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Thursday, July 31, 2008


The Rut of Summer

ďThere is no formula for success except perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.Ē - Arthur Rubinstein

Greetings All! In the wake of Japan, little can really seem all that interesting, but Iíll try my best to squeeze out the most interesting stuff that I can. Life hasnít been all that eventful since Japan, though. Iíve had to find ways to make my life interesting. Currently I am working on the new poster for the anime club at my university. My advertising campaign last year shot our club attendance up 50% from the previous year and I hope this year it will do the same. Iím working on a poster using an image from DeviantArt.com as a base. The artist is Mou_S and the piece is called ďInto NothingĒ (it is the piece of art I chose to put with this post). Itís a wonderful piece of art and Mou_S was gracious enough to give me her permission to use it in my poster. A good friend of mind, Noe, suggested that I increase my advertising campaign by not only creating a poster but creating a smaller black and white flier to go on the tables in the cafeteria and student center. Brilliant, I say! This year no student on campus will be able to miss our ad, and with the club now being official by university standards, I can see nothing but growth. So, onto the new year with some flare!

A Sudden Lack of Complacency
Have you ever felt like youíve missed your calling? For the last couple weeks Iíve been feeling that way. It is all due to this summer school class I am taking: US History. It has come to my attention that I really love history more than I realized. This class has really impassioned me. I actually find my self getting angry or getting happy with things I am reading. When I read and learned about the American treatment of the Native Americans in the late 1800s and the treatment of Japanese Americans during World War Two, It physically pissed me off to an extent I canít describe. Very little has ever had that effect on me and history seems to be able to do it.

I believe this is an effect of my underlying love of history. I never realized it before, but when I look back on all my favorite classes and the things I choose to do out of fun, a pattern seems to emerge. When I went to visit my grandfather who had cable before we did, my favorite two channels were Cartoon Network and the History Channel. My favorite class and favorite teacher in middle school were my US history class and my teacher Mrs. German. My favorite class in high school was a history and analysis of the science fiction genre. For my senior vacation I chose to go to England because of itís history and wanted to spend the whole trip in museums and going to historical sites around the country. For my topic-free research paper in my English II class in college I chose to write on the history of science fiction. My favorite art class Iíve taken in school has been the history of art. All of the elective courses Iím taking this semester are history courses, not art courses, before college I had only ever taken two art courses in school, one in middle school and one in high school. Why is it that Iím pursuing graphic design and not history?

I honestly donít know exactly why I am doing art and not history, but if I had to guess Iíd place the blame on my high school US history teacher. US history was the only advanced placement course I took throughout my public school education. The teacher was wonderful but he taught the class like a college course and gave us a work load equivalent to that of a college course despite us being in high school. I couldnít handle the workload and I think perhaps that class turned me off the history idea. I never even considered it. I wish I had now, because I could be doing something very much different.

Donít get me wrong, I am quite satisfied with the graphic design field, but I just wonder if I could be happier doing history. I donít have any other friends at school who are doing graphic design, but Iíve had multiple friends doing history, including my best friend through grade school. Itís too late to change things around now, but I will forever be stuck with that giant ďwhat if?Ē

The Next Convention
This next convention that Iím going to, AnimeFest, is going to be my last convention to attend while in college and perhaps the last convention I will get to attend for a while. So, given this, I wanted it to be as good as it possibly could be. It is certainly looking like it is going to meet my expectations. All of my best friends, with the exception of two, will be there staying in the room with me including a friend I have yet to meet in person, the guests for this convention look to be amazing, and for the first time in a couple years I will cosplay because my one-time Shugo costume is once again getting completed. I only wore it once to a convention two years ago and I havenít worn it since due to itís destruction in the wash. A friend of mine offered to remake it for me using my original pattern and I happily agreed to let him. He will have it finished by this convention. AnimeFest has long been my favorite convention and it seems only appropriate that it would conclude my college con-going experience. I sincerely hope that it wonít let me down, and at this point I donít see a reason to doubt that hope.

The Money Situation
At the end of my Japan trip I was broke. I had no money at all and the little I did have was graciously donated by my parents. I am pleased to announce that my wallet is yet again approaching a state of fullness. Iíve had some unexpected income, such as miraculously finding $80 in the pocket of a pair of shorts I havenít worn in a very long time, and I got my first paycheck two weeks ago. Hopefully by the end of the summer my bank account will look something more like what it needs to, and the good news is that itís rapidly on its way there.

Well, I have nothing else to say for the time being so Iíll go ahead and bid you all a fond farewell! Have a great day and Iíll see ya Ďround!

Caesar1280's Anime Ticker

.hack//Legend of the Twilight, Air, Air: The Movie, Akira, The Animatrix, Appleseed, Aquatic Language, Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror, Beck, Black Lagoon, Blame!, Blood the Last Vampire, Bokurano, Burst Angel, Castle in the Sky, Cowboy Bebop, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express, Egao, FLCL, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala, Gankutsuou, Gatekeepers, Genshiken, Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society, Gin-iro no Kami no Agito, Grave of the Fireflies, Grenadier, Haibane Renmei, Hellsing, Highlander: The Search for Vengeance, Hikaru no Go, Howl?s Moving Castle, Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade, Jyu Oh Sei, Karas: The Prophecy, Last Exile, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Midori?s Days, Milennium Actress, Mushi-shi, My Neighbor Totoro, Naruto, Naruto: The Movie, Nausicaa, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth, Ninja Scroll: The Movie, Other Worlds, Paprika, Perfect Blue, Pet Shop of Horrors, The Place Promised In Our Early Days, Prťtear, Princess Mononoke, Read Or Die, Read Or Die: The TV, Samurai Champloo, Samurai Seven, Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal, She and Her Cat, Spirited Away, Steamboy, Tide-Line Blue, Tokyo Babylon, Tokyo Godfathers, Trigun, Voices of a Distant Star, Witch Hunter Robin, Wonderful Days, Wrath of the Ninja, X

Anime I've Seen

- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- .hack//Sign
- 5 Centimeters per Second
- Air
- Air: The Movie
- Akira
- The Animatrix
- Appleseed
- Aquatic Language
- Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror
- Baby Blue
- Beck
- Black Lagoon
- Blame!
- Blood the Last Vampire
- Bokurano
- Burst Angel
- Castle in the Sky
- Cowboy Bebop
- Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
- Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express
- Doorbell
- Egao
- FLCL
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala
- Gankutsuou
- Gatekeepers
- Genius Party
- Genshiken
- Genshiken OAV
- Ghost in the Shell
- Ghost in the Shell: Innocence
- Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society
- Gin-iro no Kami no Agito
- The Gokusen
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Grenadier
- Haibane Renmei
- Happy Machine
- Hellsing
- Highlander: The Search for Vengeance
- Hikaru no Go
- Howl's Moving Castle
- Innocent Venus
- Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade
- Jyu Oh Sei
- Karas: The Prophecy
- Karas: The Revelation
- Last Exile
- Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
- Midori?s Days
- Milennium Actress
- Mushi-shi
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Naruto
- Naruto: The Movie
- Nausicaa
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth
- Ninja Scroll: The Movie
- Other Worlds
- Ouran High School Host Club
- Paprika
- Perfect Blue
- Pet Shop of Horrors
- The Place Promised In Our Early Days
- Prťtear
- Princess Mononoke
- Read Or Die
- Read Or Die: The TV
- Samurai Champloo
- Samurai Seven
- Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal
- Serial Experiments Lain
- Shanghai Dragon
- She and Her Cat
- Spirited Away
- Steamboy
- Tekkonkinkreet
- Tide-Line Blue
- Tokyo Babylon
- Tokyo Godfathers
- Trigun
- Trinity Blood
- Vampire Hunter D
- Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
- Voices of a Distant Star
- Witch Hunter Robin
- Wolf's Rain
- Wonderful Days
- Wrath of the Ninja
- X

Total: 93
Anime I Haven't Completed

- .hack//Roots
- Ah! My Goddess
- Angelic Layer
- Avenger
- Baccano!
- Bamboo Blade
- Basilisk
- Binchou-tan
- Black Cat
- Bleach
- Blood+
- Boogiepop Phantom
- Case Closed
- Le Chevalier d'Eon
- Chobits
- Chrono Crusade
- Code Geass
- Coyote Ragtime Show
- D.Gray-Man
- D.N.Angel
- DearS
- Death Note
- Dennou Coil
- Desert Punk
- Digimon
- Dragon Ball Z
- Ergo Proxy
- Eureka Seven
- Excel Saga
- Fighting Beauty Wulong
- Final Fantasy Unlimited
- Flag
- Freedom
- Full Moon
- Gantz
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
- Gintama
- Glass Fleet
- Great Teacher Onizuka
- Gundam Seed
- Gundam Wing
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Hellsing OVA
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
- Ikki Tousen
- InuYasha
- Jigoku Shojo
- Kage Kara Mamoru
- Karin
- Kino's Journey
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Lovely Complex
- Lucky Star
- Makai Senki Disgaea
- Marchen Awakens Romance
- Meine Liebe
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Mononoke
- Monster
- Moon Phase
- Mr Stain on Junk Alley
- Naruto Shippuuden
- Negima?!
- Negima!
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion
- Nerima Daikon Brothers
- NHK ni Youkoso
- Night Walker
- Ninja Nonsense
- Noir
- Peacemaker Kurogane
- Pokemon
- Prince of Tennis
- R.G. Veda
- Ragnarok
- Rec
- Red Garden
- Robotech
- Romeo x Juliet
- Rosen Maiden
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Saikano
- Sailor Moon
- Samurai Deeper Kyo
- Sci-fi Harry
- School Rumble
- Scrapped Princess
- Shin-chan
- Shingu
- Shion no Oh
- Shuffle!
- Shrine of the Morning Mist
- So Long, Mr. Despair
- Solty Rei
- Sousei no Aquarion
- Speed Grapher
- Spice and Wolf
- Super Milk Chan
- Tales of Phantasia
- Tenchi Muyo
- Tenjhou Tenge
- Texnolyze
- The Third
- Tsubasa Chronicles
- Urusei Yatsura
- Venus Versus Virus
- Welcome to the N.H.K.
- Winter Cicada
- X-1999
- Xenosaga
- XxxHolic
- Yu Yu Hakushou
- Yume Tsukai
- Zero no Tsukaima
- Zipang

Total: 116
Manga I've Completed

- Cowboy Bebop
- FLCL
- Manga Messiah
- Manga Metamorphosis
- Q*Ko-chan
- Saiyuki
- Shirahime-Syo

Total: 7


Manga I Haven't Completed


- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- Black Cat
- Blame!
- Chobits
- D.Gray-man
- Darkside Blues
- Death Note
- The Demon Ororon
- Desert Coral
- Disgaea
- Eureka Seven: Gravity Boys and Lifting Girl
- Fruits Basket
- Getbackers
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Kamunagara
- Legal Drug
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Megatokyo
- Naruto
- Negima
- Read Or Die
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Tactics
- Trigun Maximum
- XXXHolic

Total: 26

Anime I'm Currently Watching
Samurai 7, InuYasha, Samurai Deeper Kyo,
Boogiepop Phantom, and Shrine of the Morning Mist

Manga I'm Currently Reading
Read Or Die, Hayate the Combat Butler, and Megatokyo.hack//Roots, .hack//Sign, 5 cm per Second, Ah! My Goddess, Angelic Layer, Avenger, Basilisk, Binchou-tan, Black Cat, Bleach, Blood+, Boogiepop Phantom, Case Closed, Le Chevalier d'Eon, Chobits, Chrono Crusade, Coyote Ragtime Show, D.Gray-Man, D.N.Angel, DearS, Death Note, Dennou Coil, Desert Punk, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, Ergo Proxy, Eureka 7, Excel Saga, Fighting Beauty Wulong, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Flag, Full Moon, Gantz, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Gintama, Great Teacher Onizuka, Gundam Seed, Gundam Wing, Hayate the Combat Butler, Hellsing Ultimate, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Innocent Venus, InuYasha, Jigoku Shojo, Kage Kara Mamoru, Karin, Kino?s Journey, Love Hina, Loveless, Lovely Complex, Lucky Star, Makai Senki Disgaea, Marchen Awakens Romance, Meine Liebe, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Mononoke, Monster, Naruto Shippuuden, Negima?!, Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion, Nerima Daikon Brothers, NHK ni Youkoso, Night Walker, Ninja Nonsense, Noir, Ouran High School Host Club, Peacemaker Kurogane, Pokemon, Prince of Tennis, R.G. Veda, Ragnarok, Rec, Red Garden, Robotech, Romeo x Juliet, Rosen Maiden, Rurouni Kenshin, Saikano, Sailor Moon, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Sci-fi Harry, School Rumble, Scrapped Princess, Serial Experiments Lain, Shingu, Shuffle!, Shrine of the Morning Mist, So Long Mr. Despair, Solty Rei, Sousei no Aquarion, Speed Grapher, Super Milk Chan, Tales of Phantasia, Tenchi Muyo, Tenjhou Tenge, Texnolyze, The Third. Trinity Blood, Tsubasa Chronicles, Urusei Yatsura, Welcome to the N.H.K., Winter Cicada, X-1999, Xenosaga, XxxHolic, Yu Yu Hakushou, Yume Tsukai, Zero no Tsukaima, Zipang


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Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Reintegration
Greetings All! Itís been a full two weeks since I made my grand reentry into the States. I easily fell back into the rhythm of things here. I took it easy for the first few days after my return so as to give my body some time to adjust after the grueling trip across the Pacific. My recovery from jet lag in the early part of last week officially ended the trip for me, for it seems my life abruptly returned to normal after that. I resumed work at the ice cream shop last Thursday and start summer classes at a local college today. From the outside it would appear that nothing in my life has changed since the trip. I guess that is a good thing, though. A return to the norm is the best thing for me right now. I am about to enter my last semester of college and I need to work hard to raise my GPA. So, for now I shall settle with the norm, but if there is one thing that this trip has taught me itís that I am simply not satisfied with the norm. I want something more from my life and Iím not sure what that is yet. But, with this being my last semester, my life will be changing greatly as of December, 20th. So, weíll all have to see where my life takes me. It should be fun. ScaryÖ but fun. ^_^

Monday, June 23rd and Tuesday, June 24th - El Reingreso Grande
My farewell to the wonderful folks at NLL was a brief one. As I said in the previous post, I thought my flight was a day later than it actually was. So, the morning of Monday, June 23rd, was a frantic one. I informed Iwaoka-san of my revised departure time, he informed the troops, and they all gave me a wonderful send-off in the chapel a couple hours later. I did my best to finish the last of the activity book before I had to leave, but that simply didnít happen. I have been working these past couple weeks to complete my activity book through email correspondence.

As a special treat, the design team presented me with farewell gifts. They gave me four pairs of chopsticks (one for me and the rest were for my family), a wooden fan, some beautiful postcards featuring images by a popular Japanese Christian artist, a bottle of sakura scented room mist, and some green tea. I liked it all and was very grateful. I wish I had something to give them, but I didnít. Theyíll be receiving some gifts in the mail though. ^_^

The trip back to the States was a doozy. It would have been nice if it had just been one or two flights, but instead it was four flights that took more than 24 hours to complete. The first flight was the most pleasant of them all. It was the transpacific flight. I sat next to a Taiwanese family that had clearly not been on many planes if any at all. The poor elderly gentleman couldnít find his seat, didnít know how to use his light, fan, television, or audio system, and he disturbed everybody within his immediate vicinity every time he wanted to get up for any reason. But, like I said, it was still a pleasant trip and sitting near him only added a bit of humor to the experience.

Upon landing in Los Angeles I went through customs and did my best to find my way to my connecting gate. I was in no rush, though. I had a full nine hours of layover time. I landed at a little after 11 AM and didnít leave until 8:30 PM. My layover was anything but boring though. My mother was irritated that I was having to stay in L.A. for so long so she asked if I would go to the ticket counter and try to get on an earlier, more direct flight. Of course I wasnít asked to do this until after I had gone through security and made it to my gate. So, to go to the ticket counter I had to leave the gate area. I did this and stood in two lines before I finally found the right line to be in. I sat in that line for three hours before I gave up and went back through security for the third time.

Now, youíre wondering why I went though security three times instead of just two. Thatís because I went to the wrong terminal. I was directed to terminal one by the baggage handler who took my bag to be checked through to Chattanooga. After crossing to the opposite end of the airport from terminal seven, I went through security at terminal one. Three people looked at my boarding pass before I made it into the gate area. When I made it into the gate area and couldnít find my flight listed on the boards, I went to the help desk to make sure I was in the right place, which of course I wasnít. The gentleman at the help desk told me to go back to terminal seven where I had just come from. One would figure one of the three people who looked at my boarding pass would have noticed that the airline I was traveling on was not being served in terminal one, but no.

After I finally made it to my gate for the last time I found lunch. I called a friend of mine and chatted for a few hours while I ate my pizza and waited for my plane. That was nice and relaxing. I then typed out a little more of my Kyoto post before finally boarding my plane which took me on a short hour-long flight to Tucson, Arizona.

This plane flight was by far the most irritating one of the entire trip. As I boarded the plane I discovered that the seat I had been assigned was being occupied by a Latino woman and her son who could not speak any English. The stewardess could not communicate to them to tell them to move to their assigned seats, so she told me to find an open seat and sit down. I went across the aisle. Not only did these two Latinos not sit in the right place, they also brought too much baggage for our flight and would not allow the stewardess to take their bags to check them. Frustrated, the stewardess allowed them to store their bags anywhere they could. They stored their bags above my new seat, leaving me no room to store my own piece of carry-on, my backpack. The stewardess told me to store it under my seat instead, since I was on the front row and didnít have any place else to store it. As I went to store it under my seat, I the man behind me, who also happened to be Latino, looked at me and said in a very harsh tone, ďI got no damn leg room.Ē At this point Iím getting very frustrated, and fought the urge to tell the guy to shut up and deal with it like an adult. Instead I courteously took my bag, walked three or four rows back to the first open storage space I could find, and stored it. I didnít like having my bag that far out of sight, it had my tea set and laptop in it, but what else was I to do? Thankfully, my bag and its contents emerged from the flight unharmed and in one piece.

In Tucson I had two hours to kill. I spent that time talking on the phone and munching on cookies to try to keep from falling asleep like I so wanted to do. I feared that if I fell asleep in Tucson I would not wake up to make it onto my next flight to Charlotte, North Carolina. I managed to stay awake long enough to make it onto the plane and to my seat, but I was asleep before we even left the ground. I woke up when we landed. In Charlotte I only had about 45 minutes or so of waiting before my last flight to Chattanooga. At this point it was 6 AM on Tuesday, June 24th and Iíve been traveling for more than a day. I thought about snagging some food before getting on my flight, but I didnít have time. The last flight was a quick one, I enjoyed the flight, and I made it back to Chattanooga safely.

My mother met me at the airport. We exchanged hugs and talked as we strolled down to the baggage claim area. I was thankful when my bag was actually the first one off the plane. No waiting. From the airport my mother took me straight out to breakfast. I needed energy badly if I was going to make it through the day so as to work my body onto the new time schedule. Breakfast, and the two cups of coffee I drank, gave me enough energy to make it through until about 2 PM or so. After that it was all will power. At 3 PM, my mother and I went to see the movie Kung Fu Panda. Movies are one of the things that I can always stay awake through, so that was a good plan. It was a fun movie. As I had requested, we went out for Mexican food after the movie. My dad met us there. I wasnít completely coherent through the meal, but I managed. In fact, I managed to stay awake all the way until 9 PM or so with the help of television and the encouragement of my parents. I slept wonderfully the entire night.

Scooping Again
As I said at the beginning of the post, I am back working at the ice cream store. I havenít pulled a shift there since early August and I was a bit worried that I wouldnít remember how everything worked. They werenít going to train me for a second time, so I was on my own. On my third day back in the States I went downtown to see a movie and drop by the store to reacquaint myself with its workings. All went smoothly, and it all came back to me like I had never been away. My worry was for naught and I couldnít be more happy about that.

I started work again on July 4th. This had me worried at first (whatís new) but I feel back into the swing of things so easily that it was no problem at all. It wasnít even that busy of a day. The busiest day of this whole week so far has been Sunday. We got slammed by a couple youth groups. I hate youth groups because theyíre large, noisy, messy, and they donít tip. Theyíre more work than theyíre worth. Bur, for the most part thatís the only downside of being back. The only other downside about being back is having to deal with this one girl. I was hoping she wouldnít still be working at the shop this summer, but she is. Sheís the sister of one of the managers who is apparently not working there anymore. She irritates me because sheís critical (always corrects me no matter what slight mistake I make), irritable, and acts like she runs the joint. There was one night last summer when I got stuck closing with her and her sister. I was so irritated by the end of the night I actually went to the bar next door and had a drink. Thatís not normal. I hope I donít work with her much, but thereís not much I can really do about it. Iím not going to request not to work with her. Theyíre already doing me a favor by letting me start work so late in the summer. Iíll just suffer if I have to. Letís just pray I donít have to suffer too much.

Well, thatís all I have for now. My posts shall become shorter in the future. So, no more twelve page posts that you have to read. ^_^ YAY! Well, thanks for you continuing to read my posts despite their length and I hope you all have a wonderful day! Ciao!

