Feel free to shoot me a message introducing yourself, or just add me and I will check you out :) I'm open to people of all kinds, as long as you aren't the type to be mean for the sake of being mean. Entries related to personal problems will be immediately friend-locked. Entries of lighter nature will remain public for a short period, but locked in rotation.
Looking forward to getting to know you.

よろしくお願いします❤

Enjoythedate

【嬉しくて寂しくて】FFVII: Remake event, money talks, thoughts on friends.

It's been very difficult figuring out how to write this entry in a positive light, but you know, it's not always necessary that things be positive. Sometimes, things are just not good, and that's okay. That said, things aren't horrible as they could be, and I'm grateful for that. Still, I'm exhausted.

Some time ago, we fell in to some legal problems--details of the story aren't mine to tell--and had to hire a lawyer. Luckily, he was successful in arguing our case and we only had to pay his legal fees, which compared to what we would have had to pay without him, was quite a small amount. However, it's still an expense we hadn't been prepared for, so we've had to take a hard look at ways to cut monthly spending. I began working freelance for a small company, and while it doesn't bring in more than an extra 1-2万円($94-$190) a month, any money in is good money for us at the moment.

I ended up having to replace my smartphone. The timing seemed horrible at first, but turned out to be a small blessing. After hearing all of our possible options, Ryu ended up dropping his mobile carrier and joining mine under a family plan. We also changed our energy provider to link it with our mobile carrier. It will take two months for us to start seeing the changes, but on our mobile bills, we we will go from paying 2万4千円 ($227?) to 1万8千円($170?)  for a savings of 6千円($57?)  and dropping between 1千-2千円 ($9-19?) on our electric bill. So we'll be saving a bit there. In addition to that, we get 5% back on paypay every time we pay our bill. 

That, combined with my side-earnings, should help us considerably. Not a massive amount, but an amount that adds up to quite a bit over a year.



Ryu and I went to the Skytree in Midgar Final Fantasy VII remake event last month. While they did practice social distancing measures and did temperature checks to get in, there weren't really any precautions in place save for masks being mandatory, once you were actually inside. We did our best to keep distanced and used alcohol when having to touch high-contact surfaces at first, but eventually stopped when he realized that very few people around us were taking any real precautions. Many activities and photo-spots had been removed because of COVID-19, but we managed to enjoy our time none-the-less.  It's made us want to make time to re-visit the Final Fantasy Cafes, but as those aren't going anywhere, it can easily be left until after the pandemic dies down further. Everything felt really...nostalgic? Also, seeing everything so enlarged and played loudly over speaker-phones reminded me just how much I like the concept of Aerith despite completely hating the actual character.

I can't stress how much I am looking forward to part 2 of the remake, and I'm hoping it isn't released only on the PS5.

Since Monday is insanely busy for both Ryu and I, more-so now that Ryu has had more over-time work rolling in and I've started freelancing, so we celebrated Ryu's birthday yesterday at a local Onsen. We only tend to go there for our birthdays, but have been considering making it our usual place now that autumn has started. It's got a very old vibe, quiet and peaceful, despite being quite modern on the inside, it's cheaper than the other places we go to, and best of all, not many children go because of how much they enforce child-watching. I think the only thing I don't really like about it is that they don't allow entry to people with tattoos.

This evening will be celebration day part II. We'll be celebrating by making Tuna bowls with Tofu and bonito-flakes at home, which we'll eat while watching dramas we have pre-recorded. It'll be a slow night before another hectic work week.

Restrictions at my company in regards to COVID haven't eased up in the slightest, despite literally no one I know being under such policing -- and that is what angers me. If it was Japan as a whole enforcing such restrictions, I'd deal with it, but it's only me in my circle and they've all gone on without me. It's only me who has to submit daily reports including my temperature, where I went the previous day, exactly what times I went to said places, names of people I socialized with, recent places they'd gone to, medicines I might have taken...We all get reminder emails when one person fails to submit the report, or submits inaccurately. We get email reminders telling us what cities to avoid.

Literally none of my foreign friends have reached out to me, even if only to check in on how I'm doing. No one even bothers trying to extend invites anymore. They no longer try to interact with me via social networks. If I try to reach out, answers are short, as though answering me has become an inconvenience. In a way, I get that I have. Not only is it a hassle to meet up with me due to all the questions I'd need to ask them for my company report, but I'd also not have anything to talk about because I've been up to nothing but work.

Still, it saddens me. I miss tea over cakes. I miss talking about everything and anything with someone who isn't Japanese. I turn 32 next month and I wonder if there is even any point to planning anything.
Slow down

お久しぶり!まだ生きています! Sorry for the disappearance.

