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Rie's Journal
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Date:2005-06-06 04:02
Subject:Almost two years, and all is well...
Mood: hopeful

I just checked back, and it's been almost a year since I've written anything here.

It's so strange, being able to walk down the street and read all the signs and make small talk with most people I meet. Finally having the confidence to talk my way out of most situations in a foreign language.. yet there is still so much to learn.

Highlights of the past year -

Viewing fireflies for the first time. Biking twenty miles into the deep mountains to see them. Having a drunken group of Japanese people invite me into a liquor store, and drinking with them until 10 at night. Losing my way in the rice fields on the dark path back home. Getting a ride from a friendly truckdriver who laughed at how off-course I was and drove me back to the city despite the fact he'd just driven down from Tokyo that very day.

Going to New Zealand. Visiting all the Lord of the Rings filming sites I could. Fooling around in Hobbiton, and skiing on Ruapehu. Watching Maori dance and seeing glow-worms in Ruapehu. Relaxing in wonderful Wellington. Flying down to South Island on my own and renting a car to drive 333 kilometers to the filming site of Edoras. Being there, the only human being for miles, in that beautiful, open place.

Going to Fiji with my friends and staying three days on a boat. Snorkeling, swimming after manta rays, eating great food, relaxing in the sun.

Watching the first group of kids I taught for an entire year graduate from High School. Knowing them all and wondering how they'll do and what they'll do and if what I taught them will ever be useful to them.

Trying my hand at international intra-office romance. Though it, becoming so much closer to my Japanese female co-workers/confidantes. Doing the whole freaky-funky Valentines day White day thing.

Doing long-term projects with my students, and seeing them come into full fruitition. Seeing all the beautiful, creative things they make. Their skits were so funny and entertaining, their props so colorful and clever..

Passing my Iaido black belt test, after putting in loads of extra practice and memorizing heaps of things for the written test including a long section on the 'philosophy and aims of kendo'.

Doing my first backpacking camping trip into Kuju and up to the highest peak on Kyushu. Soaking in the highest elevation onsen on Kyushu after untold hours in the freezing rain.

Being selected for a special cultural exchange tour to the Kansai region. Staying in the best ryokan hotel I will ever see in my life, and watching a performance by an actual Geiko and Maiko. The aura of dignity and grace from the Geiko-san was a palpable thing, and the Maiko just dripped childish charm. Climbing Fushimi Inari with some local people who helped me ask all the questions about the shrine that I'd always wanted to. Taking a boat down from Arashiyama. Seeing the area with an incredible group of people. Using my remaining day and a half for a whirlwind tour of Himeiji and Nara.

Taking a bus hours into the furthest inkaka countryside I could find. Turning my nose at the camping site because it cost 1800 yen. Hiking to the tallest peak in the area and pitching my tent there. Watching the sunset and sunrise from the misty top of a mountain in the middle of tea country.

Watching lessons I'd polished after doing them two times work beautifully in class.

Taking a bus to Takachiho, a mythologically important place. Watching the fantastic Kagura sacred dances. Watching Kyushu's unique Bunraku puppet theatre, which was more comical and bawdy than the ones I'd seen before. Staying at the wonderful youth hostel with bikers from all over Japan, fresh from their "meeting" in the Aso area. Drinking and partying with these Japanese bikers, drinking shochu and eating horse sashimi, intestines and heart until 2 am every night. Forming tight bonds with people I know i'll never see again.

Sitting through the school transfer period, and losing some of my favorite teachers. Realizing how much I've come to care about the people who have been so kind to me over the year. Welcoming new teachers, and realizing I can still talk to my old teachers as often as I want to.

Going to the re-contracting conference in Kobe. Taking a ferry overnight on Friday, and staying up late talking and drinking and eating conbini food. Spending two stimulating days touring Osaka, Himeiji and Nara with a post-doc and a doctoral candidate. Eating fabulous Osaka food every night. And drinking. A lot. Going to the conference (Monday to Wednesday), with wonderful presentations during the day and killer partying until 4 am in the morning every night. And of course more drinking and almost oversleeping the first part of the conference. Thank god for esukappu the tasty Japanese RedBull. Good gods that conference was fun. Then going to school for one day, then having a day off to work on the presentation that I had to do the following Monday. Saturday and Sunday, going to cabins in Kumamoto to spend time relaxing on the beach and grilling yakiniku with of course more drinking. Hiking down to sleep on the beach. Enjoying the sea and the stars, but being chased back up to the cabins by sand fleas after only two and a half hours. Presenting and demonstrating varous martial arts to half of the high school JETs, and all the Junior High JETs who got out specially to see our presentation. Riding the jittery high and knowing that I have to do it again next monday, but to my own meeting group, full of my friends and people I know.

