Friday, June 28, 2013

My Day with Marlen & Goodbye Google Reader.


Today, I spent the day with Marlen. We wanted to hang out since I will be leaving to Japan soon and the last time I hung out with her was a year ago, before I went to Irvine D: Boy, does time fly!

We went to Victoria Gardens and ate at lunch at Gyu-kaku since that's what we always do. It's our tradition now :]

We talked a lot since it was a whole year of catching up and since I was in a new city and met knew people I had to tell her about it. Luckily, she already knew a good deal of the stuff because she would read my blog ^^ lol

She also caught me up with her life as well, since she recently graduated from community college :] She is also transferring to a uni soon, I'm so proud of her<3

After catching up we went shopping but it was so hot D: 100 degrees today D: (38 celsius), we were dying LOL we were basically running to the stores and staying in the shade haha. We got some boba to cool off and relax. Marlen had never gotten boba before so I made sure she had some :D she really liked it ^^

We ended up going to the food court and just talking for hours. Time flew by and before we knew it, it was already 7pm O__O

We decided to go to TGIF, I've never been there before but it was good ^^

I had so much fun with Marlen today<3 We are hanging out Sunday again and planning to go to Irvine sometime next week :]

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In other news, I joined Bloglovin. Many of you who have blogs already know what it is ^^

I heard the news about Google Friend Connect discontinuing? I am not sure if it is true or not, I have been reading posts about it going back and forth but I still decided to hop on Bloglovin' just in case it did. 

It is a good way to follow all the blogs, even the ones that are not on blogger! Which makes it so much easier, because I hate missing my friend's posts that don't have blogger.

But even the friends that do have blogger, for some reason my blogger dash has been acting up and I can't see some of my friend's updates and I always thought my friends were just not updating D: 

This has been happening for a while too! Has this been happening to you guys? I don't know, but it would just be easier to have a site where I can see all the people I follow in one place.

I have even added a button on the side where the links to my Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube are. Please feel free to follow me on Bloglovin' :]

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

FAQ I Get From Japanese People as an American/Hispanic

So, I decided to make a post about frequently asked questions I get from Japanese people. I have been meaning to do this for a while but only recently have I had time since I am on summer vacation.

Many of you know I talk to a few Japanese people online through language exchange websites and I had met many Japanese friends at UCI after joining JSA so I would often get asked several interesting questions so I thought I would write them down and address them.

Most of them just are just related to being American or Hispanic/Latino.

Btw, for those of you who don't know Hispanic/Latino are terms to refer to people from Latin American countries. Many Americans do not know this as well lol.

Now, on to the topics~

ETHNICITIES
Ok, this first one isn't a question but I noticed than many Japanese people (not all) see Americans as only white (and possibly black). But they often see a white person and associate them with being American. Or if you say you are from America online, they assume you are white.

This makes sense, since most Japanese associate foreigners with "blonde hair and blue eyes" but I think they forget that America is known as the "melting pot" and although we do have white people, we have more immigrants than anything else from many other countries.

I know it is different in other states (especially in the east) they mostly have conservative white people except New York lol (I'm being serious though). But in the west, especially California we have all kinds of ethnicities.

You walk out of your house and see Middle Eastern, Black, White, Hispanic, and Asians. There are even little towns dedicated to these ethnicities. I'm sure many know of Little Tokyo, K-town, and Chinatown.

There doesn't even need to be a city dedicated to Hispanics because of the huge amount of Hispanics that are everywhere -__- lol (but many times they are not too nice of areas though to be honest).

Of course, some cities have more ethnicities than others. Irvine is known for Asians (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, etc.) and white people, meanwhile Santa Ana is filled with Hispanics.

NATIONALITIES
Which leads to the next thing, even though we are another ethnicity is does not mean we are not American. We are still American, that is why there is Japanese-American, Korean-American, African-American, Mexican-American, etc. In Japanese I would say I am a ”メキシコ系アメリカ人”

Many people believe that I was born in Mexico because I am Mexican. Many of my Japanese friends at UCI would ask me, "How long have you been in America?" and "Why is your English so good?" which I guess is normal, people ask my mom this lol.

But, I was born in America and more specifically California. My parents came to America when they first got married in the 80s. I have been here my whole life.

Yes, I have been to Mexico but the place I go to is not nice like Cancun or anything. Many people associated Mexico with paradise and nice beaches lol. This is not just Japanese, other Americans do this too but that's would be another post lol.

Anyways, there are cases when people are born in other countries and move here but most of them have been here for years. We have what you call first generation, second generation, third generation [insert nationality here] Americans.

