Tokyo, Japan: Day 7

We hung out in the hotel room in the morning and headed out around lunch time. We picked up some onigiri at the AM/PM (convenient store) on the way to the train station.

When we arrived at Harajuku, we walked over to the bridge where (normally) all of the cosplayers hang out. Unfortunately, there weren’t really any at all.

We then headed off on the trail to Meiji Jingu Shrine. We detoured to the gift shop to pick up some chopsticks for my friend. Then we made our wat back to the trail. There were some wine casks from French vineyards on display. Daniel guessed that they were a gift and were blessed at the Shrine.

At the Shrine, we witnessed a few weddings. There was also a cherry tree that Daniel wanted to shoot but had to wait awhile for because some guy was standing in front of him, shooting a similar shot for a very long time. After the shot, we walked back to Harajuku.

There were still only a few cosplayers out. We spotted some breakdancers warming up but apparently the cops told them to shutt off their music so they didn’t really dance anymore. I would have liked to watch them.

We walked along the train station and headed over to Takeshita Dori. There was about a billion people all crammed on a small, narrow street, filled with fashion shops. It was literally a sea of people. When we finally made it to the end, we walked along the main street then back up the hill towards Harajuku station. I noticed that crepe shops are popular there.

After walking around in Harajuku, we rode the train to Shibuya to find food. We eventually found a place on the top floor of a women’s department store. It was a more expensive place. I was disappointed with the food though. I had an udon set and Daniel had a tempura shrimp bowl. Both meals came with pickled veggies (which I liked) and a small dessert (piece of orange, strawberry, and mango purée, over a sweet pudding or yogurt). The dessert was the best part of my meal. I nearly choked on it though. When I was taking my first bite of it, I got a whiff of the mango purée, thinking i was about yo bite into mango but instead, suddenly orange juice sprayed down my throat.

Oh and at some point before the udon meal, we walked through the food market in the basemen floor of another department store in Shibuya Eki. I got a corn fritter, stuffed it in my bag and didn’t eat it until later.

After eating at Shibuya, we took the Yamanote line back to the hotel. When we got back, I tried the corn fritter thing. It was… okay but I prefer my corn by itself, without any breading. Later in the night, we took a stroll down to AM/PM and picked up a couple waffle ice creams and an onigiri. We ate them in the room as we looked out at the Hama-rikyu Gardens.

The sakura in the park were lit up by lights. There were a lot of people looking and taking photos. Daniel set up his camera to take photos every minute all night.


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乾杯!

Kyoto, Japan: Day 6

This morning we woke up around 6am and showered. We were aiming for the 7:30am Shinkansen (bullet train, kind of like the Accela but way faster). We decided to get breakfast upstairs in the Executive Lounge since we were not going to make the 7:30am train. We got fruits and meats as usual. It was nearing 7:45am when we finished breakfast and we weren’t going to make the 8:00am train either. They run about every half hour. We gathered up our stuff and headed for the train. We got off at Tokyo Eki (station) and jumped on the Shinkansen.

The Shinkansen bullet trains are awesome! The train staff will rotate the seats when the train reaches the end of the line because the train doesn’t turn around; it just goes the reverse direction. The staff also dust off the seats and clean the floors. Once we got on the 8:30am train to Kyoto, we were trying to find a two-seat aisle so we could be on the right side of the train to try to see Mt. Fuji. We were unsuccessful because a lot of single riders wanted their own window seats. We settled for a three-seat aisle. We weren’t able to see Mt. Fuji much if at all anyway. It was sort of hazy up there.

We arrived in Kyoto station before 12:00pm. We ate lunch at an udon noodle shop. Infront of the shop was a window with someone making udon noodles. Being tourists, we recorded a short video of it. Inside the noodle shop was really hot. It didn’t help that we had hot udon noodle soup either. The food was delicious. As we left the shop, we noticed that our butts were wet from sweating (lol).

