Sunday, December 14, 2014

Finished.

I am finally done with my masters program. Finally! I turned in my masters thesis on Friday. I was exulted as I handed the bound 87 page paper in.

I kind of snuck something in there, as an almost easter egg for my thesis.

I have every letter from A to Z in my works cited section. I managed to somehow cite something from every single letter. I had to look up citations just for V and X... maybe that was cheating a little bit, but I legitimately worked those in too.

I am so pleased with myself, it's silly. Almost more pleased than actually having finished.

It's weird being finished. Wonderful, but kind of weird. As I was turning it in, it felt like there was so much more I could have done on it. But there's little sense in worrying about that now.

I don't know what I'm going to do with myself.

A lot of people are asking what I'm planning on doing afterwards. I fully intend on getting a job, but I don't really know what yet. I don't really know where any of my paths lead right now, but I do know one thing. All my paths lead forward. I mean, I'm going to get a job. I'm going to apply to a bunch of different places. I have no one path that's yelling my name out right now. For all I know, one of them could lead to a job in neuroscience or something. That'd be super fun. But it might also lead somewhere else. And that's the exciting part about where I am right now. I don't know where I'm going. It's kind of scary, but at the same time, kind of exciting. I know wherever I end up, I'll be able to make the best of things, and be able to make do. It's a matter of how fast I'll get to where I'm going, and what kind of sites I see along the way I suppose.

Someone jokingly, when I responded that I didn't have anywhere specific in mind (I meant mostly anywhere that would hire me, for the time being) that I didn't really have a game plan (which kind of characterizes my life right now), asked if anywhere meant McDonald's. I got super pissed. I snapped, associating it with all the "lolz non-STEM" kind of jokes people make about how we won't be able to find jobs and stuff. And this person counted himself as my friend, and I was kind of upset that he made that because we don't really have that kind of relationship.

But I was thinking, it would actually be kind of interesting to work for them in like, a waste division or something. Where you figure out how to deal with the waste from their distribution, packing, etc, or deal with making their food healthier or partnering with local communities. Because I think McDonald's has the potential to make a large impact, so just because it's fast food that the higher class people distain for organic and non-GMO slow food, doesn't mean that we should completely write it off.

Anyways, I'm getting rambley. I only meant to talk about graduating for realsies this time, and how I can finally tell people that yes, I'm 100% done now and I've finally graduated and I'm moving on to the next part of my life. (Unemployment lolololjk, I'm going to have a kickass job somewhere even if I don't know where that is yet)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Soylent

Thanks to one of my friends here at Stanford, I had the opportunity I never would have ever taken myself in a thousand years to try Soylent. Soylent is, for those who are fortunate to have never heard of it, a nutritional drink that describes itself as "open source" and boasts that all the nutrients that you need over the course of the day can be ingested in a much more convenient and cheaper form than your traditional foodstuff. Its fans claim that it takes the stress and hassle out of preparing a meal, thus freeing up more valuable time to do More Important Things.

Basically, it's a powder that you mix with water and drink so that you can get nutrients. It was created by someone in the tech industry (surprise surprise) because they wanted to use their time more efficiently, and thought that if they could make something that tastes bland enough that nobody would get bored of (which I don't buy, because you can get bored of boring things too) that you mix once at the beginning of the week and then spend maybe 5 minutes or less making (and drinking probably), you don't have to waste all that time on going out, getting food, and eating.

Unfortunately, a good friend here at Stanford drank the (powdered) Kool-Aid and has replaced about half of his meals (he still eats out socially, he says, he just has soylent on the meals he would normally spend alone) with Soylent and liked the brand name stuff so much he ordered a bunch of it to try for an event at Rains Houses. We tried two different types: the DIY version (that was made to be a 700 calorie meal) and the official Soylent version.

I was raised to believe that you can't really knock something until you've really tried it. And I tried it. And it sucked.

Seriously, it was terrible, both on the conceptual level as well as the taste level. Have you ever eaten chalk before? Or bitten into a persimmon that wasn't ripe enough? Or had Jamba Juice not mix the boosts in well enough? You know how you get that super gritty, really chalky kind of texture that makes you want to chew it because it's so thick, only to realize your mistake after the first chomp because now it's EVERYWHERE in your mouth and you can FEEL all the little grains all over? And then, after you've swallowed, the slight bitter taste from the chalky stuff lingers all over your mouth?

