JAPAN daily's

Sunday with the Hagio’s

Today was fantastic! It was a sunday with the Hagio family, they are so wonderful. We all slept in and then had a great Japanese breakfast and then went on a family outting to Yokohama (again), only today it was a different part of the city. It was raining pretty hard so we stayed inside for most of the day, browsing shops and such. Tomorrow is TaiChi’s birthday so we were also looking for a present for him. He finally chose to go to a teddy bear factory and stuff a green dinosaur. The Hagio family suprised me and bought me these Japanese books that i was going to buy for myself! (drum roll pleeease) Erika will attempt…. to learn Japanese! I found these books that kindergardeners in Japan usually use, and also a Lonely Planet book for reference. They keep telling me that i should try speaking more japanese because when i DO, i pronounce it perfectly. So i need to quit being a wimp and speak up some more!

Tomorrow is october first!! wow, summer came and went, didnt it? Also, tomorrow i need to call Ucchy, who lives in Chiba in a beach town, to plan out when i will be visiting him. I believe it should be the 12th or 13th… Gota told me that Ucchy is going to cook for me too. Yay!

Speaking of food, tonight we had the nicest dinner in Yokohama. They took me to this very nice restaurant for traditional soup. It was a thick chicken broth with chicken, but the waitress (i’m sure thats not what theyre called in Japan) would keep coming out with new things to add to the soup every time we had a bowl of the one before. So the broth came out on a portable gas stove and she would add chicken, then noodles, then vegetables, then tofu. and it was so good! Japanese food is so good and so much better for you. The quality is SO, so much better than American food (even if you think you eat well in America) that they can almost eat as much food as they want without getting fat. I would venture to say that the largest people here are considered only slightly above normal in the US. Everything sweet has less than half the sugar (and tastes much better!) and all of their food is low in fat.

Today i figured out something very specific about the Japanese: they have a very deep-rooted sense of how delicate life is. I really want to go into detail about that tomorrow so i’m going to sleep on it and give a full response about what i mean by that.

Happy October everyone!

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JAPAN daily's

Lost in Translation…

...has taken on a whole new meaning to me. The phrase rings with such TRUTH!! Today i was lost all day. ALL DAY. well, not all day because in the beginning Michi helped me get to Yokohama, and we walked around and she helped me get a cell phone (japan knows how to make cell phones!) and then i became the object of attention for an entire group of japanese girls that are in Nana`s english class, it was so adorable.

 Anyway, Michi left me to explore Yokohama by myself while she took her children to their guitar lessons. We were planning on meeting back up at 9pm in Yokohama, but my cell phone had complications and died. So then, while i was trying sooo hard to prove my brilliance, I accidentally got on the wrong train and took myself an hour in the opposite direction, straight into downtown Shinjuku (which is a veryyyy wild amazing crazy part of Tokyo) and then clear out of Tokyo before i could get off the train. And dont you dare shake your head at me because how could i have known i was heading in the wrong direction before they said SHINJUKU? But im not here to defend myself, jeeeeze.

So YAS… that was my crazy day in a nutshell and i LOVED every, single, minute of it.

 I ordered `ko-hee` at Starbucks, i bought myself some yummy_licious rice and i navigated my way out of quite a kunundrum on a tight timeline.

Taichi, (im almost sure thats how you spell his name). He is the little boy of Gota and Michiyo Hagio, the family that im staying with, and he is THE CUTEST LITTLE BOY IN THE WORLD. Listen folks, im serious. His sixth birthday is on monday and he makes up songs that rhymes with my name throwing in the phrases ‘oh babyy’ and ‘yummylicious’. In a very cute way, im just very impressed with how much character this little 6 year old possesses. Its so charming its actually inspiring. something strange just happened to the text and i have no idea what, so i think i might call it a night. ITs reeeeally late here, like 2 thirty in the morning. by the way, jet lag has had no effect on me. i slept in this morning and i havent felt tired at all! but hopefully i didnt speak too soon. love you guys,

erika

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JAPAN daily's

First day in JAPAN

Ive been up for more than 24 hours stright, so i may have to make this a bit short. partly because im tired, and mostly because i think that i smell really bad and i just want to shower and go to bed! Also, please dont mind the poor punctuation, i cant find a lot of the proper buttons on this keyboard.