After buying our all day bus pass, we joined the long line for the bus we needed to take to get to Kiyomizu-dera Temple. So finally we arrived there with a billion other people as well. We walked up a slight hill to get to the temple. Along the way, we passed many small shops selling tea cups and bowls. Apparently, that’s the cool thing in Kyoto. We also saw some people hitching a ride on a rickshaw.

The Kiyomizu-dera Temple was disappointing. I expected something spectular for some reason. Maybe I was more tired than anything from the commute to the temple. There were sooo many people there as well. I’ve learned that I don’t enjoy crowded places. Anyway – people dressed in grey, traditional clothing (uniforms?) marched along with a big dragon over their heads too. After all the walking around that temple, we treated ourselves to more walking. It was about 3:00pm so we thought we’d head to the Kinkaku-ji Temple.

As we walked back down the hilly street, we stopped at a small shop where I picked up some souvenirs (magnets) for friends and family. The bus ride over to Kinkaku-ji Temple tool forever! Some stops were like 5 shops down from the previous. We finally arrived at our bus stop at around 4:40pm (about 1.5 hr ride). We couldn’t wait to get off that bus. It was sooo packed!

We had to walk a few blocks to get the Kinkaku-ji Temple. We probably didn’t actually get our admission tickets until about 5:00pm and it was going to close at 5:30pm (we didn’t know). By the time we got there, the sun was setting. Perfect timing really. The golden temple was beautiful! It was surrounded by a lake so I got shots of the temple with it’s reflection as well. As we made our way around to the back, there was a Great Blue Heron standing on a mini island next to the temple. We were all taking pictures of it when the the temple staff started to ruh us to leave because they were closing. The good thing was that they rushed us all the way through the park so at least we got to see everything, instead of making us leave through the front entrance.

After visiting the Kinkaku-ji Temple, we took a bus back to Kyoto Eki. We picked up a couple bento boxes for dinner to eat on the Shinkansen ride back. We also got some sake onigiri (salmon rice balls) incase the bento boxes weren’t good/didn’t fill us up. We decided to grab drinks (a bottle of Lipton Peach Mango Tea and a bottle of water) and a snack as well.

Now, I’m going to take a nap. Hopefully we won’t sleep through the station we need to get off at 🙂

PS: I’ve been writing this blog entry from my iPhone while we’re on the bus and on the Shinkansen that way everything is still fresh in my mind.

Here are a couple shots from Kyoto:

Kiyomizu-dera Temple:

Kinkaku-ji Temple:


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乾杯!

Tokyo, Japan: Day 5

We didn’t do a whole lot today. We got up late and it was a cloudy, chilly day. We went to Hama-rikyu Gardens, which is the park our hotel room overlooks. The park was pretty but it was a lot colder than expected. The Weather Channel app said it was 53 degrees and felt like 53 degrees even though there were winds of about 9mph. The real temperature was more like 40s!

We walked around for a while and got really hungry so we picked up some octopus balls at Funky’s Hot Dog Station, ironically, they didn’t sell any hot dogs at all. The octopus balls were bland and mushy; I didn’t like them very much although they were able to hold us over for a couple hours. We took pictures of the cherry blossoms, our hotel, the ponds, duck hunting stakeouts, the flower garden, etc. Overall, the park was great but our fingers were starting to get stiff and numb from the cold. After one last shot of us together with the sakura, we headed back to the hotel to warm up a bit.

Then we decided to go to a shop in the Shiodome building for udon. I think our waitress was new at the job and didn’t speak any English at all. For drinks, I wanted a lychee drink with orange and Daniel wanted a beer. What I ended up getting was orange juice and Daniel got a different brand beer than he wanted. We got two appetizers. Chicken wings and something on a stick. I enjoyed the chicken wings more. For the main course, I got curry udon and it was delicious! I hope we get to go back there.

Because we had skipped breakfast and lunch, we had a huge dinner but it still wasn’t enough (for me at least). Next door to the udon place was Choco Cro. It was a small little cafe with pastries. I ended up getting a strawberry boat and it was yummy!

