Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Real Talk: Being Homesick

I am a mommy's girl...
(and a daddy's girl.)
I dedicate this post, to my mommy. ★
Growing up in Miami, I feel like everyone is really close to their family. Many households have the main family, and the grandparents living with them. My family is not THAT close, but, growing up, I lived in a town house complex where my cousins lived two houses away from me and my grandmother and aunt and uncle lived 2minutes down the street. As a result, there was almost always a party at my cousins house and big birthdays were usually celebrated at my grandmothers house. Needless to say, I was and have always been very close to my family. (Probably doesn't help that my grandmother is Argentinian, and she married a Columbian a bit later in life--so get-togethers all the time is pretty much a given.)
My mother and I are the closest, that I've ever really known anyone to be. My parents are both former Marines, so I was brought up fairly strict--or so they tell me. As an only child, I was also very spoiled--because I earned it. So if I did good in school, I could have whatever I wanted for birthdays, holidays, etc. I wasn't some crazy tantrum throwing child who was an asshole to people. I've always been a bit to myself, loud when I talk to people and have fun, but pretty much 'mature' if that's a good way to put it?
When I was little, I was the biggest Daddy's girl. I grew up like a little boy, playing video games and loving cars, and dressing like a goth boy... BUT, when I hit high school, I realized--I'M A GIRL. and started to enjoy girl things again. I never grew up sheltered, my parents always showed my R rated movies and told me the truth about everything... And yet I still get really weird when a normal movie starts showing hardcore sexy things and I get weird when people use the real terms for private parts and whatnot. Makes no sense, I know.
I had friends growing up, but I always went to different schools than most for middle and high school, so I don't have anyone that has stayed around for very long. As a result, I have always been quite the homebody and stuck with my mommy who takes care of me and tells me how things are without sugar coating things. Many people would and probably think of my mom's teaching is a bit...rough. When I started struggling with mental health problems...she always told me that I don't need to see someone who is just going to prescribe a bunch of unnecessary medications and to get over it.
Her tough love has trained me to be a stronger person than I have always thought I was. The reason I was always pretty in line with things and didn't go buck wild, was because I was so afraid my mom would beat the crap out of me. She never did though (except for maybe a smack on my rear when I was small), and despite that, soon as I saw her hand raise--I stopped, in my tracks for fear of what could come.
But even though I have/had a fear for the hand that feeds--I love my mommy unconditionally and do my best to make her proud of me...and will probably continue to do so till the day I die.
In my personal opinion, very poorly.
Every day (even when I studied abroad in Kyoto), I Skype with my mom in the morning and evening. I send her messages on LINE the minute I wake up, when I go to sleep, and except sometimes on the weekends, every time I go somewhere. My mother knows everything I do...all the time.
I have this theory that if anything should ever happen to me, my mom, even though she's a million miles away..she can help me and fix the problem.
Some people are thinking, "You're how old and need to talk to your mom THAT much?"
In short. Yes.
If you want to know the embarrassing truth, I cannot make big financial decisions without her... I have texted her at 3am (her time) asking if it's a good idea to buy a chair for 30$...which she reminded me that I needed a rice cooker more than the chair and I waited, got the chair at a later date.
My mom is my hero, my mom is my life, my mom is the most important person in my life.
I love my dad too, don't get me wrong. He loves cars, and I make sure to get him whatever Tomica he's looking for and make sure to send him care packages of Skylines and cars every so often.
But my mom, is the reason I am where I am, and the person that I am today.
I cry about once a month because I miss her so much, and I tell her I want to go home...but then she tells me she won't pay for my plane ticket and logically brings me back down from my crazy high of wanting to give everything up and live at home for the rest of my life...
I am sure that people living abroad are super homesick, and I hope those people know that it's ok...and you're not alone. I know my Twitter friends will agree when every so often, that 'I just wanna go home' feeling creeps harder than ever and you just want to curl into a ball and hop on a plane.
Adulting is hard, it fucking sucks, but we are all in it together, and the Internet helps us cope.
I hope that if anyone feels the pressure of homesickness, that you can find a happy place and good reasons to keep you here. But to know that it's also ok to go back home, people need what people need.
I once read in an article that happy people are happy anywhere, but I am happy to be where ever my mom is at, but for now--slowly, I'm learning to be happy with her far away too.
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Golden Week pt 2★Toy and Doll Car Museum

