Archive | October, 2012

Happy (really belated) Birthday, S!

18 Oct

This is like way out of date, so I apologize, but for some reason, I never (I don’t think) mentioned what we did for my bff S’s birthday.  Her birthday was at the beginning of October, and since it fell on a Saturday, we were able to go into Tokyo for a day of fun to celebrate!  A play that we wanted to see was playing on that day, so we got tickets in the name of birthday fun, and planned to meet up with J, who would also be in Tokyo that weekend, and our friends who had the live in Gunma back in September.  But of course, being the cool kids we are, the first thing we did was grab McDonald’s before the play!  I decided to try a yearly fall special in Japan, the Tsukimi Burger or “moon viewing” burger.  Tsukimi is a Japanese tradition (that, as far as I can tell, has basically fallen out of fashion) that is similar to hanami or “flower viewing” in the spring.  As far as I know, one drinks sake with friends outside in the evening and enjoys the beauty of the moon.  The Tsukimi Burger, however… has really nothing to do with moon viewing except for, as far as I can tell, that the egg patty thing on it looks like the moon.  Yes, you heard me right, egg patty.  I overcame my hatred of egg to try a McDonald’s seasonal special.  I’m a daring individual, what can I say.

After McDonald’s, we saw the play, which was funny and well done, and got to do a handshake with the actors afterwards, which is always a treat (even when they’re either terrified because you’re a foreigner or try awkward English on you), and we got to hang out with our various Tokyo friends.  But we weren’t done when we headed back to Gunma, because Sunday we had plans to party with our Kiryu friends!  But first, I had plans of my own; I had yet to give S her birthday gift, so I whipped up some homemade wrapping paper.  I’m a fan of making homemade wrapping paper– it’s much cheaper than buying, and it’s more personal that way!  True, it was a tradition I started in college when I was poor and didn’t have money nor time to buy wrapping paper, but I think it’s also nice to spend the time to make something, rather than just buy it. At any rate, I made her some Japanese-esque girly paper and a bow to go with, and then wrapped up her gift, which was a really special Sexy Zone single that she had requested.  Because I’m a lame friend and got her exactly what she asked for.

After I gave her her gift, we headed out to meet our Kiryu friends at a local izakaya.  Izakaya are a type of bar in Japan, popular for small parties and drinking gatherings.  Most of the food is snacky-type munchies like karaage (fried chicken bites) or kushi (meat and vegetables on small skewers), though there are also sometimes more meal-like dishes or things like sushi and sashimi.  We ate unhealthy food and chatted to our hearts’ content before heading to karaoke!  At the karaoke place in Kiryu, if you make a reservation for a birthday, they’ll give you a cake and “champagne” (which seemed to be chu-hi in a champagne bottle), so we got to indulge!  The cake was actually quite good, and all in all, it was a very nice little way to celebrate!  Perhaps we’ll go back for my birthday~

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Let’s go to the movies~

17 Oct

On Saturday, S and I headed not to Tokyo but to Maebashi… and not for a boring orientation like last time!  This time, we were headed to a popular mall by the train station to see a movie!  You may remember that, a few posts back, a saw a movie poster in Tokyo for the Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou movie.  This weekend was opening weekend for the movie, and so S and I went to go see it!  We loved the drama, and we were very excited (and a bit worried) for the movie version.  As it turned out, the movie was amazing, and we had a great time!  We also got the chance to get a bit of shopping, and now know of a new mall, so if we ever get tired of Takasaki, we can hit Maebashi instead!

We started our day with lunch at a coffee shop in the mall.  There was actually a food court in the mall, something I hadn’t seen before in Japan, but I decided I didn’t want to deal with the crowds, and so we got lunch sets at a place the S knew had good chocolate croissants.  She had a hot dog, but I got something the was labeled “cheese and bacon French bread”… which, true to its word, seemed to be sort of like a bacon and cheese pizza-style thing, except on a baguette rather than crust.  It was actually quite good, as were the croissants, and was a good start to our day before hitting the movie theatre!

