Saturday, November 19, 2011

"I want to eat kangaroos."

Yesterday, my 6th graders started working on speeches about the country they want to visit and why.

Me (to a girl): How's it going?
Girl: I want to go to Australia. What do they have?
Me: Hm, well they have koalas, and kangaroos...
Girl: I already wrote about that...hey, can you eat koalas in Australia?
Me: O_O Uh...I don't think so...
Girl: How about kangaroos?
Me: ...hm, actually, they MIGHT eat kangaroos there...I'm not sure.
Girl: Okay then. *writes* "I want to eat kangaroos."
Me: ...okay, sounds good...

Monday, November 7, 2011

UFO Catcher Winnings, Part 2

Click here for Part 1 of my weekend of UFO Catching.

On Sunday, I went to Osaka on a solo shopping trip. I needed to pick up a few things, but I also wanted to visit Denden (the Kansai version of Akihabara in Tokyo) to play more UFO Catcher. After winning two plushies in Sannomiya, I felt really confident that I could win a lot more. I started in the newly-opened Namco Land, which I figured would have a lot of similar machines to the ones in Sannomiya's Namco Land. I took a good walk around to see if there was anything I wanted to win, and ended up coming out with these two items:

 
 

I actually happened to run into a few friends on the way out of Namco Land, and one of them offered to take my huge pillow home, which I'm glad he did! I went to Sofmap to pick up a Xbox 360 joystick, and then continued on to visit any and every game center I could find. Some of them were small and didn't have anything worth winning, or the games didn't look as simple as the one I wanted to do. I visited a small one that had a Sentimental Circus plush, but it involved trying to pick it up and make it fall through the gap. I threw in 1000 yen but couldn't get it to move the way I wanted it to, so I walked away from it. I went to the Taito Game Station but didn't see anything I wanted. And then I went to the Sega Arcade and found the EXACT same Sentimental Circus plush that the other place had! The setup was similar to the D-ring game (explained in my previous post), except the ring was smaller, circle-shaped, and on a cylindrical rubber tip instead of a ball:


 

The other difference was that this claw had both of its prongs, whereas all of the ones I had tried previously only had one prong (because really that's all that was necessary). There was no question that I was going to go after this one. The claws at the Sega Arcade are quite annoying to work with. The way that it drops, it will rotate ever so slightly, which meant that I would end up completely missing the ring if I didn't aim correctly. I think I missed 3 or 4 times, and it really frustrated me. I kept trying though, and went to get more change when I needed it. After somewhere between 2000 and 3000 yen, I finally pushed the ring off, and Shappo, the Sentimental Circus ring leader, fell down the hatch for me to grab.



 

Carrying two large plushies and a joystick, I managed to get to Namba Marui to look at some designer handbags and for a new umbrella (didn't find one), and then started heading to Shinsaibashi. I stopped by Don Quixote to get a couch cover (the checkered on you see in my pictures), and then to a few other game centers, including another Sega Arcade where I won this Rilakkuma cooking pot (the one I have is the white variation shown on the side):


 

With that, I was pretty much done. I didn't feel like doing any more walking because my arms were aching from all of the bags I had to carry. I was quite pleased with all of the stuff I managed to win. I realized that I had just as much fun playing as I did when I won the item. It takes precision to win, and it's definitely something I'd like to pick up as another hobby. I'm rather excited to return to Tokyo in December, where I can visit all of the game centers Sunshine 60 Street. I'm wondering how big of a suitcase I might need...

UFO Catcher Winnings, Part 1

On Saturday, my friend and I were out shopping in Sannomiya. We didn't really find anything, and it was kind of discouraging, so I suggested we go to the game center and see if there were any prizes we could win from the UFO catcher.


We went to Namco Land, which was the biggest game center I knew of in the area. Most of the UFO Catchers here had one type of setup, like in this video (which isn't mine, just one I found through a search):


Of course, this was just the final push for the guy to get the item; the plastic D-shaped ring actually starts perfectly centered on the rubber ball and takes more than one try.

