Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Happy Halloween! I bought a package of fun-size Butterfingers from the import store for the office. They liked them, it was mentioned that there aren't really any Japanese candies that taste like them. Peanuts and chocolate just haven't taken off here, I guess. I haven't seen anything resembling Reeses here either, now that I think about it.

I stopped in Kamimaezu to check out the Osu shopping area on the way home, but things were closing down by then. Walked around, but I didn't really find anything. When I got home we played Legos and watched Ocean's Eleven on TV.

Man, I don't feel so good.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Today I visited the Yaragisawa Party in Kozoji. I made extra sure the trains would work out and everything, and left extra early. At Chikusa, I caught a Rapid train going direct, without any more stops in between. What the schedules didn't say, however, was that this particular Rapid cost extra. This wasn't mentioned until after I was on the train, so I had to pay the conductor lady an extra ¥310. Oh well.

The party itself went great, made friends had a good time had to say goodbye et al, same routine.

I met a dude on the way back, he came up to me at the station. He seemed like one of those nice Japanese guys who strike up random conversation with foreigners to practice their English, except that he really didn't talk that much. He just sorta hung around and made sure I got on the right train, which happened to be the same one he was riding. He got off a couple stops later and waved goodbye. I waved back.

In unrelated news, I think my iPod is finally running its course. The battery is at (guesstimate) ~40% efficiency, and the hard drive does funky things when the battery is too low. It decided to screw up a sync at the index level, so it had to re-sync the entire thing. This is kinda important, I spend so much time on trains. Oh well, hope for the best.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

My first big screw-up was today! I guess I'm initiated now.

So I get to the Labo center, and find a note on my desk about my party today. The tutor's father died yesterday, so another tutor arranged to pick me up at the station. Poor lady. Of all the days I could choose for me to be at my best, today would be it. I double-check the directions given to me by the tutor, cross-check the route on the computer, and leave a good 45 minutes ahead of schedule.

I get to Kanayama just fine, I had gone this way last week as well. All I needed to do at Kanayama is find the train that goes to Gamagori. According to the fare map, getting there cost about two hundred yen more than I expected (11** instead of 9**). Right then and there I should have figured something was amiss. It was the only Gamagori there was, so I figured I didn't have a choice. Bus fares back in the US rise by another dime every year, so it wasn't that strange to me. I bought the ticket and went down to the platform.

There were trains all over the place, Rapid Expresses, Limited Expresses, Special Expresses, you name it. After hopelessly trying to figure out what was going on from the posted timetables and maps (all in Kanji, and even so I couldn't find 蒲郡 anywhere), I asked a helpful-looking station attendant what train I needed to be on for Gamagori. He nodded and said "oh, you want the one after the next one on that side of the platform." Before I could thank him and go, he went on to say that I needed to transfer at Kirayoshida. Transfer? The computer didn't say anything about that. Seeing my confusion, he went over to a little lockbox, pulled out an English map of the line, and gave it to me, indicating where the transfer was. It seemed pretty straightforward, and according to the map it was the only way to get there.

The train pulled up, Rapid Express to Kirayoshida. I figured it doesn't get much faster than "Rapid," and this was the train he told me to take, so I got on before the doors shut. On the way, I had some time to look at the map a little closer. It didn't look familiar, and there were a lot more stations between Kanayama and Gamagori than I had expected. The computer said it should only take 35 minutes between those stations, and the more I thought about it, the less I was convinced that sort of time could scale to this many stations. It was an express train, so it skipped most of the stations, but it still wasn't adding up to me, especially with the transfer.

As I was looking at the map of this line, I noticed that "this line" was not the line I remembered seeing on the computer. I had taken the Meitetsu line, and I was pretty sure that was wrong. I futzed around with my work cell phone, trying to get it to dial my scheduler, Ono. I swear, this thing is harder to figure out in English than my personal one in Japanese. I managed to get it to make the call, and we pulled into the transfer station. As I transferred to the next train, Ono figured out how late I was going to be, then called the tutor to work things out.

