Catching Up

Wednesday May 28th, 2014 at 11:40 am

I started playing FFX-2 again last week and have been glued to it ever since. I forgot how much I really enjoyed the game. Some of the side quests are rather tedious and a pain to do but everything else makes up for it. It’s still by far one of my favorite games. It’s also the reason why my productivity has been low in almost everything @_@

I “lost” my credit card last Monday, which was quite irritating. I’m one of those people that uses a credit card for everything, no joke. $20? No problem, here’s a credit card. $1.09? No problem, here’s a credit card. I hate using cash, especially coins, and I can manage my finances just fine without having to worry about overspending so it was a pain in the ass having to deal with cash. I’m not really concerned with culture shock once I move to Japan. It’s having to get used to using cash for everything. It’s a good thing crime rate is low in Japan and not many people have to worry about getting robbed while carrying hundreds of dollars on them.

Anyhow, I was more irritated at the fact that I lost it the week before Memorial Day weekend sales. I lost out on so much cash back ;_; Having to literally buy an entire new work wardrobe, I spent probably close to $400 this past weekend and I’m still not done. Going from wearing jeans and a t-shirt to a full business ensemble is no cheap task. I’m having the hardest time finding business suits in my size, but I’m hoping it was because everything was on sale and people were just buying it all up. I’ll probably go back in a few weeks to see if I can find any more. I only have about 3 sets right now and I’m waiting to have at least 5-6 for work.

Oh, and I did find my credit card this past Monday but I had already canceled it and requested a new one. I picked up a pair of jeans and they just fell out. I don’t really understand what happened because I know I searched through every pair of jeans I had.

My COE arrived last Friday and now I’m in the process of waiting for my visa, which I can pick up this Friday. After that, I guess everything is almost set and done. I can’t believe there’s only 2 more weeks until my vacation and 5 more weeks until I move! Time really does fly fast.

I decided to rent a guesthouse and hopefully find an apartment within the first month or two even if it’s way more costly. I really would like my own place and not really interested in going back to “dorm life”, but it’ll be a great way to meet some people. I’m renting from Tokyo Happy House which looks decent and they have a guesthouse in the area I want to stay. The website states they have a screening process but I never once was asked anything…where I’m from, what I plan on doing in Japan, etc. Once a room was available, they asked me for the deposit and everything was done o_O Ultimately, it’s no big deal but don’t put it on the website if you’re not going to do it. Actually, after reading Tune in Tokyo (which btw I don’t recommend) maybe I should worry a bit on who I stay with.

Posted Under: Daily Life, Japan, Japan: Living
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Hypocrisy in Cosplay

Wednesday May 21st, 2014 at 11:16 pm

So, last night I was involved in an (rather immature) argument and it all started with a girl commenting that Jessica Nigri needs to stop trying too hard. One thing let to another and I started to realize why I lost interest in cosplaying and conventions. The argument has nothing to do with her comment per se, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

I started cosplaying back in 2010 I believe when I moved back to Nashville. The first couple of years I spent a lot of money on cosplays, hotels, props, travel, etc but I didn’t care…I was having fun, no regrets there. Most conventions I went to were small with the biggest one being Dragon*Con.

When I first got into cosplay, there weren’t many big cosplayers outside of Yaya Han and VampyBitMe. The idea of making money or a living off of cosplay was a dream many people had but few achieved. I originally wanted to do the same. After all, who wouldn’t want to spend their life dressing up as their favorite characters, taking photos, going to conventions, and having fun with their friends? However, I was only in love with the idea. My sewing practice never got past a straight line and I never pursued much of anything outside of conventions.

Fast forward a few years and cosplay has evolved. It’s almost a whole different world with limitless opportunities with a slew of top cosplayers at the helm. While conventions have been around for decades, even more so in Japan, now we’re in an era where cosplaying is recognized more than just nerds dressing up and role playing.

