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I've had a busy few days, and have been thinking that I need to blog, but haven't really felt like I have a lot to say lately. So we'll have another list post.

--Today, I saw some of the strangest stuff I've seen since coming to Japan. Upon leaving campus (seriously, stepping down the staircase off campus onto public sidewalk), I was greeted with people handing out fliers and a large furry mascot like thing that appeared to be in the process of being consumed by a giant blowfish (or fugu, as it is called here). It was bright yellow, and the blow fish on its head was a bright blue. I presume it had something to do with the city, but as I can't read the advertisement, I will remain confused.

--I also saw this oddly painted bus that appeared to be a field trip vehicle for little kids. All the kids inside were wearing straw hats and blue uniforms, and the outside of the bus had this animal scene (I think lions) painted on it. Cutest thing ever? Heck yes.

--Of course, all this happened when I *didn't* have my camera.

--I now know how to work both the trains and the buses and can safely get myself to Kokura and back. It only costs about $6 round trip, and I've been told that the movie theater in Kokura has a women's night on Wednesdays, where tickets are only TEN US dollars instead of EIGHTEEN. YAY. I will definitely be seeing Inception when it comes to Japan - evidently they do English movies with Japanese subtitles. AWESOME.

--I am in desperate need of fair trade coffee. Email me (dianna_anderson at baylor dot edu) if you want my address to send me some FT Certified (unfortunately instant) coffee. There are virtually no good coffee shops here, and I don't feel exactly comfortable buying the coffee stuff at the grocery store (though I have been getting it out of desperation). If I had some coffee I could make at home, it would make a huge difference.

--I now own Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in Japanese. Yes.

--I learned how to cook chicken in a couple of different ways recently. That combined with yakisoba noodles makes for a great evening meal.

--I haven't had many more unusual foods, though I did discover that the McDonald's here has a teriyaki burger, which I may have to try.

--I am planning three trips in the future, which I may have already mentioned: South Korea in September, home to Sioux Falls in December (to meet little Vera, my niece!!!), and Australia/NZ in February for my 25th birthday. I've figured out that I can survive on just about 500USD/month for food/entertainment, leaving my budget wide open for paying back student loans, saving up money, and taking awesome trips. I'm kind of stoked about this.

--In the English Education Center on campus (read: English Lounge), we have a mix CD that plays English songs. It changes once a month, and I've finally made my selections on submissions. The students tend to like pop Top 40 stuff, which I abhor, so I think I found a happy medium. The selections? "Here (In Your Arms)" by hellogoodbye, "Dance Tonight" by Sir Paul McCartney, "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon, "I'm Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You" by Black Kids, "Phantom Punch" by Sondre Lerche (he will be making frequent appearances throughout the year), and finally, "Crushcrushcrush" by Paramore.

--Um, what else...I've been watching a lot of Doctor Who in my free time, and highly recommend it. Most of you, my dear readers, are fans of Sci-Fi, and I think you should know this series. I know of some places to stream it online, so if you want, pop me an email or a comment.

I haven't experienced a whole lot of homesickness yet, but I've been having some strange dreams. Oddly enough, one of the things I miss most is my pets - it kind of sucks not having a cute dog cuddling up next to me as I type, or begging for food as I cook. I don't know a whole lot about social code considering other people's pets here, so I've been really careful when I see adorable dogs on the street and only approach them if they approach me. But I saw a cute little doggie that looked a lot like my dear Lizzie this afternoon and it made me really sad. :(

I didn't mean to leave things on a kind of melancholy note. Um. To cheer you up, the trailer for Part 1 of the final Harry Potter movie released today!


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