So today, I slowly woke up from a pleasan-
Hooooly crap the power just went off
Okay, sorry, that’s not helping my intro at all.
So today, I managed to slowly wake up from a dream. It was slow, it was gradual. There was this noise that I couldn’t quite figure out. My-
And there it goes again. Like a lightning bug. Bzt bzt.
Annnnyway, so this mysterious sound, my mind somehow justified it as my hostmom being in the lower part of the bedroom [I sleep in a loft like arrangement] running around with a wheelbarrow full of rocks or something. I did not find this odd or questionable, somehow. I ascended slowly from my slumber.
Yes, kids, this is how my mind justifies strange events. I hope I never kill someone. If I do, the justification behind it would probably be something like, ‘I was half asleep but I knew the taco he gave me in magical garden land made me forget memories of my long dead mother who died traversing the gap between existence and chocolate. It made sense at the time, really.’
No kids, it wasn’t my Host mom crashing around with a wheelbarrow of rocks.
That thought can [sort of…] be explained completely by my next fully coherent thought. [There was a few more in between, but those were mostly filled with expletives and, dear reader, I would not want to subject you to those.]
“Is cannon fire louder than thunder?”
Yes kids, it does take artillery worthy thunder to wake me out of a dead sleep. Crashing all around me, from all my windows, flash. Flash. 3 am, pitch black, my world a strobe light with subsequent symbols-drum-gong arrangement. I did connect the dots.
I then proceeded to run around my house, looking for a window on the upper floor that I could actually see the lightening from. Turns out no such window exists.
My second attempt had me standing on the toilet, looking out the tiny little window at the very top. It then occurred to me that I had to use to toilet. So I did. Halfway through my business, I swear to god the loudest crash of thunder I have ever heard sweeps over the house. And the foundations rocked. Or at least, I did. I nearly jumped off the seat. I haven’t felt the need to get out of the bathroom at such a speed since I watched that one horror movie aged 7.
Anyway, I eventually decided on the tiny window up in my loft, and tuned in for the end of the lights display. Which wasn’t restricted to just thunder. Nope, like a string of blinking Christmas lights, my house and this power grid shut down in a series of sputters. A few minutes later, I watched it blink on again, slowly, from house to house like a chain reaction. Magical.
I am completely exhausted. .
-- fin 5 am writeup
Well, the next morning, I awoke to a strange sound again. It was the rain pounding down as if there was no tomorrow. This continued for about 40 minutes, with more thunder. I went downstairs to watch the rain, which ended up being a bad idea as host mom turned on the tv when all I wanted to do was listen to the rain. Ah…
Anyway, I feel the need to tell you that now you will experience a TIME SKIP.
This was the events of Thursday morning. Setting the clock back to last Sunday…
Sunday was … really… busy. Trip to Osaka, which I was under the impression was a trip to Universal studios Japan. However, first stop?
Cosco. Ha. That. Was weird. At first I’m all WHOAHHH COSTCO yeah.
It had a strange parking garage like arrangement, with giant escalator-like paths[sort of like the moving floor in the airport] for you to simply set your huge cart upon and enjoy your ride. Sci-fi cosco, much? My mouth was just wide open the entire time. Why so amazing, cosco?
However, the…inside was. Creepy. It. It was as if. You let in 2000 Asians into Spokane cosco and sharpied on some kanji to a few of the products to make it seem authentic. Seriously. The layout, the feel, the signs, the crowd it was EXACTLY like the one in Spokane, with a few minor differences in the food court and checkout placement. It was incredibly weird. I’ve only gone with other people to cosco a few times, usually it’s my own family. It felt like those times as a little kid when you accidentally follow the wrong cart by mistake.
After that, UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN BBY. For those of you out of the loop, it’s a character/movie themed amusement park, like Disney land, except with Hello kitty, Sesame Street, Spiderman, and Peanuts themed rides instead. It was… interesting. At first, it was friggen packed like whoah. Waiting was… a few years.
