After a good night's sleep on pain killers, my back felt fine until I pushed the blankets off and the cold air hit. But I gaman shita'ed during the day, and it only occasionally felt like someone had taken a scalpel to me. You don't realise how much you use your back muscles until you try not to! Halfway through the afternoon, my arms started aching from having done nothing more than I typically do (less, even, because I was careful to not give the kids any opportunity to jump on my back or hang off me). Seems somebody was overcompensating!

K helped me take the big gauze pad off and slather the disinfectant on. I forgot to ask her to count the stitches, but it looks good! Well, as good as a row of small, neat stitches in the middle of my back can look, anyway. Which is kind of cool, actually. I ought to start working on my story about how I got my scar. But perhaps I should just ask my brothers for one, since they're so good at coming up with extremely unlikely scenarios (exploding chickens, anyone? XD).

I think I'll attempt a ballet class on Friday. It's not Inui-sensei's class, so I won't need to worry about having my ribcage forcibly raised to where it shouldn't go. XD

To celebrate our JLPT results, Eda and I hit up Royal Host this evening for some more sexy study times. Apparently, our shared スーパーギリギリ powers caused some sort of mind meld, because apart from her salad and my pineapple-jasmine tea, we had exactly the same thing.

"Hmm, what do I want to drink?"
"I think I'll go for the orange juice."
"I'm kind of in the mood for that too! :D"

"Ooh, this hamburger with mushrooms looks good."
"Yeah, it does look pretty good..."

"Tropical tea?"
"Sure!"

"And for dessert, there's the strawberry-chocolate thing. Or I could just go for the hot fudge sundae! In junior size."
"That's totally what I was thinking of getting! LOL"

We also ate our age in beans, because that's what you do on Setsubun, duh! XD (I got to be a demon at school this morning, and the kids had a great time throwing beans at me, so when I saw some cheap-o beans as I was on my way to meet Eda, I couldn't resist and brought them along to our study date.)

As we left the restaurant, it was snowing lovely fluffy flakes, unlike the other night's huge clumps of questionable snowiness.

Am currently working on a study plan for this year. I want to do the level 2 again this December, and this time my goal is to pass with more than 80%. At least then I'll know it was deserved. I also have taken up the zhongwen again, because this summer, I'm off to China, baby! 8D

Arg, stab of pain! o>_<o All right, time for pain killer and bed. Because I need to get up a bit earlier than usual tomorrow, as I have to cover up the bandage on my back before washing my hair.
Let's see how I did, shall we? My to-do list for the day was:

- moar nihongo! Not as much as I would have liked, but my brain shut down around 10 and I couldn't make myself do anything more. Still, I'm now only a day and a half behind, instead of 3, so that's not too bad -- I have Tuesday off to catch up completely ^_^

- do another load of laundry/put more clothes out to air Still have half a storage bin full of stuff, but it's mostly scarves and heavy sweaters, which I won't be needing for another month or so, most likely, so they can wait;

- sew a futon cover This took a bit longer than expected because at first I couldn't find the fabric I wanted, then when I did, I realised that I didn't have 2 metres, but 2 yards (I'd bought it online from the States -- seriously, U.S., get with the program and go metric, like the rest of the world! :P) which wasn't quite enough, so I had to add yet another fabric, but it turned out all right;

- do the dishes;

- vacuum Ion-kun seems to have gotten over his snit, or maybe it's the cooler weather. Either way, I was able to do the whole apartment without him shutting down!

- get groceries but forgot to buy more kleenex. Oh well, still have most of a box, plus the bag full of advertising tissue packs in my closet;

- start NonNaNoWriMo, i.e. write up my travels for my travelpod;

- watch more Project Runway so that I can finally catch up and discuss it with K tomorrow Watched one episode while darning socks. Have any of you ever darned socks? I can't remember ever doing it before, but these are funky knee-highs, i.e. not as disposable as most of the socks I usually wear. I remember my mother darning socks when I was little, teaching me that the best way to do it is to stretch the sock over a lightbulb. Since I had no lightbulb handy, I used a PET bottle, which works almost as well;

- email some people to whom I've long owed replies (A, A, C, D, T).

