Hello, everyone! It’s been a long time. I just finished up my Autumn semester at ICU, and I’ve learned so many new grammar points and kanji from my Japanese classes here. It’s been a long couple of weeks, but I’m excited for the upcoming semester, in addition to the JLPT N3 test in December. I’ll be my first time taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, but I’m excited to see how I place and where my Japanese is at, especially now that I’ve been living in Japan for a few months.
Before my exams started, I got to experience my first cultural festival! It’s a little bit different than a Japanese high school festival, as we don’t have sporting competitions, but nevertheless, there were countless performances from the student orgs, along with numerous food stalls.
I’m currently involved in Clumsy Chorus, a gospel choir group comprised of around 30-40 students. I may be shamelessly advertising here, but I’ve had an amazing time with this group and I’ve definitely felt a sense of community with them. Back in the states, I feel like there is a more relaxed attitude towards extracurricular activities, especially if you are not holding a position within the group. In Japan, by comparison, clubs are taken very seriously as each member tries their best to contribute to their group. During the performance, the choir performed four songs, one of which I was able to sing a solo for. It was my first time singing in front of a crowd, and although I was extremely nervous, I’m grateful to have that kind of experience.
Along with the performance, Clumsies also sold karaage at our food stall. 唐揚げ (Ka-ra-a-ge) is Japanese fried chicken that is marinated with soy sauce, ginger, garlic and coated in potato starch. While I was working, I kept hearing the same phrase “揉み揉み” (Mo-mi-Mo-mi), which means to massage. A lot of the native english speakers thought this phrase was hilarious, so many of us kept chanting “揉み揉み” while preparing the food. Even though everyone was assigned a specific time slot for their shift, a majority of the members stuck around to see if any help was needed. Some people worked for the entire day and I was truly impressed by how dedicated they were.
When I wasn’t working at the stall, I was able to walk around the festival and try a lot of different foods along the way. There was traditional Japanese food such as Okonomiyaki, a savory cabbage pancake, to Yakisoba, stir-fried soba noodles.
Overall, I had a pretty amazing experience. I was able to grow closer with all of the club members, eat delicious food, and make memories that will last me a life time.
Thanks for reading and I’ll be checking in again.