OKAY COOL HI AGAIN HERE WE GO
By the end of Saturday the 12th, I was completely toasted, despite skipping badminton. At school, I belong to this group of girls, and we're always together during break time and such. Originally, when I joined,. I remember specifically writing to my parents 'send me American snacks that can be shared, my group is 7 girls so enough for each!'
Well, after Winter break, it took me about 2 days to notice, but our group had become 6- A girl called Saori was missing.
She did not come to school in January.
She did not answer our texts or phone calls.
The only way we knew she was alive was that she was active on an online art website. Saturday the 12th of February 2011, Aiko, Minami, Kuriyama and I launched our assault on Saori's home. The goal? Convince her to come back to school. We informed her we were coming, painted intimidating symbols on our faces with Seaweed Jam, and fashioned makeshift battering rams to our bicycle baskets. OK, not really, but with a warriors spirit we marched into her house. We were greeted warmly by all of Saori's family except for Saori, and was promptly served tea and cookies. Then Saori came out, and she had dyed her hair and and and..~ And well, at that, her little brother was also ushered into the room, and proceeded to steal the the spotlight by running around in circles and shouting "WOWWWW 4 PEOPLE CAME I'M SO HAPPPPYYYY!!"
Talk about a conversation derailer.
It was awkward at first, but that slowly faded to a more normal atmosphere, with the rest of
the party eventually ragging on her and making jokes about her new abundance of free time. And then there was the conversation about Oyama sensei, Lady Gaga, and P-P-P-Poker Face. That mental image isn't leaving anytime soon.
We left on good terms, saying 'Jaa, mata, getsuyobi ne' which means 'Bye, I'll see you again Monday!" Come Monday, Saori didn't come, and I can't say any of us were surprised, but alas.
Good luck to you, Saori, in this World.
After that adventure, I was picked up at Kamayama trainstation by Host dad to go to Dinner with Host Mom's sister and friends. You know how when you're really little, you have pre- arranged playdates with other kids to give your mom a break or whatever? Well, I, at age 16, had a prearranged English playdate with a man called Jeff. He teaches english. This was all I knew beforehand about him. Now, when you think, Language teacher, you think thinly balding slightly overweight mellow dude, right?
Oh no, no no no. Mr. Jeff turned out man built slightly like a bear with a height to match. He spoke in a rough central American accent and had an equally rough attitude. This man had absolutely no mouth to head filter at all, said exactly what he thought, so all in all he was basically the opposite of the Japanese stereotype
He was extremely intelligent, and we spent half the dinner debating Japan culture from Woman equality to National attitude. It was nice, since I haven't had a chance to hold an educated conversation for about 6 months, and I think Mr. Jeff felt along the same lines because before he had my name down he told me when the conversation turned to college, 'I like you. You're not stupid. Tell you what, you study your little ass off, come here, and you can live with us for 4 years when you go to college.' He was half serious too.
The other half of dinner he regaled me on how he'd gotten his internal defibulator device stuck in his chest while conscious and working for Japanese gangster construction companies, and whole trivia of life. And inbetween pauses he would argue with his friends wife. Which was interesting in that she didn't speak English and he didn't speak Japanese.
Speaking of which, I asked him pretty early on ‘So you don’t speak Japanese, huh, how about that.’ I then got a story about how a childhood disease that almost killed him, but irreparably damaged his brain making him incapable of learning new languages. I will never judge before knowing again. I will never judge before knowing again.
After dinner, Jeff's British friend and his wife came and most of the adults got flying drunk, which was hilarious. The Brit had brought along his little boy, just a wee thing. He was spouting off Japanese about a million miles an hour when I asked him, “hey, what's that toy?" in English and he just said 'ITS A FLYING FISH!" And took off in English. I was just all WHOAHHHH COOL IT SWITCHES JUST LIKE THAT, I WANT A BILINGUAL 3 YEAR OLD TOO!! [The Brit's response? You can have this one…]
Monday was Valentine’s day! In Japan, on Valentine’s day, it's a tad different from America.