7 out of 9 isn't too shabby, what say you? Now I shall get ready for bed, hoping that my knees won't be as sore tomorrow. I really think it's the extra time spent studying cross-legged at my table that's doing it, because I can't think of anything else I've been doing differently.
So, all you doing-the-JLPT-hito, have you received your invitation to the practice test? I got mine and I'm stupidly excited about it because I thought doing it last year was a very good experience, since it's an almost-real test before the real test, and also, they pay you! Which means that not only do you get to do a simulation of the real thing, that's Y2,000 less you're paying for the priviledge of taking the actual test.

I'm signing up, and you should as well! Woohoo! :D Practice shiken shiyou!

Apparently, I'm very loopy tonight. I totally screwed up the rumba on my first try -- you should have seen me, I was spectacularly lost! -- but managed to improve. I also totally failed at nihongo while speaking to my super sweet French buddy; she must have been thinking, "Oh my, this girl really thinks she has a chance at passing level 2?! O_O" But then after the break, when we went back into the studio, the word had gotten around (thanks to one of the instructors, who calls me "Canadian" XD) that I'm French-Canadian, so I was approached by the adorably wrinkled Monsieur Asano, who studied in Paris way back in the 60s. I'm constantly surprised by how many French-speaking Japanese people there seem to be in Tokyo!
I was up at 8 this morning for some good ol' nihongo taimu. I've taken to having the tv on with the volume down low as background noise while I study, because who knows? It might reinforce what I'm reading. XD It being Sunday morning, I fell on that silly kiddy show about two guys in one suit, which I hear some of you people like. It was pretty hilarious, I must admit. Since I wasn't giving it my full attention, I didn't quite get some bits. Like why did Dance-Boy -- his actual character name, of course! -- suddenly run through a police cordon, set up his boom box and start dancing in the middle of what was presumably an off-limits area?

This was also research, in a way, because to be a good teacher, one should try to be in touch with what interests the students, and my preschool kids love this show. They adore it with the passion of four- and five-year-olds who think that guys running around in weird armour suits are the coolest thing ever. At least three times a week, they ask me (since the other teachers just look at them blankly when the subject comes up) if I like Philippe. The colour drawings half in one colour, half in another. During playtime, they argue over who gets to be which character (Kid A: "Me is Shoutarou!" Kid B: "No, me!" Me: "How about you both be Shoutarou? XD" Kids: "Okay! :D"), then jump around, striking poses and shouting "Dabburu!"

"It's 'Double'," I correct them. " 'Dabburu' is Japanese."

"Double! Metaru! Toriggaa!"

"Metal. Trigger."

"Metal! Trigger!"

Since I've been correcting them, they're starting to catch on that those cool-sounding names are, in fact, English words. The other day, during a writing activity, Chikara suddenly asked me, "What's 'cyclone'?"

Wondering where he'd heard the word, and thinking it might have been some nature program or book (he's interested in science), I answered that it was a storm with very strong winds. He nodded and went back to his worksheet. Ten seconds later, he asked me, "What's 'Joker'?" Ah, now I see where this is going, thought I with a grin.

The weekend is over, which I think is very unfair. I did a lot, though, so at least I didn't waste any time! Friday was [livejournal.com profile] art_house_queen's and [livejournal.com profile] chimericalyours's joint birthday celebration at everyone's favourite cheap izakaya, and I got to take my fantabulous sequined shoes out on the town while meeting some very nice people. Yesterday, K and I nearly finished the Halloween costumes -- save mine, which I really need to get working on! -- and my apartment looks like a princess factory exploded in it. It's rather disturbing. Today I met up with [livejournal.com profile] akahannah and [livejournal.com profile] lizstarsky for some studying at Saizeriya, and we were kicked out! Well, we were very politely told that it was peak meal time, and if we were only studying and not ordering any more food... That's the first time that's ever happened to me, and I could only think, "This would never happen at Skylark!" XD

[livejournal.com profile] lizstarsky and I needed to head over to Shinjuku anyway, because we were meeting [livejournal.com profile] later_uk and [livejournal.com profile] nekonezumi to book ourselves a trip to Okinawa, which we did with minimal difficulty, since the flights and hotel we'd kimeta-ed (<-- actual English verb, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise!) were all available. So we're going to have ourselves a girly resort trip! I've never done that before, so I'm very excited! Afterwards, we met up with [livejournal.com profile] nekonezumi's parents, who are visiting for the week, and had Korean food for supper. Her parents are so sweet! I hope they have a lovely time in Japan.