Caesar1280's Anime Ticker

.hack//Legend of the Twilight, Air, Air: The Movie, Akira, The Animatrix, Appleseed, Aquatic Language, Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror, Beck, Black Lagoon, Blame!, Blood the Last Vampire, Bokurano, Burst Angel, Castle in the Sky, Cowboy Bebop, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express, Egao, FLCL, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala, Gankutsuou, Gatekeepers, Genshiken, Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society, Gin-iro no Kami no Agito, Grave of the Fireflies, Grenadier, Haibane Renmei, Hellsing, Highlander: The Search for Vengeance, Hikaru no Go, Howl?s Moving Castle, Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade, Jyu Oh Sei, Karas: The Prophecy, Last Exile, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Midori?s Days, Milennium Actress, Mushi-shi, My Neighbor Totoro, Naruto, Naruto: The Movie, Nausicaa, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth, Ninja Scroll: The Movie, Other Worlds, Paprika, Perfect Blue, Pet Shop of Horrors, The Place Promised In Our Early Days, Prťtear, Princess Mononoke, Read Or Die, Read Or Die: The TV, Samurai Champloo, Samurai Seven, Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal, She and Her Cat, Spirited Away, Steamboy, Tide-Line Blue, Tokyo Babylon, Tokyo Godfathers, Trigun, Voices of a Distant Star, Witch Hunter Robin, Wonderful Days, Wrath of the Ninja, X

Anime I've Seen

- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- .hack//Sign
- 5 Centimeters per Second
- Air
- Air: The Movie
- Akira
- The Animatrix
- Appleseed
- Aquatic Language
- Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror
- Baby Blue
- Beck
- Black Lagoon
- Blame!
- Blood the Last Vampire
- Bokurano
- Burst Angel
- Castle in the Sky
- Cowboy Bebop
- Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
- Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express
- Doorbell
- Egao
- FLCL
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala
- Gankutsuou
- Gatekeepers
- Genius Party
- Genshiken
- Genshiken OAV
- Ghost in the Shell
- Ghost in the Shell: Innocence
- Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society
- Gin-iro no Kami no Agito
- The Gokusen
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Grenadier
- Haibane Renmei
- Happy Machine
- Hellsing
- Highlander: The Search for Vengeance
- Hikaru no Go
- Howl's Moving Castle
- Innocent Venus
- Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade
- Jyu Oh Sei
- Karas: The Prophecy
- Karas: The Revelation
- Last Exile
- Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
- Midori?s Days
- Milennium Actress
- Mushi-shi
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Naruto
- Naruto: The Movie
- Nausicaa
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth
- Ninja Scroll: The Movie
- Other Worlds
- Ouran High School Host Club
- Paprika
- Perfect Blue
- Pet Shop of Horrors
- The Place Promised In Our Early Days
- Prťtear
- Princess Mononoke
- Read Or Die
- Read Or Die: The TV
- Samurai Champloo
- Samurai Seven
- Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal
- Serial Experiments Lain
- Shanghai Dragon
- She and Her Cat
- Spirited Away
- Steamboy
- Tekkonkinkreet
- Tide-Line Blue
- Tokyo Babylon
- Tokyo Godfathers
- Trigun
- Trinity Blood
- Vampire Hunter D
- Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
- Voices of a Distant Star
- Witch Hunter Robin
- Wolf's Rain
- Wonderful Days
- Wrath of the Ninja
- X

Total: 93
Anime I Haven't Completed

- .hack//Roots
- Ah! My Goddess
- Angelic Layer
- Avenger
- Baccano!
- Bamboo Blade
- Basilisk
- Binchou-tan
- Black Cat
- Bleach
- Blood+
- Boogiepop Phantom
- Case Closed
- Le Chevalier d'Eon
- Chobits
- Chrono Crusade
- Code Geass
- Coyote Ragtime Show
- D.Gray-Man
- D.N.Angel
- DearS
- Death Note
- Dennou Coil
- Desert Punk
- Digimon
- Dragon Ball Z
- Ergo Proxy
- Eureka Seven
- Excel Saga
- Fighting Beauty Wulong
- Final Fantasy Unlimited
- Flag
- Freedom
- Full Moon
- Gantz
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
- Gintama
- Glass Fleet
- Great Teacher Onizuka
- Gundam Seed
- Gundam Wing
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Hellsing OVA
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
- Ikki Tousen
- InuYasha
- Jigoku Shojo
- Kage Kara Mamoru
- Karin
- Kino's Journey
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Lovely Complex
- Lucky Star
- Makai Senki Disgaea
- Marchen Awakens Romance
- Meine Liebe
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Mononoke
- Monster
- Moon Phase
- Mr Stain on Junk Alley
- Naruto Shippuuden
- Negima?!
- Negima!
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion
- Nerima Daikon Brothers
- NHK ni Youkoso
- Night Walker
- Ninja Nonsense
- Noir
- Peacemaker Kurogane
- Pokemon
- Prince of Tennis
- R.G. Veda
- Ragnarok
- Rec
- Red Garden
- Robotech
- Romeo x Juliet
- Rosen Maiden
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Saikano
- Sailor Moon
- Samurai Deeper Kyo
- Sci-fi Harry
- School Rumble
- Scrapped Princess
- Shin-chan
- Shingu
- Shion no Oh
- Shuffle!
- Shrine of the Morning Mist
- So Long, Mr. Despair
- Solty Rei
- Sousei no Aquarion
- Speed Grapher
- Spice and Wolf
- Super Milk Chan
- Tales of Phantasia
- Tenchi Muyo
- Tenjhou Tenge
- Texnolyze
- The Third
- Tsubasa Chronicles
- Urusei Yatsura
- Venus Versus Virus
- Welcome to the N.H.K.
- Winter Cicada
- X-1999
- Xenosaga
- XxxHolic
- Yu Yu Hakushou
- Yume Tsukai
- Zero no Tsukaima
- Zipang

Total: 116
Manga I've Completed

- Cowboy Bebop
- FLCL
- Manga Messiah
- Manga Metamorphosis
- Q*Ko-chan
- Saiyuki
- Shirahime-Syo

Total: 7


Manga I Haven't Completed


- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- Black Cat
- Blame!
- Chobits
- D.Gray-man
- Darkside Blues
- Death Note
- The Demon Ororon
- Desert Coral
- Disgaea
- Eureka Seven: Gravity Boys and Lifting Girl
- Fruits Basket
- Getbackers
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Kamunagara
- Legal Drug
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Megatokyo
- Naruto
- Negima
- Read Or Die
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Tactics
- Trigun Maximum
- XXXHolic

Total: 26

Anime I'm Currently Watching
Samurai 7, InuYasha, Samurai Deeper Kyo,
Boogiepop Phantom, and Shrine of the Morning Mist

Manga I'm Currently Reading
Read Or Die, Hayate the Combat Butler, and Megatokyo.hack//Roots, .hack//Sign, 5 cm per Second, Ah! My Goddess, Angelic Layer, Avenger, Basilisk, Binchou-tan, Black Cat, Bleach, Blood+, Boogiepop Phantom, Case Closed, Le Chevalier d'Eon, Chobits, Chrono Crusade, Coyote Ragtime Show, D.Gray-Man, D.N.Angel, DearS, Death Note, Dennou Coil, Desert Punk, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, Ergo Proxy, Eureka 7, Excel Saga, Fighting Beauty Wulong, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Flag, Full Moon, Gantz, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Gintama, Great Teacher Onizuka, Gundam Seed, Gundam Wing, Hayate the Combat Butler, Hellsing Ultimate, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Innocent Venus, InuYasha, Jigoku Shojo, Kage Kara Mamoru, Karin, Kino?s Journey, Love Hina, Loveless, Lovely Complex, Lucky Star, Makai Senki Disgaea, Marchen Awakens Romance, Meine Liebe, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Mononoke, Monster, Naruto Shippuuden, Negima?!, Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion, Nerima Daikon Brothers, NHK ni Youkoso, Night Walker, Ninja Nonsense, Noir, Ouran High School Host Club, Peacemaker Kurogane, Pokemon, Prince of Tennis, R.G. Veda, Ragnarok, Rec, Red Garden, Robotech, Romeo x Juliet, Rosen Maiden, Rurouni Kenshin, Saikano, Sailor Moon, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Sci-fi Harry, School Rumble, Scrapped Princess, Serial Experiments Lain, Shingu, Shuffle!, Shrine of the Morning Mist, So Long Mr. Despair, Solty Rei, Sousei no Aquarion, Speed Grapher, Super Milk Chan, Tales of Phantasia, Tenchi Muyo, Tenjhou Tenge, Texnolyze, The Third. Trinity Blood, Tsubasa Chronicles, Urusei Yatsura, Welcome to the N.H.K., Winter Cicada, X-1999, Xenosaga, XxxHolic, Yu Yu Hakushou, Yume Tsukai, Zero no Tsukaima, Zipang


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Thursday, June 26, 2008


Kyoto

Once more, adieu. The rest let sorrow say.
-William Shakespeare

What can I say, the man has great quotable lines. I read that particular line from Richard II and immediately knew it was the right one to begin this last post with. I say last post because it is the last post I will be making on this trip. I was planning on writing this post back in the States, but since I am stuck here at Narita airport for a couple hours, I figure now is as good a time as any. At least this way the last post about Japan will actually be written in Japan. That seems only appropriate.

I know Iíve said this many times, but I really am going to miss it here. I sincerely wish I wasnít leaving yet. I wish I could just stay indefinitely, but thatís not really possible. Alas, I have one more semester of college. CursesÖ now that is something Iím ready to be done with. Heh heh! Well, I never know where life is going to lead me. I didnít expect to be in Japan in 2008, but here I am. Life may lead me back here some day, and I hope it does. But as an official conclusion to this trip, it has been the most amazing six weeks of my life, hands down, case closed, period. There have been many fowl-ups and every single one has been my own fault, but that only made the trip more eventful, if nothing else. I consider myself more than blessed to have been able to come here and meet all of these wonderful people. They are truly what made the trip as wonderful as it has been. So, to Chieko-san, Iwaoka-san, Narafu-san, Tsutsumi-san, Ai-san, Hayashi-san, Kelly-san, and everybody else, arigato gozaimasu! Until our next meeting, farewell.

Friday, June 20th
I packed for my trip to Kyoto last night, so as to be prepared to leave this evening. The design team told me that I could step out a bit early today so I could prepare for my trip, but I didnít want to take that offer unless it was completely necessary. It didnít end up being necessary, but I finished my work early enough that I could step out early with no issue. With my day I fixed the idiot mistake from yesterday, finished inserting the preliminary English type into the Manga Mutiny manga, and composed the cover for the activity book. The only thing I have left to do is finish my maze, get it scanned into the computer, clean it up, and paste it into the activity book. After that Iíll be as done as I can be. I still have one more day of work on Monday, so there should be no problem finishing it.

The trip to Kyoto started out eventfully. My ride to the train station didnít happen on time. By the time I realized something was up, Nishizawa-san had left and I was stuck at NLL. I found Mike-san and asked him to find Nishizawa-san, but as you already know, that didnít happen. But, the whole incident did have one positive conclusion, Mike-san was able to give me a ride. He got me to the train station by about 6:00, and I only barely missed the express to Ikebukuro. The next one came 15 minutes later. I still had hope I could get to Tokyo station before the shinkansen (bullet train) left. I stepped off the train in Ikebukuro at 7:02 and ran (no, this is not figurative, I was actually running) to the platform. I got the platform just as the train to Tokyo station was leaving. With this my hopes rose. But alas, all hopes were dashed. I got to Tokyo station at 7:30 precisely, and my train was leaving at 7:33. I didnít have time to fight the crowds and find the shinkansen platform before it left. By the time I made it through the station and found my platform it was 7:38. GrrrÖ So, I went and talked to the ticket agent. She said that since my ticket had been booked through a travel agency and had already been paid for I could take the next train going to Kyoto. I just wouldnít have an assigned seat and would have to fight for one. That wasnít an issue at all. I was one of the first people on the train and had my pick of seats. But, before the train left there were no more seats left and some poor passengers were stuck standing. I wouldnít have wanted to be one of them.

The person I ended up sitting next to was quite the character. The woman had one of the most revealing and flashy outfits Iíve ever seen. She had her hair dyed red (about the color of the background of my site), had on black tights with words in white written all over them, she wore a short black skirt and a black tank-top with red type on the front. That doesnít sound too revealing, except the tank-top was one of those really long ones that is fashionable right now. The arm holes were large and extended down to her mid-torso. Every other woman Iíve seen has been wearing a t-shirt or something of the sort under one of these particular tank-tops, but this woman didnít. She had a flashy red lace bra fully visible. She might as well have lost the tank-top and walked around shirtless. Itíd save on fabric and the effect would be the same. Whether or not it was risquť, I still admire her fashion sense. Inappropriate, yes, but the whole look was very cool.

There was nothing terribly special about the train itself. It moved very fast, but I couldnít tell how fast because it was completely dark outside. We had about eight or ten stops before arriving at Kyoto station. It took about two hours to get there. When I arrived it was raining lightly. I knew where my hotel was in relation to the station, but I didnít know which direction to leave. I went to the nearest exit, the exit labeled ďcentral exitĒ and attempted to find my hotel. As it happens, that particular exit was on the wrong side of the station, and I wandered around for about 20 minutes before I realized that mistake. I didnít know how to find the other exit, so I went to the large Miyako Hotel across the street from the station to ask for directions from somebody who I would be sure could speak English. That plan worked, and with the kind gentlemanís help I found my hotel easily.

The hotel was very nice, but the room was very small. It was probably only an eight by eight foot room with a bed, desk, and bathroom. Thatís all I needed though. On the bed they had laid out an yukata for guest use. A yukata, according to the little information book on the desk, is traditional Japanese sleepwear. I could tell no difference between it and a kimono except for the fact that it was cotton, while a kimono is silk. It was very comfortable. I slept well that night, which was necessary, because the next day was going to be busy.


Saturday, June 21st
It was my first day of touring in Kyoto. I was afraid it would rain today, but it didnít. I had my umbrella with me all day, but it only ended up being a nuisance. It wasnít needed. My first task of the day was to find the bus route map. I asked at the hotel desk, and they had one. I was able to make my way around Kyoto with little difficulty. Every bus trip, no matter how long or short, was only •220. This was convenient because I always knew how much to have prepared for the trip. The busses were crowded all day, but I was having too much fun to care.

My first stop of the day was Kiyomizu-dera. This Buddhist temple is famous for two reasons. First, it is built on the side of one of the mountains surrounding the city and is therefore built on wooden pillars. Itís an amazing sight to see. From the deck of the temple you can see all of Kyoto. I was impressed. The second thing that makes this temple famous is the water for which it is named. The water comes from a spring at the top of the mountain and is supposed to have healing properties. The water shoots out of little holes and down into a pool. Under the holes they have built a platform, and you can use a long ladle to reach out and catch some of the water to drink as it falls to the pool. This was a popular thing to do and the line was long. Since it is a Buddhist thing, I wasnít sure if I should do it, but this being a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I felt it necessary. Near the front of the line there was a little stand set up that was selling ďholy cupsĒ with which you could drink. It was just •200 and for the same reason I was in the line, I purchased a cup. It was a really cool thing to get to do! I drank some of the water from my ďholy cup.Ē I felt rejuvenated, since I was in need of some water at the time, but did I feel healthier? No, not really. Heh heh!

On the long road leading up to Kiyomizu-dera were many tourist shops. This was something I had expected and was even anticipating. I went to Kyoto with the intent to purchase a tea set. The really lucky thing was that one of the things that that particular area of Kyoto is known for is pottery shops. Convenient! I shopped around for a tea set for a good hour after I left Kiyomizu-dera. Most of the sets were really touristy and not worth purchasing. I had almost given up when I reached the bottom of the hill, but noticed one last shop. I walked in and walked out pretty fast. Everything in there was WAY to expensive. It was all very nice, but •20,000 for a tea set is a bit out of my price range. I was bummed. As I left the shop and headed down the hill I walked a little too close to one of the shops on the side and a the automatic door slid open by accident. It hadnít looked like a place that sold pottery, but I figured since the door was open I should explore. I walked in and was confronted with the best display of teapots and tea sets Iíd seen all day! None of them were like any I had yet seen and they were all reasonably priced. I found a beautiful teapot with a unique glazing job and a set of cups with a similar glaze that had a nice painting of a little white flower on the side. I had found the tea set I was after. The elderly shop owner took the tea set right off the display shelf and wrapped it for me. It was a bit higher than I had wanted to pay, •7,200, but it was worth it. That tea set, which I stumbled upon by complete luck, will be my official souvenir from this very memorable trip.

I went to the Heian-jingu after Kiyomizu-dera. The Heian-jingu is the newest temple or shrine in Kyoto, thought Iím not sure how old it actually is. It is famous because it is the shrine visible on the back of the •10 coin. I figured it must be pretty interesting to have been given such a prestigious location, but I was let down. It wasnít that interesting. It was rather dull. It was a system of 3 buildings surrounding a large gravel courtyard. There wasnít much else to it. I took a few pictures and kept going.

My next stop of the day was Ginkaku-ji, the Silver temple. It has that name because it was originally built with the intent of being covered by a layer of silver foil. The builder of the temple, who built it as a personal residence, died before the silver could be applied. So, it is not silver, but it is still called Ginkaku-ji. It is built in the wabisabi style, a minimalist style. Surrounding the temple is a garden which is famous for itís variety of mosses. The garden was my favorite part of the temple, but that almost goes without saying because the Ginkaku-ji itself was under restoration today and I was unable to see it. The only part of the temple I could really enjoy were the surrounding buildings and the garden. It would have been a very peaceful place, had it not been so crowded.

Before I made it to the temple, I stopped for lunch at a ramen shop. I wasnít in the mood for ramen at the time, so I got a bowl of rice with shrimp tempura instead. It was good. On the way out of the temple I stopped for a bottle of green tea. Also good.

I chose to make my next destination Kinkaku-ji (Golden temple). This temple actually is covered in gold and was the inspiration for the Ginkaku-ji. But, when I got to the bus stop I was sitting down looking through my tourist map when the bus that I needed came through. The driver of the bus hardly even slowed down at the bus stop. He pulled in, waited a few seconds, closed the doors and drove off! I had barely noticed his presence before he left. I got screwed by the 102. As it turns out, thatís the only bus that would take me from where I was to where I wanted to be, and it only stops by every half hour or so. In this particular case I would have had to wait closer to 45 minutes. So, I decided not to waste my time waiting on the bus and went back up near Ginkaku-ji where there is a path called the Path of Philosophy. The Path of Philosophy leads from Gikaku-ji down to Nanzen-ji, another Buddhist temple. Iím not sure of the nature of its name or why it leads between the two temples, but itís apparently pretty historical. Itís one of the main tourist locations in Kyoto. So, I figured a better use of my time would be to walk the path down to Nanzen-ji, a temple I also wanted to see.


I didnít feel terribly philosophical as I was walking, but I enjoyed myself. There were many old shops and such along the path. I walked into a pottery show, a shop of woodblock prints, and even an antique kimono shop. Krusty, this is where I bought your kimono. The very nice woman, Fumimaro, had a shop that was practically overflowing with old kimonos for both men and women. She couldnít speak English, but I was able to understand what she was trying to communicate through her gestures and such. The first thing she did was ask my highest price. I didnít want to give her one, having had experience haggling in China. So, I asked her to show me her cheaper stuff. The point got across because she started showing me kimonos. They were all very nice, but I kept pointing down and saying ďcheaperĒ, a word she apparently understood. She wouldnít get any lower than •7,000, which was a higher price than you said you wanted to pay. So, on her little board of prices, I pointed to •5,000 and she fished something out and pointed to •6,000. I liked what I saw, it fit your description, and it was in your price range, so I accepted. I got you a kimono for •6,000. You can look up the price in dollars if you want. Whatever you find out, round up please. I hope you like it! Itís a blue and gold weave, very nice, very clean.

Nanzen-ji was a very fun place. Over the gate to the temple there was a balcony, veranda, porch, whatchamacallit. You could actually go up on this one. I wasnít going to pass that up, so I went up, looked around for a bit, took a few pictures, and sat down for a while. Walking the Path of Philosophy was further than I thought it was, and doing it in semi-wet shoes after walking around in the rain the night before had worn a few blisters on my toes. It was good to be shoeless. Heh heh! Nanzen-ji was a big temple complex. Many buildings and wide garden areas. I actually got a little lost and turned around in there. Again, Iím not sure of itís origin or itís importance, but it was beautiful. Like Ginkaku-ji, it was originally built as a private residence and later turned into a temple. This one was much bigger though. On the way back to the bus stop I got lost as well. When I finally found the bus it was around 5:30 PM and I was ready to call it a day. I was getting hungry, I was sticky from all the humidity, and my feet were killing me. So, I rode the overly-crowded bus back to Kyoto station and went back to the hotel. At the hotel I ripped off my shoes, examined my blisters, took a bath, and changed into something cleaner. I took a bit of a rest too, then decided to head out to find some food.

In Kyoto there is an area called Gion. Gion is famous for itís night life, notably its restaurants and bars. Some sushi and a beer sounded really good, so I figured Iíd head to Gion. Gion is also where you are likely to see geisha or maiko heading off to their appointments in the evening. Yes, they still exist and still function as they always have. Needless to say, I couldnít afford the company of a geisha, but seeing one would be cool. When I got to Gion I quickly found a sushi bar. It seemed to be a big deal that a foreigner had walked in, because every one of the five sushi chefs watched me and smiled through my entire meal, commenting among themselves. I didnít mind much, but they could have been a little more discreet about it. The customers were surprised by my presence too. The guy sitting next to me said something about Americans to his female counterpart and she chuckled. The guy on my other side knew some English, so he decided to strike up some conversation. It was difficult understanding him through his terribly thick accent, but it was an all-right bit of small talk. He knew of Tennessee through a dancing song popular in Japan right now called the Tennessee waltz. He even started singing the song to me and asked me to join in. I declined, he laughed and returned to his sushi. ^_^ Speaking of the sushi, it was amazing. Very good! I decided to be bold, so I got a sampler plate that included various sushi, a couple I hadnít tried before. One of those two was a very rubbery sliver of something. I wanna say it was some form of shellfish, but Iím not sure. It didnít have much of a taste, so it wasnít my favorite. My biggest adventure was trying salmon eggs. I wasnít sure what to expect, but I have to say they were quite good! Iíll definitely try it more often in the U.S.. It could be fun to impress a sushi chef every so often. ^_^ Iíve never actually seen an American eating salmon eggs before, so Iím sure a sushi chef would get a kick out of it.

The sushi was a success, but I canít say the same for the beer. The first bar I found that interested me was one that called itself a jazz bar. On a Saturday night I would figure a jazz bar in an area known for its bars would at least have some live music, but no. They just had some softly playing jazz on the speakers and a very pretty (yet silent) piano sitting in the corner. I saw they wanted •1000 for a beer, and left pretty fast. The bartender said that was the price I should expect everywhere in the area and thus directed me across the river to a more ďcasualĒ neighborhood. With a bit of searching and some getting lost I found a bar, had a beer for half what the other guy was asking, and left.

The most notable occasion of the evening was me actually seeing some geisha. These two were actually maiko, not geisha. You can tell because maiko wear flowers and such in their hair and their sleeves are much longer than those of geisha. I tried to pull one of them over so I could get a picture, but they were clearly in a rush. One of them looked at me, waved, and rushed on her way. Iím sure they get people asking them for pictures all the time, so I didnít blame them. If they stopped for every tourist wanting a picture theyíd never get to their appointment. I at least tried to get one of them as they walked away, but some other guy bumped me as I pressed the button and the picture turned out blurry. They were too far away by the time I could get the camera ready again. So, a blurry picture of the backs of two maiko is the only proof that I have that I saw them. Oh well.

I was heading back to the bus stop when I saw a large shrine on the edge of the street that was all lit up. I didnít know the kept the shrines open to the public that late at night, so I figured Iíd explore. The pictures were hard to get, with it being so dimly lit, but I got a few good shots. The most interesting thing was the large stage that had been set up in the middle of the coutyard of the shrine. I wasnít sure what it was for, but there was an American girl who clearly had something to do with it, because she was invited on stage to try on a dragon mask. Who knows what the stage was actually for, but it was beautifully lit. I wasnít the only person there interested in picture taking. There was a Persian woman there as well who had clearly come prepared for low light photography. She had a remote shutter trigger and a tripod. I had my finger and wobbly arms. Her pictures were probably better. ^_^

After the Gion advernture I headed back to the hotel for the last time that evening and hit the sack pretty early, around 11:00. I set my alarm for 6:00 AM and went to bed.


Sunday, June 22nd
It rained today. That explains the mood of things pretty well. I was ecstatic to be able to tour again, but the rain made me irritable. Then my umbrella broke and I was even more irritable. I tried not to let it get to me though, but it did come out in a couple ways. The first way was through the crowds. It seems Sunday is a really popular day for class trips because my first stop was the Kinkaku-ji, and it was PACKED with jr. high and high school students. I could hardly move it was so crowded. I would have loved to be able to linger a bit and have a nice time taking in the serene landscape and beautiful gold-plated temple, but when a class of 30 jr. high kids chooses to walk right in front of you at a pace slightly slower than bearable, ya get a bit irritated. Yet again, the fact that I came out with decent pictures is a work of divine intervention. In comparison to itís sister temple the Ginkaku-ji, the Kinkaku-ji wasnít as interesting. The garden area wasnít as sculpted and nice, and the pond took up a bit too much space. That was one of the cool things about the Ginkaku-ji, the proportions. The ratio of pond to land in relation to the amount of space taken up by the buildings themselves was just right. I felt calm at the Ginkaku-ji despite the crowds, but at the Kinkaku-ji I was just irritated by them. Perhaps that's a reflection on the location itselfÖ I donít know.

The Ryoan-ji was my next stop. Itís an old Zen Buddhist temple as well, but not in the same style as the two sister temples. Rather than a traditional garden, this temple is famous for itís rock garden. In accordance with a particular Zen Buddhist style, the rock garden is very long and narrow and surrounded by walls, thus giving a feeling of compact space. The goal is to create something as dynamic as possible inside this space and the Ryoan-ji garden has managed it extraordinarily well. The garden can only be viewed form the temple deck on one side and it consists of 15 rocks arranged in four groupings. The thing that makes the rock garden quite a dynamic piece of design is the fact that it is physically impossible to see all 15 rocks at one time. From any angle you view it at from the deck, there are always only 14 rocks visible, never more, never less. I didnít believe it when somebody told me that, so I moved from location to location and counted the rocks myself, and itís true. I could never count more than 14. As I moved from one location to the next, one rock would disappear while another disappeared. It was freaky. Very well designed. The temple was well worth the effort it took to get there, and that is another story.

I had quite a bit of trouble making it from the Kinkaku-ji to the Ryoan-ji. The 53 bus is the only bus that goes between the two locations. I knew this. So, I went to the Kinkaku-michi bus stop and waited for the 53 bus. I was confused that there was no 53 bus on the route map listed at the bus stop. But, there was a bus that wasnít on my bus map, the M1. I figured the M1 and the 53 must be the same bus, so I waited. As I waited for the M1, I saw the 53 bus coming and thought all was well and the bus route map posted was wrong. It wasnít wrong. Even though my bus map says the 53 stops at Kinkaku-michi, it doesnít stop at the south-bound side, only the north-bound. It turns before it gets to the south-bound stop. I wasnít sure what was going on, so I followed the bus. I missed it at the next stop, Kinkaku-mae, and it was going to be another half-hour before it showed up again. I decided to walk. I made it almost all the way to Ryoan-ji before the next 53 bus caught up to me, so I didnít save any time, but expended unnecessary energy. Bummer. I got the my location though, which was what counted.

