Sunday, December 31, 2006

My Book Review of 2006

Hello, everyone~!!

It really is getting closer to the end of the year, and I finally made it to this holiday! Yaaay! At the same time, the fact that 2006 will come to an end very soon surprises me... I guess the way I feel time passing has been changing little by little as I get older. It's too fast!!

Well, today I would like to talk about books I read this year. I've enjoyed reading in Japanese for several years, and making a list of the Japanese books which I read this year would take a long time. So I'm going to make my reading list of books written in English. ^^ (You can go to details of each book just by clicking on links. These links will lead you to the website "". You can read details about the books in Japanese♪)

01. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
Talking about this really reminds me of the day I bought this. I was in Maryland when I bought this book! I even remember that I went the book store with Yuki! Well, the only thing I knew about this book at that time was that this novel would be made into a movie. (I saw the movie, but I liked the novel better.) I wondered if I could finish this at first, but I found it interesting to read this book as the story went on. I sometimes had a hard time reading it because I came across the words I didn't know. However, I finally finished reading it and it was an enjoyable reading!

02. Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival by Anderson Cooper
This book is also one of the books I bought in Maryland. I was surprised at the fact that he published a book! When I'm in Japan, I occasionally tune in to CNN because it's helpful for my listening skill of English. So I happened to know him when I watched his show at home. He gradually became my favorite anchor of CNN for some reason... (I guess it's because his English is easy to understand.) Anyway, I enjoyed reading this because I sort of understood what it's like to be a journalist, and his background. I also thought about the importance of communication infrastructure because I learned that making people's voices heard was crucial by reading this book.

03. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Reading books written in English sounds a bit difficult at first, but this book made me want to change that thought. I came to realize that the story which is interesting can be interesting regardless of languages after I read this novel. I enjoyed this book so much that I almost forgot getting off the train! (Hahaha...)

04. A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks
I already had this book before I bought "The Notebook", and I once read it when I was a high school student. At that time, all I thought about was the length of the book and I didn't remember much about the story. So I decided to read it again. The story made me remember the old saying "You can't tell a book by its cover. "

05. Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
After I read this, I never see McDonald's (or other fast food restaurants) without thinking of what this book talked about. The author gave me a lot of insightful details about the fast food industry. Some of them horrified me, but at the same time I thought that it is my own decision whether or not I would eat fast food. So I'm going to try to live with it wisely. Also, this book made me want to rethink about what I eat on a daily basis.

06. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
I was interested in reading this book after I read several reviews on MEI students' blogs. Moreover, a friend of mine once told me that the movie version of "Tuesday with Morrie"(This book was written by Mitch Albom as well.) was moving and beautiful, and in her opinion the script in the movie was striking. So I began reading this book with great expectation. At first, it took a while to get used to his style of writing. After that, I started to enjoy reading it! Also, the fact that every little thing in everyone's life has a meaning will remain in my heart.

07. The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman
At first, I was drawn to the title of this book when I saw the Japanese edition at my university's bookstore. However, I have never been interested in reading books that were translated into Japanese because, in my opinion, translation would somehow change a story. So I didn't feel like trying to read it at that time. Some time later, I saw Nina talked about this book and the author's lecture meeting at UM on her blog. I suddenly felt close to the book, and that was when I decided to read it. I started reading this in early December, and I set up a goal to finish it by the end of December. And... I finished reading it on Dec 26th!! I doubted if I could read through the book at the beginning, but I actually enjoyed it. The author gave me a new way to look at the world with readable English.

Well, do you find some books that you're interested? Each of them has a different, and fascinating aspect. I will write about books again when I find something interesting!

I hope all of you enjoy the rest of the winter holiday and happy new year!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

There's so much I want to talk about....

Hello, everyone~!
I've been slacking with my's been a while since I last added the post! Well, what have all of you been up to recently?

I've been busy preparing for the presentation of my class, and the research for the discussion in my class. I finished all of these assignments, so I now can be lazy just for a little while! I was just working on making summary of the discussion before I started writing this post. In the class of "English Seminar", I had to listen to the lecture which I was interested at home (I downloaded the file of the lecture on the internet.), take notes about the lecture, and throw a discussion about the topic for a group of 4 people. That means I had to lead my group's discussion about the topic, so I had to choose the topic I could probably enjoy talking about and researching. I chose "Eat Your Peas!: Launching the School Lunch Revolution" as my topic. It was about the US's school lunch system, and the foods which students from elementary school to junior high school eat at school cafeterias are not so nutritious, and already cooked. People in the lecture have tried to make the situation better by teaching children how important it is to care about what they eat, and to eat right. I really enjoyed researching and discussing this topic because I've been interested in the popularization of highly-processed foods in the US since I finished reading "Fast Food Nation". Also, reading the book and discussing this topic with my friends enabled me to rethink about the remark in the lecture "What you eat is what you are". However, the book and the lecture made me realize the fact that the only way to eat nutritious and safe foods is to live off the land, which is almost impossible for people in today's world to do! But still, we can try not to eat the foods which are not so nutritious. So I'm going to keep trying to eat healthy and safe foods.

Ohh…there's so much I want to talk about today that I don't know where to start! For example, the movies I've watched recently, the book I've finished reading, and the trip to Laura's dormitory! Well, let me talk about the things I did on Thursday.

