The Earthquake


I was supposed to leave for Japan about 4 hours ago today. Since then, I’ve said a lot all over my Facebook as well as my Deviantart which I think was misunderstood.

I will not lie, I do have many mixed feeling.

One thing that I would like to say that I don’t think people understood is that I am indeed happy to be here at home rather than in Japan.

I am however, disappointed because I did have things that I needed to take care of, and because of this I am unable to do so and thus have to wait even longer to get into my school.

There are many strange feelings for me right now; not just because, “Oh my trip got canceled” either.

I was nagged by my parents to lie to my teacher and tell her that I had a funeral to go to in the middle of school and head to Japan then. As much as I like my teacher and I think that she likes me, that’s too much to ask. Not to mention that I am taking all Japanese therefore missing a lot of Japanese information that I’m going to need.
I’m currently being blamed for not planning this at an earlier date.

Which leads me to my next thought, which is that I originally wanted to leave after class on Thursday March 10th. And even before then. Which makes me think, “Wow, I could have been apart of this.” And no matter how much I know that I know I would be ok, in Osaka, doesn’t mean that its going to stop the panic. I’m still going to be scared. Which leads to another thought.

If I got stranded there, what would I do? I only have so much money. What if my flight gets canceled? I don’t know if Priceline will cover me for another flight because their policy says nothing on it. Not to mention what about my friend, Henry? He has even less money than I do. What if we got separated? What is he was off doing his own thing and got caught up in all this?

Then the really scary thing for me was that I was planning to go to Sendai. Which is in shambles right now.

So the more I think about my parents pushing me to have gone earlier, the more I wonder if I would have been in Sendai that day…

Its also hard to deal with because I can see my dream being pushed back yet again. Whether I like it or not, I do care about myself and what will happen to me. When I see my dream being pushed back and unattainable in the time frame I had wanted it to happen in, it’s depressing.
It’s depressing to think that had this not happen, I would be studying in Japan. As selfish as that sounds, I’m human and I can’t help but think it.

Its hard to feel like you can’t be selfish or disappointed because it was something that was just out of your power. I do honestly worry for the people of Japan and what will happen to them, but I can’t just drop that and say that I don’t worry about my future either.

Its a very hard feeling.

So I’m sorry if there were people who I had offended. It’s just this is going to be one of the strangest emotions I think I will ever deal with. Sadness for the people, disappointment for myself, fear for what could have been.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s a random update


In about 2 weeks I’m going to be leaving for Japan.

I am a little concerned however after having a brief accident with my knee.

Here’s a little lesson for you. Take it easy on caffeine and other things that have been proven to stunt your growth. I’m currently 5’3″ (160 CM) and I should have been taller. Because I didn’t grow, and my doctor told me that because of the way your legs grow, I have an extremely high risk for dislocation in my knees.

Basically, my bones in my legs didn’t do a complete rotation from what I understand and now my kneecaps are way far off to the side.

About 2 days ago when I was going to call and check on my money and what not, I guess I sat down in my computer chair wrong because I felt my kneecap slip out for a brief moment right after the lady answered the phone. I hung up saying something stupid like, “Please let me call you back, I think I just broke my leg,” and now I get to check on it tomorrow.

But luckily it isn’t as bad as last time. Last time it took 6 whole months before I could even start to move my leg. I’ve been able to move it since then, but I have a really uneasy feeling about it. It doesn’t feel right, but it doesn’t hurt, but it feels like it could slip again. Being 2 weeks away from my trip, I’m really trying to take it easier. So I’ve been using crutches and trying to stay off of it.

Today however, was Arizona’s Matsuri Festival and it was the first time that I had ever gone. I was excited to be going since my friend, Henry, had told me that there are Japanese speaking people there. I wanted to use my Japanese so badly.
I wore my Kimono that I bought in Japan the last time I was there as well. Putting it on was…difficult to say the least. Especially when I had to get to the obi!
I wasn’t too far off though, because when I asked one of the ladies at the clothing shops if she could help she only took a few seconds to tighten it (I cheated and had it loose so I could tie it in the front then flip it) and she redid the bow. She said that for my first time tying an obi that I did well. Which made me happy to hear.

It’s a simple Kimono, but that’s just fine by me.

I was also asked so many times to take pictures with people, or for professional photographers that I forgot that I was wearing a brace underneath for my knee and just felt a lot better than I had been feeling prior. A lot of them were amused that I had taken some of the look of Visual Kei and had incorporated it into traditional Japanese wear, but let’s face it, I can’t pass as a traditional Japanese woman! I’m as white as they come and I’m blonde again! Haha. But I love the look of both. Kimono are gorgeous, and Visual Kei is wonderful, why not put them together in a way?
I have some more pictures on my phone of just the look, but I am waiting to see if I find some more pictures online from the website or from the photographers who gave me their cards.