And that was last week, ending today. A fabulous week. So much fun in so little time. And summer has only begun.

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Date:2004-03-29 19:30
Subject:It's been a while
Mood: content

I just got internet at my desk yesterday, so now I'm posting. I haven't done a weblog in a long time, so i'll sum up what's been up.. I'm loving my school and my life. I live in a cement box with tatami floors and a tub I fill with water and heat with gas to bathe in, but it's like being in a period movie so I really like it.

My parents came to visit in December, and I rented a car and drove them all around northern Kyushu. Driving in Japan is very scary. Roads are narrow and drivers are crazy. But we saw a lot of things and had a lot of fun.

After me and some friends went to Vietnam and Thailand. I absolutely loved Thailand and Vietnam was pretty cool. I am planning to go back to Thailand as soon as I have the money and the leave. Which probably will be next year. I will probably write about the trip later.

One day in January there was three or four inches of snow on the ground and it took me a slippery hour to get to school and all the cars were skidding and me and some students helped push them out of the middle of the road and stuff, that was great.

February was so cold I thought I was going to die. But snow is very pretty. I went on a trip with the teachers to a hot spring resort. They all got really drunk (they started drinking on the bus there) and it was crazy and fun, but they made me sing karaoke and I was so embarassed. I really like the drinking parties with teachers. The teachers here are so friggin' cool.

Hmm.. March is the worst month so far but I'm still having a good time. The beginning of March was also very cold. I also got hit by a car and cracked some ribs. Then I got the flu and was in bed for a while which was really good for me. I actually only recovered from sickness a few days ago, so I've been feeling pretty crappy all March. Plus my students graduated and I miss them. And it's the beginning of a new school year and lots of kickass teachers are leaving and that sucks as well.

Me and my friends here take weekend trips once a month or so, taking advantage of the great public transportation in Japan. I have tons of pictures of stuff, but the new school year begins next week.. eventually I'll put them on the website I haven't touched in over a year.

Travis came to visit, that was fun. It was good to catch up. The cherry blossoms are beautiful, and there are lots of other flowers too. Spring is really great, almost worth the winter. I'm taking a four-day trip to Korea in a few days. I'm planning on totally pigging out.

I really miss everyone. I don't really miss places so much, just people. And occasionaly In-n-out and Chipotle. Haha.

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Date:2003-10-30 04:49

Everyone is so sweet! Thanks for all the comments to my whining. But I'm all better now. Teaching some of the girls a watered-down version of "Lei Momi" and making up a dance to do for our cultural day. I'm going to iaido three days a week and staying late at school, so I haven't been getting much sleep, courting sickness again! I know how to make chicken noodle soup and jook, but when I'm sick I don't wanna cook, just pass out. And that stuff molds. Eew.

To all you guys with homes in Southern California, I've got my fingers crossed for you!

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Date:2003-10-22 02:32
Mood: sick

Well, I've caught the Japanese work ethic bug and went to work even though I was sick. My classes were all over right before lunch and by that time I felt like I was gonna die. So I asked if I could go home, and I had to take sick leave. I kinda feel like I should get a different kind of leave for going home when I'd finished all my work but whatever. The 4 mile bike ride home was just awful. It ususally takes me half an hour, but I took an hour. Right before my house I stopped at a market, but they don't have chicken noodle soup and crackers! So it was instant miso soup and bread for me...

I'm just killing time while my instant ramen cooks. I'm too tired to cook anything else. So I'm tired, feel like crap, and am kind of upset about other stuff but shit happens.

I'm also bummed that I'm missing iaido. Somehow I've stumbled upon one of the oldest muso shinden ryu dojos in Japan, and they're making special lessons for me to catch up, but I had to call in sick.

Funny thing is, this cute English teacher who I'm kinda friends with was out today too, same kind of sickness as me. And I'm thinking, this looks kinda bad.. Some of the students make silly snide comments about us.. so I think it's pretty funny. But anyway, I think I got sick from school.

So this was a pretty bad day. In fact, the worst day I've had since I came to Japan. And I'm a little relieved. I mean, if I just have fun all the time, it kinda makes me feel edgy in a paranoid sort of way. And today really wasn't that bad at all. And now i've just jinxed myself so I better go get some more sleep and drink some more tea.

