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Jul. 16th, 2006

(no subject)

Ever feel like you've been hit by a stun gun?

That's been my whole day.

I guess my difficulty sleeping and the 100 degree weather couldn't've helped though.

Jun. 19th, 2006

a few recent developments

Well, the Friday before last I had my wisdom teeth out, and though I was scared stiff the night before, the procedure wasn't that bad at all. I'm glad I asked for the laughing gas though, hehe. The pain wasn't too terrible after either thanks to the Vicodin, but I dunno what everybody gets so excited about with that, really...I didn't feel any euphoria, just drowsiness, heh. Eating non-solid foods started to get a bit old, but now I'm a-okay. :D I even had popcorn yesterday...though it did get stuck back there for a while.

After job hunting for a month, my parents told me it was time I just went back to South Shore. Although I really didn't want to, I guess things could be worse. Klamecki seemed happy to have me back; he had six shifts to give me, starting this Thursday. :O Ha, good to be appreciated anyway. And hey, I realized, there's still one thing worse than vending: looking for a summer job. I guess I'll just have to make the most of what I've got; it's only 6 weeks, right?

And then, today...er, we bought a puppy. o.O; My mom's been jabbering about getting one for like two years, but now that my dad is working from home (consulting), he though it would be good to keep him company. I really don't like dogs much and was adamantly opposed to it, but at least I don't have to take care of it...and from the time we first saw her in the store up until now, she hasn't barked once! Seems like a dog I can live with. She's a schnoodle, by the way, a schnauzer and poodle mix, and I guess we're naming her Kyla. Kind of a classy name, I thought. Dolly.

ほら、子犬のドリーちゃんだCollapse )

Wow, brief post today. =p

Jun. 3rd, 2006


I've been trying to find a job these past two weeks, but it's frustrating...at first I thought the best way to go would be a temp job in an office somewhere, if possible, but I applied for a few, and I'm really not sure if they're going anywhere. I dressed up and went over to Southridge to ask around at different places, and it looks like Suncoast might hire me, but they're taking their time (I called on Tuesday and they said they hadn't gotten to the applications yet but they'd put mine on top or something...); my mom saw that they needed workers at the new Lowe's down the street, but when I tried to call them and asked for the hiring manager, the woman said, "She's not talkin' to no one today." ...yes, I was rather...baffled as well. Joey got a $14/hr job at the Delphi factory in Oak Creek that's closing at the end of summer and they still need more people to fill out their time, so I applied...hard work, but it'd sure be nice money...

Anyway, I just wish someone would call back...I've few options left, since I don't want to do food service or telemarketing (which is quite lucrative if you've got a thick skin, but alas, mine's thinner than most)...even though I'm not exactly looking forward to having to work, I really don't mind, just as long as I have a damn job...this whole searching process is hellish. And if I don't find something soon, I'll have to go back to South Shore. >_< I've no motivation to do anything for $6/hr, much less that agonizing work.

In other news...I was thinking of starting to do a blog in Japanese, but I'm always so lazy to update this one as it is, even if writing it in Japanese were some kind of extra motivation for me to write (it could go either way, I suppose, but at least I can write exponentially faster now), I'd certainly only be able to do one or the other...so yeah, hmm hmm...

I was gonna write a whole long, obsessive post about this a couple weeks ago, but a month ago, Pelikan introduced me to the JRock band GO!GO!7188, and I was instantly hooked. I bought their Best of album three days later, haha. Anyway, my definite favorite is the first one I heard, Ukifune. Watch, listen, enjoy :D

Speaking of which, it's actually downright amazing how much stuff is on YouTube...you can watch videos of pretty much any Japanese band on there.