After Ryoan-ji, I was pretty hungry. I decided my next and last stop of the day would be Nijo-jo, the Tokugawa castle. I figured Iíd be able to find some food around the castle area, so I took off in that direction. The task of finding food proved to be more difficult than it should have been. To start off, I got off the bus one stop early by accident. I walked to the next stop. the next sto was not terribly far, and I figured Iíd find food on the way anyway. I didnít. I got all the way to Nijo-jo and still had not found any food. So, I started wandering down one of the cross-streets. I walked a good 15 minutes down it with no luck at all. So, I turned around and went the other direction from the castle. I was about 10 minutes down that way before I found a place that sold omuraisu. I thought that sounded like a wonderful idea. The restaurant I went to ended up being the nicest-lookng restaurant of my entire trip. It was all wood inside, fresh vegetables waiting on the bar to be cooked, a nice garden out back, and two eating areas separated by a wall of glass and wood. I sat at the bar where they had places set with chopsticks and spoons. The chopstick rest was a chili-pepper, a real one. I though that was fun. I got an omuraisu with beef stew on top. This one differed from my other one I'd tried because the rice was mixed with vegetables inside. It tasted amazing and it was cheap too! I had a blast there and the service was exceptional. I give the restaurant two thumbs up. ^_^

With my stomach full I proceeded to Nijo-jo. I had to pay for admission of course, and since there was an audio tour offered, I figured Iíd use it. That wasnít free either. The castle itself was beautiful. There are actually two castles in Nijo-jo, the first and the only one that is completely the original structure, is the one called Ninomaru-jo. I took a tour of that castle and listened to my audio thing on the way. They wouldnít let me take pictures inside in order to preserve the beautiful paintings on the panels. Most of the panels in the castle were done by the same man, a 25-year-old prodigy who already had students under him. The overall theme was pine trees, and this theme was repeated in every room with subtle differences depending on the rooms usage or status. The castle is the newest castle in Japan and was originally built by Ieyasu Tokugawa, the first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate, back in the 1600ís. I was informed later by Hosokawa-san that the castle is actually quite dangerous. Apparently there are still many booby traps inside that havenít been discovered yet. I didnít discover any booby traps, but the floors of the castle require a little explanation. The floors were very squeaky, but not because theyíre old. They were built that way on purpose. Through a highly technical system of wood planks and nails, when you walk on the floors they sing like a bird and are often called ďsinging floorsĒ or ďnightingale floors.Ē No matter how softly you walked, they still made that singing noise. Nobody could enter the castle or even move around in it unnoticed unless they were able to keep from walking on the floor. Quite fascinating.

After my tour of Ninomaru-jo I went out to see the garden and the rest of the castle grounds. It was all quite beautiful, but the best garden in Kyoto is still the one at Ginkaku-ji. That one was just so beautiful and peaceful. Though, I have to also grant that I havenít been to all the gardens in Kyoto, so my judgment is hardly an informed one. Anyhoo, the rest of the castle was quite fun. I enjoyed my time there and left feeling satisfied that my last great tour destination in Kyoto had been a good one.

I still had a few hours before I had to be on the shinkansen back to Tokyo, so I decided to go to a couple places that I didnít think I would go to. The first was a place called the Nishijin Textile Center. At this place you can buy a variety of Japanese textile crafts like silk scrolls, woven throw rugs, blankets, purses, ties, and even kimonos. It was a very interesting place. There was even a woman in there on a weaving machine, and a guy painting. It was all very beautiful, but the building itself was rather dull. It was completely fluorescent lit and smelled funny. Before I left I caught the first two models in a kimono fashion show. That was interesting for a bit, but I didnít feel like sticking around. I had to go out the back way to avoid the crowds.

My last stop of the day was the Kyoto Handicrafts Center. This is a place mostly designed for tourists, of course. There wasnít a Japanese in the building who wasnít working there. The place was seven stories of traditional Japanese handicrafts, ranging from pottery and painting to dolls and kimonos. It was all very overpriced, but much of it was quite nice. I looked around for a while before I decided it was a fruitless venture. I saw so many things I wanted to buy but none that I could afford. So, I hopped on the bus and headed back to the hotel to pick up my bags.

I made it to the station with minutes to spare and found my seat with a bit of trouble. I walked the wrong way down the train for a couple cars. I made it to my seat and intended to write out this blog post there, but after I put on my headphones and leaned back, I went to sleep pretty fast. I slept through the entire trip back to Tokyo. I hadnít eaten since my omuraisu outside Nijo castle, so once I made it to Ikebukuro I exited the station in an attempt to find some food. I ended up getting turned around in the station and exited out a weird way. When I got outside I had no idea where I was. This was problematic. It was raining too, so I didnít want to wander around very much. I turned down the first street I could. It ended up being a pedestrian street with many restaurants (lucky!). I found a ramen bar and it was the exact meal I was in the mood for. I got a bowl of ramen and what I thought was a side of gyoza. Since I canít read Japanese, all I had to go on was the picture, and the gyoza in the picture didnít look any larger than normal. When they were brought to me I was blown away! The three gyoza could have been a meal themselves. I had ordered them, so I attempted to finish them. As it turns out I was hungrier than I thought I was, because I finished everything. Iím sure the waitress was impressed. ^_^ She kept looking over at me while I was eating. It was the best service I could have asked for. No sooner had I finished a glass of water that another one was sitting in front of me. If I could have tipped, I would have. But, in eating out this entire six weeks, Iíve never seen anyone tip. I guess itís just not done here. With a full stomach I walked the 200 ft back to Ikebukuro station and boarded the train back to Hatoyama.

I ended up sitting next to kendo team on the way back. Four of them were still dressed in full kendo garb, and the others were in school uniform. It was a nice looking uniform too, If they hadnít all been wearing the exact same thing, I would have thought they were just dressed nice. They seemed to be pretty close as a team too, they all talked and chatted through the entire train ride. I wonder if they won.

I made it to Takasaka station and was a bit concerned. My ride wasnít there! Hosokawa-san was supposed to pick me up between 10:30 and 11:00. It was 10:35. I figured Iíd wait around until a little past 11:00 before panicking. At 11:10 I figured he had forgotten, so I then had two choices. I could call Narafu-san and pray I didnít wake her up, or I could just pay for a taxi ride. I figured I had enough money for a taxi ride this evening, but didnít really want to fork over the cash. So, I chose to go with the riskier venture; I called Narafu-san. She was awake, which I am more than happy about. She called Hosokawa-san and he came right out to get me. He had forgotten. It was okay though. I had some place to hide from the rain while i waited.

I got back to NLL at about midnight. I got online to tell my parents Iíd made it back safely, but when my mom asked what time my flight was in the morning, I panicked. I thought my flight was on Tuesday! No, no, it was on Monday. So, I frantically packed and did as much as I possibly could before I had no more energy. I crashed at around 2:00 AM.

Caesar1280's Anime Ticker

.hack//Legend of the Twilight, Air, Air: The Movie, Akira, The Animatrix, Appleseed, Aquatic Language, Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror, Beck, Black Lagoon, Blame!, Blood the Last Vampire, Bokurano, Burst Angel, Castle in the Sky, Cowboy Bebop, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express, Egao, FLCL, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala, Gankutsuou, Gatekeepers, Genshiken, Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society, Gin-iro no Kami no Agito, Grave of the Fireflies, Grenadier, Haibane Renmei, Hellsing, Highlander: The Search for Vengeance, Hikaru no Go, Howl?s Moving Castle, Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade, Jyu Oh Sei, Karas: The Prophecy, Last Exile, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Midori?s Days, Milennium Actress, Mushi-shi, My Neighbor Totoro, Naruto, Naruto: The Movie, Nausicaa, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth, Ninja Scroll: The Movie, Other Worlds, Paprika, Perfect Blue, Pet Shop of Horrors, The Place Promised In Our Early Days, Prťtear, Princess Mononoke, Read Or Die, Read Or Die: The TV, Samurai Champloo, Samurai Seven, Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal, She and Her Cat, Spirited Away, Steamboy, Tide-Line Blue, Tokyo Babylon, Tokyo Godfathers, Trigun, Voices of a Distant Star, Witch Hunter Robin, Wonderful Days, Wrath of the Ninja, X

Anime I've Seen

- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- .hack//Sign
- 5 Centimeters per Second
- Air
- Air: The Movie
- Akira
- The Animatrix
- Appleseed
- Aquatic Language
- Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror
- Baby Blue
- Beck
- Black Lagoon
- Blame!
- Blood the Last Vampire
- Bokurano
- Burst Angel
- Castle in the Sky
- Cowboy Bebop
- Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
- Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express
- Doorbell
- Egao
- FLCL
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala
- Gankutsuou
- Gatekeepers
- Genius Party
- Genshiken
- Genshiken OAV
- Ghost in the Shell
- Ghost in the Shell: Innocence
- Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society
- Gin-iro no Kami no Agito
- The Gokusen
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Grenadier
- Haibane Renmei
- Happy Machine
- Hellsing
- Highlander: The Search for Vengeance
- Hikaru no Go
- Howl's Moving Castle
- Innocent Venus
- Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade
- Jyu Oh Sei
- Karas: The Prophecy
- Karas: The Revelation
- Last Exile
- Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
- Midori?s Days
- Milennium Actress
- Mushi-shi
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Naruto
- Naruto: The Movie
- Nausicaa
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth
- Ninja Scroll: The Movie
- Other Worlds
- Ouran High School Host Club
- Paprika
- Perfect Blue
- Pet Shop of Horrors
- The Place Promised In Our Early Days
- Prťtear
- Princess Mononoke
- Read Or Die
- Read Or Die: The TV
- Samurai Champloo
- Samurai Seven
- Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal
- Serial Experiments Lain
- Shanghai Dragon
- She and Her Cat
- Spirited Away
- Steamboy
- Tekkonkinkreet
- Tide-Line Blue
- Tokyo Babylon
- Tokyo Godfathers
- Trigun
- Trinity Blood
- Vampire Hunter D
- Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
- Voices of a Distant Star
- Witch Hunter Robin
- Wolf's Rain
- Wonderful Days
- Wrath of the Ninja
- X

Total: 93
Anime I Haven't Completed

- .hack//Roots
- Ah! My Goddess
- Angelic Layer
- Avenger
- Baccano!
- Bamboo Blade
- Basilisk
- Binchou-tan
- Black Cat
- Bleach
- Blood+
- Boogiepop Phantom
- Case Closed
- Le Chevalier d'Eon
- Chobits
- Chrono Crusade
- Code Geass
- Coyote Ragtime Show
- D.Gray-Man
- D.N.Angel
- DearS
- Death Note
- Dennou Coil
- Desert Punk
- Digimon
- Dragon Ball Z
- Ergo Proxy
- Eureka Seven
- Excel Saga
- Fighting Beauty Wulong
- Final Fantasy Unlimited
- Flag
- Freedom
- Full Moon
- Gantz
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
- Gintama
- Glass Fleet
- Great Teacher Onizuka
- Gundam Seed
- Gundam Wing
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Hellsing OVA
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
- Ikki Tousen
- InuYasha
- Jigoku Shojo
- Kage Kara Mamoru
- Karin
- Kino's Journey
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Lovely Complex
- Lucky Star
- Makai Senki Disgaea
- Marchen Awakens Romance
- Meine Liebe
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Mononoke
- Monster
- Moon Phase
- Mr Stain on Junk Alley
- Naruto Shippuuden
- Negima?!
- Negima!
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion
- Nerima Daikon Brothers
- NHK ni Youkoso
- Night Walker
- Ninja Nonsense
- Noir
- Peacemaker Kurogane
- Pokemon
- Prince of Tennis
- R.G. Veda
- Ragnarok
- Rec
- Red Garden
- Robotech
- Romeo x Juliet
- Rosen Maiden
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Saikano
- Sailor Moon
- Samurai Deeper Kyo
- Sci-fi Harry
- School Rumble
- Scrapped Princess
- Shin-chan
- Shingu
- Shion no Oh
- Shuffle!
- Shrine of the Morning Mist
- So Long, Mr. Despair
- Solty Rei
- Sousei no Aquarion
- Speed Grapher
- Spice and Wolf
- Super Milk Chan
- Tales of Phantasia
- Tenchi Muyo
- Tenjhou Tenge
- Texnolyze
- The Third
- Tsubasa Chronicles
- Urusei Yatsura
- Venus Versus Virus
- Welcome to the N.H.K.
- Winter Cicada
- X-1999
- Xenosaga
- XxxHolic
- Yu Yu Hakushou
- Yume Tsukai
- Zero no Tsukaima
- Zipang

Total: 116
Manga I've Completed

- Cowboy Bebop
- FLCL
- Manga Messiah
- Manga Metamorphosis
- Q*Ko-chan
- Saiyuki
- Shirahime-Syo

Total: 7


Manga I Haven't Completed


- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- Black Cat
- Blame!
- Chobits
- D.Gray-man
- Darkside Blues
- Death Note
- The Demon Ororon
- Desert Coral
- Disgaea
- Eureka Seven: Gravity Boys and Lifting Girl
- Fruits Basket
- Getbackers
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Kamunagara
- Legal Drug
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Megatokyo
- Naruto
- Negima
- Read Or Die
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Tactics
- Trigun Maximum
- XXXHolic

Total: 26

Anime I'm Currently Watching
Samurai 7, InuYasha, Samurai Deeper Kyo,
Boogiepop Phantom, and Shrine of the Morning Mist

Manga I'm Currently Reading
Read Or Die, Hayate the Combat Butler, and Megatokyo.hack//Roots, .hack//Sign, 5 cm per Second, Ah! My Goddess, Angelic Layer, Avenger, Basilisk, Binchou-tan, Black Cat, Bleach, Blood+, Boogiepop Phantom, Case Closed, Le Chevalier d'Eon, Chobits, Chrono Crusade, Coyote Ragtime Show, D.Gray-Man, D.N.Angel, DearS, Death Note, Dennou Coil, Desert Punk, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, Ergo Proxy, Eureka 7, Excel Saga, Fighting Beauty Wulong, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Flag, Full Moon, Gantz, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Gintama, Great Teacher Onizuka, Gundam Seed, Gundam Wing, Hayate the Combat Butler, Hellsing Ultimate, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Innocent Venus, InuYasha, Jigoku Shojo, Kage Kara Mamoru, Karin, Kino?s Journey, Love Hina, Loveless, Lovely Complex, Lucky Star, Makai Senki Disgaea, Marchen Awakens Romance, Meine Liebe, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Mononoke, Monster, Naruto Shippuuden, Negima?!, Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion, Nerima Daikon Brothers, NHK ni Youkoso, Night Walker, Ninja Nonsense, Noir, Ouran High School Host Club, Peacemaker Kurogane, Pokemon, Prince of Tennis, R.G. Veda, Ragnarok, Rec, Red Garden, Robotech, Romeo x Juliet, Rosen Maiden, Rurouni Kenshin, Saikano, Sailor Moon, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Sci-fi Harry, School Rumble, Scrapped Princess, Serial Experiments Lain, Shingu, Shuffle!, Shrine of the Morning Mist, So Long Mr. Despair, Solty Rei, Sousei no Aquarion, Speed Grapher, Super Milk Chan, Tales of Phantasia, Tenchi Muyo, Tenjhou Tenge, Texnolyze, The Third. Trinity Blood, Tsubasa Chronicles, Urusei Yatsura, Welcome to the N.H.K., Winter Cicada, X-1999, Xenosaga, XxxHolic, Yu Yu Hakushou, Yume Tsukai, Zero no Tsukaima, Zipang


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Thursday, June 19, 2008


The Beginning of Goodbye

But that a joy past joy calls out on me,
It were a grief, so brief to part with thee.
- WIlliam Shakespeare

This is my last week of work here. Iím very disappointed about this, but Iím beginning to accept it. The good news is that at the end of the whole trip I will have accomplished more than what I came here to accomplish. So, it was a successful trip. Everybody has been really supportive though the entire thing and they all say Iím doing a great job. Of this Iím very glad.


Monday, June 16th
Today marked the beginning of my last week here at New Life League in Japan. Itís a bittersweet sort of feeling. I am definitely going to miss this place, but I am looking forward to getting back to the U.S. and to something familiar.

My work day wasnít very interesting. I got the files I needed from Kelly-san. I was able to get them all added to the activity book. Unfortunately she didnít send all the files. She sent enough for me to work with for a day though. A little after lunch time Mike-san came by my little work area and asked for my assistance. He was trying to send some pictures and the files were too big to send in the email. He wanted to know how to make the files smaller. Had this been a Mac he was using I would have been able to show him easily, but he is using a new Windows machine complete with the new Vista operating system. Iíve never used Vista, so I couldnít be of much help. But I did what I could. The only way I knew to compress file sizes on a Windows machine is by use of a compressor application. So, he tried to find one. Considering this is Vista he was working on, none of the shareware compressors on VersionTracker.com were compatible. He found one somewhere else. It didnít work. My usefulness ran out completely after he started trying to play with the program. The interface is all in Japanese and itís a program Iíve never used on a machine whose operating system is foreign to me. Thus, I excused myself and went back to work.

The biggest event of the day had nothing to do with work at all. Iíve been concerned because I have run out of things in Tokyo and the surrounding area to occupy myself with. I could go and see Tokyo Tower or something, but thatís not a full days worth of activity. So, I spoke to Chieko-san about my predicament. Her first suggestion was to get out of the Tokyo area. She thought Kyoto sounded good. I thought so too. But, Kyoto is actually further away than I went when I went to stay with Kelly-san, I donít know anyone there, the whole trip would be very expensive, and to do the trip effectively I would have to stay for a whole weekend. I explained my thoughts to Chieko-san and she agreed that it would be a big deal to go there. Little did I know that she had misunderstood my concerns. She thought the chief thing preventing me from going was the money. This was not the case at all, but nevertheless she went and talked with Iwaoka-san and together they agreed that NLL would fund my whole trip, which includes both travel and hotel fees. I was blown away when Chieko-san informed me of this! I didnít think NLL had that kind of money! Apparently they think my enjoyment a worthy expenditure. With an offer like that I would have felt horrible refusing. So, guess what? Iím going to Kyoto this weekend!

Tuesday, June 17th
Today was a big day for me. To start off, I got the last of the files I needed from Kelly-san. I now had everything I needed to complete my book. So, I worked on it all day and was literally about five hours away from completion when the ending bell rang. I would have kept working (I was in a bit of a groove by then) but today was the day the design office chose to take me out for karaoke.

Unfortunately the entire design office wasnít able to come. Only half of them came. Narafu-san had to work and Hayashi-san doesnít like to sing. So, it was Tsutsumi-san, Ai-san, Chieko-san (no, Chieko-san is not a part of the design office, but she was invited anyway) and myself. We went to a place called Darts. If I had been going there by myself I would have been quite confused. The parking lot for the building is a full block away. You have to walk out the back side of the parking lot, walk about 100 yards, take a right, walk across some train tracks, take a left, walk another 50 feet, take another right and the building was on the left. There wasnít even a lighted sign out front, there was just a poster that said Darts. If you ask me the place felt a bit shady, but I guess thatís the way things are sometimes organized here, because nobody else seemed to have a problem with it and the interior of the building wasnít too shabby.

We were directed upstairs to a small room. The room was about the size of a long restaurant booth, and basically thatís all it was anyway. There was a large table that ran down the center of the room with two booth seats on either side of it up against the wall. A karaoke machine and video screen were mounted in the wall opposite the door. The walls were covered in advertisements, there was a slot machine in the back of the room, and the entire place smelled like cigarette smoke. We sat down and immediately poured all our concentration into finding something edible from the menu. We had success.

Tsutsumi-san was the first to sing. I canít tell you what song it was that she sang because it was all in Japanese, but it was a pretty song. At first I thought that the machine was the one doing the singing, but then noticed Tsutsumi-sans lips moving and was quite surprised. The woman is good! In fact, everyone there was good! Talk about pressure. Heh heh! The first song I chose to sing was Piano Man by Billy Joel. Great song. Everybody seemed impressed, but I wasnít. I started out the song in a lower octave than I should have and thus found myself dipping down into a range that is beyond my vocal capability. Everybody complimented me anyway. The entire experience was a blast. We all munched on food, talked, and sang songs for two hours. I only knew one of the songs that the women sang: When the Saints Go Marching IN. It was Chieko-san that picked it. Thatís the song Weíre all singing in the pictures up at the top of the post. ^_^ Other than Piano Man I sung Hotel California by the Eagles, Stuck in the Middle With You by Stealers Wheel, Itís Not Unusual by Tom Jones, I Want To Break Free by Queen, and Daughters by John Mayer. Notice how almost all of them are older songs? Heh heh! I need to update my song library. ^_^

The pickinís for food were rather slim at the karaoke joint, so after we finished singing at 8:30, we drove to Saizeria and had some dessert. I had a piece of tiramisu. Tsutsumi-san ordered a salad which was much larger than she had expected it would be. She kept trying to get me to help her with it. I declined. I was actually pretty full from the karaoke food. My tiramisu was enough to satisfy me for the evening. Conversation around the dessert table centered around me for some reason. We ended up talking about how young I am and how young theyíre not. HAHA! They claim theyíre closer to my parents age than to my age. They wouldnít tell me their ages though, which bummed me out a bit because Iím more than curious. They also got to talking about how well Iíve adapted to the culture in Japan. In Chieko-sanís words, ďJapan suits you.Ē I have to agree. I feel very comfortable in this culture, Iím in love with their art and their design aesthetic, and everybody Iíve met has been extraordinarily nice to me.

Chieko-san ran by the supermarket on the way back to NLL. I didnít need much, only a thing of instant rice for my Thai curry leftovers and a loaf of bread for sandwiches. Though, I ended up leaving with some fruit juice, some cherries, six Japanese oranges, and a package of matcha and red bean popsicles. Tasty. I now have more than enough food to last me through the end of my stay. No more trips to the supermarket for me.

Wednesday, June 18th
It was a sad day today. Today was the last day Iíd get to see Chieko-san. She leaves for a week-long trip to the Philippines tomorrow. Itís quite sad. After lunch she surprised me with a little gift. She gave me a little plush squirrel that vibrates when you pull a little string. Chieko-san says his name is Lismo. Heís actually a promotional tool for a cell phone company, AU. Heís got little green headphones in his ears and heís holding a little banner that says AU. Very cute. The gift suited Chieko-san quite well. I accepted it graciously, but felt very bad because sheís given me so much while Iíve been on this trip, but Iíve not been able to give anything back. I had to at least do something, so I decided I would take her out to eat. She was very surprised and grateful. I told her we could go anywhere she liked, so she chose to have okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a dish from Osaka and looks like a pancake. Itís a mixture of cabbage, cheese, meat, octopus, squid, shrimp, eggs, and various vegetables. The restaurant prepares the ingredients and you pan-fry it yourself on a grill-top which is embedded in your table. I takes about 10 minutes to make. I got one with noodles added to the mixture, very good. I need to learn how to make one of these things as well, because it was really tasty. Sure, I wonít be able to put squid or octopus into the ones Iíll make back in the U.S., but Iíll try my best to make it as close to the original as I can. The food was enjoyable and not expensive at all. About the price of going out to eat at Fridayís. I was glad to pay and glad I could show my appreciation to Chieko-san before she left.

She dropped me off at the door and we said our goodbyes. I did my best to keep from tearing up. I was successful. Iím normally not so emotional when it comes to this sort of thing. I didnít even get teary when three of my best friends at school graduated this past semester. Iíll probably never see them again and I knew them much longer than I knew Chieko-san. But, she was just such an amazing person! She had quite an impact on me and it is thanks to her solely that I had as great of a time here that I did. Iím actually getting a knot in my throat as Iím typing this. Iím sincerely going to miss her and I wish her the best. I hope we meet again someday.

Apart from Chieko-sanís departure, today was a great day. I worked a bit on the last page of my activity book, then offered the design office my assistance with anything they needed to have done. Ai-san still had the latest manga, Manga Mutiy which had to have the English text added to it. So, thatís what I did with my day. I made it about a third of the way through the manga today and should be able to finish it tomorrow. The only thing I have left to complete on the activity book is to finish and scan my maze and create the cover. That shouldnít take long at all.

Thursday, June 19th
It felt a little awkward today without Chieko-san. She always comes to talk to me a bit during the day. I worked the entire day on the text placement for Manga Mutiny. I was making exceptional progress, but wasnít going to be able to finish like I thought I was. I made it all the way to the last section before 5:15, but then I made a stupid mistake. When I save each section I have to save over the InDesign CS2 file and replace it with the InDesign CS3 file. With section nine, I accidentally saved over the InDesign CS3 file of section eight. This means that a full hour and a half worth of work just disappeared. Not only do I have to do that hour and a half worth of work over again, but by saving over the file I added another half hour to my work because Iíve got to go and re-link all the pages from section eight. GrrÖ I was going to be able to finish all of this text placement as well as my activity book, but with that one mistake I donít think Iíll have the time.