We've just finished eating Tsukemen and I'm not enjoying a mug of iced green tea and salted watermelon. It's over 40° and we have no intention nor need to go outside today. I had never intended on disappearing suddenly but the past weeks have been mentally and physically exhausting, and having no one to really talk to about it just made things worse. My employer is still banning us from going due to increasing COVID-19 cases, but absolutely none of my friend's jobs have this same rule, so they've been out and about, leaving me in the dust. No hard feelings, but ugh. (I've been heavily rolling my eyes at Japan's decision to launch the "Go-To travel" campaign to boost cross-prefecture travel while simultaneously asking people to not go in and out of Tokyo, the concept of "workcations," and how they've been handling foreign permanent residents stuck abroad. )

There were a few of you here who reached out to me via private message to check up on me. I saw those messages and appreciate them very much, even if I couldn't pull myself up to answering. I even exchanged LINE messenger accounts with some and look forward to getting to know you on a more personal level ;)

Ryu passed his work exam. This was his third attempt, but the first attempt where he actually sat down and properly studied. We celebrated at home by splurging on pricier fish and making Tuna and Salmon bowls paired with tofu and bonito flakes.

We've finally gone through with applying for a spouse visa. At the immigration center, we were asked for quite a few things that hadn't been listed in neither English nor Japanese on the main immigration website but luckily I had had the foresight to prepare a lot of extra documents "just in case," so we had just about everything save for one file. They gave us an envelope to mail the missing file, so we went to the city hall, got it and mailed it immediately as to not delay the process any further.

Originally, we had chosen our current flat because it allowed pets, however, our current landlord is not only restricting the breed and size of dog we can get, but he is also requiring a non-refundable 160,000円($1,520) deposit on top of an additional 30,000円 ($285) for cleaning fees. So, we've decided to wait until we purchase a home so that we can have a bit more flexibility in terms of both money and breed.

After consulting Ryu's family about buying a house, we dropped the realtor we had been working with and Ryu's oldest brother's wife, introduced us to her boss. He's been able to provide us with many more options than the first realtor did, and we've already seen a few newly-built houses we liked, one of them literally a 15 minute walk away. We feel far more hopeful than we did with the last realtor. 

While going to view one of the houses though, the roads suddenly got so narrow that we ended up scratching the side of Ryu's car on the fence of a house. A lot of the houses we're seeing are on narrow roads, actually. It seems that houses are being built wherever there is space to fit a house, without real consideration of traffic flow. Our curent mansion complex has the same issue. They've built a house on the corner, so now it is impossible to see if cars are coming from either direction before moving on to the main road. You literally have to go inch by inch to let cars coming know you are there, then dive in, hoping they stop. We've had quite a few accidents in which bicyclists don't realize cars are pulling in, and the cars cant see them coming....and then drivers end up having to foot the cost. Unfair really, but "no one is at fault."

On the topic of "Faults" -- the suicide of 三浦春馬。I was never a die-hard fan, but I always enjoyed his works and watched him grow up, in a sense. It sounds cliche to say that it was out of the blue -- but it was out of the blue. Even when LP's Chester comitted suicide, it hurt a lot, but part of me could somehow see it, understand it. But in this case...it just caught me off guard and I felt so angry that already by the next day, they were looking at every and any excuse to put the blame on him instead of the real issue -- the things he wrote about in his own bloody suicide note.

My succulents have multiplied and gotten quite big. The tomato plant still hasn't died out and has gifted me with decent sized tomatoes. The Morning Glories and Pansies given to me by Ryu's mom are doing well. The blueberry and apple plants are still growing. The blueberry bush won't get much bigger than it is now, but I need to start figuring out what to do with the apple plant, as I honestly hadn't expected it to live this long, and I can't just grow an apple tree on the veranda. Hopefully we'll have a house before it gets too large? I'd like to add a couple more flowers or a few more succulents, but I simply can't decide what to get. I'd like indoor plants this time around.

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Enjoythedate

【結婚しました!】Finally tied the knot.

On April 16 I was told not to head in to work for two weeks.
While I definitely enjoy the hussle-and-bussle of a busy work week, it's been very enjoyable taking things slow. Ryu still has work, so I get up at 5am as usual to make his lunch and see him off, but then spend the day doing as I please until he returns in the evening. I've decluttered re-organized my room. There weren't really many things I wanted to throw away, but there were many products left half-used due to not having the time to use them/the space to have them out all the time and so I'd forget to use them. Things like cosmetics and jewlery have been cased away, since I won't really be leaving the home. Things like scented lotions, oils, face masks, have taken their place on my dresser. Gone are the notebooks and folders by my desk, replaced now by tins of random teas I haven't had time to enjoy until now. Once the two weeks are up, I'll need to switch everything around again, but there shouldn't be much to switch back.