I Love Japanese Cars.
**Really ridiculously picture heavy**

I was raised by a father who loves cars, and as the daddy's girl I was, am, and have always been (don't get me wrong though--I'm a momma's girl too), it's only natural I would love cars too.

Especially Japanese Cars.

Not to divulge too much, but my father did spend a fair amount of time in Okinawa before I was born and owned a Nissan Skyline (prior to the turbo charged version) as his first car. I have heard about Japan and their lovely cars since infancy, plus add in Sailor Moon on TV since I was in elementary school (at 5am on ABC Family) and my love for Pokemon games following in suite from my cousin--is it really any wonder why I love this place so much?

Anyway, the same day we went to Haruna Shrine, since it was still early morning, Ryosuke suggested we come here--the Toy and Doll  Car Museum( おもちゃと人形 自動車 博物館). This place is literally made so everyone in my family is happy for hours.

There are three main parts of the museum.
Teddy Bears...EVERYWHERE!

Upon walking into the museum (and paying a hefty fee of 1080yen) you will be greeted by a bunch of teddy bears.
Then walking into the room full of them, you will be given a history of famous people in teddy bear history a long with worry about the health of many of the ones that are in bird cages handing from the ceiling. Literally any nook and cranny they could fit a teddy bear, they did.
Super cute though, and while I was too lazy to read all of the history entries of the various women in the glass displays, it was amazing to see all kinds of teddy bears from all over the world and from the past to now.
My mom loves teddy bears, like a lot. She is convinced she can have a pet bear and even though it is a carnivorous predator wants one of her own. So I tried my best to take a bunch of pictures for her, but the problem was, I am only using my phone and the glass doesn't seem very good to cancel out any reflection of all the lights in the place so I'll give you a few.

A walk through Showa period Japan
I like history, and old things especially if they involve Japan. Not a history buff when it comes to America but East Asia, and it's long history really gets my groove goin'. I didn't even know that this was part of the museum and it's really an added bonus! When there aren't horrid crowds of people...
It was probably the worst time of the year (Golden Week) to visit this place considering both of our anxieties with crowds of people in small places--but also this small section of the museum involves small exhibit rooms and a narrow hallway.
It was a really cool way to see old signs, and toys, and a old candy shop--I was so fascinated by it all that I kinda forgot to take more pictures...

Also there was a weird girl with an unnecessarily serious face while having her boyfriend take pictures... Being the horrid people that we are, Ryosuke took a picture doing an impression of her...we laughed too much about it.

After that you are essentially forced into a room of all old toys from the time in a big huge display case! It was amazing, especially because my eyes were drawn to the beautiful display area of Sailor Moon goods. Also, old Godzilla toy!! I LOVE GODZILLA!!!!

After the toy display area, came my most favoritest part--the carssss.

Classic Cars like Woah
Ryosuke clearly knows me best. The main point of coming to this place was for this, the Classic Car Museum!! I'm really bad at planning anything, there may be plenty that I want to do, but it all depends on what is realistically feasible to either our wallets, or time, or gas, etc. So that then makes me unsure of what to do and probably frustrates Ryosuke more than he'd like to admit.
So since we had plenty of time and he didn't want our only reason for driving this far to be for this shrine that I should've taken more couple pictures in...he suggested this beautiful land of amazing cars.
First there was this room that had a couple display areas of a single car in a Showa period setting with a bunch of cars lined up against the opposite wall. Then a room of cars that were not allowed to be taken photos of...not exactly sure why.