Our hotel:


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乾杯!

Tokyo, Japan: Day 4

My friend Eriko got us resident tickets to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo. The tourist tickets were all sold out; I guess it’s really popular this time of year to go. We arrived at Mitaka Eki early so we got some lunch at the station. After lunch, we went downstairs and saw a convenient store and picked up a snack (dried cuttlefish). We finally saw Daniel’s “hyper pulp” orange juice by Sapporo. We’ve been looking all over for this drink. It’s a mandarin orange juice drink with lots of pulp. It’s really yummy!

As we were walking out of the station, Eriko was walking in and recognized me. We embraced and chatted as she led us through the Mitaka neighborhoods to the museum. She said she lived close by to the train station. After a 15-20 minute walk, we arrived at the museum. We were about 10 minutes early as our tickets were for 2pm. We walked around to the park behind the museum. There was a street performer there with a crowd gathered. The kids cheered him on as he made an impressive Minnie Mouse balloon.

Photography was prohibited inside the museum so we didn’t get any photos or videos of the inside. The structure of the building was very neat. A narrow spiral staircase was found in the middle of the lobby to get you from the first floor to the top floor. There were small doorways for kids to go through to get to the next room. When we got our information pamphlet, we also received a ticket (some kind of film) for a special viewing of a 25 minute animated short called “Looking for a Home“, written by Hayao Miyazaki. The film was to be enjoyed by everyone, no matter what language you spoke. There were no conversations in this film, just sounds… and all of the sound effects were done by people. The story was about a young girl, leaving home, traveling through the country. She would leave an apple for the spirits of each place she crossed. One was a river spirit, another was a house spirit.

After the film, we explored more of the museum. One room was a play area for kids. They played on a big, furry, Catbus! Kids were free to go in and out and on top of the Catbus. There was a long line of kids waiting for their turns. There were even susuwatari (dust bunnies or small house spirits) all over the place. We stopped in the museum gift shop for a small Catbus and Totoro plush. It was very crowded in there (like any place in Tokyo really). Outside of the museum, there is a spiral staircase that goes up top. Eventually we found out that it was outside of the Catbus playroom. Up there, was a huge android robot from Castle in the Sky. By huge, I mean it was ~20 feet high. People were waiting for their turns to take pictures with it. We also got our pictures taken with it. Walking through a pathway, we found a cube with mystery writing on it. I assume, it’s from the movie as well (I have yet to see it).

At some point inside the museum, a man came up to me and asked me about my VFFs. I wore the red ones and they are a very bold color. I let him know he can Google “Five Fingers” and he’ll find any and everything he wants to know about the shoes. Daniel and Eriko then realized the guy was talking to me, so we all engaged in a short conversation about our shoes. He wanted to know how it felt to walk around in them and what people did in the shoes. He was very interested, as are all people that come up to us 🙂

After the Ghibli Museum, Eriko took us through the Inokashira Park. There was an open field that she practices her Taekwondo forms in. I asked if people ever stopped to watch her and ask her about what she is doing. She said no, not really and people would only watch from far away as Japanese people are very shy. Eriko wanted a photo of her and I doing a Taekwondo pose since that park is her Dojang. The park was very quiet despite there being people there. As we walked, we passed a zoo that was closing for the day. Eriko told us there was a really old elephant living there, from WWII. Further through the park, there was a big pond, a shrine, several koi fish, a fountain and a bridge with lots of people on it. I suspect they were waiting for a boat ride through the pond.

Eriko led us through the park to Kichijoi where we walked through small, crowded streets, filled with lots of little shops. We ate dinner at a Korean place on the top floor of a Yodabashi Camera store. We all had dolsot bibimbap for dinner and it was delicious! After dinner, Eriko had to go to work, so she walked us through to the station and rode the train to Mitaka with us where she got off and we continued on to Tachikawa. Daniel thought there was a DDR arcade machine at the Sega Club there but there wasn’t so we got my favorite drink (Lipton Apple Tea) from a vending machine and headed back. The ride was long, maybe about 45 minutes so we fell asleep on the train like real commuters do.