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Date:2003-10-16 04:19
Subject:Rice Harvest

I made friends with the librarian and we were talking about crafts in Japanese, and then we went together to the craft store. The office head drove us, and on the way I asked what the fields of yellow flowers were. It turned out to be fields of ripe rice, the grains looked yellow to me. Everyone laughed at me, then asked if I wanted to join the rice harvest. I was like, 'hell yeah!' So during midterms when no classes are held I went with them to harvest rice.

At first they told me to bring my bike, and i'd bike back from the field. They thought i'd just go and cut some rice and get bored and leave. At first I just cut by hand with a sickle the rice that was too close to the sides to machine harvest. But I really enjoyed it and was enthusiastic and asked a lot of questions and so they let me drive the machine. I harvested a whole field thing. It's super fun! You have to line the machine up with the row and drive and keep adjusting, it's like a video game. The hardest part is turning it around to go down the rows again. The machine cuts the rice and then thrashes the grains off.

I went with them to take the rice to the processing plant. The teachers asked the people there to give me a tour, and they took me and another teacher around to look at everything. I don't think he'd seen such a large plant either and he really seemed to have fun too. They mix rice with some water and let it sit for I think 30 hours. Then it's separated from the hulls and dried, and this process is repeated with less water. I think. The explanations weren't super clear. But there was so much rice.

I ate lunch with them and they let me use the harvester (In Japanese, conbini) on the last bunch of rice. Afterwards the agriculture teachers all went to dinner at a Izakaya and it was really fun. At first I was a bit worried because all they ordered was raw meat and weird stuff. I didn't really like it but I ate it. They had some kind of gummy tendon and stuff, all chewy meat. I did end up trying the famous 'horse sashimi'. I think it's idiocy to eat raw mammal, you're just asking for diseases and parasites. But I had to try it. It was really good. I wanted some more but I didn't eat any because I don't think it's safe. They also had raw tripe, horse heart, and chicken, and I didn't eat any. I think anyone else I know would be too disgusted to eat anything at all. The cooked cow heart was pretty tasty, and they ordered me some cooked diaphragm muscle which was great. The best thing was the salt-grilled oxtail. Oooh. They gave me lots of beer and umeshu.

It was really funny, they didn't think I could understand Japanese 'cause I don't speak so well, and so I could understand what they were saying. They're all really nice, and they kept telling me 'this is the number one single at Chikusui High School! Isn't he cute' and they would tell the guy in Japanese "she's lonely, go talk to her" and it was pretty funny and I had to keep from laughing. Then some other teachers from my school came and one was pretty cute and I was talking to him, and the teachers were like "He's a double. No single. This is the only single." And it was hilarious. So I had a lot of fun talking half in Japanese and half in English with all the nice teachers. They assured me that Japanese people are very shy until you get to know them, and I was very happy to hear that, that i'm not crazy or repulsive.

After we went to another teacher's house and his wife was an English teacher and I talked to her for a long time. She's super nice and we had fun, she poked a little fun at her husband being drunk and we discussed the dialect of the area. That's my greatest obstacle now to understanding Japanese here. I can understand some people who speak normal Japanese but people who speak the local dialect are difficult to understand. For example, the normal "nani wo shimasu ka" becomes "namba shiyou to" and it's super confusing.

Unfortunately I'm experiencing gastrointestinal distress today. I wonder if it's due to the raw meat. I hope it's just that i'm not used to eating weird stuff.

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Date:2003-10-07 23:28

What do y'all think about Arnold as Guv'nah? I'm gonna tell my kids tomorrow, see what they think.

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Date:2003-10-07 23:03
Subject:I'm Ba-ack...

I'm really sorry i haven't been keeping in touch- I'm a horrible person, or at least as bad as Brian. I did see him in Japan, by the way. I've been very, very busy here. I'm basically running the classes, and I have five classes twice a week. It doesn't seem like much but i'm grading papers and stuff all the time. I also inherited an apartment that was completely bare because my predescesor lived in his wife's apartment. So I've been buying furniture and appliances in my spare time. The only free time I seem to have is in school, but I can't use the internet there very often, and the weird Japanese keyboards throw me off.

My email changed, and I've lost many email addresses in the move. My new email addy is the same as my ucdavis one, but @yahoo.com. I'm gonna be sending out postcards soon, so if you want a cheesy Kurume tourist postcard, please email me your address.

