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19 September 2004 @ 10:57 am
The promised longer version..  
It's long, and I mean LONG....

I was surprisingly calm when I went into the airport, boarded the plane, etc. I didn't think that I would be that calm. I was nervous, but it wasn't so bad. I wasn't able to find the NOVA girl on my flight before I went, but I did get to meet her a bit after we landed. The plane trip was long... I never want to be on a flight that long again.. >.< It was horribly boring even though I'd brought things to do, and I couldn't bring myself to draw because I was afraid of people watching me. ^^;; I don't do drawing well under pressure at all. There was a really nice Japanese guy next to me whom I thought at the time didn't speak that great of english, but boy was I wrong. ^^;; I had whole conversations with him (though really, I prefer to be by myself on flights and not have to talk to people ^^;), and I haven't been able to do that with a single Japanese person here yet. ^^;;;; Anyways, they showed three movies on the flight -- Shrek 2, Envy, and 13 Going on 30. I was thrilled to be able to watch the first one again, the second movie was total crap (big surprise), and the third movie was a pleasant surprise! I'd shunned 13 Going on 30, because it looked a bit too cliche, but that was apparently a really bad decision. O_o I adored it!! I'm defintely going to buy the DVD if I can find a place here that will sell me American DVDs, or a website that will ship here. ^__^ Plus, the guy who played the adult Matt was soooooooooooo cute!!! O_O Oh yes, I was fangirling quietly in my head for him, and at the end I cried happy tears. ^_______^ It was sooooooo cute and sweet and romantic and lovey!! (see, more fangirlisms!) They served us two full meals on the flight and several helpings of drinks, plus warm wet towels to clean our hands with. Mmmmm, the food wasn't too bad. =) I watched the ground as we flew in, and it looked so remarkably like the US that I just couldn't feel like I was flying into Japan. It was weird.

Soo, the flight lands in Narita Intl' Airport. Things still seem alright, only-- all of the signs are in Japanese. Some of them have english letters underneath, and I followed the crowd in what I hoped was the right direction... but I really had to go to the bathroom so I took a detour. Oh man, the stalls were TINY! O_o I managed to leave my Nova inormation in my stall too.. >.>;; And so I wated for the girl after me to come out, but 10 minutes later she hadn't and I gave up. I managed to get to immigration alright and fill out the proper paperwork, and in the process I met a nice girl just off a flight from New York who was heading in for Nova too. ^^ So we palled up and went through immigration together. Both of us had trouble getting our luggage through customs because there was so much of it, but we made it and soon it was time to find Nova. We couldn't find the representative (apparently he had wandered off for a minute), so we talked to this nice girl who spoke english and was holding a sign saying "information" in a ton of languages. ^^ She led us the right way.. it turned out that we were the last two to arrive for the day... out of a REALLY large group! O_o I wasn't expecting many people there, but there was a lot! Probably around 30 people, most of which were roughly my age group, and a LOT more girls than guys. That was surprising too. ^^; There was a big information session for all of us, and we received packets with apartment keys and LOTS of information in them for us. I didn't know it at the time, but the best thing they'd given us in the packet was a bilingual railway map of Tokyo and the surrounding area. I've never used maps much and generally don't like them, but without it I wouldn't be able to get anywhere here. ^^;; I'm  so very turned around. The first thing that I did when I had a spare moment at the airport was try the phones out....... Um, wow... not easy, not at all.. >.< A bunch of us were trying to work things and I finally figured out how to make a short call with yen instead of a phone card. Called mom and it hung up on me after a minute because apprently 100 yen was only good for 1 minute. ^^;;; Dude. I didn't want to bother with it after that, so I didn't.. plus, it was about time to leave. We were split up into groups and told to go with different guides from Nova. They bought us tickets and put us on different trains or buses. ^^ I got put in a train with about 7 of us that was really nice, and during the hour ride I talked with the guy next to me, who was from Texas, and we read out of the personals section from the English magazine that we'd been given in our packets. It was hilarious! ^^;;