At first I thought that these machines were just pointless to try, because I knew that ball was rubberized, meaning that the plastic ring is practically "sticking" to it. That means that the claw is not just going to make the ring slide off, but only move slightly. My friend saw one particular machine with a large baby seal plushie in it. She said it was really cute, and when I looked at the ring on the machine, I could tell that someone had tried it at least once. So I said, "Well, why don't we give it a try?"

200 yen was for one try, while 500 yen was for three tries. Knowing that the one try would just be a waste, we dug up some 100 yen coins and popped in 5 of them. She tried the first time, and not being very successful, she let me take over. I could see that the ring was moving ever so slightly, and the more I tried, the more I believed I could eventually get that seal. After we both ran out of coins (totaling about 1500 yen I think), we took turns guarding the machine while one of us went to get change for our 1000 yen bills.

Finally, after about 2500 yen and a final pull, the ring fell off and the baby seal plush dropped down into the prize window. We were both so excited (me much more than she) and then we realized that there were two unused tries on the machine.

What I learned was that, when you have extra tries left on a machine, you must tell one of the staff and they will let you transfer credits to another machine (or they'll put another prize in the machine you just used). I took a look around the game center and found a large Doraemon plushie that I didn't particularly want but looked easy to get. I got that one in much fewer tries. Afterwards we took purikura (the Japanese photo sticker booth) to commemorate our winnings:



So what I thought was a difficult game to win was actually quite simple. It's a lot easier than the traditional type where you have to use the claw to push the item itself, because those you can actually screw up. With these machines, the only way you can really mess up is by missing the ring completely, which is what I ended up doing a few times. Part 2 of my UFO Catcher story takes place in Osaka, where I did some solo shopping and came home with three big bags of stuff!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Getting Damp Taking of Residence"

Ugh, I said quite some time ago that I would post a blog to go with this video. Finally I'm getting to it. I've been busy playing Dynasty Warriors 7, trying to catch up where I left off before my data got corrupted a few months ago. On top of that, stress was building up again in the last few weeks, but it's settled for now. Anyway, here's a few photos so you can see the Engrish for this dehumidifier yourself. Package from December 2008 (left) and April 2009 (right). Obviously someone realized that the former was utter nonsense. "Please gargle with the vomit water..." I'll update this post with the complete text...when I feel like it. I've been feeling lazy lately.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Last-minute Request.

I've decided to participate in a gaming charity event going on during October 1st. It's aimed in the USA, but I wanted to participate from abroad. Instead of going shopping in Osaka today, I will be at home gaming for 12 hours straight, seeking donations on behalf of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

Please see my donation page here and donate if you can: http://www.extra-life.org/participant/KasumiTorisei

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Hometown.

In the kitchen after lunch, the secretary asked me about where in America I'm from. I said Maryland. She asked if it was near the sea. I said it was somewhat close. She said, "Wow, it must be very nice," seeming very mesmerized. I wanted to tell her it wasn't a huge deal, but she went on to ask about my hometown, and if it was beautiful.

"Beautiful" isn't the first word that comes to mind when I think of Bowie, MD, but I said yes anyway. She said, "Wow, it must be great having lived in such a beautiful place. And I think you're very beautiful as well." I said thanks, but I was so confused. Either way, she seems to have taken a liking to me.

Everyone else was in the principal's office for a meeting, so only she and I were in the staff room. When the clock hit 4:30 I said goodbye and left, but then I had to go back a few seconds later and said "I forgot something." She laughed and said, "You're funny." I just smiled. She asked if I would make my bus, and I said I was okay. Then I left and headed home.

I thought about it some more, and I realized that Bowie really is beautiful compared to other cities, specifically those closer to and in certain parts of Baltimore and near Southeast DC. Though I don't live there anymore, I recall having days when I looked outside the window and thought about how peaceful my neighborhood is.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years ago, on September 11th, 2001.