Very very unpleasant.

It also tasted a little like creamed corn. A little on the sweet side, actually, both the DIY version and the official one. I was actually a little surprised, because taste wise, it was better than expected. I expected it to taste like nothing. The official version was also waaay better than the DIY version, mostly because the DIY one was so incredibly viscous that it just clumped together as you drank it. It felt like you were drinking like... something with mass that wasn't actually a liquid. Perhaps that's better, because people were saying that it tasted even grainier to them, but for me it was almost... velvety, but in a very very bad way. The way that makes you kind of want to gag as you choke it down.

Some of the guys there talked about how maybe, what if, in the future, Soylent was the main form of nutrient acquisition? What if it was like a utility that was piped to each house like water, providing nutrients at low cost to poor, impovrished areas. Of course there would still be food... if you wanted to actually pay more to eat the real stuff.

Terrible, terrible ideas. That's not a future I want to be a part of. And as long as there are people in this world who love food, love the interplay of flavors and the textures as you bite into something delicious, or something with a hint of sour followed by a seductively sweet note, that future, I'm certain, will never ever happen. Food is so much more than just something we eat for nutrients. It's time to spend iwth others, to converse, to slow down, and most importantly perhaps, to enjoy. Sure, I suppose I can understand if you're a terrible cook and you hate cooking and just want something easy. For any activity, there are people who love it, and people who hate it, people who are great at it and people who are terrible at it. But there are equally tasty and cheap alternatives for those who can't cook. Trader Joe's premade food is an amazing amazing thing. And it's delicious.

One of the guys argued that it's really hard to get all the nutrients your body needs with traditional cooking. I immediately called bullshit. He countered by saying that he had a vitamin B12 deficiency when he ate his mother's cooking. However, there was a caveat in that he was vegetarian, which already presents problems with getting the proper nutrients especially because B12 comes from meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy. But seriously, it's not that hard to get a decent meal going, and if you know where to shop and have access to it (which, many people don't) it's actually fairly simple to make a meal that has enough of everything in it. You can even make things that don't actually take up that much time (though of course, putting in more time never hurts). But really? Not. That. Hard. Salad, protein, more veggies, some carb, boom. Done. Maybe have fruit too, or eat fruit some other time in the day. But reaaaallllyyyy not hard.

Oh Soylent, you silly drink.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Japan America Student Conference - Aug 12

I meant to blog more about this conference, but oops. I guess I'll post what I have for now and then fill it it later. :) It's a conference of no sleep.

San Francisco offered the chance to really have an RT focused day. As a part of the Technological Advancement and Society RT, it was ridiculously exciting to be in the San Francisco Bay Area (not just because I'm from here) and be given this opportunity, given that it's home not only to Silicon Valley's famous tech companies such as Facebook, Google, and Apple, but also because of the startup culture that's constantly pushing the boundaries of business and technology. The opportunities seemed endless. 

Unfortunately, endless choices make it extremely difficult to choose a place to visit: should we stay in San Francisco, or go down to Silicon Valley proper? Do we have enough time to go down to Stanford if we do? How much time did we really have in the first place? These questions kind of plagued our RT's discussion of where we should go. We had actually chosen two companies prior, but they hadn't really responded with the kind of firm "no" you need to properly acknowledge that they are not an option to visit, so we were still discussing various options. 

This is why, come five days prior to our actual field trip, we still had no idea where we were going and suddenly Stanford was an option (it hadn't been before because of how long it would take to get there). Unfortunately (or fortunately I suppose) as one of the two Bay Area natives (and the one with more actual contacts in the area) the majority of them were in the South Bay, which meant alternative transportation and logistics of moving from UC Berkeley to its rival Stanford; driving, it takes roughly one hour, but by public transportation it takes about two (which was why it was not an option in the first place). 