If I see some more, I’ll be sure to post them here.

I was pleased however that I was on my knee for 5 hours today, and only 2 days after the injury and there was no pain and that weird feeling only came near the end. It seems like a good sign and I am hoping that the 2 weeks before going to Japan will be plenty of time for it to make a full recovery. Though there is a little part of me that will probably keep the brace on out of fear.

I really don’t want to get a knee surgery at 21, but it seems like the day might be drawing nearer.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Study Habits


I’ve often heard, “I want to learn Japanese now!” and believe me, I’ve been feeling that way for a while now. However, no matter what you do, you’re not going to just get it. While it’s true that there are some who pick up on things faster than others there is still some work behind it.

One of the things I do to study are I write my notes several times over because I hate my handwriting and it is impossible to read! Doing this not only improves my Japanese and English writing style but it also makes me go over it again and helps me remember it. I usually have to rewrite things two or three times before I think it’s at least legible! If you’re in a formal Japanese class I think this might be a good way to help you grasp something that perhaps you’re struggling with.

Another thing I love to use to help me with Japanese is a website known as http://www.lang-8.com

Lang-8 is a blogging website where you blog in a language that you’re learning, and native speakers come in and they correct your errors. They’re really quick about it too! I usually get an answer much faster from them then I do waiting for an email from my Sensei, and you usually get a couple different ways to say things. Good news is that there is also a huge Japanese populous on this site making it easy to find a penpal or something of the like. The only thing I’ve noticed is you might want to go in and correct their English entries to make everything fair. I’ve noticed that when my “Been Corrected” ratio is higher than my “Have Corrected” ratio I tend to not get answers as fast.
Lang-8 is excellent for practicing that new grammar by applying it to sentences for practice. It’s also good to use for just everyday use like talking about your day so that you don’t forget things that you previously learned!

I do this as well as study with classmates to help me work on my Japanese and because I am particularly bad at grammar I focus on that more and doing these two things really helps me out. Though it is hard to sometimes find time, if you really value Japanese you’ll do you’re best to try and set aside time.

Posted in Helpful Sites, Information, Study Tips | Leave a comment

日本の旅行


Hey all!
I’ve got some good news!
I’m going to be spending a little under two weeks in Japan for my spring break!

I’m excited to be going there, although I must say that I really hate trying to plan the trip there.

This will only have been the second time that I’ve gone to Japan, but that doesn’t mean that the planning to get there has become any less difficult.

So far I’ve already found a great deal on Priceline.com for a hotel in Umeda, Osaka. The flights there aren’t too bad, but the layovers on the way back are going to make me want to shoot myself.
Myself and a friend want to take a shot at the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) to see how well we can do. Also, we’re planning on making a short trip to Tokyo as well since there is a college there that he wants to look at. The only thing that’s causing some stress on my part is that his passport literally just expired, and he’s waiting to see if his grandparents can give him a hand with the expenses.

All in all for just myself alone I am expecting to spend about $5,000 (USD)!

My Sensei talked about getting a JR pass and helping me with that as well so that when we travel around it won’t be as much.

At any rate, I’m happy to be going back. The last time I went I felt like I had learned more in the 8 days that I was there than I had in a classroom. Where I am, it’s extremely difficult to find a Japanese speaking person to practice with. Arizona has hardly any Japanese there, and at the moment I am finding it hard to motivate myself in a way.

I’m working my tail end off at school and right now I’m doing rather well, but I still have a butt load of homework to do and I have to do it to make sure that my grade stays up. But while planning this trip it is really stressful. Actually very overwhelming. To be honest after I come home from school and then surf the internet for another hour or so trying to get everything straight I don’t really want to do too much Japanese afterwords! But tomorrow I have a study session with three members of my class and we’re going to meet up with one of the few Japanese tutors at our school, Takuya.

I really need to get motivated again.

If you have any suggestions please leave them in a comment!

Posted in Just Blogging | 2 Comments

A Thing Called: Weeaboos


I’m sure that if you’re interested in Japan and Japanese culture that you’ve heard or have been called a “Weeaboo” once or twice in your life.

For one thing: I don’t think that this is a term that should be taken as a compliment.

Why?

A Weeaboo (based off of what I’ve seen) is someone who isn’t honestly interested in Japanese culture. Sure they might have some interest in Japan and its people, but what it seems like they are most interested in is Anime and Manga.

For those who might not know; Anime is basically Japanese cartoons and Manga are usually what Anime are based off of because they are comic books.