Like for pretty much everyone else, it was just supposed to be a normal Tuesday. I was in 8th grade. Shortly after getting to my homeroom--a "temporary" classroom located apart from the main building, I remember sitting at my desk as my teacher, Ms. Crawford, told us that "a plane had struck into a building." At the time, I had the image of a small plane--about the same size as those I've seen belonging to the flying school not too far from where I live--crashing into some random building, and that it was some kind of accident.

I was thinking, "Why is she telling us this? What does this have to do with anything?"

Fast forward to second period, Band class. Instead of practicing, we all sat around the room, and I heard the same thing...planes crashing into buildings. I can't remember if there was a TV on; I don't think there was, because I still didn't quite understand what was going on. All I knew at that point was that they were calling for early dismissal, and suddenly we were moving to the cafeteria.

At that point, I can remember thinking, "My dad is at work. I have no one to pick me up from school." It was then that I saw one of my friends, sobbing. Her mom worked at the Pentagon, which was also hit. She had managed to have her dad come pick her up, and when he arrived, he asked if I needed a ride, and I said yes. I found out a few days later that my friend's mom was safe, thank God.

I was in so much of a daze after getting home that I don't remember who was home first, whether it was me or my mom. I don't remember if my brother had gotten home before or after I did. I think I was the first one home...but all I remember is going downstairs to turn on the TV and finally see what my teachers were talking about.

This wasn't just a small plane, but a passenger aircraft. and it wasn't just a random building, but two very tall buildings in New York. Before that day, I had no idea what the "World Trade Center" was. And it was on September 11th that I finally saw it for the first time on TV, and both towers were smoking and in flames. I think by that time the towers had already collapsed, but all I remember is seeing replays of the towers over and over again.

It was by this time that I had wondered what happened to my dad. He works in DC, and I had no idea if anything else could have possibly happened. I found out later after my dad got home that he had gotten into an unrelated traffic accident; someone stopped to ask him for directions, and shortly after they both got back on the road, that same person accidentally rear-ended the mail truck my dad was in, causing my dad to suffer a back injury from whiplash.

The rest of the day was blurry. I remember not going to school the next day, and possibly the day after that, and maybe even for the rest of that week. I just don't remember.

I tend to not remember many things very well. You would think that my memory of 9/11 would be as clear as a bell, but it isn't. I can only recall that life forever changed after that day.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Playing mind tricks on my students, otherwise known as the A/B game.

I love tricking my students. So this week was my first batch of classes with the students at one of my schools. The first lesson is always the easiest; it's a self-introduction lesson and I pretty much can do whatever I want. So I told them a little about myself, and then we played a game. This game doesn't really have a name--I just call it the "A/B game." I made a PowerPoint with a series of questions about myself and my family, and gave two answers on each side of the slide, one designated by 'A' and the other by 'B'. After asking the question (and making sure the students understand it), I give them a few seconds to decide which side they think is the correct answer, and then they get up and move to that side. If they're correct, they're safe. If they're wrong, then they do a simple self-introduction. They only have to do the intro once though; if they get the next question wrong they don't have to do it again. So the first few questions were pretty simple, and everyone got those right. But today I decided to play a trick on my students. I came to school wearing a bright pink shirt and black pants, and one of the questions that came up was "My favorite color is..." Answer A was black, and Answer B was pink. The kids were so thrown off by my pink shirt that nearly all but two or three of them rushed to the "pink" side. Then when I told them the answer was black, they ALL had to do their self-introductions!!! It was absolutely great. Eventually I was able to fool the remaining few students with the other questions, such as whether I had a PSP or a DS. Most kids tend to think I have a PSP for some reason, most likely because they think it's more aimed towards adults. But a few kids recalled me saying earlier that I used to play Pokemon, so they went to the DS side. The best thing about this game is that it helps the kids' listening skills, and it also lets them run around a bit. It's always good to get the kids active during your first class, to encourage them to have a positive first impression of you as their new teacher. It also gives them a chance to speak English, as they have to use it to introduce themselves if they get a question wrong. Of course, if there's that one kid that's REALLY good and gets all of them right, you can just make them do their introduction at the end of the game. If you manage to get all of the kids to do it before you use up your questions, then you can just enjoy the rest of the game and let them continue their listening to you recite the questions and answers.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back from the US

So, I'm back from vacation.

