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Monday, May 30, 2011

Answers about Japan and Facebook!!! :D

Hey! So emmathers commented on the previous post and asked me 5 questions about Japan!

But before that...I made a Facebook page for Scholar Berry! Click here to see and like the page! Add me on Facebook too! Write "Scholarberry" when requesting to be my friend!

1) Were there hair requirements when it came to the uniform?

* Yes, there were rules for hair while wearing uniforms! I actually went to a middle school for a week (my host sister was in the same middle school) and I found out that you can't let your hair down. It was weird. I'm a person that loves accessories, so it was hard enough to actually let go the earrings--the teachers frowned upon me when they see my ears are pierced, but then they remembered I was an exchange student and then they understood, lol. But the hair was completely okay. I had to tie my hair into a ponytail or part it into two. I can braid it, too. Basically, make it into one or two clumps. :) And we can't have our eyes covered. In my high school, it was more normal. But they don't allow perms--although the girls would pretend it's their natural hair (they would straighten it).

The boys have it more strict; they have to keep it short and it can't go past their ears nor touch the back of the collar.

2) How many uniforms did you keep and were they eerily alike?

*I have 3 sets of uniforms. My primary one was the blazer uniform.

This uniform on the left was the winter uniform of what I wore at my high school. Obviously, it's a blazer uniform. The skirt is tiny checkered dark gray and white. During the summer, I don't wear the blazer, ribbon or the sweater (there's a sweater for later on when it gets colder). We have to wear matching gray vests (it's ugly, really) and short sleeves. In winter, we're allowed to even wear stockings/tights, but only black. I always wear the knee-high navy socks because it's actually warmer than the stockings. In summer, you can wear a shorter white socks or the same navy socks.

The other uniform is a sailor uniform, for when I went to the middle school. It's black and red. It's exactly like this picture except that my skirt was longer. The girls likes to fold up their skirts because it makes them look taller. I don't need to be taller because I AM taller than them.

The third uniform is the guy's uniform. It's called Gakuran and it's the military one you see in animes. I was only saying that it would be nice to bring it to show to the Japanese Club at my school and next thing I know they were offering me to take theirs. :)

I also received some Gakuran buttons. In Japan, when graduating, it means that they have a crush on you. The first button is very important--it's basically the girl you're asking out. The guy whose Gakuran I received lost all 5. So he must have been very popular...But I got some from my classmates, and even got 2 extra ones (one per person) :D

3) Did you keep the uniforms?

*Yes! I have them in my closet!

4) Upon returning to MN...did you wear the uniform to school? What was your peer's reaction?

*I wore the sailor uniform once and people were staring. Some people I didn't know even talked to me because of it. It was weird--because for the time I was in my sister's middle was normal. :)

5) What were the similarities and differences between the Japanese vs. American students?

*This is a good question. Before anyone reads further..I should explain that I love US as much as I love Japan. I'm not discriminating anyone, this is what I felt.

They both wants their skin to be "something." Only the Japanese girls wants to be whiter while the American girls wants to be tanner. The boys doesn't care--they just play sports as they like. The teenagers can't live without texting through classes. The guys are perverts. The girls obsess over TV shows/idols.

In Japan, the students come to study (mostly). In US, the students come to socialize. During classes, teachers would blurt rhetorical questions in Japan and they don't expect answers. In US, when the teacher asks and receives no answer, the teacher will repeat the whole lesson to make sure everyone understands--even though people just didn't answer him/her. In Japan, you're expected to stay quiet during class and they do.In US, you're expected to be quiet and listen, but 90% doesn't, really.

In Japan, nobody will say "bless you" when you sneeze. In US, when somebody sneeze during ACT, almost everyone will say "bless you." Japanese people are like ants--they work very hard to receive the good grades and go to cram schools. In US, students wing tests all the time and complain about having to read a good book. In Japan, the boys teases the girls they like. In US, they flirt and try to make her jealous. In Japan, boys who has cute stuff isn't gay, he's just normal. In US, if guys have a pink key chain that's soft, he's gay.

In Japan, it's OK for guys to have long wallets that says Louis Vuitton (it's real--no pirated stuff is in Japan) while most people would assume you're gay if you walk carrying an LV wallet on your butt in US. In Japan, while changing to the PE uniforms, it's normal for girls to grab each others' boobs to see who has the biggest cup (being a foreigner, you usually would win...) while if you do that in're labeled a lesbian through.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

FREEBERRY: Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman

Hey Scholarberry readers! I'm glad you came across my blog and reading books. People I know at my high school doesn't really like to read books. They REALLY judge the books by the cover--which is wrong, but we all do it!

A Freeberry is a giveaway, but with rules and some bonus/extra chances (Freebie + berry). There's some requirements needed to be fulfilled before someone can actually win a book (or two)!

This FREEBERRY will be LIFE, AFTER by Sarah Darer Littman. As you guys know (or not), I went to Japan as an exchange student from August 2010 - March 2011. The exchange program didn't want to risk me getting some radiation, so they dragged me back to Minnesota, Saint Paul. It was hard but I'm over the whole reverse-culture-shock thing now. I lived in Ashikaga city, Tochigi prefecture. That's about 2 hours north by car from Tokyo...
I know you guys are here for the FREEBERRY, but for those who are interested in my adventure/some culture shock/reverse culture shock; read the whole post! :)

So anyway. LIFE, AFTER by Sarah Darer Littman is a book about a girl who was forced to move to the United States. If you guys have never get on an airplane and move to another country, you guys wouldn't know how intense it is (if it's not for vacation). If you have done that, this is a must read. So click the link for my review to read more about the book!