I stopped cosplaying for a few reasons. It’s was too expensive, I lost interest since I wasn’t making my own cosplays, and I started pursuing a new goal (one that had been on the back of my mind for years) so I lacked the time. After the argument I was having last night, I realized another reason why is because I didn’t like what the cosplay community had become.

One thing you hear constantly around the community is “Cosplay is about fun”. And it is…or at least it should be. Cosplay has become a competition, and shows such as Heroes of Cosplay, really don’t help the cause. Instead of looking for what’s right about a cosplay, everyone looks at what’s wrong. That may just be human nature.

Back to the argument I was having last night, the biggest part about cosplay that bothers me is the hypocrisy and double standards. What heated the argument was I posted a reply with a picture of the commenter at this past year’s MTAC with very little clothing. It was your typical “I’m at a convention and I’m going to wear an “original” getup that involves covering up some of my boobs and booty shorts” type of deal (It could have been a cosplay but I have no idea). Honestly, I have nothing against it. If that’s your idea of fun, go for it. I was a bit mean in my comment in pointing out the obvious but the hypocrisy irritated me. She was hating on someone for a reason she was okay with when it came to her own body. The only difference is one looked better and more successful. And no, I didn’t stalk anyone. Someone had pointed the image out to me because they remembered seeing her.

Unfortunately, since I did not have prior knowledge on a couple of things, I don’t think my point ever got across…either that or she and her boyfriend didn’t care and were more concerned about insulting me than seeing the issue for what it was, but it’s not like I’m the best debater. I was accused of white knighting among other things (such as a bitch with no life and an insane cunt o_O). I might have white knighted a little bit (if that’s what it’s being called nowadays). I made my typical “she works for it” “she doesn’t need to try hard” “people hate on her because she’s doing it too right” etc etc speech. *holds up GO NIGRI flag* (okay not really) I think if I left it at that, nothing would have came of it. We would have been two people with an opinion, but I felt like pointing out hypocrisy for once. If I’m a bitch for that, then I am but hey…I have a life :( (While we are on the subject of pointing out hypocrisy, I get crap for “white knighting” a cosplayer but when her boyfriend white knights her, she’s totally okay with it and praises him.)

I couldn’t care less whether or not she or anyone out there liked Jessica Nigri or any other cosplayer. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and everyone has a different one. However, I don’t understand when people dislike others for the very exact same things that they will do themselves. Had she disliked JN just for sexualizing her cosplays, yea ok…I can see why people dislike that. To find her doing the exact same thing, well…I don’t understand. To add to the hypocrisy, I was also pointed out a picture of her female Ash Ketchum cosplay which is almost a direct replica of the one Jessica Nigri did. I think the only difference was booty shorts instead of an ultra short skirt. It’s no different than people who hate liars but constantly lie to others. Or one of my favorites, women are sluts for wearing as little as bra and underwear but these same people will either wear bikinis or check out/hit on chicks in bikinis.

That is just one example of why I no longer care to cosplay. I still love seeing amazing cosplays and the work put into them, but I’ve lost interest (for now) in cosplaying and attending conventions. Everyone knows that sex sells. Just look at the characters that people are cosplaying…scantly dressed characters with large tits are everywhere in anime, gaming, comics, and tv shows. Women are being hated for one of the very reasons why we like what we like. You’ll most likely never hear someone say “OMG the chicks in Dead or Alive need to stop trying so hard”. Walk around in a convention…you’ll probably see more cosplays and outfits done solely to attract attention than cosplays that people do for the art. So it makes no sense why it’s okay for one person to do it but not for others.

This issue goes way beyond what me and this girl were talking about last night, what that did was it got me thinking. Just read through any facebook post, instagram picture, youtube video, or internet article. The amount of bullying (both online and offline) is insane and people are okay with this. No wonder why you have kids out there committing suicide or shooting places up. Very little is being done about it and as long as nothing drastic happens, it’s totally okay for people to call women derogatory terms or make fun of a person’s looks/what they like. Who knows, maybe people do it because others do it to them. What does that really help in the end?

