Friday, June 18, 2010


Ok everyone,

First off, I apologize for having such a dramatic gap in my updates, but it seems that its slowly becoming more and more difficult to remember to keep updating this blog.

Anyway, onto my quarter-break trip to Okinawa!

Well, for five days and four nights, a group of friends and I decided to take ourselves to the wonderful island of Okinawa. Even before our mid-terms started, we were all more than ready to hop on the plane and jet on over to the white, sandy beaches. By the time it was time to go, we couldn't have been more excited.

To get there, we first had to take the 2 hour bus ride to Fukuoka Airport. When we got to the airport, we had some time to spare, so a few of us girls went to look at a lovely flower/art gallery nearby. It was really neat, and they even had a small workshop going to make pressed-flower prints for free. We decided to go ahead and be creative, all the while trying to exercise our Japanese speaking skills.

and my result:

From the Fukuoka Airport, it was about an 1 1/2 hour flight to Okinawa, and from the Okinawa airport, it was about another 1 1/2 tax ride to our resort. SO WORTH IT.

Here are a few night pictures of when we arrived at our hotel. I was impressed, and it was a very nice place for the prices we got it for. There were four to a room, each with our own wonderful bed and a wonderful bathroom with a wonderful shower and a wonderful balcony.

That night, we decided to head on down to the bar downstairs, which was themed as a "cave bar". It was very interesting and a lot of fun.

Josh and Stephanie

Carlos and Me

The next morning we headed out to our day tour of the famous Okinawan Aquarium and a couple other touristy spots. It was a long day, but it was quite fun. Our first stop was a butterfly house along the way. It was a nice stop, and the butterflies were huge, but after a little while, the hordes of giant butterflies all clumped together and twitching, became a little uncomfortable. They were beautiful by themselves, but at the end of the room, where bunches of them were fighting over a small specific feeding flower pot, I was reminded that even though they were pretty, they are still bugs, and I am not a fan of bugs.

Then it was on to the aquarium. The aquarium was so big, with so many neat sights. My favorite definitely had to the the huge tank in the center of the building, it was so big that it fit two whale sharks, tons of giant manta-rays, schools of fish, turtles, and a few unknown creatures. It was amazing.

After the aquarium it was time to go to Pineapple Land. Yes, Pineapple Land. This place had pineapple everything, from pineapple wine to pineapple jam, cookies, sauce, ice cream, and more. And we got to taste everything. It was very interesting, but I think I've had my fair share of pineapple for awhile.

When we got back to the hotel after our long day, we were determined to go swimming, at least in the pool, even though it was raining. We grabbed our suits and jumped in, despite the rain and the odd looks from the people passing by. It was a good decision because it woke us all up and gave us our second wind. After the quick and rather cold swim, we headed over to the "Cave Bar" once more to do something very daring.

The night before, we noticed a very strange jar with a very strange creature inside. Well it turns out that Okinawa is famous for its "Habushu". This is achieved by filling a large jar with awamori liquor,herbs, and honey, and most important of all, a pit viper snake coiled at the bottom. This drink isn't cheap either. It was 4000 yen (+/- $40) for one tiny glass, but luckily, four of us decided to split the glass, and the price.

That was a very interesting experience, as well as a pricey one! I'm glad to say that I drank it though! My friend took a video of the four of us drinking it, but unfortunately I am having a difficult time loading it onto this website. I was able to load it on facebook, so if you get the chance, check it out on my page.

After the cave bar, we headed over to the lobby and checked out the lounge area. It was very nice with classy furniture and a really rich atmosphere. We sat around a few tables and relaxed and talked and just enjoyed each others company.

The next was Friday, right? Friday was our lazy day, our day to lay out in the sun and get some rays. Well, Mr. Sun did not agree with our schedule and decided to send a bunch of clouds and rain in his place. We still stayed out by the pool, trying to relax despite the drizzling rain and cool breeze. And somehow, even with all of the clouds and mere one hour of blissful sun, I managed to get sun-burned. How? That's a darn good question, but I was the only one. Oh well, it turned into a nice tan after everyone stopped calling me lobster and shrimp and other colorful names. We pretty much spent the day eating, swimming, throwing one another (translation = me) into the pool, and enjoying our freedom.