 SO! verrry long flight, i never freaked out even once. Im talking about all day i remained calm. It was all very smooth and easy. Very humid in Tokyo, Koya picked me up at NArita Airport and we drove to Gota HAgios house on the opposite side of tokyo, more in rural Japanese country side. Apparently were very close to the ocean, but i wouldnt know because Koya and i got caught in Tokyo traffic, the kind that is from all of the people who are going home from work… i know it has a special name but i cant even think right now at all. Anyway, when we arrived and hour and a half late to Hagios there was an amazing sushi dinner waiting for us. Im talking better than any sushi in sonoma, right here in this young womans kitchen. The family is adorable, im having a blast with them. tomorrow im going to english class and guitar lessons with them, im excited to get a good nights sleep so that my brain will actually function when im around them!

so this is my quick update, i felt it was necessary. i’ll right more details with better grammar and syntax once i hit the tatami mat. i’d just like to add that im very proud of myself for actually getting here in once piece and panic-free.

Japan rules, and Tokyo is just…. its left me speechless for today. maybe i’ll come up with something to say tomorrow, but basically these next 2 months are going to kiss some serious ass.

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Pre-Japan Daily's

Farewell my people

I almost just came on here to erase some things I said in earlier posts that may hurt some people. But, I decided not to since my goal with this blog is to write the truth. I think thats what writers are: seekers of truth.

So today is my last day in the USA! I went to the city with my dad this morning. He’s been making fun of the new shoes I bought, calling me a “dork” and that I looked like an old person or a nurse in them. But we walked past a window display in Union Square today and the manequins were wearing my shoes! It was great. Then I had a wonderful lunch with Anita and saw the Baldry’s house that is nearly finished!! Lookin’ FAB-U-LAS, I have to say… it looks like I’m moving in with them when i get back. 😉 Then my mom put together a wonderful dinner!

I’ve been very spacey today, probably since I’ve got a whole lot goin’ on in my head. Its hard to be social when your all up in your own head, thinking about things. Its especially difficult since what people want most from you during days like today is for you to be social. They want to spend time with you, have some good laughs, light conversation but it can be hard to focus on that when theres the overwhelming thought: ‘I leave on a plane for Japan tomorrow morning and I wont come back for 2 months.’ Of course, I then realize that it’s important to live in the present. So when I think about that, I relax a bit to whats going on around me… absorb the moments with my friends and family before I take off. And I had a wonderful last-evening. My mom cooked tacos for the Baldry girls, Ms. Leah and myself and then we had root beer floats to top it off, I couldnt have asked for a better night.

After everyone left my Mom expressed her unhappy thoughts about me keeping her distant from my plans for Japan, and her disappointment in me for not supplying her with my ‘itinerary’ or contacts or email address ect. The fact is, I don’t really have an itinerary. A few contacts, and an e-mail address but getting in touch with me via phone should be nearly impossible. Sorry Mom! The first time I approched her about Japan her reaction was less than supportive, so I kept her a bit out of the loop ever since. I admit that. Keeping her out of the loop worked because she never asked me any questions about my plans or anything, so I never took initiative. Now tonight, the night before I leave, she picked a fight with me and its just kind of upsetting. Totally like her though. Some people really don’t know how to handle feelings very well and these people are bad at goodbyes. [I thought I was bad at goodbyes! Turns out i’m not… I guess I just kind of mutter and stumble over my words.] Anyway, sometimes we have to see someone acting like that and not take it personally. It’s most often issues they have with themselves, and it’s best if we understand that sometimes the people we love don’t express their love in healthy ways. I know she was just trying to say that shes worried but excited for me and she loves me very much. I love you too Mom 🙂

IM GOING TO JAPAN TOMORROW MORNING!

And I am SO stoked!!!!!!!!!!

I’m almost all packed (you know that tedious last minute stuff?) and my dad and I are leaving tomorrow around 8:30 or 9. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD.

The next blog I post will be in Japan, now maybe my blog posts won’t be so booooring…

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Pre-Japan Daily's

This is a girly post. You’ve been warned.

I’ve been sitting in my living room all day carefully narrowing down the very small amout of clothes and other essentials that I can take. I have to tell you, I thought I would’nt have a problem with packing since I’m a notoriously light packer but goddamn! I’m having a hard time. I think I get it all in, and then i realize theres a whole other pile of stuff I forgot, a pile that I feel I need. So, I unpack it all and I talk myself into bringing less and still less, and I do it! But then I panic when I see the huge potential in the pile of things that I opted to exclude from my backpack. We’re talking potential like, ‘pajama bottoms or no pajama bottoms?’ or the potential to keep me warm once it gets really cold. Or the potential to look really hot one night in Tokyo. And then it comes to mind that I’m probably going to be losing weight and i don’t want to look like an Olsen twin when they wear all of those giant clothes that dwarf the size of their already tiny bodies, so the clothes I pack have to be a bit snug. And I have to be ready for everything from humidity to snow, and so the cycle goes.