I haven't been in much of a blogging/video-making mood lately, because there's been so much stuff going on.

I arrived in the US two weeks ago and spent a day or two finishing up my cosplay for Otakon. It was received pretty well, despite my character not being recognized by most people. Oh well, they're missing out on the greatness that is Dynasty Warriors.

After Otakon wrapped up, I celebrated my dad's birthday and got to see some family. The rest of the week consisted of shopping and seeing friends.

I realized a few things about traveling that I should keep in mind the next time I visit:

1. Leave on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and depart for Japan on a Tuesday or Wednesday. That was my original plan, but because my dad had already decided his 2-week vacation period, in order to avoid the conflict of finding a way to the airport I had to depart for Japan on a Monday, which was his last day off, I think. That made packing more difficult, because while I wanted to take Sunday to do so, that was the day that several friends wanted to come and see me. Had I left on Tuesday instead, I could have taken Monday to pack. I ended up leaving a few things behind that I had meant to take with me, just because I had stayed up late to finish packing that night after my friends left. Fortunately none of the items are things that I absolutely need, and my parents will send it to me whenever.

2. Two weeks is really short, regardless of having concrete plans or not. I have no idea why, but even though I stated pretty clearly on Facebook and to people who asked that I'd be in the US from July 25th to August 8th, some of them still had this idea that I was staying longer than that. As much as I'd like to stay longer, I just don't want to use up too many vacation days at one time.

3. I should save up and book even earlier next time. This time I had booked my flight with Orbitz a little under 2 months in advance, but when I proceeded to choose my seats, a lot of them were already filled up.

4. I don't have to check my bass guitar. When I was coming back from Japan after study abroad in 2009, I had two suitcases and I had bought a semi-hard guitar case for the 5-string bass guitar that I bought a few months before that. Because the guitar case was so large, I had to check it and pay a $100 fee, which wasn't really a problem for me.

Since that time, they had changed a few regulations for baggage, and I would've had to pay $200 if I had checked my bass as a third piece of luggage. Not only that, I might have had to pay even more because that semi-hard case is larger than than the size limit for checked baggage.

So this time, I decided to trust the airlines and put my bass in a soft case (as long as they put the fragile tag on it, which was done the last time). Fortunately, the woman at the check-in counter brought it to my attention that I could bring my bass on board as a personal item. She probably wouldn't have said that if she had seen the backpack I was also wearing (I had a backpack, the guitar, and my purse, but you're only allowed a carry-on bag and one additional personal item). So I ended up putting all of my stuff from my purse into my backpack, and then stuffed the purse into my guitar case. There we go--two carry-on items! The bass was able to fit in the overhead bins on the first flight to Chicago, and then when I changed planes I was able to store my guitar in a long, narrow cabin that was located conveniently next to my seat and near the bathroom.


So that's what's been up. I don't know when I'll make another video; I've been really exhausted lately.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Back to the US

I know it's been a while since I've really done any kind of activity or updates on my blog, YouTube, and even Twitter lately. I apologize for that.

Right now I'm making this post from the plane heading towards BWI airport from Chicago. It's been a very long day. Everything was going pretty smoothly, and my flight from Tokyo had even arrived at 2:00pm Central Time, 30 minutes earlier than scheduled. My connecting flight was supposed to be departing at 4:38pm, and then I found out that it was delayed due to thunderstorms in Maryland. We actually didn't take off until after 7:00pm, which was pretty annoying, but it's not like I could do much about it. What matters is that I'm coming home for the first time in 51 weeks.

It's been an amazing first year as a JET. I love my city of Ono, despite its drawbacks. I've made a lot of new friends who have made life in the inaka so much easier. I was able to contribute to my kids, and hopefully I helped make an impact on their lives. But those kids have also taught me a lot, and I'm very grateful for that.

