Monday, January 19, 2009

きもち - kimochii

So in my stay so far in Japan, I've come to the conclusion that Japanese kids, especially little boys are totally odd. My first interaction with elementary school kids was at a PR event at a public elementary school in Narita. The event itself was awesome, but these little boys (5-8 year olds) were like grabbing each others crotches! They were tickling them and laughing and having a blast... is that normal with little boys or is that Japan? I havent personally been around too many children so I cant be one to say. Although my students dont grab their crotches or anything but I have had one class of five 5 year olds, playfully hug each other and grab each others arms and stuff.. but if you ask me, they knew what they were doing and boys were hugging the girls, in a weird intimate way... unless thats just me, could be. However, I've spoken to other teachers and they all have stories about little boys that grab their crotch and other boys' crotches as well.

But anyway, what really sparked this blog was a trial students little brother. The trial student was the cutest little five year old girl, very shy and quiet. Almost cried becuase she was too nervous and ended up watching the class through a window. So mother, who was about 6-7 months pregnant walks in with the five year old girl and her brother, who was about three. You can tell right off the bat that he was the devil child. He just had this look in his eyes, he was insane. He runs right into my classroom, and starts throwing things around, launching the hoola hoop across the room, took out all the plastic balls and the bucket it was in. That is not a normal Japanese kid. This boy was worse than a boy with A.D. D. at that age. Class started a bit late because of all the commotion with the trial student and another make up student. The boy runs up to me, smacks me in the butt, runs away and comes back and forth to hit me a few times. The first few times, I let it go becuase he is only three. After class, they're the last ones around and the boy runs back and forth between me and the door and continually hits me with both fists and tries to dig his hands into my legs. I got real fed up and his mom wasnt watching, so I grabbed his hands and threw them back at him. He did a few more times and I just pushed him off me. Finally, the last time, he ran over with his two little fists and LICKED MY PANTS.... wtf was that!!! You can say, he's just a kid... but these Japanese boys are screwed in the head or something.. why do you think they have such crazy porn?

Perhaps, its because its kimochii (きもち) - "it feels good".

Or... shogunai - "such is life"

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chopping it all off

So I had my first hair salon experience in Tokyo today. It was a really nice change from the typical American salons, even the high end ones. I decided to just go to a salon I passed by in Harajuku, on a whim. I spotted it while doing some shopping and the name was catchy so I decided to go on my way back to the train. It was called Hair Oasis, cant go wrong with that I suppose. So I walked in and immediately they started to speak to me in Japanese and I told them I only spoke English. They looked confused and asked around and we were able to come to an agreement on price after telling them I wanted a cut and color. They took my jacket, bags and all and sat me down for a consult. First we went over hair color and then my stylist brought over a few hair style mags. After many attempts to explain what I wanted, we finally found a picture of it. I told him I wanted something shoulder length, something simple and layered from the inside because I have a lot of hair. Somehow that translated to him as layered only in the back and no layers on the right or left side... derr ya... so we went on and on for about 20-30 minutes trying to work it out. After that was taken care of, it was time for a wash. They meticulously put 3-4 layers of towels and what not around me so my clothes wouldn't get wet. Not to mention, they also put this tissue water resistant tissue on my face which I thought was great! You don't have the awkwardness of smelling someones breath as they wash your hair. Most of the guys in the salon were males, except for one stylist. The rest of the experience is pretty self explanatory but halfway through the cut, one of the assistant stylists came over to ask what I wanted to drink. He was 22 and apparently today was his birthday, hah. His English was horrible but I still give him credit for trying to make conversation. As he was helping color my hair, he started to talk more along with my stylist. You can find out a lot in a little time ya know... but what I found most interesting was that he said, "I love you! I want you!" At first i was like uhh but then realized that he probably just really wants to learn English and hasn't had too many encounters with foreigners. When I told them I was from New York, they were all excited to ask about NY and things like that... I guess in retrospect, we're pretty lucky that we're from such an awesome city. Anyway, heres the result of the miscommunication and all the stuff that is lost in translation...