Here’s a picture from the Inokashira Park:


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乾杯!

Tokyo, Japan: Day 3

We got up a bit later than the previous days. We wanted to rest up since our feet were hurting so much from yesterday. After breakfast, we took the train to Akihabara again but this time we went to an the arcade (Sega Club). There were 2 buildings for it. The first one we went to was a bit dirty and sketchy. Next to it, was the new one. It seemed more friendly. The lighting was a lot better. Arcades are organized very well in Japan – each floor is dedicated to a specific category of game. Crane games were all together on one floor, then another floor had shooting games, and another had fighting games. Each of those Sega Club buildings had 6 floors each. Gamer paradise 🙂 We did manage to play a few games. I played Street Fighter IV in the sketchy building. Daniel played some mecha game that never seemed to end. We both played Virtua Fighter 5 (verion C – whatever that means!). We also played Ghost Squad (shooting game) and Tanks Tanks Tanks together. Oh, and I played some Tetris game with huge joysticks (rofl). Photography was prohibited but I was able to ninja a few for your viewing pleasure. Of course, I don’t have any time to put them up now, but keep an eye out for them later when I post all of my pics up. Almost every arcade machine had a seat so you are comfortable and will stay and play.

After the arcade, we went to have a late lunch. There was a cart vendor (from Turkey?) selling beef and chicken kabob pitas. I thought it was decent, but the onion was overwhelming me.

After lunch, we took the train to Hamamatsucho station and went to Pokemon Center. It was packed with little kids and their parents! A couple kids from TKD wanted me to get them something from the store so we were on a hunt for their requested Pokemon plushes. We were able to find them. I also picked up a Wobbuffet plush and Daniel got me a Pikachu plush that when you turned it inside out, it became a pokeball 🙂 I also got a new keychain to replace the one Daniel got me on his trip from last year.

After the Pokemon craziness, we were tired so we headed back to the hotel. When we got to the Shimbashi station, we saw a book market outside the station so we decided to check it out. We actually didn’t really check it out – we kind of looked at it as we walked by it. We discovered a smaller version of Yodobashi Camera store (in Akibahara) so we went there instead. Surprisingly, one of the employees came and tried to make small talk with us. He asked where we were from and talked about the weather.

After exploring the 6 floor building and not buying anything, we decided it was really time to head back to the room. After the brief break, we went to a ramen shop in the Shiodome City Center building for dinner. I got edamame for an appetizer. It was a pleasant surprise when they brought it out; it was steaming hot! I’m not used to hot edamame. Normally at Minado’s, it’s cold and not too salty (like it should be). The ramen was decent but the pork that came with it was too fatty for me.

Eriko (my TKD friend that lives in Tokyo) had left me a message on Facebook saying she got us tickets to the Ghibli Museum for tomorrow (Thu afternoon). I called her later in the night on Skype to work out the details.


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乾杯!

Tokyo, Japan: Day 2

Today, we went to Roppongi Hills first. We saw Maman, the gigantic spider sculpture, and then walked around the plaza. As we made our way towards the park outside, we noticed a distant view of Tokyo Tower. It was a bit chilly and windy out, so when we got outside, we ducked into the TV Asahi building. I guess it’s a TV station here. There was a small little shop that sold shirts, pencils, keychains, stickers, hats from Asahi TV shows.

There were a lot of people taking pictures of the sakura (cherry blossoms). The park had a nice little pond as well. After the park, we ducked back into the underground plaza for some lunch. We ate at a Korean place named “a Cave”. I didn’t like it very much. I got some Thai fried chicken thing with brown rice and potato salad. The chicken and potato salad were okay but I hated the rice.

