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Jan. 4th, 2008

Its been a while, and I apologize

We're been in the hotel in Tottori since Monday, and the only internet access is in a little cubicle in the hotel lobby.  Not an ideal setting for me.  Also, Scott and I have been sharing the internet cable, and he's been using it more than I have, so...its been tough squeezing in time.  Tottori is Tottori though, and that means nothing really exciting every happens here haha.
Heres the one story I'm suppose to share, however.  It happened on Monday, so I guess its a bit of old new by now.

We caught the train from Kyoto to Tottori fairly early in the morning on Monday.  We were scheduled to arrive at, right, around, 2 o'clock.  Its about a 3 hour journey, nothing big.  Except, we happen to be traveling on December 31st, which is the day before the biggest/most important holiday in the whole country.  We ended up sitting in the wrong car (we were one off), and by the time we realized it, and went to move into the right car, it was pretty full.  We all had seats, but not together really.  So anyways, on we went.  
By the time we get to Tottori, the car(s) are really full.  We know our stop is coming up next, (and its the second to last stop on the train route), and most people seem to be preparing to get off, meaning there was room to go back and get our suitcases and luggage things.  I grab my suitcase and head towards the front of the car, Scott right behind me.  We follow along like good litting ducklings, but by the time we get to the door, people are already starting to get in, bound for the next stop.  We do a little polite pushing and shoving, and we're off.  Dad gets off pretty soon after that, and we wait for my mom.  The platform kind of starts to empty as people head for the exit, and before we know it, the door are closing and the train is moving away.  My mom hadn't gotten off the train!!
Ugh.
Apparently, some of the older women who were *not politely* pushing and shoving their way INTO the seats, would NOT move out of my mom's way.  They actually tried to shove my mom's huge suitcase into the narrow little seat areas, just so they could get past her and into a seat (given the car was pretty much empty at this point).  Of course the suitcase was too big for that, but they didn't seem to care.  My mom actually had to take this womans bag, which she had put right in the aisle while she put her coat in the seat rack above the seat, and shove it out of the way, just so she could get by.  The women wouldn't move!

And by the time my mom reached the door, the train was already moving.  Thats how long it took for these women to get out of the way! (even with my mom asking (in japanese!!) to please move)

So she went over to the next town, took that very same train BACK again when it started its return trip.

Of course I'm freaking out.  "Will she get back, does she have the money, is this something she can navigate in Japanese, etc etc"

Apparently it took, the train conductor, two business men, and an 8 year old girl on the way to her grandma's to figure out 1.)what happened 2.)how to fix it lol.  Oh, and the drawing of some pictures.

But she got back.  

And then, the next day.  It snowed about half a foot!  I'm pretty sre they hate Tottori.  Which makes me a little upset, because 1.)its SORTA boring to start with, but there IS stuff to do.  But not when it snows 2.)Coming here was my idea, it was really far out of the way, costs a bit of money, and then, they had zero fun.  We tried to take a tour of my neighborhood, but it was, by that point, just covered in wet slush that was at some places inches deep.  It was horrible.  I missed my neighborhood, and it was kinda warm that day, so I was sorta, kinda trying to enjoy it, even though I was wet from the knee down in cold water, but I think my parents just wanted to go back.

We should have just stayed in Osaka.  Now I'm feeling selfish for wanting to come here >.<

*sigh*

We'll be home tomorrow night around midnight.  We'll all be semi-functional by Sunday.  And we all HAVE to be functional by Monday, so...we'll see...

See you guys soon *hugs*

I'll try to post one more tomorrow before we leave the hotel in Osaka.  You know, one final post before we come home.

Dec. 29th, 2007

Family Trip II

Dec. 26th, 2007

Family Trip-1

Dec. 25th, 2007

Merry Christmas everyone!

Or Happy Yule, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Anything You Celebrate Day!!

I went shopping with my mum in Namba, what did YOU do?  (no, I'm serious, let me know ^_^)

Also, I love my scar.  Its big, its long, its uneven, its not really in a convenient place (like, if I wanted to become a world famous bikini model or something), and I LOVE it to death.

I dont know what brought it up in my mind, but I just thought you should know. 

Anyways, back to traveling news.

