Sunday, June 15, 2003

went to Sumpu Castle yesterday~ Just to check out what's inside since it IS a tourist spot and it would be nice to learn a bit about the famous Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. It's really close to Kaikan, only 10 minutes walking distance (I think), so "naturally" nobody would think of going there... One of my Japanese friend even said "There is a Sumpu Castle??" hmmm...

Anyway, Fu, Britta and I walked there as the sun was mercilessly shining on us. YES, it was sunny! (only for the morning though, it rained after 4pm or so)

The castle was quite small, which really surprised me since I thought Ieyasu was a very big Shogun and he would probably have a big castle...? But then I was reading some of the explanation of drawings, and they mentioned that Ieyasu was a samurai who believed in humble living, which means eating moderately and dressing modestly. I suppose that's why he didn't have a bigger one..? Well, the Sumpu Park is actually really big. If that's the backyard, then... wow..

And today, went to Jusco with Fu, Britta, Heruni-san (Ibu) and Ibu's family (Kadir and Bila-chan). Things are just so cheap in Jusco... it'd be quite dangerous if Jusco wasn't in Shimizu but Shizuoka city area.... We all bought quite alot of things, and felt quite content. Shopping is good, especially when things are inexpensive~

Had a small episode while finding seats at the food court though. It was about 1pm or so, and the food court was really crowded. We were waiting for some people to finish their food and get up to leave. So, I found this family of four already finished their food, just drinking water (they weren't even talking to each other). One of the daughters got up, but the mother took a look at us and grabbed her daughter's sleeve and told her to sit back down. I couldn't believe my eyes! They weren't eating or doing anything! The mother was plain being mean! I don't know if it's because we're foreigners or something (I know I don't look that Canadian, but my friends Britta and Fu do), but it was just NOT very nice. I would hate to think that it was discrimination... more like being impolite. Mukatsuku....*_*

Friday, June 13, 2003

I can honestly say... that I HATE RAINING SEASON IN JAPAN!!!! >__<

Everyday raining and raining... aaaaaaaaah it's enough! And if it's all nice and cool with the rain, it'd be just fine. But NO, it's hot and humid... *~* I never thought it'd be like this... oh wait a minute, it's just like the raining season in Taiwan. Except this time I'm really firm on not turning on the air conditioner, unlike when I was ten and always whining that it's hot and I couldn't take it anymore. :p Well, since this time I'm the one paying the electricity bill... hee hee~

However, with the raining on and off, I am still jogging during it's not raining. It's actually kinda nice that I started jogging. It'll soon be a week and I can feel that I don't get tired as easily as before. Before I started jogging, I was always sleepy and felt tired easily in class (well... hey...). hmmm let's hope I can keep it up, eh?

Was watching this TV show called "Nakai Masahiro no Kinsuma-tachi" which is hosted by the leader of Smap Nakai, and it's basically about women's secrets. For example, there's this woman who is having an affair with a married man, and she's waiting for her boyfriend to divorce the wife for a very long time. Finally, she couldn' t wait any longer, so she decided to "draw" a message to the wife. While her boyfriend was sleeping, she wrote a message on his back with a permanent marker! And the message said "This is mine! You silly woman! from the Lover." But then it didn't have any effect at all. So she tried other things, like sending the boyfriend's underwear to the wife or even went to the wife's house while the boyfriend is at work and then just started yelling and telling the wife that she's sleeping with her husband! Well, the wife didn't show her face but all the people around the neighbourhood and even the police came. You'd think that she was in trouble now that somebody had call the police... NO! After hearing why the woman's doing this, the police officers sympathized with her and suggested that she can talk to the free counsellor at the city hall. Un-believable! (something is wrong with this society...)

Anyways... the woman felt alot better after declaring her existence, so she's made her peace with the boyfriend still being married to his wife...

