Back in the USA

•April 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I am now back in the United States. After many very long plane rides I have arrived.

On these plane rides I met two interesting people. From Japan to Atlanta I met a guy named Chris who designed motorcycles and paintball guns. We had a bunch of good convos and he reminded me of some people back home. He also showed me pictures of his new motorcycle prototype and paintball gun prototype. The flight was a bit rough but we arrived exactly on time, one hour before we let 🙂

I then waited at the gate in Georgia until the plane was delayed 30 mins. I also got a chocolate milk! After boarding I met a nice young Indian Aussie! Immediatly I asked if  she hated New Zealanders and she said when she was younger she did! We had an excellent conversation the whole trip. THere was no inflight movie so we just talked. She was very nice on her way back from her sisters wedding in Bangkok.

I got to baggage claim and got to see my family. It was nice. Then we wrote home. Stopped at Dairyqueen in my parents home town, and got home really late.

Thanks everyone so much for following. I am going to try and go through this blog and reedit and rewrite it and possibly try to publish it.

So for now Sayonara to both you and Japan.

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The Last Days in Japan

•April 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Where do I begin. I guess I should start from where I remember!!

Wednesdays plans were set. We were going to go to Studio Ghibli! I was pretty excited and was ready to go by the designated time. Unfortunately, I was the only one. We left 30 mins late which does not see like a big deal, but our tickets to enter the museum were for s a specific time. If you are 31 minutes late to your time then you cannot get in.

I had  also asked the girls if they knew how to get there. They told me yes. So I didn’t look it up or bring my map. What a mistake! When we got there they had a hand drawn map on someones iphone. It was not possible to figure out how to get there. Instead of just asking someone we wandered a bit until the girls found a map. I was getting a little annoyed. I was talking to Matt about how he did not know any Japanese. I can speak  a bit but I do not understand responses.

As we discussed this I looked over to see everyone had a finger on their nose. I knowing the game put my finger on my nose. Noes Goes. The last person to touch their noes has to go and do the task at hand. So a girl runs over to Matt and says HAHA you have to ask a policeman how to get there. Now I am mad. I turn to the other girls and say ” Lisa you go ask the f****** cop where it is your f****** minor is Japanese if we are f******* late I will be so pissed”

This is the most I have ever cursed in a serious tone here. The message got through and in 2 minutes we were on our way to Ghibli. I was in a pretty bad mood and it changed slightly once I got to Ghibli. I was a tad disappointed with the size of the museum, only 3 exhibits. There were 6 bathrooms that took up more space. Kinda lame but it was only $10.

We were not allowed to take pictures but they did have one of the most amazing displays I have ever seen in my entire life. I stared at this display for a good 8 minutes, then came back twice. For those of  you who don’t know I have a short attention span for museums and galleries and can usually get through pretty quick. It took the guys 1.5 hours to get through Ghibli… girls 2-2.5. Hahaha

I wasn’t in the best mood until I got official word that we were hanging out with Mike that night. I got pretty excited. I then split from my Ghibli group. Jaime was going to meet me at a train station then we were going to go to Mike somewhere. The thing is Jaime did not get a new month of prepaid phone service. So it was tough. Also Shinjuku is a huge mother effing Station. Needless to say after 40 minutes of waiting for him, I get a text from Mike saying he is Nakano with Jaime. I was still a little peeved about Ghibli problems. But the moment I saw them with a Chu Hi for me all was forgiven. 🙂

We started to walk around heading to 7 Eleven for cash and then an 80’s bar. Walking down a dark alley “Wehr not hund” was spray painted on the wall. Or so I thought on my double take, it said “wehr not tuna” but it was done so quick it look like hund. HAHAHA it was pretty funny.

We finally arrived at the 80’s Bar in time for Happy Hour. This was y first happy hour ever and it was awesome. We put in song requests and I Rick Rolled the whole bar 😛 After a bunch of drinks Jamie came in, she works at this bar now. Followed by our english friend James. It was a fun time.

