Wow, thank you guys so, sooooo much! The outpouring of support and plethora of emails has been amazing! All for little (okay, well, tall) ol’ me! It’s sort of unbelivable. 🙂 Keep them coming on!
I’m trying to get to every email and comment that I get. I will, promise. 🙂 Right now, I’m still in a bit of a down-time mode. I really pushed myself! So, let’s think about editing tomorrow and do something fun and sort of related!
I found this Japan questionnaire on my old blog, where I’d started but never finished it. Well, I think today is a good day to do that! Read on to see what I mean, and let’s get to know each other a little more! 🙂
Day 01 – A picture of you “in Japan”. (doing or wearing something “Japanese”)
This one was pretty easy! I tried to pick out the most “Japanese” photos that I could, in three very different ways! (I suppose that I could actually go many more ways with this.. hmm! That gives me an idea).
The first is from a sightseeing trip to Kamakura. Gotta see (and hold up) the Giant Buddha! The second is the obligatory “me as a geisha” pic (I was actually a maiko). The third was taken at the Doraemon headquarters in Shinjuku. Doraemon is sort of the Snoopy/Peanuts of Japan. Everyone knows it. Everyone read it growing up.
Day 02 – Describe your neighborhood in Japan.
Obviously I’m not in Japan right now (I plan to visit it again after I’m settled in Hawaii), but I can do this! I took a bunch of photos of my last neighborhood in Japan, and you can find some of them:
Day 03 – Most interesting person you’ve met.
Most interesting… there are so, so many interesting people that I’ve met across the world. But I think that Umezu Kazuo (and his house) take the cake.. maybe! What do you think?
See more of his house here!
Day 04 – What’s your favorite place that’s not in any of the guidebooks/lists of places to visit?
As you know, a lot of my old pictures got lost in multiple hard drive crashes, which makes me really sad. But my favorite, FAVORITE off-the-beaten-path place to visit is Nihon Minka-en.
(photos are from the official site. I’ll take new ones someday!)
The Nihon Minka-en is an outdoor old Japanese house museum. It is gorgeous. Gorgeous, and a little bit spooky. Did I mention gorgeous????
Day 05 – Which, if any, Japanese mannerisms or expressions have you adopted?
Hahaa. Oh man. I say aaaaalllll sorts of Japanese expressions to myself. I think in Japanese sometimes. I don’t usually let them slip, unless I’m alone with my cat. Then things like “mouuuuu,” (ughhhhhh) and “dame da yo,” (don’t do that) escape my lips. Oops! 😀
I also say, “ne?” a lot, which has earned many a stare. Wait, you don’t do that outside of Japan?
Day 06 – Food that you swore you would never eat but now love (or tolerate).
Hmm… well, I’ve never sworn that I would never eat something (until I became a vegan, which was recently), but some things that I tried first in Japan and now can’t live without are:
tofu, soy milk, seaweed, green tea. It actually took me a long time to come around to the taste of green tea, but now I crave it like nothing else! I love it cold, especially in the summer. <3
Day 07 – Which Japanese words do you use in English? (hanami, shinkansen, etc.)
Hanami, Sushi, Shinkansen, genki, kawaii, all sorts of things. I forget that they’re not a part of normal English language for people that don’t live in Japan! In Japan, I use those words as if they’re normal, old, English, and so does everyone else. >.>;;;
Day 08 – Are you a Herbivore or Carnivore? S or M?
Oh my… This is definitely a Japanese thing. I’m a Carnivore/S, for sure. Definitely.
The whole Herbivore/Carnivore thing is a way of describing personalities in Japan, not what you choose to eat. It usually is a way to describe guys (feminine vs masculine), and S/M is pretty much an innocent version of what it means in the US. I am bolder than the average Japanese girl, and I speak my mind. That definitely makes me a Carnivore. As for the S, well… I will leave that to your imagination. 😉
Day 09 – Favorite stores/shopping centers.
Day 10 – Something about Japan that sets it apart from anywhere else.
