Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Already March!

Wow, so it's already March and Spring break for me is the day after tomorrow. Then I basically have a month before school again (I have to go to school 2 days inbetween.) I'm not really looking forward to so much free time.....ugh. I guess I'll study a lot though. I'm not sure if I'll be able to change to my host sister's school. Really, I don't care either way cause I'm happy where I am, but I would like to see a normal school as well. Also, during break I might get a cell phone. =) Japanese cell phones are so cool! They can even watch tv and turn the screen sideways to make it bigger. I'm wondering what cell phones are like back home now actually.

I've been having a good time lately with people and I'm trying to learn more Japanese songs and am studying a lot more. I can read manga (comics) faster now too! So I'm reading more of that lately. =)

I finally put up new pictures too! They're not that interesting really, but still.... http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=97329&l=4e6c7&id=869310556 enjoy

Tomorrow I'm going with some people to karaoke! Karaoke is so much fun. ^-^ Well, I can't really think of anything else....oh! the Hillary/Obama race is on the news a lot over here too. I found that interesting. Apparently there's a city in Japan called Obama, haha, or in Japanese, Obamashi. (the shi part is city)

K, that's all for now!
~Lisa

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Winter Break and January

Oops, it's been a while! I got lazy....well, also I don't use the computer as much at my new host family. Sooo, right now I'm the only one home and am sitting in an unheated room (I don't want to waste gas by turning the heater on since I'm fine and I think money is tight here) and I'm having trouble typing cause my fingers are so cold, haha. Also it snowed for a little bit this morning! But now it's kinda gloomy/rainy.

I'll start with winter break, I didn't do much really and stayed at my new host family's house most of the time. I did get to go to karaoke and Universal Studios Japan though. =) Karaoke was a lot of fun! I want to go again sometime! I know more Japanese songs too now that I'm living with a young person. USJ was neat too, crowded though, of course. I love snoopy! It's nice seeing him still popular in Japan. New Year's was pretty normal. I watched TV with the host family while eating soba (apparently they eat noodles at midnight on new years). Also, the number of new year cards people send out are crazy! My old host fam sent out 400 between the 2 of them and my current host mom sent 60 or so and Emi, 20ish.

It's much more laid back and casual around here. =) There's disney stuff all over the house and I love the cats! And I get to watch silly Japanese TV here, lol. I've learned a lot of Japanese from my host family too and I teach my host sister some English stuff. (She's in an international course at school.) Emi is a really nice and funny girl! She's pretty too. We're not friends or anything but she doesn't seem to dislike me and I like her so I guess we get along well enough. The host mom is really nice and laid back, but she doesn't really initiate talking to me and I find it hard to find something to talk about too, and when I do she doesn't keep it going. =/ I guess it's alright though. Also, I'm glad I don't have to eat as much troublesome fish. I mean, at my old host family I had to eat these little fish a lot and while that's fine, they have tiny bones everywhere and I refused to eat them so I would take forever picking them out. =P I haven't seen a fish head since I've moved. =) The older brother has come by a few times with his girlfriend and I like them too, it's lively with a lot of people here. Also, my host sister's cousin, Chizuru, is married to a Canadian pro skateboarder. =) I met them the first night I was here (they were visiting from Tokyo) and the Canadian, Trevor, was so cool! They must have an interesting life.

I have a 15 min bike ride to the train station now, then 2 trains, then a 10 min walk. So all in all it takes me between an hour and a half to 2 hours one way to get to school everyday. o-o The bike rides are fun and my thigh muscles are getting really strong, lol, cause the first half either way is downhill then the last is uphill. =P School is different with my foreign friends all gone now and Mana off to Austraila. (It's a lot smaller too.) It's nice that I can only talk to Japanese people but recently I've noticed that I've been feeling a little lonely cause I haven't been able to really talk to anyone in a while now. I like a lot of the girls in my class though so school isn't bad at all, maybe a bit boring, but I like it enough. I've even talked to several of the teachers by chance lately which is making me feel like I should pay more attention in their class cause I know them better and can't feel as indifferent, aha.