On Thursday, of course I went to school but the classes finished at about 12:30 pm, so I decided to hang out with a friend of mine. After the class, I got the train to go to Shinjuku. Going to a place like Shinjuku always makes me nervous because it makes me lose the sense of directions. (I always ask Hiro for help on directions in Shinjuku in advance. He is so familiar with Shinjuku because Shinjuku is one of the world's fashion capitals, and he really loves fashion! Do you remember?) Thanks to Hiro's assistance which he gave me last week, I managed to get there and waited for my friend to come. My friend's name is Noriko. She and I have been friends since we were in high school, so we still keep in touch via e-mail and social networking site which is called “mixi”. (It's like the Japanese version of “MySpace”.) She had been in Canada for about 6 months as an exchange student of her university.(She is not a student of AGU.) I've missed her since she left Japan, so hanging out with her in Japan again was so exciting! After we got together and told her that I missed her, we headed to “Kabuki-cho”, one of the most famous cities in Shinjuku. (Or maybe I can say it's famous throughout Japan.) Then we searched for a restaurant where we could get a bit, and we ended up going to McDonald's. After satisfying our hunger, we watched movie “Kisarazu Cat's eye”. It was the Japanese movie, and a sequel to the first movie. Before the movies, “Kisarazu Cat's eye” was on TV as a drama series. So it has a long history, and the more you see the more you would be able to enjoy. Noriko loves this series so much that she even has a DVD of the first movie, and she recorded the dramas on video tapes. Because of her, I've become a fan of this series. In fact, I already watched the second movie of “Kisarazy Cat's eye” before she asked me if I wanted to go with her, but I said “iiyo~” (Okay, Let's go and see the movie!) to her because I thought the movie was so interesting that it was worth watching twice. As I imagined, I enjoyed watching it even though I already knew what the story was like. Noriko also enjoyed watching it, and we both bought the items related to the movie.

Alright...I hope that this post helps you see what I've been up to recently.
I promise I'll add posts more often when I'm on the winter vacation! Oh, before it happens, I'm really looking forward to talking to all of you guys on our next chat!

See you soon~!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

★ thank-you post...★

Hello everyone~!

First of all, let me just say THANK YOU VERY MUCH to all of you who have kept visiting to my blog for reading my posts and leaving comments! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to reply to the comments you've given me recently...I'm sorry! But I do read them! Again, thank you so much for doing so. (^_-)-☆ ←wink!

Anyway, I finished writing all I wanted to say on this post...
So from this on, I'll show you the pictures of one of the famous places in Tokyo.

Here it is! Can you guess what it is? It's Tokyo station! On November 17th, I went to the bookstore which is located near the station to buy the book I looked for. I rarely go to Tokyo station even though I'm a citizen of Tokyo because the cities around Tokyo station are not for the people who want to shop.( know what I mean, don't you?) It's called Marunouchi business district, and a lot of office buildings were there. As you might already imagine, its atomosphere is completely different from that of Shibuya's or Shinjuku's. The people who come here mostly are employees of complanies, and they wear clothes for working such as suits and ties.

I hope this picture helps you imagine what the district looks like... Anyway, I happened to realize that we could play gigantic Tetrys game by using these lights of office buildings!

There's also a Japanese style garden in front of the entrance. I don't know who came up with thi idea to make the garden at the place like this, but I think it's really nice to have this because it makes the station unique and artistic.

I put the rest of the pictures on bubbleshare, so you can catch a glimpse of Tokyo!

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Alright~,that's all for today!
By the way, I'm so jealous that the people in the US are now having Thanksgiving day and starting to shop for the upcoming holiday...!!! I still have about a month left before the winter vacation begins. Anyway, I felt the temperature fall rapidly while I was on the way to home, so protect yourself from catching a cold! (^-^)

See you soon!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Tokyo Disney Sea

Hello everyone~!
Even though Christmas is still far away, the melody of "All I Want For Christmas Is You" had been running through my head so much that I even started singing it at the class room today before the French class began...Hehehe. I should probably go to Karaoke...maybe.

Anyway, on Thursday, some of AGU America went to Tokyo Disney Sea(TDS)! That day, November 16th is the anniversary of the establishment. So it was one-day vacation for everyone in AGU from elementary school to university. (Unfortunately, it was Thursday. So we still had to go to school on Friday.(;_;))

Eriko, Yuiko, Miki, Kokoro, Shohei, Hiro and I went to Tokyo Disney Sea. I was so glad that we could hang out together because in this way we could talk as much as we wanted! Of course, we see each other at school, but there isn't much time to talk for a long time. Well, the picture on the left side, we were on the train bound for Tokyo Disney Sea Station. Can you see the strap that Yuiko hung on to? It was Mickey-shaped! So were the windows. It's been a while since I got on this, so I already got excited just before arriving there!

The fact that a lot of Christmas trees were there surprised me so much that I almost started counting them! Each of them was well-decorated! Then, we started looking around to decide what to ride. All of us were excited about the brand-new attraction which is called "Tower of Terror". According to the website of TDS, "Tower of Terror" is a thrilling, free fall-style attraction in which Guests will experience several supernatural phenomena before heading for a spine-tingling climax. I heard about this from some of my friends, but thinking back, all I heard was just "急にすごい落ちるの"(It was an attraction which suddenly started falling down so fast!) Yuiko, who already rode that before, said the same thing. So I could imagine what kind of attraction it would be. Then, what really scared me was that Yuiko talked less and less as our turn approached and the fact that I didn't know almost anything about what would happen. But that's exactly how we enjoy exciting attractions, isn't it? Anyway, I thought it wasn't that scary as Yuiko described, but I was thrilled about when to fall! The feeling I got after riding made me want to go there again~!

