With everything that’s been going on with me lately, I totally missed my blog’s first birthday! WHAT? On April 9, 2008, for no reason whatsoever, I figured I’d start a blog. I’d started blogs before but never finished. This one has gone longer than any other. Why? I don’t know. I’m glad I guess. I only do it because I like to hear/see myself talk and from the stats it looks like a lot of you like it too. Soon, when I get back to the States and get settled, I’m going to do a redesign of the place. Sort of like a birthday present.
It’s interesting to see how things have changed. I started this blog kind of with a joke in mind, being “bourgie” and all, which I explain a little bit in the About section. I started off with short entries about what I, “Bourgie” had been getting into (see Bourgie Goes to Dinner) and then peppered in things I cared about like women’s issues and things I obsess about like reality tv. I basically cannot tell you what this blog is about since it’s all of those things still.
In honor of one year still blogging, here’s a random selection of posts from the past year:
Barack Better Be Bresident*
When It Rains, it pours: A Car Story (v.1)
Sunny Delight, my ass.
Artichokes & Asparagus: Musings on the word “bourgie”
I’ll just date my bus pass then
The Prototype: Clair Huxtable (revisited)
philly so crazy
Voulez-vous coucher avec une araignee?
I bleed blue: A Period Piece (pt 1)
Big Plastic Cups
Stop judging. Kthxbye.
Now this didn’t come about in my travels although I would have loved to see this happen in person.
A little background on what’s happening. This is a game show featuring the stars of a famous Japanese comedy duo “Downtown”. The rules for this game go something like this: Each participant throws their chosen sign (paper scissors or rock), and the loser has to quickly grab a helmet and place it on his head before he is get smacked by the giant fan-like object (called a harisen) that is so often used to smack people over the head with in Japan. If they are able to get the helmet on before they get smacked, the game continues and they immediately do paper scissors rock again. The game ends when one person wins RPS and is able to smack the other on the head with the harisen before they get the helmet on.
And I thought I was serious about RPS!
Last weekend, the ladies and I went out to Kamakura and did some sightseeing. The cool thing about that area, which is about an hour away from the city by train, is that it’s easy to get around via bicycle. So we rented a few and rode around to the Big Buddha, Hase Temple and got our first look at Japan’s coastline. I totally forgot we were on an island for a minute there.
Bought our tickets for spring break. A bunch of us are heading out to Thailand in March so while I’ll be off the grid for a week or two, be on the lookout for updates and photos.
Speaking of photos, I’ve updated the Flickr stream (left sidebar).
Oh, and speaking of bikes, I went and bought one. Got it for ¥2,00o used which is pretty sweet since new they run around ¥11,800. In dollars I paid around $22. It’s a basic little “shopping bike” with a bell and basket on the front LOL. Everyone rides them here. I took the train out to Hatsudai to pick up the bike from a nice lady named Rika who was packing up to move to Austrailia with her hubby. It took about an hour to ride the bike back to Akasaka (home) through Shibuya and Roppongi. Good thing though, because I’m getting a little workout on and hopefully things will be in the right place come Thailand.
What else is up? Been going out and partying. Having lots of fun with my new Japan friends. Granted, most of them are not Japanese, but still. It’s Valentine’s day here already and we’re going out with some new folks for a 5-course dinner. Then out to nomihodai clubbing. Holla!
Things have gotten better. We’ve been here since Jan 7th and I feel much more acclimated and comfortable. Still, being away makes you appreciate home a lot more. I’ll be diving into some Cap’n Crunch when I get back, just you watch!
I’m sure there will be more updates in the coming weeks. Some interesting things are planned like Harajuku, a prison tour and maybe a trip to Korea. I know I haven’t been updating for a while but I don’t think anyone wants to hear me talk about boring class.
FYI, McDonald’s here doesn’t serve breakfast. You don’t know how much you want an egg mc muffin until you can’t have one!
So I was asked to pen an article about my first impressions re: Tokyo.
I was having a brain fart for the most part. You can tell from my first couple of posts on my own blog how scatterbrained I’ve been. I can’t even really put into words what my first impression or even 7th impression is.
Maybe that’s the thing though, this city makes me think so many things at once. I think it’s also best to keep everything in perspective since I have been here for less than a month.
Anyway, feel free to catch my lil article over at Crud Magazine. Excerpt below. Thanks to Carlo for the opportunity (but not so much for choosing that crazy pic of me!).