The last full day we had, we switched hotels to a location that was much closer to the airport since we had an ungodly early flight back to Fukuoka. This hotel was interesting because we had a Japanese styled room, with tatami mats and futons. It was comfortable, although I still missed having a nice roomy bathroom...

The day was spent walking along a main street full of gift shops and restaurants, kind of like a Mackinaw City street for all of you Michiganders. Except think that the fudge is replaced with pineapple and snake alcohol.

Nighttime was spent eating at a wonderful steak house with real steak and good wine. It was a fabulous meal that even included cheesy fries, American style. Heaven.

After that, it was good old karaoke to end our final night in Okinawa, and it was a blast. We sang our hearts out, getting every last drop of freedom out of our system before we headed back to APU mountain. It was a great trip, and I'm so pleased about its turn out. I can't wait to go back one day, the only thing I wish for next time is better weather, and more sun!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Quick Update

Hello all,

Sorry about the long absence, but I've been in Okinawa for the past five days for my quarter break!

The trip was fantastic even though the weather was not ideal. I did however, manage to get sunburned with the one hour of sunlight that came out when I laid out by the pool. Go figure.

Anyway, I am planning on doing a much more in depth update in a couple days once the start of classes is underway and I can reorganize everything in my room.

There are several new international students here for the summer quarter, and I believe someone said that there are about 40 new American students. Two are actually from Grand Valley State. Besides the newcomers and their familiar helpless looks of "what-do-I-do-now?", returning to APU has been going really smoothly. I miss Okinawa a lot, and I really hope to have the chance to return there one day.

So please bare with me for a few more days and I promise you a bunch of pictures and details of my trip.

I heard the weather has been rather terrible back at home, so I hope that everyone is safe and okay!

Alright, well, bed calls. I shall write soon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Final Exams :(

Well there were a few changes to last weekend's plans, but in the end, it ended up being a decent weekend.

I was originally planning on going to Nara for the weekend, but unfortunately due to the peak season, many of the hotels and hostels were booked full. Luckily, there were still some places in the local area that I hadn't seen, so it was the perfect opportunity to take advantage of being stuck here on the mountain and going down to Oita to see the Sex Museum.

Yes, the Sex Museum.

It was a very interesting experience, and I recommend people to go to the Beppu Hihokan if they get the chance. It is incredibly small, and only two stories high with not a lot to show for, but it was interesting none the less. I ended up going with three other girls and we turned it into a girls day out I guess. I won't go into too much detail since I think some younger people may be reading this (*cough my sister *cough)but there were some interesting and vivid statues, wax models, pictures, more statues, prints of people in various positions that made one of my friends very appalled and blushing red. There was even a small theater that was showing an old, old, porn movie that we all agreed was rather humorous. Afterwords, we walked around Oita and bought some snacks, ate dinner, and discussed how glad we were that none of our guy friends decided to join us on our excursion.

Yes, there's nothing like a good girls day out with ice cream and porn.

Sunday was dedicated to homework and picking up the room, watching the episodes of Grey's Anatomy that I've missed, and being my normal lazy self. I also made a poster for an event one of my friends was hosting. It was an Earth Day of sorts, and so I helped them out once they got wind that I was an art major. Nothing too fancy, the only color utensils I had were watercolor, and the paper did not handle that too well, so I had to use minimal color. The banner was small only because they had people who came to the event sign the poster.

It was a relaxing day, and I definitely am going to miss it now that exams are on the way and I've got to buckle down for serious study time.

Apart from the craziness of final exams, I am very excited to announce that we are going to OKINAWA for the quarter break. Its going to be a short trip, but a much needed one for the most part. 5 days and 4 nights at the white sandy beaches of paradise, and I haven't been this excited since I went to Mexico for my senior spring break.

However, this time, I won't have a curfew, right mom?

I'm really excited and I just hope that the weather is absolutely perfect for this trip!

