Friday, December 26, 2008

Heading Off to Tokyo In... an hour and 30 minutes.

As the title of this post says, I'm going to Tokyo for 5 days (or six nights or something like that), from tomorrow when I arrive in Shinjuku station (the 26th) until when I arrive the morning of New Year's Day in Kobe. From there, I'll head to Kyoto with my host family. It's been a trip I've been planning with my Brit friend Joe for quite awhile, so I'm really looking forward to it, I've heard so much about Tokyo and I want to map the city out for when Katie may visit in the summer. We'll hit up all the big districts: Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku, Rippongi, Akihabara... and on the last day visit Yokohama and meet my good friend Wakiko and try to hit up Chinatown and Mirai Park. The days are going to cycle out as going into town and partying down at night before heading back home to spend time with Kohei's family (Kohei is Joe's friend whom he met in Sheffield and who is letting us surf couch) in a more traditional setting. This is going to be the fastest, wildest week so far, and I am totally ready for it. Just have to make it through the night bus first...

Anyway, Kohei's got internet so I'll be able to infrequently check for things online, and you can always email me at if you'd like to get a somewhat delayed and short email response (no, really, I'm more than happy to receive messages) back, but for the most part it sounds like we're going to be go go go go for this period of time. There will be lots of pictures and lots of stories to tell when I get back. I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and I hope everyone celebrates New Years with the people they love, I'll probably be around on Skype New Years day when it finally makes it all the way back to America.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hitting the... well, the 1/4 of the way mark.

Well, ひさしぶり、everyone. It's been a long time since my last entry... but I think that is going to change soon, for a few reasons:

1. My Japanese is most definitely improving. I'm guessing that about, oh, halfway through spring break I should be able to understand most of the basic things people say in speech in Japanese. I'm going to be frank here, I'm definitely not where I expected to be at this time. I'm learning quite fast by the standards of everyone who has studied abroad before- I think now it's just a matter of really keeping up with it and exposing myself to the language as much as humanly possible.

2. I'm not really struggling anymore as far as Japanese goes. I'm getting a system down. I was surprised, given how much everyone seems to whine about it, at how easily keigo came to me when we started going over the basics this week. It's really not that hard and actually helped me connect Japanese vocabulary a little better so that I had an easier time learning it.

3. I haven't really been homesick so much as had weird emotional waves since I got here. I'm really doing everything I'm suppose to- learning the language, making friends, exploring the country within the confines of the time limit I've been set, but when you have this much freedom for the first time in your life you can't help but get the feeling you're doing something WRONG. It was really hard to shake that feeling at first but now I really think that coming here was definitely useful for myself as a person.

AND to blatantly rip off a blog of a friend of mine's, if there is ever a day where I both want to write in my blog but nothing of any real importance happens (though thinking back, those days have been rare) I'm just going to write about whatever pops into my head. It's all going to be relevant.

Right, so... look forward to that. I need to fill this with content. And I will. There is so much here in this place...

A few little updates: My host family has contacted me again, and this time, to their surprise I could actually communicate mildly complex thought! The downside is, they weren't contacting me because someone in their family died. I am sure that they will explain how to apologize/ show sympathy or apologize/ grieve or apologize/ discuss the finer points of, death in japanese as it is spoken in japanese society.

Right, its off to Izumiya for the weekly buying of food and also edible things which have awesome packaging and don't actually taste very good at all (this is a common thing here) but certainly entertain me.