The kids are for the most part really great. My school is a vocational school, with five majors. The top two, Culinary arts and social welfare, are the best in the region. Then there is agriculture and they are pretty good. The biology and Japanese gardening majors are the easiest high school classes to get into in the region, and that is reflected in the wild behavior and rampant napping that goes on in that class. It's like pulling teeth to get anything done. They either all sleep or all run around and yell and hide under desks and pretend to jump out of windows. And they like to practice english by asking me if I 'like penis' or 'know their motherfucking name'. But I know they are not bad kids, for the most part, just crazy. They are nice to me despite their apathy for learning. And I blow all my chances to appear authoritarian because whenever they say something really rude (and I don't think they know HOW rude they are, well, maybe they do) I find it so funny I just burst out laughing. They don't know ANY english. I wonder what they are doing in their English class? I teach oral communication, and they don't understand anything at all. The top two classes are VERY good, the bottom three really don't understand english at all.

But the top two classes are so much fun. They get into everything and they are so enthusiastic. Games are always fun, and they always want to ask questions and participate. And sometimes students from the culinary arts major give me cookies they've made. Sooooo good. But even the guys in the good class are crazy. I was walking back to the office after cleaning, and one of the guys smacked another one on the bottom, and I started cracking up. I did it really quietly, but one of them noticed. So, the next day during cleaning they were doing all kinds of crazy shit. But I was trying to weed, which was the work, so I kept hearing them saying 'darn, she's not looking', but finally they were like 'look!' and one of them grabbed the other one's ass. And of course I started cracking up, it was funny! They're so weird! And then they tried to get me to do it, but I told them they were crazy.

The best parts about Japan:
1) non stop partying. We keep going out, it's expensive! They have these all you can drink and eat things, and I keep going to people's parties, and I have to buy beer...
2) Japanese TV is hilarious even when I can't understand it. Most of the time.
3) My apartment. It's so cute! I'll post pictures someday.

The worst parts:
1) The spiders. They're HUGE. I hate them. They're freaky and they run at you and they're as big as my hand.
2) Stuff is kinda expensive.
3)Well, I gotta bike to school 7km. That's okay, good workout, but it's getting cold.

Well, gotta go.

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Date:2003-07-28 11:12
Subject:Tourists in Hawaii

Nick came to visit for a week so I got to play tourist. It was really fun, and really good, to be able to sightsee before I leave for Japan.

He got in at 4:40pm on Sunday, after a five-hour plane delay, and having to spend the night in the Oakland airport. He slept from the time he got to my house to the next morning.

Monday we went to Hanauma bay and snorkeled all day. It was great, the Moana and the Uhu were huge, and I was very hungry. On the way back we got Gina’s Korean plate lunch. For dinner we drove to a Central Oahu baseball game, which my brother's team won because the lights went out at ten and they were ahead. They went on to win the Hawaii World Series. There was a potluck with lots of Chinese food, and Nick saved the day by covering a sprinkler with an upside-down cooler. We got back really late.

Tuesday we went hiking. First we Manoa Falls hike, which is a nice gravel path through the rainforest, ending at a waterfall. Then we drove to Tokiya's for bento lunch, and walked around Ala Moana while we waited for my brother to get off work. We picked him up, ate, and he drove us to the top of my mountain where we did a hike that took a little over three hours. It went over the ridges and all the way down to Manoa Valley. It was really cool, sometimes the path was a foot wide. The hike was full of Ohia and Strawberry Guava trees, and we tried some. We walked from the end of the hike to Manoa Marketplace, and shared some manapua and jung. Nick really seemed to like the manapua. My parents took us to Paesano, and that was really, really good.

Wednesday we went to Happy Days Chinese restaurant and I introduced Nick to dim sum. I really like that place. Then I drove to Chinatown and we looked at all the weird fruits, and I bought some Lichee. We also went to the fish markets and looked at all the huge and unusual fish for sale. Like Nohu, the devil scorpionfish. Eww. Then we went to the swap meet, and spent a few hours buying gifts for people. I got a bunch of stuff for people I’d meet in Japan, and he got things for people back in California. I got a bunch of Hawaii beach towels, calendars, and 48 shell leis, I hope that's enough for all the kids. I also got something nice for Yurika, I really hope I get to see her! On the way home we took the H3, which was very scenic. We ate at L&L, and then proceeded to drive to the North Shore on Kam Highway. It was a long, pretty drive, and he got to see all the famous beaches. We stopped off at Waimea, and watched people jump off the rock. On the way home we got meat jun from Dong Yang, the best on the island.

Thursday morning we ate Japanese breakfast and Victoria Inn, which is one of my favorite things. Then we looked around Waikiki a little, at the hotels and beaches. After finishing packing, we headed to Bellows AFS to camp. After we got the tent set up, we went bodysurfing until six. I got to play with fire, and we grilled BBQ chicken, teriyaki corn, eggplant, and tried to cook some potatoes, but failed miserably. I ate a LOT of smores. Later we went crabbing on the beach, just to look at them.