My parents are first generation Mexican-Americans because they immigrated here initially. Me and my sisters would be considered second generation Mexican-American since we were born here but our parents were the first ones to come to America.

My friend Tia is fourth generation Japanese-American because her parents were born in America, her grandparents were born in America, but her great grandparents weren't and immigrated here.

This seems confusing but sometimes people do ask "what generation are you?" however it's usually older people because it is more common if they immigrated.  Meanwhile, most younger people are born here however, there are some cases where people my age are immigrants as well.

LANGUAGE
Many people assume you only speak English if you are from America.

I often get asked online, "How come you speak Spanish" or  "How/Why did you learn Spanish?" This is probably attached to the notion of believing that everyone is white because then I explain that I am Hispanic.

But yes, there are other languages spoken in the U.S. especially California :D

Just yesterday, I was at the mall and my mom was speaking to the cashier in English, I was speaking to my mom in Spanish, I heard another little girl speaking to her mom in Spanish, and I heard a family next to me speaking in Mandarin.

Although English is the primary language, other languages are spoken. Spanish is the next most common language, that is why so many people study it in high school but most don't know how to say anything besides "hola" and "como estas" lol.

I do have some friends that speak some Spanish though, so don't be surprised if you do see a white, black, or Asian speaking Spanish fluently (although it is not common).

My friend Tony is Chinese but was born in Panama so he speaks Spanish fluently. Another friend who is Korean lived in Argentina for a while so he can also speak Spanish fluently.

Why is Spanish the next common language in California? Well, Mexico is right under California and believe it or not, California used to be part of Mexico way back when :o but that's another story haha. Point is, since Mexico is so close to California many people immigrate here.

It's seriously a two hour drive to Mexico from where I live, way less if you live in San Diego (like 30 minutes). Me and my sisters would joke that we would move to San Diego so we can cross the border whenever we want to get us some real tacos lol.

However, just because a person does speak Spanish does not mean that they are Mexican, there are many other Hispanics in California. Many Americans also get this messed up. But that's a whole other post haha.

And yes, there are many Asian people besides Chinese in California. While I was in Irvine, there would be Mitsuwa, Daiso, Bookoff like in Japan and the employees spoke in Japanese and English. And all the Korean restaurants there were people speaking in Korean.

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So, I hope this post was somewhat interesting. These questions aren't only questions I get from Japanese people I've just come across more Japanese people who ask me this. However, I get these questions from international people as well.

This is totally fine! I do not get upset because I don't know much about other countries either so who am I to judge? I have even had other Americans ask me weird questions but that can also be another post haha. So many side posts can be written from this post O__O lol

Anyways, hope you guys enjoyed this post and learned something new :]

*For specific the demographics in California click here. Wikipedia is awesome when it comes to these type of things, gives you some background history on Asian Americans Hispanic Americans, etc. and it's very interesting :D Well, to me it is lol.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

New Layout & New Name.


It's been a year since I changed my layout, so i thought it was time to change it up again.

I am not tired of my layout yet but I just saw this image and quickly imagined a layout in my head. And since all these changes are happening, with me going to Japan and all I thought it would be a good time to change my layout.

As I update each layout it keeps getting simpler and simpler for some reason. I don't know, but I like these simple layouts ^-^

I especially like the colors of this one <3 lol

Layout Image/Texture Sources: [x] [x]

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In other news, this is probably going to be weird and random but since I am changing my layout I thought it would be also fit to announce that I am also planning to go by a different name.

Most of you know me by Yuri, which was an alias I gave myself online and I had my Japanese friends call me since they had trouble prounouncing my first name. Yuri was a name I always liked since it started with a Y like my real name and it meant "lily" which is my mom's name. And because Spanish speaking countries use it as a name as well since it comes from Yuridia.

But now, I am planning on legally changing my first name.

Some of you who are friends with my on Facebook know my real name. I have always disliked this name ever since I was little. People always spelled it wrong and can't pronounce it right. I always wanted to change it but never had a name that I liked enough so I never did.

I recently found a name I liked, and thought about it for a while and talked it over with my mom. I decided I am going to change my name to Nina :]

I like it because it is simple but pretty, and it is a name used in Spanish speaking countries. Also, it would be easy for the Japanese to pronounce as well if I do decide to stay in Japan long term.

I was actually going to change my name before I went to the uni but because I already knew I wanted to study abroad I didn't change it because I did not want to get a new passport and get change everything else. And add difficulty to me applying to study abroad.