Today I was asked by Hiroaki-san to give a short testimony in the devotional time about my stay here. This wasnít that hard of a thing to do. I quickly typed out my feelings and thoughts, summarized my experience, and thanked them all in my little speech. I think it was nice, but you can read my farewell speech below.

To start off, I am more than grateful to have been given the opportunity and the blessing of being able to come out here to work with you all. It really has been amazing. I have taken every chance I could to see your country and experience your culture. For the last few weekends I have toured the Tokyo area. This weekend I have even been given the chance to go see Kyoto. I have seen sights such as the Meiji Shrine, Takeshita-dori, Asakusa temple, Yoshimi Hyakuana, and many other areas of Tokyo as well. I have even been to a maid cafe. THAT was a unique experience. I also got the wonderful opportunity to live with Kelly-san and her family down in Nyukawa in the Gifu prefecture. To see how they live and get to work with Kelly-san was an experience I cannot even begin to put into words. God has really blessed me. Actually, the fact that I am here at all is a testament to His blessing. I was not looking for an internship outside the U.S.. But, God had other plans for me. For what reason I do not know, but he brought me here. As I have been here he has protected me and through your kindness has made sure that my trip was enjoyable. So, I thank you immensely for the wonderful hospitality you have shown me. My experiences here, working with you, getting to know you, getting to know your country, they are all experiences that will stay with me for my entire life and I will treasure them deeply. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for kindness and I pray that God continues to bless your work here in Japan. May you be fruitful in everything you do. Thank you very much.

Caesar1280's Anime Ticker

.hack//Legend of the Twilight, Air, Air: The Movie, Akira, The Animatrix, Appleseed, Aquatic Language, Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror, Beck, Black Lagoon, Blame!, Blood the Last Vampire, Bokurano, Burst Angel, Castle in the Sky, Cowboy Bebop, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express, Egao, FLCL, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala, Gankutsuou, Gatekeepers, Genshiken, Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society, Gin-iro no Kami no Agito, Grave of the Fireflies, Grenadier, Haibane Renmei, Hellsing, Highlander: The Search for Vengeance, Hikaru no Go, Howl?s Moving Castle, Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade, Jyu Oh Sei, Karas: The Prophecy, Last Exile, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Midori?s Days, Milennium Actress, Mushi-shi, My Neighbor Totoro, Naruto, Naruto: The Movie, Nausicaa, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth, Ninja Scroll: The Movie, Other Worlds, Paprika, Perfect Blue, Pet Shop of Horrors, The Place Promised In Our Early Days, Prťtear, Princess Mononoke, Read Or Die, Read Or Die: The TV, Samurai Champloo, Samurai Seven, Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal, She and Her Cat, Spirited Away, Steamboy, Tide-Line Blue, Tokyo Babylon, Tokyo Godfathers, Trigun, Voices of a Distant Star, Witch Hunter Robin, Wonderful Days, Wrath of the Ninja, X

Anime I've Seen

- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- .hack//Sign
- 5 Centimeters per Second
- Air
- Air: The Movie
- Akira
- The Animatrix
- Appleseed
- Aquatic Language
- Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror
- Baby Blue
- Beck
- Black Lagoon
- Blame!
- Blood the Last Vampire
- Bokurano
- Burst Angel
- Castle in the Sky
- Cowboy Bebop
- Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
- Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express
- Doorbell
- Egao
- FLCL
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala
- Gankutsuou
- Gatekeepers
- Genius Party
- Genshiken
- Genshiken OAV
- Ghost in the Shell
- Ghost in the Shell: Innocence
- Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society
- Gin-iro no Kami no Agito
- The Gokusen
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Grenadier
- Haibane Renmei
- Happy Machine
- Hellsing
- Highlander: The Search for Vengeance
- Hikaru no Go
- Howl's Moving Castle
- Innocent Venus
- Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade
- Jyu Oh Sei
- Karas: The Prophecy
- Karas: The Revelation
- Last Exile
- Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
- Midori?s Days
- Milennium Actress
- Mushi-shi
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Naruto
- Naruto: The Movie
- Nausicaa
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth
- Ninja Scroll: The Movie
- Other Worlds
- Ouran High School Host Club
- Paprika
- Perfect Blue
- Pet Shop of Horrors
- The Place Promised In Our Early Days
- Prťtear
- Princess Mononoke
- Read Or Die
- Read Or Die: The TV
- Samurai Champloo
- Samurai Seven
- Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal
- Serial Experiments Lain
- Shanghai Dragon
- She and Her Cat
- Spirited Away
- Steamboy
- Tekkonkinkreet
- Tide-Line Blue
- Tokyo Babylon
- Tokyo Godfathers
- Trigun
- Trinity Blood
- Vampire Hunter D
- Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
- Voices of a Distant Star
- Witch Hunter Robin
- Wolf's Rain
- Wonderful Days
- Wrath of the Ninja
- X

Total: 93
Anime I Haven't Completed

- .hack//Roots
- Ah! My Goddess
- Angelic Layer
- Avenger
- Baccano!
- Bamboo Blade
- Basilisk
- Binchou-tan
- Black Cat
- Bleach
- Blood+
- Boogiepop Phantom
- Case Closed
- Le Chevalier d'Eon
- Chobits
- Chrono Crusade
- Code Geass
- Coyote Ragtime Show
- D.Gray-Man
- D.N.Angel
- DearS
- Death Note
- Dennou Coil
- Desert Punk
- Digimon
- Dragon Ball Z
- Ergo Proxy
- Eureka Seven
- Excel Saga
- Fighting Beauty Wulong
- Final Fantasy Unlimited
- Flag
- Freedom
- Full Moon
- Gantz
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
- Gintama
- Glass Fleet
- Great Teacher Onizuka
- Gundam Seed
- Gundam Wing
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Hellsing OVA
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
- Ikki Tousen
- InuYasha
- Jigoku Shojo
- Kage Kara Mamoru
- Karin
- Kino's Journey
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Lovely Complex
- Lucky Star
- Makai Senki Disgaea
- Marchen Awakens Romance
- Meine Liebe
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Mononoke
- Monster
- Moon Phase
- Mr Stain on Junk Alley
- Naruto Shippuuden
- Negima?!
- Negima!
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion
- Nerima Daikon Brothers
- NHK ni Youkoso
- Night Walker
- Ninja Nonsense
- Noir
- Peacemaker Kurogane
- Pokemon
- Prince of Tennis
- R.G. Veda
- Ragnarok
- Rec
- Red Garden
- Robotech
- Romeo x Juliet
- Rosen Maiden
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Saikano
- Sailor Moon
- Samurai Deeper Kyo
- Sci-fi Harry
- School Rumble
- Scrapped Princess
- Shin-chan
- Shingu
- Shion no Oh
- Shuffle!
- Shrine of the Morning Mist
- So Long, Mr. Despair
- Solty Rei
- Sousei no Aquarion
- Speed Grapher
- Spice and Wolf
- Super Milk Chan
- Tales of Phantasia
- Tenchi Muyo
- Tenjhou Tenge
- Texnolyze
- The Third
- Tsubasa Chronicles
- Urusei Yatsura
- Venus Versus Virus
- Welcome to the N.H.K.
- Winter Cicada
- X-1999
- Xenosaga
- XxxHolic
- Yu Yu Hakushou
- Yume Tsukai
- Zero no Tsukaima
- Zipang

Total: 116
Manga I've Completed

- Cowboy Bebop
- FLCL
- Manga Messiah
- Manga Metamorphosis
- Q*Ko-chan
- Saiyuki
- Shirahime-Syo

Total: 7


Manga I Haven't Completed


- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- Black Cat
- Blame!
- Chobits
- D.Gray-man
- Darkside Blues
- Death Note
- The Demon Ororon
- Desert Coral
- Disgaea
- Eureka Seven: Gravity Boys and Lifting Girl
- Fruits Basket
- Getbackers
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Kamunagara
- Legal Drug
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Megatokyo
- Naruto
- Negima
- Read Or Die
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Tactics
- Trigun Maximum
- XXXHolic

Total: 26

Anime I'm Currently Watching
Samurai 7, InuYasha, Samurai Deeper Kyo,
Boogiepop Phantom, and Shrine of the Morning Mist

Manga I'm Currently Reading
Read Or Die, Hayate the Combat Butler, and Megatokyo.hack//Roots, .hack//Sign, 5 cm per Second, Ah! My Goddess, Angelic Layer, Avenger, Basilisk, Binchou-tan, Black Cat, Bleach, Blood+, Boogiepop Phantom, Case Closed, Le Chevalier d'Eon, Chobits, Chrono Crusade, Coyote Ragtime Show, D.Gray-Man, D.N.Angel, DearS, Death Note, Dennou Coil, Desert Punk, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, Ergo Proxy, Eureka 7, Excel Saga, Fighting Beauty Wulong, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Flag, Full Moon, Gantz, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Gintama, Great Teacher Onizuka, Gundam Seed, Gundam Wing, Hayate the Combat Butler, Hellsing Ultimate, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Innocent Venus, InuYasha, Jigoku Shojo, Kage Kara Mamoru, Karin, Kino?s Journey, Love Hina, Loveless, Lovely Complex, Lucky Star, Makai Senki Disgaea, Marchen Awakens Romance, Meine Liebe, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Mononoke, Monster, Naruto Shippuuden, Negima?!, Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion, Nerima Daikon Brothers, NHK ni Youkoso, Night Walker, Ninja Nonsense, Noir, Ouran High School Host Club, Peacemaker Kurogane, Pokemon, Prince of Tennis, R.G. Veda, Ragnarok, Rec, Red Garden, Robotech, Romeo x Juliet, Rosen Maiden, Rurouni Kenshin, Saikano, Sailor Moon, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Sci-fi Harry, School Rumble, Scrapped Princess, Serial Experiments Lain, Shingu, Shuffle!, Shrine of the Morning Mist, So Long Mr. Despair, Solty Rei, Sousei no Aquarion, Speed Grapher, Super Milk Chan, Tales of Phantasia, Tenchi Muyo, Tenjhou Tenge, Texnolyze, The Third. Trinity Blood, Tsubasa Chronicles, Urusei Yatsura, Welcome to the N.H.K., Winter Cicada, X-1999, Xenosaga, XxxHolic, Yu Yu Hakushou, Yume Tsukai, Zero no Tsukaima, Zipang


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Sunday, June 15, 2008


History in Person

For the perfect idler, for the passionate observer it becomes an immense source of enjoyment to establish his dwelling in the throng, in the ebb and flow, the bustle, the fleeting and the infinite. To be away from home and yet to feel at home anywhere; to see the world, to be at the very center of the world, and yet to be unseen of the world, such are some of the minor pleasures of those independent, intense and impartial spirits, who do not lend themselves easily to linguistic definitions. The observer is a prince enjoying his incognito wherever he goes."
- Charles Baudelaire

That quote from Charles Baudelaire really explains how Iíve been feeling lately. Travel is my favorite thing to do on earth. It really is. This might come as a surprise to some of you and for others it might be a bit redundant, but itís the truth. Travel opens your eyes to who you are. It teaches you about yourself while at the same it introducing you to a new culture, a new people, new experiences, and a new way of looking at life. It makes me feel whole to know that my little world back in the U.S. is part of a much bigger world. We are all interconnected and we are all part of Godís great plan. This is what I have come to learn so far, and I pray that my experiences this last week here in Japan only further enlighten me. I just wanted to start out with this statement, because as a whole this last weekend had a rather large impact on me and as I write this post, I am only further reminded that my time here in Japan is rapidly coming to a close. I am really going to miss this place.

Friday, June 13th
As you may recall, this evening is the night my colleagues in the design department at NLL chose to take me out for dinner. So, the entire day of work today really led up that one big event. That isnít to say that the rest of the day wasnít of any interest though.

As I had planned, I finished all of the activity book that I could possibly finish. I have laid out all the pages that I had the materials for and now just wait for the rest of the images to be sent to me from Kelly-san. I finished with about and hour and a half left in the day. With the last of it Narafu-san enlisted my help with a new project of hers. Sheís working on a new evangelical tool that NLL is creating about the differences between Christianity and Buddhism. For the front cover she wanted to show this contrast by using the hand of Christ and the hand of one of countless Buddha statues. She wasnít sure exactly what the hand of a Buddha statue looked like, so she asked me to do a bit of research into the matter. I gladly accepted her request, because being in Japan I am surrounded by Buddhism of a sort. I wanted to know more about the religion so I could gain a greater understanding Japanese culture. We ended up finding good information on the different Buddha statue hand gestures and the distinction between the different types of statues. She was satisfied, but wanted a picture of one of the hand gestures from the side. I ended up failing at finding that particular picture, but she found one. Though despite having found everything she was looking for, she still worried that the image on the cover would not illustrate the difference between the religions well enough. Ai-san, who had been observing our quest from her corner of the room, then interjected with an idea. She suggested Narafu-san increase the contrast by drawing the hand of Christ as a hand of a living person (which it is) and draw the hand of Buddha from a statue. A brilliant idea from the mind of the deceptively diminutive Ai-san. There was much awe and praise and I went back to my desk to continue research for another 15 minutes before the ending bell rang.

Dinner was a treat! We went to a restaurant called Tarugen. According to Narafu-san it is a restaurant that takes traditional Japanese food and modernizes it. Honestly, I didnít really taste much of a difference between it and the rest of the Japanese food Iíve had. It all tasted good, but still very Japanese. There were a few things that I could tell were different from the norm, but only barely. One of those things was the dish we started out with: sashimi rolls wrapped in Vietnamese rice paper. The Japanese donít typically eat Vietnamese rice paper, so that was an addition. The rest of the meal consisted of a salad, a fried potato fritter, tempura eggplant and noodles, baked tofu, and the end all discovery of the evening, nikujaga. Nikujaga requires a bit of an explanation. Ya see, I thought it looked a bit familiar, and when I put it in my mouth I was sure of it. I had tasted this dish before, but not at a place you would have assumed. The dish is comprised of beef, potatoes, onions, and carrots in a broth. Do the ingredients of that dish ring any bells with those of you in my family? They should because they are the exact ingredients of Mam-maís beef stew. Thatís right, nikujaga and Mam-maís signature beef stew are one and the same!!! It was crazy! Iím eating this dish and Iím actually ecstatic! It had been so long since Iíd had it and it brought back so many memories. Now, Iím not sure how Mam-ma got a hold of the recipe, but itís a traditional Japanese dish going back many years. So yeah, I ate Mam-maís beef stew at a restaurant in Japan. HOW SMALL IS OUR WORLD!?

Saturday, June 14th
The morning started out a bit crazy. As has been happening the last few days, I woke up before my alarm. This happens when my body establishes a routine. It will anticipate the alarm and wake up ahead of time out of habit. But it didnít happen exactly that way this time. Today I was shaken awake. Japan was rocked by decent sized earthquake this morning at about 8:30 or so. I was a bit disoriented at first. I wasnít sure what was happening. So, I just lay there while the thing took itís course. It didnít seem that terribly large, but apparently it was larger further north. Up north six or eight people died in a landslide caused by the shake. It also knocked a couple of the train lines in Tokyo out of commission for the day. Crazy. It didnít last very long either, at least not very long after I woke up. Who knows how long it had been going before I woke up. I sleep rather hard.

My plan for the day consisted of going to the Ghibli museum in Mitaka and visiting the places on that side of Tokyo that I had been to already but didnít have pictures of. My entrance time for the museum wasn't until 2:00 PM, so I took my time getting out the door this morning. I left earlier than last Saturday though. I made it to Tokyo by about 11:15 and decided lunch was in order. I remembered having seen many tasty looking restaurants in Shibuya when I went there for the live, so I headed for Shibuya. It was hard finding something I was in the mood for, but I eventually stumbled into an udon noodle bar. It was good food. None of the people behind the counter could speak English and the menu was all in Japanese, so, as is the only thing I could really do, I pointed at a picture of something. The point got across and I was able to convey that I wanted the smaller size. It ended up being an udon noodle soup with beef. It sufficiently subdued my stomach and was quite tasty, though messy since being bound by Japanese culture I was forced to slurp. I clearly haven't mastered the noodle slurp yet because I got little droplets of soup all over the tray and a couple even made their way to my shirt. I'm glad I wore black.

As I walked back to the train station I saw many people shouting on the sidewalks in Krispy Kreme uniforms. This is a typical advertising technique in Tokyo. As it happens, a Krispy Kreme franchise had just recently opened up in Shibuya. Well, I couldnít pass up a chance to have some Krispy Kreme, so I went through the 20-minute line, fought the crowds, and ate myself a chocolate glazed donut with coconut topping and a chocolate cake donut. I also thoroughly enjoyed the fresh glazed donut I was handed by a very cute and polite girl. I really didn't want it at the moment, since I was still quite full from lunch, but when a cute Japanese girl hands you a donut still dripping with glaze, ya gotta take it. I at it on the spot, though I didnít eat the two donuts I purchased right away. Instead I stored those two in my backpack until later in the day when a sugar boost seemed necessary. I felt that need as I was walking through Mitaka on my way to the Ghibli museum.

Mitaka was quite the beautiful neighborhood. In fact, it is the most beautiful neighborhood I've seen yet in Tokyo. I would consider it to be like the Long Island of Tokyo. It isnít far from the bustling downtown area but is nice and quiet even on the weekend. It seemed to be a nice place to raise a family because there were many people out playing with kids, walking dogs, riding bikes, playing tennis, etc.. If I were to move to Tokyo, Iíd move to Mitaka. The Ghibli museum is on the edge of a large park right in the middle of Mitaka called Inokashira park. Its beautiful location added to the picturesque nature of the museum.

The museum itself was clearly geared towards the younger generation, but was entertaining nonetheless. As I entered the gate I was greeted by a life-sized plush of Totoro standing in the box office. It wasnít clear which way to go to enter the museum, so I just followed the crowds. At the entrance I exchanged my ticket for a ďfilm ticket.Ē I call it a film ticket because it had three film frames from a Ghibli movie embedded in it. Every film ticket is unique, and my particular section of film comes from near the end of Howlís Moving Castle. Inside the museum was a spacious lobby that stretched to the very top of the three story building. On one side of the lobby was a spiral staircase that led up to the third floor and on the second floor there was a bridge that spanned from one side of the lobby to the other. I went up a larger staircase on the opposite side from the spiral one and started my tour of the museum on the second floor. Yeah, it doesnít make sense, but it happened. It ended up being the perfect starting place though, because the first room I visited explained the process of making a Ghibli movie. The rooms were literally covered in scraps of paper and trinkets from every Ghibli film. The walls were thick with watercolored sketches and concept drawings. All of them were just tacked up there with thumb tacks. In the room connected to the first they had storyboard books and sample film strips. They had cels on the walls in every stage of production and models of workspaces, character walk cycles, all kinds of stuff. I could have spent hours in just those two rooms alone, but with the mass of people shoving their way through there I could only linger for a few seconds at each item before I was forced to move on. As it turns out, those two rooms were the most interesting in the entire museum. Another room that was interesting was the room of their temporary exhibition called ďPetit Leuvre.Ē The name actually explains it. They had full-sized reproductions of all of the more famous paintings form the Leuve, including such classics as ďThe Oath of the HoritiatiĒ by David, ďMagdaleneĒ by Georges de la Tour, and of course ďMona LisaĒ by the great Leonardo da Vinci. At first I thought the paintings might be the originals, but the manner in which they were displayed and the mere quality of the artworks presented suggested that they were reproductions. When I rounded a corner and saw Mona Lisa staring at me, all doubts were thrown aside; they were reproductions. Nevertheless, I enjoyed looking at them. Iíve never seen any of those pieces in person, so to see them at full scale, despite them being reproductions, left me in awe. Other areas of the museum included the cat bus room with a massive plush cat bus from Totoro on which about twenty kids were running around and playing. At the back of that room was a door that led outside where a spiral staircase led to the roof on which they had erected a small garden. In the garden were two statues of the iron man and the levitating box, both from Laputa. They were popular attractions and I had to fight the crowds to get a decent look at them. Itís a miracle I was able to get pictures of both without being obstructed by onlookers.

By far the highlight of the museum was the original Ghibli film that played every 20 minutes down in the theater. There are four original works currently playing in the museum, a different one every hour. The one I ended up getting the chance to see was the one I most wanted to see anyway (lucky!). It was a short movie related to Totoro in which Mei encounters a kitty bus. The whole 15 minutes of the film were her scampering around and playing with the kitten. It was interesting and of course Totoro had a reprise role. Thankfully there was little dialogue and the story was simple to follow because there were no English subtitles. I enjoyed the film and I enjoyed the museum. I left feeling I got my moneyís worth.

From the museum I traveled back to Harajuku to take pictures of the locations I had already seen, so very little explanation will be provided for these locations. On the way back to downtown Tokyo from Mitaka I ended up hopping on the wrong train. It took me two two stops further down the Yamanote line than I wanted to go, but the mistake was easily corrected. My first stop in Harajuku was the Meiji Jingu (shrine). Yet again I consider myself quite lucky because I hit the shrine at the perfect time of day for picture taking. The sun had just dipped below the level of the trees and thus the shadows being cast were perfect and the ambient light wasnít too much for my camera to handle effectively. I got some amazing pictures. Unfortunately the large torii gate at the entrance of the shrine was under maintenance on this particular day, so I wasnít able to get a picture of it, but thatís the only thing I wasnít able to get a picture of. I got pictures of the barrels of consecrated sake, the barrels of consecrated French wine, the secondary torii gate, the entrance gate of the shrine, the shrine itself with people practicing their worship, the ema tablets on which people write out their wishes to be blessed by the priests, and I even got to take pictures of a happy couple on their wedding day. The only exceptionally eventful thing that happened at the shrine was an encounter I had with a Japanese gentlemen who seemed to be just hanging around on the shrine grounds. Iím not terribly sure of his ultimate goal in doing this. He spoke perfect English. He came up to me, asked me where I was from (he guessed Canada), and when I told him I was from the U.S. (a mistake I will not make in the future) he went off about the corrupt nature of the American government and how my votes really donít matter but that the future president has already been picked. I considered debating the issue with him but realized debating would not get us anywhere. He seemed quite steadfast in his views and didnít sound to me like the kind of man who could be swayed by friendly debate. When he first started talking to me I was worried he might be one of the right-wing political crazies who speak out against anything western. Chieko-san cautioned me about crossing the street in front of black vans, because these particular folks like to drive around in them and blast their propaganda out loudspeakers. Apparently it's not against their character to run a white guy down just for the hey of it. Though, given the casual and non-threatening manner of this particular gentlemen I concluded that he was not a right-wing activist, but I did my best to pull away from him anyway so I could continue my visit of the shrine. I managed to get away after about five minutes, but on my way out I passed him again, and he accosted me once more. This time he started the conversation by asking me if I was a Christian. I answered yes of course and then he went on a rant about how Christianity is the only religion and how the people at the shrine are pagans (yet more proof that he wasn't a right-wing nut. They're all buddhist or shinto). He then abruptly switched the conversation from religion to literature and asked me if I appreciated haiku. I figured Iíd indulge the man, so I answered yes (though Iíve only read about four haiku poems in my life). As it turns out, heís a struggling haiku author and just happened to have a copy of his poems for me to purchase! GASP! Whoodathunk he wanted money!? HAHA! I declined his offer and tried to walk away, he then proceeded to explain that he was homeless and only needed 300 yen for a bowl of rice. HA! He expected me to willingly give him money from my pocket after he insulted my government and my country and called me an ignorant American?! I donít think so! I said no and turned and left, abandoning all courtesy at this point. He yelled at me that I was a typical American who was just greedy and selfish. I just kept walking. ^_^ Insult me, and thatís what you get.

I spent the rest of the evening roaming around Harajuku. I took pictures of Takeshita-dori, browsed the kimono flea market, saw the cosplayers on the bridge outside Meiji Jingu, and generally acted like a tourist. It was fun, I wore myself out, and I headed back to Hatoyama around 7:30. On the way through the train station I caught a whiff of fried fish and noticed a pub off to the side. I felt a beer would be nice and worth the purchase. I had myself a half pint of Bass Pale Ale and a fish fritter. I got back to Hatoyama at 9:00 or so and talked on AIM for a bit before heading to bed after my long day.