Anyway, this week has been going rather slow, but I think its because I'm looking so forward to quarter break in two weeks. I've been having some headaches for the past few days, but those are also going away.

By the way, I just want all my friends back home to know how proud of you guys I am for your hard work on all of your finals and portfolios! I've seen some of everyone's work, and I'm so inspired by you! Keep it up!!

With that, I shall leave everyone with this!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Short update

Hey everyone,

Friday night a few friends and I went down to Beppu for some food and karaoke. We ended up going to a wonderful little gyoza (fried dumpling) bar that was inside the house of some older lady. She was one of the nicest people I've met, and her food was delicious. She was just about to close the shop as we walked over, but luckily she recognized one of the other people we were with and was more than happy to let us in.

It was a really intimate place. It was practically the first room in her tiny little house, with a nice kitchen area and a makeshift bar in front. It was really cramped and small, but somehow all seven of us were able to fit comfortably. For 550 yen, we got a set with 8 pieces of gyoza, a bowl of miso soup and rice. To me, it was more of a lighter snack/meal rather than a dinner, so we were a little worried that we were going to be hungry.

However she was so happy that the person she recognized brought more students from APU that she gave us a second helping of gyoza - free of charge. Then after that was done, she gave us dessert, which consisted of dango (mochi, er, chewy rice/flour/doughy balls with some sweet syrup on top?) and THEN, she gave us snacks of all different kinds of chips and Japanese munchies. I think some Cheetos were thrown in there as well. All free of charge. Like I said, she was a sweet, sweet lady.

We met her seven year old grandson, who came waltzing down the tiny steps to peek out at all of the foreign people in his house, and then he eventually mustered up the courage to introduce himself, with the permission of his grandmother. He sure was a cutie.

After that, karaoke was fun although nothing of a spectacular time. I was pretty much wiped out from the rest of the week and the day seemed to be really long to me. I was ready for bed the moment I was done with the gyoza.

On another note.

Well I decided that I really do want to go to Nara with Carlos next weekend. I was really unsure about it because of financial issues, but now that I've talked it over with the parents and done a little bit of research, its one of the places that I am interested in going to and investing my money in.

Pictures will come with this trip, rest assured.

Aside from that, school has still been busy and I've been itching to do some drawing lately. However Ecotourism papers come first I suppose. I guess I shall get started on that rather than stalling with the blog and other successfully stalling things.

Ja (see you)~

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

By Request

Well its been quite an eventful week, but a good one.

To start off, a couple of my friends and I went out to Oita last weekend and on a completely spontaneous whim, we all got our hair cut and colored. It was quite the experience, trying to communicate with the hairdressers and explain what it was I was trying to get done.

Pierre dyed his natural Swedish blond hair black. That was interesting. Carlos told them to cut it any way they saw fit, and got some brownish highlights to his already black hair. I just got a little bit of a cut and blond highlights in mine. It was actually pretty cheap for me, considering I took the longest time out of the three of us. I must say, I am really satisfied with the outcome, and I think the three of us started a new trend for the rest of our friends. Two of them are planning on going to Oita this weekend to get their hair cut and colored. Posers.

Anyway, here's what I look like now.

I think in a month, Carlos and I are going again, and next time I'm going to go more blond. The parents told me to do it, so I will be the obedient child I am and do it.

As for classes, its been going pretty steady, and I've been working really hard in my Japanese class. I'm practicing my kanji every night, and I'm working on my personal goal of making my hiragana and katakana neater and prettier. So far, its going well, and my improvement is quite evident.

We still go to the tatami room pretty much every night and "study". Most of the time we are talking and such, but we do get serious when we have to. Here are pictures of the tatami room. And my homework.

As for my quarter break, its been decided that we are going to Okinawa! I'm super pumped for this trip, and we are getting good deals for the hotels and flight. Right now there's a small group going, but we sent out invites to anyone who wants to go. (Plus its cheaper for more people to share a room.) But I'm seriously looking forward to this trip. White sandy beaches and sunshine, palm trees and ice cold beer, bring it on! I believe that our break is four or five days long, but depending on everyone's exam schedule will determine when we leave. I think my exams actually end a few days earlier, and depending on how much money it will cost, perhaps a few of us will leave earlier? It doesn't matter to me, but I can't wait to get to the beach!