But I talked to it with my mom, and decided once I came back from studying abroad I would change it.

So, to get people used to it, I decided I will start going by the name Nina instead of the nickname Yuri.

I know this might be weird for a lot of you, but if you guys could call me Nina instead that would be great :] If you guys find this too weird because you are too used to Yuri that's fine too lol.

After all, I don't mind Yuri. I just don't like my first name haha.

But don't be alarmed once you start seeing everything changing to Nina haha.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Studying Abroad in Japan 2013-2014

Well guys, I have some lovely news~ I was recently accepted into the UCEAP Japan Universities study abroad program, so I will be studying in Japan for a year :D I am very happy and fortunate.

I even got into the university of my choice, which is Keio University :D

I mentioned here and there, how I applied to study abroad and that there was a possibility of me going but didn't bring it up much because I didn't want to jinx it and because it wasn't 100% sure.

But now that it is, so I will be writing about the whole process of me going to Japan as well as my adventures in Japan!

As I mentioned in a few entries, I attend University of California, Irvine. But you can call it UC Irvine or UCI. I had applied last fall to the UCEAP program to study abroad for a year in Japan.

In about early January I found out I had gotten accepted into the study abroad program. Then I had to apply to Keio specifically. Everyone said that once you got accepted into the first part it's a 99% chance you will get into the second. But me being paranoid I decided to hold off on celebrating.

After applying, I didn't find out for sure that I got accepted till June 12th. Mind you, we already had to buy our plane ticket and stuff. But regardless, I am happy that I got accepted :]

After dealing with all the crappy paperwork, time consuming orientations, and waiting for what seemed like forever if to see if I got accepted...I'm glad to see that it paid off.

As mentioned in one of my previous posts, I had bought a ticket to Japan before the official acceptance. I was planning on going even if I didn't get to go for a year.

So I will be leaving July 22nd and be arriving July 23rd :]

I am going one week prior to my language program because I wanted to explore Japan on my own without other exchange students. As nerve wracking as it is, I feel that it will help me become more independent.

Plus, my friend Lyy always travels to Tokyo on her own so she was also my motivation. (She is going to visit me in Japan :D)

I already booked my hostel and what not, which is in Tokyo thanks to Hopy's advice as well as Lyy's :] I am pretty excited. Nervous about getting lost though -__- especially with my luggage. Luckily, Lyy, Hopy and Mutsumi have been helping me with all the questions I have :]

Before I actually attend Keio, I need to go into the ILP which is the Intensive Language Program for the summer. That is 6 hours of Japanese each day D: Yeah, sounds horrible but it will be worth it. After the ILP, classes will begin!

I am so excited! I am incredibly fortunate right now, and I'm super happy with life.

A whole year in Japan? Crazy, intimidating, but definitely going to be an amazing experience!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Sister's Wedding.

Yesterday was my older sister's wedding. I remember when I posted about the time we went bridal dress shopping and bridesmaids shopping. It was so long ago :o

I moved out from my apartment on Friday and came back home that night. We woke up for my sister's wedding the next day.

My mom wanted my hair to be freshly dyed -.- she hates my red hair but hates it less when it's freshly dyed. So my sister dyed it and afterwards, I went with my friend Tammy to do my hair. I loved it! She did an amazing job, it looked so cute >< 

I was going to leave my hair down but since the dress was red I decided to put it up so it wouldn't look so bad >< and it didn't :D yay~ lol

After I got my hair done I had to hurry up and do my face lol. I also had to cover my tattoos since my dad doesn't know about them. The dress covers it but just in case the wind blew it up I covered it up a bit.

After we were ready we went to the location of the wedding. We finished getting ready there and helped my older sister get ready to take photos.



While my sister was taking photos we just had to wait. So me and Daydee finished getting ready. After Nissie was done taking her photos we had to wait for the ceremony to start. 

There was still quite a bit of people missing so they decided to wait 10 more minutes before starting the ceremony.



It was soon time to start the ceremony. I was freaking out since I wasn't there during the rehearsal dinner since I was in Irvine D: but I managed to do it alright lol. I didn't mess up :D

I got a bit emotional when my sister was walking down the aisle. Not because of her getting married but I noticed my dad's eyes were getting watery. My dad rarely cries, so when I saw him tearing up it almost made me cry. 

Of course my sister was tearing up as well.





I was nervous about the wind though -.- my little sister told me afterwards so was she (because of my tattoos lol). The ceremony was really nice, it was a Catholic ceremony because my mother wanted it but I really liked how it turned out :]

I really liked how they binded them with a special wedding rosary. My parents did that at their wedding as well.

