自動販売機


Japanese Vending Machines

My first encounter with a Japanese vending machine!
– (excuse the awful picture- I took it with my cell phone real quick while waiting for one of my flights in Tokyo)
They’re so much nicer than they are here in the US- for one, it’s not all soda and sugar filled junk.  There are all sorts of teas and juices and vitamin/mineral waters.  Then there are the specialty machines, like “Boss” coffee machines.  Yes, you can get coffee out of a vending machine, and no, not just cold! There are plenty of warm beverage offerings.
Vending machines are also more popular in Japan, which is probably a big part of why they’re so nice/advanced there.  You can find them not only in shopping areas or outside of busy stores, but everywhere- even standing pretty much on their own on the roadside.

I miss Japan, and it’s awesome vending machines.

rice-planting in Omura

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We planted a rice paddy!
In socks!
Haha- there was so much mud that it made a sucking noise when you took a step, it was great.
And it wasn’t just people from the program that brought me to Japan- we were with a group of kids from two (I think) schools.  It was so much fun.

おはようございます!

今、私は大村市にいます!(長崎)
本当に楽しいよ!
I am currently in the City of Omura, Nagasaki, and I’m having a really great time!
I’m staying with a host family- so I have a Mama, Papa, imouto (little sister), and otouto (little brother). They’re all really great(and quite young- I’m more like a younger sister than a daughter, which is fun!).  My Mama, Kumi, is such a sweetheart, and she can speak some English, so if there’s a word or something I don’t catch she can explain it to me.  Every night I help her cook, I go shopping with her, and do laundry, etc (I know some people just find those to be chores, but it’s enjoyable for me).  She is always asking if there is something I would like to try or do, so my stay is full of adventures!  Youichi (Papa) is super nice as well- and he works at Canon (aka the best camera-maker EVER).  His english isn’t so good, (as in nonexistent), which is okay- we have been fine with communicating!  I really appreciate everyone’s efforts. My imouto, Hiro, is super cute and sweet- she’s somewhere between 5 and 7 years old, I’m not sure- and she calls me “onee-chan” (big sister) (かわいいね!).  She has been teaching me to make origami cranes (at which I am terrible), and likes to show me her favorite candies so I can try.  My otouto, You-kun (Youdou) is 13 months old, and so precious.  Sometimes he just wants to be held, and so if I’m there he’ll hold his arms out to me.  And he is always hungry!
Last night Kumi took Hiro and I to see ホタル (fireflies).  It was so pretty!  And we went with another family that is hosting my friend Maki.  While we were there, my friend Alex was there with his host family too!  So I got to meet them.  (– I hope he’s not having too much trouble communicating- he doesn’t speak a lick of Japanese).
We are going to perform for our families, so we have been learning a dance routine- it’s a medley of Japanese songs. We will dance to a little kids show’s song, Anpanman Taiso, so all of the kids can sing along, as well as an old fishing dance, and contemporary music such  as Exile and AKB48.  It’s really fun to be learning- I love dancing! It’s tiring when you dance for five hours a day though!
Today (since here it is now 6am) we will be meeting the Mayor and then planting rice in the paddies and going to a school to play with the children. I’ve been told the fields will be dirty work- usually requiring you to throw out your clothes after!  I hope I don’t have to, for I only have a few articles of clothing (I packed light so I could buy gifts for back home)!

Well, I should try and get a half hour more sleep- my jet lag hits me randomly during the day.

またね!

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(Hiro and Youdou!)

〜クリステン

久しぶりです。

.. {pronounced: hisashiburi desu.
meaning: It’s been a long time.}

I really need to get on here more.  I have been writing (and reading..) a lot, but I’m always self-conscious about what I share with others.
そして、I have three stories going all at once, and I’m not sure which to stick with and work on first- so that’s not really helping with the lack of productivity.

As for some real news:
 I am leaving a week from Monday for Japan! I’ll be in Nagasaki & Fukuoka , and I cannot wait!
I’ll be bringing my Nikon, and hope to get some good photographs during my stay.  I would have liked to bring my Canon, as it is the superior camera (obviously- I am so biased) and I love it, but I need to buy a new lens!
I will be living with host families in their respective cities, and I hope that it goes really well.  I know nothing of my family in Fukuoka, but that my host parents in Nagasaki are young, with a young daughter and a baby boy.  I’m thinking that I’ll probably identify with them more as a friend than as parents! Nonetheless- I am ecstatic!  I hope they’re as excited as I am.  I’ll also bring them some small New England gifts that I hope they will like.

Well, I guess that’s about all for now.