lusentoj
09 July 2017 @ 07:36 am
tried to get my upperclassman who's currently on exchange to japan to start a blog about the exchange... i mean, you're on a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity", at the very least you're living in a cool new country and are supposed to be a kind of spokesperson for your school, and you found some OTHER previous exchange student's blog helpful, and i'm sure tons of people would be really interested.

but they're saying they don't have any image galleries anywhere, no blogs, nothing. they've already been there for a semester and have one semester left. i said, i really recommend for you to start one, i know that just after 1-2 years i'll have forgotten a ton of went on (i did live in iceland for 2 years after all... but what's left? it's only been 5 years and i've already forgotten most of it by far, when not reminded by photo proof) and i just started an exchange blog in advance now but i've already gotten japanese people i've shown it to get really excited and invite me to visit them and things due to it. so "you could get a lot of great opportunities through it" i said. i mean, i might be able to get a JOB through showing people my blog or something, you never know.

she replied with something like "it's great that it works so well for you, but i feel like i don't have time".

don't have time? literally all you have to do is write a paragraph every now and then, and/or upload some photos which if you have any sense in your head you should already be taking... if you want, whenever you have free time you can edit the posts to add in more info. you can freaking do this while you're commuting to school by bus! though the most logical time would be right before bed after your homework / email-checking is done.

anyway, i felt that her reply was kinda rude. one of those "YOU can do that but I can't possibly because my life is tougher/busier/whatever than yours" sorts of replies that people love giving as an excuse to not try anything new at all... i mean, how in the world does she not have ANY time? she's even said herself that the classes are ridiculously easy and with like no homework, she doesn't have a job, and she has time to check skype and stuff. you know, you don't have to blog every day or every week, and if you have a blog then you don't have to email your relatives, facebook message your friends etc to say what's going on anymore. sigh. well whatever, it's her loss, but it's annoying whenever i know people ARE going to really regret something a few years later and they still don't listen to other people / people with experience about it...
 
 
lusentoj
08 July 2017 @ 06:03 pm
doing a bunch of stuff that'll turn out useless again, as always...

all i want to do is separate words and then make a pop-up dictionary. but the tools are so bad, most of my time is spent just trying to fix the separation mistakes. not to mention, the "pop-up" with the translation is so small it's unreadable since it's just a tooltip, but i don't know how to make it any bigger...







anyway these same basic tools are what i need for every language:
1. some way of separating words (ex. prefixes from the main word; or in chinese/japanese, ALL the words)
2. pop-up dictionary

since most of the languages i work with have no real/decent dictionaries, the pop-up dictionary wordlist needs to be exportable so i can print and sell my own dictionary later.... i've just been working on this kind of stuff off and on for some years now but it never really gets anywhere since it's so frustrating to do it.
 
 
lusentoj
06 July 2017 @ 02:47 pm
learning lots of useful words from animelon, here are a few just from today (Flying Witch):

ババ抜き - old maid (card game). literally something like "old-crone removal"
地元(民) - local (person). previously i only knew a katakana english borrowing.
加工 - processed, as in processed food
綿飴 - cotton candy (it's a literal translation of the english)
くじ - short for 宝くじ, (casual) lottery
あま - short for あまり "too much"
失業中 - currently unemployed, literally "in the middle of lacking work"

when you learn it in a textbook, how they use some words (that your book claims are grammar) like "feign" are hard to understand but then when you see something like "don't pretend you didn't see him!!" and two episodes later "pretend you don't know him", it all clicks into place haha.

anyway, so i was reading about if you can use fruit juice (as in dates i've put into a blender along with some water) in making kombucha instead of honey, because honey's way more expensive, and someone said their sugar cravings and sweet tooth disappeared when they started having kombucha regularly even though they hadn't planned on / thought about it. something about getting the actual proper nutrients. i realized the same is true for me too, the times i want to eat something like sugary fruit / junk food in general is always when i've stopped (for whatever reason) making/eating the fermented foods.

i also noticed that i don't get red lines on my stomach or marks on my skin in general anymore, unless i've eaten something bad. (i just noticed this like 2 days ago for the first time, since i ate something bad for the first time in a long while). you know, it used to be that when i was sitting at the computer or whatever and then got up, or when i woke up in the morning, i'd have red lines/indent lines on my stomach or the underside of my arms and stuff like that, and now it just doesn't happen. but this is just another thing i've noticed myself, haven't read anywhere. i'm gonna go look it up now...

