今週の漢字: 二倍

Forgive me! This past week has been gaining speed with all my plans and ambitions coming up, so I wasn’t able to write. Therefore, this post will be double the fun. Isn’t that exciting? You may be wondering, “What will be the content?” Well… if you have been reading my blog religiously, you should have been aware that the last two weeks were asides. Without further ado, here’s about my trip back to North America.

The flight back wasn’t so bad. It’s nice to have company, and the silliness of my sisters was amusing (although sometimes annoying). I flew from Nagoya to Newark via Detroit. I’ve heard lots of bad things about Northwest Airlines, but I can’t complain. It was the cheapest flight. Sure, the amenities are far less compared to other airlines, but so what? I’m not really so picky when it comes to films in the air. I’m not paying for it, right? Although I can’t choose from a list of films to watch at any given time, there are still movies shown.

When I got back to Newark, it was all very familiar. I mean, how distant could it really have gotten having only been away for a year? Nonetheless, I was back in my ultimate comfort zone. So what was the first thing to do? Of course, I spent a bit of time with most of family until the urge to see The Dark Knight kicked in. I called my friend that lived closest to home, and slightly shocked him with my idea of seeing it despite having only been back for a few hours.

The following three days were filled with meeting different people, but I saw a movie each of those days including my second viewing of The Dark Knight. It was lots of fun catching up with friends from home throughout my week and half back home. I wish I had more time to spend with all of my friends. I didn’t even get a chance to see some of them. I saw most of my friends only once. It was sort of humorous in that I was away for a year, saw friends for one day, and then leave again for another year. It was good talking, and I was happy that it seemed like I never really left. I think it’s not a good sign when you see a friend and everything just seems different. In such cases, the connection has been lost somehow. It’s sad, but it happens.

I was busy with family for the rest of the time. A few days, we went into the city (as in New York City), and we saw the musical, Wicked. Another day, I went with them to Woodbury Common, a big outlet center in the state of New York. I bought a lot of things like a new messenger bag (you must’ve gotten tired of my backpack that I wore all last year), blazers (yes, yes… I know… your jaw dropped and broke ground), clothes, and Tommy Hilfiger shoes (I didn’t know there were shoes from that brand either). Toward the end of my time home, we went to Six Flags: Great Adventure, which has “Kingda ka,” the tallest and fastest roller coaster on Earth as of now. I rode on it when it opened, but it’s fun to tell people about. Sometimes people ask me, “What’s there in New Jersey?” I can tell them about “Kingda ka,” instead of saying, “Well… there are a lot of trees.”

My second full week consisted mainly of going to Canada with my family. We drove up with my dad and I alternating the driving. We first went to Niagara Falls for a day. The drive wasn’t as long as what we expected. Ramada Inn, the hotel on our first night, wasn’t very good. I’ve never had a bad experience with Ramada. It’s not a great hotel chain, but as it was only one night, we felt that it wasn’t necessary to go all out. Anyway, this Ramada’s management was all messed up. I really hope it’s fixed now otherwise they will have a lot of angry customers. We were downgraded, because our room wasn’t made when we arrived. It wasn’t like we showed up right at check-in. We got there a little after midnight.

I was pleased with Niagara Falls. It’s not some place I’d go again any time soon, but for my first time there, I thought it was fun. We took a bunch of pictures. I posted some a few weeks ago. We went on the famous Maid of the Mist, walked around the area, and ate at the revolving dining room in the Skylon Tower. After our day’s excitement, we started toward Toronto. It was much closer than I thought.

Our hotel in Toronto was good as we stayed in a two bedroom suite at a Marriott Residence Inn. We ate at a bunch of Chinese restaurants throughout our time in Canada. I’m convinced that my parents wanted to travel to Toronto for the Chinese food considering it’s the closest place for more authentic. My dad kept talking about the food and recommendations he heard from different people. I admit it was very good, but I wouldn’t travel to some place just to eat the food.

