Sunday, February 17, 2013

One More Bowl of Ramen

Well, it happened. I have left Japan and returned home to 'MERICA. I should probably backtrack a little bit. UhhHHhh, okay! O_________O

A day before I left, there was still a lot of cleaning and packing to do. x___X
I bought these shoes right before I left and wore them only in Japan:
Sadly, they had to go because I didn't know if I could risk (do to the happy weight of my suitcases) bringing any more back home.
Before meeting up with the other exchange students, Kirsty and I planned to hang out. Before we left for Shibuya to do a few Purikura (addiction), she rang my doorbell early.
She had two presents in her hands! FOR ME. Wahaha.
So exciting. ^___^ She made me her apple cake!
She also gave me an extremely soft hoodie that has a British flag print all over it as seen in the Purikura below. ^___^ Haha, and she had bought it in Japan, so she found the best thing for me to represent England to wear here in the US. We sat and talked and ate the cake for awhile before heading out.

These things you guys, why are they so much fun? Prepare yourself for an abundance of big eyes and clear skin.
We may have ended up doing another...
 I have no idea why they had these Blog sticker options, but it works XD.
We didn't have much time after that, so we headed off to Noborito. Daan had arranged one last ka-pow goodbye for me with the other exchange students. Naturally, we went to karaoke.
Ah, Mambo #5.
It seemed like everyone was kind of tired, but it was still really fun ^___^. It was really nice of everyone to come and say one last goodbye, even after the going away party by Okuma. We had the room until 5 A.M., but left around 11:30 P.M.
This picture is Daan's, but it was the last picture of some of us together. And with the toaster I had lent Daan. XD
 Kirsty and I then went back home. We took a local train and there was no one else in our car O___O.
 And we had never run faster.
There is, in fact, a video of me running around in the car and then hanging by the handles. I was Lady GaGa for a minute.
Okay, maybe not like that.

I fell asleep pretty fast and woke up to do a bit of last packing and cleaning. I was really worried that my suitcase would be overweight, so I sent another package home T___T. Eh, it could have saved me a few bucks. Question mark. halp4evr.
I rang Kirsty's doorbell obnoxiously and we talked on the balcony, waiting for Yuuki to come and pick me up. He was so nice to have driven me to the airport ^___^. Kazuya even tagged along to say goodbye!
The drive was like the ending in a movie, passing places that the characters adventured to throughout their story. We drove by places and landmarks like Soshigaya, Shibuya, Ginza, Disney Land, Tokyo Tower, and Odaiba.
And then...
"Are we going to go on the bridge?!"
 YESSSS. We totally did. It was perfection. Like gum to Chandler.
We were by Disney here:
Aw, thank you.
Before getting to the airport, we stopped at a rest stop and bought some melon pan ^____^. Since we were so close to the airport, I still am wondering if they stopped there just so I could have melon pan again since I talk about it so much.
IT WAS OKAY. lololol. Nah, but we all shared it and then headed off to the airport.
Yuuki had to help his family move, so we only had time to have some lunch together after finding the correct terminal and dropping off my suitcase. I found out that my suitcase was under the limit, so I took some of the stuff out of my backpack and packed it in there. It was definitely worth sending the package though because carrying around that backpack all day would have been worse than dragging Robo to the Proto Dome by yourself.
My heroes of Japan:
 It was time for us to part and a sad time it was. But we shall meet again! ^___^

For the next 2 hours, I wandered around the airport, which had shops that pretty much condensed Japan into that one building. Then, I sat down and I looked to my left to see a guy looking at me. I brought out my DS and then he sat down next to me and started talking to me. We talked for awhile, but it seemed like he was only looking at me funny and agreeing to everything I was saying. I had to go refill my water...
Anyways, after about an hour more, it was time to board the plane. Here was the first snack they gave us:
The ingredient list outnumbered the amount of items in the bag. I couldn't eat it.
Here are the meals they gave us that probably weren't any better:
I do like the sushi flare they add to the meals. However, I liked to call this meal the "Fiber-free High School definition of a Carbo Cram" meal.
This was pizza, fruit and some matcha bread thing:
Survival, man. I thought it'd be fun to have kind of junkier food for once, but I really don't miss this stuff. I'll be packing my own lunches for flights from now on XD. These meals taste so funny and just leave you craving some mean greens.

It was about a 12-hour flight and then I was on a layover in Chicago for a few hours before heading home. I have to give it to business workers who have to travel a lot and go through the whole security process and such multiple times in one trip. O__O

My first thoughts of being in the US again were "I have never felt so out-of-place not being out-of-place." I understood everything everyone was saying! The food shops had menus that didn't take a few minutes to read and understand! The toilets weren't heated! It was terrible. lolol.