Also, while shopping at the mall, we got to show off our nails.  As I’ve mentioned before, I love nail art, and while we’ve been hesitant to do anything to extreme due to our jobs, I discovered really nice nail stickers at a local department store and couldn’t resist.  We did nail art in the member colors– Japanese boy bands often have colors associated with them, for whatever reason– and decked our nails our with jewels.  It was very exciting, since for whatever reason, in America it’s a lot harder to find ridiculously jeweled-out nail art stickers~

All in all, it was a great weekend!  The movie was really awesome, and we’re going to see it again today after work… even though we ended up seeing it twice on Saturday.  That’s just the sort of cool people we are~ We’ll probably see it again this weekend, as well, and are taking various friends with us each time… so if you live in Japan and were thinking of seeing the movie, we highly recommend it~

Idol Magazines

15 Oct

Because my life is just that interesting (as an update, I still have a cold, and am still bruised from my bicycle run-in, though I did get my bike fixed), I have another update unrelated to any of my current activities whatsoever!  In fact, this is probably not interesting to anyone but me, so I apologize!  But for anyone interested, here’s an explanation of the idol magazines I wait eagerly to buy every month.

I confess that I’ve retrograded over the years; I never read anything similar to an idol magazine in America, so I can’t even tell you if they exist or not, and I can’t compare the Japanese version to the American one.  I know it differs from things like Cosmo Girl or Seventeen (the latter of which they actually have in Japan) in that idol magazines are 100% focused on idols.  Every page is covered with photos of idols and the content is all either about idols or text transcribed from idols/written by idols.  When I say written by idols, I don’t mean the idols are journalists.  Rather, it’s easier to explain the situation in to say that there are 3 main types of articles in idol magazines:

❥ Block text format: These articles are usually literally that– a block of text.  Most of the time, they consist of 3 paragraphs or subsections loosely guided by a question or cue words, for example “What do you think of when you think ‘Summer’?” or “Something that recently shocked you.”  The idols will write 4 or 5 sentences about this topic, and the three topics are grouped together on the page of the magazine.  These can range from easy to read to full of slang that I don’t know to really really boring, depending on what the idols are rambling about.

❥ “Cross Talk” format: This is the Japanese name for what I can only assume is an article transcribed from a recording of what idols say when given a topic in a closed setting.  “Cross talks” are usually between a whole band or at least 3 members of the same group, and the sections of each “cross talk” are headed by a similar prompt to those used in the block text format.  For example, if the question were to be “What do you think of when you think ‘Summer’?” the “cross talk” might start with one idol saying “Summer makes me think of the beach!” Another idol might then respond “Remember that one time we went to the beach together?” and the conversation will go on from there.  These conversations are transcribed into the magazine like a script, with each line starting with an idol’s name to show who said it.  I find these less interesting and really difficult to read because they’re often full of slang and non sequiturs.

❥ “100 Question” format: These, as far as I can tell, are filled out like surveys and then handed in to the magazine to print.  Sometimes they’re 100 questions, sometimes 50, sometimes some other number, but usually, it’s a list of questions ranging in content from random personal things, like “favourite colour” or “food that you hate” to preferences, like “do you prefer beds or futons” or “do you shower in the morning or the evening,” or else hypothetical questions like, “What would you do if you won 3 billion yen in the lottery?”  These are the easiest to read quickly, since they’re mostly essentially lists.

Of course, there are other types of articles– these mostly appeal in the articles about specific idol groups, and the magazines often have articles about current TV shows and reports from concerts.  But the main content that I care about it what the idols have to say, because I’m just that cool.

And then, there are five idol magazines about Johnny’s that come out every month, which makes it very inconvenient for S and I to split them evenly.  For whatever reason, two idol magazines come out more than a month in advance, on the 22nd or 23 of the month two moths prior.  For example, in about a week, the December issue of these magazines will come out, I don’t know why.  The other three magazines come out around the 5th or 6th of the month prior, so about a week ago, the November issue of these magazines came out.  I seriously have no idea why it works this way, but that’s the way it works!  And so, here’s my brief showcase of the idol magazines, in the order they come out.