I still need to accomplish a lot before thursday, and I can’t forget to buy an alarm clock and razors…. its these small details that can make a big difference. Then again, I’m forgeting that i can buy all of these things IN Japan!

My new Adidas came in the mail today, too. The shoes I’ll be wearing on my travels… they’re cool I guess. They feel a half size too big, although I’d love for someone to tell me they fit perfectly to put my mind at ease. I fret about things like this, it’s terrible. Shoes are important to me though, just like to any woman. Its wierd to think i’ll be wearing only 2 pairs of shoes for the next 2 months! The other is a pack-friendly pair of black flats that go with everything.

You know what else happened? I haven’t had my period since May and it decided to come TODAY. One day before I leave. And so I feel disgusting, fat, bloated, not to mention hungry and anxious and a little sick and I’m worried that I’ll be considered fat in Japan, since they’re all tiny and I read somewhere that the average Japanese woman considers herself fat if she weighs over 50kg. Thats like 110 pounds.

Soooo, these are my concerns, this is my girly post. Thanks for listening!

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Goodbye, japan, Pre-Japan Daily's, Sonoma, Starbucks, Travel

Last day at the ‘Bucks!

It felt sooo good to walk out of there today knowing i wouldnt have to walk back in for quite a while. I love that job though, i really do. I love the people, both customers and coworkers. Going to work is, for the most part, like going to spend the day with your family while your good friends come in and buy coffee from you! BUT, i decided when i get back from Japan i’m going to work there for the month of December and thats it.

I’m leaving after December anyway to go to either San Louis Obispo for school, or to London with Anne and Eleanor. I was planning on transfering to another *bucks, but NOPE! I’m sick of not being able to see or feel the light of day when i work and i no longer feel like being surrounded my pastries and milk. Its not you Starbucks, it’s me. I’m sorry… i just have to move foward with my life and i feel that youre holding me down. Can we still be friends?

I’d love to get a job thats more physical and mentally stimulating. At an outdoorsy place, working with kids, preferably away from retail and food. We shall see…

I should probably be focusing all of my thoughts on how i leave in 3 days! I feel really excited to take full advantage of every single minute in Japan. I’d love to leave knowing that not a second was waisted. I’ve been corresponding with a couple of different people that have been to or have lived in Japan and everyone gives completely different, sometimes contradictory, advice. I think its going to have to be a trip that i really make my own; take the advice with a grain of salt and create my own advice to give.

This just in: A man named Honda is picking me up at the airport and he also DRIVES A HONDA. How cool is that?

All day I’ve had the Flight of the Conchords song “The Humans Are Dead” stuck in my head. I keep randomly blurting out lyrics from the song and its made me seem like im looney: “AFFIRMATIVE. i poked one it was dead.”

check it out, the songs catchy and you’ll like it i swear 😉

,)

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Pre-Japan Daily's

Little sis is nuts-o.

It breaks my heart! I leave for Japan in 3 days and shes pushing me away so forcefully its almost difficult to comprehend. I don’t understand how someone that youre so close to can be so hurtful.

I feel like my family is broken and I’m the only one who is struggling to keep them tied together. Maybe its okay for family bonds to break. Lots of people stray from their siblings, plenty of people dread family gatherings and lead a totally seperate life from where they came from and who they came from. Maybe someday those bonds will tighten, but now doesn’t feel like a time where anyone wants to be together. At least no one acts like it!

Is this struggle to keep sisters and a family together a fight that HAS to be made? (“Till the bitter end!”) When we feel like giving up should we? or is it one that can be left to rest until people are ready to reconnect? I know that the virtuous childrens novel will tell a story to teach lessons like how you never give up on the people you love, and that family is the most important thing…. but how true is that, exactly. When it comes to simultaneously fighting for and with people you love could it be that less closeness is more constructive?

I feel like a break will do all of us some good.

I CANNOT WAIT TO GET OUT OF THIS PLACE. Its bogging me down with its animosity and anger.

Can it pleeeeease be the 27th yet????!

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