I actually woke up early today. It was rather odd for me, who is usually hopping out the door with breakfast in one hand and my shoe in the other. Not that I don’t plan my mornings out, I just tend to fall back asleep very easily. I had to leave my laundry hanging overnight because I got back from Motoyama so late and got distracted talking to Kim out on my balcony like an old crone. So I kept running into the lines as I tried to get ready to go and almost knocked myself out twice. One thing that has not improved in Japan is my klutziness.
The other day I was trying to think if I had matured or changed since coming to Japan. At first I said no, but the more I really considered it the more I realized that I had changed. Coming here has forced me to become more self reliant, out-going, and organized. When I first came here I was sure that I could handle anything thrown at me, but as things started to pill up, I panicked. Then I stopped and took a few days to just float. Now I feel like I am becoming more of an adult and less like the child I didn’t realize I still was.
Anyway, I had Oral and N5 Grammar classes today with my favorite sensei. Oral class is difficult because it makes me exercise listening comprehension and speaking which have always been my weakest points in Japanese study. Plus, even if I know a word I’m more likely to stutter and stumble over it in front of actual Japanese people. Grammar is more like an old familiar friend that just got new accessories so I’m more relaxed and can really enjoy that class. I got to see one of my Japanese friends that I met on the Tohoku volunteer trip so I was very happy and THERE WAS KURRY RICE! (always a mood lifter)
Tomorrow I should start my volunteering in the language lounge of my school and on Wednesday I get to go volunteer at the local orphanage. I’m so excited!
I got to practice my Japanese in the nurse’s office because my friend Kim was sick. I had collected her work from the sensei and was bring it to her at the office. When I got there I realized that the receptionist didn’t speak English and I had to try my Japanese. It was not good but surprisingly, I was only there for a few minutes before I found out that Kim hadn’t come in yet. During my volunteering at the Language lounge I found out that she had to go visit the hospital for medication. However, she looks to be improving already.
I was a bit nervous at the tutoring place but I did talk to some of the girls. at first I thought I had gotten snubbed by some of the boys there who didn’t want to talk. But later one of the gaijin (foreigner) sempai explained that they were just shy and that they can come off as cold instead. Next time I will try harder to engage them and not walk off to lick my wounds in a corner (I didn’t in reality, I just went back to talking to girls but…still)
After tutoring I went to get ready for aikido. I stopped by the baseball field to check on Kim who was sleeping there waiting for her Japanese guide to the hospital. I waited until she left before going to aikido and was a few minutes late but it was alright. I got some great pictures and video of some of the older sempai practicing their aikido.
After morning my morning classes I went to an International Student meeting to talk to students in English. All of the girls there were very sweet. I exchanged email and numbers with some of them. It was nice to talk to Japanese students even if it was in English. However I did get to practice my Japanese while texting them. Originally I was going to go to the orphanage and then go to Motoyama and bible study, but I didn’t feel well and a bug has been running around Proxy for the last three weeks. I’m a bit sad that I didn’t have the chance to visit the orphanage in Nisshin and meet the kids again. Last Saturday we ran into a few of them playing outside and tried to speak to them. They were all very cute and came right up to us trying out their limited English and testing our Japanese. It was slightly intimidating how good their Japanese was at eight years old, but I understand that it is their first language. However, it still makes me want to try to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible to get to know them better.
This morning was another grey day in scenic Nisshin. My first class seemed to fly by and I was actually able to understand the majority of my sensei’s directions. It has really helped to listen to Japanese so often already I can tell that my listening comprehension has improved. After lunch with Kim ( she is sick this week but I hope she will get better before the festival in Ozu this weekend), I went and volunteered with a neighboring university campus as an English tutor. The two boys that I got partnered with were a bit shy at first but they eventually warmed up. Shota didn’t understand as much English as Fumi but they both tried their best to talk to me. I really enjoyed the time and hope to go back again soon. I had my afternoon class at 3 and after wards went to watch the softball team. Due to a slight miscommunication, we couldn’t really use the field but I got to see the rugby team play for a little bit. Eventually after some compromise we got to play a little catch before we called it a night. I found out that apparently I throw better with my left arm than my right even though I’m right handed. It was fun to talk to some of the softball team and get a bit of exercise. We also got to see the rising harvest moon which was bright blood red. Tomorrow there is a kanji test, but I get to learn about Kabuki ( Japanese theater) and my sempai (older student/acquaintance) is taking me to Sakae for karaoke. I have never been to Karaoke so I’m really looking forward to it.
Today was the first time I have ever been to karaoke. Me, Kim, Takami, one of her friends and NaNa all went to Sakae to a Karaoke bar. I would never have found the bar on my own. It was a tiny little opening on a side street off of the main road leading to the subway entrance. However once inside appearances quickly changed. There was a full drink bar on the first floor (and one on every other floor making 5 in total). There was a menu available for food with things like fried bone marrow (nana ordered that), kimichi, spicy pepper soup and a nice dessert menu. I ordered dessert (of course) and it turned out to be corn flakes with chocolate ice cream on top and silver sprinkles. We sang a few song in Japanese. one or two in Korean and a few in English. Takami managed one in Chinese (it’s her major) and we were all impressed.
Nana and I had to leave a little early to go to bible study at Ayako-san’s in Motoyama. I really like that ladies there. They are all either college students like us or in their early twenties. Most of them speak English very well. Akemi-san is the loudest and aside from Ayako-san she speaks the most English. She actually stayed in Australia for a year. And Ayako-san lived in England for 10 years so she has a faint British accent when she talks. At the end of the meeting we were given a ride home because it was pouring down raining outside.