Lets establish this; The Japanese adore swag of just about everything that American kids liked when they were about 6. The word ‘cute’ is definitely the most commonly said word here in Japanland, and I wouldn’t be half surprised if, should a super secret Japanese ninja assassin squad exist, it had a cute cartoon mascot. I kid you not.
I say this completely neutrally. Sometimes my girl side squeals silently to a pitch so high it only exists in my imagination. At other times, my fingers twitch with the urge to tie Kitty-chan and Elmo to the local train tracks.
But anyway, I’ve never seen so much… character themed frivolous stuff in my life. Ridiculous.
Despite this, it was fun! My favorite ride was probably.. the roller coaster, big surprise. It entwined itself with many of the buildings and snaked over walkways and by crowds, and at the end of the night when I finally rode this, it was definitely magical. On top of the world, rocketing around swirl of frivolous entertainment, humanity city and all I could think was ‘JAPAN oh god I’m in JAPAN wow look at this look at this holy crap I love this place.’
It was truly pretty.
There was other rides, such as Jurassic Park [The end freaked me out, this giant T-rex lunges for you and you DROP.] Spider man [This was COOL- it was a 3d arrangement, and it certainly made you feel like you were admist a battle, rising up then dropping dropping stories and BAM caught in spidey’s net, although really it was a just a genius design of the usage of a relatively small space with 2 large 3d capable screens and props] Space Fantasy [So hard to describe, but so cool. Think of it as a trippy indoor rollercoaster.]
We ate at a replica of the Jerassic park’s center, haha. Complete with T-rex skeleton and everything…
We stayed until it closed. Fell asleep on the way home. Whew.
Next day was a day of autumn! No school! I don’t get it either, but whatever, who’s complaining. Papa took Kouyo and me to the local Shrines- about a square half mile with various shrines and temples. Walking around the peaceful setting reminded me of part of the reason I decided to come here in the first place. That such an anachronism can stand so peacefully, with a place so firmly set aside among the hustle of Japanese life, is amazing. Oh Japan.
Feeling the reverent awe of the old structures, my camera promptly died. I got a few before, though.
After that, I had a green tea ice cream cone [strange stuff, mate] and we went to [水を取り] which means to take water. An endeavor that consists of driving 1 and a half hours to an obscure mountain to get water out of a plastic pipe fed by a mountain spring two kilometers up the road. Uh. Yeah. So. It was pretty, atleast? Most of the driving was through lushly forested Japanese mountains. The sky was threatening rain and it was a really peaceful ride up there. : ) Something that can not be said about the ride back. Ohhh no. Not at all.
I was attempting to ask a grammar question to host dad. His English seems to the level where he could answer, but I guess there’s a difference between conversational and discussing grammar. Either way, he was concentrating really hard and… got… lost.
CUE BLANKET OF DARKNESS.
Yeah, that was creepy enough.
CUE GASOLINE TANK IS ALMOST EMPTY DING.
Did I mention the fact were an about 40 minutes into nowhere? How about the fact we were lost?
Talk about a tense time. Luckily, 10 minutes later he found the main road, and most of it was downhill from there. I do swear that I spent the next 40 minutes expecting us to sputter and out and go to a sickening halt on the side of the far too narrow Japanese road. However, we did reach a little town and saw a gasoline sign…! Kouyo and I shouted AHHH 助かった!! 助かった!! 助かった!! [Tatsukatta! SAVED!!] Just over and over, Haha. Exciting…
Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty normal days of school. I had a revelation on Wednesday that I had OFFICIALLY LEVELED UP IN JAPANESE. That I could put together a Japanese sentence together without actually really… thinking too terribly overly hard about it. Not just sporadically, but becoming increasingly more often!
I feel your scorn.
However, Japanese is a language that is neither easy, nor encourages it’s beginners to string together large sentences.
Simply, it operates by using words and attaching particles to them to demonstrate the grammatical use.