Hypocrisy comes in all shapes and forms and this is just one of the most blatant examples. We live in a society where success is measured by how many haters we have, and I’m not just talking about cosplay at this point. People can’t be happy for the success of others. Instead, it’s what we can say about them to make ourselves feel or look better. Women become sluts when success comes from their looks and men are hated for every reason possible. No one can be too good at something.

I have no idea what the main point of this novel is, I guess it’s wtf hypocrites? But it goes much further than cosplay, people need to start seeing the real issues. What we learned in kindergarten about doing onto others as we would want them to do onto us went out the window long time ago. Having an opinion is one thing, being a hypocrite is another.

Posted Under: Cosplay, Rants
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Tokyo, Japan Summer 2013 – Part 3

Monday May 19th, 2014 at 3:23 am

Finally getting around to finishing my Japan trip from last year. Continuing after we left the Meiji Shrine…

I made sure I had ramen at least once before I left. We found this ramen shop somewhere near the Meiji Shrine. We left the shrine at a different place than where we entered so we got lost trying to find Harajuku. There was a map but it was no help at all. A lady passing by overheard us and was nice enough to stop and ask us (in English) if we needed help. People in Japan are so nice to tourists ;_; This was not the only time we experienced Japanese hospitality.

Anyhoo, the ramen shop was decent. I don’t know how this place compares to others but I liked it. Ramen in Japan is soooo affordable. You can eat here as low as 300 yen (approx. $3)! More expensive items on the menu ran you close to $7-8 only. I see myself eating ramen for lunch everyday once I move.

Takeshita Street is right in front of Harajuku station, you can’t miss it. It’s known for its variety of fashion shops, cafes, and restaurants. Most of the shops here are independently owned and feature a wide variety of styles, so even if you aren’t into some of the crazy Harajuku styles, you can definitely still find something. Most of my money was spent here. :x

A lot of people think everything in Japan is more expensive but it’s not true. It’s pretty affordable even in a popular place like Harajuku. Just to give an idea…there are stores with tons of cute jewelry that won’t cost more than a few dollars. Clothing can run you on average $10-$30 depending on what you buy. There was a shoe shop with shoes for $20 or less! Obviously, there are plenty of things that will run you more. Takeshita Street also has plenty of shops for gift shopping and anime lovers.

I really like these machines! You pay for what you want (like a vending machine) and take the ticket inside the restaurant. It takes out having to order. It sucks if you can’t read but the pictures are good enough. I had a hard time trying to figure out what was different among the many different tonkatsu options but whatever random ones I ended up picking gave me what I wanted.

I’m pretty sure I snapped this picture cause of his shirt. I wonder if he knew what it said or how true it was ;)

SHIBUYA! Shibuya crossing is very popular and has been featured in many movies. Being a nerd, I think I crossed the street 3-4 times before moving on!

We had a hard time finding this area of Shibuya too. I’m not sure why, either we exited at the wrong location or misread the directions (I honestly have no sense of direction). After wandering around for a bit, we took a taxi.

Shibuya is a mixture of big department stores and small, independent shops. Prices here aren’t too expensive either unless you walk into large shops (such as Zara), department stores, or just want to buy expensive clothing. I wish I did more research before coming here. I’m not even sure if we checked out Shibuya 109 and missed out on the Liz Lisa shop :( I will definitely be back during my week of training in Tokyo. We also found a HUGE 100 yen shop in one of the buildings. You could buy everything in here, including really cute bowls for just 100 yen! 100 yen shops change their products based on the season so these bowls, cups, etc were strawberry.

Tokyo tower was the last destination. We tried to go one night but it was too late. The tower was closed but we took a quick taxi ride to it to take a look. For a fee, you can ride up the Tokyo Tower to get a 360 view of the city. It’s absolutely amazing! I recommend going early in the morning to avoid large crowds. For a bit more, you can go even higher on the tower but we didn’t.

Such amazing views of the city. I absolutely love this city.

