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ゥ2001 stephanie fullbright
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i will never understand the idea behind the formal kimono. i mean, sure, it's really pretty, but holy crap there's a lot of layers to the thing. and so many belts! gehh...

after regular classes today, we had a kimono culture lesson, which meant i got wrapped into a blue yukata (summery cotton version of a kimono... less layers) with orange obi (belt) this afternoon. it's a lot of fun to play dress up, but there are so many different little rules that you have to observe when really wearing a kimono or yukata. everything from how to walk to how to stand up has a certain way of doing things. and tying the obi is a whole different story. you're supposed to be able to do the simple bow by yourself, but i think i'd need a third and fourth hand to get it right.

well, tomorrow's my first chapter test, so hopefully if i study enough tonight, i'll do well in the morning. and then i have a speech to give on thursday... the work just keeps on coming. at least i have a group trip to onuma park and hot spring this weekend to look forward to!

i think one day this week i'll leave the house early so i can have some quiet time on the beach while enroute to school. now that would be lovely.
Monday, July 2, 2001.04:58 p.m..japantime.:

i probably should move my bootie upstairs and get some studying done, but instead i'm killing time on the 'net 'til 3, when my host mom, sister, and i are gonna go see my host mom's cousin in a tap dancing show. (that sounds strange to me for some reason...)

hakodate has really nice weather right now. the sun's out, but it's not really hot, and right now i'm sitting next to the bay window in the living room which looks out over the small garden my host family has. the wind's blowing, so a nice breeze is coming in through the open window. my host dad's cleaning the aquarium, my host mom's doing something in the kitchen behind me, and i have no idea what my siblings are up to, but i think sakiko should be helping her dad, because he keeps calling for her every now and again.

japan's having an odd effect on me, i think. every now and then, i catch myself thinking about people i haven't thought about in a really long time, wondering what they might be up to right now. i guess it's not really that surprising, if i try to reason it out, because the guy that suddenly springs to mind does share a common interest in japan with me. i wonder what he's been up to...

oh well... enough musing... i should bite the bullet and go study, i suppose. the internet will be still be here when i get done.
Sunday, July 1, 2001.01:05 p.m..japantime.:

my host dad just told me that they eat horse here. i guess it shouldn't have surprised me, and yet... oh my.

yeah, so i had planned on doing some sight-seeing with my host mom yesterday, but then i fell asleep while waiting for 3 pm to roll around, and didn't wake-up 'til almost 6... oops. and my host mom didn't want to wake me up either, so she just let me sleep.

i have hardly done a thing this weekend. i guess my body's getting back at me for pushing it too hard during the week. which is fine... i really do need to catch up on my sleep. i did laundry today, and that's about it so far. i never knew how inconvenient not having a dryer would be. i mean, it's good that they're saving on electricity and space and such, but now i can't wash my judo uniform because it won't dry in time for class tomorrow. darn.
Sunday, July 1, 2001.11:56 a.m..japantime.:

ha! my host mom showed me how to make takoyaki at lunch a bit ago. wow, lots o fun, i must say. and very good to boot!

today was the visitation to takaoka elementary school, which is about a twenty minute bike ride from the house. well, twenty minutes includes walking up one long hill that i wasn't even gonna try to bike up. i've got nothing to prove here and no pride, so why not walk. it was scary, tho. lots of cars pass thru there, and of course it's one of those japanese streets that only one car can barely fit down at a time, much less two cars passing each other and me walking my bike. on one of the roads, i just stopped as the cars went past. another elderly japanese gentlemen was also riding his bike and also stopped to let the cars pass. i guess he must've figured out i wan't from around here, because he eventually got around to asking me what country i came from. very friendly guy, actually.

the elementary kids were great. much like any other 10~12 year old, the fifth graders i visited with were more than happy to tug me around by the hand and teach me how to play their games (and how to say their names for that matter). and of course, there were the one or two who were to shy to approach me, so i went to ask their names. cute kids.

well, i guess i'll go do some sightseeing for the rest of the day. good thing my host mom wants to show me around... my butt needs a rest for once.
Saturday, June 30, 2001.01:59 p.m..japantime.:

"stephanie, you have incredible internet access... why aren't you online more often?" ::as i look up from the pile of papers that surround me:: "because i have to study for three to four hours every night."

fair warning, this may get long. i haven't logged all the neato stuff so... here goes...

i'm completely sold on hakodate. one of the fastest ways of getting to school in the mornings involves me biking right next to the sea as i heard towards a (usually) foggy, distant mountain (the school's on one of the beginning slopes of the mountain - i DO NOT bike up that slope, just so you know. i walk my butt and bike up it). anyway, the vista is absolutely breathtaking. i can't believe how lucky i am to get to see that every morning.

