Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Trip Back: Part 1 - United, And Why They Suck.

Sorry, everyone, for this late post. School here in Kanazawa has started back up in a frenzy of tests and homework so I hadn't had the time in between the classes to sit down and actually TYPE.

Now as everyone already knows, Japan had undergone the biggest earthquake disaster since the Kobe 'quake (otherwise known as the Hanshin Earthquake of '95). While I might be used to earthquakes and whatnot, the resulting Nuclear Power plants decided that they did not like being jostled so they, as explained in this hilariously awesome (and subtitled) Youtube video; farted.

Funny how these things happen while I'm IN Japan; first the Hanshin 'quake and now this. I get the not-so-subtle feeling that Japan doesn't like me...

That sure WAS a giant accident.

The school in New York decided that they didn't want to deal with their students covered in poo so they ordered a School-wide retreat back to America. TL;DR I got back, got mad at people, the reactors decided to stop being bad, and then here I am, sitting in my squeaky computer chair in the same dorm I had left squeaky clean a few weeks before.

But how did I get here? THIS is the actual topic for this post. It even says it in my title. Seeeeee?


I bet half of the people who read that looked back at that title again. Ha hah!

Enough of this silliness, back to the topic at hand.

I left for Albany Airport with Mark's awesome parents at 2:30 AM to get to the airport early enough so I had time to do all the crap necessary to fly out of the country. Since my flight was supposed to take off at 6:00 AM I would be getting at the airport around 4. That left me 2 hours for all the check-in and other such bothersome things, such as making sure to go to the bathroom and getting a bottle of water before the flight. Oh, and also make sure with a United Airlines employee that I had done everything correctly since I only had one boarding pass for my three flights. (They weren't very nice addressing my problem, I might add. They told me very curtly that I needed to go see someone else after the flight to get the remaining boarding passes; and nothing more was said even though I asked different questions pertaining to my luggage and how I should be handling everything. Basically, United customer service sucks.)

This flight out of Albany would have been fine and dandy except for one small mishap. The plane was going to be two hours late and the passengers who were notified via cellphone or something (it seems everyone is notified about everything through their cellphone. I think people would forget to breathe if their phones didn't tell them to, or make their scheduled potty-breaks, if not already noted in their cellular calendars. :/) were getting on a different, while only slightly late, flight to O'Hare; and I was not told of this. Actually, neither were four other passengers who also booked their flights on Orbitz or Expedia or something.

Darn those Online Travel-agencies. Why do you lure us in with your slightly cheaper fares and funky commercial jingles!

So we sad, tired five, got on the plane two and a half hours later (instead of just two, go figure, Thanks again, United!) and picked whichever seat we wanted on our Puddle-Jumper. This would have been awesome if not for the fact that the plane looked like this.

This meant that even if we all got our own row; WHICH WE DID, the measly two seats we had did not allow us to properly lounge about and I spent half the time curling myself like a baby animal that was simultaneously high on sugar with the squirming power of a thousand baby baboons, and who's father had been a faucet-nose monster with the spigot turned on full. Until I gave up and sat upright on the chair, like a normal person.

Also, there were no first-class seats on this plane. We checked.

An hour and a half later we arrived in O'Hare. I then followed the directions given to me by the not-so-nice counter guy at the United stand, and asked the other United guy where I had to go to get my remaining passes. What follows is pretty much what happened, word by word.

I walked up to the man at the counter who looked terrifically bored at the desk in the waiting area of the gate. "Excuse me." I said, attempting to be polite knowing full well being a disgruntled customer gets nowhere. "I was told to see a person at the gate about the rest of my boarding passes. My next flight takes off in an hour and I believe that the flight number is ---- with Japan Airlines. Could you please help me?"

To which I got,"Go to 5. Get your boarding passes there." Then he grabbed a phone and started punching in numbers while putting the receiver to his ear and glaring at me like I had no business in asking him (nicely!) to do his job.

