Baseball Rain 

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 We got to the baseball field today and we were in pretty good seats. About 4 rows behind the guard rail near 3rd base. 


The game was interesting, but kind of boaring. The innings went by very fast because everyone was either getting striked out, or the balls were being caught. On the fourth pitch however, the pitcher hit the batter right in the kisser! He walked off the field and was taken to be checked out. Around the end of the 4th inning, we felt a few raindrops. It gradually started to increase until the 5 inning when it started to pour. 


We decided it was time to leave and go to the baseball souvenir store. I found some stickers to put in my scrap book. After that Steph, Brandon and I went back to the hotel so we could figure out what to do. Mariah joined us at the hotel and we decided to walk a bit to go to a big shrine and a food distric. The shine was beautiful! Very big with huge arches. They had a lot of dragons and memorials. 

We decided on a little restaurant on the seventh floor of this building. Once there they place looked like it was a five star restaurant in America! But it was very cheap! My whole meal was only 850 yen ($8)! 

I got a chicken dish that was very delicious! After that we decided to go walk around and we found another place like where I bought my cat things yesterday. I bought something for my bestie Genna (can’t say cause she reads these) and I also bought book tabs. Like when you wanna mark a page, only they are cats peaking from the page cornor. 

We went to a donut shop and had a quick snack before leaving to go back to the hotel. Brandon and I walked way ahead of Steph and Mariah. When we got back I came to my room to change and then I visited with Leslie and Step until they were tired. Now I am in my room getting ready for bed. 

It’s been such and amazing experience and I even learned how to say excuse me today! 

See you tomorrow! 

Jacob

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Kabuki and Anime

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Can I just say that breakfest was delicious for the rest of these, it’s getting repetitive haha! 

Yesterday was the Kabuki performance. We took a train to Tokyo to the National Theater. There we walked and found this massive building that looked like it was built with the longest logs ever. The theater was surround by trees and there were red and green flags blowing in the wind that had their logo on it. 

We waited a bit outside and got our tickets. Once inside, we found these amazing chandlers and beautiful velvet carpet. This place was massive! We were on the third balcony so we all walked up the stairs to our door, only to find that the workers were closing the doors. So we “grandma walked” into the theater and found our seats. We were lucky enough to have been provided English translation devices so we were able to understand the play.

No sooner than we sat down, the lights dimmed to signal that the show was starting. The lead role actor met us on stage, to give us a demonstration of some cool stuff. For instance the stage rotated and raised, they showed us a long wig that is only used if an actor is portraying something not human, and some props. He went on to tell us that the hair used in the wigs is from and endangered species so they have to take really good care of them. He put on the wig and did more hair flipping than what our American song asks of us. Next he showed us tweezers. They were the size of a men’s us 12 shoe. This was so the audience would be able to see what was happening. 

Next he showed us what we call stage hands which were dressed all in black. They came out with the big tweezers attached to a long black sticks. The actor told us that in Kabuki everything that is black is understood to be invisible. Then he turned our attention to a man sitting on stage right (from the audience perspective) with two blocks of wood. The actor told us that he slams the blocks on the larger piece of wood to create sounds for running, and fighting scenes. 

After that he we took at 20 minute “break” so he would be able to put on his traditional Kabuki makeup. While we were waiting a lady on our devices explained some history. She said that most actors were from the same family and if you wanted a leading role you had to be born into the family or adopted. It is very rare that actors are casted solely on skill. She also said the play we were seeing (Kenuki) was deamed one of the ten greatest Kabuki shows. She also said there was going to be homosexual and heterosexual material, she went further to say that homosexual behavior was common for Samurai Warriors. The last thing she told us was the plot and the fact that this show was one act, it had two acts, but they are never performed together now.

Once the show started the actors were dressed all in very nice formal wear. So like what you think of if I’d said formal Japan warrior wear. They all had their faces painted white except the bad guy who was red. They had one main set in which everything was performed. The stage also an an ally, but instead of it being on the sides, it was more in the middle but not exactly. The actor had told us that it was used for the entry way to the lords palace. 