There’s a lot of information about the Tokyo Tower up in the observatory. There’s also a gift shop once you’re done viewing. I need to remember to start taking pictures of everything >_<

Last meal at the airport (gosh, that sounds so depressing). When I got to the airport, I realized the entire time I was there, I didn’t eat inari! Luckily for me, you could order it at the airport and it was delicious. I kept up the tradition of tonkatsu everyday, I really could eat it everyday @_@

I want to ride this plan so bad, I think it’s the Hello Kitty plane? I’m not sure if the design was just a design or it was the actual Hello Kitty plane.

That’s it for that adventure! I hope to have many more to come :)

As for everything else, I’m still very much in limbo land. I’m not sure when I’ll be getting my COE. June is looking to be a very fun but busy month.

Posted Under: Japan, Japan: Travel
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Tokyo, Japan Summer 2013 – Part 2

Wednesday May 14th, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Part 2 of my Tokyo trip last June! Part 1 can be found here. The weather was mostly cloudy with a little rain, but nothing that kept us inside.

Asakusa Shrine is one of the most popular Shinto shrines in Tokyo. It’s also a HUGE tourist attraction and if you walk through it, it’s easy to see why. The shrine honors the three men who established and constructed the Sens?-ji.

Before you get to the shrine, there are rows upon rows of shops and snack vendors. If you’re looking to buy souvenirs for family and friends back home or cute/neat stuff for the house, this is the place to find them. I ended up buying a much better umbrella here. Some of the prices can be a bit steep since it’s a tourist trap, but most of it is pretty affordable and shouldn’t run your pockets empty too fast. There are also restaurants if you’re looking to grab more than a snack to eat.

Lighting some incense, mine unfortunately toppled over when I placed it into the pot (I have no idea what it’s called). I hope that doesn’t mean anything bad!

Finally made it to the shrine!

I still have no idea what my fortune means but I guess success and a horse are always a good thing.

I still can’t get over how clean and beautiful everything in Japan is.

I love these displays. A lot of restaurants have fake food displays outside so you can see what they offer and they all look so amazingly made.

Akihabara! A gamer’s, otaku’s, anime lover’s, nerd’s, electronics junkies’, etc paradise!

Manga shops are always stacked to the brim!

Akihabara is also known for it’s infamous maid cafe’s. They’re not too hard to find, just look for girls dressed in maid outfits standing around. They will take you to the one they work for.

Unless you like watching girls in maid outfits sing/dance around and flirt with you, maid cafe’s are overpriced for what they offer. Still, the desserts are cute, the girls are nice, and the experience is decent if you’ve never been to one. Personally, I wouldn’t spend money going back…I’m not exactly their target audience.

I squealed. When I was first looking for the Gundam Cafe, I only found the one in Odaiba. This is another one of my lucky moments when I happened to stumble across it on my iPad. I’m not really sure how we missed it given it’s right by the train station.

I LOVE Gundam Wing so it’s no surprise I was really excited to see their menu based off of the series.

For food, I ordered Trowa’s and for a drink I believe I ordered Relena’s. All of the menu items are based off the characters one way or another and Trowa was the only one that had something along the lines of a dessert. I wasn’t really looking to eat a whole meal. The drink was amazing but the food was decent.

There’s also a small gift shop inside but I didn’t snap any good photos.

Oh Japan.

Quick snack in a cafe near Harajuku. We stumbled upon this one while trying to find the Meiji Shrine.

Meiji Shrine is located literally right beside Harajuku station. We unfortunately made a wrong turn (went left instead of right) but it’s really not hard to find.

Artist selling cute art right outside of the shrine.

(I’m so tiny!)

After the emperor’s death in 1912, a shrine was built to honor the Emperor’s role in the Meiji Restoration. The location ended up being an iris garden where Emperor Meiji and Empress Sh?ken often visited. The original building was unfortunately destroyed during World War II but reconstructed during the late 1950s. The Shrine is located in a forest that covers an area of 175 acres. You can find up to 365 different species of trees here!