The next leg of the journey was more trains.. I rode on two more, the group dwindling and splitting up each time until there was only 2 of us in the end. I wish that I could remember the other girl's name.. she was so nice! I'd seriously consider moving in with her, possibly, though she's 8 stops down the Kuji line from me. On my second to last stop, both of my roommates were there to meet me. ^_______^ They're really nice!! Ang is from Australia, and she has a really pretty australian accent. ^_^ Rachelle is from Texas, I think? I forget ^^;; but she doesn't have an accent at all. She's really sweet too!! I haven't seen too much of either because they've had to work, and I'm kind of a hermit who sticks in her room a lot. ^^;; ESPECIALLY now that I have my computer.

We stopped at a grocery store on the way home.. It was about twice the size of a 7-11, but from what I can tell, it seems to be the largest store in the immediate area. ^^;;;;;;;;;;; Waah, where are the big stores? I'm going to eventually look around farther for them. It's just.. too small. ^^;; I got a little bit of stuff, mostly because I wanted to just get home and sleep. It was only 8 at night or so, but I was dead tired. ^^;; For me it was about 2 AM.. I got there and took a shower, and found that I wasn't tired enough to fall asleep. ^^;;;;;;;;;; I even tually did though, and woke up at about 4 am. ^^;;

That brings us to Friday.... I actually wanted nothing more to do than sit around inside and not brave the trains. ^^;;; But I had to get to the local something-office and apply for my alien registration certiicate. NOVA had given me directions and implicit instructions that it should be the first thing that I do on Friday. Alright.. ^^;; Wow, I think that was my first real taste of Japan. Ang took me to the train station on her way out to go to a Sumo match (which she really enjoyed!), and she told me when to get off and how to order tickets and how to get back. She also gave me directions to the office. It turns out that neither her directions or NOVA's helped me. ^^;; Japanese streets are confusing, and not a single one goes in a straight line for more than a few blocks.. X_x Buuuuuuuut... I made it! Most of the attendants didn't speak english, but NOVA had written a paper for us in Japanese and I showed that to them, so they knew what I wanted. ^^;; It was weird not being able to talk to anyone. I got things done and as I was waiting for my receipt, I ran into two more of the new NOVA people. ^___^ They're lucky that they got to come together! I helped them a little bit and then left, supposedly to go shopping....... Yeah, by the time that I got home I was sooooo tired that all I could do was sit around and watch QaF.. I also didn't want to go because my baggage was going to be delivered that evening and I had to be there to let them in the gate.