I'm studying a lot more! Really, I think my Japanese got a lot better in January. I'm learning a lot faster now that I'm trying harder and I'm only talking to Japanese people. Also since my departure is looming in the distance it's motivating me cause I'm not nearly happy with the level I'm at yet. My homeroom teacher said he thinks I've gotten better too. =)

It's really starting to feel like I've been gone a while now....it's hard but I know when it's over It'll feel like it went by really fast. Well, I miss everyone! ~Lisa

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Break

Well, today is the first day of winter break! I'm going to spend all day tomorrow packing probably because on Saturday I'm going to see a movie and find flowers for my host family and then I move on Sunday. I'm going to put up new pictures probably later today or tomorrow as well. =) Last week our class went to the airport as a sorta field trip. We got to tour the kitchens and see all the food supplies and stuff! It was actually more interesting than I thought going to the airport was going to be. Then afterwards we ate lunch that consisted of airplane food. Oh, when we went into the food area we had to wear these funny outfits (which I have pictures of) and they even air blowed us.

Last Saturday was our music teacher's party thing. Basically, every year he has to entertain some elementary kids (but they were in our equivalent of 6th grage, which is a horrible age I might add) and he invites his high school students too. We were in the school's kitchen classroom and we made tacos. =) Then he got the little kids to make antler hats and played with a pinata. I don't think the little kids liked us much. (Us as in the foreigners, but oh well.) I have pictures from that too!

Then on Sunday I went with my host sister, Nori, and another lady that goes every year to my host mom's choir at the library's music hall. And the concert room is really nice! (and new) Though, that library is very nice all around I think. The first half was this dad and his daughter singing opera stuff.....I had to try and not laugh at first cause she just sounded so silly! She was good and all and would probably sound nice singing normal stuff, but I just don't enjoy that style. Then the symphony played and then the chorus sang with the symphony. Oh, this was all Beethoven stuff I think. I enjoyed the symphony! String music is so pretty. After that my host family and I went to dinner at an expensive Chinese restraunt. I knew we were going to eat Chinese food, but not nice Chinese food! I mean, how often back home do you see classy Chinese places? Well, I guess there are a few, but not most for sure. The food was very good too! I could tell that American Chinese resembled it a little but American wonton soup is laughable compared to what it's supposed to be like I think.

Wednesday was really sad! It was a half day and was just for the closing stuff and all, but our class had a good-bye party for the other exchange girls cause they're all leaving soon. They made photo books and stuff for them and my friends went to say bye to all the teachers and it all just sad. Then after that a lot of my class went to Tennoji to take purikura, which was fun. There we ran into Bianca's exchange friend from the same company from Canada and another girl at her school from Thailand. Then Angie and I left early cause everyone kept taking purikura and we wanted to go home already and in the train station another German friend of Bianca's from the same company tapped me on the shoulder and I was like "whoa!" and all. She had an exchange friend from the same school with her from Oregon and she looked so much like Jenny Redmond that I was startled at first glance! I was glad for the distraction cause I had to say bye for good to Angie yesterday there. =(
And mom might like to know that as I type this I have to keep on checking on the cake she sent. Nori bought canned cherries that we put in it and she said we could use the jam mom sent on the top. It's going to be really yum! =)

I wish I could go home for Christmas break, really. Oh well though, time's going by really fast I think. I don't think the first 4 months of school have ever gone by this fast.

edit: here's the picture link! http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=78086&l=740fb&id=869310556

I still miss everyone!
Love,
Lisa

Saturday, December 1, 2007

December

Aw, time is starting to go fast! This will be an eventful month. There will be a few Christmas parties I think, I change host families on the 23rd, I'll go to my host mom's chorus concert, see the new Bleach movie with some friends on the 22nd, and Angie will go back to Australia on the 23rd too. Then winter break! Ah, I have no idea what I'll be doing during that.

So my next host family consists of a host mom and a 16 year old daughter. =) And they have a white dog and 2 cats! I'm excited about that. The grandparents also live in the house next door and I think the houses share the big garden. I wish I knew more about the host daughter; I'm nervous we won't get along.