Sunday, June 15th
Chieko-san arrived to pick me up at 9:00 this morning for church. She ran into NLL for a bit to print out something for the translating she had to do at church later, and then we headed out. Church was nice, but I didnít get much out of it because the man next to me didnít have very good control of his kids and they were squirming and kicking and whining through the whole service. I honestly canít remember what Pastor Stan spoke about, but I know it was something in Daniel again, that much I remember. I am fairly sure it had something to do with Fatherís Day, considering that is what today is.

After church they held their monthly potluck lunch which was quite good yet again. There was an abundance of rice dishes today, so that was most of what I ate. I enjoyed them very much.

Today Chieko-san gave me yet another choice. I could go to Kawagoe and do some shopping, or I could go to a place called Yoshimi Hyakuana. I chose the latter of the two. Yoshimi Hyakuana, called Hyakketsu for short, is a hill about 45 minutes outside Hatoyama in the small town of Yoshimi. This particular hill is special because it is actually an old burial site. The name Hyakuana literally means ďhundred cavesĒ and when you get there you can see why. The hill is a figurative swiss cheese of burial caves. Itís covered with them. The name is deceptive because there are actually over two hundred little caves on the hill, but whoís counting. ^_^ Each cave is only about six or seven feet deep and the tallest of which is probably only six feet tall at itís apex. Itís wide enough to hold two bodies, one on each side of the entrance. They were all dug about 1300 years ago and were used for the burial the the highest upper class. The Yoshimi Hyakuana is the largest concentration of such burial chambers in all of Japan and is considered a national historical monument. Why I wasnít informed of a place like this before, I donít know, but I enjoyed myself thoroughly. We walked around on the hill for about 30 minutes or so. Chieko-san and I sat at the top and looked out at the surrounding area, discussed ice cream of all things, and had a good time in general. At the bottom of the hill is a large network of caves in which the Japanese army constructed weapons during WWII. It was freaky walking into that place. I absolutely love history, and being in and around these caves gave me such a sense of awe. I loved it.

We did a bit of shopping after we left the Hyakketsu. I got some foodstuffs for the week to last me until Wednesday when Iíll go shopping for the last time. Then Chieko-san deposited me back at NLL and we called it an evening. Another full day.

Caesar1280's Anime Ticker

.hack//Legend of the Twilight, Air, Air: The Movie, Akira, The Animatrix, Appleseed, Aquatic Language, Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror, Beck, Black Lagoon, Blame!, Blood the Last Vampire, Bokurano, Burst Angel, Castle in the Sky, Cowboy Bebop, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express, Egao, FLCL, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala, Gankutsuou, Gatekeepers, Genshiken, Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society, Gin-iro no Kami no Agito, Grave of the Fireflies, Grenadier, Haibane Renmei, Hellsing, Highlander: The Search for Vengeance, Hikaru no Go, Howl?s Moving Castle, Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade, Jyu Oh Sei, Karas: The Prophecy, Last Exile, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Midori?s Days, Milennium Actress, Mushi-shi, My Neighbor Totoro, Naruto, Naruto: The Movie, Nausicaa, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth, Ninja Scroll: The Movie, Other Worlds, Paprika, Perfect Blue, Pet Shop of Horrors, The Place Promised In Our Early Days, Prťtear, Princess Mononoke, Read Or Die, Read Or Die: The TV, Samurai Champloo, Samurai Seven, Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal, She and Her Cat, Spirited Away, Steamboy, Tide-Line Blue, Tokyo Babylon, Tokyo Godfathers, Trigun, Voices of a Distant Star, Witch Hunter Robin, Wonderful Days, Wrath of the Ninja, X

Anime I've Seen

- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- .hack//Sign
- 5 Centimeters per Second
- Air
- Air: The Movie
- Akira
- The Animatrix
- Appleseed
- Aquatic Language
- Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror
- Baby Blue
- Beck
- Black Lagoon
- Blame!
- Blood the Last Vampire
- Bokurano
- Burst Angel
- Castle in the Sky
- Cowboy Bebop
- Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
- Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express
- Doorbell
- Egao
- FLCL
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala
- Gankutsuou
- Gatekeepers
- Genius Party
- Genshiken
- Genshiken OAV
- Ghost in the Shell
- Ghost in the Shell: Innocence
- Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society
- Gin-iro no Kami no Agito
- The Gokusen
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Grenadier
- Haibane Renmei
- Happy Machine
- Hellsing
- Highlander: The Search for Vengeance
- Hikaru no Go
- Howl's Moving Castle
- Innocent Venus
- Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade
- Jyu Oh Sei
- Karas: The Prophecy
- Karas: The Revelation
- Last Exile
- Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
- Midori?s Days
- Milennium Actress
- Mushi-shi
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Naruto
- Naruto: The Movie
- Nausicaa
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth
- Ninja Scroll: The Movie
- Other Worlds
- Ouran High School Host Club
- Paprika
- Perfect Blue
- Pet Shop of Horrors
- The Place Promised In Our Early Days
- Prťtear
- Princess Mononoke
- Read Or Die
- Read Or Die: The TV
- Samurai Champloo
- Samurai Seven
- Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal
- Serial Experiments Lain
- Shanghai Dragon
- She and Her Cat
- Spirited Away
- Steamboy
- Tekkonkinkreet
- Tide-Line Blue
- Tokyo Babylon
- Tokyo Godfathers
- Trigun
- Trinity Blood
- Vampire Hunter D
- Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
- Voices of a Distant Star
- Witch Hunter Robin
- Wolf's Rain
- Wonderful Days
- Wrath of the Ninja
- X

Total: 93
Anime I Haven't Completed

- .hack//Roots
- Ah! My Goddess
- Angelic Layer
- Avenger
- Baccano!
- Bamboo Blade
- Basilisk
- Binchou-tan
- Black Cat
- Bleach
- Blood+
- Boogiepop Phantom
- Case Closed
- Le Chevalier d'Eon
- Chobits
- Chrono Crusade
- Code Geass
- Coyote Ragtime Show
- D.Gray-Man
- D.N.Angel
- DearS
- Death Note
- Dennou Coil
- Desert Punk
- Digimon
- Dragon Ball Z
- Ergo Proxy
- Eureka Seven
- Excel Saga
- Fighting Beauty Wulong
- Final Fantasy Unlimited
- Flag
- Freedom
- Full Moon
- Gantz
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
- Gintama
- Glass Fleet
- Great Teacher Onizuka
- Gundam Seed
- Gundam Wing
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Hellsing OVA
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
- Ikki Tousen
- InuYasha
- Jigoku Shojo
- Kage Kara Mamoru
- Karin
- Kino's Journey
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Lovely Complex
- Lucky Star
- Makai Senki Disgaea
- Marchen Awakens Romance
- Meine Liebe
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Mononoke
- Monster
- Moon Phase
- Mr Stain on Junk Alley
- Naruto Shippuuden
- Negima?!
- Negima!
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion
- Nerima Daikon Brothers
- NHK ni Youkoso
- Night Walker
- Ninja Nonsense
- Noir
- Peacemaker Kurogane
- Pokemon
- Prince of Tennis
- R.G. Veda
- Ragnarok
- Rec
- Red Garden
- Robotech
- Romeo x Juliet
- Rosen Maiden
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Saikano
- Sailor Moon
- Samurai Deeper Kyo
- Sci-fi Harry
- School Rumble
- Scrapped Princess
- Shin-chan
- Shingu
- Shion no Oh
- Shuffle!
- Shrine of the Morning Mist
- So Long, Mr. Despair
- Solty Rei
- Sousei no Aquarion
- Speed Grapher
- Spice and Wolf
- Super Milk Chan
- Tales of Phantasia
- Tenchi Muyo
- Tenjhou Tenge
- Texnolyze
- The Third
- Tsubasa Chronicles
- Urusei Yatsura
- Venus Versus Virus
- Welcome to the N.H.K.
- Winter Cicada
- X-1999
- Xenosaga
- XxxHolic
- Yu Yu Hakushou
- Yume Tsukai
- Zero no Tsukaima
- Zipang

Total: 116
Manga I've Completed

- Cowboy Bebop
- FLCL
- Manga Messiah
- Manga Metamorphosis
- Q*Ko-chan
- Saiyuki
- Shirahime-Syo

Total: 7


Manga I Haven't Completed


- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- Black Cat
- Blame!
- Chobits
- D.Gray-man
- Darkside Blues
- Death Note
- The Demon Ororon
- Desert Coral
- Disgaea
- Eureka Seven: Gravity Boys and Lifting Girl
- Fruits Basket
- Getbackers
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Kamunagara
- Legal Drug
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Megatokyo
- Naruto
- Negima
- Read Or Die
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Tactics
- Trigun Maximum
- XXXHolic

Total: 26

Anime I'm Currently Watching
Samurai 7, InuYasha, Samurai Deeper Kyo,
Boogiepop Phantom, and Shrine of the Morning Mist

Manga I'm Currently Reading
Read Or Die, Hayate the Combat Butler, and Megatokyo.hack//Roots, .hack//Sign, 5 cm per Second, Ah! My Goddess, Angelic Layer, Avenger, Basilisk, Binchou-tan, Black Cat, Bleach, Blood+, Boogiepop Phantom, Case Closed, Le Chevalier d'Eon, Chobits, Chrono Crusade, Coyote Ragtime Show, D.Gray-Man, D.N.Angel, DearS, Death Note, Dennou Coil, Desert Punk, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, Ergo Proxy, Eureka 7, Excel Saga, Fighting Beauty Wulong, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Flag, Full Moon, Gantz, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Gintama, Great Teacher Onizuka, Gundam Seed, Gundam Wing, Hayate the Combat Butler, Hellsing Ultimate, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Innocent Venus, InuYasha, Jigoku Shojo, Kage Kara Mamoru, Karin, Kino?s Journey, Love Hina, Loveless, Lovely Complex, Lucky Star, Makai Senki Disgaea, Marchen Awakens Romance, Meine Liebe, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Mononoke, Monster, Naruto Shippuuden, Negima?!, Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion, Nerima Daikon Brothers, NHK ni Youkoso, Night Walker, Ninja Nonsense, Noir, Ouran High School Host Club, Peacemaker Kurogane, Pokemon, Prince of Tennis, R.G. Veda, Ragnarok, Rec, Red Garden, Robotech, Romeo x Juliet, Rosen Maiden, Rurouni Kenshin, Saikano, Sailor Moon, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Sci-fi Harry, School Rumble, Scrapped Princess, Serial Experiments Lain, Shingu, Shuffle!, Shrine of the Morning Mist, So Long Mr. Despair, Solty Rei, Sousei no Aquarion, Speed Grapher, Super Milk Chan, Tales of Phantasia, Tenchi Muyo, Tenjhou Tenge, Texnolyze, The Third. Trinity Blood, Tsubasa Chronicles, Urusei Yatsura, Welcome to the N.H.K., Winter Cicada, X-1999, Xenosaga, XxxHolic, Yu Yu Hakushou, Yume Tsukai, Zero no Tsukaima, Zipang


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Thursday, June 12, 2008


Concerning the Middle East and water,
it turns out there's more than enough of both.

I had been planning on submitting this post on Friday night, but as you'll soon read I had plenty of stuff to write about to fill up a post. And it's actually interesting too, believe it or not. I mean, with an awesome title like that one, you know it's got to be at least mildly interesting... right? I hope you answered yes to that question.

Tuesday, June 10th
As with Monday, today was rather dull. Everything went very smoothly with the activity book. I showed it to Iwaoka-san and he seems to like it. Apparently he wants to submit it along with Manga Messiah to some sort of competition thing. Iím not sure if Iím understanding him correctly or not, but that kinda freaks me out if itís true. I mean, I think Iím doing a fine job on it, but it could be better. He liked what he saw though. So, I continued working on it all day and made surprising progress. I finished laying out all the story pages and then began working on a few more of the activity pages. As it stands, I think Iíll easily have this thing done by Friday.

Wednesday, June 11th
Yet again, today was rather dull. I worked on my activity book up until lunch. I got a few more of the activities done. Iím about halfway done with them now. A bit before lunch Naruafu-san (the one designer who can speak English fluently) informed me that my help was needed with something regarding the Arabic translation of Manga Messiah. Theyíve been having some trouble with it because the Arabic font being used is not compatible on their machines. So, the team in the middle east working on the project vectorized the type and sent it back here. Unfortunately they laid the entire manga out on the wrong image scans. Narafu-san emailed them about getting it fixed, but they havenít responded to the email. She says they never do. Sometimes they do what is asked, sometimes they donít, but the designers here never know which it is going to be. Due to that particular issue, they are always stuck in limbo. Unfortunately this particular project needed to get done ASAP and they didnít have time to just sit around and wait, so they shoved it onto my desk. Basically the task was to do the best I could making the current layout of the Arabic type look presentable. This meant adding text boxes, moving around the blocks of type, changing colors where I deemed fit, etcetera. It was mind-numbingly dull work and the afternoon was long. Sure, it required some creativity and thought, but I didnít have fun doing this like I have with the other projects theyíve given me. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but once I did it went smoothly. Itís a slow process, so finishing will probably take all day tomorrow as well. Iím not sure what this means for my activity book. Perhaps some overtime hours will be in order after all. One thing is for sure though, whether or not Iím enjoying my work, I am learning quite a bit about Adobe InDesign. Itís a much more complicated program than I gave it credit for.

On a more social note, the design team informed me today that they are planning to take me out this Friday night. Apparently itís a big deal. Theyíve invited the other two people I regularly talk to here at NLL, Chieko-san and Mike-san. Mike-san is my lunch conversation guy. Heís originally from British Colombia so his English is perfectly good. We have interesting conversations. The schedule for Friday is to leave straight from work at precisely 5:30 PM and go out to this restaurant called (insert name that starts with a T). After dinner weíll go out for a night of karaoke. It sounds like a fun evening! Apparently this restaurant is one that takes classic Japanese food and makes it new. All Iíve had so far is very traditional stuff, so a little variety will be nice. I look forward to trying it. The fun aspect of karaoke should go without saying. I love to sing and have taken part in a couple karaoke contests (though never won), and I think going out with a bunch of people, socializing, and singing to good songs sounds like a blast.

This evening for fun I worked on a design project of my own creation. When I find scans of nice anime-realted images, I like to come up with ideas for wallpapers. Most of them never get completed, but this particular scan called out to me (you can see the original scan here). It needed to have something done with it. It was a nice piece of artwork before I got my hands on it, and I think I added to it's beauty in a way (it's always hard to measure up to an original). I really like what I created, but I'll let you guys be the judges. I call it "Come Find Me." Tell me what ya think!

Thursday, June 12th
Today started out horribly. The whole thing started last night when I realized that I no longer had any clean clothes to wear. I had to do laundry. My normal practice while here is to do my laundry in the evening after work and get it hung outside before I go to bed so it can dry on the line overnight, or at least get dry enough to be comfortable to wear. The same thing happened last night. I got everything out on the line by about 11:00 PM and went to bed a few hours afterwards. Unbeknownst to me, rain was forecasted for the night. It was a perfectly sunny day yesterday and when I checked my weather widget it said it was going to be a perfectly sunny day today (which it was), but it neglected to inform me of the minor showers overnight. It rained all night until about 8:30 AM. Needless to say, my clothes didnít dry, but in fact got even wetter. I woke up at 7:00 AM and had nothing to wear. NOTHING. The only clean things I had left were an undershirt, a pair of socks, and my swimsuit. Guess what I wore to work for the first half of the day? Embarrassing. It would have helped if the dryer worked. I had to pay •200 for the privilege of using the thing and all it did was warm up my clothes a little. Completely worthless and senseless waste of money. I managed to get a pair of underwear and one of my t-shirts mostly dry before work by use of the magical device known as a hair drier, (so I wasnít going commando with a swimsuit and undershirt to work) and I got a pair of pants a little less wet by lunch. So, the last half of the day I was decently dressed yet damp, but the first half was embarrassing and miserable.

Despite the whole rain incident, my morning started out wonderfully. For once I had a nice night of sleep. I woke up before my alarm this morning feeling alert and refreshed. Itís not often that that happens. At work I continued with the Arabic project from yesterday. I made wonderful progress and managed to get it completed by about 3:30 PM. The design team was grateful. So, the last portion of the day I worked on my activity book again. I finished two activities in those last two hours which means I have five more to go before completion.

Now for more on the night out with the design team (plus two). Tsusumi-san was concerned that going out to eat and karaoke in the same night would be packing it in a bit too tight. So, theyíve decided to split the evening up into two nights. Weíll go to dinner at that T place on Friday, then next week sometime, probably on Monday or Tuesday, weíll go out for karaoke. Sounds fine to me, but I was kinda looking forward to karaoke tomorrow. Oh well. Such is life. ^_^

Caesar1280's Anime Ticker

.hack//Legend of the Twilight, Air, Air: The Movie, Akira, The Animatrix, Appleseed, Aquatic Language, Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror, Beck, Black Lagoon, Blame!, Blood the Last Vampire, Bokurano, Burst Angel, Castle in the Sky, Cowboy Bebop, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express, Egao, FLCL, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala, Gankutsuou, Gatekeepers, Genshiken, Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society, Gin-iro no Kami no Agito, Grave of the Fireflies, Grenadier, Haibane Renmei, Hellsing, Highlander: The Search for Vengeance, Hikaru no Go, Howl?s Moving Castle, Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade, Jyu Oh Sei, Karas: The Prophecy, Last Exile, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Midori?s Days, Milennium Actress, Mushi-shi, My Neighbor Totoro, Naruto, Naruto: The Movie, Nausicaa, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth, Ninja Scroll: The Movie, Other Worlds, Paprika, Perfect Blue, Pet Shop of Horrors, The Place Promised In Our Early Days, Prťtear, Princess Mononoke, Read Or Die, Read Or Die: The TV, Samurai Champloo, Samurai Seven, Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal, She and Her Cat, Spirited Away, Steamboy, Tide-Line Blue, Tokyo Babylon, Tokyo Godfathers, Trigun, Voices of a Distant Star, Witch Hunter Robin, Wonderful Days, Wrath of the Ninja, X

Anime I've Seen

- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- .hack//Sign
- 5 Centimeters per Second
- Air
- Air: The Movie
- Akira
- The Animatrix
- Appleseed
- Aquatic Language
- Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror
- Baby Blue
- Beck
- Black Lagoon
- Blame!
- Blood the Last Vampire
- Bokurano
- Burst Angel
- Castle in the Sky
- Cowboy Bebop
- Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
- Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express
- Doorbell
- Egao
- FLCL
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala
- Gankutsuou
- Gatekeepers
- Genius Party
- Genshiken
- Genshiken OAV
- Ghost in the Shell
- Ghost in the Shell: Innocence
- Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society
- Gin-iro no Kami no Agito
- The Gokusen
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Grenadier
- Haibane Renmei
- Happy Machine
- Hellsing
- Highlander: The Search for Vengeance
- Hikaru no Go
- Howl's Moving Castle
- Innocent Venus
- Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade
- Jyu Oh Sei
- Karas: The Prophecy
- Karas: The Revelation
- Last Exile
- Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
- Midori?s Days
- Milennium Actress
- Mushi-shi
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Naruto
- Naruto: The Movie
- Nausicaa
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth
- Ninja Scroll: The Movie
- Other Worlds
- Ouran High School Host Club
- Paprika
- Perfect Blue
- Pet Shop of Horrors
- The Place Promised In Our Early Days
- Prťtear
- Princess Mononoke
- Read Or Die
- Read Or Die: The TV
- Samurai Champloo
- Samurai Seven
- Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal
- Serial Experiments Lain
- Shanghai Dragon
- She and Her Cat
- Spirited Away
- Steamboy
- Tekkonkinkreet
- Tide-Line Blue
- Tokyo Babylon
- Tokyo Godfathers
- Trigun
- Trinity Blood
- Vampire Hunter D
- Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
- Voices of a Distant Star
- Witch Hunter Robin
- Wolf's Rain
- Wonderful Days
- Wrath of the Ninja
- X

Total: 93
Anime I Haven't Completed

- .hack//Roots
- Ah! My Goddess
- Angelic Layer
- Avenger
- Baccano!
- Bamboo Blade
- Basilisk
- Binchou-tan
- Black Cat
- Bleach
- Blood+
- Boogiepop Phantom
- Case Closed
- Le Chevalier d'Eon
- Chobits
- Chrono Crusade
- Code Geass
- Coyote Ragtime Show
- D.Gray-Man
- D.N.Angel
- DearS
- Death Note
- Dennou Coil
- Desert Punk
- Digimon
- Dragon Ball Z
- Ergo Proxy
- Eureka Seven
- Excel Saga
- Fighting Beauty Wulong
- Final Fantasy Unlimited
- Flag
- Freedom
- Full Moon
- Gantz
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
- Gintama
- Glass Fleet
- Great Teacher Onizuka
- Gundam Seed
- Gundam Wing
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Hellsing OVA
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
- Ikki Tousen
- InuYasha
- Jigoku Shojo
- Kage Kara Mamoru
- Karin
- Kino's Journey
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Lovely Complex
- Lucky Star
- Makai Senki Disgaea
- Marchen Awakens Romance
- Meine Liebe
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Mononoke
- Monster
- Moon Phase
- Mr Stain on Junk Alley
- Naruto Shippuuden
- Negima?!
- Negima!
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion
- Nerima Daikon Brothers
- NHK ni Youkoso
- Night Walker
- Ninja Nonsense
- Noir
- Peacemaker Kurogane
- Pokemon
- Prince of Tennis
- R.G. Veda
- Ragnarok
- Rec
- Red Garden
- Robotech
- Romeo x Juliet
- Rosen Maiden
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Saikano
- Sailor Moon
- Samurai Deeper Kyo
- Sci-fi Harry
- School Rumble
- Scrapped Princess
- Shin-chan
- Shingu
- Shion no Oh
- Shuffle!
- Shrine of the Morning Mist
- So Long, Mr. Despair
- Solty Rei
- Sousei no Aquarion
- Speed Grapher
- Spice and Wolf
- Super Milk Chan
- Tales of Phantasia
- Tenchi Muyo
- Tenjhou Tenge
- Texnolyze
- The Third
- Tsubasa Chronicles
- Urusei Yatsura
- Venus Versus Virus
- Welcome to the N.H.K.
- Winter Cicada
- X-1999
- Xenosaga
- XxxHolic
- Yu Yu Hakushou
- Yume Tsukai
- Zero no Tsukaima
- Zipang

Total: 116
Manga I've Completed

- Cowboy Bebop
- FLCL
- Manga Messiah
- Manga Metamorphosis
- Q*Ko-chan
- Saiyuki
- Shirahime-Syo

Total: 7


Manga I Haven't Completed


- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- Black Cat
- Blame!
- Chobits
- D.Gray-man
- Darkside Blues
- Death Note
- The Demon Ororon
- Desert Coral
- Disgaea
- Eureka Seven: Gravity Boys and Lifting Girl
- Fruits Basket
- Getbackers
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Kamunagara
- Legal Drug
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Megatokyo
- Naruto
- Negima
- Read Or Die
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Tactics
- Trigun Maximum
- XXXHolic

Total: 26

Anime I'm Currently Watching
Samurai 7, InuYasha, Samurai Deeper Kyo,
Boogiepop Phantom, and Shrine of the Morning Mist

Manga I'm Currently Reading
Read Or Die, Hayate the Combat Butler, and Megatokyo.hack//Roots, .hack//Sign, 5 cm per Second, Ah! My Goddess, Angelic Layer, Avenger, Basilisk, Binchou-tan, Black Cat, Bleach, Blood+, Boogiepop Phantom, Case Closed, Le Chevalier d'Eon, Chobits, Chrono Crusade, Coyote Ragtime Show, D.Gray-Man, D.N.Angel, DearS, Death Note, Dennou Coil, Desert Punk, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, Ergo Proxy, Eureka 7, Excel Saga, Fighting Beauty Wulong, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Flag, Full Moon, Gantz, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Gintama, Great Teacher Onizuka, Gundam Seed, Gundam Wing, Hayate the Combat Butler, Hellsing Ultimate, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Innocent Venus, InuYasha, Jigoku Shojo, Kage Kara Mamoru, Karin, Kino?s Journey, Love Hina, Loveless, Lovely Complex, Lucky Star, Makai Senki Disgaea, Marchen Awakens Romance, Meine Liebe, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Mononoke, Monster, Naruto Shippuuden, Negima?!, Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion, Nerima Daikon Brothers, NHK ni Youkoso, Night Walker, Ninja Nonsense, Noir, Ouran High School Host Club, Peacemaker Kurogane, Pokemon, Prince of Tennis, R.G. Veda, Ragnarok, Rec, Red Garden, Robotech, Romeo x Juliet, Rosen Maiden, Rurouni Kenshin, Saikano, Sailor Moon, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Sci-fi Harry, School Rumble, Scrapped Princess, Serial Experiments Lain, Shingu, Shuffle!, Shrine of the Morning Mist, So Long Mr. Despair, Solty Rei, Sousei no Aquarion, Speed Grapher, Super Milk Chan, Tales of Phantasia, Tenchi Muyo, Tenjhou Tenge, Texnolyze, The Third. Trinity Blood, Tsubasa Chronicles, Urusei Yatsura, Welcome to the N.H.K., Winter Cicada, X-1999, Xenosaga, XxxHolic, Yu Yu Hakushou, Yume Tsukai, Zero no Tsukaima, Zipang


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Monday, June 9, 2008


Busy, Busy, and More BusyÖ But the Good Kind of Busy ^_^
Yeah, the weekend was a busy one. It really was. All sortsa happenings and good stuff to report on. Donít ya just love it when that happens? I do. And, for once, I had my camera with me, so you get to see some real pictures again. Yay! ^_^

Friday, June 6th
Again, it was just another work day. I finished working on the text placement for the English version of Manga Mutiny this afternoon, so for the rest of the workday I worked on my activity book. I got a few pages done and am making some serious progress. Itís starting to look pretty nice if you ask me. I canít wait to see it when itís finished.