Deadline: June 15
One hardcover, autographed copy of LIFE, AFTER by Sarah Darer Littman.
HOW TO: Fill THIS form and you guys must post either a; comment, Facebook post, Tweet, Buzz or etc (and link it in the form) If you guys want to post a comment asking a question about Japan, that counts too :D
BONUS: If Scholarberry has 100 followers before July 15, I will add another FREEBERRY of ARC of Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin. If Scholarberry has 150 followers, I will add another FREEBERRY of TANGLED by Carolyn Mackler (review coming soon).
NOTICE: When I wrote this, the Followers list seems to be down on every blog or every browser. I hope it won't be down forever. -.-

+ + +

Culture shock:
When I got to Japan, I was so happy that the culture shock didn't hit me bad. In fact, now I think that having your toilet in the same room as your shower is just disgusting...
I wore blazer uniform to the high school in Japan, but I also experienced the middle school (fortunately one of my host family is a member of the middle school board ;) ).

One of the most memorable thing:
It was my first day of school there, and I had to introduce myself throughout the TV system in the school. Afterwards, I came to my classroom for the first time and found an empty desk with my name on it. So I sat down and waited awkwardly--the teacher wasn't there yet, she was still talking to the principal about me. Then two boys came up to me (I think they were dared by the whole class, really), and asked me--IN JAPANESE--if I've had sex yet.

Boy A: エッチやった事あるっすか?
Me: HUH?! (Yes, I understood it. But I was so surprised that it was the first question that I just said HUH?)
Boy B: You ever had sex? (Yes. In English!)
Me: 意味が分かったけどさあ。。。お前と関係ねーでしょ!?("I understood the meaning but...WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH YOU!?")
Whole class: O.O *realizes that I understood Japanese, even the informal/rough slang and laughs*

Ever since that, all 32 of us are best friends because of my bluntness. :D It was weird, but in a good way.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Flawless by Lara Chapman

"I've just agreed to help my best friend catch the guy of my dreams. And people think I'm the smart one."

My rating: 10/10

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: 05.10.11
ISBN: 978-I-59990-631-7
Page count: 272 pages
Age: 12 and up (grade 7 and up)

Lara Chapman's Official Website

Every girl has their type of guy. Typically, the guy needs to be tall, handsome and hot. The guy of every girl's dreams, Rock Conway, transferred to Sarah Burke's school and rocked every girl's world.

Sarah is pretty--but there's one big problem. Her nose is just hideous. Kristen, Sarah's best friend on the other hand, is gorgeous. Of course, we all know Rock's going to pick Kristen. Duh.

The twist: Kristen is...not very good with words. She reads Cosmo and Teen Vogue, not poetry or anything sophisticated. Kristen asks Sarah's help to write texts, Facebook messages and anything that includes writing to Rock.

Sarah (just like the rest of us), loves a guy who understands literature. Apparently, there's more to Rock Conway than just his model looks. So what Sarah's basically Sarah's real feelings...

What I love about this book:
So there's too many dark romance on the bookstore's shelves; here's a fresh high school romance! We all says, "Don't judge a book by its cover," but we do it anyway! The cover grabbed my attention, and well...the title did, really. What is flawless, really, in this world? :D
From the first page, I just couldn't put it down. This is currently my favorite book!

What I dislike about this book:
The book ended. :(

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

"In the not-too-distant future, because of genetic engineering, every human is a ticking time bomb."


Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication: 03.22.11
ISBN: 9781442409057
Page Count: 358
Ages: 14 and up (Grade 9 and up)

Lauren DeStefano Official Webpage

Wither by Lauren DeStefano is about the future. In the future, AIDS and other diseases are cured. There's nothing dangerous--except yourself.

Here's what you missed during 70 years in the future..

So AIDS is cured and so is all the other diseases...and generations went by being almost immortal until one generation comes and their lifespan is dropped to 25 for men, and 20 for women.

Back to our book:
There's Rhine, the girl who's still 16 but miserable. Rhine was kidnapped, taken to the House Governor to be wed. There's Gabriel who is the servant of the House Governor whom Rhine is attracted to. There's Rose--the current House Governor's wife whom he truly loves but is dying. Also, a huge list of problems, topped with LIFESPAN OF 20 AND 25.

What I like about this book:
It's very futuristic and interesting. It's not the cover nor the title that grabbed my attention to read this book, but the summary. Who wouldn't want to read a book about where AIDS is cured but then you'd die when girls turn to 20 or 25 for boys? The idea of this book is just simply amazing.

What I don't like about this book:
The dark fantasy/romance surely dominates the shelves of Barnes and Nobles, Borders and other bookstores (not to mention the front page of Amazon/Ebay, etc). It's getting boring, to be honest. Plus, most of the writers are trying to write in the same way...That's why it's a 9.

BUT. I would love to read the second book!
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