I was on a relic of a train. Two cars, and they asked people to walk to the front to give their tickets to the driver before leaving. It was a single-track line, so we had to wait at one station for another train to pass the other way. Ono called back, instructing me to take a taxi to the party. I wasn't going to be very late, just a little late; thank goodness I left as early as I did.

The taxi driver was an interesting character. I actually managed to carry on something resembling a conversation with him, that was awesome. It's a fantastic feeling, breaking through these kinds of barriers learning a new language. He asked if I was Brazilian (it was dark out by now). As we got to the Chuubushimi Center, the light came on as I opened the door, and I saw that his hair was a shock of blue. Neat dude.

The Labo Party itself went great, aside from my slight tardiness. I hardly walked in before we started dancing, no introduction or anything. There were three Labo tutors and about three parties' worth of kids. The matching game worked out nicely, we took exactly as many turns as there were kids, so everyone got a shot.

After the main party, there was a smaller junior high party with about ten people. Things went peachy, introductions questions album etcetera, until I pulled out the hacky sack. They loved that thing. They sucked at it, but that didn't really matter. Had a great time, it was over too fast, like always.

One of the tutors gave me a lift to the station, and came in with me to make sure I got on the right train. She loaded me down with food, which was great because it was late and I hadn't eaten. I ate on the platform waiting for the train, there was hardly anyone else there. The train ride back was fast and luxurious, real seats and everything. It pained me to know that I could (should!) have been riding in style earlier instead of spending an hour and a half on that ancient choo choo, although the scenic route probably would have been fun if it weren't for the appointment.

Guess I learned my lesson. Also, my scheduler rocks.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

I visited a Labo Party way off in the boonies today (up in the Mie prefecture). I gotta say, Japanese boonies are pretty cool. There were pretty mountains and fields all around, even though it was only an hour and a half from Sakae. The station had an island platform, meaning I had to step down and actually cross tracks to get out, and there was a dude taking tickets instead of an automatic wicket.

The party itself was an open party, there were only five or so Labo kids, but there were a couple dozen visiting kids. Nishikawa tutor was really focused on making the party work, we stayed on a strict schedule. Us and the Labo kids got there 45 minutes early, and decked out the room with a big pile of paper pumpkins, streamers, and other decorations. I did pretty well with the shy ~5-year-olds (most of the kids weren't even used to Labo Parties, much less interns), they warmed up to me before it was over. I sorta wish I had a poster-board edition of the album, with this many people (their mothers were all there too) it becomes more like a class lecture than a group of friends.

We didn't know the train times, and as luck would have it a train came up just as we parked. Nishikawa tutor called to the station attendant, and he actually held the train for a few extra seconds for me to hop on, that's never happened to me in the city.

Oh yeah, before I left, while I went out for lunch at the Labo center, an odd thing happened. I took the stairs, which meant going through a business fashion shop on the fourth floor. As I walked in, an old lady, whom I'd never seen before, approached me, saying something to me in really fast Japanese. Before I knew what was happening, she reached behind my collar and tucked in my tag. Then she smiled, turned around, and walked off, leaving me bewildered and slightly neater.

OCD spasms like that aren't exactly common back in California, but I wouldn't be all that surprised if it happened there. In Japan, though, it's unprecedented to the point that the only explanation is that the lady did know me somehow. She must have been a Labo tutor who'd seen me at my desk in the Labo Center, I'm not exactly the conspicuous type. Yeah, that's probably it, seeing as how most Labo tutors are old ladies. (The rest are ladies that no one, in conscious self preservation, would ever call "old.")

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Today was a Monday, which means yet another study day. Other than working on my project, I cleaned up my room, it looks almost as nice as when I got here now.

One of my host mom's friends visited, and I got to do the album routine again. We ordered pizza, that was nice. Neither my tongue or my heat is going to get used to this mayo pizza anytime soon. I swear, I'd die if I ate as much of this as I normally eat when it comes to pizza.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

I must have blinked. I've been here for a month already. Damn it, I knew this would happen.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Today my host dad took me down to the golf place, along with Leona and Seia. We didn't go into the big driving range area, instead we went to a beat-up little green nearby. This was my first time hitting a golf ball with something other than a putter. We had an hour there, out of all that chipping I managed to get one ball technically in. Technically because the flag was lopsided and propped the ball with the edge of the hole so it didn't actually fall in, but I was assured that counted.