I think we're about to land soon, so I'll make some more updates when I can. There's a lot to be talked about, so once again, sorry for the lack of updates in the past few weeks!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Strangers

On my way home from work on Friday, I was waiting on my bike to cross the street, and a truck went by in the direction I had come from. It was pretty quick, but the driver honked his horn and said, "Hi," and I could only see for a split second that it was some black guy possibly in his 40s or 50s that I didn't know.

Confused, I ignored it and kept riding home, wondering if this guy was going to do what I thought he would. And I was right. About 3 minutes later, I'm riding up the hill, and from the corner of my eye I see this truck driving in the same direction, and he pulls over on the other side of the street to wait for me coming up the hill. As I pass him, he says, "Hi, excuse me," I turned my head in his direction and freaked, and decided to keep pedaling. He yells louder, "Excuse me!" but I ignored him.

A small part of me felt a bit rude, because he may have had an honest and legitimate question about directions or something. But I highly doubted that. If this guy needed directions, he would've slowed down the first time instead of honking and saying hello as he whizzed by me. From my experience though, I had a feeling that this guy probably wanted to ask me some personal questions, eventually leading to a "I think you're pretty, can we be friends?" type of thing. It's happened so many times, both in Japan and the US, and I absolutely hate it.

Besides, if he was some gaijin in Japan honestly looking to talk to other foreigners in the area, he probably shouldn't be trying to talk to a girl half his age on a bicycle during a hot summer afternoon. Who in the world wants to stop and talk to a stranger at a time like that?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Apple iPod Repair Outside of Your Home Country

Just a few minutes ago I just sent my beloved iPod Touch off to [hopefully] be repaired by Apple. Just a mere day before its warranty was set to expire, I had discovered that my 1-year old iPod had a grey line of dead pixels on the screen:



The line shown in the picture is actually what it had grown to over a day and a half; it started out short and in the center and eventually grew longer towards the left side of the screen. I felt really lucky that this happened JUST before my warranty expired, but still somewhat upset that this kind of defect would happen after only a year. I had a bad experience with my old MacBook that I got in 2008, in which the screen failed after about a year and a half, just a few months out of warranty. Hopefully the same won't happen to my MacBook Pro, which is just outside of warranty (I contacted Apple about this because, unlike with my iPod Touch, I NEVER received an e-mail reminder that my warranty was about to expire, and I got them at the same time).

So after purchasing the AppleCare Protection plan for my iPod, I contacted Apple to set up a repair. I bought the iPod in the United States, but of course now I live in Japan. So what do you do when you don't live in the country from which an Apple product is purchased?

Here are two choices: You can go to the nearest Apple store (the nearest one for me is 1 1/2 hours away in Osaka and I'm not waiting until the weekend to go) or you can set up a repair online. For the latter, just follow these steps:

1. Go to Apple's Service and Repair page. Enter in your product's Serial # (this page will help you if you don't know how to find it) and then select the country in which you are currently living, and then click Continue.

2. Your product and Serial # will be displayed on the next page.
Under it is a link that says "See your service and support coverage." This is where you can check your product's warranty status.

3. Next to the heading that says "Repairs and Service Coverage: [your product's status here]," there is a button that says "Set Up a Repair." If your product is under warranty, or if it is out of warranty and you don't care about any charges that will be incurred, then go ahead and click that button.

You should be able to follow along Apple's step-by-step process. The country you select at the beginning is important because it will be listed on the page where you enter your address. Also, the services available may vary depending on where you live. For example, when I chose "United States," I expected to receive an empty box in which I would pack my iPod to be sent. But when I went back and chose "Japan" as my country, Apple's website informed me that an actual person from a courier service will come to pick up my product, and that I can schedule the date and time period that I would like them to come. So I chose the next day between 6:00 and 9:00 in the evening.

After submitting my Repair request, my confirmation e-mail was written in Japanese, but when I clicked the link to my iPod's Repair status, the page was displayed in English. So if your confirmation e-mail comes up in another language and you're not sure of what it says, don't worry about it.