I’m sorry, this answer sounds like it’s a cop-out (to me), but my answer is and will always be MANGA/ANIME. Sure, there are lots of things that make Japan unique. But for me, the one and only driving force to truly be connected to Japan is the completely awesome comics/animation coming out of that country. Japan is king of celebrating the independent comics artist. From official manga to doujinshi, there is NO other place easier for an artist to reach out to the public. That’s why I love Japan, and why I will never be too far away.
ALTHOUGH, I aim to find creators from all over the world and make “manga” (by international artists) a thing all over the world, that is as big in every country as it is in Japan. One day. One day. This is our future, if we work together!
Day 11 – What did you find most overrated and underrated about Japan?
I used to think that the trains were very overrated because they are noisy, crowded, and make you feel like a cog in a machine, not an individual person that means something to the world. But after returning to the US, my attitude is that I WISH EVERYWHERE HAD TRAINS LIKE JAPAN. I’d be traveling all over the freaking country if there was a way to do it by local train! In fact, imagine how neat that would be….Taking a road trip by rail, cheaply (imagine the Japan Rail Pass, but a US version?), and just seeing all the things? Oh man!
I know that anime is really hyped, but I still think that it’s underrated because not enough people know how awesome it is!! I know that we all do (well, most of us?), but the average joe in the average town has no idea what they’re missing. That’s why anime is underrated. That’s why I want to change the world, and open up the eyes of Average Joe.
As for overrated? Mmmmm… Haha, probably the stupid Tokyo Sky Tree. Nobody outside of Japan probably knows about this, but oh man, it was all the rage in Tokyo in 2012. Still seems like a stupid thing to me.
Day 12 – Describe a fail!gaijin moment. (Where you did something wrong or completely misunderstood because you couldn’t ~read the air~ or just plain had no idea what you were supposed to do because you weren’t born and raised here) Describe a gaijin!smash moment .(Where your foreignness was to your benefit)
Ehh… I thought that these questions would be easy! Off the top of my head, though, OH! I know.. When I worked for Pop’n Press (the tv show), we were having a recording session at the company offices after a long day of on-location filming. I can’t stand cigarette smoke, but in Japanese offices it’s totally acceptable to smoke (something I still can’t come to terms with. People have to work there all day.) Well, we were in one room, but the wall didn’t completely close us off from the next room, and some men were smoking in the next room. I went into that room and asked them if they would stop. When I went back to my room, the producer really laid into me because it was completely unacceptable to ask the president to stop smoking! I don’t think that it’s wrong to ask anyone to stop smoking, even the president of a company. And they stopped until I was done filming. I still don’t see anything wrong with it.
And for a gaijin-smash moment (besides the above, which qualifies I guess, lol!), I.. hmm.. Well, there were certainly many times where my being white helped. Getting the tv show job, for one. I can’t think of a time where I actually went into a situation thinking, “I want extra because I’m white!” though. Sorry! But isn’t this a good thing! 🙂
Day 13 – Favorite live event that you attended.
Oh, this is Dream Live 7 (my going-away party). Hands-down. 🙂
Day 14 – What is the hardest thing about living in Japan versus your home country?
It was the smoke for me. Smoking everywhere. 🙁 More than language, customs, food, or even horrible renting stories, it was smoking that I found it hardest to deal with. It’s still SO accepted! I don’t understand how so many non-smokers just deal with it, or even don’t mind. I just.. I’m sorry, but I can’t. It’s one thing if you smoke in your own home, but in offices, restaurants, bars, and in parks….
Well, there you have the #1 reason that I left Japan. There are many more, but that is the absolute #1 reason that I just couldn’t stay any longer. I suppose that I should talk more about why I left…. okay. Okay, I will, this week sometime!
Day 15 – Weirdest food item you’ve seen, and weirdest food item you’ve actually eaten.
Oh, I saw a ton of strange food. Gyoza filled with ice cream, steamed meat buns shaped like Slimes, the ubiquitous natto (fermented, stringy slimy soybeans). But the absolute worst/strangest food that I ever ate was called shiokara. It’s basically fermented squid guts. The one that I had was served in squid ink too, so to add to its delightfulness, it was a lovely dark gray in color. This was after a long hike, and I threw up back in the bowl. Literally. (I felt embarrassed, but hey, you couldn’t even tell!)