The the play started, and the plot is this from what I understood. There was a magic card that when dipped into a body of water, it would rain. It was a gift to one household, once the empor asked it to be reproduced it went missing. The main lords daughter was to be wed, but has a weird condition that causes her hair to stand on end. Since this has happened, the marriage has been put on hold. And lastly our hero notices a strang presence in the house when his tweezers and knife start to dance in mid air. Later we found out there was a farmer who killed the guy he was impersonating and stole the rain card. It was all part of a plan to break up the house. Then there was a thief with a magnate in the celeing that caused his stuff to dance, and she had iron hair decorations that were attracted to the magnet so that’s why her hair stood on end. The hero killed both the imposter farmer and magnet dude and saved the day. The lord gave him a sword of high honor and he left victorious! Also the homosexual part was our hero trying to teach a young worrier how to “ride a horse” which was as you can imagine very funny to watch. The heterosexual was two seconds after that and caused by our hero again. His motive was he had to wait for the lord and was board. 

After the show ended we all met outside to take a group photo! 

Then we got some instructions about today and we all went our separate ways. Elizabeth, Vanessa, Leslie, Brandon, Adrian, Chikita, and a Technos student I think named Haide went to Tokyo station. It was like an underground city! We found a little restaurant to eat at. We were all becoming agitated cause we had been so hungry haha! I had this interesting meal where there was a bowl of noodles as litteral fried egg. Like it had a fried coating around an whole egg. I also had something else fried and then rice with salmon. The meal was very good! 

From there we went to a city where Vanessa said it was her geek spot. There they had 8 floor sega buildings and all anime stores. I went to a kind of a permanent flee market mall thing. I found CAT letters for my scrap book and a cat pencil holder! Leslie, Vanessa and I all walked around and found a store that was for adult things and regretted going in that building. 

We all met at 5:30 like we planned and left to come back. We stopped at a bookstore that was in the train station. I bought a cute notebook with a cat covered book. (The picture has the other two things I bought as well) in the book I’m writing words I’m learning and applying to people wen I’m in public!

We rested for an hour, and then Vanessa, Chikita and I went to a nice ramen place about 30 steps from the hotel. It was one of the the best places yet! It was cheep, but the broth and noodles were so good! Chikita is one of the few that still haven’t mastered chopsticks so she asked for a for. And we all had a good laugh when they brought her a kid one! 

But we all understand I still barely can get noodles but I’m getting better! 

We left and most of us passed out the second we got to our rooms. 

I am now about to leave for the baseball game and Mariah (who has been doing a homestay) just messaged me and asked what I was doing after. I told her I wanted to go to the big crosswalk place but had no one to go. She said she did too and that maybe we could grab dinner as well! I’m so excited for today. Although I have realized I only have 6 days left and kind of getting upset thinking about all these people I’ve met. I’ve become so close so fast and it’s kind of like we all knew each other before this. It’ll be hard to part with them. But forget about that for now and let’s have some fun! 

Play Ball! 

Jacob

Shinjuku!

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Here it is as promised! 

So first off wow! Like oh my lord wow! I wasn’t expecting the mini time square that I found! 

We got on the train and followed it to Shinjuku! From there we got off and this massive city unfolded before our eyes. Lights and signs absolutely everywhere! One of the Technos students took us to yet another amazing restaurant! 


(Left to Right: Technos student I can’t remember the name, Leslie, Me, Spencer, Madison, and Will) 


(Left to Right: Chikita, Technos student-also forgot name, Vanessa, Joy, Brandon, and Adrian)


(Left to Right: Rowland, and Clayton) 

Just so you can put a face with some of the people I talk about! 

Also on our way to the restaurant, we saw the famous head of Godzilla!

We got their and had to wait about 15 minutes for tables to open up to fit our party of 14! Once we got inside we were seated at the back. On each of the tables we’re a built in deep fryer. For a one flat price you got to go get as much stuff as you wanted for two hours. It was a buffet style restaurant. You would take you’re plate and everything was on a stick. Once you had your plate loaded, you would bring it back to the table and put it in a white paste and then bread crumbs, and then deep fry it! 


This place was another amazingly cool restaurant! The desert was awesome too! After we were done eating, we made plans to meet back at 10:30 to catch the train back. Vanessa, Leslie and I went to Foreber 21 of all places. I was the “bag” for them. My right arm held all of Vanessa’s items while the left belonged to Leslie! 

