Sunday, October 23, 2011

Old rule: Eat first ask questions later. New rule: Don't ask questions

Twice today I have put food into my mouth that I had no idea what it was (this happens a lot) the first time it was a rice ball (a kind of sweet) the second time it turned out to be stomach.....I'm done asking questions. 

Today my city had an international festival. Stands representing countries from all over the world were set up in the part with food and costumes and all sorts of cultural events. Unfourtunatly I didn't get to see much of the festival because I was in a group with my school doing a sort of work shop. We listened to over 30 people give speeches about their travels around the world (I of course was asked to give a speech without notice) It was nice to hear all of the experiences but I would have liked to go around to the other stands to see what they were doing. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

So I haven't written anything in a while, not much has been going on. I've been going to school, coming home, studying, not really much. I had this week off because the other students had midterms which I didn't have to take. Today though I decided to head out to downtown Himeji to find myself some new clothes. Fashion is entirely different in Japan, its kind of difficult to explain. Any way I ran into some friends from school and with their help and the help of a store clerk I picked myself out some new clothes. Do you think I look Japanese now? Will people stop staring?

A week ago in my area there was a HUGE festival that over 100,000 people attended. It's apparently very famous in Japan and its name loosely translates too "The fighting festival" basically, about 40 men come dancing into the open area with a shrine carried on poles on their shoulders. The men all wear a colored cloth around their heads and a special diaper- ish looking thing.....thats it. Inside the shrine are a few more men playing Japanese drums. All the men chant and they carry the shrine through the main area, then a bunch of other men with decorated poles try to tip the shrine over. Then they bring in more shrines and they ram them against each other and try to knock each other one has a clue what this is about. I looked at guidebooks, I asked at least 5 people, they consulted guidebooks, no one has a clue what this is about. It was still an awesome experience and really interesting. I'll try to post a video if I can. This festival is also very dangerous though, a lot of fights break out and last year a few people were killed. To my knowledge no one died this year. (yay!) The festival took up the entire day, my host family some friends and I ate lunch while watching the fights. It was a ton of fun.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Well lets see, yesterday I broke a soda machine in my school which started spraying fanta and crushed ice everywhere. I tripped during an assembly when we were all supposed to be quiet and I hit two girls in the head with balls in gym class learning how to play tennis.

Today my class took a trip to Kyoto which was awesome. To start with, I misunderstood what time my host mother and I had to leave so I woke up at 5:30 planning to leave at 6:15 when in actualitly we were leaving at 6:50. I slept on the bus though, so it was fine. In Kyoto it rained ALL DAY!!!! So running from shop to shop we all got soaking wet. It was fun though. My friends had me try what I do believe is the healthiest dessert ever; green tea ice cream with sweet bean jam on top. Its ok, but its defenitly not chocolate. At one of the shops I decided to try out my Japanese skills and pointing to a stuffed bear said ``This is a bear`` (impressive huh?) Anyway thats what I meant to say, what apparently came out was ``This is a gay``. My friends figured it out and corrected me but they still laughed. Can't really blame them.

Walking around the college we were visiting we saw a replica of a Da Vinci sculpture I guess. The person giving us the guide told us it was Jesus Christ. Several girls then asked me if I had ever heard of this person. When I said I had they asked me to explain who he is and why he is famous.......this was an interesting conversation. I knew that western culture is totally dominated by Christianity but I never realized how much. I have seen many of these girls wearing cross's and they have seen me wearing mine but they have no idea that it is a symbol for a religion. They all just comment that my necklace is pretty. I tried to explain the concept of God-parents once before and it was hard, a confirmation was impossible to explain. I never have had an experience like this before where someone doesn't know what my cross means. I defenately have never been asked if I have ever heard of Jesus Christ or been in a position to explain Christianity to a group of people who have never heard of  him. It was weird.

Monday, October 3, 2011

In Japanese the word ``ringo`` means apple. So today we were talking about the beatles in class because there was a quote from one of their songs in the English textbook. There was a picture of the group and when the teacher was talking about something else the girl next to me pulled my arm, pointed to the picture and asked ``apple man, which one is apple man?`` Then the teacher called on me and asked if a) I knew who the beatles were, and b) if I could point out and name each group member......yeah.....I could handle that.
We're also covering cooking in Home Economics and the teacher wants me to learn how to cook japanese food so all the kids have to plan a menu in a group, pick recipies and then translate the whole thing into English (haha) I've been getting asked a lot of questions about food in the U.S. I was asked if we have rice cookers, if we can boil water in our kitchens, (I think this was wondering if I have a stove). I also keep getting asked what we call all different types of Japanese food, most of which they don't even serve in Japanese restaurants in the U.S. I keep getting this look like ``Well then what do you eat if you dont have any of this``