As we’re slowly nearing the end of the second wave Teen Choice Awards voting, we want to address some issues and clear up all misconceptions about the voting process.
The voting is not limited to US-based fans, if you live outside of The United States, you can still participate! The only difference is how many votes a day you get to cast!
Depending of where you are from, you can cast up to four or three votes per day in one category. Here’s how:
US-based fans: you can vote on the website. Go to TeenChoice.com, click on the “VOTE” section. Once there, vote on the site using your registered Facebook account information.
All fans: Make a tweet containing #TeenChoice #ChoiceTVChemistry #Destiel hashtags.
All fans: Make an instagram post with #TeenChoice #ChoiceTVChemistry #Destiel hashtags.
All fans: Make a new Facebook status, containing the #TeenChoice #ChoiceTVChemistry #Destiel hashtags.
You can do each of these things ONCE A DAY until the second wave voting period ends. There’s no need to change your location on social media accounts, your votes will all be counted.
RETWEETS DO NOT COUNT AS VOTES!
Currently, Dean and Cas are ahead only by 200 votes on twitter and are losing ground rapidly. For the past two days, our fandom cast almost 2K less votes than our biggest competition if this continues, we will definitely lose. Make sure to spread the word and vote!
The Beetle was a robot
designed for the Air Force Special Weapons Centre, initially to service and maintain a planned fleet of atomic-powered Air Force bombers, according to declassified Air Force reports, work began on the Beetle in 1959, and it was completed in 1961. It was 19 feet long, 12 feet wide, 11 feet high and weighed a ground-shaking 77 tons. The pilot was shielded by an inch of steel armour on the outside of the unit, half-an-inch inside and a minimum of 12 inches of lead plating around the cabin, which would keep him shielded from all but the most intense blasts of radiation. On top of all that, the cockpit glass was 23 inches thick, and was made up of seven individual panes of leaded glass. it was built on a M42 duster chassis, powered by a 500hp engine and had a top speed of 8 miles per hour,
speed had been traded off for power, the robot’s bulk meaning it had 85,000 pounds of pull in its arms.
Yet despite this raw power, it could also perform incredibly delicate operations. At a public demonstration in 1962, for example, the Beetle was able to roll up to a carton of eggs (pictured up top), pick a single egg up and hold it in its pincers without breaking it.
when the atomic aircraft project was cancelled in 1961, it was earmarked by the US military for a role in cleaning up the debris caused by a nuclear explosion but that would have required a more active deployment, something its size, weight and most crucially unwieldiness (as in, taking several minutes for a pilot to get in and out) simply could not stand up to.
It’s unknown what ultimately became of the Beetle.
“The aroma of coffee is a return to and a bringing back of first things because it is the offspring of the primordial. It’s a journey, begun thousands of years ago, that still goes on. Coffee is a place. Coffee is pores that let the inside seep through to the outside. A separation that unites what can’t be united except through its aroma. Coffee is not for weaning. On the contrary, coffee is a breast that nourishes men deeply. A morning born of a bitter taste. The milk of manhood. Coffee is geography.”
Mahmoud Darwish, from Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982 (University of California Press, 1990)
played an open mic night last night and screamed the lyric “people dont when to shut the fuck up” right when people were talking over me X) and played my guts out. Also i talked to this really odd local musician (who’s really nice but no one likes) for A while about captain beefheart and the Shaggs and he enjoys my music a bunch. And he feeds off of people hating his out of key, off time music which i think is sort of amazing, i talked about it with him after and he said “yeah sometimes i even make them chant along and people get so pissed” hes awesome XD
Here are all the details about my birthday trip to Tokyo this past April! Including flight and hotel prices, how to get ready for your trip, a packing list, useful phrases, where to exchange money, how to get around, some etiquette to keep in mind, links to other useful articles, and my entire two-week itinerary - with pictures! As experienced by a woman traveling alone.
I don’t travel often. I had never been outside the United States. It was my first time traveling completely alone; just me, my luggage, and my 27-page itinerary (that I had professionally printed and kept with me at all times because I am an anxious, anal-retentive, perfectionist wreck). I read all those articles about women traveling alone, packing for Japan, and cool places to visit. For eight months prior to the trip, I did independent research about traveling in Japan - and it paid off! I had an amazing time during my two weeks in Tokyo (with a couple days spent in Toyama, more about that at the end of the post). I hope some of this information will be useful to people who are looking to visit. I tried to write something like a master post because I remember how overwhelming it was condense all this information from dozens of different articles in my head.
