Friday, May 21, 2010

Updates already!

Today I got my housing assignment via email!!! I am excited but nervous because I apparently can't look it up on Google Maps because I don't understand how addresses work yet. However, my host family lives in/on? Minamisuna in Koto-ku, a special ward of Tokyo, and it looks like my daily commute (walking and train) will be about an hour, which is pretty good for Tokyo. Here is information about Koto-ku in electronically-translated English:ōtō,_Tokyo
  Apparently it looks like this! I will take photos when I get there, although probably not from this angle. :)
My host family consists of a couple and an 8-year-old son! No pets or smoking. The name seems to be Namiko Moriyama (first then last). I must get used to saying Moriyama-san or I wonder if they will let me call them Mom and Dad. :D

Haha, there are only three boys on my trip, 13 students in total.

Here are special dates for my trip, on the schedule I received:
June 2-4: Orientation
June 5: Meet host family and depart to house
June 7: Classes start, generally 9-12:30 every weekday then free time, with exception of a few cultural activities
June 12: first real weekend, dinner with Saaya!
June 14: Kabuki after class
June 17: visit elementary school!!
June 18-20: Visit Nikko, Japan on school field trip
June 25: Visit famous Ghibli museum of anime
July 2: Tea Ceremony after class
July 3: Kamakura day trip
July 8-11: Long weekend! MT FUJI TIME
July 19: Holiday, I wonder what I will do!
July 23: Sayonara party
July 25-Aug 1: I leave my host family's house to travel with Yuwa. :)
Aug 2: I fly back to NYC (leave Tokyo at 6pm, arrive in NYC at 6:05pm, haha)


PS: Did you know that Koto special ward has 28,671 people per square mile? Holy crap!!
PPS: This blog will include many exclamation points and smiley faces.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Welcome to my blog (or, as I like to call it, Nihon no buro-gu)! I'm approaching ridiculous levels of excitement for my trip to Japan on June 1st. I've been practicing my Japanese nearly every day, obsessively going over a packing list in my head and on my computer, and planning details with my friends Yuwa (from UNC) and Saaya (a friend of Yuwa's in Tokyo). I've got my Kanji Sonomama electronic dictionary, my passport, my excited face on, and a whole lot of other stuff. Details:

-My program description is here! So awesome:
-For the first few days in Japan, I'll do an orientation with the other students on the trip at IES ( while trying to get over jetlag.
-For the next eight weeks, I'll wake up super-early at my host family's apartment, get on the train to IES, take hardxcore Japanese classes every weekday in the morning (and some days in the afternoon), with the exception of a few class field trips and one 4-day weekend.
-Every afternoon, I plan to explore Japan with my friends and classmates and strangers and men on the subway until I have eaten everything in Tokyo and taken a photo of every interesting Japanese object.
-Every night, I will cry that I did not do my homework during the day because I must do it before class the next morning. Then I will do my homework. Somewhere in here, I hope to update el blogo on a semi-regular basis.
-On the weekends, I will play like crazy and visit fun places with Yuwa, Saaya, and my new friends.
-On the 4-day weekend, I'm going to CLIMB MT. FUJI OMG (MAYBE). :D I really want to, but even if I just end up visiting it, I'll be happy. I don't want to get altitude sickness and I've never climbed a whole mountain before.
-On July 25th, when my Japanese classes end and many of the people from UNC go home, I will stay for a week to travel with Yuwa! Right now we are thinking about going to Yufuin in the south of Japan and sight-seeing on the way down there.

Does anyone have any suggestions for where I should go or what I should do/eat/buy? It doesn't matter if you know what you're talking about or not, I want to hear it and I WILL do my best to try it. At least I could take a picture of it. :) Don't say seppuku! I've already gotten a recommendation to eat natto ("a sticky, stinky bean") and I'll give it a try.  Any recommendations on what I should NOT do? I've learned a fair amount about Japanese faux pas but I welcome more advice especially if it's well-founded.

My blog will have many photos on it, I hope! I'm taking my camera everywhere with me. #1 photo priority: Japanese meals. I will try to include Japanese language on this blog and I'll do my best to avoid "Engrish" but it sometimes happens when I'm trying to language-multitask.

YES!!! Only twelve more days!