Sunday, January 23, 2005

What is Mount Holyoke College?

Someone asked me the other day about what I thought about Mount Holyoke College. He has a 14-year-old daughter and he graduated from UMass, so I guess MHC seems as good a place as any to look into. People always ask me about it, but it's rare that I give any kind of answer with content. Here is my email to him. I thought it was interesting since, truthfully, I didn't know what I thought of the college until I wrote this email.

If there are MoHos reading this, please comment.
------------------------------------

Are you ready for a book on my thoughts about Mount Holyoke?

Truthfully, I had a rough start there, but I wouldn't have traded in my MHC experience for anything else in the world. Granted, mine was likely the last class to experience a lot of the original Mount Holyoke. In my 4 years there, Joanne "JoJo" Creighton, the college president, has tried time and again to get rid of Mount Holyoke's traditions in order to change its image to keep up with the times.

The students, however, fight back as much as they can and have banded together to preserve what we feel is what makes MHC what it is: the honor code, community, liberalism, M&Cs [milk and cookies], safe space, Dis-Orientation, Big Sister-Little Sister, Elfing, the Laurel Parade, and making leaders of young women-- most of which can be summed up in MHC Tradition. While I was there, I saw the death of one of the original logos, the tennis courts by lower lake, dining halls in every dorm, dining hall announcements [made by banging your utensils on your dishes-- it's amazing what things matter in a school like that], hall boards, quad wars, and the list goes on. I also witnessed the reconstruction of our once perfect campus center and the near death of traditions like Dis-O, M&C's, self-scheduled exams, and Convocation.

At the same time, I was talking to some of the Hawaii firsties-- Hawaii has a really strong MHC community; we have several M&C gatherings a year and often get together just to hang out-- and many of them are LOVING their experience there because they aren't aware of what is missing from that experience.

I guess I didn't talk a lot about the academics, but I guess it's because I don't feel that's what matters most there. Yes, it's one of the toughest schools in the U.S. and it has the highest workload in the nation. And yes, you have every resource available to you in the 5-college consortium... but MHC is about tradition... so that's my two cents.

Hope it helps...?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Excerpts from a Rant

So, I've been meaning to post about this, but I'm truly too lazy to rewrite the story yet again... so what I've done is cut and paste from an email that I sent to a good friend, Ben, who is currently teaching English in some backwater place in Korea. Apparently, coporal punishment, though officially illegal in Korea, has not been banished from his Boy's High School. Heh. Anyway.. on to EXCERPTS FROM A RANT...

The weight thing is not an occasional fret... though I think I try to convince myself that it SHOULD be something that is just occasional. I think I got sick of seeing everyone around me [i.e. in Japan] being less than half my size. I'm a big girl for an Asian. Granted, I'm not JUST Asian... but I look it, and despite my "screw the media image of the perfect woman" ideologies, it doesn't mean that it doesn't or hasn't affected me. Heh, that, and it sucks to go shopping and not find anything in your size. I recently set a goal to lose 10~15lbs by the summer. Granted, what did I do yesterday? Eat McDonald's... but... uhm, the GOAL is there. I just have to... eventually... start working toward it. I must say, though, that I'm anti-calorie-counting. I don't believe in it. Eating healthy is one thing... being obsessive about literally every calorie you put into your body is another.

As far as being home... despite the fact that there are too many people in my house and that I'll be getting overly fat from the nummy foods [oooh, Spam], I'm happy I made the decision to come home. It's great to be back with Yoshi... we missed each other a lot and had taken to arguing a bit, when I was in Japan. That's stopped, though, since we can actually see each other. I've seen only a few of my friends... but that's been happy as well. Now, if I could only find a job, things would be fabulous.

