So today was the second day I've been up early enough to eat breakfast since I've been here. I know, it sounds lazy waking up past 9:00, but when breakfast only consists of white rice, there's not a whole lot of incentive to wake up, walk out side in slippers across "campus" in 30 degree weather, down some stairs, and sit for 5 minutes to eat rice. Soooooooo I sleep instead. Anyway, when I came back to my room I signed on to SKYPE because I had a meeting with a band director in the US to discuss marching band shows for next year and I saw my cousin Amy was signed in and I became very excited to see and talk to my first family member in live time over seas! I gave her a jingle and I was talking with her, Emma, Uncle Ed, and Aunt Shari with in seconds!!!! We talked while Uncle Ed cooked dinner and I was able to hear about Amy's cheerleading, how Emma "loves" school, and Uncle Ed even beeped dad on the nextel so I could talk to him and hear his voice, over the phone and through the internet. Very short lived but very cool. Thanks Uncle ED! Some of my friends in the drumline came through my room at the same time and they were able to say hi to Aunt Shari and the girls. All in all we talked for over an hour and I was able to teach them some Japanese vocabulary. Here are still photos from my computer of us chatting - you can see my picture in the lower left corner.

Here are the girls

... and Uncle Ed!

(Aunt Shari was unavailable at time of picture)


Ok so I was able to exchange my money last week. I took in my hard earned US dollars and came out with less money in JP Yen. As you probably know, since the US economy is terrible right now, Americans loose out on exchange rates. Yen sounds like more, but it's not. For example something that is about 10.00 dollars in America is 10,000 Yen in Japan. The reason for this is that they don't break their "dollar" into decimals (cents in America). So one Yen is literately that - just one yen. There is nothing less. Pretty smart if you ask me. They also only have 3 bank notes but have 6 coins. Again, very smart. The life expectancy of a coin is FARRRRRRRRR longer than that of a bill. The US tried to adopt the "dollar" coin, but it never caught, too bad for us - it costs us more in the long run.

These are approximately the same.

Here are all the coins. 1 Yen, 5 Yen, 10 Yen, 50 Yen, 100 Yen, and 500 Yen. Again, this is very rough, but about .01, .05, .10, .50, 1.00, and 5.00 USD.

... and the bills.