January 2, 2013

89 in 89: Recap

So, how'd I do?

Let's first discuss those uncompleted goals


4.            Be able to recognize 50 Kanji characters
  By my count I learned 30, so not quite, but still 30 more than when I arrived!
5.            Be able to sing the Japanese National Anthem
  I know the lyrics, does that count?
6.            Be able to understand afull-length Japanese film
  I saw dubbed Frankenweenie w/o subtitles, but I was still pretty lost
7.            Be approached for a photo withover a dozen Japanese school girls
  How did this not happen every day? On all previous trips to Japan this has happened. I'm
  telling myself that I've just assimilated into the culture to the point where they don't
  recognize me as an outsider
8.            Be asked for and able to give direction
   This happened often but was never interesting to write about, so completed! 
11.         Be on Japanese TV
   I can't find the footage of me at the Frankenweenie fashion show, so until then...
17.         Drive a moped
   I once drove one around the Fred Meyers parking lot in Canby, does that count?
18.         Earn a Japanese nickname
   Catherine calls me "Hiding Yawn Face" since I'm constantly trying to stifle my boredom
   with what she says... I suppose that's less Japanese and more Native American though
24.         Find a job & a one-year visa
   I attempted this goal at Gaba but am ultimately happy to say I failed
29.         Get a custom-made suit
   I ended up finding a place online that is in LA, so while it's not completed yet, the
   initial emailing and scheduling started in Japan. I'm cheating and calling it a success
30.         Get paid in yen to do something
   Nay
32.         Go an entire day without speaking
   The closest I came was in Yakushima while hiking in the forest
33.         Go to a comedy show and understand at least one joke
   Man was I hoping to catch one of Aziz's shows, but alas, the timing never worked out.
   Would it have been cheating that his routine was entirely in English? No. Would 
   Have understood a single one of his "jokes"? Probably not.
40.         Learn Celsius
   "Learn" is tough because I can now calculate between Celsius and Fahrenheit, but it
   takes awhile. I'm saying completed.
41.         Learn the Japanese equivalent toeither "The Dougie" or "The Soulja Boy"
   I kept asking, but no one knew a Japanese dance move. Maybe I should create one?
42.         Learn the national exercise (rajiotaiso)
   Major regret not waking up one morning to participate, though I never saw anyone
   doing it...
44.         Make sushi
   I probably needed to embrace sushi first...
46.         Not lose anything I came with
   Success! I have unpacked and not a thing I brought with did not return safely
49.         Purchase one item from the book"Weird Japanese Inventions"
   The one item I found was the ear cleaning device with a built in camera, but it was
   pretty expensive and I don't think my ears are terribly dirty. I'll call this goal completed
   though as the point was to find an item.
54.         Revisit Nara Dreamland
   They have been closed for years, and while people sneak into the abandoned park, I
   figured getting caught would mean jail and/or deportation and that wasn't something
   wanted to risk.
55.         Revisit the Studio Ghibli museum
   I simply never made the time, though I hear the exclusive short they're playing is the
   same one I saw in 2011
56.         Ride a camel in the Tottori sand dunes
   Kurumi and I picked the day and made plans, but when that day arrived, it was 45
   degrees. Oh well.
58.         Run into someone I know
   This happened a few times, though they were all people I knew from Japan. But you
   know what, it's the most populated city on Earth, so I'll count those encounters!
67.         Spot a member of the Yakuza
   How did I not write about this? While being shown Akihabara and the surrounding area
   by Justin (friend of Ben, who I met via Facebook), we encountered a large group of
   people hanging outside a war monument and were informed that these were all low
   level Yakuza members. Not the tattooed, beefy dudes I was expecting, but they
   weren't terribly friendly looking either.
69.         Stay in a Ryokan
   Turns out this happened a few times, they just weren't as nice as the expensive ones
   listed in guide books.
72.         Summit Mt. Fuji
   Listen, "summit" is such a strong word. Who's to say that "looking at it from a distance"
   is not the same as "walking to the very top"?
74.         Swim in the Sea of Japan
   Didn't make it to Tottori so I couldn't complete this goal.
75.         Take a bike-ride through the country-side
   Between riding in Kyoto, Yakushima, and Kagoshima, I'll count this as a success.
78.         Win yen at Pachinko
   Turns out you can't win money in Pachinko as gambling is illegal. Instead you win
   tokens which can be exchanged for gift certificates. Luckily there is always a store next
   to pachinko parlors that happens to exchange gift certificates for money. What are the
   odds?!
83.         Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku
   My life's greatest regret is not booking a reservation as the night we tried was the last
   night they were open for the new year. Let's not talk about it...
87.         Chow down at Whoopi Goldburger
   Richard and I went but they hadn't opened yet. I really wanted to try the Kevin Bacon
   sandwich with a side of Rib Tyler (which is funny because the Japanglish way to say
   "Liv" is "rib"
89. Complete this list
   I guess I'll just have to return to Japan.


64/89 goals completed. 72%. I'm above average! I passed!

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