I was really excited when I heard that Stanford was an option, but dismayed at the fact that this choice came at such late notice - too late actually, for any of my contacts. We started scrambling to try to figure out a place. The day of RT free time got closer. We did a home stay. The day for RT free time jumped closer by two. We still didn't have a place to go. 

Things happen for a reason though. I'm not a believer of things like "fate" or "destiny" per se, but I do think that things will find a way to work out. 

This is how Tech ended up at Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to talk to one of their members about net neutrality and privacy on the Internet. Things just ended up falling in to place; someone's home stay actually was kind enough to get us this contact, and we spent a much needed morning to catch up on RT discussion time that had been lost in days prior as well as do an RT reflection.

RT reflection, in my opinion, really helped us grow together as a group, and grow closer. I know for me, I came out of that convinced thoroughly that I was in the best roundtable, and trace of sadness at not getting into Modern Consequences of Historical Education completely gone. Our Tech group is really close, and it just feels so incredibly safe to talk to them and know that I won't be judged when I do so, or that I can be vulnerable to them and that they - all nine other members - have my back. I don't open up easily to other people; I don't like being that vulnerable and I've gone through so much of my life fighting to minimize my vulnerability, but this has been something so unique to JASC so far, and I think a big part of my JASC experience. Really, we have the best RT, even if it means that we are last to do everything since we usually go by alphabetical order. (Woop woop Tech!)

So much happened this day for our group. Other groups probably had, no, *did* have completely different experiences. I heard one group went to Angel Island, another rode cable cars to Ghiradelli Square and Fisherman's Warf. I won't lie, but I was extremely jealous of all the fun they were having and was mildly annoyed at the fact that our RT was stuck in Berkeley most of the day (even though I'm a Bay Area native and have been to these places a ton of times) and wasn't actually doing anything fun. Looking back though, I'm grateful for the experiences we had, and wouldn't have changed it so that we had gone and just done fun stuff (which would undoubtedly be fun, but wouldn't have given us such an amazing experience). 

April, from EFF, was kind enough to talk to us relatively last minute for a really quick time. She explained to us the mission of EFF as well as some of the projects it's doing and the court cases and lawsuits it's pursuing. The big one are against the NSA and the government for breaching our constitutional rights by using cable splitters to copy data from the Internet illegally - specifically, the First Amendment (free speech) and the Fourth (due process). We also had the opportunity to ask her questions about why privacy was important, and what a sort of ideal solution looked like if the NSA was doing so many things they didn't like. I think many of us were also surprised to find out that they were also fighting TPP, the trade agreements that are being proposed between eleven (or was it twelve?) different countries in the Pacific region. TPP has actually been a topic we've touched on and debated a little bit at JASC, but the general consensus seems to be mostly positive towards this, so that EFF was so vehemently opposed to it was a bit of a shock for all of us. I think we've primarily viewed TPP from the Japan-America ties only, especially around the topic of agriculture, so intellectual property wasn't something that was on many of our radars until now. 

Overall, it was an extremely interesting (albeit short) meeting and a good chance to really hear from a different side of both TPP, net neutrality, and online privacy. It was interesting to hear their objections to TPP and their proposed solution to "fixing" the NSA. Most of their objections to TPP were that they stemmed from "secret deals made behind closed doors" and the lack of transparency; that the terms of the proposed trade alliance were not democratically chosen. 

I can't help but wonder though - isn't that how a lot of deals are made? Transparency, sure, is nice, but I am not sure everything really *should* be transparent. I'm also slightly skeptical about how democratic the process of agreeing upon the terms of TPP (and TPP itself) should be. We've chosen specific people with specializations in that area to act on our behalf and make these deals because we, as individual citizens, probably don't have the same type of knowledge or background that they do about the topic. Our choices and decisions, therefore, would be less informed. 