Now, on to the evilness... THe other night, I decided against my gut feelings to go out dancing with some old college friends. We left our bags/purses/wallets in her trunk... and returned to find her car window smashed in and the trunk, empty. I lost about $1000 of cash/stuff... [i.e. new cell phone, specially programmed car keys, all my Yen that I had planned to exchange for dollars the next day, etc etc]... And what frustrated me most was that, because I was the oldest 'victim' on the scene, I felt the pressure to keep my cool, even though Elfie and this girl, Jillian, completely lost it. While I felt for Elfie since it was her car that was broken into, I was the only one who had something stolen who didn't cry or scream or anything. Instead, I hugged the other girls [especially my darling Elf, since I love her dearly] and tried my best to comfort them. What made things even more irking is that I, at least monetarily, had lost the most.

Grrrrrrrrrr....Anyway, it seems I've run into a rash of bad luck recently. *sigh* Which... needless to say, has put me into a funk. Dammit.

So... that's it...Hope you're doing better than I am.

Be well.Love,Chibi

ABC Survey

Age: 22
Bands Listening to Right Now: Nickelback
Career of the Future: Happy person
Dad's Name: Keith Alan Steiger
Ethnic Background: 1/8 Japanese, 1/8 Okinawan, 1/8 Arab, 1/4 Swiss-German, 3/8 Thai
Favorite song of the moment: Shima Uta by The Boom
Great escape: Some where where all the elements are at harmony
Hometown: Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
Instrument: Piano? Percussion?
Job Title: Webmaster for KZOO 1210 am
Kids: None.
Last Person You Talked to on the Phone: Daddy
Mom's Name: Banyen Hogan
Number of Siblings: Three
Oldest Sibling: Marisa Sacks, 31.
Phobia[s]/Fear[s]: Silence.
Quote: Jibun no Shiawase negau koto wagamama ja nai deshou? [It isn't selfish to wish for your own happiness, is it?]
Reading Material of the Moment: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Song You Sang Last: She Will be Loved by Maroon 5
Time you wake up: I woke up at noon today
Unknown Fact About You: I've been arrested before
Vegetable you HATE: There's this weird bitter leaf thing that they sometimes put in sushi or whatever... BLEH
Worse habit: Procrastinating
X-boyfriends/girlfriends in the past five years: Vanessa/Josh
Yummy Food: Thai Food
Zodiac Sign: Pisces/Dog

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Last Day. Traveling Home.

So, I've finally decided to post for the first time since I've been home. I'm splitting up the posts, even though a bunch of things have happened... just for convenience sake. You may wanna settle in for the long haul, here. These are gonna be a bunch of loooooong posts.

Last Day

The last day of Japan was hell. This part will be a bit hodgepodge. Just what I did... in no particular order, since it was so much a blur. I had so many things to do, and most of it didn't get accomplished. I sent what I could home... Struggling with a 50 lbs. box on my little bicycle wasn't an easy thing, let me tell you. I sold a few things... to people, to the 2nd hand shop, who, in the end, gave me only Y2000, since I didn't sell them my bike. I took my left over food, my vacuum, and my fridge over to Linda's place-- with the help of Boss and Hitomi [we went to dinner after that]. I said goodbye to Yuki-rin. I cleaned. Trashed things. Slept for 2 hours. Tried to pack everything in to my suitcases, only to find that they DIDNT FIT. I spent 2.5 hours at UFJ Bank, trying to close my account. My issue was that YahooBB didn't want to send the bill to me here in America and thus was requesting to have me leave open the bank account. However, the bank wouldn't let me do that since I wouldn't be able to access my money unless I was in Japan. It was really just... an unpleasant situation.

