Adventures in Tokyo with E!
(E, as in the person, not the drug)
March 4, 2013 by amanda
Adventures in Tokyo with E!
(E, as in the person, not the drug)
January 28, 2013 by amanda
“Luke, I think we’ve done it~!”
I’m hella busy, guys (didn’t think I would be, but I guess work piled up during my vacation (which I was GOING to write about – we’ll see, eh? it would be weird to write about my Xmas holiday during March or something)) ! Here are some pictures though.
December 21, 2012 by amanda
One cold day in December, I went to a nearby restaurant for lunch with GJ. As we were taking off our coats to sit down at the counter, someone called out from the table behind us. “Amanda?”
I turned around, and there was Junya, sitting at the table behind us with a friend. “Oh! Hey..?” I sputtered for a bit, awkwardly, ending on, “Long time no see.”
We nodded, smiled at each other, and then…went back to our respective conversations.
We had eaten so many times at this restaurant together.
When I went back to my desk after lunch, I took one last, long look at the photo of him and I taped under the plastic cover of my desk. There we were, in the dusky light, waiting for fireworks. Another photo, placed right above it, was of R and X and I, waiting for those same fireworks.
Just a heartbeat, and everything has changed.
I took another photo I had, of R and I and lots of other friends, and placed it over top of Junya. It was time. It was way past time. I just finally noticed, is all.
December 19, 2012 by amanda
When I was a small child, I would often join my father and little sister in making fun of my mother for putting on Christmas music when it was still November. She’d start dusting the living room, breaking out the big boxes of decorations, and put on A Charlie Brown Christmas. “Mommm,” I’d say. “It’s too early for Christmas music! This is embarrassing.” She’d smile as she unwrapped a snow globe or a decorative candle and say in a sing-song voice, “I know~”
This year I started playing Christmas music in the beginning of November.
I try really hard to keep Christmas alive for myself here. It’s not like Japan doesn’t celebrate or decorate – the blinking lights above Odori Street prove otherwise. But something’s missing. I know the religious element is absent, but I’m a Catholic in name only, so that doesn’t bother me. It could be that I miss the cozy feeling in the air that you get when everyone around you looks forward to going home for the holidays, but the Japanese do that for New Year’s, so it’s not that either.
Maybe it’s just simply a lack of nostalgia for the holiday here. It’s changing, but for the most part, people didn’t spend their childhoods looking forward to Christmas. Children nowadays are taught to believe in Santa Claus, but I don’t know if it’s the same. I do think parents buy a few presents for their children, and there is a traditional Christmas meal in Japan called “Kentucky Fried Chicken,” but none of the adults have memories of writing letters to Santa Claus or shopping in malls covered in evergreen and sparkle.
December 8, 2012 by amanda
December 3, 2012 by amanda
I’ve been remiss in my blogging duties in the past month or so – and before you blame my newly acquired 3DS, know that that’s only about half the reason! The rest is just that I’ve been monstrously busy, and the free time that I have has been dedicated to jogging or like hanging out with my boyfriend. But this time of year is always busy for me, and it’s nice to feel like I really am accomplishing things at this job and in my life! But I guess it doesn’t feel real if I don’t livejournal it, you know.
In the past month or so I’ve:
+Ran a 17k up an extreme mountain course covered in gorgeous autumn leaves
+Went to Kuzumaki, a small hamlet in the far north of the prefecture, to hold a Halloween party at a tiny elementary school. I’m talking, only thirty students in the entire school – first through sixth grade. The building was old and rickety, but they had a live sheep outside as the school pet. They named him Sui, and he chased me because he thought I had food.
+Went to Ichinoseki, the city farthest to the south of the prefecture, to hold another Halloween party in cooperation with an elementary school and the local seniors club (who were quite confused as to what a “powerpoint presentation” was).
+Went to Sendai for a wedding of a friend of my boyfriend’s, stayed in a fancy hotel, and met his best friend
+Went to tiny Numakunai to go to my first ever pre-school visit
+Went to Tokyo for the twice-a-year JET Prefectural Advisors conference
+Went shopping in Shinjuku on a Friday night…
+Ran in the Miyako Salmon Marathon, my last race of the year, and the first time I ever beat 60 minutes in a 10k!!
+Did three school visits in one week, talking about the U.S. to elementary students
+One of those school visits was a return to Kuzumaki, where the students gave us a surprise Yosakoi performance. Probably my best school visit ever
+Interpreted for a bunch of young people from Indonesia, one of which lost everything in the 2004 tsunami but wanted to share his experience with kids here who suffered in 2011
+Participated in my third One World Festa, which is the huge international festival the International Association runs every year. I spent a whole day with other American friends talking about our country and interpreting announcements
+Went on a local morning entertainment show with some other foreign girls where we spread the word about One World Festa (ie, I finally did make it on Japanese television…and was awkward as heck)
+Went back to Tokyo for the annual CIR conference, and got to spend some time with R
+Wandered around the new Tokyo Sky Tree and checked out all the shopping (unfortunately, actually going up the tower would require selling my first-born)
+Had an amazing 26th birthday with the boy, eating fancy sushi (Maesawa beef!!) and feeling so amazed that we share the same birthday
+Celebrated my birthday another two times with two different sets of friends (somehow, my birthday is always kinda like that)
And there was much more where that came from. I need like a few weeks off, to be honest. While there were times where I wanted to just crawl into a hole from the stress of it all, I really am grateful that I have this opportunity and this job. Not sure where life is bringing me next, but for now I’m content to just enjoy the ride.
Next up: Christmas shopping and going home for the holidays…!
November 6, 2012 by amanda
November 2, 2012 by amanda
Recently, we’ve been staying in at my apartment, and one of us will cook dinner while the other puts a movie on. I’ll take out the two small glasses I have in the freezer and pour out a beer. “I love that you always have frosty glasses ready,” he’ll say, smiling. The kitchen is warm and the lingering smell of spices wafts through the small apartment. He wears long sleeves and sweaters now, and I wrap the blanket of my kotatsu around us as we settle into watch a movie.
“You know, I’ll get old before you do.”
I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care…
September 17, 2012 by amanda
“You can always tell when a woman is with the wrong man, because she has so much to say about the fact that nothing’s happening.
“When women find the right person, on the other hand, they just .. disappear for six months, and then resurface, eyes shiny, and usually about six pounds heavier.
“‘So what’s he like?’ you will say….
“…but she will be oddly quiet. ‘It’s just…good,’ she will say. ‘I’m really happy.’”
– Caitlin Moran, “How To Be A Woman”
August 24, 2012 by amanda