Study Abroad in Osaka, Japan | Week Two

*I'm not too sure why some of the texts are turning pink...but I'll fix it soon!!

2016年1月18日 ➖ 2016年1月24日
Total Spent this Week:  23, 974 yen

The second week of my Study Abroad has just finished and I'm definitely feeling the struggles now. I miss speaking and thinking 100% in English. I'm missing the convenience of American food and the deliciousness of Hawaiian food. I'm missing my freedom of saying whatever's on my mind without thinking twice on what the exact translation would be. I'm terribly missing my friends and family. 

Week Two was really a week of missing. But I still got to experience a lot of happy things along the way. So here's this week's adventures! I hope you enjoy!

Day 6 - Jan. 18 | Class - Super Markets, Nabe Party
Spent: 1100 yen

Monday was a rather boring day. Because of the busy Sunday night before, I didn't finish my homework. So I woke up at 6:00am to finish the rest. By the time it was 7:15am, I was uber tired and decided to go back to sleep once I completed my worksheets. I woke up again at around 8:20am and began getting  ready since I would meet up with Natsuko at 8:40am for my usual 9:00am class.  I didn't do my hair or my makeup so I looked like quite a mess. I haven't been feeling the need to make myself look presentable just because it's been so cold. My hands are too frozen in the morning to apply them makeup so...natural beauty during the winter it is. :P

For the first two weeks at CET Osaka, it's all about the survival. We get different life lessons each day that will help us survive and fit into Japan's culture and society. Today, we learned about the Super Market: How to ask what's in a dish, how to ask where ingredients are located in the store, how to ask how dishes are made, how to return an item, how to exchange an item, how to fill out Japanese point card forms, etc. etc. 

To really make sure we knew what we were learning, our sensei (teacher) gave us 5 different tasks to do at the actual super market near our school and we had to complete them within the class period. It was so scary walking around and talking with the super market workers and asking for their help, but everyone was really kind and patient when it came to my stuttering of their language. I completed my tasks quite quickly, had a nice conversation with a lady worker, and got to eat a delicious bento box which I had asked a worker what kind of ingredients were in it. 

After class was done at 2:20pm, I had a 30 minute conversation with the CET Language Director, Young-sensei, in which she assessed my speaking ability. I will have another 30 minute conversation with her at the end of this CET program to see how much I improved over the program. Let's just say....I did horribly and could barely answer any of her questions. >.< It was a rather gruesome 30 minutes of my life. 

I was pretty much done and just exhausted with Japanese for the day after that, so I quickly walked home and rested a bit before skyping and eventually crying to my boyfriend of how frustrated I am with the language. It's just extremely displeasing to not be able to communicate your thoughts to someone in a language that's not your own. Although my boyfriend didn't make me feel any better, it was comforting to see him and be able to complain as much as I want to him. (hehe)

I completed my homework for the next day after my skype session and at 8:00pm, I had dinner with around half of the CET students. We ate nabe, which is sort of like Japanese hot pot. It was pretty good, though chotto expensive.  And finally, after a long and emotional day, at 12:00am I fell asleep. 

Day 7 - Jan. 19 | Class- Post Offices, Umeda Shopping
Spent:  23324 yen

I woke up at 8:20, and quickly got ready and left the house with Natsuko at 8:40. Class today was about post offices. We learned how to ship packages domestically, how to send letters and postcards internationally and domestically, how to buy stamps, and how to ask how long something should arrive at its destination. This was actually pretty important information because now I'm able to send letters to my boyfriend, friends and family. :) 

It was actually a half day on Tuesday, so we ended class at 12:30pm. Because I wanted to go back to Umeda, I planned to go to there by myself. I left my apartment at 1:30pm and arrived there around 2:00ish. It was my first time traveling alone alone since I got here, so I was pretty excited. 

I wandered around outside of Umeda just to see what's in the area. Not so fun rant: the fountain above is underground, which I thought was really cool. Umeda has some really awesome underground shops which I wanted to explore another day. It was around 4:00pm so I was just like, "I should go back to Hep 5 area near the train station", since I had walked quite a distance away from the normal crowds of people. When I walked back up to the streets however some random old Japanese guy, maybe in his late 30s or 40s, came up to me and started hitting on me! =.= I could actually understand what he was saying, which made it pretty scary since he was leaning in really close to me and trying to convince me to come eat dinner with him or drink with him. Sigh...I kept saying no and that I didn't understand what he was saying, and walked faster away, so eventually he left. But it was still scary! End of rant.