As to the whole "secret meetings" and things, a lot of how Japanese culture functions, the way some business is conducted, is indeed in these more "secret" meetings outside of the office proper. By the time the decision reaches the main office - the "front" side if you will - it's already been talked about to all the important actors more behind the scenes in locations the individuals could talk freely without having to worry about one side losing face to the other in front of everyone. It's not necessarily that they go to these secret places for this with the purpose of conducting secret negotiations, but in front of the press and everyone, isn't it sort of natural to need to appear to be more unyielding on your stance? In a course I took on Japanese business, this was one of the things that the professor drove home - that often times, approaching an individual through a go-between or in an "ura" setting (meaning, some place that's a little more private and not in front of others) is necessary to both preserve relationships and move things and decisions forward. Even though they're in private locations, it's out of the desire to not have to "perform" (in a sense) rather than out of a desire to deceive or to keep the conditions and deals from others. But the US side doesn't usually see things that way; these kind of deals lead to distrust and suspicion. Fundamentally though, I have a hunch that the huge opposition to this is largely founded in cultural differences. I think too though, that often we Americans forget that our governmental officials, diplomats, business people, and others in high positions are still humans despite the amount of power they wield. For me it makes a lot of sense that they would be able to talk more freely behind closed doors "in secret" and get more done when they don't have to be the face of their nation or corporation or whomever. 

I digress though. Regardless of my own stance towards the NSA and whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, our visit to EFF was both informative and interesting, but it wasn't the end of our day. 

We (Tech, though I guess I mean I really) had two and a half more interesting parts of the day. The first was right after our meeting, when we made the decision to walk back to Powell Station rather than walk to Civic center or take the bus since it probably took about the same amount of time. Except walking meant walking back through the Tenderloin - something I kind of forgot about, slash, didn't realize that it extended that far up from Civic Center area. Oops.

The Tenderloin, for those who don't know, has the reputation of the worst area in San Francisco (though in this Bay Area person's opinion, probably not as dangerous as certain parts of Oakland) mostly because of the (crazy) druggies, dealers, pimps, and transients who are out on the streets and who also tend to be sometimes kind of aggressive. The Tenderloin also houses a bunch of low-income housing units, with people who fiercely fight to keep those units as low-income housing as the tech boom drives the prices of housing in San Francisco sky high. It's not somewhere you really want to walk by yourself (especially as a woman, especially at night), though it's usually fine in groups of three or when you have a guy with you, especially during the day. But it's a place you want to have your street smart wits about you. So don't act scared. Don't act like a complete tourist. Don't mark yourself as an easy target. 

Unfortunately, I forgot that it was the Tenderloin and that we were traveling in a huge group of ten people with half of us speaking a lot of Japanese, and most of us slightly terrified because of not being used to walking through bad areas. A lot of walking through there, I think, are attitude. You gotta look like you belong, and that no, you are not an easy target and you're walking with Purpose. So that was exciting. 

The .5 exciting part was riding BART, mostly because we forgot it was rush hour and it was crowded and we had to transfer. 

The last though, was when we did large group reflection. I think we've reached a turning point in our group, because people are finally starting to share more and more as RTs have done group reflections as well. It's kind of interesting. I've noticed that our RTs really give us strength - strength to do things like talk to the larger group and open up. The whole delegation of course, is pretty cool, but it's our RT who really acts as our backbone and support. 

I'm glad I decided to stay with JASC. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

focusing is hard, thinking is easy

There are a million and one things I want to do right now.

Writing this paper is not one of them.

One of the worst things about actually living in places with nice weather like California along the coast is that the perpetually nice weather makes it exceedingly difficult to do anything, even if you're spoiled like me and used to having it pretty often. I guess that's why libraries will have the study desks deep in the darkest parts of the basement levels: so you don't know how nice of a day you're missing.

I actually prefer to study next to windows, so I can stare longingly outside at the nice weather that I'm notenjoying. Sigh. Actually, I already enjoyed the weather outside today, cause I took the advice of a website and took a nap around 1:30 because my body just... can't around that time of day. It's actually kind of weird.

I feel like I need to run around the block. :< Or do jumping jacks in this corner of the library or something. Seriously, I am ridiculously restless.

And still not writing my paper.

After this paper, I am basically a thesis away from graduating. That's quite a long road to travel, actually, but I'm aiming to be done by the summer. Aiming. There are still quite a bit of things I need to do because this quarter was the quarter where I don't know what happened, and I lost like... all of my focus. Senioritis?