So, in order to make complex sentences, you have to string many, many of these word particles together. The Japanese equivalent of ‘If you ride to school with mike’s bike at 12pm, please take the lunch I made yesterday’ would go like this: [12:00 at] [Afternoon] [School Towards] [Micheal’s personal] [Bicycle by] [Quickly] [Go if], [Yesterday At] [Made] [Lunch that] [Take] [Please]
It is difficult because you have to think about how all these particles and words will interact- whenever you add something to the sentence, you have to figure out how to make it work with the rest of the sentence, and as you can see, it bears zero resemblance to English. And my example isn’t even talking about all the tenses and conjugations you have to think about. [first verb is past tense tara form, second is past plain, third is te, fourth is te with request additive]
Trying to string these sentences together at conversation speed is hard! At first, I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t bother. English isn’t the same. If you say something like ‘quickly went’, you get looked at funny. You have to string it all together. But you can totally say ‘quickly went’ here and it’s grammatically correct…. So motivation to always form long complete sentences doesn’t exist. You can make a zillion short ones if you wanted. However, now, I’ve picked up a form of pacing that, with a tiny bit of forethought, I can string together sentences. It’s a little like music, where you have a beat and that beat falls on the particle. It’s so much fun, I love Japanese <3
Thursday was a day off, which was good with that rain. In the evening, my class had uchiage-「打ち上げ」- a party to celebrate the completion of our bunkasai play. It went from 7:00 to 9:00 downtown which means… CITY ADVENTURE…!!!
First, I took a bus and a train to my usual stop. Had about an hour to burn, so I went city exploring again. [Did I mention that if I have time, such as waiting for the train or such, I walk around?] My travels took me around a huge deserted pool area, and through this little road into the woods. Forgot my camera, though.
After, I phoned Rinako and she and Haruna-chan appeared, gallantly peddling their bicycles. I actually didn’t recognize them instantly out of uniforma haha;; So prettily dressed and made up. Japanese know how to dress!
We then walked back to Rinako’s house. After waiting a while inside, her, Haruna-chan and I all jumped on bicycles and pedaled about 20 minutesthrough falling dusk to a department store. Bicycling in Japan is crazy stuff. You dodge and weave lurch and bump and pray for divine protection from car bumpers. There, we took purika. I will explain this cultural phenomenon next week when I get the photos emailed to me…
After that, we biked another 10 to the restaurant. We were late… haha… I ended up sitting at the end of the table, by Rynako and across from my host sister to be. I’ll whine more on that next week, though. It was a grill type restaurant- in the middle of the tables, there was 3 coal powered grills. We were given plates of raw meat and tongs to cook it on the grills. I would have been delicious if not for how completely squeamish of fat I am- Japanese have nooo problem. They kind of got a kick watching me try to cut the fat off with a pair of blunt, wooden chopsticks….
I didn’t really understand whose food was whose and ended up eating practically nothing, secluded at the end of a table across from my next-next host sister who is neither friendly nor interested. Then I paid 20 bucks for the privilege. It sucked. Completely. I forgot my camera, and everyone went photo crazy and I was a table away from all my friends and just baaww.
Still, aftwerword, talking with friends and biking through Japanese downtown with the wind in my hair and between my toes[Hey, high heels and pedals don’t work well with me.] was good. I went home with Haruna chan, since we travel the same way. On the train we found Yutaro, previously mentioned only Japanese boy who speaks to me LOL. This was a mega surprise, since I’ve never seen him on my train before? Or bus? Or anything other than the classroom? We ended up sitting together and making fun of my Americanness. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while… For some reason, he also had a skillfully photoshopped picture of… obama jedi on his phone. He randomly showed this to me. What!
This one! Anyway, when I got off the train, Mama and Kouyo were waiting for me, and we went home. So exhausted. It was 10:45 or so by the time I stepped off the train. Anyway, that’s about all I have to say for this week. Sorry it’s long! A lot happened! Now, I’m packing for the Rotary weekend, should be fun. ENGLISH. Although I’m getting to the point where I really enjoy Japanese.
Competetive as I am, I want to see how fast (how slow, probably…) I’m improving compared to my classmates. Maybe I should have studied more hmmm…. Anyway, Ciao! Hope Amerika is going well. WEEK 5, OVER AND OUT.
Sooo I should probably write this in segments of 2-3 days instead of 1 week because I have a habit of … forgetting things.