So today ends our run in Osaka.  We were staying right near the Dobutsuen-mae subway stop, did I mention that.  A stone's throw from Tennoji, an area I know semi-well.  ECC is still there, as is the giant NOVA ad in Tennoji square lol.  We've eaten at the Swan cafe for every breakfast so far.  J-chan, I think you know the place ^_^ I've got pictures of your giant fruit waffle!
On Sunday, we went with Tamayo to Osaka castle.  Pretty nice.  Very big.  The inside was...very modern though.  I liked Himeji better still.  ^_^  We then went to Namba and had some (late) lunch.  We walked the main drag towards Shinsaibashi, where we met up with Toshinori.  We kind of wandered around looking at sights, checking things out.  We ended up down by the Mexican restaurant (You know the place ^_^), and we had some dinner in a little teeny tiny restaurant that no one would ever have found (ever) if Tamayo didn't already know where it was lol.
Then I took a picture looking out of the Shinsaibashi subway station, in what I think was the exact location of the picture I have of J-chan and Doug.  The one that elicited a "*Hermione's voice* Is that really what my hair looks like from the back??" comment ^_^  Just for kicks and memories.  I'll post it as soon as I can (or remember, whichever comes first)

Yesterday we went with Tamayo and Toshinori up to Kyoto just for the day.  We saw Kiyomizu temple, which is one of the most famous temples in the entire area (if not all of Japan).  It was pretty darn cool.  I'd imagine it would be spectacular in early spring, or early fall.  Sakura trees everywhere.  We also went to a shrine.  I can't remember the name, but its equally famous.  Its the one with hundreds of orange torii gates lining the walkway up to the little shrines.  Anyone help me out here? Jessi, I'm looking at you!  
Then we went to Gion.  I saw a geisha!  A real live geisha!  My life is complete.  Sweet deal yo.  But I guess thats what happens when you wander around the geisha district right around dinner time.  haha.
My parents and brother had okonomiyaki for the first time, for lunch.  Rather, they had negiyaki, which is basically the same thing, made with green onions and not cabbage.  Scott inhaled his.  He LOVED it.  I had my shrimp okonomiyaki, which I knew I wanted before I ever set foot in the place, and it was DELICIOUS as always.  I found a new favorite food I think.

Tomorrow we head to Kyoto for the rest of the week. Gonna check out the palace (but not go in)(its a giant pain to get in), and the two metalicly named temples, as well as some random temples or palaces my dad wants to see as well.  We're going to go to Ohara for a day trip on Thursday.  Its in Kyoto, but a little out of the way from everything.  Tamayo recommends it for its beauty, so that should be fun.  Nara on Friday (only cuz their Rail Pass runs out that day).  Sat and Sun doing the metallic temples probably.  My dad is souped for the Philosophers Stroll.   Nerd.

 We leave for Tottori on Monday.  

Me<----is SO excited

/hyperventilation of excitement.

Home in 10 days!

Me <---is SO ready

Dec. 23rd, 2007

Ok, this has nothing to do with my traveling

I've been so anxious to get home and start my working out again, yes? Go back to running and all that jazz. Well I've recently decided that I'd like to go back to doing my pilates and/or yoga again. Just for kicks and giggles ya know?
So, I was flipping through some yoga poses online, and theres this one called the "Scorpion pose" (it has another name, but its too long and complicated here). I decided, that is my new goal for all my working out. Running, weight lifting, pilates, karate, stretching everything. I want to be able to do this pose.

See here:



Riddikulus!

But I want to do that!

So, I'm doing it!  Gosh darnit.

Give me a year.

Check back in then...maybe right around the time I start preparing to take my black belt test.

(By preparing, I mean, like, mentally getting ready to physically take the test, because the test date is coming up in the next months or so.)(I'll be physically and 'the other mentally" preparing for it the entire rest of the time haha)

I'm wide awake, and I shouldnt be.  Also, someone has a crush on me.

I blame it on that.

Dec. 22nd, 2007

Day 38- THEY'RE HERE

Aaaaand, the family has arrived.  Yay oh yay.  I was very excited to see them get off the plane, even though, had they not come to Japan, i would have seen them about a month ago already haha.  So they got here at around 6.  Plane got in around 5 haha.  Tamayo and I spent the day together, mostly shopping and stuff, and then headed to the airport around 3:30.  It takes an hour to get there.  But it was cool.
Last night we went out for some awesome Okonomiyaki, which was in the same building as her apartment.  It was nice, nice food, nice chat, nice company.  We went to bed pretty early though, maybe 11 o'clock, cuz we were bothe exausted (she worked all day, I'd been up since 9 the PREVIOUS morning).  
But then tonight, all 5 of us went to dinner after we checked into the hotel.  Good foods.  I really did miss Japanese food more than I thought  I would.  Even the rice lol.
Tomorrow.  Osaka Castle with Tamayo, dinner with Tamayo and Toshinori (the boyfriend).  And stuff in between, I'm sure.
Monday.  Kyoto with Tamayo cuz she has the day off.  Then the 4 of us will hang around Osaka for the following two days.  Then going to our ryokan in Kyoto for a couple days.  Monday (maybe Tuesday? I dont remember) we'll go to Tottori...yaaaaaaaaay Tottori!!!

