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Happy Emperor's Birthday, everyone!

Well, somehow I survived the Christmas party. We had a blindfolded snowman-building relay race, so the kids practiced "go up," "go down," "go left," "go right," etc.

Anyway, if you're wondering what I've been up to lately, I have prepared a lovely picture post for you!

clicky )

But [ profile] rkold will be bringing me a shiny new Canon when she comes to visit!!!!! I can't wait! ToT

Oh yes, and speaking of doll pictures.....

how fucking cute is this shit, seriously )

Also strung up my first 40 cranes for my senbazuru. Crane count: 94 down, 906 to go.
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So, sometime between cherry blossoms and Golden Week, [ profile] yhibiki and I went to the Monkey Park. Basically, it's a place where you pay money to climb up a mountain and get attacked by wild monkeys. We also found an amazingly good ice cream shop that had strawberry cookies 'n' cream. :9

have some monkey pictures )

Then [ profile] rkold came for Golden Week, and we went to Kurama and Kibune. There were lots of stairs, but it was nice, because they still had cherry trees in bloom at Kurama-dera.

Kurama and Kibune )

Then we went up to Tokyo for the long weekend. At first I tried to do Important Cultural Things, but after half a day of that, I finally accepted that Tokyo really is only good for shopping and seeing the places that were in X. The National Museum of Western Art has lots of Rodin sculptures, though, and since Rodin is one of my favorite sculptors, that was cool. I went there and to Ueno Park to find a cherry tree in bloom on Saturday while Rachel was at Super Comic City, and then I went to the Diet Building and the Imperial Palace for a little bit.

Ueno Park, home to pshychopaths and stray cats )

Sunday, I decided to go to SCC with Rachel, and I actually made a lot of good finds. I got a bunch of really good FMA books (both Elricest and Roy/Ed), some more S/N from Pitophuii, some HikaGo, and I found a circle that does Yuuta-centric St. Rudolph doujinshi in which Kaneda has a huge crush on Yuuta and Yuuta is completely oblivious. XD I also learned to stay far far away from Kuroshitsuji doujinshi. :P

After that, we went to Meiji Jingu and Harajuku. We went to Volks, which is decorated with very cute and very slashy Tony/Hewitt and Lucas/Chris comics (Black Cat Lucas and White Cat Chris ordering an FCS together is a metaphor for them having a baby, y/y?), and went shopping at the used punk and loli stores. And we ate dinner at a place that had REAL pepperoni on their pizza! T^T I was sooooo happy.

most of the places we went didn't allow photos, so there aren't many pictures under this cut )

On Monday, we headed over to Asakusa to see Senso-ji. And it was packed. We forced our way through the crowds to the main hall, and as we were exiting it, we noticed that there was something coming through the crowd towards us. And that's when we realized it was Children's Day, and we'd crashed the festival. There was a boat-shaped float pulled by a bunch of kids, and kids playing instruments were riding on it. It went right past us, so we ended up being in the perfect spot without even trying. Then we took a look at the grounds and the festival stands, and Rachel got her cock-on-a-stick. And we found a gelato place! Soooo good~ And then we went to Nakano and Ikebukuro for more shopping. XD

Senso-ji )

Rachel had to leave early on Tuesday, so I went to Tokyo Tower by myself. And the stuff that everyone says about the Tokyo Tower mascots? They're even worse. @_@ I got there in time to just barely make out Mt. Fuji through the haze, but by the time I made it through the line for the special observation deck, it had disappeared. After Tokyo Tower, I went to the Pokémon Center, lol, and then to Sunshine 60, where you really can have your love fortune told at the top, but it's a palm reader, not an astrologer.

I can feel the destiny! )

@_@ I'm so far behind now that I can't even remember what the next update is supposed to be. Fuji, I think?

Also, fuck you, photobucket.
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So, I took a few days off before classes started to go around and see the cherry blossoms. For some reason, I had it in my head that I needed to go to Nara, so I went. The park is very lovely, but you definitely have to watch where you step. I also learned that you shouldn't buy deer crackers if you're by yourself, unless you want a herd of deer to swarm out of nowhere and have their way with you.

Todaiji is amazing though, and definitely worth the trip. Buddha is totally chill, and the guardians at the gate are amazing. Hard to believe they were carved 700+ years ago. Nara was also my first time seeing true hanami. Three salarymen, a camp stove, and a 24-pack of beer. Rock. But instead of boring you with words, I'll bore enthrall you with pictures.

Nara )

The next day, I decided to stick around Kyoto. I caught the last of the plum blossoms at Kitano Tenmangu, had yakisoba and Ramune under the cherry blossoms at Hirano Jinja, and checked out the zen garden at Ryoanji. I wanted to go to Ninnaji too, but thanks to getting sick in the middle of the night, I got a late start and got there just after they closed.