We then agreed that we should get out of there and go chill at Mike and Jamie’s apartment. James was going to meet us there. It took forever to get there we had to transfer from a number of line and it was raining. I was wearing shorts but it was okay. I was a little tipsy though. We stopped at Seiyu, a giant grocery chain here owned by walmart and picked up about $30 dollars of food with one bottle of boos. When we got to Mike’s apartment it was pretty sweet. They  just moved in and have no furniture except a table and two chairs. Their rooms are bare as well as they hang there futons out on the balcony to dry during the day. But it started to rain and got Mike’s all wet. We started to drink and before we knew it Keds was coming. Soon after James arrived. We started cooking eating and drinking, things we had wished we could do at Ontakesan.

We finished the bottle and then went back out to pick up 2 liters of shochu. It was a crazy fun night. Jamie came home and we played Banzai! We got pretty drunk then went to bed. The problem was there were not enough blankets. And somehow I did not get one. I was in shorts on a wood floor and there was no heat. I did not sleep well. The next morning I was really cold. Somehow it got super cold like 40 degrees! The walk back was the worst. It was raining, freezing cold and I was in shorts. It was the worst. We got back at 10:35. I tried to sleep till 1:30 to go out with Kevin-san, but I kept getting woken up by texts and people. It was okay.

Kevin-san and i went to cancel my insurance and buy some luggage. I got a nice piece at Donqihote. We then came back to Ontakesan to drop it off and get Jaime. We went to Ginza to a nice little shop. Jaime then went home. Kevin-san and I hung out in Ginza until 8 pm where we met up with y teacher and classmates.

We went out to Yakitori bar which was a blast. I love going out with Japanese people cause they can just instantly translate and order stuff. I had a ton of stuff including raw chicken! and every other part of the chicken. I also had 4 or 5 Chu-His. After a while our teacher…. Kevin-sensai presented us all with awards. I won best Distopia and was runner up for best Final. IT was a good feeling 🙂

After they closed we went to Kevin-sensai’s favorite bar, Vending Machine Bar. Literally just a line of vending machines that sell alcohol. It was crazy and fun. I rode around on someones scooter which was fun thanks Yusuke. I also had to pee outside which was weird. When I went back to pee again, there was someone there. Everyone told me to just go somewhere else. SO I went with Satoshi to pee on some bushes. While peeing, a police came up to us. I have never before been able to stop peeing, zip up and walk away instantly. I could not believe it! I then ran back to the rest of the group getting smaller and smaller as the night went on.

Then we missed last train. So we decided to go to Karaoke. We had to walk around but we eventually found a nice place that was cheap. I did not have any ore money and my teacher paid for me to get in and for a ton of CHu His! We had to sneek them in!

Before we even started singing my voice was gone. I was also nominated for most noisy, which everyone questioned why I did not win 😛 It was a great time and we all got super drunk. There were only five of us left and we sang so much. Then I blacked out.

There are little pieces I remember. I remember Kevin-sensai really wanted to fight with me. HAHAAH It was so funny and later on the train platform he tackled me and Momoko-san had to break it up. I also remember two girls making out. Everyone ate my candy from Hisai. It was a crazy night. The last thing I remember was being on the train platform at 5 am with my friends. Then I was in the middle of Tokyo….?

For whatever reason I did not take the train home. I have no memory of how I did not and I have no idea why. All I remember is I realized I was walking along the tracks. There was one point that I could not longer walk next to the tracks. At this point I got super lost on side streets. At one point I ended up in someone’s yard. I was so lost and still really drunk. Then there was a river and a bridge….?

I walked up to a Japanese person, told them I knew a little Japanese, and I needed to get to Ikegami line. He pointed to the opposite way that I came. It was really weird and I probably did not understand anything he said lol. As I walked I just seemed to get more and more lost. I think I asked three more people. Then I was really lost. SO lost I went up to a little kid about 10 or 11 and asked him. He knew no english…rats… and was goign towards Ikegami. So I walked with him. I introduced myself as Joe. I cannot remember what his name was. It was probably really creepy as I was 2 feet taller then him.