EDIT: looked it up, so far it's another one of those "no one has any clue why some people get this and others don't lol eat vitamins i guess" subjects apparently.
 
 
lusentoj
05 July 2017 @ 09:11 pm
finished watching baccano... now i started on "flying witch" on a whim, since it had one character who speaks in dialect in it and i thought there might be more. from what i saw of it earlier it was SUPER BORING but now that i'm actually watching the episode i get why - they're making an anime that shows the "real everyday japan". the backgrounds look like real japan, the conversation is everyday conversation etc.

but the voice acting is so lifeless.... i'm fine with slice-of-life in theory but this is just uninspired. so far it's standable though.
 
 
lusentoj
05 July 2017 @ 02:10 pm
i just took the online sample practice test for the JLPT N2 and passed everything easily with a really high score, and didn't have any problems reading the questions. so, i think the problem on the rest test was the different (harder to read - it has those extra hooks and things) font + reading on paper.

then i was thinking about how i hate smartphone apps that don't have a "black background with white text" layout option, so i have to reverse the colors on my phone if i want to use them easily. then i realized, i can PRINT BOOKS, NOTES, EVERYTHING ON BLACK PAPER WITH WHITE TEXT!!

you have to actually buy white ink (normally if you print in white it's just not printing ink and is leaving the supposedly-white paper blank). but if i did this, maybe i'd feel like actually reading shit on paper again. oh the lengths i have to go to! as far as i know there's no print-on-demand company that does this so i'd have to do it at home. i'm gonna think about it...
 
 
lusentoj
04 July 2017 @ 05:05 pm
rewatching baccano, in japanese this time. the english dub translation is like 98% accurate and way more engaging (mostly-accurate dialects etc) than the japanese, so watching the original actually feels worse in most ways except for that some of the english voices were really annoying. the japanese is more like "all of the voices are normal". i still love claire so that's good.

i heard FLCL is getting two new seasons. is japan going the same way as america now? can't think up new shows so they're reviving old shows? in general i'm not complaining, i want bigger fandoms and i like sharing nostalgia for old series, but the revivals are always so awful...

i'm getting really tired of not being able to understand "everything" in japanese. i can understand a whole lot, but there's still way too many words i don't know, and i just want to hurry up and have NORMAL conversations with people, get all the jokes people are showing on twitter etc. not conversations where i feel like i have to double-check everything in the dictionary before sending it, or hold back in participating because i don't know what they're saying for sure.
 
 
lusentoj
03 July 2017 @ 04:10 pm
JLPT  
the JLPT has a self-evaluation chart per level here (PDF link), it looks useful for other languages as well. i fit in just nicely to the N2 self-evaluation (out of the things i have experience in anyway) so hopefully that means i did actually pass…

 

now i’ll be studying to get to N1 level before october. it won’t be very serious study since it’s unnecessary, but now that i’m at the point where studying isn’t a chore i think i’ll still get a lot done. and i should study swedish this summer too, considering i won’t be able to just walk to the library and find swedish books in japan… i’m supposed to get info on what my housing will be like for the exchange stay this week!
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lusentoj
25 June 2017 @ 01:24 pm
EVERYTHING from JLPT N2 (words + grammar) is extremely useful.

2/3rds of JLPT N1 is really useful. so far, at least. i'm assuming the stuff i don't think is useful right now is really useful in genres i haven't tried yet.

in both cases i remember seeing the grammar points often enough from this animelon stuff that i've either already basically memorized the meanings or i know that they're useful (ex. i remember i saw sentences using them even if i can't remember the exact sentence) so it's a breeze to memorize. i haven't had any problems either memorizing or recalling, but just in actually getting myself to sit down and memorize them in the first place.

anyway i've seen a HUGE difference in how well i can understand japanese just from the last 2 weeks (of watching at animelon) alone. as usual... as long as you study with some kind of decent method, your progress will shock you. i think i have to memorize the last of this grammar stuff and go over some verbforms i don't remember well and then my japanese will just keep skyrocketing... i can definitely make it to N1 level before october if i keep going.

