JAPAN daily's

Jimmy Buffett could write a song about this:

Alone in Paradise would be the name. Im back in the Okinawa Guest House much earlier than i anticipated due to weather conditions, and also the woman who owned the camp site kicked me out! I have no idea as to why. I was quiet, clean, respectful and i was in my tent by 7 every single night! Hmph.

Anywho, i realized that camping in paradise by oneself isnt all its cracked up to be. There was no one to enjoy the cerulean water with, the sunsets, the little lapping waves, the white sand, the cranes that would fly across in the morning and the fruit bats that would come out in the evening. I pondered the tragedy of it all and decided that it wasnt tragedy, it ws learning. Which is never tragic! I learned to always go to paradise with a lover or a friend. Take my word on that.

Its overcast in Okinawa, and light showers throughout the day… boo hoo. And im now sleeping in the girls dormitory and it makes me tired and sad because of two reasons: they stay up all night chatting like the best of friends. and 2: they stay up all night chatting like the best of friends! Im both envious and wanting quiet all at the same time.

Okinawa is fabulous though, it the closest to california that i can get, so im happy about that. Im not quite homesick but i’m feeling a little bit sick and i miss home a tad. But thats different than being homesick. Right?

I thought i bought well enough pages of english literature but i raced through those books like there was no tomorrow! And i found my love of reading again. You know, when i was a little girl i hardly talked to anyone except for my friend Jade and we would just sit and read books together constantly. Its a form of escape, but different (and much better for you) than drugs and alcohol. So im reading Pride and Prejudice again. If you had talked to me for a few days after i finished that book i would have spoken like an little, delicate English maid! I cant get that type of syntax and that proper English diction out of my head! Its quite funny, actually.

Well, im going to sign off… drop me a line if you feel like it. I would be much appreciative, for i am feeling the pangs of lonliness quite severely.

love, erika

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JAPAN daily's

”typhoon” means hurricane in Japanese

WOW. Here i sit in a reggae-peace-&-love guest house in Okinawa, its so awesome! i woke up early so that i could take pictures of the place without anyone thinking i was crazy!…. and i dont think i explained, but a guest house is like a home that someone lets you stay in. It has a few more formalities, but youre pretty much a guest in some ones house.

Before i get ahead of myself i’ll start from the beginning…

The ferry was amazing, for some reason when i hear the word ‘ferry’ i think of Will & Grace, or the boat that takes you to the Giants games… but this was more like a SHIP! I felt like i was getting on the Titanic! Pardon my elaboration, but a girl had to use her imagination in such situations to keep herself entertained… Clearly, i was no Rose Dawson since i boarded the sip with a large backpack on my shoulders, canned food in tote, and also considering that i had so share a medium sized tatami room with 7 veeery old japanese women who, i kid you not, slept for the entire ride. All 25 hours of it.

I met a german boy who may have wanted to play the roll of Jack, but i quickly fended him off, mainly because I stuffed my nose in my book the entire time. He tried to, but couldnt get a successful word to me. I know im mean but i’ve learned that i cant tolerate most boys that i meet on this trip, i might give them a fighting chance for an instant but if i dont like, i dont talk. They come off as desperate and i would much rather read Jane Austen.

So at 7 o clock last evening we docked in Naha, and i got off the ship and still didnt know where i was going to sleep that night! But when i have warm weather, i have confidence. Warm weather means if all else fails you can sleep on the beach. Alas, i didnt need to because i found my Okinawa Guest House, cared for by a reggae woman who by best friend would love. Rashell would have probably walked up to her & her friends and said ”JAH!” or something, but i was scared. I danced a little bit and went to bed early… my excuse for being a partypooper is that im alone and i must take great care of myself in the night time. you understand?

Last night was a bit scary because there is a typhoon passing just above Okiwawa, so it will be pretty windy for a few days, but no rain. I must admit it’d be pretty cool to wait-out a Typhoon in this little guest house! But scary, and im really excited to camp on the beach. Today i find my camping spot. If all goes well, its called Imbu Beach, north of Naha.

Ill write again when i can! most  likely in about a week perhaps. Maybe earlier, but no longer after that. I want to take the November 4th ferry back to Kagoshima. Love, peace and Jah,

erika

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JAPAN daily's

smokey, with a chance of falling meatballs

Right now im in the Little Asia Guest House, for 13 bucks a night. Its right next to the train tracks, but seriously its a cool place! Free internet, for one…  Its just amazing to me that i can sleep in a dedent bed, in a clean place for under 20 dollars a night.