Once again, United Airlines has the BEST service ever! /end sarcasm.

What was this mysterious 5? Would I get to my flight on time? And DANGIT I needed to pee! I was in a frenzy of thoughts, during this time I somehow managed to figure out that the man had been talking about TERMINAL 5, where the international flights take place, so I made haste and sprinted to the train platform that would take me there.

I got to Terminal 3 in about 25 minutes and I thought I would be having time to spare when I realized, with the slow and sinking feeling that one gets when one arrives to a Stupid Costumes Only! party, and they realize they've taken the flyer entirely too literally and told everyone that they were dressed as a mentally handicapped person when the host's sibling is ACTUALLY handicapped. And to top it off, that very same child was allergic to the cake you brought.

It was a terrible feeling when I realized I could not find japan Airlines ANYWHERE in the terminal. Like the frightened animal I probably looked like, I scrabbled around to find an information desk. I managed to blurt out something coherent enough so that the information guy could glean enough of what I said to point out that Japan Airlines was in Terminal 3, and has been for about 6 months. Also, I had little less than half an hour left.

I profusely thanked the balding, freckled Information booth-man and once again sprinted over to the Train platform to go to Terminal 3.


I suppose you'll find out in the next post; The Trip Back: Part 2 - JAL, And Why I Love Them.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Door Doodles (Plus a Few Other Things)

I'm studying for a soon-to-be Kanji (Japanese Pictographical characters originating from china, a part of Japan's 3 'Alphabets') Test plus the rain that never stops made doing much of anything fun nearly impossible. Not that I mind the rain, of course. It's just my nose likes to behave similarly to the weather; when it is wet, cold, and rainy, well... I'll leave that up to you to imagine what my nose does all day.

So seeing as I've been a recluse this whole time, counting the weekend, a healthy-minded college student like me would probably burst of boredom if all I did was study kanji. Meaning unfortunately for my test I did NOT study the WHOLE weekend
away. Too bad for my test. (Just kidding, I'll do fine.)

What I've been doing on my breaks between my studies and trying to bash my face into a wall repeatedly is doodle. I'll show you a few of the ones I managed to take pictures of before deciding to scrap most of them. :D The two above are ones I did that are what I look like when I study, pretty boring aren't I? :P

This is the one that took the most time and was my main break time-waster. The flash took out some of the nice line quality of it but for the most part the colors came out well.

I think surfing around on falling leaves would be pretty thrilling, don't you?

This one's been up on Facebook but I rather like it so he get's to be here too. This one was for David. A sort of bookmark I made with the theme being "Guy drinking canned hot chocolate, and lovin' it". Speaking of, canned chocolate is delicious, and it comes in both hot and cold from a vending machine! <3

So that's about it for today. Maybe I can post again when the weather doesn't feel like making me use all the tissue handout's I've received from the very nice Japanese handouters. :<>

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Very Blustery Day

So what do you do when the weather doesn't make up it's mind whether (Ha, see what I did there? :D) to rain, hail, be sunny, or windy; all at the same time? Why, make a blog post of course. So I'll post a few pictures of the dorm so you guys can see what sort of place I live in now.

Ahem, this is the door. Beside that to the left is a small refrigerator and a few cupboards, plus the corner of the
sink. Nothing much to see. The fridge and cupboards stay well-stocked as the weather likes to throw fits and I don't like walking the 15 minutes it takes to get to the Dining hall when I could stay warm/dry and cook.

This is the..... Kitchen? My wee cooking area. It has a hotplate. Most of the cooking utensils and
whatnot have been scavenged from the 'Recycling
Room'. A Room to dump your stuff if you don't
want to take it with you when you leave. Mostly everything is from the R-room anyway; the teapot (plus two cups from David for my birthday), the small pot on the hotplate, sponges, dishsoap, dishrags, and the drying rack are mine. All the utensils (for cooking and eating), other pots, frying pan, and cutting board were saved from the room. Now, onto the Shoilet!