Then, we rode some other attractions as well. Of course, we could have time to shop! And we watched parades, "BraviSEAmo!" and "Candlelight Reflections". I particularly loved the latter one. I once watched it already, but this time it unexpectedly and deeply touched my heart. Even though the weather was biting cold, I felt the warmth spread through my heart while the parade. Also, I was so glad that I could see Minnie Mouse wearing Christmas's costume! I just can't help but say "かわいい~"(She's so cute!) every time I see her! I've liked her since I was a little girl, and I even had her stuffed toy. She was so lovely that I found myself starting to imitate while she was talking with Mickey Mouse in the parade.! Hehehe~. ^^

As usual,I made the album of the trip to Tokyo Disney Sea!

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Alright~, that's for today!
See you soon. ^^

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hello Kitty's Conference!

Hi everyone~!
I just got the souvenir from Eriko on Tuesday. She went to Fukuoka prefecture during vacation. (We had several days off because of the school festival at the end of October.) The souvenir she gave me was so cute that I felt like writing about it on this blog!

かわいい~(It's so cute, isn't it?)
Hello Kitty was born in Japan, and it's so famous throughout the country that almost each of the famous sight-seeing places in Japan has its own version of Hello Kitty. The picture on the left side, she comes from Fukuoka prefecture, and it's "Yamecha" version. Yamecha is the kind of green tea, and it's one of the finest kinds of green tea.

I also took a picture of her back because she's carrying green tea leaves in her basket! It seems she just finished working hard and got plenty of green tea leaves! かわいい~!! I'm really glad that Eriko gave this to me, and it even helped me understand how to read "八女茶"(ya-me-tya) and the basic knowledge of it. (I had no idea how to read these Chinese characters when I first saw them after Eriko gave it to me.)

Now, she is with the others from different famous places in Japan. It looks like they're having a national meeting of Hello Kitty! Hehehe...what are they talking about? Maybe...they're talking about the place where each of them comes from...?!

I guess it turns out to be a childish post, doesn't it? But I just hope you enjoy it!

See you soon~!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

♪~Come on vogue, let your body move to the music~♪

Hello, everyone~!
In Japan, it looks like winter is finally coming! I felt the wind becoming colder suddenly. I just wondered if winter was coming or not the other day because the weather has been fine and warm. Also, I already started feeling excited about winter holiday season because I see Christmas trees or the goods for the day every time I go to stores. I guess it's too early...but I can't help it! Hehehe.

Anyway, I went to a theater to watch a movie again! This time, I watched "The Devil Wears Prada" with Yuko, who went to Paris during summer vacation. As I wrote about that on this blog, I already finished reading the book. Yaaay! I said the movie would be at theaters on Nov 18th in Japan, but I happened to know that there was a special advance screening on Nov 11th. I told her about this and she said she wanted to come with me. So we went to the theater at Shibuya. As usual, Shibuya was so crowded! But it's always exciting to be there because something interesting is definitely there! I'm so glad that one of our school's campuses is located here. I just can't wait to see what it's like to learn at the place where a lot of people come to have fun! Hahaha~.^^

Well, we really enjoyed watching the movie, and all of the costumes I saw in the movie were absolutely gorgeous! But if I could say one thing or two, as a reader of the original book, I would say Miranda Priestly was not so kind and thoughtful as the movie described! I was pretty sure she was the most demanding person I've ever heard of even though I never met her, and that fact made Andrea say swear words! Also, the way it ended was different from the book... the ending got hollywoodized to make the story more enjoyable. The one of the things I really liked about the book was how it ended, so I was a bit disappointed. But I ended up liking it anyway because the movie had good continuity from one scene to another. And needless to say, Meryl Streep was amazing!

I'm so happy about the book becoming a movie, but still I like the book better because the psychological descriptions of each character were more detailed and I loved the ending which was down-to-earth. Anyway, realizing the gap between the original book and the movie based on that always happens especially when I already create my own image of the original. Oh, by the way, I got a Maybelline mascara and an atomizer bottle at the theater! I guess Maybelline is one of the sponsors of the movie. Whatever the reason is, I was pleased that I got a new mascara because I was running out of it! やった~♪♪(Great!)

Alright, that's all for today!
See you soon~.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Flags of Our Fathers

Hello, everyone~!!
I'm so glad that it's the weekend because I finally could have a chance to sleep as much as I want! Hahaha~. Anyway, I'm going to talk about the movie I watched on Wednesday with Yuiko. The movie we watched was "Flags of Our Fathers". We went to the theater in Shinjuku after school.

As you might already know, the story of the movie was about the battle of Iwo Jima which is known as one of the most bloodiest battles of the war. In this movie, the director, Clint Eastwood, focused on the people who were at the front, especially on the 6 men who raised the American flag there. That photograph was on the newspapers. In fact, at that time the US government thought that this battle would last just for about 5 days or so and they were supposed to win easily. Contrary to their expectation, however, the Japanese soldiers held on so tightly. The government had to do something to agitate the masses. So the men on the photograph were sent back to the US to be called as heroes. But they were hestating and not so sure about being called that way because they thought that the real heroes were the people who couldn't come back to their homes, and that they just happened to be there at that time. So they struggled hard for a long time to accept themselves as heroes. I think that the director tried to show us how the image of heroes was made by the government.