Things are getting to be a lot better now. I'm starting to figure out my weekly routine. Now that I have Japanese lessons weekly, I feel more motivated to wake up earlier and head to a nearby Starbucks to study before work. Once I start waking up earlier, I will have more time to run errands and even go for a jog in the AM. What I find funny is that all of us teachers are so sucked into these drama series and we're more addicted now than we were back home. Everyone is watching Heroes and 24. I still haven't gotten into it yet but I know I'm watching a lot more TV now than when I was home. I blame the slingbox.

Tomorrow, a bunch of us teachers are going to a live sumo match, will update more about that in a few days probably.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! It's the year of the OX! May the new year bring all of you good luck, fortune and just the best of everything!! New year, new start, new country, new everything... Lets not let anything hold us back in '09. Cheers!

So, tomorrow, we go back to work and I'm totally not looking forward to it. The last two weeks have been stressful but have also been a lot of fun. Being a tour guide when you dont know the area too well is pretty tough and tiring. All in all, I'm glad my visitors came and they were able to share some experiences of Japan with me.

In the last two weeks, I've been to Disney Sea, snowboarding @ Mt. Naeba, Tokyo (Shinjuku, Shibuya, Asakusa, Harajuku, etc), Hakone, Kamakura, Yokohama.

Disney sea was alright, I feel like it was a little bit boring but maybe because I have been to Disney World. It just seemed too touristy for me and seemed like it was all a show. Regardless, it was nice to see all the lights up for the holiday season.

Snowboarding was amazing. Took the night bus to Niigata but had no idea that it was still pretty far from Echigo-Yuzawa where Mt. Naeba is so then I ended up taking the JR for another 2.5 hours to Echigo-Yuzawa. Then a local bus took about 30-40 min to get to the base of the mountain. Finally arrived at Mt Naeba at 11am, after 12 hours of travel!!! Boarded until 4pm. The base was pretty slushy but the snow up at the peak was pretty good for early season. Unfortunately, I didnt get to take the Dragondola over to the other side of the mountain but next time I go, I'll make sure to take it. Rentals were pretty cheap and its cool how they rent gear (jacket, pants etc) also. Just for equipment, rental was only 3,000 yen ($30). Definitely an experience, haha next time i'll jst make sure to take the Shinkansen from Tokyo. saves so much time.

My family visited for a little less than a week and we all ended up stayin at a hotel in Shinjuku. Trust me, its pretty funny to walk through the red light district with your parents in an attempt to look for a place to eat. New Years here is almost like a national holiday. So many stores and restaurants are closed. Too bad I had no idea or I would have told them to come later! Didnt even get to take them to the Funabashi 6 story Diaso (dollar store)! The best thing about New Years were the Fukuburo aka Fortune bags. These are pretty much grab bags that each store puts together for a set amount of price. The items in the bag vary and its a surprise. Pretty exciting and people line up for hours, even up to 2 days for these bags at the big department stores. My sister, bro in law and I bought some. Some stuff were cool but half the stuff dont even fit!! These Japanese people are so tiny! Taking the risk is always fun :) We also went to Kamakura to see the Big Bronze Buddha (Diabustu) and walked around the area and visited some temples. Kamakura has a New England feel to it. Its a small surf town and has small surf shops, restuarants and just a lot of touristy stuff. I'm def going to go back when it gets warmer. Yokohama is really pretty. Not so much a fan of the Chinatown... but perhaps thats because I am from New York where the real Chinatown is. Walking along the water in Yokohama is pretty relaxing and just a nice area to walk around.

Yesterday, one of my friends rented a car and 5 of us went on a roadtrip. We aimlessly drove along the coast and back up to Katsutadai. We had the car for 12 hours so we drove down to Kujukuri. There were so many surfers! It boggles my mind since its freezing out and they're all out there sitting in the water on their boards. The last stop of the trip before heading home was an Under the sea Observatory. We hung out there for a while and watched the sun set over the Pacific. Pretty awesome I'd have to say.

You can see the photos to the left or visit my Picasa.