I didn't spend the whole time chipping, though. The kids found some plants with some nasty burr things, and decided it would be fun to whack everyone with branches. Throughout all my adventures in the US, I've never seen anything as evil as these things. They're small flakes, covered in some kind of abrasive superglue. Even one is hard to remove; if you can get ahold of it, the adhesive is strong enough to put up quite a fight. But there isn't just one, I had patches of hundreds on all the areas they had hit me with. You couldn't just brush them off, it was crazy. My fingers were bleeding before I had finished removing the ones I could find, the glue was strong enough to take bits of skin with it. Seia had such a great time with them that his dad was outside picking him clean for half an hour after we got home.

Went out to sushi tonight, I don't even want to think about how much it cost. Thanks, Nakatani family. After dinner, we went to a grocery store. I found a nifty 3D plastic jigsaw puzzle, an apple. When we got home I put it together while we watched the Chunichi Dragons (the local baseball team) get smooshed by the Yomiuri Giants (from Tokyo). A cleanup hitter named Ramirez hit a 3-run homer, and after he high-fived all his teammates, he did a spontaneous choreographed dance with an orange rabbit in a skirt. Japan can make even baseball interesting.

This rabbit.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Nothing all that special happened today. It was a half day at the office because the party went late last night, so it was nice to get the extra sleep. Although it wasn't really that much extra sleep, yay two-year-olds. At least my cough is going away faster than it did last time.

On the way home, I stopped by an AU store to try and pay for my cell phone. They had apparently sent the bill to my old host family, and although I think they forwarded it, I still haven't gotten it. The AU store had no problem taking the money, though. It was pretty expensive, I wonder if they charged me for two months in one go. No one spoke english there, so I tried not to make it more complicated than it had to be. I got it set up so that they would automatically bill through the bank instead of mailing to past host families. Still would like to see what drove up the bill, the only thing I've really been using the phone for is email, and there's a cap on that.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Today was my host sister Leona's birthday, she turned 7. I got her Ice Age 2 and Robots, she seems happy with them. They went out to dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, but unfortunately I had a Labo Party at the same time. I didn't need to go into the office today because the party yesterday went so late (if a party goes past eight, interns don't need to come in for the first half of the day) and because I had a party in the afternoon.

The party was way out in Akaike, pretty close to Hara. I arrived at the station half an hour ahead of time, so I got to sit out front and enjoy the atmosphere for a while. The weather today was really nice, cool and overcast with a crisp breeze, raining just lightly enough to not need an umbrella.

The party itself went really well. The tutor, Shimamura, was a nice old lady who sorta hung around in the background and let the Labo kids run things. The kids ranged from 6 (a few even younger I think) to 24, and there were a couple dozen of them. This party was a lot less shy than the ones I've been to before, they were really active, running all over the place. I had a great time; juggling, hacky-sack, and a few new games I tried out all went over pretty well.

Coming back on the subway, I found out firsthand that trains stop going directly from Kamimaezu to Nagoyako somewhere around eight. You need to transfer at Kanayama if you want to go home later in the evening. I'm rather proud of myself for figuring this out on the fly, albeit with some assistance from a bored sounding station attendant (he probably has people asking him the same question I did all the time).

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

I woke up this morning feeling pretty yucky, coughing and leaking nattou. I was wary of popping the strange pills my host mother had, so she cooked up some sort of ginger tea concoction. That helped for a while, at least.

By the time I came into the office, my host mom had apparently called and given them a heads-up as to my condition. Throughout the morning, office people came up to me to say that they'd heard I was sick, and to ask how I was doing. Awfully thoughtful of them. After lunch, my coordinator arrived and, along with a lady who just happened to have a brand new sealed bottle of cold medicine, all but shoved three pills down my neck. I found that I am not good at taking pills. He gave me three more pills and told me to take them after dinner.

