Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

I have a major headache and no plans. ON HALLOWEEN. My favorite holiday! When did I stop having a life? I used to have a life. You know when you feel all reclusive for awhile and then you don't anymore but your phone has already stopped ringing? Pfff. I will recover and fling myself into the night later.

Here's my scary Halloween story. This week sucked. Lock your doors and windows, friends!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Love me Love me Not

Another romantic night with Naoko.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good Clean Fun: HIV & STD Testing in Tokyo

Let's talk about HIV and being safe in Japan (/anywhere).

I am someone who believes in condoms always and testing regularly. It doesn't matter how safe you are or whether or not you have a boyfriend/girlfriend or what kind of lifestyle you lead. If you have sex, you should test for HIV and STDs. It is part of being a socially aware, responsible modern person.

C'mon guys, free HIV tests at the Tokyo Metropolitan Health Clinic!

GETTING TESTED FOR HIV IN JAPAN IS EASY EVEN IF YOU ARE A FOREIGNER. There is an HIV Testing Center close to the South Exit of Shinjuku Station that gives free and anonymous tests to anyone, complete with English versions of all necessary paperwork. I just went the other night. I will post more information in the comments, and I invite you to share any information you have about HIV/STD testing and related health matters in Japan.

If you're embarrassed about getting tested or think it's weird, you need to stop being dumb and get in the now. I get tested and talk about it because I want to express that it's a normal and healthy thing to do. A few years ago, the actress Scarlett Johansson said in an interview that she gets tested for HIV twice a year. People made a huge deal out of it and everyone framed the quote like, "Johansson denies promiscuity yet admits getting frequent HIV tests." What fucking year are we in? Things like this remind me that many people are still dangerously uptight about sex. I've had girl friends who didn't carry condoms because it made them feel slutty, and I've known plenty of sexually active people who don't get tested because they associate it with admitting to a dirty lifestyle.

Scarlett Johannson made no apologies and still insists, "It's part of being a decent human, to be tested for STDs. It's just disgusting behavior when people don't. It's so irresponsible." Evidently she is comfortable with her life and not ashamed of taking care of it. I'm glad I can say the same and I hope you can, too.

Old Photos

Everyone asks me, "Why you come to Japan?" Leave me alone, I have no answer for this.

My first trip abroad was to the Czech Republic. I was 17. I lost my virginity, got drunk, fell in love, looked out over Prague and knew I'd be in foreign cities for the rest of my life.

I agreed to go to college first, a decisions I'm still not sure about. The main reason I did it was so I could have a degree, which I knew would make it easier for me to get jobs overseas. I started studying Japanese randomly, and in 2005 I did a homestay in Japan.

When I got back home I made some Japanese friends. I volunteered as a tutor and conversation partner for Japanese students at my university. My friend Miu invited me to stay at her apartment in Tokyo the next summer. If my mother had known what I could see from the window of that room in Shimo-Ochiai, she'd have just said goodbye.

All of these photos were taken from that room. I was like Heidi in the Alps when she couldn't sleep because she kept opening her eyes to look at the stars. I fell in love with Tokyo. I'm still in love with Tokyo. I don't know why. What do other people say?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I just want to say:

I hate Twilight. I hate Twilight. I hate it! I hate Twilight. I can't even really look at it. I don't like to be full of hate, but I hate Twilight. I hate it. I am so into cheesy shit and stupid shit but I hate Twilight. I hate Twilight more than anything that has ever happened in pop culture in my entire life. I hate Twilight. At 1:33 in this clip I feel like I'm going to start crying because I am so full of terrible black hate.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I love my roommate.

Ayabean is my roommate. My mom gave Aya that nickname because she loves baked beans so much. When she came to my house for Thanksgiving a couple years ago, my mom made baked beans especially for her, and everyone was so into it that it was declared a new tradition. When I talk to my mom she always asks, "How's Ayabeeeeean?" Is that not the cutest story ever? Aya and I lived together for a year or something in Portland and now we live together in Tokyo.

Aya's getting braces and here's what she has to say about it:

I went to a dentist to pull out teeth.
Before that, I stopped by a shrine and prayed so that it doesn't hurt so bad.
Unfortunately it does, but this pain is mystic.

The dentist gave me the teeth, and I observed them for a while.
They are so pretty.
They had been with me for a long time.
and today they became independent from me.
My parents would feel the same way when I left to America.

Tonight, I sleep with the teeth under my pillow.

<3<3<3 Roommate, I fucking love you.


The other day in Kichijoji I learned that Shakira was thisclose to the perfect alterego. Well it's MINE NOW! You snooze you lose!

Yesterday I was in my favorite jazz cafe with Chie and these two older American guys stumbled in. They looked like musicians and were super laid-back and nice. We chatted awhile and they asked for help getting to Ikebukuro for a tattoo appointment. I was going that way anyway so I told them they could follow me. We walked to the station and I asked what kind of music they play and they said hard rock and that they were here with Slayer and Megadeath. Before I transferred at Shinjuku I asked for the name of their band so I could look them up, and when they told me I was like LOL, OH. Can you guess who they were?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

First Summer in Japan

I got sick of Spanish in college and switched to Japanese. After a year of that, I was kind of into it and I decided to do a summer homestay in Japan. (My second choice was Vietnam.) I spent 4 weeks in Kita-ku, Kobe (in the countryside) and 2 weeks in Nishinomiya (a suburb between Kobe and Osaka). In Kita-ku I stayed in this room,

with this view,

stretched along my futon under the mosquito net, drinking iced tea, listening to the cicadas and the giant old house.

I was 20, it felt just like this and it was perfect.


It seems like I've been swimming in one long summer since I moved to Tokyo in March, but it's finally over. I hate the end of summer but fall is lovely in Japan and this year I have pretty evenings with sunsets over skyscrapers to help me transition. Look, I can see Mt. Fuji from my balcony.

Can you see why I snapped this picture while I was waiting for the train?

Answer: this guy was rocking out all alone behind a billboard.

I can't remember if I had the blues before I started listening to Hank Williams today but I sure do now.