Kyoto )

Friday, I went to Hana no Tera in Oharano. Even though it's well-known for its cherry blossoms, Oharano doesn't get many tourists. So it was very quiet and peaceful there. Actually, the only other gaijin that I saw there happened to be the guy I sat next to on the plane from Boston, who teaches in Okinawa. o.O Everyone I met in Oharano was super-friendly, and the other temple, Shohoji, had beautiful gardens, and you could actually go inside the halls. So I had a great day. ^_^ Then I took the train back to Kyoto and went to the Gion light-up and to see the huge cherry tree in Maruyama Koen.

Oharano )

Saturday was the big Sakura Matsuri at Himeji Castle, and like a crazy person, I went. It was sooooo beautiful though, and definitely worth fighting the crowds.

Himeji )

On Sunday, I went to Kameoka for a hanami picnic with Paulette and Sue. We had alcohol and a tarp, so it was genuine hanami!

Kameoka )

Monday it rained, and I was exhausted, so even though I had the day off, I just stayed home and had awesome RP with [ profile] kanaliya. Unfortunately, it continued to rain heavily for several days, so that was pretty much the end of sakura season. :(

As always, there are more photos here.

Next update: Tokyo and pr0n version!
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So, I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I decided that I wanted to go to Chion-in to see them ring the bell for New Year's. It's the biggest bell in Japan, and weighs about 80 tons. It takes 17 monks to swing the ramrod hard enough to ring the bell. So obviously, the New Year's ringing is a pretty big deal. ^^

I left my place around 9:00, and I was surprised that the subway was so empty. There weren't many people on the way to the temple, either, but once I got there, it was packed. There were lots of foreigners there as well, so I didn't feel so out-of-place. This creepy American/Canadian guy tried to play tour guide for me though, coming up out of nowhere all like, "This is called Chion-in Temple," and not even pronouncing it right. And I'm like, yeah, I don't make it a habit of wandering around the city at midnight, so I know where I am, thanks. There was of course a huge line winding around the temple grounds to see the bell. I didn't know what was going to happen, so I just stood there with everyone else. Then, when the bell started ringing, everyone shoved forward, and the line slowly filed up to the belfry and past the bell. It was really cool; the monks had this special chant, and when the bell rung, you could feel it through your whole body. There were also monks praying right underneath the bell. >.o I think they must be deaf now.

After I saw the bell, it wasn't midnight yet, and I didn't feel like going home, so I went to Yasaka-jinja for hatsu-mode. I didn't realize it at the time, but that's the most popular shrine in Kyoto to go to for hatsu-mode, and once it opens, there is a LOT of shoving. As in, your only choices are keep up with the crowd or get trampled. It was kind of scary. But once we got to the main hall, it let up a bit. I stayed away from the main shrine and instead found a nice Inari shrine that was quiet and all lit up. After that, I got some hamu-katsu from one of the million food stands/tiny shops/shooting galleries all around the shrine, and enjoyed my walk along the willow-lined river back to the subway station.

My flickr page is all updated now, for anyone who wants to see more photos. ^^ I waited two weeks to be able to upload again, and then they were all like, "Oh, we can't actually SHOW your pictures to anyone unless you give us monies." So I ended up buying a paid account anyway. >.>
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I just had the most awesome dream last night, and I have to write it down before I forget. It started out as Phoenix Wright, with the role of Phoenix being played by my dad. (And no, it was NOT a slash dream, so don't ask. :P) We were trying to solve this big murder/conspiracy thing, so we were running around gathering evidence, and not always in the most legal of ways. Breaking into an office building to steal files and driving on the wrong side of the road were both involved. (People still drive on the right side in my dreams.) The victim had also left behind a bunch of random posters, news clippings, assorted objects, etc., and we were sure they meant something, but we couldn't figure out what. I don't quite remember the first method I tried to use to decipher them, but it ended up not working, and our three days of trial were running out, but then I realized that each item corresponded with a song, like the song would be "Cruel Cruel Summer", and one of the news articles would have the word "cruel" in it, so "cruel" would be the keyword, and you had to find all the keywords and arrange them to make the message left by the victim. Then the dream morphed into Harry Potter, and I guess I should cut this in case of spoilers )


Kyoto is very awesome and also very hot. My area of town is pretty modern, so I don't have all the old shrines and stuff that the main part of the city has, but it also means my apartment's a bit nicer (and has air conditioning!) There's a Book Off right across the street, but I'm going to be good and not buy anything there until I get my first paycheck. (What is the Prince of Tennis OVA "Invitation" DVD, anyway?) There's an ice cream shop a few blocks away, but ironically, it's too hot to go there. I feel very sure that I'll horribly offend everyone I come in contact with and do a terrible job at school, but I think a lot of that is me being thrown for a loop by my uncle's death. :/ Today I need to figure out the washing machine, and then repack so I can go to Gifu for Obon.


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