emiri: (are you thinking what i'm thinking?)
emiri ([personal profile] emiri) wrote2010-02-28 08:10 pm
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21st year in photos: 24.01.2010 to 31.01.2010


It has been a long time since the last 365 photo! So, picking back up where we left off...

Sunday 24th of January: I take off in an airplane! View from the window is pretty sweet.

I pretty much had THE best seat in the plane. Front of the front (business class, baby), extra leg room, first to get meals, first to get off the plane, and NOBODY SITTING NEXT TO ME 8D. Also no crying babies!

I arrived in Kansai International Airport at 6:30 PM Japan time after a 12 hour flight. I had a bit of a hilarious (read: fail) time trying to lug all my bags through the airport until I was met by Kousaka who took me by two trains as far as Yodoyabashi, which was nice of her. Then I went on the last train by myself from there to Hirakata, the city my uni here is in! By the time I got out at Hirakata station it was 9 PM, haha. From Hirakata to my uni dorm by taxi was only $10, and I finally checked in! After dumping my bags in my room, I realised that there was something exceedingly handy on the doors: NAME TAGS.

Not content to just flop into my bed and die after a 12 hour flight and a near three hour trip from the airport, like a creepy little stalker I went prowling up and down the women's floor in my dorm until I found the name plaque I was looking for: Lindsey's \o/. I'd only been informed TWO WEEKS before I left that [livejournal.com profile] kingsraven was not only going to be in JAPAN at the same time as me, but also going to the same uni and staying in the same DORM. (゜∀゜) びっくり… What are the chances??

So upon finally finding her nameplate, I burst into her room at 9:30 at night unable to contain myself or wait until the morning, going "HEY 8D. ... OH CRAP THERE'S MULTIPLE PEOPLE IN HERE. WHICH ONE OF YOU IS LINDSEY??" because of course, there was multiple people in there. Lindsey, having arrived the day before me, had already made friends-- which made things fairly easy for me, because the four people sitting around the table in her room that night were soon to become my close friendship group over here \o/. Anyway, after a bit of confusion on Lindsey's part and me going "OH YEAH!! I'm Emiri!!" and her introducing me to the others, we spent the next hour-ish getting to know each other and sharing our various geeky hobbies. Our group was Lindsey, Lindsey's roommate Lauren, Lindsey's next door neighbor Danielle and Katie (who has since moved out of the dorm into a homestay), and later in the week we were joined by Danielle's roommate Jackie! Anyway, it was fun! And then finally I was able to crawl into my (very comfortable) futon in my own room and sleep.

Monday 25th: Lindsey on the left, Danielle on the right.

First day at school, we ate delicious cafeteria food! Something that was soon to become a habit, since cafeteria food is amazingly cheap here. Most of the stuff you see on our plates there you can get for around 300 yen (around $3.40) or thereabouts. Delicious! On the usual menu is things like: ramen, udon, curry rice, salad, katsudon, omurice... and other very Japanesey foods |D. As you can expect, I've definitely put on weight from all the carbs I've been eating here but I've been good about sugars ._.!!

Later that night, we decided to go to an okonomiyaki store around the corner from our dorm! It was only my second night there (my first being the one I arrived on) and we hadn't gone grocery shopping yet, and even if we had, we weren't allowed to use the kitchen apart from the microwave in the first week were were there.

I think actually the whole group (save for Jackie, who didn't arrive until later that week) is here |D. Clockwise, from the top: Danielle, me, Lauren, Katie and Lindsey. WE ARE WAITING PATIENTLY FOR OUR FOOD 8D.

THE FOOD HAS ARRIVED. Lindsey looks psyched. (It was delicious, for the record. And they give you a 50yen coupon off at the end of every visit so that you'll come back and use it next time. As you can imagine, I've been back there quite a bit.)

Tuesday 26th: my room! I don't think it's looked this clean since, though I do make a point of cleaning it weekly. There's a desk behind the sliding door. My side is on the left. My cupboard is behind me in this photo, to the left.

Wednesday 27th: we found the shortcut between the dorms and the university! On the way there was a really nice little temple on the side of the road so here's a few photos from that, plus Lauren and Katie in her red coat of +5 visibility also taking photos |D.

Lindsey and Katie are silly.

