Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Hate Conversations Over the Phone

I reserved a set from a shop called MA*RS for a customer of mine. Today the call came to tell me it was in, however it ended up being a rather frustrating phone call for me. For one thing, she talked very, very fast. I assumed it was a call from the MA*RS shop before I picked up the phone, so I tried to listen as best as I could, however when she got to her question I could not understand it because of her speed.

I've noticed that I've had this same problem before when I've received calls before. Is it just that they speak very quickly over the phone in order to spit all of the introduction, explanation, and questioning as fast as possible, or that without being able to see them face-to-face that I have trouble following what they're saying? I guess it's probably a mixture of both.

In any case, the first time I asked her to repeat herself she said, "You don't understand Japanese don't you?" Second time, "You really don't understand Japanese after all, do you?" She probably just didn't realize how fast she was speaking at all, but saying this directly to me was just kind of annoying.

In any case, I finally understood her final question on the third try: Can you come to the store today? I asked if I could go tomorrow instead, so guess I will be heading to Shinjuku after I head to the post office. After staying inside yesterday and today I kind of have the itch to head out to go somewhere anyway.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Big Shopping Trip

Today I went and hunted out a specific necklace for a customer, so it took me to quite a few places in Tokyo.

First I went to Shinjuku. I headed to Liz Lisa but they didn't have the necklace, so I went to MA*RS after to pick up another item. I was going to take a picture of the outside of the store but it looked like the shop staff were trying to watch me leave or something so I chickened out and just left.
It was such a beautiful day out! I think it was around 20 degrees (Celsius) out. It was so warm that for a little while I actually felt a bit hot in my cardigan. I hope the days after this continue to be this way.
It was also pretty windy as you can see from the girl's hair here. It almost looks like that one guy in the corner is trying to sneak into my photo. Hopefully these trees will have some green on them sooner than later! I headed across the street from here and into the station to hop onto the train to Ikebukuro so I could head to the Liz Lisa in Ikebukuro Parco.
I only took this one picture as I headed to Parco. I've seen lots of posters and such recently, especially in Shinjuku, of the new products they're adding to the Heroine Makeup line, and when I saw this big display of Lady Antoinette from Rose of Versailles I couldn't resist taking a picture of it. Maybe I should try their BB cream? I've always wanted to same flawless face and glow of a shoujo manga heroine.
Unfortunately the Ikebukuro store didn't have the necklace either, so next I headed to Harajuku.
A bit of a better closeup of the entrance. I guess I felt a bit more comfortable taking pictures here since there were tourists everywhere with cameras. What's one more gaikokujin with a camera? A lot of people go there expecting to get their pictures taken anyway.
Display with a kind of creepy bunny in the window. I guess this store is called Wonder Rocket.
The stairs leading up to Body Line. I think that backpack hanging there off the store below it is one of those popular shark ones.
I don't remember the name of this store, but the costumes are quite impressive!
The last stop during my adventure: Liz Lisa on Takeshita Street. Unfortunately I couldn't get a clear shot because so many people just kept on walking by. Luckily they had the necklace, so I went home after I bought it. I was pretty tired by the time I made it home.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pictures From Around Shibuya

While I'm slowly working on my Edo Museum post, I figure I'll make a quick post of pictures I've taken recently. I really wish I had the courage to take more pictures more often. Since I've gotten so used to just living here, I kind of feel weird now when I try to do the touristy photo taking thing. These were all taken in Shibuya.
Right around the corner from Shibuya 109 is H&M.
A karaoke place somewhere across the street from H&M. You can see the cute mail truck there on the bottom right.
Down an alleyway you can find this karaoke parlor and ABC Mart, a popular shoe store.
Famous model Kumickey is currently on the front of Shibuya 109, advertising the new 109 brand name cell phones. I really wish I could get the Cecil McBee one.
Walls of nails in Donki. There's so many that it's hard to choose! Now that I think about it though, these were actually taken at the Donki in Ikebukuro.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Japan, What Have You Done To My Shoes!!

I must have written about how a while ago I broke my favorite flip flops from Victoria's Secret. However, this is not my only shoe casualty.