 

HOME IN TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY.  START COUNTING! Whoot whoot

Dec. 20th, 2007

Days 34-36: Still here...

Alright, on Day 34, Tuesday December 18th, I went to the Night Safari. It was....interesting...but I dunno, guess I was expecting more. The dancers were pretty sweet though (and nice to look at)(J-chan, am I right??). I dont have very many pictures, because, being the NIGHT safari...it was dark most of the time. So I couldn't really take any clear shots of the animals (no flash allowed), so all I have is a picture of a mouse lemur, because I forgot to change the settings to "no flash" at the very end of the trip (last animal). Haha. I have other animals but they're all blurry.
Omg though, the slow lorris was SO SO SO cute. I mean, I knew they would be, after studying them for two years haha, but seeing one in person! Even though it was dark, the cages have very very minimal lighting in them. He was adorable. Bands around the eyes and everything. Mr. Tarsier, however, did not feel like making an appearance, and thats a bummer, because tarsiers are cute too. Massive eyes, compared to their head. The thing is, though, tarsiers, even though they're nocturnal, dont have the reflective lenses in their eyes (think about a cat's eye), that make the eye sort of glow in the dark. Thats how you can see a cat in the dark when they're looking at you...small amounts of light reflect, giving the cat the creepy demon eyes. Tarsiers are the only small nocturnal primates that dont have that, so when the little buggers want to hide.....they can hide and still be lookin' right at'cha. Also makes them very hard to study in the wild. Haha *is a giant nerd*

Anyways, I bought a gift for J-chan. OMG SHE HAD NO IDEA IT WAS COMING EITHER, SHES GOING TO BE SO SURPRISED!
or not.

Day 35: Wednesday December 19th. I did nothing. I had zero motivation, and after looking up Sentosa Island, theres really not much there but golf courses and luxury spas. Pink dolphins woulda been cool, but I wasn't sure I wanted to go all the way out there for just that. Oh well, another time perhaps.
I did, however, ship my boxes. It was a very good idea to mail things home, because between the teeny tiny amount of clothes I have left (i've been leaving things I dont want behind in the various countries haha), the X-mas gifts for my family, and just generic souvenir type stuff, my suitcase is now packed full and heavy all over again. If I hadn't mailed those two medium sized boxes home, I'd be carrying a lot of thigns on to the plane haha. 
It did, however, take the last of my money. I'm going to have about 30 bucks when I get back to Japan tomorrow. I'm using my key deposit money today to pay for the cab ride to the airport. Hopefully *crosses fingers so hard* I can change the Cambodian moneyz at the airport, and then I'll totally be set for Japan, but, I gotta be honest, its not looking good. please oh please oh please oh please....But if not, I just have to make it through tomorrow, and then I can mooch off my parents until we get to Tottori. That reminds me *transfer moneyz to my Japanese bank account RIGHT NOW* Back at my HOME in Tottori, I can get my bank card from Miki (remember her, or has it been too long??), and then go get some cash for Tottori and the return Day Trip to Osaka on the last day.

Day 36: Today, Thursday December 20th. Day Of Leaving the Highly Annoying Roommates of Korean Decent Behind. Flight doesn't leave until 9 tonight though, so I just paid for an extra day here so I wouldn't have to check out at 10 this morning and wander aimlessly with my blue monster of a suitcase in tow for 9 hours. I'll probably leave here around 5:30, because who knows what Singapore traffic is like at that time of day. Should arrive in Osaka at 7 tomorrow morning...wheeeee. I didnt do anything today but laundry and packing. Good times.

I just want to go home

This use to be a Lion:


Snow Leopard:


Horned Owl:


Proof:


MMkz...now for some generic shots o' goodness...

Singapore:


Meh henna (and the Thailand ring):

Hmm, that shot makes my nails look great... too bad is a camera trick lol

 


And we're finished.