Oh, and I called Mayu on the phone for the first time last weekend! It was our six-month anniversary, so I thought it was about time, haha. It was wonderful being able to hear her voice...I mean, we can talk through AIM, but the quality's kinda low. Only problem is, I have trouble enough on phones in English, that in Japanese, without being able to see the other person, it gets difficult to think of what to say sometimes, and I feel embarrassed. I know I shouldn't; Mayu said that it's nice just hearing my voice, and I feel the same way...but it's just that I've always got a ton I'd like to say to her, and then on the phone, poof! it suddenly disappears. Not that it's much different in English though, I guess. Anyway, I think I might call her once a month now though =)

I guess there's more I could say, but I'll leave it at that for now. And maybe I'll get myself to write again soon.

May. 7th, 2006

The end of the beginning!

Well, here it comes, the last week of my first year of college! It's so great here, but I certainly look forward to being able to relax at home for a while. I never knew the meaning of a getaway until the first time I came home from college for a weekend, hehe.

I'm not looking forward to having to find a job, but oh well, there's gotta be something decent out there. I'm thinking a seasonal job doing office work would be the absolute best...hopefully I can find something.

Life is good right now, 'cause even though the past two weeks were rough with lots of final projects, my exams won't be bad at all. I had my first one on Thursday, Buddhism, and though I thought that was going to be my toughest one, he was so concerned over our videos being as well done as possible that he made the exam laughably easy. (Speaking of the video, mine, on Buddhism in Modern Japan, actually turned out really well.) Anyway, I'm not too worried about Japanese; for Linguistics we were told we could bring anything but the textbook to the exam, even photocopies of the textbook, haha, so that's awesome; and for Programming, we had a study session tonight, though I will need to put a little more time into preparing for that. At any rate, I really lucked out! :O

As for my trip, after waiting for five weeks I decided to just e-mail them myself, but that worked so all is well. :) I should be going the week of August 13. She asked if there was anything in particular I wanted to go or do, but I basically said that I would figure a native of Osaka would best know how to show me their city; I can say what may look interesting, but I can't know what would be the best places to go. Gotta see Osaka Castle and the Dotonbori area, but those probably go without saying. More importantly, I asked if she thought it'd be alright for me to spend a day alone with Mayu, but I'm still eagerly awaiting her response to that.

Really, I wish I could just stay an extra week and go up to Maebashi; sure, the Shinkansen back and forth would cost over $300, but the whole first week I wouldn't be paying for anything except souvenirs...still, even if that all got worked out with my parents and the Osaka people, who knows if I'd have anywhere to stay. I guess I never asked Mayu whether or not I could stay there, but...for some reason I doubt it(?). Ha, I guess there's always Yuuta's family too, since after all, I've already stayed there once, but I wonder if that's not intrusive.

Hmm, we'll see. Speaking of which though, I finally e-mailed Yuuta's family again today. It's been like two years, and I've no idea why...I feel awful about that.

Anyway, so much for writing short, frequent entries, heh. That's all for now though.

Mar. 25th, 2006

What a day! *faint*


I did it.

I can't believe it, but I actually won!! I wanted it so much, more than anything in the world, but it seemed almost too good to come true. Apparently there were more or less two grand prizes, one that was just a round-trip ticket from any airport in America to any airport in Japan, as I knew, but also one to Osaka, that comes with a week-long homestay. I won the second! :)

Osaka is, of course, quite a distance from Maebashi, but I'm sure we'll work something out, 'cause I'M GOING TO JAPAN!! :D Maybe Mayu can come stay in Osaka somewhere during that week.

Even though I had been pretty calm this past week, I got super nervous today, to no real surprise, and had virtually no appetite. As much as I tried to trick myself into thinking, "it doesn't matter what happens", I knew in my heart just how much it mattered. Plus this past week, when I had practiced one last time with Nakamura-sensei, I thought I was perfect, but even though she said she was very impressed, she still gave me a bunch of intonation corrections (most were very subtle, but still...). I had practiced them over, but I knew without focusing on them, I'd probably do one or two wrong (and indeed, I think I did). Still, if I was putting the focus on saying the words perfectly, I knew I wouldn't be able to calm down; since confidence was key, and I had confidence beforehand, I knew that focusing on conveying the meaning was the only way I could do it calmly and confidently, and sure enough, I succeeded.