I visited the Hashimoto Party today. After a less-than-intuitive transfer to the JR system through Kanayama station, I arrived in a quaint little town somewhere to the southeast. The tutor actually had two consecutive parties, first being the younger party. I read (and half-translated) a picture book ("What is Halloween?"), juggled a lot, played the memory game, and got to stand behind a door to hand out candy to trick-or-treating Labo kids. We did a few songbirds too, of course. Had a great time! Oh yeah, and I did all this in front of a shutter-happy reporter for the local newspaper.

The second group was even better, mostly high-school/college kids who knew enough english to converse. We had sort of a pot-luck dinner, mostly rice balls of various sorts. Played some hacky sack, that's always fun. We did a theme activity, a story about Frederick the poetic field mouse. I got cast as Frederick. After the activity, we had a discussion about colors (a subject featured in the activity) and differences in perception. Some interesting differences: In Japan, one describes unripe fruit as blue, not green (that holds true to describe youth or newbness, e.g. greenhorn). The sun is not yellow, it ranges from red to orange throughout the sky. I explained a part of the story that didn't survive translation (a gotcha rhyme), they were really into that.

The party ended at eight, but through various train schedule misunderstandings (none of which were on my part!) I didn't get on a train until almost nine. Yay late.

On a side note, I think this entry could use maybe one more set of parenthesis. (There, perfect!)

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Today I visited the Kato-Hiromi Party. It was only one subway stop away, so I decided to hoof it and enjoy the nice day. Beforehand, I went down to Loft to track down something resembling a halloween costume. I was thinking cowboy hat or pirate bandana, but the only cowboy hat they had was made of plastic, and the pirate hat (it was pre-shaped) didn't fit me. I settled on a little plush pumpkin (kabocha) that clips on top of my head, with vines and leaves. It's light, small, and durable enough to ride in my backpack, and it's sufficiently orange. I am a pumpkin for Halloween.

The party itself was pretty big, 25 kids, half of them with mothers. Unfortunately, with a party that size it's difficult to get to know all the kids. With smaller parties, there's usually a period of shyness, but it passes pretty fast as the kids get to know you. With a party this size, unless you're exceptionally charismatic, some of the younger kids manage to stay shy through the whole thing. Oh well, I did my best.

On the way back, I stopped by the Labo Center to pick up a couple "Labo" T-shirts from my scheduler. I haven't tried them on yet, but I'll be surprised if they're big enough for me.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Aurora was nice enough to let me sleep in again, today. Grr.

Mostly phutzed around with Ren'py during the day. In the evening, I built a big cargo ship out of legos, and a car and shipping container to put on it. My host dad works for a shipping company, see. When he got home, I asked him how mine compared to the real ones. He said it looked pretty neat, but his company's ships carry 4000 cars at a time. My ship could carry maybe two cars at the scale I built them. Even using 2x1 blocks for "cars," my ship's capacity was still an order of magnitude short.

Oh yeah, and building a container at an 8x8.5x20 ratio is hard when you don't have any plates.

On a side note, 100 posts! I bet some of them are even worth reading.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

I got a chance to introduce my host family to my Dad's family back in California. It went as well as one might have expected, putting eager kids in front of a camera. At least they didn't put a transformer through my laptop screen.

Didn't really do much else interesting today... mostly just coughing and watching kids.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

I woke up today to a rabble of Labo kids and a few parents, kind've a surprise. We went to the Nissan University's festival day, pretty neat.

There were different tables where students were selling cheap yakisoba, okonomiyaki, etc. Upstairs, they had a little course set up with some remote control cars. They had a stage with some bands playing, and a comedy troupe. They were using stencils in and airbrushes in the body shop to give temporary tattoos.

I met one of the students there, a Russian fellow by the name of Eddik (or however it's supposed to be spelled, I'm not familiar with Russian names). He spoke fluent English and Japanese, and he was the same age as me. It's inspiring to meet someone so accomplished, but at the same time kinda humbling.

