Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Back with a new haircut

These past few weeks have been pretty busy. I have had a few exams, one presentation, got a haircut, signed up for Amazon Japan, and got to finally make some spam musubi's. Recently the leaves have started changing color and pretty soon it will start snowing at the beginning of next month. I am definitely looking forward to seeing snow however, I have not completely adjusted to the cold yet. Due to the cold wind, I have to wear two jackets outside, and I have started staying at the library more because my room is so cold.

Although I like living on my own in Japan, it does have some disadvantages. Some of the disadvantages are lack of money, unable to get a part-time job, making plans for the winter, cleaning myself, and my poor cooking skills. Despite the fact that Japanese food is very delicious, everything in Japan is so expensive so I need to budget my money carefully. Currently I spend a lot of money on food, utilities, cellphone, and rent.

My roommate and me go grocery shopping every weekend because certain food ingredients such as eggs, bread, and vegetables run out very quickly during the week. In addition in order to save money we both rarely eat breakfast in the morning, but eat at our apartment at night normally. Compared to him, I usually eat lunch at the cafeteria so I think I spend more money on food. Meals at the cafeteria cost around 200 to 400 yen. Occasionally we can get free food or money from school events, but they fill up pretty fast. About a week ago I was able to get free sweet potatoes from a school event so my roommate used them to make sweet potato french fries.

The girls are getting to pull sweet potatoes with the kids

She is a graduate student from San Francisco studying at AIU on exchange

These kids look like they are having fun

She is so strong

We finished pulling all of the sweet potatoes

Time to pose with everyone

We are so happy to have all these free potatoes
Last Thursday, my roommate gave me a free haircut so in return I shared him some of my food from Hawaii that my parents sent me. My parents sent me food like haupia mix, poke (raw fish cubes mixed with seaweed) mix, gravy, spam, and Hawaiian tea. Therefore I am hoping to make food like loco moco and poke in the near future. 

Before ...

Cooking in Japan is nice but I do not have the right ingredients to make certain kinds of food so I am kind of limited on what I can cook. Apparently the stores nearby the university do not sell things like gravy or Chinese fishcake, so I have to order them online or I am unable to make foods that require ingredients like Chinese fish cakes. In addition, certain food like spam, bread, eggs, cheese, and milk can be kind of expensive so I try to avoid making food that I use those type of ingredients.

I am finally able to eat precious spam from Hawaii
Who does not love eating good food?
The price of my bills can vary but so far my water, gas, and electricity bill's price range from 1000 to 3000 yen. Meanwhile my cellphone bill for this month was around 7000 yen despite the fact that I got one of the cheaper plans for my cellphone. I was expecting my cellphone bill to be around 2000 yen for this month. According to my friend, the reason my bill is so expensive this month is because I needed to sign a contract fee and pay for installation charges. Compared to America, I discovered that I can pay for my bills at the school convenience store so it is convenient because I do not need to travel to the post office and speak to someone in Japanese in order to pay my bill.

Lastly, this past Monday night, I went out with the other Americans for a school event, and I got to eat some delicious food. The event was sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Akita, and I got to meet Akita City's basketball team. I got to talk with some of the Japanese business men and women that were also invited to this event. Only American students from Akita International University were allowed to go to this event. The dinner and transportation was free. In addition, there was free alcohol so a lot of the students drank and ate as much as they could.

The head of the America-Japan Society of Akita

It is good to be an American

Akita City's Basketball Team

These guys were our entertainment

Oishii sou desu ne (It looks delicious right)

Free alcohol that I can legally drink

Monday night was pretty exciting and most of us were happy to go because we knew it would be a while before we could eat and drink like we did that night. After Monday night's dinner, I was somewhat disappointed to eat normal food again, but I guess I just need to save more money.