Friday, April 30, 2010


Today, apparently, was our school's 84th aniversary! Therefore, the school planned for all 400 some kids to walk like, 3 miles to a park in another town for a picnic. First though, we got the traditional talk from the principal and were then subjected to an hour long presentation from some organization where we watched a short animated movie about a young boy disrespecting nature and then later being attacked by an umbrella, a cabbage, a fish he had killed earlier in the movie, and walking grass... finally, we all donned our taisoufuku (gym uniform), grabbed our lunches and left.
As always, I wish I had taken more pictures...the procession of students was cool looking but eh.
A majority of the walk was along a highway and past a sea of wheat. It was actually really beautiful... except for the occasional roadkill. Everyone I was with walked soooo slowly so we could see students from our school more than a mile away as specks in the distance...

It was pretty ridiculous though because we got to the park, ate, cleaned up, then left... the park was so awesome though and had this hill covered in like, green felt where you could slide down on provided plastic blue sleds...there was also a hiking trail looking thing so I'm definitely planning on going back in the next few weeks so I'll take pictures of the mountains and stuff then.

Two of my friends :3

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Party in Nagasaki

Today was a national holiday called 昭和の日(shouwa no hi) which is for Emperor Showa. Therefore, we did not have school...yay (or maybe awww because I actually had a great week). We had an AFS welcome party in Nagasaki! I woke up early-ish so that I could be at "Joyfull restoran" (spelled like that) at 9:20 to meet everyone. The day before it rained really hard in the afternoon (it rains soooo much and the weather is so unpredictable) so I left my bike at school and got a ride home. Therefore, I had to take my old bike.... Once I got out the door I realized I had NO idea where this restaurant was so I asked two neighbors separately to make sure I got the right directions....

I was getting a little worried because I had been waiting in the parking lot for about 30 minutes and Joyfull is sort of in the middle of nowhere.....
Like the middle of nowhere...Except for a cool house....
And a really shady Pachinko parlor (what Pachinko parlor is not shady?) called Mikado Pachinko......I'll talk about those soon...

Anyways, we got to the place after about an hour's drive...

Which, by the way was "beautifull"...I wish I could have taken more was mountainous and there were these ancient looking bus stops in the middle of nowhere that looked like something you would see in a Hayao Miyazaki film...I would wait for a bus there any day.
There was an American guy there named Jeff who I think owned the house...he was awesome..We ate barbecue which was sooo good and we all ate so much
Jeff was barbecuing

Besides barbecue and rice balls and ice cream and cakes we also had stuff dipped in chocolate

After they got out a wooden sword and blindfold and we directed people to the two watermelons on a fun

The boys in the front had to jump up and run to the side multiple times when someone came their way with the sword

It was a fun day...

I feel bad though because a few of the other AFS students aren't getting along with their families and aren't having much fun in girl even told me that she was already counting down the days until she goes home... 277 days apparently...great. I feel like soon, however, they'll be better...for now, I'm great.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

AFS meeting

Today, we had a meeting between the four AFS students and the AFS staff for Saga prefecture. My host mom was the only host parent there. It was a little awkward...especially when the LP asked how we liked our host families...there was eye contact between my host mom and me as I answered that everything is great. Everything is pretty good...we've had our disagreements but overall it's good.

Anyways, the meeting was in Saga city. Saga is a smaller city...but still a nice little busy city. Kashima, on the other hand, has nothing. Being from intercity Chicago myself, I was relieved to see a large amount of people together at once. It almost made me sort of depressed when I saw all the shops but eh, I'll get used to the quiet life yet, and Saga is only a 1300円 train ride away on weekends. As I said, there are 4 AFS students in Saga. Me and my friend Matthew are the only Americans. The other two are girls, one from Quebec.. the other from.....heh, I don't remember... When I spotted Matthew in the mall where the doughnut shop we were meeting (yep)was located I was sooo happy. Soon after the other two came. We were all sooo happy to see eachother. Let me tell you, you think you're going to want complete immersion and the attention of being the only exchange students but a month away from other english speakers is really hard and we all didn't want to leave at the end... luckily, we meet once a month and we have a AFS party in Nagasaki next week! There were a lot of funny stories and the doughnuts were awesome....I admit... I ate four *dies*

It ends up that 3 of us all joined Kyuudou and Matthew had just gotten back from the Kyuudou match that I was *cough* too busy to attend.

Around the Neighborhood

Ok, so here are some pictures I took... I hope to take more soon...I have some of my school now but I want to get more together before I take the time to upload them all.... same with my route to school... I'll upload some pictures of that later...

There is a little stream on the side of most of the streets

Old houses...
Koi Nobori... Koi flyers for Kodomo no Hi, Children's Day....May 5th

This is a park near the house Ok, so not so interesting but the cherry blossoms were still in bloom.


Ok, so I haven't been on my blog in a while. I'll try to keep this post short but sum everything up.. School is pretty good...though sometimes it's bad because I have limited communication skills with everyone and therefore feel sort of alone...yeah, the 2 week long excitement at having an exchange student sort of died out. Anyways, more on school later. The reason I haven't written anything is because a) I'm just too lazy but b) I've joined the Kyuudou club. For those of you who don't know Kyuudou is Japanese archery. I've become pretty good friends with everyone in that club although all I've done so far is push ups and am expecting to be doing push ups, etc for about another 2 weeks since the bow is so hard to use. At points I almost think about quitting because it's soooo time consuming and they want me to come to club on weekends too. I'll try to get pictures on that but everything in the dojo is sort of formal and quiet so I'm not sure how long it will take. Everyday after school I get home at around 6:30, however, on some days I get home more at around 7:30 even though my curfew is 7. Yeah, tiring.... and my muscles always hurt, but I have to admit I have gained a lot of muscle in these past 2 weeks. Today, I finally took some pictures of my neighborhood which is known for having a lot of historical buildings...I'll post them now

Friday, April 9, 2010

Why you should always do your chores.