People who are “Weeaboos” are Non-Japanese people who are basically in love with Anime, Manga and Costume Playing (Cosplay for short) and are usually considered strange by most people.

I’ve heard from someone before that, “Everyone in Japan Cosplays and loves Anime and Manga! They look like that everyday!”

First off, I didn’t think this ever.
Second off, no people in Japan don’t cosplay everyday. The Japanese are normal people like you and I. Sometimes we’re thousands of miles away from the Japanese, or any other nationality for that matter, but in the end we’re all the same. They go to work, they have their cheaters, they have their Samaritans, they have their criminals, they have crooked politicians and so on so fourth. Anime is just Cartoons to them. Just like how Looney Toons or Tom and Jerry was for Americans.
Japan also has their own group of “Weeaboos” which are called おたく [Otaku] which are the people who love Anime, Manga, Cosplay and so on and geek out about it.

There are people here who I have heard use Otaku as a nick name among their friends. They even go around online and type, “Otaku desu <3” everywhere.

Otaku is not as positive thing. Otaku are not looked well upon in Japan. My Sensei has said this, so have my Japanese friends, and when I saw some girls getting off a plane after landing in Narita in full cosplay, they got more than enough stares, giggles and I heard several people say, “Well they’re strange aren’t they?” and a few mutters of, “Stupid Foreigners thinking that an Otaku is a respectable thing.”

My point to this entry is not to scare you off of wanting to go to Japan, or loving Anime, Manga, and Cosplay. My point is to inform people that the term “Otaku” is the Japanese equivalent to “Weeaboo.”

People are Non-Japanese are usually ok with being called, “Otaku” but not “Weeaboo.”

Really, they are practically the same.

By all means, if you love Anime, or anything for that matter, don’t let a title stop you! Live your life how you enjoy it, but please be informed before calling yourself by a title.
It’s just like how we say those popular girls are, “Preps” instead of just saying “Popular.” Last time I checked, being a “Prep” wasn’t something you wanted to be called.
Same thing for Weeaboo and Otaku.

Posted in Culture, Information, Misconceptions, Titles | Leave a comment

はじめまして


はじめまして。

私の名前はサミです。

宜しくお願いします。

Heyya. My name is Sammie and this is going to be my blog.

Now let me tell you a little about myself and this blog.

Usually when I am online, I go by my alias Kami-Kenji. I’ve a list of sites that I am active on in order of most active to least:

1) Deviantart

2) Facebook

3) Twitter

4) Lang-8

5) Ameba (Japanese)

6) Livejournal (Hiatus)

I’m also in the process of working on my own website with a friend where I will be posting English translations of a Japanese music company that I love called UNDERCODE PRODUCTIONS.

All of these sites I go by Kami-Kenji because for one reason or another I don’t talk about everything personal. For instance; my Deviantart is mostly about my art while having a few snippets about my life in the Journal entries that they allow.

I don’t however talk about all the work that I go through everyday to make my dreams come true.

Which is where this blog is going to be used.

I’m currently putting together the pieces of my dream; which is to be able to teach English in Japan and live there indefinitely.

October 1st through the 8th of 2010 I visited Japan after confronting my parents about my current situation in school. I had been going to community college because I wasn’t too sure about how I was going to go about my major in life; at the time Arizona State University (ASU) seemed like the best bet because they had the best Asian Studies Program in Arizona. Unfourtunatly I was turned down by them because, “We don’t need any Asian Studies Majors right now unless they’re focusing on Chinese or Korean.”

When I had read through the email that had stated that I began to worry. I talked to my parents after being invited to go to a couple Japanese schools, but was really discouraged. I never thought that in my life my parents would work with me for this dream. They had always thought that my love for Japan wouldn’t last once I started classes. A year later and while taking my 3rd formal Japanese class I was able to go to Japan and look at Universities there.

The one that I felt would be the best for me after searching a few was a school called 関西外国語大学 [Kansai Gaikokugo Daigaku] or in English: Kansai Foreign Language University. It’s located in Hirakata Shi in Osaka Japan. Right now I am working to get my GPA up so that I can attend this school as soon as possible.

But for the time being, I’m still living in the state of Arizona. I’ve got to finish this semester and after that I will be taking summer courses. Hopefully from there I can attend 関西外大[Kansai Gaidai] <–(A shorter way of saying the schools name) after finishing my summer courses.
The theme of this blog is going to be how I am working, and what I am doing to get ready for this and to give out as much advice as I can to those who share my dream of going to Japan. Once I get there I shall continue from there as a “Foreigner Living in Japan” instead of, “An American Girl’s Adventures to Get to Japan.”

 

Haha. Sorry for the long post.

 

Posted in Introduction | Leave a comment