My ferry leaves for Naha at 6pm today, and arrives around 7pm tomorrow. I bought the books Pride and Prejudice and The Time Travelers Wife to keep me company. Girly boooooks!

While i was worried about my own safety in camping on a beach in the middle of typhoon season, it seems the rest of the world is up against much greater odds. Fire and guns are attcking my state! I do not feel comfortable with this…. though i anticipated somthing big happening while i was hopeless on the other side of the world. At least i know about the news and im not swimming in tropical water totally obvlivious….

Not to be totally corny, but honestly: My heart goes out to the people who have fallen victim to the fires in southern california. There could not be a scarier thing for me to imagine! I think its safe to say i have a phobia of big fires… i saw the news and started shaking. I cant summon the words to say how much i hope for the wind and fire to stop.

I was thinking about the reaction the government has had to the fires in southern california, and i cant help but wonder how it makes New Orleans feel. It looks like the government responded instantaneouslyto the cry for help from the upper class white folks in Orange County. The shelters have remained ”remarkably calm”, and are over stocked on diapers, from what i heard on the japanese news. George Bush is flying out to get a looksie for himself and, while the situation is without question desperate & horrific, i simply cant help but wish the reaction time of the government and emergency services was the same for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans.

And will someone further inform me about the shooting that happened in my quaint town of Sonoma?? I am at a loss!

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JAPAN daily's

Reporting to you live from Miyazaki

Ladies and gents: The Japan Times.

It was some of the first English iv’e read since i’ve been in Japan and you better know i devoured it! Im buying an english book today for my trip to Okinawa though… anyway, it featured articles such as the coming-out of Dumbledore (something i called from the very start and no one believed me!), a new type of bubble wrap that can be popped infinitely (and it comes on a keychain too), a ferry in Indonesia that capsized and killed 30 people because as it approached shore everyone climbed on the roof to get better cell phone reception (if that doesnt embody the love asians have for their cell phones, i dont know what does), and acticles on the chronic manic depression of Charles Shultz & the 40 year obession a factory inspector has had with mannequins.

Which leads me to my conclusion that too many young japanese girls look and act like mannequins. Theyre extremly thin, impossibly groomed, skin white as snow and they walk around with stone-faces; absolutely expressionless! Even when theyre holding the hand of a well dressed, nicely pressed, good looking Japanese boy. No smile… It makes we wonder: are you unhappy? and how can i make it better?? Because time after time i find myself putting on the same scowl as i walk down the street, just so i dont look like a fairy with a big grin on my face as i window shop…. its CRAZY I TELL YA!  My friend Michiyo told me that the Japanese think of anything French as being of the highest class and quality, so im thinking i should teach come of the Japanese the term ‘joie de vivre’ (or perhaps the occasional, ‘fashion faux pas,’ while i’m at it). Though the Japanese love the French culture, passion and fashion can’t be taught. I do wish they would smile though…

Their French faults aside, I hereby properly award Japan for its talent at making bread. You wouldnt think so, but Japan has AMAZING bread! I think maybe they slip under the good-bread-radar because everyone looks to the European countries for quality bread. I’m telling you , Japan is in need of some major recognition. Maybe its because the Japanese have an obsession with the French? French inspiration is everywhere; They have cafes every place possible, French inspired fashion, soaps and perfume, they even call bread ‘pain’…. I’d love to reassure France that theyre unique and unlike any other culture in the world (god knows they would hate to be, dare i say, compared to anyone.) But oddly enough Japan does a great job immitating!

So tomorrow im off to Okinawa to sleep on a white sand beach for a week. Don’t worry or feel bad for me though, I’ll survive 😉

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JAPAN daily's

get out your Japan maps…

ive traveled a long way since i last posted, and unfortunately i have to write quickly right now but i`ll give you the scoop! The last time i wrote i was still in Osaka, on my way to Hiroshima… and ive already left Hiroshima and im now in Miyazaki!

