Nov 18, 2014

The hard stuff about making friends in Japan

Sorry ladies and gents. I have been busy out with my friends, traveling, busy editing so many videos that I have not made a blog in a long long time.

I would like to talk about making friends in Japan.

Starting off with how to make friends in Japan. It is almost like making friends in another country really, you go out, talk to people and get their social network contact info to keep in touch. Pretty straight forward.

The big thing you will have a problem with in Japan is 

A. keeping those friends
B. having to say goodbye to friends who leave the country.

The first one is surprisingly more tricky than at least Canada. In Japan, you will find a lot of people just stop contacting you due to busy with work, they get married and become busy, or they were never really that close to you from the start and slowly "stop knowing you".

This is a feeling I never noticed in Canada so much. Its not that it doesn't happen, its just that in Japan you will notice this much more than you would in your home land. This problem can only be avoided to an extent. No matter how much contact you keep with someone, the effort you make on your side, how available you are it will always be in the hands of the other person as well right.


Having friends leave the country is one of the most painful feelings. It has been described as other foreigners as having a funeral to your friends. Making friends with other foreigners is fun. I have no discrimination between the place you were born and the status of your residence here, so I will become friends with anyone who is a cool person. The sad thing is knowing that a lot of people don't stay in Japan... and I have made friends with a lot of people who are currently about to leave. It is the worst feeling I have ever felt.

The only way to avoid this is not become friends with people who are not staying forever. But then you are missing out on the wonderful relationships that you can develop with them. I don't see it as a waste of time that I got to know so many people who will split off and part from here. Heck, gives me a chance to travel and an excuse. 

Just prepare yourself when making friends in Japan that these are two problems that you might come across. Make sure you have a little extra money saved to visit your extended families across the globe. 


Jun 16, 2014

PURIKURA

I wanted to make a blog about purikura.

Purikura is very popular in Japan. These are not even 10% of all the pictures I have ever taken but I would like to share these purikura with you. If you don't know what purikura is then take a look at the pictures and then at the very bottom I will explain more :)

Please note. I have photo-shopped my friends faces out to protect their identities.









Purikura is a activity. It is where you take a picture in a special huge photo machine. It is like a big walk in photobooth where you can fully stand up in and jump around if you wanted to. Purikura picture machines are very high tech and have many different features. They don't just take pictures but they edit them for you.

They usually change your skin automatically to make it more smooth and beautiful. Is it even possible to look bad in a purikura picture?

After you are done taking pictures you can change the backgrounds of the pictures, brightness and the size of your eyes.


The best part is drawing on the pictures and putting stickers on them. 

The only thing that sucks about purikura is you have to give your cell phone email address to these companies, and every once in a while they send you spam mail.

If you don't give out your address, you will only get the printed out version of the sticker pictures it makes. If you do give them your address you can have two pictures sent to your cell phone for free ^^

May 26, 2014

10 tips on learning Japanese



1. Make notes - Notes will help you not only remember words but get used to writing them down. If you don't work your hand, you wont learn to remember how to write the words and it is easy to forget. Notes can always be re-written over and over again if you feel the notes are too messy, or for re-practicing. You should be writing down important points that you want to look back on later.

2. Use what skills you have - A lot of people worry about looking up stuff in the dictionary right away when they don't know how to say something, or they spend too much time trying to explain something they just can't. Use what vocabulary you already know so that you can get your point across, and worry about learning the more harder words at a later time.

3. Be patient - Japanese takes years to be fluent in, and it isn't something you can just master in only 10 mins. There will be times where you just don't understand anything, and that is ok. You will get there.

4. Talk to yourself - Nothing is wrong with talking to yourself when you have nooone to practice with. It is better than no chance at all to use your mouth mussels, Without practice you wont get any better. 

5. Studying is not work  - If you think of studying as a chore or something not fun, you wont ever learn. Think of studying as something fun and something you love. Find a way to incorporate studying into your hobbies. 

6. Look up unknown words - When you see a word you don't know, do your best to find out what it means. Especially if it is the only word you don't understand.