After I performed, I felt such a relief having it over, and talking to the other people from Madison, I knew that even more than what place I got, it was so awesome how well we represented our school. Out of ten contestants in the highest category, *five* were from UW-Madison, and I knew that four of us would end up being the top four (and I was right). Beyond that I couldn't tell, but I just really thought that was cool.

I got nervous again during the award ceremony, as they announced all the awards (one for every person!) from lowest to highest, crossing my fingers that I wouldn't be chosen for each one. When they finally did call my name (well, really, the award before that, 'cause all that was left was the two trips) I couldn't believe it. I thanked everyone profusely, and kept saying that I couldn't find the words, but the guy who was the Chairman of the Chicago-Osaka Sister Cities Committee (well, I forget what it's really called, but close enough), said "Don't worry about it, man, you earned it!" Those words kinda struck me, 'cause I realized, this isn't just some kind of sweepstakes that I was lucky enough to win; I earned this of my own merit. But man, I owe so much to Nakamura-sensei I can't tell you!

And actually, in addition, this is both good for resumes and who knows, could even lead to a job someday. Heheh.

Whee...I still can't believe it, and I'm emotionally exhausted, but this is truly one of the most amazing days of my life. Miraculous, and I thank everyone for their wishing me luck or praying (I don't care if you don't believe in prayer, a heartfelt wish is the same thing), I'm sure it was a contributing factor. :D

But wow, I'm so glad it's all over! Hahaha.

Mar. 24th, 2006

Well, here goes nothin'!

Well, I just got back to Franklin, and as soon as my family eats dinner we'll be heading down to Chicago. The speech contest is tomorrow at last...heh, at this point it's like I just wanna know what happens. But I've worked so hard on this, I just need to go out there and do my best, regardless of how anyone else does; just let go and let God. And, hopefully by some stroke of luck (or by my good cause!) I'll win the ticket. :D

Wish me luck, say a prayer, whatever! :)

[Oh, and Ashley, in case you still wanted to come (don't feel bad if you can't, but I'd be excited if you could!), it's at the Japanese Consulate, and I'm performing at 1:40. My dad made it sound like a rather inconvenient spot to get to, and I dunno how seating's going to be, but I just wanted to make sure to let you know.]

Mar. 13th, 2006

So, I was thinking...

...that it might be more effective for me to write short, one-topic posts more frequently than my usual long entries every two or three weeks. I'm sure you'd agree. ;p But seriously, I probably would be more apt to want to them this way too, I figure...

Anyway, it has been a little while since my last one, but I haven't too much to say. This week is spring break though, and man, do I need it! Kind of funny though, it was such a long and stressful week that when I finally got home and was able to relax, I got sick right away. >_< Yesterday and today have been really bad, but it's not a big deal, since if I was going to get sick, this was the absolute ideal time for it. I've just been sitting around the house anyway...on the computer, watching movies, playing piano, listening to the CD Nakamura-sensei recorded for me of her reading my speech with proper intonation that I'm oh-so-thankful for...

Hopefully tomorrow I'll start feeling better though so that I can go out and make the most of this break.

I went to see FHS's production of My Fair Lady on Saturday night though, and that was surprisingly good. I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I had my doubts walking in (not to mention a bit of resentment that we didn't do it last year instead of stupid Mack and Mabel), but I was really impressed, by nearly everyone -- I must say, even if Gould's mind is deteriorating, the casting for the show was perfect -- and especially Amanda and Vince. I knew Amanda would be amazing, but when I saw that Tripi was Pickering, I knew that would be the perfect role for him. And indeed, he was hilarious. Anyway, congrats to all of you guys, you certainly did your part to carry on the legacy of the FHS drama department. =D

And now...I sleep.

Mar. 4th, 2006

Not too much to say, but...

