Saturday, November 26, 2011

That one time in Japan... when they tried feeding me a giant fish head

お久しぶり~! wayyy too Long time, no see! After my unannounced (and in my defense unintentional) hiatus came about, I had virtually no time to spend blogging. To be honest, I blame it on my smart phone. For most of my computer uses, it's way more convenient than a laptop, but for serious blogging, it's just too time consuming. I got busy with work, got my license, bought a car, have been through many emotions, changed life plans, lost 28 lbs, finally got to visit home again, and sadly, still have no concrete plans to visit Japan anytime soon(but lets keep our fingers crossed!)

Today I bring you a rather unique experience.... so I hope you will enjoy it!

I had been talking with my host mom about my Johnny’s obsession. Like, literal obsession. I have magazines, fan merch, watched all the dramas, memorized stupid facts about the members, even called them by their affectionate nicknames… I had (and still kinda have) a problem. But they’re just so hot and sexy and whatev, not even close to embarrassed.

I read online that recycle shops in Japan often have Johnny CDs and DVDs for wicked cheap prices. When I mentioned this to my host mom, she decided that we should go check one out. We drove to Kamisu City, which is just below Kashima.

I was in heaven!!! I found lots of things I wanted to buy, thought about buying, but I finally decided on two singles (the “Seishun Amigo” single from the dorama Nobuta wo Produce with YamaPi and Kamenashi and Daite Senorita, which is the first solo single of YamaPi) and the Never Ending Wonderful Story DVD from NEWS. (Totally NEWS no dai-fan much? Yeeeeep XD) 

L to R - Seishun Amigo, Never Ending Wonderful Story, and Daite Senorita

After making my purchases, my host mom took me to one of the restaurants that she owns. They were teaching me about the different kinds of food they made there and started showing me the meat. Then, all of a sudden, they showed me this giant fish HEAD! I’m not sure what kind of fish this was, but it’s just scary and creepy and was nothing I wanted to eat.

When they asked me “Tabete mimasen ka?”(Will you try eating it?), I almost died. Apparently, they even use parts of the head!!

Instead, my host mom ordered me lots and lots of chicken(some of which you can see in the picture) so all was good. But I decided to take a picture of the fish head because I had never, ever seen anything like it and haven’t ever since!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Long time no update!

This is a quick "hey, I'm not dead" post from my phone. Since I've started my job, it's been CRAZY. Not having a car is really getting to me(-_-;)

But!! Good news is that I am not making enough money so I can hopefully get one soon.

I've been working non-stop and on the weekends, been busy catching up on cleaning, laundry, etc. So I haven't had the chance to blog.

While I was waiting for my roommate to finish(we work at the same place, so we carpool), I typed up more than four blog posts, so please wait for those!

This weekend I should have more tine so I can set up for them to auto-post.

I haven't been able to see the boyfriend lately, so that has made me sad but next weekend we'll be reunited again! \(^_^)/やったっ!He's taking me for Old Bay wings from Union Jack's (a British-themed restaurant in Maryland) and then FRIED RICE!! At a fancy Chinese place. I'm so spoiled :)

You know, as I'm typing this, I've realized updating from my phone isn't so bad after all.... I might keep doing this.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

That one time in Japan…. I found out what my name sounds like [the bad]

One of my first days of school, I was being introduced to a couple boys who were friendly with the girls I hung out with.

One of them had lived in America (and was pretty cute), but was too much of a “oh, I’m a Japanese boy so I have to pretend to be shy” kinda high-school boy, so he never really talked to me. But I do remember this horrifying conversation which sprung a nickname that ended up solidifying my disdain for my name.

The quiet boy asked one of my friends my name.
Boy: 名前は何? (What’s her name?)
Girl: ステイシーだよ。(Stacy)
B: ええ?セイシって言ったの?(Did you say “seishi”?
G: 違うよ!ステイシーって。(No, it’s Stacy.)
B: 本当にセイシだと思ってたけど・・・(I really thought you said “seishi”…)

Seems innocent, right? He just misheard. But then I asked what “seishi” meant. No one would tell me. The girls acted surprised and murmured to themselves a bit. The boys close by laughed. The quiet boy and another boy thought it was funny, so they kept calling me “Seishi” but wouldn’t explain what it meant. I knew it couldn’t be good, so I looked through all of my dictionaries. Nothing.