After lunch, we jumped on the train to Ueno Koen. As we entered the park, we were greeted by a big crowd, watching a street performer. He wasn’t very entertaining. After watching for a couple minutes, we moved on to the rest of the park. There were lots of people picnicking and walking around, enjoying the sunny (but chilly at times) day.

Our feet were hurting again so we took a break on a nearby bench infront of a shrine. People rang a bell before they entered it. After a few minutes, we walked around some more and saw another street performer. This guy was much more entertaining than the first. He was more lively and had a funny haircut. We watched him for such a long time, I think my feet were numb from standing on the hard concrete ground (in my VFFs). Even though he was fun to watch, as soon as his performance was over, we didn’t hang around except to give him some money at the end of his performance.

We decided to go to Tokyo Tower for the sunset so we hopped on the train for a short while. It was about a 10 minute walk from the station to the tower. The weather was great and we could see everything. There were 2 observation floors. The second (higher) floor required an extra admission fee. The skies were clear so we were able to see Mt. Fuji, sort of 🙂 We were able to see the new Tokyo Tower construction as well. After doing all the viewing, we headed downstairs and checked out the overlook window.

It was just about dinner time, so we headed downstairs to the McDonalds and shared a cheeseburger and some fries for a small snack. We sat for a while since our feet were killing us. Then, we thought it’d be best to eat dinner somewhere close by (some noodle shop in the tower lobby) then just take the train and go straight back to the hotel.

My feet have never hurt so much in my life!


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乾杯!

Tokyo, Japan: Day 1

This morning we went to breakfast upstairs in the Executive Lounge of the Conrad Hotel. We had a mix of fruits and meats (ham, pastrami, bacon). It was really good – all of the fruits seemed really fresh and ripe. After breakfast, we took the JR train for 1 stop (to Hamamatsucho) to go to the Pokemon Center. When we arrived, we discovered that it did not open until 11:00 (we got there around 10:00). So, we left and decided to take the train to Akihabara.

We went into SoftBank to try to get Daniel’s old Japanese phone to activate. The store employee explained that it was too old to use. We tried to buy a new, cheap one but she said she can’t sell phones to tourists staying less than 90 days. Disappointed, we left and explored the Yodobashi Camera store. It was 7 floors (I think) of electronics. Each floor was a different category, like cameras (obviously), pc/mac and parts, TVs, printing accessories (cartridges, paper, etc), video games (my favorite), home and beauty care, etc. We skipped the top floor; it was golf stuff.

We had shabu shabu for lunch in the Yodobashi Camera store. It was buffet style for noodles and veggies but not the meat (although it was a generous portion anyway). It was good but the broth was nothing but boiling water. That really ruined it for me. I’m used to Little Q style hot pot where the broth is a delicious black bone chicken (there are other flavors as well) flavor. Even the broth we use for hot pot at home was better.

After lunch, we decided to take the train back to the hotel for a break. On the way, we detoured to the Sony Building since it was close by. It was a showcase building which is really cool. The first thing we saw was a 3D hologram display. It was really awesome!! You can walk around the display (which had 2 cute little characters in it) and your perspective matched your position (if you were behind the display, you would be looking at the characters’ back side; if you were to the right or left of the display, you would be looking at the characters’ sides).

After the Sony Building, we took the train back to the hotel. We got off at Shimbashi station. During our walk back to the hotel, we stopped in a convenient store called AM/PM and picked up a couple salmon onigiri (rice balls) for a snack. When we got back to the hotel room, we ate the onigiri and took a long nap. We didn’t wake up for a good 5 hours. It was just after 9:30pm that we got up and ready to grab dinner somewhere. We ended up just eating at a Thai place in the Shiodome building (same building as the hotel). The Conrad Hotel is actually on the upper floors of the Shiodome building so luckily we didn’t have to go too far for dinner as we were super tired.