After coming out of the bathroom, a guy was walking right by me and started talking to me. NooOoooo, not again. >___< He kept on saying how he loved making friends and how we could be friends. He was talking about taking a shot of tequila somewhere in the past and saw how we had the same phone carrier. This conversation was all over the place, but he repeatedly brought up how we could be friends. I told him I didn't have a Facebook and he said we could exchange numbers. I told him I didn't feel comfortable with that. Luckily, there was a woman next to me that I was talking to previously who helped me to get out of the conversation. She was so nice and gave me hope for people at airports.
But really, why try to convince me to add you on Facebook and be my friend when that time could be spent talking with me to get to know me so I would want to offer you my Facebook?
What is. This life?

Anyways, the plane home was the smallest plane I've ever been on- Aw, kawaii. The ride didn't take long at all though. Grant met me at the airport and it was pretty fantastic to see him again. =]
We waited for my luggage and then headed off to my house to see my family. Before exiting out of the airport, I asked him how cold it was. He said it was the warmest it's been since he's gotten back. I stepped out into a freezer.
I was like O___O and started running with my suitcase to the car. Then, Grant says "Watch out, there's ice!" lolol, that's just what I needed to hear XD. Luckily, there was no slippage.

Grant had dark chocolate, almonds, apples, and flowers waiting for me at his car. HE KNOWS ME SO WELL.

Seeing familiar sights on the way home felt way too natural. I think the weirdest thing was probably seeing how big the roads were. When I got to my house, my mom was the first to see (well, hear me yelling "Mommyyyy") outside from the window. She called everyone and the hug brigade began.

I think besides hugging my mom, the best part about going to my house was when Lauren and Beth ran to me as a competition to be the first to hug me, with Shawn following slowly in the background. That visual will forever replay in my head.

On the counter were lottery tickets and a cookie cake with balloons surrounding it all. Two of the balloons said "Congrats!" and I thought it was just a random balloon saying they picked up for the heck of it. Or maybe "Congrats! You made it home in one piece!" But then they reminded me that I graduated. Oh dang. I did O___O. lolol.


But I did finally have a piece of cookie cake, which I've been craving for a long time. It was then that I realized I didn't really like cookie cake as much as I thought XD. My taste buds really have changed. But it still made me happy because my mum somehow knew (she totally has been reading my blog...) that I wanted a cookie cake.
15-Hour Plane Ride Kat with Robot Cookie
I'm so glad I talked that much about a cookie cake. COOKIE CAKE. Okay. I'm done.

We sat and talked for the rest of the night and it felt like I never left. ~___~

These past few days, I've been unpacking, cleaning, reorganizing the bloody food cabinet again and getting rid of as much junk food as my mum allows (and doesn't see me throwing out, lolol), hanging out with my family and Grant and his family, and making plans to see old friends.
I was jet-lagged mainly the first 2 days, waking up around 2 A.M. each night and staying up for a few hours before being able to sleep again. Good thing I ordered the new Jillian book and it was here waiting for me. Guys. Guys. Jillian is my hero.

I was extremely excited to have access to my kettlebell, heavy bag, medicine ball, Jillian DVDs, etc. again. AwWwwwWw YeahHhHHh.
Jeremy refurbished and gave me his old bow as a Christmas present. It has a 50 lb. pullback and is beautiful. I'm zo pumped to shoot with it again. He had let me try it out before and it is like sw00n.

Since it was Valentine's Day the day after I got back, I made Grant marshmallow fluff frosting graham cracker cookies, one of the usuals, at 7 in the morning. Wahaha. And then fell asleep soon after. But, I've decided to bake less (having baked 2-4 times a week before Japan) and cook more meals for my family. ^___^
I have to get back to writing on my health and recipe blog. Since I have access to so many more foods, I've been experimenting more, but this also means that some of the recipes I've been making aren't available for the exchange students to make.
So, I will have to make weekly goals to post at least one or two recipes a week or at least information on health. I just bought 4 new health books at the local bookstore. It was hard enough stopping there T___T. lolol.

Beth bought an iPhone5 and my mom called me a leprechaun.

Today, I went to the grocery store with my sister and mum and man, is it big. There are so many selections of fruits and vegetables. THE ORGANIC SECTION. So happy.

I've been asked a few times about what I plan to do with this blog since I'm back. Well, I'm probably going to be posting a few more posts, a kind of behind the scenes thing. Maybe with final thoughts on the adventures of Japan, quotes made by Tom throughout the past few months, and random pictures I didn't post before. So for now, this post is done, but there will be a few coming in the next few days or weeks.