We found a very cool hat that Leslie picked out and convienced me to buy it. I feel that it fits my personality very well! 

After that, we went back to meet and then went to the train and came back to the hotel! Mind you all the walking was amazing cause of the lights and skyscrapers! 

Tomorrow is finally the Kabuki! I cannot wait to go see original Japanses Theater! I also cannot wait to tell you all about it! 

Talk to you tomorrow! 

Jacob 

6 hour bus ride…

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Well today we left! As I said, my room had to help with breakfest. We served soup and filled drinks nothing too bad. 

After eating, we went and cleaned our rooms and packed up. We all met outside of the entrance for a group photo. After that we said our goodbyes to the amazing people that let us stay in their beautiful reapet and departed for Matsumoto Castle!

After a two hour bus ride, we finally arrived at a parking spot. We walked for about ten minutes and suddenly we rounded a corner and there was the massive castle! Nicknamed Black Crow. We learend on the bus that most castles in Japan were white. This one was black, and was Japans only castle that hadn’t been rebuilt! The outside was beautiful! We took a group photo and I took a photo of the Koi fish in the moat. We started inside where we found a ninja! Thoese pictures are on my camer! I did the old switch them around thing and it worked all day! 


Once inside there was a beautiful garden that stretched all the way to the castle! I bought some really cute souvenirs!

We went inside and saw a bunch of cool stuff. My favorite was the samurai armor! It was an original piece! 

Next we went to the top and saw the amazing view. After this I got a mellow yellow and once again, it taste different!

We went to a meso (type of Japanese soup) restaurant/factory! We got a tour of the factory which is ran traditionally . Meaning they make the soup in big barrels! We were lucky to have 3 years aged meso soup! It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had! The photo below was what happened when I took my camera off, everyone thought it was funny! They called me a pairate! 


After dinner we got back on the bus and for 3 more hours. They played an amazing cartoon for us. We got off and I said by to Mariah cause she will be doing a homestay! 

I came to my room and I am currently getting ready to go to Shinjuku! With Vanessa (spelt it right!) Leslie, Portia, Brandon and maybe a few others! 

I plan to post again when I’m back about my experience!

Thanks for reading! 

Jacob

Adventure, Waterballoons, & Fireworks!

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Hey pals!

So today I found something on my bucket list – but let’s start at the top. 

So as usual we woke up and went to get breakfest. The litterally served French fries for breakfest! Once we were done eating some of us went out to play tennis. After about an hour Mariah and I went on a walk. 

We walked north up a hill that said there was a golf course. We walked up the many steep steps and found some more resort houses. We were about to turn around when we noticed a road that was slightly overgrown. Mariah and I looked at each other and said “we got 45 minutes to waste, why not?”

Bucket list item part 1!!!

We walked down the road and we saw some other buildings. Turns out they were ruins of some old buildings. We went further and noticed a house that was abandon a overgrown garden where the water used to flow. It was truly an amazing sight! Then we walked down the other road and found two large sliding doors, we opened them and found another beautiful garden!


After that we returned to the resort were we waited to go inside. We found out we were making our own sushi! They tought us how to make a flower sushi role, and a bite size role! I was very happy with my results. (Both visual and tasteful) 


After that. We have a little bit more of free time where some of us just chilled and talked for a bit. 

Next we had sports. We went to the gym and played the ball relay race, and the 3 legged race. My red team shirt was way too small for me but I made the best of it! Hulk smash! 

Once we were done with that, Will and I decided to go take a bath. As usually it was amazing and relaxing. After the bath Will and I decided to go outside. When we went outside we saw everyone filling up waterballoons. So Will and I joined in the helping of filling them up. We had about 3 buckets full. 


We all got in a circle and counted to 1 and ran to grab the balloons. I targeted Chappy, only cause he was the biggest guy here and you know… he can’t win. I oddly made it out with a few wet spots, but nothing that wouldn’t dry in a few minutes. 


After that we all went down and packed up for tomorrow departure. We all met back in the front of the resort to walk down for the BBQ. At the BBQ they had pork, shrimp, scallops, and beef. Along with assorted veggies. After that we had ramen noodles (not the dollar pack) with the remaining stuff. Then, Steph, Valerie and I walked back to the cool deserted house. I wanted to show them and they loved it.