Oookay, this week started off with Monday. Bet you didn’t see that coming. It was practice for sports festival. Which entailed doing a whole lot of… nothing. We got all dressed up in our sports gear and went out to the field, sat in rows, sat in a different sort of row, ran back and forth a few times, sat in another row, ate lunch, ran out and did the wave, and sat in in a row again. Sit down stand up sit down stand up. Like church!
All this for about… 5 hours? Yeah. It was scintillating. I must have brushed my bum off for dirt more times Monday than I have my entire life put together.
Tuesday was the real deal. The school was divided into 4 teams, I and I was on the yellow team. My… favorite color. Thankfully, we spent lest time sitting in rows and more time… watching sports happen. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of some of these Japan only sports, so you will hear my beautiful words instead.
Relay, Obstacle course, you know the drill
Taifunome- Eye of the hurricane. 5 girls would all grab a pole and run to a series of cones, at which the girl on the inside parked at and the other 4 ran around her to the next cone. Actually pretty funny to watch. Especially when girls would miss the pole handoff and have to scuttle after it while the rest of their teammates would be dashing for the pole.
Kago thingy derp forgot the name; They suspend a basket about 12 feet above the ground and scatter beanbags around. The team that gets the most in within 1.5 minutes wins. I did this. This was all I did, since I had no idea what was going on at signups. I think I got three beanbags in. We won!
Piggy back fights; Three boys would hoist another wearing a colored hat, and run around with him. The boy on top would attempt to snatch the hat of the other boys. This was especially amusing since there’d be 12 of these 4 boy teams at all times and it was a total free for all sdfk haha. Slappy fights commenced, like the kind little kids tend to do and what you imagine Neo and Mr.Smith should be doing in the epic midear rain battle of the 3rd matrix movie.
Tug a war; Made more interesting in that maybe 150 people would participate at a time … or more.
Hoard the stick thing; Players would line up on the outskirts of the field, and a bunch of poles would be lined up in the center. The object is to get the poles to your team’s endzone. Proves hilarious when theres only 5 or so poles left and all ~80 players are on just those.
Wish I’d signed up for some different things! It was till interesting. My team won! Yess.
Wednesday was more normal. I cannot remember a single overly interesting thing happen. I choose not to correct this grammer on a reread to show you that my English is dying.
Thursday was my first Japanese rain. On the way out the door, I shunned an umbrella from host mom. Ended up getting completely soaked in the last segment of my travel. The girl that walks with us thought it was funny how I had the biggest smile on my face all RAIN RAIN RAIN and snapping pictures of the herds of cyclists all hoisting umbrellas.
Thursday was also my first real Japanese lesson with Shimo-Sensei. It was a lot of fun, actually, she kind of opened my eyes to a few things. That, unlike in English, if a person is saying ‘un un un un’ [yes yes yes] it’s actually because they want to you stop talking, and less of a ‘YEA I GET WHAT YOUR SAYING’ thing. Oh. Woops… sorry host mom.
After, I went to the Illustration [manga drawing] club with one of my classmates. [Who was giggling over something madly with someone else the next day about me, artclub, and the word Minami, which I was under the impression was her name, so I’m not going to make the claim that… it was her. CURSE YOU, JAPANESE NAMES. But I digress.
It was kind of… awkward. Uh. I do not function well in groups yet . There were some fairly skilled people there. Lo and behold, the classmate who took me was also skilled, and showed me some of her art on her phone. Who knew? [This lead to my giving her my DA, which led to her finding and google translating this blog, so I think that I’ll be watching what I say more here. Or maybe I’ll just throw in more confusing things to translate and talk in complete slange. I ‘LREADY FANCY Y’ALL MAI HOMEDAWGS PLEASE DON'T CONSIDER ME SKETCHY]
It only took me a 5000 miles to find people who share my interests. Great.
I don’t know if I’ll go back, though. There’s a few other clubs I’m interested in too.
Friday, I visited the art club. Whenever I’d brought up the subject at school, I would always get EMIRI BE CAREFUL THE ART CLUB TEACHER IS REALLY WEIRD.
