Flies in My Eyes

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Since February I've been seeing this little black spot floating around my left eye. I thought it would go away but I'm sure no one is surprised to hear that it didn't.

So when I went to the doctor this last week to get new contacts, I asked her about it. She said it's nothing big but usually doesn't happen until people are in their 40's or at least 30's. *sigh* I'm falling apart!!!

So she dilated my eye and tried to stick a flashlight in there to check it out.

Now, I remember getting this done regularly back in the states. It was uncomfortable, sure, but this time around I could NOT force my eye to stay open! It's not so much that it hurt to have the light stuck in it, it's just that I had such a strong automatic reaction to close my eye that even holding it open with my fingers couldn't keep my eye wide enough to see clearly into.

So she took a picture!

She still couldn't see everything because I was scrunching my eyes so much. I think she was getting annoyed after a time. ;P

Ah well! I got a neato picture in the end!

Batocera lineolata

Friday, May 29, 2009

Batocera lineolata
aka シロスジカミキリ (shirosuji kami kiri) <-- "White muscle paper cutter" (I'm not very good at translations)

I asked my Japanese teacher and she said he was of the "Kami Kiri" family. In English this is the Longed Horn Beetle, so I wasn't too far off in my last post.

I also heard from a teacher friend of mine that in Japanese culture, gold bugs bring good luck in fortune if they're treated well.

Welp, I haven't shoo'ed this thing off yet, she seems happy enough and I could sure use the cash ;)

To tell the truth, she hasn't done any damage as far as I can tell so I think I'll let her stay for a bit longer. I was just throwing around the idea that I needed a pet hampster or something. This just goes to show the PTB really do have a sense of humer (^_-)v

And besides, I'm leaving in 2 months and if she did mess up my plants by laying eggs in their soil or something, it's not like I could take them with me anyway :P

Long Horn Beetle

Monday, May 25, 2009

Still there this morning.

I THINK it's probably a long horned beetle.

And if that thing is eating away at my plant stand I'll be REALLY...meh. At least it's not my herbs :P

Friend or Foe?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

What is it?

Does it kill other bugs? (yeah!)

Or does it eat my plants? (boo)

If Japan=Tokyo does Tokyo=Japan?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It wasn't until about half way through this video before I was able to pin point how my experiences here in Japan have been different than what I was seeing.

My first thought was children.

For years Japan has had huge issues with their baby population. No one is having any kids.

What I didn't know until recently is that Kochi is booming with children. There having a hard time finding daycares for all of them!

But when I go to big cities like Tokyo, I'm hard pressed to find children anywhere...maybe it's because I always go to touristy areas...but then again, maybe not.

Anyway, this video shows a very popular restaurant style known as "kaiten zushi" or conveyor belt sushi. Here in Kochi, you won't find any Kaiten Zushi places that aren't equipped with at least a handful of family sized booths. No matter what time of day, you'll find families with children at places like this. I guess not so much in Tokyo.

Also, I hear, and have seen first hand, how impersonal people are in Tokyo. No one will look at you straight in the eye. No one will acknowledge your presence. If you make a mistake on a super crowded train, no worries, no one was watching you anyway...or rather, they've just gotten really good at hiding that they were actually staring at you the whole time ;)

Welp, not so much in Kochi! There's no way that camera would have made it all the way around the store without someone staring right into the camera, someone commenting and pointing as it goes along, someone picking it up and then quickly putting it back or some child picking it up just to have his mother tell him to "give it back to the sushi chief" (since clearly it was a mistake to put it on a plate on the conveyor belt in the first place)

So there HA! I live in the real world Japan. Everyone else lives in a bubble in Tokyo!

No Lasting Effects

Monday, May 18, 2009

Friday Night
After writing the last post I went home and cleaned the entire apartment. It seems to be a coping mechanism for me :P

Anyway, a few friends came over and we made the worst Okonomiyaki I think I've ever had. It was still delicious because Okonomiyaki is fail proof but we came really close anyway.

Overall: good party but still a crap day.

I woke up bright and early, made my lunch and headed to school (-.-) I then traveled around the prefecture with a handful of students to watch their classmates compete with other high school students. It was surprisingly exhausting.

That afternoon, the teacher who sits next to me suggested that we go to Yamda Denki Electronics store and figure this whole internet thing out together. I am forever grateful to her for this.

We got there at 6:30pm. We did not leave until close to 9 and it was the same run around as we had on the phones on Friday. What's your phone number? What's your ID number? We can't help you.

I got really angry at one point and almost walked right out of the store. I would have too if my desk neighbor hadn't been sitting right there waiting for me to calm down and take my seat at the counter again.

