Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Life recently...

Has been SUPER busy! Our first day back to Japan, Sayaka began a new job, that has her leaving at 9AM, and getting home around 11PM. We live together but hardly see each other.

My work schedule has been and continues to be super packed and busy! I miss the days I could go online and keep this blog updated like I wanted to originally!

I did a photo shoot with one of my student's bands, and will begin their website once they decide which pics they like.

Last weekend was definitely one of the most fun I have had in a while! Sayaka and I went to see Doralion, the new Cirque du Soleil show. It was AMAZING! Such great talent from EVERY member of this circus. Definitely an inspiration on other parts of life if I would say so, and also extremely entertaining if I don't say so! Before this though, we ate at a dessert all you can eat and got stuffed on various cakes, fondue, and pasta. We also went to Uniqlo (think, Japan's Old Navy) and bought some clothes to protect us this winter. I think I need to go buy more!

The next day was amazing...

The head trainer for the company I work for (he is in charge of everyone in the Chubu area) invited all of us to a game of football and a BBQ, at the river by our apartment. Sayaka went to get her haircut and we met everyone at a nearby station when she was done. We had 8 guys for football and Sayaka was a cheerleader for both teams. Eventually another girl came to join her in this job.

When we made teams, I was trying to go for team California, but some salt got thrown into the mix, and it was team California, and a Candadian! Oh well!

I voted myself as QB and damn did I have fun doing so!

Our team lost, but I had a couple TD passes, some successful series into the in zone, and 1 interception. Yeah I had a lot of turn overs when I couldn't get the ball to anyone, but hey, it was my first time QBing ever! Once I had to run because I got blitzed (the guy covering me is a good 5 inches taller and a lot heavier than me!) and I had to run it, I got stopped and tried to push the guy off so I could run more, but the whole team was on me pretty much, and they couldn't get me down! My own team mate took me by the legs so I could go down and gain a few more feet. Now I know next time I need to run it or go out and catch more balls. We were playing tackle, so people got hurt, but me, yeah, jammed my finger catching the ball during practice.

Yesterday and today, I have been in and continue to hurt pretty much everywhere. My jammed finger is swollen now, legs, stomach, and everywhere else hurts. But DAMN did I ever have fun!

This weekend...either a lazy Sunday, or dinner with friends and a student from work!

Life is good, just busy!

California Day Five!!!!!

I was the first awake, and the first to discover...IT WAS RAINING! We all know how bad luck that is in America! Mark was a bit panicked this morning. Probably the first I have ever seen him like this! We got our breakfast (and I got some for Sayaka too, and took it to her room), got dressed (while the photographer and videographer took pics and video of us preparing) then went downstairs to take pics.

All of the pictures were taken in the hotel lobby since it was drizzling and very overcast! After our pics, it was time to get ready and head down to the wedding location!

I went up and got Sayaka and by the time we were leaving the hotel, the rain had stopped! LUCKY! We made it to the place and the waves were crashing pretty hard, because of the weather, but it made a beautiful backdrop.

As the best man, it was ALSO my duty to escort women to their seats, so I showed Sayaka to hers, and helped a few other people with their seats before it was show time.

Mark was nervous...Haha! We were pretending to spot snipers on the roofs and quote one of the million video game related moments in our lives to laugh while the music played and we were lined up waiting for the bride. When she arrived, the first thing Mark said was "Looking at her is making ME nervous". The wedding went on, I didn't forget their rings (I wouldn't be here to type this if I did!) and the rain never showed again!

We took pics after the wedding with the photographer, and Phong and his gf Lynda took pics of Sayaka and I, and vice-versa. Now it was time to party!

We headed to the hotel to check out and get Mark's stuff. This took a good 45 minutes to organize and get together, then another 25 minute drive to the reception place. When we got there, the bride and her dad were dancing. Mark came up to us and asked what happened, because they did an introduction of everyone, and pretty much ALL of the guys were checking out and not present! Ooops!

The reception was moved inside, because of the rain, but the weather had improved, so we moved outside! The weather and view were great! The DJ at the party was def the corniest man on the planet and made us laugh at him, not with him. I gave my speech and made people laugh as I did a small trek through Mark and I's 20 year history. After me, more speeches were made, and it was time to party harder! Sayaka ordered a TALL Pina Colada, and Phong and I got tall Long Island Ice Teas! The music started and we had to go down and dance, which was funny, but I felt like I needed more alcohol! We all kinda formed a group and just stopped dancing after 3 songs. After the music, we watched the bride and groom cut the cake and smash it into each other's faces! Soon after, that was that!

The bride gave Sayaka and I all of the table decorations, which we gave to my mom (and she loved them!). After we gathered everything, we made plans to go out to eat that night. So Sayaka and I returned home to give her the decorations, change clothes, and headed to the RITZ CARLTON, where Mark and Ashley had a NICE ASS room, with an amazing view! We hung out a bit and headed to a restaurant called Sarducci's in Laguna Nigel (I think). A few people from the wedding party were there and we had a good time just winding down.

