Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Potty Break

I think an appropriate topic for today will be toilets. Yes folks I said it, toilets. Here in the U.S. most of us have toilets that are much alike, but every once in a while you get an odd duck. Nothing that I have seen here though compares to the toilets in Japan though. Some of them really were so cool but others,well you would have to have some leg strength to get up from.

Admittedly it took me a second to get into this bathroom. It was a sliding door and I was retarded and thought it wasn't haha. I loved the signs for men's and lady's bathrooms they were really pretty lol. This was just at a sushi place. So you didn't see like this everywhere.

I don't know why I didn't take pictures of all the toilets I saw and that may sound weird but there were so many different ones. Also the stalls were way different. For example in the bathrooms of the airports the stalls were actually large enough for you to be able to bring your bags into them...unlike most of the ones in the state that I have been in. Also a lot of the stalls are widely set apart here, as in you can basically see right through them...awkward. In Japan though the stalls are really tightly put together and have gaurd strips so that there are no cracks when you close the door.
This whole Restroom was covered in Gold leaf. Only thing not covered in it was the actual toilet. I felt like Indiana Jones.
This my friends is the infamous squatting toilet. This picture shows our first encounter with one, but there were many yet to follow. I actually ended up really liking them because you don't touch anything. You don't have to worry about who's butt you are sitting after. My host mom didn't like them because you do have to have some leg strength to get up from it, but for me that wasn't a big deal. The only thing that I didn't like about it was when I was feeling sick and had to throw up, and the only place to do it was in a squatting toilet, and that was in a Baskin Robins.

This is from
 There were also many western toilets. When you flush it the top part, with the sink, comes on as well. I'm guessing that it is only so you can rinse your hands, because there is always another sink with soap outside of where the actual toilet is. It took me a while to get brave enough to use the squirty thing that they have attached to it called a bidget. You can also adjust the temperature and the pressure of the water. My host mom had to warn me not to jump up when I finally got the nerve to use it...I almost did anyways.
The last toilet that I had actually wanted to see while staying there I finally found a day or two before I flew home. In public places they were having problems with people flushing the toilet to many times, so that no one would hear their potty business, so there were buttons installed to were you can hit different ones to make different sounds. Especially the flushing sound. Clever clever.

Friday, November 25, 2011


I was finally able to go to my dance class on Wednesday. Something had always come up to where I was unable to go... like having water behind my ear and feeling vertigo everytime I moved. I forgot how much I loved to dance! The dance I do most often is called Zouk, or Zouk Lambada. It originated in Brazil and somehow found its way to Knoxville, TN. Sadly it is only really found on the East coast of the U.S. As I was trying to think of a topic for this entry I thought about my love for dance and the night that it finally hit me that I really really was in Japan.
I was lucky enough to be over there during their huge dance festival. It's a day just full of dancing! Awesome costumes, silly moves, heart pounding music! Even older ladies dressed up as rock and roll Elvis girls dancing to different rock and roll classics. The day started out great. As soon as we were out of school we hit the streets and were immediately swamped by groups of people that later performed at that night's parade. That was so fun to see them during the day!
Next we happened upon a stage performance of different dancers, most good haha. Actually the first two were so painful to watch! The last girl was way good and kept winking at Alex teehee he was to shy to say hi though. See if you can tell who is awesome and who is not.

 These girls were right on the border of horrible and could do better...way better. My favorite part was that they were dancing to really risque American songs but all the little old Obaasans were just nodding along and smiling and their were little kids dancing around too. I was pretty mortified.

Now these girls were my favorite...mainly cuz Alex, Sarah, Victor and I were all waiting to see which one of us would bust out laughing first. Was even a part of the song when the lyrics said, " I just don't understand" and Alex and I at the same said," No I just don't understand" lol. BTW both of them had G strings showin.Classy.
Obviously this girl was amazing! I mean I was super jealous. Mainly of her pants...but still it was awesome to watch her. If I were the other girls I would have just been embarrassed.
Well anyways, the day went on and we all went our separate ways so that we could eat. One awesome thing about being in japan was that I didn't have a cell phone to bother with. One horrible thing was that I didn't have a cell phone to bother with, cuz we never found each other after we split. The festival was on the main street that runs through the city. It was set up sort of like the Macy's Day parade, where they stop and perform, move on, and stop again. Being there for that really made me feel like I was really in Japan, because when you fly over there the airplane windows are up, so you just feel like you are suddenly there. It also didn't help that the scenery is just like East Tennessee when it comes to trees being everywhere. Seeing all the of the people dressed up though...there are no words to really describe that feeling that I had. It was overwhelming.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Onna no Chikara

Hana Kimi- Just to try to push her idol back up to former heights she dresses as a boy and enrolls in an all boys school.

