Thursday, September 13, 2007

Getting there

So, where to start... I'm now with my real host family, the Takahashi's and i like it here. The parents are nice and the daughter and I get along well. (She's friendly, and she's 30 but people over here stay younger for much longer I swear.) Oh! and she's getting married next year and is trying on her pre-wedding kimono tomorrow. =) The house is nice too! And they had an old guitar which i cleaned and bought new strings for so I'm excited about that. They also have a nice piano. I'm in a new area now (Habikigaoka) and it's really hilly here and we're closer to the mountains, which is cool. I'm also crazy and decided to walk an hour each way to and from the train station instead of taking the bus. I'm enjoying it though! I've been listening to a lot of Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace, haha.

Oh right, I had my birthday with the Yamadas and they got me a cake and I got to blow out candles and all, so that was nice.

School is going along I guess. It's pretty boring most of the time...and i fall asleep too often. It's so hard to pay attention when you don't even know what the teacher's are saying, aha. I started listening to my language thing on the train now and I need to study more at home too. I don't have any definite friends yet, but it is so hard to be yourself when you can't say what you want to. It'll be better when I speak more Japanese. I don't really fit in with the other foreign girls, I mean, they already have a group and all and I'm the outsider so yeah. I get along with the German girl alright though. We're already preparing for the culture festival, which is in November. Not much else going on at school for now.

Oh right! I finally had music class this week and I think I'm going to like that class, though we only have it twice a week. =( And this week we watched Annie....yeah. But the teacher is a black guy from New York who's lived in Japan for 14 years. He seems really cool and we get to mess with guitars every now and then. I'm looking forward to that.

Lastly, today I went to the City Hall with my host dad and sister to get my foreigner card. =) It's only a piece of paper right now, but I'll have it next month. yay.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

i forgot!

Oh, about school. I'm in the international program and since it's for people learning English, I have a few easy classes and even gym is in English. Gym is fun actually, we're learning dance stuff from an Argentine lady. Apparently our grades (the exchange students) don't count for anything and all of them (except the Korean who has good Japanese) fail most of the stuff in the non-English classes. As long as we try though, it's fine. So school isn't going to be a problem for me...I just have to learn the language. I'm learning some, it's still early. Oh, and ironically my class (we stay with the same group of people all day) has 3 "Risa's" now. heh. There's one "Juri" too.

week one down, many more to go

Hi everyone, I've finished my first week of school! Gosh, 10 months seems so long now. Last week i was at Ouichda-san's house and she spoke some English (which I'm so grateful for) and helped me get to and from school the first day and went with me to the train station in the mornings. My way to and from school consists of a (now, at the new host family) 20 minute walk to the station, a 20 minute train ride, switch trains, then another 20 minute ride, and finally a 10 minute walk to school. Actually, the trains rides must be longer than that cause it takes more than an hour and ten minutes. Oh well. I still don't have all of my uniform but i've been wearing a skirt i brought and i just got my shirts on Friday. I wear my vans to and from school now because the shoes they gave me gave me huge blisters on my toes the first day i wore them! So i change into them right before i get to the school in the morning, but I'm never wearing those for a long period of time again.

Ouchida-san was a really nice lady and i miss staying there. She lives alone in a small apartment (her husband died and her daughter is out of the house) so it was a very low tension atmosphere i guess. She also liked sweets too, aha.

So on Friday i moved to the Yamada's house. (All of my temp host families are in the same area.) They're a bit older than the other two (in their late 60's) and the host mom is quite a character. I'm not quite sure what to think of her...I think she likes me enough though. I'm only here for a week too. This time I'm sleeping on a futon in a tatami matt room. It's a very Japanese style room with a very Japanese style staircase leading up to it. Really, that staircase freaks me out. It's almost straight up! and the stairs are so thin! Half of my foot hangs off of it on the way down and I already almost fell at the bottom, heh. (I didn't see the last step.) I took a picture and will get it up soon.

When i got here their English speaking daughter and 3 kids were at the house and spent the night. She came to help with everything since this family doesn't speak English. Oh! and she (the daughter) has green eyes! It's so cool! And my host dad has hazlish one. Her oldest kid is so cute! (He's 10.) And i had fun playing with the 5 yr old girl. =) She was cute too. The middle kid was the odd one i think, he avoided me more than the other 2 and he kept sneezing and blowing his nose, aha, poor kid. They live in Nara and we went to Nara Park (with all the deer) the next day and stayed for dinner at their house. Japanese pizza is interesting. Back to the park though. It was a lot of fun; there were deer everywhere and they would come to you and they'd just let you pet them. I took a lot of pictures. We got some crackers and it's so scary! They nearly attack to get the food and in mass numbers. Yamada-san got pictures of me feeding them. (I'll get those up soon too.) Oh, and it didn't stink nearly as much as mom said it did. Actually, it rarely stunk. We also went to a huge old giant budda shrine too and there were lots of foreigners there, haha. It was pretty neat.

I didn't do anything worth mentioning today, so I'll wrap it up. Tomorrow I have to give a short introduction in front of the entire school. oi. It won't be that bad though. I hope everyone is doing well!