He ended up being yes, a little strange, but also nice. It was pretty funny, actually. This school is used to having exchange students, so it was a little weird when people actually were interested in me at the club. I managed to make the first impression that I didn’t understand Nihongo at all, and ended up getting the English treatment from the Teacher and 2 girls. Which. Was. Hilarious. We just kept looking at each other like all ‘YEAH. WHAT?’
I met two girls there, one of which’s art I had intensely admired at the art exhibit during culture fest. I was all ‘oh so what do you like to draw!’ and she whipped out her phone and showed me… dang! I had one of those ‘tt- t- t-that was you! Amazing!’ Reactions and she just laughed kind of embarrassed like. She was really nice, and it was pretty funny when she was trying to express the order in which I should be drawing this bottle and peach.
I ended up drawing a flower for most of the time, which I promptly took home with me and gave to my host Mama like a 6th grader finishing her first crayon drawing and giving it up to the refrigerator, haha. I’m going to miss her a lot when I change families. : (
Saturday has been shopping day. Me, Hmom, Hsis, and Hbro piled into the car and ran into town to go to this huge shopping mall. Ow. My feet hurt by the end of that. Japanese clothes are ridiculously expensive. I went with 4,500 yen [Approx 50 $] and left with a hat, 100 yen, and two plain, flimsy shirts. Seriously.
Lunch time, Host sis enthusiastically said to me, "SO EM YOU KNOW WHAT TAKO IS IT’S REALLY GOOD."
I was all! Tako! Oh, like Taco? Mexican food? Yeah, I love tacos! .
So she rushes off and gets us tako. Which are actually not Mexican food, by the way. They are these fried balls. I didn’t comprehend. I smiled and nodded.
I got about halfway through one and… found a tentacle. In my fried ball. A purple one.
Imagine. You are eating this thing fried thing. You have no idea. You eat half of it. You hover your chopsticks over the rest of it expectantly, look down, and catch a glimpse of the tip of a curled up purple tentacle nestled in the creamy white sauce. It looks like something out of a horror film.
Bubble tea made things better later. Strawberry milk with tapioca balls. Delish.
Tomorrow, Sunday, we are apparently going to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka! Should be fun.
Monday is no school. Yay!
Tuesday or Wednesday, I plan to visit badminton club and finish up my visitation rounds for clubs. Then decision time.
Week 4, OVER AND OUT.
[One month already? No way.]
Good week! Monday was a pretty normal day of school. We spent most of it practicing for the culture fest play. ( :
Culture fest was a lot of fun! I was initially nervous, since I didn’t know how my classmates would group out and who I’d end up with. But I ended up getting adopted with 7 other girls and running around doing everything.
The closest thing I can compare Culture fest would be… well, in terms of my school system, the big basketball game everyone goes crazy over. Stinky Sneaker anyone? But o nly in terms of school spirit. This was more like one of those ‘valley days in the park’ thing- The first years all made booths to entertain, that were open constantly. There were 2 haunted houses, a dance thing, a horror movie, and a classroom where you could learn to make pinwheels and do various things.
The third years make food booths and sell food- crepes, icecream, pancakes, bubble tea ect.
The second years all put on little skits. I only saw one other one than ours, but it was basically hilarious. Not that I could understand it, it’s just… it was so awfully overdone. And the main characters were both boys in… floofly, ill-fitting princess outfits.
Ours was Alice in Wonderland. I did not manage to get a video, sadly, although you can imagine me doing this dance.
Also my classmates can be really scary…. This short, quiet, adorable kid ended up being the white rabbit, and they made him wear a little skirt, fleecy vest, and bunny ears. I swear to god, the screams of MECHA KAWAIIIIII were earsplitting.
Class play poster. It's maybe about 1.5 times my height? There was about 20 of these hanging from the school in a row. Colorful!
My class’ few boys have half the school’s musical talent, I swear. Two of them are great singers, and went up in front of the entire school with their bands. Another two are guitarists and drummers, respectively. You know you I’m impressed when I think, ‘hey, I’d put that on my Mp3 player!’ Skillz.