Hiroshima was incredible. I reccomend to anyone and everyone: VISIT HIROSHIMA AT LEAST ONCE. The moment i got off the train i knew i liked it there; the people are so friendly, the city is beautiful and everything is just beautiful there. This made it even harder for me to comprehend that an atomic bomb was dropped there 60 years ago. They said nothing would grow for 75 years, but the city is thriving and its got to be the most peaceful city you could ever go to in your life. I wandered around my first evening there and happened to stumble into the Atomic Bomb dome, the sun was setting behind it and it immediately brought me to tears. You cant even imagine, its one of the most powerful momuments… it just lives there in the middle of a bustling city like a ghost. Cranes perch on the dome and its right on the river…. i sat there for a good hour and folded paper cranes. I went there everyday of my stay in Hiroshima, too. Hiroshima is an amazing city because you can feel a sense of depth there that no other city in the world can have. Its an eerie sort of haunted feeling, like the city is a sad person or something. Sad like the donkey in winnie the poo, whos name i cant figure out how to spell.

I met a lot of people in Hiroshima: a cute Japanese guy who sat with me and had a deep conversation for a few hours, a group of school girls in my hostel that i was forced to experience my first public shower with, but they said i was beautiful so that made me feel more confident about the whole process… i met a man named Dr. JC Bartra, who is a doctor of law and works for the Surpeme Court of India (he had lunch with me and confirmed all of my views on life, and he also told me to keep my email address because i am `indeed a breath of fresh air’)… and i met lots of other very friendly people, illl include some pictures tomorrow maybe.

Then i tookt he train to Miyazaki which took almost 13 hours and had an amazing sushi dinner last night with a really great group of people that Yohei put me in touch with. We had fun last night…. 😉 and then woke up early to go surfing. It was awesome, but  im not very good at surfing anymore. I tried tho and had a great time jsut being in the water. SoRight now my new friend Michi and I are going to go shopping and so thats why im typing quick!

I promise ill give you a better, more indepth post tonight or tomorrow…. i have lots to tell, its all written in my journal so i wont forget! Im sorry!! Post may become sparse for the next week, only because im going to be moving around quickly and then camping on a beach in Okinawa for 7 nights so i wont have easy internet access! But keep the pants on, cool your jets, because that only means some amazingincrediblefantasticlyadventerous posts are soon to come.

sorry for the quicky update, just thought i’d let everyone know im safe. love you guys, miss you too. xoxo!

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JAPAN daily's

I’ll throw ‘n apple at ya, Appalachian. Psshhhh…

My stay in Osaka was fabulous! Yesterday I spent the day in Kyoto with a boy named Tyler that i met. We went to an Indian restaurant and the cook put honey all over my naan bread and said, ‘honey for you because you are honey”, and then he asked me if i wanted to be in a movie. Tyler quickly changed the subject by mentioning Baliwood or some thing like that. I learned a few things from Tyler during the day that i spent with him, like the correct way to pronounce ”Appalachian” and that you feel the effects of a bad nights sleep two days later, not one day later. I also learned, unbeknown to him, that

1: You can’t simply travel with just anyone.

And 2: Especially if its a person of the opposite sex. If you dont know them really well or love them, i think it does not work!

Lets just say that theres only one Tyler i know and love and its not the one i spent the day with yesterday. Poor guy’s now a victim of my blog… he may read this too. I pondered that predicament and– i dont really care. I’m not going to spare anyone muahhahahaha.

Yes, i have an evil side. And my character flaws are that i have very little patience and i’m incapeable of hiding my annoyance or frustration with others. I do try, oh how i try! I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut though. I no longer unleash my wrath upon those few that i dont mix well with, but now i must learn to put on a better poker face. I need to teach myself to open my mouth pleasantly in situations like that. A proper lady can do this, but we all have our flaws… a shout out to those who love me anyway 😉

Hahaha, so enough with that. Off to Hiroshima, I’ve very excited. I hope its sunny there! And i hope i can meet up with Dr. JC there. I met him yesterday in the youth hostel. Hes a doctor of law and works for the Supreme Court of India, we’re going to go out to lunch.

Also, i’m planning my trip to Okinawa! I cant remember if i already said that… but im hoping to camp on a beach in Okinawa for a week. The ferry ride there is 24 hours, but the water is blue and the weather is warm (granted a typhoon doesnt hit) and it will be great…

I miss home a little bit at this point, but thats normal and A.o.k., and im just going to keep myself busy! I think i’ve just been elaborating a bit too much on all the fun im having and not being honest with myself that i DO miss my friends and family, maybe a mechanism to get me through one more month here? You understand? Its all about the way you talk to yourself.

Hopefully the Hiroshima YH has internet, I’m sure i’ll have a lot to say.

Love you guys,

えりか

erika

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JAPAN daily's

Thoughts on butterflies, earthquakes and warts.

