During the week of hanami, the real semester began for the normal Japanese students. So all of the sudden, the seemingly oversized campus for the international students was now refilled with about 10,000 Japanese students. It was like the campus came to life in a way we never knew it could. Clubs and circles were running again and the campus convience store now opens at 8 am (yay)! The Japanese students of course have a different schedule than us but it’s amusing how they drop by the fish bowl (the CIE’s lounge) and randomly ask foreign students to do surveys of which are their assigned homework. I guess I was lucky enough, being asian and blending in with the Japanese, I was spared the many vague surveys that some of the other students had to answer every day. Lunch time and break times are so much more crowded and lively, it was really cool. Also I realize that many of the students actually didn’t know that much English, just the ones that were taking English lecture courses were exceptional.
On Saturday, Stephanie’s host mother had asked me to volunteer again and I gladly accept. Since it’s the start for their school year as well, there were a lot more kids this time than before. They were all filled with energy once again though, and I was touched that the kids from last time remembered Steph and I. Another of of our friends, Max, from Australia, also came to help out and they all took to him quickly for his friendliness and accent that is different than ours. We even got recess time this time to play basketball and hula-hoop, which I’m terrible at, with them. It was wonderful to see that kids are truly just kids, no matter where they live, they are all so eager to learn and ask questions, and so very easily get attached to you. =)
On Sunday, our friends from the seminar house decided to take a break from all the traveling we’ve been doing every weekend to go to Spa World in Osaka to relax. It was really my first time at a public spa/bath place and wow, I’m not sure if there’s anything like this in the States. The building is a couple floors high where one of the floors has an Asian theme and another of European theme reflecting all the baths and spa commodities tey offered on each floor. When we went, the Asian floor was a female designated and European floor was for men. There’s also the very top floor for family fun with water slides. The Asian floor was amazing, they had everything from outdoor onsen to sentou (communal bath house) to Middle Eastern inspired spa and saunas. The only thing that took a while to adjust to is all the nakedness around since you’re not supposed to wear anything hence the gender separated floors. Nevertheless, by the end of the day, with supple skin and fingers like prune, we felt so relax and so ready for a nap.