No more pictures beyond this point--Ryosuke sneakily took a couple, but they are a bit blurry, so just this one.

Then I saw the sign, for the real show--up to the second and third floors, is the real 'Car Museum' from the Yokota Collection. If you are a car fan, you know about this place. Especially if you are a fan of Initial D. Considering that the setting of Initial D is basically Gunma, hardcore fans will know about this place and spazz to take a bunch of pictures.

After climbing the stairs you are greeted by this amazing scene. Real life Initial D, not like the Chinese live action with Jay Chou (which I did thoroughly enjoy).

The next area is up another set of stairs, to the real show. I almost cried. I wanted to show this to my father more than any one in the whole wide world, so I literally took pictures of every single car in this show room. I will spare you the photo dump, but if anyone really wants--please leave a comment and I'll make a separate post of all 70something pictures.

I was so perfectly happy with this. But there was more!
After a bit of a confusing hallway, there was a small old candy shop--where I should have bought a candy donut making kit... and many other candies that are usually difficult to find, but we didn't get anything there and kept on through the confusing hallways.

In this museum there is also a Squirrel Park, a International Winery, and a coloring booth for the cute kewpie-chan plastic doll (the mascot of Kewpie mayo) to color with pain pens at the end of the whole museum. 

The Squirrel Park, was just a small enclosed space, sort of outside, with some squirrels. You could buy a small packet of food for them to come up and reach for, but since they are such small animals there was already a lot all over the place and no point in trying to feed them more.

After we ended up in the food court/cafe area and also saw the Kewpie coloring booth but decided we needed to eat first. I wasn't driving so I tried the 200yen glass of the daily wine with my meal.

The food...to be completely honest, was really terrible. I suggest eating right before you go. To get through everything, and if you want to take more pictures (though the time I spent on that third floor showroom of cars..was probably a good twenty minutes just there), it really takes a couple of hours.

The food is presented in a white bag that looks like it was steamed, and I'm sure it was...which gives nothing to the flavor and gives the blandest taste. The wine was also super strong for my weak self, but I used so much concentration on coloring my little Kewpie-chan that I pretty much lost my buzz by the time we left.

I had really a great time and despite the really expensive price tag on just getting in, and on all the gifts that I wanted to buy but ended up not getting at all... I would love to go again and take more, better pictures and one day hopefully take my parents.

Please if you have the chance to go, make sure that you do!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Golden Week pt 1★Haruna Shrine

I love Japanese shrines/temples.
Ever since I did study abroad in Kyoto for a year back in 2007 I've been obsessed with going to Japanese shrines/temples. There's something about the feeling you get--closer to God or something? I really enjoy it, I'm not a religious person, but in Japan there's no pressure and it's more of an ancient based--do it out of respect bit, which I can jive to a lot better.
When I lived in Kyoto they were all around me, and that's part of the charm that I loved so much. Ancient temples right in the middle of hussle-bussle city life in downtown and old temples nestled among big bamboo forests and old candy shops.
Now that I live in Gunma, I have to say despite the nature all around me, temples are much more scarce. The ones that DO exist are up further in the mountains and a bit more of a pain to access. So when Ryosuke suggested we go to a really famous shrine for Golden Week I got really excited. Also, it's famous for being a 'Power Spot' which is supposed to revitalize and energize!
My dad is a big car guy and he knows a decent amount about Initial D so I knew that Mt. Haruna has quite the impact in the car world--so I was super stoked to drive on the toge (mountain pass) and see all the drift marks left from night racing as we drove up. I hope to drive up there myself one day, but due to traffic and not having been there yet Ryosuke drove. We both really enjoyed all the hair-pin curves and speeds so we were pretty revved up by the time we got to the shrine area.