Ryu and I finally turned in our marriage papers today, April 22nd. We're officially married! Because I can't imagine myself ever giving up my last name, we decided to just add an alias to my mynumber card(Japanese version of social security), and my health insurance card. I kept my first and middle name, but have Ryu's last name. Some day I might consider completely taking on his name, but for now, I'm fine this way. It took us roughly five hours to get everything done and once we were, they gave us a small blueberry plant as a congratulatory gift. A lot of restaurants in our area have either closed or gone take-out/delivery only, as a way to combat COVID19, so we swung by our favorite steak shop and took two steak lunch-boxes to go. Once we got home, we found that some free samples of an all-natural Yuzu skin-care line had arrived for me in the post. All-in-all a good day!

I did realize though, that I need to work on my Japanese dictation skills. When I had to write things on my own, there was no problem, but when I have someone sitting in front of me, telling me word for word what to write, the kanji just wouldn't come to mind, even though I was processing what was being said. I'll bring this up with my instructor and see if she can help me work on that. Ryu told me not to worry about it -- that city hall just likes to make things more difficult than it needs to be. But really, I should work on my dictation because it's a useful work skill.


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Ryu still has work tomorrow, so we're just taking it easy at home for now, digesting our celebratory meal. He's playing FINAL FANTASY VII:REMAKE and I'm deciding on today's workout routine as a distraction to keep myself from buying any new teas. We aren't exactly sure how the whole COVID-19 shut down is going to hit us financially just yet, so I'm trying my best to avoid any unnecessary spending. Pretty soon, we should be able to apply for the 10万円 that the Prime Minister has been promoting on the news. There had been a lot of talk at first as to whether foreigners would be included in the aid, and luckily, it seems we are now, so that's great. As long as we apply for it, we will receive it, but I don't want to rely on it more than I need to. Just because I'm receiving aid doesn't mean I can be a little more slack with my money, right?

The サジー (Sea Buckthorn) is still working it's magic. It's now been two months since I've had a single black out/fainting/dizzy spell, and have gone completely off my previously prescribed medications. I've decided to continue for another three months with the buckthorn, now that I'm completely off the other medications. I have an appointment in August, and I want to see what the blood work looks like only on サジー as opposed to when I was only on the prescribed medications. Even with the medications, my results were always extremely below average. It will be interesting to see if this new natural method produces different results.

Things to accomplish while I'm stuck at home:
Switch out my winter wear for spring wear.
Wipe down the veranda doors. 
Mend clothes Ryu and I often use for work.
Drop 1 kg.
Re-organize area under the sink and stove.
Organize our restaurant coupon box.
Call home.
Sweep out the flat. (Vacuuming just doesn't feel the same!)
スマイル

【新年の抱負】Shrine-hopping and New Years Resolutions

I plan on writting more about America, but I wanted to get a New Year's Goals post out before too long passes. We usually tend to do Hatsumōde between the first and second days of the new year, but because we were in America for New Years, we weren't able to. We decided to swing by Hikawa Shrine, the shrine closest place to our house so that we could pull fortunes. I ended up getting a good luck slip, which isn't bad, but I'm not entirely please either, since I've gotten very good luck for three years in a row. There were still a lot of people paying visits and making prayers, but it wasn't overly crowded, so we're thinking to continue going around this time again next year instead of lining up for hours in massive crowds.

Once we got back home, we stood out on our balcony and watched the construction going on just across the street. We wonder if they are building either new houses or  a new apartment complex, as the sign only says 専用住宅. We live on the top floor of our complex, so I'm not really worried about losing a view, and since they cut down 1/4 of the woods, there isn't really much of a view left anyway.But I'm worried about it from a safety perspective. More living accomodations means more cars. We only have a single narrow road that leads in an out of what's left of the woods. If two cards come from opposite directions at the same time, one car has to back out until the other passes. That's how narrow we're talking. In the case of an emergency where police vehicles or fire trucks or ambulances need to come, we're basically blocked in, and even now when the garbage truck is scheduled to come, we stay off the road because no one else can get through.

