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.