Sunday, August 28, 2011

a day filled with a lot of stuff

Hey guyyyyyys! How's it going?? Are you good?? Good!

Today I did LOTS of things and went LOTS of places and took LOTS of pictures. Howwwever, I don't really want to post ALL of them here, just my favorites probably. IN CONCLUSION, I made a flickr account. For those of you who don't know what flickr is (mom), it's a place where I can put all my pictures for the world to see. And YOU GUYS are my world, sooo without further adieu (I seriously spelled that right the first time?), here's the link to my flick account, HaleyRaeInJapan. (Edit: I messed up and I'm not sure what happened but I'll figure out flickr later!)

But OTHERWISE I'd like to share a few things with you guys!! It's late and I have to get up early tomorrow ("early," she says. I'd get nine hours of sleep if I went to bed in twenty minutes. I'm such a baby), so because I'm tired (read: lazy), there may be little description. But if you have any questions on anything definitely ask me about it! Facebook, e-mail, whereever!

Without further adieu (again!), I give you my day adventure in Tokyo with Matt and Hiroko!

Matt and Hiroko's street!

Near the train station

Temple time!

There's all these souvenir shops and food places all the way up this long path to the temple. It smelled delicious. I bought a 300-yen (around $3.50) fan and used it ALL day because it turns out Japan is hot and I've been living in air conditioning pretty much all summer.

This is a luck fortune! You have to put in a coin, take a container full of sticks and shake it, take a stick out and it has a number. You go to a wall of drawers with all these numbers, find the one you picked, opened the drawer, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur. Actually, inside the drawer is a stack of fortunes. You take one and read it. I got the "normal fortune", which out of seven, is number two (one being the worst). But to me it didn't sound bad at all. It was like, "Travel is good. Marriage and education are good." Stuff like that. Neutral. Neutral is good!

This is where people put incense and then wave the smoke on the tops of their heads for good health. It's said it can cure anything wrong with you. I wanted it to cure the light nausea I've had (probably jet-lag mixed with dehydration, though I'm trying to stay on top of that), and so far it's doing a pretty good job.

This is a shrine dedicated to mizuko, literally water-children, but in english are known as aborted fetuses. Here, people hope that the aborted fetus is okay being sent back to the gods before it is returned to them or another deserving family at a later time. 

A. Ki. Habara! The largest electronics area in the WOOORLD! At the end of the movie Densha Otoko (Train Man, really good), the lovers find each other here. <3
Okay, this is funny. There were all these people standing around this cat and Hiroko and I were like, YEAH LET'S TAKE A PICTURE. So we run up there and Matt starts taking the picture when the owner of the store the cat was advertising, or a manager or whatever, runs up and he tells us that it's customers only! I almost like this picture better this way, like Matt said, it tells a story. Hiroko looks great, though. Haha

A claw machine. Full of the same thing. Half the fun of vending machines is choices, people!

Televisions on buildings everywhere. I can't remember if it's the one that's shown here that's the biggest one in the world, but it's one of them!
Okay, so I see this and I'm all, OH PRETTY, PICTURES LET'S TAKE PICTURES!

And then I realized we had actually walked into the Red Light District of Tokyo. Like Matt said (he's good at explaining things in a way that I can easily understand), it's like animals. Bright, colorful animals attract other animals for mating, well, this is a similar concept. 
You soak your feet in a tub filled with fish, and the fish clean your feet for you.
Shit, Japan. Always outdoing yourself.

Here's Hiroko and one of Hiroko and Matt's friends, standing in an alleyway lined with bars, which does this Wisconsinite proud.

A nice picture of everything lit up with us!

Enough said.

But there's so much that happened that wasn't caught on camera! Like the way people stare at me when they think I'm not looking. Yes, I have blonde hair, yes, I have blue eyes, no, I'm not a celebrity. But I don't think it's annoying at all; on the contrary, I think it's adorable. It's most obvious in kids because they don't realize they're staring/they don't care if you see them staring, but adults aren't as sneaky as they think they are.

And then there was Akiba (short for Akihabara), where we went into manga stores and toy stores (lots of action figures), and stores where there was blatantly porn/naked girls on the front.

Oh, wait, this is big. Today, I ordered food in Japan for the first time. Fittingly enough, because I love coffee, it happened in Starbucks. I ordered three drinks and a piece of cake for Matt, Hiroko and I and it was awesome. Matt and Hiroko clapped afterwards. I only stumbled a little, even! One of my proudest moments.

Also, you don't really get to see it in the pictures, but Hiroko, Matt and I met up with three of their friends that speak exclusively Japanese. We went to a Chinese restaurant and ordered a shitton of food and drinks (beer, some kind of Chinese whiskey that made my face go all screwy, orange juice, tea, etc) and talked about LOTS of things. In the beginning, there was little conversation I understood. I introduced myself and explained that I would be studying in Nagoya at Nanzan, stuff like that, and I did get several full, understanding sentences in over three and a half hours with them, but really I was surprised at how much I ended up understanding. After getting into the groove of listening to Japanese again, I understood several full conversations. My lack of speaking wasn't so much that I didn't understand, rather, I didn't know what to say. That's something I need to work on. Still, I had a great time. They were funny guys and I learned a lot of things with them.

What's also not pictured is the creepiness of the Red Light District. Since selling sex is legal in Japan, that leaves room for a lot of fetishes to develop, and there's all kinds of sex shops from maids to doctors and nurses to men dressed like women and women dressed like men and just a shitton of things like that. Walking down there would be terrifying at night - not like anyone would ever grab me, it's more that it's intimidating to be around people who are trying to get you to come into their "shop". On our way out of the restaurant, Matt and I were a little ahead of the group walking down one of the alleys and a woman literally walked away from the wall and nearly into our path, which is the most forward thing I've ever seen a Japanese person do, and it was SCARY because she looked zombie-like. That makes me sad for her.

Also, Matt and Hiroko were AMAZING and despite my insisting that they were being ridiculous and that I could buy it myself ("It's a present! It's a present!"), they bought me a Japanese-English electronic dictionary. It's pink and hand-held and AWESOME and I'm so excited to get to use it! They're being very sweet on this trip, I couldn't ask for nicer people to be staying with during my first few days in Japan.

Also, I saw Star Wars light-saber chopsticks, along with Harry Potter wand chopsticks. Which is kind of amazing.

Well, I definitely need to get some sleep, so I'm headed to bed. Tomorrow, we're going to Harujuku. Pictures then!

Oyasuminasai! Good night!

Edit: I found the picture I took of Shibuya Cross without realizing it!! For those of you who don't know, this is where Resident Evil 4: Afterlife opened up at, in the beginning scene in Japan when a Japanese girl turns...ZOMBIE

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