Monday - 31 Mar 2003
Day 77 (Monday)
School started today. Yes, that DOES mean that vacation ended yesterday. Boo, hiss. I was completely unprepared for waking up today. Now I.m at school procrastinating. I hav4e a big vocab test tomorrow and a 15-20 minute solo presentation on an interview that I did on my host father. I have very little to say. My elective classes here are basically a joke. Japanese-style college is pretty laid-back.
I.ve been emailing my advisor back home who has told me that I will only need to take two classes to finish my major. Add those to the 1 class I need for Ballet, and I have 3 classes that I need for the entire year. Pretty sweet, huh? What f I were to graduate a semester early? Hmmm...
Day 78 (Tuesday) -- April Fools' Day
So today I had this big project/presentation for business class. I decided to work alone instead of with a partner because group work is irritating. I interviewed my host dad and gave him the fake name of "Bob Tanaka." Everyone in my class made a pact last Friday at the zoo. We all agreed to mediocrity. Now, I ordinary would never agree not to give something my all, but if the teacher is going to teach Japanese-style (i.e. you learn very little), then is it really my fault that I.m giving up? OK. I know it is my fault, but hey....even I screw up some of the time.
I gave my presentation with very little preparation, but it was still pretty good. Glad that that.s done.
Today.s April Fool.s Day. I want to screw with my host family, but I.m not sure that they know what day today is. Well, I guess I.ll play it by ear. Hey, I'll be updating last week tomorrow. No, really, I mean it.
Day 79 (Wednesday)
Okay, so I didn.t get to screw with my host family yesterday. The little girl opened the door instead of the mother and I lost my momentum. Me and my friends had devised this whole plan where I would walk in looking dazed and say that I had been mugged. We tried it out on someone and they said it was quite believable. But, I gave up. Depressing. It was just not a good evening.
Today all of the Nanzan students are registering for classes (the Japanese semester system is different from the US one). Because of this all of the different clubs on campus set up camp along the main road and ambushed the 1st year students as the entered campus. It was really funny. Becaues there are no dormitories on campus, students meet each other and hang out in clubs. You.re usually only in one because they tend to practice everyday. You.re really supposed to give yourself to the club.
People started handing me flyers and one group was SUPER friendly and talked to me, too. I got about 12 flyers before going to class. After class the clubs were still there. People from the same super-nice group came over and took me to their table where I signed away my life on their information sheet.
I went to Sakae (the party district) to buy a copy of the 4th Harry potter book--in English--for my host mother. I went to Maruzen which is well-known for their bookstore. Tomorrow is her half-birthday. She.s not aware of it, out we.re celebrating her half-birthday tomorrow. I won.t be here for her real birthday, so we.re doing it tomorrow.
I was a little late for my Martial Arts club meeting, but it was okay. They dressed me up in white pajamas and we danced around. It was like a slumber party without the pillows. They let me beat the heck out of some padding and then some guy tried to break my arm. Cool. By the way, the club was called Shorinji Kenpo. It was really cool and I made a whole lot of friends. Sweet.
Day 80 (Thursday)
I hate the world. My host family is annoying. Nobody call me; it won.t help anyway. If anybody.s out there, send me an e-mail. Everyone and everything suck. The end.
Thanks to Vince and Karen...I don.t know you guys, but it.s nice to read your comments. And thanks to all those I do know who have been writing to me. It.s nice to hear what you think.
Day 81 (Friday)
Yeah. So in case you couldn.t tell I was a little bit bummed this week. I was basically giving the host family the silent treatment. They were contributing to my general irritability. I had a great day at school, but as soon as I got home, I hit the bad mood again.
As we sat down to dinner last night, the host mother put on a CD and started to search for a song. Something about the song she chose didn.t hit me quite right...I really like that song, but something happened and I kind of scurried from the room crying. I don.t think anyone saw my face because I as so fast. I went to my room for a minute and decided to pull out my contacts so that they might think I.d just been having eye problems. Armed with my glasses I went back downstairs.
Today, however, I broke the silence. It wasn.t a mean silence. I just came home and went straight to my room until dinner, and only came out to have my bath before bed...for 2 days... They were probably relieved when I stopped ignoring their kids. Sometimes you just get disgruntled. A lot of the other exchange students are really down, too. Go figure. They say that study abroad students have two great bouts of depression. I guess we.re all in the second one...and mine was touched of by the host fam, so they bore the brunt of it.
Day 82 (Saturday)
Today I went to Inuyama again for another festival, this one with clothed people. Yes, I know...non-phallic Japanese festivals seem to be pretty rare, huh. I went with my friend Allison to see the big historical floats that were supposed to be pulled down the streets.
It rained all day, but it was just a hard drizzle, so I didn.t really mind. We ducked inside the float museum for a minute and started to look at pictures when Allison got mobbed by a group of about 8 little old Japanese ladies. They didn.t touch me, so I just stood back and watched them bombard her with English, something you don.t see everyday. It turned out that they were ENglish Converstation students out for a field trip with their teacher, the lady who grabbed onto Allison.s arm so that she couldn.t run away. It was so funny.
They talked to her for a few minutes, completly ignoring me when one of the ladies turned to me and asked in Japanese, "You.re Japanese, right?" To which I responded, "uh, nope". I guess I just blend. Then I got a little mobbing, too. They asked us to come to their class some time and we agreed; partly because they were cute and nice and we wanted to go, but mostly because they told us that they.d made us snacks. Yeah, food.
The floats were pushed out into the road by singing Japanese guys wearing straw sandals. Inside were little kids playing drums and singing. Underneath were more costumed guys, pushing the float. Cool. Nothing speacial, but highly entertaining. We left when we got cold.
During the afternoon we went to Nagoya Station and went shopping. I blew so much money. I bought a book entitled "Making Out in Japanese 1". I.m going back for the second volume. It tells you how to say fun things in Japanese...like "If you really love, you.ll stop asking me to eat sashimi (raw slices of fish)." Good times. It also tells you how to have a one night stand and then break things off the next morning. Really amusing. "I had a great time, but don.t try to follow me." Hee hee hee. I.ve checked with my Japanese friends; the Japanese is correct.
Day 83 (Sunday)
All of today was spent studying for a big Monday test...I.m not just gonna wreck the curve, I.m gonna go to its house in the middle of the night and beat it with a pillowcase full of doorknobs. I hope.
So every once in a while my host siblings and I declare war on each other and take turns being blown up by imaginary weapons (usually it.s just a stuffed animal that we pretend is a bazooka, or something like that). Well, today I decided to get more creative. We played war, alright, but I left the room momentarily. I ran to the 3rd floor and put on a pirate-y bandana, pulled a pair of underwear on over my pants, used a towel as a cape and grabbed the dustbroom. I ran downstairs and jumped screaming into the room waving the broom. Needless to say, people were shocked. It was great. We did battle until dinner.
Obviously I.ve gotten over my problem with showing people my underwear. Yes, it is true that I nearly died the first time that my host mother pulled in my underwear from the line for me, but I.ve moved on. There are worse things than other people touching your underwear. For example, getting sick for 3 weeks and having everyone tell you that you.ve contracted SARS. That would MOST DEFINATELY be categorized as worse.