One Down


Part 1 will be up soon, but I have to cut it into 2 segments because youtube sucks…

Well, this is the end of my first week in Japan and I’ve learned so much already. This week has been filled with emotions, great emotions. I’ve never felt so comfortable anywhere in my life. I’ve made a lot of friends so far. Students from America, South Korea, and China come to school here and our only truly common bond right now is that we are learning Japanese. That means if we want to communicate with each other, we have to speak in Japanese. I love every second in my school.

In my school, we use what is called the direct method to learning Japanese. That basically means that the classes are taught in ONLY Japanese. It’s sink or swim for us all here. But I give my all in every single class. In just as little as a week, I find myself now trying to speak as much Japanese as possible. I go out and try to communicate with everyone I can, whether it be asking for directions, or the time, or just starting conversations. I love it here.

What I love so far more than anything is my host family. They are so great to me. They treat me like part of their family. The family is pretty big, too. Their family name is Kunii. The father, Takeshi, works for a company in Tokyo and is just really awesome. The mother, Shungyoku, is actually Taiwanese, but is fluent in both languages. I spend most of my time with her. The eldest child, Shunpei, is about 16 and he likes to go out a lot. Lol. I don’t see him much. He’s a good kid, but at that age, he likes to hang out with his friends, which is understandable. I was 16 once upon a time. Lol. The younger boy, Kohei, is going to be 14 in November, and he like to play piano. He is a bit timid. He’s very funny, but he lacks confidence in his own abilities. The youngest child, Miki, is 11 years old and she loves sports. She plays soccer and piano and just loves to be active. She’s very funny and friendly and runs to the door to greet me every day when I get home from school. My host family is great and they are making this experience amazing. They speak very little English, so I have to try my best every day to communicate with them in Japanese.

So I will give you all a run down of what I’ve done this week so far.

Early in the week was all about school. Orientation, class scheduling, placement testing, class orientation, and so on. That was just Tuesday and Wednseday. Thursday, class began. And then it was over…just like that! It was the fastest class ever. Granted, class is only 3 hours a day, but it went by so fast. I was so hungry for more, so I went home and spent about 4 hours speaking in as much Japanese as I could with my host family. My host mother even gave me a pocket notebook to right down words I don’t know when I’m out. This has proved extremely helpful and I’ve filled about 5 pages already.

Friday was an especially exciting day. I went to the 3rd district of Shinjuku by myself to explore. I walked around for hours (not to mention got lost as well), I went into stores, ate great food. It just doesn’t end. One thing I will say is that I almost went crazy when I went into one of the big department stores here. In America, they place music in the stores. Maybe you might like a song but hate the next, right? However, in Japan, they play music….but it’s a JINGLE!!! IT’S A MINUTE LONG JINGLE THAT PLAYS REPEATEDLY!!! IT DROVE ME NUTS BECAUSE IT WAS PLAYING IN MY HEAD ALL DAY!!! AND WHEN I WENT HOME THAT NIGHT…A COMMERCIAL CAME ON THE TV FOR THAT STORE WITH THE JINGLE PLAYING!!! IT FOLLOWED ME HOME!!!

I think I’m used to it now, but that was painful. Lol.

Anyway, it didn’t end there. That night, I was privileged enough to be able to train at my karate organization’s headquarters dojo, which was very exciting. I would like to thank my Shihan for arranging that and sending his recommendations for me to train there. The class was in only Japanese the day I went, so I was really forced to learn by watching, as Shihan always tells me. However, it’s easier to do that when I can’t understand them, lol. So, Shihan, if you’re reading this, I now finally understand the movements of sugi ashi, suri ashi, and ayumi ashi much better than before. I was also corrected on some of my Saifa kata. AND I also now have a much better understanding of advancing and retreating in neko ashi dachi. Can’t wait to show you. Lol.

So that was Friday.

Saturday, I didn’t wake up until almost 10AM because I was wiped out from Karate. I was up for a bit, ate breakfast, studied a bit, and fell asleep again because my body hated me. When I woke up, I went to Miki-chan’s soccer game. She is very good. She is the only girl on her team.

After her soccer game, we went to a Karaoke place. It was great. We all sang songs. They just love to have fun and I even tried singing songs with them in Japanese by reading the screen. It was hard but fun. Lol.

Today, we will go to a festival at the local temple. This place is amazing, but I can’t take pictures because it is rude.

But that was my week. There will be many more adventures to come. I hope you all like the pics and vids I’m posting.

Keep commenting, let me know you’re with me here. I wish you could be. More posts to come…stay tuned.