It goes without saying that I am not an expert about Japan or Japanese culture. I took three semesters of Japanese and promptly forgot everything I studied after classes ended. This is just a how-to for people who are vacationing because I was able to do it successfully by myself. It would be wise to familiarize yourself with the history and culture if you want to visit. Wikipedia is a good place to start (here / here / here).
The background of my title picture was taken outside the Meiji Shrine.
Cherry blossoms at the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.
BEFORE THE TRIP
Flight: I booked mine eight months in advance. I paid $1,065.86 for round trip tickets to Tokyo through Hawaiian Airlines (loved flying with them - they’re the only airline in the U.S. that serves real meals throughout the long flights, which was necessary for my hypoglycemic butt). This was after saving money for three years and regularly checking ticket prices for about eight years (I had been wanting to visit since high school). The average price from the Bay Area is around $2,000 round trip. It’s not cheap. I recommend checking prices often, with your browser on private (they watch you) until you catch tickets at a decent price. Or search for deals online. Check Kayak. Groupon occasionally has packages. Compare prices as often as you can.
Hotel / B&B: I booked a bed & breakfast through Airbnb. My little apartment was in Kabukicho, about a 10-minute walk from Shinjuku Station. I loved the location. It was $52 a night when I booked it. I paid $1,015.90 for my 14-night stay at the B&B + my two-night stay at the Crowne Plaza in Toyama. Of course, there are cheaper options through Airbnb if you share an apartment with the host. It’s usually cheaper if you share an apartment with other travelers. There are fancy hotels all over Tokyo. Or capsule hotels, if you’re into that. Try to find a place that comes with pocket wi-fi. There’s not much free wi-fi around.
Passport: Renew it at least two months in advance. Buy one if you don’t have one. If you need a visa, get one of those, too. Even if you have one, check to make sure everything is okay for traveling to Japan.
Japan Rail Pass: The one thing I would definitely not skip if it’s available in your country. It’s overwhelming when you first arrive, so I recommend arranging transportation to your hotel / B&B before you leave home. You can get your JR Pass, pre-paid Pasmo or Suica card, airport transportation, pocket wi-fi, and sim card all in once place, all in advance. Two months before leaving, I bought an Airbus voucher to get from Haneda Airport to Shinjuku, a national JR Pass for my side trip outside Tokyo (useful if you’re traveling around the country), and a pre-paid Pasmo card for the local trains (there is no real difference between a Pasmo card and a Suica card, they both work on public transportation and at most vending machines). $284.00.
Passport / ID / Itinerary / Maps / Phrasebook
Paper photocopies of your ID, passport, and credit cards (email them to yourself as well)
Mobile Wi-fi: You’re going to need something to connect yourself to Google Maps. Talk to your mobile carrier, book a B&B that comes with pocket wi-fi, buy pocket wi-fi in advance, or buy one at the airport. Unless you speak Japanese and you think you can get around by asking people for directions, you’re going to get lost multiple times a day and you’re going to need internet. There are signs in English, but it’s not the national language. Not every sign is translated. Not everyone speaks English. The streets are not well-organized.
Talk to your bank: Let them know that you’ll be out of the country. Tell them where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone. Obtain yen! I took 20,000 yen to start off. Let them know two weeks in advance in case they need to place an order for international cash. Take note of currency exchange rates.
Language: If you can speak and read Japanese, great. If not, you’ll need to study. A phrasebook might come in handy, but you don’t want to hold up service workers while you’re flipping through pages trying to figure out how to say “No, thank you.” At the very least, memorize a few useful phrases (I’ve included a few in the next section). Charades can only get you so far. Knowing hiragana and katakana helps!
Other: Arrange to have someone take care of your pets. Clean your house. Empty your fridge. Leave your keys, a copy of your itinerary, and copies of you passport / credit card / ID with someone trustworthy. Lock the windows. Arrange bills payments for the time you’ll be gone. Collect emergency contact information. Triple check that you’ve packed everything. Pack securely.
Moat surrounding the Imperial Palace in Chiyoda.
DURING THE TRIP
Money: Many businesses are cash only. You can get cash very easily at most 7-Elevens (I think they have the best rate). There’s always the airport, post offices, and hotels. Be mindful of international fees and exchange rates (they change daily). Withdraw cash in large amounts to avoid paying extra fees.
Transportation: Navigating local trains is easier than everyone says. There are plenty of arrows and signs in English inside the stations. You can buy single-ride or one-day tickets, though you’re better off getting a Pasmo or Suica card. They’re easy to refill if you’ve got a good handle on Japanese yen. They work at vending machines! Depending on where you stay, you can always walk to your destinations, but be wary of the messy street layout (this is where Google Maps comes in handy). Buses are an option, although I didn’t use them.