I feel I should note here, because I haven't anywhere else, that Katie and Lindsey are probably the two I'm closest to here now. Katie is the biggest sweetheart ever and even though nothing ever seems to go her way, she still stays upbeat. Somehow we seemed to hit it off right away, and seeing her bright smile always makes my day a little better \o/. I feel like I traveled halfway around the world just to find another Claire. Ilu Katie dear, and I miss you now you've moved out :'( ♥. (We still see each other every day at school though.)

Lindsey I've known for ages online, so we had a bit of a jumpstart on that |D. She's about as abusive to me as Jess is (ilu honey), so really it's no wonder I've sort of attached myself to her |D;;. I miss my bff ;_;.

Lauren has a big camera.

A open gate residence on the shortcut.

Another residence on the shortcut. I just took this one because, well... if you've ever seen how tiny Japanese houses are, you can probably appreciate how rich whoever is living in there must be.

Thursday 28th: my temporary roommate Christina! There's a story behind this.

See, on the first week we arrived, all the kids who had opted for homestay hadn't moved into their homestay houses yet! So until the end of the week, most people in the dorm had an extra roommate. So Christina was my temporary roommate until the end of the week until she moved into her homestay family's house! I was pretty sad about it since she and I got along really well, I wish she had been my real roommate :'(. Tear. But that's not the really hilarious bit.

The hilarious bit is that on Monday afternoon, I returned home to my room to find this note on my pillow left by my PERMANENT roommate:

Hi Roomies!
Had hoped to meet you in person. Stopped by and left my luggage here, hope that's ok, please look after it.
Am staying with a friend for a bit.
[Signed name redacted]

YEP. Just like that. Not even an indication of when she'd be back or anything! It became a bit of an ongoing joke in my friendship group, that I had a roommate who didn't exist! But it suited Christina and I just fine, because those rooms are really not made for three people.

On this day we also went out as a whole dorm group to an amazing sushi train restaurant called Kappa Sushi (which actually still has plenty of stuff you can eat there even if you don't like fish like me), but sadly I forgot to get photos from it. I know other people in my group have photos from it though, so I'll post photos of that as soon as I get them, because our table was pretty epic. Just imagine about sixty sushi plates stacked up in piles of about ten-- one pile for each person sitting at the table-- and your mental image wouldn't be far off from the reality. Tooooooo delicious. (It was also on this day that we met Jackie, Danielle's roommate, who then became a regular addition to our group \o/.)

After that we walked back to the dorm on full stomachs, and Lindsey then proceeded to attack my hair with a hairbrush for the better part of an hour as it had, uh... decided to conglomerate. I'm not talking like a little tangle, I'm talking the sort of tangle that happens when you pick up one strand of hair, and your whole head of hair comes up with it. Mid-process, our female Japanese dorm RA, Haruka, came in to my room. She was COMPLETELY confused, she didn't understand how it had happened. Apparently Japanese people don't get knotty hair. No fair :'(. Still, Haruka is adorable. We're having fun teaching her the ways of silly Westerners.

Friday 29th: KYOTO TRIP DAY!!! Lauren on the train behind me, and Katie way in the back in her trademark red coat.

I didn't resize this one as tiny as the others since I think it's a really nice one of everyone at Kiyomizudera. The two boys at the back are Will (left) and Keck (right)-- Keck is actually his last name and even after four weeks I still have absolutely no idea what his first name is because everyone, even the exchange students, have taken to calling him "KECK-SAN!!!" (yes, in capitals, with the exclamation points, because that's the ONLY WAY YOU CAN SAY IT) because it just sounds cool like that. For the record, I don't call any of the other exchange students by (Last Name)-san, KECK-SAN IS JUST SPECIAL. Anyway. They're okay. Keck-san's already been here six months so he's a good source of information! And he's also in my reading and writing class.

Then in the front we've got (left to right): Lauren, me, Katie, Danielle, Lindsey and Jackie.

I'm realising now that my camera is horribly overexposed, but it really was that smoggy over Kyoto when we went. We do plan to go back there in Spring sometime, hopefully in the morning when the sun will be in a better position. And after that we walked around the temple some more and I walked between the love-stones (I think for the fourth time, funny but it still hasn't increased my luck in love, drat it!!) again, and then we walked down to Gion, but by that stage it had just gotten too cold to get my camera out at all, so the rest of the photos I will have to nick off of other people.

Saturday 30th: I begin to realise that all my photos are of food. I got absolutely NO photos of people on this day >_<#.