Anyway, I've got some more benkyouing to do this evening to keep abreast of things. So far I'm doing quite well with my study plan, though I've not been able to manage as much as I'd like regarding kanji. That's the section that's going to slay me come test time. If they're shown in context, I might manage, but otherwise I'm afraid I'll be relying a great deal on my super wild guessing skillz.
You're supposed to learn something new every day, right? Well, today I learned that trying to do the rumba with a man who has no idea what he's doing is really painful for a wrist already sore from rolling out pie dough.

What have you learned today? :D

I meant to post an update of sorts on my suupaa nihongo benkyou plan, about how I almost managed to keep up for the first week. Fortunately, since yesterday was a holiday, I was able to catch up; I also got up a bit earlier than usual this morning (i.e. not as early as I told myself I would, but earlier than I've managed since I started trying!) and only have a little more to do this evening.

Who among you are taking the JLPT in December? Jill, Laura, Eda, Hannah? Anyone else? Would any of you be into getting together to study once in a while? I like family restaurants for that (drink bar, ilusm), personally, but anything is fine, really.

I've decided that while I mostly don't expect to pass level 2, I'm going to give it my best shot. I'm tired of being lazy, and am pretty ashamed of the opportunities I've not seized when it comes to bettering my nihongo. So here's to two months of gambaru power level up!

Ok, maybe I should go to bed now, I'm barely making sense to myself... -__-;;;
First things first: Thanksgiving!

Unless anyone has any objections, let's settle on Sunday the 11th, my place (Kichijouji or Mitakadai station, let me know if you need directions!), around 4 or so. Emily and I will probably spend the day attempting to bake pies, so I don't know how feasible it is to send a delegation to meet people at the station, but most of you have been here before, so you can find your way again, right?

Attendees and their offerings:

Me: Pie, stuffing, mikan-flavoured castella from Nagasaki, mad sangria-making skillz
[livejournal.com profile] nekonezumi: Pie, cranberry sauce (or salad, if there are no cranberries to be had, even for ready money)
[livejournal.com profile] lizstarsky: Mashed potatoes
[livejournal.com profile] llamachan: Drinks (alcohol? :D)
[livejournal.com profile] dilettantka: ?
[livejournal.com profile] kurayamihimitsu: ?
[livejournal.com profile] genkischuldich: ?
[livejournal.com profile] akahannah: ?

As you can see, we still need some sort of meat -- last year, we had Costco roast chicken in lieu of turkey, but I have neither the time nor the membership to go and get one. Can anyone volunteer to either get something similar or cook it themselves? I've got two gas rings and a microwave/convection oven for any on-site cookery that needs to be done.

We also should have some sort of vegetables, and more drinks. Or you can chip in some money to cover the cost of fowl and sangria and pie fixings! :D Either way, let me know what you plan on contributing!

Finally, if anyone has any leads on where one could buy cranberries in Tokyo or Chiba, please share!

ETA: And if anyone not on that list would like to join us, let me know, there's still some room! ;D

* * *


I was going to post about how in a way it was a good thing I'd caught up with all the fansubbed Chinese PoT episodes, because I wouldn't have time to watch any more tonight, what with dance class and studying, but on the other hand, moar Ju Wan/Da Shi doubles love goodness plz!!! (Last ep ended just after the Golden Pair lost to St. Rudolph because of Ju Wan's lack of stamina, so I'm looking forward to some juicy angsting on both their parts as Ju Wan accepts he has to work harder and Da Shi just wants to support his partner, with maybe some manly tears and hugging thrown in XD) Anyway, I got home, and there was a new subbed episode waiting for me!

*glee*

Still need to study, though, so it will have to wait until tomorrow. And then I have the raw episodes, so I can see just how much of the Chinese I can understand. So far, more than I would have given myself credit for, but a lot of times it's while reading the subtitles, I compare it to what I'm hearing and think, "Ah, that's what I would have guessed," so it's not the same as having no translation at all.

* * *


So yes, dance class!

Tonight I started a social dance class with K and R (our coworker) at the Musashino City Sports Club. I'm by far the youngest one there, as it's mostly ojiisans and obaasans (A-L, il y en avait un ou deux que tu aurais certainement voulu kidnapper!), but it was fun. We did some waltz, some rumba, and what they call "blues" (slow, slow, quick-quick), and god, I miss dance classes!