reading manga isn't exactly flawless but it's so easy i'm reading manga in japanese every day without even thinking about it. the chatbox in my online game is getting easier and easier to understand, since (thanks to animelon) i'm finally remembering all these difficult words like "attack, soldier power, evade" etc. i think i'll just keep practicing with manga and stuff for now, and probably when i go to japan (and have access to a japanese library) i'll start reading a shit-ton of books and novels.

i keep having the craving, off and on, to pick up a new language or study another language i've been neglecting. but the further and further i get into japanese the less i even think about that stuff — probably because japanese's been my dream language since i was like five years old. when i get stressed from classes or exams (like this JLPT) is when i think i want a break and want to learn another language, like an escape route for my frustration, but as long as that's not going on i'm perfectly content...
 
 
lusentoj
23 June 2017 @ 08:49 pm
each day i'll cross out and uncross the stuff i've done so far:
1 hour of nålbindning
1 hour of homework
1 hour of reading/watching in swedish
1 hour of story-reading in japanese
1 hour of manga-reading in japanese
2 hours of readthekanji
— wake up really early and go to bed early, instead of late.
_____
1. finish reading yotsuba
3. read godchild

1. fix up that gintama fic
2. finish that gintama fic on my phone
 
 
lusentoj
23 June 2017 @ 08:06 pm
i've started making my exchange blog here:
https://teo-japan.dreamwidth.org/

so far i've only written 1 entry, and in japanese, but i'm gonna get a few more entries up during the summer and then start updating it for real once the exchange starts. the intro entries will be in japanese, english and esperanto but once i get to the real exchange entries i'll probably do it in japanese, chinook jargon and esperanto. i'm not sure yet. it depends on how long doing the entries actually takes me. in either case, if you want to ensure you can read my entries you probably want to start learning esperanto lol.
 
 
lusentoj
22 June 2017 @ 10:46 pm
recently they started selling "palm nectar" at the grocery store here, from thailand. 100% coconut nectar (= juice from coconut flowers), sterilized it says. sure i'll try it. it's a slightly opaque, white-ish liquid that tastes exactly like a cookie. i can only take like one sip at a time, it's really super sweet to me. if you heat it up (ex. i tried to make hot chocolate), the sweetness pretty much completely disappears so instead of using it in baking i'd just pour it on top of whatever i wanted to be sweet.

i don't THINK i've gotten sick from it. when i tried it i was already feeling slightly sick from some sausages so it's hard to tell, but at any rate it hasn't made me feel super sick (ex. throwing up, like real sugar would) at least. i looked it up, it's supposedly got tons of nutrients in it though how many of these are killed off when it's "sterilized" i don't know, and it has a GI index of around 20 (honey and bananas are closer to 50) so it's even easier on your body than other normal foods... someone was saying "GI" is bogus and we should be using some other system instead, i don't know anything about that.

apparently palm sugar is exactly this same thing, except boiled for hours longer. maple sugar and table sugar are also just once-natural things boiled for hours and hours so the shorter the boiling time the better i think. anyway i tried to look up the specific brand they sell here and i couldn't find ANYTHING about it online, there's a photo of it on wikipedia somewhere without a description, and that's it. it's really cheap ($1 for a beer-bottle amount) but i don't actually feel like drinking this is a good idea, as in even if it doesn't make me sick if my tastebuds get used to having really sugary stuff then all the rest of my food will taste like crap. or could it be that that only happens when you're eating actual really sugary stuff that causes sugar spikes so your body gets addicted....? nah, i don't want to chance it...
 
 
lusentoj
22 June 2017 @ 09:21 pm
1 week left until the JLPT, i still haven't memorized even half the grammar i need to but i'm going to just sit in my room and do that tomorrow i think. i got the tuberculosis test result (negative, of course) back, got the signed health certificate & mailed it in to the japanese school, so all my papers for the pre-VISA stuff have been given to them now. my new fellow exchange student is actually from estonia it seems. i'm gonna go look up if estonian is easier or harder than finnish to learn...

in the game i'm playing, Convenience Store Guy asked if i wanted to restart my game and switch servers to where there's a thriving (10+ people) japanese guild, so i did. everyone's really talkative, nice, and i'm definitely gonna learn a lot from them - they're talking way more and about way more random topics than the old guild did. i also said i have an interest in dialects so "don't hold back", and they all started talking in dialect haha - after a while they switched back but the guild leader's still using dialect, or if it's not dialect it's not normal japanese anyway (ex. おやすみん茶 "oyasumincha" for おやすみなさい "oyasumi nasai", goodnight).