As with last week, Chieko-san came by at about noon and informed me that I had no choice but to go to dinner with her. I wasnít going to complain. ^_^ Ai-san overheard our conversation, and she must have understood enough of what we said to know that we were planning on going to dinner. Later in the afternoon she asked if she could join us. She has a very hard time with English, but sheís doing well. It has improved since I got here. For dinner we went to a very Japanese restaurant. We ate at a two-foot tall table while sitting on mats, our waiters all wore traditional Japanese attire and the manager wore a kimono. We all ended up getting the same thing. This has happened a few times so I donít think itís just coincidence anymore. I think it must be considered polite in Japanese culture to order the same thing as your guest. We all got a dish of tempura vegetables and shrimp on a bowl of rice. It was exceptional.

Following dinner Ai-san must have said something about wanting to go somewhere else because she and Chieko-san sat in the front seat for a good two minutes counting their money, then Chieko-san turned around and asked me if I had any other plans for the night. I of course said no, so I was then informed that we were going to the CD store. It wasnít the kind of CD store youíd expect though. This stores was a CD rental store. Thatís right, in Japan you can rent music CDs. I canít see that being a very wise thing for the Japanese music industry to allow to happen. Itís more than easy just to burn a CD to your computer and never actually buy it. Either way, the stores exist and we went to one. We wandered around for a while while Ai-san and Chieko-san picked CDs to rent. Then it was my turn. They both put all their effort into picking suitable Japanese music to rent for me. I did my best to explain what I liked and thus had to leave it up to them. They picked two CDs, one by Peíz and one by Grapevine. Peíz is a jazz rock group and Grapevine is British-inspired rock. I like both CDs very much. Ai-san has good music taste.

The CD store was the last thing of the day. When I got back to the room I watched an episode of Star Trek and went to bed, have you noticed a routine here?

Saturday, June 7th
The plan for today was yet another trip into Tokyo. Today my intended destination was the Edo Tokyo museum and I wasnít going to take no for an answer. I couldnít find Nishizawa-san to ask him for a ride to the train station, so I took the bus. When I exited the bus I put my •1000 into the money slot and it spit out some change. I figured I had just paid for the bus ride. I tried to get off and the driver said something to me and pointed at what looked like a metal bowl sitting on top of the console, I figured he was asking for a tip so I threw a couple hundred yen in there to be courteous. That is not the case. The thing I stuck my •1000 note into was just a change maker, the metal bowl was where you paid. As it happens, I only paid •200 for a •330 bus ride. I figured that out halfway through the day when I was counting my change. Well, I know how it works now so next weekend when I go to the Ghibli museum I wonít shortchange the bus driver.

Getting to the Edo Tokyo museum involved going to Ikebukuro station, hopping on the Yamanote line towards Akihabara. At Akihabara I transferred to the Chuo line and took that two stops to Ryogoku. From Ryogoku station I had to walk down the street and make a u-turn and that basically shot me out right at the museum. It was quite easy and I made it there with no incident. I took a short stop at Ikebukuro to get some money from the ATM (which I finally found) and to get some lunch. I had a Subway sandwich.

The museum itself was a pretty good size, though not too large to not be able to enjoy in one day. I love museums and thus spent most of the day there. I got there at around 12:30 and didnít leave until 4:15 or so. I saw the entire thing. The entire museum is built on four massive pillars, so to get in there you had to take an escalator up. You enter on the second floor and work your way down. There is a large Edo era bridge across from the entrance to the museum floor. On the other side of the bridge there are a lot of models displaying Edo era buildings and such. The first historical event I got introduced to was the Meireki fire of 1657 that destroyed most of the city of Edo. That included a bit of other noteworthiness, because I didnít know Edo referred to a city. I thought it was just the name the era was given. Edo is in fact the first name of Tokyo. The name was changed to Tokyo in the late 1800s. The reason why the period is named after the city is because Edo was the capital that was set up by the ruling shogunate. The first Edo era shogun was Ieyasu Tokugawa. The Tokugawa shogunate was the government of the Edo era and the collapse of the shogunate in 1868 marked the end of the era. The era lasted for 268 years! Amazing. One of the reasons for its collapse was the introduction of western culture which began in the 1850s when Commodore Matthew C. Perry of the U.S. navy demanded the opening of Japanís borders. Most of the western influence came from the Dutch and Russians though, not the U.S..

After learning about the beginning of the Edo period, I was lead downstairs to where I learned about daily life, government, and all sorts of other stuff relating to the period. The bottom floor was divided in half. The first half was on the Edo period and the last half was on the Meiji period up until present. The had full-scale models of portions of Japanese houses, scores of historical artifacts, many scrolls, and more than enough maps to give you the whole idea of the growth of Tokyo. Unfortunately, all the descriptions under the historical pieces were in Japanese with no translation. The only things I could read were the broad category descriptions. From those I had to guess what I was looking at. Imagine how much longer I could have been there had I been able to read about all the artifacts. ^_^ The only things they would let me take pictures of were the models, so thatís all that is in the slideshow. I thoroughly enjoyed the museum.

I was compelled to leave at about 4:15 because my stomach was screaming at me for some food. All the walking around and reading had worn me out and I was in need of food. I rushed through the last portion of the museum dealing with post WWII stuff. I walked back towards the station where I had seen a few restaurants and picked a curry place. Mostly I picked it because they had a great dealóa large plate of curry and rice and a bowl of miso soup for •410. Granted, the price reflected the quality of the meal, but I was fine with it. It filled me.

I still had plenty of time before I had to be heading back, so because I had to get off in Akihabara anyway, I figured Iíd look around a bit more. I went to a cosplay shop and looked around at the costumes, and I spent a lot of time in a shop that sold PVC models. Iíve always thought those models were well made and would like to buy one someday, theyíre just so expensive! I fond one that I really liked though. Iíd never buy it, they wanted •15,400 for the thing, but it was nicely and tastefully made. I admit I was tempted, but I would never be able to live with myself if I spent that much on something that pointless. I wandered around a bit more into a couple other places I had passed by the first time I went to Akihabara, then I got on the train and headed back. I was dead tired by the time I made it back to NLL, so I skipped the Star Trek and went straight to bed. I should have taken a shower, but my fatigue wouldnít allow it.

Sunday, June 8th
Church was nice today. We went back to our study of Daniel today and learned about the fasting aspect of prayer. It was certainly informative. Iíve never fasted before, so it gave me something to consider. If I do fast, it certainly wonít be here in Japan. Iím liking the food too much to give it up. ^_^

As usual, I went to lunch after church. Today I went with Chieko-san and Iwaoka-san. Iwaoka-san isnít much of a talker, so it was a rather boring lunch conversation, but I enjoyed the food. We went to a Chinese place, so I got a fried noodle dish with cabbage and shrimp. I love Chinese cabbage.

From lunch, Chieko-san and I went straight to the train station and caught a train to Asakusa. Our destination: the Asakusa Buddhist temple. I really enjoyed that! When we exited the train I was confronted with the strong smell of tea leaves. I thought maybe the entire area smelled that way, but apparently there just happens to be a tea shop right next to the station. The temple is just across an intersection from the station. There is about a 100m stretch of booths and shops in front of the temple where you can buy any number of assorted foods, gifts, and knickknacks. We had plenty of time to walk around, so I strolled around a bit and perused the shops. I found one thing there worth purchasing, and that was a set of sake glasses and bottle. It was a beautiful set! I was very tempted to buy it, but thought, ďwhatís the use?Ē I donít regularly drink sake, and even if I did, I wouldnít do it out of that bottle. I might still get it though. Honestly itís the first souvenir type thing Iíve seen that I wanted enough to actually pay the price being asked.

At the end of the shops and booths was the temple. The temple was a large open court. You entered the court through a massive gate with a big red lantern-looking thing hanging over it. This particular temple was very different than every other Buddhist temple Iíve been to. It lacked one thing: a Buddha. The shrine actually didnít have a statue of Buddha! I wasnít sure what people were up there worshipping. You can check the pictures for yourself. Chieko-san was confused as well. So, if anybody knows anything about the Buddhist religion, check out the photo and tell me what it is Iím supposed to be looking for.

The time looking at the actual temple was brief. There wasnít a great deal to see other than a shrine without a Buddha. So, we exited the temple grounds and walked around Asakusa a bit. Chieko-san took me to a shop that sold exclusively Miyazaki merchandise. She said sheíd been there many times. She thinks Totoro is cute. I enjoyed the shop and considered buying a Japanese towel (similar to a handkerchief, just longer) with a print of Totoro on it. I considered it until I saw that they were asking •2100 for the thing. Iíll never in my life spend •2100 on a hankie. Anyhoo, we wandered around for about 30 minutes before we had to head to the dock to board the waterbus.

We took a waterbus from Asakusa to Odaiba. The waterbus we took was a rather special one. It was designed by a guy named Matsumoto Leiji, the creator of multiple animes, his most famous being Galaxy Express 999. There were statuettes of three of the Galaxy Express characters standing on the deck and throughout the entire trip the characters informed us all of different things we were passing by. It was certainly an interesting ride. Our desitnation, Odaiba, is right on the bay and was really nice. All I saw of it was a couple things right on the bay, and a small mall. We didnít spend a whole lot of time looking around. The most interesting thing in the area was the statue of Liberty. Thatís right, Tokyo has a statue of Liberty. Itís the EXACT SAME as the one in New York, just about a quarter the size. Iím not really sure why itís there, and Chieko-san couldnít give me much of a answer either. Iíll have to do a bit of research.

Also in Odaiba was a small beach with some fine imported sand. It seemed a pretty popular place for families to visit on Sunday evening because there were little kids running around everywhere. I didnít expect to see a beach either, so it was worth stopping by.

We visited the mall chiefly to quiet our rumbling stomachs. There were many options for food and Chieko-san gave me the honor of choosing. I hate making food choices. She suggested a few places and I eventually chose a place called Pomme-no-ki. About the only thing the place serves is a specific Japanese dish called an omuraisu (omu rice). An omuraisu is an omelet filled with rice and topped with any number of different toppings. The most simple topping is ketchup, but I decided to go for something a bit more interesting. I got an omuraisu with a tomato, mushroom, and eggplant sauce. And, I have to say it was the best thing Iíve had this whole trip. I LOVED it! I am going to learn how to make one of those myself, because I donít know if I can go my entire life without having one again, and Iíve never seen anything like it in the States. So good!

After eating we boarded a train on our first leg of the trip back to NLL. This train was a special one because it was completely automated. It didnít have a driver. Honestly, that scared me a bit. The idea of careening down a railway at 60+mph with a microchip at the controls doesnít feel all that safe to me. It was a perfectly uneventful ride though.

As we switched lines we were confronted by some disturbing news. Chieko-san saw a news ticker that spoke of multiple murders committed in broad daylight. Some guy went crazy in Akihabara, ran a guy down, got out of the car, killed the guy with a knife, and killed six more people and injured 11 before the police could subdue him. This was all done right in the middle of the intersection! The crazy thing is that I was at that exact intersection not even 24 hours before. Crazy. As we entered the train station a guy handed us a news bulletin that had more details on the disaster. It was quite scary to read about something like that, especially since any one of those people could have been me.

I went to bed right after we got back to NLL. Again, no Star Trek tonight.

Monday, June 9th
Today was a typical boring Monday. I worked all day on my activity book. I got five pages finished and think Iíll most likely be able to get the entire thing finished by this Friday. My work on the English version of Manga Mutiny has been put on hold until the activity book is finished. Ai-san says there isnít a rush, which is nice. It means I donít have to put in any overtime hours to get the activity book done. Though, tonight I did work until 8:00. Itís not because I feel pressured to finish, I was just in a good mindset of productivity and didnít feel like stopping. So, itís after midnight now and Iím going to head to bed.

Caesar1280's Anime Ticker

.hack//Legend of the Twilight, Air, Air: The Movie, Akira, The Animatrix, Appleseed, Aquatic Language, Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror, Beck, Black Lagoon, Blame!, Blood the Last Vampire, Bokurano, Burst Angel, Castle in the Sky, Cowboy Bebop, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express, Egao, FLCL, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala, Gankutsuou, Gatekeepers, Genshiken, Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society, Gin-iro no Kami no Agito, Grave of the Fireflies, Grenadier, Haibane Renmei, Hellsing, Highlander: The Search for Vengeance, Hikaru no Go, Howl?s Moving Castle, Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade, Jyu Oh Sei, Karas: The Prophecy, Last Exile, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Midori?s Days, Milennium Actress, Mushi-shi, My Neighbor Totoro, Naruto, Naruto: The Movie, Nausicaa, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth, Ninja Scroll: The Movie, Other Worlds, Paprika, Perfect Blue, Pet Shop of Horrors, The Place Promised In Our Early Days, Prťtear, Princess Mononoke, Read Or Die, Read Or Die: The TV, Samurai Champloo, Samurai Seven, Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal, She and Her Cat, Spirited Away, Steamboy, Tide-Line Blue, Tokyo Babylon, Tokyo Godfathers, Trigun, Voices of a Distant Star, Witch Hunter Robin, Wonderful Days, Wrath of the Ninja, X

Anime I've Seen

- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- .hack//Sign
- 5 Centimeters per Second
- Air
- Air: The Movie
- Akira
- The Animatrix
- Appleseed
- Aquatic Language
- Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror
- Baby Blue
- Beck
- Black Lagoon
- Blame!
- Blood the Last Vampire
- Bokurano
- Burst Angel
- Castle in the Sky
- Cowboy Bebop
- Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
- Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express
- Doorbell
- Egao
- FLCL
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala
- Gankutsuou
- Gatekeepers
- Genius Party
- Genshiken
- Genshiken OAV
- Ghost in the Shell
- Ghost in the Shell: Innocence
- Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society
- Gin-iro no Kami no Agito
- The Gokusen
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Grenadier
- Haibane Renmei
- Happy Machine
- Hellsing
- Highlander: The Search for Vengeance
- Hikaru no Go
- Howl's Moving Castle
- Innocent Venus
- Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade
- Jyu Oh Sei
- Karas: The Prophecy
- Karas: The Revelation
- Last Exile
- Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
- Midori?s Days
- Milennium Actress
- Mushi-shi
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Naruto
- Naruto: The Movie
- Nausicaa
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth
- Ninja Scroll: The Movie
- Other Worlds
- Ouran High School Host Club
- Paprika
- Perfect Blue
- Pet Shop of Horrors
- The Place Promised In Our Early Days
- Prťtear
- Princess Mononoke
- Read Or Die
- Read Or Die: The TV
- Samurai Champloo
- Samurai Seven
- Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal
- Serial Experiments Lain
- Shanghai Dragon
- She and Her Cat
- Spirited Away
- Steamboy
- Tekkonkinkreet
- Tide-Line Blue
- Tokyo Babylon
- Tokyo Godfathers
- Trigun
- Trinity Blood
- Vampire Hunter D
- Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
- Voices of a Distant Star
- Witch Hunter Robin
- Wolf's Rain
- Wonderful Days
- Wrath of the Ninja
- X

Total: 93
Anime I Haven't Completed

- .hack//Roots
- Ah! My Goddess
- Angelic Layer
- Avenger
- Baccano!
- Bamboo Blade
- Basilisk
- Binchou-tan
- Black Cat
- Bleach
- Blood+
- Boogiepop Phantom
- Case Closed
- Le Chevalier d'Eon
- Chobits
- Chrono Crusade
- Code Geass
- Coyote Ragtime Show
- D.Gray-Man
- D.N.Angel
- DearS
- Death Note
- Dennou Coil
- Desert Punk
- Digimon
- Dragon Ball Z
- Ergo Proxy
- Eureka Seven
- Excel Saga
- Fighting Beauty Wulong
- Final Fantasy Unlimited
- Flag
- Freedom
- Full Moon
- Gantz
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
- Gintama
- Glass Fleet
- Great Teacher Onizuka
- Gundam Seed
- Gundam Wing
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Hellsing OVA
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
- Ikki Tousen
- InuYasha
- Jigoku Shojo
- Kage Kara Mamoru
- Karin
- Kino's Journey
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Lovely Complex
- Lucky Star
- Makai Senki Disgaea
- Marchen Awakens Romance
- Meine Liebe
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Mononoke
- Monster
- Moon Phase
- Mr Stain on Junk Alley
- Naruto Shippuuden
- Negima?!
- Negima!
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion
- Nerima Daikon Brothers
- NHK ni Youkoso
- Night Walker
- Ninja Nonsense
- Noir
- Peacemaker Kurogane
- Pokemon
- Prince of Tennis
- R.G. Veda
- Ragnarok
- Rec
- Red Garden
- Robotech
- Romeo x Juliet
- Rosen Maiden
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Saikano
- Sailor Moon
- Samurai Deeper Kyo
- Sci-fi Harry
- School Rumble
- Scrapped Princess
- Shin-chan
- Shingu
- Shion no Oh
- Shuffle!
- Shrine of the Morning Mist
- So Long, Mr. Despair
- Solty Rei
- Sousei no Aquarion
- Speed Grapher
- Spice and Wolf
- Super Milk Chan
- Tales of Phantasia
- Tenchi Muyo
- Tenjhou Tenge
- Texnolyze
- The Third
- Tsubasa Chronicles
- Urusei Yatsura
- Venus Versus Virus
- Welcome to the N.H.K.
- Winter Cicada
- X-1999
- Xenosaga
- XxxHolic
- Yu Yu Hakushou
- Yume Tsukai
- Zero no Tsukaima
- Zipang

Total: 116
Manga I've Completed

- Cowboy Bebop
- FLCL
- Manga Messiah
- Manga Metamorphosis
- Q*Ko-chan
- Saiyuki
- Shirahime-Syo

Total: 7


Manga I Haven't Completed


- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- Black Cat
- Blame!
- Chobits
- D.Gray-man
- Darkside Blues
- Death Note
- The Demon Ororon
- Desert Coral
- Disgaea
- Eureka Seven: Gravity Boys and Lifting Girl
- Fruits Basket
- Getbackers
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Kamunagara
- Legal Drug
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Megatokyo
- Naruto
- Negima
- Read Or Die
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Tactics
- Trigun Maximum
- XXXHolic

Total: 26

Anime I'm Currently Watching
Samurai 7, InuYasha, Samurai Deeper Kyo,
Boogiepop Phantom, and Shrine of the Morning Mist

Manga I'm Currently Reading
Read Or Die, Hayate the Combat Butler, and Megatokyo.hack//Roots, .hack//Sign, 5 cm per Second, Ah! My Goddess, Angelic Layer, Avenger, Basilisk, Binchou-tan, Black Cat, Bleach, Blood+, Boogiepop Phantom, Case Closed, Le Chevalier d'Eon, Chobits, Chrono Crusade, Coyote Ragtime Show, D.Gray-Man, D.N.Angel, DearS, Death Note, Dennou Coil, Desert Punk, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, Ergo Proxy, Eureka 7, Excel Saga, Fighting Beauty Wulong, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Flag, Full Moon, Gantz, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Gintama, Great Teacher Onizuka, Gundam Seed, Gundam Wing, Hayate the Combat Butler, Hellsing Ultimate, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Innocent Venus, InuYasha, Jigoku Shojo, Kage Kara Mamoru, Karin, Kino?s Journey, Love Hina, Loveless, Lovely Complex, Lucky Star, Makai Senki Disgaea, Marchen Awakens Romance, Meine Liebe, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Mononoke, Monster, Naruto Shippuuden, Negima?!, Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion, Nerima Daikon Brothers, NHK ni Youkoso, Night Walker, Ninja Nonsense, Noir, Ouran High School Host Club, Peacemaker Kurogane, Pokemon, Prince of Tennis, R.G. Veda, Ragnarok, Rec, Red Garden, Robotech, Romeo x Juliet, Rosen Maiden, Rurouni Kenshin, Saikano, Sailor Moon, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Sci-fi Harry, School Rumble, Scrapped Princess, Serial Experiments Lain, Shingu, Shuffle!, Shrine of the Morning Mist, So Long Mr. Despair, Solty Rei, Sousei no Aquarion, Speed Grapher, Super Milk Chan, Tales of Phantasia, Tenchi Muyo, Tenjhou Tenge, Texnolyze, The Third. Trinity Blood, Tsubasa Chronicles, Urusei Yatsura, Welcome to the N.H.K., Winter Cicada, X-1999, Xenosaga, XxxHolic, Yu Yu Hakushou, Yume Tsukai, Zero no Tsukaima, Zipang


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Saturday, June 7, 2008


The Day to End All Days
Never thought I'd be somebody to create a file with the name Satan.jpg, but yeah, thatís right, I made one. HAHA! Itís nothing bad, either. It just happened that way. Ya see, Iím making my activity book layout and Iím using images from the Manga Messiah book to make it more interesting and connect it with the manga. One of the images is an image of Satan and when I clipped it out of the manga, thatís what I called it. There really wasnít much else to call it after all, heís the only thing in the image. So yeah, I just thought that was funny and thought Iíd share.

Wednesday, June 4th
A very boring day when it comes to things that are worthy of posting. I woke up at the usual time and went through the morning ritual and worked all day without anything terribly interesting happening. The only thing of any real noteworthiness was my trip to the supermarket. My food I bought on Saturday didnít last nearly as long as I thought it would and Chieko-san knew that. She came and asked me near the end of the day if a shopping trip was in order. I said it was, so she took me. It went smoothly and efficiently. I indulged myself this time and got some ice creamóred bean flavored and good olí fashion chocolate brownie chunk. The chocolate didnít survive to see Thursday, but the red bean still awaits its doom.

Thursday, June 5th
In complete and total contrast to Wednesday, today was almost indisputably the most interesting day of my entire stay here in Japan. Intrigued? HA! Good, cuz itís going to take a while to tell the tale. ^_^

I was working like normal at about 10:00 when my nose caught the smell of odd things coming from the kitchen area. I inquired to Yoshi-san as to their origin and she informed me that at 4:00 today there was going to be something that they call a gyoza party. It was in celebration of the return of one of the men who works at New Life League. As it turns out, the man who spoke at church on Sunday and the man in whose honor I would be enjoying a dinner of gyoza and yakisoba are one and the same. I didnít know Vidar worked at NLL when I met him on Sunday. Go figure. The smells enticed my senses all day and by the time 4:00 came around my stomach was more than ready to indulge in the happiness that is gyoza dumplings. It got its chance. I ate my full of both the gyoza and the yakisoba. They had mixed fruit and stew as well. If I had known about the stew earlier I probably wouldnít have eaten as much yakisoba, but such is the way of things.

The gyoza wasnít the only thing that the party included. As is apparently custom at parties like this, everyone is invited to do performances of any sort in honor of the guest. A few people got up and sang songs, my personal favorite was a song sung by four of the women. It was very nice. They tried to get me to sing something, but about the only thing I know that would have been appropriate to sing would be Amazing Grace. I decided against it. By the end of the party, one of the guys who plays the guitar got everybody singing along with him to a song which I canít remember. It was really fun. NLL is a very international organization so we had people there from many different countries. This particular song has been translated into many different languages and so everybody got a chance to sing it in their own language. I heard it in Korean, Chinese, Japanese, German, Norwegian, and English. I had to leave before the Nigerian guy got up to sing, so I donít know if he did any singing.