We arrived at his school and I ran into his teacher. He told her that I was lost looking for the Ikegami line. She knew a little english and the first thing she said was “Oh its complicated” I went according to her directions. I just kept walking. Then I saw a policeman…

I asked him where Ontakesan was. In english he replied here. He then asked if I was Sakura House. I replied yes and was so excited as I crossed the street and saw Jusco. I will miss the happy policeman who help drunk people instead of booking them 🙂

I got home at 8:35. Jaime and Jess were up and I told them of my adventure. I was so excited but kinda mean to some people as they told me to be quiet :-X It was a goal of ine to do all night karaoke. I can now say I have succeeded 🙂

I then went to sleep to wake up at 3 for the onsen. I woke up at 2:30 and started packing. That’s right I waited until the day before to pack! I pretty much finished before we had to go to the Onsen.

The onsen in Odaiba was awesome. We et a bunch of girls there. I had lots of sushi for dinner. I also got some ice cream. It was fun hanging  out with everyone. We even met some drunk Japanese guys who talked to us for a while. I was in no mood to drink as I was hung over and feeling butterflies in my stomach from nervousness of traveling.

We then came home to Ontakesan. I finished packing and rearranging my room. I then used the left over food that people left to make pancakes with Nutella. THey were so good. I was like they only person who stayed up all night long. I plan on sleeping on the plane.

Another amazing thing is that I was still overweight. I bought another bag and I still had problems even after ditching my towels soaps etc. THis baffled y mind because I did not buy that much stuff!

As I write this people are starting to wake up to leave. Kevin-san just left. He has a flight at 11. Jess, Jaime, and I are leaving at 9. We are not taking a taxi though, we are taking the TRAIN! It will probably be very difficult, but it is free for me to take the train, or $40 to take a taxi.

Goodbye Japan I will miss you. I will miss not seeing all of the great friends I have made here. But hopefully some day I will see them again and return to Japan. Living here has been a great experience in my life. Even though I had some tough times not really mentioned in this blog, I have had so many more awesome times. From the bottom of my heart I Love Japan and I Love my TUJ Friends! Thanks for an awesome semester everyone!

My Last Day at TUJ

•April 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Today was my last day at Temple Japan Campus. I went in for 12 for my final crit with Ian. It was a good class after all the work was done. After crit Ian talked to me about internships and gave me some names that I should contact in order to get them. I was super stoked and gave him one of my prints. I hope to see him again very soon, he said he will be in Philadelphia in a couple of months.

I then went to wrap up my bust with Kevin. I had to buy some bubble wrap but I think it will be okay. I also gave him one of my prints. After this final day I had to go and collect all my works and bring them home… in the rain. I got a bag and it was tough. The bust ways 10-15 pounds and it was really bogging me down. But I survived.

When I got home I gave a bunch of stuff to some friends who are staying here. I also gave them a print to decorate their new apartment. Aki-san also received from me a dragon print and my final computer imaging II poster. He was happy to hang it on his wall.

Jaime, Kevin, Keds, Jess, and I all went out for some drinks at Lawson. Jess quickly got away after one drink because she was the only girl. We then tried to get sushi at a place nearby and then it happened. My first rejection based on my race. They told us that it was toexpensive for us and that we should try the take up place down the street. We didnt even know what to do. It was funny.

We then decided to go to a chinese restaurant. It was fun but I was already drunk. I hadn’t eaten anything all day and it took two chu-his and I was stumbling. Jaime and Keds waled me home. I took a quick nap or a long one I can’t remember but then Keds and I went out again! Just for one and we just walked around Japan for hours in the AM. No one was out and it was awesome.

On the way home we found a frog in a park and got to take pictures of it. It was so calm and let us pick it up. Keds got to touch a frog  for the first time. He was really excited.

We continued hanging out until the sun rose. Then it was bed time.

Finals Always Make you busy

•April 19, 2010 • 1 Comment

Sunday was spent in school. My friend Abby and I went in hoping to go to Pancake world, but she feared she did not have enough time. We ended up going to Saizaria for lunch instead.

We then headed for school. I worked for the next few hours to get all of my stuff cut and taped together. A bby left to go to the Documentary Class’ film festival. I stayed and finished being glad I could.

When all was said and done I had a bunch of awesome prints. When i got back to the dorm alost no one was around. I decided to go to the Sento or hot bath in Ontakesan with Jaime.

