Monday - 14 Apr 2003
Yeah, I ate this mashed. Sea-urchin-alicious.
Day 91 (Monday)
We.re almost up to day 100. Wow, what a milestone. Things are beginning to get monotonous. I.ve been e-mailing with friends from Kyushu. They.re going to have me down there (it.s a southern island) for 8 days in mid-May. I.m really excited. And I.m going to try the famous raw horse meat of Kyushu. I.m worried.
I skipped Shorinji practice because I was really tired. Dinner was makizushi (sushi you roll yourself at the table with whatever toppings you like. Yummy, but I tried sea urchin. It.s really expensive. It comes from a jar and has the exact same smell, color, and consistency...or earwax. The taste is exactly what you.d expect, too. Yuck. I did NOT have anymore of THAT. I.m going to have to work myself into that one...kind of like umeboshi (the really sour pickled plums that I now don.t mind).
I went to bed tired and grumpy.
Apparently this is my new best friend...Moo.
Day 92 (Tuesday)
If the weather is beautiful on Sunday (which it was) then it will be crappy and rainy on Monday and Tuesday (which it was). Nagoya weather sucks, man. It.s hot and sticky, yet you still need a jacket. And it.s always raining! You never have more than one freakishly beautiful day at a time.
My host mother keeps pressuring me to eat. I don.t like it when people tell me that I don.t eat enough. Am I still alive? Yes. Obviously, I just don.t need that much food. Plus, I don.t eat white bread (and only eat white rice if someone serves it to me). I don.t like it and I won.t force-feed myself something that is horrible for my health. I can only eat so much and it.s not like I.m doing any real exercise that would work up my appetite anyway.
Tomorrow I get to register for classes. Technically I can register today, but today is tomorrow in St. Louis and their tomorrow is today in Nagoya. Get it? So, I must wait. Plus, I.ve got, like, fifty advisors, so I.m a little bit confused.
I went to the computer lab with some friends today and was about to turn my computer on when this middle-aged lab-techie came bursts into the room. He asks--in barely accented English--if the students in the lab are there for Mrs. Sakamoto.s class. Everyone says no and then he says, "Then get out." Now, he said this to everyone (there were more Japanese students than exchange students)...in English. That means that that he was addressing the exchange students. Plus, it means that he was obnoxious enough to think that we would not be able to understand his Japanese. The real kicker is that he said it with perfect attitude, so he knew full well the implications of what he was saying. In short, he spoke to us like dogs when we had not done anything. The teacher was not there and we didn.t even know there was a class. No class was even in session. We were not being loud like we tend to be sometimes.
We were so mad that we all marched to the Exchange Student Center and spoke with one of the ladies there who told us that we would have to writet a letter. Then we went back to find the guy. Another guy was there who apologized to us and said that he would make sure that the techies weren.t complete turds anymore. So MAD.
Now I.m too mad to write my paper. I need e-mail.
Going hiking Saturday. Then to the beer factory on Sunday. Life is good.
Last week in Japanese class we all had to take a scene of Cinderella and describe the story in Japanese. There was an extra scene because we had an extra person, so I got to make up the epilogue. Cinderella got knocked-up many, many times, had a million children, and was being completely ignored by the prince (who was drinking champagne and partying with supermodels and Sleeping Beauty), so she sold her crown for cash, left the kids in the castle, climbed up the beanstock, and ran away with Jack.
Host mother looks at her son like he.s crazy when he asks if he can take his medicine with milk. She says "no, it.ll irritate your stomach". Milk coats your stomach, duh. Some medicines even have instruction telling you to take them with milk. In Japan, you drink green tea during sports practice. Tea is a diuretic. It makes you pee, something that you don.t need when you.re trying to replenish your water supply. This country is jacked-up.
As my friends haved dubbed it, I.m having an anti-Japan day. Somebody call me. Want freedom. As I told my friends today: "You have a life. I have a host family". I am so trapped. I.ve stopped telling them where I.m going. When they ask, I.ve just been saying "uh, don.t know yet." I feel the need to rebel.
My host father keeps asking me how often I eat beef, and then telling me that I must eat beef everyday because I.m from the United States. Why do the host parents keep harping on the beef thing. You know, I eat turkey, too. I have never once asked for beef here, and--of the 3 times I.ve had some--I haven.t really enjoyed it. Beef is nice, but I don.t always feel the need for a large hunk of charred cow. It.s a dumb stereotype...like saying that all Japanese people eat sushi everyday all day. Next time the host parents bring up my "love" of beef, we.re going to have a little talk.
I met a guy friend Godzilla.s hometown: Aratama-bashi. Not far...it.s on my trains.s line. Life is funny.
Scared Japanese Guy
I found this photo online today. It.s perfect. I keep freaking out the guys here. But it.s so easy. I guess I.m just unpredictable.
Most of the guys at Shorinji Kempo just stare at me and the other American girls. Their jaws literally drop and they start to fidget when they are assigned to teach us moves. I don.t know why. We.re not that weird.
