Updated my diary blog.

So I’ve finally got around to update my other blog “Japan Diary“, which is a blog where I’ve translated the diary I kept during the time I travelled around Japan 2 years ago for nine weeks and met my now-husband. In this diary I’ve tried to keep a light and fun tone including a dose of self-irony and of course diary-like honesty, while I describe the daily events that took place while living with different Japanese families around Japan. And of course especially the events that led to me finding, dating and marrying my Japanese husband. I’ve included a small preview below and the link.

March 20th (2010) “A trip to a bridge, which lead to awkward and beyond”
This is the day I’ve often later told to friends and family in an edited version. I don’t think I’ve felt ashamed, but maybe I knew that what happened didn’t really live up to people expectations and it certainly wouldn’t be used as input for the perfect romantic movie. Though, back then I told the truth to my diary and I’ll tell the truth on this blog as well. Maybe it’ll make a good laugh.

…The question startled me and I desperately tried to pull out yet another fake laugh. This question was surely a step up from the other suggestive things he had asked me the past two weeks, but I still couldn’t imagine him being serious about this.

“I kind of think this is the wrong place” I said, trying to sound nonchalant.

“Do you know love hotels? It’s a place you can go for like 2 hours.”

I turned my head to face Hiro, who had leaned his seat back and was looking straight at me. I searched his face for hints of an upcoming laugh or smile, which would reveal the fact that this was just another joke, but his eyes kept their gaze and he looked at me with a serious look. His hand reached out for my hair, which he once again started touching, while I blankly starred at a spot between the car window and his face…

Read the beginning and the rest here: Japan Diary from 2010

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Kyary pamyu pamyu

So what’s Kyary Pamyu Pamyu? That’s the stage name of 18 year old Takemura Kirikiko, who is a Harajuku model and blogger who in 2011 also turned into a recording artist. Her first single PONPONPON was released in July 2011. She also managed to get the 16th place at last.fm’s “top 100 new discoveries” in “best of 2011”. She also have her own line of fake eyelashes. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is also known for 変顔 (Hengao) which means “weird face(s)”, which she enjoys making a lot. So when she’s not busy looking like this:

She often likes making faces like this:

She often takes pictures of these faces and uploads them to her blog or/and twitter. She started out as a fashion blogger and then managed to get a professional career modeling for Harajuku magazines like “zipper”. Her debut single and debut mini album (もしもし原宿/Moshi Moshi Harajuku) was produced and composed by Nakata Yasutaka, which is a member of the electro pop duo Capsule and also famous for producing music for artists such as Perfume, MEG and Suzuki Ami. It is also pretty evident that some of the electro pop sounds from these mentioned artists has been carried over to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s music, which has the electro beats and the auto tune voice, but she also manages to keep something that makes her unique. Her music is cute, weird, catchy and gets stuck in your head. The fact that she’s not just a solo version of perfume is apparent in the actuality that I don’t like listening to perfume or such artists. So it surprised me how fast Kyary Pamyu Pamyu grew on me since I do not normally enjoy or find myself listening to electro pop. I decided to give her try after seeing updates concerning her newest single “Tsuke matsukeru” on a news page for Japanese media, I guess I was intrigued by her “weirdness”, but when I finally hit the “play” button for the Tsuke matsukeru music video I didn’t expect to like what I would hear.

Her voice was a bit like I predicted, very girlish, high-pitched and to be honest not that vocally talented. But, I still watched the full video and even decided to download her single – I was hooked. And that feeling certainly didn’t change when I got around to listening to her debut single PONPONPON, with it’s “ponpon way-way-way, ponpon way pon way ponpon” which is meant to get stuck in one’s heard like a virus. And this “virus” does also seem to spread outside of Japan, since more and more non-Japanese people (including myself) have found interest in this weird girl and when Japanese internet magazine Nikki Trendy Net did a interview with her they included this in the headline: 海外でも人気の原宿系カリスマモデル! (Harajuku charisma model who’s popular even popular overseas) The interview can be found here : [Nikki Trendy Net ] (in Japanese) which includes talks about her beginning to like lolita fashion in a young age, but when she entered elementary school she couldn’t dress like that anymore and dressed in regular clothes from GAP and Uniqlo instead.