I was happy to get my baggage. <3 I have things, yay!! I put them away yesterday morning and armed myself with my map, which proved invaluable. My mission was to get things that I needed, the most important of those a monitor for my computer. Wow... yeah, try buying a monitor when you can't even tell the salesperson that you want one. ^^;;;;;;;;; But I managed it somehow. ^^; In Shinjuku. It was my first time switching lines by myself, and it's damn hard in the beginning, too.. I wander around a lot probably looking lost, until I figure out which line I'm supposed to be on. Sooo hard, and even harder when I can't read most of the signs. ^^;; If they're not in english, then I have to match up the Kanji to the ones on my map. >.>;; But, I consider the day a good one because 1- I am not as afraid of the trains anymore, 2- got a monitor (YAY!!), and 3- I couldn't find anime stores, but I did find the big Kinokuniya in Shinjuku!! They have almost a whole floor dedicated to foreign books! <3<3 They're slightly more expensive than back at home, but it's too awesome to see so many of the books that I'm familiar with!! <3 They had a LOT of english manga too, probably more than most Borders stores. I went back down to the bottom floor in search of japanese manga and interesting things, and I found two nummy PoT doujinshis in the.. get this... "Boy's Love" section! Hi-chan is a happy girl to have found that!!!! <3<3<3 The doujinshi were labelled in english as "Tennis Lovers" which was the only reason that I found them... Not the best art, but it does get quite nummy! <3 They're long, like regular manga too! <3 (They didn't have any of the normal doujinshi-sized doujins that I'm used to). It was hard buying them, though, because I didn't understand a word that the cashier said to me. ^^;; I just had to smile and wait for the total to come up, and give her that. So far, I've had to do that every time, because I can't understand the spoken words for the amounts. ^^;; Dude.. need to learn japanese. I'm sure that it doesn't help that I'm buying stuff in japaense, so they probably assume that I can read it. ^^;; Anyways, I think I'm sending the second douhinshi to Alsie, because it's all about the rival teams, and I'm not really into them... now the first one on the other hand... yum! The art isn't that great, but it has Ryoma x Eiji, Oishi x Eiji, Inui x Kaidoh (twice), and a cuuuuuuuuuuuute story about Kaidoh and a stray kitty. ^________________________^ Anyways.. I spent like, an hour and then some figuring out that the Shinjuku station is a maze and certain entrances only serve certain lines.. X_x Nor are the entrances actually logical. X_x Eventually I found the entrance that I'd come out of and the line that I wanted, stared at the sign again for ages, and then made it back. It was interesting walking so far with a huuuuuuge box of monitor. The monitor is actually only a 15-in flatscreen, but I figured that was enough. ^^ I can't figure out how to install the software either. ^^;; So it's working on the plug-and-play codecs and I can't turn it above 1024x768... >.< grrrrrr. But oh well..

My roommate already has DSL.. yay!! <3 We're going to split it. <3<3 Right now, though, she doesn't have a router and she can't call until Tuesday (Mon is apparently a holiday, though we still have to work), so I can really only get on when she's not home or not using it until we get the router. But it's all good.. Just a few more days and we'll have constant connectivity, and until then I'm still trying to figure out the city. My mission today is to find a BIG anime store!! <3 And to get food!! *nods* And shampoo.. It's my last day of freedom before I go to orientation tomorrow with everyone else that was there at the airport. It'll be nice to see some friendly faces again, and to hear how everyone else is taking the transition! ^^ Not to mention....... english!!!!! People speaking english!!! <3<3 *happy* I also get to sign up for a cell phone and a bank account. <3 <3 Both of which I want badly! I'm not sure how to work the cell phone, since supposedly I need a credit card, and it's a 3,000 yen fee and I only have $27 in my bank account back home. Buuuuut.. we'll see. Maybe I can pay the fee in cash instead.

Anyways... I think that's the longest entry that I've ever written! ^.^;; Now off to surf the web for directions to any good anime stores!! <3 I need decorations for my rooooooooooom!!!!! *nods*

I haven't taken many pictures yet, but here are a few:
My plane.. the biggest plane I've ever been on..... O_o It was HUUUGE!!

The Pacific ocean, somewhere near Alaska:

This is the "view" from my window... (not much of a view, I know. ^.^) The car dealership there is called "Kids"......... because kids drive a lot of cars? O_o

That's all. ^^;;; I'll take some more today if I can without looking too much like a tourist and getting mugged. XD

Interesting things I've noticed:

-To turn the kitchen faucet on, you push down on the handle.... O_o
-I've hit my head on the doorway to my room because I'm just barely too tall for it ^^;
-In some of the train stations, the toilets are recessed into the floor.. O_o So you have to squat.. and I can't. My legs don't want to. They also play scary music of a stream and birds to cover up the peeing sounds if you push a button ^^;;;;;;;;;;;;
-The toilets flush by pulling UP on the handles O_o, and the one in my apartment has a little faucet built into the lid of it. O_o
-We have a tiny bathroom with just a toilet, a shower/bath that is an entirely different room, where the whole room is a shower, and another one that's a sink and counter and stuff. O_o
-There are TONS of cute girls and boys in school uniforms in the morning and evening!!!!!!! <3<3<3
-NOBODY looks you in the eyes on the street. They look away or at the street, and nobody smiles. >.> Except the foreigners.
-I HATE THE HUMIDITY! >.> It's only in the 70s most of the time, but sooo humid that you sweat buckets the moment you go outside. ^^;; And there is no central air or heat. Just space heaters and fans, and an AC in the living room.