So, last Friday was the Japanese Speech Contest here in Madison, which was, well, good and bad, hehe. I was super nervous the whole day, 'cause for some reason I couldn't just relax and figure I'd do how I'd do, I had to be "perfect". I don't know why I get like that sometimes; I'd've done better if I could've just went out there without worry for the result. After all, this one wasn't even important aside from going out there and trying my best. It's just that I figured if I did really well at this contest, it'd make me feel more confident about the Chicago one. In any case, when I finally got up there, first there was some microphone trouble, which threw me off a bit, and then, in the second paragraph of my speech, I made some small mistake, but I couldn't regain composure...I got really dizzy and overheated, and just kept pausing and saying "uh" in between sentences. When I sat back down I didn't even want to show my face...but somehow everyone else said I did really well; at least I had confidence in what I said, even if not how I said it. Plus, I got a pretty cool prize. Most of 'em were just gift certificates to Japanese restaurants in Madison, but I got this Ogura Hyakunin Isshu card game...it's a famous card game based on this anthology of Japanese poems from a few hundred years ago...looks kinda difficult, but still, I always figure, food you eat once, games you can play over and over.

Anyway, things turned out alright there after all. And the Chicago contest is still three weeks away, so I'll just have to be more prepared for that.

This week was my Buddhism midterm, which everyone was wondering about, since it's our first grade, and the professor doesn't really teach us in a way that makes it obvious what we need to know. Thankfully though, it wasn't that hard and the review two days before covered basically everything. The weird thing though, was that he showed up 25 minutes late for the midterm! Apparently a problem with copies and staples or something, but one girl decided to write a big note on the chalkboard saying we all waited and eventually decided to leave, after which everyone clapped and around two-thirds of the people walked out. Even my friends in that class were about to leave (apparently Madison's rule is 15 minutes, I hear), but I was hesitant, and sure enough, right after the big group of people left, he walked in with the exams. Obviously he has to give a second one for everyone else though, so I get out of that class on Tuesday. :D

Mayu and I were finally able to talk by microphone on AIM this week! I was a little nervous, and it was only like the last 20 minutes before she had to leave one day, but it was still really fun. She has a really pretty voice too! =D

And for the road:

You Have A Type A- Personality


You are one of the most balanced people around.
Motivated and focused, you are good at getting what you want.
You rule at success, but success doesn't rule you.

When it's playtime, you really know how to kick back.
Whether it's hanging out with friends or doing something you love!
You live life to the fullest - incorporating the best of both worlds

Feb. 17th, 2006

Tell me what you think of me!

My Johari Window:



Well, it's been almost a month, so I guess this post'll probably be rather disconnected, but now's the first chance I've had to really just sit and relax with nothing on my mind this week, so it seems like the thing to do :D

The latest big thing has been the Japanese speech contest both here in Madison and in Chicago, so that's made both the past two weeks really busy, but in a good way. The deadline for the Madison contest was last Thursday, and at first, since I didn't have any good ideas, I figured I'd just reuse the one I had to write at the end of last semester. It compared polite speech in Japanese and English, which while pretty well-written and at least semi-interesting, was really an educational speech as opposed to something personal, so I didn't particularly want to use it, but figured it was better than nothing. Instead, however, I had a great idea hit me Monday night, so I scribbled down a quick outline, and wrote the whole thing in seven hours Tuesday night, so that I could turn it in to Nakamura-sensei, my TA, for corrections on Wednesday, and then correct it and turn in the final copy on Thursday. Like anyone who's ever taken the time to write something well knows, you can't write a masterpiece in one sitting, so while my ideas were all good, the writing was kind of iffy, and while I could see that easily enough, I couldn't seem to figure out how to fix it. But Nakamura-sensei helped me out so much, I couldn't believe it. I got the draft back, and it wasn't just a few marks correcting the most major problems, the whole thing was *covered* in blue ink. Then she talked with me for a half hour afterwards to clarify some places where she wasn't sure if she conveyed what I wanted to say correctly. I was so thankful! Anyway, that was last week; I only found out this Tuesday night that the Chicago contest's deadline (not postmark date, date it had to actually *be there*) was today, and required a handwritten copy of the script *and* a tape recording of the speech. So Wednesday was a looong (but good, don't get me wrong) day. After classes, I finally had my official meeting with the CO to quit NROTC (yes, that should've been done a month ago), did my homework for Thursday, ate dinner, and went to Van Hise @ 6 to have Nakamura-sensei help me with the tape recording. But after reading it over three times to practice, Kawakami-sensei, who was working in the same room, noticed that the way I accented words and syllables was very English-esque in places, and suggested that we go back and mark the places I should be stressing most and wasn't. It was really tough, though really helpful...but by the time we started to record, it was 8:00, and Nakamura-sensei, noticing that I was worn out, suggested that we do it the next afternoon after class. So then I spent the rest of the time before bed writing the thing out in my best handwriting and reading it to myself a couple times. Then yesterday afternoon, when we did record it, went a lot smoother, and I got it sent Express Mail just in time (though it cost me $15 :O).