After the college event, we wandered around the park for a while and stopped by the supermarket on the way home.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Today was my host brother Seia's birthday, he turned five. On the way back from the Labo Center I stopped at an HMV and picked up a copy of Happy Feet and a Tom and Jerry DVD (it was on sale). I was looking for a copy of Ratatouille (actually titled "Remi's Delicious Restaurant" here), but it was pushing 40 bucks. 50 for blu-ray. No wonder broadcast TV is so popular here.

When I got back home, he was actually asleep on the couch. When he woke up, I presented (har) him with the gifts. I was braced for some kind of "I don't want it, wrong penguin movie" 5y/o melodrama, but he loved them. What took me off guard was that my host sister (the older one) broke down when she didn't get anything. She didn't speak to me for like half an hour. Her own birthday is in less than a week, on the 23rd.

We went out to dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory, the same franchise from Portland and Sacramento. It survived the transition to Japan better than Denny's did; although there was a "Japanese style spaghetti" section on the menu, they had the same mizithra cheese special I ate two years ago in Sacramento. We got to eat inside a train car, and the staff even did the (very American) sing-to-the-birthday-boy thing.

After we got home at around 10ish, Seia convinced his mom to let him stay up and watch the Tom & Jerry DVD, four ~10 minute eps. After that finished, he managed to finagle in the penguin movie too.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

I had a Labo Party this morning, my host mother's younger party. There were around six kids (≤3歳) and as many moms.

At lunch, Nakatani-sensei called my scheduler and asked if I could just not bother going in to the Labo Center, so I could stick around for her afternoon party as well. He said ok, so I did. It was the same party as last week, except a few more kids came this time. The matching game was a huge hit, which was just as well as they had already seen my album.

I really need to start getting to bed earlier.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

The Labo Party turned out to be a playgroup, pretty laid back. There was a 3y/o, a 2y/o, a 1y/o, a baby, and three mothers. Had a great time, the matching game went over well. We had a small lunch there, too. The tutor, Shibata tutor, is apparently an avid baker, and she made some bagels for us. They were certainly up to par from what I could tell, although my palette might not be quite calibrated.

Bleah, late.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Office. Yay.

Emma drew a halloween-themed memory game, it's pretty neat. I printed it out, made some backings, and laminated them. It looks pretty good. A couple of the pictures are kinda scary... it's just as well, I probably won't be using all twelve pairs for younger kids.

Got a Labo Party tomorrow morning! Hope it goes well.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Today was a holiday. My host family and I went out for lunch... we went to this sushi place, but there was a half-hour wait, so we crossed the street and went to another restaurant.

We went to this supermarket/variety store place. There was a pet section, with puppies and kitties. There was one fluffy little kitten who would whack at your finger if you put it up against the glass, it was pretty cute. I wondered how no one had bought him yet, until I figured out that he cost over fifteen hundred bucks. Meow.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Had another sports day this morning. This time it was at Seia and Eria's kindergarten/preschool. I spent the latter part of the event over by the playground, teaching hacky-sack to a bunch of elementary-school-age kids.

We went out to lunch at the indian restaurant again.

Over dinner, we played that one game where you say a word that starts with the last letter of the last word. After, my host mother pulled out a ~forty-year-old scrabble set and we gave that a try. It didn't work too well, mostly because it was difficult to anagram with three energetic kids prancing through everything. Maybe we'll try again later.

Oh yeah, I've had a headache since around noon. Probably just dehydration, at least I hope that's all. Not looking forward to being sick again.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya


Saturday! Slept in, or at least tried to. My host siblings were making so much noise when it was early that I clamored through my pack and dug out my earplugs.

We went to the supermarket next door for lunch/shopping. There was this apple danish in the bakery that had an entire half of an apple inside, instead of slices. It was delicious.

Picked up a couple more Anpanman gashapon, too. This time I actually got Anpanman, yay. Our fridge is now adorned with four of these magnet/figure things.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Today was my first real actual go-somewhere-on-my-own Labo Party! It went really well, none of the kids hated me. Hey, I consider that a success for my first time.

