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Amparo Bertram

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05:17 am: Who says the school year's not over yet...
The school faculty and staff had our year-end party last Friday to celebrate the end of midterm exams. (School will actually continue until the 22nd, but that's just a technicality.)

This year the party was held at a hotel in Otsu. Rather than being served a set meal, it was buffet style. We drew lots for tables, which were all decorated Western style, including silverware (rather than chopsticks) on cat-shaped rests. The buffet tables were along one wall, while along another wall were offerings prepared in front of you by chefs. ...Though really all they did was put it on a plate and hand it to you. I was, however, quite intrigued by the cheesy potato dish. This chef had a big chunk of cheese set under a heat lamp. He put some potato onto a plate and, every couple minutes, scraped the top melted layer of cheese over it.

Farther down along the table they had spaghetti. Unfortunately, both kinds of sauce had meat in them (one beef, one bacon), but thankfully the sauce was separate and it was possible to get the spaghetti plain. They offered two toppings to sprinkle over your pasta: parmesan or seaweed. (Only in Japan?)

Oh, and don't forget the beer!

Here is a shot of what I ate, not including the pasta.

After the main meal, the hotel staff set out a selection of desserts. Here is an example of the bite-size cakes. (The persimmon-shaped desserts are really sweet-bean-filled mochi balls colored orange.)

At the end of the meal, there was a raffle to give away prizes provided by the hotel. Amazingly, all three of the foreign teachers in attendance won something. I got a box of cookies. One Ritsumeikan teacher won a bag of rice, and the other won the grand prize, a free night for two at the hotel.

Now we must return to classes and try to convince the students that they still have to study for another two weeks. Their brains are already on vacation for the most part.

As I kill time waiting for the Warcraft servers to come back up with the new content patch, I uploaded some more screenshots of my characters. I attended last weekend's Blackwing Lair raid, at which I contributed to taking down Chromaggus. In this next shot, Glaya hangs out with Nefarian (the final boss of the instance). We haven't managed to kill Nefarian yet, mainly because most people have been in the raid about 7-8 hours by the time we get to him and it's past midnight in US time zones.

I have also made a couple of new characters. The one I believe I will focus on leveling up next is Amakihi, a druid. At first I had considered leveling my priest character, but druids can shapeshift, which gives them an edge in terms of fun. Here you can see Amakihi in cat form along with her non-combat pet kitty.

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[User Picture]
From:wrenwyn
Date:December 6th, 2006 01:26 am (UTC)
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Hi! Very cool taking down Chromaggus! I was just starting to be able to go into LBRS we did upper a few times too. Those were great fun, but after a few hours I was ready to call it quits. That was exciting stress, but stress none the less.

Xerxes and I have been playing the WoW ccg, and we've been enjoying it. It's difficult right now to find the cards though, because it's been so popular.

We stopped playing online a while ago, but we're getting ready to start up again. I really miss my NE hunter and Grendel, my lion pet. (=^.^=) My desktop blew up so it will be awhile before I can play again. Keep posting the game stories and char pics; I love to see them. :)



[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:December 6th, 2006 01:36 am (UTC)
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Remind me what server you're on. (I'm on Frostwolf.) Maybe I'll be able to play with you someday when you get back online.
[User Picture]
From:wrenwyn
Date:December 10th, 2006 03:53 pm (UTC)
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We're on Argent Dawn. I'll make note of Frostwolf. :) It would be nice to play together some day.
[User Picture]
From:megory
Date:December 6th, 2006 03:38 am (UTC)
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The end-of-year party sounded very nice...and tame this year. The food looks beautiful, but all food looks beautiful in Japan--one of the pleasures of eating in Japan. The silverware looks golden, and the cat rests are an idea I've never heard of before. Congratulations on winning the cookies. Now I want to try seaweed on pasta. We couldn't tell if the seaweed were dry flakes or liquid. Do you just crush some dry nori? I also couldn't remember if Asahi beer is made in Hokkaido or not.