-Oh... and language is a barrier, don't let anyone tell you it isn't. ^^;; It's hard, but an adventure.. I like it, and yet I miss home and friggin Walmart of all things. O-o

I know there are more, but I can't seem to remember them.. I'll put down more later on! ^^
Current Mood: confused
Current Music: L'Arc~en~Ciel - Driver's High
very_verydanger on September 18th, 2004 07:02 pm (UTC)
-In some of the train stations, the toilets are recessed into the floor.. O_o

Hellllllo, traditional Japanese toilet! =D *got an hour-long lecture about those once... in a French class!*
DAC, the curious little catboy_dac_ on September 18th, 2004 11:56 pm (UTC)
You too? XD
(Deleted comment)
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on September 18th, 2004 07:14 pm (UTC)
Re: ...
^.^ When are you thinking of going? It's quite the experience, that's for sure! If I'm still here when you come, we can hang out, and maybe I can help you around. ^__^ It's pretty hard to get around on your own at first, as I've found. ^^;;
Jen-Neko-Hanjennekohan on September 18th, 2004 07:31 pm (UTC)
Glad you made it there safely! Sounds like so much fun! :D
Hentai Tenshihentaitenshi on September 18th, 2004 08:11 pm (UTC)
Reading this entry, both scared and excited me XD I am planning to take Chibi to Japan, here within the next 6 months if I can get the time off work to visit Bai Mei (Aomori) XD I can see me just staring at the toilets in the floor with a big sweatdrop LOL I really enjoyed reading this, glad you arrived safely and please tell us more when you have the chance! ^_^ *hugs*
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on September 19th, 2004 05:52 pm (UTC)
If you do decide to come, we should hang out too!! ^__^ I'd love to see Bai Mei again as well!! ^__^
Hentai Tenshihentaitenshi on September 22nd, 2004 08:06 pm (UTC)
Yes! Most definetley! I will let you know ^_^
molokidan on September 18th, 2004 08:38 pm (UTC)
Yay!! You made it one piece. Now comes the hard part: surviving!!!

Good luck with japanese toilets. I don`t know if you read my horror story, but it`s always there if you need some reference. Hopefully the one in your apartment is western-style. (At least it should be.)

Please keep us updated!
Chiakichiaki777 on September 18th, 2004 08:44 pm (UTC)
tsk tsk tsk.... I suppose you are now effectively a FOB! ^_^ In any case, You'll love the winter and its biting coldness. It should be coming in a month or two... And then in 10 months, you'll get to feel the burn with 40 degree summers where the only thing that saves you are department stores. ^_^

Japanese aren't as social as Americans. That's why if you have the courage to just stare and smile at a cashier, they won't ask questions on the piles of hentai you buy... even if you look 16.....

And don't you just LOVE those cosplaying, wait, no they AREN'T cosplaying over there. Yeah, cute uniformed kids... I used to go to school like that... White shirts are so not fun in hot humid weather.... and the perverts on the trains.....

Japanese bathrooms, to save water, they first let you wash your hands with the water before filling up the tank. There is also a DAI and SHOU side to each lever, and dai is for big loads and shou is for smaller less solid ones.

