Friday, October 11, 2002

I am so tired but I guess that`s ok for now. Don is several computers down from me. Now I know why some of the Japanese students fall asleep while sitting down at their computers. I am hoping that Bill will call because I have a North American group meeting at 5....I wonder if he even got my email. There is no other way for me to express this but: I am really confused right now. I don`t know what`s going to happen. I guess the only way is to take it slow.

Today is Friday, so I will try to relate what happened almost a week ago. It was Saturday night and I was just going to `lay low` for the evening when I get a call from Brian asking if I and the other girls wanted to go to Shinjuku in downtown Tokyo. I had not gotten much sleep the past week and I had been hoping to catch up on it that night, but if I went to Shinjuku, I would not be back until at least 5am in the morning. So after MUCH debating with myself and others, I resolved to go. I met the guys (I was the only girl from my dorm to go) at the bridge, and we all biked to the Hachioji train station where we caught the train to Shinjuku. It was the first time since Kobe that I had ridden a Japanese train. After about 45 min.-1hour, we got to Shinkjuku. Shinjuku looked so much more sophisticated than Hachioji. People dress and look differently there. What really struck me was #1, there was a higher ratio of foreigners there (it was almost like being home again), and #2 the behavior of even the Japanese was different, such as PDA. I saw several couples holding hands or walking with their arms around each other, which at home is common enough except that in Japan, you hardly EVER see that. We met Tom, who had already spent the whole day there. We tried to find a pub but Tom wanted to catch the last train to Hachioji and we wanted to catch the last train to Roppongi, so my experience at Shinjuku was reduced to walking down a certain street. However, I would like to go to their famous Kinokuniya bookstore, which Tom recommended. Anyways, after walking through the thickest crowd ever at the Shinjuku train station, we caught a train to Roppongi (which means `six trees` in Japanese). The first thing we did in Roppongi was to go to a Hard Rock Cafe. While we were at the bar waiting for our table, a group of men in their 40s and/or 50s with long stringy hair and leather jackets walked up to one end of the bar. I figured that they were some rocker wannabees when a bunch of squealing Japanese girls ran up to one of the guys in the group: a man in his 50s with long blond hair (he seemed to be American while the rest of the group looked Japanese). To be honest, he looked kinda washed out, but the crowd around him was getting bigger and bigger until we had to move out of the way. We asked the bartender what the man`s name was and he pointed upwards. Above the bar was a picture of the man and what was apparently his guitar. The name on the plaque read: Billy Sheen. HAVE ANY OF YOU GUYS EVER HEARD OF HIM? Because I`ve never had. But I guess he has a big following in Japan. Once we got our table, we ordered some more drinks. It was so much fun being with Brian, Jojit, Don, and Tomi. We all got a Tornado shot, which was very good. After Hard Rock, we headed to a night club across the street called Gaspanic. As we entered, we were immediately made to buy a drinks. We squeezed into the very crowded dance floor and had an absolute blast. I was surprised that some of my friends actually danced because I didn`t think they were the type to like to dance at a dance club. The thing about Roppongi is that there are SO MANY foreigners...from all nationalities. And especially at Gaspanic. Most people there were foreigners for sure. The dance club was like an American dance club, the Japanese social rules did not apply there. The only bad thing about that club was that they push drinks on you, literally. They had staff people walking around with drink menus around their necks and their job was to check that you had a drink. If you didn`t, or you were nearly done with your drink, they would go up to you and make you order another one, or you would be kicked out. Towards the end, I was drinking a very small and very expensive bottle of water, and I was only halfway done drinking it when one of the staff made me buy ANOTHER bottle of water. I was so pissed at him, that bastard. That`s the thing about Tokyo nightlife: it is VERY VERY expensive. Anyways, by the time they stopped the music at the club, it was 5am and the sun was coming up. We somehow managed to catch the train back to Hachioji, where I had absolutely no problem falling asleep (at least for 20 minutes or so). I think Jojit was the only one who didn`t fall asleep. Once in downtown Hachioji, we stopped by Mos Burger (sounds yummy, doesn`t it?) for breakfast and then we all took the 15-20 minute bike ride back to our dorms. By the time I was back in my dorm it was 8:30 in the morning.

I still don`t know what we`re doing this weekend. There`s talk of going out again but I don`t know if people want to spend so much money (again) and lose so much sleep. There`s a cold going around and some people need the rest. But I can`t wait to go back to downtown Tokyo again.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

URESHII! I just got some pictures developed and they look so nice!! I can`t wait to show them to my friends! There`s even a picture of my sister and I that was taken before saying goodbye to her the Sunday before I left the US. I was so afraid that the pictures would come out crappy, but I think they were worth the approx. 30 dollars (over 3,000 yen) I had to pay for them.

I talked to my dad and later on to Bill. My dad had to go back to McAllen, TX because my grandfather, who was improving from the stroke, had complications. I am going to call my grandfather later tonight and just let him know that I am thinking of him. I think I will make my Wednesday calls to my family a weekly thing since Wed is pretty much the only day I have to time to call. I used the dorm`s public phone this time because my cell phone bill is alarmingly high. I think I may stick to the public phone from now on. I have to go to my job at the Chit Chat Club soon, so I will tell about my weekend later. :-D
October 4, 2002

I am in my room waiting for my nail polish to dry. On my way back to the dorm, I realized that now I will have to buy nail polish remover. I am wearing a nice light purple sparkly color (it looks much better than it sounds).

Last night, I called Bill and I didn`t realize how nice it would be to hear his voice again. He seems to be doing the same, not much new going on with him. He told me about the girl that invited him to the party. He has pretty much crossed her out of his *list*. According to him, she said that she doesn`t like big crowds because she`s afraid she will get hair lice from people and she also claims to be able to smell people from long distances...even through glass. He told me that the US might soon go to war (that`s a whole other bag of beans--but I`ll save it for another time) so I asked him if he was still thinking about joining the air force and he said, `No thank you!` I`m glad he thinks that way instead of blindly wanting to go fight. I don`t want to get too much into this (maybe later), but I don`t see how throughout history, people always, without hesitation, would go to to war and place themselves in a situation in which they will most likely face a horrible death. I know that many times, it`s for love of country, for a cause....but I don`t know.....it`s interesting if you think about it.

I received an email from my dad. In it, he told me that because of the high cost of the medical bills for my grandfather, who recently had a stroke and is now bedridden, I should be careful with my money. I know that he is talking about the money he gave me for the trip. I had a feeling that my grandfather`s medical costs would place a financial burden on my dad, but the email did cause me concern because usually my dad is really generous about money. This is one of the very few times he has told me to watch what I spend (it`s usually my mom that is nagging us about that). I am thinking about returning the money he gave me (thankfully I have the AIEJ scholarship and part time job for money) but then I don`t think I would have the money to visit home during the long winter break or to maybe even travel around Japan. But my dad told me to disscuss with thim any major travel plans that I may have, so that is what I will have to do. Anyways, I must get going to meet people for the party. Wish me luck...

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