7. Skip unknown words - Sometimes there are too many words you don't know, that you will be spending too much time looking them up. In this case, skip over them and try to understand the sentence without them.

8. Don't be shy - Being afraid to use your skills will only give you less chances to practice and get better.

9. Use multiple resources - One website or book wont teach you it all, you need to use as much resources as you can. More resources will give you different ways to study.

10. Don't be discouraged - Making mistakes is a good thing. It helps you learn so you don't do it again. Don't be upset that people are better than you, you can be just as good as anyone, it just takes time. Don't feel upset if people laugh at your errors, they are just a-holes. ;)

May 20, 2014

Random shopping in Japan

Since a lot of you guys like my shopping blogs I decided to take pictures of what I bought yesterday.

The store LUSH is a natural, vegan friendly beauty products store. It is in a lot of countries and if you are used to it, then you will be happy to know it exists in Japan.

Till last year, the names on the packages were written in Japanese but for some reason they changed it all to English. This made it confusing for me because I forgot what the names of the products I liked in English were, and had to go re-smelling around to find it.

I will let you know right away, since the lush products are made here in Japan their smells vary slightly.



For example, in Canada I used to LOVE leaf lettuce, but the one in Japan doesn't smell anything like it so I can't buy it :(. However I found OATIFIX which is SOOO GOOD I just want to eat it.  In the picture there is a sticker that says "you can't eat this" in Japanese.

I don't know if you have the products above in your country, some of the products are actually only available in Japan at the Japanese lush.

Another one of my addictions is buying organic products. I don't like lots of sugar or all these fake flavored stuff so I prefer to buy organic.

These kabocha waffle cookies are so good. I also bought coconut water which tastes really good, but it has 20g of sugar....thats a lot. I didn't realize that it had so much sugar on it when I look at it.

I am the kinda person who doesn't need to add sugar to anything at all.


The fruit that is seen in this picture is BIWA, figs and plums. Biwa is a type of Japanese fruit that is hard to explain the taste for those who never had it sorry.

I mentioned this before but I hate when people say fruit is expensive in Japan. Sure sometimes it can be, especially when it is off season or high quality brand name. But other times it is really cheap.


Japan also isn't a country that focuses on mass production and low cost production of things. Japan is about quality. Fruit also isn't a major staple for the people of Japan, except for me the girl who eats a whole watermelon per day.


This is something new I came across "Ice plant". I tried searching how to eat it in English but hardly anything came up, which leads me to believe that its not available in English speaking countries. In Japanese there was plenty of articles on it, though this is not a common thing to eat at all.

It looks like a alien, like there are small dew like drops on it but they are hard like rubbery.

If anyone had a starfruit, it tastes like that but without the sweet taste. It was kinda good.

May 13, 2014

Getting ass massage in Japan

So yesterday 2 of my friends invited me to get a massage with them. They wanted to have a nice relaxing week so our choices were either massage or onsen.  I am too shy to be naked around people so I though massage would be much better.

I have never went to a professional massage shop before. I have heard many terrible stories of people going to a massage place and it hurting so much. Some people believe that pushing extra hard will hurt at first, but after feel good.  I am not one to believe such a thing.

I searched online for nice massage shop to go to and came across one in Shinjuku. So we all went there.

It wasn't a fancy store, it didn't have sensational music or coconut tree decorations or anything interesting. Just massage beds and curtians to cover the room.

This place you could rent shorts and a T-shirt if you were to shy to show your body, so I thought that meant it was ok to go naked if you wanted to.  I put the shorts on, but at first I didn't put my shirt on and just laid down on the table. I figured I was only going to be laying on my back so nobody would see anything. 

The guy walked in to give me a massage and shyly and embarrassingly said "maybe you should put your shirt on because you will be turned over and I will see you". So we both laughed and said oh ok, and then I put the shirt on they provided me.

This store also doesn't massage directly on the body, but over a towel.... Which is kinda strange since usually I see massage store adds with people rubbing oil all over someone. 