Time for some Meiji Shrine picture spam. I couldn’t help it, this place is absolutely beautiful. Unlike Asakusa Shrine, you won’t find any tourist shops or food stands outside of some charms. You basically exchange the hustle and bustle of Asakusa for the gorgeous, serene landscaping of the Meiji Shrine. Also, unlike Asakusa, to see the Meiji Shrine in its entirety, there is a small fee of ¥500 (approx. $4.89) which goes to the restoration and caring of the Meiji Shrine…totally worth it.

So much talent…I took a picture of what he was painting down below.

Time to wash hands and mouth before entering the temple.

There was also a Shinto wedding going on while we were there. You couldn’t enter (of course) but the doors were open and you could watch if you like.

What little I have left will be up in part 3 shortly. I also officially booked (well, my dad booked..) my one way ticket for Japan leaving July 1st :)

Posted Under: Japan, Japan: Travel
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A mix of good and bad

Monday May 12th, 2014 at 10:16 pm

I am happy to announce I am now officially going on an Alaskan cruise come June :D !! I’m so excited my parents were able to work this vacation out for me since they’re both super busy and they recently came from a 2 week stay in China. I’ve been on two cruises in the past in the Caribbean so I’m looking forward to a change of scenery. I haven’t had a vacation in a year (first world problems) and can definitely use one, especially one with all you can eat super yummy foods. I love to travel but the opportunity doesn’t come up often. So when it does, I get super giddy.

So those stupid, effing medical compensation guys are still bothering me (original post here), more so in the last few days which is why I’m a little irritated. Normally I ignore their calls but they’re calling multiple times a day now. I would actually be less irritated if it was different people calling me but it’s literally the same guy every. single. time. I honestly don’t know if he’s just stupid enough to think I’m that stupid or if he has serious issues. We go through the same song and dance every time and he acts like he’s never talked to me before. He doesn’t know proper English and will only resort to two things 1) his script 2) whatever lame, random insults he knows (today was “go to hell”). Why are you going to call and bother someone and then tell them to go to hell if they decide to bother you?

I’m so happy I won’t have to deal with him anymore in 7 weeks. I can’t get him to stop calling all hours of the day and night and there’s no way to block the calls since they either come from different numbers or from an unknown number. Does this guy actually get anyone dumb enough to fall into the scam? One of these days, I’m going to play along to see exactly what he is phishing for. But omfg…STOP CALLING ME! Or at least learn some freaking English.

I should have part 2 of my Japan trip from last year up this week. I’ve been getting a little sidetracked lately. I think I’m doing good with cleaning. I cleaned out a lot of my stuff at my parents house. I feel like I threw away half my childhood but a lot of it was stuff that I should have thrown away when we moved some years back. Out with the old, in with the new? :wink:

Posted Under: Daily Life, Rants
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Tokyo, Japan Summer 2013 – Part 1

Tuesday May 6th, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Highlights of my trip to Tokyo, Japan last June! Unfortunately, I wasn’t actively blogging at the time. I can’t get my mind off of Japan right now, especially with all this down time in between getting things ready. I’m still waiting for my certificate of eligibility for my visa and it doesn’t seem like I’ll get anywhere with apartments until June.

I was only in Tokyo for 3 days. It’s definitely not enough so I’m glad I’ll be able to go back and visit some more this year. I have so many places I want to see!! I know I’m not being fair to China, given I spent 2 weeks there and Tokyo was a pit stop on the way back. I love you and miss you too China! I’ll have a post one of these days and I’ll definitely be back to visit within the next year or two (hopefully).

We stayed in Shinjuku, I picked it because it was very central to all of the places we planned on visiting. I don’t think anywhere was more than a 15-20 minute train ride. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The staff was super nice and it was maybe only a 5-7 minute walk to the train station. Course, later we find out the hotel has a shuttle that takes you to the station :/ could have avoided getting lost a few times.

This is on the way to the train station, I think NYC has one too?