Afterschool on Tuesday, I went home alone without Yuri. Everything went seamlessly, and I didn’t feel the need to hide my MP3 player as I watched creepy American television. [Dexter season four OH MY GOD] Then on Thursday, Yuri had 7th hour and was all ‘OH. OK GO HOME ALONE HAI’
Heh. Heh. I was all ‘OK no purobelem Yuri! I got this down.’
Or so I thought.
To make a long story short, I missed my train stop, ended up a few stops down. The station format was different, and I really had no idea where I was at first. This led to me freaking out, rummaging through my bag and… finding out I had left my cell at home! AND my money.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
I turned around from searching to watch the next train going in the opposite direction…. [towards home] pulling…out of the station.
This was fun. The realization that you are several miles from home, can’t read the train schedule, don’t know your Hostie’s phone numbers, have no money, and actually can’t speak Japanese is certainly an interesting one. I’m sure everyone reacts differently to such situation but I… couldn’t stop laughing. Seriously. Funniest thing all week. It was mostly…‘Really Emily? Really? How’d you manage this…?’
Anyway, since it was only 5:15, everywhere was pretty deserted. I check the train board and made an educated guess on when the next train would come [around 40 minutes] and decided that rather than sit there, I might as well walk around town for a while. It was kind of interesting, but I kinda stood out due to a) foreigner b) different uniform c) only person really walking around aimlessly at that time… so it wasn’t really the most comfortable thing. Oh well, saw more of the city.
At the end of my walk, from about 50 meters away, I saw the train pull in. It’d been a while since I had ran that fast…
I was smiling like an idiot the entire walk home. Wooh, relief. You can watch my bemused, slightly panicked commentary that I made here.
Met the Art sensei at last! He was a tad strange, as I have been told everytime I brought art up in a conversation. Actually, it was hilarious. Over the past 2 weeks and a half, every time I asked about visiting art club I was told to wait till next week. Finally, I said to the foreign department teacher COME ON IT IS ALWAYS NEXT WEEK and he admitted that yes, it always was going to be AHAHA. Persistence won over, though, and he introduced me.
I plan to visit the club Monday, see if it interests me. There’s also a Illustration club, basically manga drawing, which I want to visit too. And possibly the badminton club, although I’m not overly stellar, just sounds like fun… maybe Kendo? We’ll see.
Gymnasium air conditioning in Japan. In other words, fail.
Saturday was a little weird… uh, went to the art store and bought pens with host dad. Went to the book store as well. My reaction was totally kid in a candy store, host mom was laughing. There were so many. Comics. I don’t mean the flimsy 25 page American style, I mean the 200 page, stellar inking style ones..! They were all so pretty. And cheap. 80 yen Deathnote? Yes please. Oh my god, I’m going to lose all my clothes and just pack my suitcases with this stuff when I go back…
Now before anyone goes OH EMILY WHY SO NERDY… first of all, I can’t read kanji [Chinese characters used in Japanese writing system], so I can’t read books at this time. Comic books, however, have the pronunciation of kanji printed next to the kanji, so I’m able to read them. Furthermore, because of the visual cues, I’m able to figure out what’s going on much easier. The series I bought, I read in English before, and with my dictionary in hand, I can actually read the Japanese version slowly. Talk about SELF ESTEEM BOOST. Chaching! Actually, you probably could not find a better way for me to practice at this time than reading things.
Anyway, that made me really happy. Sunday was less satisfactory overall, we went to the beach. Oh tropical Japan! It was as warm as the warmest lake in Washington, with a nice soft sand. There was one downside, however.
Jelly fish. WAAAAAAAHHHHH. It hurts!! I was the only one that got stung, and I got stung 3 times. WHYYYYY weeps. It has seriously swollen up, and hasn’t stopped hurting since I got it. It’s a little interesting though, since you can see where the jellyfish's tentacles stuck to me! It almost looks like scar tissue. Ever seen those pictures of the Humpback whales with giant squid scars? It’s a bit like that.