The first thing that came to my mind while watching this was that I should have read the book first because I realized that I hardly knew anything about the battle. (I thought the show about this battle which I happened to find on iTune's podcast was helpful to undestand, but I'm not sure if it was.) I did know that there was a battle in Iwo Jima, but I didn't know much about the detail. So it was a bit hard for me to catch up with the story. Also, I could easily imagine that the director tried to tell audiences about as many details as he could, but for me it was too much to deal with. When I see a movie, I always find someone who enables me to feel empathy even though his/her character has nothing to do with mine. But this movie didn't provide characteristic things about each of the 6 men very much, so it made me confused. However, the movie made me realize a natural fact that it' s people who fight in wars, not the government. We just watch the politicians talk about the strategies and criticize other's on TV, but we need to pay more attention to the people at the front. I have to admit that we now are kind of likely to get used to hearing the news talk about the death toll in Iraq on a daily basis, but we should remember that there are many people who are waiting for the soldiers to come back safely. (Just to imagine the story like Green Day's music video "Wake me up when September ends" happening a lot makes me really really sad...)

Well, I really enjoyed watching this movie, but I try not to say if it was good or bad because I think it's not the kind of movie which could be judged by that standard. Instead of doing so, I'll say it's worth watching. Also, another version of this movie will be at theaters in December 9th. It's called "Letters from Iwo Jima", and I'm looking forward to watching it. The director tried to look at the battle from the American point of view when he made the film "Flags of Our Fathers" and in the movie "Letters from Iwo Jima", he looked at it from the Japanese side.

Okay.... it was interesting for me to watch a movie like this because I rarely watch war films because sometimes it's too heavy. So I'm glad that I could enjoy it this time.

See you soon~!今日はちょっとまじめモードですね★(It seems like I'm in a serious mood now!)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

Hi, everyone~!
I just felt like adding a new post because I've finished reading the novel "The Devil Wears Prada" today! It took about 2 weeks to read all of it, but I finally did it! Yaaaaay!

I actually bought it while I was in the US, at the bookstore in UM. I've started reading books in English since I was in high school, but I took a break from doing it ever since then because I've been really into reading in Japanese, which is much easier for me! However, I felt that it was the right time to get my habit back and try to read a longer one. After I kept staying for a long time in front of the shelf for the best-seller books at the bookstore, I chose this novel. The reasons why I chose this were that I liked the title, and I was interested in what the story was like because I already knew that this would be made into a film as well. I just couldn't wait for the film, so I decided to read it first. Fortunately, the movie hasn't been played at the theaters in Japan. So I still had time to read it before the movie starts playing. I really like to see the novel become a movie because that means the things I imagined on my mind turn into a motion picture even though it might be completely different compared to the original.

The story was all about fashion. I guess the things you come up with about fashion are like fashion shows, celebrities, luxurious and gorgeous clothes, and so on. But in this novel, you'll be able to take a look at what is really happening in the industry. The main character's name is Andrea Sachs, and she comes from a small town in the US. She just graduated from her college and happened to work at the editorial department of a fashion magazine, which is the job a million girls would die for. Her boss, Miranda Priestly, was a successful editor of the fashion magazine. Andrea became the second assistant of her boss. Miranda is so demanding that Andrea always has to be reachable to get what her boss wants.

In fact, I was not so sure if I could finish reading this book because the same things kept happening over and over again. Andrea went on errands for her boss and Miranda always complained about her assistant's perfomance. However, the story became more and more interesting as Andrea's job as an assistant for her demanding boss got everything on her life like her boy friend, her family, her best friend involved. Everything went so wrong because of her job! Then, she began asking herself if her job was what she really wanted to do. She actually had wanted to be a writer of The New Yorker, and she was not interested in fashion very much. She couldn't help but feel the gap between ideal and reality. I don't know if you want to know the ending or not, so I decided not to write particularly about it here. But I'm really satisfied with the ending and what she chose to do at last because the ending was down-to-earth. I don't like "happily ever after" or "everything goes right" endings very much because they won't happen in a real world. Life is never really that easy, right? (But it also makes life more fun, doesn't it?)

Her struggles against hard working made me want to cheer her up, and I enjoyed reading about her fellow workers at her office. Each of them were really interesting and I easily could imagine their appearances. Also, the descriptions of New York did remind me of the trip to there in March. This page-turner book even made me feel like as if I were in New York! I clearly remembered waiting for the traffic light at the Times Square and looking up the sky. That feeling coming over me even made me want to eat bagels...hahaha!

The genre of this novel is fiction and a kind of comedy, but the things happened in the book enabled me to think about people's relationships at offices, and how people gradually learn to manage both job and private life by setting priorites. Also, I could learn a little bit more about what really is happening in the fashion industry which many people think is literally fabulous and gorgeous!

Alright... did I talk too seriously about the novel which really made me laugh?! Anyway, the movie edition of this novel will start playing here on November 18th! I guess I'll add a new post after watching it as well. So please look forward to it!

See you soon~!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Trip to Yamanashi Prefecture

Hi, everyone!
I guess it's time for me to talk about the trip to Yamanashi prefecture. I'm sorry to have kept you waiting for the story!

First of all, the program of the trip was made by International Exchange Center(IEC) at AGU, and the purpose of the trip is to understand more about the Japanese culture and the cultures of the countries where the international student came from by talking to each other and do something together. In short, I guess all I had to do was just to enjoy as much as I could!

