My life, stories and shenanigans from Japan

Archive for the ‘My Life in Japan’ Category

Christmas

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I found the children’s Christmas book section at a store. And then under that is the Christmas Cake we bought at Baskin Robbins.

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Friend made it for me.

Lament for the Giraffe

There’s something I hate about myself in Japan.

To just about everybody here, it’s extremely handsome, stylish, and amazing, but to me it’s an absolute burden, both physically and mentally.

And that thing I hate is the fact I’m 6’3” (195? cm).

First off, let’s start with the (somewhat minor) physical encumbrances .  Let’s face it: Japan is not a tall country.  The average is 5ft6or7 or something.  Well, it’s metric over here so its 170-something centimeters.  My desk (and chair) at school have “this chair/desk is intended for people between these heights:” stickers on them, whose limits start at about 5 foot and end at about 5 foot 7 (all you metric people, get your calculators out.  I’m on a rant and am tired of having to go back to my calculator every few seconds.) I’m 6’3” (195cm.  I know that by heart so I don’t need to convert).  I cannot physically enter my desk.  I have to manually lift the desk up and place it on my lap.  Besides that, I frequently hit my head on doors as well as signposts, chandeliers, advertisements, the bars to hold onto in the train, and so on.  Also, when it rains, and you’re on a crowded road where everyone has umbrellas, you get stabbed in the face with numerous umbrellas, as well as get all the drips from the tops of other people’s umbrellas.  So, when I’m on those roads, the most wet part of my person is the part right under the umbrella.

Now, onto the mental strain it’s causing me.

My goal in coming to Japan for this year was to, for one year, feel like a Japanese kid.  Sounds weird, but it’s something I’ve always wanted. 

Now I, towering over all the other kids, never get that feeling like I fit in.

If this were the animal kingdom, I’m the giraffe in the herd of zebras. 

Seriously, it’s the worst feeling.  Not being able to talk face-to-face with friends or to stand with them and just feel like the complete outcast.

It destroys me inside when I see a friend run up to another friend and put his arm around his shoulder, as friends do (How merry. Sounds old-fashioned, though this is Japan).  They never do it to me.  How could they? They can’t even reach.

When you can’t speak in normal Japanese with friends, you rely on those little physical gestures, the friend’s arm around your shoulder, friends running up and jokingly half-tackling you from behind, to feel accepted. 

I get approached by model scouts all the time as well as random people on the streets, all praising my height.  Though to me, I’d give my height just to fit in. 

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I drew this picture (on the back of my French homework, I might add), to try and illustrate my point.  It does a terrible job illustrating it, though it does an OK job illustrating what Zebras and Giraffes might look like if they were to walk on two legs. Not that that’s at all related. 

Update before I go to Korea

Well, I’m leaving for Korea for a few days tomorrow.  I just thought I’d do a brief update on what I’ve been up to.

I had my sports festival the other day.  I participated in dodge ball.  Japanese rules are different from(or maybe they’re the same as?) the United States, and thus I found myself just getting hit by the ball (not plural) a bunch because nobody explained it.  Was still fun. I went to Shinjuku afterwards, and took some pictures. Because i could. And because it was free.

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Stupid cell phone camera focused on the tail of the dragonfly.

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Egg building and using the free content they provide people wirelessly to use on their Nintendo DS.

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Inside of some building.

I went to a friend’s brother’s school festival the other day.  It was pretty fun, I guess.  A lot of people came, though what was fun was just hanging out with my friends.

Yesterday, I went to the Onsen (hot spring) resort thingy near my house.  For some reason, I feel like explaining the process of the hot spring resort because it’s all pretty high tech and cool.

So, you enter, and take off your shoes in the entrance hall.   You put them in these small locker things, which you can lock.  Then, you proceed to the entrance, where a smiling lady hands you a waterproof bracelet with a barcode on it.  You then proceed to another counter, where a man scans your barcode and hands you a small satchel with these loose garments and an assortment of towels.