Only I get happy about 100 Yen shops, I think they’re really cool. This one is small but still had a lot of neat stuff. I later came across a much bigger one in Shibuya that you could probably buy your entire household goods from. We picked up a couple snacks and umbrellas cause the weather was supposed to continue raining the entire time we were there. I don’t recommend buying umbrellas from 100 Yen shops though. Ours didn’t last us a day before it broke. In the umbrella’s defense, the wind was pretty strong.

My first dessert in Japan! I don’t know how people in Japan stop eating. There’s just so many yummy desserts, drinks, and foods everywhere you go.

I LOVE the train system in Japan. Maybe it’s cause I don’t have to ride it everyday yet and I didn’t have to deal with crazy Tokyo rush hour but I think they’re fun and so efficient. We never had to wait more than a few minutes for the next train to come.

Inside a mall in Odaiba, Hello Kitty pastries! I didn’t try one unfortunately.

And of course a Hello Kitty store right next door. If I could have taken her home with me, I probably would have.

Main reason for the mall? Gundam Front Tokyo! It’s located on the top floor of the mall, the 7th floor I believe. It’s a Gundam lover’s paradise. The museum is small but still a good walk through. They don’t allow photos of inside the museum but there’s opportunities for photos before you enter and in the gift shop. There’s a lot of neat concept drawings and the creation of the anime/series.

I WANTED THEM ALL! Strangely, I couldn’t find a kit of Deathscythe Hell or Deathscythe Hell custom :( If you love Gundam models, this is the place to be.

You’ll have to go back outside to see the Gundam. I think it’s actually in front of the mall but we entered through the side/back so never saw it walking in. There’s also a mini Gundam Cafe nearby but the actual Gundam Cafe is in Akihabara.

This hot spring was a super lucky find and I highly recommend visiting Ooedo Onsen Monogatari to anyone in Tokyo. Website and information can be found here. One place I knew I had to visit was a hot spring as I’ve always wanted to go to one. I found this place online and it had really good reviews as well as an actual English website with information. I wanted to visit here the first night we arrived in Tokyo but it was too late and the trains had stopped running. When we were chilling inside the Odaiba Mall, I was randomly looking on my iPad to see what else we could do that didn’t involve us being outside in the rain. Long story short, I ran across this hot spring and was like “wait a minute, that’s the one I was trying to go to!” and it just happened to be in the vicinity. We hopped on a taxi and spent nearly the rest of the day there.

The rates are pretty affordable but I think with everything I did/ate there, I ended up spending over 60,000 yen!

The interior is designed to look like an old, quiet Japanese town. It’s so relaxing.

Lots of games and cute stuff as well, of course it all costs extra.

More yummy foods!

This is the outdoor foot bath, there’s stones at the bottom that’s supposed to help your feet relax and massage them as you walk through. I couldn’t do it though, it hurt my feet way too much D:

This was one of the best experiences I had! For a little bit extra money, you can soak your feet in this pool for 15 or 30 minutes and the fish will come up and eat the dead skin off of your feet. It sounds weird, I know. Once I finally got over how ticklish the fish were, it was really amazing and felt so nice. My feet had never felt smoother. I would love to do this again.

Next up…GINZA! I’m sad some of the pictures turned out blurry. Clearly, I need to work on my night taking shots while attempting to walk fast.

Can you believe it? This is a wedding dress.

We passed Ginza on the way back to Shinjuku and the pretty lights were an instant attraction. Unfortunately, by this time it was around 10 PM and most of the stores were closing if not already closed. Ginza is popular for all of the higher end stores that you can find in Tokyo.

I think I had tonkatsu every day, no joke. I love this stuff.

How cute are these? They almost look too pretty to eat.

More pictures later, I’m trying to not to super spam with pictures. I took so many, yet at the same time I feel like I didn’t take enough. :love:

Posted Under: Japan, Japan: Travel
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Babies + Movies = No

Friday May 2nd, 2014 at 10:33 pm

Short rant time, cause this has been happening to me way too much in the past couple of years and it’s one of my biggest pet peeves.

I cannot stand people who bring their babies or toddlers into movie theaters just because they are too cheap to hire a baby sitter and want to catch a late night showing. The kids always end up crying or whining and the parents don’t do much about it.