I had to leave early because I had a ticket for a live tonight. I was going to see three bands perform at a live house in Shibuya called the O-Nest. This would be the concert I informed you that I would be attending in the previous post. So, itís been planned all week. It was going to be a close call trying to make it their on time, so I left as soon as possible. Nishizawa-san ferries a few of the employees to the train station in Takasaka every day at 5:30, so I hitched a ride. This is where the fun begins.

I didnít have a ride back to NLL from Takasaka station. I was going to be returning too late to catch the last bus and Nishizawa-san has to be up early in the mornings so he would already be asleep by the time I got back as well. So, Chieko-san in her infinite kindness (I swear, sheís the nicest woman Iíve ever met, hands down.) told me to call her when I got back so she could give me a ride to NLL. I was more than grateful to accept her offer. About five minutes after I left NLL with Nishizawa-san, I realized that I had forgotten Chieko-sanís phone number back in my room (mistake #1). It was too late to turn around, so Nishizawa-san gave me the phone number for NLL and told me to call when I got to Ikebukuro and that Chieko-san could give me her phone number then. Sounded like a fine and easy plan, right? Wrong.

Iím a very absent-minded person so once I got to Ikebukuro station my mind wasnít thinking about calling Chieko-san, it was about navigating the crowds and getting to the train as soon as possible so I could get to the live, which by this time I was pretty sure I was going to be late for. I completely forgot to call NLL (mistake #2). I didnít realize my error until I had made it to the O-Nest. I couldnít find any pay phones around there so I asked an English-speaking guy if he knew where one was. He said he didnít know either, but that I could use his phone if it was going to be a short local call. I said it was and he was kind enough to allow me to borrow his phone. I called NLL but it was apparently too late to reach anybody because I got the answering machine (unfortunate incident #1). I thanked the man and decided to just forget the idea of calling Chieko-san and just pay for a taxi at Takasaka station. It would be expensive, but I figured that was the punishment I got for my mistake. The only issue with getting a cab was that I would have to withdraw some money first in order to do it (unfortunate incident #2).

As weíve discovered earlier in the trip, finding a JP Bank ATM isnít an easy task and the only one I knew of was at Ikebukuro station. So, after the concert (which I will talk about later) I got back on the train to Ikebukuro. When I exited the train platform I followed the signs to the Tobu Tojo line. I had remembered the ATM being near there. I saw the entrance to the Tobu Tojo platform and swiped my Pasmo card to get in (mistake #3). Soon after I did that I realized that Tobu Tojo didnít have a section of the station like the JR line did, instead I was led right onto the platform. That was not where I wanted to be. There wasnít an ATM on the platform. So, I tried to go back out to the main station area. It wouldnít let me back through the gate. I was stuck on the platform with no way of getting any cash (unfortunate incident #3).

Now I was starting to panic. Everything was going wrong and I still had no way of getting back to NLL from Takasaka station. I had no choice but to get on the train and head back. When I got off the train at Takasaka station I had two options. I could get a taxi and hope that the •1097 in my pocket would be enough to get me back, or I could call NLL again and use that same money on a phone call that I wasnít sure would be of any use anyway. I figured my best bet was to take the chance with the taxi, so I flagged one down and got in (mistake #4). The starting fare for the cab was •710. That left me with almost •400 of leeway, I realized that probably wasnít going to be enough, but we were already on the way and I was obligated to pay the •710 even if I told him to let me out before we left the parking lot, so I was forced to pray and hope that the fare didnít go up too quickly (unfortunate incident #4). We got about two miles or so with the counter staying at •710. My hopes were rising. There was a chance I was going to be able to pull this off. Not enough of a chance as it seems. Shortly after that two mile mark the fare started going up. And Iím not talking a small increase, either. It started going up at a rate of •90 about every ten seconds. Needless to say, it wasnít even a full minute before the fare had exceeded the •1097 in my pocket (unfortunate incident #5). I told the cabbie as best I could that I didnít have any more money to pay him with, so he pressed a magic switch next to his steering wheel that popped the passenger door open and he held out his hand for me to give him the money I had left. By the time he had understood what I was saying and come to a stop the fare had gone up again and thus I was about •70 short. He tried to get me to pay it, saying, ďnot enough, not enough,Ē but he could say anything he liked and it wouldnít make a difference. I physically had no more money. I gave up on trying to communicate that to him and just got out and shut the door.

This is rock bottom. I have no more money, itís raining, I donít really know where I am, and I donít speak Japanese. I had no idea what I was going to do, so I just started walking in the direction the cabbie had been driving. I figured Iíd recognize some landmarks and be able to feel my way back to NLL. Iíd traveled the route enough times I thought I could do it. After ten minutes or so I started seeing things that looked familiar, so I knew I was going to be able to make it back, It was just going to be a while. Iím sure that must have been sight to behold, thoughóa white guy walking down dark street in a Japanese suburb at midnight in the rain. It really must have been, because after another few minutes of walking, a van pulled up beside me. The window rolled down and the elderly man in the passenger seat asked me, in English, ďwhat are you doing?Ē I explained my situation as best I could and they opened the door and told me to get in (fortunate incident #3). There were four people in the van. Apparently this was some sort of car pool for business people. Everybody was in suits and ties and had briefcases or satchels. All of them could speak english moderately well, and thus I immediately became the topic of all conversation. ďWhere are you going? Where are you from? Whatís your name? How old are you? Why are you in Japan? How long are you going to be here?Ē I answered as best I could to all of those questions and I tried my best to explain where I was trying to go. But the driver apparently didnít know the area very well and didnít know what I was talking about. I was in a pickle because they werenít going to let me out without getting me back, but I couldnít tell them where to go, so I whipped out the NLL phone number and gave it to them. It was the last thing I could do. By the grace of almighty God, Iwaoka-san picked up! He had been working a VERY late night and for some reason answered the phone instead of letting it go to the machine. That was all God because if Iwaoka-san hadnít been there then there was nothing I could do. He was able to explain to them how to get me back (fortunate incident #4) and so my night came to an end, almost. After the night I had just had, I was a bit frazzled and didnít think to call Chieko-san to let her know that I had made it back. I was back in my room and thus had access to her phone number again. I should have called, but I didnít (ultimate mistake #5). I found out later that she stayed up late waiting for my call and eventually just went to bed. I have not stopped apologizing to her since.

That was my night. And now for the details of the concert. ^_^ As I said, I had been running late. I got to the live house as quickly as I could, but I still arrived at Shibuya station ten minutes after the live was scheduled to have started. I found the live house very easily for the most part, but in my rush to get there I ended up turning one street too early. I knew how to get there, I had a map after all, but I turned too early anyway and found myself walking through a sex shop area. There werenít any prostitutes or anything, it was just sex shops. Nevertheless, it was awkward. But, I knew where I was and only had to walk through that area for a minute or so. The live house was actually quite nice in contrast to the seedy nature of the shops one street over. It was on the 5th and 6th floors of a small building off a small side street. You had to take an elevator from the street in order to get up there. You entered on the 6th floor, presented your ticket, paid for your compulsory drink coupon, and went out some stairs at the back that led outside and down one floor to the performance area. The performance area was small. The total square footage couldnít have been much larger than that of my one bedroom apartment back in Arkansas. There was a small bar at the back with a young girl tending it. There was standing room only with waist-high tables interspersed throughout so customers could put their drinks down. The stage was on the opposite end from the bar and took up about the same amount of space. It was elevated by about a foot or so. So, all in all the place was nice but quaint.

I ended up being a full 20 minutes late to the live and figured for sure I'd missed most of the first act. But by a stroke of good fortune they were running late too. I walked in about 30 seconds before the the whole thing kicked off (fortunate incident #1). The performers were beyond amazing (fortunate incident #2). Their recordings donít do them justice. Totos was the first band to get up to perform. Theyíre a new group and have their first full-length CD debuting later this month. The recordings of theirs that Iíve heard arenít that spectacular, but their live performance was awesome. I enjoyed every minute of it and it really got me in the mood for more music. The second band to perform was Afterpilot. Theyíre the band I was there to see, and they were worth all •3400. It could have been just them and Iíd have been satisfied. I liked them so much that I felt compelled to buy their CD at the end of the show. They were very thankful. I think I might have been the only person to buy one of their CDís that night. They spoke English so I talked with them for a bit and expressed my appreciation of their music. They seemed grateful for everything and shook my hand. I hope they do well with their music. The third band to perform was the headliner for the evening. Their name is Dreamboy and theyíre a band from Sweden who are touring Japan right now. I couldnít find any of their music to sample online, so I went into their portion of the concert completely blind. They opened my eyes. Truthfully, they stole the show. I was so amazingly impressed by their performance! They had the entire room jumping and clapping before the end of their third song. The audience enjoyed them so much that they werenít satisfied with just one encore. In fact, after the song they had intended to end with, the band performed five more songs and could have kept going longer. If you can, I strongly suggest you try to find a song by Dreamboy. I am buying their CD when I get back to the states. I debated with whether to buy their CD or Afterpilotís, but as you know already, I went with Afterpilot, though I enjoyed Dreamboy more. I figured I could probably find Dreamboy in the US, Afterpilot I had to buy here.

So, as you have read, Thursday, June 5th is a day I will never forget. It has been the most amazing and eventful day of my entire trip and I pray I donít have another day this eventful while Iím here. I was so beat by the time I got back. I didnít even sleep well that night, my body was racing but my mind was out of it completely. So yeah. Iíd go on and tell the tales of Friday and Saturday right now, but this post has already been long enough, so Iíll post on those two days in my next post, whenever that will be.

Caesar1280's Anime Ticker

.hack//Legend of the Twilight, Air, Air: The Movie, Akira, The Animatrix, Appleseed, Aquatic Language, Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror, Beck, Black Lagoon, Blame!, Blood the Last Vampire, Bokurano, Burst Angel, Castle in the Sky, Cowboy Bebop, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express, Egao, FLCL, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala, Gankutsuou, Gatekeepers, Genshiken, Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society, Gin-iro no Kami no Agito, Grave of the Fireflies, Grenadier, Haibane Renmei, Hellsing, Highlander: The Search for Vengeance, Hikaru no Go, Howl?s Moving Castle, Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade, Jyu Oh Sei, Karas: The Prophecy, Last Exile, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Midori?s Days, Milennium Actress, Mushi-shi, My Neighbor Totoro, Naruto, Naruto: The Movie, Nausicaa, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth, Ninja Scroll: The Movie, Other Worlds, Paprika, Perfect Blue, Pet Shop of Horrors, The Place Promised In Our Early Days, Prťtear, Princess Mononoke, Read Or Die, Read Or Die: The TV, Samurai Champloo, Samurai Seven, Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal, She and Her Cat, Spirited Away, Steamboy, Tide-Line Blue, Tokyo Babylon, Tokyo Godfathers, Trigun, Voices of a Distant Star, Witch Hunter Robin, Wonderful Days, Wrath of the Ninja, X

Anime I've Seen

- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- .hack//Sign
- 5 Centimeters per Second
- Air
- Air: The Movie
- Akira
- The Animatrix
- Appleseed
- Aquatic Language
- Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror
- Baby Blue
- Beck
- Black Lagoon
- Blame!
- Blood the Last Vampire
- Bokurano
- Burst Angel
- Castle in the Sky
- Cowboy Bebop
- Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
- Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express
- Doorbell
- Egao
- FLCL
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala
- Gankutsuou
- Gatekeepers
- Genius Party
- Genshiken
- Genshiken OAV
- Ghost in the Shell
- Ghost in the Shell: Innocence
- Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society
- Gin-iro no Kami no Agito
- The Gokusen
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Grenadier
- Haibane Renmei
- Happy Machine
- Hellsing
- Highlander: The Search for Vengeance
- Hikaru no Go
- Howl's Moving Castle
- Innocent Venus
- Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade
- Jyu Oh Sei
- Karas: The Prophecy
- Karas: The Revelation
- Last Exile
- Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
- Midori?s Days
- Milennium Actress
- Mushi-shi
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Naruto
- Naruto: The Movie
- Nausicaa
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth
- Ninja Scroll: The Movie
- Other Worlds
- Ouran High School Host Club
- Paprika
- Perfect Blue
- Pet Shop of Horrors
- The Place Promised In Our Early Days
- Prťtear
- Princess Mononoke
- Read Or Die
- Read Or Die: The TV
- Samurai Champloo
- Samurai Seven
- Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal
- Serial Experiments Lain
- Shanghai Dragon
- She and Her Cat
- Spirited Away
- Steamboy
- Tekkonkinkreet
- Tide-Line Blue
- Tokyo Babylon
- Tokyo Godfathers
- Trigun
- Trinity Blood
- Vampire Hunter D
- Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
- Voices of a Distant Star
- Witch Hunter Robin
- Wolf's Rain
- Wonderful Days
- Wrath of the Ninja
- X

Total: 93
Anime I Haven't Completed

- .hack//Roots
- Ah! My Goddess
- Angelic Layer
- Avenger
- Baccano!
- Bamboo Blade
- Basilisk
- Binchou-tan
- Black Cat
- Bleach
- Blood+
- Boogiepop Phantom
- Case Closed
- Le Chevalier d'Eon
- Chobits
- Chrono Crusade
- Code Geass
- Coyote Ragtime Show
- D.Gray-Man
- D.N.Angel
- DearS
- Death Note
- Dennou Coil
- Desert Punk
- Digimon
- Dragon Ball Z
- Ergo Proxy
- Eureka Seven
- Excel Saga
- Fighting Beauty Wulong
- Final Fantasy Unlimited
- Flag
- Freedom
- Full Moon
- Gantz
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
- Gintama
- Glass Fleet
- Great Teacher Onizuka
- Gundam Seed
- Gundam Wing
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Hellsing OVA
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
- Ikki Tousen
- InuYasha
- Jigoku Shojo
- Kage Kara Mamoru
- Karin
- Kino's Journey
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Lovely Complex
- Lucky Star
- Makai Senki Disgaea
- Marchen Awakens Romance
- Meine Liebe
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Mononoke
- Monster
- Moon Phase
- Mr Stain on Junk Alley
- Naruto Shippuuden
- Negima?!
- Negima!
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion
- Nerima Daikon Brothers
- NHK ni Youkoso
- Night Walker
- Ninja Nonsense
- Noir
- Peacemaker Kurogane
- Pokemon
- Prince of Tennis
- R.G. Veda
- Ragnarok
- Rec
- Red Garden
- Robotech
- Romeo x Juliet
- Rosen Maiden
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Saikano
- Sailor Moon
- Samurai Deeper Kyo
- Sci-fi Harry
- School Rumble
- Scrapped Princess
- Shin-chan
- Shingu
- Shion no Oh
- Shuffle!
- Shrine of the Morning Mist
- So Long, Mr. Despair
- Solty Rei
- Sousei no Aquarion
- Speed Grapher
- Spice and Wolf
- Super Milk Chan
- Tales of Phantasia
- Tenchi Muyo
- Tenjhou Tenge
- Texnolyze
- The Third
- Tsubasa Chronicles
- Urusei Yatsura
- Venus Versus Virus
- Welcome to the N.H.K.
- Winter Cicada
- X-1999
- Xenosaga
- XxxHolic
- Yu Yu Hakushou
- Yume Tsukai
- Zero no Tsukaima
- Zipang

Total: 116
Manga I've Completed

- Cowboy Bebop
- FLCL
- Manga Messiah
- Manga Metamorphosis
- Q*Ko-chan
- Saiyuki
- Shirahime-Syo

Total: 7


Manga I Haven't Completed


- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- Black Cat
- Blame!
- Chobits
- D.Gray-man
- Darkside Blues
- Death Note
- The Demon Ororon
- Desert Coral
- Disgaea
- Eureka Seven: Gravity Boys and Lifting Girl
- Fruits Basket
- Getbackers
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Kamunagara
- Legal Drug
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Megatokyo
- Naruto
- Negima
- Read Or Die
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Tactics
- Trigun Maximum
- XXXHolic

Total: 26

Anime I'm Currently Watching
Samurai 7, InuYasha, Samurai Deeper Kyo,
Boogiepop Phantom, and Shrine of the Morning Mist

Manga I'm Currently Reading
Read Or Die, Hayate the Combat Butler, and Megatokyo.hack//Roots, .hack//Sign, 5 cm per Second, Ah! My Goddess, Angelic Layer, Avenger, Basilisk, Binchou-tan, Black Cat, Bleach, Blood+, Boogiepop Phantom, Case Closed, Le Chevalier d'Eon, Chobits, Chrono Crusade, Coyote Ragtime Show, D.Gray-Man, D.N.Angel, DearS, Death Note, Dennou Coil, Desert Punk, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, Ergo Proxy, Eureka 7, Excel Saga, Fighting Beauty Wulong, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Flag, Full Moon, Gantz, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Gintama, Great Teacher Onizuka, Gundam Seed, Gundam Wing, Hayate the Combat Butler, Hellsing Ultimate, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Innocent Venus, InuYasha, Jigoku Shojo, Kage Kara Mamoru, Karin, Kino?s Journey, Love Hina, Loveless, Lovely Complex, Lucky Star, Makai Senki Disgaea, Marchen Awakens Romance, Meine Liebe, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Mononoke, Monster, Naruto Shippuuden, Negima?!, Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion, Nerima Daikon Brothers, NHK ni Youkoso, Night Walker, Ninja Nonsense, Noir, Ouran High School Host Club, Peacemaker Kurogane, Pokemon, Prince of Tennis, R.G. Veda, Ragnarok, Rec, Red Garden, Robotech, Romeo x Juliet, Rosen Maiden, Rurouni Kenshin, Saikano, Sailor Moon, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Sci-fi Harry, School Rumble, Scrapped Princess, Serial Experiments Lain, Shingu, Shuffle!, Shrine of the Morning Mist, So Long Mr. Despair, Solty Rei, Sousei no Aquarion, Speed Grapher, Super Milk Chan, Tales of Phantasia, Tenchi Muyo, Tenjhou Tenge, Texnolyze, The Third. Trinity Blood, Tsubasa Chronicles, Urusei Yatsura, Welcome to the N.H.K., Winter Cicada, X-1999, Xenosaga, XxxHolic, Yu Yu Hakushou, Yume Tsukai, Zero no Tsukaima, Zipang


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Tuesday, June 3, 2008


This is really a short post when you realize that it covers a full four days of material. To all those who dislike long posts, be grateful.
After what was supposed to be a second weekend exploring Tokyo, I find myself sitting here in front of the computer with not a whole lot to type about, but thatís just fine. I needed a bit of down time and some sleep, so even though my weekend wasnít packed full of happenings, I am satisfied with it. But, since there is a little bit that is noteworthy, I shall continue with the post.

Saturday, May 31st
My original plan for today was to go into Tokyo again, this time to visit a museum. But, after this last week of going to bed after midnight and waking up at 7:00, I was a bit tired. I hadnít really slept in since I got here, and my body decided that it was going to do it even if my mind didnít want to. I ended up sleeping until 10:30. When I got up I went through my usual routine of showering, brushing my teeth, finding some clean clothes to wear and sitting down in front of my compy to chat a bit. I ended up chatting longer than anticipated, and after my lunch I looked at the clock to realize that it was 2:00. Itís an hour into Tokyo and the museum closed at 7. Now, a museum is an all-day thing and since I still wasnít exactly sure where it was I figured it best to delay my trip. Thus, I spent the rest of the day lounging around my room, watching television, reading, and figuring out things to do with my time while Iím here. At 4:00 or so Chieko-san showed up at my door to welcome me back and offered to drive me to get groceries. It was like she read my mind because I had just finished off the last bit of my food. We went shopping, I got some foodstuffs (not enough though, if you were to ask Chieko-san) and returned to my room. I went to bed around 11:00 so as to have enough sleep to be ready to leave by 8:00 for church.

My largest discovery of the day was the live house schedule on Tokyogigguide.com. Live house, for all of you who havenít seen (but should see) Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad, is the Japanese term for music club. Basically, theyíre establishments whose sole purpose is to provide musical entertainment seven nights a week. Amazing if you ask me. The prices arenít terrible either! Most concerts start around 6:00 or 7:00 and go for three or four hours and charge between 1500 and 6000 yen. Most of them fall in the 2000 to 3500 yen category. Thatís 20 to 35 dollars for a full night of good entertainment! I couldnít in my right mind pass that up, so I browsed the Tokyo Gig Guide until I found a couple shows I wouldnít mind seeing. A technopop band called Perfume looked pretty good, but their price was a bit high, 42000 yen. I saw that in two weeks the Pillows would be playing at a live house for 3300 yen and figured I had to try to make that show. When I went to get tickets I was confronted with the horrible fact that the show was sold out already. Bummer. But Iím actually glad the show was sold out because Iím going to go see a band that looks even better than the Pillows! A Japanese band called Afterpilot (you can listen to some of their music at www.myspace.com/afterpilot) is performing this coming Thursday night. They call their genre powerpop and I like it. Theyíre performing with two other bands: another Japanese band called Totos and a Swedish band called Dreamboy. Dreamboy is the headliner act, but Iím going for Afterpilot. I hope the show is good! (I also pray I can find the place and still make it by 7:00 ^_^)

The following video isnít of a band that Iím going to be able to see, but I would pay quite a bit for the chance to see them in concert. The band is the one whose CD I bought a couple weeks ago called Beat Crusaders. Their gimmick is that they never show their faces. In all public appearances they wear pieces of paper over their faces with poor quality printouts of their actual faces on them. Genius if you ask me. They can safely walk around in public without being mobbed and the whole gimmick actually works for their style. Anyway, instead of the pieces of paper, for this concert they decided to go with a different but similar approach. I strongly suggest you watch all the way to the end, there is something very much worth it in the last few seconds. The music is in Eglish anyway, so itís not like you wonít be able to understand them. ~_^ Watch and enjoy!

Sunday, June 1st
Church was good this morning, but not the best of Sundays. I really have fallen in love with this church. The church is the number one thing I was looking forward to about my return from Nyukawa. I just love the community and the pastor is a great guy! My first Sunday there and he took me out to eat! Granted, I had to pay for my own food, but nevertheless the gesture was nice. I would have insisted he let me pay regardless. Anyway, this Sunday the pastor, Stan, didnít give a sermon. Rather, a long-time member of the church, A Norwegian guy named Vidar, gave a talk about his past year serving in China. It was a nice talk and definitely kept me interested through the whole thing, but I was hoping to hear Stan.

After church I went out to lunch with David and Chieko-san. We ate at a place called Ootoya. It was good food and not that high of a price either. Chieko-san wouldnít let me pay though. She says New Life League is paying for it, but Iím not sure I believe her. If the poor woman is paying for my food out of her own pocket Iíll feel horrible.

David went off back to New Life League, the man lives in the room next to mine, and Chieko-san gave me a choiceósheíd take me to do anything I wanted as long as we were done by 4:00. The decision was a difficult one but I decided it best to use my time to get a haircut. We found a place that was advertising 10 minutes of hair trimming for 1000 yen. Clearly geared towards the male populous. We had to wait about 20 minutes, but the haircut was speedy and it came out looking nice. I got the curl cut off the back of my neck and trimmed up the ends. I like this look better. Longer hair makes my face look too round.

On the way back to New Life League we stopped to let me buy my ticket for the concert on Thursday, thank Heaven it wasnít sold out. When I got back, I popped in a Firefly episode and headed to bed.

Monday, June 2nd
Today was my first work day back at New Life League. It was a good day. As I had predicted, they didnít have any work for me to do quite yet. I needed the day anyway to get started on laying out the activity book in InDesign. I spent the whole day working on it and have come up with an effective layout. I got three pages completely finished and the rest should not be hard. Iíve established the template so itís basically a drag and drop process at this point. Itíll still take longer that it would normally since Iím working on a Japanese interface, but it still wonít be a terribly long process. I should be able to get all the story pages laid out in one day of work at most. Iím still waiting on the email from Kelly-san with the pictures in it. I need her pictures before I can start laying out the activities portion. Iwaoka-san gets back from a trip to America either this Thursday or next Tuesday, I hope to have something impressive to show him by then.