[These rebellious youth, undmindful of the traditional values of imported marketable
holidays.] Instead of merely doing something with your special somebody, [or mourning your
lack thereof] you give chocolate to all your friends! Or really, supposedly, it's the day girls give chocolates to boys, but since boys and girls tend not to mix and nobody likes
chocolate more than, well, a female, at the highschool level it has turned into 'girls make treats to give to everyone they like'day.
Ninna and I jumped that bandwagon hard. I'd googled out a couple of Japanese recipes beforehand, and the bright idea was this: Japanese recipe means we could find all the ingredients at a Japanese grocery store and Japanese measuring devices would match up with the amounts!
This aside, anybody that really knows me that for my plan for the domestic future is to marry Riannon K and come home to a homecooked meal every night. Either that, or enjoy cans of Spaghetti O's and instant ramen with 30 cats. Still deciding. That is to say, I'm not the best cook you can find. Keeping all this in mind, let me show you the equation for our dream treats.
2 exchange students + 1 Danish Cake recipie .. in Danish, without the instructions + 2 Japanese recipies + a Japanese kitchen + Japanese Measurements
The reality? - WHAT IS THIS EVEN SAYING - SQUINT HARDER AT THE PICTURE NINNA - WHERE IS THE OVEN - IM PRETTY SURE THIS IS AN OVEN - NO ITS A MICROWAVE - ITS DEFINATELY AN OVEN - THIS IS THE OVEN - THAT IS THE TOASTER - GOOGLE TRANSLATE YOU ARE NO HELP AT ALL - THE CHOCOLATE BALLS!! THE CHOCOLATE BALLS!! - HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THE JAPANESE SQUIGGLES FOR SPATULA?? - EMILY I FEEL SORRY FOR YOUR FUTURE HUSBAND - SHUT IT NINNA - HOST DAD PLEASE PUT DOWN THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER - GET ME A SPOON STAT - WILL A RICE PADDLE WORK ? -ect ect
Do you see our domestic skills overflowing from this cake. Simply spilling out.
Somehow, through all that, we managed to make mostly edible and halfway yummy chocolates, cookies, and even a cake. Enough for about. Oh, 12 valentines. I had about 16 people I really wanted to give them to, but alas. Ninna was kind enough to let me have 9, and exchanged with my school group, Stamp-chan, and (heheh) also gave one to my Handsome Homeroom Teacher, Oyama sensei.
On Valentines, Wakayama also did something it does fairly sporadically but quite halfheartedly, like a habitual diet shirker; snow. Apparently, it had decided to make up for the last, about, 12 years [See; as far back as my classmates remember] and really put some effort into it. It snowed from 11:00 to about 9:00 pm. The snow, initially fighting the higher than freezing temperatures, didn't stick at first, but around the 3rd hour it started to lightly build. Like powerdered sugar. This drove my cooped up classmates just about out of their minds- they're about as exciteable as hyperactive Chihuahuas anyway, and probably just about anyone would take flipping out over snow to legitimately paying attention to Ancient Japanese.
After school, there was a giant snowball fight in the courtyard, and people built mini snowmen on the tennis courts. Badminton was also canceled, and I headed home in the two inches of slushy snow on Deathtrap, the not so trusty bike. Which sucked. See why students in Spokane don’t commute 40 minutes via bike.
HDad built the snowman, HSis the snow.... rabbit?
From the side of the house
Tuesday was hisashiburii badminton. There's been an interesting and diverse range of things keeping me from it lately, a great deal stemming from my lack of desire to go, but regardless of the reasoning, I'm pretty sure Arai sensei has not been pleased by this. At all. Halfway through practice, when Moeh went over to ask Arai sensei if we were to be paired for a certain thing, he said, 'Emily is weak'but with a really heavy Kansei accent in really rough Japanese. I just kind of laughed and Moeh and Sensei looked at me and asked why, and I said 'I understood that...' and Arai Sensei: ‘Ahhh, so you understand now hmm..’ The only thing keeping him from chewing me out is probably his perceived imaginary language barrier.
