Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vol 7

Since I’m getting tons of emails with tons of questions, I think I better update this blog.
I’m going to skip some stuff, because I don’t feel like writing it and it’s not important.

Sunday I checked out of the hotel around 9am and made my way down to Shinjuku station.
I was suppose to meet my school there at 7:30pm so they can introduce me to my host family.
Since I got there early, I put my stuff inside of a coined locker, and Lena and I went to explore the city.
We ate a this Indian restaurant .
The food was okay.
I probably won’t go there again, but if I do I’ll try something else.
We pretty much walked the city after that, but we got bored so we went back to Harajuku.
Harajuku is very entertaining, if I haven’t mentioned that before.

So we walked around the shops in Harajuku, before we sat down and started taking pictures of any and everyone.
We also went to Yoyogi Park, which is about a block away from Harajuku.
That place is interesting.
Right at the entrance of Yoyogi Park was this group of men.
They were a few marbles short because they looked like they stepped right out of Grease….
Need I say more.
I love Grease, but that was just wrong on so many levels.
We met up with Casey around 5:30pm and at 6pm I left and went back to Shinjuku station.

I should mention that while on my way to Shinjuku station the first time, I got lost.
And not lost in the city.
I got lost in the station.
This station is HUGE!!!!
They weren’t lying when they said 2 million people walk through the station daily.
The entire Inner Harbor *including the Gallery* can fit inside this station.
And still have room.
This station house about 6-8 different train lines.

Anyway, I met my host mom around 7:30pm.
Her name is Tomoko Sudo.
She is 52.
She likes to drink, study English, and play ping-pong with her English speaking friends.
Although she’s getting up there in age, she’s more lively than me.
She won’t even been home on the 12th and 13th because she’s going up north to the hot springs with her friends.

I also met my host dad, Ryoichi Sudo.
Ryo for short.
Ryo is 61 and more calm then Tomoko.
He’s retired so he’s home everyday, but he too likes to go out.
He goes to the library, shopping centers, and out to drink every once in a blue with his friends.
Ryo has traveled to over 20 different countries.
He and Tomoko also visited Baltimore one year….about 2-3 years ago.

They have 3 children who I haven’t met yet.
A 26 year old son, 28 year old daughter, and a 30 year old daughter.
They have 2 grandsons as well.
It’ll only be a matter of time before I meet these 5 as well.

On the first night with my host family we didn’t eat, because I already out when I was with Lena, and I ate at Shinjuku station as well.
The pretty much allow me to do as I please, and I also DO NOT have a curfew.
They just said that if I go out, at least try to make the last train home because taxi’s are expensive.
At first I was waking up around 6:30am for breakfast, but Tomoko said that I can get up whenever I please.

On the second night they cooked a lot.
I’m not sure if they cooked that much because I was there, or if the Japanese normally eat such large meals.
We ate meat loaf, fish, sushi, dumplings, fruit, veggies, pudding, yogurt, and something else.
Pretty much every meal has been large like that.
For breakfast we eat fruit, veggies, tomatoes, eggs, some times soup, and bread.
I should mention that Japanese bread is like twice the size of American bread.
Google it.
And the grapes are way better than American grapes.

This is too much food.
I would cry about getting fat, but as much walking as I do here, getting fat is not the problem.

School sort of kind of started on Monday.
I have to catch two trains to school, but I do more walking then sitting on the train.
We had a welcoming ceremony for all the new students. That included the Chinese, Korean, and American students.
That lasted for about 3 hours.
It was cool how they would translate what was said in Japanese to Korean, Chinese, and English.

After the ceremony had to take a placement test.
That didn’t go well at all.
Though I did fairly well on the listening part, when it came to the writing section, I got up and walked out.
It was all grammar, and if you haven’t realized yet from reading this blog…
English, Japanese, Spanish, Korean, etc….I suck in grammar.
So I am in level 1, which is okay because I lack basic conversation skills anyway.
My teachers in Baltimore never really taught conversation skills.
Just straight out of the textbook.

