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☆ To see all of the parts in this series, click here

The Penis Festival.
*coughs*
I mean, The Kanamara Matsuri.

Kanamara means, um.. literally means “metal penis.” Matsuri means “festival.”

So, yeah, Festival of the Metal Penis is what it means, and that’s pretty much what this is.

A crapload of people write about this festival, and if you don’t believe me, Google it. Lots and lots. I’ve been twice. Why, you ask?

Because, seriously, when else in your life are you going to get a chance to go to a Penis Festival?

I am not myself overly fond of that organ, but there are also vaginas paraded around on floats and on all of the merchandise you could ever want. Like lollypops.. yeah.

The Kanamara Matsuri is really just a lot of people gathering at a little shrine in Kawasaki (in the southern outskirts of the greater Tokyo area) to be silly, buy things (there are plenty of vendors in the courtyard of the shrine for the special day), and watch the parade. The star of the parade is a float of a giant 6-foot tall erect, pink phallus. This isn’t for kids. Or, rather it is. Because both times that I went, there were plenty of kids around. Go figure. ;)  Continue Reading »

☆ To see all of the parts in this series, click here

The roommate situation hung in the air, making my home life tenuous at best. Downright frightening at worst. But I didn’t let it stop me from exploring Japan, my new home. Lecherous men on the street, drunk naked boys in karaoke, knife fights on the train, driving cold, not even the awful roommate could diminish my love of the country that spit out all of the manga and anime that I could get my hands on.

So, while the roommate situation was still unresolved, I went out and met more cool people. Specifically, Eda and her friends who were in Japan on their honeymoon, Kat and James! Why they wanted to hang out with other people while on their honeymoon is beyond me, but I’m glad that they did, because we have been through a lot and are still great friends, nine years later.

And, of course, what better to do with a free night than help Eda and I fulfill another of the quests that we had began–  Continue Reading »

☆ To see all of the parts in this series, click here

Oh no, the Living Tall in Japan series isn’t over yet! Not by a long shot!

It’s just that I mentioned that I’d actually had a roommate worse than Cersei in college, and I wanted to talk about that whole experience. It’s a long story, so brace yourself!

It’s been more than 10 years, but yanno, the story of Brenda is one that I’m never going to forget. It was the beginning of September, 2001, and I had just started college. I was living in Phoenix, Arizona, in an apartment with three guys– my boyfriend Ron (I was still struggling with my sexual identity, and it was very hard for me to come to terms with it), and his friends, Eric and Jon. Ron and I shared a room, and Eric and Jon were theoretically sharing a room, only Eric forgot and locked his door the first night, so Jon slept in the living room. Thereafter, he sort of lived in the living room, loving his loud music and not loving his headphones. Being the type who hates bass with a passion, this was a bit of a source of contention for us, but this story isn’t about that.

It was an expensive apartment, right across from Continue Reading »

☆ To see all of the parts in this series, click here

Yesterday, I introduced my new roommate, Cersei. Cersei was in her 60s, loved to drink and smoke, and to mother me. She didn’t appear to much like Japan, though. I wasn’t sure why she was here at all, really.

Meanwhile,  I was sick of living with people whom I had nothing in common with, and I was sick of my job with Nova, so I started asking my coworkers about how to get an apartment of my own, and where to look for other opportunities. There are a ton of websites out there, but I didn’t know about them yet, and I will always feel that a personal recommendation is the best way to get your foot in the door anyways. :)

While trying to make a decision, it just so happened that I was also living my life. I went to my very first fanclub event (for Nagayama Takashi, who was in Tenimyu, of course), and met a friend of a friend, Whitney, to show her around Tokyo. We had a blast! And then, the last episode of Tenipuri finally ran on tv, and I cried a river of tears.

Then, I went to the Penis festival in Yokohama.. which I will talk about soon!

During this, we’ve gotten a new roommate, another girl from Australia. Allie. Continue Reading »

☆ To see all of the parts in this series, click here

A few days ago, I mentioned that we were getting a new roommate at  Casa del NOVA. When I’d moved into that company apartment in September 2004, my two roommates, Rachel and Ang, were from Florida and Australia. We didn’t interact all that much, as we had very different interests, it seemed, but that was fine for us and we coexisted on friendly terms.

And then, Ang moved back to Perth. Rachel was also leaving, but right before she did, we got a new roommate to fill Ang’s spot, and that was an older lady, whom I am going to give the name Cersei. Because Joffrey was maybe a tinge more evil than she.

Cersei was an older woman. I have no idea Continue Reading »

☆ To see all of the parts in this series, click here

March 7, 2005.

A quest that Eda, Erin, and I had started on Christmas eve came to a close.

I didn’t want to mention this until I got to the finding part, in order to keep it all a surprise. You see, on Christmas eve, the three of us had been wandering around Tokyo, looking at lights, and also looking for something. We wanted to find the elusive, mystical, illegal used-panty vending machine.

It’s one of those things that you hear about. Oh, wacky Japan, where girls sell their used underwear so that perverts can buy it, and… do whatever they do with it. Idon’twannaevenknow.

Shops like this used to be popular, but nowadays Continue Reading »

☆ To see all of the parts in this series, click here

March 6, after almost half a year in Japan, I finally did something cultural. I felt like it was fitting… aaaand okay, I only went because my friend Erin invited me to. I had been here almost six months and never once thought to go do something Japanese-y yet. I mean, to me, Japan was all about anime, anyways! Anime and Tenimyu are culture, too, right?

Oh, yeah. So, what did I do? I went to see the plum blossoms in Ome, a rural city north of Tokyo. Every year when the plum blossoms bloom at the end of winter, they have a festival to celebrate. Whee!

My two best friends, Eda and Erin, and a friend of Eda’s who was visiting, Ko, all braved the trains to Ome, where it was overcast and the ground was frozen hard, but still managed to have fun. I mean, all that you need is a few good friends, right? The festival itself was not that exciting, to be honest, but the flowers were pretty. :3  Continue Reading »

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