**Day 1

We left Aoyama Campus which is located in Shibuya at about 9 am. Then the first place we arrived was called 御坂(mi-sa-ka). Misaka is the name of the small town in the east side of Yamanashi prefecture. According to the handout I got from IEC, Misaka means "the sacred mountain path with gods and goddesses". We had a kind of BBQ lunch there and we also did grapes picking! You can eat as many as grapes you want!(But there was, of course, the time limit.) I really enjoyed it because it actually was the first time for me to do it. After that, the bus took us to the hotel. The next thing we did was discussions! I really felt like taking a nap after I arrived at the hotel because I woke up early in the morning. But I managed to do discussions with other participants. The topic was "Good things and Bad things about Japan". I found it really interesting for me to talk about the topic like this especially with the people from foreign countries because their views gave me new perspectives about Japan. The opinions I've heard were, for example, "People in Tokyo are very kind to foreign people", "Convenient stores open for 24 hours, so that's very nice!" and so on. On the other hand, I've also heard the negative opinions like "Japanese people should pay more respect to elderly people especially when we get on trains", "Japanese men should be nice to women." or something like that. I was interested in the topics of the other groups as well. The other groups talked about "The differences between Japanese student and the students of your countries", "How you want to raise your children" and so on. The discussions lasted about 2 hours or so, to be honest I was tired. But I enjoyed listening to opinions from each of the groups.

Then, I finally could have dinner! I was surprised that there was a variety of dishes like a petit pot dish cooked at the table, sashimi(sliced raw fish), and so on. The dinner was actually more than expected! After the delicious dinner, there was still something I looked forward to! Guess what? It's hot springs!! I heard that there were 8 kinds of bathes at each area of men and women. I enjoyed soaking in all 8 kinds of bathes with Yuki! I was able to have a good sleep because of that.

**Day 2

I woke up at 7 am, and I had breakfast with Yuki and Hiro at the buffet. Then we left the hotel about 9 am to make ほうとう(hou-tou). Houtou tastes like udon (the one that I mentioned before on this blog, do you remember?),but it's not exactly the same. It's Yamanashi's local food, and also my favorite food! The handout said "9:30-12:30 Houtou making", and I thought it was joke because I didn't think that we had to make it from the very first step! So it did take 3 hours because we began with mixing water and wheat flour vigorously by hand. But the taste was very good and it was an awesome experience for both Japanese students and international students because even the Japanese don't know much about how to make it. After eating it, we went to the place which is called Saiko-Lake Iyashi no Sato Nenba. There's a lot of houses which were made from plants like reed grass,Japanese silver grass,Japanese blood grass. So being there really made me feel like I was in countryside and it was relaxing to be there. Yuki wish she would stay longer! Then we still had places to go! We went to Narusawa Icicle lava cave. I had no idea what it was at first, but it was interesting to visit the place like that. You can figure out what it looks like by looking at the pictures I took there. The information board of this said that the occupation army (Maybe they were from the US.)used this as a dance hall! I don't think if it is a nice idea because the temperature of this cave was very low. (I guess they didn't care because dancing would make them warm!?)

Wow...I'm now realizing how many places I visited on this trip by writing them down. The program passed me by so fast that I didn't know that I actually went to so many different places! However, I'm sure I really enjoyed this trip! I think it was a bit short to make many friends, but I could talk to many people and I was surprised that the students who came to study at AGU were really good at Japanese! They spoke Japanese like they really were Japanese people! Thanks to that, I didn't need to speak English at all! (Well, was it really good for a person who studies English, like me? Hahaha...Never mind.)Seeing them speak Japanese fluently made me want to learn English much more!

As always, I'll put the rest of the pictures that I took on bubbleshare.

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I hope this post will make you feel as if you also went on this trip!
See you soon~!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Unstoppable Girl Talk!!

Hello everyone~!
I came back to Tokyo on Oct 31st from the trip to Yamanashi prefecture. I said on the previous post that I would write about what happened on the trip, but now I've changed my mind! I suddenly want to talk about what I did today after I got home the dinner with my best friend. I'm sorry to those who anticipated a new post about the trip!

First of all, my best friend's name is Mina. She and I have always been friends since we entered the kinder garden in our hometown. We've kept in touch through e-mail even though we now go to different schools. We sometimes go to 銭湯(sen-to: public bath) together and soak in different kinds of bathes. (She almost adores bathes and she can soak in a bath much longer than me!) However, it's been very busy for each of us to hang out. I think the last time we met was about 3 or 4 months ago, so I was so glad to see her again! We both had so many things to talk about!Here is a picture she took with her lovely dog whose name is Choco. She loves her dog so much that her photo album of her cell phone is filled with her dog's pictures! It seems like her dog is photogenic, doesn't it?

After getting ready for the dinner, Mina drove to the Chinese restaurant which is called Bamiyan. It's known for cheap and delicious Chinese dishes. I enjoyed eating fried rice with soup and pumpkin & sweet potato soup. She also enjoyed her dishes, of course. Then I'm sure you can guess what happens to us when we finished eating. Yes! Girl talk which was almost unstoppable started! As I told you above, we haven't seen each other for kind of a long time. So we both had to spend time on talking about how each of us have been recently, and I didn't think how much we kept talking was enough for us. However, you might be surprised how much we talked at the restaurant.....we actually kept talking for almost 5 hours! We began talking about school things and she's spent time on getting her job because her graduation is coming.(She is a student of career college, so she's required to go to school just for 2 years.) It must be tough for her to get a job but to see her put as much effort as she could in doing that makes me think that I'm not alone and encourages me to go forward. We also talked about every single thing we could think of about what has happened to each of us recently. For example, the strange experiences she had at her part-time job, the shows that we both thought were interesting, and the thoughts about our futures, etc... It's always fun to talk with her because something about her always enables me to tell her almost everything I have on my mind. Also, she always listens to my stories no matter how weird they are! I could hardly believe that it was almost 1 am when we started thinking about going home.

