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Shub Ganster
It begins.

Week #7

Monday - 24 Feb 2003
Nagoya , uhhh, Aichi? - Japan

Day 41 (Monday)

Morning=pain.

Well, I.m back to my insomniatic ways. Every hour, on the hour...I wake up. Thursday night I found my happy-sleepy place, a very rare occurrance for me lately. It continued while I was in Kyoto. Now, however, I.ve given up sleep. Obviously my body doesn.t need it, so why fight? I.m just gonna lay in bed until my usual 5am sleepiness hits.

***

By the way, thank you Reslife Pat for your happy cards! They really brighten my day, so keep them coming! I.m gonna try to get some letters out this weekend.

***

I.ve been playing the tongue-twister game with my calligraphy teacher and one language teacher. I.ve learned "niwa ni wa ni wa niwatori ga iru" ("in the garden there are two chickens"). I taught "You need New York, unique New York. You know you need unique New York." Then they threw one about peaches and plums at me, but I don.t know that I can remember it yet. Something like "momo mo momo mo sumomo no uchi." Fun. Meanwhile--between tongue-twisters--I.ve been learning how to say things like "you smell like a monkey" and "your calligraphy makes me want to cry." in calligraphy class.

You might think things like this are not really helping me learn Japanese, but that.s not true. Think of the implications. I can now say "that peach has a great smell" and "when you say bad things to me, it makes me upset." By screwing around with dumb--yet easy to remember--phrases, I.m learning vocabulary and sentence structure. Yeah, I know, you wish YOU had thought of it first.



Day 42 (Tuesday)

I.m planning an outing for some friends this weekend. I.m not going to tell them where we.re going, just where to meet and how much money to bring. I like mystery. I.m working out the details, but I.ll let you know when I.ve decided for sure.

***

Remember how a certain small child loves to shake her groove thing in my direction? So, last night while I was on the phone, I was--yet again--viciously assaulted by the booty-dancing 4-year-old. What could I do? I joined in and we bumped butts together. You only live once.



Day 43 (Wednesday)

Tomorrow,@I have to do a skit for class. The teachers have even reserved a room with a stage. I.m not looking forward to this. So far, the skit is lame. Today, from 10:30am-on is to be spent working with my group. Grrrr.

Our skit topic is a little risque. Since there are three of us girls, and three female teachers, we.re going to impersonate the sensei.s. Pray for us.

***

Skit practice went really well. My group was the only group who hadn.t finished writing their skit a week earlier, so we were worried. In truth, we did suck, but another group watched us and commented. Then we attacked the house-mother of the dormitory we were practicing in so that we could have our grammar checked.

While we were practicing, we ordered pizza from Dominos. A large pizza here (there is no X-large) is about 2200 yen...like 20 bucks. Not cool, but we decided to split each pizza by two. I got half of a pepperoni pizza and half of a container of tator tots. Yes, in Japan they don.t give you breadsticks with pizza; they give you tator tots. Go figure. Everything was washed down with Coke. I was in Heaven. I think the food made the difference.

When my friends and I were in Takayama, we were walking down the street torturing ourselves with thoughts of gooey deep-dish pepperoni pizzas, thick creamy milkshakes, and pop that you didn.t have to mortgage your house to pay for. For a few hours today, everything was right in the world.

***

Tuesdays and Fridays and garbage days, so I.ve been instructed to put my trash can outside of my door in the morning so Ojiisan can pick it up. Well, I kind of forgot a few times...about 8, to be honest. Now, I.m positively swimming in it. I put it out yesterday morning, but it was still out when I got home from school. Ojiisan is slacking off, but any 67 year-old man who can climb to the third-floor of a house deserves a little leeway. The first few times, I offered to bring it downstairs, but he refused. I.m thinking about smuggling my garbage out of the house in my bookbag and throwing it away at the train station.

Elderly people here are very mobile. I.ve seen them not only riding bikes, but also jogging. I saw this one ancient-looking guy go sprinting past me to board the train. Cool. In the US, people pretty much take it easy as the years go by.

***

I skipped out on skit-practice for 45 minutes to meet up with my Japanese conversation partner Nagomi. She.s really nice and it was pleasant. Not edge-of-your-seat exciting, but nice.



Day 44 (Thursday)

Today we had the skits. Good times. My skit came in second place for the Best Skit ranking. We only lost by one vote. I got three nominations for Best Actress. As I mentioned before, we impersonated the sensei.s. We mentioned before the skit that it was "fiction," because we were a little worried. We changed their names slightly and showed them in the classroom and in a karaoke bar afterwards. We used different kinds of music to reveal their inner thoughts.