I can finally call it "Summer" over here. The weather has been extremely nice, and I'm so happy that the rain has finally died down. I was getting tired of having soaked socks and carrying my umbrella everywhere.

Hope everyone is doing fine back at home. I was fortunate to get a lovely little care package in the mail from my parents a few days ago. Inside was a heavenly light of precious cargo consisting of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, two Hershey Symphony bars, and my favorite flavor of jelly beans. My parents rock.

That night I made the mac and cheese while several of my friends made home cooked meals. A few of my friends had never had mac and cheese before, so I allowed them to taste it when it was done. They were completely and utterly fascinated with it, but I was too determined to be selfish that night and wouldn't share much more of it. As my parents said, it was basically $13 dollar mac and cheese I ate that night, and it was worth every penny.

I was able to skype with my friend Alex who lives down in Georgia yesterday, and it was so good to hear from her. I'm going to miss everyone this summer, especially since there are going to be so many special birthdays this year. But I will make sure to have a drink for them on their birthday, and we can celebrate together in spirit.

Until next time.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


This past weekend, Stephanie, Josh, and I went to the city of Fukuoka. Its about a two hour bus ride from APU. Luckily, Steph and I only had a first period class on Friday, so we left after our class and made it to the city in the early afternoon.

Where to start? One of the biggest attractions in Fukuoka is the humongous five story mall called Canal City. I'd compare it to Great Lakes Crossing Mall from back home, but Canal City is definitely bigger.

Because of its size, we ended up just shopping around for the rest of the day and exploring the gigantic mall and all of its glory. There was a ton of great shops in there, including a Pokemon Center and a Cold Stone Creamery, both of which we made sure to stop in.

Sometime during the mall madness we realized that we were starving, so we tried our luck at an Omu Rice restaurant. Omu rice is like an egg omelet with rice and other ingredients inside. I ended up getting some sort of shrimp/white sauce rice omelet and the result was this:


After that, we were very tired, so we headed back to our hotel and conked out.

Saturday, we got our butts up early and headed out for some of the sights of the city. We went to a couple shrines first. Its very interesting because the shrines are located in the middle of the bustling city area, so its somewhat strange to see the cars and tall towers and then a section of beautiful trees and traditional looking gardens and shrines. They were absolutely beautiful, and the weather was so awesome, I was so happy because the weather allowed the quality of my pictures to turn out so much better!

Then it was off the the Fukuoka Art Museum which I was personally excited for. It was a very nice museum, not very big, but very good none the less. I ended up purchasing a book there that had some of my favorite pieces from the gallery. There was modern art as well as more traditional art, although both were good in their own ways.

After the art museum, we stopped at this bakery shop because my sweet tooth was calling for my attention the entire day. It was so worth it.

When night falls, the streets near Canal City become littered with Ramen Stands, all along the canal side. We ended up eating at one of the stalls, choosing with pointing fingers and broken Japanese some kind of bowl and some beer. I have to say, it was the best ramen I've ever eaten. This stuff can't even compare to the Cup-of-Noodles that I live off of back at college. This was the real deal, and it was amazing.

It was still early because we had gotten such an early start, so we went back to Canal City and explored any areas we may have missed. And oh boy, did we miss something. We missed the huge arcade on the fourth floor along with the famous Ramen Stadium, which is a whole floor dedicated to tons and tons of different kinds of Ramen from all over Japan.

We ended up staying in the arcade a little bit longer than we planned, but we through in a couple hundred yen and played some Silent Hill and good old fashion Mario Kart. The winner, of course, was your truly.

We headed back to the hotel after we realized we had no money left, and put on our complementary yukata's (robes) and played some cards.

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend that went by way to quickly. I can't wait until the next trip, but until then, I'll have to get back to all of the Japanese homework my sensei gives me.

The weather is finally turning around here, but I'm not going to hold my breath.