Monday, October 29, 2012

Halfway through my First Semester

Although studying at Akita International University (AIU) is fun, I am sad to know that despite meeting all of these great people I may not see them for while. This semester I got to go to a "Ninja Park" for my birthday, got lost in Japan, and I got the opportunity to live by myself without relying on my parents too much.

Recently I have been feeling culture shock because I miss certain things from Hawaii like food, family, dog, and friends, but I think I am slowly getting adjusted to life in Japan. As of right now, I still think I do not want to live in Hawaii because I want to experience some place different, but I am not sure if Japan is where I want to live yet.

According to my friend from Hawaii that has lived in Japan for five years due to the JET Program, it is difficult for foreigners to apply for citizenship in Japan because the Japanese people do a thorough search before approving foreigners as Japanese citizens. Some people that apply for citizenship in Japan find the process humiliating.

In addition, there is a lot of food and cultural traditions that can only be found in Hawaii, so I know may miss that. Therefore my current plan is to learn as much as I can about Hawaii so that regardless of where I live, I can still enjoy the things I like about Hawaii. I want to be able to make delicious Hawaii food like poke (raw fish cubes), lomi salmon, malasadas, and meat-jun.

Anyways on Saturday, I went to a school bus trip with some of the international and full-time students to Akita Furusato-mura and Oyasukyo Gorge. At Akita Furusato-mura, I went to a theme park, and at Oyasuko Gorge, I got to go hiking and got to go to an onsen (hot spring). This trip lasted almost the whole day.

The theme park at Akita Furusato-mura had a train that would take me around the park, many gift shops, a  freefall slide, a planetarium, and this castle that had many uniquely designed rooms. While walking inside the castle, some of the rooms reminded me of the movie Inception, glowed in the dark, or contained narrow corridors. I felt like I was Alice from Alice in Wonderland because traveling through the room was like a maze. 

Me posing with a gorilla at the theme park at Akita Furusato-mura

View from outside the train

Inside the Wonder Castle

The room next door is an exact replica but it looks like a mirror from this picture

I am apart of the menu

I am trying to hold onto this wall before falling to my death

My friend got arrested

Time to leave the Wonder Castle

At Oyasuko Gorge, I noticed that the water from the river was boiling, and I could see steam coming from the gorges when I was hiking. I also could smell sulfur nearby. One of the international students had mentioned that while hiking, he noticed a crab on one of the rocks and it seemed like it got cooked alive due to the steam. 

We just arrived at Oyasuko Gorge

Food from the vendors at Oyasuko Gorge

Group picture

My Mongolian friend is trying to relieve his childhood

Below is the link about Oyasuko George. Apparently this place has a lot of onsens for people to go to. It even has foot onsens for people to put there feet inside for free.

Theme park and museum of Modern art
Wonder Castle
Namahage Slide

Oyasukyo gorge is a famous spot known for its hot springs and beautiful autumn foliage views.
Official homepage (Japanese):
Tourist information (English):

The following day, I returned to Akita City by myself by riding the fee shuttle and walked around the area. I noticed that there is a malasada shop nearby so I intend to visit there in the future. On the way back to the train station, I ran into three of my friends. Two of them were international students and the other one was Japanese.

The three of them had gone to this manga shop called Manga Souko, and two of them had spent a lot of money on manga collectibles. One of them spent about 16000 yen on this action figure he bought today despite spending 20000 yen on manga collectibles before.

After meeting with them, I decided to join them for this all-you-can-eat pizza place nearby the Akita train station. The pizza was very delicious and it brought tears to my eyes because it had been a while since I was able to eat pizza since coming to Japan.

Unfortunately, I was shocked when I saw my bill. Before coming to this restaurant, one of my friends that I went with told me that it costs 500 yen for person to eat as much people as possible. In addition, my Japanese friend had talked to the waitress and it seemed liked it cost 1780 yen for a group of four people to eat as much as we want. It turned out that it cost 1780 yen per person so my friends and I were mad at the person that told us about this restaurant despite the high quality of the food.