Monday, July 23, 2007

Went to a local school Summer festival!

By local, I mean across from my apartment complex!

Sayaka and I saw a bunch of kids in yukata when we walked to go get lunch, so we realized there was a festival going on at the elementary school across from me.

After our great Saizeriya lunch (cheap and delicious!) we headed home quick, so I could grab my camera and take pics of the event.

When we got there I wanted to just walk around and scope out what was going on there.

There were games for kids, food stands, and a lot of people doing Bon Odori around a stage in the center. I decided to pull my camera out once the lighting was right, and got several beautiful shots at night of the events.

There isn't much to be said, than to be seen, so please, enjoy the pictures!

For more check here!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Today is the day I met Sayaka's parents...

I mentioned it in yesterday's blog, but today was D-day for meeting her parents.

She wanted me to meet her parents because she wants them to know how much she cares about me, and wants her parents to know we are serious (I am the first boyfriend to be introduced. And I am a foreigner! Oh noes!)!

It started out as just her mom and us, but her dad joined the itinerary last week. Sayaka got super nervous, I remained calm. She never had a good relationship with her dad and this news was a shock to her, that he wanted to join. I kept telling her he wants to do it because he loves her, and after today, I can see that.

We were late (as usual) to getting to the meeting place between Shin Moriyama and Toyota (Akaike), but when we arrived her parents were already waiting for us in their car. For what will be the most hilarious first comment I have ever received from anyone, her mom shouted "His face is small!". Mind you, every bit of conversation during this meeting, was in Japanese, unless between Sayaka and I.

We drove to Pastel, which is a Japanese Italian restaurant, where we KIND of planned to eat, I think. When we got there, Sayaka's mom, Sayaka, and I exited the car, so her dad could park, and we put our names down to be seated. It was a short wait, and all of us were seated to begin ordering.

We started with drinks. Sayaka and her mom, tea, Sayaka's dad and I, beer. We ordered our food, which came with all you can eat pizza (and majorly AWESOME pizza if I may add), and our drinks came and we did our compai cheers and began drinking. Our first pizza came and I was amazed at how good it was. Soon after, the cesar salad I ordered (yeah, I eat veggies now! Thank Sayaka for that!), and then the pasta. Now that the food came, it was time for what should have been awkward, the during meal conversation... DUN DUN DUN!!!

The conversation ranged from many things, mostly her father asking me a ton of questions, and her mom making a lot of funny comments. I was asked how long I plan on staying in Japan, if Sayaka could cook, am I happy with Sayaka living with me, did I have any problems with work with her living with me, can Sayaka REALLY cook, what do I need if I travel outside of Japan (?) and a few other questions. One funny moment came when I told them I love Japanese sports cars, and owned a 300ZX (I had to say Fairlady Zeto though), and her dad asked me if I used to drive my girlfriend in it. Her mom then jumped in and said I drove my grandma in it, then did an action of what it would look like for an old woman to be in a fast car, and then she just said, in English "Heaven! Heaven!", which seriously made me laugh my ass off! I don't know if it was the beer and being drunk, or what, but that was just hilarious to me!

It was funny during the meal, because I got full, and her mom and dad kept wanting me to eat and drink beer, and Sayaka was saying they want me to keep going because they don't like me, and they both kept correcting her and saying they liked me. This made me feel completely good and comfortable being there with their family. They seemed to really like me, and I could see it in Sayaka's face for the rest of the day, that she was insanely happy with the lunch date.

After eating, we went to pay, but I had to go to the bathroom first, you know, all the beer. When I came out though, Sayaka was waiting for me at the table, and her mom and dad went to go pay! Not only that, but her dad bought us some cake and pudding! Score, I am sooo in now!

Afterwards, her dad was too drunk to drive, so her mom drove us to the nearest station, and that became the official end of our lunch date.

I keep telling Sayaka how important it was for me to meet her family, and they both made me feel soooo great, regardless of the language and culture difference. They really made me feel comfortable, and I never felt awkward at all, not even when Sayaka went to go to the restroom. Interestingly, she told me it was silent whenever I would go to the bathroom! Too funny!

Just another notch on the ladder of my amazing life, that I am soooo thankful for. Thanks to Sayaka, her mom and father for such a great day. I am still smiling because of that!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Typhoon fever!

So last night a typhoon came through Aichi and Nagoya, and right over little old Shin-Moriyama!

The winds were HARD! The rain was constant! People everywhere stayed in their homes.

Sayaka and I did too!

We were supposed to have plans today, to go meet her parents (my first time meeting them!), but because of the rain we decided to cancel our plans and change the day until Monday instead.

Last night we went to 7-11 and saw a Nintendo DS on a display case and Sayaka mentioned she wanted one. So we came home and started looking on many websites, to find one for her AND I. I wanted a blue one (of course) and she wanted a pink one (of course). We found out buying one in Japan would be MUCH cheaper and quicker than ordering one from the US. I thought the Nintendo DS shortage was still going on here. To my surprise, we found a LOT of them online, but we had to get them in colors we ma not have liked. So I told her we would check the nearest department store, Apita, tomorrow and see if we can find one for us. She wants to use it so we can both study English, Japanese, and kanji together. Me too, but I also want to play some Mario and Final Fantasy games!

