Winter seems to be digging in its claws early this year. I finally broke down and went shopping for winter clothes here. I found a great second-hand store that had good quality clothes really cheap. Scored a long winter jacket similar to mine back home for $11. Japan you have won my heart. The wind is ridiculously strong here and it was cutting through my thin jacket like a knife thru butter. So I’m really glad to be able to walk to school without freezing to death. Speaking of butter, I finally mastered the use of my microwave oven and made cookies. I promised cookies to some of the girls that I help tour English with so I decided to make some this weekend. I’m also making more for a thanksgiving potluck me and my friends are having.
So I ended up staying up really late making cookies last night. But because today was a national holiday we and the day off from school.Today I had to get up early to go into Sakae with Kimu, Nana-chan and Sophia. We also met up with one of the British kids (Simeon) studying here, to show him where the shop was located at. We caught one of the early morning buses to Hongo station. While we were riding we ended up talking to one of the older Japanese women riding as well. It turned out that she had been to America several times and she spoke English remarkably well. After the thirty minute trip on the Yellow line to Sakae, we arrived at Ozu, where we split up. Kimu and Nana-chan went looking for cake while Soph, Simeon and I went hunting for roasted chicken. It took a little while but eventually Sophia found the shop and we got our birds. It was really cool to see the birds roasting in huge turn wheels. We (minus Simeon) decided to go get purikuri (photos that come out in a strip) from another shop in Ozu before heading back to Nisshin.
Once we got back I went and had my second tire replaced at the bike shop and picked up the last of the ingredients I needed for my portion of the potluck. Thankfully Nana-chan went with me to the bike shop and things went smoothly there. Later that day at 3pm, we all met up in my room to have our thanksgiving feast. We had SO much food for just five people. We did watch the Matrix ( I actually bought a Japanese version), two random Korean movies from online, and one of my movies from back home. It was really nice to spend the time with friends and celebrate thanksgiving, even if we did have class the next day.
Had our second Oral exam today. It wasn’t a complete slaughter like last time and I felt more confident. Hopefully, I’ll get my grade back next week. After class I some of my friends went with a Japanese friend, Keita, to a well known ramen shop. It is called Hongo Ramen and it is about a thirty minute walk from the school, however the ramen is well worth it. The shop is only open mornings from 11 to 3pm and again from 6pm till 12pm. We arrived there at 5:50 and there was already a line forming to get in. We order at the door from a machine that takes the money and deposits a slip with your order on it. Although you can order extra items from your waiter. The ramen was delicious and well worth the long cold walk. Once we were finished we all walked to Apita (a huge four story mall near the Meitetsu train line Honog station) to get ice cream from the Baskin Robins there. We ended up eating in one of the small eating areas on the first floor while watching the Power Puff Girls in Japanese.
My mother sent me a package of goodies from America. However due to some confusion at our local post office in Georgia she sent it to me differently than normal. They needed me to sign for it, and I was in school when they came, so they just left a slip telling me to come and get it from the post office. NOT good. Once I arrived my brain completely shut down and was like “you don’t understand Japanese at all…”. So, I basically just stood there with the slip off my door. Sometimes when I don’t understand I just shake my head saying “hai,hai,hai” (yes,yes,yes) or I latch on to one word and keep repeating it like that’s the one thing I didn’t understand. Surprisingly, both of these tactics sometimes work out. This was not the case. I managed to translate something about coming back the next evening. So Kim and I escaped as fast as we could once we had figured out when to come back.
It was kind of nerve racking to go in to the post office because of the last time I went. Kim came that time too and…the desk attendant kept trying to talk to her instead of me. I was mailing some things home for Christmas and it I was actually attempting to speak Japanese to her and she kept addressing Kim even though I was the one sending mail. Sometimes people will see two Gaijin and because Kim looks more like a typical (white) gaijin they will assume that she speaks better Japanese than me. The only worse one is Sophie who is half-Korean and they will completely ignore what I say and address her. It can be frustrating and make me want to stop trying to speak with them. But if doesn’t happen too often; it’s just annoying and it can make it difficult to go places with my friends.
It’s DECEMBER!! I can’t believe how fast time seems to have flown since I arrived in Japan. As odd as it seems, with the turning of the season and the decent into December it’s like waking up from a dream. It is as if from September to now has all been a long dream and it has finally sunk into my head that I’M ACTUALLY IN JAPAN! And I only have one semester left but at the same time that’s seven months away. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to explain…
Anyway, today was completely caffeine filled fun. First I was actually on time leaving my apartment which means I could leisurely bike ride to school. Instead of my usual three-minute I-think-I’m-having-a-stroke-or-at-least-heart-failure mad ride to school and then sprint up six flights of stairs and then drag myself, panting, into class with seconds to spare. Thursday classes are with my favorite teacher Murukami-sensei, and she is always so cool and a bit scary. Actually we were going over the last of the material before our exam next week. She was showing us a common mistake for something and all of a sudden she goes “…so don’t do that on the test or I will kill you.” The room went quiet for a minute and then we all sort of laughed. I swear she became a Yakuza for a second. I know that it wasn’t a real threat and that she was completely kidding but my heart shuddered for a second. So later we were debating if she had been a Yankee girl in her youth and rode the streets in a gang or something. (at this point I think I’d already had a coke and a carton of coffee)
We had lunch and we finally braved the Juu place for lunch (the only place we had never eaten at before because it is always crowded and a bit intimidating). I had my second coke. After my last class we had our weekly club meeting for SIA (an interpreters club) and I was HYPER so we convinced the leader to let us play Pictionary instead of whatever he had planned. Most of the Japanese students had never played so it was a mad hysterical race to the end. Then we started drawing on the board and just writing random things. I did a decent sketch of our club leader on the white board. We did eventually do a little translation practice. But it was a great time to bond with the Japanese students and just relax. Afterwards we walked the Hamazushi for sushi.