Everyone began to feel sleepy and we called it a night. We met with Mark and Ashley and they opened their present from us and thanked us. We did our tearless but heartfelt goodbye hugs (who knows when we will see each other again...hehe come see this blog in a week, OR after Christmas for an interesting surprise!) and Sayaka and I headed home.

But not YET! We made a stop at a few stores to do last minute shopping, Blockbuster to buy some DVDs, and In-N-Out to get a LARGE Strawberry Shake! We got home late and exhausted, but I uploaded all of the pics from the day, set up the laptop to be charged and began packing!

In the morning my mom had made my fav food that she cooks (potato skins!), but I am really bad with time and airplanes and I was too nervous to eat, as I prepared, so Sayaka and my mom sat and ate together! I called my dad to say bye, and my aunt called and spoke to me a bit too! Called and left a message for my sis who said she would meet us at the airport, and we were officially heading out of my mom's apartment to head to LAX. We loaded up the car and took pics of it and Sayaka got to drive it in reverse for 5 feet! Haha! After that we hugged my mom and were off. Not even 1 minute later, Sayaka was crying because she missed my mom! Too cute, and sad...

We made it to the car rental place pretty quick, and the process to return it was smooth as silk. The bus to take us to the airport also arrived early so we were making good time! At LAX, we checked in rather quick, and some guy, Japanese American might I add, pulled Sayaka and I out of line to take our suitcases to get them checked. His coworkers were so mad at him, because they closed that line, but JUST Sayaka and I got our bags taken. We were a little worried if we would ever see them again, but happy we didn't have to wait in a loooong line!

We went to the food court, and I got us a chicken quesadilla and Dolce De Leche milkshake from Haggen Daaz! Sayaka was in love with the In-N-Out shake from the night before, but I swear, she was ready to have an affair with the Haggen one! We both loved it sooo much! I kept looking for my sis and ran down to see if I could see her, but couldn't at all! It was about time to board the plane so we got in line!

The line was ridiculously long and again, as fate may have it, we were ushered to the front by JAL staff so we could board our plane that was leaving shortly. We bought some omiyage for friends and my school, and boarded the plane.

As soon as we could, I ordered as much liquor as I could drink so I could sleep on the way back, and I definitely slept like a baby! It felt like we were in Tokyo in no time!

Honestly, it felt great to be back in Japan again. I loved being back home, but being in Narita airport, just made me happy to be HOME again!

We boarded the transfer train to Nagoya, and after a 50 minute flight, we were the closest to home we had been this week!

We took a train to Kanayama, where I fought drowsiness and fatigue, and when we arrived there, we got a cab to our apartment, which was great because we brought back about 5x as much stuff as we left with.

When we arrived we took 2 trips to get our luggage into the apartment and as soon as it was there, what did we do?

We went to yakiniku (Japanese BBQ. Not much different from Korean BBQ)! Yes! I had missed Japanese food soo much, that I didn't spend 5 minutes in my apartment, before I headed to the nearest yakiniku restaurant! We ate, unwound, and headed back home to sleep the last week, and our meal off!

What a trip!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

California Day Four!!!

This day was super eventful!

Not because a LOT happened, but a few things happened in a short period of time!

Sayaka and I started the day out going shopping, to Olive Garden, then more shopping!

When we made it home, I had to get directions to the wedding practice and tux rental shop!

I raced (thanks Mustang!) to the tux rental place and made it there super quick. Unfortunately I was a bit surprised to find I had to pay for the tux (not that I am cheap or anything, just, historically the wedding party has covered tux rentals for everyone, coming from Japan I had a set budget on how much I had on me, and that had already taken a few unexpected bumps since arriving), but put it on my debit card and raced to the wedding practice place.

Sayaka and I got there and saw NO FAMILIAR cars or faces! So we hopped back in the car and headed back up the hill! Luckily I happened to catch a glance of the bride's bro and followed him around until he noticed me. We pulled aside and talked and I found out, EVERYONE was late and we were in the right place! All of that rushing for what??!!??!!

Everyone showed up and practice wasn't as smooth as the bride had planned. It was obvious in her actions...We got through it and everyone was ready to eat! We caravaned to one of the largest houses I had ever been to, and had a nice post practice dinner! Mexican food! The house had a fireplace in the backyard and we did s'mores!

After the bride and groom thanked us, we headed to the hotel to get Sayaka checked in. I was to stay with the groom on the night before his wedding, so she got her own room to herself. When I arrived to Mark's room, Josh was sleeping, and Mark was laying down watching TV. I got them awake though. We tried on our tuxedos to make sure all was well (after lying and saying we did before this last moment) and took a lot of stupid pictures! We couldn't sleep so we went downstairs and talked with the bride's sister and 2 of her friends until about 1:30AM. When we arrived to the room we all slept pretty quick.