It doesn't feel like I'm graduating and moving out, but I am. Really soon. My mind is just too sleep deprived to realize it. But I don't know, I think it also doesn't feel much like I'm graduating because compared to last time... there was so much pomp and circumstance. But now that I don't have my mother bugging me to fill out cards and send invitations etc etc I dooon't actually care as much so it doesn't really seem like much and I was really really bad about actually inviting people to come to my graduation.

I kind of want to do forward somersault rolls around on the floor over here. I'm that bored and restless ahaha.

One of the counselors I saw for career advice after I took the *real* Myers-Briggs test (I'm apparently ESTP) was super shocked at my results. Basically, despite getting what I did I got really really close to the center for basically... three out of four of those (I think one of the last two, either thinking/feeling or judging/perceiving I got a "moderate" score instead of the "slight preference" kind of score). I could probably most easily float between ISTP and ESTP depending on how I feel that day.

But basically she said that was the profile that people usually work towards as they grow older so that by the time they're 80, they're not at any of the extremes. So basically, I have the soul and personality type of an 80 year old. Woo hoo. I can swing almost all ways on the chart depending a little bit on circumstance and situation, as well as on current mood. This explains a lot why I've managed to score almost every combination over the course of my (I guess short) life so far, or at least I've managed to get each category at least once. But yeah, she was shocked. It was kind of hilarious.

I also wish they made some kind of machine that captures energy from leg shaking. Crap, I bet you could make a ton of money from that and a ton of energy as well if it was something like one of those bike generators, but with leg shaking like a shake weight strapped to your leg. Or like a weight, one of those ankle weights but instead there's a sensor inside of it that somehow gets energy through the up and down motion. There'd have to be some sort of battery I guess to store the energy you got from that, but imagine, all the leg shakers of the world would actually be doing something useful to contribute to energy, all through some habit I've been trying to unsuccessfully kick since who knows when. It gets worse when I'm studying and when I'm restless like this with a ton of energy. Kinetic energy I guess it's called.

New summer project here I come.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Backstreet's Back,

(Alright!)

After failing to play at the Concord Pavilion the last time I saw them some time ago before all five Backstreet Boys were reunited, the Backstreet Boys came to the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View and played a fantastic concert with Avril Lavigne as their opener.

It was like two hours of fantastic fangirling and sing-a-longs haha.

I was actually really surprised that I saw a decent range of people (though, lots of twenty-something people) including some girls who I'm pretty sure were like... eighteen or something. They were quite drunk and quite annoying ahahaha. But I mean honestly, they were an insignificant part of the evening. Cause ommfg, the Backstreet Boys performed again.

Their visuals were actually quite fantastic as well, lots of kind of.... electronic... and sunset scenes. It was a lot of fun I thought, since they played a TON of their older songs and only a few from their newest album.

They also mentioned that the band was like... 20 years old and that their first album was in 1995. Holy crap. I was 8 then. I don't even know what grade I was in then.

Let's play a fun game called "how old was I when I was in X grade"

2001-2005 high school
2000-2001: 8th grade; 13
1999-2000: 7th
1998-1999: 6th; 11

Fun fact, Now This is Music! (the original US one) came out in 1998 in the fall.
It had "As Long as you Love Me" by the Backstreet Boys on it, which came out in 1997 as a single. Also interestingly, it does not have any Christina or Brittany or N*SYNC on it. 

1997-1998: 5th; 10

Oh, also apparently - I just looked it up now - Oops! I Did it again didn't come out until 2000, which makes sense cause that's when my basketball team decided to make a dance routine to it, much to my past self's displeasure. Genie in a Bottle also didn't come out until 1999. Huh. Baby One More Time was 1998. Dang.

Hah. Wikipedia calls the Backstreet Boys an "American vocal harmony group." Really wiki? Just call them a boy band (even though they aren't really boys anymore, but really, that's what they are. They were doing the boy band style dancing tonight which was absolutely hiLARIOUS.)

Also apparently, the last time I went to see them was like... in 2010 or 20something before Kevin rejoined the group.

Since the majority of their fans are now presumably legal now, there was a bit of hip thrusting, bare chests and booty shaking by some of the backstreet boys. Be still, my heart. I mean, not that it's stopped other bands from doing that for their underaged fans, but it feels like the backstreet boys have matured with their fan base as well lol.