Wednesday was the last day of Badminton until year end of tests are over, which start in two weeks.
YOU CAN ALL CONGRATULATE ME !! ON WEDNESDAY I FINISHED MEMORIZING THE 1006 GENERAL USE CHARACTERS LEARNED IN GRADES 1-6 OF JAPANESE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!!!! I HAVE OFFICIALLY REACHED THE READING LEVEL OF AN EXTREMELY MENTALLY DAMAGED 10 YEAR OLD!! YAY ME!!
I am thumping myself on the back because no one appreciates this. No one. I say this because the Japanese don't seem to believe I can actually read them, and all the foreigners seem to wonder why I bother trying. I strive alone. Alone. And you know what? I can read light novels now. And Biology textbooks. And most of history. And warning labels. And train station instructions. Eat that. EAT THAT EVERYONNNNNNE.
NOW FOR THE NEXT 949... AND THEN THE 300 EXTRA USED IN NAMES.... YAY.............. ...
If you want to feel a bit of my pain, click here and click the 'study button, then just click through a few - notice how most of them have 2-4 different way
Thursday I got caught up reading on the train to school. I started that night's dinner conversation with, 'Say, Ayume, did you know that it takes about 20 minutes to walk from our station to the next?' Host family kind of stared at me for second, like, 'Oh, no, you didn't-' And yes, yes I did- I had looked up from my book that morning to watch the doors of the train closing on my stop. At the next station, I checked the schedule- the next train wasn't for about 35 minutes. So I started off on foot. I didn't have a clue where I was other than 'if I follow the general directions of the train tracks I will inevitably end up at my stop. It was a nice walk. I wish Japanese roads made more sense.
My host family joked that I probably couldn't find any more ways to screw things up, and had probably managed to pull off just about every small mistake you could imagine at this point, from forgetting keys to dropping traintickets- I warned them not to test me. They also commented on my excellent sense of direction and firm grasp on the layout of Wakayama city. I assured them it was because of my extensive experience getting lost.
FUN THINGS TO DO WHILE LOST; TAKE PICTURES
Practically a whole flock of birds were on this structure
The next day, I proved them wrong by forgetting my PE clothes and having to watch during PE. Which was kind of fun, since I ended up spending most of it with Kuriyama writing the PE pass slips ‘With your entire heart, please write a reflection about your pass experience’ [I kid you not- that wording. Japan is pretty cheesy.]
Did I mention since after the Marathon, we’ve been doing jump rope in PE? Yes. Jumprope. Not as a side thing. Jumprope. Just jumprope. I definitely haven’t touched one of those since 2nd grade, thanks.
She warned me that writing; ‘Everyone seems to really hate this, and me too.’ ‘Wow, aren’t these PE uniforms gaudy? Like the entire gym is purple’ ‘Even standing and watching for 50 minutes hasn’t imparted upon me the actual point of this.’ Would probably be a bad idea, so we spent about 20 minutes wracking our brains for suitably awful responses.
Saturday, I ended up at 7 o’clock AM studying somehow. I will be taking the same world history and biology tests as my classmates, WHICH IS BASICALLY LIKE SUICIDE BUT HEY AWESOME. ADMITTEDLY MY SCHOOLGIRL CRUSH ON MY HISTORY TEACHER IS KIND OF DEFINITELY HELPING THE DRIVE TO STUDY.
[Yutaro, Forgotnameloudboy, and Sakura being Uke, Seme homo peas and offspring hetero peas, respectively.]
You know, with teaching methods like this, maybe Biology is possible afterall...
Anyway, month 6, OVER AND OUT.