Anyway, school tomorrow. Next week we have sports festival. I’m looking forward to it. Sayonara, minna-chan.
Week 3, over and out!
I could have cried in my bedroom at night over culture shock and homesickness and stress like every other exchanges student. But noooo…
I made it nearly two weeks [and this counts travel] without any tears and THEN of course at the most inopportune time…!
Yeah so at my first rotary meeting…. Um….
Okay, so, let’s begin with last Wednesday. I was told I would be making a 20 minute speech. In Japanese. To my rotary club. Plus powerpoint. First of all, what? I mean, one and a half weeks in. I know they’ve every right to ask me to do things but honestly, if you took ever Japanese word I know and had me say them twice over, it probably STILL wouldn’t be 20 minutes. Far too early for such a request.
However, I’m good with rising to challenges. They motivate me. 20 minutes? Okay. Fine. Ganbarimasu. I’ll put you to sleep, but by God will it be 20 minutes
Then, a few days later I was told… 10 minutes. O-okay? More reasonable. Yay. Ok.
Then a few days later I was told… 5 to 10?
Then the day of, I was told to do my name and basic intro and I could even do it in English!
WAAAAHHHHH AS IF I ALREADY WASN’T CONFUSED ENOUGH BY THE NOT UNDERSTANDING JAPANESE THINGGG….
Anyway, I’m the type that like… when I get frustrated I start crying reflexively, and I kind of had a freak out on the way there in the car ahaha… and again in the middle of the meeting. It was baaad. And it was worse because I couldn’t explain that it wasn’t that the speech it was just EVERYTHING all together and I was fine and I really wanted to fulfill my club’s expectations. [You would too if your club spent like, literally, a ridiculous amount of money on you and threw you welcome parties and made speeches at you and gave you ridiculously expensive pieces of clothing]
But I ended up recovering and stumbling through the speech I prepared the days before just fine, thanking them and introducing Spokane, myself, and my school. I thought I did horrible, but apparently it went over really well and everyone was impressed with how my Japanese had progressed in such a short time. My host mom was really pleased and started crying too at the end arharhar….
Anyway I was so exhausted by the end of that… uwahhh.
This was Monday.. I wrote it out when I got home as a bit of a vent.
Sunday, I went grape bunch choosing with Hmom and sis. Supposedly, picking, but it was more like choosing. The grapes were kept in white bags and you peeked in and decided if you wanted it or not. The type is budou, and unlike American grapes, have very tough skin and pulpier insides. They're really sweet, but a pain to eat since you have to peel them first. Still mmmm.
At least the scenery was pretty.
I basically didn’t do anything overly exciting until Friday, well actually I probably did but I forgot about it.
Wow, I love how ‘going to a Japanese highschool’ no longer registers on my list of exciting.
Here’s a little bit about my school routine.
I get up whenever I wake up, usually around 5:30. Breakfast is at 6:00, and usually consists of yogurt/bananas, cereal, bread, rice(onigiri), and egg sandwiches. They don’t drink milk here except with cereal.
At 6:50, I go downstairs and get my hair braided by host mom. [My American mother is the BEST BRAIDER IN THE WORLD and I hadn’t actually realized this before…but now, no one can braid hair very well and it bugs me..]
Anyway, then I throw on the uniform, hop in the car with Yuri and her friend next door. We drive to the train station and jump on the train. [usually with only a minute or two to spare.] It’s extremely loud and jampacked at that time in the morning. We don’t even get little handles, let alone seats. As the train jumps and turns, all the people sway together with it, like one living breathing organism. It’s less romantic when we all kinda fall over at once….
The ride takes about… 25 minutes? After getting off the train, we walk a few minutes to jump in line for the bus. Thankfully, we usually get there early enough to snag seats, which is good because the bus ride is at least 30 minutes.
To be honest, I keep saying ‘bus ride’ and ‘train ride’ but the Japanese don’t really distinguish these words from ‘nap time.’ At our stop, I check yuri to make sure she’s awake, and we walk 10 minutes to school. It’s pretty scenic, but then again, I still haven’t gotten over how cool I think Japanese cities and architecture is yet.