Anyways the massage started, felt good till he got to the lower back which hurt like a bitch and I thought my back was gonna rip in half. I was too shy to say anything and just grinned and bared it. He kept getting lower and lower and I was thinking the whole time "is he gonna touch my ass?".

After all it was a "full body" massage, I didn't know what to expect. I have seen all the strange videos and heard all the stories of the "happy endings" and started to wonder if something was going to happen.

Well little did I know, next was the ass massage.

Yup, thats right. The ass massage.

Not gonna lie, it actually was the best part of the massage. Go on, get your bf or gf to give it a try on you.  Its hard to explain but basically press the hands hard on your ass cheeks, move around ass massage....well in simple non technical and slightly ghetto erotic terms. 

Then he turned me over to do the front of my body, and this is where I started to worry a bit.  Was he going to go and touch my......there?   I started to wonder if my friends were having the same experience. I started to wonder so many strange things.

Thankfully, the front massage was just a face massage and shoulder and neck.  Then it was over. Fewf.


Well, turns out my friends all got the ass massage too. 1 of them even got a boob massage. I am kinda glad the boob massage didn't happen to me. I would have thought "is this going to lead to sex?" "is this what is supposed to happen?" "what did I pay for?".  

Well, I guess massages are just not the place for me.




May 12, 2014

Cheap kaitenzushi in JAPAN

The other day I went to like 5 used clothing stores in search for Louis Vuitton glasses. I didn't have any luck finding any so saddened I popped into a kaitenzushi (or sushi go around as some might call it).  This is where the sushi goes around a conveyor belt and you just pick whatever you want off it and eat it.


You can also order from a computer screen for most modern stores.  Even for those people who are tourists and can't read, there are other languages on the menu sometimes.

I usually order my food from the menu because the food that has been going around and around touched the air for a while and I would prefer fresher sushi.


This store was pretty cheap and pretty fun, the sushi came out on a big ass DOCTOR YELLOW!!  For those who don't live here, probably don't know what this is but it is actually the name of a shinkansen that usually you can't ride on, it is only for testing (however if you are mad lucky, sometimes you actually can ride it)

I want to ride it....




Anyways. Actually if you already saw my video on Japanese sushi vs Canadian sushi, I made it clear that I liked Canadian sushi better.  I often am reminded every time I go out for sushi that it isn't so fun. I always buy the same 3-4 things depending on what the store has.  Maguro (akami), anago, unagi and tobiko.  Sometimes I will get tako, ikura or katsuo but thats if its a good store.

This time I took the dive and got some tamago yaki.




Sushi joints in Japan can be pretty complex. Offering a wide rang of interesting items from french fries, burgers, cake, juice and honey dew melon!  This sounded so tempting but I had suspected that it wasn't going to be super good tasting. Usually when I have fruit at a sushi place, it tastes kinda old. I have a really good fruit store near my house and can buy the whole melon for 3$, so I don't need to pay the same for a slice.


I got bored to eating the same things so this time I took a pass on the melon and decided to go for a type of small fish often served at izakaya.

I love these and I know where to go to get the best tasting ones.

However, this sushi restaurant was not the best at all. They were really missing the best part, either yuzu, lemon, sudachi to squeeze on them.


I only was left with mayonnaise...how typical of Japan. People love mayo here, but not me. I actually hate the stuff. So I had to eat my fish plain. opps.

May 6, 2014

First trip to Kyoto

ただいまーー! tadaimaaaa!  (I am home!)

Just got back to Tokyo after my first experience of being a tourist ever! I spent 5 days and Kyoto and I had a blast. I made lots of videos which I will upload to my youtube, but I also took lots of pictures and thought I would make a blog about my trip.


I thought I was only go with 3 of my friends but 3 others came along too, so it was really fun. We drove there in a big van and I took this picture of mt.fuji as we passed by. I thought it exploded but it was just a cloud lol. From the view from the car it really looked like smoke coming out of it.

In Japan you have to pay to use the high way, however to our surprise this month there is some kind of special sale going on where it is half price. So when we went to pay we were very happy that we didn't have to pay so much.