dance dance revolution and para para paradise. these games are absolutely amazing. we went to the arcade near hakodate station today and yesterday and gave the games a go. insane. they're absolutely insane. and the japanese students are ridiculously good at them, which i find even more insane. if you've never heard of either one of these games before, let me explain. (there's a picture of dance dance revolution over at dance dance rev is this game where you follow the directions on the screen by hitting the right arrow on the dance pad. so you end up jumping all over the place, and looking like a fool, but it's actually a lot of fun. para para is the same type of concept, but with your hands instead. yeah, and on a separate screen, a video of the para para girls plays, which shows you the actual dance moves. it's complicated - i have a hard enough time trying to follow the arrows, much less do the dance motions that the para girls show you on the other screen. fun, though. it's really a heck of a lot of fun.

today, i abused the heck out of my muscles. i biked to school, as per usual (45 minutes), then walked around for about 15 minutes after class and ended up eating lunch by the bay with joe, amanda, yudelka, and jen (wow, we laughed a lot), then biked 15 minutes to hakodate station, played dance dance for about 30 minutes, then para para for 15, then biked for 20 minutes to judo class, did judo for two hours (where i slammed kent into the ground, then subsequently got my butt thrown over his shoulder), then biked my a** up the hill to my house (20 min). i honestly don't think i've even done that much exercise in one day, like ever. the only good thing i've done for my body so far is to climb into the ofuro (japanese deep tub filled with REALLY hot water) and soak for a couple of minutes.

yes, so now i am very relaxed and have had a full active day, so i will now sleep so that i might wake up tomorrow morning to bike to an elementary school where me and half of the other foreign students will play with small children who think we're cool because we look so different.

awww... my host mom has fallen asleep at the table... poor thing... she works so hard to take care of her family... just like my real mom.

nite nite.
Friday, June 29, 2001.10:46 p.m..japantime.:

those of you that know me, know that i'm not exactly the most non-laziest person in the world. sure, i have my spurts of "hey, let's go (insert various activity here) at ramsey", but for the most, i like to sit on my butt and watch tv.

well, i still get to sit on my butt, but that's where the similarities end. it's around 4-5 miles from my house to the school, and guess who rides a bike there and back every day? *raises hand* my butt really hates me right now. in fact, it protests everytime i try to sit. ouchie. i'm hoping that will pass soon, but until it does, i will continue to wish that i stumble across a shop that carries gel seats for bicycles.
Tuesday, June 26, 2001.08:52 p.m..japantime.:

i'm still trying to figure out this whole japanese keyboard thing... it would be really convenient if i could get the hang of it... i wonder if i could even buy a japanese laptop... now that would be really convenient.
Sunday, June 24, 2001.01:20 p.m..japantime.:

wow, the hokkaido international foundation really knew what they were doing when they paired me with my host family. last night, my parents and i sat around talking about japanese and english words, which doesn't sound like a lot of fun, but it's really the best way for me to learn. they also taught me how to write their last name and address in kanji. 難しかった。 both of them are teachers, so they're really interested in teaching and learning from me, which is really helpful. after that, i went upstairs and talked to sotaro-san, my brother. he's nineteen and is studying engineering. it was the first time i'd really had a chance to talk to him, and it turns out that he likes to build webpages and has stacks of the weekly jump under his bed. i showed him the bilingual card captor sakura manga i had purchased, and he was surprised that i had such a thing. so yeah, we're getting along fine now, and his english is pretty good when he actually feels prompted to use it. when he speaks japanese, tho, it takes a lot of energy for me to keep up with what he's saying, because he talks so fast. i think he must just expect me to understand for some reason. but i'm not that good...

Sunday, June 24, 2001.08:26 a.m..japantime.:

oh you better believe the food here at the cafe is good. my tuna sandwhich and fries just arrived. oh, it's good. real good. the fries are almost hot and spicy, and the sandwhich is just straight up tasty. oh, i am a happy girl right now.
Saturday, June 23, 2001.12:12 p.m..japantime.:

of all the places... right now i am sitting in front of an i-mac at digitarian's cafe, an internet cafe in downtown hakodate. i have never been to an internet cafe before, so this is just all new for me. of course, actually getting here was an adventure unto itself. this place is about a twenty minute bus ride from my house, but i got off at the wrong stop, of course, so ended up walking for about twenty minutes. it didn't really bother me though, because the weather here is ridiculously nice.

so i strolled down the street to the remixed music of t.m.revolution which made me feel like a real bad a** for some reason, and enjoyed myself thoroughly.

this is also the first time i've had water to drink since i left america. it's just so easy to grab milk tea or pocari sweat or something equally as tasty, that i just can't seem to remember to drink water anymore. my poor kidneys.

gyah... the food smells so good in here, and i'm ridiculously hungry. wow, my mom can cook like a madwoman, btw, just like my real mommy (who i miss...) so it makes for some extremely good eating. which will of course be balanced out by the fact that i have to climb this huge hill in order to get to school every morning.

sugoi na...
Saturday, June 23, 2001.11:46 a.m..japantime.:

yours truly arrived safely and soundly in japan four days ago. logging will soon follow, as soon as i run upstairs to find my trip journal.

*does the stephanie is in japan dance*
Saturday, June 23, 2001.08:25 a.m..japantime.: