Thursday, September 22, 2011

One hell of a week:

This week, particularly the last two days had me doubled over laughing at pretty much everything. On monday I went to a karaoke for the first time with some girls from school. We sang at the karaoke for a while, then went shopping, then went to a ``purikura`` a photo booth that changes your appearance and lets you alter stuff in your picture. It was a lot of fun and the girls are really nice and funny.

The next two days I did pretty much nothing because there was a typhoon and school was closed for two days.

Yesterday, back at school, the kids made me laugh harder than I have since the first time I saw the pink panther movies. It started at lunch when some friends were trying to find a way to explain masochism. (there was a reason, I just can't remember it) They looked up the word in their translator but I told them it was the wrong word because I didn't think it made sense. So the three girls tried to act out masochism......... They started punching each other then jumping up and down and clapping their hands with happiness to get the point across. Eventually I figured it out but by the time I did all four of us were shreiking with laughter and one girl was yelling, ``NO NO NO!!!!! NOT ME!!!! JOKE!!!!!! ONLY TO EXPLAIN!!!!!`` We were laughing so hard that I forgot why they had to explain it in the first place, I know there was a legitimate I burst out laughing every time I caught any of their eye for the rest of the day.

Next, we had an assembly for the new members of student council. The girls sitting next to me were checking my shoe size, comparing my skin tone to theirs, etc. One of my friends asked me what we call the hair on our arms in the U.S. the english teacher listening said ``armhair`` so the two girls quickly conferred and then said ``We are very interested in your armhair.``...........needless to say I cried with laughter. They asked me why the hair on my arms is light instead of dark like theirs. I tried to explain that my hair is just lighter but they kept asking why. Eventually I asked the English teacher to ask the biology teacher to explain in class why I look the way I do.

Finally, back in the classroom, the girls were all asking me about boys.

``Do you like shy boys?``
``Do you like positive boys?`` (happy/cheerful)
``Do you like negative boys?`` (sad/serious)
``Um, I don't know.``
``Ok ok, do you like.....``(looks up on dictionary)
``Do you like predatory boys?``
...................................................they heard me screaming with laughter at the end of the hall.......When I started laughing/crying the girls figured out that something was wrong so they consulted their dictionary again and........
``Do you like meat-eating boys?``
I'm assuming that something was lost in translation. I really can't remember the last time I laughed that hard. I couldn't speak for a few minutes.

Now we get to today, or this morning. I woke up and got ready for school as usual. When I got downstairs my host mom wasn't up which was weird but I assumed she was tired and sleeping late. I made myself breakfast and lunch and headed off for school. The first thing that weirded me out was that the trains were empty. The 7:30 train is always packed and today I was able to find a seat and sit down. It was weird but I saw a few other students so I didnt worry about it. Then, at the main train station in my city the downtown area was deserted. The six lane road was empty except for a few buses that seemed to be fewer than normal. Still, I just followed some girls from my school and went to school as usual. I would ask my teacher later what was going on. The school was weirdly deserted also, only a few students were walking around. I assumed I was late so hurried to put on my shoes and get to class. Thats when I noticed that all of the indoor shoes for the lower grades were still there, I figured out at this point that something was off. So I went upstairs to the teachers room to ask my english teacher what was going on......the teachers room was empty. So I went upstairs just to check and make sure no one was one was there. On my way down an english teacher who had been sent to find me told me that there was no school was a national holiday and only third graders had to come in to take a test.......I just started laughing when she told me this so she figured out that I had no idea. She laughed too, and asked me how long it takes me to get to and from school (an hour, both ways). I headed home, when I got off the train at my stop my host mom called me, she had woken up and found all of my stuff gone and figured out what happened. She found it hilarious too. She thought that my teacher had told me that it was a holiday, and my teacher thought that my mom would have told me. I'm still laughing which is getting to be a problem because my stomach is starting to hurt from laughing so much. They say that laughter is good for you and makes you live longer, another week like this and I'll be immortal.

Saturday, September 17, 2011



Oh my gosh I've been here a month and I didn't even notice. Thats no fair, if I've been here a month already then that means that one tenth of my time here is gone.......I've got to get busy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Japanese school:

So in Japan everyone has to wear a uniform. There is no makeup, no dyeing of hair, no jewelry, no hair accessories, no cell phones, you have to be home by 5 unless your at a school related event, you are not allowed to spend the night at another persons house unless it is a special event. The school decideds when its cold enough to wear mittens or a scarf on the way to school and if its raining you wear the school designated raincoat to and from school.  These are all rules set by the schools. But whacking each other with towels while the teacher sets up? Totally ok. Surprisingly I can deal with the rules and restrictions pretty well (I'm sure everyone remembers graduation)  It doesn't really bother me because I understand why the rules are set as such and the culture is that the school gets to decide. I may not love my uniform or the rules, but I can deal.

In Japan, there are no school janitors. The students clean the school after classes every day. It's in a rotation so you only have to stay after school to clean once every few weeks and its your rotation for one week. With about 1000 students, the entire 4 story school is cleaned in about 10 minutes. Keep in mind that I go to a private school here. These kids are paying to go to this school and they still clean. Public high schools have their students clean the building too. I would love to hear the parents and kids response if high schools in the U.S. made kids stay after school to clean. lol

On my third day of school I found out that when teachers are mad at a class they just don't show up to teach. (teachers change classrooms not students here) A cell phone rang during a math class on my first day of school so the next time we had math class the teacher just didn't show up because he was mad at us. We had a free period where we could do whatever we wanted. Some students read, or drew on the blackboard, or talked. We didnt miss any material we just picked up the next time we had math. I totally fail to understand this punishment. Also, anyone still at OHS, ask some of the teachers how they would feel about being able to just not show up for class if they were mad at the students. lol

In Japan you stand and bow at the start of the class and do the same at the end. They also have this warm up for gym class that everyone seems to know, they were really surprised that I didnt know how to do the gym warm up. `You dont know how to do this? Dont you do it in the states?` Shocked that I dont know that but also shocked that I know what mcdonalds is and who Rhianna is. I really dont get it.

In Japan there are no school buses, I take public transportation to school and thats strange, 70% of the students at my school ride their bikes, most of the rest are close enough to walk. The only reason I'm not riding a bike is because the school is worried about traffic accidents. (fair point where I'm concerned, though I doubt I'd need a car to get hurt)

My principal at this school didn't want me to come. They changed principals this year and this one didn't want an exchange student at his International high school. The rotary really had to fight to get me to be allowed to come here. Everyone also seemed to think that I would be really obnoxious. They said they understood that the rules were constricting and that I wasn't used to have to clean the school but when in Rome do as the Romans do. They all seemed really surprised when I said I had no problem following the rules (bet some family and friends are laughing at that) and even more surprised when I didn't throw a hissy fit about having to clean the school. I guess they had an American a few years back who complained about the rules, was outraged that she had to help clean, and just was a pain. Hopefully I'm showing them that not all Americans are divas.

 You change shoes CONSTANTLY in Japan. In school I have a pair of shoes for outside, a pair for inside, an pair for the gym, and then there are special shoes you change into for the computer room, the english room, and the art rooms. Thats just school, at home there are a pair of shoes for in the house, a pair of shoes for the bathroom, exta inside shoes for guests, shoes for the special japanese room w the reed mats, and shoes for the garden. My host family isn't home right now and I'm running around the house barefoot because I can!

Also, we are going over English proverbs in class. Glass half empty vs Glass half full. I was asked by my teacher if I am a pessimist or an optomist. I said optomist (grinning). She then explained to the class that I meant that I see the bright side of everything or that I always see the good. As there were no classmates or teachers from home to shout protests over this, my entire class thinks I'm a glass half full kind of person. Josephine, I bet your laughing over that. And yes I know that if you were in class with me you would have set them straight. But I just couldnt help myself, it was too funny.

And yeah, thats about it for my school so far.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


NOTICE:There is absolutely nothing funnier than having your Japanese teacher (who looks weirdly like Mr. Moussa) say `G'day mate` in an Australian/Japanese accent first thing in the morning.

Were covering english proverbs in class. I was asked what my favourite is and I gave a quote thats not exactly a proverb but I was on the spot! My english teacher then wrote on the board my quote `A rose by any other name would smell as sweat.` I could not stop laughing. I will be using this new quote from now on.