Yes, our time at the restraunt was running out... but we just couldn't go straight back home! We stopped at 7-11 and took a look at the things at the store. I found Marron flavored "Takenoko-no- Sato" snack (The shape of them looked like bamboo shoots.), Tiramisu flavored "Kinoko-Yama" snack (The shape of them looked like mushrooms.), and the snack called "Satsuma-riko"("Satsuma-imo" means sweet potatoes in Japanese, so maybe the company played on words when they decided the name of the product.). At a convenience store, I can always find something new! Also, I've waited for "Satsuma-riko" to be sold in Tokyo because the areas you could buy them were limited.

Okay~ that's all for today!
See you soon.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Trick or Treat!!

Hello everyone~!
It's been a while since I've added the previous post. I've been busy lately doing my homework and preparing for the presentations of my classes. So I'm really glad that the weekend finally has come!^^

Halloween is just around the corner and I decided to write a new entry before the day.The reason why I'm doing so is that I'm going to go on a trip to Yamanashi prefecture tomorrow with the Japanese students in AGU, including Hiro and Yuki, and the students who came from foreign countries to study at AGU. So I won't be able to add a new entry on Oct 31. Anyway, I finished preparing for the trip and I am already excited about it because it'll be a nice opportunity to make friends! Also, I am looking forward to watching the scenery near Mt. Fuji. I hope 紅葉(ko-yo(it means the leaves turn red and yellow)) has begun! The program says there are some activities at sightseeing areas, so these experiences will enable me to rediscover Japan!

Alright~, that's all for today!
I'm going to add a new post about the trip as soon as I get back. So tanoshimi ni site ite ne~.(Please look forward to it!) Also, I hope each of you have a very happy Halloween! (I just took the pictures of sweets with Mickey and Minnie for a Halloween decoration on this blog. The sweets are pumpkin flavored Kit Kat!)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Coming-of Age-Day's Photo Shoot!

Hi, everyone~!
I really had a good time talking to some of you on the last week's chat.
I was so happy that Eriko and Yuki finally joined the chat!
Even though we often see each other at our school, it's always fun to talk to my friends!

Today I went to the Kimono store with my parents and my grand mother to do a photo shoot for "Seijin no Hi"(Coming-of-Age day.) "seijin" means adult and "hi" means day in English. Coming-of-Age day is celebrated on the second Monday of January.(So it'll be January 8,2007.) All young people who turn 20 years old in that year are celebrated on Seijin no hi. In Japan, twenty years old is considered as the beginning of adulthood. Also, it's the minimum legal age for voting, drinking, and smoking. So as you can see, 20 years old is the big turning point for Japanese. However, I'm still not sure what it's like to be an adult. I wondered if something would happen on the day I turned 20 years old, but it was just the day which made me think that time passes me by so much faster than I thought! Do you think it's an evidence that shows I'm becoming an adult? Hahaha....

Maybe you think it's early to wear Kimono now, but as Mimaki mentioned on her blog, it's better to take pictures before Coming-of-Age day comes. If you try to take pictures on the day of Seijin no hi, I'm sure you have to wait for long hours. However, my parents told me today that they waited for long hours to take pictures after the ceremony of Coming-of-Age day finished. I was surprised to hear that because just thinking that I have to wear Kimono for long hours makes me exhausted! I'm so glad that times are changing...!! Even though I had to deal with a feeling of tightness when I wore Kimono, wearing Kimono itself was an amazing experience in many ways! Of course I was excited about this, but it was just about wearing Kimono. (Every girl loves wearing beautiful and cute clothes, right?) But after I did wear Kimono, I felt like I was rediscovering the Japanese culture through wearing the traditional clothes. I had to straighten my posture, so it gave me a new perspective for the things that I usually don't try to look at.

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I put the rest of the pictures that my father took on bubbleshare. My father suddenly got excited after I got everything done at the dressing room and asked him how I looked. I guess many of you think the Kimono that I chose is unique because many girls tend to choose red and pink. I decided not to wear those Kimonos because I wanted my Kimono to be different! Also, what I wanted to wear was cool one, not cute. After the struggle to choose what to wear(It was really hard to make a decision because every Kimono was beautiful!), I chose the Kimono which was not red or pink. It was challenging to choose this because few people seem to wear this color. But that also means my Kimono definitely will make me stand out at the ceremony next year!^^ Then, What I like about my Kimono is that the color of each long sleeve is different. I also like the pattern of the belt. I'm so glad to be a girl because it's girl's prerogative to wear Kimono, isn't it? Hahaha~!

I just can't wait to wear it again next year!
See you soon~!

You can see more detail about seijin shiki if you go to this website.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How are you doing?!

Hello everyone~!
I have been slacking with my entries a little bit... I'm sorry!
So how's everyone doing? I hope all of you are doing fine.
Today I'm going to talk about what I've been up to.^^

I have been busy lately doing homework and other things to do. So last week I was really glad to have a three-days weekend! The things I did on the weekend was just being lazy... hahaha!(I mean, to rest.^^) Firstly, I got as much sleep as I wanted. Secondly, I watched playoff games of Japanese professional baseball and the race of F1 on TV. Then, I enjoyed reading books after watching TV.

Talking of reading, I've enjoyed reading the novels of Haruki Murakami recently. One of my friends is a huge fun of him and she said, "It's hard to put down the book once you've started it.". I didn't believe what she said before I tried to read one of his novels, but I had to admit that she was right after I finished reading it. His way of describing something is so fascinating that I always keep turning the pages. I just finished reading "Wild Sheep Chase" and "After Dark". I'm now reading "Dance Dance Dance".