A few weeks passed and I purchased an electronic dictionary. Shortly after I bought it, I heard them call me “seishi” again. I looked it up immediately. The first entry was 精子 and the meaning listed was “sperm”.

Yes. “Seishi” means sperm. Without even scrolling through the other options, I knew this was why I had this nickname.

My name in Japanese sounds like the word for sperm. Sperm. Now tell me that you would not instantly start making you hate your name.

If that wasn’t bad enough, they weren’t the only one who confused my name.

My first host father’s brother came to visit. When they were introducing me, he too thought that my name was a bodily fluid produced by males rather that a name derived from Anastasia. My host dad thought this was hilarious. I, however, did not. So embarrassing~~ 

And to wrap things up, here's an amusing picture explaining how birth control works... haha.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Earthquake Alert App Review

This is the first app review for my mini-series on the EEW system in Japan.

Intro to EEW

I made a video app review for you guys. Yes, my first video笑
I know nothing about editing or anything like that so please forgive me!

Earthquake Alert:

Works in Japan? Worldwide? Yes&Yes
Language(s)? English only.
Best feature: The map.
Good things: Runs/loads fast. Can set filters based on magnitude, date, distance. Can set the units. Map powered by Google Maps. Only works in Real-time so less data storage.
Bad things: No push notifications (separate beta app available). Real-time only (for up to the last week).
Ease of usage: Very easy to navigate, simple to understand.
iPhone app? Yes.
Recommended? For those looking for a simple, wordwide notification app, yes. For those looking for more specific/advanced features or push notifications, no.


Hopefully as I make more videos, I'll get better at them and now sound so crazy. haha.

Do you like the video review? or would you prefer pictures/text? Let me know!!!

Thanks for reading/watching! 

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Early Earthquake Warning [EEW] System Introduction

A long time ago I made mention that I would do a review of different apps you can use while in Japan for earthquake alerts and safety information, and after the recent 7.1 earthquake that hit just minutes ago, I figured now would be a decent time.

I clearly remember the first earthquake I ever experienced. It was about a month after I came to Japan. It was a sunny fall day and I was sitting in English class. It was a very, very weak one but I freaked. Everyone else just kept working and minding their own business but I was terrified. (I'm from Northeastern Pennsylvania - ie: No tectonic plates close enough for earthquakes)

Once a couple months had passed they had stopped being terrifying and just became an annoying part of everyday life. Sometimes they happened, sometimes they didn't. Towards the end of my exchange they started happening more frequently, but since most were during the time I was at school or the middle of the night, I never knew much about earthquakes or for that matter, earthquake alerts. At my last host family, we'd watch TV during dinner and my host brother would sometimes predict the earthquakes.(freaky, right?!) We also had a guard dog that would start barking sometimes 15 seconds before it happened! It was at my last host families that I saw the TV's earthquake alert for the first time!

Then the Tohoku Earthquake or Great East Japan Earthquake happened. While I wasn't in Japan when the earthquake happened (I was in an airplane, flying close to Sendai actually), I experienced many of the aftershocks. It was during this time I actually experienced what a early warning alert sounded like, many times a day!

About the 緊急地震速報 (きんきゅう・じしん・そくほう, Earthquake Early Warning system)
The Earthquake Early Warning system was launched in 2007 as part of the 全国瞬時警報システム(literally: all country-instant-warning system) or the J-Alert. The J-Alert system is a satellite system developed so authorities could quickly broadcast alerts for things such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, even military alerts. According to the wikipedia article, Japanese officials claim it takes 1 second to inform authorities and 4 to 20 seconds to inform citizens.

"The EEW system can detect the approximate source and magnitude of an earthquake and send out public alerts via TV, radio, and cellphone--all in less than a minute of a quake's start. It also transmits signals that can automatically shut down computers, stop elevators at the nearest floor, and halt factory production lines."[article] (Note: for more information on the differences between S-waves and P-waves, I'd recommend this article for that as well!)

