Posted by Shaun
This post is going to take the form of a list because I've been terribly neglectful of this blog.
And I'm not actually that sorry because I'm in oh-my-goodness-20-days-left-in-Japan mode and I've been that way since day 50 or so, so don't blame me for not wanting to stay in my house and blog.
This post is actually only happening because 1) I'm in the library and supposed to be working on a presentation and 2) I want to brag about the cool stuff I'm planning for this and next week.
Stuff I've done (thanks to the dates in my planner...):
1) Watched a traditional dance performance I totally didn't understand
2) Went to see my friends' band perform in a SILS music club live in Roppongi. They called their band the Guy Jeans because they're... the only all-gaijin band in the SILS music club. Yeah.
3) Went to go see Thermae Romae テルマエ・ロマエ which is a movie based on a manga about a guy from ancient Rome who gets sucked into modern Japan through a roman bath and brings Japanese bathing and toilet innovations back to Rome. It was entertaining. And since my mom couldn't figure this out when I described it to her, yes, it's a comedy.
4) Went to a cafe that had all-you-can-drink fresh juice and tried avocado milk, which is actually really refreshing and delicious.
5) Helped lead a discussion group in a 3-week class where Japanese students on Waseda's engineering campus watch The Apprentice and use it to compare American and Japanese business practices.
6) Met one of my friends from Knox while she was in Tokyo and went to go see the Sky Tree.
7) Ate all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu
8) Went to a cafe in Shin-Okubo called Coffee Prince known for its cute Korean baristas. Also for the adorable drawings they do on the coffee drinks.
9) Went to go see the movie of a book series I'm working on reading, 図書館戦争, Toshokan Sensou, (Library War), which was cool because it had animated versions of places I'd been! (Shinjuku's Kinokuniya bookstore, and some places in Osaka)
10) Got my hair cut.
11) Visited a class at Rikkyo University, near where I live, because the professor in charge of our study abroad program was teaching it and the students wanted to meet exchange students.
12) Went to eat unagi, found the unagi place was actually closed, and ended up overeating Indian curry and cheese naan instead.
13) Had udon and then later cake as well as lovely conversation with friends from my J-pop class
14) Went to a flea market in Shinagawa with a friend of a friend from the US and her friends because they were in Tokyo
15) May or may not have caught bronchitis between 9) and 14), cough still not totally gone
16) Took an essay-writing test in Japanese on the 4th of July
17) Arranged for the pick up of and mailed home a box of clothes and a box of books, all by myself!
18) Finally tried one of the parfaits at a cafe by my station, strawberry + anko flavor.
19) Presented my final film project for my documentary filmmaking class
20) Immediately afterwards, went to a 飲み会 nomikai (drinking party) followed by karaoke. Took the second to last train home for the first time since going to Disney Sea (I don't get out much?)
21) Joined my friend's circle for "orienteering" around the Yamanote train line. We found 6 of the 7 locations and tied for second and third place out of 4 teams. So we didn't win anything, and I was super exhausted from 20) so I sorta fell asleep on the train towards the end.
Still to come
1) A trip to Cafe NEWTYPE, which is a maid cafe in Akhihabara, with the twist that the maids are gorgeous 男の娘 otoko no ko. 男の子 otoko no ko written with the kanji for child means "boy" but in this case the kanji is for "girl." It's a new kind of gender identity (
okay so I saw the cafe on TV and then I realized I could meet someone I saw on TV so I decided to go okay), according to the TV program I watched. According to Japanese Wikipedia, the term originated from a manga trope about beautiful crossdressing boys... I believe that as opposed to ニューハーフ new half or トランスゲンダー transgender people, who are born men and decide to live as women and consider themselves completely 100% women, 男の娘 still consider themselves male to some degree, although they dress and live as women. Translating Japanese gender identities into Western gender identities doesn't always seem to work too well, but perhaps 男の娘 would be a form of a genderqueer identity, from the Western social justice perspective. I'm really curious to learn more about "LGBTQ+" culture in Japan, because the environment just seems so different in Japan (which is why I put LGBTQ+ in quotes). At the same time, as a straight, white woman, it's definitely not a space I belong in so I would understand if there wasn't a lot of information available to me. But if anyone knows any research or books or manga on the subject (from a realistic, serious perspective), please let me know.
2) Finally, a chance to go to Fuji-Q Highland, with the same friend from Knox. It's a theme part in Japan with a habit of building a new roller coaster every few years so it can keep breaking records.
3) An all-night karaoke party
4) a festival in my homestay town with my host sister. She's going to lend me one of her yukata for it.
5) Farewell parties and finals.
6) Going to the police station to claim the 7000 yen I found on the ground in Harajuku and turned in to the police because the 3 month waiting period will be over soon and then it officially becomes my money. Ahaha.
If this ends up being my last blog entry before the airport, please forgive me! I'm a busy bee! Ahaha, look at that final project I said I was gonna work on today, sitting there abandoned.