Hana-chan. She really likes tummy rubs.

Dad, you’d be proud. I’ve caught more fish in Japan than I have in a 2 years of the US!
Granted, they were about 2 inches long, and were caught with a net, but it’s the thought that counts am I right?
Saturday, Kouyo and I walked outside and noticed that the water feed to the rice fields had been cut off, and we ran to the feeding pond to go see if it was still full of water. There was about two feet, and a lot of fish trapped because of the cut off flow!

They were feisty little beggers, and kept jumping out of the container. Kouyo would shout OH NOO OH NOOO in this Japanese accent and it was hilarious.
He also fell in.
AHAHA-I mean DAIJOUBU KOUYO??? [Are you okay??]
Let me follow up with



Okay I’m done.

Sunday was very guuud!

ORIENTATION WAS SO AWFUL.  2 hours of speeches from Japanese Exchange stud
ents who just returned. And the only parts I really understood well were when they were speaking in French FML. [Although it was kind of cool because I kinda zoned out and suddenly was all WAIT WHEN DID I START UNDERSTANDING THIS]

Anyway so introduction time… all the other exchanges students knew we had to make a speech but me! And I had to go second! It was sooo bad. After my awe-inspiring 30 second speech, I scurried off the podium and my host mom was just laughing so hard. I was all mouthing SORRY SORRY SORRY and she just laughed harder. No problem, Mama, I’m happy to be a source of amusement. Later, in thecar, she said EMIRI WA ICHIBAN KAWAII NE [Emily is the cutest no?!] which brought on a bit of a case of warm fuzzies.
After Orientation, we went to hanabi, which any self respecting weeaboo knows are Fireworks. Kouyo dragged me into this Carnival game thing where you get 10 minutes to sort through a large pit of rocks covered in water for a diamond. I cannot say it was overly exciting, but there you go. Cul-ture.

Japanese bus!

Monday, I went to school and went over my schedule with the head of the foreign department. He spoke okay English but was kind of… um… well, let me say that Japanese seem to really like to threaten corporal punishment. At that point, I hadn’t been made to feel bad about my inability to speak great Japanese yet but he managed to do it somehow;;
Although later, he left and came back while I was talking to my hosties about how the American school system was different. He looked kind of and was all ‘Oh! Wait to what extent can you speak Japanese?.’ and seemed to be nicer after tha
t. Odd.

Breakfast for one morning! Onigiri.
Uh, I completely forget what I did on Tuesday.

Wednesday was the first day of school.
You know how in movies, characters who undergo traumatic events experience amnesia?
Then you know why I can’t remember anything about this day…

J-JUST KIDDING… sort of.

Got up in the morning, got help with my new sailor fuku uniform… pictures next week, I promise. Drove to train station, took train into town, took bus from there to school.
Do you know how expensive transportation is here? Definitely a thriving commerce. My bus/train pass for one month is… around 155 dollars. SFKJDSF SOIDJ AHHHH
Fortunately, my club is paying for it.

Yuri and Misaki [Her friend] On the way to school

Anyway, first I had to introduce myself to all the teachers in Japanese. Kinda scary. Then I got lead to my class, and had to introduce myself to the 40 other students there. Kinda scary. They all clamored at once and I heard the words ‘Kawaiii!” like a zillion times [Cute, basically, it’s so overused here.] They didn’t crowd around or ask any questions, but they were receptive to questions and very helpful.

This all sort of pales in comparison to what they just casually sprung on me next.

YO EMIRI… YOU’LL HAVE TO INTRODUCE YOURSELF… IN FRONT OF THE SCHOOL…. ON STAGE…. RIGHT NOW … HAVE FUN. Oh, stop looking so scared, it’s just 900 students sitting expectantly in long, impeccable rows, [military style] staring up at you on stage while you try to speak in a language you are mostly unfamiliar with. Please don’t worry about the oft severely hard to spoken understand manners code that I won’t bother to instruct you on for this case! Sheesh, it’s a wonder Americans get
anything done with such wussy youth.

I totally skittered off stage after getting out my short intro, probably did it completely wrong. I try not to think about it. Anyway, now, the entire school knows who I am and I keep getting “HI EMIRI!!” in the halls. It’s all HUH HUH.. um do I know you…?

Anyway, I don’t actually remember this day too well. I did my best to kind of try to talk, and I sort of did, like I feel like I did okay. I could only remember one person’s name by the end of the day, though. Japanese names are wicked hard to remember. And they all kinda looked the same. Literally, half the girls in my class have the same haircut. Or is it three fourths?