Day 93 (Wednesday)
So, ummm...I put my name into a computer pragram that is supposed to tell you what words you can make from your name... My last nam (Ganster). Guess what it turns into. That.s right: STRANGE.
I never even had a chance.
Day 94 (Thursday)
So, Tuesday night, the friend that I was mad at on Saturday snuck behind my back and searched the Internet for my website to read about Saturday. She wanted to know why I had been angry at her, but didn.t ask me personally. Big mistake.
Now, she.s not talking to me. I am decidedly irritated by the fact that she read my diary because she thought I.d never know. She searched the internet, looked for my name, and spent the time to search for my name (she had numerous times to stop while she was reading the journal. she searched because I told her that I wouldn.t give her the address until after the semester ends). Now her feelings are hurt, but there.s nothingI can do to take that back.
I miss her as a friend, but she won.t talk to me, so life goes on.
I.d been fearing divine retribution. It happened. Last night my host family got a letter from Nanzan that included an invitation to the Closing Ceremony party. My host mother then told me they wouldn.t be coming because the son has soccer practice Saturday mornings. The ceremony is in the evening and
practice in the afternoon is just the same every week. The parents watch their son kick around a soccer ball or stare at the grass. I just left the room and started to cry (#4 since being in Japan). Ceremonies mean a lot to me and they were skipping it for non-essential reasons. Ouch. Then Cassie called and I felt so much better. Then I got a care package from the Cass with cool stuff inside. Yea.
It happened again, or so I thought. The girl still wasn.t talking to me today, so I decided to get my hair cut so that.d feel better. I.ve been fearing get my oh so curly hair cut in oh so straight hair Japan, but I decided that if I was going to look like an idiotAI deserved it. So, I went and blew way to much money on a haircut, but had a great 2 hours. The guy was really nice and we chatted about lots of stuff. I also decided on a straight perm. It.ll only last 2 months. Since my hair is naturally really curly, it only made it wavy, but it.s fun.
I told myself that I wouldn.t freak out when the guy tried to make my hair all Japanese-y by shaving it with a razor along the sides and the back. And I didn.t. And when he tried to blow-dry it and use a comb, I stayed calm, too. Good times.
No one at home noticed.
Tierra Del Fuego...the love of my young life
Day 95 (Friday)
The girl still isn.t talking to me. I.m beginning to lose my patience. Not that that means anything. In fact, she.s probably still disregarding my privacy and reading this. Hi...Feel better now? Hope this is interesting.
Nobody at home noticed my haircut, but the guy who arranges the bicycles at my train station noticed and was all nice to me. I love that guy. Says good morning to me everyday in English, then we sometimes chat in Japanese.
What I really feared to be divine retribution yesterday, turned into to really cute loose waves this morning. Nice. Tonight I.m hanging out with the American friends. Should be fun. Can.t wait!
Tierra Del Fuego
Day 95--Cont.d (Care Package Thoughts)
I don.t know if I mentioned it, but I got this super great care package from Cass earlier this week. Totally made me feel good. Then last night I got this package of candy Peeps from the friend I hung out with in Kyoto. Totally made me feel good. Then today, I opened my e-mailbox to find a slew of letters from friends who read this site everyday and wanted to cheer me up. I nearly had Cry #5 (Happy Cry#1 for those who are keeping count). You guys make me feel so good. I have to go to that party tonight, so I can.t respond individually today, but I will when I get back to school of Monday. If for some reason I don.t e-mail you guys, it.s because I blew off school and took a random trek across Japan. No joke. You guys are so cool. And I.m gonna stop worrying about the nasty little incident this week. You guys are so smart.
SO, you may be wondering about all of the peep pictures. This is Tierra Del Fuego, my favorite peep of all. I loved him so much that I just couldn.t bear to eat him. THAT is how much I need a boyfriend. I.ve gotten to the point that a pile of candy coated purple fluff has my affection. It.s funny, really.
The pre-egg-party party in the park (new haircut)
Day 95 Cont.d (Dyeing eggs)
Today I rushed home and skipped lunch to dye Easter eggs for an egg hunt we.re doing this weekend. First, host mother invited her friend's kids, too. Not bad, I love them. I just have to make them Easter baskets, too, now. Then, she wasn.t home today when she had asked me to rush home. She wasted my entire afternoon. I waited for her and when I was about to leave she remembered about the eggs. Then she realized she hadn.t bought them yet. Therefore not having boiled them yet. Complete disregard for my time there...I spent spent 2 hours on a train in stifling humidity for nothing. If I didn.t have such great friends from home sending me so many e-mails and packages, I.d have to kill something. But, rest assured, I am very cheerful at this moment. Just kind of worn out from Japanification. Take care! :o)
Muwahaha...Evil Tierra Del Fuego
Day 96--Cont.d (Bringing things to a close)
The party was a lot of fun. We dyed eggs and pigged out at my friends dorm. We wrote little messages on our eggs. There were a few problems with the egg-dying kits, but we generally worked things out...all except for one of us. Poor Allie, we kept ragging on her about her eggs. Wait a second, perhaps it.s the eggs that need the pity. This evening made me so very happy. We even stopped off at a Subway for sandwichs...Subways are very rare.