One Tuesday we had English orientation, which basically went over everything that us English speakers needed to know.
The school also gave us a luncheon, so we were able to mix and meet with the staff/teachers.
Our English advisor talked about the trains, and how there’s this thing called the priority seats.
He said these seats were to be offered to the elderly, pregnant, injured, and to people with implants………

The advisors and other teachers took us on a tour of Shinjuku.
So, we got to go the 百円 store. *Dollar store*
Japanese puts America to shame yet again.
This store has EVERYTHING.
You name it, it has it.
Maybe not that store in particular, because it was only one floor, but I heard the one near me has 3-4 floors.
That reminds me of the 三百六十円 store. *$3.50 store*
That store had nothing but clothing and accessories on sell for $3.50
EVERYTHING was $3.50
Jeans, shirts, shoes, belts, bags, EVERYTHING!
But that store is so crowded you can barely move around.

Wednesday was the first day of actual class.
My class is class A112, which is located in the pink building *check my pictures*
There is only one other American in the class, but that’s not good because he’s a complete novice.
He never studied Japanese before, so he’s of no use to me.
Most of the time I have to tell him what’s going on.
There’s 6 Chinese studies as well, 2 of which fall into the same category as the other American, and 8 Koreans, of which one falls into that category.
I think one of the Korean guys speak English, because he was the only one who knew what Baltimore was, and can say English words without an accent, but I Don’t know since I haven’t talked to him yet.
I sit near 4 girls and one guy.
Although they all can speak Korean, they make an effort to talk to me.

I have 3 teachers. Keiko Kamisaka, Masami Saitou, and one other teacher who I will meet next week.
The 3 teachers rotate throughout the week.
It’s the schools way of exposing us to how Japanese can sound different depending on the speaker.


About the people:

Tokyo is a city with 12 million people, so it’s impossible to walk anywhere.
And these people love their bikes.
I can bet my life that I will get hit by a bike before I leave Japan.
I just know it.
And it’s not like America.
They can ride on the side walk.
And bikes are made for 3 people as well.
One person sits on the back, one on the seat, and in the front.
It’s me like that for parents with children.
I don’t understand how something that dangerous can be safe.

Japanese people are rather distant.
Some will come up to me and ask me about my hair.
My hair seems to be the topic of all conversation with Japanese people.
I even had 5 guys completely stop and stare at my hair.
But unless you ask them for help, the possibility of someone coming up to you at random can be slim to none, depending on what area you are in.
But when I talk to them, it’s rather interesting.

The Korean at my school are nice.
I was told before that Koreans are more open, and that’s true.
Although they can be distant as well, they will come up to you at random and just talk with their broken English.

The Americans….we’ll since we are the minority everywhere….
We only have ourselves. XD
I find some of them annoying at times, but I don’t talk to them much.
All in All the Americans are cool
We tend to hang out most of the time.


Where I live:

I live in Kouto-ku city. *Never heard of it*
It’s in between two other cities I never heard of.
The famous shopping district Ginza, is 3 train stations away.
I plan to go there with some of the Americans from school.
Odaiba is also close to me.
Disney land is located in Chiba Japan, which is outside of Tokyo, but its about 30 minutes away from me.
So in a way I live in a good area.
I’m the only one who can get to school in under 45 minutes, besides Lena, who arranged her own housing.

I live on the Tokyo Bay.
Yes. On!
My city is surrounded by water.
Not just my city, my apartment.
I have to cross two bridges to get to my train station.
I took a video of it, which I’ll upload later.

Well, it’s going on 11pm here, and I have a test in the morning, but I feel that I’ve caught you all up….
Check out my photo album, which I will update daily, unlike this blog.


trice633 said...

I feel very up to date now. *is proud she read it all*
The hair-thing is rather funny (told you already on MSN).
You better write more =D