Finding your place in so busy and so inclusive a country as Japan is hard sometimes. People group; not just in train stations or at restaurants, but people feel the need to group in Japan. This is not to say you can't get on by yourself as a foreigner; it's just not what is done. As a foreigner, you have one of two options if you are learning or have, to some degree, learned japanese: First, you can stay with your fellow gaijin in gaijin places that are catered to your tastes to make you feel comfortable (I've certainly done this many times and there is a good chance that I will do something like that again tonight. They just aren't real western places, just like chinese or japanese restaurants back home are not the same, and neither are karaoke places back home (though I hear Shokitini is pretty awesome). Recently a friend and I discovered a sports bar here with hamburgers that tasted like and resembled a hamburger from an American bar and grill, just much smaller. It actually had condiments out on the table, which was awesome. I think I appreciate these places a whole lot; I love Japan, I want to experience it in as many ways as possible, but I think that living in a foreign country for this long, you want things from home more than you want things from the country you are living in. It seems like it should be a waste of time but I don't think it is.
In a few other bits of news, I can't seem to get in touch with my host family via email... I wanted to see them a few times more before Christmas, but it seems that they are behaving in what seems is a typical temp-host family fashion; you meet them once, they decide they don't like you very much, and never contact you again. I suppose this is okay, because the only time I have time to catch up with classes/ socialize is the weekend, realistically.
In bad and then good news, the hostel I wanted to book for Tokyo to stay in is full up, but my friend Joe's friend may be able to accommodate us. We shall see how it turns out.
I'll be posting more tomorrow; I'm going to try to catch up and clean up tomorrow, and hopefully make some bean and cheese burritos on top of that.
Peace and love.