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Shub Ganster
It begins.

Week #13

Saturday - 5 Apr 2003
Nagoya , Aichi - Japan

Day 84 (Monday)

Yet another Monday. Yeah, you know they seem to be happing once a week. It.s strange. A friend told me that we spend one-seventh of our lives on Monday. Isn.t that depressing? I mean, it wasn.t exactly profound knowledge, but still...sheesh.

Today I went to Shirinji Kempo again. I went with 2 other friends and we had a ball. Last time I only stayed for part of the practice, but this time I warned my host family I.d be late and stayed for the whole thing. We had a ball. We bonded with the other new students and a bunch of the old ones. We punched, kicked, and threw each other. I also found out that we ARE supposed to be causing each other pain. Otherwise, when the time comes to really kick someone.s ass, you won.t be prepared. Therefore, I.m hurting.

We were all hanging out afterwards, so me and a friend started doing the Fish Dance and soem of the Japanese students wanted to learn. Now, you.re probably wondering which Fish Dance I am referring to. You.re thinking, "Please, please, Shub, don.t be referring to the dance that includes on person casting a line across a room to catch another person and then drawing them across the room, and that the "fish" starts frolicking, shaking their booty, and wiggling their gills while shaking their head. Please don.t be talking about that dance." But, YES! It IS that dance. *giggle* It was great. Everyone started doing it. Good times.

At the end of practice all of the new students were asked out to dinner, but the foreign students and I had to go home because we.d already had our families hold our dinners and because we realized that we had a big test to study for on Tuesday. I had totally forgotten because I was studying so hard for today.s test. I love these people.

***

Tonight I did have a chance to start studying until 10:15pm. I was so tired from practice that I could barely keep my eyes open while I made flashcards for the 62 words I had to learn. It was murder, but it was made a little harder by the host parents. The kids went to bed early because of school strting for them the next day, but the parents were giddy.

They were cuddling on the floor about 2 feet from where I was sitting. I don.t know about you, but it hard to concentrate in front of PDAs. It was definately innocent cuddling, but ewwww. Then host mother thought it might be fun to test host dad.s knowledge of my kanji (Chinese characters)--host dad dislikes reading and doesn.t have to because he.s a gym teacher, so he doesn.t always remember the kanji. It WAS fun, lots of fun, but I wanted to study and go to bed. The fact that she took my flashcards made it kind of hard to study. I didn.t get to bed until after 12.



Day 85 (Tuesday)

Yesterday I had another one of those wars with the siblings. This time we all "died" and laid on the floor motionless. Then we called out to host mom that we wouldn.t be needing dinner because we were too dead to eat. Amusing. She told us we had better come back to life real fast because dinner was ready. We had shrimp.

I wore shorts to bed for the first time. Everyone was shocked to see that I had legs. The family is still wearing long-sleeved everything, but I was hot. I was told that I have cute legs, to which I responded, "they.re not cute, they.re yellow". I received the answer, "you.re in Japan now, yellow is good." It.s nice to know.

***

I bought some food from the campus convenient store and the clerk tried to give me a spoon to eat my rice with. I then asked for chopsticks and she laughed. Go figure, a foreigner eating with chopsticks...grumble, grumble.




wow...chillin' with Yoshida, Jessica, Yuuji, etc.

Day 86 (Wednesday)

Today is the really cool Shorinji Kempo party at Nagoya Station. We.re gonna go out for food and drinks. This is a traditional club thing that all clubs do for new students. Neat. My host mother was franticly worried when I told her about this party. She kept telling me to be careful because they.ll try to make me drink...and that every year students are sent to the hospital with alcohol poisoning. But, I can drink grown men under the table here in Japan, so I.m not too worried, plus, I don.t intend to get impaired. It was cute...it.s like she.s never heard of a frat party before. Trust me, I.ll be careful. But, it.s not like the party is in someone.s basement.

***

I.m about to go to Sakae to check out the import store. I hear tell that they have REAL American peanut butter. Yum. We.ll see.

***

K, so I went to the import store. I was disappointed and amazed by the selection at the same time. I left with a jar of Smucker.s peanut butter (no salt or sugar...just crushed peanuts) and a very small block of cheddar cheese. It was almost $10. Price-y. Then I bought a Queen CD at the train station before heading home. I was very happy.