there was one who seems like she has an actual interest in getting better at english but said she hates studying, so i said to go read manga in english and she was like "oh!! i'll do that starting tomorrow!!" and i said she should play pokemon in english too and she went "what?! that's been translated to english?!" hahaha!! then i PM'd her and told her about ROMs and scanlations and she's already looking them up now. i sure hope it helps.

it's midsummer, as in the holiday. there are mini midsummer poles up as decorations. parasyte is getting easier and easier to understand in japanese, though there's still tons of words i don't know. i started writing a hunter x hunter fic in esperanto.
 
 
lusentoj
20 June 2017 @ 01:59 pm

japanese people are great! so caring! so friendly! so willing to talk even to foreigners like me who have really bad japanese and keep making politeness / social blunders all over the place!

now i've watched 30 episodes of hunter x hunter (all that they had!) on animelon and started glancing at the manga every so often. the manga's easier to understand than the anime because the anime's cut out a bunch of lines so you have less context for the vocabulary you don't know, but the scans are bad so it's still hard to read. i couldn't find it on any of these free manga apps with clean scans. i've also seen 10 eps of parasyte and 5 of chobits; i'm trying to watch anime 2+ hours a day and really think i'm learning a lot. the good thing is, i can watch anime and concentrate "enough" on it even when the house is so noisy i can't do anything else.

i'm thinking of writing hunter x hunter fanfic... there's some prompts here and i can probably fill one of them, providing i claim there's a timeskip where the characters are of legal age:
http://pbam.dreamwidth.org/4604.html

i started trying to read japanese fanfic on pixiv, it turns out pixiv fic is a lot easier to read (it's FF.net quality) than syosetu fic so i think i'll try practicing with that rather than those out-of-copyright stories i was using earlier. at this point i need to stop focusing on stuff that's outside of N2 level, meaning no anime that's too difficult or story that's too archaic, and just "cram" for the exam's level instead.
 
 
lusentoj
17 June 2017 @ 10:16 am
i asked about more stuff from my exchange sempai who's in japan right now. turns out, she's gluten intolerant so has a lot of the same problems my wife and i have with buying food. she said most soba is made from half-wheat, half-other flour, but since they're all making the noodles from scratch anyway you can just go into the shop and ask them to specially make noodles for you that are 100% non-wheat and it's no problem!!

other than that, food definitely IS cheaper than in sweden on every topic except vegetables. brown rice in japan is 99% of the time ecological and pesticide-free — white rice isn't; a kilo of that brown rice is way cheaper than the same here, or than a kilo of the flour we already use every day here. i also found multiple, entire restaurants in sendai catering to people who only want to eat wholegrain ecological stuff. sendai has 10x the amount of people uppsala (sweden's 4th biggest "city") has, and i've been in the "countryside" here for so long i forgot that if you live in an actual, real city you have a ton of diversity in what you can buy.

anyway, yesterday i pulled out 3 japanese novels, took photos of random pages and used an app to highlight the kanji meanings i don't know. this isn't the WORDS i don't know, just the chinese letters i don't know. i wrote the wrong date (it's 2017, not 16) but here's where my level is at right now:







i plan to do the same thing right before i leave to japan, then i'll be able to have real "proof" of how much my japanese improved during the exchange.
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lusentoj
16 June 2017 @ 05:09 am
i bought a kombucha "mother bacteria" for 5 euros, and might have accidentally killed it on my first try. the instructions made it sound like you put it in hot (not boiling) tea, in fact you're only supposed to put it in room-temperature tea because heat kills it. it was a sort of pale yellow before and just a few hours after putting it in, it turned completely brown. i'm supposed to wait a week and see what happens. i don't want to have to buy another one...

speaking of that, i tried researching the health benefits of both kombucha and naturally-carbonated water ("mineral water" i think?). apparently no one's studied them. you get threads full of people talking about it helped them, "kombucha and flax seeds cured my dad's cancer in a week", "kombucha cured my dog of mange", "my periods aren't painful anymore" - this is natural because all it is tons of nutrients - but NO scientists are studying this stuff because "it's not factory-made so the product doesn't have the exact same contents each time". then you have quack scientists and propaganda websites claiming stuff like you shouldn't drink kombucha or mineral water because the carbonation will rot your teeth, when all the other studies say "no, it's only sugar that rots your teeth, carbonated drinks without sweeteners don't affect your teeth".