[Myojo] Myojo is currently having its 60 year anniversary, and I’m puzzling over what the heck it published back in 1952, before Johnny’s even existed.  The name “Myojo” comes from the Japanese 明星 or myoujou, which means either morning star (Venus?) or, as far as I know, in 1950s Japanese, a famous person (I’ve never heard anyone use this term currently; if you’re not an aidoru/idol or a serebu/celeb, then you’re a yuumeijin or, literally, famous person).  Myojo is published by Shueisha, a prominent company that Americans might recognize as the publisher of Shounen Jump, probably the most well-known manga magazine in America, and the owner of the American publisher of manga, Viz Media.  Shueisha has, as far as I can tell, an exclusive agreement with Johnny’s, as all of Johnny’s calendars and photobooks are published by Shueisha via Myojo, and as a result, Myojo seems to be the more “legitimate” idol magazine out there.  Myojo is, best as I can describe, the more “real” magazine as well; while it’s still filled with shamelessly large posters of Johnny’s groups and every page plastered with photos of these talents, the interviews at least contain semi-substantial content.  While it’s hard to justify that as “real” content… compared to the other magazines, believe me, it is.  Myojo is also awesome in that it gives out the best free stuff; once a year, it comes with stickers and a cardboard CD case in its New Years issue in February, and at least once a year, it comes with a bag of some sort (I’m the proud owner of an NYC mini-tote, an NYC makeup bag, and a Sexy Zone pencil case from Myojo).

[Popolo] Popolo, I think, is Italian for “people” or something like that?  I’m really not sure.  There’s a really rad explanation of Popolo on the inside cover though!  Popolo, opposite of Myojo, which comes out on the same day, is the absolute pits of idol magazines in terms of any respectability whatsoever.  Most pages of Popolo articles have no text at all, but are simply huge photos of idols’s faces.  Often, the themes of these articles seem to be “idols laying shirtless on sheets covered with flowers” or “idols standing in dark rooms having awkwardly had water poured over them.”  Articles tend to be about 5 or 6 pages of just photos to 2 to 3 pages of text, often asking the idols ridiculous questions about romance.  All in all, I have approximately zero respect for Popolo… but somehow, either S or I buys it every month nonetheless.  The ice on the sketchy cake for Popolo is that it doesn’t have a real cover, but one that somehow resembles a tabloid.  Real classy, Popolo, real classy.

[Potato] To this day, I have no idea why Potato is called Potato.  The Japanese pronounciation guide (furigana, which often exists to clarify to readers as to how to read kanji in regular Japanese text) informs me that it should be read like the English word “potato,” rather than how a Japanese person might first pronounce those syllables, “po-tah-to” (you say potato, I say po-tah-to style).  However, the magazine has nothing to do with potatoes and everything to do with idols, as Potato is probably the second most “real” magazine, as much of its content is similar to that in Myojo.  However, Potato doesn’t have the deal with Johnny’s that Myojo has, and so it doesn’t have the “legitimacy” that comes along with it.  Also, not as much free stuff, sadly.  Still, it’s a reliable source of good content every month.

[Duet] Surprisingly, Duet, like Myojo, is publshed by Shueisha.  I’m not really sure why they need to have two idol magazinesin one company, but Duet has a hugely different feel than Myojo and probably (?) caters to a slightly differen audience.  While Myojo is Shueisha’s “real” publication in that it forcuses on good and interesting content about idols, the purpose of Duet seems to be fan service.  I’m not sure if I’ve touched on fan service in this blog before, but essentially, in a nutshell, fans like to see idols be close with one another, and so fan service is a strange phenomenon that, in Johnny’s, means that idols occasionally will say or do things with one another that dance along the line between friendly and more than friendly.  This can be anywhere from hugging to holding hands to saying in a magazine how much time they spend alone with the other person or how important the other person is to them.  Two members of Arashi, currently the most popular idol group in Japan and a cultural phenomenon so impressive that I can’t really find a good comparison in American pop culture, are known to stage kiss during concerts and have proposed marriage to one another in magazine articles… and Duet is the sort of magazine that prints that sort of article.  Many of their articles are rankings of the “best pair” (an ambiguous term) out of a group based on fan votes, or members writing their feelings about other members in block text-style articles.  For this reason… I’m a fan of Duet.  Also, since it’s Shueisha, Duet also sometimes comes with stickers, a plus!