In any case, goals.
1. Health: I do have some kilos I want to lose. But more than that, I want to work more with my doctor to improve my health and try to get off at least one medicine I'm currently on. This is a goal I've had since 2017, and since then I've managed to get off three medicines.
2. Money: I want to save more money in my pension account and for "family use." I pay in to the pension system every month, but I have literally 0% faith that there will be any money by the time Ryu and I retire, so I want to save money on my own for that. And I want to help my family out financially a bit more, and pay for almost everything if I can when they finally come out to visit. I'm already really good at saving money, so this is more of a reminder to myself than an actual goal.
3. Get married: We're going to take care of paperwork first and decide a celebration later. I don't want a ceremony, but he wants to do something. I'm thinking a photoshoot and then a trip to a nice 旅館 with friends would be a nice idea, but we'll see. We'll also have to think about whether or not I change my name and if I want to switch to spousal visa immediately.
4. Get a dog: That's the reason we live where we do -- because they allow dogs. We have to get a small or medium-sized dog, as per rules here. We don't know what kind of dog we'll get but we've agreed that we're going to try and get a shelter dog. Apparently the process is really a hassle and a lot of foreigners get rejected, so we want to get married before we try and get a dog, so they can't use the "But if you leave..." excuse.
5. Go out on my own: Rarely ever do I go out on my own. I'm either with Ryu, or with a friend. I think it's important to have "me time" outside of the home and to develop a hobby I can be passionate about. It used to be dancing, but I lost interest with the decline of my health. Even if it's just sitting in a cafe for an hour and reading a book, I need to get out more.
6. Japanese: I need to work on my business Japanese. I can use it well enough, but it doesn't come naturally to me and I always feel so exhausted after having to use it. We took some time to look at some language schools, but it seems that a lot of it is geared towards people who come specifically to study, and not really those who are also working. There is only one school in my area that offers classes but they close at 17:30, and I'm not even done with work until then.
7. Teach Ryu English: After coming back from America, Ryu's expressed a serious interest in wanting to learn English because he hated not only not being able to communicate with my family, but also feeling helpless when I was sick and struggling to take care of both myself and him at the airport.
8. Explore more of Japan: Being here as long as I have, I've already been to a lot of places, but there are alot of new tourist spots I haven't been to yet. Personally, I hate tourist spots, but I should explore different places so that I'm more aware for when my family comes.

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A quick update before a long workout

Tinypic closed down without my knowledge. Since I didn't know, I didn't have time to save the photos I used for my layout, and they are now gone forever. So, for the first time in what feels like ages, I have a new layout! It's much simpler and calmer and fits me a little more than my old Shibuya-themed layout did, as I haven't experienced a night in Shibuya in possily a decade. Also, in case everyone didn't know, I found out from an entry at neen that LJ will be discontinuing their flexible squares layout. If you are using it now, you can keep using it, but as soon as you change from it, you can't get it back.

I promise to catch up with everyone over this three day weekend. I'm not exactly sure why, but I was feeling really worn out while hooked up to the heart monitor, but now that it's off, I'm slowly starting to have the desire to do things again. Sorry about that! As for the results and such, they were both good and bad. They were bad in the sense that they showed there indeed is a problem with my heart, and that it could be a long term issue and that I need to consider some lifestyle changes.... but they were also good in that they gave us a clear problem so that we can better prepare to handle it. Ryu's being quite the trooper about it.

Speaking of Ryu, he has a hair appointment with my hair stylist (Again! It's like my stylist has become our stylist) and I'm going to try and get a honey treatment done. I've not had one before, but I read in a magazine it does wonders for thinning hair. Then it's off for some shopping before the tax increase begins next month. It will rise from 8% to 10%. It's only a 2% difference, but it matters to some degree, I suppose, and a lot of stores around our mansion are having sales. I need new slacks and shoes for work since I've dropped all this weight (Doctor confirmed the meds do that, but that my weight will eventually plateau again.)


【上野動物園】Day-date in Tokyo

Why is everything a video now-a-days? Some of us do read! I was trying to keep up with updates on hurricane Irma while at work, but every page I went to had video updates and pages with actual written information, limited their content to bullet points. Anyway, Irma has been downgraded to a 1, which the house my parents rent can stand. However, the surge remains a huge problem, and after watching videos of just how far out Tampa Bay had been pulled back.....I'm still quite worried.

I need things to be over. I woke up with a nosebleed and my first ever white hair. I called my mom and told her to tell the entire family I held them responsible for my early-aging. And while I was quite angry, I was happy she looked so happy. She said to me, "We may never see that house again, but look! I am in a state I have never been, with all my kids and my grand-kids in one room. This has never happened." And she panned the camera around for everyone to say hello. My brother and his girlfriend and my sister were sitting on one bed watching TV together, my dad was teaching my nieces how to gamble play cards and dominoes, and my fat dog was in the corner sleeping near the conditioner. Despite it all, everyone looked safe and content.