Before I went to Kyoto I had heard that it is very old, traditional and surrounded by mountains. So for some reason I pictured those mountains to look like rocky snow covered mountains and in the middle of them all is a small old traditional city. Well, I was close, except those mountains are covered in green trees, not snow and rocks :).

The buses and taxis were completely different from Tokyos (well I guess that is not so interesting lol). When I first got there I kept looking out the window and taking pictures of buildings. I saw 2 temples that had a bunch of fire torches outside, Which is something I never seen in Tokyo.



We arrived at my friends house which was very very very old Japanese style. I was like "is this really a house?". It was built 60 years ago, so traditional looking. It was all made from wood and all the windows were made from paper and wood.  This picture is not the house I was in. I thought it would be too rude to burden my friends and their friends to make a video of their house.
So instead I present you with pretty much what I was looking at when I got there except it was brown instead of black.

I stayed at my friends house for 1 night and they invited even more people over. There was 10 people there and we all made shabu shabu. It was actually my first time to ever make shabu shabu, it is the only food I can think of that I never even ate before. It is actually fun to make, you boil water and dashi together and then you dip meat in it and let it cook and then pull the meat out when its cooked and dip it in sauce and eat it.  Now I will try cooking it at my house and invite people over for a shabu shabu party.

I also should mention that half the people who were there all spoke kansai-ben, which is different from standard Japanese. I kept wondering why everyone kept saying something is 変 hen (strange). But it turns out when people say "something is not"  in normal Japanese "nai", in kansai-ben it turns into "hen" which is the same as the word weird lol.

My friends 2 year old kid was there and is learning to talk. Kids learn so fast. They also say the cutest things. I ended up teaching my friends kid how to say "train goes off the tracks - dassen 脱線". Such a strange word to teach a 2 year old lol. It was because my friends kid kept playing with toy trains, and made the train go off the tracks so I said "dassen shita - it went off tracks" and the little cutie remembered. 


I look sleepy in the picture above, this is me at kinkakuji. It was surprisingly quiet for a major tourist spot. There was a few people but it was so peaceful and quiet walk. I thought it was going to be packed back to back with loud people but it was so peaceful.



The next day I tried to go to arashiyama which is a famous tourist spot with lots of stuff to do....well. Apparently the whole population of Kyoto and the rest of Japan along with tourists from other countries, also decided to go to arashiyama. I have never seen so many people in my life. There were more people here than anywhere I ever seen in Tokyo, word.

We couldn't even drive our car anywhere near there, we had to walk for 35 mins because we had to park far far away from the main area, and even where we parked there was so many people walking.

It was so packed  that I couldn't make much videos there, I planned to make more videos but I just couldn't so I will have to save that place for a different trip. It was SUCH a beautiful place though. The sunset over the river and the bridge. The mountains and bamboo trees glowing in the sun.

If you love taking pictures, you will love Kyoto.




The day before I left I had plans to climb a mountain but I could only make it half way. It was raining pretty hard, which really added to the beauty and nature.

I wanted to live in the forest on this mountain. It was like a tropical jungle. 






 I only spent my time traveling to temples, mountains and old cities that I started to think there was no such thing as downtown in Kyoto, but I was assured that they do have a downtown. I will check that out next time I go. I had a great trip, I bought lots of yatsuhashi for omiyage for my friends. In Japan when you go on a trip you MUST buy presents/souvenirs for your friends, family and even coworkers. If you don't want to have to buy these things for people, don't tell anyone you are going on a trip or prepare to pay up. Not to worry though, there are plenty of omiyage to chose from and they are not expensive. Yatsuhashi is a cinnamon flavored snack that is famous in Kyoto.

So I had a great trip, and only ran into one creepy man. I was in Gion area and there was nobody except for some strange old man who was taking pictures of the buildings and then kept waving at me. My friends tried to run away and then he kept following us and said something to my friend, whom she couldn't even understand what he said, then he said "hi" to me and perhaps tried to take a picture but then we escaped by walking away and going into a tea store.

The whole ride back to Tokyo I fell asleep. I recommend you guys go to Kyoto if you get a chance.