Favourite new saying: (old japanese proverb) `Monkeys can fall from tree` Try saying that in a deep, profound, proverbial tone.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I challenge any and all to pictionary or charades when I get back. I will destroy you all.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A culinary note:

To the chef's of Japan,
This is about the food you call `American` food, so I'm allowed to comment.
Hamburgers are served on rolls with ketchup, pickles, tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce. Onions are optional. They are not served on a plate with a sunny side up egg on top. While this is surprisingly delicious, it is not American.
The following never go on pizza: Sunny side up eggs, corn, potatoes, scrambled eggs.
Taking bread dough and baking whole kernels of corn into it does not make it corn bread. It is pretty good though. Melon bread is awesome too, I thought my host mother was crazy when she gave it to me for breakfast and explained what it was but it is DELICIOUS!!!
French fries are eaten with ketchup. The are not served on a plate with whipped cream and a cherry on top. That is for ice cream.

As for your greatest achievements: The aforementioned melon bread is amazing, chocolate bread is awesome too, as is your coffee. `Udong` (rice noodles) are absolutely fantastic and OMG the sushi/sashimi is AMAZING!!!!! Teriaki anything is awesome and A+ on what ever my host mother has been serving me for lunch. I have absolutely no idea what most of it is (I found out today that part of it is kelp) but it is fantastic.

Also, if I get asked one more time if I know what Macdonalds and Pringles are I will not be able to hold back the laughter.

To my classmates. I just watched you eat kelp, raw octopus, and seaweed. And your screaming in horror because I don't peel my grapes before eating them? Turns out that in japan they peel everything. Everyone in my class of 40 people turned and watched horrified when the girl next to me told them what I was doing. They then started asking me questions about eating fruit in the U.S. they all gasped in actual legit horror when I told them that we often don't peel apples, plums, peaches, pears, and never peel grapes. RAW OCTOPUS PEOPLE!!!!! I mean it's actually delicious but STILL!!!!!!! And I really mean screaming in horror. I then dared them to eat a grape whole, skin and all. Several students tried but many refused and watched in awe as their classmates tried it, then said surprised that it was good. The others didn't believe them. I was doubled over in my chair laughing at their response to this.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Today I was asked three questions that made me laugh. The first was asked by an elderly woman who cornered me on my way to school and asked why I was here. I said I'm getting on the train to go to school. She said no, why are you here in Himeji, Japan.

The second was a series of questions that I have been asked nearly every day. Do you have a boyfriend? Followed by, do you like japanese men? This still makes me laugh mainly because I have no idea how to answer that question.

The last question I was asked today made me cry with laughter. Two of my classmates walked up to me and asked me `Why are you white?` When I started to laugh, they quickly conversed and said `I mean, why are you not black?` This of course only made me laugh harder. Eventually they got the point across that they wanted to know why I don't tan in the sun. I tried to explain that I wear sunblock and they asked why? I said because I turn red and burn which just got me blank faces. Luckily I remembered the word for cancer and said that I don`t want cancer from the sun. This they accepted but I still laughed most of the way home. I'm glad they amuse me as much as I amuse them.

Monday, September 5, 2011

First day of school:

Everyone in my school is really eager to talk to me, I get stopped on the way to school, in the hallways, leaving school, by students of all different grades who want to introduce themselves and talk to me in English. While it is a little weird for me to be a sort of celebrity it is also really nice. Everyone wants to know if I am happy and if I like Japan which I do. The students and teachers at my school are all very kind.

The Volleyball and basketball clubs are both begging me to join, probably because of my height. But tomorrow we have gym for the first time and I have a feeling that once they see my complete and total lack of hand\eye coordination they won't be as eager.

The only classes I can understand so far are math and english. It's frustrating though because though I know how to do the math problem or write the sentence I don't understand the question I'm being asked. I can do the work and I understand the math theories or the english grammar but I don't understand the question!

All in all it was a difficult but ok first day of school.

Friday, September 2, 2011


My English teacher told me yesterday on my first day of school that everyone in the school, teachers included were hoping for a typhoon day today. Still waiting for the storm to hit. It should be interesting!!!