We woke up late Friday morning, and got a fire started to boil water for oatmeal. However, as soon as we finished we found the oatmeal was rancid, full of bugs and bug feces. We had to throw it away, and even the birds wouldn’t touch it. We ate papaya, yogurt and trail mix. Then I checked out and we drove near the jetty to look at sea turtles and body surf and boogie board more. There were tons of Man o war but we didn’t get stung. After swimming and playing in the sand we ate our leftover food, and headed back home.
That night we went to a bon dance. It was really nice, with Japanese women in dance clubs, wearing kimono, and kids and local guys dancing. We ate andagi and other bon dance snacks.

Saturday morning we parked at outrigger and went to the aquarium. It was really neat, I hadn’t been there in a while. I especially liked the sea dragons. There was an exhibit on popular food fishes. It included Kumu, Menpachi, and Moana. But it said that Moana were protected by state law! That’s news to me, and my dad, when I asked him. Argh, but they taste so good! After seeing all those fish, I was hungry, so we went to Kozo to eat sushi. It’s cheap and high quality. That day, however, the girl in training was making them, and she put WAY to much wasabi. It was pretty funny. Then I drove to the Kahala Mandarin to look at the dolphins. They were really cute. That night was had dinner at the Outrigger Canoe Club for my Popo’s birthday. So the Chinese side of my family got to meet Nick. The food was really, really good.

Sunday we got up early and went to the Ward Farmers Market, to buy Hawaiian food. It was so good. He liked everything except the poi, but he still ate it. Then we drove to the airport, and waited in unbelievable lines for the ag inspection, ticketing, and finally security check. We got there a bit before 10:30, and we got to the security check area a little before 12:30. And apparently, his necklace set the machine off, so they had to pat him down. He must have barely made it. I miss him more than I thought I would.

I went to the play ‘On Dragonfly Wings’ which was a really nice play by Lisa Matsumoto. The singing was excellent. Well, I guess my vacation is over, and now I gotta pack, and tidy up all loose ends here.

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Date:2003-07-10 03:28

I just finished packing and I've cleaned all I can. I can't believe I waited until the last minute, it was terribly frustrating. I didn't get as much done as I wanted to, and all my suitcases are over the weight limit. Tracey said it's okay to leave stuff, but I left a LOT of stuff. Nick said he'd clean up after me, but I really don't want him doing that. I'll do what I can in the next half hour, but then I have to wake Nick up and go to the airport. So in half an hour I leave 2700 forever. It's odd, I really like this place. But I think I'll miss people more than things and places. Well, I guess I don't have time for nostagia, I have a lot still to do, and very little time. I can't say it enough- I don't know what i'd have done without Nick. I mean, maybe I wouldn't have put things off as long, but I still would have a terrible time of it without at least moral support. The other set of arms helps too. Ta ta California.

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Date:2003-07-06 01:25
Subject:Garage Sale
Mood: tired

Been so freakin' busy cleaning and cooking all the rest of my food and having a garage sale. Made spaghetti sauce from scratch and all this chinese food and chocolate mochi and malasadas, and luckily I had people to give the food away to.

Garage sale was more work that I thought it would be, what with the moving all the crap that was left behind and getting everything out. The garage was a mess, now it's nice. But the actual selling part is pretty boring, just sitting all day, waiting. The selling point of my garage sale is 'lots of free stuff'. Free cleaning supplies, provided by my dear friends from the dorms, free hangars, and free random goodies that people left behind.

Lots of weird stuff goes on at garage sales. Like the baby that threw up on the couch, and I had to clean it while the other kid from that family tore apart my closet organizer. And they just bought a five dollar lamp and took most of the hangars, all the cleaning supplies, and a bunch of other free stuff. But at least they paid all in quarters, which gave me much needed change. I met some interesting people. I can tell they go to garage sales as a hobby. Sounds like a fun hobby, for a pack rat like me. And argh! Those jerks from next door again! They came over and broke the scale, muttered something about owing money for it (I just shruged) said they wanted to buy the bike and left. And I waited half an hour for them to come back, thinking they were going to get money, I mean they live ten feet away. But it appears they not only have no idea how to park, but can't act like courteous human beings either. So I pulled down the garage covering at 5:30. It was hot, and kinda boring, and I fell asleep sitting up by accident. I read this book on asian immigration, and it was really interesting. Damn! I can tell the author is biased, like those 'currents' people, but asians really did go through a lot of horrific shit in the very recent past. I had no idea. I thought it was a long time ago and all these people were just playing the victim. I really am sheltered, growing up in Hawaii. But I still do think that it is time to move on. The author refers to asians as the pariah class a lot in her book. I wonder if the magazine founder took the same class as Kevin? I borrowed the book from him, from some asian studies class. Very interesting.