Yesterday, my host mom told me this horrible story about cockroaches (gokiburi) and the 5 inch spiders that come to eat them. She told me that this very minute they are all hiding around us but only come out when no one is around and crawl over everything... that the bugs roam free over everything. Pretty much the moral of this chilling tale is that I should always put away my dishes, never eat in my room, and vacuum often or else I'll be overrun by every type of over sized Japanese bug imaginable. After the first few gasps of terror, I realised that this was probably some exaggerated story to scare me into submission. However, I will perform my chores diligently, just on the off chance that I may turn on my light to see a scene out of National Geographic as a softball sized, hairy spider eats an equally over sized cockroach....


Ok, so this is the first time I've been able to blog this week... On Tuesday was my first day at school. I pretty much sat around in the teacher's room a majority of the time until I had to do an introduction speech to all the teachers. Of course, I completely raced through it out of nerves but eh. Both my homeroom teachers are amazingly nice and they showed me my homeroom, etc while we waited for the dreaded whole school speech. While I waited, the nice American English teacher from Boston talked to me and gave me a nice. After waiting around for about 2 hours, I was called to the P.E. building. I waited outside until they flung the doors open and I walked in. About 430 faces looked up and stared at me with their mouths open as I took the longest walk of my life up to the front of the ranks of students. There, I was given a defective microphone and commenced my speech... Again too fast, by the way. At the end I had to take that long walk again to the back of the row that was my class. Just then, there was a break in the assembly and I was completely surrounded by about 20 girls all speaking in broken English. I remembered what the English teacher had told me earlier about boys being super shy in Japan so I wasn't surprised when only one boy waved at me from across the gym.
The next day, like the first day, was another half day. We pretty much hung out in the gym for a long time while they painstakingly checked every single students' uniform. My skirt was too short and my nails were too long...ugh. Anyways, I suddenly hear noise behind me and turn around to see a group of boys choking over my name (it's hard to say in Japanese because of the 'r' and 'l'). This is where I met Kazuya. Kazuya is really short. "" for the rest of this week I would be called over with "KYARORIN" and asked really random questions like, do I like breakfast? or Do I have a boyfriend? Come to think of it, I don't even think this kid is in my class....
Anyways, he was calling me over and I turned to my friends and said, "Waa kowai" which means "Ahh scary" in Japanese. He was immediately told that I had called him scary and hasn't talked to me since soooo... yeah.. I guess I'm going to have to patch it up on Monday. Today was the first full day and I spent most of it sitting in the library since everyone else was taking a test. The librarian is so nice and she asked me if I was cold about 20 times. Afterwards, we all went to the gym to have a physical exam which pretty much consisted of getting our weight, height, and upper body length measured and then we had a vision test in the classroom. Apparently my results for everything were pretty good so yay.
This was soo long but so much has happened in the past week!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

School... TOMORROW

Alright, so tomorrow I'm starting school. I'm actually really scared. I have to go to the beginning of the year assembly and introduce myself in front of the entire school. My bike is all ready... and so is my uniform (bleh). I'll upload pictures of me wearing the uniform soon... though it is sort of embarrassing.... For a little while I have to ride the really old bike to school but my host parents said that they are going to get me a newer one! Tomorrow, I have to wake up at 7:15 and walk out the door at 7:40 to get to school by 8:00 and go to the principle's office (kochou sensei). A girl who lives nearby and is the daughter of my host mom's friend is showing me the way on bike.

Around the House

Ok, so I finally got permission to upload pictures of around the house! Most of the rooms have tatami matts, so I have to be careful of what I set down, since anything damp could produce mold... yum. Above is a picture of my room! On my bed I have a futon which is like the softest comforter EVER! As you can see, a lot of my walls are made of paper sliding doors.

The toilet here is also very different. A lot of public restrooms have both Japanese style toilets and Western style toilets (I'll take a picture of a Japanese one later). Anyways, in my host family's house, the toilet is Japanese style but with a western style toilet placed over it. Therefore, there is no flush, so you have to take water from the bucket at the side and pour it down the hole. I'm pretty sure the water is being reused from last night's bath.

This is the room with the bath in it. The rooms for the toilet and the bath are on seperate sides of the house. Before you get into the bath, you sit on the stool and shower and then get into the bath and soak for maybe 15-20 minutes.

This is the back garden that you can see from the window.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Ok, so to those of you who don't know, gaijin means foreigner in Japanese. Last week my host mom brought me with to my host brother's soccer championships. I got a lot of little boys whispering "GAIJIN!" behind their hands. It was sooo strange because they all just openly stared and as they walked they would turn their heads so they were still staring as they passed. Later, there were some high school students closer to my age keeping score. One saw me and started staring and then poked his friend with his pencil and they both just stared until I ran away. Anyways, if you are going to Japan in the future, don't be creeped out if everyone stares because as my host mom said Japan is "nihon jin dake">> Just Japanese people.

Cherry Blossoms!!!

Well, I've been at my host family's house for about a week now. I still need to get permission to upload pictures of our house, so in the meantime I'll upload the pictures from when my host mom brought me to a nearby park. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom so it was very beautiful.

Ahh I'm so sad there was a little festival with lots of food stands up in the park but i felt weird taking pictures so I didn't