Bucket list part 2!!!

Only this time, we found a Buddha statue, and we followed a new path. There we found a huge gate like massive, and some other houses. We also found a grave and soon found out it was an old cemetery. This gate was beautiful! It had such amazing woodwork on the doors. 


We had to leave to go to fireworks! We all got lots and lots of sparklers to play with! After that they showed us a mouse firework which spin in a cool circle! Then they had us do a competition with these cool sparklers that would fall off eventually. Whoever had the shortest sparkler one. I won once! 


Then Will, Rowland, Brandon and I went to the baths one last time, it was so peaseful at nighttime. After we got out, we all bought milk, the students told us to drink it after our bath, and I’ll tell you I am so clean and peaceful! 

Currently I am sitting in a game room while Will and Elizabeth are singing Karaoke, and I’m just thinking about how we have to leave this amazing place tomorrow. Oh well, we have to get up early cause my room is scheduled for serving breakfast! Tomorrow we are gonna go see a castle!

Till next time!!

Jacob

Mt. Fuji & Midori-no Mura

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Hello Friends!

So – I spent majority of today on the bus traveling all over Japan! The first place we went today was the famous Mt. Fuji! This is one of Japan’s main attractions. The bus ride there was filled with huge mountains and little towns at the bases of them. It was truly a sight to see!

When we arrived, it was all dark and cloudy. All of us were very upset that we couldn’t see the top of Mt. Fuji. But, us being tourist, we found other things to keep us entertained. Steph, Venessa, and Leslie all road horses. Once they were done, Venessa, Steph and I all walked around and took some pictures, and went to the gift shops. I walked around and found the cutest cup in all of Japan (well in my opinion). It even has the mountain painted on the side!

It was almost time to leave when all of a sudden I looked up and noticed some holes in the clouds. I was so excited I started to take pictures as the mountain started to clear. And then all of a sudden, all the clouds were gone and there it was Mt. Fuji! Just there in its massive glory! I cannot describe to you what it was like to be there and to see such a beautiful sight. Not even the pictures I took will bring justice. Soon after the clouds rolled back in and it was gone in a matter of seconds.


We left and were headed to Lake Kawaguchiko for Lunch. Once we were there, I was again in aw. The lake was surrounded by mountains for miles. It was a such a beautiful sight. We ate in a little restaurant that served a very unique meal. There were several plates with very different food objects on it. The one thing that caught my attention was the bowl of noodles and soup that was being heated in front of our eyes. It was like a witches cauldron with a little burner under it, but small. The food was very good. Once I was done I headed outside to take a few more pictures before we headed for our 3 hour bus ride to Midori-no Mura.

Like I said before, the ride was amazing, due to seeing all the mountain. It was like looking at a Hawaii paradise, or the scene of Jurassic Park. We stopped halfway at a rest area to stretch, get a drink, and use the bathroom. One thing to note is that the rest areas over hear are so beautiful, they are a work of art in themselves. I went over to a pond, and all of a sudden a bunch of Koi fish swam right up to me. I expected that they wanted food, but I only took their pictures.


After the rest of the bus ride, we arrived at Midori-no Mura! We had to take off our shoes and we don’t get them back unless we leave the resort. We went to our room and it is so cool. It is the woven mats with two sitting size high tables. We are sleeping on mats tonight. This place is suppose to be a traditional housing feel. No sooner than we walked in, almost all of the guys (including ourselves) went to the bath house/hot spring.

Note: This next part my be somewhat awkward, but I assure you it is tradition.

This is how a hot spring works. You go into a changing room, you take off all of your cloths and yes, I mean ALL OF YOUR CLOTHES. You take a wash cloth over to a shower station. You get a stool and sit on it. You then take a normal shower, next to the other guys, with no walls or anything. You shower and clean your body, once you have done this, you are allowed into the spring. Our spring had an indoor and an outdoor option. We all started in the indoor but quickly moved to the outdoor. Once outside, the air was slightly cool, so it felt good to be in hot water. We had a nice view of a mountain area. We all talked a bit and relaxed. After you are done, you go rinse your body and then dry yourself off. You put back on your cloths and leave.