緊急地震速報 for 携帯(けいたい, cell phones)
Probably the most handy part of the Earthquake Early Warning system is the message alerts that can be sent to cell phones. This article from Japan Angle has a good description: "What happens first is that your phone gets automatically “flashed” by the earthquake warning centre. An alert ring tone goes off (irrespective of whether you’ve set it to silent or not) and a message pops up on your screen telling you the approximate epicentre of the quake. There is then usually a number of seconds before the ground actually starts moving beneath you – the amount of time you get depends on how close you are to the epicentre. This is just enough time for you to open a door or window (to ensure an easy escape route) and duck under something sturdy (to protect yourself from falling objects)."
[source] Translation of the message sent. Messages are usually available in English also.
For Docomo users, here is the page with more information, including a list of compatible devices.
au by KDDI users are unlucky in that the page with information on the EEW system(including how to set it up) is only available in Japanese. More information may be available in your handset's user guide or through customer service.
Softbank on the other hand, doesn't have any information linked from their English website. However, after searching through their Japanese website, I came across this page.
However, on both Softbank [link] and au [link] 's English websites you can find information on the Disaster Message Board Service and how to sign up.

緊急地震速報アプリ(あぷり, application) for スマートフォン(すまーとふぉん, smart phones)
I think this part will be the most appealing to my readers. If you're simply traveling or planning to stay in Japan for any extended period of time, you're probably fairly concerned with safety. If you can't speak Japanese, this probably makes your anxiety even worse.

I want to make this clear: The number and strength of earthquakes has toned down a lot. And it is not unusual at all to experience an earthquake in Japan, as the tectonic plates Japan sits on are very active. I am only doing this to give you a little peace of mind and hopefully help those in the future.

I am going to rate these apps, to the best of my ability, based on the following things:
Ease of usage(from a non-Japanese perspective)
Features such as: GPS location, push-notifications, maps,

I will also list pros/cons of usage, best/worst feature, an over-all star rating, if it works world-wide or if it's limited to Japan, and if it there is both an Android and iPhone app. Please note I have an Android phone and can only review Android-based features.

I have four apps I am going to review, and I will also mention any other apps specifically for iPhone that I cannot review personally.

So be prepared for those in the immediate future. :]

Friday, July 01, 2011

Just a quick post.....

.....before I reply to all the past comments and start working on some upcoming posts. (Blogger awards, moar Taiikusai photo spam, app reviews, ninja themepark, Tegomass concert, GazettE live?!? WHAT! haha)

So first things first....
My boyfriend came to visit yesterday. I hadn't seen him in two weeks, since our argument, so I wanted to do something special for him. I made him confetti cupcakes with confetti frosting and decorated them with my writing pens. I made them with my special heart-shaped mini-cupcake maker that I got for $6 at Wal*mart!
He goes by "Ricky", but his real name is "Iwei" or "Great Happiness", which is exactly what he brings to me!
To be honest, it was my first time making cupcakes all alone, and I'm not very practiced in frosting. Guess I need to start baking more~! Despite the sloppiness, my boyfriend said he really likes the "homemade" feel of them. What a good boyfriend笑
Earlier this week, I had tried the Master Cleanse diet, but after two days, it made me break out in hives! Online forums said it was just the "diet working" but honestly, if it's going to make my skin look gross, I'll just go back to cutting calories! I felt like a failure though, and started crying while on the phone with him. I just felt so frustrated. Some people can easily drop three, even four pounds a week, but I felt like I was struggling with every ounce. My boyfriend kept encouraging me and said I should just try my best to figure out what works for me. And he also said that he'd do whatever diet I do with me, so I don't feel alone♥

He came over, and we decided to get pizza (so much for "supporting" my diet, right?haha) We then took my nieces to the park again, which was a lot of fun. He played hide-and-seek with my five year old niece and promised next time he'd bring her a Frisbee!

He brought me my birthday present, too! Last time I was with him, we went to the Asian market(how typical XD) and browsed around the Korean gift shop. We saw a bunch of cuuuute mugs and I said that someday, we should get matching mugs! He said he thought that would be really cute, too.
He got us matching panda mugs!!!! and look at that spoooooon!!!! *dies of cute overload* At first, he didn't say we had matching ones. I thought he had gotten me a mug. Then I mentioned how cute it'd be if we had matching ones and he goes "....Why do you think I got them? Of course I got two. I wanted them to match our bowls!" (panda bowl picture here) Now we're gonna look for matching panda chopsticks to make the set complete!*is a nerd*...*doesn't care* haha

And MORE! good news!!!! I got a job!!!!!
Yep, it's not the most glamorous job - just working at a call center, but it pays good and it's a good step towards a career. I start my [paid] training July 18th! I'm so excited! My boyfriend also wanted to plan a beach trip into that day, but we might be able to rearrange it so I can still go AND start work. But we'll see~!

