Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's like we're celebrities...

Hi All,
So this week as been a lot more active? than the last (Yay for things picking up momentum). Among not so exciting things was realizing that my kitchen sink was clogged and water took two days to drain (TWO DAYS!). But when I reported it they came to fix it the same day (talk about fast service and customer satisfaction)

The sink being fix and the struggles of having to hand motion what was wrong with it and the Plummer apologizing because we were getting no where-- We ended up getting Mauricio (Mexico) who's basically fluent in Japanese to help us out.

So we’ve finally had a full week of classes. My schedule is not as finalized as I previously thought, but it's all working out for the better. I might even get to TA a Spanish class (really cool stuff).

View from our Japanese classroom.

Ok! toilets. I have been meaning to point this out. You get options in Japan between traditional Japanese style toilets or Western style. Most bathrooms have both options Tip: the Western style toilets are usually at the very end. In addition, you get buttons (especially in the Western style toilets) for heating up the seat, playing music or sounds and so on. Pretty neat right!

Any way,

We’ve made tremendous progress in making Japanese friends. We have a total of about 2 now. There’s Yuushi who plans to study abroad to North Carolina starting spring semester, and also Yui who plans to study abroad to Montana. But all jokes aside we’ve starting to interact with more Japanese students including a random girl in our class who approached us very gregariously.

It’s no secret that Japanese students are shy, and not only shy, but some-what introverted in regards to dealing with foreigners.

Introducing Dr. Koshiro. She graduated from Colombia U. and taught in the US for over 20 years, her class and curriculum here is model after the classes she taught while in America (which was very comforting because the university pedagogy in Japan is so different! For example many classes don’t use textbooks or use of the textbook is not reinforced, at all).

But why is Dr. Koshiro special? Well because she holds a seminar where she hopes to have cultural exchanges between the Japanese students and well—everyone else. We’re of particular interest here because most of the study abroad or exchange students on the campus are from other parts of Asia, mainly China and Korea, but our group is just a bunch of Westerners. But the really awesome thing about her is that she is connected to another program where they plan field trips! They plan trips to hot springs and other towns and farms. And on the subject of farms we were invited the first field trip to visit a Japanese farm and BBQ sweet potatoes, stay tune for that—I think it’ll be awesome.

This week we went to an Izakaya (type of bar) for the first time to celebrate Damien’s 24th birthday. After filling our tummies with lots of finger food we went to karaoke and butchered songs for two hours.

Drinking age here in Japan is 20 years.

...silly boys

-Celebrating with our new Japanese friends and introducing Francisco from Colombia (far left in dark blue) who's be living in Japan for 4 years.


Any way this weekend we went on Adventures!

We explored quite close to our residence. There is a shrine here famous for having one of the main guys to do with the rising age of the samurai come here to pray that he rise to be emperor (which he later did).

Heather (NJ) washing her hands before entering a sacred place (left)
Little girl wearing a beautiful kimono (right)
International exchange students!!
Heather (NJ) Billy (SBU) Damien (France) Dale (Ohio)

We also went up to Yamanaka castle or the remnants there of (the castle was set up by Hojo Ujiyasu as a subsidiary to the main Hojo stronghold at Odawara). The place is famous for having the squares that help alleviate floods. But perhaps the coolest thing is being able to get a better view of Mishima City and of Mt. Fuji

One of Japan's active Volcano, Mt. Fuji

The City of Mishima
(this image is not of a sunset, that's the glare on the ocean from the sun)


Randomly an old lady that sits in on our International Relations II class bumps in to us after class and asks to take a picture of us (We are that exotic, or in the words of Damien “Kind of makes you feel like a celebrity but no, maybe not—maybe more like the Elephant Man” lol).

My bankcard works! Turns out I was too many digits for my pin. Turns out that some foreign ATMs won’t accept pins larger than 4 digits (mine is- of course) Tip: If you go to a foreign country have your bank released your card for use in that country, also bare in mind that if your pin is longer than 4-digits using only the first 4 will probably work.

We "lucked-out" when we went to the shrine because there was a couple having a traditional shinto wedding.

The shrine had some what of a pet farm with Japanese deer
I swear that is Bambi

Lots this week right? =)
Well I hope you enjoyed.


1 comment:

  1. I wish I was in japan with you it looks beautiful! And that wedding couple looks so cute, I'm glad you've been having so much funn :)