After that ordeal, I quickly walked back to the busy streets near the train station and went to Hep 5. I stayed there and shopped for awhile. I was soooo disappointed when I found out that Liz Lisa is permanently closed at Hep 5!!! If I knew last Sunday was the day it was to close, I would have bought something! (Now I need to make a trip to Tennouji to visit the Liz Lisa in Mio... ><) But that sadness aside, I bought quite a lot of other items, which I'll show in a different post since this one's already really long! Winter sales are here, so everything was really cheap! I ended up buying I think: 3 sweaters, 1 sweater dress, 1 winter-y dress, a skirt, and two blouses. :) 

For dinner, I actually found a Gudetama cafe

It was just too cute to ignore! I had to eat there~

I ordered the White Curry Gudetama, and the Gudetama Milkshake. SO CUTEEE~ Although, the food was just decent. I think the appeal for this cafe is just all the food are in shapes of Gudetama. TBH though, I've tasted better. >< It was a little on the expensive side too but I think the experience was worth it. I took the train back to my apartment at 8:00pm, did my homework, and then fell happily asleep~ Shopping always makes me feel better. 

Day 8 - Jan. 20 | Class - Drug Stores/Trains, Sukiyaki, Registering, Yakitori
Spent: 2395 yen

For class in the morning, we learned about all the different types of medicine that is offered at Drug Stores here in Japan, as well as the Train Systems here. So some of the tasks for class included: going to a drug store and asking the pharmacist guy - these are my symptoms, which medicine should I take, when should I take it, how much of it should I take, and are there any side effects of taking this medicine. We traveled via the Hankyu Line, so we also instructed our teacher where we should take the line, where to transfer and asking the Train staff if the train stops at a certain station

Honestly, the most important lesson for me so far was learning the Train Systems in Japan. So. Important. I think it's so easy to get lost here if you don't know your way around Osaka. So if you are able to ask the trains staff whether or not this train stops at this location, you'll be able to survive and travel peacefully~ ^^

For lunch we stopped at a Sukiyaki restaurant in Ogimachi that had a lunch special for 1100 yen. Yamaguchi-sensei has been my teacher this week and she's the lady sitting next to me! She's super cute and super helpful so it's been nice having her as a teacher so far. The sukiyaki was so delicious and warm too! I would definitely want to eat it again during this cold season.

Once we got back to Shoujyaku , I had to go to the City Hall in Suita to register myself as a Japanese resident since, during Study Abroad, I'll be staying in Japan for more than 3 months. We arrived at the City Hall around 3:30pm and by the time we left, it was already 5:50pm and dark. =.= The entire registration process took sooo long! Thank goodness for Shihori-san or we would have been there for a long long long time. 

For dinner at 7:30pm, me and a bunch of other CET people and their roommates went to a Yakitori restaurant near the Shoujyaku station

It was a sort of decent place, 280yen for each dish. I ordered the little ramen above. It was pretty good. Not too sure what kind of ramen it was, some meat based soup, but I wouldn't mind eating it againOnce we got back to the apartment though like alwaysI quickly did my homework, showered, and fell asleep. 

Day 9 - Jan. 21 | Abeno Safety Learning Center, Okonomiyaki
Spent: 1894 yen

Natsuko had a test in the morning so I ended up going to OGU at 8:30am. I had a while before class started, so I actually did my makeup and hair. xD For class, we visited Osaka City's Abeno Life Safety Learning Center. There we learned about earthquake and fire safety because earthquakes are quite frequent here in Japan. It was actually a really cool experience to go here! Everything was hands on, and we even go to experience what a major earthquake could feel like. I learned a lot, despite it all being in Japanese

 After the Learning Center, we then got some Okonomiyaki for lunch~ Osaka is known for its Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki, so I was super excited to eat some~

In Abeno, there's a place called Q's Mall, and the eateries there varies. We decided on Chibo. There was a wait time getting our meal but it was definitely worth it. I've never been so full since eating in Japan, so A++.

After lunch, we made a quick stop in Umeda to do some tasks for class which was asking the Umeda Information Center what we wanted to do in Umeda and how to get to that specific place, and then proceeded to go back to OGU. We had to do a campus tour for class the next day, so we had to interview some of the offices at OGU before we could go home for the day. I interviewed the Student Affairs Center and the Bookstore. My Japanese was quite horrible, but I got their answers within an hour and once I got back to the apartment, I crashed. ><

I slept from around 4 until 8ish. I don't know why I was so tired.  But by 8:00 I was too lazy to eat dinner, so I snacked on a granola bar and did my homework until 1:00am. And then I proceeded to sleep once more.

