Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oh, the Randomness

Hey y'all!
This post is about to be extremely random, as a forewarning, for the following reasons: I gave up coffee (aka my life source) for the next month, we have had all-day practices for the past two weeks, and I've had a solo dance/sing-along session going on in my room for the past 2 hours. The aforementioned reasons have left me a little crazy and delirious. If you pictured me dancing around my room and had some sort of movie reel type-scene going on, bless your heart. That's exactly what's happening. Actually it's still happening; I'm just randomly typing sentences in between chorus breaks. So....let the randomness commence.
This last week was "Golden Week" in Japan. That would be a week long, nationwide holiday. EVERYBODY gets vacation all at the same time. Hectic. I loved Golden Week, though, because there were sales everywhere. Everything was on sale. Ice cream, bananas, napkins, books, clothes, candles, wine. You name it, it was on sale. This made going into the city for shopping complete Heaven. Fortunately for my summer wardrobe, but unfortunate for my bank account, an H&M opened up in the city. American sizes! We went for a second time because our translator didn't get to go with us the first time. Obviously, we had to support her and her shopping trip by going again....
It was really funny when we walked in, though. She was drinking tea when we walked in. She turned to both of us and said, "Can one of you hold my tea? I need to focus on the clothes." We gladly took her tea and let her go into shopping mode. When we met back up an hour later, however, she only had 2 items and we combined had about 20. Clearly she needed some hypnotizing or something to get fully focused.
I'm swearing off shopping from now on, too. At least in Japan. I think I've close to doubled my wardrobe since being here. Major problem.
After shopping, we were hungry and since it was Cinco de Mayo in the States still (we're a day ahead), we decided to find a place with some Hispanic drinks....then we found Outback Steakhouse. AMAAAAAZING. We got ourselves a Bloomin' Onion and some Alice Springs Chicken, and of course a margarita (or two). Our translator proved to be a bit of a lightweight, though. She struggled her way out of the restaurant, with us two absolutely dying of laughter beside her. Fortunately we knew the way back on the trains. Otherwise, we may have been a bit lost until we got some bread or fluids. Definitely one of the more hilarious moments while here in Japan.
The day before, we decided to go to the beach. The beach is my all-time favorite place in the world. Give me crashing waves and sand, and I'm the happiest girl in the world. I could literally sit there all day (and I probably would if it wasn't so damn unproductive). It was super pretty, but SUPER windy. Made tanning a little painful and ultimately pointless. We walked around the beach for a bit. We were, obviously, the only Americans. We were also the only ones in bathing suits. Everyone else: covered, head to toe. Upon questioning our translator about it, most Japanese people do not like getting tan. In fact, they think being as white as possible is the epitome of beauty. Seriously, they have bleach in some of their facial products. Makes buying any face wash an extremely frightening experience. So, all the people at the beach simply went to enjoy the atmosphere. This atmosphere was a mix between a wind storm and an obstacle course. Along the shoreline was the most concentrated washed up jellyfish collection I've ever seen. They were all just chillin out of the water, with their bubbly orbs threatening unsuspecting people's feet. But then I remembered, Finding Nemo. When they bounce off the tops of the jellyfish, but then Dori fails and gets stung. I wanted to test the Finding Nemo theory that the tops don't sting you, but didn't feel like having to get peed on for my gullibility.

Literally there were 100s of them along the shoreline!

There he is! Bottom right corner....Squirt!!!

Speaking of Finding Nemo......we got to see a giant turtle! I don't know the real name for them. Tortoise? Or is that the land one? Whatever. I saw him. And Squirt. He's by far my favorite character in that movie. But we didn't see them in the ocean. We went to the Aquarium. Would've been so much cooler to lie to you and say I saw a wild huge swimming turtle and his little Squirt look-a-like, but I'll just tell you the truth and let you down a little bit. Anyways, we got to see dolphins and seals. We watched one of the shows and one of the seals was hilarious. He straight up refused to do any of the tricks. Even with the person speaking in Japanese, I knew he was frustrated with his porpoise friend. He would throw something into the water and the seal would jump in and just swim right past it. Rebel. I wanted to give him a little high five, since that was the only trick that he actually accomplished on the night. All the dolphins did their tricks, though. Boring. Except one of them did flipper kick a ball out of the entire stadium. Not sure where it was really supposed to go, but I know it wasn't supposed to fly 50 yards up and above the stage. After the show, we went to the Penguin House. By far, the WORST smelling place I've ever been in. Dear Jesus, it was awful. Cute as a button but those little guys are disgusting.
We were "those tourists"
Took pictures with everything
At the Aquarium, they had all sorts of carnival type food. I resisted all the delicious fried bits of amazing. But I discovered an amazing healthy treat. Frozen pineapple. If you're a fan of pineapple, pop some of those guys in the freezer. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. Game changer, for sure.

Prior to our water fun day, we went to Pottery Row. Apparently the area that we're in is known for it's pottery. Who knew?! They literally have a street of shops that sells all kinds of handmade pottery and in each of these stores, you can make your own. They have spinning wheels and a teacher helps you throughout the entire process. I've already used these wheels before in one of my art classes, so I wasn't as reliant on the "sensei." I did forget, though, just how messy it can get. Hours later, I was still finding bits of clay in random parts of my body. It was a lot of fun, though. Just needed Patrick Swayze to come in for a Ghost reenactment.

