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.
Yeah, that was creepy enough.
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.