We were planning on doing a theme activity, but everyone was having so much fun playing duck duck goose and hacky sack that Okita-sensei I guess forgot about it. All that preparation, oh well. Had fun anyways!

Apparently I was the first intern Okita Tutor has had for almost ten years. She was really nice... I don't wanna say carefree, but that high-strung feeling I get from most tutors I've met wasn't there. Her daughter went on an exchange to Wisconsin last year, and she and her son are going to Washington State next year.

It's kinda hard to say goodbye at the end of these parties... you make a whole bunch of friends, and then you're never going to see them again. I suppose I'll need to get used to that.

There was a Book-Off right near the station, so before I left I stopped by. They had two games I had been looking for, and they were pretty cheap too. One was that Aha! game I'd been showing the demo of on my PSP to everyone back home, the one where you have to identify the change in the photo. The other was Minna no Golf 2, sorta like Mario golf without the Mario. My host dad plays golf (he gets up at 5 every morning to practice at the driving range down the street, and he's been in two company tournaments since I've arrived), so I've been trying to get back into that. Maybe I'll get up at 5 with him one of these days and see if I can learn how to not miss a golf ball.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Labo party was fun. We spent the entire allotted hour doing songbirds and a theme activity, and the next half hour juggling. For future reference, I will not attempt to teach at a party unless I'm equipped with a bucket of balloon balls or something. This was the same party I walked in on when I arrived here almost two weeks ago, so they'd already seen my album.

I'm beginning to see how these things might wear someone out when done in high quantities.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Another office day. Stuffing envelopes and studying kanji. Tomorrow should shake things up a little bit, I've got a Labo Party in the afternoon. My scheduler has me starting off easy, though, it's my host mother's labo party.

On the way home I went to the Loft store in search of some shorter posts for my album. No luck in that regard, but I did get to scour the Sofmap on the top floor again. I found a Yakitate!! Japan DS game, it was really cheap. After bringing it home, I figured out why; it's sort of a cross between Monopoly and Mario Party. Not exactly the cheap Cooking Mama one might have expected.

I got a couple of Anpanman gashapon for Leona and Seia. Neither of them were main characters, but the kids liked them anyways.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

I managed to forget my wallet this morning. About halfway to the station (which is only a block away) I realized this, and had to turn back and get it. Still made it to the office on time ok.

I had an intern introduction thingy that had to be done by noon. I had already finished most of it, so I spent the morning getting the pictures right. I couldn't find a picture of the Hyperion redwood online, so I ended up using one of a different tree. Oh well.

I went to this import grocery store to find some food. Some of the items on the shelves would have been familiar if it weren't for the price tags. I'll have to buy some of that food one of these days and bring it home and make dinner. Sometime when my funds are a little freer, maybe.

I've been having to hit the coffee/tea a little harder recently, I need more sleep. In completely unrelated news, I beat the Ace Combat game (the one I bought last week) last night, it's lotsa fun.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Today was a study day for my cultural study project. Ono told me not to bother coming in to the Labo Center and do it at home, so I spent a good four or five hours on it. Man, I hope this thing will be as cool as I envision it.

Playing Legos, I noticed the nameplate I made yesterday was gone. It seems that my host dad liked it enough to bring it into work with him. So, among the other things I put together, I made a Lego rendition of 中谷, the name in kanji. Not sure if he's seen it yet.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Dreary and rainy today. There was a community sports day at the local junior high school, which went on until about lunchtime when they decided to give in to the rain. It was fun until then at least, I met some neighbors, including a guy from Korea who had come here and started a family. Simple Japanese was all we had in common as far as language (he knew a more than I do at least), but you can say a lot even just through that.

Played with kids and hung out inside where it was dry for the rest of the day. Built lotsa Legos with more Ice Age playing in the background. Having flashbacks to 'Cre'bles. I have been dubbed a Lego "tensai" ("genius") after making a plaque sorta thing saying "なかたに," my host family's name. I ought to put myself on the fast-track to be a master builder at Legoland, maybe I could get the job with a plaque saying "Kristiansen."