Wakayama Trainstaition~ Second stop on the way to school

Anyway, was pretty glad to be done, even though it was only a half day. All day, I’d been so highstrung, one overly enthusiastic twang could have snapped me in half. These people in my class, I will literally spend 7 hours a day, 5 days a week with for 11 months. Messing up the first impression would be like shooting myself in the foot, only more painful.

Now, up till this point, I’d been coasting on the LOOK I’M FINALLY HERE high. But somehow, even though the second day of school went pretty damn fantabulous, and I managed to get friendly with many of my classmates and get myself involved in stuff, my mood just crashed when I’d got home. It’d started veering a little after school, but after my host brother starting throwing a fit it took, a complete nosedive. I think it hit me then how very long I’d be here for and just how far away from everything I was.

This mood persisted into Friday. Students were taking tests and I was trying not to sleep in the international room, keeping myself awake by contemplating how much I didn’t want to be there and just how hard I was going to fail at this exchange thing.
After Math and Japanese exam, I returned to participate in English and things started to look up.
I conversed [By conversed, I mean I spoke haltingly, played charades, and motioned at the dictionary a lot. Much hilarity ensues.] with many of my classmates. I remembered some names and recognized some faces, practiced the dance for culture festival [I am HORRIBLE. Everyone kinda knew it already, add this to my lack of coordination and inability to understand] and giggled madly over the this bag with the Jamaican flag and a marijuana leaf that some girl in my class has. [She didn’t know…]

Anyway, after school was done I came back home and, after dinner, we did these sparkler things. They were very pretty, but it was way too hot and I got more bugbites that are swelling as we speak. On one hand, it’s incredibly itchy, but on the other, it’s kind of cool how my arm and right leg look broken in 2 places haha!

Koyou doing Hanabi

Mama and Kouyo on porch, Yuri walking from inside
Anyway, today I’m home all day, some of it home alone! Soon. HMom and Hbro are at a Kendo thing, HSister will be going to Juku [it’s like MORE school only outside of school;;] I plan on playing my little brother’s wii games and turning the music up. I am looking forward to it.

In anycase, I should really start writing my 10-20 minute rotary speech I have to give Monday, so sayonara, everyone.

Week one, over and out!

Herro! Mai Naimu iz Kiooyo


And guess where I am.

If you answered:

Sitting at this badass, 8 ft. desk kindly provided to me by my fantabulous host fami
ly, listening to my awesome new little brosski take out his massive reserves of energy on a friend of his downstairs while wishing I had gotten more sleep, you’d be right.

But let’s talk about my journey, shall we.

Woke up at around 2:45 am on the 18th, threw stuff into my suitcase before flying out the door in typical Emily fashion, 6 minutes after the proposed ‘leave no later than’ time. At the airport I said a final, rushed goodbye to the parents and headed through security. It was very relaxed at 4 am. It would have been fun to dreamily watch the sunset with my dull, sleep deprived mind. Except it was.. overcast.
Uneventful ride over, had a similarly uneventful four hour layover in Sanfran. Met up with Exchange student Ken from Illinois and
jumped on an airplane destined for Osaka. It was frigging jinormous- 9 seats wide. The little personal light things were so far above our heads that when you turned them on it was like having your own mini spotlight. I ended up mowing through 4 episodes of Dexter, 4 pages in my sketchbook, and my entire mp3 battery. I thought my butt would turn to mush, seriously, 11 hours.
After getting off, Ken and I stumbled upon another rotary exchange student, Kat from Missouri. The line to customs was longer than the queue to a popular Disneyland Rollercoaster, and took about an hour to get through. I’d gotten off the plane pretty chipper, but by the end of that, ugh. Looked, felt like a complete mess.

Anyway, at the exit, I met Mama! ....and practically the entire rotary club
too, with a big ‘WELCOME MS. EMILY’ sign. Practically gave me a heart attack.
6000 pictures and a truckload of Japanese gibberish later, we piled o
nto a bus and went to a restaurant in a hotel. I talked to Yukimi-san [THERE. I REMEMBERED. Weeps why are Japanese names so hard] and…. Someone else who’s going to Canada and… Hi—Hiiii- Hi something. Who’ll be my host brother in October! I’ll have to figure it out his name before then.