Need to sleep and wake up early to go to weapons, then bike like a madwoman back and open the garage sale. Slashing prices like mad tomorrow. Shit, I just wanna get rid of my stuff. As long as the TV, my bike, and the PS1 goes, I'll be happy.

Nick went home for his father's birthday. To be completely honest, I was a little concerned that living with him might not be the best idea. Just from past experience. But I've actually really enjoyed myself. I do a lot of cooking and cleaning, but i'd be doing that anyway. And he's really helpful. It seems these weeks passed so quickly.

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Date:2003-06-25 17:21
Subject:Lazy and Busy
Mood: lethargic

Cleaning my room, to the Goblet of Fire audiobook. Soooo lazy, but must clean, must throw out most of my stuff. Hmm.. anybody interested in some furniture, a TV and a computer? I'm gonna do a garage sale later I guess. I STILL need to get rid of all my fansub tapes, I gotta find some member of DAC to donate it to or something.

Regarding Order of the Phoenix- May be a spoiler, dunno... The bad thing that happens - I don't believe it. It seems obvious, at least to me, that it's a Gandalf-like ploy.

I keep forgetting what happened in a fanfic and what really did, because I find a lot of similarities between fanfics and the real book. It's odd. I'm happy to say that the slash genre has much fodder from this book. Even more than when Ron was what Harry would 'most sorely miss'. Hee hee.

Room.. so.. filthy.. must.. clean...

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Date:2003-06-23 03:49
Subject:Random Awesome Stuff
Mood: ecstatic

Disneyland was awesome! I'm surprised at myself. I'll write more later but it's late. I drove over 100 miles by myself, on the highway on the mainland! Stupid Nick was not impressed, but that was a great feat for a Hawaii girl. The drive was fun! Everything you hear about road trips is bull. Well, as long as there is no timetable to follow.

I learned that I'll be living in a three room with kitchen and bathroom apartment, for 13000 yen a month. That's frickin' awesome! In Kurume, which I haven't had the chance to look up yet. My contact in Japan, who I'll be replacing, is awesome! He's super funny! And he writes all British! He's from South Africa.

Speaking of British things, I got Order of the Phoenix today! It's quite good thus far. I'm so glad I got into the HP thing late, I did not wait as long as everyone else for the next installment. I think her writing is getting better. I'm not even half done with it, and I've been reading for five hours!

Watched a bunch of Sex and the City. That series is incredibly funny, and I've found a new role model in Samantha.

On a less happy note, we left Brenna in LA. It's weird, I keep thinking she's gone for the summer, but her room is so bare. Meg's gone for a while, she went home to enjoy her mom's cooking. Jen leaves tomorrow at noon. So it'll just be me and Diana in the house. But by the last two weeks of my stay, everyone will be gone. It's just really easy for me not to think about things. We've had incredibly fun times here, and everyone says that college is the best time of your life. But I refuse to believe that. I think anytime can be the best time of your life, if you put out the effort. And I know we'll keep in touch and I know i'll see them again. So I'm not depressed at all, just nostalgic. Haha and we said we'd go to Disneyland again together with our kids in ten years or so. But I won't have kids. 'Cause I'm gonna be like Samantha. Okay back to reading OotP.

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Date:2003-06-18 02:34
Mood: okay

Well, i'll be missing Fanime. My roomates just decided on the spur of the moment to take a road trip to Disneyland. It'll be fun. I don't particularly care for Disneyland but I can laugh at Jen so I'll enjoy myself. We'll be there until Saturday. I don't think it's worth it to go for Sunday, because the con ends at five and all the good stuff is usually on Saturday and Friday. So I made three costumes for nothing. I'll just take one of them to Japan and go to a con there, I bet they have great ones there.

The tour was actually fun, though I was very embarrassed. Most of the kids didn't pay attention anyway. My brother asked the most questions. I was really surprised when I saw him, he's HUGE! Not any taller, but he lifts at Outrigger every day he says. He slouches, and his arms don't touch his sides, sort of like, well, a gorilla. But he does it because he's so frickin' broad. They all seem to be having fun on the tour. I hope I can convince someone to come to Davis, I really like Davis.

Internet works again! I think we confused the hub by plugging and unplugging stuff all day.

Oh shit, I gotta get up in five hours. Good thing I'm not driving.

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Date:2003-06-16 23:50
Mood: cheerful

Well, I finished commencement. It was kinda boring, and the chancellor is a rather poor speaker, and the commencement speaker spent most of his time telling us to donate money to the university. But it was exciting. I got to go to all the graduations, and actually found most people and gave them leis.