We had Takoyaki for dinner, my host mom made me some containing conyaku instead. Yum.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Weekend, yay! It's kinda late so this'll be brief.

Mailed in my ballot! I had to pay like three bucks for it though. Maybe I should have pointed out the "postage paid" thing on the envelope...

Went out to lunch to this nice little Indian restaurant down the street, I understand that the Nakatani family comes here regularly. It was pretty good, even though all we ate was some curry and a bunch of nan. The waiter was an interesting guy, a second generation Indian who knew four languages. He can't have been much older than me. He was really patient with us, three loud kids climbing around everywhere, we sorta abused the unlimited nan deal, on top of it all were using a coupon... the sort of meal you'd tip like 50% on in America. Guess he made sort of an impression, although him being the first non-Japanese person I've met in a week might have had something to do with that.

We went off to a Toysrus. I bought a big pile of Legos for the Nakatani kids, their poor little bucket was getting stretched pretty thin between the four of us. Also found some Magic cards that Denis had asked for, and a moderately hard shell for my PSP.

Stopped by another shop on the way back, I bought them an Ice Age DVD. We watched it when we got back, everyone liked it a lot. Seia demanded that we watch it again after dinner, and my host dad said that now he understands why some people become vegetarian.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Ono-san took me out to lunch today, a little soba restaurant hidden in Sakae's underground shop maze. After lunch, he took me a few blocks out to a spaceage-looking seven floor mall place. He directed me to the top floor, said there were "games and movies" up there. After navigating up a set of escalators reminiscent of Hogwarts, I found the top floor occupied by a Sofmap.

Sofmap is pretty sweet. It's one of the best game stores in Akihabara regarding both selection and price (despite being so huge), so I was pretty excited to find one so close to here. I didn't have much of the lunch hour left for browsing, but I did grab a few figures and a guide for my Haruhi game. Woot.

At 5:30, as I was leaving, I stumbled upon a group of Labo college students preparing for a meeting. I jumped in and started talking, made some friends and showed my album. They said they meet every two weeks, so I ought to see them a few more times at least.

Pizza for dinner, nom. The nori and cheese one was certainly something I hadn't tried before.

Why hello there, Slashdot! Thanks for checking out my journal.

Please let me know what you think!

EDIT: ...or not. I guess nobody actually ever clicks there after all. Oh well.

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Oda-san came back today, but he and pretty much the whole office were in a staff meeting all day. They brought bentos in, so I got a free lunch. Nom. I spent the day studying kanji and setting up my culture project on my work PC.

Oh yeah, and Nintendo announced their new DSi today. I wonder if I should get one, my old lite is getting kinda worn out. I wonder if I'll get the chance, seeing as how much the demand will probably be...

Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

Cripes, is it October already? Maybe I oughta think twice about this living in Japan idea, life is short enough as it is. This is gonna be a fast year. I mean, a fast 10 months and change. Yikes.

Ono-san (my scheduler) was gone today as well. I did some studying, stuffed some envelopes, and researched Halloween games. At lunch, I went out with Ponde and... and... I'm pretty sure his name started with a G... anyways we had udon. My "plain" udon came with a neat pile of bonito flakes on top, but it wasn't a problem that couldn't be mitigated by spoon.

I met some college members (there apparently aren't any "college mates" here, as would be normal in Labo). They were nice, but they were kinda preoccupied with some project, so I only got to talk to one of them for any length of time. Didn't quite get their names, oh well.

On the way out I wandered around Sakae for a bit, looking for a games shop. I found one without too much trouble, a nice one at that. I got the Ace Combat game I've been wanting, and they had the cheap used copy of Ouendan 2 Denis had asked for.

My host mother took it to heart when I told her that just because I was a vegetarian, I didn't mind if they had meat on the table. Tonight each of the kids and their dad got a whole cooked fish, head and everything. It wouldn't have been so bad if Eria hadn't chucked his on the floor (twice) and Seia wasn't playing a puppet show with the entrails.