First I want to talk about dryers. People in Japan do not use dryers because they are environmentally conscious. They hang their clothes outside on racks. I have begun to do this too. Even though my apartment complex has dryers, I do not use them, because they are 100 yen, aka more than $1, for 15 minutes of drying time. If I wanted my clothes to get anywhere near dry, I would therefore have to spend $4+ dollars every time I wash my clothes, on top of the 200 yen washing machine cost. This is unacceptable, hence hanging my clothes outside.
You might be thinking, well, that's great. Your clothes get dry and electricity is saved. Everyone wins, right? Wrong!! Hanging clothes outside to dry produces a distinct and unpleasant smell that clings to your now-dry (and wrinkled) clothing indefinitely. This is possibly caused by bacteria or something? One of my Nihongo senseis was saying something like that, but I can only understand about a third of anything any Japanese person says. More on this deficiency later.
Anyway, I can't afford to use a dryer and my clothes smell gross. I was thinking about buying an iron, which would de-wrinkle my clothes and maybe make them smell better, or at least different? On the other hand, it would consume more of my precious time. It is a dilemma.
The dryer thing is an example of how Japan sucks. Let's move to an example of how Japan is awesome.
This past Friday, I left my iPod Touch, which I now rely on for Japanese-English dictionary purposes, in the library, and did not notice til late that night. "Oh shit!" I thought, and you may be thinking that as well right now. "I will never see that thing again."
But you would be wrong again, this time in a good way! The next day I stopped by the school's security group and explained about the misplacement. Lo and behold, after checking some paperwork, the security people produced my iPod, wrapped in a plastic bag. I had to sign for it, because everywhere in Japan is a bureaucray, but I got it back! I was ecstatic. If I had left that thing in a semi-public place in America for any amount of time it would be long gone. But Japanese people do not steal stuff. I have left things like groceries, umbrellas, and even backpacks containing laptops unattended in my parked bicycle's basket, and every time they have been untouched. すごいねえ～
In other news, I have been experiencing Japanese culture like whoa. Last weekend I saw a kabuki, which was super crazy awesome, and then did some karaoke. The kabuki was tripped out - indeed, I would love to see one while tripping. People in crazy masks did choreographed fight/dance scenes and struck poses that symbolized sexual intercourse. Good times.
As for karaoke, I sang all the Lady Gaga and Brit songs they had, which was 3 and 2 respectively. It was very fun, although we did not drink. Next time I am going to insist on drunken karaoke.
This weekend, I attended a 飲み会 (drinking party) that was organized by and intended for the J2 class, which I am not in. I went anyway and it was very fun, although the drinks were, as everywhere, too expensive. It was a British-style pub called The Hub, and I ate some french fries with ketchup that were truly delicious.
The next day Chris, Delphine, Erica Allen and I went to the Ghibli Museum, which was required for their class and I just tagged along. Ghibli Studio is the animation studio that makes all the Miyazaki films, like Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, and Ponyo. It was super cute. However, I was pissed that the life-size cat bus was only for elementary school children and younger. It looked really freaking fun. After that we ate some food in Kichijouji, and then ate crepes, and then Chris and I went to my apartment and ordered Domino's because we are fatasses. For real. Even though I hate Japanese food, I am eating too much, because they have a lot of delicious Western food here too. Plus I am legal to drink so I have been doing a lot of that as well.
Anyway the next day, aka yesterday, we went to this ridiculous festival in Kawagoe, which is really far away from where I live. But it was totes worth it because it was awesome. There were all these floats, which were wheeled boxes with people on them playing music and being characters. Pictures will go up on facebook shortly. Also there was a multitude of food stalls that were mostly disgusting (see pictures of chopped up octopus) but some were very good. I had two choco-bananas. They're healthy cause they're made of banana, right?
So that is what has been happening. I will try to update more often. Now I will take my unfortunate laundry back inside.
I went to Harajuku last week, it was pretty awesome. Pictures on facebook.
My Japanese class: at first I thought it was going to be really hard. The sensei talked at normal speed, aka really fast, and I couldn't really understand her. But then it turns out we get a different teacher every day, and most of htose are easier to understand. That class is not so hard1 I need to do my homework today though.
Japanese Society class: Did you know that the Three Fundamental Principles of Japanese Society are 1) Vertical Hierarchy, 2) Collectivism, 3) Social Control? Now you know.
Language, Politics, and the Media class: This class is so awesome. The professor is British but he makes jokes in Japanese. We talked about Sarah Palin's campaign slogan for an hour and twenty minutes. Win.
Modern Japanese Literature in English Translation class: Interesting, but the class is once a week from 3:10 to 7 pm, so I think I'm going to drop it.
This weekend I went to Kichijouji and walked around, it was pretty cool. Other than that I did nothing. I think I slept for 15 hours last night, no joke. Hopefully next weekend I will be up for fun things like clubbing.
Once again I am eating some ume onigiri. Those things are so good.
I had to get my bike fixed again. This time it cost me ten dollars.
True Blood season finale tomorrow!
Lots has happened, but it will have to wait for me to feel better to get posted about.
Japan is desperately afraid of foreigners, so when you come to Japan for a stay of more than 90 days you have to register yourself at your local city office and get a card which says you are allowed to be in Japan. Police can stop you and demand to see your card, and if you don't have it you can be thrown in jail or something, probably. You are required to have the card on you at all times. Oh, Japan!
In other news: vending machines.
...Well, my internet won't stay connected long enough to upload the pictures, so more on vending machines in another post.
As you can see it has two stories and is open 24 hours. There is also a KFC near there, known locally as "Kentakii."
The greatest find of my shopping experience was J-Mart, which I assume stands for Japanese Wal-Mart, because that is what it is. You can get everything from towels to garden hoses to liquor, just like Wal-Mart except twice as expensive. I bought towels and liquor.
These are a "gintoniku" Cocktail Partner, something with oranges that I can't read, and Double Lemon Strong Zero. The gin tonic thing tasted like limey tonic water; I will not be purchasing again. The strong zero was very lemony, just as promised, but not very good. The best one was definitely the orange fruity thing in the middle.
At J-Mart I bought some Carlo Rossi California Red Wine, the cheapest, at about $6, of the available wines that I could read. Unfortunately I cannot open it because I'm a weakling, so no review on that yet.
In other news: yesterday I bought a bike! This is very exciting because I can now get places 3 times as fast. It was the "ichiban yasui" bike at the bike store, only 7800 yen. It has a basket and a bike lock and a light. I like it a lot.
I'll put in a better picture later.