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08 August 2011 @ 05:02 am
on the eve of the end  
I finally sit down to try to make a post of many parts (including pictures not my own since i often forgot my camera just when it would have been useful this trip), that reminds me to remember certain pieces of the trip, while also explaining where I've been.

I wish I could say I've been out running here to there having the time of my life, so busy that I haven't been able to be at the computer, but the truth was that I was sick.  I think I already bitched about that, but it started on a Thursday, I sat out fun things on the weekend so I could get better, slowly recovered so that I mostly felt all there to take the final (but not entirely all there to study for it - I figured sleep was the best present I could give myself on that score, so the final really became a 'these are the areas you need to study most' thing rather than a 'final' with a grade).  But then the cold came back on Friday of this week, hard enough that my housemate told me I looked like was doing 'pretty bad' at the final school party - so again, I went home and tried to rest it out.

Still sick.

However, in the mean time, I did squeeze some things in. 

I promised I would take my housemate and our other friend up to Harajuku.  So we went, on a Sunday (not this last one, but the one a week prior), and while girls no longer hang out at the Harajuku bridge wearing gothic lolita clothes or anything, Harajuku is a totally silly fun shopping place.  And it has an amazing Ukio-e museum (though the prints there?  $300-$3,000 for PRINTS)

And here is us, being super goofy, with big flowers and bows and feathers in our hair - which is totally the tokyo fashion, btw!

We ate terrible chinese food after the shops closed and came home to do homework that sunday.  Not a bad day per se.

Also, there's this awesome fun park on the Yokohama promenade right by our school building, so after school on Monday? Tuesday? of last week, we threw caution to the winds and went and blew some money on one of the world's tallest/highest ferris wheels and roller coasters.  It was hilarious because one of the quiet sarcastic guys from our program didn't like roller coasters but got on it with us, and literally repeated "Oh SHIT" over and over again, yelling, through the ride. 

this is the  ferris wheel.

this is the view from the top of the ferris wheel

this is the second roller coaster (that the scardey guy wouldn't get on)

On Thursday, after presenting our assess off (we had to do a final 10 minute presentation after the final test on a subject of our choice.  I, of course, chose female writers of sci fi Japan), we decided to go to an onsen (although this one was more like a public bath than anything else) to relax.

It looked a little bit like this (pic from another onsen):

women and men are split, and yes, you go in naked, you shower before you get into the pools, and the water is a weird color because they put minerals in it (and it's supposed to be from hot springs or natural water too).   It was good, but that plus we went aftewards and got dinner and nomihodai for an hour (so basically I had two drinks, but still), and it apparently shoved my cold back into high gear.

So I left the school party home and pretty much collapsed once I got up the hill to the house (though I did take pics of the walk, and that will be another picspam). 

BUT!  Nicole and I wanted to go back to Harajuku to find this store she's been reading about for years, and so Saturday we got our asses up and back out there in the world.  And went to this place:

and met the two women in this pic (manager and shop girl)

Grimoire pics from here - and if you are curious about fashion in Japan, check this site out!

AND found another super duper hip store in the same building with the kind of clothes that make your brain hurt but in all the funnest ways, and got invited to a concert going on from 3-8pm on sunday!

To which Nicole went, and I stayed home and watched movies because the entire Harajuku thing had maxed me out completely. 

So today, my last day in Japan, I took two sudafed (nicole still has a stash of the ones with pseudoeffedrine in them, so they actually, you know, work, and keep you alert), and we went to Kamakura (no, really, click the link, it's pretty)

Those pics also forthcoming.

What I'm going to miss about Japan
  • Trains that run on time.  (but not the morning commute, oh my gods)
  • Strange juices and vitamin drinks at every single conbini everywhere
  • Bread from high end bread-shops, mmmmmm.
  • Speaking Japanese every day
  • Showers that actually adjust and the weather warm enough that you can shut it off to shave your legs/soap/shampoo - it's too cold even in LA to do that most of the time
  • Garlic-panko-breaded chicken from our little grocery store
  • Seeing people walk tiny dachshunds and shiba inu EVERYWHERE
  • Cute Japanese kids
  • Green green green green green GREEN plants
  • Not having to walk the dog every day.
  • believe it or not, the humidity.  oh it's awful to slog through, but i like standing in it

