I woke up wayyyy early again, close to 6 AM here. So I got on the internets and chatted with my bros! It was awesome hearing from Marc, Mike, and Babs. Oh, and I skype chatted with my family last night, I forgot to say. That was nice.
When I realized that my teeth were probably growing things, I logged off and went to get ready. Unfortunately, there were still no towels to be found, so no shower. HOWEVER! I went down to the kitchen to learn the ~*~MAGIC~*~ of the Japanese microwave. It’s not too hard to figure out, but all the directions are in Japanese, which makes it slightly more precarious. I made one of the pork buns I got at Jusco (our grocery store) last night and drank nummy Peach Tea. While I was microwaving, I met Joe, who is a cool dude and knows how to cook. I’m hoping that sometime we can have a cooking lesson party, or at least learn how to use the rice cookers properly. I sat down to eat and met Katie, who knows super a lot of Japanese and was very sweet. She had toasted bread and jam and yogurt for breakfast that looked so good I wanted to go get some like right then.
SO I decided to go out to the 100 Yen store and Jusco with Lisa, who lives down the hall from me, Keisha, and Maria. They took a while getting ready so I made a cute door decoration, which I will post later. At the 100 Yen store I picked up some gloves for ice skating (they required us to have closed fingered gloves, so I couldn’t wear the ones Kim gave me), a basket for my toiletries, a strap for my bento, and a pink hand towel so I don’t have to keep wiping my hands on my pants when I wash them. There are no hand towels in any bathrooms in Japan that I’ve seen. They all have air dryers to stay eco-friendly. We went to the marvelous second and third floors of Jusco next, which are like a department store. I got a towel finally (YAY), but did not find my other two essentials—an alarm clock and a robe (for the walk of shame between the showers and my room). I decided to wait on the bread and cheese for a little bit, but Lisa and Keisha wanted to shop still, so Maria and I left on our own ~*~ADVENTURE~*~!!!
We walked past the Jusco, past the convenience store, all the way to a big intersection, where we turned right and walked under a bridge to UniQlo, which is a Japanese clothing store! AWESOME! It’s a little bit like a more conservative H&M. There were some totally rad leggings that had the texture and look of jeans and some super duper rad teeshirts and sweatshirts. The clothes were really cute, but luckily we managed to escape with our money in tact with the promise of shopping another day.
On the way back, I bought an ice cream bar at the convenience store (vanilla covered in chocolate with hazelnut mmmm). Then we ran into Lisa and Keisha again, who were struggling with a huge bag of rice, and since Maria and I are strong male body builders, we helped them carry their groceries back to Ontakesan. We got back close to 2 PM and as I started to unpack and eat my delicious ice cream bar, Aki came through the hall asking for anyone who was going ice skating to go downstairs because they were leaving RIGHT NOW. So I panicked and ran downstairs with ice cream in hand to put my shoes back on, unknowingly leaving my door WIDE OPEN FOR THE MASSES but luckily when Maria ran upstairs to get socks she found it and closed it for me. And so we began our expensive adventure to Akasaka.
The train tickets cost SO MUCH MONEY TOTAL. Almost $10 both ways, I think. The train lines are very confusing and I’m really worried. I don’t know how I’m going to get to class on Tuesday morning. There are so many places to go! And tickets to buy! Once I figure that out, I’ve heard, things will be a lot easier. Also with my commuter pass I can go on that line for free, though I’ll still have to buy tickets for the other lines, like the main Tokyo line, the JR.
Akasaka was amazing. The rink was pretty small and already super uneven and covered in ice shavings, but it was in the middle of the city in the open air, and there was a huge Christmas tree next to a huge TBS piggy (their TV station’s mascot). There was also a huge TV over the rink showing new dramas, and lots of beautiful lights. There were also a lot of people, and a lot of really cute Japanese kids falling on their butts everywhere. To skate it was $15, and we figured out the shoe sizes pretty quickly. For future reference, my shoe size is 23 cm. By the time we got there, Becca and the kids from Takadanobaba (her dorm) were already there and had been skating for a while. I met Ai, Li, Long (whose nickname is now Short), Meiti, and Jed. All very cool kids.
We had a grand old time skating, but soon it was time to go. I made plans with Becca to have dinner tomorrow night and then went back to the train. I was SO THIRSTY, so I got a Coke at the vending machine, but it’s rude to walk and eat/drink, so when we had a 4 minute wait between trains I CHUGGED THAT COKE LIKE THERE WAS NO TOMORROW. On the train ride back, we stopped through at Harajuku and saw this old dude with a HUGE HAT covered in lights and knick-knacks. Awesome. Sunday is the day that people who like street fashion dress up in their new outfits and promenade around Harajuku. Tomorrow is Sunday. IT IS TIME. We’re totally gonna go.
When we got back, I tried to make my soup, but I couldn’t figure out how to work the hot water dispencer, but Aki showed me. J I talked to Dan while I ate cause he was in the massage chair right by the hot water dispenser, and apparently their group found a whole bunch of cool shrines right by the campus, so I might try to find them one day.
Maria and Minh wanted to go out to Shibuya (we convinced Minh not to go to Roponggi because it is super dangerous), and a bunch of people in my hall wanted to go to an onsen (hot sring bath), which sounded excellent, but we were worried about staying out too late and missing the train back from Shibuya, and Minh wouldn’t be able to sit with us in the hot spring cause he’s a dude, so we rounded up some folks and went in search of a local bar.
Sora and Chad came with us, they are very cool folks. Sora is 28 and Chad is from Hawaii and was freezing the whole time we were out. Not too far from our dorm is a cute little bar that is American/Hawaiian surfing themed. The lady was very nice and helped everyone order. There’s a discount for anyone in Sakura House that makes all the drinks a flat 500 yen. Nice. I didn’t get anything, but it was fun watching Mihn slowly descend into a tipsy stupor. When we realized that Jusco was about to close, we booked it over there and I bought some BREAD AND CHEESE YES! The only kinds that they seem to have are cream cheese and camembert. They had one thing of bleu cheese and some slices of Kraft Cheddar and American cheese, but I trust that that is a “cheese product” and not actually cheese. The rest of the gang bought a six-pack of super cheap beer and drank it outside of the Jusco like hobos. It was pretty fun, except that it was FREEZING and poor Chad only had on a sweatshirt. When we were done, we recycled the cans. It’s eco-friendly, and our dorm is very, very dry. If you so much as walk in the door with an empty can to recycle it they’ll send you home. You have been warned.
I was very tired by then, so it was bedtime! Good night!