Me being a bit jet lagged still, woke up first. This is the day of the wedding!

California Day Three!!!

Bachelor Party Day!!!

But not the kind of party you see in those teen comedies, or other TV dramas! Now this one has MUCH more testosterone!

It all started out with Mark meeting up with me at my mom's apartment so we could car pool and I could be designated driver (so he could liquor it up, WHICH HE DID!). We hopped into the Mustang and took advantage of the convertible top and I was finally able to open her up on the road (Sayaka would get sick when I would drive fast...). In no time we were at the exit to Mark's brother-in-laws house. When we were almost there, I recognized a familiar face! Phong (of the Tokyo 3, read the archives about the first trip to Japan...) was a car behind us and to our left! His reaction was priceless, as he didn't recognize me due to weight loss and not having seen me for over a year, plus I was waving to him belligerently from the top of the Mustang! When he realized who it was he gave a "What's Up?" nod. Since he drives a nice black 350Z, we had to have a little fun on the rest of the trip to Courtney's house!

When we arrived, we found Mark's brother had arrived just before us, and we found our way to Courtney's Apt. When we arrived, we met with Courtney and Derek (the bride's brothers),we began to throw the meat on the grill, open up the liquor and watch "I love New York season 2"! A while later, after getting lost, Josh showed up, and it was officially a party! All of us drank quite a bit, and ate some great chicken (THANKS Courtney!), and the drivers sobered up for the drive ahead of us. Phong and Mark rode with me, while Courtney and Josh rolled with David (Mark's bro!)

We cruised down to the place we would spend the next 6 hours at, blasting some Kanye West, Justin Timberlake (yeah we are all fans, WHAT?!?), and various other music to get us pumped for what was next.

What was next was not s strip club or Vegas, but we were about to experience 6 straight hours of paintballing! Courtney found out the price of the place and when it was our turn to pay they tried to get more money out of us! This didn't make Courtney happy and he calmly complained and raised hell, while the probably still drunk Mark, got it a little escalated! At the end of things, we got the price we saw on the internet, and were off to go shoot fools!

The gun I got back in High School that I used to play with, didn't want to play nice with the co2 tanks they had, and the guy there kinda broke my gun trying to make them play nice! The result, he didn't charge me for air or a rental gun! We went to go practice a bit, then it was off to the first combat area!

The sun was out and we had full visibility in this game, and damn I wish we had it all day! This round, like every other one after this (besides the 3 vs 3 games) we always got on the same team. Courtney was down and out within the first 2 minutes, and you could hear his cry of pain after being shot for the first time (this was Courtney, David and Phong's first time playing!)! The rest of eventually got out, with me being last being shot in the man-hood! I threw my hands up and walked off QUICKLY after that perfectly places hit!

We tried to do some 3 on 3, where the teams were Courtney, Phong and I, versus, Mark, Josh, and David. We kept winning a game and losing it, and when the tie breaker came, my team was victorious! Usually we play 2 games and move on, but the guy let us get a final game in before the other team moved on. This time it was 2 on 2! Courtney and I, went up agaist Mark and Phong. I was nervous as I saw Phong was super fast and taking people out when he was on our team, and Mark had probably the most and most recent experience after everyone, but C and I took them out pretty quick!

We did the rest of the night in the huge battle arenas and had some interesting games, never winning, but we did draw quite a bit (each team has about 15 - 20 people on it!). The last game was probably the most fun because when the guy shouted 2 more minutes, we all said screw it and went Rambo on fools! Unfortunately for the bulk of us, so did some 50 something year old black dude with a fast trigger finger or fully auto, who took 3 of us out in 4 seconds. In that spurt, I got hit on the knee, upper thigh, finger, shoulder, back of the head twice, and right elbow. That is not including the multiple shots on my partners! Perfect end to an awesome night!

We headed back to C's place after that for more drinking and light food and we caught the TV version of "Next Friday", which was great with all of the censoring they did (horrid job!).

When the movie finished, everyone headed home and I drove Mark back to my place. It was around 1:30AM and Sayaka was sleeping until I walked in. I showered, changed clothes, then asked if she wanted to go shopping. She thought I was crazy, but seeing that I wasn't laughing, she threw on her clothes and we were off to Walmart!

I was relieved to find the Walmart we drove to was open and we began shopping! I replaced all of my underclothes to match the weightloss, bought a shirt for my friend who always buys me gifts when he travels (it is a Japanese thing), and we bought a ton of food and junk for friends and family back home!

After our shopping we made it back home around 5:30AM, where we found Mark STILL sleeping in his car! Poor guy, he only has to be at his mom's house, an hour and a half away, to practice the reception dance they have to do, in 2 more hours! Ganbatte!

Day three is picture light. Guess you just had to be there to see what went on!