Moving to Japan

So I’m more or less settled into my apartment so I thought now would be a good time to update everyone on my various things. Also I’ve been abusing a collage app because it makes posting a lot of pictures much easier, so get ready for that.

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I left JFK airport in NYC at about 1:30am. I got there at 11:00pm so there was a lot of waiting around. They also charged me $5 for an hour of internet so that was pretty messed up.

My flight was 17 hours to Hong Kong and it took my butt approximately 3 hours to start falling asleep and being in pain. I’m still recovering from the trauma.

I went from Hong Kong to Osaka and the flight was much more manageable, around 4 hours. I thought it was longer when i was reading the ticket information but I guess they were counting layover time. When I got to KIX airport in Osaka I spent a good 3 hours pissing around with about 105 pounds of luggage. I found the pokemon store in the airport and had no self control.

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I never find anything latios so I was super excited! There’s also an event in Japan until July where they’re distributing a shiny rayquaza so they’re selling the plushes to celebrate. In a month they’re going to sell pokedoll Rayquaza and I’m definitely grabbing some of that.

I somehow managed to find the correct trains to Kyoto Station from Osaka despite never riding public transit in my life (they dont offer a lot of transit options in towns with less people than Saturday at Walmart). I rode for about 3 hours and had two connecting trains but made it! I was theoretically going to catch 5 busses to get from Kyoto Station to my hotel, but at that point I had been awake for 27 hours and that wasn’t happening.

I passed out at the hotel at around 6pm. I slept until 3am then realized I was starving and wandered out of the hotel to find the McDonald’s near me. I got about half a block down the road and found a Gyudon restaurant open. I stumbled my way through an order and got a great meal for $2. I grabbed a Calpis soda on the way out from the vending machine right outside for a grand total of $3.10 spent.

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I slept for another 5 hours then dragged all my luggage to Ritsumeikan. We all sat in a circle and signed Japanese paperwork to apply for our apartments. We had to pay a bunch of fees and deposits upfront so I’m basically broke now. On the bright side we’ll be “getting the deposits back at the end” so I’ll have money just in time to go home and not need it because I’ll have a job.

After we finished some of the exchange students that moved in last year helped us settle in. They gave us some good information and we all exchanged Line names. Then we met up with the owner of the apartment who is super nice. She only speaks Japanese so I have a huge language barrier right now but I hope I’ll be able to actually respond to her soon instead of just “hai, hai” and “sou desu ne?”

She drove us to a Daiso which is basically a dollar store. I only had $5 at the time so I didn’t get to take advantage of anything. I plan on heading there again soon, probably today or tomorrow and probably on the bus.

Yuri, the apartment owner, also lent us (her new Ritsumeikan tenants) bicycles to use to get around. I need to relearn since I haven’t ridden since I was 12. I’ll practice at night when there aren’t a bunch of drivers on the road. The roads are very narrow here and the drivers are kind of crazy so I’m a little terrified of biking around.

After we got back I finished unpacking so I’m pretty settled in at this point, aside from not having any food in the apartment.

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I went to the nearest 7-11 to withdraw some money since they have American ATMs, and on the way back got a bowl of my first real ramen

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I will leave you on that delicious note and update again later. Ja matane!

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What I Want to Accomplish 2015

Hello friend! Long time no see. Wow you look GREAT did you get a new hairdresser?

So I’d like to make a quick list of things I hope to accomplish by the end of 2015. Half the year is basically already spent since I will be living in Japan and probably not getting a lot of free time that I won’t be spending entirely on exploring.

I also want to mention I don’t place a huge emphasis on these- I think one of the downfalls with New Year’s resolutions is that once you start to fail them/you don’t start doing them it really stresses you out, and that stress can lead to you getting even less done because you’re afraid to even approach the topic at that pont.

So anyways, in no particular order, here’s my list of things I hope I can get done in 2015, and if I can’t so what because I have a lot of time. I’ll write a little blurb about why it is I want to accomplish these things while I’m at it.

-Graduate college. Pretty self explanatory. Because of my trip to Japan to stuff I’ll be a semester behind, so hopefully I  will be able to graduate after the fall semester, instead of spring semester like I was planning.

-Get paid for something I write. So far I have written two (horrible) books for Nanowrimo, each around 70,000 words, and countless personal short stories. They’re completely unedited, so I wouldn’t mind actually getting around to fixing them up and maybe submitting them somewhere.

-Finishing my game design and pitch it at Gencon. I have the groundwork of two games, and it would be pretty nice if I could finish one up and test it out before Gencon so I could pitch it for publishing while I’m there.

-Perform a live Stand-up comedy routine. I plan on becoming a lawyer of some sort, I have scholarships and everything lined up for it, but I’m terrified of public speaking. I don’t know how I plan on surviving a graduate study that favors the socrates method with a fear like this. This is something that can only be fixed by speaking in public over, and over, and over again. I think performing in small open mic nights in my area can help me overcome my fear. Or maybe make it way  worse.