ahh well, I'll be sure to bother you if I go up there again. I'm usually down south in Osaka, but hey. It's only like a $100 train ride to and from... I'll get a rail pass again.
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on September 19th, 2004 02:48 am (UTC)
^__^;; What's an FOB?
Chiakichiaki777 on September 19th, 2004 07:43 pm (UTC)
Fresh Off the Boat ^_^
キモさ満々♡ 미친 외국인dilettantka on September 18th, 2004 09:26 pm (UTC)
Ikebukuro is boys love heaven. I can give you directions to the shops there if you like :) (or i can take you if you want to go tomorrow)
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on September 19th, 2004 02:49 am (UTC)
I went today, actually! ^__^ I wouldn't mind going again, though! I have orientation tomorrow, though, so I'm not sure when I get out. I'll let you know. ^_^
(Deleted comment)
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on September 19th, 2004 05:53 pm (UTC)
I think I've hit my head... at least 8 times now. Several times with my roommates watching. ^^;; I think they're getting used to it.
Chiakichiaki777 on September 19th, 2004 07:44 pm (UTC)
Damn you tall Americans.. XD
Artabandonedsoul on September 18th, 2004 11:33 pm (UTC)
how is it over there?
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on September 19th, 2004 05:53 pm (UTC)
DAC, the curious little catboy_dac_ on September 18th, 2004 11:55 pm (UTC)
Glad to see you made it safely. ;3

Good to know you're getting around just fine. I know I'd always be getting lost. ^_^;

I had heard about those big stores with different products on each floor. So that Kinokuniya is pretty cool, huh?
slyabneyslyabney on September 18th, 2004 11:55 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to hear you made it around all right. If you really need directions, just look for a Koban. They are mini police stations and sometime will even take you where you need to go. ^^

If you're looking a computer program to learn Japanese, I would recommond Japanese: The Spoken Lanuage by (something) Noda. I did one year with that, and learned a lot about directions and numbers. They also have written stuff as well. ^^ You can get it on line, somewhere.

Have fun!
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on September 19th, 2004 05:54 pm (UTC)
Re: ^^
I'll have to look into it!!! Thanks! ^^
slyabneyslyabney on September 19th, 2004 05:57 pm (UTC)
Re: ^^
Anything to help a friend. ^^ For the series, to work you'd need at least the CD-Roms. The book just has everything writting out, but sometimes is easier to follow when starting something new that just the CDs.

And watch out for the taxis if you ever need to take one, a lot of the doors open automatically and shut that way too.
kireirociel on September 19th, 2004 12:44 am (UTC)
Oh God XD Squat toilets... when I went on the exchange trip to Japan, our school had Squat Toilets only. Memories man *_*
hiddenx on September 19th, 2004 01:02 am (UTC)
Squat toilets, strange music, that has to be the coolest place in the world. I'm crying I'm laughing so hard. Glad to hear you got there alright though. Keep us all updated.
long gone with her red shoes on: friendship -- raelalaredshoeson on September 19th, 2004 01:22 am (UTC)
Sounds like you're having a blast!! Jealousy, thy name is me, hee. ^^ FYI -- Mark Ruffalo is the guy in 13 Going on 30. I had tried not to see it either, but my fam rented it one night and I saw it. I really liked it, too. XD

The language barrier is a pain, but try and learn a few words/phrases. Do your roomies speak Japanese?
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on September 19th, 2004 05:55 pm (UTC)
No, they don't.. Not any more than a few words like I do. I definitely need to learn some phrases, yes! *nodnod* I know a few words, and "sumimasen" has come in handy sometimes.. and "hai"... I say "hai" a whole lot. ^^;
aaalfonso on September 19th, 2004 03:28 am (UTC)
I'm glad you made it to Kuji safely! Good luck at OJT :D
Lainey: loved - widdle cute ratttietaiirei on September 19th, 2004 06:57 am (UTC)
"... play scary music..."
Actually, it's to cover up farting! There's a special name for it as well... called o-something... I can't remember.
Wait! The power of Google!
It's called a "otohime". And it's for women to cover up any embarassing noise in a toilet instead of wasting water by flushing twice which apparently used to happen lots!
Hrmm! I think maybe we both know too much about toilets now after that! >_
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on September 19th, 2004 05:42 pm (UTC)
XDDD That's too hilarious! I think I remember seeing those in a special on the travel channel about the world's top ten bathrooms. XD Though I am surprised that the train station bathrooms that I was in have it. XD