Thatís really all I have regarding Monday. Everybody seems happy to have me back and Iím happy to be back. Iíve got three more weeks working here at NLL and I canít see it getting dull anytime soon. ^_^

Tuesday, June 3rd
I didnít think the Tsusumi-san would have anything prepared for me to do today either, but she surprised me. As it turns out, I had a call to Chicago scheduled for 10:00 to talk to a man named Josh about laying out the English text in the newest manga NLL is putting out called Manga Mutiny (they seem to have a naming trend going ^_^). This manga is the story of Genesis and it was drawn by a new artist. Well, sheís not new, by the artwork sheís clearly been drawing manga for a very long time, but sheís new to NLL. The artwork is the most beautiful manga art Iíve ever seen in my life! As is the trend with NLL, the entire thing is in color, and the drawing style is amazing. Iíd buy this manga for the sake of the art only, I donít even care what itís about. Iím actually honored to have been given the chance to work with it. I didnít end up talking with Josh until 11:30 or so, he had forgotten about the call and never turned on his Skype. My task is quite simple. Iíve been given the English translation and I am typing it into the bubbles. Iím also going through and editing out the mild Engrish. The translation is pretty good, but every so often there is a sentence that just doesnít feel right. I donít know how long Iíll be working on this, but theyíre having me go through the entirety of the manga. I donít know when Iíll get the chance to work on the activity book again, but if the work on the manga goes too slowly tomorrow, I may end up pulling some after-hours work to get the book finished.

Caesar1280's Anime Ticker

.hack//Legend of the Twilight, Air, Air: The Movie, Akira, The Animatrix, Appleseed, Aquatic Language, Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror, Beck, Black Lagoon, Blame!, Blood the Last Vampire, Bokurano, Burst Angel, Castle in the Sky, Cowboy Bebop, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express, Egao, FLCL, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala, Gankutsuou, Gatekeepers, Genshiken, Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society, Gin-iro no Kami no Agito, Grave of the Fireflies, Grenadier, Haibane Renmei, Hellsing, Highlander: The Search for Vengeance, Hikaru no Go, Howl?s Moving Castle, Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade, Jyu Oh Sei, Karas: The Prophecy, Last Exile, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Midori?s Days, Milennium Actress, Mushi-shi, My Neighbor Totoro, Naruto, Naruto: The Movie, Nausicaa, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth, Ninja Scroll: The Movie, Other Worlds, Paprika, Perfect Blue, Pet Shop of Horrors, The Place Promised In Our Early Days, Prťtear, Princess Mononoke, Read Or Die, Read Or Die: The TV, Samurai Champloo, Samurai Seven, Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal, She and Her Cat, Spirited Away, Steamboy, Tide-Line Blue, Tokyo Babylon, Tokyo Godfathers, Trigun, Voices of a Distant Star, Witch Hunter Robin, Wonderful Days, Wrath of the Ninja, X

Anime I've Seen

- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- .hack//Sign
- 5 Centimeters per Second
- Air
- Air: The Movie
- Akira
- The Animatrix
- Appleseed
- Aquatic Language
- Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror
- Baby Blue
- Beck
- Black Lagoon
- Blame!
- Blood the Last Vampire
- Bokurano
- Burst Angel
- Castle in the Sky
- Cowboy Bebop
- Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
- Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express
- Doorbell
- Egao
- FLCL
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala
- Gankutsuou
- Gatekeepers
- Genius Party
- Genshiken
- Genshiken OAV
- Ghost in the Shell
- Ghost in the Shell: Innocence
- Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society
- Gin-iro no Kami no Agito
- The Gokusen
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Grenadier
- Haibane Renmei
- Happy Machine
- Hellsing
- Highlander: The Search for Vengeance
- Hikaru no Go
- Howl's Moving Castle
- Innocent Venus
- Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade
- Jyu Oh Sei
- Karas: The Prophecy
- Karas: The Revelation
- Last Exile
- Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
- Midori?s Days
- Milennium Actress
- Mushi-shi
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Naruto
- Naruto: The Movie
- Nausicaa
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth
- Ninja Scroll: The Movie
- Other Worlds
- Ouran High School Host Club
- Paprika
- Perfect Blue
- Pet Shop of Horrors
- The Place Promised In Our Early Days
- Prťtear
- Princess Mononoke
- Read Or Die
- Read Or Die: The TV
- Samurai Champloo
- Samurai Seven
- Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal
- Serial Experiments Lain
- Shanghai Dragon
- She and Her Cat
- Spirited Away
- Steamboy
- Tekkonkinkreet
- Tide-Line Blue
- Tokyo Babylon
- Tokyo Godfathers
- Trigun
- Trinity Blood
- Vampire Hunter D
- Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
- Voices of a Distant Star
- Witch Hunter Robin
- Wolf's Rain
- Wonderful Days
- Wrath of the Ninja
- X

Total: 93
Anime I Haven't Completed

- .hack//Roots
- Ah! My Goddess
- Angelic Layer
- Avenger
- Baccano!
- Bamboo Blade
- Basilisk
- Binchou-tan
- Black Cat
- Bleach
- Blood+
- Boogiepop Phantom
- Case Closed
- Le Chevalier d'Eon
- Chobits
- Chrono Crusade
- Code Geass
- Coyote Ragtime Show
- D.Gray-Man
- D.N.Angel
- DearS
- Death Note
- Dennou Coil
- Desert Punk
- Digimon
- Dragon Ball Z
- Ergo Proxy
- Eureka Seven
- Excel Saga
- Fighting Beauty Wulong
- Final Fantasy Unlimited
- Flag
- Freedom
- Full Moon
- Gantz
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
- Gintama
- Glass Fleet
- Great Teacher Onizuka
- Gundam Seed
- Gundam Wing
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Hellsing OVA
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
- Ikki Tousen
- InuYasha
- Jigoku Shojo
- Kage Kara Mamoru
- Karin
- Kino's Journey
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Lovely Complex
- Lucky Star
- Makai Senki Disgaea
- Marchen Awakens Romance
- Meine Liebe
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Mononoke
- Monster
- Moon Phase
- Mr Stain on Junk Alley
- Naruto Shippuuden
- Negima?!
- Negima!
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion
- Nerima Daikon Brothers
- NHK ni Youkoso
- Night Walker
- Ninja Nonsense
- Noir
- Peacemaker Kurogane
- Pokemon
- Prince of Tennis
- R.G. Veda
- Ragnarok
- Rec
- Red Garden
- Robotech
- Romeo x Juliet
- Rosen Maiden
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Saikano
- Sailor Moon
- Samurai Deeper Kyo
- Sci-fi Harry
- School Rumble
- Scrapped Princess
- Shin-chan
- Shingu
- Shion no Oh
- Shuffle!
- Shrine of the Morning Mist
- So Long, Mr. Despair
- Solty Rei
- Sousei no Aquarion
- Speed Grapher
- Spice and Wolf
- Super Milk Chan
- Tales of Phantasia
- Tenchi Muyo
- Tenjhou Tenge
- Texnolyze
- The Third
- Tsubasa Chronicles
- Urusei Yatsura
- Venus Versus Virus
- Welcome to the N.H.K.
- Winter Cicada
- X-1999
- Xenosaga
- XxxHolic
- Yu Yu Hakushou
- Yume Tsukai
- Zero no Tsukaima
- Zipang

Total: 116
Manga I've Completed

- Cowboy Bebop
- FLCL
- Manga Messiah
- Manga Metamorphosis
- Q*Ko-chan
- Saiyuki
- Shirahime-Syo

Total: 7


Manga I Haven't Completed


- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- Black Cat
- Blame!
- Chobits
- D.Gray-man
- Darkside Blues
- Death Note
- The Demon Ororon
- Desert Coral
- Disgaea
- Eureka Seven: Gravity Boys and Lifting Girl
- Fruits Basket
- Getbackers
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Kamunagara
- Legal Drug
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Megatokyo
- Naruto
- Negima
- Read Or Die
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Tactics
- Trigun Maximum
- XXXHolic

Total: 26

Anime I'm Currently Watching
Samurai 7, InuYasha, Samurai Deeper Kyo,
Boogiepop Phantom, and Shrine of the Morning Mist

Manga I'm Currently Reading
Read Or Die, Hayate the Combat Butler, and Megatokyo.hack//Roots, .hack//Sign, 5 cm per Second, Ah! My Goddess, Angelic Layer, Avenger, Basilisk, Binchou-tan, Black Cat, Bleach, Blood+, Boogiepop Phantom, Case Closed, Le Chevalier d'Eon, Chobits, Chrono Crusade, Coyote Ragtime Show, D.Gray-Man, D.N.Angel, DearS, Death Note, Dennou Coil, Desert Punk, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, Ergo Proxy, Eureka 7, Excel Saga, Fighting Beauty Wulong, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Flag, Full Moon, Gantz, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Gintama, Great Teacher Onizuka, Gundam Seed, Gundam Wing, Hayate the Combat Butler, Hellsing Ultimate, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Innocent Venus, InuYasha, Jigoku Shojo, Kage Kara Mamoru, Karin, Kino?s Journey, Love Hina, Loveless, Lovely Complex, Lucky Star, Makai Senki Disgaea, Marchen Awakens Romance, Meine Liebe, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Mononoke, Monster, Naruto Shippuuden, Negima?!, Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion, Nerima Daikon Brothers, NHK ni Youkoso, Night Walker, Ninja Nonsense, Noir, Ouran High School Host Club, Peacemaker Kurogane, Pokemon, Prince of Tennis, R.G. Veda, Ragnarok, Rec, Red Garden, Robotech, Romeo x Juliet, Rosen Maiden, Rurouni Kenshin, Saikano, Sailor Moon, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Sci-fi Harry, School Rumble, Scrapped Princess, Serial Experiments Lain, Shingu, Shuffle!, Shrine of the Morning Mist, So Long Mr. Despair, Solty Rei, Sousei no Aquarion, Speed Grapher, Super Milk Chan, Tales of Phantasia, Tenchi Muyo, Tenjhou Tenge, Texnolyze, The Third. Trinity Blood, Tsubasa Chronicles, Urusei Yatsura, Welcome to the N.H.K., Winter Cicada, X-1999, Xenosaga, XxxHolic, Yu Yu Hakushou, Yume Tsukai, Zero no Tsukaima, Zipang


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Friday, May 30, 2008


Goodbye Nyukawa
After almost two weeks out in Nyukawa, I have returned to Hatoyama and New Life League headquarters. I stepped in the door of the guest room that Iíve taken over about 30 minutes ago. Just to let you know, Iím really not in the mood to be writing this, but I know I wonít be in the mood to write tomorrow either, so I figure itís best to just get it over with.


Thursday, May 29th
I thought today was going to be another work day. I expected it to be slow since I only had the maze to finish. As it turns out, it rained today and thus Yoshi-san was unable to go work in the fields. Kelly-san loves rainy days for just that reason and likes to use them to their fullest extent. At breakfast this morning the two of them decided that with their rainy day they would take me to an onsen. ďOnsenĒ is the Japanese word for ďhot spring.Ē The Japanese have converted many of their hot springs into public bath houses with the water being fed directly from the hot spring. Itís a very cool idea if you ask me. It puts the springs to real use. Anyway, it was a really cool experience. The atmostphere was fully traditional with shoes coming off at the door, tatami mats covering the floor, no chairs, and sliding doors. The men and women were completely separate at Hirayu, the onsen we went to, though at some onsens they are not fully separate but use the same changing room. Most onsens, like Hirayu, have a wooden fence that separate the men from the women when bathing outside. As is traditional with onsens, you go completely nude. This was an uncomfortable idea for me, but I figured I might as well just go for it, so I changed into my birthday suit and proudly marched into the bathing area. You take a small towel with you when you go to one of these things. Iím not really sure of the use of it, but it comes in handy as a means of politely covering yourself when walking around. When in the pool it is customary to put the towel on your head to keep it out of the water, though most guys just set it on the rock closest to them. I kept it on my head, it was easier to keep track of that way and the rocks werenít really dry so my head kept it drier than the rocks would have. The bathing area at Hirayu was separated into indoor and outdoor. I sat in the indoor pool for about 5 minutes to get used to the heat of the water before marching outside. Outside there were multiple different pools you could sit in, all were made to look like natural pools with large rocks lining the edges and plants growing around them. Each of the 5 pools had a minutely different purposeóa couple were just warm water that you could sit in, one had a spout about 6 feet above the water that you could stand under, one pool had jets, and another had exceptionally hot water that you didnít want to stay in for too long. I used every pool in there except one. Of course, I was the most interesting thing in there for most of the guys. Not only was I the only non-Japanese, I was also by far the youngest man in there. It was a little disconcerting. Iím already butt naked and now everybody is staring at me. But, I got used to it pretty fast. The nice water was relaxing. There were also little white flecks dancing around in the water. I wasnít sure what they were, but Yoshi-san told me the Japanese called them ďyu no hana,Ē which means ďhot waterís flowerĒ in English. Really informative that translation was, yes. LOL! I still have no idea what those little things were, but they were fun to look at and kick around on the floor of the pools. Perhaps they had something to do with the slightly sulfuric smell? I donít know, but I enjoyed myself thoroughly, despite the minor discomfort.

We went out to lunch after the onsen. We had ramen from Kelly-sanís favorite ramen bar in Hirayu. It was fine ramen. I got the kind that tasted like soy. At the end of lunch Kelly-san called a couple of her friends in the area to see if they wanted to get together. One of them was too busy with work, but the other invited her over. So, we all went up the mountain a bit to a place called Alumu Petit Hotel. Kelly-sanís friend, Mayumi, either owns the place or just runs it, I canít remember. She served us coffee, a couple oranges, and some bean pudding with whipped cream. It was all very good. All we really did there was talk. Most of the talking was done between Kelly-san and Mayumi, of course. They talked for a good three hours. Kelly-san apologized for me having to sit there while they jabbered on in Japanese for so long, but apparently Mayumi hadnít seen little Luka since heíd been born and there was some catching up that needed to be done. I didnít care. I spent the time listening to their conversation and trying to figure out what was being talked about. I failed miserably, but at least it kept me interested.

We made it back to Nyukawa by about 5:45 PM, ate dinner, and I went up to my room to start packing things up for my trip tomorrow.

Friday, May 30th
It was travel day for me. I spent the morning finishing up the packing I hadnít done last night. I packed all I could and then spent the day until lunch talking on audio chat with KrustyKuckles and working on my maze. I didnít finish it this morning, but thatís fine. Iíll try to finish it this weekend sometime.

Lunch was spectacular. They served shitake mushrooms with melted cheese, potato cakes, and fried rice with the usual miso soup and green tea. I adored those mushrooms and ate all I could. When I had finished eating Oka-san presented me with a gift. It was a little octagonal pill box made out of origami! It is really cool! I am quite impressed by the little thing but worry I might not be able to get it all the way back to the U.S. without being crushed or destroyed. I shall do my best.

Shortly after lunch Kelly-san and Yoshi-san took me to the bus station, I boarded the bus, and got on my way. It was a much more crowded bus than the one I took coming out to Nyukawa. I was happy to have a window seat, but was unhappy that I had to sit next to someone else. Those bus seats are pretty small. I ended up falling asleep for three hours of the trip and woke up to find an empty bus. We had stopped at a roadside rest station and everyone had gotten off to stretch their legs, use the restroom, and get some food or drinks. I took the chance to walk around a bit and wake myself up. I spent the last couple hours on the bus reading and taking in the gorgeous scenery.

My bus trip terminated in Shinjuku at rush hour. That wasnít any fun. Trying to navigate Shinjuku station is hard enough, but doing it at rush hour against the crowds while dragging a suitcase puts a whole new spin on things. I was thankful to make it to my train. The rest of the trip went without incident except for a short mental block in Ikebukuro when I couldnít remember what train line to take back towards New Life League. I remembered after I saw a sign for the line, Tobu Tojo. So, as I said, it was about 30 minutes after I stepped in the door that I began this post, and it has now been a full hour and a half. Iím tired and Iím going to go watch a movie before bed.

Caesar1280's Anime Ticker

.hack//Legend of the Twilight, Air, Air: The Movie, Akira, The Animatrix, Appleseed, Aquatic Language, Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror, Beck, Black Lagoon, Blame!, Blood the Last Vampire, Bokurano, Burst Angel, Castle in the Sky, Cowboy Bebop, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express, Egao, FLCL, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala, Gankutsuou, Gatekeepers, Genshiken, Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society, Gin-iro no Kami no Agito, Grave of the Fireflies, Grenadier, Haibane Renmei, Hellsing, Highlander: The Search for Vengeance, Hikaru no Go, Howl?s Moving Castle, Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade, Jyu Oh Sei, Karas: The Prophecy, Last Exile, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Midori?s Days, Milennium Actress, Mushi-shi, My Neighbor Totoro, Naruto, Naruto: The Movie, Nausicaa, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth, Ninja Scroll: The Movie, Other Worlds, Paprika, Perfect Blue, Pet Shop of Horrors, The Place Promised In Our Early Days, Prťtear, Princess Mononoke, Read Or Die, Read Or Die: The TV, Samurai Champloo, Samurai Seven, Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal, She and Her Cat, Spirited Away, Steamboy, Tide-Line Blue, Tokyo Babylon, Tokyo Godfathers, Trigun, Voices of a Distant Star, Witch Hunter Robin, Wonderful Days, Wrath of the Ninja, X

Anime I've Seen

- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- .hack//Sign
- 5 Centimeters per Second
- Air
- Air: The Movie
- Akira
- The Animatrix
- Appleseed
- Aquatic Language
- Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror
- Baby Blue
- Beck
- Black Lagoon
- Blame!
- Blood the Last Vampire
- Bokurano
- Burst Angel
- Castle in the Sky
- Cowboy Bebop
- Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
- Digimon Tamers: The Runaway Digimon Express
- Doorbell
- Egao
- FLCL
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala
- Gankutsuou
- Gatekeepers
- Genius Party
- Genshiken
- Genshiken OAV
- Ghost in the Shell
- Ghost in the Shell: Innocence
- Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society
- Gin-iro no Kami no Agito
- The Gokusen
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Grenadier
- Haibane Renmei
- Happy Machine
- Hellsing
- Highlander: The Search for Vengeance
- Hikaru no Go
- Howl's Moving Castle
- Innocent Venus
- Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade
- Jyu Oh Sei
- Karas: The Prophecy
- Karas: The Revelation
- Last Exile
- Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
- Midori?s Days
- Milennium Actress
- Mushi-shi
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Naruto
- Naruto: The Movie
- Nausicaa
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death And Rebirth
- Ninja Scroll: The Movie
- Other Worlds
- Ouran High School Host Club
- Paprika
- Perfect Blue
- Pet Shop of Horrors
- The Place Promised In Our Early Days
- Prťtear
- Princess Mononoke
- Read Or Die
- Read Or Die: The TV
- Samurai Champloo
- Samurai Seven
- Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal
- Serial Experiments Lain
- Shanghai Dragon
- She and Her Cat
- Spirited Away
- Steamboy
- Tekkonkinkreet
- Tide-Line Blue
- Tokyo Babylon
- Tokyo Godfathers
- Trigun
- Trinity Blood
- Vampire Hunter D
- Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
- Voices of a Distant Star
- Witch Hunter Robin
- Wolf's Rain
- Wonderful Days
- Wrath of the Ninja
- X

Total: 93
Anime I Haven't Completed

- .hack//Roots
- Ah! My Goddess
- Angelic Layer
- Avenger
- Baccano!
- Bamboo Blade
- Basilisk
- Binchou-tan
- Black Cat
- Bleach
- Blood+
- Boogiepop Phantom
- Case Closed
- Le Chevalier d'Eon
- Chobits
- Chrono Crusade
- Code Geass
- Coyote Ragtime Show
- D.Gray-Man
- D.N.Angel
- DearS
- Death Note
- Dennou Coil
- Desert Punk
- Digimon
- Dragon Ball Z
- Ergo Proxy
- Eureka Seven
- Excel Saga
- Fighting Beauty Wulong
- Final Fantasy Unlimited
- Flag
- Freedom
- Full Moon
- Gantz
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
- Gintama
- Glass Fleet
- Great Teacher Onizuka
- Gundam Seed
- Gundam Wing
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Hellsing OVA
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
- Ikki Tousen
- InuYasha
- Jigoku Shojo
- Kage Kara Mamoru
- Karin
- Kino's Journey
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Lovely Complex
- Lucky Star
- Makai Senki Disgaea
- Marchen Awakens Romance
- Meine Liebe
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Mononoke
- Monster
- Moon Phase
- Mr Stain on Junk Alley
- Naruto Shippuuden
- Negima?!
- Negima!
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion
- Nerima Daikon Brothers
- NHK ni Youkoso
- Night Walker
- Ninja Nonsense
- Noir
- Peacemaker Kurogane
- Pokemon
- Prince of Tennis
- R.G. Veda
- Ragnarok
- Rec
- Red Garden
- Robotech
- Romeo x Juliet
- Rosen Maiden
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Saikano
- Sailor Moon
- Samurai Deeper Kyo
- Sci-fi Harry
- School Rumble
- Scrapped Princess
- Shin-chan
- Shingu
- Shion no Oh
- Shuffle!
- Shrine of the Morning Mist
- So Long, Mr. Despair
- Solty Rei
- Sousei no Aquarion
- Speed Grapher
- Spice and Wolf
- Super Milk Chan
- Tales of Phantasia
- Tenchi Muyo
- Tenjhou Tenge
- Texnolyze
- The Third
- Tsubasa Chronicles
- Urusei Yatsura
- Venus Versus Virus
- Welcome to the N.H.K.
- Winter Cicada
- X-1999
- Xenosaga
- XxxHolic
- Yu Yu Hakushou
- Yume Tsukai
- Zero no Tsukaima
- Zipang

Total: 116
Manga I've Completed

- Cowboy Bebop
- FLCL
- Manga Messiah
- Manga Metamorphosis
- Q*Ko-chan
- Saiyuki
- Shirahime-Syo

Total: 7


Manga I Haven't Completed


- .hack//Legend of the Twilight
- Black Cat
- Blame!
- Chobits
- D.Gray-man
- Darkside Blues
- Death Note
- The Demon Ororon
- Desert Coral
- Disgaea
- Eureka Seven: Gravity Boys and Lifting Girl
- Fruits Basket
- Getbackers
- Hayate the Combat Butler
- Kamunagara
- Legal Drug
- Love Hina
- Loveless
- Megatokyo
- Naruto
- Negima
- Read Or Die
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Tactics
- Trigun Maximum
- XXXHolic

Total: 26

Anime I'm Currently Watching
Samurai 7, InuYasha, Samurai Deeper Kyo,
Boogiepop Phantom, and Shrine of the Morning Mist

Manga I'm Currently Reading
Read Or Die, Hayate the Combat Butler, and Megatokyo.hack//Roots, .hack//Sign, 5 cm per Second, Ah! My Goddess, Angelic Layer, Avenger, Basilisk, Binchou-tan, Black Cat, Bleach, Blood+, Boogiepop Phantom, Case Closed, Le Chevalier d'Eon, Chobits, Chrono Crusade, Coyote Ragtime Show, D.Gray-Man, D.N.Angel, DearS, Death Note, Dennou Coil, Desert Punk, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, Ergo Proxy, Eureka 7, Excel Saga, Fighting Beauty Wulong, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Flag, Full Moon, Gantz, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Gintama, Great Teacher Onizuka, Gundam Seed, Gundam Wing, Hayate the Combat Butler, Hellsing Ultimate, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Innocent Venus, InuYasha, Jigoku Shojo, Kage Kara Mamoru, Karin, Kino?s Journey, Love Hina, Loveless, Lovely Complex, Lucky Star, Makai Senki Disgaea, Marchen Awakens Romance, Meine Liebe, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Mononoke, Monster, Naruto Shippuuden, Negima?!, Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion, Nerima Daikon Brothers, NHK ni Youkoso, Night Walker, Ninja Nonsense, Noir, Ouran High School Host Club, Peacemaker Kurogane, Pokemon, Prince of Tennis, R.G. Veda, Ragnarok, Rec, Red Garden, Robotech, Romeo x Juliet, Rosen Maiden, Rurouni Kenshin, Saikano, Sailor Moon, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Sci-fi Harry, School Rumble, Scrapped Princess, Serial Experiments Lain, Shingu, Shuffle!, Shrine of the Morning Mist, So Long Mr. Despair, Solty Rei, Sousei no Aquarion, Speed Grapher, Super Milk Chan, Tales of Phantasia, Tenchi Muyo, Tenjhou Tenge, Texnolyze, The Third. Trinity Blood, Tsubasa Chronicles, Urusei Yatsura, Welcome to the N.H.K., Winter Cicada, X-1999, Xenosaga, XxxHolic, Yu Yu Hakushou, Yume Tsukai, Zero no Tsukaima, Zipang


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