Japan Pictures

Hey! So for anyone who wants to see ALL of the pictures I’ve been taking… I uploaded them all to a web account: Picasa, so you all could see where I am and things.

That way if I don’t post on time (and I’m sure I won’t) you can see the pictures I have.

The address is here: http://picasaweb.google.com/yayduocake

It’s probably easier to use than Facebook too.

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June 25, 2009. photos. Leave a comment.

Nagoya & Yakiniku

The next day, we’re all going to Nagoya and we’re waiting for yet ANOTHER Shinkansen to take us from Toyokawa to Nagoya station where we’re meeting our old T.A. for the class, Chiaki-sensei, who lives in Nagoya! The first hurdle is the trains. CIMG1579

Suzuki-sensei goes with one group to a far end of a very long platform and we get stuck with….Anna. And then she makes the best choice possible for a T.A. she gets on the first train and says: “Get on the next one.” and leaves us.

Okay.

So Katie, Oliver and I are stuck in the station waiting for a Shinkansen that we’re pretty sure will say “Nagoya” like the one that left before we could catch it… but the next one says “Shin-Osaka.” And we all think: “Wait, that’s not where we want to go. Let’s wait for the one going to Nagoya. We don’t know if that’s the one we want.”

Anna gets on the Shin-Osaka one because obviously the logical thought when reading a destination that is different than the intended one, is to get on that train and ASSUME it goes to the place you want. Katie, Oliver, and I immediately realize that Anna and her other group are no longer at the station. We call Sensei, Anna gets irrationally pissed at us. We, naturally, get equally as pissed at Anna.

We missed meeting Chiaki-sensei at a shopping center called Oasis 21. It’s also where, apparently, a Shounen Jump store is – the one store I wanted to find – but we can’t go because we’ve wasted all of our time waiting for the next train. It’s also where the Pokemon Center is located in Nagoya. The one place KATIE wanted to go. Suzuki-sensei could care less that we were late…Anna throws the most dramatic hissy fit I’ve ever seen in a 21-year-old. In more possitive events, while we were looking for the right subway, Suzuki-sensei asks this attractive dude how to get there and he LEGIT walks us to the station. On the way she insists he speak to us (Katie and I) in Japanese and we talk to him about why we’re interested in Japan.

When I told her later I thought he was attractive, she said: “You should’ve told me! I would’ve gotten his information!” Oh, Suzuki-sensei. Always setting people up! Gotta look for the high points!

We hit Nagoya (finally) with Suzuki-sensei (who waited for us at the station) and everyone (who got there on TIME) tells us how FUN Oasis 21 was and you should’ve seen it! It’s too bad you missed it! Katie, Oliver and I get 10x more pissed off.

We go to a tonkatsu place. This is breaded and fried pork, something Nagoya is famous for! I’m not a huge fan. If it’s not done right, the meat is dry and while Japan is probably the one place to try tonkatsu, I’d rather eat something else. But the food I had was beef and it was really good! I got put in a group with Alfonso and Sarah who both speak Japanese but Fonz is a level one student, and Sarah gets nervous about using the language so I get to tackle translating the waiter so everyone can order something they’ll eat! It went pretty well! CIMG1587

Next we go to ANOTHER shopping street that I can’t remember the name of…this place wasn’t that exciting but at the end when I was buying a gift the woman running the shop started talking to me about where I was from and who I was buying things for, what I was doing in Japan. It was nice, I really love talking to people in Japan.

It starts to rain like crazy (some more) and we go to Nagoya Castle! It’s REALLY cool if you haven’t seen any of the other Japanese castles…there’s a HUGE park around it with a tea house and beautiful gardens…and an old tower that you can walk through…the castle was destroyed by U.S. bombs, so it’s been restored into a museum about Nagoya Castle history, but the view from the top is VERY cool and worth a look. There are also Noh plays performed in the park, Noh plays are Japanese plays that are USUALLY about ghosts or old Japanese stories like Tale of Genji or something… I didn’t see one but I’m told they’re pretty boring… CIMG1620

Last, but CERTAINLY my favorite part of the day…we leave Chiaki-sensei and head back to Toyokawa for something Japanese people call “Genghis Khan” or “Yakiniku.” What it is, is a restaurant with giant tables with a grill in the middle (not like hibachi, but think like outdoor BBQ in the middle of a table…) and the waiters bring out plates and plates of meat that you grill to your liking, add the sauce you want and eat. It’s called “Genghis Khan” because of the “all you can eat” aspect of it. You can order other things too, of course, but all I wanted was the meat.

DE. LIC. IOUS. Yakiniku was by far my favorite thing we’d done in Japan up to that point. I ate with Suzuki-sensei’s nieces and her sister and it was fabulous…but be impressed, I tried tongue AND intestine. Tongue is good…intestine is disgusting. Very fun. Suzuki-sensei’s family is really cute and really nice!! I wish we could have spent more time with them! CIMG1636

June 25, 2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Shinkansen & Toyokawa

These posts are super late. I’ve been really busy and traveling all over Japan, so I’ll fill you in on what I’ve been doing since my post from Harajuku!!

After Harajuku (and I’m talking next day here) we take the Shinkansen. (Which, in my opinion, is the most irritating and expensive way to travel, but also extremely convenient when traveling through Japan…) I ate my first bento made up entirely of meat and rice (Delicious.) and for those of you who don’t know~ Bento is the Japanese word for “lunchbox.” Bento’s for all those business men who have to ride the Shinkansen at all hours of the day to get to and from their jobs but don’t have enough time to sit down and enjoy a meal. For what they are, they’re pretty good, but they’re the best if they’re homemade. CIMG1561

We hit Toyokawa in a more southern city, Nagoya, where my teacher grew up, and checked in to the hotel. The Shinkansen ride was really long but we saw a lot of scenery (rice patties) and ACTUALLY we all saw Mt. Fuji from the window!! This is rare because Mt. Fuji is almost always covered in clouds because it’s so high up! We had perfect conditions for seeing it!! I didn’t get a picture because we were moving too fast, though…

That night, we had to present our projects to an English class… I did mine on New York City because Japanese people LOOOVE NYC. But when I got there I got SO. NERVOUS. that I did like…the worst ever on my project. By this point, our T.A. was starting on her power trip, where she decided that we were all her “kids” and that she had to “take care of us” if by taking care of us she meant treating us like 5 year olds and pretending she was God’s gift to the Japanese language. Now picture this girl bragging about her language abilities to people born…in Japan. Good stuff.

CIMG1565 Regardless of how my project went, the people were VERY friendly and LOVED talking to us. They spoke English and we spoke Japanese. It was really fun, and the food was pretty good…but I have to say, I ate some weird tofu soup thing that was the grossest thing I’ve ever slurped into my mouth. It was like tofu yogurt in soy sauce. Gross.

The fish was really good though. Sashimi is my favorite! The people we ate with were really cute, the girl sitting next to me REALLY liked Disney and the guy who came over to sit with me was really friendly. Everyone kept saying he was sexually harassing everyone though… He wasn’t! Haha! CIMG1570

It was a long day! But after bombing the presentation, it was nice to prove to the English class that I wasn’t a COMPLETE moron. They were very good with English, by the way!

June 24, 2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.