Recently, I've noticed this happening to my tennis shoes:
That little hole you see there? It goes all the way through to the inside of my shoe! I only noticed this because of the wetness we've been having recently and one foot has been getting soaked or feeling wet by the littlest bit of wetness while my other foot stays in tact.But that's not all...
The insides of both of my shoes now look like this! My shoes squeak now sometimes whenever I walk because it's sock rubbing against the rubber. Kind of embarrassing.
And not to mention, my boots! Look at this, they're completely crooked!! Also, I think one is longer than the other. I've noticed I walk kind of sideways recently, but it wasn't until last night that I realized just how bad it is. I've noticed that my ankle can twist easily if I'm not careful, and now I know why.

So in total, I have three casualties in my possession. Well, more like two since I think we threw my flip flops away a while ago.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rent Day

The sixteenth of every month is when our rent is due. Last month, it was on a Sunday so we went together. Rather than get off at Tochomae though, we went to Shinjuku station proper on the subway line and stopped by Burger King first.
After our yummy meals, we headed over to the west side of the station. Along the way, we saw something very...interesting.
I believe the first thing I had noticed was the traditional festivally music, but then I saw these masks. It was a whole little store so we decided to check out the stuff they had for sale.
Squeezable boobs amongst other toys.
Chocolate and strawberry filled taiyaki in the same stuff that makes up a waffle cone ice cream cone.
Bottle of ramune.
What I'm assuming is octopus and shrimp crackers.
Whistles with popular characters on them.

We ended up buying a bunch of snacks including the taiyaki and the ramune, but I didn't manage to take a picture of them before we ate everything. In particular, the frosted coated animal crackers we bought were incredibly tasty.

That was the excitement of last month, now I shall discuss the excitement of this month's rent day.

Yesterday I left around 4 o'clock to go to Shibuya to shop for my shopping service's customers. I figured I would have about 30 to 45 minutes to grab the items for my customers before heading to Shinjuku to meet up with Daniel at 5:30. Well, it turns out that my phone was dead so I had no clue what time it was. I also ended up taking a bit longer at the store because I mixed up what socks my customer wanted to buy. In any case, having no idea what time it was, I figured I'd just go to Mos Burger, our designated meeting place, and if I were earlier I would buy some French fries and play Final Fantasy IV while I waited. When I got downstairs to the subway, I saw there was a clock: It was already 5:35!

Panicked, I started rushing to the other side of the station to the Fukutoshin station since that line would only take me about 10 minutes to get to Shinjuku. However, I forgot that where it took me to was actually Shinjuku Sanchome, NOT Shinjuku. So I hustled as best as I could underground considering I was wearing boots to the Shinjuku Nishiguchi station and then tried to go through the Oedo line to find the exit closest to Mos Burger. After half running and running up three flights of stairs, I just ended up guessing which exit it was. Luckily I came out next to the crossing that leads to the block with Mos Burger on it, so I went to the crossing and arrived at Mos Burger at last.

By this time, it must have been past 6 o'clock. I was a half hour late and Daniel wasn't there waiting outside for me. So I figured he must have gone in to get a drink or something. Nope, he wasn't there either. I started panicking outside and pacing back and forth for a few minutes. I was afraid he had gone home to check if I was there or something, but maybe he had gone ahead to the rental agency without me... Unfortunately I had no way to contact him since not only was my phone dead, but even if it did have any charge left there was no point since we haven't renewed our prepaid phones yet. So I took my chances and walked to the rental agency.

Thankfully, Daniel was waiting for me outside of our rental agency's office with his laptop on. I guess he had been trying to IM me to figure out if I was still at home or not. I apologized for being so late, but it turns out it wasn't such a big deal after all since he was late as well. Being late and then finding me not there, I guess he went through the same panic as well.

In any case, we paid our rent and then did a bit of exploring in Shinjuku. We were simply too tired on Valentine's Day to go out and do anything, so we decided to treat ourselves to Indian food as a make up for it. We managed to find a place called the Taz Mahal which was offering what they call tabehoudai for an hour and nomihoudai for an hour and a half, in other words all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink.