The original plan was to leave at like 6something in the morning and arrive about an hour after the shrine opened...but Ryosuke is the furthest thing from a morning person, and I was still really sleepy at 4:30am so I let him sleep in and at around 6 or 7 something is when I finally decided to send bothersome texts to wake him up. We finally mobilized and got there at about 10 something in the morning.
We had already seen the mobs of people, but decided to try our luck at the parking lot which as right in front of the entrance and attached to a good sized gift shop/mom and pop restaurant. One of the workers there helped guide traffic since the spaces were limited and tight fitting, but we were able to snag a spot fairly quick.
Both of us had to use the restroom and I hadn't actually realized the rule of the place until I thought about it at that point 'Free Parking if you Buy something.' No big deal though as there were plenty of cute things that anyone would want to buy anyway, and a big theme seemed to be owls (Ryosukes' Moms' favorite collectible) so I got her some chopsticks for health and a cute stuffed ram for me (year of the Ram aw yiss)! He got his mom a coin purse which we put in the car and then set out for the mountain.
I've climbed up worse mountains for the sake of a shrine (Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto and another temple I can't remember the name of in Nagano). It was a BEAUTIFUL scene to see, so much so that I barely took any pictures past a certain point but did my best to capture beautiful scenes.

When we got to the top we were greeted by a huge line for prayer time so we waited a bit and stood together, clearly I had more on my mind because I was standing there longer.
We then got the really famous reveals fortune in water paper fortune and also another cute fortune that has a piece of tiny gold and a special character/design or if you're really lucky a 5-yen coin which is like the jackpot!
To reveal the water fortune, we had to go back down so we waited on that to explore a bit--as for the small gold attached fortune, I got a daruma! He's supposed to protect the family and will never fall even if pushed over. Ryosuke got a frog--I REALLY hope it brings money like it says.
As for the fortune itself...spoiler alert, both were the same. 末吉 which means simply, 'Ending of Fortune' or 'Half-Fortune.' (Depends what website you look at.)
Since I didn't know the water revealing one yet, for that moment I tied the one that came with the daruma to the tree in hopes of fixing my luck up a bit.
Then we took a separate route down than we did up and decided that since there was a random bench on the side of the path leading towards this giant lake (which was 7km away and we decided to go at a later date), and had the sammichs I had made. Clearly I was a novice when it came to Ryosuke's jam sammich, because I emptied the whole little carton of it in one sandwich...he died of sweet overload. Woops.
We both ate about a half of our sandwiches (mine was full of too much peanut butter) and I re-upped on my sunblock and we made the trek down and saw the most beautiful river where monks must stand under these little waterfalls and strengthen their--holiness... Either way it was magickal.
Then we found the area where we could reveal our fortunes, and once revealed you place it in the slot of the year of your animal (ram for me, monkey for Ryosuke) and spin the contraption.
We even made friends with this little old lady who sold me a nice sized coin purse (with owls on it of course) and she told us about a festival going on later in the month. The journey down was super quick, and not much left to do after that.
Despite being Golden Week it wasn't overly crowded, but it was a great idea to go early in the morning because once we got back the lines for the parking lots were insane.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

My patient man♡

How the hell does he deal with my crazy?
This is my boyfriend. His name is Ryosuke.
We have been together for a little over a year.
I am completely in love with him.
He is the most patient man on earth.

I am borderline insane.
And despite the year of crazy ups and downs, and the many, many times I've had break downs were I full on want to break things and hurt myself...he stays by my side and helps me through it all.
He tells me I'm beautiful even though I haven't the shred of confidence.
He makes me laugh till my ribs hurt.
I can't go a day without wanting to talk to him.

I am happy just to have him near me, and makes me feel whole.
He lets me complain till I'm red in the face.
He compliments my cooking and eats every bite.
He showers me with gifts even though he's tight on funding.
He tells me that I make him a better person.
He is just as picky about food as I am.
He likes jam sandwiches. I like peanut butter sandwiches.
We make the perfect pair.
 I am so lucky to have this many in my life.
Thanks for letting me gush for a bit. :) <3 ILY BBY!