Monday - 21 Apr 2003
Day 98 (Monday)
Today I had class. Again. Like every Monday. I.ve learned the Japanese word for "vicious cycle." Akujunkan. And Akujunkan it is. Not that I.m complaining. I had a kickin' weekend so I.m in a beautiful mood. I.m gonna stop that complaining crap from last week.
I.ve also learned the words for "go to the depths of hell" and simply "go to hell," but I.m not teaching you those.
If you can remember back to the early weeks, I was telling you guys about the roosters at the pre-school on my way to the train station everyday. Well, I.ve learned that my little host sister has some at her pre-school, too. Apparently a pre-school just isn.t a pre-school without something crowing in the background. On a slightly different note, every Friday morning the pre-school teachers are burning something in the playground area that smells suspiciously like marijuana (not that I.d know what marijuana smells like from personal experience, but I DO go to college afterall). I worry. Sure, you say. THey.re probably just burning trash. But burning trash doesn.t smell like weed and who burns trash at school?
At Shorinji Kempo I got socked in the stomach by Masako-san. We.re supposed to pull back our punches at the last moment, but she kind of underestimated the distance between her fist-of-terror and my stomach. When she connected I just kind of made this face and clutched my stomach. She grabbed onto me and I fell back against her as we sunk to the floor wheezing "I.m okay! I.m okay!" in Japanese as everything went black. I was okay a few seconds later. This just goes to prove that Shorinji really works.
I was so tired when I got home. Then I made a call and set up plans to go to Shizuoka prefecture this weekend to visit a friend.s family. It.s gonna be fun, but I.m not sure how I.m going to get there.
Day 99 (Tuesday)
This evening my host mother told me that the entire family will be joining me at the closing ceremony for my program. Uhhh, ok. I asked why and she said that they were going to skip the brother.s soccer practice and the husband.s job was only in the morning. This was kind of interesting. I.m thinking one of 2 things happened:
1) Host mother found out about my e-mail address, has been reading my website, and knew that I was really hurt that they made light of the fact that they weren.t coming.
2) When I was crying in my room I heard a strange cough in the hallway where people usually aren.t. Host mother has allergies, so she is coughing a lot this season. I was also crying my story out to someone on the phone. She was probably listening and realized that my feelings had been hurt.
I.m thinking option 2 is correct. The whole privacy concept is pretty non-existent in Japan. Not complaining, just stating what I.ve noticed. Therefore, eavesdropping isn.t really eavesdropping, it.s hearing things through a door. Doesn.t matter.
What does matter is that they.re coming now, which I.m not even sure that I want. They didn.t want to come of their own volition, so what.s the point now?
Skipped practice tonight and came home early. Blah blah blah. Nothing interesting. Just homework and sleep.
it.s raining, it.s pouring, the old man is snoring
Day 100 (Wednesday)
Day 100! Yea! So, I.ve done it this long and I don.t hate Japan. Yea!
I went to Nagoya Station to buy a shinkansen pass. The shinkansen is the big, fast, bullet train that can take you all across Japan. They say that everyone should ride it at least once. The problem is that it.s also expensive. However, time is of the essence this weekend, so here we go.
I also had to buy new train and subway passes. I spent way too much money on transportation today. I went all over Nagoya trying to take care of business and I was pretty successful. As I was going down the stairs of one of the subways stations, I slipped because it had been raining all day and there was no bannister. I slid down some stairs and broke my umbrella.
I was so surprised that someone actually stopped stopped to see if I was ok. Usually people seem oblivious to anything that doesn.t effect them or bargain shopping. There was only one other girl in the area, but she broke her run (everyone in Japan except exchange students run for all subways) to see if I was okay. Then she bolted. Funny. I was so sore and my rear kind of hurts.
I went shopping a little later, but didn.t buy anything except dinner. I.m searching for a bathing suit. A little bit hard because my butt alone is bigger than many of the people here.
This eveing host sister threw a tantrum while I was in the furo (bathtub) and got herself chewed-out all night. I have no sympathy. I wasn.t even particularly worried by the sounds of her tears because I can tell pain tears from i.m-a-crybaby-tears. Plus when I saw the mother she wasn.t concerned either so that means no injury was involved.
Haven.t played with the kids since Sunday. I haven.t been home a whole lot because of practice and hanging out with friends.
I have a BIG oral test tomorrow. I thought it was next week, but I was wrong. Very wrong. I.m going to do a lot of practicing tonight and not worry about tomorrow.
Day 101 (Thursday)
I got up so late today that my host mother wouldn.t believe that I was feeling okay. I did a little dance to try to convince her, but no dice.