Her songs hold neither any deeper meanings nor any serious feelings for that matter – they’re just light, cute and catchy. I’ve included two of her videos for those who feel like trying her out.

A good weekend to everybody.

Being in a long distance relationship.

Long distance relationships, to most they probably seem unimaginable, for others they might seem less genuine but, for some they’re reality. I myself, being and European and married to a Japanese have found myself being part of just that kind of relationship – the kind of relationship that I hadn’t given much thought earlier in my life.

My mother have often said that she saw it coming, considering the fact that I was always romanticizing about Japanese guys and had overall no interest in the guys in my area. And, since my goal since elementary school was to marry a Japanese guy and live in Japan, I, myself should have seen it coming as well – maybe I lacked a better grasp and wider view of reality back then. I guess, I felt I didn’t need reality, because my future goal didn’t seem very plausible to me at all back then. How could a girl with an overall lack of dating experience suddenly be able to find a nice Japanese guy who later on would marry me and we could then live happily ever after?

Life is a mysterious thing, because that was pretty much what happened, except that the “happily ever after” is dragging out a bit, because how can you truly be happy when you’re forced to part ways over and over again?

Before I met my husband I never imagined how painful it could be having to say goodbye to someone being so close to your heart. Even though it’s only a momentarily goodbye it feels like ages and when you feel a part of your soul is missing then six weeks can easily seem like six months. Overall my husband are considered fortunate in some long distance communities because we’re able to be together for around 4 weeks and then separated for 6 weeks while he works in Japan. That still means that over the past year and 10 months we’ve parted around 10 times, around 10 times have our physical touch become impossible, our conversations been limited to skype and around 10 times have I been forced to try mending and gathering the pieces together of my broken heart. And this pattern will continue till I’m able to finally move to Japan after my university graduation, which is still two and a half years away.

Some people may believe that I’m overplaying the feelings involved in this crucial part of being in a long distance relationship, but maybe it’s because they’ve never experienced such feelings themselves.

I also know other people would say “I couldn’t do it” and I also do believe it’s a fact that long distance relationships are not meant for everybody, if everybody could do it would it then even be considered as hard? I guess there’s a lot of things in life there’s not meant to be easy. But, it’s not because us who’s a part of a long distance relationship finds it neither easier nor more filling to be in these relationships. We find them equally hard, but what if you do find “that person”, but they’re located across the globe, is it then easier to say “I can’t do it”? Overall heartbreak awaits, one person does have to chose if it’s more painful to only see their partner in periods of time, rather than not seeing them infinitely.

In the beginning, sometimes when my heart ached the most, I did consider ending the relationship in hopes of finding peace and conclusion. I disliked hearing friends complain about not being able to see their boyfriends for a few days, I even at times I felt despiteful and wished they could feel “real longing” – but, nothing of that proved to be a right solution, nothing brought relieve to the pain. Because I was the one who wanted the relationship, I didn’t wish for the distance or the hardships attached to it, but I wanted the guy, I wanted to enjoy the smiles he put on my face, the butterflies in my stomach and the peace only he could bring to my heart. How could I dismiss all this because 5,000 miles stood in our way? And if I did end the relationship, who could then promise me that I would be able to find a guy that I would be able to love at least half as much?

And the before mentioned jealousy does nothing but poke at wounds and scars that’s trying to heal and fade. Though knowing this doesn’t mean that these ill feelings will fully go away. We humans are jealous creatures indeed. It’s not just that us in a long distance relationship feels that it’s us against “the others”, even in “long distance relationship communities” jealousy is a fire which can’t be tamed. There’s the couples meeting once or twice a year envying the couples who meets once a month. There’s comparisons when it comes to the number of miles separating couples or the amount of minutes they’re able to talk during a week. But, does it really put your heart more at ease knowing your partner is 300 miles away, rather than 3,000? And to poor students 400 miles might as well be 4,000 when transportation options are limited.