Thanks for the great pictures and the report.

Congratulations on the successful instance in WoW! That must have been a really full day of WoW by then! (Thanks again for helping Opalita. That was fun, and I got to tell my new class about it.{We started new trimesters on Monday.} Only two students play WoW because it's so expensive to have to pay a monthly fee, I think. But others seem to know what we're talking about.)
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:December 6th, 2006 03:55 am (UTC)
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Do you just crush some dry nori?

Yep, it's powdered nori.

I also couldn't remember if Asahi beer is made in Hokkaido or not.

It might be. I don't know where all the various beer companies are located.

That must have been a really full day of WoW by then!

Yes, I had been on for about 12 hours by the time the raid ended.

Thanks again for helping Opalita.

No problem! I hope we can do it again soon.

What you should do is visit Petopia and decide what kind of pet you want to tame. (The restriction is that the pet has to be the same level or lower than you. So if you want a level 15 pet, you have to get to 15 first.) The most popular pets are bears/boars (good "tank" pets with high armor), wolves (medium damage/medium armor), and cats (good damage-dealing pets). But you can pick whatever you like.

I got to tell my new class about it.

I bet they didn't expect that.
[User Picture]
From:megory
Date:December 7th, 2006 03:32 am (UTC)
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Thanks for the link to the cool pet page. That will take some serious studying. I think I'm going to have a really difficult time deciding. How do the pet levels work. Once you get a pet at a certain level can they still advance levels or are they always at that level?

It turns out that the college student who observes/helps my classes plays with a horde guild. My student is in the alliance. My student remarked how other high schoolers tell him he must not have a life to play that game. He is able to insist that it is actually a community building activity as the other players are real people. I mentioned the face-to-face in Seattle last summer with some of the guild players. It's just fitting the time in that is tricky. You do a great job of that and balancing other hobbies, interests, and duties.

(No problem! I hope we can do it again soon.)

Me, too. This weekend is the wedding in Wisconsin. The following weekend is Al's birthday, but I'm not exactly sure what the plan is; he might want to wait until after Cortney's finals are over to celebrate. Anyway, our winter break begins Dec. 21 and goes until Jan. 2. There might be some time in there somewhere.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:December 7th, 2006 06:55 am (UTC)
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How do the pet levels work. Once you get a pet at a certain level can they still advance levels or are they always at that level?

The pet gains experience every time you kill something that gives you experience. This means that, in general, the pet levels along with you. However, the pet does not share the experience that you get for turning in quests, so it will always lag behind a bit. In other words, when you turn from level 14 to 15, you will have to kill some more things before your pet also turns level 15 (while in the meantime you're well on your way to level 16).

If you tame a pet that is a lot lower level than you, it will take the pet quite a while to catch up.

The pet also has a quality called "happiness." There are six possible levels, with 1 the lowest and 6 the highest. The pet starts at 1. The more you feed it and use it, the happier it gets. Happy pets can learn more skills and do more damage.

Yes, you have to feed your pet. Different pets need different kinds of food. You will have to carry food around with you to feed your pet and keep it happy. Many kinds of food (such as meat) you can get as drops when you kill things, or from fishing; other kinds of food (such as fruit) are much more rare as drops and you generally have to buy the food from a vendor.
From:mangaroo
Date:December 6th, 2006 03:55 am (UTC)
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This sounds like the most successful group celebration ever experienced by a lone vegetarian in Japan. Plus, kitties!
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:December 6th, 2006 04:06 am (UTC)
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This sounds like the most successful group celebration ever experienced by a lone vegetarian in Japan.

I was pleased with how much was available that I could eat. Granted, there were thirty different dishes, of which I could eat about five, but that's more than I usually get unless they make a special meal just for me. The fact that they had cheesy potatoes earns them bonus points.

Plus, kitties!

<g>
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