It's just that the problem is only with the modem!!! I have no problem with the service!!! And if they can charge me every month they can figure out who I am lickity split!!!

At 9:30 we left and headed to an "American" style restaurant (as American as Outback Steakhouse is Australian) and I gorged myself on enough meat to make a Atkins fanatic proud.

Afterwards, I went over to Steven's place to have a pity party. He convinced me to check my apartment just one more time because there is just no way I would have ever thrown something like that little tiny piece of paper away.

Overall: REALLY crap day

1:30 in the morning, I tore my desk apart. I found old receipts from cellphone bills, bank transfers, old envelopes that had nothing in them. I found sewing kits, glue, tape, post-its I had been searching ages for.

I did not however find very much dirt or dust. Score cleanliness bonus points for Nina.

And then I found that stupid little bit of paper. It had somehow made it's way up and under and inside my desk. Even upon moving out of the apartment I would have never thought to look there.

What a pain in the ass!!!!

And so I went to bed :P

At 10am, I called the English help line.

Operator: Good morning, how can I help you?
Nina: Yes, I'm having a problem with my modem, it has no power so I'll need a new one.
O: May I have your telephone number?
N: *sigh* Can I give you my account number instead?
O: No, I can only look for your information using your telephone number.
N: (-.-) 090-###-####
O: Hmmm we don't seem to have you on record.
N: Really? You don't say...
O: Have you changed your number recently?
N: Never.
O: Never?
N: (for the um-teenth time) NEVER
O: Ummm...uhhh...ssssss....ummm...
N: ... (-.-#)
O: OH! Can I have your account number?
N: Yes, I just happen to have it right here. It's #############
O: May I have your name? Birthday? Address?
N: blah blah
O: Alright, I have your information right here! It seems you gave me the wrong telephone number. Your number is ###-never-seen-b4
N: Fascinating... (-.-####)
O: Now, can you tell me what the problem is with your modem?
N: It has no power.
O: Ok, are you by the modem now? Can you tell me with lights are on?
N: ...there are no lights on.
O: oh...ummm...uhhh....sssss....Can you hold a moment please?
N: ...
O: Thank you for holding! We'll send you a new modem on Tuesday. Thank you very much and have a great day!

This is a classic example of how no one teaches logical problem solving in Japan. If the computer did not tell this operator what to do, she wouldn't have known. If she had gone to her supervisor for help, he/she would have had the same problem. If it's not in the manual, if no one told them before hand what to do, they just wouldn't be able to take matters into their own hands and figure it out themselves. This is the way Japan works. This is how it has always been and will always be.

I am NOT calling anyone stupid for not being able to think logically. I have some great, BRILLIANT students but if I don't tell them exactly what to do and how to do it, they would be lost. It's just how they have always been taught to be.

But I'll have my internet soon and I know how to logically problem solve, so for today I'm ok.

Week from Hell

Friday, May 15, 2009

I went bike riding with a friend and then had dinner with some new and interesting people. Not a bad day.

Good day for classes but one of the students made fun of my accent. Later that day, I emailed a guy I WAS trying to flirt with about how my student made fun of me. He then replied with a correction to my Japanese. The conversation abruptly ended...and not for any lack of effort on my part. Just fyi guys, that's a really great way NOT to be attractive.
Also, I started having a few personal issues unrelated to the above.
Overall, a bad day.

Decent day at work but for some reason I was exhausted by the end of it all. I went to my monthly English conversation hour at a cafe and couldn't really do much conversing because I was so tired. I then drove up to my Japanese families place and couldn't keep up with the conversations there either.
Overall, slightly bad.

In the morning, my Japanese mum asked me "how many sandwiches would you like for lunch". I had no idea what she was saying. Her 12yr old daughter had to translate. How sad is that?!!?
Overall, kinda crap day

Decent day at school. One of the teachers randomly asked me to figure out how to order wallpaper from Ralph Lauren. Personally, I don't think it can be done. BUT I told him I would call the international number when I got home. I figured it would help my karma points.
However, when I got home, I found that my modem was completely powerless. Why? No one knows.
Overall...stupidly busy and irritating day

I brought the modem to work to have my supervisor call the service provider and ask them to replace it. She called and couldn't get further than "who are you?" because it seems my internet provider doesn't know me. They charge me every month. They've given me continuous service for 3 years but because I lost the account number they sent me all those 3 years ago, they don't know who I am. Can they search for my name? No. Can they search for my address? No. Can they search my bank information? No. Can they search the serial number on the modem? No. Can they do anything? No.