Lunch time

Dec. 17th, 2007

Day 33: Chinatown

Ugh, if there was one day to forget my camera, this should not have been it heh.  It wasn't anything particular, but the road leading from the Little India section of town down to Chinatown was very nicely made up and there were a couple very beautiful churches and temples.  Oh well :( 
So to start at the beginning, the three Korean girls I'm rooming with didn't get home until about 10:30 last night.  Great, no biggie, whatever.  However, they did not actually go to sleep until 3:30 in the morning.  Ugh!  I'm such a light sleeper, that there was no way I was going to be able to sleep with all lights on and three girls talking (nonstop...) without even bothering to attempt whispers.  I felt so sick by the time they finally stopped.  Which is what always happens when I get exausted, I start feeling slightly ill.  Grr.  They didn't even shut the lights off!  I had to get up, climb over all their suitcases (i'm in the back corner of the room), turn off the lights, and then try not to fall on my face trying to get back in the pitch black.  Not a happy camper.
But I got up at 8:30 this morning to go get some breakfast.  The mean part of me was sligthly vindicated when my alarm woke them all up.  I didn't turn on the lights, I'm too nice for that, but I had no problem just going into the bathroom a lot and turning the light switch on BEFORE i close the door.  I know, very mature of me, but too bad.  So I got some breakfast, came back up, woke them all up again, this time kinda of by accident.  I mean, I needed to get back to my bed, and it was total darkness, so I pushed the door open all the way so I could see the way to the bed.  It kinda slammed shut behind me =/  I do feel bad about that.
Then I headed out ot Chinatown.  It was pretty lively, but nothing special (sorry J-chan, I guess I just dont see it).  I hunted for the gift I've been looking for.  Wandering up and down every side street off every main road.  It just doesn't exist.  I have no idea where the original was bought, but its broken now, and I guess wont ever be replaced.  I am saddened by this.   Stopped a shopping mall and bought my mommy a x-mas gift, and then decided I was tired.   I took the subway back, stopping at Little India.  For the heck of it (and cuz I still had some daily allowance left over) I got a henna tattoo and a really cute little place.  I also had my eyebrows threaded (I'll leave that one up to your imagination) cuz it was cheap and relatively pain-free.  Then I walked back to the hostel.  
The girls were not even ready to go out.  It looked like they had woken up only within the last hour or so.  So I hung around minding my own business for about 30 minutes until they finally left.  Then I worked out, took a shower, and here I am.  I want to take a nap, I have this odd feeling I wont be sleeping again tonight, but like, it seems like such a waste.  Cat naps never make me feel better anyways.  I always feel more tired than I started, and I wake up feeling ill.  Maybe I'll just wait it out and be SO tired I sleep through their yakking at 2 in the morning.

I feel kinda...lethargic.  I dont even wanna go around Singapore.  Other than the ethnic areas around the city, its a lot like NYC.  (only cleaner and more polite).  Its mostly shopping, and I'm tired of shopping (like, woah!).  Part of it, I think I'm just vacationed out.  I've wanted to go home since right around early November.  The only thing keeping me going was this trip.  But, its winding down to the last few days, and I had to drag out the Singapore trip so I could arrive back in Japan at the same time as my parents.  I really just want to go home.  Which, I think, is making me slightly....apathetic to Singapore and what it has to offer.  I just, dont care anymore.  I've seen more temples and shrines and old things than I'll ever see again.  They all look the same after a while lol.  I've met more new people in the last month than I think I have in my whole life lol.  It just tiring after a while.  I wish I could appreciate whats going on, but, like I said, I sorta feel..."I dont care!" anymore.

But in any case.  Night Safari tomorrow.  Sentosa Island on Wednesday.  Leaving thursday night.  Arrive in Japan friday morning.  Parents get here Saturday night.  So I get to spend the night at Tamayo's, that should be pretty fun.  I've missed her.  Week in Kansai, week in Tottori, home!

Gotta mail my packages.  When will I do this??

Dec. 16th, 2007

Day 32: Orchard Road

Alright, nothing really exciting to report again today.
I walked the entire length of Orchard Road today, just doing some basic shopping and seeing what there was to see.  I was aiming, also, for the Cambodian embassy, which was at the end of the road, and I managed to get all the way down there, and THEN realized it was Sunday, and it would probably be closed.  Which it is.  Haha.  Oh well.  Maybe I'll go back on Thursday, when I have nothing else to do really.  Thursday was also going to be my "go back to Little India and ship those packages day" though, so we'll see.  That might be more walking than I choose to do haha.
Tomorrow is Chinatown.  I'm hoping I can finally find this one gift I've been looking for.  Its very important to me, and this might be my last shot.

