|Current mood:|| pleased|
|Current music:||Alive: Naruto|
FINALLY I feel like I'm in Japan. At long last!! I spent today in Osaka, and it was the best day so far! A lot of people decided to make an Osaka trip, but there were only 4 in the group I went with which was very nice. Alden, Megan, Andrea and I spent the day at the Osaka Aquarium, and it was *fab*.
It was raining, hard, when we left. That was an interesting experiment, trying to bike to the train station while holding an umbrella. Hm. I finally gave up and got wet, I never mind the rain that much anyway. The train ride into Osaka took forever, but we figured out how to navigate the system fairly easily. We got to the Aquarium and, as I said, it was fabulous ^_^ It boasts the world's largest tank, in which was a whale shark. As you can tell by the name, it was ginormous. There was also a ray in the tank as large as me! And there were this crabs, all which would stand up to my hips. O_o It was an 8-level aquarium, and it was so much fun! I took plenty of pictures, I hope they all turn out well.
I bought some postcards from there (much more expensive than in the US...a Us postcard is what, 30c? Here they're 1.50...O_o) And we came across this nice little giftshop tucked away as we wandered the streets. And either the woman was very nice or it was some sort of promotional deal, but she gave us free things with our purchases! Alden got a beautiful rice-paper wallet and I got free postcards (Alden paid more for his stuff, so it makes sense).
Afterwards we were getting hungry, so we tried to find our way to a place to eat. Unfortunately everything seemed to be closed! Everyone else really wanted ramen, but I just got an "american dog" (corndog) at the place near the aquarium. That was tasty enough for me. Anyway, we wandered through Osaka getting ourselves thoroughly confused. Finally, I looked confused enough that a gentleman stopped and asked where I was trying to go. I said we were looking for a restaurant, and he gave me directions!! I was so proud, I understood most of them. Unfortunately, it took us forever to find the place he was talking about, and then it was closed too. However at that point we had wandered into a food market/flea market or something, so we figured we could find something there. Wow that was confusing.
After a few hours of wandering and buying "nibbles" (sweet bread, mmm) to tide ourselves til we found a store, we finally came across a ramen shop!! The man welcomed us in, and was very excited! We sat down and he took our orders, and watching him cook them up was *so* cook. The wok was exploding with fire, and it was hot and smelled good and just fabulous. We chatted for maybe an hour, alternately in broken English and broken Japanese. He was so incredibly friendly ^_^
By that point in the day we were getting very tired, but we did take a walk through the park before getting back on the train. The funny thing was it looked all beautiful and green from the outside, but when you actually got into the park it wasn't very much of anything! It was a disappointment but still amusing. We got back to Osaka station where we had to switch from the subway to the train, and ran into more problems because the ticket sales were different from what we'd done before. Another very kind gentleman helped us figure out how to use the ticket machines and saw us safely to our gates. Oh! And I also discovered the "joys" of squat toilets. Thankfully the station was large enough and populated enough that there was TP provided already. O_o Then it was a long trip back to Hikone.
And once again! We had to switch trains! we didn't know we had to though, so when everyone left we were quite confused...until the man next to us politely ushered us out with an "Owari da." (It's ended). And we hopped the next train and got into Hikone all in one piece.
I think I have a better idea of where to go for some things, and I now am confident that I can go to Al Plaza on my own and not get lost. This is good, because I really need groceries. However, I need money first. Osaka was fabulous, but an expensive trip. The trainride alone (roundtrip) totalled nearly $40. I don't think this is going to be a weekly excursion, in any case ^^; However I might go to Kyoto sometime soon, cause it's halfway to Osaka and would be cheaper. I'm going to try and make it to the postoffice tomorrow to get more money out so I can get some good food to eat.
Other things of note going on in my life:
School is still very hard. I'm doing my best, but somehow I still manage to mess up even on the things I'm comfortable with. I don't understand. I have problems hearing the language, I think is what it comes down to. Good thing I want to be a written translator, not an oral one ^^;
I'm almost positive my roommate is using my shampoo/conditioner/razor/shaving gel. I would gladly share it if she asked, but whenever someone assumes my friendly nature spreads to everything I own (even if it does) it makes me want to be rude and hide my things and say "No! Mine! You didn't *ask*." I hate feeling defensive and brittle like that. There's no real way to confront her about it though, so I suppose I'll just have to deal.
The chairs here have no backs to them, or that is, the backs only come to about mid-back so the chairs can be completely pushed under the table when not in use. Consequently, my back is constantly aching and throbbing, to the point where even hot showers won't loosen the tension that's built there. The people next door give our massages for 200 yen, I might take them up on it sometime. And soon.
There's an ambiguous 'sometime' that I've been invited out to kareoke. Whenever that might happen, I'm looking forward to it.
I still want to buy a digital camera. I'm also realizing how amazingly fast the costs here rake up. For being a paid-for trip, I'm still amazed.
That's about it. I'm going to try to do some homework tonight, but it's likely I'll just crash instead. A fun-filled day always has a way of taking all your energy....