Random activities in April/May (Photodump?)

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So, there are 2 places let in the Travel Features, but I’m going to take a little break to dump some photos from what my life has been like the last month or so…

So, school started up again, and I’m doing that… And there have also been a slew of birthday parties, outings, and whatever else you can imagine regular people do (though calling myself “regular” in Japan might be a stretch). I have some pictures, so I’ll post them.

Yeah, that’s about all the explanation I have… I guess I’ll jump right in:

A friend of a friend came to visit Japan (right before and during the earthquake), so we went to do some sight seeing… These pictures came of that trip:

It's a temple... Still pretty much done with seeing these for the rest of my life but thought others might want to see it.

A pretty awesome angle I shot of a temple in Asakusa.

...Pagoda?

The infamous Tokyo Sky Tree... Definitely does not look like a tree.

As I've previously said, my fascination with Japanese temples is just about gone...

Saw this primo-looking Civic after leaving the temple area, which happens to be right inside a bustling city.

I am sure the owners were nervous or curious as to why I was taking pictures, but I took another anyway

Oh, and this guy was also there. He was wearing a texan-like cowboy getup. No idea why, but I absolutely had to get a picture to prove he really existed, right then and there.

Yeah, he's wearing a cowboy hat.

Fast Forward to day xx of month… xx? And me and some friends travel to a restaurant in Kichijouji (a suburb of Tokyo), to a sort of anime/otaku themed restaurant… They had pictures and figurines of a ton of anime/manga/live action series everywhere. Evangelion, Dragon ball, Kamen Rider (like power rangers), you name it. At the entrance, they also had a huge display of a ton of figurines:

This restaurant had a really huge figurine selection... Wonder how they fared during the earthquake...

Aaand upon closer inspection:

.....

I sure hope that was the bad guys shelf.

Fast forward to some day of the same month (possibly?) and I am at Hanami (Lit: “Flower Viewing”) with some friends, and I take some shots. I unfortunately didn’t take many pictures, because I saw too many emerging on certain social websites that all looked just about the same, didn’t want to join that crowd too much.

We spent ALOT of time walking around this park. Way past my park walking comfort zone.

The most open space I've ever seen in japan.

They even had a Magic Garden... Japan spares no expense in making it's parks.

Cherry Blossom trees near a bridge... Pretty average picture.. Maybe even below average

Another view of the walking areas of the park, very colorful.

I guess a river used to be here, now it's empty, and I took a picture of that.

This picture made it into my favorites folder, and I still like it quite a bit.

No idea what these flowers are called, but they're pretty pretty.

Aaaand here is the kind of picture I did not want to take, super super average picture of a sakura tree.

A road made of flowers. Definitely not fit for walking on though.

I really could not take enough pictures of the flowers... I doubt that I have seen such a beautiful array of flowers before in my life

Once again, no idea what these are called, but they sure are pretty.

And to finish off the day, took some closeup shots of my backpack.

And if we go back in time to slightly before the earthquake, we have this:

At some point in the middle of everything that happened, I cooked myself what I thought was an outrageously delicious meal.

Back in the time machine, set the destination for last week, and we can visit the time when I went to Kichijouji for a weekend of hang-out walk-around drop-dead fun.

These handlebars are WAY TOO HIGH. Or just right, for an orangutan

Saw some mobile stores (?) that had some vehicles that looked like volkswagens, but were most likely not real volkswagens.

Got a pretty artsy picture in, at a restaurant we visited while we were in Kichijouji

Saw a Porsche, took a picture on instinct...

Went to starbucks, saw some glasses, took some pictures of those glasses.

I can’t say I’m the Starbucks “type”, but I guess I was hanging out with some.

And because I love repetition....

And that’s the end of my super random April/May adventures. Still have a ton of pictures to go through, as usual, for some of the more useful adventures (travel features), but who knows when those will be up.

For now, I’ve got to focus on work, school, and fun, and my hands are full with the last one alone.

Maybe I should start using some sort of closeout line like: “BBMIJ Out”. Nah.

Placement tests and mini-parties

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Yesterday, I got a chance to go to the university where I’ll be studying (Sophia University), and had to take a placement test, for the required Japanese class I’ll have to take. Though the test wasn’t a fun experience, it was fun getting to see where I’ll be probably a lot of times during the week, learning about the school, the people who attend it, and of course eating free food at the welcome party later that day.

The school is technically a catholic school, but I think it’s more catholic in word rather than practice (as mass or things like that aren’t required, and I don’t think they’re too pushy about it) — but it’s definitely going to be an interesting year. I saw two other guys my skin color, so I may not be as rare as I think I am… Maybe I should change my title to Just Another Big Black Man In Japan (they were also pretty tall).

I learned today though, that there were a TON of people studying abroad in Japan. I met people from the US, France, Germany, Finland, Japan (obviously), Spain, and I’m sure I’m leaving 5 other countries out. As for the states, there were people from colorado, kansas, Philadelphia, Connecticut, amongst others. There sure are a lot of us (foreigners, that is).

Also, the president of the university stopped by for a visit… He was old, as to be expected, but I was honored that he dropped by. I’m not sure I know what the president of the university at UT looks like… Either way, I’m relatively sure we should have been doing some super low bows and what not to him, but most didn’t. It was a sort of laid back meeting, and some school clubs introduced themselves. The karate club also did a live demonstration, which was pretty cool, and included a section where they let people come kick the bags.

I’ve got a pretty good idea which groups I want to join, but it was interesting watching some of the ones that showed up (like the flower arrangement club, who came and arranged some flowers in real time, as exciting as that sounds, it was pretty interesting).

Also, I got my point and shoot running/working/taking pictures, so now I’ll probably be able to take alot more without having to lug the DSLR around everywhere.

After all the hoopla of the test and welcome party, we had a little mini-party, at a local restaurant (izakaya), that we went to with some of the local students. Though I don’t have many pictures from that (I was a little busy eating, and doing some general jollymaking or whatever you’d call it), I’ve got some.

I was also going to go to Akihabara today, but it’s raining, so it looks like all the things I need to do will have to wait till another day. Unless I decide to go out in the rain…..

Well, picture time (Taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ2 point and shoot that I got for $50 off of craigslist):

A small shot of the campus

A better view of the church and some of Sophia's campus, as well as Yotsuya in the background (The area that Sophia is in).

The area around Yotsuya, on the way to a local restaurant (izakaya).

I thought this picture sort of caught the overall feel of the place. It was a really low key, low lit, cozy restaurant type place. Food was really good, enjoyed everything that I ordered, whether or not I had eaten it before.