When I got home I was ambushed by the brother who wanted to play Nintendo (they call that "terebi geemu" (Television Game) here). He kicked my butt at MarioKart. I usually win a few times, but he beat me 7 out of 7. He kept saying "it.s okay...you can give up now...*snicker, snicker*". That.s it. His butt is mine next time.

***

The party was a lot of fun, but it was definately different from American college parties. We all met at Nagoya Station. There were almost 40 of us...the Seto campus Shorinji Kempo club members had been invited, too. We all walked to an expensive-looking Japanese-style restaurant where we sat down at these long tables. Since it was all Japanese-style, we had to sit "seiza" (that means you have to curl you legs up under you...ouch). That doesn.t really bother me so much, so when everyone got tired and spread out, I was able to endure...there wasn.t room for everyone to stretch out at the same time.

We had lots of good--and new--food. We had cow intestines in miso sauce...chewy. We had sweet scrambled egg blocks (one of my personal favorites) and deep-fried whole shrimp (they had their heads and eyes still attached...I had a hard time eating the first one, but people encouraged me...it was like screaming "chug, chug" at someone during their first beer). and really good sushi. We all mingled and everyone got blasted because it was a nomihodai (all you can drink). Amusing. All the faces were bright red.

We all left after about 3 hours. One of the Japanese girls was so drunk me and another guys were propping her up as she walked. She was really tall, so I was glad when someone relieved me from "crutch duty". We, of cours, did the fish dance on the way home. When I got home I got into the bathtub and couldn.t make my legs get me out. Funny.




Some really happy guys from the Wednesday party

Day 87 (Thursday)

I.m having one of those days where I.m completely disinterested in everything I should be paying attention to. Class, for example. I spent 3 hours this morning just drawing flowers on my worksheet.

I went to the bathroom after class today and out of the blue I just started singing. I didn.t notice myself doing it until I heard the toilet flush in the next stall. That snapped me out of it. Talk about feeling like an idiot. I wasn.t even singing a real song, just "La la la" over and over again. It.s one of those days.

I have Shorinji Kempo again today. I have finally stopped hurting from Monday. I had to cut my nails this morning...they were so long that I kept scratching my partner on Monday. I felt bad because she kept asking if I was alright instead of worrying about her wrist. Apparently I.m pretty scary in Shorinji Kempo because my partner kept calling over other sempai to watch us fight..the sempai (that.s someone who.s been in the club longer than you) kept backing away and saying "scary, scary". Fun. I.m not good, but I.m scary and that.s good enough for me.

***

Humor is so different here. What.s scary is that I.m starting to get it. The word for horse is "uma" (by the way you can eat raw horse meat here...it.s a really expensive delicacy) and a common word for great/tasty is "umai". You still with me? Okay. So, to say "that looks tasty" you would say "umasoo". To say that appears to be a horse you would say "umasoo". So when you see a horse somewhere, it.s really funny is you say "umasoo". Hee hee hee. Yeah, well...it loses something in translation, but this is currently my favorite joke. I go out of my way to find a horse wherever I go just so I can use this and appear witty. My life is so sad.




More karaoke...completely sober here (no, really)

***Side note: Food

I.ve been noticing some things about Japanese/American food differences. In Japan, people want to know exactly what kind of animal they.re eating and when/how it met it.s end. Americans don.t really want to know any of that. For example: *You walk into a restaurant in Japan and order fish. It comes to you with the head arranged decoratively next to the body, perhaps lying on a bed of shredded cabbage. You notice that there is one fewer fish in the aquarium by the door...

American response: Oh my God, it.s looking at me. I think it just waved it.s tail at me. I can.t possible eat this.

Japanese response: Oh good, fish. I get dibs on the eye.

This isn.t the only example I could come up with. What.s up with animals having to look exactly like they used to be? I like hamburgers because they don.t look like cow. If they were cow shaped or came served with a horn and a cow bell I don.t know that I could eat that. However, you can eat entire shrimp, heads and all, here. My host mother was telling me about having eaten a piece of sushi so fresh that it was still twitching in her mouth.




Me, Jo, & Heidi at pre-karaoke dinner

Day 88 (Friday)

I.ve gotten out of class about an hour and a half early...I only had about 45 minutes of it. Therefore, I.ve decided to finish up the week.s writing before I go home and try to coerce my host mother into taking us out for ice cream (she has a serious sweet tooth, so I don.t think it.ll take much coercing).