almost done watching hunter x hunter (2011 ver) on animelon. it's better than i expected, and certainly surprizing, but still not really a series i'd recommend to people. oh yeah and it's gay. gay in the way where from day one this one character's only been focused on the other, to the point where he can't remember the guy's friends' names that he hung out with and almost died with for over a month, and then in an omake they kiss. i'm slowly learning to recognize a lot of vocabulary from it but i sure wish it went faster, part of it is just that the pop-up dictionary is the same as jisho.org which is well-known for being a horrible dictionary with wrong/confusing definitions.
 
 
lusentoj
14 June 2017 @ 12:25 pm
so the tuberculosis test results for the VISA are gonna come in 1-3 weeks, right? well what else am i waiting on? disability money and the right to have a "seeing-eye person" (wayfinder), which would mean my wife would be my wayfinder - which she already is anyway - and she'd get paid a little from the government. it's been months and i haven't heard anything and this one lady keeps calling about the wayfinding going "why haven't you given me the paper from your eye doctor yet?!" and it's because, hello, the doctor hasn't given the paper to ME yet.

a while ago some lady sent me a paper "if you write up all your regular costs for eye stuff then i'll write the paper for your disability money". i wrote a list of stuff i fairly regularly buy but didn't have the costs (my wife said to send it in anyway), never heard anything back from that lady. not even a "hey, i seriously need the COSTS, not just a list of items".

well now i need this paper TWICE, once for the wayfinding stuff and once for the disability money. so i sent a message to the eye clinic yesterday saying "hey, i need a paper for the wayfinding". they replied "so-and-so sent you a paper asking you for costs a while ago, didn't you get it? we'll send it again just in case."

so what, they never got the list i sent them at all? or my paper totally didn't count and they just neglected to tell me anything and are now acting like i never sent anything? it's so frustrating. and, by the way, like i wrote in my message this one is for an entirely separate topic and doesn't need a list of costs okay?!
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lusentoj
13 June 2017 @ 04:58 pm
went to the hospital to get the tuberculosis blood test for the VISA to go to japan, this morning. the lady said it’d take ONE TO THREE WEEKS to get a result because they actually have to ship the blood to stockholm and use their lab there, and stockholm and uppsala don’t use the same computer system so they have to PHYSICALLY MAIL the results to the uppsala hospital and i just… why sweden, why. you’re supposed to be the most medically-advanced place in europe. i can take out my prescription at any pharmacy in the country but i can’t freakin’ get my test results from a place 30min away. you can get results for NORMAL blood tests in TWO HOURS!

now i’ve been watching hunter x hunter on animelon and slowly making my way through the JLPT N2 grammar. all the practice tests i’m taking in general are saying that i'll barely pass, so i'm hoping for that. hunter x hunter is pretty good for my level, it has a ton of N1-N2 words and grammar in it that i either didn’t know or was having a really hard time memorizing on my own. i was looking up words EVERY line in the beginning but now by the 11th episode i don’t have to look many up at all. i’m slowly working my way up to watching 5 animelon eps a day.
 
 
lusentoj
12 June 2017 @ 10:44 am
i read through that one guy's entire exchange blog and finally found some good info.

1. he literally arrived at the school september 29th and school started october 1st, but he was travelling around japan before that so i don't know if that's how things are SUPPOSED to go. the school met him at the airport, drove him to his student apartment (which had its own kitchen/bathroom, and sadly a western-style bed), took him to the government office to get his move-in registered, took him to the bank to get a bank account, and gave him a japanese student "partner" who could take him around town to anyplace he wanted to go.

apparently during all the intro stuff you need to bring snacks/drinks/entertainment with you because the bank took 2-3 hours due to them doing 20 exchange students all in one go.

2. the placement test for the classes is both spoken and written, so you're supposed to know how to write some kanji after all. however this guy only knew like 300 kanji even in reading (i know probably 1,500) and had seemingly only taken 2 semesters of japanese (i've taken 3 but will have the knowledge of 4-5) before coming there and he was STILL put into the "advanced" japanese courses. after reading that, my goal is now to get so good that they can give me some "normal" japanese classes even in my first semester instead of making me take entirely language classes.