At school, I arrive early and sleep at my desk. I’m usually pretty … um [wow, thanks Japanese 24/7, all I can think of is ‘lactose’ although I know this isn’t right] uh… LETHARGIC there’s the word. It actually takes until around 2nd period to start really talking to anyone.
There are 6 periods a day here. Between each is a 10 minute break. You stay in one room all day, but the teachers change. When Sensei enter the room, he or she says something like ‘sukitsu’ [although I’m not entirely sure]. On cue, the entire class stands up and bows.
This sounds stuffy and respectful and all, but kids actually talk or sleep in class pretty much constantly, so somehow I think American teachers get more respect.
Not that I’m complaining. I LOVE this system. I’ve gone from getting a 5 minute break three times a week with a 25 minute lunch to getting a 10 minute break 5 times a day and a 45 minute lunch. Furthermore, you basically get complete freedom during these breaks to do whatever you please. The teachers don’t seem to pay attention to what the students are doing, unlike the American system where you couldn’t really have less freedom if they leashed you.
School is so scintillating that I’ve decided to memorize my Japanese dictionary at the rate of one page a day. Of the 167 Japanese-english pages I am through 4. Akubi is the word for yawn and your birthmark in Japanese is ‘aza’. Furthermore, that sketchy person down the road is totally an ayashiihito. This may sound slightly futile, but I’ve used and heard many of the words already! Woo! It’s kind of a wimpy dictionary so only more common words are included…
I’ve made a few friends in class and I’m friendly with probably 70% of all the girls, but the language barrier is really preventing me from being more than that. Luckily, there’s a Japanese exchange student who went to Sweden in my class and, although she doesn’t speak English, understands my position and patiently explains things to me ehe;;;
There's about 6 or 7 guys in a class of 40. Only one guy really talks to me and just occasionally, which isn’t unusual since the boys and girls don’t tend to mix here? It’s okay, I content with admire them from afar while the Japanese develops. [Oh Japanese boys, I don’t think they make them better anywhere on earth. I think it’s the hair. Mmm.]
These kids have a pretty amazing English reading comprehension ability, but NO ONE talks to me in English. I’m not complaining and I don’t initiate it, but I think it’s pretty amusing that here I am, native English speaker in a class of people with an English focus, and no one tries at all. [Well, except for previously mentioned boy who occasionally gets out a sentence, but then again his hobby is studying languages so surprise surprise]
After school my English is usually horrible and with a Japanese ring to it. [Harro, mai naimu iz emiri, pureezd tu meechew..’waawt iz yaour naim? Oh waaaiiit pghhhsfhg Hello...]
After school, we’ve been doing bunkasai practice, although I hope to join art club soon. Bunkasai is cultural fest, and for it were doing a little skit called Alice? Although the lead is dressed as Alice from Alice in Wonderland, the plot has zippo to do with it. I’ll try to get a video of it. Cross dressing is done, bad Japanese boyband songs are sung, and children’s anime dance videos are danced. It is quite fatabulous.
Oh! Friday I met Stanpu chan! She’s the thai exchange student. She’s not too skilled at Japanese yet, and I’ll be taking Japanese beginner lessons with her 2 times a week. She’s in host sis’ class, and apparently doesn’t talk too much. Which kind of lined up with how she acted upon meeting me. So much for exchange student buddies. Oh well.
Saturday was pretty quiet. Got up late, spent a while drawing, went to lunch to host grandparents. They laughed at my Japanese attemps a few time, pffft.
Went to the video store, it was HUGE. I’m pretty sure that the anime kids at my school would have just walked in and died of joy. There was like 7 aisles of anime, I was really surprised.. and the manga section was like a third of barnes and noble
Going back to that sometime. Gotta get my comic fix…
Sunday, Kouyo and Mama were gone again. I went to the international center with papa and wandered around. It was fairly big, and had a little library of foreign books. I kinda want to go back, but it’s not like I want to… stay there like was the original intention of going today? Odd. There's only about 2-300 foreigners in this city. Of 300,000. Kinda makes me feel special.
Week 2 over and OUT.