I.ve been having some sleep troubles this week, though for once they don.t include insomnia. It.s more funny than annoying. Sunday night I woke up around 3am and was wide awake, so I popped a few Vitamin C tablets into my mouth because for some reason that sends me right back to sleep. It worked, but when I woke up I was started to find two bright yellow patches...one on my bed roll (a furry, pink mat) and one on my pillow (which is white). I couldn.t figure it out at first, but then I realized what they were. Vitamin C flavored drool patches. Not very flattering, but when your nose is stuffy you tend to sleep with your mouth open. SO, I spent much of my get-ready-for-school time tryiong to get the stains out of the sheets...I succeeded (luckily). I don.t know how I would have broken it to my host mother that I had turned her sheets yellow.

Two mights ago I was stuck in a 4-hour long dream that included a cute little orange kitten trying to claw my arm off. Joy. Last night it was night of the living dead...only in Japan. I think I.ve figured out what.s up with the dreaming. I.m too hot at night because I haven.t switched to summer sheets yet, so my body is acting out. But I will not be bullied by my body! I like my sheets...

Last night.s Shorinji Kempo meeting wasn.t as painful as it usually is. The people in charge said that I punched like a sempai (remember that word? no? it means older person in a club). Hee hee hee. My kicking,@however, is a little bit off. At the end of the night we all hung out for a while and traded vocabulary. I learned a lot. Then me and my friends taught everyone the Chicken Dance. Oh yes, I think you know the one. Good times. Now, I.m going to go home. BTW, Jilly...I.m wishing you well. And Pat, thanks for the hamster...so very cute...so very fuzzy.

***

Tonight was nothing special. I just studied and hung out with the host fam. Host mom got her hair cut, but I was the only one who noticed (I noticed immediately, a dye job and a big cut. The family must be pretty dim...)




Heidi and Allie Singing Along

Day 89 (Saturday)

Today was fun, but the night was better. I went out to Sakae for dinner and karaoke. It was a really good time. Everyone got these huge (for Japan) hot fudge sundaes (except me because I.m cheap) and then we went off to sing. The singing was almost equally Japanese and English. It.s really great reading practice with the words go flying across the screen. Oh the pictures that we took...

After karaoke we all went down a floor to the Print Club machines. Print Club is this thing where you get little mini picture stickers with your friends posing on them. Then I got into a fight with a friend and threw a temper tantrum...just a small one, but that.s the only way that I can really discribe it. It.s so stupid, but it was just the peak of me being irritated by the fact that she never, ever shares anything and has to be the center of every conversation. So, when she wouldn.t share the drawing pen (you can sometimes electronically draw on your pictures), and ignored me when I asked if I could try, too--we had all paid for the pictures--I let her know that I was irritated and quietly walked away. It was the most adult tantrum I.ve ever had...usually I just grin and calm myself down, but I was tired of that crap. Oy.

On the way home I ran into all the Shorinji Kempo girls in the monstrous underground Sakae Station. It was a wierd coincidence. They.d been out drinking, too. Not that that.s RARE in Japan.




Still karaoke...maybe we.re having too much fun

Day 90 (Sunday)

I got up and went to church with my host dad and host sister today. It turns out that they are ELCA Lutherans. I, too, am an ELCA Lutheran. Considering the fact that the Japanese population is fewer than 1% Christian (and most of those are probably Mormon), it.s amazing that they.re Lutheran. Then, you have to take into account the fact that they are the same kind of Lutheran...there are two kinds. Wow.

The church was cool, but really small. The minister and his wife are fluent in English, so we spoke in English a little bit and they invited me back for Easter next Sunday. Then I met host dad.s mother (who was in town) and his aunt. We all went to lunch. It was fun.

***

I painted my toenails maroon today. They just looked so sad and un-summery. I also cut my findernails off. I kept cutting my friends' wrists at Shorinji practice, so they had to go. I was sad.

***

If the 5-year-old doesn.t stop whining, I.m going to stick a banana up her nose. Oh, yeah, I.ve still got plenty of bananas...and mikans.



Previous
Week #12
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Week #14
  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

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