Then, there's this another woman who had a secret part-time job that is just outrageous! This woman was living with her boyfriend and working as a part-time staff at a coffee shop, but the income from waitressing was not enough for living. She didn't want to do the hostess thing since she wouldn't have enough time to spend with her boyfriend. So, one night, she's surfing on the net, and "accidentally" found this gay community website. (Yeah, I'm not buying the "accidentally" thing. She was obviously looking for "something"... ) After reading some postings in the message board, she found this posting saying that this guy would like to buy other gay guys' underwears for 20 thousand yen. So, "of course" she took a look at her boyfriend who was fast asleep and had this idea of selling her boyfriend's underwear... She also had to send her boyfriend's picture along with the underwear, otherwise the guys wouldn't buy them... However, after 3 years the woman broke up with her boyfriend, and that left her no source of the tainted underwear, therefore no HIGH income. But then 3 years of her special part-time work, she had 800 thousand yen profit from selling the underwears (and not having to wash them!)! GEEZ... this fetish thing in Japan... Well, maybe you would wonder, didn't the boyfriend suspect anything? Actually, there's one time that her boyfriend found out that his underwear drawer only has a few in it... the woman just sweet-talked him and said "those were all getting old, so I threw them away. don't worry, I'll buy you new ones~" Then she ran to 100 yen shop to get the cheap underwears. hey, if she's gonna make money out of these things, she might as well get cheap ones so she can gain more profits. hmmm... makes you wonder, eh?

Japanese TV is pretty entertaining and full of weird stuff... sometimes educational... sometimes just plain stupid... :p But, very good source to learn Japanese, well, definitely NOT textbook Japanese, anyway~

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Today, I rediscovered the importance of 100 yen Shop.

It's unbelievable what you can get in 100 yen shop... Since everything is 100 yen, sometimes you see somethings that you really, REALLY, don't need in your house, but then... somehow you would just put them in your baskets unconsciously. But, the good thing is, you can put 10 things in there and it'd still only cost you 1050 yen... Isn't it just wonderful?

We exchange students in Japan can't help but shop at 100 yen shops... perfect for us who are not staying here for that long. I can say that almost everyone of them own more than 50 items bought from 100 yen shops. hmmm I probably have 100...??

Bought a stereo earphone for 100 yen so I can go jogging with my MD Player. It was awesome~ not the stereo earphone was awesome (it's only 100 yen..., can't really expect it'd have nice bass sound :p), I meant the jogging with my MD Player part.

I feel that it's easier to jog with music... especially with Kubota Toshinobu's R&B music~ The messenger's rhyme! hee hee

OOh, yeah, and ever since Sunday evening the TV program "Aru Aru Daijiten" introduced how garlic can help making your skin nice and make you smarter (or rather not forget things easily), everybody around is eating garlic... including me... because Rin rin told me that Mochitsuki sell garlics in hug packs, and it's only 200 yen for one pack... you can't just miss a great deal like that... so...right now, everyday, garlic...

I made garlic toast for myself tonight. It was quite tasty, but honestly... I can really do it without the whole garlic taste in my mouth after I've brushed my teeth twice. ~*_*~ Ah... I guess there's always a setback for everything good, right?

hmm in today's Japanese class, Nakazato sensei handed us this textbook for Japanese grade 6 history class. (The class that all students feel sleepy at... it's not because the class was particularly boring or anything, it's just for half year, we were conditioned that when it comes to wednesday afternoon and we have to go to Nakazato sensei's class, our brain just release the sleeping cells and we can't help it but fall asleep... hmm the rule of conditioning, eh?)It has all pictures, illustrations, etc. I was flipping pages and there was this one part that said that when Japanese people had their first railroad, all the people around the neighbourhood considered it a HUGE event (well, it would be :p) and then they'd line up the night before they started using the railroad to see the train passing by. They'd even bring o-bentou just so they wouldn't lose their good seats~ hee hee so cute~ Oh yeah, and the introduction of western food culture to Japan... See, Japanese change western stuff and make them Japanese style or minimize them... The Western Food (Youshoku) in Japan is nothing you'd find in Europe or America. Like Omurice (Omelette with fried rice inside), and Hayashi Rice... It's pretty interesting...

Oh yeah, and today I was asking the prof a seemingly very easy question... I was just wondering, so when Showa Tennou passed away and Showa period was over, say the date was June 11. And, then the next day would be the Heisei 1st year, right? But then would the date remain June 12 but Heisei 1st year; OR, would it be January 1st Heisei 1st year?? hmmm I don't really get it... i suppose it'd be the first case, right? Otherwise how would they follow the other countries' calendar??

Teachers are not perfect...

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

slept in today... again.. ||(_ _)|| aaah... was going to have some nice breakfast before I biked to school...

ended up having to ride the bike with an empty stomach... in a very fast speed since I was getting late.

As I was climbing the stairs towards the Faculty of Education building, I was once again whining to myself why I chose an early class of 8:40am... Every Tuesday I wondered what had gotten into me...