Yes, all of the peep pictures are different. Why am I putting them all up? Because my peep is worth the effort.
The egg party and the back of my new haircut
Number of pregnant women I.ve seen: 3
Number of wheelchairs: 1
Number of people doing calisthenics in the train station: you wouldn.t believe me if I told you
Went to the convenient store this weekend and found a product called "Choco Flakes". Intrigued, I leaned over to check it out and found that not only was there no chocolate in the product, but it was green tea flavored. I just don.t get it.
In the school convenient store (from here on I.m just gonna refer to it as the "combini"), I found a pack of snacks called...I think it was Kragers. The package advertises that they are now offering 2 extra Grote Stroopwaffels, free. Now, I.m not sure what that means, but one day I will buy them and see. Oh yes, I will buy them and see. Who could pass up a free Grote Stroopwaffel?
Jess and Allie and the eggs
Day 96 (Saturday)
Hello! So today I got up at the buttcrack of dawn to go hiking with the host family. I was still irritated that no one had noticed my hair (well, none of the family members. the bike guy and all my friends and teachers noticed immediately). My family met up with the Satos (neither fater came) at the forest. Mrs. Sato noticed immediately and my host mother was shocked that I.d gotten it cut. Grumble. It was funny.
I don.t know about you, but I kind of envision hiking as something you do with a few friends over the course of a few hours. Nope. Think: 100 people, multiple tourguides, and and hour and a half. It was still a lot of fun. Then we bought lunchboxes from a combini and went to a park to enjoy them under the shade. Before we left the forest (which was beautiful, by the way), I was interviewed by a local cable show that had been tailing me and taking pictures of me when they thought I wasn.t looking. It was special. And kind of fun.
The park was beautiful and the kids and I played on this HUGE jungle gym with all these other kids. It was great. I was running around like an idiot. Like I usually do, only it was ok because I was with little kids. I kept running up to my host mother to have her hold things while I played. It was like being 4. Cool. I played tag, too.
Then I went to see historical statues with the Satos. I didn.t bring my dictionary, but it was not really a problem. Then we drove around the city looking for more statues.
When I got home I crashed and then went out to buy supplies for Easter. Fun fun.
Day 97 (Sunday)
This was the most drunken day of my life. God is either really angry or really amused.
SO, this morning I got up and went to church with my family. It was a different church than last time, much bigger. I didn.t understand much of the sermon. My family didn.t take communion for some reason. I was mustering up the courage to go up alone when an American lady (the only other foreigner) taps my arm and asks me in English to come up with her. I was relieved. Mmmm...nice to clear away those sins every once in a while.
After the service I talked to this one girl in English (not my fault, she started it). Then I went to the kids' library room and got a book to read. Then all of these kids were around me. They were really hyper and wanted to help me read the book. They taught me a lot of words and were really friendly. So, with kids laying all over me, I waited for lunch. Supposedly, the thing for Christians to do on Easter is go to a potluck lunch at church. Good food, but my host mother got a little tipsy on rum cake. SHe doesn.t drink at all, but she didn.t know there was alcohol in it. She took a bite and had to sit down. Funny. She was better a little later.
After eating the whole church did karaoke to the number one hit song in Japan right now "Sekai ni Hitotsu dake no Hana (In the world there is only one flower)". Also funny. Everyone was doing the same hand movements, too.
Then we left church and headed to the Asahi Beer Factory. It was great. The tour was free because it was the last day of the World Beer Festival. It lasted about 20 minutes during which I met a guy from England and a guy from Canada who live near me. We exchanged numbers.
Then everyone was let loose in a huge room with beers from around the world. All free. Snacks were free, too. THere is a whole industry built around beer snacks here. The kids had free pop and juice and snacks, too. My family had gone with our parallel family, the Satos, so Mrs. Sato and I went head to head in a beer drinking challenge. She was quick! We were checking the beers off on our placemats. I tasted everything but the Miller, because I can get that in the states. There was this yummy Belgian beer, too. Fruity. Then the factory gave everyone beer to take home as gifts and the designated drivers (my host mother was driving, don.t worry. i checked beforehand) special beer to take home. We only had 30 minutes of free beer, so Mrs. Sato and I were chugging. Drunk in 15 minutes.
We all went to my house where the kids were distracted while we hid eggs all around the house. Then I drunkenly told them the story of the Easter Bunny in Japanese and told them to look for the eggs and their own personal Easter baskets. I made the baskets the night before, and they were pretty impressive if I do say so myself. The kids had a blast and the 3-year-old gave me one of her lollipops. Cute.
Afterwards we all went to the Satos for a HUGE dinner. And of course, more drinking. I had a really good time.
"Once upon a time *hiccup* there was this bunny-guy..."