To tell the truth I completely forgot about a mini-test today and so I ended up missing it. I was a little bit worried because we cannot make up any points, but then someone helped me work out the actual points I had missed, and it turned out to be one-tenth of a percentage point of my final grade. For example, if my final grade was going to be 98.3% (yeah, i wish), then it will now be 98.2%. Nothing to cry about, which is good because I hadn.t planned on crying about it.
I think I did well on the oral exam. I wasn.t nervous and I just talked about what they told me to talk about. Not a problem. I was pretty proud of yself, but we.ll see how happy I am when I get the score back tomorrow.
I feel the need to shop, but I can.t find anything worth buying that is cheap enough to buy. I really need summer clothing, so I.m going to search on Friday. This oughtta be fun. Why do I need summer clothing you ask? Well, read on.
Bunraku in action
So, I got this internship with the Tonda Bunraku Troupe of Shiga prefecture. I hear that.s near Kyoto. So, I.m going to be going to live with a host family for the summer, all expenses paid, with a really big stipend and they.re going to fly me home afterward. Cool, huh? Yup, but I.m gonng miss all of my friends this summer. Can.t wait to start soon.
Okay, so bunraku is traditional Japanese puppetry. These huge puppets are operated by three people while other people sing and play traditional Japanese instruments. I.ll be learning the shamisen...I kind of miss playing an intsrument. It.s so cool. And the dolls faces can be changed to show emotions. I.ve even seen this one doll where a woman.s face goes from normal to demonic. Her jaw just pops down and she grows fangs and horns. Neeeeat.
rain, rain, go away, come again another day
Day 102 (Friday)
It continues to rain. Host mother says that the rainy days will stop after the rainy season ends. The only problem with that is that the rainy season doesn.t even begin until June. So for now, rain-rain-sun, rain-rain-sun. Not to worry. I.m going shopping in Sakae today with a friend because I really need summer clothing. Mainly a pair of sandals and some short sleeved shirts. It.s starting to get humid.
Last night at Shorinji I skinned my knuckles and bruised one of them during punching practice. I fared better than one friend who.s knuckles started to swell. It was fun, though.
I couldn.t finish my dinner tonight. Ever since I started coming home late, they.ve been saving me extra large portions of food and telling me to eat it all. Yeah, I.m on to their game. This is an attempt to make me eat more. Well last night I just couldn.t cram any more yummy food into my mouth, so I asked to leave it until I got out of the bath so that I could resume munching. They kept telling me I could leave it, but I will not give in! I won.t be beaten by a side-dish. So I finished it after my bath.
Today I.m giving friends here my web address. It makes me nervous to have them reading over my shoulder, but this part of the journal is mostly done. The next chapter will probably be about my bunraku (puppetry internship) stuff. We.ll see. My friends keep joking with me about being worried that I.ll flame them on my website. Don.t worry, guys, if I ever have something really mean to say, I.ll say it to your face. Hehehe...
Well, I.ve got to go take a test now, so I.ll be seeing you guys later. I have some time to kill afterwards, so I.ll probably be back. Also, the test that I missed yesterday was worth five points, but the sensei told me that since the lowest grade anybody got was 4 points, I would receive 4, too. Ureshii! Happy!
***Getting your groove on in Japan
Last night host mother and I stayed up til quarter after 1am just talking about stuff. I.ve been reading this really long childrens' book and she occasionally helps me with words that aren.t in my dictionary. Then she helped me with random grammar questions I.d been accumulating. Then she answered a really big question that I.d been afraid to ask:
So, Japanese parents sleep with their kids, right? Same bed, right? Then how do they ever have sex? Like, Kid #1, no problem. But, Kid #2? Where does he come from? And Kids #3 and #4? It just keeps getting harder.
So I finally asked. And she just smiled and answered my question. She said that when the kids are at school and the husband home from work on a day off, there.s an opportunity. Also, the mother always sleeps with the kids, but the father sometimes has his own room because one bedroom is a little too small for the kids, mom AND dad. Therefore, after the kids go to sleep, the mother can just run off to the father.s room. Yeah, I know, I probably sound like some sort of pervert for asking this question, but you.re reading the answer so that makes you just as guilty. But, don.t worry. I won.t tell anyone about you.re dirty little secret if you don.t tell about mine.
She also said that sex is a major problem for parents in Japan. There are even articles in the newspaper about parents who just stop having sex. That doesn.t sound like a very fun life.
Anyway, I.m glad she answered my question. I hope this helps anyone else who might have been curious.