After dinner, we came back to the room and gave Eriko (my TKD friend that lives in Tokyo) a call. We were trying to work out plans to go to the Ghibli Museum, in Mitaka, this week. After the call, we played with our cameras a bit and took some night photos of the Tokyo bay. We have a great view of it from our window 🙂

I’ll be taking lots of pics on this trip but I won’t have time to edit them and upload them with any of the blog posts I’ll be writing. Photos will be posted separately… quite a bit later after the trip but I might be able to get a few photos up from time to time!

Like this one from our 36th floor bay view hotel room:


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乾杯!

Things to do & see in Japan (upcoming trip: April 2010)


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乾杯!

The 24 year-old web developer who wants to get out of student loan debt as soon as possible

DAY ONE

7:15AM: Pack breakfast and lunch. Breakfast is a strawberry yogurt and a banana. Lunch consists of last night’s leftovers (chicken & rice). My mom packed my lunch for me since she was making lunch for herself as well. This is usually the normal routine every morning.
8:45AM: Check my Citizens Bank checking account to see if the $7,320.37  I transferred over last week has made it from my ING Direct account yet. Indeed it has. I will be calling mycampusloan.com later when they’re open to see how much I owe them for a student loan (including interest) because I want to pay off the entire loan immediately.
9:00AM: Checking mycampusloan.com and they’re open from 8am-8pm today! Going to call them now.
9:05AM: Just got off the phone with a representative and she said they pay off would be $7,432.68 if I pay within the next 15 days (before December 1, 2009). Perfect! I’m going to send that money off right now!
9:12AM: I’m getting to the screen where I need to confirm my payment. My heart is beating fast. This is the most money I’ve ever spent on anything! But it’s good that I can pay off on a loan, so I don’t need to pay unnecessary interest. I don’t like to throw money down the drain.
12:00PM: Been thinking long and hard about buying an Xbox 360 for the past few weeks (almost bought one last xmas). I was going to wait for Black Friday or Xmas sales (since it’s almost that time) but several friends told me that video game systems rarely go on sale, and besides, the Xbox had a price cut this year. So I finally went ahead and purchased one on dell.com! I got the Elite Holiday Bundle which comes with 2 free games and free shipping ($269.99). I got a bunch of accessories to go with my new console. I didn’t purchase them from Dell though. Shopped around for deals and Amazon seemed to have the best prices, plus free shipping. I picked up an Energizer rechargeable stand ($29.49), 2 rechargeable battery packs ($11.49), and 1 extra wireless controller for my boyfriend ($37.49). As for games, I only got Halo 3 ($34.99) since the bundle already came with 2 games. The last thing I got was an HDMI cable ($11.99). So the order from Dell was $286.86 + the order from Amazon was $136.94, making the grand total from both places including tax = $423.80.
12:31PM: Eating the lunch I brought today. Yum! Checking salliemae.com for when my loan payments are due (Dec. 1). I’ll schedule a payment either at the end of this week or a week from today. Checking credit card accounts. Shopped at Gap a few weeks ago for some new adult-looking clothes. Decided to treat myself since I got paid for my freelance project (built a website). I discovered that I don’t need to pay my Gap credit card yet but I will do it anyway since I’m there and have enough in my checkings to pay it ($116.90).
6:00PM : Dinner at home (cost $0).
Total for DAY ONE: $7973.38

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DAY TWO

7:20AM: Pack breakfast (yogurt and banana) and lunch (leftovers) – same routine as yesterday.
10:00AM: Decided to get a hot chocolate, from the company kitchen (out of the Starbucks machine we have).
1:00PM: Eating the lunch I packed this morning – rice, pork, and taro. For my drink, I have company-provided. water.
1:30PM: Saw Ramit’s tweet and wanted to get his book “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” from Borders since I had a 20% off coupon that’s still good for the next 2 days. Decided to check out the local library to see if it’s available. It’s not! It’s not in the library. I may decide to get it, since it’s only $13.95 but with the 20% off, it’s about $11. I’ll go print out the coupon incase I decide to buy it.
7:15PM: Went to dinner with my parents at 99 Restaurant, they picked up the tab so dinner was free tonight.
Total for DAY TWO: $0