I’ve had a lot of funny thoughts today, i’ll try and get you through my thought process… at this time i ask you to please open your mind to my eccentricities!

Firstly, I am a matcha lover. A bench-hunting matcha lover. I hunt for matcha frozen yogurt and then i hunt for a bench… it seems as though im always hunting for a bench. Since im on a tight budget, instead of paying money all over the place to do all the tourist attractions, i simply sit some where for a while and take it all in. That way, if i ever need to tell someone about that place, or if i see it in a book, i can say ”i had lunch under the Umeda Sky Building and sat for an hour.” Understand? And i can also say, ‘Wow, the ground there is so clean you could eat off of it, and its where business men smoke, nap, and eat their lunches.” You wouldnt know that unless you sat for a while, and now you understand! That said, with all the sitting that i do, i think A LOT. Ponder may be a better word. I mean, this trip is a trip of comtemplation…. So i’ll tell you some of my thoughts, its pretty funny:

For some reason i keep wanting to make up a story and put it on here! I have told nothing but the truth so far, and i find it strange that i keep wanting to write a story about how one day i was sitting in a park, writing and yellow butterflies were surrounding me. A little flock of yellow butterflies, and a bunch of old women took pictures. HOW WIERD IS THAT. I think it keeps popping into my head because i see yellow butterflies all the time and always for a moment i think that one is following me, but its totally not. I am not Snow White for gods sake, I’m not special like that…

Also, i brought with me to Japan a few pictures and a few magazine clippings (put it on the record that im not usually one of thoese ”magazine clippings” type of girl) Anwhoo, for some reason i always want to sketch a picture of Sienna Miller. I have almost 10 sketches of the same picture; If someone finds my journal, or if my children read it after i have children and then die, what will they think of me??

Here’s a thought process for you: today i went to the fabulous Suntory Museum and saw a Toulouse Lautrec exhibit thats only in Osaka for a few days! I AM THE LUCKIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD. I’ve seen Toulouse Lautrec in Paris, New York AND Japan… that thought was first and foremost in my mind as i strolled the exhibit. But my second thought was from noticing a number of machines in the rooms that were quietly recording the slightest vibrations, for earthquakes (i assume). So i started thinking about what i would do if there were an earthquake while i was in the exhibit. To be honest, the first thing i thought was that i would save the artwork. SAVE THE MASTERPIECES! But, of course, human lives are of supreme importance. Keep in mind if there were an earthquake, im assuming that I would be that person who would be miraculously untouched and able to help everyone else…. ha. Anyway, my ambition to help the people in the exhibit in the instance of an emergency was swayed when the little oldJapanese women kept bumping into me, stepping infront of me and putting their teeny tiny noses inches from the artwork. They would RUSH! through the rooms, and stand right infront of me, i felt a little bit like i was being bullied. It quite angered me. So i would just take a deep one, tell myself to relax, and look down at the gound for a moment and WOWWIE!! I’d notice my really cool new shoes and feel better because my feet deserved the shoes so much and im just very happy with my purchase. Their goofy awesome bright blue adidas.

ALSO. Today, under the Umeda Sky Building, i discovered a reverse waterfall and a headless man. In the case of the waterfall, i could hear a waterfall, and there was running water in a creek beneath the waterfall, and there were the rocks that formed a waterfall, but no water going down the waterfall… obviously it was made that way, but it completely confused me and i couldnt figure it out! As for the headless man, see for yourself:

 Headless man.

And lastly, today I was reading my Lonely Planet guide to Japan (since its the only literature i have) and i came across a quote that inspired me, got me to thinking:

”Travel books about Japan often end up turning into extended reflections about the uniqueness… of Japan. One writer who did not fall prey to this temptation was Alan Booth… Booth loved Japan, warts and all…”

I guess you could say I’ve been a bit love struck here. They say love is blind, and i hate that quote! I hate the truth in it, my past experiences have taught me to hate the truth in that quote. So I will not let Japan pull the wool over my eyes! No sir, so I’m working on discovering the warts of Japan and reporting them. After all–like in love, theres no such thing as a Utopia. 

And now…… pictures for everyone:

TOKYO, KAmakura Buddha, SPORTS FEST 1, Sports fest 2, & 3!, Bamboo trail!, gardeners, ME in osaka, ME & my shoes, Umeda Sky Building, me & Auyoko, me in Kanazawa , me! a girl in my room took it, funny…,

THATS ALL FOR NOW I CANT  AFFORD MORE INTERNET! love, erika.

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