I spent all day calling the company, going home and searching for a 3 year old receipt only to be told at the end of the day that I should go to the bank and tell them to stop sending money to them. Then, in about two months I should expect an angry letter from my service provider demanding that I pay them. On this paper should be my account number. Once I have that, I can then call them back and get this whole thing figured out and THEN they can send me a new modem...maybe.

And they'd probably want me to pay for the 2 months I spent waiting for them to send me the angry letter...the entire time unable to use their service.

Despite the fact that I am leaving in two months, it is an entirely UNACCEPTABLY amount of time to fix something that is clearly their fault. I do not blame myself one bit for losing some small bit of paper. If they can bill me every month, they can have a record of me somewhere.

So now I'm going home and I'm going to have a small party and let's just hope that the place doesn't burn down in the process.

So far, totally shit day.

PS, while I was on hold, I looked down and noticed my favorite shoes have holes in them. It's just the icing on the cake.

PPS - still no word from "poor conversation" boy. And just FYI, there is WAY more to his story than I'll ever post here (and you'll never guess so don't try) so just keep in the back of your mind that he's more of a "bad day maker" than I'm explaining here.

Tomorrow is Saturday and I have to go to work.

Golden Week

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Check out the pics of my Golden Week. It was the first time I didn't go anywhere for this week of holidays. I was actually planning to do nothing but my senpai (upperclassman from high school) called me up and said he wanted to visit me in Kochi, so we had a blast checking the place out. Who knew Kochi was so awesome? Certainly not me. HAHA!!!


Friday, May 1, 2009

I'm leaving this place in 3 months. The weather is nice now so I figured it would be a good time to clean out some of my apartment. So far, I have a nice large box of books to get rid of and a pretty solid list of things to leave, sell, and pack.

After a little bit, I decided to clean out my front storage area. While moving things around, I saw a pretty big spider but thought nothing of it. Hey man, I'm outside, he's outside, we're both outside, what's the problem?

The problem is that my door was propped open because it's such a nice day today.

When I started moving things around, the pretty big spider got scared and ran into my apartment where he suddenly morphed into FUCKING GIANT SPIDER IN MY GOD DAMN APARTMENT!!!!

The crime scene...
Let's zoom in on that bad boy. He even has an evil glowing eye!!!


So I did what any other girl would do. I grabbed a plastic broom and started swatting at it.

He didn't move.

It might have been because I wasn't quite close enough to touch him...he's EFFING HUGE!!!! (need I remind you) so I was kinda too scared to get too close, even with a broom.

THEN, once I got the balls to get closer, he didn't run away. Instead, he started facing the broom like he was about to attack it!!


I backed up and looked around the hallway where I was. I found some Korean Cup Ramen that has been sitting there since I came back from Korea in October '08. I chucked one at him.

It missed and flew out the door.

I chucked the second one, screamed "kyaaaaa" and missed again.

I can only imagine what people must be thinking. A nice quiet afternoon. They look down the walkway and hear some very Japanese style screaming while cup ramens are flying out someone's doorway...I can just imagine the looks.

So I called my friend Steven (he lives 20 minutes away)

No answer.

I then called Michelle (2 hours away).

No answer.

I called Dave (Ibaraki, 2 hours plane ride away)

No answer.

I then tried Steven again when Dave called me back. He then sat on the phone with me for 20 minutes while I freaked out. Against Dave's suggestions, I pulled out the vacuum and tried to vacuum the thing up. It just ran to the ceiling and sat there.

Remember that box of books I was talking about before? Yeah, they were by the door. So I proceeded to pick them up, one at a time and chuck them at the spider.

"Date me baby one more time" (present from Christina) MISS
"Perfume" by Patrick Suskind MISS
"Yokoso" Japanese study book MISS
Fuck it, throw the broom at him!!! MISS
"The Hottest State" by Ethan Hawk HIT

The spider fell to the floor and started running away from the door and TOWARDS ME!!!


And then I lost him!

By this time, my front shoe area had quite a few books and shoes all over the place. He could be anywhere...

So I pulled out an umbrella and scrooted everything outside and closed the door. When the spider is outside, he turns back into "a pretty big spider" again so he's not so dangerous...

But then Dave (who's still on the phone) says, "Nina, how do you even know he's in that pile?"

Hmmm, good point, so I look around. Underneith my shoes in the corner I see something, AND THERE HE WAS!!!!

So whipped out a can of bug "freezer" spray. I bought it some time ago when I wanted some bug killer but didn't want chemicals in my apartment. Turns out, this stuff was pretty chemically anyway. Oh well. And then I froze the thing to death!!! MAUAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA

Let's zoom in on that shall we?

Gawd, just looking at it brings back horrors.

And so begins my first day of Golden Week (solid week of holidays) Let the relaxing begin (T-T)

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