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DAY THREE

8:00AM: Decided to stay at home and work today. Turns out, my xbox360 that I bought on Monday is being delivered today! No breakfast.
11:42AM: Xbox is still not here! I’m starving because I didn’t eat any breakfast this morning. I think I might make some lunch – ramen and duck ($0).
7:30PM: Ate dinner at home again so didn’t spend any money on that.
8:30PM : Went holiday shopping at the mall for my boyfriend and got him something ($31.82). I also picked up an Acai smoothie ($5.30).
9:00PM: I still didn’t receive my receipt from the Apple store but I’m not too worried since I don’t think I need to return it.
Total for DAY THREE: $37.12

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DAY FOUR

7 :30AM: Packed breakfast (yogurt and banana) and lunch (leftovers).
10:22AM: Decided I’ll pass on using the 20% off at Borders coupon I printed out on Tuesday that expires today. I was going to get Ramit Sethi’s book, “I Will Teach You To Be Rich”. It’s about $11 on Amazon but I’d have to pay for shipping. At Borders, it’s about $13 but with the 20% off, it’s about $11. I was going to get it at Borders but decided that I don’t need to go looking for books since I have a bunch of Dresden Files books already, plus Borders normally has 30% off coupons I can wait for if I really want to buy it. Then there’s also the library, which I’ve already checked (all taken out by someone already).
1:00PM: Ate the lunch I brought from home (roast pork and rice).
6:00PM: Ate dinner at home.
Total for DAY FOUR: $0

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DAY FIVE

7:30AM: I did not pack a breakfast or lunch. No breakfast because I had a banana from yesterday left over that I could eat. No lunch because I’m going to my Taekwondo class after work so I don’t have room in my bag for a lunch which means I’ll be buying it today.
9:00AM: Internet at work goes down for me for about 10 minutes so I decided to get a hot chocolate from the company Starbucks machine ($0).
1:00PM: Went to lunch with my coworker and his wife at Qdoba. I got a taco salad with a small soda ($9.29).
1:55PM: They needed to go to the grocery store next door so I went with them. When they were checking out. I found $17 in the self check out thing so I decided to give $5 to my coworker to sponsor his grocery purchases since I wouldn’t have even gone to Shaw’s if it wasn’t for him – so this leaves me with a plus $12 today!
5:30PM: Went to dinner at Panera Bread with my friend Wei. I had a mac & cheese and chicken noodle soup ($7.80).
Total for DAY FIVE: $ 4.80

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DAY SIX

12:15pm: Slept in late today. Much needed rest! I’ve been getting so little sleep all week. My brother and his fiancee came over so my mom had cooked lunch for us all ($0). She made fried rice. During lunch, I asked my brother to see if he had time to drive me to Best Buy and Borders to pick up a few things I’ve wanted.
1:30PM: We arrived at Best Buy and I purchased Modern Warfare 2 for Xbox360 and a 12 month subscription to Xbox Live so I can play online ($93.73). It came with a free tshirt (men’s XL) that I won’t be wearing in public.
2:00PM: Arrived at Borders. I bought Ramit Sethi’s “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” book ($10.37) with a 30% off coupon.
5:30PM: After playing Modern Warfare 2 for several hours, it was time for dinner! I went to a Chinese restaurant with my mom which she picked up the tab for like she normally does. Occasionally, I will treat her to dinner but not today ($0).
7:00PM: We ran some errands at the grocery stores but I didn’t buy anything ($0).
Total for DAY SIX: $104.10.