At the concert they mentioned that they debuted in 1995, but honestly the first album I can remember is in 1997. So I was like... in 4th or 5th grade and I was 9 or 10. Dang. That was a long time ago.

Anyways, I'd say enough with the reminiscing but the entire concert was basically one big trip down memory lane, with singing. It's kind of amazing how many lyrics I remember from their old songs. Like... seriously, I wish I had this good of a memory for Japanese vocab. Instead, I will just be able to sing all the songs from the Backstreet Boy's first US album haha.

Their concert was definitely awesome though. Would go again.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dear Japanese

Dear Japanese,

I have a love/hate relationship with you. I'd say it's not you, it's me, but to be honest, I think it's a little bit of you too.

I love that I can communicate to people in a place I've come to love, and that when I go back it feels like I haven't been away for so long, and that mostly I'm going back home.

I hate that you're difficult to learn, but not just because you're difficult to learn. Maybe I'm just complaining too much, but I'm in 4th year Japanese right now, and yet, I wouldn't call myself anywhere near fluent, and it's practically killing me, this Japanese class. So much of my time goes to studying you, and yet, I'm not studying you the right way or something, because I still struggle to understand the basics of what you're trying to tell me in the articles I'm reading. I hate that it's treated like any other language, when seriously, it takes something like 10 years to master (or so I'm told).

I love the way you sound, and that one of my strong points is that I can speak with only a slight accent. But I don't like the way you expect my Japanese to be perfect because of that (it's not! Far from it).

I know it's part my fault; I should immerse myself in more Japanese (I should be writing this in Japanese!) if I want to get better while I'm living outside of Japan. I should read the news more. Use subtitles less. I swear I'm trying. But it's hard to read the news when reading the articles for class takes a monumental effort of god to just get through once with a barebones understanding of meaning. Being able to recall the following class what the paragraph was about too, is nigh impossible when I'm struggling to remember the words.

Apparently, I just need to sit down and memorize vocabulary. Getting definitions in Japanese doesn't help when I have to look up the words used to define each word (doubling the amount of time it takes to understand what's going on). Also I've noticed a trend to use some of the same words (or to use the adjective form of a noun) to define things... which is incredibly unhelpful.

I also hate that sometimes, when I talk in class, I can't help but feel like the dumbest student of Japanese, like I should be back in Japanese one. And maybe I should be, but I definitely am better than starting off in first year.

I'm sorry I'm not sorry I can't remember some of the grammar structures I learned over 7 years ago (holy cow). I'm sorry I'm not sorry I don't know enough vocab to be caught up with the class.

Going to Japan was the absolute best thing for my Japanese; it restored my confidence in speaking, and it was surprising how much easier it was to speak when I wasn't worrying all the time about using the correct grammar, because who cared as long as I got my point across (that's not to say that grammar was completely unimportant, just that things flowed way easier when I stopped thinking so hard).

One of the important things I learned when I was there was from my Aunt, who told me that when she asked me "what?" it wasn't that she had misunderstood me, or didn't understand what I was saying. It was that she couldn't hear me properly, and that I needed to speak louder. Speak with more confidence. Speaking loudly = speaking with confidence, which is pretty true I suppose. That's why when you mumble, you get yelled at because a) nobody can hear you and b) it sounds like you don't really know what you're doing because you're not projecting confidence in saying the things you want to say.

Really, it's like that no matter what language you learn. The more confidence you have in speaking, the better you're going to sound and the faster (I think) you learn. Confidence was always something we were trying to get the students to cultivate by not worrying so much about their mistakes, and actually trying really hard to understand what they were saying.

I wish I was better at Japanese. One of my goals had been to get my japanese to the interpreter level, where you basically know everything and anything about vocabulary and grammar. That was probably a little ambitious of me, especially being outside of Japan. I wish I had more time to devote to Japanese, and I wish I found that perfect way to study this language of area I've come to really love. Learning this language has taught me so much, and shown me so many different things.