I guess my "読書の秋"(the season for reading) has come~!
What's yours? It would be "スポーツの秋"(the season for sports)? "芸術の秋"(the season for art)? Maybe...."食欲の秋"(the season for foods)? Whatever you choose, I wish all of you a friutful one!^^

Anyway... I just can't wait to talk to all of you on our chat today!
See you very soon~! Tanoshimi ni siteru~!(I look forward to it!!)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

lovely weekend :Day 2

Hello everyone~!
In Japan, the sweet smell of orange osmanthuses (We call it "金木犀", kin-moku-sei) makes me feel relaxed especially when I get on the way home after the classes. Today I enjoyed the smell of them when I walked to the Fuchinobe station with Yuiko. I met Yuiko and Hiro after the class, and we ate lunch together at the cafeteria of the university. Yuiko bought the latest edition of iPod nano and she looked so happy because she's wanted to buy one since she took a deeper look at Apple's website while she and I enjoyed chatting on MSN! I was very surprised how it became smaller!

Anyway, some of you might wonder if I was going to write more about last weekend because the title of the post I've added on Saturday was "lovely weekend :Day 1". Yes! I still have something to write because my friends and I did different things on Sunday.

As you can see, there was a reunion of the participants of AGU in America 2006 on Oct.1! In the daytime, Laura, Eriko, Miki, Megumi, and I got together in Yokohama. Yokohama is a bit far from my hometown but I really like to go there because it's one of my favorite places in Japan. (This summer I even stayed at the hotel in Yokohama!) We got on the Sea-Bus to go to the red brick warehouses. I think getting on it is always fun because I rarely have an opportunity to do so when I'm in Tokyo. Unfortunately, the rain started falling while we walked around the red brick warehouses. However, we went inside the warehouse quickly and enjoyed lunch.(and desserts!) After that, we looked through the shops there. There were a lot of good shops there! Then we went to the game arcade to do "PURIKURA". I think it's impossible to miss "PURIKURA" if you are interested in the youth culture in Japan. "PURIKURA" is an instant photo machine to make tiny stickers. I just can't remember how many times I did "PURIKURA" with my friends when I was a high school student (I guess I did it almost everyday! Hahaha~.), and I still do "PURIKURA" with my friends. It's one of the must-have items for Japanese girls, and we exchange stickers.

As the sun went down, I started getting e-mails by my cell phone from the rest of us who wanted to join our dinner at the Kaiten Sushi restaurant. Kaoru, Hiro, Kokoro, Shohei, Fumi, Rikko joined us after they finished doing their part-time jobs. Well, Can you imagine what Kaiten Sushi looks like? Sushi is on a conveyor-belt! When you go there, You can enjoy not only eating sushi but also looking at a lot of kinds of sushi on a conveyor-belt! The last time I went to a Kaiten sushi restaurant was actually about two years ago, so I got excited when I saw the conveyor-belt! Hahaha~.^^ I sat at the table with Eriko, Hiro, and Fumi. As you can easily imagine, being with Eriko was sooo much fun that I kept laughing when I enjoyed eating sushi! You can see how my table was if you look at the picture on the right. There was a chaos at table! Hahaha~!! But of course, we managed to eat everything! Also, you can see Rikko, Shohei, Kokoro, Miki, and Laura enjoyed green tea at their table!

I enjoyed hanging out with them so much that I took a lot of pictures!
So I put the rest of the pictures on my blog through bubbleshare, and you can see the larger images of PURIKURA. So enjoy~.^^

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Okay...I think that's all for today!
Also, I'm looking forward to talking to all of you on our next chat.
See you soon~.^^

Saturday, September 30, 2006

lovely weekend :Day 1

I just can't believe that September is about to end...
In Japan, autumn is considered as one of the best seasons to start something new, along with spring. We say "芸術の秋"(the season for art),"学びの秋(the season for learning)","読書の秋"(the season for reading, I think that's the one for me.^^)"食欲の秋"(the season for eating delicious foods),and so on. The last one sounds funny, but it's true. You can find many kinds of seasonal foods at supermarkets!

Anyway....this is the first weekend after the semester begun.I felt like I've waited so long for this to come because the first week seemed much longer than I thought. Also, I've got something to do. Yes, it's homework!

But today I went to Roppongi with Yuko to watch a movie. Do you remember Yuko? A friend of mine who visited France in this summer and I put the pictures that she took on this blog. The picture on the left is one of the most famous buildings in Tokyo, and it's located in the place that's called Roppongi Hills. There are some buildings in this area and it looks like a city. The building in the picture has 54 stories above the ground and 6 underground stories! It seems like you can reach the sky if you climb up the building! Hahaha~.^^ There are offices, shops(everything is expensive!), banks, hospitals inside the building. You can live in the residence floor if you like, but the rent is eye-popping! Also, Roppongi is one of the cities which enables you to find the diversity in Tokyo because a number of foreign people live here.

We looked for the place to eat lunch first. We enjoyed eating hot sandwiches at the restaurant. We talked about the things each of us did in this summer, and Yuko showed me the pictures of her trip to France. Every place she visited was sooo beautiful that I kept looking at them again and again. Looking at them really made me want to go to France and visit the places she went!

After that, we went to the theater. The movie we watched was "The Lake House". Yuko is a fan of Keanu Reeves and she's wanted to check it out since the movie came out. It's actually a Hollywood remake of the hit Korean film, and I've seen Korean version a while ago. So I was interested to see how it would be when it's made in Hollywood. It's a romantic love story and the man and woman in the movie live 2 years apart. It could never happens in real world, and there was a series of highly unlikely coincidence. But I was touched by the movie and I even cried when the things went how I wanted them to be at the end. I also liked how they communicated with each other, and it made the movie more interesting. Writing a letter to someone looks old-fashioned today, but I like it because I think it's more personal than e-mail or IM.