[Winkup] Finally, there’s Winkup.  Winkup has a special place in my heart (despite its name being a very strange smash of English words) as the magazine that, most of the time, does what Duet does but better.  Winkup is also full of fan service, and has a special section called dengonban or “message board.”  In this section, idols write notes to one another that the other idol replies to in the next month’s issue.  In essence, it allows for, essentially, conversation between these idols in a public (and obviously staged) forum.  The marriage proposal between the two Arashi members occured in Winkup’s dengonban, and idols talk about everything from going out to meals with other idols to looking forward to starring in an upcoming drama with other idols to expressing their admiration for their idol senpai.  In essence… Winkup is really bad and yet really great at what it does.

So, now you know more than you ever wanted to know about idol magazines and can totally judge me about what I waste my time reading.  But hey, I’m getting a lot better at Japanese this way, at the very least.

I’m a cool person, orientations are annoying, the sky is blue.

11 Oct

In my current pattern of starting with a non sequitur, I’m still sick, BUT a few days ago I decorated my phone!  Decorating things excessively, especially with stickers, is a common practice among Japanese girls and young women (and sometimes others!) and since I’d never had the chance to do something like during my lifetime, I decided to go for it.  I ordered a clear phone case and bought a ton of stickers to make it embarrassingly sparkly and girly, and… well, at least I accomplished the embarrassing!  As I’ve mentioned before, I have a lot of stickers that have come in idol magazines, and so I decided to make my phone case (like everything else in my life) idol themed.  Just to clarify, Yuri is the name of the guy whose face is now on my phone, and JUMP stands for his group, Hey! Say! JUMP.  Essentially, from this, you can deduce just how cool of a kid I am.

Completely unrelatedly, last Thursday, the new Kiryu ALTs were required to go to an ALT seminar in Isesaki, a few train stops west from Kiryu.  Thus far, JET lectures, seminars, and orientations have been far from my favourite part of the JET experience, but since I didn’t really have a choice, I bucked up and hopped on the 8:05 train from Kiryu to Isesaki and got a cab with my fellow new ALTs to Isesaki.  This seminar was apparently not something that all new JETs were required to attend; unlike the previous JET functions that I had been to, there were only about half the new JETs and a few old JETs from Gunma that I recognized there, and there were a few ALTs from private companies, as well.  Since this was a change from the past, I was hoping that this would be slightly more enjoyable than past experiences… but I was wrong.

The morning proved to be mostly boring– luckily, all the presentations were shorter than they were supposed to be, so as a result, we got quite a bit of break time.  The highlight of the morning was a patronizing presenter who spent his time telling us, essentially, that we were young and naive and that we didn’t know how to engage our students.  His message– that we shouldn’t come in with unreal expectations– was valuable, but he managed to present it in the most offensive and patronizing way possible, including asking people what their previous expectations of Japan were and how they were disproved, all the while still spouting stereotypes about Japan.  Cool.

The afternoon was a bit more interesting, with current ALTs giving examples of their lessons and how they engaged their classes and worked with different sorts of kids with different ability levels.  They taught some new games and activities, and then put us in small groups to share one of our lessons or methods with the class.  I hate being asked to do that sort of thing on the spot, but it turned out fine, and I definitely learned some new things. However, as with any large group of new people, there was a lot of posturing and some people who definitely grated on my nerves.  But at least I was paired with a good group and we managed to put together a good presentation.