I was pounced on by a nice lady who spotted my name-tag (they'd printed "Marie" on it, because Japanese people don't seem to understand hyphenated names) and wanted to know whether I was French. Turns out her husband is living in France, and while she speaks German fluently, she has trouble with French (but she sounded pretty good to me!), so she asked if we could chat in both Japanese and French. She was really sweet!

* * *


Japanese study... I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but I'm determined to get through my study plan even if it kills me. So if I'm not around on line or don't post much for the next couple of months... it's because nihongo has eaten my brain, not because I don't love each and every one of you. orz
I've been keeping somewhat to myself lately, out of exhaustion, and who knows what else... I've got several things to post about, but for now, some bullet points.

- This girl is funny, hot, has a gorgeous voice, plays the guitar AND the banjo, and owns a bulldog. I've known her since we were three years old, so you can take my word for it, she's awesome. Even more awesome is that she recently got to do a show with Hawksley Workman (yes, she did!), and was featured on the CBC's Vinyl Café, the podcast of which you can download here.

- I got my hair cut last night, and it's quite short! This time, my stylist was a host wannabe who took every opportunity to insert "Okay!" or "Let's go!" into the conversation. Turns out his grandfather was French, so he knew a few French words as well. ^_^

- K and I spend a good part of last weekend working on our school's Halloween costumes. This year we're doing Cinderella, so it means making 4 ballgowns, a fairy godmother dress and a prince's costume. I'm going to be the prince to K's Cinderella, so I guess it's a good thing I'm short-haired and flat-chested, eh?

- I've tentatively made a nihongo study plan for when I get back from the Great Train (and Bus and Ferry) Adventure. Let's see if I can stick to it! It involves daily studying, and I'll really need to switch my brain on for this, if I want to have even a snowball's chance in hell of passing the level 2. Speaking of which, I really ought to send in my application for the test!

- The other day, while deleting pictures of a certain individual from my hard drive, I came across this picture of me. Since most of you reading this didn't know me three years ago, let alone two, and some of you didn't even know me one year ago, here I am almost exactly 3 years ago, September 2006 in Ueno Park, with a much rounder face. Too bad you can't see how long my hair was; it was at least mid-way down my back. Look, Jill, I had boobs! XD )
So yes, I sold a bit of my soul and got myself an ipod touch. Or rather, my parents got me one, since what I requested for my birthday was an electronic dictionary to aid me in my pursuit of more jouzu nihongo, and when I got back to Japan, K was all, "OMG you've gotta buy an ipod touch, you can get all these awesome nihongo-aiding apps! :D" And it turned out that buying the ipod was about the same price as the dictionary I'd been eyeing, and besides, did you know that you can get Cooking Dash (new version of the Best Game Evar -- after Dune II, of course -- i.e. Diner Dash) on it?

Anyway, so far I've used my little buddy to listen to the playlists B2 made for me (since he has no money, that's what I asked him to give me for my birthday), play Cooking Dash and use Kotoba!* for its intended purpose. And by that, of course, I mean I've been using it to help me read doujinshi. XD

All joking aside, I am really wired this evening, even after a super study session during which I took 5 pages of kanji notes (I looked up the kanji for every word JUST BECAUSE I COULD!)... -_-; I need to get to bed.

Hmm, I should name the ipod. Any suggestions?

In other news, why the hell is Facebook being so difficult? I'm trying to upload pictures, and if I try to select more than one at a time, it crashes my browser. If I only do one at a time, half the time it tells me the attempt was "unsuccessful", but even if it works, it's horribly slow to do them one by one. :P

* This application is awesome and it is FREE! People with an ipod touch or an iphone, go download it now! You can look up words in either Japanese or English, look up kanji (just set it to Chinese keyboard and you can draw them), have it show you the proper stroke order (not all kanji have this, I'm not sure why). Also, it goes from Japanese to English, French, German and Russian, so if you happen to speak more than one of those languages, you can set it to simultaneously display them; I find having both the French and English very helpful, as there's sometimes a slight difference between the two, which I believe brings me closer to the actual Japanese meaning in some cases.

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February 2012

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