So tomorrow I'm singing and playing Autmn's Monologue in my music class. They have to sing by themselves or in a small group one of the songs they've been learning in class so of course I'm not content with just doing that. haha, I need to go practice after this. I also need to write what I thought about either Walk the Line or Dream Girls in Japanese for music....I'll do that after dinner. Then from Wednesday to the following Tuesday, we have tests, not that it matters for me though.

Aw, my knee is starting to heal up, though it's going to leave a scar I'm sure. Jeez, I hate scars. Oh well. And yesterday I finally mailed a package home and they required that I list everything in the package, the estimated weight of each item, and the value. Japanese people are sooo detalied. I think back home we just list what inside right?

I'm also studying more! =) I've been in a "learn Japanese" mode, so that's good.

I miss everyone!

~Lisa

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Small Update

Things keep looking more and more like Christmas, but I'm just going to talk about the past few days. So, on Thursday I was a little late as usual to school and I tripped while running (on nothing) and busted up my knee enough to have blood running and knicked my hands. God it was so embarrassing! haha, It's still being a pain and I thought I'd share.

Yesterday was a national holiday and I finally went to visit my host mom's ailing mom in a group home. (I declined the first time she offered, also, it was her 87th? birthday yesterday.) She has that disease where you don't remember stuff....altzheimers? I think she's pretty far gone...sad really. I also met my host mom's sister and husband. I'm glad I went, it was different. They had everyone on the floor out at the dinning room table and we sang happy birthday and ate cake. I tried so hard not to laugh when the grandma took one of the flower heads off and used to to wipe her bday card....then later tried eating a flower...I'm so mean, gosh. Then at the end the most lively old lady was seeing us out and she talked to me and I just smiled and nodded, haaaa. I think they all thought I was part of their family. But yeah, it was interesting.

Tomorrow I'm buying an electronic dictionary! =) yay! I love those things.

Random Japanese observation: nobody owns mutts over here! o-O

Also, all my friends are going to be going back to their own countries within the next month-month and a half. =/ I suspect my Japanese will get a lot better after that though...I am improving though, I'm much farther along than the other girls were 3 months in, so that's comforting.

Ooo, there's a Bleach moving coming out around Christmas, hehe, I want to see it. =) Maybe I'll ask Gusan if I can go with her and whoever she's going to go with. (If you go in a group of 3 or more it's about 9 dollars instead of 18ish?) o-o Very expensive.

Oh yeah! I change host families around Christmas too. I'm actually excited b/c I'll have a 16 yr old host sister. =) And I think it's just her and her mom too. Which I'm glad for cause I don't really feel that comfortable around most old Japanese men.

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

the past month

So, I haven't updated in the past month...where to start....I'll start at the house. I haven't been anywhere new with my host family, and everything is basically everyday living, so nothing to mention there. Though, I really enjoy dinner here! Most of the time it's really healthy but still so yum. <3

School moves along as school does, but we just got through with our culture festival which was last Saturday. We spent time the whole week before preparing our display, which was a collage of pictures from our class. One banner had baby pictures, one had school pictures, and the last had recent pictures from the students lives. I think the whole point was for them to write in Japanese and English on the papers. Inside the school the classrooms had displays from some classes and other classes did food and such. So outside there was a lot of food and the music and dance clubs performed throughout the day. The kareoke was fun to watch! A few of the people were really good, and after that the dancing groups were awesome. School really isn't that bad now since I have people to talk to, so I'm not complaining. Oh! We got new school lunch boxes, haha, I need to take a picture of them, they're cute. Also, today we got a new gym teacher from Canada. He's a big black guy and he's teaching us basic martial art stuff, and I'm pretty excited about it. He's seems funny so far too. =)

I'm starting to see more of Osaka now since I've gone around a bit with friends. I finally went to Namba last weekend! It looks so cool there, but we didn't get to look around much cause we went there for a movie, but we're going back this weekend b/c we missed the movie we wanted to see b/c we didn't see it on the sign but it was there....so we're going to leave earlier this time to look around. Also, young people like to dress up there so it's really fun to people watch. Hehe, so yesterday I felt my first earthquake! It was very short, probably 2 seconds, and by the time it registered in my head that it was an earthquake, it was over. =( But still, it had a roaring sound and it was interesting to feel the whole room shake. Bianca was really funny, she basically dropped like a paniced hot potato and hid under her desk; she's a precautious person. I just sat there and looked around thinking "awesome!".