Okay, if you've made it this far through all this randomness, congratulations.....and sorry.

Maybe next time, I'll be detoxed off of coffee and not so spastic in my thoughts (let's hope).
xoxo Jordan

Friday, May 4, 2012


As you could probably guess, they play Japanese music here (so weird, I know!) It took me awhile to actually start listening to some of the songs that play on the radio and in the weight room. But once I did, I discovered something amazing. They sing in English. But in random, sporadic intervals. A typical song goes something like this....

Japanese japanese japanese........YOU CAN DO IT.....japanese japanese japanese japanese....NOTHING CAN STOP YOUUUUUUUU.....japanese japanese japanese.

THE band. You can see Willie Nelson....
At first, I did a double take and was making sure I wasn't going crazy. If there's one thing I've noticed, in Japan, I have a radar for English or anything non-Japanese. We took a trip to the city on one of our days off and I managed to find quite possibly every "foreigner" in it. You hear English here and are immediately scoping the scene to find the source. So far the funniest of this "scoping" was also on our day off. We went into the city without our translator to go shopping and site-seeing. Unfortunately for my bank account, a H&M opened here. Since everyone fits into baby Gap sizes here, the bigger aka normal sizes are left for me to swoop up and give a home. After we went shopping, we decided to go exploring a bit and found a park. We were looking for food and it looked like they had a festival going on, so we wandered over. There, we found a stage with a band doing a sound check. Normal, right? Uh....WRONG. We discovered the band was the most RANDOM group of American (maybe) men known to mankind. Singing was a boy who looked about 18 wearing a vest and newsboy cap. Playing the guitar was a man who was clearly inspired by Willie Nelson and his persona, since he did his best to replicate the exact thing. Playing the drums was a somewhat goth/emo man. He may have actually been Japanese but he was too far away to see. Pretty sure he was obsessed with the anime cartoons that are popular here since much of his outfit reflected it. I didn't get to see the fourth member of the band because just at that moment, me and Wiggins were starting to be followed by a security guard. Apparently you needed a ticket (whoops). We kind of wandered around in a zig-zag path to see if he was following us. Sure enough, he followed us straight out of the park, without food (tragic). 

I have noticed a pattern of the English that's present in their songs. It's all inspirational. The word "fight" and "love" are used a lot. It makes you kind of want to sing along but then it starts back to Japanese and you're left mumbling (hasn't happened to me or anything....).

There are random places that play non-Japanese songs, though. I've noticed the trend to play The Beatles in all hotels. This makes me extremely happy. I mean, who DOESN'T like The Beatles?! If you don't like them, you don't have a soul. Point blank. A lot of businesses actually play The Beatles. And not just "Hey Jude" and "Can't Buy Me Love" but some of their less popular songs. Beatles Heaven. 
They also love Disney music. And Disney in general. Again, I'm in heaven. These are two of my most favorite things in the whole wide world. Disney and The Beatles. You could kind of, maybe, possibly, somewhat say I'm a Disney freak. I think it's a little overboard....but then again, people think me owning every movie ever made is overboard. I call it dedication. Anyways, they play ALL sorts of Disney music. Techno Disney. Instrumental Disney. Disney in commercials. Japanese versions of Disney. EVERYTHING. 
Some of the girls are starting to get into popular American music. In fact, I'm almost positive that they type "Popular American music" into a search engine and click download all. Their choices are all across the board. The first week I was here, I forgot my iPod in the weight room so I was listening to their music over the speakers. It started off with Japanese songs. A random Black Eyed Peas song was thrown in there (they LOVE them here). And then...........Lay it Down by Lloyd. Seriously.......
I had no words. I tried telling them it's a dirty song but they think "dirty" is good since we use it in baseball terms. As in "that pitch is dirty." So they think I love the song and insist on playing it at random times. Yay.......
A couple other songs they love playing.....
Shots - LMFAO (unedited....yeh it's awkward blasting it in the park with little children)
Starships - Nikki Minaj
Anything by Black Eyed Peas (unfortunately)
A couple songs by Ludacris

Pretty much everything is unedited. Obviously, they can't understand a damn thing. But it's definitely awkward walking through a public place and hearing people drop f-bombs over the radio and no one flinches. 
Most of the stores and malls play American music that's popular right now. Which makes for a lovely impromptu karaoke sessions. I mean everyone already stares at me here, so I figure I can do pretty much whatever I want. Might as well give them a show if they insist on creeping and sneaking looks at the tall, crazy American. My favorite moment thus far was when Call Me Maybe came on in the store. I literally had a mini heart attack and starting dancing and singing. People, obviously, thought I was crazy. But I didn't really notice that everyone was staring until after my spazz attack/performance. I love that song. Luckily it's not playing on every radio station as I know it is back in the states, so it has yet to get old for me. Brings a smile to my face every time! 
Basically, our shopping trips have proven to double as karaoke sessions, to the dismay and adoration of fellow shoppers. They love Americans here. We can do no wrong! Lord knows someone would've told me to shut up by now in the states. So, I'm going to take full advantage of singing in public while here in Japan. 

xox Jordan!