Thursday, September 20, 2007

Japan, Check

This is my last night in Japan. Tomorrow, off to Taipei.

I think Tokyo is an amazing city, from what I've seen of it. It's a really cosmopolitan city. It's incredibly clean. The public transport is incredibly sophisticated. People are friendly. (According to my dad, it's just superficial, but as a tourist, it's nice to see nonetheless.) The stuff we saw outside of Tokyo was less than thrilling. We went to a few "historic" sites - traditional temples and shrines - but they're all tourist-trap recreations built in the 1970s and what not. So they look really old, but if you look closely, the construction is just a little too perfect to be ancient. I think going to Italy and seeing paintings from the 12th Century and even older buildings has jaded me just a bit. Oh, poor me.

One of the best tourist experiences I had was staying at this traditional Japanese hotel near the coast in Atami. We slept on tatame (mats). We ate dinner sitting on tatame mats. We had to wear yukata, with the right side tucked on the inside. Women had to tie their belts on the side or the back; men tie them in front. The most, erm, for lack of a better word, "unusual" part of the traditional hotel experience was the hot bath. Basically, there was an enormous room with lots of shower heads around the walls. In the center, there was a large hot bath. And we all got in, naked, and bathed, and then soaked, and bathed and soaked and bathed and soaked until the hot water and steam made our heads spin. The public nudity wouldn't have been so off-putting if my mom weren't there. And if I didn't have a nipple piercing. Which she doesn't know about. So I spent the entire time hiding my boobs, like I was ashamed or shy, whereas really, I was just trying to avoid her clucking at me.

All "unusualness" aside, between the bath and the massage I got and the cozy bed, I had one of the best nights of sleep in my life. Until my mom, for God only knows what reason, called and woke me up at 5:45am. Grr.

In other news, I found out that I de facto got the department assignment I wanted. Only because I didn't get a phone call telling me otherwise. Whew.

I just got off the phone with the boy and my heart is reeling. I can't write anymore. Nothing spectacular. I'm just overcome with emotion right now. "I just want to hear you say it." That I want him to wait for me. (Instead of hooking up with some dirty Jersey girls who are visiting his roommate.) Of course I do. I need to go to bed.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Why This Trip Was A Bad Idea

Unbeknownst to me, my family decided to come to Japan a few days early, hang out in Tokyo for a few days, and then meet up with a tour group coming from America. Today, we were supposed to be at the airport by 2pm to meet the group. We got there at 1:30. Some guy noticed our name tags and told us to sit and wait. Two hours later, we were still waiting. So my dad called the tour guide, and she realized that we were left behind. Twenty minutes later, we saw her with a big sign, and she ran over to us as we beckoned, dishing out apologies like it was nobody's business. I'm pretty sure she didn't get the first one out before my mom just laid in on her. And she continued to ream her out in Chinese, noticeably audible over the din of the arrival area. The teen angst that has resurfaced aside, it was totally embarrassing. After a few minutes, my mom had crossed from righteous indignation into shrieking lunatic banshee territory. It didn't help that she had these two rice kernels from her lunch still stuck to her shirt.

When we finally got to the hotel, I went to the gym. FINALLY. I really haven't worked out, if you're curious, since before the bar exam. I've been walking around a lot on vacation, but my plans to exercise in Europe were thwarted by my broken foot. After showering, I was five minutes late meeting my family for dinner. So when I finally found them in the restaurant, they were seated at a table for four. And I had to sit like a fucking pariah at my own table. It would have been fine - I mean, if I had known, I would have brought a book or something. But for crying out loud - I was forgotten by my own fucking family.

So much teenage angst is resurfacing. It's kinda pathetic, really. I gotta get a hold of myself.

Anyway, Japan. I'm here. I'm not really sure I have that much to say. I think it would be really nice to go to an art museum and absorb some culture besides shopping and eating. But both are pretty good, I guess. My parents buy me things - jewelry, food. They even paid, more or less unknowingly, for my phone calls to the boy. :) But Tokyo is a lot like Hong Kong - just less crowded. The food, though. Oh, the food. It's amazing! Everything is delicious - snacks, noodle shops, curries, teas, pastries. I could eat forever. I'm trying not to, though. Living off the hotel food - the meals we're given - has left me really hungry! I'm like gorging myself and starving at the same time.

I really want to go home. At the same time, I really, really, really need to enjoy this while I can. It's just that ... while being in Japan is a novelty, so is the boy. And I miss him. And while my last trip brought us closer together, I feel like this one is pushing us apart.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


My European vacation is over. Yeah, there are anecdotes and photographs, but those will come later.

My brief visit home is over. There are no photographs, and not really any anecdotes, but there are thoughts.

  • I got to see two friends from the high school days. That was so much fun. It made me feel adult and grounded. Catching up, having dessert, with two women who are successful and stable and struggle with adult things - dating, children, eek!

  • I spent pretty much all of the rest of my free time with the boy. I think that if I didn't, he would have broken up with me. I don't like long distance, he said. I don't even like having girlfriends I see only once a week. OK, noted. I hope I made it sufficiently clear to him that I am going to try my damndest to make sure that he's a priority of mine when I start working.

    As it turned out, my last trip was good for us. He learned that he liked me and missed me - I think he's learned to appreciate me a lot more, and be a little more committed, not that he wasn't before, but ... it's just been more intense. I think it was the same for me. But yesterday, looking into this eyes, and feeling his arms around me, damn, it scared the shit out of me. I felt so much fear. Fear of falling in love, fear of declaring my love, fear of being hurt (why does he not talk to me about this one ex-girlfriend from high school he's been rekindling a friendship with? why didn't he mention that he's going to hang out with her on Saturday? why didn't he mention that he was having lunch with her all those weeks ago?), fear of losing myself (I spent all my time with him - I hardly did any laundry, didn't make those phone calls I needed to make, didn't see those friends I wanted to see).

    There are so many thoughts in my head, I really just need to see what comes. Quell the doubts, because I really should not let them nag at me, because they are 90% manufactured by me. Maybe 95%. See what comes, because if this is going to be love, then let it be. Don't skip the love just because I see the other side. This might sound cheesy, but maybe the love needs to be allowed to live, even if it's for a little while.

    That's all I have in me. I gotta get packin.

    Next up: family vacation to Japan, Taiwan and Cambodia. This trip is either going to be really good for my family, or it's going to tear us apart. God help me, I hope it's the former.