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DAY SEVEN

9:15AM: Every Sunday, I work at the Taekwondo school I train at (10am-4pm). The normal routine is that my mom will pick us up some breakfast – got me a sponge cake ($0) – then she’ll drop me off at the school also. My mom picked up my lunch today as well (same thing – a sponge cake) because I decided I needed to save money since I had spent so much this week (very unusual).
10:46AM: Mental note: Today is the 22nd, I need to pay my credit card bill, Sallie Mae student loans and transfer money to my ING savings account.
5:30PM: Dinner at home ($0).
10:52PM: Just remembered that I need to pay my bills tonight.
11:05PM: Paid for my credit card bill ($691.38).
11:15PM: The monthly payment for my student loans with Sallie Mae is $527.93 but I always like to pay $1,000.
Total for DAY SEVEN: $1,691.38

In sum: I have spent a a ton of money this week! Most of it was spent on a student loan though so I think that makes it okay! I also don’t buy new video game systems every week so I think that was an unusual purchase also. Otherwise, my food purchases are pretty normal. I normally buy lunch on the days I go to Taekwondo because I can’t fit my lunch in my bag when my uniform is in there too =p I don’t think I make many impulse purchases. I normally research to make sure I want it then I will research for the cheapest price as well.


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乾杯!

White People Stuff I Need to Do

I am a first generation American, born into a Chinese family who immigrated from Hong Kong decades ago. I feel that I have missed out on a lot of great, fun white/American people activities . So now, I am taking this opportunity to think of things that white people do for fun that I have never done before and really should. As I think of other things to do, I will add them to this list and I will strike out things as I experience them. This is meant to be serious but sort of funny… enjoy =D

  1. visit Disney World in Orlando, Florida >> May/June ’09 – can’t wait to go back!
  2. make and eat s’mores >> July ’09 – had some for July 4th in VA!
  3. go hiking >> Aug ’09 – the great Southwest (Arches Nat’l Park, Utah), it is amazing out there!
  4. carve a Halloween pumpkin
  5. full-on multi-day camping in the woods
  6. cross-country road tripping
  7. build/watch a bonfire
  8. play paintball with friends
  9. go to a costume party >> or a party in general, this item seems doubtful, I hate socializing 🙂
  10. crash a wedding >> also doubtful
  11. ride in the back of a pickup truck
  12. attend a Nascar race
  13. go kayaking
  14. go white-water rafting
  15. visit Sea World in Orlando, Florida
  16. toast and eat a marshmallow on a stick at camp
  17. visit Busch Garden in Tampa, Florida
  18. hike Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota
  19. own and wear an argyle sweater >>Wore a purple argyle sweater with beige and pink
  20. promise to learn a new language >> currently learning Mandarin and Japanese
  21. eat hummus >> Aug ’09 – I had a hummus/pita dip appetizer in Utah, not interested in getting it again
  22. ride in a hot air balloon
  23. read The Onion >> And this is how I discovered it – Apple iWheel – I totally fell for it, it looked so real!
  24. go off-roading >> Aug ’09 – Arches National Park, Utah in a Ford F150
  25. go scuba diving
  26. take a year off
  27. social networking >> done, done, and done! Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and personal blogs FTW!
  28. double dutch jump rope >> I missed out on that in elementary school 🙁
  29. eat at white people places like Chipotle and Panera Bread >> been there, done that, love it!
  30. go rock climbing >> went once at Blue Hills
  31. watch a play >> have seen Shear Madness in Boston multiple times!
  32. watch a musical >>July ’09 – Lion King The Musical on Broadway in NYC for my 24th birthday
  33. build a gingerbread house (a real one, not a milk carton one like in elementary school)
  34. go to Disney World for Christmas
  35. watch A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) >> Dec 2009
  36. watch Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) >> Dec 2009
  37. watch Frosty the Snowman (1969)
  38. watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) >> Dec 2009
  39. watch A Garfield Christmas Special (1987)
  40. eat a cannoli
  41. eat ribbon candy
  42. drink sparkling cider
  43. build a snowman
  44. Journey with Gentle Giants @ Georgia Aquarium (Swim or Dive program)
  45. PADI Scuba Certification
  46. build a sand castle
  47. go to a county fair >> July ’10 – Frederick County Fair for my 25th birthday

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乾杯!