What I do know right now though, is that I miss the people, not knowing exactly what people are saying as I pass by them, and also the amount of walking around. Oi, the walking =^.^=.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sleepy Ventures and Machida Dancing

Sunday, I decided to have the day to myself to revisit some of the places that I love most. I started off the day by doing a workout in my room and then headed out to Soshigaya, where Kaldi is. It was another beautiful walk.
Since the weather has been warmer, some of the scents I remember from first coming to Japan have been popping up again. I know, right? What's with me and my sisters and smelling everything? Hey, man. When you have a furry animal in your hands, you're going to smell it. Anyways, there was a hint of the flowery smell by this river again ^___^. Also, when I entered my apartment, it smelled like it did when I first got here. Aw, memories. Just as long as the kitchen sink odor doesn't return. ()(x.X)()

After getting back, I headed off to Harajuku after. There were a ton of sales, but I resisted. There's no way I can fit anymore in my suitcase...
lolol. After going down Takeshita Street one last time and in the Nike store, I remembered that it was Sunday and these guys would be performing by Yoyogi Park:
Japanese Greasers!
I had seen them one of the first few days here. Grant showed me a music video with them in it. Him and Carter really wanted to see them perform, but they weren't there when we went =/. I did take a video for them and Mr. Mark though!

There's always something going on in Harajuku.
There were a ton of food stands with the usual foods like takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and yakisoba around too.
Almost to Shibuya ^___^:
I went to my favorite shops and by Jouetie, there was a vendor selling these bags that looked like they were from Paper Mario:
Man, those are so awesome. I really didn't stay long since Shibuya is mainly a great place for lot of shopping and eating. I've been getting really sleepy really early lately. Either I've been doing a lot and my body is like "Ineedtorelax" or it's just getting ready for the time change back home. Pffft, rest is for the plane, man.
Bye-bye, Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift Crosswalk.
But I did end up just going home and resting. I've been watching a lot of Food and Health documentaries lately. That and I started to watch Freaks and Geeks. I'm finally watching shows I've wanted to for a long time.

Today, I met up with Yuuki and Kazuya ^___^. On the train, I gave Jolie's art book to Yuuki to sign and pass to his friends.
Jolie wanted her book in Japan and I was going to plant it somewhere random. Then, I thought it would be cooler to use the Lost Tiger illustration theme that she drew in her book and have it be signed by the next person and handed down to their friends to look at and sign themselves. That way, it would go all around Japan and more people would be able to see her amazing work. Yuuki helped me to translate it to Japanese so the "instructions" are in both English and Japanese.
I hope it works out! =^.^=
After riding the train too long and having to head back a few stops, Yuuki and I walked around Machida until Kazuya met up with us. I was majorly craving having some more Kaiten Sushi, so we found a pretty good place.
Yuuki beat me by 1 plate. He had 9. I could have gone for 2 more, but I didn't feel like being overly stuffed ^___^'.
Machida was pretty much a mix between Shinjuku's stores and Ginza's underground tunnel shops/restaurants.
 I love watching them make this stuff...
After having some sushi, of course we needed something sweet. Er, at least I did XD. I bought some candy for Yuuki and Kazuya and then Yuuki took the candy I was going to buy for myself and got it for me as an early White Day present XD.
In Japan, girls give boys presents on Valentine's Day and then exactly a month later on a day named "White Day," boys give girls presents.
Then, we wandered around and then went to Round 1, a big arcade, to do a Purikura.
lolol, why do I love Purikura so much?
Sadly, we weren't sent my favorite picture of the bunch and it didn't come with a code to access it >__<. But I still have the sheet of pictures!
We played some DDR horribly, even when two of us played on 1 dance board and then I convinced Kazuya to do the dancing game with me.
Though blurry, you get the idea. XD. It's like the Wii dancing game, but you don't have to hold the remote. That was too much fun. I want one machines of those at home. XD

We didn't really know what to do after the arcade, so I suggested going to some parks ^___^.
First, there was a very wimpy one with only a swing.
Business Man Yuuki swinging:
Kazuya was kicking a tree in this picture:
Then, we found a little bit better of a park with a terrible slide that had a strange dent near the bottom which wasn't the most comfortable, lolol and monkey bars. うんてい
 A better use for the monkey bars:
There were also 3 wild cats, but this one was the most talkative and friendly:
I would have smelled that cat.

lololwut. After hanging around that playground for awhile (omg, do u c wut I did thurr?), we found another park nearby ^___^. This one had a crazy Indiana Jones rope to swing on.
Some of these parks have the coolest stuff.
Risking life:
 There were also small ponds around with stepping stones and some koi fish in them ^___^.
 Yuuki making business deals:
I think that's Jabu Jabu's second appearance on this blog. What a great guy.

After jumping around the pond a bit longer, we headed back to the station since Yuuki had to go to work.
I pretty much just chilled the rest of the day and packed a little bit more. Yuuki and Kazuya are both going to be with me at the airport ^___^. Moe also might come to say goodbye! I feel really lucky ^___^'.

Tomorrow, there will probably be some karaoke with the other exchange students =^.^=. BE SEEING YOU SOON.