I think I've just needed to realize that learning 4th year Japanese is NOTHING like learning 3rd year Japanese. 4th year is hard. You're studying the academic equivalent of it. Even English words like that are hard and require vocab tests in high school and stuff.

I realize I might have made a mistake, taking fourth year Japanese. It seemed like the natural thing to do at the time. But I think I work best when I can go at a slightly slower speed (Stanford is seriously too fast and the knowledge never sinks deep enough for me to remember it long term). But what's done is done. It's not like I can quit now, though admittedly, there have been several days where I've been ready to just throw up my hands and throw in the whole towel to grad school (it's complicated, since my funding is tied to my language learning class, so quitting Japanese is kind of like saying hi I don't want your money here take it back) because of this one class. It's disheartening, to feel so stupid and to sit through class, knowing that you prepared maybe not as much as you could have, but as much as you could have given the time constraints on your life and the fact that you have other classes and need to take sanity breaks and write ridiculously long blog posts and that no, you shouldn't be working on Japanese for 4 to 5+ hours daily.

Anyways, here's my promise to you, Japanese. I won't give up on you, if you don't give up on me. Please don't give up on me, no matter how stupid I might seem at the moment, and even though it might seem like I'll never actually become fluent. I've always hated how, when I said I was interested in learning how to play the violin, the first thing everyone has ever said was "oh you're too old" meaning it was something out of my range and impossible for me to even learn how to play. Similarly, people (especially Japanese people) constantly say, "Japanese is really hard" in the sense that well, maybe you'll never master it. Despite the ridiculously long rant here about how hard Japanese is, I hate when people say that because it's always said in the context of "well you probably won't master it but it's okay because it's hard" which, sure, makes it more difficult (hence why I'm complaining) but surely if you persevere, even a foreigner can learn Japanese well, right?

Right?

Love,
Jess

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hello Tokyo ♡


Hi Tokyo, long time no see. :D 

It's actually kind of funny because I swear it's been ages and ages (or at the very least, two years) but actually I left Japan one year and seven months ago, so just over a year and a half. I was just commenting to a friend that for me, it didn't feel as much like a big trip so much as just another trip to somewhere that feels like a second home sometimes. 

It explains why this trip was the most disorganized I've been on this far. That and the fact that school is a little crazy (or cray / cray-cray as the young people aka my sister and my former roommate for example would say). I still don't have a firm itinerary in mind. 

When immigration and customs asked me where I was staying I kind of didn't know what to put; I'm staying at my aunt's place for a couple days but I don't actually know their address. Oops. So I put my old address in Takahashi down. I wonder if that place is super run down now since I don't think anyone has been living in it for a year and a half (I'm sure there's probably a bunch of nice bug families there now though, like mukade/centipede families... That or it looks like a war zone between bugs for control of the house. If that wasn't such a disgusting image, that's be kind of amusing). 

I digress. I'm on a bus so I can't type too much; buses make me kind of carsick if I'm reading things now. I might also be unable to do that on planes now too, because I felt super queasy on the plane today. 

So uh, pictures! 

Yeah I have no idea what to even think of this, other than I'm pretty sure on a scale of 1 to inappropriate it's definitely not 1 or 2. Probably higher than 3 and 4 too. 
The fact that there's a kid with a Captain America looking backpack standing in front of him too... American god mascots are strange. This one looks kind of creepy. 


This was really cool. It shows you what the traffic conditions around Tokyo are. 

We just passed this cool looking apartment. It looked like it had steps in order to give each floor an open patio so you could actually look up and see sky. 

Yep, we just hit traffic. I should have taken the earlier bus. Oh well. At least it makes it easier to type without feeling sick. :D #silverlining? 

OMG WE'RE PASSING DISNEYLAND. How do I know? I saw the Disney hotel, and then I saw Cinderella's Castle. One of these days when I have money again... Wait for me, Disney hotel! 


This building had stairs winding up the sides. I would say I bet it's really cool to walk up but then I realized how tall it was and changed my mind. 


You can even see sky tree, AKA huge mall you can shop in for days and an observatory and aquarium and oh yeah also some tower I guess. Kidding, the view from inside is actually pretty fantastic. 

This means we're close(r) though, so until later then!