So today we go to Apita, around noon to find the DS, and we see they have them in every color and a lot in stock! We are definitely getting our DSs today! Or are we?

Sayaka reads a sign that says they have the Nintendo Wii in stock. I am shocked because there has been a shortage of Wii in Japan as well. I think nothing of it and we look at DS games. While we are looking at the DS games, Sayaka mentioned we could get a Wii instead, for both of us! S we go look at the games for the Wii, and realize it would be a LITTLE more getting a Wii and games, than 2 DSs and games. We can't decide and we decide to go walk around and look at different things before making a decision.

We make our way back to Apita after 30 minutes or so, buy some new bed sheets and pillow cases, buy some White Zinfandel and plum wine, and yes, we did, bought our Nintendo Wii together! We got Wii Sports and Hajimete Wii (Which comes with a controller) and we also got two remote cases to we know which one belongs to who?

So now, not only do I own all next gen systems AGAIN, I have a Nintendo Wii to play with my girlfriend whenever we have free time! Which interestingly enough will be all day today, and tomorrow night!

Maybe I will update on how that goes and maybe add some pictures later!

Oh yeah for those interested in how much weight I have lost. I weighted myself today and found out I weigh 84 kg which translates to 185lbs for my friends in america. I weight around 225 or so when I got here, so here I am 40lbs LESS than I was when I got here. Gotta love the Japan diet plan!

Monday, July 09, 2007

My birthday in Tokyo!!! part 3

Part 3 concludes the great weekend I had in Tokyo last week for my bday and it will be a quick highlight of a day at Disney Sea with Sayaka.

-Seeing her soooo happy to be there made me happy. She was like a kid smiling ALL day long. Nothing could take the happiness away from her on this day.

-We saw soooo many kids, and we both LOVE kids, so it was a very good day to enjoy all of the kids smiling and having a great time like us. We also made it interesting by saying "Chance!" to each other when we saw a baby or child wasn't being too well guarded by their parent, followed by a katakana Englished "Geto!" if we realized we could have gotten away with the chance at the baby. Weird, I know...

-Flavored popcorn. Anyone who has been to Disney Sea recently knows about this. We did black pepper, caramel, and strawberry, ranked in order of preference. We also bought a souvenir cup for it!

-Sayaka's reaction to Journey to the Center of the Earth after we went on it. She was totally loving the slow pace, then it got scary looking, then it went fast! I felt kind of bad for not setting it up properly because I don't think she expected all of that...

-Sayaka's reaction to Tower of Terror. This was just great. She said she didn't want to go on it, but because she loves me and wanted me to go on it, she went. After the intro, she got a bit scared and contemplated backing out, but like a trooper, stuck it out until the end! It took a while to get her out of her seat, and the look of her when we saw the picture was great. I was super proud of her for forgetting her fear and going on this and KIND of enjoying it, haha!

-Her and I rode the gondolas for our first time and it was fun! Both of the men on the boat were funny to watch or listen to, and we had great timing for the volcano to do it's thing and kind of delay the boat ride, because we couldn't hear anything else!

-This "parade" they had on the water at the front of the park was AMAZING. It is like a boat floating on the water, with beautiful lights and water spouts! Then a mechanical dragonish thing comes out and shoots fire in a beautiful way. Then they "fight" for lack of a better term, and it all ends in a great finale! Sayaka and I were floored by this show and all of the effects it had to offer!

-The ride home was scary! Luckily Sayaka was able to sleep through most of it, but I got ZERO sleep! The driver drove sooo fast and what felt, recklessly, and it was RAINING! I couldn't sleep much anyway, but I really couldn't sleep in this weather!

Overall this was a great weekend and I started my new year of life off in many great ways! I could spend my first birthday in Japan with an amazing woman! I ate 4 salads in the 3 day span. 4 more salads than I have eaten in my life. True story...

Too much fun, and I await Sayaka's bday and both of ours for next year. Thanks to Sayaka for making it a great weekend and planning things ahead of time, making our trip easy and convenient!

Until next time!

My birthday in Tokyo!!! part 2

So the trip to Krispy Kreme...

We find the way to Krispy Kreme but since it is too early, the easy way through the department stores are all closed off now, so we have to go a bit out of the way to reach our destination,but who cares, we are eating Krispy Kreme!!! Or are we...?

We get to Krispy Kreme and Sayaka can see a few people already in line, and I tell her, this will be normal, maybe we will wait 30 minutes or so to get to the front. MAYBE... So yeah, I will kill any suspense I could build and say, the wait was an HOUR AND A HALF and we decided to KILL that thought! We got some pictures of the wait time sign, and some sad faces from Sayaka.

When this was a bust, we took the train to Shimbashi, then the tram monorail thingy to Odaiba. On Odaiba, we went to my favorite burger place Kua'Aina, where Sayaka ate a burger bigger than her face, but mine was a bit larger. We sat and enjoyed the view and the food, and shared several laughs while we ate. Afterwards we checked out a few shops and I had to get a Cinnabon after that. I have been to Tokyo and Odaiba 4 times now, and I NEVER get Cinnabon, but this time I did, and it was great! The only thing is, it tasted like the frosting was kept inside of a plastic tube instead of being made fresh like in America. Oh well though!