I feel like my stress was not only over their safety, but also my inability to do anything as the oldest child. I've always had that complex.....
It's so bad that I cried when it dawned on me I might not be able to reach them for a while once they returned to Florida, because of power outages and such. How could I manage not talking to them for a while, when we talk almost every day despite the distance and time difference? My mom says I'm the most dependant independant person she's ever known. I'm very self-sufficient and handle my own things and live my own life, but I absolutely need my family standing behind me. I need to know they are there should I need them.

Well, I ended up going to 上野動物園 with Ryu on Saturday. I knew he had been looking forward to going, and I figured I could keep up with the news on my mobile while we were there. He was really understanding about it and asked me multiple times if it was really okay for me to not go back and help them. Puh, I couldn't get a flight in even if I offered my first born. Either way, It was quite fun.Our mission was to capture at least 3 animals smiling. Mission accomplished!

We talked about living together again and it was the closest Ryu got to getting a "yes" out of me. As I was putting some snacks away, he wrapped his arms around me from behind and asked me if I disliked the idea of living with him. I simply answered "If I didn't like the idea, I would have already directly said no." He seemed satisfied with the answer, but I still wonder why I can't just flat out say "I want to live with you."

As soon as things with Hurricane Irma settle down and I help my parents financially with any damages or moving, then I'll start looking at places here and there. I re-read my lease agreement and there wasn't any penalty, but I want to confirm with the landlord just in case I misunderstood something.

My boss told me his wife said that I'm getting prettier and prettier with the passing of time. I denied it, and they took it as my being modest, but honestly, I don't notice any changes in myself. Then another higher up mentioned it was because my eyes sparked lately. I jokingly said that I was like wine, and that the more time passed, the better I'd be. The joke was wasted, as apparently the previous foreign employee had shown up to work drunk once....and that was no bueno!
I guess if others are noticing changes, my tiny efforts here and there aren't going to waste!

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上野動物園I

あらま!! I am definitely an idiot.

Just in case it went missed (Since people seem to be freaking out now more than ever), you can reach my DW by clicking on the image to the left. Livejournal will still be my platform until it completely disappears from the net, but for those who decide to stop using LJ beforehand, the content on my DW will be exactly the same. I look forward to keeping touch with everyone here, there, or even on both.


So why am I an idiot? Because I accidentally made this entry private so that only I could see it, then paniced when no one had come forward to either add me or give me their DW account. I was sad that no one wanted to keep in touch. Why didn't anyone keep in touch??

Because you couldn't see this entry XD My bad. 

時間は作る物だ!Time is something you make!

Great New Years date. I will keep long stories short, but if Masahiro wants any more of my attention, he's definitely got it♡ (˘▽˘>ԅ( ˘⌣˘) . We were raised in similar environments, so we have a lot of the same interests and morals. And he's the first person in a while to fully grasp that while I am foreign, my brain doesn't function in English all the time, and that I wasn't raised in typical American culture. When he looks up words I don't know, he does it in Spanish and he doesn't ask about America, but Puerto Rico. He appeals to a side of me a lot of people (and even Kenshi was guilty of this) seem to forget about, or simply ignore.

Anyway,
no rushing. I still want to get to know Sakka-kun, and Yuuki better as well.
When it comes to love, I've always acted in the heat of the moment and just gone on gut feeling. I might try a different approach this time.
Slow.

Tokyo Tower. Even thinking about it now, I laugh. We went to Tokyo Tower for the count down. Last year,they turned off the tower, and then at midnight turned it on, returning it to it's bright glory. 10 seconds to midnight. Everyone starts counting down. 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1.....and....nothing! So everyone counts again. Confused murmers and whispers begin to travel around. Then, a police officer drives by in a car and in a voice I found much too cheerful says "We aren't turning it back on this year...! We aren't turning it on this year....!" And we could hear the joy in his voice. It was as though he also did the count down, eagerly awaiting to be able to give everyone the disappointing news. I asked Masahiro why the officer would wait until after midnight to say it, when he knew everyone had been standing around for an hour before, and we laughed it off because we decided we'd probably do the same thing. It became a running gag with us that continued through out the night and well in to the morning.

Updated my agenda for this month and fixed my budget. While I have a full 2017 yearly goal list, I've decided
five goals I will focus on this month: Write something everyday. On paper. Stop going grocery shopping until I've used everything I already have in my kitchen. I buy too much and it all goes bad before I can use it. Stretch more. I'm too stiff! Clean out my closet and restock it. I still wear too many things in L and M, while I am an S(Japanese) XS(American). Stop hanging out with new guys. It is much easier for me to make male friends. I need to start making friends with, and maintining friendships, with girls.

Good luck to us all!

Happy New Years!!

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