Thursday, October 03, 2002

Today there will be a party for all the people partcipating in the Sodaisai (school festival) in November, which is pretty much all the foreign exchange students plus many other regular Japanese students. The party will be held at the Paris cafeterial. Imagine that: a paati at Pari (Japanese pronounciation, sorry). Then there will be another party for the people working at the English Forum (being a worker of the Chit Chat Club, I guess I will be a `guest`). Today I went to my first dance rehearsal. See, one of the big `centerpieces` of the whole festival will be dance performed by the foreign exchange students. And the big deal about it here is that it will be performed in front of the school`s founder, Ikeda sensei. To be honest, I really didn`t want to do it, because, to be honest, it seemed kinda dumb....but people are like `but everyone`s doing it!` and `it will be so much fun`.....so I decided to give it a try and go to a rehearsal, which will take place every day twice a day--but not all practices are mandatory thank God. It was pretty cool...but it seemed more of an aerobics class than anything, but we got to see some Okinawan students do a dance, which was really interesting. Later on, after lunch, I went with Don to the Student Hall and ended up getting some nail polish, which I think I will use for the party and will hopefully lift my spirits. Anywayz, I`m headed back to my dorm to change clothes for the paati at Pari.
Yesterday, David, one of the two South African guys who came to Soka, announced that he was leaving today. Apparently, he still has too much schoolwork that he has to complete at his university. I would`ve never found out if I hadn`t gone down to the bekka (International Office). It was a shock to all of us because most of us saw Tom (the other SA guy) and David as a unit. However, I have gotten to know Tom better individually. I don`t think I said more than several words to David throughout the time he was here. Strangely enough, yesterday was the first and last conversation I will ever have with him (well, you never know though...). I know this will probably be hard on Tom, who doesn`t speak any Japanese, but there are English speakers abound and I`m sure he`ll be ok.

Right now, I am in the World Language Center, which provides media in several different languages and provides opportunities to speak in those languages, including English, French, Spanish, Russian, German, etc. It`s such a nice and spacious place, with lots of couches and TVs and has a wonderful view from the 7th floor of the Main Tower.

I just want to take the time to express my gratitude to my friends who have been there for me and have supported me. These past few days have been kinda hard for me...and thanks to them, things are not so bad. I am talking about friends near and far because even though some of you are far away...you are still there for me.

Anywayz, I must get going back to my dorm as homework awaits me. Today is Oct. 3rd....I wonder how the weather is like back in the Northeast. Here in Hachioji....the leaves are still green and these past few days have been rather warm. I think that I will defenitely miss the east coast autumns that I have always been so used to.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Sept. 17, 2002

"Still I get this feeling...When you walked into my house, that you wouldn`t be walking out the door..." -Stevie Nicks

I don`t know...this is the song lyric that has been going through my head right now. Here I am, waiting for my clothes to dry, which they seem to refuse to do. This evening, Sandra, Tsveti, Miyako (I think that`s her name), and I were talking about which bekka boys we thought were cute. Both Tsveti and Sandra seemed to think that Igor, the Russian who is in my class, is cute. He has such a mean demeanor about him that I don`t see what they see in him. However, I think that Alexei, the other Russian, is much better looking. Anyway, Igor, who is from Vladivostok, doesn`t seem like the gentlemanly or charming type. I told them who I thought is cute, but now they think I actually *like* him, which is not the case. There`s a difference sometimes between finding someone handsome and being attracted to him. The girls were like, "Why don`t you invite *him* to the restaurant tomorrow?" I am happy to say that we have finally made concrete plans with the guys--we are going to eat sushi tomorrow at a restaurant. Hopefully it`ll work out. At this point, it`s just so hard getting in touch with them right now since only a few of them have cell phones, but I was able to call Tomi to coordinate plans--and like I said--I hope things go ok. Before the sushi, I have an interview for a position at the Chit-Chat Club, an English speaking club. They say that they give priority to Americans, so hopefully they`ll like me. I have so much to do tomorrow so I have to get to sleep. The clothes that are strewn all over my room have better get dry tonight since they never dried in the dryer.
Sept. 15, 2002