Food: Plentiful. Eat as much as you can fit in your body. This is not the time to order California rolls. Maguro is widely available and inexpensive. Ramen, unagi, okonomiyaki, curry, udon, karaage, gyoza, yakitori, tempura, soba, sukiyaki, sashimi, takoyaki, sushi, mochi, crepes, melonpan…delicious and endless. You can buy cheap, decent sushi and onigiri at most convenience stores. McDonalds and KFC are very popular. Fruit is expensive. Tipping isn’t mandatory. There are vending machines everywhere so you’ll never be thirsty. It’s okay to ask for meals without wasabi. I don’t have allergies and I’m not vegan or vegetarian, so I don’t have tips for survival if you require a special diet. It’s considered impolite to eat and walk at the same time.
Shopping: Everywhere. If you don’t have a lot of self-control, this could be the end for your bank account. Too much madness to explain in one post. Don Quijote could take you down by itself. Be careful. I’ve written more about my shopping experiences in a few outfit posts (here / here) and in my itinerary summary below.
Sight-Seeing: Search for free / cheap places to sight-see. Be polite. Lower your voice around places of worship. Be mindful of signs that don’t allow pictures. Bathrooms are fairly easy to find (the ones inside departments stores are especially nice). Remember to wear slip-on shoes and nice socks in case you have to remove your shoes somewhere. It’s okay to use a selfie stick if you’re alone! Click here to read about accessibility in Japan.
Conversation: The two most useful phrases to know are “thank you” (arigatou / arigatou gozaimasu / arigatou gozaimashita) and “excuse me” (sumimasen). Saying “thank you” is especially important. Everyone I talked to was super friendly and very forgiving of my touristic ignorance. Many people spoke English. Here’s a short list of words and phrases I used most:
It should be noted that I used ZeeMaps to plan my daily routes. And I’m not into nightlife. I was back at the apartment by 7:30pm every evening.
April 15, Take Off: Left the Oakland Airport and arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii five hours later. Waited another five hours until my next flight to Tokyo…
April 16, Arrival: …and landed nine hours later, at 10pm (22:00). There is a 16-hour time difference between California and Tokyo. Exchanged my Airbus ticket after getting through customs. It dropped me off in an unfamiliar part of Shinjuku. Lights everywhere. Adrenaline pumping. Panic panic panic. Eventually found my way to the B&B after asking for directions.
April 23, Shinjuku: Was supposed to visit Sugamo, but decided to stay in Shinjuku to wash clothes, clean, and buy a second suitcase at Don Quijote. Also gave my feet a chance to rest after doing so much walking all week. (Things to do in Sugamo)
April 24, Mount Takao: Left early to eat breakfast and catch a train to Mount Takao (♥︎). It took less than an hour to reach the base of the mountain. Took me three hours to reach the top. I hiked along the third trail, wandered into the sixth, and finished with the first. Had soba for lunch at the top of the mountain and then took the first trail all the way back down. Exchanged my JR Pass back at Shinjuku Station and ate dinner at home. (Guide to Mount Takao)
April 26, Toyama: Had a train reservation 10:32am. Rode the brand new Hokurika Shinkansen! The two-hour ride through Japan was beautiful. Once I arrived at Toyama Station I walked to my hotel, dropped off my luggage, and headed out to explore. Walked around Toyama Castle (♥︎), had ice cream next to the moat, then went to eat at Sushiei (♥︎). I was the only customer for the first half of my meal. Very intimate, just me and the chef. I had omakase for the equivalent of $30! It was the most delicious sushi I’ve ever had. I felt so spoiled. Went back to the hotel, had a bath, and passed out shortly after that. (10 Things to do in Toyama)
April 27, Namerikawa: Happy 23rd birthday to me! Left around 7:45am and arrived in Namerikawa around 8:30am. There was squid art all over the city, it was a dream come true. I got into the Hotaruika Museum (♥︎♥︎♥︎) at exactly 9:00am. The museum was everything I wanted it to be (more about the museum in the next section)! I stayed in Namerikawa until late afternoon then took the train back to Toyama. (More information about Namerikawa)
April 28, Shibuya: Took the train to Shinjuku for my tattoo appointment. I ate before I left, ate in Shibuya to pass time, then got tattooed by Asao at Studio Muscat. Went back to Shinjuku as soon as that was done, perused Forever 21, then went home to eat and pack. (Top 10 Tokyo Tattoo Shops)
April 30, Back Home: I left the apartment early on account of the four bags that I had to lug to the Airbus stop. I felt like Jesus carrying the cross. They were bulky and heavy. I was moving slow. Thankfully, a nice man saw me struggling and helped me out. I caught an early bus, got to the airport, then realized that I was 15 HOURS EARLY. I had misread my flight time. That was a long 15 hours without cash or wi-fi. I was so happy when I finally got home.
