Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Nobuko and Minori

Once again it's been AGES since I have written. Interesting things have happened, including a work trip to Iowa State University, beginning Japanese 4 with a new teacher, my main computer being a pain in the butt, and general hijinks.

But nothing has quite gotten me to blog until now.

A couple weeks ago, Nobuko, one of the girls I met in Kyoto 2 1/2 years ago (so long! T-T) emailed me saying her and Minori (another girl from the program) were coming to my area and wanted to see me.

I was immediately excited. These girls (and many, many others) had sacrificed basically ALL their free time for us, even neglecting their studies, for one month. I was glad at the opportunity to in some small way pay them back by showing them around MY hometown.

So I took the day off of work on Friday, and since Monday was Presidents Day (thanks George & Abe) that meant a 4 day weekend. Friday, I picked them up in Riverside and took them to Newport pier. Was a bit cold to do anything but walk and look, but it was fun. Then we met Thu (another American from the program, see blog at right) for lunch at Rainforest Cafe at South Coast Plaza. Afterwards we did a little window-shopping and I had to take them back to Riverside, which turned out to be a two-hour tour of Riverside because Google local's maps were not quite accurate. Still, they got a big laugh every time I made a U-turn.

We said our goodbyes and they said they would call me, but it was generally uncertain weather we would see each other again before they left Tuesday. (Today, they are probably in LAX right now)

Luckily, they called me Saturday night, saying they wanted to go to Disneyland the next day. I had promised all the Nihonjin (Japanese people) that if they ever came to America I would take them to Disneyland so of course I agreed.

We got to the park about 1pm Sunday and it was very crowded. Even though there is a Disneyland in Tokyo, they had never been before. Minori had never even been to an amusement park and said she was too scared to go on the MERRY-GO-ROUND! Nobuko loved 'jet-coasters' so she was good to go. ^^ Minori ended up being very brave and going on all the fast rides at Disneyland that day, although clutching Nobuko and screaming most of the time. Still I think they both had fun. ^^ We all really enjoyed the parade and hanabi (fireworks) at the end of the night, and left pretty much at closing.

Because I am a 'local' they sold us these '2fer' tickets for the regular admission price that let us go back to California Adventure for free any time in the next 60 days. Of course Nobuko and Minori did not have that long, and I joked we should go back there the next day for some 'real roller coasters' to kid with Minori.

The next morning they wanted to go! So off we went, and California Adventure is pretty cool. It was my first time so I wasn't much of a guide, but it was really fun. The rides are much more 'adult' the first one we went on was Tower of Terror, and after that Minori was very scared of any other ride.

We did the water ride next, which I got soaked, and then Soarin' California which was kind of like Star Tours. We took a break to shop (I bought a sweatshirt rather than go back to the car to get my jacket) and then Minori suggested we go on the Ferris Wheel. I couldn't believe it because it is one of the tallest rides and she is afraid of heights. Near the front of the line, she got major cold feet, but did not run away. When the ride started swinging, she screamed for her life. I told her it was optional weather we want it to swing, and I honestly thought that was the truth, but I was wrong. (^^; sorry Minori!). When we got to the bottom she was all ready to get off, but you get sent around twice. I honestly felt bad for her.

Especially since afterwards, our fast-pass was ready and so we went on California Screamin, the one real roller coaster in the park, complete with loop. Minori was terrified but I think Nobuko loved it. After that it was shopping, Denny's (too late for anywhere good) and home to bed.

I've mostly mentioned Minori, because her fear of the rides was a major topic of the weekend, but Nobuko was wonderful. She taught me lots of new Japanese slang and Kansai-ben to help me fail Japanese 4. (Test tonight I haven't studied for, I am thinking of skipping ^^;) It was really nice seeing them both and it makes me want to go back to Japan EVEN MORE than before, I didn’t think that was possible.

As for my Japanese, they laughed every time I said anything, which made me a bit self conscious, ( ^^;) until I realized they basically laughed every time I said ANYTHING. (^^;;;) Apparently I am 'tension ga takai'

This morning, I left for work about two hours before Frank, another person from the program, came to pick them up and take them to the airport.

They gave me a rubber Mickey bracelet (like the kind that are popular now) and both have matching ones, like friendship bracelets, a Disneyland pin with my name on it (I had been joking around looking if they had any pins with their names on it.) and the sweetest card I have ever gotten, with heartfelt messages from both of them and little drawings of us at Disneyland and at the beach all over it. I had bought them both hats at the park, Minori a leather bomber hat with Mickey ears and Nobuko a Stitch hat with his ears, horns, and fur on it.

I didn't want to leave them this morning. Seeing them again after two years only proves that my memory of them as two of the sweetest people on the planet was not just made falsely rosy by time. They really are wonderful people. All of the people that supported us in Japan were. And I hope to see them again very soon.

Which makes me ask- where are the rest of you? Get out here so we can go to Disneyland too! ^^

Today my feet are a little tired from standing and walking 12 hrs a day for two days straight, but I am not tired. Being around them is very energizing. Nobuko san to Minori san mo meccha iyashikei da yo. Arigatou gozaimasu. ^^

Links of the day!

my lotds are very old too, but that doesnt mean theyre not good.
DS Game!I cant really tell whats going on but I want this game!
Super Mario War Someday I'll have time to play this, I swear...
Seventh Sky To round out the game theme, heres a fun flash game.