Things around here have finally settled down a little bit, and everyone has found themselves in comfortable routines. We started school, which has been very interesting, so most of our time has been toward studying. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we have Japanese; Tuesdays we have Culture; Thursdays switch between Economics and Politics. All the courses except for Japanese are taught in English, so we are able to learn and not struggle with the language barrier. We get enough of that in our Japanese class! J
We recently got to go on our first field trip to the Edo-Tokyo Museum. We got to see and learn a lot about ancient Japan and how it has changed over the centuries. Being able to play on the rikisha (the cool man-pulled carriages) and a model of one of the first bikes was so much fun! Our guide spoke English very well and was really nice, offered to take pictures of us and everything. It is so wonderful being in a country where just about every person is kind and wants to help out! After we finished at the museum we got to a small Sumo museum and took a picture in front of the giant Sumo mural. After that we went to a whole different town and split off to eat lunch – many food places are rather small and it can be very difficult to accommodate 11 people! It’s a good thing we ate before we went to the next place, because we got to tour the giant road that is famous for its plastic food and restaurant items. Some of the food looked so realistic! It’s really cool being able to see what the meal is going to look like before you eat it – it really helps when you are completely unsure of what the name of the meal even means!
Because our buddies have been so amazing and helpful, we threw them an American food party, which was just us basically sitting around eating junk food – a few students actually cooked really yummy meals, which was so cool! I made quesadillas (I know I know, not American!) with some friends which were a pretty big hit – the buddies really liked the salsa! Thank goodness Costco is international! It was nice to have a small taste of home again – there are still some things I crave (turkey isn’t big here), but authentic Japanese food is amazingly yummy! The scariest part is telling yourself to just eat it despite the fact that you have no idea what it is, but sometimes you find that you absolutely love whatever it was you just put in your mouth. J
Although we have been busy with school, we have been sure to experience the cultural side of Japan with friends and buddies – various people have gone to Harajyukyu (yes, the girls with the big doll dresses are everywhere!), Shibuya, the giant train station in Yokohama, Akihabara (known for anime, tech stuff, etc.), and the Odawara Castle (one of my personal favorites). The weather here has been so crazy: sunny and way too hot one day, but rainy and cold the next! It has caused a few people to get sick, but nothing too terrible has happened to anyone, as we have been trying to stay healthy.
Of course as soon as we settled down and got comfortable, we are getting ready to mix things up by moving in with our host families this weekend. Everyone is really excited to experience a different lifestyle – all the host families are extremely nice and helpful!
We have some busy things coming up such as a Halloween party, an overnight stay at a temple, and fall break! The pace has been just about perfect lately – there is a really nice balance between school and free time, and we are in a really great location to do so many different things. The transportation system is so easy to use and really helpful when you want to travel around.
More to come soon!