Other than all the Chinese food, we went to Centre Island, which was relaxing and beautiful. There’s a ferry that goes to and from the harbour (ah, all the British English). On that same day, we went to the CN Tower. It was impressive, but tickets were also incredibly expensive. We opted not to go to the top. So what if it’s the tallest free standing structure in the world? As much as I like various views of cities, I didn’t think it was worth the ticket price. Another day was for Casa Loma, an early 20th century European-influenced castle. I felt it was one of the better tourist locations. On our last day there, I was hoping to experience the Taste of the Danforth, a big annual Greek town festival. It started at 6PM, because it was the first day of the festival. We had to leave by then, so I opted to just buy a gyro. It was delicious, but if only the festival started earlier in the day…

We started driving back to New Jersey in the afternoon, and our drive back was smooth, except for some nasty traffic between Toronto and Niagara Falls. After we returned home, I had to get busy with all my packing and cleaning up. My mom’s side of the family came to our house on my last full day home to celebrate the birthdays of my cousin and me. It was on my actual birthday too. Now I am 23, and I’m happy to no longer be what I consider the disgustingly sounding age of 22. Here’s to another year of high quality!

Stay tuned next week for another update!

En français:
Je me souviens quand j’avais 13 ans. Je pensais que d’avoir 23 ans serait dans un longtemps. Il y avait beaucoup du drame à cet âge, n’est-ce pas? Il est l’âge de la stupidité. Les adolescents pensent qu’ils sont les plus importants. Je ne voudrais jamais vivre encore mes années d’adolescent. Je suis content avec ma vie maintenant.

今週の聖書の詩: “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
- Romans 12:19-21 (NIV)

今週の写真: Shots from Casa Loma.



You might be thinking by my post’s title that I will write about my time at home, but I’m going to use this post for another aside from my descriptions of my visit back to the United States. Lately, I have been feeling a little out of it. After much thought, I think it was because I was figuring out what home is to me. I am starting to come to terms with me living my own life. I feel that home is the place where my family resides. If I am not with family, I am not truly home. When I was in Miami, I didn’t consider my apartment to be home. When I first came to Japan, I always referred to my place as “my apartment.” Just before I went back to the states, I started to refer to it as “home.” I think it was because I started to realize that I am really living my own life now. My visit back to the states was both good and bad. I was not confused about what is the meaning of “home.” I just added to it.

I have been thinking about my past and what revolved around home at the time. There are people who would love to go back to either their high school or college years. Personally, I would never want to go back. I am happy with where I am now, but of course things change. I am not against change, but I am trying to adjust to the changes. Some of them just seem to have come out of nowhere. I am dealing with the changes and somewhat remembering what home used to be as I watch shows that I used to watch. For example, I have been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Think what you must, some of you, but I do really like the show. I appreciate it a lot more now that I can relate more to it and notice subtle life metaphors. This past week, I also re-read my favorite book, The Catcher in the Rye.

I assure you that I am not reliving the past nor am I dwelling in it. At this point in my life, I need to look at my past in order to move forward. What’s the point of writing all this? Maybe some of you think that I should keep a diary. Oh, the horrors… Can you imagine me writing, “Dear diary…”? Don’t answer that! I simply want to share my thoughts and maybe get some of you thinking. Why don’t some people think? Life is not all about being a drone. It isn’t about the material. There’s more to it, right? You cynics, don’t answer that!

I wasn’t able to write an entry during the week, so I hope to post another one in a few days. Stay tuned this week for another update!

En français:
Quand je pense de mes soeurs, je me souviens mon passé. Je sais qu’elles comprennent le monde moins que les adultes. Je crois que les enfants doivent vivre leur vies. Il y a beaucoup de périodes dans la vie. Nous devons chercher notre but pendant chaque période et dans la vie.

今週の聖書の詩: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
- 1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)

今週の写真: 1&2) Restaurant in NY. It was delicious! 3) Chocolate fondue at Max Brenner, one of the best chocolate places EVER! 4&5) Cookie! Awwwww…


今週の漢字: 偏見

This post is an aside from my thoughts and accounts of my time at home and when my sisters were in Japan. I saw an article in the New York Times about foreign labor, especially Chinese, working in Japan:


I found it to be an interesting read. It shows how there are Japanese people who are fearful of foreigners working in Japan. Although the article is about a specific village that hired foreigners to farm, there are some excerpts showing the villagers thoughts on foreign labor in all of Japan. I suppose it is possible that there may be just a few villages in Japan that feel the way they do. However, I have read about fears and stereotypes that some Japanese people have of foreigners. I remember before coming to Japan last year, I was wondering how big of a challenge this may pose, especially my ethnicity. I am happy to report that I have encountered no adversity due to ethnicity or nationality. I don’t mean to sound so untrusting, but after reading the article, a thought came to mind. Although people don’t say anything negative to my face, it doesn’t mean they don’t think it or say it behind my back.