In a dark room the size of a galley kitchen, my feet hung off the end of the bed and my head rested on a pillow which was better suited to an airplane than to a restful night’s sleep. The room was so small, I could reach the television dial without fully stretching my arm but it was pretty useless since there was only one free channel and it was completely in Japanese. Alone in the dark, I wondered out loud, “What am I doing in Japan?” That is how I spent my first night in Tokyo…
This deserves to be told. Japanese toilets are a strange breed, folks. The toilet in our apartment is pretty run of the mill, close to an American toilet. Elsewhere, however, you can find one of two toilets: The squat toilet or the electronic toilet.
The squat toilet is basically a porcelain hole in the floor. Your job is to straddle the thing and squat down, sort of like you’re peeing outside, and let ‘er go. There’s a bar you can grab onto if you need it. I haven’t personally used a squat toilet. The public restrooms we go into usually have two types of toilets and I opt for an actual stool instead of risking getting piss on my boots. HR inadvertently stumbled into one and was disgusted. Apparently everyone’s not as good with their aim and there was pee and nastiness all around the toilet. :(
As another option, you can get the electronic toilets. They’re pretty freaky because they look normal but they’re plugged in. The seats are heated. Freakishly heated. Hot. You’d think it’d be a good idea because that ceramic bowl can get pretty chilly. Still, it’s not so good because I think that heat warms up the funk. I haven’t been to a pleasant smelling bathroom here at all. Not once (with the exception of the one in our apt).
The electric toilets usually have a sensor where it flushes itself, but you can operate other kinds of flushes if you want.
There are also bidet options in case you want some of that cold toilet water sprayed up your wahoo. The funniest thing I saw though was yesterday at the Sumo tournament restroom. Each stall had a little box that played a fake flushing sound. WHY in the world would you need to simulate a flush while in the bathroom? Of course I had to press it. I pressed it twice. HR and HL said it’d be a good idea if you wanted to mask the sound of you using the bathroom, but I figure you can just flush the actual toilet right? I guess these Japanese are so into conserving water, they’d rather give you a fake flushing sound than to have you flush for real!
We’ve only been in class since Monday and I swear they all suck. I don’t know what the problem is. Back at the main campus (Philly) the teachers are really great. Many are experts in their subjects and have a real gift for teaching. I don’t know who they got to come over to Japan. Most of them are folks who work over here already in international firms. I probably don’t have to tell you this, but just because you’re a chemist doesn’t mean you can teach chemistry and just because you work at an international law firm doesn’t mean you can teach internationl civil procedure either.
It’s really hard to make it through these classes. They’re mostly from around 5pm to 9pm with some starting earlier and ending a little later. I have a couple of 3hr classes to sit through and it’s like torture when your professor is rambling on about nothing. You’d think these classes would be pretty interesting, especially since I’m becoming increasingly interested in the international application of public interest law. Here’s what I’m taking this semester: Int’l Human Rights, Intro to Japan Law, Int’l Dispute Resolution (which is really Int’l Civil Procedure), East-West Negotiations, and I’m still undecided about the last course. I’ll know today whether I’m going to stay enrolled in Trusts & Estates or switch to Int’l Immigration.
I’m also taking a Survival Japanese class that is turning out to be the most interestesting but is a pain. It’s totally inconvenient. We have to get to Japanese class at 12pm and then sit around until about 5pm for classes we don’t leave until 9:30pm!
It’s even harder because I usually deal with lame classes by Twittering, AIM, or posting on the message board… something! Now, being 14 hours ahead, I’m in class while everyone else I know back in the US is asleep in their beds.
This class thing is really getting in the way of my exploration and trips. :( In that respect, these few months can’t go by fast enough!
How do you feel about Kwanzaa? I have never celebrated Kwanzaa. I don’t think my family knew much about it and frankly, they didn’t care. I learned about it in my after school programs that were run by afrocentric staff. I mean, we did a mini rites of passage thing one summer, so you know they were on their Kwanzaa game.
Clicking around the internet, I see that a lot of people dismiss Kwanzaa as the “Black Christmas” or they hate on it because it was invented. Well, ALL holidays are invented. Shoot, I just watched a documentary on Christmas and saw how monarchies, governments and religious powers all shaped Christmas celebrations to suit particular needs. Jesus wasn’t even born anywhere near Dec. 25th! President’s Day was certainly “invented” so I don’t get trashing Kwanzaa because it was invented.
That Black Christmas thing, well that’s just false. However, I think it ‘s how most people view Kwanzaa and therefore do not take a closer look at what the holiday has to offer. Continue reading