You then proceed to a changing room, where you take your clothes off and put them in a locker.

You then, you know, go to the bath. 

Mid-way through the bath, if you like, you can take a break and wear the loose garments and go to the lounge.  In the lounge, there are many chairs, which are nice recliners with swivel-out flat screen TVs with special audio so only your seat can hear.  Which are free to use.  I usually sit there with one of the blankets that are free and watch TV for an hour or so between baths and e-mail friends on my phone.

Then you return to the bathes (or not. if you prefer).

There are also a variety of restaurants, vending machines, and special bathes, which cost extra, all of which can be attended in the garment things and the bill is put on your barcode bracelet.

When you’re all done, you change into your clothes, return the satchel, and go to the counter, where they scan your bracelet and you pay the amount that’s collected.

It usually costs about 12-13 USD (1200 yen), depending on whether i buy anything.  Though you can go for as long as you like (I usually go anywhere from 2-4 hours), so it’s well worth it.

And that’s about it.

It looks something like this:

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That’s part of the changing room as well as partial view of the bathes.  I burgled it from Google. 

 

And yeah. That’s a bout it.  Going to Seoul tomorrow for three days, will perhaps update when I get back.

Well, I started Biology today

We started cell-division today in Biology.  I was given a somewhat long text explaining it, and I did my best to translate it with my electric dictionary because I couldn’t understand the teacher’s explanation.

Of course, it was written in Kanji, so I had to use the small touch-screen in order to use the Kanji-recognition program.  It went down a good something like this:

Me: Huh.  I wonder what that first word is. (Writes into Electro-Dict)

Me: Hmm.  It’s not working

(Spends a good few minutes trying to get it right)

Me: Plant.  The first word is, plant.  Now the second word…

As you can imagine, with the fact it was the first Kanji of a few dozen I didn’t recognize on the sheet, my morning in Biology went by quite slowly.

I also had Lacrosse today.  We did some crazy leg-swingy exercises, which I failed miserably at, and thus my legs are dead.

Quick update

I have some free time so I figured I’d write a quick update on my blog.  And by free time, I of course mean it’s about 1:30am and as I’m up late already, I figured I’d write a blog post.

I started my second term of school on Tuesday.  Though Tuesday was an opening orientation, Wednesday was a full day of tests, Thursday I only had two periods, Friday I was sick, and today was a half day, so I can’t exactly say I’ve felt the rhythm of how the second half of my school year will go.

Let’s see…my classes are very different from my first term.  First term I had about half normal classes, and the rest were private Japanese lessons or special courses for me as an exchange student

This term about all of my courses are normal courses.  Almost every single one of them.  Which means I’m also taking courses such as Math II (I’m still deciphering the meaning of the “II”. Whatever it is, it’s a very difficult II), Contemporary Japanese Literature, Biology, and Japanese Classics.  By the end of this year, I may not be able to say all my zoo animals but I may as heck be able to use vocabulary contained in literature from ancient Japan. 

Today, I had Chemistry (It’s not even on my schedule? Though for some reason I had it), Math II, Japanese History, and Japanese Classics. 

While the Japanese Classics teacher was explaining how the book he handed out in class would work throughout the year as well as gave an introduction, all I managed to do was translate the title of the book.  Turns out the book was assembled by the school, and thus the title was the course name.  I felt it wasn’t a good start.

I’m going to start Lacrosse on Monday.   Well, technically I’ll just be watching but that sounds really boring to write on a blog post.

Hmmm that’s about it.

Oh I saw this ad the other day in Shibuya advertising a skin lotion that raises money for a charity that combats sex trafficking. 

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I don’t know.  It just didn’t seem like the right shop to sell it at.

Oh yeah. I forgot to say I was going to Fukuoka

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Yeah for the past week I was in Fukuoka.  I’ll give you all a bigger blog post tomorrow.

In the meantime, enjoy this majestic picture of me. Wearing traditional Japanese garments.

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