The main reason I wanted to visit Japan was to see firefly squid in Namerikawa (squid are my favorite animals; firefly squid are my favorite species of squid). I’ve been obsessed with them since high school. They do boat tours in the early morning, but I didn’t reserve a spot soon enough. Getting to Toyama from Tokyo wasn’t difficult at all. Luckily for me, the Hokurika Shinkansen was up and running a month before my trip – it took one train two hours to get across the country. Compared to the constant noise, lights, and tall buildings of Tokyo, Toyama was quiet and flat. Less populated. Fewer people spoke English. I saw exactly one other tourist at the hotel.
Entrance to the Hotaruika Museum in Namerikawa.
Namerikawa is a few stops away from Toyama Station. The firefly squid museum was a straight 10-minute walk from Namerikawa Station (well, 20 for me because I kept stopping to take pictures of the incredible squid tile art on the sidewalks). While I waited for the museum to open, I noticed a woman and her daughter (both adults) waiting excitedly to get in. Once inside, they paid with a discount coupon, then let me use it! I almost started crying (I get easily overwhelmed when strangers are kind to me for no reason). The museum had all kinds of firefly squid art and videos, labeled and narrated in Japanese. Made me wish I had kept up with my studying so I could understand. There were hologram squid, squid statuettes, various scale models of the museum, posters, and sculptures. The live squid show involved a group of us gathering in a dark room with a pool of squid to see their bioluminescent tentacles glow in the dark! The touch pools were my favorite part – I got to handle live squid for the first time ever! They were in shallow tubs filled with icy cold sea water. They bit me with their beaks and spit water at me when I agitated them. I loved it. Check out a couple of my Instagram videos here and here.
Hotaru-ika burger and tempura.
The cafe + mini market next door was the second best part.Since I was only visiting the cafe this one time, I ordered everything on the menu. This included a hotaru-ika burger, hotaru-ika tempura, and sea salt ice cream (I did get weird stares from people as I scarfed all this food down by myself). It was all delicious. Firefly squid are considered a delicacy, so it’s no surprise that there would be an entire market selling firefly squid next door to the museum. They had squid prepared every way imaginable. I ate a few samples, bought deep sea facial cleanser, and then hit up the gift shop for museum merchandise.
View of Toyama Bay from behind the museum.
Unfortunately, I could not locate a sandy shore upon which to rest my feet after my eventful morning, so I settled for some tall stairs behind the museum. They ended at the edge of Toyama Bay.I think it was about 80 degrees outside. After a few minutes of staring at the water, thinking about how blessed I am to have experienced seeing my favorite animal in the world, I headed back to the museum’s restaurant (upstairs) and ate a whole hotaru-ika pizza by myself.
According to my 7-Eleven money withdrawal receipts (I kept every single one of my receipts from the trip and put them in a scrapbook!), I spent an additional ¥150000 while I was there…so I spent about $3,200 in total. Again, traveling isn’t cheap or easy. People who tell you to just drop everything and travel for fun are speaking from a place of enormous privilege.
I’m happy to answer questions about anything I’ve written! You can comment below. I’ll probably update the post as I think of more to write about.
“More than 300 people of all ages, geographies,
and artistic styles currently belong to the Creatrs Network (more than
half live outside the United States). Each one has been carefully
selected by a designated team within Tumblr, which scours the site for
new talent. They’ll set up a Google Hangout to find out more about that
person’s interests, and then try to match them with the right
Hey everyone! This October, I have the opportunity to go on a cultural exchange trip to Greece! It’ll be my first experience going outside of the United States and naturally, I’m really looking forward to it. This is going to be such a phenomenal growing experience for me, in every sense of the word.
What I’ll be doing on my trip is a lot of relational and volunteer work: - working in a cafe - connecting with local university students - raising awareness for human sex trafficking - playing with children in the Roma camps - partnering with a local church
Everything I’ll be a part of on this trip is everything I’m super passionate about. I know in my heart that this is what I’m supposed to be doing! If you could help support my trip to Greece, it’d mean so much to me - so much more than I can even express in words. Thank you for considering helping me raise the funds for this life-changing opportunity.