insert video if Mochan! puts it on youtube]

But since he hasn't yet, let me say that Bjarke is from Denmark, and he works at the embassy in Beijing writing speeches and takes photos. He hasn't graduated college yet, but he has lived in New Zealand going to school and coaching their first hand ball team to the finals, and he has hiked Kilimanjaro, and he plans to hike Fuji. I went on for much longer than this, but its been a while, and I can't remember everything.

After introductions we hung out pretty late meeting everyone, exchanging travel stories, and eventually we all passed out.

Eelke and David found Mochan!'s hat collection:

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Joe was first to go BTW. Mochan! spilt us to couples and girls on the second floor, and guys on the first. So the guys had to wait for us to clear out of the dining room, since that was also their sleeping place. But, it wasn't so bad b/c it seemed like most of us fit in Mochan!'s second floor anyways since the entire 2nd floor was just blankets and pillows and Tatami mats.

Posted by - Rain 05:43 Comments (0)

Parting Gifts

Joe and I got up way early in the morning and headed down the street to the metro... which was closed! Wow, that would have been a good thing to know about. What to do, what to do, the metro was closed, we had no idea how to get to the bus now that takes you to the station... TAXI! I saw a taxi, called it out to Joe, and he ran into traffic (at this time in the morning, he ran in front of the one taxi). We loaded our stuff and I gave Joe the pamphlet with the bus schedule on it. Joe explained to the taxi that we only wanted him to take us to the airport bus, not all the way to the airport itself, and the guy was surprisingly understanding, helpful, and really nice. Then when we got to the bus station I had just enough change to pay for 2 tickets on the bus! But the info Carla gave me was about 20 cents off. “20 cents?” Joe started asking the people behind us. They had the 20 cents, and let us use it. Things were panning out, the day was looking like it was going to be pretty good!

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At the airport we got in without a hitch, we even checked all our bags without having to pay extra!

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Now all we had to do was wait. Then I notice something in my pocket. We had about $4 extra bucks. So what do we do with our time? I hop on the free computers they had out and Joe popped into the prayer rooms. I hope nobody tried to come in there while he was doing his stuff.

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I told Joe that it was about time for us to head to our gate, but he said 5 more mintues, so I ran to spend my $4 on a beer since that seemed to calm me last time I was on a flight. When I got back I really told Joe that I was getting on the plane with or without him, and the two of us practically ran to the gate. We were the last ones to board! And when we got to our seats, they were taken! “Sumimasen,” I got the attention of the stewardess and showed her my ticket. She took Joe and I to my beautiful window seat and there was a family of 3 already there. I guess one of them had the isle seat, and when they saw that Joe and I weren't coming, the mom and the toddler came to sit with the dad. “E-A” I told the stewardess as she was splitting the family back up. “Watachitashi” ummm, yeah, all I had at the moment was “no”, and “we.” I started shaking my head, and pointing to other empty seats, then to myself and Joe. “Ohhh, Arigato!” She figured it out, and they put Joe a few rows back, and me on the other side of the middle 5 seater row. Then a Japanese girl came over to me and pointed to her seat directly in front of Joe's seat. All and all, everyone was moving around, but we all ended up in good places I guess (but I didn't get my window. Stupid toddler.)

Abut 30 minutes into the flight while I was disliking the movie about the end of the world (maybe b/c the airplane was in constant turbulence and I realized how close I was to the same fate), with Denzel Washington, The Book of Elija or something, anyways, the food came out. I got an omelet thing, and gave Joe all my meat. I thought I was stressed by the movie, or maybe a little air sick, so I switched movies to that Leonardio Dicaprio movie Shutter Island. Maybe about halfway into that movie I realized that it wasn't making me feel any better, and the shaking of the screen was not making the shaking of the plane any better. I was sick, and I think it had to be b/c I was scared with how terrible the pilot was navigating the wind currents. I tried to relax, accept my death. I had done a lot in my life. I was in a pretty good place. It wouldn't be like Lost, if we hit the ocean, odds are it would just be over. No drowning, no freaking out, just dead. I played the scenario over and over in my head until I was calm while experiencing it.
Now my hands and feet were tingling as if they had lost circulation at some point. I took in deep breaths and attempted not to think about throwing up. Joe tapped me on the shoulder occasionally to ask me something, of which I usually replied to with a brush off my shoulder and a wave of my hand. Something funny, I needed something funny, I turned on a aromatic comedy with that girl from Veronica Mars. After 2 minutes I couldn't take it anymore. They were ripping her apart to make it so much better when she gets put together latter, but I just wasn't in the mood. I switched to music. No good, I needed something visual to keep my mind off the heat flashes I was getting. Now I was dizzy. Now I was having moments where my eyes get dark with black spots. This was more than a fear of crashing or some air sickness. Something was wrong. Now I was worried.