-Learn a new skill in its basic form. I love learning new fun things. Through the magic of the internet I have taught myself to juggle, sew plushies, embroider, crotchet, play guitar and ukulele, speak Japanese, and clicker train my dogs. I’m not stellar at any of these, it’s kind of a “jack of all trades, master of none” deal, but I can still perform all of them competently (with the exception of guitar and Japanese, both of which I practice all the time) Maybe I’ll finally pick up a new language this year like I keep talking about, or start to learn how to knit like I’ve been too afraid to do.

-Get better at a current skill. Like I said I know a lot of semi-useless skills, and I should probably get better at a couple of them. I’ll probably focus on sewing or crocheting since I can do those in my tiny Japanese apartment and on the long plane and train rides.

So yeah, there’s my list. Maybe more to be added later. Here’s to a great new year of fun, friends, and personal satisfaction. 明けましておめでとうございます! Happy new year!

Camping Day 2&3

CAMPING EXTRAVAGAANNNZZAA

So day two we got to our campsite and every site was taken. On a Wednesday night. Goddamn all these people and their week-and-a-half long vacations. And we weren’t even camping in a state park, these were primitive campsites that you had to drive an hour just to get to. I clearly was not prepared for this. So from 12pm-9pm we drove from about the center of WV to the very south edge in search of a campsite, and also in search for fuel for our tiny portable stove since apparently no store in this entire damned state stocks propane/butane fuel.

By 9pm Wednesday we managed to find both fuel AND a campsite, so that was pretty sweet. We set up camp at Camp Creek in their little rumor ice campsites and there was nowhere around. It was awesome. We decided to stay another night so we were there all day Thursday.

The campsite we got, on top of being completely deserted, is also right above a creek with a little downslope leading into the water. The day never got hot enough for us to wade in it but Friend sure liked to.

The only bad thing about the site was that it was right beside a hiking trail that lead to some nice waterfalls so it got busy during the afternoon, and the rangers were checking it in the mornings which made it pretty hard to sleep.

The waterfall the trail lead to was pretty nice. It opened up into a big pool that I could fish in. We’d planned on letting Friend swim there but she’s not much of a swimmer. After we got back she dug a little hole and plopped down in it to sleep.

Oh yeah, we also saw a coyote chasing a deer fawn and trying to eat it, so that was about as nature-y as anything that could have happened.

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Camping Day 1

We’re doing a CAMPING EXTRAVAGANZA and camping down to the bottom of Florida from the top of West Virginia. We are staying at a new campsite almost every night, and here’s how the first night went.

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Damp. Everything is damp. It rained heavily from when we got there until right before we left, we got to the campsite just an hour before dark, and the propane for our little grill was the wrong size. There were also kids constantly riding their bikes past our site, screaming, and staring at our dog and cat while we set up. All in all not a relaxing first night. On the bright side it wasn’t a thunderstorm so everything was soggy but it wasn’t loud and terrible.

I’m surprised by the number of people that were camping on a Tuesday night in one of the smaller and lesser known state parks in our area. I’m also surprised by how many had RV’s instead of tents- literally all of them. I think there were 25 sites and 20 of them were filled with RV’s. I guess some people are still celebrating their Fourth of July weekend. It’s supposed to rain at our next campsite too… Maybe it just won’t instead.

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If You Hate on the Haters Then Aren’t You a Hater?

I read this blog post about Stacy London trying to go on the Paleo diet and it made me laugh a lot. I found myself agreeing with a lot of the same problems when I decided to stop eating certain foods, and her writing was pretty funny and clever. It catalogs her daily thoughts around meals and I was nodding most of the time. I didn’t actually know who Stacy London was until I read this post and it slowly explained it to me, but now I’m just going to remember her as the funny and real Paleo diet girl.

In her blog post, Stacy struggles with what to eat on her new diet. A lot of commenters talk about her being a screw up, and that she is just trying out new fad diets, and she was giving the Paleo diet a bad name because she wasn’t eating properly. But when you start new things you just screw up. That’s how it works. You don’t come out of the womb running and you can’t expect to be excellent at things on your first try.

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She talks about wondering if nuts have seasons and how she’s going to be eating nothing but turkey and avacodo for the rest of her life, and I connected with those problems. When I changed eating habits I clung on to the same few foods for quite a few weeks. Hell, I still drink orange juice and seltzer water every single day just because I STILL have a hard time knowing what to drink since I don’t like water.

She also talked about the sweet cravings she would often have. As a sugar junkie I have such insane sugar cravings every single day. I’ll spend an hour just thinking about how much I love donuts and miss coke. Then I eat five oranges and move on with my life, but it’s still a struggle every time it happens.