We didn't end up staying for the whole time though, and naturally I, who eats like a bird, didn't eat too much of the buffet. However we did get to enjoy what I'd like to call nan-houdai since they kept giving us more nan every time we got a refill on the drinks. Even though we left early, the food was really good and we managed to drink our fill of the drinks, though I kind of wish I had gotten an extra refill or two even though the alcohol had made me very sleepy. I wasn't really able to manage holding both the shopping bag and my purse on the train.

In any case, it was a great time and I'm glad we went.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Nearly a month has passed by now since a few of the happenings I want to write about, but I suppose for now I'll just update about what I've been up to. I've been mostly focusing on my shopping service and I think it's starting to go pretty well. I've been getting quite a few customers and now even a repeat one. It's fun to go shopping for people! But I guess because of that it leaves me a bit worn out and I haven't really had much inspiration for blogging.

Shopping hasn't been the only thing I've been doing for my shopping service. I went to a CD signing event yesterday for a customer. It was such a nightmare for me. When I got there, there were so many girls lined up to get their CDs signed they had said that lining up was temporarily closed. However that didn't stop a bunch of a girls from jumping in whenever there were gaps. I admit, I jumped in with one group of those girls. Even though I did this though, the total wait was at least two hours. When I finally got into the room where the band was autographing on the top floor of the shopping mall, I didn't realize that we could only get the autograph of the dude that was on the CD label. Not to mention, I didn't even know who was actually on the CD's label in the first place! So I just got into the line as the vocalist because he had brown hair. However turns out that there was another dude with brown hair, and he was the one on the CD. How embarrassing it was to wait all the way through the vocalist's line and then have to go wait in the guitarist's line, which was the longest! That sucked so much. I must have looked so pissed off by the time I got to where the guitarist was sitting. All I could think of to say was "yoroshiku onegaishimasu" (please take care of me) and "arigatou gozaimashita" (thank you very much). He probably thought that was all I knew how to say anyway. He had a sort of mixed look on his face when he looked at me and only said "Hai!" (Okay!) to me as he handed back the CD.

I have to say though, he looked a lot different in real life compared to the photoshopped picture of him on the CD. Up close he looked like a regular Tokyoite: really skinny with a ton of hair products in his hair. I bet if I had touched his hair it would've been a bit crunchy.

I was rather shocked by the whole thing though, since the girls there were so dressed up! I wish I had my camera with me because some of those girls looked incredible. I was also really surprised by the range of different fashion styles there. There must of been hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of girls dressed up in their very best and most expensive clothes and accessories, lined up with the mindset as if they were on a pilgrimage to a holy land to meet the messiah or something. They all must have all carried expensive gifts for their idols as well, because I noticed that in the room outside of the signing the boxes for gifts for each individual member of the band was overflowing. They all must have left chocolates as well since tomorrow is Valentine's Day.

I must admit though, unless it's for a singer/band that I like, I don't think I'll do this kind of thing again. I was completely drained by the time I left that place and practically near tears when I was on the train. By the time I got home I was so exhausted I found it hard just to use my chopsticks to eat dinner. Soon after I ended up passing out in the middle of doing something. I was not a happy camper last night.

Speaking of food, the past few nights I've managed to experiment a bit. The night before last I tried this cheese carbenera pasta. I wasn't such a fan but that's probably because it got cold really fast. Probably tastes better hot. Last night I really wanted some rice, so I got a bento that had hamburg with cheese on it. I figured I hadn't tried eating hamburg for a while, so I should give it a try. To my surprise, it was pretty good.

It actually snowed here last Thursday and Friday! I managed to get two of my shoes completely soaked before I took out my rain boots. I'm glad my skinny jeans can fit in them.