oh! also, yesterday I saw an albino asian! I saw her from the back at first waiting for the train and thought she was a foreigner. There was no way her hair was dyed, it was a very pale natural looking blonde with no roots, and she was very very white. When we got in the train I realized she was asian, but I went the opposite direction in the train as her so I didn't see her face well. =( But I thought that was really interesting! I shouldn't be talking about random people, but I just found that so cool, aha.

Here are a few random things I've learned about Japan and Japanese people: Japanese girls shave their eyebrows....I think it's really weird. I'd honestly guess that at least a 1/4 of Japanese girls don't like Japanese guys at all (I think it's pretty sad really). People were eyepatches here a lot (mainly girls) when their eyes "hurt", but really, there's no way people's eyes hurt that often so it puzzles me. It's probably when they mess up their make-up or something. Japanese boys are way too feminine on the whole, like, they'll go to the bathroom together and fix each others hair and stuff (according to another guy in my company) and they even wear hairclips sometimes. They also wear really feminine sandals, which I found strange. Ironically, one of the main reasons a lot of the Japanese girls don't like Japanese guys is because they're so feminine and spend too much time on their appearance. American girls that wear a lot of make-up and do stuff to their hair have nothing on their Japanese counter parts. The lengths these girls go to are insane! It's quite fascinating. Oh, I've seen a lot of blind people since I've been here, I don't know if that's a city thing, or a Japan thing, but I thought that was a bit odd. Right now, Jamaican themed stuff is popular. Well, that was more about my observations about Japanese teenagers, but oh well! I'll try to think of more important things to mention next time. Here are my pictures from the last month, enjoy! http://hs.facebook.com/album.php?aid=67314&l=41d5c&id=869310556

~Lisa

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Moving Along

So, yeah, time goes by fast I guess! I'll start with school. Until last week I really wasn't liking it but I'm talking to more people now from the 3rd year international class. Strangely, after I did that people in my class warmed up to me more. Funny how that works. Overall though there's not much interesting enough to tell. We had sports day the other week and I did the 3-legged race with another girl. Haha, we didn't do that well and I had a sore ankle after that. It was a fun to watch day though.

A few weekends ago I went with the Takahashi's to clean her mother's grave in Kyoto. People here seem to get buried in really nice places that are very expensive. All of the tombstones and displays are really pretty. Ater that we went to the Kinkaku-jin, which is that gold temple in Kyoto. I actually really liked seeing that. It was so pretty! There were many foreigners there too. There are a lot in Osaka too actually. Anyway, I still haven't put up pictures from that day. I need to.

I also went to the Kishiwada Matsuri, which most of you have probably already seen my photos from that. I think the highlight for me was that fish for a chick with food on a string game. I think I was too entertained by that, aha.

I've had so much different food here it's amazing. Eel is really tastey, but it has lots of little bones throughout the meat and I just have such a hard time making myself eat them. Japanese people eat a lot of bones in fish and stuff.....eee. I've also had many types of fish (I really don't care for sadines), raw fish (it's not that bad with sushi), squid (I think I only like it dried), chinese food, mochi, more vegetables than I knew existed (I really like some root I forgot the name of), and even different fruit (nashi are really good!). Ooo, also, I really like green tea ice cream!

Other than that I've spent my past 2 weekends looking around the Fujiidera area and going to a large mall next to a main train station in Osaka. Clothes in Japan are prettier I think. It's really different being in such an urban area, but it makes exploring more interesting. Especially since I don't have to worry about parking, haha. Also, it's funny how movies I saw this summer are coming out now.

As for Japanese, I don't think I'm learning that fast, but I have learned some. It just takes so much to carry decent conversations with people. *sighs* I've been studying more the past week. Oh yeah! I've also been keeping up with playing the guitar I fixed up. I'm excited about that still. =)