So quick update on my drama life...I am totally hooked on Hana Kimi! It is so cute and hilarious! I don't know why but I always seem to have a huge thing for girls dressing up as guys to try to accomplish something. Maybe it's the suspense of them getting caught, or maybe it's just them getting the guts to do it. I think I would be to pretty to try to pass for a boy. mwahahaha! One of my favorite Manga is called Girl got game. It is also about a girl disguising herself as a boy so that she can play for their team. It also tickles me to death when the guy they end up liking finds out that they are girls haha. I also love the  The Song of the Lioness Quartets by author Tamora Pierce. Now that cross dressing chick is my hero for sure! We also can not forget Mulan or Amanda in She's the Man. (classic! ) I really look up to these characters, who really strive to show that they are as good as any man or that they care enough for loved ones to hide who they are just to try and save them, or better them. I think at times we only think of Chikara, or power, in terms of masculinity, but over and over we see the chikara that women hold. Powers of love and perseverance. I know I have seen indescribable power over and over again, from single mom's, or women that have to take care of injured husbands and their families. That chikara is truly divine. I hope that the women around me never forget the special powers that we do hold. And though we may not enjoy the physical strength that men have, we do have Chikara.
My idol. Not only does she beat up the boys...but she looks good doin it!
Never give up on your dreams...even if you smell like a dude for a while.
Found new strengths and found a new sense of what I could expect from myself and from others. I found out that I don't have to be scared of greatness because it was inside of me all along.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Had a wonderful Sunday today. Little fact about me is that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Being a member of this church really makes up a huge percent of who I am and how I look at my life. It also made a wonderful opportunity for me while staying in Japan.
The school I went to in Kanazawa (  was awesome for showing us the sights and basic cultural Japanese activities, but befriending other members of my church while I was there opened up the door to actual day to day life and fun friends. It was so awesome to be able to go on Sundays and though I was a beginner in the language I was able to feel the same spirit that I get to feel every Sunday here at my home ward. There was the same sacrament passed, the same Sunday school lessons taught, and the same group of relief society woman, with their happy faces, talking about how to better help their families and communities.
There were a few times when I would wake up late and I would have to throw my church clothes in my backpack and would run to the church. Those times I was even laughing at myself. I had to change in the bathroom that had no AC...was so humid haha. I am sure I looked like a hot mess.

Me and the missionaries at English class. (the boys are so silly)
My favorite part of going to the church was going on Thursday nights. Thursday was English class. That is where I had an epiphany...I love teaching English! lol. My favorite guy was this little old man who always wore an Aladdin tie and would sing Elvis songs to me. This is also how I met Tatsuya (my big crush).
 All in all I'm so grateful to be who I am and I am grateful that no matter where I go I can find a home.
A ward cookout that I was invited to. Also took Tomoko and Daria...Tomoko was confused as to why there was no alcohol there. haha. As usual Coolie is being a dork.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

kitte kitte nyan nyanchan!

This little cat was so funny. After we were done visiting Ninja Tera ( ninja temple) we passed this little tourist shop and there sat the cat! He was so kawaii!!! It was like he was inviting us to enter but in the way an old Japanese man would...namely sort of gruff and tough, but kind. Even when we entered the store he followed us for a while, let me pet him, and then went and sat at the entry way again.
I noticed quite a lot of cats in Japan. From house cats to hello kitties, and even service signs.
Will take care of your packages like a mother cat takes care of her kitten (koneko).
Just chillin.
Daria spotted this guy out while we were walking to school one morning. He reminded me of my own orange neko, Tora. Tora actually means tiger. I'm so clever. I don't know how she saw him in the first place in the next picture you can hardly see him at all.
Can you spot waldo?

Cats are also very popular in pop culture and with kids. You could always tell if a girl lived in the house you were passing because their windows were always filled with Hello Kitties! You could find her anywhere!!! I even bought a now very faded, wash cloth with Hello Kitty and her twin sister dressed as geisha! There were tons of phone charms, key chains, and shirts with Hello Kitty on it. But the coolest Hello Kitty I saw was a gold covered, lucky cat, Hello Kitty coin bank! It was amazing!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Epic fails and Onsens

What is the ultimate form of relaxation? Well for me it is taking a bath. A nice, hot, lightly scented bath. So I get home and I'm super excited to draw up an awesome bath pour moi...and i go about doing so, and just when it is all the way full and I go to put in the extra ingredient ( not chemical X), namely coconut oil, I realize that the water I have been blasting is ICE COLD!!! Total drag. It reminded me of a day of being butt naked in the Japan...with a whole bunch of other butt naked women. If you have fantasized of this sort of scene well the one I experienced is not your cup of tea. Lo and behold an onsen is a public bath. Its separated of course between men and women but modesty between your own sex is not an issue. Believe you me it took a while to get used to it but as soon as I hit the mineral baths I couldn't have cared less. It was simply blissful! Luckily I was able to enjoy the experience twice, once in Kaga and the first time in a shopping center lol.
The location of the first one was sort of random but oh well. It was really cool though, because it had a ton of different baths and basically relax stations. There were even huge barrels that you you sit in, and basically stones beds that had a few inches of water on them, and stone head rests. I was so relaxed laying there under the bamboo shade with the rain gently dripping through the cracks, (was an open air bath) that I nearly fell asleep. My host mom actually did fall asleep haha.
Kaga was amazing though. Before we even went to the Onsen we first went for a little nature walk through the woods. It was totemo kirei! There was also a place where you could have tea and the tables were built right above the water of the river the path was next to. We had to pass across stepping stones to continue on our path and it took us right through that cluster of tables. Some of the guys went way in front of the group and ended up getting lost. Poor Nakata Sensei had to run around trying to find them. We finally made it to the actual onsen though.It was also in the forest and built right next to the river. Was so peaceful,just watching the birds and hearing the river's voice...untill I decided to blow bubbles underwater for fun and all the Japanese ladys laughed at me. lol.