Here I am in the lounge/kitchen/TV room where everybody (all the girls, that is) hangs out. I just finished writing down the cell phone numbers of the people that have them so far. I FINALLY have been able to get my address here in Japan. Today I had one of the longest walks in my life when Tsveti, Jennifer, and I WALKED all the way to downtown Hachioji. The walk took an hour each way. While it was tiring, it wasn`t too bad because I got to talk to Tsveti and Jennifer and got to know them better. Thankfully, we were able to talk in English.

Sometimes I feel really frustrated because most of the girls here know Japanese really well. Some know Japanese better than English. There are only two other girls who are worse off in Japanese than I. One is a Canadian named Annie. The other girl is JacSy (her nickname) who is from the Philippines. She hasn`t taken a single Japanese course before so she doesn`t know any Japanese. She seems like a really nice girl.

Well, tomorrow is my first day of classes. I hope that from now on, I can see the guys and the girls from the other building more often because so far, I feel so isolated from them. It`s like, I only ever see the girls in Sunflower Hall. Don`t get me wrong-they`re really nice, but I really enjoy being with the other students too--and they seem to have more fun.
Sept.12, 2002

I now own my very own pair of Japanese slippers. For those of you who don`t know--you have to take off your shoes and wear slippers when you go to most people`s homes. My dorm is no exception, so when we went shopping, the RAs told us to get a pair. At 100 yen, they were really cheap. I am VERY relieved to say that our bathrooms are western-style (the kind used in the US and most other countries). I had mentally prepared myself to use the "hole-in-the-ground" style bathrooms--but it doesn`t mean I won`t have to use them when I go to a public bathroom.
Sept. 11, 2002

Once I arrived in Tokyo, I had to wait in line for an hour at customs. So by the time I got out of customs, Brian had left in the earlier bus to Soka so I didn`t get to see him, which I am very dissapointed about. However, I got to meet some other very interesting people, notably a guy from Bolivia named Tomislav, a Japanese-Brazilian named Sandra, and two people from the Phillipines.

We had to wait two hours at the airport to wait for other students to come in and then, the actual bus ride to Hachioji was another 2.5 hours across the city of Tokyo, which we saw through the hazy, greenish-tinted windows of the bus.

The arrival to Soka was a bit overwhelming, with people constantly talking to me in Japanese that I could hardly understand in my exhausted state. Thankfully, the people at the International Office were thoughtful enought to let us call home from their office. Then, we were taken to our dorms where we were greeted by loud (in the guys case, VERY loud) applause, which was friendly of them--but embarrassing and overwhelming for me. The "staff" (Japanese equivalent of RAs) are very nice. One girl`s name is Rika, but her nickname is Hibagon. I keep thinking of a wagon when I hear that name. One thing that I think is kick-ass is that I have a single--I kept thinking that having a Japanese roomate would be good practice in speaking Japanese but I have a feeling that I will be exposed to a lot of Japanese as it is.

It has been a while since I`ve posted this log....I have been doing so many other things that I just haven`t been able to take the time to write my experiences down....let along type them in a blog. Unfortunately, some of these experiences I cannot write down due to the public nature of this blog. But anyway, I did write some stuff down during my first few days so here it goes:

Sept. 10, 2002

Brenda has FINALLY come back to Japan!!
Flight: Security check not so bad. The o nly thing that was *violated* was my purse and the Twin Towers keychain that Bill gave me was put into question. Started out the flight rather buzzed since I had an aspirin (advice given to me by parents that an aspirin should be taken on long flights) on an empty stomach. I had the incredible luck of getting all three seats to myself because the couple sitting next to me moved to the empty row in front of us. I see how it was...they don`t want to sit with a gaijin ;-) j/k
I tried to get as much sleep as possible, but it was not easy.

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