~Skammie~

Archive for November 2007

Man, I realize that I really suck at this “keeping up a regular blog” thing. Minna, sorry for the lack of updates! ><

Just wanted to drop a quick line of thanks for the people who come to read my rants 🙂 I especially love you if you leave comments, because I am a comment whore. *LOL* Sorry that I don’t always reply to them (I’ll try to catch up in a couple of weeks), but i still read them all for sure!

In the next 2 weeks, I have grad photos to retakes (follow up story later…thanks for everyone who cared from my last entry ^^) and exams to study, so I won’t be updating much here until after the 14th… 😦

To everyone who has exams coming up too: Good luck!
And to everyone taking the JLPT this year: 頑張って!

Oh yes, my TakiTsuba Best finally came a month after it’s release date. It was opened by the customs…-.-” even the bubble wrap inside was opened too! Stupid people…But either way, I’m just glad it wasn’t stolen and it’s finally in my hands, still in good condition~ 😀

With Christmas approaching (and my birthday in another month or so after that) I should start putting together a wish list for anyone who would be so kind to get me presents! No worries, guys. I’ll try to keep this practical, not crazily expensive, and won’t ask you to kidnap Tackey (or Aiba or Massu) for me…although that would probably be the BEST PRESENT(S) EVER!! 😉
Here goes: (I probably will keep adding to the list until my bday, hehe)
= edited: Mar. 21 =

earphone buds (which ones are good? JVC Marshmellows? SkullCandies?) [Thank you, Shirley~]
waterproof gloves for snowboarding [Thank you, Mommy ❤ ~]
– ski goggles
– cd booklet
– green colored contact lenses (no prescription required ^^)
Tackey & Tsubasa’s 2008-2009 calendar (can pre-order at Amazon or HMV for ~$20 or YesAsia for ~$30!) [Thank you,Wilfred~]
– NewS and/or Arashi calendars (Arashi: Amazon, HMV, YesAsia; NewS: HMV, YesAsia) [Yay, go me!~]

Things that I can never get enough of:
– sd memory cards
– writable dvds
– ANY Tackey & Tsubasa or NewS or Arashi related items (eg, DVDs, CDs, posters, photos, magazines…) (Past products are good too! Heck, if you burn me a compilation disc for all the Arashi and/or NewS PVs, I’d be super grateful~ ^^ If it’s T&T stuff though, just make sure I don’t already have it!)
– earrings

– more to come… 🙂

I took my grad photos on Wednesday…

But I have to retake them again!!! >< The reason? They gave me the wrong sash (colour and style) for the graduation gown outfit. This means:

1) I have to rebook a timeslot, and they are SUPER filled already (except for the mornings)
2) I wasted my money for professional make-up last time…well, “half wasted”, since half of my pics were not taken with the gown

My friends all tell me I should argue with Artona until they give me some kind of compensation…ie. tell them to give me money for my make-up AND hair again (although my mom did my hair last time…haha). I’m also wishing to take ALL the shots again, including the ones of me wearing the dress instead of the gown, and then I hope to be able to choose from ALL of those shots taken in the 2 sessions! If they agree to do this, this retake of photos can be a good thing afterall!~ But I really suck at confrontations like this…ugh, I feel horrible to be mad at the person, but I really really want something of value to make up for it, especially when Artona photos are SO expensive already. 😦

Anyway, on a happier note, I finally mailed in my JET application!!! 😀 Now all I can do is wait: first for the confirmation that they’ve received my documents, then for the good news *fingers crossed* that I qualify for an interview! I will update you guys with the news when it comes! But that may not be for another month or two…

When I was filling out my JET application, I got to give a few preferences of where I want to go in Japan. Having this important decision to make (although there are no guarantees of placement), I did my best to research on the different geographies of Japan. Now that I look back, this took waay too long and I feel very nerdy having done this in such detail. 😛 Call me picky, but there are sooo many factors to keep in mind, including (in relatively ranked order):

1. Dialect:
= I want to learn/improve on “standard” Japanese instead of a Japanese dialect, and apparently, there are many different “-ben” in Japan (eg. Kansai ben)
= Kantou region (including Tokyo) is where standard Japanese is based on
= avoid Okinawa, south Kyuushuu region (including Kagoshima), and Touhoku region for sure

2. Urban vs. Rural:
= I want the best of both worlds, so I chose “Semi-urban (Small city/town)” as opposed to “Urban (Large city/designated city)” and “Rural (Small town/village/island) on the application
= I don’t want to live on a rice farm or small towns where I’d get bored within a few weeks
= I don’t want to live in a TOO tourisy or noisy place either
= It’s super hard to end up being placed in the big cities with JET, since most people ONLY know of the big cities and there are more rural areas than urban areas available
= also see next 3 points below

3. Ease of befriending locals:
= I really want to make local Japanese friends more so than fellow exchange workers from all over the world
= the smaller the town, the more the people can get to know you intimately
= I heard Osaka/Kansai people are friendlier than Tokyo/Kantou people

4. Living expenses:
= I hope to save some money if possible
= obviously, big cities in Japan are quite expensive with everything
= the costs outside big cities drop considerably lower

5. Convenience to big(ger) cities:
= Japan is world-known for its big busy cities along with the hotsprings, sakura, and many other things, so being able to visit them again and again (without the travel costs sky-rocketing) is pretty important…and of course, it’s for watching CONCERTS too!!! 😀 😀
= I’m sure you know the major cities already–Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, Osaka…