Do any of you guys have plans for the fourth? I'm not too sure what I'm doing yet, but I hope it'll be fun! And if you're not American, does your country have an independence-related holiday?

Hope you guys have a great weekend!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Confessions, birthdays, and recent things![pic heavy]

I have a confession to make. I've been keeping a big, important secret from you all (unless you follow my twitter, then you'd know allllll about it). I'm part unicorn. Okay, so it's not that. The truth is, I've recently started seeing someone. I knew when I made the post about my birthday, I'd have to introduce him because he played a huge part in it. And he's asked me if I ever talked about him in a post and when I said "...Not really..." he looked hurt笑

Shortly after my birthday we had a few *bumps* but it's all been worked out and things are back to normal. I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who listened to my late-night rants and were so supportive of me. I really love you guys. (expect even more loving in my blogger award post!!)

Shortly before my birthday, I spent four days at my boyfriend's house. My boyfriend is a photographer, specializing in weddings currently in the DC/Baltimore area so he's busy like every.single.weekend. Plus, during the actual week, he has to edit photos from his engagement sessions and weddings. So that week we decided to take it easy and only went shopping a couple times and only out to dinner笑 
If you're interested you can view his portfolio here at his website!

Here's a photo spam of our time:

this week consisted of:
lots of ke$ha/lady gaga牛丼 awesome Chinese food at P.F. Chang's kisses ☆ watching the movie "Bridesmaids" ☆ serious talks interrupted by misplaced laughter ☆ Carroll's Mead ☆ Ginger beerhomemade Taiwanese food ☆ Godiva Chocolate ☆ Milkshakes ☆ talking about exercising and choosing sleep instead ☆ korean bbq date ☆ post-bbq ice cream adventure ☆ buying three 12-packs of Brisk and two 6 packs of gatorade ☆ being asked "Where is the party?" and later "Can I watch?" by a grocery store employee ☆ learning the characters for his name ☆ perfection.
All of that in just a four day period! (plus wayyy more ^_^)

Now onto my birthday and all of it's crazyness....
Usually, I don't have a real cake. My birthday falls shortly after school gets out, so I rarely do anything for my birthday because everyone is soooo busy! So if no party, why cake, you know?

This year I have two cakes and ice cream cupcakes. Sooo awesome!
Flavors: Triple Chocolate, Cake Batter, Sweet Cream from Coldstone Creamery
On the day of my birthday, I woke up, got ready, cleaned, had a dance party with my nieces in our living room, and then my boyfriend came over! We ordered a pizza and then feasted on a delicious chocolate mouse-y cake from the Korean bakery Shilla's Bakery.
He even got "Happy Birthday Stacy" in pink on it!

my niece made a mess of it....
After we went to the park. Around five, the boyfriend left and we got ready to travel back to my hometown for the weekend. My mom had a cake ready!
With cream cheese frosting!!
I also had dinner with my dad that weekend, but no pictures. It was a pretty nice birthday weekend. Thank you to everyone again. It was a really nice way to turn 20 :]

And now onto more recent things...
This summer I've set a goal. I want to lose around 30lbs with the goal of losing 50 in total by the beginning of next year. I know, I know, you're thinking, "50lbs? isn't that a lot?" Yes, it is. But turning 20 made me realize something.... I will only be 20 once. Soon, I will not be able to loose 5lbs in a week with very little help. I am the healthiest I'll ever be and I'm not even that healthy. I'm cutting calories and doing Wii Fit Plus for 1 hr+ every day. Rather than concentrating on just losing weight right now, I'm measuring my waist, hips, thighs etc to see how things go. I check my weight every day using the Wii Fit and I've already lost a few pounds. I'm only going to be young once so I might as well look and feel my best~

I just moved closer to DC and I've been taking care of my nieces until I find work. I put in seven applications today. One is already in review! Along with dieting, I feel a lot of good changes are coming. And if things go right, I'll have even more things to announce! :]
Wish me luck~
My baby niece playing in her stroller. So cute<3
A rare find at my local supermarket! Do you get the joke?