I wanted to hold Joe's hand, but I couldn't find the courage to move around in my seat to ask him. The plane was landing soon. I could hold out. I stuck my head into the aisle and watched the plane move forward through the 50 seats ahead of me. The tube shook with turbulence, this did not help. I got the barf bag out from the seat ahead of mine. I attempted to discretely rip it open to not alarm the person sitting next to me. Land already!

shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, CRASH, shaking, shaking, shaking, CRASH, JERK SIDE TO SIDE AND UP AND DOWN, evening out, slowing down...

The nausea had really settled in, but once I stood up I felt I was in control of it. I leaned my body over my chair back and turned to Joe. "I'm not okay." was all I could manage to get out. He tried to talk to me about it, but I couldn't seem to gain the ability to tell him anything without the possibility of opening my moth for something other than words to expel. I got out my notebook and pen. First I would write the word phonetically in Japanese, then I would write the English word next to it. Byo-in = Hospital, "E" tie = Hurt, Me - ru = See, I was just about to teach him how to say "Can't see" when he stopped me. "Whats going on?" I very quickly explained to him that I was possibly going to pass out, and only get me to a hospital if I do. He nodded and helped me off the plane. Then things started getting really dodgy. The room was not spinning, but I felt drugged. The world was not as stable as it should be. My head hurt tremendously. I needed to lie down. We came to a resting place, but no chairs. "Lie down on the ground right here." "You lie down on the ground!" I told him as I kept walking. I did not want to make a scene. I would find a bench to lie down on and pretend to be relaxing. Joe caught up with me and helped me stand on the one way people mover (escalator w/o stairs). At the end of the path there was an entrance for people to get their temperatures taken if they had a fever before boarding the plane. I didn't want to go b/c I thought it might keep me from entering the country, but when Joe said lets go, I couldn't help but feel relieved.

The doctors and nurses didn't speak much english, so I found myself bursting out with words when they would get stuck with Joe. Now I was lying down, and feeling much better. My sight was coming back from the little black circles it was plagued with before. The doctor took my temperature, and apparently I didn't have one. He seemed to be saying that I could take a wheel chair to the hospital next to the airport. Hell no! I was feeling better, not good, but not wheel me past customs to the hospital sick. I stood up and left. Joe protested and kept asking the doctor if it was okay if I just took a few minutes more time to recover, but in my opinion, they didn't want me there. I wasn't their problem. They weren't real doctors. They were only medical staff placed there to take peoples temperatures. They took mine, and now they wanted me to move on. I moved on.

Joe helped me through the line, but made sure I was ready to walk on my own, answer the questions I had to answer coherently, and get through customs all on my own. I did. After that we picked up our bags and Joe took me to lie down at the nearest row of seats. "I am going to go see if I can get my citi card to work." He saw that Japan has Citi ATM's, so he was going to give it a try. I hooked one leg around our cart with all our stuff, and I closed my eyes.

An hour later I finally felt like standing again, so I went looking for Joe. When I found the Citi ATM's I sat back down and called him over. He was having no luck, and I needed out of this airport. "Lets get a hotel!" The airport had Wifi, but you had to buy it, so we paid $10 with a credit card to have 24 hour access, and we booked the nearest hotel with a free airport shuttle. "Do you need the internet?" Our hotel may not have internet, so we decided to do everything we needed at the airport. "Yeah, I could check a few things before we go." Then he left to go do some kung fu somewhere for some amount of time. After an hour, I started fading again. I leaned my upper body over on to the seat next to me, and I tried not to move. Things seemed better that way. Next thing I know I have several Japanese people over me asking if I was okay. I dropped the laptop on the ground. I think the base now has some screw issues. "Diejobu des, ano, nemui." I think I told them that I was okay, but I wanted to sleep. They seemed okay with this explanation, and moved on.

After all the people left, I burst into tears. I was so tired, so sick, and I had no way of finding Joe. Why would he leave me alone for so long? It was over an hour ago now that he left. Why wouldn't he check up on me? Check in every 20 minutes at the lest? He seemed so concerned before... I felt so alone.

Finally when Joe came back we left to find some dinner since we weren't sure where the hotel would be in terms of food. I also purchased a Japanese - English picture guide that turned out to be very handy.

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We ate some food we bought at a bagel shop near the fountains, and then we searched for the busses. The shuttle to the hotel came about every 30 minutes, so the wait wasn't bad. The drive was also amazing! Houses, real 2 story houses, speckled everywhere like a real urban city! I felt almost like we were back in the USA, except for all the roofs being traditional Japanese style, and most of the windows looking like paper sliding doors.

We checked into the hotel, and I promptly passed out. It was now 8pm, a far later bed time than I had hopped for. We agreed that in the morning, depending on how I felt, we would decide if I needed to go to the hospital. For now, sleep.

Posted by - Rain 05:28 Comments (0)

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