Peace looks like this.

This says it all.
Kaga didn't have as many different types of baths as the first location, but the peace and beauty of it was ethreal. If you want secluded nature and exquisite simplicity go to places such as Kaga. If you want a wide varity of baths, and sauna's go to places in the city or closer around the city. Either way I'm so happy that I was able to enjoy such a wonderful and different set of experiences.

The onsen in Kaga looked a lot like this only it was open air and a lot of bamboo,but we did have a view of the river.

Before you get into the baths you have to shower off first. This also goes for home baths. Its actually a relaxing part of the whole thing. If you were to feel uncomfortable just remember that everyone else is naked just sort of forget.haha.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Udon wa tabenai ka?

The Udon I ate on saturday...should have taken a picture before I ate all the toppings off. It had an egg and fried tofu and temupra shrimp...oh ya and a fish cake my friend said that she was just having fun watching what would come out of my bowl next. haha.
I woke up craving udon noodles today! uggg... lo and behold I am lacking in the udon noodle depato! Udon wa totemo oishii desu ne! This past saturday I was able to eat them though and for that I am greatful. I finally checked out a restaurant called East. I had read some pretty good reviews...but I was not expecting it to be the real deal! This place was so awesome. The atmosphere was great, the food was great, and being some of the only non asian customers was great! Seriously how many "asian" places do you go to and actually see asian families there? It was so wonderful I felt as if I had stepped into a portal straight back to Japan. I was even able to order my food in Japanese. If you live in the Knoxville area you must check out East. It is right next to fresh market in Farragut. If you are a beer lover it even has Kirin beer which is the brand my host mom Tomoko always tried to get me to drink *rolls eyes*. That woman was relentless, but never fear I didn't cave. (obviously I don't drink...ever)
This was my friend's Udon in japan after visiting the temple park.

And this was mine...obviously I was wanting to save my money but man it was worth it because fried tofu is so suteki!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Obsessed :o

I finished my most recent drama lastnight! I was going to leave the last tasty morsal for today...but obviously I have no self control. It was one of the only shows that has ever made me cry. There was a part where the main character had a crazy emotional moment between him and his mother. It really felt the same as what I go through with my dad... so congrats Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge you have done the near impossible. Hall of famer right chere ya'll. lol.

 At the moment I'm watching Natsyume Yuujinchou. It reminds me a lot of Miyazaki movies. Super cute and an awesome nod to ancient japanese culture and its spiritual beliefs. I love that there are Kami Sama's of all different things. Talents, rain, music, earth, trees, and both the good and the bad, just as an example. I loved going to different temples and shrines when I visited Nippon. This picture was at a temple park...well thats basically how I would put it. There was a ton! of different shrines here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Latest Recomendations so much Drama!

Latest drama that I am hooked to is Yamoto Nadeshiko Shichi Henge! Its full of shinanigans! and a crazy gothesque chick that can whoop butt and summon lighting if you call her ugly... but for some reason no one questions why she has the power to do such things... is it just Americans that question the holy scrud out of something? Must be... any ways here is a link.

I love Japanese dramas and they have really helped out with my vocabulary and listening skills. Its a lot easier to learn from when you can see real people using their mouths haha.

The one i watched, before this one, was called Oishii Proposal. It was tottemo kawaii! I don't know why but i love chef romances and the guy reminded me so much of the man I dated in Japan that it nearly made me hop on a plane and skeedadle right on out there haha....but alas I am happily engaged......soooo I don't think he would like me running back into the arms of an ex just because I watched an amazingly adorable drama.
 May i suggest watching it mostly on here. You may have to hit up as well though cuz some of them are not on this site. Really is worth the time though.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Konnichiwa! Genki desu ka?

Well Well... I never thought that I would ever find inspiration to start a blog of any sort, but a certain fire has been started in my heart! When I heard that the Japanese government approved the plan to give out thousands of free tickets to help their tourist industry I knew that I had to do my best to get one. I honestly am not sure when my love for all things Japanese started. I would probably have to credit it to my close family friends. The Otoo-san served an LDS mission there and later worked there and took his Oku-san with him. They even had their first two girls there! The second eldest daughter really got me into such things as Manga and Anime. It is basically through her that the rest of my friends also were brought into it... only difference is that i decided to take it a step further... I am now studying Japanese and trying to pursue my dreams! Only problem is trying to take each strand of my many dreams and find a way to intricatly weave them into a pattern that will be my life. Each strand is so strong and beautiful though. I have great hopes that my life will also be strong and beautiful!