Afterwards we went to the Fuji TV building, after postponing our check-in time for our hotel in Otsuka (my fav hotel to stay at in Tokyo, because it is big and cheap), and had a great quick tour of the place. We took some silly pictures (as always) and saw a show being filmed live, which was pretty exciting!

After the quick trip we made an even quicker trip to Venus Fort, but were distracted in front of it, when we saw little kids jumping on this bungee/trampoline combo, it was too cute to pass up! The kids kept getting smaller and smaller, and braver than the kid before them! We seriously watched them for a good 25 - 30 minutes before we finally entered Venus Fort.

When we got inside we did a quick tour of the place, and looked at some place to have a pretty cool small, intimate wedding, for friends and family. Ceremony and party included, and it was pretty affordable! Hmmmm...

We finished Venus Fort, and headed to Otsuka to check in, shower, and rest before our birthday dinner plans at TGIFridays. We kind of overslept and had to rush to Shibuya to find TGIFridays and I was relying on my SINGLE trip to there long ago to find the place, but I lead us right to there like I have been there a hundred times. Thank my photographic memory! We got there and ordered our drinks and food super quick and took pictures with some candles that said "26" that Sayaka bought (though I held them wrong once, and it said 62...). When the drinks and food came, her and I began enjoying a ton of amazing food! We had chicken quesadillas, which Sayaka fell in love with, blackened chicken cesar salad, which was AMAZING, and fried mozzarella! We ordered our second drinks and were definitely barely drunk, and we also got a order of chicken alfredo, that we HARDLY ate because we were STUFFED. By the time we finished our second drinks, we were past drunk and just taking a lot of interesting pictures and videos of us at our table... So of course I ordered a pina colada for us to share. After embarrassing ourselves to the people who sang happy birthday to me, we had to go to Shinjuku to try to find the bus that dropped us off in Tokyo, because I left a bag with presents ands cards from my office and a couple of students!

The guy on the bus luckily called us and said we left something, but that he also couldn't explain to us where he would be. Sayaka said we should walk up the road he dropped us off, but it went off in 2 directions, so I was wondering where we would go. She guessed right, and what would you know, we found him in the bus, and he gave us my stuff! It was funny though, he would not accept our money as a token of thanks, and just told us to use his bus again the next time we go to Tokyo. I think we just might!

We returned to the hotel after an amazingly fun, drunk, lucky night and slept it off until the next morning to check-out, and go to Disney Sea!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My birthday in Tokyo!!! part 1

My first birthday in Japan will go down in history as the best birthday of my life!

Got Saturday off of work so Sayaka and I can take an overnighter bus to Tokyo!
all of my classes went soooo fast and sooner than later, I was changing my clothes in the storage room of our office and running to the subway to meet Sayaka in Nagoya!

We found each other near the clock in Takashimaya and went to go buy chu-hai and McDonalds. The McDonalds purchase, became my first experience with Chicken Cesar salads, which I am officially in love with, You see, before Sayaka I would NEVER eat vegetables, but here I am eating chicken cesar salad, from McDonalds!!! Cho Oishikatta!

We boarded the bus after following our group and we both started drinking so we could fall asleep. It worked for Sayaka but not me! I could not sleep for some reason. When we got to the first rest stop, we went to the bathroom, and some strange man asked me where I was from, while I was going to the bathroom. I told him I was from Nagoya, even though I know he wanted to hear America, which I told him also. I also told him it was my birthday, since it was around 12:10 AM or so on the 30th of June! After making a new friend, Sayaka and I ate some rest stop food {soft cream, Sayaka's favorite, and an American dog, which is pretty much a corn dog) and re boarded the bus.

After 4 more hours of Sayaka being able to sleep and me not, we made it to Tokyo alive. 4:15AM.

Now this is Japan, and summer, so that means sun is up and bright, and since it is Tokyo, there are tons of people out and about in business suits walking the streets of Shinjuku. But they aren't going to work or getting off work. After a Yoshinoya breakfast, Saaka and I just stopped to watch these people and they ALL looked DRUNK! Yes, they were getting done from a night of drinking/karaoke or who knows what, and were DRUNK! This was highly amusing, but not enough to keep us awake! We headed to a nearby manga kiss (internet cafe) and got a room for us to sleep in for 2 hours, so we could wake up and go to Krispy Kreme!

Find out about the Krispy Kreme trip and the rest of the first day in Tokyo with my next post. Time to clean up after dinner and head to sleep, or drink more beer... not sure what we are about to do!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Yeah it was my birthday...

...but no time to write all about it. But it was SUPER AMAZING and fun!

My first bday in Japan will go down as one of my best birthdays EVER! Seriously THAT good!

I will write up about it as soon as I have time, but until then, just check out SOME of our pics from Tokyo! (Sayaka needs to upload all of hers, although most are just of me, BORING! Haha!)

Tommy and Sayaka go to Tokyo!