I once went to a midnight release (can’t remember the movie) and this baby flat out bawled his poor little face off for probably a couple minutes. This really isn’t a long time but in movie time, it’s a long ass fucking time. The parents stayed in the theater trying to shush the baby until finally the mother took the baby out of the theater because he wouldn’t stop crying. I guess they either ended up leaving or the mother stayed outside with the baby.

It’s the middle of the night and your baby just wants to sleep. How do you think he’s going to do that in the middle of a loud, action packed movie???

I get it. Baby sitters sure as hell aren’t cheap. And I get it, you really wanted to see this movie. I don’t blame you. I really wanted to see it too. However, that’s no excuse to bring your baby/toddler in with you and ruin it for everyone else.

I don’t get people who become parents and think everything can stay the same. Guess what? After you have a kid, it’s no longer about you. It’s about your kid. Not ready for that kind of commitment? Don’t fucking have kids then. Want to have a kid? Deal with the consequences. Wait for the movie to come out on Redbox or hire a sitter. A late night showing is no place for babies or young children for multiple reasons, and people wonder how their children turn out the way that they do. I’m surprised movie theaters have not tried to ban people from seeing certain movies with a baby. It’s really becoming a thing lately. No joke, 90% of the time I’m at a late night showing of a popular new movie, there will be a baby crying or kids talking.

Btw, The Amazing Spider Man 2 really is amazing. I loved the humor they added this time. However, having to deal with some kid whining daddy daddy repeatably throughout the movie kind of lessened the experience.

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May Goals & April Happiness

Thursday May 1st, 2014 at 1:03 am

I was thinking this is a great time to start monthly posts on plans, wishes, hopes, expectations, goals, etc as well as what was great about the previous month. I’m not quite sure what I want to call it, I’ll figure out a series name for it later. This will be a great way for me to keep my goals in mind and see how I progress through the year. I’m making big changes this year and I need to be more pro-active!

April Happiness

  • Successfully taught my first 4 TESL classes
  • Completed a 150 hour TESL certification course
  • May Goals

  • eBay! eBay! eBay! I’m trying to list a handful of items on eBay every night. I have so much to sell and I will hate throwing away a lot of items when I move. It’s amazing how much I have to sell, and I started early too. I think I started listing items at the beginning of the year. However, now that it’s become important that I sell, it seems I have a never ending supply. I’m such a hoarder. This can’t happen when I move, especially in a 200 sq ft apartment.
  • Practice Japanese. Unfortunately, I’ve never taken a Japanese class and haven’t had much success studying on my own. This is one main reason why I decided to move to Japan. I’d like to have a start in learning the language. Goal this month is to master hiragana and maybe get started on some katakana and simple kanji. In June, I will be taking a formal Japanese class once a week but it’ll only be for a month.
  • Work out! I say this as I sit in front of the computer. I’m not sure why this is so hard for me especially since I know how good I feel after a workout. I’ll be back to setting a goal of working out at least 2-3 times a week.
  • Eat out less. I did pretty good on this in February and March but not so much this month. I’ve been eating out every single day for a couple weeks now. I’ve been lazy about going grocery shopping mostly because I’m burnt out on the limited choices I have.
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    TESL Certified!

    Sunday April 27th, 2014 at 12:44 am

    150 hours/3 months later I am finally TESL certified! Well, not officially. We won’t get our certificates for another 2 weeks but it’s such a relief to be done!

    I had so much fun in the class and learned so much about both teaching and the English language. This past month has probably been the most stressful month for me. Yes, even more stressful than finals during college. I guess I care more about this ^_^ It’s also been one of the most amazing/rewarding months I’ve had.

    At the beginning of all of this, I really wasn’t sure if it was something I could do. To be honest, teaching has been something that I said I never wanted to do. I started the course with no teaching experience, stage fright, and no idea what I was doing or getting myself into.