Finally got in the classroom on time... the prof was 10 minutes late... ;p aaah.. should've known... he was always late...

SO, it started raining today... Hmmmm, June shower season officially began when I was at my part-time job today. Good thing that I went running before I went to work... wouldn't wanna run in the rain..

OH yeah, did I mention that I'm jogging now?

My new goal is to lose some weight... See, after I came to Japan, I gained so much weight in so little time. It was quite scary when my mom told me that my face was getting bigger!!! Among other things (like trying on clothes and stuff), I decided to go running and watch what I eat. I was going to give up meat all together, but then hey, who are we kidding? I love eating meat :p HOWEVER, I AM cutting back on it. And, I went to the supermarket today and picked up some veggies. Geez, veggies these days are quite cheap! I was surprised and bought quite alot so I can make a salad for myself~

Anywayz, enough blabbing... wish me luck~ This time I AM going to lose weight!!!!! This is a declaration!

Monday, June 09, 2003

slept in today for the seminar session this morning for my advisor... :p As I rushed to school and got to my advisor's office, I was about 5 minutes late. hmmm considering that we hardly ever start the session on time anyway... I wasn't yelled at or anything.

then I realized that I forgot the novel "Izu no Odoriko" at home... so then I had to beg the nice senpai sitting next to me to let me read with her...

In my seminar session, my advisor Ikeda sensei and us exchange students would read Japanese literature and we'd ask questions and Ikeda sensei would answer for us. Since we have to read the novels out loud, the kanji can be really annoying since the literature that we read are mostly old Japanese language using Kanjis (Chinese characters) that are hardly used nowadays. Sometimes we'd get really embarrassed when we're trying to read some kanji that I don't even recognize in Chinese language. (note: I've had 15 years of Chinese language education from Taiwan)

Anyway, after the seminar session, Fu and I walked down to the Japanese class for exchange students. Today we had Kumai sensei for Speaking Japanese.

This is probably the hardest Japanese class I've ever had..

You're probably wondering... hey, Sandy LOVES speaking, and sometimes she couldn't wait for her turn to speak so she would yell and wave her arms to get everybody's attention so people would listen to her...

Well, for this class, you can't just speak about *whatever*. We'd read about some news article, or listen to somebody's speech, or watch a video. After that, we'd have to repeat what was in the article, speech, or video in our own words.

See, the thing is. All of the students in our class can speak our mind, but when it comes to summarizing and all that... our brains just turn into rocks. Actually, that's not quite true cuz there's this Czech guy who's really good and he uses big words for his variations.... but sometimes the big words don't work in some simple ideas... only more confusing.

So, today we watched a news clip about this Children Club for elementary and kindergarten kids to play with each other after school (in school...). After that we talked about the good things of having your grandparents around in your childhood.

For me, it was a good time...

Before I attended elementary schools, I stayed with my grandparents for 3 years as I went to the kindergarten over there. And after I started attending the elementary school, my sisters and I would still go back to stay with them for summer vacation and Chinese new year holidays.

It was a nice neighbourhood outside of Taipei city and I really enjoyed running around the streets in shorts and flip flops. I climbed the lamp posts and even got my foot stuck in the gutter once. Oh yeah, I remember that when I was riding the bike with my sisters and my cousins out for an adventure, somebody...(maybe me, but i'm not about to admit that...) dropped the house key into the gutter. Nobody was home and we REALLY needed the key cuz one of my sisters was desperately in need of a washroom. My cousin Ben came up with the idea of using wire to make a hanger so we can pick the key up by it's hole. (too much TV) It took us about a good half an hour to get that thing out. By the time, we got it out, my hands were all black and stinky... ech...nasty..

sorry.. now back to my grandparents...

My grandpa was a cool guy. By that I mean two kinds of cool. One is that he doesn't really tell you what he's thinking..., but he expects you to understand what he's thinking.. pretty typical asian man. The other one kind of cool is that he is REALLY smart. He can speak English, Japanese, and of course Mandarin. He used to work as an executive of the biggest radio station in Taiwan. Right now he's just a technical consultant in name since he has retired for two years or so. He is currently writing a book on radio broadcasting, and hopefully being published soon~

