Thursday, January 02, 2003

So much to catch up on!...Where should I begin?

Well, on Christmas Eve, I found myself with Tsveti, Tomi, Jojit, Tom, Marco, and Kei in snowy Hakuba ("White Horse" in Japanese) in Nagano, skiing again for the first time in almost eight years. Unfortunately, it was while I was skiing that I lost my wallet, which I have had for about 5 years. To put it bluntly, it really sucked because I have SO much in it, including a credit card, all my student ID cards, my alien registration card, and approximately 80 dollars in cash....thank God I didn`t have my passport or my driver`s license in it. But as much as it sucked, I somehow didn`t let it get to me and I managed to have a great time in Nagano for the most part. On Christmas Day, one of the most unusual that I`ve had, I was again skiing....but since I had no more wallet, I didn`t have to worry about losing my wallet. I enjoyed skiing more on the second day because I was getting the hang of it. Then later, I went with Kei, Marco, Tom, and Jojit to the ski lodge`s onsen, or bathhouse, where you can soak in a hot bath and/or relax in a sauna. After a day of skiing, it was VERY relaxing. I was a little nervous at first about being in a place full of people without clothes on, but it was not as bad as I had imagined it at all. I even went to the outdoor bath that had a view of the ski slopes. It was really cold, but the water was really hot, so it wasn`t too bad as long as you didn`t stay out too long. Afterwards we all went to the ski lodge`s all-you-can-eat Christmas dinner and then we all hung out in the hotel room where I was staying with Tsveti and Tomi. The hotel rooms were sooo nice. Ours had a view of the ski slopes.....it was so awesome that I finally had a white Christmas after many years. The snow was falling so heavily that one couldn`t see very far. It was practically storming outside....I don`t think I had ever seen so much snow fall. But best of all, and excuse me if I sound corny....I was able to spend a really nice and relaxing Christmas with my friends (but with only Don missing).

On New Year`s, I was with the same people except that Don instead of Kei joined us. We went to Yokohama, where they told us that there would be a fireworks display. Yokohama ended up being a beautiful city (at least at night)....I daresay more beautiful than Baltimore (not that Baltimore`s Inner Harbor isn`t beautiful). We walked around this expensive amusement park, that had a huge...I mean HUGE ferris wheel (actually, I think Yokohama is famous for it). We tried to find a place to eat and drink but we were unsuccessful, so we ended up having a quick dinner at, where else, McDonalds. We were leaving McDonalds when I received an email on my cell phone from Kurt! It made me so happy to hear from him, right before the New Year, so I wrote him back. We only had about 15 minutes until midnight so we rushed to find a place to watch the fireworks, so we stood across the river (or was it the harbor?) from the ferris wheel, which had a huge clock counting down the minutes....and when it got to the last minute, the lights around the ferris wheel counted off the seconds....but unfortunately, there was no fireworks, which was a big dissapointment :-( It was sorta like an anti-climax after that....not much else was going on, except for people (who were probably pretty drunk) jumping off into the river/harbor. So pretty much we headed back to Hachioji, except for Don who headed to Roppongi to try to redeem the dissapointing New Year`s. Thankfully the trains were running all night since it was New Year`s, but we had to wait a while to transfer trains...but as the train was finally coming....there was an announcement that the train was arriving on another platform, so we had to RUN to the other platform to catch the train. It was funny actually.

Once we got to Hachioji, it was sooo dead. I had never seen downtown Hachioji so empty before. Tom, Marco, and Jojit went to Kei`s house to see what she was up to and Tomi, Tsveti, and I stopped by a Lawson`s and then headed back home. We entertained the thought of actually sneaking into the guy`s dorm...but thought better of it and decided not to. It`s so hard to believe sometimes....that here in Japan, being deviant is sneaking into the guy`s dorm....it sounds so 1950`s.....stuff that people`s parents in the United States did when they were young. Now I realize that back home, I took for granted the freedom to be able to go to a guy`s room....just to hang out. And that`s all we wanted to do here....just hang out, but we can`t even do that, which (gathers steam)....REALLY SUCKS.

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