Ahh, this weekend is winding to a close, but let me tell you about last week’s, shall I?
Saturday and Sun, Rotary weekend! I spoke more English in a time span of about 24 hours than I had my entire stay in Japan, I kid you now. I spoke it quickly, guiltlessly, and relentlessly. It was great. I even developed a pseudo British accent, despite there being no exchangers from Britain. Let’s not question.
It started with Host mom dropping me off at Ninna’s host parent’s house, from which we drove to Hajime together. Took about 2 hours. Ninna is an exchange student from Denmark who speaks pretty fluent English, complete with sexy accent. I hadn’t seen her since Orientation, which I now regret a bit. She lived so close! Argh! Anyway, we hit it off just fine, hopefully I’ll see her again pretty soon after school sometime.
Anyway, we arrived at a foot of a mountain and were shortly followed by a gaggle of Exchange students and Japanese Rotary.. Alumnis? [Rotex!] We smashed into this giant gondola thing and ended up going up the side of the mountain and making a short trek to this Buddhist temple, where we were exposed to a large, clear, tatami-mat lined room- proceeded to act like 5 year olds for a good 30 minutes.
I can’t really speak for my other Exchangees, but atleast for me, it was less the piggy back ride race and more of
After not speaking to a native English speaker [besides my parents on skype twice] in one month, I finally got a chance to exercise my native tongue. I’m not going to go too into our other Exchangee shenanigans, but let it be known that the Polish kid has the best English accent in the history of every. I want it. Imagine an extremely choppily said, “Hello kitty on rollarskates swinging a pair of lollipops” and you will have a good idea of what it was like.
Countries represented were: America, , Denmark , Poland , Finland Sweden,  France Brazil  and Mexico 
Our activities included listening to Japanese speeches, using public baths, doing a whole lot of not sleeping, achieving Nirvana, [Okay, so most of us were actually thinking about how much we hurt in that funny pretzel meditation pose….] and being beaten up by a monk. [I kid thee not.] All this in an authentic, zillion year old temple. 1000 year old? I sort of forgot. Actually, a Tom Cruise movie was filmed there! The last Samurai! Yeah! Let’s pretend I’m actually familiar with American Pop Culture and this fact holds significance!
On Monday, I visited the badminton club. I’d gone Friday, but ended up getting a chair pushed at me and watching for about 2 hours, instead of actually doing anything. It was fun. Captain tried to teach me swings. It did not go over well. He tried for about 25 minutes. Then Arai-Sensei (The badminton couch) walks in, grabs my wrist, puts me through the movements and has me doing it in about 3. Ahahaha.
The first years think it’s hilarious when Captain and Arai-Sensei give me the English treatment. I’m inclined to agree. They’re so awful.
Either way, after, Arai-Sensei told me to visit me in his office the next day, and asked me if I wanted to join or not. To which I absolutely said the smart thing – “clubs are a big part of school life here and I need some time to decide.’
Oh wait, no it was more like ‘OKAY SURE SOUNDS GOOD.’
I’m so rash. I kind of randomly decided to visit and just… jump in with both feet, you know? It’s not something I ever really did in the US, this badminton thing. Heck, this sport thing. I chose this club over the art because, well… I adore art, but somehow, spending my exchange year sitting alone doing art projects every day after school isn’t how I want to do it!
So I compromised. On Monday, I also went and talked to the International teacher and got myself transferred to a first grade art class twice a week- something to break the studying alone monotony.
Tuesday and Wendsday I had off from club, and ended up going out and buying an electric dictionary on Wednesday after school with my bank card. It’s my new best friend, by the way. SO. FLIPPING. MAJICAL. Not only can I write and read kanji with it, the touch screen can function as a mini tablet so I can draw in class while looking like I’m studying HUR HUR HUR
Thursday I had club, although I ended up going early since it was the last full day with my first host family. I ended up on the bus at the same time as another of my classmates and talking all the way down. Mostly we talked about the school system, and the English curriculum. She actually came out and spoke a bit of English with a little encouragement; I’m willing to bet my classmates hesitancy is greatly contributed to be the presence of other classmates.
When I got home, host mom was gone, Kouyo was playing PSP on the couch and ignoring me anyway, and I ended up just getting more depressed than I already was, ahaaha.
Friday was my last day with HMom, Yuri, and Kouyo, the first of 4 switches I will make in Japan. Yes. 4. If one eyebrow isn’t slightly higher than the other, it should be. That’s ridiculous. How will I ever settle down? I won’t.