Day 10 - Jan. 22 | Class - Directions/Library, Karaoke
Spent: 1279 yen

I woke up at 8:10am as usual, quickly got ready and walked to OGU at 8:30am with Natsuko. We had a lot of homework due today, so I spent about 10 minutes working on some of it and reviewing before class started. Today we learned how to tell someone directions, and then took our sensei on a campus tour. OGU is still a pretty campus, and I'm kinda glad we took a short campus tour. I finally know where the OGU bookstore is and the library. I learned how to check out a book and search for books, so I'm thinking I might either study at the library or check out some books to read throughout this semester. :)

We reviewed a couple of grammar points and some kanji after the tour and then we had an hour break for lunch. I visited the local conbini, bought some Milk Tea, a mixed sandwich and some salad and walked back to OGU. I didn't feel like eating with the other CET peeps, so I found a cozy place alone and ate my lunch by myself. It was actually really nice and I'm thinking I'll probably eat lunch by myself from now on. :) I'll bring a book on Monday though~

Class started again at 1:20pm and Rachel actually didn't show up, so for an hour, I was instructed alone, but thankfully all we did was talk about our final project for the CET program, which I'll explain in a later post. At 2:30pm, class was done, I received a boat load of homework for the weekend, and at 3:00pm I had a Independent Meeting with the CET Program Director, Ozaki-san. It was all in English so that was good. It only took 15 minutes, so I walked home, took a quick shower, and prepared myself for the Karaoke Event which would start at 5:30pm. 

Karaoke at Big Echo was actually better than I expected. I was afraid I wouldn't be get to sing, but I sang a lot and I even accomplished singing a Japanese song! (Me Me She by Radwimps <3). We sang for 3 hours. The Japanese roommates and some of the CET members were planning on having a Yakisoba party at the guys apartment, but Natsuko and I didn't feel like going so we ate dinner at the restaurant next to Big Echo and we gossiped the rest of the night~

Day 11 - Jan. 23 | Doutonbori
Spent: 9060 yen

Because Natsuko and I talked until 1:30am, I woke up at 9:00am and by 10, I skyped with my boyfriend for a couple of hours. We hope we can skype on my Saturdays once I wake up. (Hopefully we can keep up with it xD) I did my laundry for the first time after we skyped. (Go adult Aimee!) I was planning on going to Tennouji to visit its Liz Lisa, but because I was assigned so much homework, I decided to do my homework during the day and visit the bright night life of Doutonbori

Natsuko and I decided to go together so we found out how late we could stay by seeing when the last train would be. It was at 12:00am so we'd be fine. ;) To get to Doutonbori, it's about a 5 minute walk from the Namba Station. From Shoujyaku it was a 430 yen ticket via the Hankyu Line. Natsuko and I sort of got lost getting to Doutonbori actually, but thankfully some really nice girls helped us and actually walked with us and showed us the way themselves. :) We were amazed at the bright screens, crowd streets, and all the restaurants. It really reminds me of New York Times Square actually! We took pictures at the famous Glico Running Man, and walked around a bit before trying to find somewhere to eat. 

Since there was wifi at Doutonbori, I researched and found a good ramen place called Kinguemon. We ordered its famous Black Osaka Ramen and it was soooo delicious~ The ramen is known for its shoyu based soup and it's very potent, especially in the Black Osaka Ramen. Because of that, we craved for something sweet. Natsuko bought a red bean ice cream taiyaki sort of dessert, and I got a chocolate shake lol. 

Doutonbori is definitely a food heaven. The only reason I would visit again actually would just to try a lot more food there. Takoyaki, okonomiyaki, crab, fugu (pufferfish), sushi, yakiniku, etc etc. Mmm...the list goes on. The only unfortunate thing though is that...other than the food and the shopping area at Shinsaibashi right next to Doutonbori, there really isn't anything to do there, so Natsuko and I left at 10:00pm. 

I wanted to get an ICOCA card, which is basically just a rechargeable train station card, and since you can only get it at a JR station, we walked for about 10 minutes before finding the JR Namba station. An ICOCA card costs 2000 yen, 500 deposit and 1500 for regular rides. I find them to be so convenient because I really dislike buying the physical train tickets and fumbling with my wallet to find change. 

Natsuko and I got lost a bit while going home via the JR lines considering we are so used to the Hankyu lines here, had a small panic when Natsuko thought she dropped her wallet but it ended up being in a different pocket of her purse,  and transferred like 3 times before we got home. The cost actually ended up being cheaper though, 410 yen compared to the 430 it cost to get there

I took a quick shower once we got back though, watched some YouTube videos and fell asleep. 

Day 12 - Jan. 24 | Kimono and Traditional Instruments
Spent: 650 yen

Sunday ended up being the first Apartment event, where the owners of the apartment we are living in hosts some events. Today's event happens to be Kimono and Traditional Instruments day!

