(Pictures will be added in soon)
Thank you to everyone who really helped make the trip great. Here’s all the happenings from when Yusuke was in California.
It was Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 I dragged myself out of bed to make the drive down to LAX airport from Bakersfield. Greedy decided to accompany me down there to meet up with Yusuke, whom I met while I was attending Waseda University in Japan. After customs took their time, about 2 hours to be exact, processing everyone on Yusuke’s flight, we finally reunited! Greedy and I greeted a tired Yusuke, loaded his stuff up into my car, and got the hell out of LA! On the way back to Bakersfield we stopped at Santa Clarita and took a break at the Valencia Mall. We got out of the car, walked around, and had a bit of lunch. Yusuke got his first taste of some Mexican food. After we had enough looking around, we continued our way back to Bakersfield. As we made our way off the mountains of the Grapevine, the San Joaquin Valley greeted us, displaying the wide expanse of land so unlike Japan. We stopped off at my house for a short while, before heading over to where Yusuke would stay during his time here in Bakersfield, my grandparent’s house. He turned in early, exhausted from the flight over, while I prepared for our activities the next day.
Thursday, August 25th, we got up for the tour of the IFTA (International Flight Training Academy) at 11:00am. There we were meeting up with a couple of my friends, Maiko and Nanako, as well as Ayano whom I had met by chance. We had a great time there, and learned a lot about the place. We had some Japanese food there and got to chat with many of the people there. After our time there was complete, we bid Maiko, Nanako, and Ayano farewell and headed to our next destination! Miniature Golf! In 100 degree Fahrenheit weather no less! We both had a fun time, we managed both managed to get some holes-in-one, after which we cooled off and headed to dinner at Sushi Kato here in town. There I introduced Yusuke to American sushi! The Super California Roll! We also met up with a couple of my other friends there, Eric and Brittany. We chatted while we ate for a time, and then decided on our next course of action. We paid a visit to my campus, and took a look around for a bit. After giving Yusuke the tour of CSUB, Yusuke, Eric, Brittany and me all went for some bowling! We played 3 games and had a good time before we decided we were done. We parted ways with Brittany and Eric and headed back to my house. There we had the task of deciding where we would stay during our upcoming nights in LA. After much discussion, we were not sure where we would stay next. We did decide though that we would meet up with one of my friends for dinner the next day in Little Tokyo. With that we decided to turn in for the night and headed to my grandparent’s house to sleep.
Friday, August 26th. We took our time getting up and getting going. Had breakfast at my grandparent’s place. We loaded up and headed to Walmart next! Yes, the wonders of Walmart, the vastness of goods available for purchase at low prices, where the crutch of humanity shops. It must certainly be experienced once in one’s lifetime. After we procured some snacks for the car, we had one more stop to make in Bakersfield before leaving. To eat the confections of Dewar’s! We both had some ice cream there and purchased some taffy chews which are delicious before we headed off to LA. Dewar’s is one of the few places that are uniquely Bakersfield. After finishing up, we headed back down to LA, introducing Yusuke to the wonders and perils of LA driving. We made it to Little Tokyo that evening and met up with my friend David. We had Curry at an Indian food place and chatted for a bit. After which we looked around little Tokyo for a while. We had a time limit though, I had called my older brother, who lived nearby. We could stay at his place that night, but we had to get there before he left for the night, before 9pm. Thus we made our way over, found his place, and stayed the night at his Studio. Yusuke and me chatted for a while, before turning in for the night. The next day was to be a big one, as we were going to Disneyland!
Saturday, August 27th. We woke up, bid my brother farewell, and headed to Disneyland. We were to meet up with Kyle and Dolo, who also studied in Japan with me at Waseda. We arrived at about 10:30am and we stayed till 10:30pm. After we arrived we met up with Kyle, and then Dolo along with her sister and a friend from highschool. Together we went all over the place, first was all the mountains, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, and Splash Mountain. We got bloody soaked at Splash Mountain. Yusuke had a huge turkey leg and had a great time. We did a the Small World ride, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Pirates, took the tram around the park, did Star Tours, saw one of the parades, had gumbo for dinner, and did Space Mountain a second time in no particular order.