So for the next few days/weeks, I will be without my baby :( I plan on buying a new one with a camera within the next few months, but I still want my current iPod to be in good condition and under warranty in case I pass it on to someone else. I wonder if they'd mind that the back is engraved with "Proverbs 3:5-6" on it...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Forgetting Your Alien Registration Card ("Gaijin Card")

This past weekend I went to Hiroshima to enjoy a Saturday night girugamesh concert. I really love the band; I'd have to say that they're up on the same level as L'Arc~en~Ciel as far as my favorite bands go. Even though the band was performing in the much-closer city of Osaka on Wednesday night, I decided to go for Hiroshima instead because it was on a Saturday, and I'd rather not try to rush right after work and commute 1 1/2 hours to Osaka on a school night.

So I got my stuff packed for the weekend and headed out on Saturday morning. It wasn't until after the hour-long ride to Shin-Kobe station, and then the 80 minute ride on the Shinkansen to Hiroshima, and then getting to the front desk of the hostel where I'd be staying...

...that I realized I had left my Alien Registration Card at home. -_-;

In most cases while in a foreign country, of course your passport is one of the most important things to carry with you. Of course, once you actually move to that country and receive an alien registration card (外国人登録証明書, gaikokujin touroku shoumeisho), you don't need to carry your passport with you on a regular basis. During my winter trip to Tokyo, I carried both since I was staying away from home for over a week.

But this would be just a weekend; I'd leave Saturday morning, stay one night, and come back Sunday evening. So I decided not to take my passport.

However, I had forgotten that, a few days before, I had taken my "gaijin card" out of my wallet to scan a copy of it for unrelated reasons. After I was done, I had completely forgotten to take it out of the scanner and put it back in my wallet.

Fortunately, the receptionist had no problem with me not having my card, and just asked if I had any other picture ID. I still had my Maryland state ID, so I just showed her that and she said OK. Whew!

After I got up to my room, I started getting ready for the concert at Namiki Junction. After looking at my ticket, I noticed at the bottom that it said I had to pay an additional 500 yen for a drink ticket when entering. Immediately I started feeling concerned about whether I'd be carded when going into the live house. I started thinking up possible explanations and was prepared to plead for them to let me in, showing them that I was of age AND that I wasn't here in Japan illegally--I had my Japanese health insurance card with my birthday but no picture; my state ID; and the envelope that contained my ticket with my current address on it.

I was a bit relieved after going to Namiki Junction's website and reading the venue policies. For late night lives, ID is required. But for the girugamesh concert starting at 6:00pm, the only note written was that children 6 and under weren't allowed. Obviously I'm of age so they wouldn't need ID for that.

Long story short, I got into the venue and enjoyed the concert with no problems whatsoever. But there were some things during the weekened that I passed on doing just in case I needed to have my gaijin card for it.

So the moral of the story is: Never leave home without your gaijin card. I know some people out there say, "Meh, I never carry it and I've never gotten into trouble," but I wouldn't advise that you try it. I've been carded randomly before, and besides, you'll still need it if you plan on doing other things like checking into other hotels/hostels, going to a host club, going to a nightclub, or--if you look really young for your age--being in a game center after certain hours. That last one has happened to me before, mainly because the friend I was with looks like she could be in middle school when she's actually turning 24 this year.

So yeah...that card is important.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

...when I use Japanese online community sites.

The screenshot from my last blog post was from a dating/friendship community known as JapanZone Friends.



I revived my profile on JapanZone Friends after what seems like years. All the discussions and topics about AMBW that I've been reading about lately drew me back to using the site. One of the reasons I quit before was because I wasn't meeting many Japanese guys (or Japanese people in general), but rather people from other countries. The other reason was because the options I had as a "free" member were VERY limited, and I wasn't going to pay money to become a VIP member.

But I've returned to the site, to do a bit of an experiment on whether I can easily find an "Ideal Match" (18 to 25-year old Japanese male open to dating or even becoming friends with a non-white, non-Japanese girl). So I restored my profile, uploaded a new picture, and edited my information (it still said that I was "hoping to go to Japan," lol). I added a Japanese translation of my English introduction message in hopes of encouraging more Japanese speakers to contact me.