And hey, since we were out of Kiryu, I managed to have Coco Ichibanya curry for lunch.  And that pretty much makes up for everything.

我慢

10 Oct

Unfortunately, I feel just as gross and disgusting today as I did yesterday, so if this post is of poor quality, I apologize in advance.  Actually, this post is mostly going to be a complaint, so if you want to skip it, please go right ahead, but in an attempt to document the major things that make my life either a better or a worse place, I’m going to go ahead with it.

Two Wednesdays ago, a man showed up unexpectedly at one of my elementary schools and said that he would be teaching English class for the next month.  Naturally, this was a little alarming to me, since usually I teach English class, and I didn’t understand what was going on.  The man claimed to be a student learning to teach Elementary school, and then proceeded to tell me that since I was the assistant and he was the teacher, for the next few classes, I would be basically doing nothing and he would be teaching the whole class mainly in Japanese.  Needless to say, I was rather floored by this announcement from someone who had never taught at this school before, or to my knowledge, ever, especially when despite the fact that it’s not supposed to be my job, I plan and mainly teach all my lessons on my own in elementary school.  Plus, teaching the lessons completely in Japanese defeats the purpose of trying to expose children in elementary schools to English and give them the impression that it’s fun and useful (children aren’t really supposed to be learning grammar or much content in elementary schools, only gaining a general knowledge of English through exposure to an English speaking ALT, games, and activities in the textbooks).  He also mentioned that he felt the point of the lesson was to learn about world countries… when in fact, it’s to learn about English.  Because you know, it’s English class, not social studies.  The chapter of the textbook about liking apples was not to teach the children about apples.

So… naturally, I shared some of my opinions with him in the politest way I knew how, but when I realized that no matter what I said, he was going to completely disregard it and be rude and patronizing to me no matter what, I decided it wasn’t worth it to argue and just shut up and nodded along.  Instead, I spoke with someone who works for the Board of Education about how I was concerned about some of the things the guy said– that he wanted to teach all in Japanese, that he didn’t want to use the (government mandated) textbook, that he didn’t think learning English was the main goal of English class.  The person I spoke with spoke with a higher-up, and it came back to me that this guy was not a student teacher at all… but someone doing research from a research institute?  Turns out he works for the Gunma Prefectural Board of Education (I work for the Kiryu City Board of Education, so I’m not sure what the hierarchy is there), and basically, I was told that I have to stick it out for a month and then he’ll be out of my hair.

“Sticking it out”/”Enduring it” or gaman in Japanese is a common concept in Japanese culture, meaning that the best thing to do in a bad situation is to endure it and simply wait out the storm.  I was determined to do my best, but last Wednesday, the guy’s class was basically torture.  True to his word, almost all of it was in Japanese, and when he did reference me… He called me completely the wrong name.  You can’t even remember my name, sir? That’s how little you respect me?!  It was basically awful, and I’m really not looking forward to having to endure for the rest of today and the next two weeks, as well.  To ice the cake, he’s taking away from me the chance to do any Halloween lesson whatsoever with the sixth years.

But at the end of the class, I got a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel: a girl in the class raised her hand and wanted me to come over to help her.  She said that she couldn’t understand the handout that the teacher had given and didn’t know what she was supposed to write.  When I was confused, she explained: she doesn’t speak or read any Japanese.  She recently moved to Kiryu from the Philippines and speaks only English and Tagalog.  I felt incredibly bad for her, and I hope that as time goes on I can at least help her and make one class enjoyable for her.  With that in mind… maybe I can gaman through the other guy’s next three classes.

Smoke before fire

9 Oct

Before launching into the story I was going to tell, I’d like to take this moment to monger some pity, because coming off of last week, I’m having approximately the worst week ever.  Last week, work was busy and tiring and generally unpleasant for reasons I’ll get to in the next few entries, and then this morning, despite yesterday being a holiday, I woke up feeling quite sick. My throat hurts, my nose is drippy, and I have a headache, but I dragged myself out of bed and strapped on a medical mask (Japanese people will expect anyone sick to wear one of these, out of courtesy to not get other people sick) to go to work… only to be hit by a kid not looking where he was going on his bike.  I was hit so hard that I was thrown from my bike and bruised and cut in a few places, and also that my bike was bent so that it won’t stand up with the kick stand anymore.  Today is clearly off to a good start.