While it’s true she underrate for most of the days she cataloged, but that was because she was thrust into a new world and almost everything she ate before was taken from her. She had to start from scratch; that means all new groceries, all new recipes, and a no falling back on your old and comfortably known foods. I know I under ate for the first week or two. I had no idea what to eat and how much of it to eat.

I never made any of my own meals before. Everything was either in the microwave or macaroni on the stove. But we both know kraft macaroni doesn’t actually count as food. I am still trying to teach myself to cook from scratch. it’s very hard! You use a lot of dishes! I didn’t know it took so many dishes to cook food! Now I do, but it took a lot of fucking up to figure it out.

So you go Stacy London, don’t let the haters hate.

Just Do The Best You Can

“Some days, doing my best means accepting that I’m not actually doing my best. I’m not perfect, I can’t give 100% every moment of every day. Some days, I do good enough, and I have to be okay with that.”

That’s a quote I stole from someone and if I ever remember who it was I will give them all the credit in the USA. This has been my go-to phrase for the last few weeks, and an idea I’ve had to deal with for years.

I have chronic depression. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but I am still often taken over by feelings of helplessness and apathy. The apathy is always the worst. You just lay there and you can’t feel anything, no matter how much you want to. Sometimes you just cry; aggressively and passionately, and you have no idea why. You start thinking of things gone wrong and suddenly there’s a reason for the tears. On the bright side the apathy is gone and you are feeling something again.

Sometimes these episodes only last a couple hours. Sometimes they last a couple days, and my worst ones have lasted a few months. On days like that I have things to get done; i have to go to college or work or I need to do simple things like get out of bed, eat, or brush my teeth. I have dogs to take care of and I have to deal with life. On days like this that particular message means a lot to me.

I try as hard as I can, but sometimes I need to remember that just getting out of bed and going is an achievement in itself. I shouldn’t feel bad that I didn’t do cardio for an hour or that one time in a week I ate junky, easy food like ramen or microwave dinners. I should feel good that I did some exercise instead of none, I should be glad I got out of bed and ate instead of wallowing in self pity all day.

I always had problems on particularly bad days where I wouldn’t leave bed, and then I would chastise myself for being lazy and not doing anything at all that day. I couldn’t accept that some days you need a break and taking that break is okay. Eventually I began to accept the little victories, and while it didn’t make my depression wane i certainly made it easier to deal with.  Less often would I end up depressed, punish myself and become more depressed for longer because of thinking how useless I was by not getting anything done.

Effort is always better than no effort, and as long as you’re actively trying to reach your goal then you should feel good about yourself and the steps you took today, even if they aren’t the leaps you usually make.

 

 

Soda Stream Into a Healthier Life

Man, do I love coconut oil. I debated talking about the amazing breakfast that I fry in coconut oil and it is my new favorite thing, or my soda streamer that is my lifesblood. I really want to talk about my new favorite breakfast, but my camera is not in hands reach so soda streamer it is!

I have this awesome thing called a soda streamer. You may have heard of it before, it’s pretty popular- especially in  Elder Bearman. This is the one I have!

I have the first and cheapest model. I got it pretty much the year it came out. Actually, in a spur of pure genius, my mom got it for me as a graduation gift. She knew I had an obsession with soda and got this for me as a healthier alternative. I’ve considered getting a nicer one since I’ve been using it for three years, but I don’t really have a need to. This one does everything it needs to perfectly: it makes water fizzy.

What you’re supposed to do with the soda streamer is carbonate your water then add one of their 60 or so flavors to the bottle that you fizz it in. I find their bottled flavors a little too processed and a little too gross. Honestly you might as well just be drinking regular soda, except this soda is grosser.

What I like to do is fizz up my water and pour it into a glass. I use about 2/3rd carbonated water, then I add some 100% fruit juice. I’ve mixed unsweetened tea into too, and really I’m going to think pretty much anything carbonated is great so I’m a little biased.

I think I mentioned my soda addiction before. I usually had about three or four cans of it a day minimum. I knew if I wanted to feel better I was going to have to stop drinking it all the time. So I did, I stopped cold turkey. Luckily I had this lovely beauty to keep me from dying of dehydration.

I have never been good at drinking water. Tap water makes me gag. It might have to do with some seriously bad tap water fro our city I experienced a lot when I was little. I can drink filtered water, but I hate it and it needs to be ice cold or I am supremely unhappy. However, I am completely capable of drinking seltzer water. I am especially capable of drinking seltzer water with juice mixed in.

If you find yourself having trouble cutting soda from your diet, this is the way to go. This completely satiates every craving I have for soda. It’s a great alternative, and a healthy alternative. Not just for you but for the environment too. I would fill garbage bags with cans and plastic bottles, but I don’t anymore!

My friend told me mixing syrups and juices with the seltzer water was called Italian Soda. I’d never heard this term before, but I sound so gourmet now.