For example, our one sensei is always perfectly calm, but we can just sense her disappointment when we don.t know an answer, so in the classroom we had her being calm until we missed an answer. Then we played rage music and had her freak out and shout insults at the students in Japanese. Then she returned to normal. Much fun. My sensei was known for talking with her hands, so I gave her a sockpuppet and had her assault a businessman with it at karaoke.

The teachers seemed okay, they even laughed. However, I.m still worried, and will continue to be, since Japanese people are famous for concealing their true feelings. That.s okay. They can try to fail me if they want to, but it won.t matter much because I.m probably already failing. So THERE!




The subway stop by the zoo...happy monkeys

Day 45 (Friday)

Well, I was going to go play Pachinko with my host father, but he has to go to his uncle.s funeral instead. I was really surprised that no one is going with him. I know when people die in my family, we all go to the funeral. I even go when my mom.s friends die. People need moral support.

***

Class was excruciating today. I was lucky to survive. Afterwards I went to explore Osu Kannon. Just a few subway stops from school, it has this huge outdoor, covered mall. I bought a new bag and had fun speaking Japanese with the people at various show stores. It was interesting. There was this big outdoor antique show in front of the shrine (there is a huge shrine in Osu. very nice). I was looking at the boxes of antiques this one guy had and was kind of surprised. It went something like this. Cps, dishes, cups, incense holders, cups, porn videos, cups. I must say I wasn.t really expecting that. Yeah, the coveres looked kind of old, but I woiuldn.t call them antiques.

Afterwards, I went to Nagoya Eki to use a free movie ticket my host-mother gave me. I saw the second Harry Potter. It was fun reading the subtitles. Everytime someone said "bloody hell" it turned into "sugee" which mean "cool". Not quite a direct translation. It turns out, movie theatres here have their screen in different buildings. I had to walk a block from the ticket booth and into a business building to get to the screen. Strange. Fun, though.




Check out the penguins...Cass, this one.s for you

Day 46 (Saturday)

I had the worst nightmare last night. I keep trying to tell myself that I.m not worried about the impending wars between Iraq and the US/world and Japan and North Korea, but I guess my subconscious has different ideas. I dreamt that I was at school in Nagoya when I saw this huge red thing in the sky. It kept changing shapes and was really entertaining until it changed into a big red bomb with Nazi swastikas all over it. Yeah, I know. Not good. Nagoya was bombed and the rest of the dream basically sucked. I think I.m worried.

My friend has just brought up the fact that I could get stuck in Japan. Not the worst place to be, but I.d prefer not to be stuck anywhere. I think the dream also had something to do with the fact that I.ve been reading "The Remains of the Day" before bed lately. It has a lot of mention of Nazis.

***

My friends and I decided to go to the Higashiyama Zoo. We met in the subway at Chikusa and off we went. The weather was definately not cooperative. We.re talking cold and the "zaa zaa buri" (BIG rain). Nevertheless, I had a good time. Admission to the zee was 500 yen (less than $5) and we were basically the only people there. Supposedly this is an award winning zoo. All of the animals were inside their houses, but they came out to look at us as we walked past. I definately recommend the reptile house. Cooooool. And the bears? Very entertaining. We rounded out the day with okonomiyaki...the pancake-y thing I had in Kyoto. Not a bad day.




There was one lonely white flamingo...poor guy.

Day 47 (Sunday)

Today I took off for JR Takashimaya, the huge department store inside Nagoya Station. Ever since my trip tp Kyoto, I.ve been feeling kind of empowered...like Japan is out there if I can just put down my homework for a second. So why did I go to a department store? you may ask. Well, I.m just too cheap to buy a guidebook to Japan, so I stand in the book section and read. I.ve got the month.s weekends all planned out.

Next Saturday, I.m going with my school to Mikimoto island (to see pearl-diving) and to Ise (to see shrines and have a picnic, I think). On Sunday, I.m striking out on my own, I.ll be visiting Gifu (I think that.s a prefecture...I.d get a map, but I.m too cheap. Plus, I haven.t really found a good one yet). I.m going to hike a 9-mile trail and find something new to eat. I like adventure. As for the rest of my plans...well, you.ll find out, won.t you.



Previous
***Trip: Kyoto
Next
Week #8
  Shub Ganster - Bio and Journals
  It begins. - Intro Average Rating of 21 Viewers
Chapters of It begins.
  Getting There
  Week #1
  Week #2
  Week #3
  Week #4
  ***The 4-Week Break: What Have I Learned So Far?
  ***Trip: Hida Takayama
  Week #5 (Naked Men and Perverts)
  Week #6
  ***Trip: Kyoto
  Week #7
  Week #8
  Week #9
  Week #10
  Week #11
  Week #12
  Week #13
  Week #14
  Week #15
  Trip: Shizuoka (Take 2)
  Week #16
  Week #17

Happy Trails to You

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