BUT unrelatedly to that, last Wednesday got off to an interesting start when I was informed that my normal second period English class would be moved to third period. The reason included a word that I didn’t understand, but included a description involving children running away from something.  I didn’t know what was going on, but figured it wasn’t a big deal and kept myself busy at my desk.  When second period rolled around, however, I was surprised when children came to fetch me as per usual.  They said I would be participating in whatever it was with their class, and so, not sure what else to do, I followed them.

When I got to the classroom, I swallowed my pride and finally asked the teacher what was going on.  He explained that they had to practice running away from the building in case there was a fire– it was a fire drill.  Thus educated, I had about two minutes to brace myself before the fire drill started, all the children grabbed their hand towels, pressed them over their mouths, and bolted from the building.

We were on the second floor, so it was relatively slow going at first as we went along the balcony and down the stairs, but bolting isn’t really an exaggeration.  As soon as we got to the ground floor, the students literally ran full speed away from the building, and I was probably the last one to make it to the group… I wasn’t expecting full-on running, as I’ve never seen this happen in America.  I also didn’t have a hand towel with me, so if I wasn’t caught in the toppling burning building, I would have had a smoke inhalation problem.  Oops.

For the remainder of the period, some firemen put on a demonstration with fire extinguishers (which seemed to be filled with water rather than whatever they’re filled with in the states) and the fire hose.  They asked the teachers to demonstrate both, which resulted in some hilarity as teachers struggled to use the fire extinguishes or aim the hose, but generally, it was similar to a fire demonstration in the US.  But at least now I know, if there’s ever a fire at school, despite the usually neat and orderly nature of Japanese culture, I should drop everything and get the heck out of there.

Fun in the… rain?

3 Oct

ImageShock and surprise, I spent last Saturday in… you guessed it, Tokyo.  S and I went in primarily to eat
Japanese barbecue or 
yakiniku at a restaurant that offers reduced price all-you-can-eat deals one day of the month.  Since it happened to be a Saturday, we had the chance to make it into Tokyo from Gunma for delicious beef.  Yay!

We decided to do some shopping in the morning, however, and so we headed into Tokyo bright and early and headed to Ikebukuro.  First thing, as we passed a movie theatre, we happened to see a giant column-covering advertisement for the the Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou movie, which was very exciting to us!  As I mentioned, Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou was a drama a few seasons back that was popular enough to land a movie, as well as to gain the Johnny’s Juniors who starred in it enough popularity to be chosen as the main group for a few Summary performances.  I loved the drama, I love the Juniors, and I’m really excited for the movie, so, of course, I had to take a photo of the advertisement before we were on our way.

As expected, we hit Otome Road first to grab some second-hand idol goods, but we also wanted to head to Sunshine 60, a giant mall across the street from Otome Road, to go shopping for fall clothes!  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of Japanese fashion, and I’ll never give up the opportunity to shop for clothes!  We had been to the mall two weeks previous, with our Tokyo friends, but because we had been short on time and they had been looking for specific things, we didn’t end up buying much.  So, this time, we wanted the chance to go wild!

ImageUnfortunately, since the mall is so huge… we actually ended up somewhat overwhelmed at first.  Still, eventually we found a nice (if rather expensive) shop where S managed, despite her crazy indecisiveness to buy a few things she was looking for, and I found things I liked too!  Still, what I was really looking for in this whole ordeal was boots.  After all, it’s the time of year when every girl in Japan starts wearing cute boots, and after my successful purchase of the most comfortable heeled boots I’ve ever owned last time I was in Japan (my beloved cowboy boots that, alas, are in America right now), I’ve been wanting to get a new pair. The search, unfortunately, took forever; I wear about a size 5 in American sizing or a 21 in Japanese sizing, and often, Japanese “S” sized shoes are a 22 or 22.5, which makes it hard for me to find shoes sometimes (yes, even in Japan!) But finally, at the end of the day, I did manage to find some cute boots, hurrah!  Maybe one of these days I’ll do an ~autumn fashion~ themed post and post photos of all these things.