And to wrap things up, a few more pictures from when I visited my boyfriend that I've edited.
Snapped a photo of him snapping a photo of the sushi we had!
This picture perfectly expresses our personalities<3

Chinese for "Forever together"
A collage I made for my wallpaper on my phone!

Recently I've been using and testing many photo editing apps from the Android market. Ones used in this post are the free versions of: Free label, Photo Grid, and PhotoWonder.

I will reply to all recent comments this weekend! I am going back to my hometown for a party with my friends and to move the rest of the furniture down! Then it's back to my new home!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Perfect Birthday

I just want to say thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday on Friday. In total, over 85 people took time out of their day to say Happy Birthday! Wow! That made me so very, very happy!

I am now 20 years old, and I'm looking forward to what this next year will bring. Next year I'll be 21 so I can finally [legally] drink in the U.S. All of my friend keep telling me, "Twenty-one is the last good one then it's pretty much downhill from there.." Well, I happen to love birthdays and I will no matter if I have to forget the number笑

This post is about my birthday last year in Japan. It all started the first week of June. I noticed the back board of the classroom was empty so I decided to write my birthday on the board. Then I wrote some of my close friend's birthdays. Soon everyone was writing their birthdays. It became almost like a tradition. I wonder if they still do that? hmm..
Japanese pop culture question: Which member of Johnny's do I share a birthday with? (hint: it's written below my birthday!)
The way dates are written is 月 used to mark the month and 日 used for the day. Using that, you can probably figure out the birthdays of other kids in my class.

My birthday fell on a Thursday which meant I had school. That day, sooooo many people said happy birthday to me. I felt like a celebrity all over again笑

I came into the classroom with a couple messages waiting for me.

I was given presents first thing in the morning and then again at lunch time. And again at dinner by my host family.
They even bought me a cake!

 After school that day, I took birthday purikura with my two best friends! Here are some of them:

My two best friends - Rihochi and Sacchi. We had nicknames for each other. Mine was Suu-chan.

The next day I took purikura and went to karaoke with my other best friend from my first homeroom.
It was raining that day so my hair was ew and I forgot my makeup so forgive my bad face(>_<;;)

So you probably wanna see the presents I got, right? Well, this is only about 3/4s of them, but enjoy~
Rose-scented bath kit<3 Smells sooo pretty!
Homemade!! bread from my friend Sacchi!
The cute bag it came in!

The birthday letter she wrote me!

A very pretty 扇子 from Rihochi
My friends know I LOVE Hello Kitty so sanrio food!!!
An eye mask from Franc Franc (accidently melted this in the microwave T_T)
Hello Kitty CUP! I currently use it to hold my q-tips :]

Hello Kitty phone charm that I still use!

Part of the giftset I got from Lush! I didn't even know we had Lush in America until I went to visit my boyfriend, haha!

Hand Towel from Swimmer!
SIROTAN!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love this and I still sleep with it! (Also from Sacchi. It's her favorite character)
 Things not pictured include: a NEWS calender, a HoneyMilk makeup pouch, more Hello Kitty stuff, etc etc. I was spoiled.

This was the best way I could have ever imagined to spend my birthday in Japan. I had such a good time. This year's birthday was also very good, but that's a story for next time! :] 

Friday, June 10, 2011

和風 Giveaway winner!

As promised, I am announcing my 2nd giveaway winner!

I tallied all the winners....
Put them into 's generator....
Pressed "Generate" and received number 35!
And the winner is...........

みか☆ちゃん from ☆GLAMOROUS SKY☆!

THANK YOU! to everyone who entered!
I'm planning my next giveaway, which if all my finances pan out will be sooner rather than later. (for some hints and chances to voice your opinion on what you want, follow my twitter account!)

Now time for -your- thoughts! What do you want to see next on Hello Nippon? I have 体育祭 Pt. 2, Earthquake Early Warning system info++app reviews, and more exchange related posts planned. Any ideas? Let me know!

As always, I hope this post finds you smiling and happy, wherever you may be