    The first couple months were fun and I was finding myself enjoying it more and more. Yet, I was still nervous about being a good teacher. They told us at the beginning of class not to worry, it will all come together at the end. I couldn’t help but sit there and wonder if that was true.

    I had a rough start teaching my first couple classes. They weren’t bad but I had a hard time with time management and for my first class, a hard time with getting the students to do the activities correctly. By my third class, I had more or less mastered time management and my lessons went a lot smoother. My last class today went great. I still have plenty of room for improvement but I’m excited to start teaching and learn new things as well.

    I’ve started to clean out a bit of my stuff. Most of my makeup has either been sorted or given away. I’ve horded a lot of makeup/beauty/hair supplies in the last few years between my ipsy, glossybox, birchbox, sample society, look bag, and god knows what else subscriptions. I’ve canceled most of those subscriptions since late last year and just recently canceled everything else this past week. So, you can imagine what my room looked like. I had an entire corner just stocked up with all sorts of supplies. I took the ones I’ll use and gave all of the rest to my friend.

    I’ve sorted most of my clothing as well. I have another big box to give to Goodwill sometime in the future. I think I will have to end up mailing my winter clothes to myself since I can’t seem to part with most of them. I need to get off my lazy ass and get more stuff listed on ebay before I don’t have enough time. Craigslist doesn’t seem to work as well for me.

    There’s a lot to prepare for but not a lot I’m willing to do until I get my work visa, cause that would just be dumb. It’s too early to reserve an apartment and I’m starting to feel that agencies in Japan don’t even want to deal with me right now because I can’t reserve. I can barely get info! All they care about is reserving but I’m not looking to reserve now! Rawr.

    I’m also looking to take a Japanese class for 2 months before I leave. I should be able to work out something with the institute I got my certificate at and only pay for half of the course since I’m leaving in July but we’ll see. Having a little bit of a head start would be nice.

    I actually have time to play FFX again now.

    Posted Under: Daily Life, ESL - teaching, Japan
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    Looking for an apartment in Japan…

    Friday April 25th, 2014 at 1:10 am

    …is not fun.

    I was happy to hear that I get to pick my own apartment and where I want to live because who doesn’t like to make their own decisions? I still like the idea but damn this is harder than what it probably should be.

    My biggest issue is the two places I’m scheduled to teach at are about 40 minutes apart, so I’m a little stumped as to where I want to live. Do I want to live closer to one location and not have to deal with 30+ minute commutes everyday? Or do I want to live in the middle to balance it out? Course that would mean between walking to the train station, waiting for the train, riding the train, and walking to work will equate in a 30-40+ minute commute everyday. That’ll end up being study Japanese time I guess. Add all of that to the fact that I have no idea what’s in the vicinity of these locations in terms of shopping, restaurants, etc. Ah, Japan.

    The second issue is the amount of places willing to rent to foreigners, have websites in English, let you rent overseas, AND are close to the train line I will be taking. You throw all of those into a hat together and you end up with…barely anything.

    The third issue is furnished versus unfurnished apartments. This one really is me being nitpicky. Unfortunately in Japan, when they say unfurnished, they mean unfurnished. You have to buy your own refrigerator, washer, microwave, curtains, etc. We’re not talking huge differences between that and the US since most places here will only supply you with the basic kitchen necessities. If you want a washer and dryer, you have to buy them yourself. The last few apartments I rented all didn’t come with a microwave either. However, it’s still more than possible to find apartments with all of the above or at least including 2-3.

    I want to be able to decorate my own apartment but I’m not sure right now if I want to spent the money. There are a few ways I can save money such as not buying a bed frame (not like I use one now) or doubling the kotatsu as a computer desk. July is just looking to be a very expensive month in between me not working for 2 weeks, buying the plane ticket, spending money on food and lodging in Tokyo while I go through training, setting everything up, and traveling around to buy necessities. Thank God for 100 Yen shops.

    The visa application has started, now it’s just a waiting game…and continuing to hunt down apartments with limited information.

    Posted Under: Japan, Japan: Living
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