ImageThe next stop, before we headed to our delicious dinner, was Skin Food!  Those who know me in person know that I’m a huge fan of makeup, and I was saddened at the thought of being separated from my favourite brands while in Japan.  However, one brand totally makes up for it: Skin Food!  Originating in Korea, Skin Food’s shtick is the use of food or otherwise natural products in their makeup.  I originally started buying their nail polish and loved it more than anything I’ve ever used in the states, and have recently started buying their makeup, as well!  Their eyeshadow is quite nice, and I enjoy the shimmer that’s so popular in Japanese eye makeup.  Recently, they’ve started a line of eyeshadows that can be put together in a make-your-own palette, so I wanted to give that a try, and I have to say, I haven’t been disappointed!  I also grabbed a few nail polishes, because I had to leave most of mine in America, and one can never have too much nail polish.

ImageNext, we headed out to meet our friends for yakiniku!  Like many varieties of Asian barbecue,
yakiniku involves cooking meat on an open grill.  The Japanese incarnation of barbecue (taken originally from the Korean tradition, I’m told) involves a small, round grate over an open flame in the center of a table.  Patrons at yakiniku restaurants cook their own meat, placing the food on the grill with a pair of tongs and flipping it and removing it at their leisure.  Most meat comes in two varieties: tare or sauce, and shio or salt.  Deceptively, the salt is also a sauce… it’s just a salty sauce.  Don’t ask me, I didn’t make the rules.  I just enjoy eating meat.

ImageMeat is a popular pastime between S and I and a few of our friends, and while in America, S and I found a yakiniku place in New York that we went to a few times.  It was really delicious, and while in Japan, we had let our friends take care of the grilling, I managed to learn some grilling techniques while being in charge of the grill ing New York.  Still, nothing quite compares to the real deal in Japan, so we were quite happy to get to indulge in delicious meat without spending huge amounts of money.  Also, the friends we went with this time like to eat a variety of things, so we also got to try grilled chicken and vegetables!  It was good… but not as good as the beef. Because, come on, what’s more delicious than grilled red meat?

ImageAfter dinner was regrettably done, we headed home for the evening.  The next day was supposed to be a typhoon, so we wanted to get inside before the rain came.  As it turned out, most of Sunday was, in fact, dry, though ominous clouds were looming on the horizon all day, and naturally, it didn’t start to rain until we went out briefly in the evening.  But regardless, we stayed in on Sunday watching TV, because Sunday morning lineups include a few shows with the idols we follow, but there was also supposed to be something special on TV on Sunday: a documentary about Johnny’s Juniors!

ImageYes, you read that correctly.  When we heard about it, we were quite excited, but what made it even more exciting was the fact that it would be narrated by an actor from the small theatre group that we like, *pnish*.  This particular member is especially special (look at my lexicon) because, due to my winning a contest at a fan event he held, he knows (or knew, two years ago) my name.  And here he was narrating a documentary on Johnny’s Juniors.  It was pretty mind-blowing to hear him (very overdramatically) educate us on how hard it is for Juniors to work all summer during Summary.  The documentary itself was really interesting, too, and I’m always really intrigued to see how everything goes backstage.  As someone who danced all her life at a pre-professional level, I find seeing how shows are put together really interesting, and getting to see behind the scenes of a show that I saw from the audience was really interesting to me.  If the show ever airs again, I’d highly recommend it!

And then Monday was supposed to be more typhoon… but on my way to work, I was greeted by blue skies and no clouds… and unfortunately high temperatures.  Alas… since I bike to school, at least I managed to avoid getting rained on!