Anyway, anyone who wants to read it, just ask me on AIM :) Two most important things though: First, I was amazed at how helpful Nakamura-sensei, as well as Kawakami-sensei, was. Instead of just having me read it as I had been for the tape, they made sure my pronunciation was perfect...I don't know why I deserved that, but I was super grateful. I felt like I was a secret weapon being trained to sweep the competition, haha. But we'll see; I say I've got a pretty good shot. Secondly, wanna know the funniest thing of all? I spent all this time and energy on this, but it's not like it was required. But believe me, I've got a reason. Doing well at the Madison contest is nice enough 'cause it sort of makes a name for myself in the Japanese department (actually, I've probably already seen to that, but winning would only make it more so), but the Chicago contest has a wonderful first prize: a round-trip ticket to Japan. You see, my parents won't let me buy one since I should be putting my money toward college, but if I win one I can use it! So I'm gonna give it my all and see if I can't go see Mayu a year early! :D

And speaking of Mayu, we're finally able to talk online now! It was a little tricky, 'cause I guess her computer is only running Windows 98, so Skype, what seemed like it'd be the best, didn't work. But hey, I'm always on AIM anyway, so having her on there is quite convenient. :) We haven't tried voice communication yet (which I've heard is pretty bad on AIM and we might need to use Ventrilo, but we'll see), but we've done just normal IMing twice now, and it's been wonderful. =) Though at the same time, it kinda sucks, 'cause while I wish I could just talk to her for hours and hours on end, 15 hours is a huge time difference, and with our schedules, we've only managed to talk twice, for 45 minutes at a time, Wednesday morning and this morning. 45 minutes, but it feels like 5, argh. Oh well, we'll figure something out. There's no use complaining about it, 'cause it's just so awesome that we're finally able to talk by a different method than just e-mail, even if it's not all the time.

Hmm, I've gotten myself back into JPop, too. Somehow, in my huge prog/power metal kick this past year, the only new Japanese music I had heard was Mr.Children, since I always buy their albums. Anyway, you can watch the weekly Top 20 and latest PVs (well, clips anyway) on the Oricon site now, so that's pretty awesome. Plus I found a Shoutcast radio station that plays the weekly top 30. :D Japanese music always has such a refreshing feel to it, I think. Well, for the most part, anyway. It really irritates me that stupid ghetto music is gaining popularity by artists like m.flo, Namie Amuro, and such (yeah, so those two aren't exactly new artists, but anyway), so I really hope that's a passing trend...but other than that.

My lord, I've been using Japanese so much in the last 2-3 weeks, I can't even tell you. I think my thinking/speaking/writing speed is really starting to make progress.

I wanna do one of those Johari windows like everyone's been doing...but I suppose I need to go back and fill everyone's out first. I know I at least tried to do Ashley's, but it wouldn't load...I clicked the button like 8 times and it kept timing out. Hmm, anyhoo, yes, must do that later.

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