I woke up at around 8:30 and skyped with my favorite sophomore back in college~ I then worked on this blog post, before getting ready (lol so late) at 12:00pm. We were meant to leave the apartment at 12:30pm, so I was a bit rushed since I was also doing Natsuko's makeup as well~ We left the apartment with my roommate and another Japanese roommate and took the train to Aikawa where the people who own the apartment we are living in lives. The Ariyama's are so nice and they are absolutely adorable and kind!

When we arrived, there were so many things going on! With probably 10 other girls in the house, the tiny living room was crowded, but what was really eye catching was all the kimonos, yukatas, and cloth materials that the Ariyama's owned! Everything was so gorgeous!!! We first got put into a Yukata which is pretty much just a light kimono, used mainly for summer

This is my second time wearing a yukata actually! The first was at my university. :) I thought the print I chose was so pretty and it reminded me of sakura season~ Natsuko looks gorgeous as ever~ 

Next we got put into a kimono, which is the thicker, warmer, and a lot more fancy traditional Japanese garment

My roommate Shihori and I! I am wearing the kimono, while she's in the yukata. :) We are holding a traditional Japanese instrument. I'm not too sure what it's called actually >< But when i find out, I'll edit this post! It's sort of like a handmade little taiko drum~ I absolutely love the picture of us together on the right and will probably change my profile pic on Facebook very soon ;)

After, the Ariyama's changed up the kimono and added in this long and pretty skirt. I've never actually seen Japanese people wear their kimonos with a skirt like this, but I thought it was nevertheless very pretty. <3 It sort of reminded me of the Korean traditional garment, hanbok. 

Ah! Rachel's skirt was gorgeous!! The gradient color was just to die for. Natsuko also had on a blue gradient skirt and it was just gorgeous! So, throughout this event, I changed 3 times!

I'm not too sure which one is my favorite, but I think the more I look at these photos, it's a tie between the yukata and the kimono with the pink skirt~ :) Which one do you guys like better? :D

Above is a picture with most of the ryuugakusei, or the Study Abroader's in my apartment~ I love this picture of us. We've never looked so beautiful all together. <3

After many many pictures later, we changed and went to a Indian/Nepalian curry restaurant called, Bihani. 

And oh my god....this naan and curry combo tasted sooooo good! Ugh...I already miss the taste. I'm definitely going back for this again, and for 650 yen? So worth it. After we ate our super late lunch, we went back to our apartment where I rested for a few hours, finished my incredibly long kanji hw (the hatred i feel...), and blogged a bit, I finally fell asleep. 

And that's the end of my second week! It definitely got better as the week went by. I'm still a bit bleh but I'm hoping things will get better as the weeks fly by. I'm super scared for this third week because this is the week actual classes start. So wish me luck! 

Until next time, 
Be true and always be you, 
Love, Aimee

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  1. Omg Aimee you get to go to so many places in Osaka, it sounds so much fun. Don't feel sad about the language barrier you sometimes experience, I can totally relate (when I'm speaking english sometimes) :-( You will get used to the language hopefully and your Japanese will get better over time, after all that's why you're there, to learn the language ^-^~ The Cafe you visited is so cute!! It's creepy that a guy hit you up tho please be careful when traveling alone especially at night! And about the yukata and kimono, I think they all look great on you but I like the kimono with the pink skirt the best, it looks really cute on you ♥ If I ever get to go to Japan too I will definitely try all kinds of foods there (the curry *-*) and try to try on a kimono and yukata ^-^ ♥

    Mindy ♥

    1. Thank you so much Mindy~! Yeah..I'm trying my best to travel a lot because I know this opportunity in Japan won't come for a long long while. ^_^Haha~ And thank you for your confidence in me!! I'm definitely a bit more confident in reading the language for sure, just speaking it has been much difficult. <3 I really like the kimono with the pink skirt too! I wish I could've posted all the pictures I took from the Kimono wearing event, but >< Maybe in a later post I'll throw random ones in~ ^_^ If you ever visit Japan, please tell me and maybe I can recommend places to go, especially in Osaka! :D

      Love, Aimee

  2. Oh wow all the pics are super beautiful thanks for share your journey with us!
    My best wishes and support for you

  3. osaka is a place i would love to visit! and i'm glad you get to study there because it seems like a really wonderful place and you seem to be having so much fun!
    would you like be friends and support each other by follow on GFC?
    please let me know if you followed me and I’ll follow back!


  4. Omg Aimee I am so glad that you are liking Osaka and experiencing a lot there! XD I am in the same situation hehe I like my city in Spain, but I miss so many things back at my home and Soka. Even though SA can entail some hard aspects, let's make ost out of it!! (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧ Reading your blog is so fun and inspiring for me! I think at the end of SA you r gonna know lot more about Osaka than me! Until when are you going to be there? If time matches, we should hang out 😆✨💕💕


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