Traveling Home

When Saturday rolled around, I wasn't ready to leave yet. The gas company cut off my heating about an hour early, so the hot water in the shower cut out midway through, and it was ice cold outside. When the taxi guy came, he helped me carry all of my crap downstairs... took me to the post office to send some last minute things. The post office people took SOOOOO long to deal with my 2 measley packages that I was nearly late for my bus. I struggled with my bags in the snow and hail-- dropping my bag about 4 times. Not once did anyone offer any help. People just looked at me... Sigh. I left Boss and Hitomi waiting there, that entire time... along with Koji, whom I 'd met only once before then and who had come to give me a going away gift. I had just enough time to say hi, and bye, and I had to get on the bus to leave. It was a loooong trip to Osaka station... where I then struggled with my bags... only to have one of them BREAK in the process. I was then LOST at Osaka station... couldn't find the bus terminal that went to Kansai Airport. I asked several people, and they gave me conflicting information. Thankfully, 3 wonderful Japanese women in their 20s went out of their way... helping me to drag my heavy bags across Osaka on a quest for the Kansai Airport Limo. I didn't even catch their names-- but they redeemed Japan, if ever so slightly. Then, before I knew it, I was at Kansai Airport. Not much to report about that...

BUT on the airplane was a different story. I was fortunate to get a seat in the Emergency Exit Row... next to a cool guy. He was 20, named Endou Masaki, an Osaka native, and a junior at UH in the Travel Industry Management department thing. Always nice to get stuck next to a normal person on the plane. What was strange was, during the flight, a women from somewhere in the back of the plane fainted twice... and I managed to catch her both times. The first time was actually quite difficult, as when I lunged to grab her, I had forgotten to unbuckle my seatbelt [which I'd only buckled in the first place because Masaki made me]. I managed to catch her, despite her falling away from me, and I placed her gently on the floor... then I kicked Masaki and made him run to get a stewardess. She then came to and went to go throw up in the bathroom. An hour or so later... perhaps a little more than that, the woman came back to wait in line in the bathroom. I was listening to music and noticed that she'd started swaying again. I rushed up to catch her as she fell backward, ripping MY HEADPHONES out of the socket, in the process. Now, I need new headphones. Anyway, after saving the woman from bloodying her head TWICE-- the flight attendants were nice enough to give me a big bottle of sparkling wine as a token of thanks. I gave it to Timmy, my stepdad... since I don't drink all that much and Yoshi doesn't drink at all.

Yoshi met me at the airport, when I got home. He was late... I waited for over an hour... but it was good to finally see him again. Happy.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Japan and it's stupid bureaucracies

Have I ever mentioned that Japan is evil? No? Well, it's evil. There. I said it. And because I now have to go mail my YahooBB modem TO YahooBB-- that's all I'm going to say about it while I'm in Japan. This is my last post from Kanazawa. I'd like to say it's been fun... but it hasn't been. Thanks for reading. You'll get my final update in a few days, once I've settled down in America again.

Wish me a safe trip.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

さよなら生徒さん [Goodbye students]

Yesterday, I got together with some of my students for a 'final goodbye' get together. We went to a restaurant called "The Diner"... some semi-oldies American themed place. Including me, there were 7 of us: Yuuichi Kubo [i.e. the One-Armed man, who was recently redubbed 9sama for K + Yuu of his name... so yes, Kyuusama/9sama], Kazuchan [who was a student I had in the VERY LAST lesson of my Nova career-- it was my first time teaching him, and when I made the announcement to the class, he freaked out like NOOO... it's my first AND last time with you!!!], Mari Sakurai [who, when I first met her 4 months ago, had a hangover and couldn't answer my questions], Ryuichi Uneda ["Boss"] and Akiko and Chie [the 3 I went to a secret yakitori-ya with a few months ago]... and me.

[left to right] chie, akiko, kazu-chan, boss, mari-chan, 9sama

it was great. we had dinner. we spoke in random japanese/english bits... mostly japanese. 9sama gave me this beautiful hair clip-- his image of me is the girl with the loooong hair-- it's traditionally made with gold paper, silver paper, and copper paper. I o_O boggled. We then went on to Karaoke where everyone progressively got drunker and sillier... and it was fabulous. The whole time we were there, they were passing around a notebook and pen in which they wrote notes and drew pictures and such. There's one page that I have to scan when I get the chance. It's great.... and then.... the last song they chose as a dedication to me was Shimauta by The Boom. Great song... ALMOST CRIED but didn't. Heh. Anyway, thank you for everything you guys. ^_^ Come visit!




Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Shimensoka and Getting SCREWED OVER

Hello. First I will talk about getting screwed out of a lot of money since it's fresher in my mind than Shimensoka happiness. So, if you recall, I was having problems selling my furniture. So, finally, having no choice, Shin-san from Shimensoka called a 2nd Hand Shop to assess and take it away. They are going to give me... for, let me calculate, over $400 worth of stuff, a measley $30. Fucking bastards. If they weren't so nice about it, I would've spit in their face for the insult. Especially since one of the things they're buying is something I bought FROM them-- for which I bargained them down to $35 from $45... and for which they are giving me $2. Further, they almost didn't take some of the stuff cuz they said it was "TOO OLD" to be sold. Bull. Seriously... *growls in frustration*... the longer I stay, the more I want OUT OF HERE. SO *screams* ok... *grrr*

Anyway, the other night... today is Wednesday, so ... Monday night, I went out with 2 of the Shimensoka guys. Shin-san and Sanada-kun. Twas fun. I got a present. Went to dinner and bowling, their treat. Well, Shin-san's treat. I think he treats everybody-- cuz he paid for Sanada, too... even when we went bowling. The only thing that I saw Sanada pay for was the 3 bottles of tea that we drank while bowling. Anyway... Shin-san was a bit tipsy after a while and started making vulgar jokes about penises or whatever... which is fine, because that's normal anyway. And Sanada had to defend his manhood just by saying "he doesn't know what he's talking about. He's never seen my penis." Quite odd. Then we went to Leisure Land... one of those all-in-one game center/billiards/bowling places. Shin-san, in his first try, won for me this HUGE pooh-san... and when he gave it to me, he said "I love you dakara." Remember that for later, ok? Anyway, so I think Shin-san was trying the whole night to get Sanada and I to hook up... We went bowling. Each of us won one game. And that was basically it. We played some games downstairs.. the drum one. Although, we all wanted to play Pop n Music. Somebody was on it the whole time. -_-;; They dropped me off... I hugged Sanada goodbye and taught him HOW to hug, cuz he was a poopy hugger. Then left.

Today, when those ppl came over to assess my furniture, Shin-san came over to help negotiate. [Didn't help did it?] Anyway, when he was giving me the "goodbye and ganbare" speech, as I call it... he said at one point in Japanese: 「いつも愛してる。チイちゃん本当に大好きだよ。」or " I love you always.. I really like you." Japanese people don't say stuff like that so I o_O boggleded. Like WHAT? and when he hugged me goodbye... the energy was all funky. He gave me this look... and I quickly *looked down, backed away.* Weird. Quite awkward.

Seriously. Anyway... here are a few pics of Sanada and Shin-san. Sanada is the one on the drum game. 2 pics of him. 1 of Shin-san.


Monday, January 03, 2005

From Ka-chan

So... Ka-chan is odd and sent me a picture of the poles. Your guess is as good as ours. I realize this is nothing special about me... except that it WOULD be me to have random pictures of odd Japanese stuff. Perhaps I should have added this to the other section of my site? Anyway...

Saturday, January 01, 2005

A survey for YOU to fill out

There aren't that many of you who read this, but I figure I'll put it up and see who posts. I got it from Nessa's MySpace page and I was curious.

1. Who are you?
2. Are we friends?
3. When and how did we meet?
4. Do you have a crush on me?
5. Would you kiss me?
6. Would you DO ME?
7. Give me a nickname and explain why you picked it.
8. Describe me in one word.
9. What was your first impression?
10. Do you still think that way about me now?
11. What reminds you of me?
12. If you could give me anything what would it be?
13. How well do you know me?
14. When's the last time you saw me?
15. Ever wanted to tell me something but couldn't?
16. Are you going to put this on your blog and see what I say about you?