So we (being the girls in my group and I) met up with some other CFUD friends in Osaka! (Janaff, Kagura, Kousaka and Sylar!) It was HEAPS of fun. First we went to an all-you-can eat Chinese buffet, which is what this photo is of here. Actually, I'm not sure I can remember WHAT this is, except that it was a dumpling that was shaped like a Japanese peach but did not taste anything REMOTELY LIKE a peach. I'm fairly sure it was savory. Anyway, to the best of my memory, after that we went down to Mandarake and shopped for doujinshi and I splurged a little (ufufu), and then we went to KARAOKE and had a hilarious time singing ridiculous songs \^o^/♪

We ended the day at the most amazing cake shop you have ever seen. I'm not even kidding, it was totally worth breaking my no-sugars rule that day just for that. I had a bitter chocolate tort with strawberries, blueberries, blueberry sauce, chocolate sauce and cream. Unnnghhhh. Worth it.

We ended the night on delicious taiyaki from a sketchy unmarked white van seller on the side of the road. Yep. 8Db Oh Japan.

Sunday 31st: I realise that I have forgotten to take a photo that day, and quickly take a photo of what my schedule has been for the last week.

Yep. All planned out for me. Thanks Gaidai! SO HELPFUL! (And now you know why I was completely unreachable that first week.) On Sunday it was time to say goodbye to all the homestay kids who were moving in with their host families, and then time for a dorm meeting. By 1 PM, the official deadline to check in, my ~mystery roommate~ STILL had not appeared, so I went to the dorm Okaasan to tell her what had happened. Unfortunately, I did not stay roommate-less :'(. Another girl who was left without a roommate (her roommate decided to move dorms in the first week) was moved into my room. Her name is Juli (pronounced Yuli) and she is from Finland! Her English is excellent and she's really nice, but she's very quiet even with the two other Finnish kids in the dorm. I get on with her well enough, but we don't talk a lot since we both tend to be quiet around the other, which I suppose suits me fine since room-time is quiet-time anyway. I don't have a photo of her from this particular week of photos, so you'll have to wait until the next update!


One week down, three more to go! ... Not sure when they're going to get done, but hey. Stay tuned! I know these photos are terrible, but I still haven't loaded photoshop on my computer, I'm just using IrfanView to batch resize and save to churn them out as fast as possible and get this blog up to speed. So I'm not colour adjusting or sharpening or doing anything to any of them. Sorry!

And now it's 11:15 PM, this entry took me an three hours to write, and now I'm going to bed!

ETA: NOBODY SAW THAT ok all the pictures and the HTML borks are fixed now.
perrito: (Squishy!)

[personal profile] perrito 2010-03-01 12:31 am (UTC)(link)
Wow I actually read all that. I'M GLAD YOU'RE HAVING FUN 8D

(Anonymous) 2010-03-01 04:08 am (UTC)(link)
FAN BLOODY TASTIC !! Please everyone excuse the Aussie slang. Loved reading and seeing the photos. I read every word. Glad you are having such a great time, and have made some lovely friends. Am looking forward to the next installment of photos.
Your suitcase was posted off today, so hopefully it will arrive in about 5 working days. Maybe by this Fri, but certainly by next Mon. Your room looks so small, will there be anywhere to store it?
Also bought Grandad a web cam today. Gordon is going to install skype for him. we spoke to Natalie this morning.
Have you got a mic yet?
What are the plans for summer? You said you had some.
Any chance of you doing a homestay in the 2nd half? I'm sure it would be lots cheaper.
Sharon has put in an offer on a house at epping that was passed in at auction.
Lots of love, Mum.

(Anonymous) 2010-03-03 06:46 am (UTC)(link)
Did you come with us the day we went to the Kiomesodera in Kyoto?
Do you remember it from when we were there when we went with Julie. It is quite something.
Looking forward to seeing some more photos. You don't need photoshop. They are fine as they are. For record shots there is no need to waste time with photoshop.

(Anonymous) 2010-03-07 03:51 pm (UTC)(link)

omgosh it looks like you're having so much fun - going on trips, eating out all the time, and making sooo many friends! (can you tell I'm a little bit jealous!??!)

I must say though, I cannot believe that is your dorm room! there is like, hardly any space.... :|

Anyways, I'm glad everything is going so, so well - it clearly looks like you're having a ball!!!
(i almost wish i had taken a photo from everyday of the year!)

lots of love,