Sunday, May 23, 2010

Payday and Looking Up As We Walk, or At Least Making the Attempt

I got my first paycheck on Thursday, April 20th. It was very exciting to look in my Japanese bank account and see real yen in there! This check was a bit short because my first two months rent at this apartment were taken out prior to receiving the direct deposit, but I still ended up with more than I'd thought I would. Just the fact that I can stop living off of my savings and stop getting abused by the exchange rate (basically for $100 in yen, I was spending about $108—it adds up) took a huge load off of my mind and stomach. The next step is to figure out how to move some of this money to a savings account so that I don't just spend it all. I really want to build my savings back up while I'm here, not to the extent of not having fun, but at least enough so that I have some of my reserve back again. Having money in savings is what made this trip possible for me. I like having that security.

So having gotten paid, of course the first thing I did was head out with Erin after work and do Karaoke and grab dinner. First we went to VITS where I found out that I had misinterpreted the 500 yen special. I had thought it only cost 500 yen if you were ALONE (hitori) but actually, what it means is that it's 500 yen per person from 4-8pm. So this means that I can actually go to Karaoke with a friend or two before 8pm AND it will still only cost 500 yen (plus whatever drinks we want). This is especially great to warm up a Friday night! I LOVE VITS!

Erin and I had a great time rocking out to Japanese and English songs, including doing a duet of Sukiyaki in Japanese. I had wanted to do this song for some time, but I didn't know the name for it in Japanese: 上に向いて歩こう。

Here's the song on youtube with realtime Japanese lyrics in Kanji with English translation, as well as facts about the song and the artist, Kyu Sakamoto:

I'm not sure about how good the translation is or not. This song is using the Volitional form (arukou) which I've been reading up on because it's been confusing me. My original understanding of the volitional form of the verb was that it simply meant “let's do X” but actually, it's a lot more complicated.

I've found a good explanation of the “let's do” version of this here:

And how to use this in regards to intention, ie: setting out to do something, here:

But grammar aside, this is a great song, and very easy to sing! It was also the first and only song entirely in Japanese to hit the Top 40 in the USA, at least according to the above Youtube video. (and that's only the tip of the iceberg in regards to this video)

We also took a stab at the Evangelion theme song (whose name I never remember) as well as some classic music from the 70's and 80's. Just a general good time!

Afterwards we took off for a wonderful Malaysian restaurant that Erin had tried recently. I had a delicious meat and noodle dish. I don't remember what it was, but knowing what you're eating is overrated, such I've learned from Japan.

In short, a great day!