So today was a national Japanese holiday and we go to have the day off from school. It was nice to be able to relax and take it easy. So naturally Nana and Kim come and camp out in my room. Actually I spent a great deal of the time they were here studying for my Kanji test. I really enjoy learning Kanji but I always forget the readings for them or little details that separate them. For example é–“looks very similar to èž. Or you have Jouzu ä¸Šæ‰‹ and hetaä¸‹æ‰‹ the Kanji is used in to different ways. However the class never fails to make me laugh and it is always fun when I can recognize a kanji when I’m out somewhere.
So almost every Friday I go to my friend Iyako’s house for bible study on Fridays. This particular week she gave me this beautiful hair bow. I was so nervous when she did. I wasn’t sure if this was one of the times that I was suppose to refuse twice or just accept. In Japan gift giving and receiving is very complicated. In America, if I offer someone something I mean for them to have it and if they refuse then they just refuse once. In Japan, sometimes it is considered impolite accept something the first time it is offered. Generally when a gift is given you refuse at least twice before you accept if you want it. So you could easily be offered something five or six times before they stop offering it. With older people it is best to adhere to that rule for almost everything unless it is an invitation. But even then sometimes they will invite you to their homes to save face, but really you are suppose to refuse. It’s so difficult to tell sometimes.
Anyway I remembered that Iyako-san use to live in Europe so she would understand if I just accepted without refusing and thanked her profusely. Japanese culture will take some getting use to.
For anyone interested here is a good link about Japanese culture for study abroad students. https://athome.nime.ac.jp/
Today I ended up walking to school because my bike had a flat tire. This was the second time this week that I have had a flat tire. I’m not sure but I think that I might have a hole. However, when I inflated it again after school it seemed fine. If it is flat again tomorrow I’m going to take it into the shop to get fixed. But I did get to the post office yesterday and shipped Christmas gifts home to my family. I still have more than a moth till then but I thought that it would be more likely to get there in time it I started early. Shipping was expensive but I got to practice my Japanese with the post woman there. Today was freezing cold and windy. I think that Japan must have some of the strongest winds in the world. I was afraid that my bike would just stop with me on top peddling my hardest. I have one more class and one more test until the trip to Hiroshima. Yeah! Getting up before 7 to be off! I’m not looking forward to waking up earlier than usually on Friday morning.
I got to have my first earthquake in Japan. It was really minor and short lived. In fact I didn’t even know that it was an earthquake until after it was over. It was kind of funny to see. All of the Japanese students instantly moved to duck under the table and all of the gaijin were like “huh?” For some reason when it happened I was thinking. “Is this a joke, I wonder how they moved a whole building?” They told us later that Nagoya Universities buildings are reinforced so they are safe during quakes. Ours was actually just an aftershock from another one up north of us. Afterwards the hole SIA club went and got sushi! Although I found out that you are suppose to put your chopsticks across your cup not on the table.
So we had to get up supper early to start the trip to Hiroshima. I had to leave proxy at 6:30 am to make it to I-House before the bus left at 7am. It was about a 7 and a half hour long drive. All I wanted to do was sleep. Instead I stayed up watching the movies they had running for us. They played Ponyo (in Japanese with no subtitles), a weird Japanese movie that I had never heard of I think it was called A Funeral (wish I had skipped that one even though it had subtitles), and finally an action film called Gomen (also in Japanese, no subtitles). I’m not sure if Japanese cinema is truly for me. American movies are more fantasy based and the good guy usually wins. In Japanese films the good guy usually dies, the cheating spouse never gets caught, and everyone always cries as they confess their sins to the police. Well anyway…
We reached Hiroshima and we took a ferry over to see the Floating torii on Miyajima. There were lots of tourist there because on that particular day the water had receded enough to allow people to go out and touch it. We also go to see the deer park. The deer weren’t skittish at all and they allowed us to pet and feed them. It was really fun and I was kind of sad that we couldn’t stay longer. That night we were allowed to wander around Hiroshima at our leisure. Nana, Kimu and I walked for a bit before we stopped for Ramen. They had supper spicy Ramen that was super delicious, but there was way more of it than I could eat in one sitting. We walked for a couple of hours just taking in the sites. I almost killed a bike rider though. I was walking and I heard him ring his bell and I stepped in the wrong direction and he sides swiped me before he proceeded to crash into a wall himself. I was so embarrassed the whole thing was my fault and I felt so bad. But he just got off and asked me if I was ok. I said that I was fine and he biked off. Then I turn to look and these two guys on motorbikes are just sitting at the light staring at me and laughing. Instant shame for life. We bought cake from the fancy restaurant in the hotel and ate it before turning in early.
The next morning we got to eat at the hotel restaurant again. It was so nice. There was not one or two but three full bar stations and a drink section. They had both Western and Eastern breakfast foods available and an assortment of fruits to choose from. I ate so much. But I knew that we would be out for the rest of the morning.
After a brief drive we arrived at the Hiroshima Memorial Museum. It was heartbreaking to see all of the pictures from the Atomic bomb and to see the effort to stop Atomic bomb testing. Something like that makes you wonder what sort of evils the human race is capable of and why we keep repeating our mistakes. I would definitely recommend visiting the Hiroshima Memorial Museum. When I learned about WW2 and Hiroshima it was sort of distant. But actually going there sort of bring it into perspective like nothing else can and puts all excuses for allowing it to happen to shame. For a little while, in the museum and seeing a group of older Japanese people reminiscing, I was ashamed to be an American. Every country has committed some atrocity in history but it is still hard to stand up under the weight of that particular one. After the museum tour, we started the long drive back to Nisshin. It was a tiring trip but well worth it.