Anyway, it’s kind of a blur. I said arigatou a lot. It was… really kind of formal and there was all these respectable business men and I had ABSOLUTELY NO FREAKIN CLUE WHAT I WAS DOING OR WHAT WAS GOING ON AHAHA omg I probably broke like

。。。2039483904234 social taboos
They kept making speeches at me and I was all… TRIES TO UNDERSTAND FAILS Says arigatou goziamasu again instead of anything useful….

But it turned out okay ! I think…….. sobb.
I’ve read a lot of horror stories about bad host families and terrible host clubs, and let’s just say any fears I had are mostly assuaged. I met my next few families and they seem like really g- HOLY‐A STORK JUST FLEW BY MY WINDOWーAnyway, they seem really great and look forward to having me!!  Despite the fact I'm sort of getting thrown around like a hot potatoe. [I’m to have 5 families! Oh lord!]

Went home with current Hosties after. Went over some rules with Papa who speaks English and crashed.
Alright. As great as this all was, I have discovered the first thing about Japan that I detest. It is. The humidity. And heat. That does not. Go. Away. Ever. Sheer exhaustion took me out for 3 hours- then I woke up and it was all OH MY LORD I AM SO HOT WHY IS IT SO HOT OH LORRD IT IS 5 AM…. Clothes just stick to you here. I have yet to feel clean. Once. Despite shower.

I am feeling pretty good for now Though! Last night, very confusing and I felt kind of weird, but today was nice! I hung out with my 10 year old host bro Kouyo. Yuri, my 15 year old host sis, is very quiet, so I haven’t talked to her like
, at all. I’ll work on that.

But their house! It is in the coolest place! Japanese country is GORGEOUS. It borders … fields of… stuff. I’ve yet to get a straight answer on what. I asked and Kouyo just told me they were growing snails. But anyway, there’s a waterway that runs through it with goldfish and…koi? And…leeches. Hiiru. Surrounding it are these wooded mountains, and the river of sweat running down your face makes it feel like the rainforest! Hm…
I’m not sure why I like this area so much. It’s a mix of plants and powerlines, wich modest little houses spattered haphazardly around tiny little lanes for bicycles and mopeds. I never did like the cut and paste American formula of neighborhoods with their cute trimmed lawns and carefully arranged flowers. Especially those blocks upon blocks of eerily similar white houses with cookie cutter lawns. American white picket fence stereotype, much?

This neighborhood is so much more appealing. Everything is smaller, and the houses are crammed together, but it feels more natural and relaxed. I’m no poet, but I’m sure you’ll see what I mean when I get a video up.

Mama keeps trying to use a translator on me, and the engrish that pops out is hilarious. She points at it and sounds it out carefully. “DO…YOU…ADVANCE WILL?” Not as if I have any right to speak, as I’ve already reduced my host bro to a fit of tearful laughter over my bad Japanese. I think it had something to do with calling the fridge family.

Anyway, I crashed again about 6 o’clock, pulling an Emily and conking out straight on the floor. Mama woke me up for dinner at 7, which was… pizza. Sort of. There with sausage, chicken, shrimp and other such toppings, served with a side of… rice…? It was strange. We watched really weird television while eating. [The only channel that is normal is baseball! It’s so bizarre! Oh, Japan.] but I couldn’t stay awake, so I re-crashed. Woke up at 3 am. Tossed and turned till 4, gave up about 4:30 and
here I am
watching the
Japanese sun
go up.
How surreal.

Anyway, ciao! Enjoy your Midday, my morning is great. [Albeit slightly sticky.] Orientation tomorrow in Osaka, woo!


Obligatory Introduction Post

Gooood morninnnnggg starshine the world says hellloooo!

Hi, I'm Emily! (And to a few, Sal.) Currently, I'm tapping away at these keys in my comfortable American abode. However, in 6 days, I'll be jumping country to reside in Wakayama, Japan for my Junior year in high school as a Rotary Exchange student. I'll be staying with 2-4 host families while attending a public high school. (Complete with sailor fuku uniforms and a sailing club... ohoho!)

In case you're wondering, I don't speak Japanese. Uh. So. Um. ADVENTURE.....? !!

Anyway, I'll be blogging about the experiences, people, ect ect that I encounter over there. Expect pictures, art, and much nonsensical musings.

The only thing I really have to say at this point... it's a very interesting feeling to have absolutely no idea and no real way to control how the next 11 months will run. Zippo, zero, nada, zilch. Wish me luck, everyone. I'll miss you all! See you in a year!