As far as a regular job goes though, I never heard back from that one store. However, I saw that a nearby convenience store was hiring, but when I finally had the courage to ask about it the manager wasn't in so she told me to call later. Well I'm not so good when it comes to calling, so I went back instead only to find that the sign was gone!! I was pretty shocked and went in the next day. The same old lady was working there and I asked her about it and she said they were still hiring but the manager only comes in after 5 so I should come back then. So I did that night and this time I actually asked. There were two guys working there, but the manager wasn't in so one of the guys called the manager up. Turns out that I had just missed the deadline for applying this month, but they'll hire again at the beginning of next month. I can't believe I had just missed it!

Daniel has been away the past few days doing touristy stuff his school had organized. It's been a bit strange being here all by myself, but he'll come back today. Can't wait to see his pictures! I wish I could have joined along, but hopefully we can do a bit of sightseeing across Japan before we leave.

Now that I think about it, we've been in Japan for six months now. Wow, it's gone by so quickly!

Sorry for these long posts that are just walls of text. Hopefully my next few posts will have some pictures!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Spring Break!

Thursday was the day I handed in my two final essays. Twenty pages worth of essays in total. One was eight pages and the other was twelve. What a pain in the butt that was. Did all this while suffering from my cold too. Luckily today I'm only coughing a little bit now. Daniel's all recovered too. However, this means now that my spring break has begun! Yay!

I still have two or three posts I want to write about concerning notable things that happened to me last month, so I'll probably be going back to last month's happenings soon. But for now I'll talk about some more recent experiences of mine.

I celebrated on Thursday by going to Shibuya 109 and picking up a few items for a customer at my shopping service. I managed to do some job hunting at a few nearby stores, too.

The first one I asked at told me that the deadline for applications had already passed. While disappointing, I did appreciate the fact that she didn't act surprised that I could speak Japanese and just spoke to me regularly.

The second store I asked at the manager wasn't in, so they took my resume and said that the shop manager will call me about an interview whenever she gets in. Well, that was Thursday and today is Saturday. Hopefully the manager has a several day break or was sick or something. I wonder how long I should wait before moving on? Though I think they'd at least send my resume back sooner or later. Unfortunately my picture is kind of plain looking, a lot different from how I looked in real life when I asked about a job. First appearances are everything, so I hope the manager will wait until the actual interview to judge me, and doesn't just judge me based on the picture. Maybe I would have been better off just leaving my phone number.

It was funny though, because I asked one of the workers who had actually spoke to me in English beforehand. She didn't seem too surprised I was speaking to her in Japanese, but she told me she had only started two days earlier and took me over to the other three girls working there at the time. I wasn't sure what to say, so after a few seconds of silence the lady whom I had assumed was the manager says, "Can you speak Japanese...?" It was funny, but from there I think it proceeded smoothly enough and I think I managed to appear charismatic and eager enough. The other two girls seemed excited, so hopefully that was a good sign?

In any case, my heart couldn't take asking at a third place that day so I ended up going home. It's so nerve wracking to ask for a job here! But at least I feel comfortable that I have the correct phrase to ask now and I feel like I'm enunciating cheerily and loudly.

I did, however, get the whole "wow your Japanese is great!" thing when I went to a store called d.i.a. This could have to do with the fact that some other foreigners were shopping in there and trying to talk to the shop staff. I really dislike it when I get lumped in with the tourists.

Yesterday I went to the post office to weigh the items for my customer and an old lady stopped halfway while crossing the street to gawk at me. I know I wasn't wearing any makeup because I was just going a few blocks down the street and home, but I don't think I looked too weird. The funny thing is that I feel like this rarely happens to me. Sure. on the train some people will look at me a few seconds longer than normal and some little girls will look at me with some wonder in their eyes, but most don't care at all and I've never felt like people try to get away from me, try not to sit next to me on the train, or just make me feel alien.

Silly old people.

On Thursday I got a message from Maki inviting all of us who went on the Nogal trip (which I participated in on October 1, October 2, and October 3, if you don't remember) and live in the Tokyo area to get together once again. The other girls in my immediate group all agreed and it seems a few other girls who also participated will join us as well. I really hope I can go, I've been wanting to see them all again.

Speaking of Nogal, I guess a documentary of the whole thing aired during the last week. I didn't get to see it, but maybe it's better that I didn't see what a fool I probably had made of myself.