I can't believe I'm going back to Japan on Friday!  Yayz!!

Dec. 15th, 2007

Day 31: Happy One Month Anniversary!

Wow, it seems hard to believe that this time last month, I was sitting in a hostel in Okayama on my very first night away from home (Tottori, that is).  Time flies and all that jazz.  Alright, well, now I am in Singapore, last stop before home (Tottori, that is).
My first full day in Singapore was not entirely exciting.  I fear that this whole week of trip stuff my not be entirely exciting for my avid readers.  Singapore is....very much like America.  They drive on the other side of the road, but for the most part...many people might disagree, and yes, I suppose on SOME level I do.  Its more like...Singapore is what would happen if you took America and squished it into a piece of land the size of michigan.   You have all the all the religions packed into one country (and living PEACEFULLY)(hint hint "only difference from america!!"), you have so many languages being spoke, from Hindi, Thai, I'm pretty sure I heard some Chinese today, I'm rooming with some Korea girls right now, English (national language) etc etc.  It is quite literally full of everything.  America is too, its just spread out much more.  So, yeah.  Take America, squeeze out the filler, and whats left is Singapore.  Its not really a bad thing, they're way more tolerant and friendly here.  But its somewhat bland when you move beyond all the cultural sections of town.

That being said.  Today I wondered around Little India, cuz its right next door to where I'm staying.  I bought some saree's, which to the untrained eye just looks like 6 meters of fabric.  I got two in pink'ish, one sea foam green, and one yellow.  Dunno what I'm gonna do with them haha.  I'm not gonna cut it up and make patterns out of it, even though its beautiful, because that just seems wrong.  Oh well, wall hanging and bed spread it is.  Tomorrow I think I will wonder up Orchard Road which is basically, THE shopping road of all Singapore haha.  See if I can't blow my weeks budget in one sweep.  
I have some much time in Singapore (wasting time before Japan)(sorry Singapore :(   ) that I can pretty much see one sight a day, and see all of Singapore while I'm here haha.  Tomorrow I'll hit up Orchard Road.  Monday is Chinatown.  Tuesday is Night Safari, and Wednesday is Sentosa Island.  If that can't be done in one day, I might not go, because I already paid for this hostel, and if I bail out, I'll lose more money in one night here than I did when I bailed out of 3 nights in Thailand haha.  My plane to Osaka (YAY!!) is not until 9 pm on Thursday night, so I dunno what I'm gonna do with that day.  Sleep in.

I think I arrive in Osaka at 7 am on Thursday morning.  Yeah, 9:00-10:15, (one stop over) 11:15-7 am.  Whoot time zone change.  That last one, from Kuala Lumpur to Osaka's gonna be a looong flight.  About 7 hours.  Boo.  Guess thats nothing compared to the 10 to San Fran, 4 to NC, and another 2 to RI.  In one day.  lol.

You know what I love about being on vacation.  I can sleep until whenever I want.  And because my time here is so spread out, and I dont need to get up at like, 8 to see everything (aka Cambodia), I can sleep till noon and still put a full day of sightseeing in.  I ended up getting up today at like, 9:30 anyways, but oh well.  I've slightly retrained myself, and I haven't slept till noon in many years anyway haha.

I'm rambling, and I'm not sure why.  

So anyways.  The nominations are in, and they've been counted.  Here are the awards for Kristin's Trip Around the World:

Japan-best country that ever has existed and ever will!  (to travel/live in temporarily)
Korea-"most obnoxious and rude people, least fun-to-be-had in general" country
Taiwan-"least to do, very forgettable, yet somehow kinda fun" country
Thailand-best country after Japan. "Most to do, most tours to take, most shopping, best food, nicest people, and most fun hostel" country!
Singapore-"cleanest, but will cost me a lot of money in general, I think" country
USA-its meh home, so its out of the running for this particular contest

Three weeks from today!  I'm so anxious!  One week from today my mummy and daddy will be coming.  Also very excited.  Especially cuz I just bought my brother the funniest x-mas gift EVAH.  And I finally found something for my mom!

The internet is very crappy here, so i'm going to post this asap.  So, no spell check tonight.  You'll have to forgive me.

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