3. you can bring computers to class to take notes on; the current exchange student i was talking to clearly didn't understand why i'd want to take notes on a computer "because the handouts are handwritten" but, uh, hello? i don't mean for the classwork! doesn't she ever take normal notes?!

in unrelated news i bought a kombucha "mother fungus" from ebay, it only cost 5 euros and i think in stores kombucha is 1-2 euros per bottle so it'll very quickly pay for itself. i originally planned to get it after i arrived in japan but then i read you can dry out the fungus and rehydrate it later so it should be safe to do that. and now i've read all about the billions of recipes and things you can do with it - make "sushi" with it, dry it and make jerky (for you or your pets), use the yeast for making sourdough that actually rises, SPRAY IT ON YOUR DOGS TO GET RID OF FLEAS AND BODY ODOR....
 
 
lusentoj
11 June 2017 @ 07:58 am
1. i got in contact with one of the people who's from my school and is at the same japanese school i'll be going to. they've been there for 1 semester and they'll be there for my first semester there too. what i've learned from them is basically, the classes are SUPER SUPER easy because everyone expects that you're actually mostly going to learn just from talking to japanese people outside of class. there's almost no homework (some classes have NONE apparently), you can fill in worksheets by writing entirely in hiragana (no kanji) if you want and apparently some students aren't even doing the homework and the teachers don't care. the girl said they only have 8 students in the class, and it's incredibly easy to make japanese friends there.

through her i got the exchange blog of some guy who went there the year before.... honestly i can't read this blog. at all. it's extremely pretentious and irritatingly formal, and doesn't have any real info. like, i want to know how the classes are, how the dorm room is, how his actual interactions with japanese people are, how much japanese he's learning and whatnot but he's bascially talking about food and alcohol and then vaguely alluding to anything personal instead of just saying what happened. "i have class, class is normal" yeah thanks. but here it is, in case anyone wants to read it: https://ryuugakuseinokeiken.wordpress.com/

2. i might have solved the problem where i won't be able to eat any sugar / processed stuff in japan. after i started drinking a lot of mineral water(? naturally-carbonated spring water) instead of green tea, i noticed that i haven't gotten sick from eating sweet/processed foods. i mean, i still haven't eaten normal table sugar but i've tried coconut sugar and some weird sugar replacement (militol i think it was called), and also some "cream cheese" (actually oats and oat milk) that had rapeseed oil and some other oils i never eat anymore in it, and i didn't get sick afterwards. i also had some sausages (i normally get a tiny bit sick after sausages because of the preservatives in them) and didn't feel sick.

i WAS feeling sick for a few moments, especially after the militol thingy i had a sudden slight headache (like barely perceptible headache) and stuff. but it went away really fast. and likewise i could feel a sickly sugar-rush coming from the coconut sugar but i just made sure to drink the bubble-water as soon as i could, and it went away without any real problems. i was certain i'd not be able to sleep or that i'd get nightmares or something because i ate all tha stuff in like one day BUT I SLEPT FINE! literally the only difference has been the mineral water. my first thought was that the water's acidity must be instantly balancing out the sugar in the food or helping the processed stuff (like the rapeseed oil) break down before it even hits my stomach, or something like that. i tried researching it and COULDN'T FIND ANYTHING! or maybe this is my body's natural ability and i just had some certain mineral deficiency before?

now, these foods were the safest ones i could find (ex. sausages with 5 ingredients and natural intestine-casings, not 20 with synthetic casings), so it's not like i was eating american ice cream or something. but i know that japan uses way less sugar than sweden in the first place, so i'm thinking that as long as i only try "japanese" sweets (which typically contain little to no sugar) and keep carbonated water on-hand, i might be fine... the main problem i've been thinking about is just that, i'll need to be able to eat enough normal food to not seem rude to or inconvenience literally everyone i meet. you can always say you don't like sweets or that you get heartburn from fried foods, or even just that you only want to eat "authentic japanese food" when there, but saying you can't even eat like, basic traditional soup, is too tough. of course i'll still do my best to avoid processed foods while there, but i want to at least be able to TRY foods.