Did I mention that 1 and a half months in is an awful time to change? I mean, I’m not completely used to everything yet, can’t truly connect with people still because of the language barrier, and got extremely attached to my first family though all the ups and downs of the first month and a half- and you want me to SWITCH!?! BAD. TIME. Awful time, in fact!
Anyway, that Friday was completely the same as any other, right up to the point where I started packing my clothes. I even came home and had a long drawn out conversation with my host mom about the possibility of getting texting on my phone, like we’d be going to the phone store in three hours, not dropping me off for good at a new family.
Packing was quick. I don’t have that much clothing or things, anyway. I’d managed to acquire about 3 bags of school clothing and a yukata, though, so when I went out the door I was fully loaded.
Said goodbye to Yuri and Kouyo [and that little snot actually gave me a present, the second volume in a random kid’s boxing manga series, haha!] and drove to the next hosts with one of the Rotarians. Ughh, I was truly trying not to, but during the final part of the switch I just started crying so hard which is… probably not the best way to make a good impression.
GONNA MISS THESE GUYS.
GONNA MISS THESE GUYS.
Got my suitcases upstairs, went over family rules [Which was muuuch easier now that I can sort of speak Japanese, let me tell you] and collapsed into bed.
Didn’t get a whole lot of respite- Saturday, about 600 middle schoolers and 200 parents visited Seirin, and I had been asked to give a little speech and participate in the presentation. To get there, I had to put on my Rotary Jacket and uniform, then bike around 40 minute with my new host brother to school. I could not figure out the whole ‘Ride a bike in a long, flappy skirt’ thing. I’m sure I flashed many an unsuspecting Japanese…
but no, seriously, how?? !! (;__;)
Anyway, speech went smoothly… sort of. I kind of messed up… in English. Yes, my speech was mostly Japanese, but the first part was in English. My mind totally supplied the wrong order of words, although I don’t think anyone really spoke good enough English to notice.
I did the Japanese part perfectly though! I didn’t even need to look at my sheet. Thank you Debate, glad you have added one sort of useful skill to my incredibly limited set!
At the end of that day, we went out to eat. I ended up having cheesy rice gruel and water. Delicious, I know. My host dad also got tipsy, maybe even drunk, enough that he didn’t drive back, which I cannot say contributed to my feelings of comfort in this house.
Anyway, here goes Host Fam intro!
Mother- Piano teacher. She likes to talk. Really fast. It does not matter how many times I do not understand and ask her to speak slowly when explaining things, she will always eventually end up reverting to ridiculous speed. If I don’t understand, she gets frustrated and thinks the best way to make me understand is to say more things in rapid fire Japanese. Is also very, very, very uncomfortably accommodating to the point where I do not ever want to talk to her because she’ll find some way to inconvenience herself unnecessarily for my sake, usually when I don’t need anything. Take a chill pill.
Father; Gradeschool teacher. Drinks and smokes. Doesn’t know how to talk to me. Seems to compensate for this by filling the silence with little grunting noises. Likes to practice his English on me, and translate very basic Japanese for me. Which are, incidentally, not the things I need translated.
Sister; Incredibly shy, talented 14 year old violinist who is always carrying around a pair of tamogochi. She’s fairly nice, but has no idea how to talk to my level either. However, she seems to really want to get to know me. Her idea of a good method is to hang around and not say much to me, but smile kind of nervously a lot.
Brother; 18, reminds me of my American bro a lot, except he’s ever so slightly more outgoing. Likes anime a lot, reeks of awkward. He doesn’t know how to talk to me either, and ends up switching back and forth from formal Japanese, like talking to me informally makes him really uncomfortable. I ignore this and talk to him informally. = )
Judging from the negative spin I put on that report, you can probably guess my current level of contentment with this family.
I want out. Really bad. It's now to the point where after school, I really don't want to go home anymore, although I spend most of my day at school so this isn't too bad. [by the way, writing this october 9th- I've been here over a week already, feels like sooo long. 11 more of this? = ( ]
This family is not so bad, I guess. But I really don’t find any of them overly likeable- and not a single one of them understands yet how to communicate with me, something my last 10 year old host bro picked up from the very beginning. I just feel so isolated all of a sudden, despite living in an even smaller house with more people.
OOKAY, REALLY, WEEK 7 OVER AND OUT!