Friday, November 18, 2005

moshi moshi

In the last 2 months, I must have been asked at least 49 times what my cell phone number is and everytime I would reply with "mada..." which means I haven't gotten one yet. But today, after a turn for the better in my financial situation, I was able to get my first Japanese cell phone. Here, the free cell phones come with the following features:

-barcode reader
-video camera and camera (of course)
-animated globe which tells the time of cities all over the world
-17 pages of smiling, crying, laughing (...etc) animated faces,
-internet service where I log on and check my balance for free
-LED lights which flash in different colors and different patterns according to the mode I choose
-much, much more that I will probably won't discover until I learn the meaning of the Kanji (Chinese character) in my class

The payment plan is different here too. I can only talk for 35 minutes a month for free, after that it's like 20 cents a minute. All incoming calls are free. The wave that has completely consumed Japan (as well as most Asian countries) is text messaging. Text messages cost less than 1/2 cent for each one, but one must pay both to send receive them. Because I am a student, I can get my cell phone at 1/2 price, so before texts and call time, I only have to pay $17 dollars a month.

3 cheers for calls from home!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hot chocolate

This morning at about 6:00, I was awoken briefly by a surreal trembling sensation. I thought it strange and went back to sleep after a few seconds of confusion. I got up a couple hours later and remembered nothing of the brief interruption of sleep. In my second class though, my friend asked me if I was awoken by the earthquake that morning. Weird déjà vu flooded my brain the moment he said "earthquake". I don't think I ever would have remembered the experience if he hadn't of mentioned it. Have you ever had an experience such as this?

In other news, I have 2 job interviews tomorrow. One is for a teaching position at a English conversation school. The other I am not quite sure about because the advertisment for this job was written in arguably uncomprehendible english. Anyway, it has something to do with being a room guide for english speaking visitors to Hokkaido. We'll see what happens.

I experienced Sapporo's first snow last week. This week's forecast: 4 days of snow. Send warm clothing and peppermint tea!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The best friends ever!

Guess what everyone???

My little brother Coli-boy, whom I love more than sparkling snow on a sunny day and my faithful friend, Daniel, who also happens to be an amazing person and a fabulous cook are coming to visit me in 35 days!

AND, as if that weren't enough...

My role model, giver of life, and best friend ever is braving the frigid air and had bought her ticket to come in February. I can't wait to see your faces, mom.

You guys are the best!

I can see the squid boats!

A few weekends ago, I went on a second trip with my outdoor club. This time, the drive was a manageable 3.5 hours (as opposed to 12). We reached the trailhead at 3pm on Saturday, hiked to our little cabin, cooked a huge pot of soup and hung out talking until 1 am. A few hours later at 4:30, we were rustled from our slumber and told that we were going to hike to the top of the mountain to see the sunrise. As I laced up my boots, I couldn't help but mutter "4:30 in the morning...these people are CRAZY!" The leader heard me and found it quite amusing! Anyway, it was a short climb to the top and quite rewarding to watch the sun rise over the other shore of the Pacific.

3 cheers for good food

2 weeks ago, I participated in a homestay program which was offered to all the international students. It was a 3 day program in a city about 20 minutes from Sapporo by train. Me and my new Australian friend, Jess, stayed with a the Maeda family. The have one daughter, Makiko, who is also a student at Hokkaido University and just returned from a studying abroad in Canada for one year. So, not only did I have a wonderful time with this family, but I met a great friend whom I plan to hang out with a lot this year!

The homestay was from Friday night until Sunday. On Saturday, all 14 international students, our host families and local community members had a big international party at the local middle school. Everyone made at food from their country (I made lasagna and salad) and we had a huge feast and played games together. Fun times!