6. Specialties:
= Anything note-worthy to see (nature, landmarks, buildings, historical stuff), to do (festivals, hot springs), and to eat. This is SUPER hard to make comparisons between different prefectures and cities cuz each is unique…
= I think I’m more of a Kansai food (okonomiyaki, takoyaki, udon) girl than a Kantou food (soba, natto) girl, although I do love sushi too, which is from Kantou
= I also like tonkatsu, gyouza, and miso ^^ (of course, for all these foods, i’ve only had the western samples of it, so I can’t make my final judgment until I try it for myself in Japan!)
= I’m not big on seafood >< (haha, this has turned into a food section instead 😛 )

7. Climate:
= I prefer a place with a different weather as Vancouver, but i’m not sure how successful this will be
= Okinawa is BEAUTIFUL with all those tropical sunny days! But during certain months, it can have crazy typhoons 😦
= Hokkaidou is too cold and has too much snow (although I do love snow, especially for snowboarding, but seeing it for such long periods is not so fun)

8. Ease of meeting up with friends & family:
= I have a couple of friends living in Tokyo and Kyoto right now. It’d be cool to visit them, plus it’ll probably help to break the barrier for making local Japanese friends!
= My parents may come visit me, so somewhere more convenient to get to would be nice~

There are more points for considerations that I can’t quite put a finger on right now (but I can tell you, I did think a bit about the birthplaces of some of the JE boys ^^).

And now for the wonderful websites that fed me information until 4:00 am a few nights because I was super hooked!
1) Wikipedia:
Japanese Dialect
Japanese Prefectures, scroll down to see also the list of Regions and Prefectures, and the MANY links you can go from there! YAY! 😀
Japanese Cuisine, scroll down to see also Regional Cuisine

2) Wikitravel:
Extremely helpful (and rather fun to read ^^) site for planning your next travel to Japan, including TONS of practical tips for everything from transportations to accommodations to restaurants and to sight-seeing locations!
– Click on the links to the Regions to narrow it down to the Prefectures and then to the specific cities! YAY! 🙂
Hitchhiking in Japan…not that I’d really recommend it…

3) Japan-guide:
Homepage, this may look a little overwhelming with info at first, but you can use the top navigations buttons to search around
Japan Geography (zoom into specific locations on the left bar)
Japan Travel, Japan Living, Japan A-Z, and Forum (Dive deeper into the sub-categories of each because they are FILLED with practical and useful info for everything related to going to Japan…although I still haven’t worked through most of it!)

It’s pretty much impossible to read through absolutely EVERYTHING on these sites, but hopefully you get a kick out of the ones I posted! Have fun reading and I hope you learn lots!! I know I sure did~ 😀 Let me know too if any particular pages stick out at you as totally worthy to be read!!

By the way, if you are interested, the location preferences I chose [after MUCH attempts with difficulties to balance out all the factors of considerations] are 1) Chiba Prefecture 2) Chiba City and 3) Saitama Prefecture
If you didn’t know already, Aiba Masaki (Arashi), Yamapi (NewS) and Tanaka Koki (KAT-TUN) are all JE boys from Chiba Prefecture~ ^_^

Life has just been SUPER busy in these couple of weeks. In fact, I REALLY should be doing my assignment worth 40% that’s due on thurs…but here I am 😛

Just so you guys don’t think I’ve died or anything…I thought I’d share/vent about a little incident here~

If you still don’t know, I’m in my last year of my Bachelor’s degree program, which means…dun dun dun…GRADUATION PHOTOS!! I actually just booked my appointment yesterday. And since the available time slots are very limited (I procrastinated too much), I ended up booking it for next wednesday!

So today, I went preparation shopping with my mom. I didn’t go all out (no manicure or hair appointments or new shoes), but I did end up doing the following:
1) making an appointment with a MAC artist ($45, but redeemable in products ^^)
2) getting a pretty black dress–my first tube top style clothing ($45)
3) buying 2 pairs of fake lashes and glue ($20)…1st time playing with these things…..and they are SO much fun!! *LOL* 😀

Anyway, the incident took place when I was trying on dresses at Mariposa. My mom was waiting outside the changing rooms. As I was changing, I overheard this:

Sales lady: “So what is the occasion?”
Mom: “It’s for her graduation.”
Sales lady: “That’s exciting! Is she graduating from high school?”
Mom: “Oh, no…”
Me: mom…you should have just said “yes” and ended it here…
Sales lady: “Oh? Elementary school then?”
Me: adfjkl;ads >.<

HELLO?! That was almost 10 years ago!!! *ggrrr*

Fine, maybe she didn’t take a good look at me before I went into the change room, and I admit, I know I look young and am not exactly tall. But still….do 12 year-old girls these days buy figure-fitting dresses like that for their ELEMENTARY SCHOOL GRAD?!

I don’t think so.

ps. Where are you, my T&T Best of Album?? I ordered by the slow delivery method (which unfortunately is also the least safe one 😦 ), but in the past few times, it has shown up at my door within 1-2 weeks. I know they say it can take up to 12 weeks for delivery, and that if it still doesn’t come, I can email cdjapan (I don’t know what they can actually do about it though…). I just hope it wasn’t stolen on its way here… 😦 *sigh*

(Next on my blog schedule: 日本に行くぞ~2 and another WU translation…it’s been a while ne…gomenasai!)


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