I will say it was very very hard to be exposed like that and to just walk around with being so exposed. I almost didn’t do it. Looking back, we are all guys and we all have our insecurities, and I am glad I did it. I was also proud of myself for overcoming something that I have hidden for so long. I am more proud of myself for doing something because its culture, and not doing it because I am scared of judgment.

After that we all came back and chilled out for a bit. I also had the unfortunate luck of my camera dying and no one has a charger. I am here for tomorrow and then Ill be able to buy a charger or something. By the time that we were done getting situated, it was time to eat. Some of Technos and our student prepared salad, rice and meat. We also got a little bottle that reminded me of five hour energy. It was like a cross between milk and yogurt. One of the Technos students told me that it was to cleanse the body. And boy did it. After well… you know… I felt very uplifting. I felt relaxed and in tune with my body.

After we were done eating, we hung out for a bit before orientation. The told us about using the bath, how to wear a Yukata, and making our beds. The Technos students asked for volunteers and Will and I both raised our hands. It is funny cause we both wore our shits that we bought from last night, and now we were going to twin again. Once that was done I headed back to the room, and I made my bed. I am currently laying on it typing to you! Today will be hard to top, best day ever? Maybe best day so far?


Either way I am happy and I am loving absolutely every minute of this trip. We will be here at Midori-no Mura tomorrow as well and we will be learning several new things.

Till next time!!!

Jacob

CATS CATS CATS!!!!

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I just have to say this TODAY WAS SO AMAZING!!!! 

But before that, let me start in order. So as usual I woke up and ate breakfast, and then we all went to Technos College for some lessons on Japanese Language and Culture! Our first one was a bit of an language course. 

We were taught how to introduce ourselves to someone for the first time. So if I said: 

How do you do! I am Jacob. I came from America. Nice to meet you.

In Japanese I would say: 

Hajime mashite? Watashi wa Jacob desu. Amerika kara kimashita. Doozo Yoroshiku. 

After that we were given a sheet with consonants and vowels in Japanese. We had to learn the 25 different ones by symbol and sound. After that we played a game where the students would read off a sound and we would have to find the card with the symbol (in Japanese) and touch it first. Whoever had the most cards by the end one. I of course outbeat everyone, even the American kids who spoke Japanese…. okay so I got two cards but you try it, it’s kinda hard. 

Then we went and ate lunch. The interesting part about lunch was that when we were done there were separate trays for chopsticks, cups, and spoons. Then you had to dump all the leftover food on your tray in a trash can, then you went and rinsed off your plate, and put it in this big water area. 

We had some free time so a few of the American students and I went in an elevator. This was the 9 floors high thing that I told you about yesterday. We went to the top and saw something we didn’t expect. All of Fuchu (where we currently are, just outside of Tokyo) was laid out in front of us. It was an indescribable sight to see for miles. 

After that we went to the afternoon sessions. This consisted of 4 groups of Technos students teaching us different things. Two was language, one was manners, and one was chopsticks. I learned how to say thank you! And I have been saying it to everyone that I can! 

After that we got a presentation on a trip we’re going to go to next week. It has lots and lots of shopping stalls! 

When that was done, we went back to the hotel and decided to go to Shinjuku. We got there though several trains that Vanessa nagavated.  Once we arived we walked across the street and thousand of neon signs and shops unfolded in front of us. We said we would all meet back at the big gate at 8 o’clock. We went around the shops for a bit and I even got a delicious ice cream thing.  But my favorite part was the very first building. It was called cat cafe! You paid 600 yen (roughly $6) to spend 30 minutes in a big room with CATS and coffee!!!! I was in heaven and they had a munchkin cat!!! 

That was the highlight of my day. I bought a shirt (which I plan to wear tomorrow), and some very cool chopsticks both costed 100 yen or about 10 dollars. 

From there we got back on the train which was indescribable crowed and we finally made it back to the hotel. I took a bath in our rooms deep deep tub and finished packing for Midori No Mura (Green Village). We will be there for 2 whole days, and we’ll also be going to see Mt. Fuji! 

I do not know if there will be wifi there, but if not I’ll try and remember everything for when I get back.

Till tomorrow! 

Jacob