After my profile got approved, I looked at "My Matches" (few of which looked interesting to me) and waited for some visitors and Smiles (which are kind of like Facebook Pokes). I got what I usually get when I use online dating/community sites: Middle-aged, non-Japanese men. I can't say there's anything wrong with these men, but I'm 22, and I would much prefer to have a guy in the same age range, and not closer to my dad's age (won't lie though, if Fukuyama Masaharu proposed to me I'd say yes :P)

Of the 55 visits to my profile that I've gotten so far (some of these are repeats), about 10% of them were from Japanese men in their 20s. Even fewer were in my 18 to 25 age range--about two or three. The rest were from men from other countries (I'm listed as being in Japan so they may have thought I was Japanese) and about half of them were ranged from 30 to 51.

But since visits don't necessarily mean anything other than the curiosity of seeing the rest of a person's profile, let's look at the smiles:

I have 22 smiles total. 3 of them are repeats, which makes 18 different individuals. 5 of those 18 smiles are from Japanese men. Of the 5 Japanese men, one of them is within my 18-25 range, but he didn't look very interesting; there was absolutely no spark from looking at his profile. Another guy, who is 30, looked pretty interesting and seemed like the type I could hang out with, so I sent a smile back to him. (He has yet to respond again.) Another smile was from a 32-year old who was only listed as being interested in language exchange-related activities and not dating, which was fine by me. I replied to him saying thank you, and he replied back introducing himself and saying he wanted to practice English.

I won't even go into chats--none of them were from Japanese men.

Am I trying to prove anything with these statistics? No, nothing other than the fact that these are the typical results that I get from sites like these. But I'm pretty sure it's a common case; I imagine that the population of men over 30 on these sites is fairly large. I also expect that a site focused on uniting Japanese and non-Japanese people will probably have less Japanese people and more people from other countries...there's a lot of different countries, whereas there's only one Japan. Not to mention that the online presence (not the mobile online presence) of Japanese people, aside from mixi and 2chan, is known to be pretty low. Finally, I may just be doing one single thing wrong: listing my country as "Japan." Even though that's where I live, it may be possible that the Japanese guys I'm looking for are looking for women who DON'T live in Japan, and the middle-aged men from other countries might think that I'm Japanese. I don't think the former is likely, but the latter might be.



What this proves is that even the Internet isn't an easy place to meet certain types of people. The best way to meet anyone is in person, but unfortunately it's not always easy. There's a lot of luck or fate involved, whichever you believe in. There's also money involved if you intend on traveling or paying to get full service from dating sites. It's probably easier if you're the "go-getter" type, but I'm not one of those because I'd rather wait for people to come to me, and then I get to decide whether I'm interested in that person or not. It's easier than for me to continue going after guys who are likely not interested in me because they didn't give me any special attention from the get-go, or guys whose kindness I've misinterpreted as interest. (See my YouTube video titled "I still don't understand Japanese guys." as well as the follow up from White Day.)

As I am finishing up this blog, I just received another smile...from a 42-year old in Germany. And I've also received a chat request from a 41-year old...who, needless to say, is not Japanese. Even if he was, it wouldn't matter...he'd still be 10 years younger than my dad. But if he was Fukuyama Masaharu...



So here are some questions:
  • Do you use JapanZone Friends or similar sites focused on international communication?
  • If you do, what kind of people do you tend to get contact from?
  • Why in the world do I get so many contacts from [much] older men, despite the fact that my "Ideal Match" obviously states that I'm looking for guys 18-25?

This is only the beginning, so should some additional activity come about, I'll write a follow-up.

This is what I get.

I'll elaborate later, but for now just enjoy this little message I received on a dating/friendship/language exchange community:


Friday, May 20, 2011

The Rapture

I made a final video for those of you who will be remaining on this earth after the Rapture. Please watch the whole thing before you make any judgments.

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