Thanks, wikipedia, for that appetizing image.
Day 16 – How you realized you’d acclimated to Japan. (if you have)
I acclimated to Japan at some point, though I’m not sure when. It was certainly once I thought of Japan as being home, and not just a temporary waystation. Over time, I started resenting my country of choice, though. It happens to the best of us! 😀
Day 17 – Your karaoke top 5, your sushi top 5, your conbini top 5.
1: Kappamaki (cucumber roll) (This is the only one that I’d eat anymore as I’m vegan)
2: Hotate (scallop)
3: Sake (salmon)
4: Toro (tuna)
5: Anago (barbequed eel)
Conbini (convenience store): (I guess this means what I like to buy…)
1: Manga magazines!!!!!!
4: Ice cream.
5: The latest soda flavor.
Day 18 – Post some amusing/cute/faily purikura.
Day 19 – Your favorite Japanese character(s) and Gachapon/UFO Catcher toys
Gosh, this is so broad, I don’t even know were to start….. I’m going to assume that you mean characters, like as in character merchandise, that’s not really belonging to an anime or anything (like Hello Kitty). My favorite “character” is
She’s a San-x character. I just loooooove kappas (Japanese water demons), and so the cute little kappa captured my heart quite easily.
Day 20 – Favorite Japanese festival or folklore.
Well, surely and obviously the best festival is Kanamara Matsuri (affectionately known as the Penis Festival in Japan. Go ahead. Look it up. 😉
Day 21 – Favorite and least favorite Japanese fashion trends.
Least-favorite was definitely that trend where people wore little clip-on tails on their belts. Not on the back like a real tail, but on their hips, like you’d cut a tail off of something and used it as a fashion accessory. ^_^;;
My favorite has to be the use of makeup to make your eyes bigger, but still natural. Those, and circle lenses. Boy, do Japanese girls known how to do makeup well!
Day 22 – Your favorite Japanese saying or kotowaza (proverb).
七転び八起き Nanakorobi yaoki
“Fall seven times and stand up eight,” or “When life knocks you down, stand back up.”
Never give up! 😉
Day 23 – What is something you have/do in Japan that you wish you had/could do in your home country?
Karaoke in little booths!!!! I miss that! I also miss the really great postal service. I know that part of it is because Japan is such a tiny country, but I’d often order from Amazon and it would be free shipping even for a 100 yen manga, and sometimes it would arrive the same day… without Prime!
I also wish that there were trains that went everywhere. ;o;
Day 24 – Your favorite Japanese slang or borrow-word (外来語), e.g. セフレ “sex friend”
Aho. “Dumbass”. I always think of this as a borrowed word, from “a**hole”, but I don’t know if it is. It’s used in all sorts of fun ways here! Like “Oh, that guy just bothered everyone with his advertisements. What an aho!” Or, “Ahahaha, I ate my food in the wrong order! I’m such an aho!” Etc etc. 😀 I use it more than I care to admit, mainly because in Sensei’s studio, Kaiwa-san used it ALL THE TIME. It rubbed off on me. =D
Day 25 – Most interesting vending machine find.
Come on. It was totally used panties in a vending machine.
Day 26 – What’s your favorite/least favorite train line.
Who cares? Moving on! Sorry….. Okay, no. It’s the Disney rail line that takes you between Tokyo Disneyland, Disney Sea, the regular train lines, and their hotels. It’s cute!
Day 27 – Place you avoid going to if at all possible.
Anywhere with smoke. Trains, but you need them to travel most of the time, so they’re pretty unavoidable! I did find them convenient, but that doesn’t mean that I liked them. ^^;
Day 28 – A picture of you looking like a weaboo/A picture of you trying to blend in and failing.
What… this isn’t what you meant?
Day 29 – What’s the thing you [will] miss most about Japan when you leave (either on vacation, or move away)?
Now that I have…… this is going to be tomorrow’s post!
I’ve got a lot to keep talking about! 🙂 See you tomorrow! 😀