In no place on Earth will you ever feel cleaner then a sento or onsen. The constant washing and cleasing literally washes all your “sins” away. 🙂 It is very relazing and when you leave you feel as if the rest of the world is dirty. When I got back I realized I forgot to redo a project and finish another. because of this I stayed up way to late.

The next morning I went in early with Abby to get all my stuff together. A bunch of people showed up late for the critique. Everyone really liked my stuff and I was happy to get so much praise. Hopefully I get the A I deserve and will not be graded harshly on based on my skill.

All the memebers of my printmaking class, all girls except one strange boy, invited me to Karaoke, but I could not go because i had to print, tape, and tile all of my projects for Ian’s class. After class I went home to go right back out with Jaime, Jess, Lauren, and Aki-san.

It was the first time he had come out with us and we were treating him to dinner. He is an awesome guy and I wish him all the best in the future. I really wish he could have come out with us more. Dinner of course was at Doma Doma, and I wore the same shirt as last time…. because I had no more clean clothes, they were all drying from the wash I swear!

PS: I took pics of some flowers today so thats why they are in here 🙂 More on my flickr!

Last Saturday in Japan

•April 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Today I had to go into school to continue working on my printmaking final. But before I did I decided to go to AKihabara with some friends to go to a maid cafe.

To make a long story really short… it wasn’t for me. BAsically your waitress wears a maid outfit and you pay a ton of money for crappy food. It was a waste of time and I think everyone knew I was not digging it.

I then went to school and worked for a few hours. Because I want to AKihabara, I could not finish my project and need to go in tomorrow.

Not so fresh Friday

•April 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The waterheater broke. So no more hot water. After writing a paper for my class i decided to go to the onsen to bathe with Jaime. When we arrived it was closed and not opening for another hour. I had to go to school to turn my physical paper in. So I made lunch then headed out.

i dropped off my paper and then for the next 5 hours worked on printmaking. I need to go in ore tomorrow and I am glad I went in tonight because it is taking me much longer then I anticipated.

We came home and I got some some cookies from Lauren and jess. Then we watched Emperor’s New Groove. i ate some rice and after chilling went to bed.

Thursday… First Real Finals

•April 15, 2010 • 1 Comment

Today I had my first finals. I woke up at 7:35, did a little bit of exercise then took a shower. I packed my camera today so that I could upload photos of my art projects. I left the dorm at 8:02, arrived at the train station at 8:14 and waited. And waited. The train was 4 minutes late. As I stood there I thought to myself how long it was taking and I was right. The 15 minute ride took almost 3o minutes! I was going to be late for my first final!

As I arrived at Tamachi with more delays, the time read 9:00. I booked it to get to class but I knew I was already late. Luckily my teacher was chill and was also a bit late so it was no big deal. We each showed a little reel of projects we put together and that was it! It was a fun class and a huge burden off my shoulders as it was the class I wanted to drop.

After I went to 3D to touch up some items before the FINAL Critique. My final project was done but I wanted to improve some of my older projects. So for the next 5 hourse I worked on projects and took breaks to hang out with friends. At 15:15 our teacher came in and began critique. I went first and everyone really liked my project. As far as some pictures here you go:

My concept was based on a story from my life, my first time drinking. A broad overview of a coming of age story we had made a movie and then my best friend Kevin and I got drunk for the first time. This camera was a reflection of that with the side screen being the recorded past, the viewfinder being the present, and the reflection of the future in the lens. Because it was about alcohol I made the camera out of alcoholic beverage cans using rivets. I then wired leds inside the piece to light up the pictures and draw attention to them.

Some of my other projects included my distopia, which you can see from the sketch is a bit graphic:

My Bust which has been seen many times by my cell phone camera:

And a Japanese temple I built out of cardboard:

I was happy with the way these projects came out. unfortunately I will not be taking them all back to the states. I will be packing up my clay bust as well as my camera final project.

Jaime, Quinn, and I then tried to go train for a while but we found out Fight club is no longer allowed at school. SO we came home, ate some dinner and enjoyed a peaceful night 🙂