When I was little, my fondest memory with my grandpa would have to be the hiking trips organized by the radio station. Just the two of us since sometimes my grandma don't wanna come and my sisters are not big fans of mountain climbing. I was actually in it for the sushi and rice balls my grandma would make for the hiking trips. I LOVE those sushi and rice balls... I've had many sushi and rice balls (onigiri), but my grandma's was the best). Oh yeah, sometimes my grandpa would make sandwiches too. aaah... those sandwiches...*drooling* My grandpa was actually a very good cook, maybe even better than my grandma. But he doesn't cook that only some rare time could we taste his fantastic menu... ooooh sorry tangent again.. geez, everytime when it comes to food :p

Okay.. so I would go hiking with my grandpa in some really nice mountains in Taiwan. Most of them in the Northern Taiwan. My grandpa loved showing me off... well grandparents tend to do that, and other people would just go "oooh what a lively granddaughter you have!" when I was yakking away and wouldn't shut up. I remember once that I was cheering and kept yelling "quickly quickly" in English (cuz I was taking some English lession at Joy English School at the time and "quickly" happened to be one of the few words stuck in my head), so one of my grandpa's co-worker showed his surprise that I could speak some English words. My grandpa couldn't hide his smile... :)

Now, my grandma... My grandma was a very *good* story-teller. She would tell us some folklores from Japan, like "Urashima Tarou" or "Momotarou", when we're about to go to bed. Everytime the versions are different, with different characters, different order, or different plots, but we never minded. It was nice listening to her telling us how the Momotarou gave a onigiri/sushi/ringo(apple)/candy...etc so the monkey would go with him to fight the monster (and save the princess--sometimes...).

My grandma was a firm believer of a good discipline, so whenver we were bad... here's the stick (that you would use to scratch your back) waiting for us. She wouldn't beat us to death or anything, but would just chase us around the house. My sisters and I would just run around or directly to my grandpa who would ask grandma to give us a break (which usually didn't work...). We'd have the merry-go-round thing for awhile, and then stop to catch our breathe. aaah.. good times...

I guess the battle often occurred with the whole air conditioner issue. My grandma believed that it was cool enough that we didn't need to turn on the A/C and we should just all sit down quietly and enjoy the almost non-existent breeze. Well, my sisters and I didn't agree with her, so sometimes we'd turn the A/C on secretly when my grandma was out or downstairs doing the house chores. Once, we turned on the A/C again and were playing in our room. We were playing with the Casio keyboard (that my sister Angela would use to practice since she was learning piano) and having a great concert. Somehow three of us got into an argument about who should play which part, vocal..etc. Things got wild and out of control, we were fighting... and then all of a sudden somebody was pushed against the window next to the A/C and the mesh window outside fell off, right to the yard. As we were still trying to recover from the shock, my grandma came up to see why the mesh window fell off. When she realized that we were fighting and that's why it fell off, and that we secretly turned on the A/C cuz the room was nice and cool... She was beyond mad... so my grandma grabbed the stick and started chasing us in our "concert outfits".. ooooh she was mad...

Sunday, June 08, 2003

okay, I've done a few things today... scrubbed the floor of the kitchen because I am the touban this week (that means cleaning duty), created the MSN group site for GHO, my student group, am chatting with my bud Tracy online. hmmm let me see...anything else that I could do... NOTHING... man, I'm bored out of my mind... *__*

My bud Tracy keeps telling me that I should write a book telling stories... I guess I could since there are just so many things in my life that I want to share with people. Most of the things are funny, stupid things.

like the time when you ride on a bus.

very trivial things, you know? But the trivial things can sometimes get you thinking.

In Edmonton, I try not to ride the bus when it's peak hour cuz it's just crazy in there. You can see so many different kinds of university students.

There'd be those who would hold their big thick textbooks and pretend to read as the ppl sitting next them keep peeking them.

and those girls who'd open their bag and take out their compact cases to touch up their make-up when obviosly the make-up has already covered up 120% of the facial area.

and...there's ALWAYS ones that are sleeping... I sometimes sleep too, especially during winter time. It's really nice~ wrapped up in the winter jacket and sitting in the heated bus... aah.... but those who sleep on the bus should always be aware of people sitting next to them... you don't wanna wake up with your head on somebody's shoulder or... lap..? (ok....don't even wanna imagine that...)

Oh yeah, other than the sleeping beauties, there are also those ones who sit in the back and talk VERY loud, so loud that even the driver would be pissed off. Those are usually high school kids that somehow intimidate me... yes, I am scared :p They usually say the fxxx word about 3 times in a sentence and then make the sound as if they're going to spit on the floor of the bus...

oi... I love taking the bus when it's Sunday morning with not too many ppl on the bus. Looking out the window and see all the houses and people, imagining what they are doing, guess where they're from.