I believe that most, if not all, the people whom I have met are genuinely pleasant with no such hatred or fears in their hearts. Sometimes people here say things to me like, “You look so much like Japanese.” I wonder if people really see me and think I am Japanese. Of course, once I start speaking it is clear that I am not Japanese, but I imagine there are people who look at me and wonder where I really am from. I can never fully understand the culture nor fit in, which is fine for me. However, if people are hiding their true thoughts or feelings, what are they? Because of the negative birthrate in Japan, there is an increasing need for outside help. What do Japanese people think of this? How many people have the same view as the village from the article? I guess I may never know, but it is something worth questioning.

Stay tuned next week for another update!

En français:
Quand je parle avec mes étudiants, je pose des questions. Si on me demande à parler français ou japonais, je ne peux pas parler. Il y a beaucoup de phrases qu’on peut parler, alors on a besoin de conseils. Des étudiants me veulent parler en japonais, mais ils ne posent pas les questions. Il y avait une étudiant qui pose des questions. Nous avons discuté en japonais pour 10 minutes.

今週の聖書の詩: “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?”
- James 4:11-12 (NIV)

I think this is a very appropriate passage for this post. There have been too many times when I witnessed people even Christians judging others. I know that passing judgment is something people do naturally, but why do people pass judgment? Is it not only for them to feel better about themselves? Why must people always compare? It’s hard not to fall to judging and comparing, but I think that life stripped of people judging and comparing would be better.

今週の写真: These are pictures with my family at Niagara Falls, Canada. Some days I just wish I could get into a barrel and go over the falls. It seems like it’d be so fun!


今週の漢字: 後ろに

Ai ya… I missed two weekends in a row! That is… something I expected would happen eventually since I started this blog, but now I must get back to posting diligently. I will make every effort to dish out two new posts by next week (including this weekend’s normal post).

My time at home was spectacular. Canada had its hits and misses. First things first, I think some vocabulary crept back to my mind’s surface, so that was definitely welcomed. Let’s see how long it will take for me to plunge again. Anyway, I will go backward, so for this post, I want to write about my feelings on returning to Japan.

I think I felt a bit of homesickness on Monday after initially returning. It’s interesting, because I didn’t feel it when I was in Miami and it’s the same with my year in Japan. I attribute this feeling to a very fast and somewhat rushed time back on the other side of the world. I couldn’t do everything that I wanted, which is okay I suppose. Maybe my feeling was also fueled by how much time I spent with my sisters. I was with them for about a whole month. I can’t believe we were able to stand each other. They can attest to the fact that I can be a bit difficult at times. Actually, many of you who know me probably know it too. I don’t get angry easily, but I can make your time frustrating. Well, it’s up to you to believe me or disregard it as unfounded negativity.

The feeling has drastically diminished and seems to be close to nil now. Do I miss home? I’m still going to have to say that I don’t exactly miss it. Maybe if you asked me a few days ago when I first came back to Japan, I might have responded differently, but I was overwhelmed with emotion, not to mention fatigue from the nearly 24 hours it took me to finally get back to my apartment from the time I departed the states.

Stay tuned next week for another update!

En français:
D’apprendre une nouvelle langue est très difficile pour moi. Il est possible que je dois plus utiliser les langues. J’ai beaucoup d’ambitions. Alors, je veux apprendre plus de langues. J’expliquerai cette pensée dans le futur.

今週の聖書の詩: “Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.’”
- John 14:23-24 (NIV)

今週の写真: 1) Toronto’s Centre Island – Doesn’t it look so serene? 2) Sisters on a pier; 3) Parents riding a silly contraption; 4) Sisters and I coerced (slightly) to ride a larger one; 5) On a bridge with a good view of the CN Tower in the back; 6) Look at the current tallest building in the world!