July 14th

New City Hotel, Nishi-Shinjuku

Today was my last day with the Mitsuda family. They all came down to the hotel for a goodbye ceremony, where anyone who wanted to went up and related their best experiences. There was a lot of crying and goodbyes, but everyone is gonna stay in touch, I think. I went up and talked about my experience with Take's school. I got plenty of pictures, too.

After that, everyone got some time off to explore shinjuku and find dinner. That is, almost everyone... the people who were transferring to LEX for their second homestay had to leave pretty soon after that, including Kage, Ben, and Becky. I'll miss Kage, I liked her.

We walked all around the freaking block looking for a place to eat, and short of a McDonalds and a couple conbinis, we couldn't find one. We had given up and were trying to find a shortcut back to the hotel through some back alleys, when this japanese speaking chinese dude popped out of some random door, and irasshaimasenned us into a little chinese restaurant shack hidden in the shadows. We decided to eat there (I don't think the guy was really giving us a choice), and navigated the menu to find something appetizing. I found what turned out to be tofu in a spicy sauce, with bits of something else that the waiter assured me wasn't meat. I didn't get upset in the stomach (aside from the spiciness), so he must have been right.

Ryan tried to order a plate of four potstickers, and ended up ordering four orders of potstickers. They weren't so expensive, so we survived, but then it turned out that they charged extra for the bowls of rice that they gave us with our food. My bill was reasonable enough, but some of the others' was kinda higher then they were expecting.

After that, we went back to our rooms. Danielle, Victoria, Bryce, and I went back to Danielle's room. Bryce pulled out a little ear piercer and pierced his ear on the spot, with a little help from Danielle and Victoria. He missed the right spot on the ear, and got it too close in. So, he yanks it out and whips out another piercer, and does it again, getting it right. By that time, I was pretty close to barfing, so Danielle gave me some chocolate and I went and bought some Haagen Daz out of the vending machine, and went back to my own room.

I'm sharing a room with Ryan... he's an ok kid, but sharing a 10' by 8' japanese hotel room with a 14 year old homo is not an experience I'd repeat in a hurry. The toilets in this hotel are terrible, too. When you sit down on them, the little asshole cleaner sprays downward for a minute or two, kind of a cleaning cycle or something. I wasn't really expecting it, see, and it kind of took me off guard... there's a good reason America hasn't adopted toilets capable of becoming freaking overlords.