The vows and everything was nice as well :] After the ceremony the wedding party had to wait to take pictures.



While we were waiting we were taking pictures on our phones LOL. I wanted to take photos with my mom and dad :]

We took photos with our cousin Michael and other family as well while we were waiting for our older sister to finish taking photos with the carriage.

After they were done taking photos with my sister they then took pictures of the bridal party and stuff.

It was a bit awkward since I've been away at Irvine I didn't know any of the groomsmen -.- but oh well~ it was also awkward taking out picture taken by the photographer. I remembered why I didn't like modeling LOL




After taking photos we finally were able to join the party. Me and my sister hadn't eaten breakfast D: I got full quickly though. The dinner was amazing. Especially the chicken OMG. lol

They played Spanish songs and party songs so it was fun. The wedding was pretty small though :o I didn't notice how small until we had to dance haha. But it was still nice.

We did our speech, danced, and just partied~ The wedding went by fast though!

When the wedding ended I wasn't tired :/ but I went home and went to bed anyways because my little sister was exhausted. Oh wells~

It was a nice day and my older sister is now on her honeymoon in Vegas :D

Clips from the wedding~
The last clip was a snapchat so that's 
why the quality sucks more than usual lol.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Finals. Birthday. Japanese. Natural High


Life has been pretty hectic...mostly due to school. Ahh, blogging about the stressful life of school~ Reminds me of my old posts when I ranted about stats, seems so long ago ⊙△⊙  lol.

Last week I was pretty much with Jenny every single day, studying, working on our Japanese project, and of course some regular hang outs here and there.

But, I had to stay up and one of the days and type a paper. Didn't finish till 7am :[

But there was some fun also. It was our friend, Eric's birthday so we went out to eat. After that, we went to Jenny's place to drink~ haha he got so embarrassed because we kept giving him attention LOL he doesn't like birthdays.

I think it's because it was 2 minutes before his birthday and we were just staring at him waiting for it to become his birthday with drinks in our hands LOL you even hear him in the video say "this is the most awkward thing ever" hahaha

Most of last week was us trying to get our Japanese crap done too. We recorded the video which took FOREVER. From 6pm to 12am D: why? Not sure LOL

We totally didn't look like gyaru -.- we just looked like a couple of sluts LOL. We were trying to get Eric to bring us food while we were working on Japanese but since he lives 40 minutes away he wasn't too keen on the idea lol. So the last clip is what that is about xD

I am not going to post the actual Japanese project video because it is ridiculously embarrassing D: LOL but I'll post the bloopers~

One more week of finals and I'm out :DD Still a bit worried about Japan though :/ and my sister's wedding is next week O__O so much stuff to do ><




And a random video of me and Jenny when we were taking a break while talking to Eric...we needed more sleep LOL

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Drinking. Shopping. Japanese Project

I can't believe it's already June O__O but I am so happy, a couple more weeks until I am on summer vacation!

This past weekend has been pretty busy, but fun! Jenny's best friend Lisa, from Nor Cal was visiting so she decided to go out more than usual this weekend.

Thursday, we went drinking at Proof with Alex and ended up running into Vanessa. We ended up drinking a bit too much and were so hung over the next day :[

Friday, Jenny invited me to go shopping after class so we went to the spectrum. I ended up getting some new tees and new combat boots :D <3 so happy because I've been looking for some.

We also ended up going to a kickback of some of Jenny's friends from Nor Cal. We didn't want to drink since we were still hung over -.- but I played beer pong for the first time :]

After that, we went to Newport beach to eat. Will and Eric met us up, and we ended up staying there till 5:30am ish lol.

Saturday, I was planning on staying home and recovering but Jenny reminded me about our Japanese presentation we needed to do. So I went to her place and we worked on our project.

It was a pretty productive day, we decided we would talk about gyaru fashion since one of the topics was to talk about Japanese fashion style. It was definitely easier and more fun to write the script up than cooking to be honest.

Jenny said we should dress up as it because Kimura sensei would like that better. So we are going to attempt to do gyaru makeup for the presentation LOL we also went to go buy fake nails to make them look all gyaru-like.

While we were doing our nails we watched Helter Skelter :] It was lots of fun! But after we finished our nails we thought "wtff are we doing??" LOL oh well, too late to go back!



I read this post on Tumblr asking if in America do they really use the red cups at drinking parties in college,
and the answer is yes LOL