Going to Roppongi always makes me crazy! I'm not so good at taking the metro in Tokyo even though I'm a citizen of Tokyo.(Hahaha~. I live in Tokyo, but it's kind of a rural area of Tokyo.) It's sooo complicated and the name of the starions sound unfamiliar to me. I wish the company of the metro would come up with the idea that they name the lines by color...but I managed it today and I was glad when I got there!

Okay....I think it's time to do my homework!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The semester has started!

Good morning!
Today is the 3rd day of the fall semester and I finally can go back to the regular schedule.However...I have to admit that I still feel like I'm on a vacation.Also, The songs I've heard on "WAKE UP MTV" still bring me back to the time in Maryland! I've kept listening to them since I arrived here and these songs make me happy every time I listen to them in the morning because happy memories were there with the songs.(Some of them even makes me remember the time I overslept! Hahaha~.) Anyway, I took some pictures today. So mite mite~.(Please take a look at them~.^^)

I took this picture after I finished the class and I actually could leave the class room before the bell rung,then I took this. So only a few people walked in front of the building. This is one of the buildings in the Fuchinobe campus. (We have 2 campuses. The one is located in Fuchinobe, and the other is in Shibuya.) Inside the building, there are class rooms, professors' offices, and library. The student center is here as well.

This is the chapel. As you can see, the appearance is beautiful and so is the inside. The morning church service starts at 10:30 am everyday, so we can attend it.(When I was a freshman, I used to go there because I had to write a paper about the sermons at the chapel. Everyone at AGU is required to take the class which is called "Introduction to Christianity".)

I went to the book store at the campus to see if they have something new. Then I found the latest edition of Newsweek Japan. It's one of the books that I usually read on the train and I've started reading it since I entered AGU. So I always buy one every time I find the latest edition comes out. This week's feature is "Top 100 Global University Ranking".(Everyone is interested in the same thing!)

After I bought this, I met Hiro at the student center(the place I've mentioned above.). He was interested in the ranking and we decided to look through the ranking while we were walking to the Fuchinobe station. Then Hiro suddenly got excited because he found something on the article. He said, "Ah~~! Obachangu, mite mite! Maryland ga aru yo~!"(Wow! just take a look, Obachangu~! University of Maryland is in the ranking!) Yes, he was right! Can you see the Japanese letters "メリーランド大学(University of Maryland)" at the 45th place?(I drew the red line below the letters.) I think you should have an objective view when you look at this kind of information because it's just someone's view, but Hiro and I were so glad to find "メリーランド大学" on it because it's something we can relate to.

Ahh....mou sude ni shukudai ga!(My teacher gave me homework already!) My English teacher gives me a lot of the articles and I always need to put in plenty of time reading them because English used on the articles is not easy. However, it does develop my confidence of reading in English and it also allows me to improve my ability to concentrate on reading. "No pain, no gain", right?

Finally, this is the book I bought yesterday. I decided to read this as a "gohoubi for jibun" (indulgence) after I finished reading the article I've mentioned above, but I've already started reading on the train.(Yacchatta~.^^) I just couldn't help it because Haruki Murakami is one of my favorite authors. He is so famous not only in Japan but also throughout the world that his books are translated in many languages. I'm interested in reading "Kafka on the Shore" in English because I enjoyed reading it in Japanese.

I'm sad that the vacation came to an end and I guess it'll take a while to get used to waking up early for the class(Hahaha~!), but it's always great to see my friends at the school! I met Hiro, Nobu, Yuki, Seri, Maiko, Sayaka, Kaoru in the last 2 days, and I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of us very soon!

That's all for today!

The weather in Tokyo suddenly gets colder, so minna kaze niwa ki wo tsukete~.^^(Don't catch a cold!)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Kingdom of Dreams and Magic!

The vacation is about to end, but I do have a few days left...
So, yesterday I decided to go in a daydream...

Just kidding!
But I went in some kind of a dream that made me smile. (or should I say laugh out loud!)

I went to Tokyo Disney Land with Eriko, Miki, and Yuiko. Even though I met Miki and Yuiko on the day we went to Shibuya for welcoming Laura(I wrote about that on this blog, right?), it's been a while since I said "Mata nee~"(See you again) to Eriko at Narita airport. So, it was nice to see everyone again! As all of you can imagine, Eriko was so funny... I recommend you bring her if you want to have soooooo much fun! Hearing her say "Thank you sooo much~~~" did remind me of the day we spent in Maryland.

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I woke up 5:30 am to go there because we wanted to enjoy TDL as much as possible! So we started with shopping at the souvenir store, and enjoyed riding on the attractions. Also, we loved eating various kinds of food at TDL. For example, Honey-Lemon taste churritos, Spring rolls, Caramel Popcorn, Pumpkin Puddings, pizzas, and so on.(I'm now surprised to find how many kinds of foods we ate!)

We stayed there until 10 pm and Eriko suddenly said "I want to do something instead of going home!". Everyone except Eriko was surprised to hear that because everyone must be worn out even though we enjoyed being there so much! But she kept saying that, so Eriko and Miki got off the train at Miki's hometown. I don't know what they did, but I'm so curious...!! Did they still have the energy to do something?! WOW! Maybe the reason why she got excited after exiting TDL is that it was the first time for Eriko to go to TDL.^^ I saw Eriko become a different person after we stayed at TDL from morning till night! Sugoku genki ni natte ita...(It was like she's got more energy!) I think she's got the second wind with the help of dreaming at TDL!

I'm sure that this will be one of the highlights of this summer!
I really hope that I'll go there with all of you.^^

See you~.^^