Went to Napa on Sunday. That was really fun. We drove around the beautiful vineyards. Beringer was really nice, their wine was good and there was a tunnel of trees and also a German-style house. We also went to the Fransciscan, and sampled 50 dollar wines, free with a cupon. That was fun.

Today we went to Lake Tahoe. We drove around it, and it was really nice, and clear. I found some gold flakes in the water and fished it out. It was fun. I don't think it's real gold, though, probably pyrite. We gambled a little on the Nevada side, and I won a dollar in nickels and three dollars in quarters.

Something happened which distubed me. At a scenic point where there were trails, a guy jumped out from a side path and started talking to me. And usually I'm really friendly but instead I was wary and kind of abrupt. When I was leaving I saw he had a bunch of silver and turquoise jewelry; he was trying to sell things. Usually I'm really nice to people who are nice to me, but this time I reacted with suspicion. I don't like it. I know what it is, it's this stupid exercise i'm doing for aikido, it makes me wary of people. I don't want to be like that, I don't want to be suspicious of everyone. I mean, I guess it's really naiive to trust everyone, but I like living like that, like talking to anyone who talks to me. Lots of people ignore anyone who seems a little 'sketchy' but you learn a lot of interesting things and have a lot of fun when you trust people and are nice to them. I don't want to be one of those people who don't trust anyone. It's a reason I'm doing aikido, so I can live how I want but be able to deal with the consequences of my actions if need be. I guess I'll have to find some middle ground.

Anyway, Tahoe was gorgeous. It was weird seeing the ski slopes all grassy. The mountains are really nice, they're different from the mountains at home, more solid rock of a different kind. There are lots of cute natural bonsai on the cliff faces. I'd like to kayak on Tahoe someday.

Arrgh! My internet isn't working! This better not continue for long or i'll go insane. Or i'll just steal Brenna's connection, which I am doing now.

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Date:2003-06-13 02:26
Subject:Yay! I'm Graduating!
Mood: excited

Well, I'm currently printing out my senior project, which I will turn in tomorrow. Unfortunately my printer is possessed by something really pissy. I don't understand but it keeps on trying to feed paper out, I unplug and replug, and it just continues.. but does not print. I am at a loss.

But it's DONE! I turn it in tomorrow. I'm graduating!! For reals! On Saturday, at 2! It was not certain until this moment. I know I passed all the classes I needed to.

I'm girding up for an all-nighter.. but it's a stress free one. I just checked, and I don't need ochem 118c to graduate. I'm just taking it for the vet school that I may not end up going to. Perhaps I'm too irresponsible to ever make anything of myself. I just finished telling loads of stories about how I skip class and miss/am late to finals. But everything seems to work out. Anyway, basically, I just took the worlds most difficult elective class. Why did I do that? I don't know. But pride is making me study.

The final did not prevent me from having fun, though. I hung out with the freshmen for a while, went to a party. Flaming Jesus! That looked cool, I wonder if it was as good as everyone said? After, bought them 'presents' (What kind of presents? I take the fifth!) and said goodbye. I probably won't see them again. But I'll probably IM them if I can get their screen names from Nick. And if Jordan keeps posting, I'll keep in touch that way. Strange. I hung out with them for such a short time, but I had great fun. Ichi go ichi e.

Salsa night was fun! Did not buy expensive drinks, but danced a lot and got tired. I really don't get salsa dancing, but it was aerobic. Meg saw her French teacher, and danced with him! It was hilarious! Certain people were soooooo cute!

Argh.. eating my old teahouse and studying now. Parents come tomorrow. After 8am tomorrow.. i'll be done with undergraduate work forever. (knock on wood)

Wow. I'm so fortunate I know exactly what comes next.. most people don't.. and in a year I won't. Living in a foreign country is nowhere as scary and plunging into an uncertain job market. But I'm just procrastinating now.

Woo! I'm graduating!

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Date:2003-06-11 22:07
Subject:Senior Project is no more!
Mood: hopeful

Turned in my part of the senior project, final draft! Hopefully everything went well with my partner. I didn't get any emergeny calls and the deadline is an hour past, so I am hopeful.

Final tomorrow, then o-chem 8am Friday. And everyone is done tomorrow! They'll all party, and I'll still be studying. Actually, I'm going to party too, then regret it. But anyway.

COME TO THE GRAD TOMORROW FOR SALSA NIGHT!!! If ya wanna. Everyone in our house is going. It will be great fun. I'll probably leave early. But they're gonna get drunk and have fun. I'm gonna get drunk and memorize ochem formulae.