anyway. this was the first time in a long while i'd dared to try some foods that seemed like they'd obviously make me sick. and through this i realized... these foods everyone wants to eat taste like crap. i tried what was supposed to be a sort of dessert chocolate-cake thing, and a cream cheese replacement (made from oats but it tasted exactly like cream cheese to me), and a chocolate bar (mostly made of dates). i just came away with the feeling of "well it was worth trying for the experience i guess, but not exactly tasty". the cake also made my mouth dry, which was super irritating and is actually one of the signs to telling how what you're eating is processed. so i just felt like... wow, these things definitely aren't worth buying again. the memories i have of "tasty food" are all wrong; it may LOOK or SMELL tasty but it isn't once you actually eat it. so it makes me think, even if i did for some reason get back to the point where i could eat absolutely normal processed food again, i'd probably find it disgusting.
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lusentoj
09 June 2017 @ 05:38 am
yesterday i got invited, by the sendai esperanto club (japanese people i HAVEN'T EVEN MET YET) to come to their seasonal regional get-together in october. now, the guy inviting me is a japanese-language professor at the school right next to mine (the two schools even have an agreement where we can use their student apartments) and he just so happens to know an old math professor from MY esperanto club here in uppsala! apparently they met in poland at an esperanto convention back in the 80's and still keep in touch!

so he said, they're going to stay at a traditional japanese inn (hotspring and traditional meals included) for a weekend. the club can even drive us to the town so we don't have to take/figure out public transportation. he said himself that it'd be a great opportunity to make japanese contacts, who just so happen to live all around the prefecture (so we could theoretically have more places to easily visit, find jobs more easily etc). it'd also be my first ever trip with esperanto people, my first time speaking esperanto all day.

AND it'd only cost around 16,000 yen ($150 USD?) per person for everything, food, transportation etc included; like $140 of that is the price of the room, apparently japan charges per person and not per room for hotels. now, i hope my wife would want to come with because "cool japan!!" but she hates hot baths, hates socializing in groups of people and doesn't know esperanto so well (also doesn't have much interest in knowing it) so she might not be interested at all, in that case it'd be a huge waste of money for her to go. but when i'm alone she gets too worried about me because i see so badly. so i don't know, even though i'd be with nice old japanese people she might be too worried for me to go alone and would then come with.

anyway. here's the hotel. it even has cats!

the food at the hotel

an english page i found later, which seems to have WRONG info...?!

another english page i found later

yesterday i tried reading all the info on their website. basically it's a pretty old inn so you can't go there if you're in a wheelchair (there's nothing like handrails), most of the rooms don't have their own toilets/bathrooms, they don't really have special services (ex. no room-service, no in-room internet it seems, no boxed-lunch service, you can't smoke in any of the rooms) but you can notify them if you have allergies and they'll change your food, and from what i understood you can use the baths (which are indoors) at ANY time aside from cleaning time which is at like 22-23. they give you rental yukata, and toothbrushes and razors and stuff. oh and the toilets that they do have are western-style.

also, there's really no english anywhere and they very clearly don't often deal with foreign tourists. no english on their site, when searching the place name in japanese i don't find any foreigners who went there, etc - except for that one link i have above, where the person says the owner has extremely bad english. their website is almost entirely in really formal japanese and they're using a lot of words i don't know (for example i don't know ANY food-related words!) but i was able to use a pop-up dictionary.

the food is ALL traditional food aside from some vending machines; only a few things looked like they'd have sugar in them (and only some pastries looked like they'd have white flour) so hopefully i'd be able to request no sugar or otherwise be able to just choose some food that's naturally without sugar. the problem is, i can already envision that the group would want to do a "group party meal" like shabu-shabu which is "dip meat and vegetables in soup broth", and the broth would then have sugar in it. so i'd have to ask if the whole group was okay with not having sugar, y'know...? my wife and i have already talked it over, and if we need to we can TRY to get used to having a tiny bit of sugar / white flour just so that we can actually survive eating out and stuff, but it'd probably mean that we'd both be sick for weeks or months before we got used to it and that's not cool...

anyway, the guy already knows we can't make a decision right now so i said i'll talk about it with my wife once we know the date that we're actually coming to japan, to see if she thinks we have enough time to get used to japan before going on the trip. i think that this is one of those "opportunities knocking on our door" kinds of things that i NEED to take no matter how much it costs (though, 16,000 yen per person isn't actually a high cost in my opinion, it's just that we're poor).
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