Monday, August 23, 2010

J Brew is in the Hood!

This past weekend there was a roll of thunder, clap of lightening and squeals of excitement as I was reunited with the one and only Jessica Brewka! She traveled the 4 hours from the north by both bullet train (shinkansen) and subway before arriving at my local train station where I retrieved her. On our walk home we promptly stopped at McDonalds to feed little Jessica, as she has no fast food out in the boonies, before arriving at my casa to enjoy some wine and swap stories, syncing our experiences so were back on the same page again. All the while reminding each other that we get to spend 3 WHOLE nights together AHHHHHHHHH!!! 

My she's excited to be at the 100 yen store!
But then again, who wouldn't be?
Well look at youuuuuuu
Friday we slept in and did a few local things. I had to go to the BOE to sign something, well actually stamp it with my honko, so I took Jessica with me. They knew I had a friend coming and that she lived in Amori, a prefecture which even they consider far, so I think they were curious to see if she made it. After meeting a few people and explaining what we were planning to do this weekend, we were off on our bikes to the dollar store! Always an adventure in itself, we hit up the craft section and we left with paint and little wooden things to paint. For me a welcome sign to hang on my door and for J Brew a sign with her name in Japanese to stick in front of her house. As if everyone in her town doesn’t know who she is and what she’s doing everyday, that blonde hair might as well be a red blinking arrow pointing to her. What was after craft time you ask, well of course that would be Disney Sea!

Disney Sea

I was in charge of the map...poor choice
Me and Ariel hangin out.
I've loved her since I was 4.
They have cheaper tickets if you go after 3pm so that’s exactly what we did. The entire time we were there I was trying to figure out why it was called Disney Sea to begin with, and the only reason I could think of was that the park was laid out with water running through it, but other than that it was pretty much exactly like Disneyland. Everything was in English and I saw fewer tourists than I expected. It was pretty crowded so the lines were long and the excitement level of the rides were toned down significantly. Not that Disneyland is known for its white knuckle type rides, but we’re talking about a “roller coaster” only slightly more exciting than the tea cups. This roller coaster in particular had 1 loop in it, and they advertised it every 30 feet, “ATTENTION ATTENTION: 360 degree loop!!!” The sign had blinking lights and a drawing of a man sitting in his chair gripping the sides and every 10 seconds he would rotate in a complete circle. WE GET IT, the roller coaster goes upside down for 2.3 seconds…I’ll try to prepare myself.

There are actually women only cars during rush hour.
I know in one of my last blogs I wrote about how people stare etc and how I understand where they are coming from. Well I want to half retract that statement. I ONLY am understanding about their staring when it is out of curiosity, but when it turns in to the creepy “I want to do you stares” I am NOT ok with that. While we were in the 2 hour lines at Disneyland we got soooooo many gross creepy stares from men, mostly with wives or girlfriends to boot. I think most of it had to do with the fact that I was with Jessica and her blondeness, doubled by the fact that we are relatively young and were not accompanied with a guy or Japanese native. The stares that started at my feet and slowly moved up to my face where the men were met with a look of me wanting to kick them in their nether regions, really were ruining the magic of Disneyland. Yuck! it gives me chills just thinking about it.

Imperial Palace. Emperor doko desu ka?
But the rest of the weekend went great! We woke up early the next morning and took the train to Tokyo Station which essentially is a mall in itself, SAAAWEEET! We hit up Jessica’s favorite Bento place and took our lunch to the Emperial gardens and ate there before walking to Tokyo tower and hitting up a Buddist temple on the way. We then headed to Shibuya to have dinner with some fellow JETs along with some of Jessica’s friends as well. It was quite the crew!

Cleansing my hands and mouth
before entering the Buddhist temple.

Jessica and I wrote our fortunes
and wishes for the next year.

Tokyo Tower, it was a LONG walk from the gardens.

After dinner it was off to do what else, karaoke! By then the group had dwindled to 5 but great fun none the less. When Karoke was over is was about 10:30 pm, the last train back home was at midnight, and even if we left right then and there, their was no guarantee that we would have made the last local train. So we were committed to whooppin it up till 5am when the trains started running again. This is not uncommon by any means but it would still be our first time!
Karaoke! Pretty self explanatory I'd say.

The final clubbing crew came down to me, Jessica, Michael a fellow Chiba JET from New Zealand, and Trey another fellow Chiba JET from Tennessee. We started at a bar that we’re pretty sure were full of “ladies of the night” so we left there pretty quick and headed to an Irish bar where we were served by a Brazilian bartender who spoke perfect english…go figure. Then we ate ramen noodles before hitting up a dance club then finally hanggin at McDonalds for the last hour or so. As the sun rose we headed for the train station where we sat next to people who, lucky them, had gotten a full nights rest and were all suited up and headed for work. We made it home at 7:30 am where we promptly showered and napped until 1pm when it was on to our next event!
Ohayou Tokyo!! That is the sunrise you're witnessing.
It was time for the Obon festival! Jessica and I put on our Yukatas and headed to the train station where we met my neighbor and fellow JET, Kim, and Nagashima a lady that works in our office who was escorting us. We had tried to tie our Yukatas ourselves…poor choice. While we were walking to the train station mine kept blowing up basically showing my entire leg, exactly what the Yukata is NOT meant to do. We looked so disheveled and we were soooo embarrassed to be walking along the street like that! As we walked we joked that we were “shaming Japan with every step” which to be honest probably wasn’t too far from the truth. When mine blew up in the front I was like, “Oh my god! Did we just make our Yukatas slutty?!” This of course sent us in to convulsions making us look further and further from the proper Yukata wearing women we were supposed to be. Needless to say we were soooo relieved to see Nagashima who upon seeing us let out an, “Ooooo haha”. Great. Thankfully she took us to the bathroom and put us back together again.

Nagashima, Kim, me and Jessica at dinner prior to the festival.
We arrived at the house of the man who worked for the BOE and had invited me only after I was able to name the Cleveland Indians, remember him? He and his family were ever so excited to see us in our Yukatas and we ate and drink for quite a few hours before we headed to the Obon festival down the street to get our grove on!

We jumped in and danced in a huge circle and did our best to copy what everyone else was doing. The women looked beautiful and the taiko drums amaze me every time, I am dying to try them as soon as school starts, I am hoping their will be a club or something I can get into.

The big red dog is Chiba-kun, the prefectural mascot!
Can we all just look at the little boy hugging him?!
How cute it that!!
After dancing the night away we came home and passed out. The next morning I had to get up early to head to Chiba City for our prefectural orientation. I had to leave Jessica which I was ever so sad to do, but I left her with a key and directions to IKEA, their was no doubt she was going to have an excellent day.

All in all we had SOOOOO much fun and it was so good to see her! It’s nice to know that one of my closets friends is experiencing many of the same things I am. He Japanese is pretty amazing, she speaks enough to where people ask her if she speaks Japanese which is totally a testament to her! Way to go J Brew so proud of you!

Next it will be my turn to go visit her! After my first paycheck we’ll be swapping dates, no doubt, and I will head to the north to visit the country side.

Can’t wait!!

Jya ne!


  1. Love the updates, Kate! Sounds like you are getting settled in and checking everything out. Keep exploring, it only gets better!!

    Michelle (from RUHS)

  2. KB You & Jessica are quite the pair, & great to have a close friend to share travels & adventures. enjoy,enjoy,enjoy! & tell the local boys to chill, they do not know 2 fine ladies when they see them! love/ya



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