Now that I'm in Japan, and sometimes I have to take the bus when the place where I want to go is a bit too far by bike. Shizuoka bus transit system... suck... REAL bad. It's so expensive as well..and so freaking slow. Now I reside to riding my bike in the dangerous streets just to avoid paying the high price of bus fare. It'd cost me about 10,000yen a month if I take bus to school every weekday, that's about 100 bucks... yeah, 100 bucks! crazy...
Went to see "The Matrix Reloaded" with the gang last night. It was actually better than I thought it would be. I didn't go in with alot expectation but to see some quite good fighting sequences. But, the movie turned out to be quite nice. The movie is about..hmmm 80% fighting, and 20% plot. Honestly, I really don't understand the whole "matrix" thing that well. But throughout the film, it keeps ppl interested but somehow confused as to find out what exactly is going on here.

I remember once that I met this one matrix freak guy (note: he was also an anime freak, so that will somehow explain the following...), and he started on talking about how "The Matrix" is just like the bible, beginning and the end of human kind, blah blah blah... The conversation lasted about half an hour, and I zoned out for 10 minutes in my inner happy land...(with a fake smile on my face). I nodded and "ooh, aah"-ed my way out of the whole thing.

2 years later, I took the Japanese contemporary literature class and we had to watch the Evangelion anime for class... Then, I kind of realized that maybe that matrix/anime freak guy got the whole biblical reference in "The Matrix" because of Evangelion which was tons and tons of anime otaku. hmmm guess we"ll never know cuz I don't even remember what matrix/anime freak looks like now.. :p

Anyway, today is a pretty nice day in Shizuoka here. Sunshine and some breeze through the window. Checked the weather forecast last night, saying that from next week, the raining season will officially arrive in Shizuoka... RAINing every single day... ~*__*~ ooooh, maybe I can catch up on my readings of Harry Potter... hee hee~ gotta make the best out of it, eh?

As some of ppl know, I love hockey, and I read sports news just like every other hockey fanatics. These days, I have to say that I'm really confused... How can it be?! Anaheim Mighty Ducks is in the Stanley Cup Final with the New Jersey Devils???!!! All the big franchise teams fell out so early in the championship--Avalanche, Leafs...and the very sad 1st round elimination of last year's champion Detroit Red Wings. Oh might be nice for the ducks to win the cup just because they've made it this far...hmmm just maybe if Brodeur allows them. hee hee

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Finally I got my blogger to work! Thank Goodness!! Well, just hope that my first bitter message didn't ruin it so you guys wouldn't ever wanna come back to visit my blog... Please come back from time to time to check out what I have to say about...whatever~ Cheers ;)
The gang at the Kaikan had a barbeque last night. After some mosquito bites and some half-burnt, half-done chicken, we were feeling all good and happy. It was quite nice since it's been awhile since the last time I went to a BBQ party...hmmm It's gotta be Greg's farewell party where all the drunk ppl threw Greg into the Pool along with his brother...

Anyhoo, my cold is still sticking around and it seems like it's not going away anytime soon. I hate having a cold cuz it's just not fun sneezing and blowing your nose when it's so freakin' hot outside.

Am going to see "Matrix Reloaded" tonight. Actually I don't even remember "The Matrix" that much to get excited about the sequel... I was never a big fan of the whole futuristic stuff and Keanu... not really my type, despite how many of my friends praise him like a god.

Yesterday, Fu and I went to Yamada denki (Electronic Store) on our bike. We began our journey from Shizuoka U, and it was not too bad! We stopped by Uniqlo which is always good... hehehe, and then we went straight to Yamada denki cuz Fu wants to buy the Game Cube for her brother...well actually, for herself :p In the end, she didn't buy it..and I ended up buying a cute mousepad with a golden retriever puppy's pic on it. After I came home and anxiously opened the package to try it out with my mouse, it didn't work. uh..that's not quite true, it worked TOO well! My mouse is a light censor one, and the mouse pad was actually only for the regular 'roller thing' mouse. It seems like the cursor would just jump across the screen so fast my my eyes can't really follow... my mouse is too sensitive for the pad... wow...that's a sentence I never thought I'd say... hmmm gonna have to return the thing...