I already know i'm doing poorly and I will regret wasting a night of fun more than I will getting a lousy grade in a weeder course I don't care about. I know that I have a UC Davis passing grade so I'll be fine. Woo! Let's par-tay!

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Date:2003-06-10 00:10
Subject:Busy but still happy
Mood: busy

Got the final revision information for my senior project. So I just gotta do all this shit and i'll be fine. Got a whole lotta other shit due too but don't wanna think about it.

Argh, Sensei told everyone about the 'game'. But I said that i'd bake people cookies instead of buying them coffee. Because coffee is bad for you. But I didn't say what KIND of cookies. Maybe they'll be sawdust cookies. Or Argentinian Ant cookies.

First day at the new dojo, the dance room near the experimental college. I like it, it's small but has a fan. I did like doing aikido to the music of the dancers, though. And I miss watching the kendo people and then talking to the kung fu people after. I don't know why, I but I think I know people from every martial arts group on campus. Well, now I don't have to pay fees over the summer, to do aikido.

Did iaido today by the silo. Damn, I really suck, but it's great fun!

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Date:2003-06-09 00:18
Mood: refreshed

Passed the test,so I'm fifth Kyu now. Sensei kinda promised to test me for fourth before I leave, so I better work hard. So I have rank! The Hawaii dojo people won't be mad at me anymore! Yay!

First final was a bust. Ah well. I'll blame it on Senior-itis. I hope the grad schools buy that.

More bitchy speculation: I had really, really bad cramps. They made it difficult for me to walk. I notice I get bad cramps when my period comes late.

Ha! Note to self: don't EVER conversationally mention "My period was late" to your boyfriend. They tend not to hear the 'was'. And despite the fact the faces they make are VERY amusing, they tend not to appreciate it.

Sensei said I was too relaxed during my test. As a result, he's ordered everyone else in class to 'jump' me whenever possible. Some people appear to be enjoying this too much. Some people also appear to be double teaming me. So I gotta stand with my back to the wall and let other people walk in front of me. And basically just AVOID Rick 'cause he's nuts. And I'll probably just stop hanging out with Nick, Jordan and the rest of the gang altogether.

Today, practice was interesting. We got through sansho part three, it's a cool kata. Urgh, but I broke Sensei's jo that I was borrowing during the head-bash move, and didn't notice until I sliced my hand up doing a tsuki. And of all things he gave me Chiba-Sensei's jo to use. I tried to say no, for fear i'd break that too, but I had to use it. So I basically bled all over the length of Chiba-Sensei's jo, since Sansho has all those flips and tsukis. After practice I was trying to wipe it all off without anyone noticing, but you can't put water on weapons because it's bad for them, so I used my fingernails, and it was really embarrassing and I REALLY hope I got it all because that's really, really gross.

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Date:2003-06-05 03:55
Subject:Aikido Test
Mood: discontent

I was talking about the shit I have to do this week and how much time they take up. For some reason everyone else in my house is cruising, going to the pool, and watching movies. I was saying how i have my take home final, my senior project, and my aikido test. And they all laughed at the last one, saying 'well, you can put that off'.

That bothers me. Honestly, doing well on the aikido test means more to me than a research project that yeilded no surprising results, that I have to get over with just to graduate, and a BS essay I have to write. I plan to do aikido for the rest of my life. I'm heading to Japan in the next few months, where aikido is much more hard core, and rank is very important. Not having a rank is tantamount to rudeness in Japan, where the society needs to classify people to know how to treat them. Yeah that doesn't sound very nice, but that's how it is. I need to obtain rank to reflect the three years and countless hours I have put into my training. I need to show Sensei and the kouhai that I haven't wasted his or my time.

So I don't understand why people can just brush it off like that. It's the same thing as a 'big game' if I were to play sports. Yet it's also like any written test, since I have to memorize techniques and the order of a bunch of kata.

This is my first test in three years of aikido. According to the Hawaii dojo, that's unheard of. So it just means I have to do very well, to catch up.

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Date:2003-06-04 04:16
Subject:Shit Week
Mood: intimidated

It's shit week alright. Field notebook (cumulative record of labs for the quarter) due wednesday. Of course I haven't kept up. So I just did it ALL. Take home final on Thursday. Senior project due Friday. Woo! I wanna try and stick fun in there somewhere but I dunno if I can.

I did start learning the steel sword last sunday! Iaido! Awesomeness! It's a lot harder than it looks, and I think it looks hard. Urgh, testing Friday, I SO won't be in shape for it. I'll be mentally burned out and gone without sleep for a while.

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