What I am looking forward to when I get home
  • My friends.  I've been out of touch this entire summer in one way or another and typing online isn't as comfortable here (no couch).  And while I liked the people that I hung around with this summer, there wasn't a deep connection with them - they were run around and do things with buddies, not friends.  I miss my friends.
  • My dog.  words cannot express.
  • My sheets, my books, my couch, my little apartment.
  • Having all the foods I'm used to available to cook.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't starve this summer, but I miss MY pantry.
  • English-language school
  • a different variable daily schedule, not the same intensive 3-5 hours of homework a night every night
  • my car
  • Wireless internet.
  • The silent sound of the city

Things I won't miss about Japan, not at all
  • Walking in the humid rain with a backpack
  • The walk to and from school (and having to carry everything along with you when you went out and came back, including groceries - half the time i didn't buy apples because i didn't want to carry them home)
  • Daily homework, the push of the schedule, the quizzes
  • The bugs.  UGH. spiders, cockroaches, potato bugs, little gnats, mosquitos, and then all the 40 or 50 other flying things.
  • This is a "semi" and they shed their skins this month and make the WORST rakket ever!  And yes, ok, they have them in the US (cicadas) but they do not start at 5 am shrieking every day, because the sun doesn't come up at five am every day in the US.
  • terrible fruit and veggie selection compared to california.  doesn't help i'm not a huge fan of some of the most eaten japanese veggies (sorry Iron Chef, you have failed to motivate me!)
  • Feeling out of touch with the world because i haven't had time for news blog reading and haven't been in the car to hear NPR

ok, that's that. more posts coming soon i guess!

also posted to dreamwidth | you can reply here or there | um, but don't worry, i'm still an lj girl
Kat: *hugs* - Leverageseductivembrace on August 8th, 2011 05:23 pm (UTC)
That ferris wheel is huge! And the view! I can't believe your time in Japan is over - where did it go? But, what a wonderful experience!
my monkied brain: _nihon-flowerkatekat1010 on August 9th, 2011 01:50 am (UTC)
it's crazy right??? super amazing! sadly i didn't bring my camera so i had to rely on other people's photos, but still!

and yeah, i know, it went FAST. it was only six weeks though too, which really is not a long time in the grand scheme of things! i'll miss it, but i'm glad it's almost over.
brutti_ma_buonibrutti_ma_buoni on August 8th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
I hope you're really getting better now - sounds like a horrible cold, and boo to interrupting your last few days. Huh.

I meant to say shaping_light won your help_japan graphic at WriterConUK. Am sure she'll be in touch soon. Plus I used one of your fic posters for me in my prompts talk. So you were practically with us!
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on August 9th, 2011 01:55 am (UTC)
fingers crossed lady! since i basically get back to the US and have to travel again (pick up dog, drive back to LA) i don't know if i'll be fully recovered till next week. frustrating, but it happens.

and other than the lj name not coming through (perhaps she's a dreamwidth person?) yay! give her my email if she'd prefer that way too - katekat1010 at yahoo
brutti_ma_buonibrutti_ma_buoni on August 9th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
Curse it, wrong punctuation. shapinglight, is the right lj name!
EB: Queen of the Social Lepers: kate rocks (take 3)elizabuffy on August 8th, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC)
I MISS YOU!!!!!! So much. I think I'm actually going through Kate-withdrawals. :(

The pictures look fabulous. I hope you had a fabulous time and I'm looking forward to your coming home.


my monkied brain: EB Rocks!katekat1010 on August 9th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)
OMG CLINGS LIKE A CRAZY PERSON!!! I HAVE BEEN GOING THROUGH EB WITHDRAWAL TOO. ok, so here's the skinny - even though i'm going to be back in the states, dad is picking me up from ko's in SF and driving me back to sacto. i'm spending the night there then driving to mom's house, then spending the night there and driving me and the dog to LA. then i should be in a place where i can call - that's friday :( but i'll be thinking about you, PROMISE!
Professor Fancypants von Deth, Esqdwg on August 8th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
oh my god I want to dive into that shop and I wish I had all the money to fly to Japan to do just that. *_*
my monkied brain: _nihon_prayerskatekat1010 on August 9th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)
RIGHT?????? isn't it just gobble-able? and we found other ones like it too. CRAZY.
samanthahirr: Diptychsamanthahirr on August 9th, 2011 11:28 pm (UTC)
Omigosh, travel safe honey! And I hope you feel much better soon. BE WELL!
Karen: ani earth chocolatekazzy_cee on August 10th, 2011 11:27 am (UTC)
Hi - thanks again for letting us use some of your artwork in our virtual gallery at writerconuk last weekend. As a thank you - here's a contributor button for you to use if you'd like to :)

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