This is my hundredth post since starting this blog! In honor of this momentous occasion, I give you ten lists in no particular order of ten items in no particular order:
Ten Things I Miss About America:
1. Chai tea.
2. Comfortable shoes.
3. Comfortable sheets.
4. Root Beer.
5. Marinara sauce.
6. Alfredo sauce.
8. Stick deodorant.
9. Central heating.
10. Bookstores with books I can read.
Ten Favorite Pictures I've Taken In Japan:
10. meant for me
Ten Favorite Japanese Movies:
1. "Fantastipo" - A comedy, right? So why does it leave me in so melancholy? A bizarrely beautiful film.
2. "KIDS" - The obvious symbolism of a fairy tale, with no less the emotional impact. Very sweet and uplifting.
3. "Wall Man" - I'm not a fan of most horror movies, but "Kabe Otoko" is heavy on mind-games, light on gore.
4. "46 Okunen no Koi" - A hundred viewings would still be fresh. Maybe the most gorgeous cinematography ever.
5. "Ai no Kotodama" - a simple, sweet love story. Characters realistic in their shortcomings.
6. "Mayonaka no Yaji-san Kita-san" - Ultimate road-trip movie. Comic trappings with a thoughtful core.
7. "Densha Otoko" - Maybe the best love story ever. Perfect ensemble and coming-together moments.
8. "After Life" - Truly unique and creative. Leaves you with a feeling of "I won't mind dying if it's like this."
9. "Honey and Clover" - Creating art and enduring love and where the two combine - and conflict. So pretty.
10. "Mushishi" - Beautiful visuals. A world close enough to ours to relate, distant enough to fascinate.
My Ten Favorite Japanese-related Websites:
2. Pink Tentacle - strange things.
4. Infinite Languages - native speakers correct you.
5. Goo Weather - indexes if your laundry will dry.
6. Japan Probe - news and entertainment
7. Jorudan - train route finder.
8. qUirKy jaPan.
10. Kanji of Electrical Appliances - including toilets.
Everyone asks if I like manga - which is odd since I'm not nearly as into it as I was a few years ago. I mean, this is the place, right? But there are a few that will always be
Ten of my Favorite Japanese Comic Books:
1. xxxHolic: the best myths and legends and fairy tales rolled together in one ball. Great art, awesome characters.
2. Banana Fish: I wouldn't change a page. Hilarious at times, heartbreaking at others, a series to learn from.
3. The Day I Become A Butterfly: Beautiful art, sweet characters, heartbreakingly romantic.
4. Death Note: Okay, it was creative and awesome at the start. Still asks questions people should answer.
5. Fruits Basket: My first girls comic! Gets pretty sappy, but I still love the purity and optimism of it.
6. Fullmetal Alchemist: Nothing else like it. I'm in awe that someone could come up with this complete of a world.
7. Hikaru No Go: It's about a board game. It should be boring. Instead it's fascinating and inspirational.
8. Mushishi: Yes, basis for above movie. Wonderful unique art, thoughtful stories.
9. Stigma: Take everything that could go wrong with the world and paint it in watercolor. Then add an adorable kid.
10. Yami No Matsuei: my first manga! Tragically may never be finished. A rich, complex, dark-myth of a story.
Ten mantras that have gotten me through so far:
1. Absolutely no crying over spilt milk.
2. No past to regret, no future to dread - just now.
3. A job is as good an experience as you let it be.
4. Different country - not worse, not better.
5. Everyone is the same in the ways that matter.
6. A human being can survive just about anything.
7. Spoil yourself when there's no one else to do it.
8. School is for the student.
9. When I became a man, I put away childish things.
Ten Keychains I have, and where I put them:
(Japan is crazy about dangly keymabobs, and even though I've only bought a couple I keep accumulating them. Some students have dozens on their pencil cases.)
1. Hello Kitty charm my sister gave me before I left. On the doorknob to my front closet.
2. Doraemon from the kids learning English at Nikko. On my bike key.
3. The four-leaf clover I found in the park when I really needed it. On my cellphone (in a plastic frame).
4. Blinking Emily/Seattle tag from mom. On my house key.
5. Happiness charm from shrine in Ueno. On my wallet.
6. Blue enamel bell from the mausoleum at the top of Nikko. On my school bag.
7. "Sound body" charm from Meiji Shrine. With yukata.
8. A frog made of a silk cocoon I got at the rice harvesting. Not sure where to hang this, it's fragile.
9. An ojiisan charm from my homestay mom. She tried telling me who it was of but I still don't know.
10. One I don't have but will - I'm keeping my eyes open for a keychain of Tsuyoshi's sankaku (triangle) mascot.
Ten Actual Things on pencil cases, book bags, etc. that prove why Japan needs me teaching English:
1. "Grasses dance continue for a long time because it is happy and the morning sun rises."
2. "Lovely pigs / The weather also with quietly sufficient today / such a day is restricted to a nap."
3. "Monotone panda / how are you? / We are always together / everyone is very simple."
4. "May a wonderful day also comes today!"
5. "The leaf changes the expression of the season. / I, change, too / Time flows."
6. "Pop sky clover / I'm thinking it over again."
7. "The usage is various. How do you use? Enjoy one's own usage."
8. "Have a smile day! Keep smile!"
9. "Magical butterfly / dream is before you eyes. / Angel pony / your dream makes happy."
10. (on a cup) "The bitter taste can also be enjoyed / I will grow up greatly! / I will drink deliciously!"
A. suggested "ten strange things" but, well, strange is a relative term. What's strange for me is perfectly normal here, so, for better or for worse
Ten Things I wouldn't have experienced in America:
2. Fish whole and full of eggs and battered.
3. Tea ceremony.
4. Buddhist meditation.
5. Harvesting rice
6. Pounding mochi.
7. Riding the Shinkansen.
9. Speech contest.
10. Sleeping from one in the morning until five at the station with the homeless, waiting for the first train.
Ten Things I like about the Japanese people:
1. How they raise their children.
2. How they treat their old people.
3. How they maintain their traditions.
4. How they appreciate cherry blossom season.
5. How they don't tolerate recreational drugs.
6. How all their TV shows are so enthusiastic.
7. How they wear masks when sick.
8. How their vending machines have hot drinks.
9. How they bring back edible souvenirs from trips.
10. How polite they are.