The dreaded shoilet. A closet that has been raised about a foot from the floor that measures about 3 1/2ft. by 3ft. inside. It contains a smaaaaall sink (about the size of my
hands cupped with 2in. between them), a small shelf for holding various bathing supplies, a toilet (western style), and a shower attached to a hose. If you got mold in the dorm due to Japan's terrible humidity and Kanazawa's near constant rain, the shoilet would be the first place to find it.

Sort of like a canary in the mine shaft, but with mold.

The bed and a bit of the desk/computer area. You'd be happy to know, Aunt Anne, I keep the bed tidy, as well as keep up with the vacuuming :D

The desk area..... Not so much.

On the bed we have Truffle, a stuffie Mark sent, mum's hanten, and the bean pillow. I should really buy a new pillow. Didn't think the school would REALLY give Japanese-style pillows for such a Western room. :/

Lastly we have the balcony. The place I dry my clothes when the weather feels like being nice. Which means laundry is hard to get done unless hung up inside my room with the heat turned on. The picture was taken while it was still 'Summer' so it looks bright and happy.

That's the room! Hope you enjoyed the virtual tour, and please, watch you feet when getting out of your chair. These images make the space around you feel much smaller than expected. :D

Next up will be pictures I managed to take while the weather forgot to be a jerk-face.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Very Late Post (WITH PICTURES)

Hi Guys, sorry for the month long delay at least this post will have some pictures? :D
Mark gave me a spiffy card reader so I can upload things onto the laptop. Poor computer had a disagreement with its own card reader and isn't yet on speaking terms with it. I'll probably get the thing reformatted when I'm not busy studying.

HOPEFULLY, I can start making more posts.

So what this is an image of is the bottom floor of Kansai International Airport. It has 7 floors, most of which have a variety of shops and things to browse. Sadly I stayed on the bottom level because of the enourmous amount of luggage I was carrying around. :/ I guess I can snoop around a bit more when I go back to the States.

So, after about 10 hours of flying, 18 hours of sitting around the Airport, being harassed by a
gang of Japanese police people (two men and teo women) I got on a 5 hour bus to the school. Loads of mountains covered in maple and bamboo. It was pretty awesome, would have been bett
er if it
was Autumn and I hadn't been so freaking tired.

This is David eating some delicious Takoyaki. It's a sort of fried pancakey ball of gooey deliciousness with a
piece of chewy Octopus inside and coated wit
h awesome sauce and mayo and other things. It's awesome. David dis not know how to correctly eat a Takoyaki at this time and forgot that the gooey stuff in the center feels like boiling tar if not eaten properly.

Let's watch the fun :D

After successfully getting the Takoyaki in his mouth a short moment of bliss.

Realizing the center is hot, very very very hot, but amiably trying to chew through it.

Ended up giving in and made the "FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF IT'S HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT" face.

Being the wonderful friend I am, I made sure to grab the water for him, after thoroughly laughing at his silly faces and taking pictures first.

The Takoyaki, almost demolished. It was delicious in all the good ways. >w<

Next post will contain life around the dorm and possibly some scenery around campus.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Purpose of Team Plush

Hallo! This is Nicole, team captain of Team Plush and the goal of this blog is mainly keeping track of Team Plush's adventures because every team has to have adventures, even if that team only has one person in it.

So what adventures am I talking about? Japan! The country of awesome food, silly animu, college life, and me! Thanks to Mike from Alaska I now have a camera to record these adventures I have and share them, you know, with words and stuff. Lots of stuff.

In anycase, this will probably also become a doodle dump because blogs seem to be a good place for that.

Tl;dr for folks who like it short:
1. Blog goal is to keep track of adventures in Japan
2. Become a doodle dump

That said I leave for Japan tomorrow from Seattle. Let's see how my adventures go!