As it got late, we bid Kyle, Dolo, and company farewell and thanked them for the great time and headed off to our next adventure, our night was not yet over! Neo, another friend of both Yusuke and me was having a party, and we were invited! First though, we had to stop by my friend David’s place, we were originally planning on staying at his place. We dropped off our stuff, and together with David, we all headed towards Neo’s place! After almost getting killed twice in Saturday night traffic in LA and missing the freeway exit we needed twice, we finally found our way to Neo’s place for the party!!! …Only the party was already over. We had arrived at 1:30am, the party began at 11:00pm. As it turned out, the party had ended prematurely at 12:30am, there were over 50 people there, and the cops came by and gave a choice. Either clear everyone out of there, or face a $1500 fine. The choice was clear and simple, thus the party ended. But in a way, it worked out and allowed us to hang and chat with Neo casually. We hung, played some beer pong, chatted with Neo, his girlfriend, and his roommates. All in all it was fun, and we stayed the night at Neo’s place.
Sunday, August 28th. We got up and decided to eat breakfast with Neo. We ate at this Bagel shop and chatted for a bit, met another of Neo’s friends, and then went our separate ways from Neo. Sunday was to be a slow day, to recover from the many happenings from the day before. We headed to David’s place, where I relaxed to recover more while Yusuke decided to walk around Hollywood and take some pictures. After Yusuke had had enough, he came back to David’s place, and we decided to head to the Grove and have dinner with David’s friend Ken. We had Chinese food together, chatted for a while. Then hung around Barnes & Noble Bookstore, had some Starbucks, and chatted until it was closing time. We all then headed back to David’s place and made a sleep-over out of it, and played cards together until we got tired.
Monday, August 29th. We got up, bid Ken farewell, then David, Yusuke, and me headed over to Universal Studios! We arrived got tickets, and stuck our stuff in a locker. First we did the Studio Tour, I pointed out places I had filmed at before there. After that we had lunch, Yusuke had a huge hamburger at the Flintstones’s BBQ. We then proceeded to ride The Mummy ride and Jurassic Park and then the Mummy again. We saw the Terminator 2 3D movie, where we met Kimberly, who was Suuuuuuuper, okey dokey? Saw Shrek 4D after that. Then we decided we had enough and went to get our stuff from the locker. Only problem was David, who had bought the locker, put his wallet and the ticket for the locker in the locker! So we had to get security to help us and guess which one it was! Took several tries, but we managed to find our locker, certainly one of the more memorable things from the day. After that we walked around the Universal City Walk, then left and went to go eat dinner at another Mexican food place, then looked around and shopped at Amoeba Music. After that we called it a day and headed back to David’s place. We hung around there, chatted with some people on Facebook, and managed to get in contact with Becky and Ginger Steve, also from the Japan program. We went to sleep afterward.
Tuesday, August 30th. We got up, parted ways with my friend David, and headed toward Long Beach! We got a call from Ginger Steve and I asked if we could stay the night at his place, he said it shouldn’t be a problem, thus we had our final place we would be sleeping for the night arranged! We got into Long Beach a bit early, so we decided to stop by the beach and check out the sites there. We took some pictures and burned a little time until it was time to head to CSU Long Beach. We made it on campus and found it difficult to find a parking space. After trying several lots we finally found one. We got out of the car and we were first going to meet up with one of Yusuke’s friends, a student who went to Japan a year before me. After meeting with her and another one of the Waseda student I met in Japan, Kokoro, we headed down to the student union and had lunch at an Italian place, basically pizza! There we met and chatted with Becky and Steve for several hours before we decided to head to Steve’s place. We went over and got comfortable, met Steve’s nice parents, and discussed where we should eat for the night. While doing that, Steve showed us some real guns. Finally it was time for dinner, we decided that Yusuke should eat some BBQ Baby-Back Ribs. We headed to this one place, met up with a couple of friends, and had a nice dinner. After we finished eating we headed back, talked a bit longer, before turning in for Yusuke’s last night in California.
Wednesday, August 31st. We got up, had breakfast at Steve’s place. Chatted a bit longer with his parents. We then said good bye to Steve and loaded up for the trip to LAX. Yusuke and me had a quiet drive back, reminisced about the previous week. When we arrived, I dropped Yusuke off at the curb and bid him good luck on the rest of his trip to Oregon and Hawaii. It was certainly a very eventful week!