In long distance relationships finance is crucial. I’ve been lucky, since I have a husband who’s able to pay flight tickets between Denmark and Japan every second month, also without touching savings. But, what if he was a student like me? Then we should feel blessed with being able to see each other once or twice a year.
Overall, emotional pain lies within the “eyes” of the beholder. We shouldn’t compare and we shouldn’t think that our pain is worse than others’, because how do we really know when we only know our own? I guess, when not seeing your partner for four days seems unbearable, then it’s mostly because you haven’t tried not seeing them for four months. Though it doesn’t make your feelings of longing less valid – but I do believe they’re shorter.

My husband went back to Japan a few days ago and even though we’ve been through the process so many times, it didn’t make me cry less or keep me from try to desperately hold on to him till the very last minute. I still don’t believe him when he says time will pass fast, because I know how it felt the last time.
But, I wouldn’t consider giving up on us, not just because we have a legal paper on our relationship, but because I know I’m a far happier person with him in my life, even though he unfortunately can’t be by my side every single day. Because I know I’ll see him again and because I know I couldn’t live a life without him in it.

And… I also know he’ll be reading this and maybe understanding half of these words.

A final two-shot at the airport after I’ve been crying most of the day.

Travel plans for South Asia in progress

Taking time to make plans for making plans is not that easy when you’re lazy – which is quite problematic since I actually have to plan a lot of things.
So from the end of February I’m traveling around in Asia, which I also mentioned in a previous post. My flight tickets are bought; I’ll spend around 3 weeks in South Asia and 5 months in Japan where I’ll be an exchange student at Kobe University. My husband and I have pretty much found the apartment we need in Kobe, but our 3 weeks of travel in South Asia are far from planned.
(The outline)

So far we do have flight tickets to and from Bangkok and we’ve also reserved a hotel for the first night in Bangkok. Then the plan was to rent a weekly apartment in that lively city, go on a day trip to Pattaya and spend a night at a hotel. Then we hope to go to Cambodia, first spending around two nights in Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) and then get on a bus going to the capital Phnom Penh where we’ll aso spend two nights.

Then our travel continues to Ho Chi Minh City in South Vietnam, followed by stops in Du Nang and Hanoi. Like Cambodia we’ll probably spend two or three nights in each of the 3 cities and we’re also aware of the huge amount of travel time, which is also one of the reasons I decided to add Du Nang to the trip, so we didn’t have to travel the very long journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi in one stretch, which would either a 2-day train journey or a more expensive flight ticket. So far we have not really planned out our means of transport in Vietnam and how to get to both Du Nang and Hanoi as things are now, trains seems like the best option. We also need to sort out our dates of travel to both reserve transport and hotel as well in both Cambodia and Vietnam. We also have to look into flight tickets from Hanoi and back to Bangkok. My husband wanted to go back to Bangkok through Laos, but I, as a Danish citizen need a visa to get into Laos. We need a visa in Cambodia as well, but that can easily be bought at the border for 20USD. Both my husband and I (as Danish and Japanese citizen) are allowed to stay in Vietnam for max. 15 days without a visa. So in the end we plan to take a plane back to Bangkok, spend a night on a hotel and then the next day go to the airport and get on a flight to Osaka and there start my exchange student life in Kobe city.

I hope to update this blog a lot while I travel, but I’ll probably also have days where I’m too tired, but I’ll do my best. Traveling was actually one of the purposes I made this blog for. I’ve also created a twitter account so I can update on the “small and short stuff” so if you have twitter please follow me. The link is both in the sidebar and in the end of this blog entry.

I hope you all had a merry Christmas and happy new year. As things seems now I’ll at least spend half of 2012 abroad, which is an experience I’m very excited about. Please follow me on this adventure!  Either on this blog or on Twitter. – > My Twitter (Isabella Kayashima)