Thursday, July 10, 2003

All good things must come to an end...

Today was my last day of classes. It`s so hard to believe that it has already been 10 months since we were first grouped together, when we would barely utter a sentence to our sensei. During our last class, we all talked about our stay in Soka, about what we liked about our stay, and we remenisced. As for me, these past ten months have been filled with some bittersweet memories...but it`s the good memories that stand out now. It really has been a great year.

At 3:30, we will have our completion ceremony and afterwards a party. And then perhaps another party at Y-san`s apartment....yokatta ne!! :-D
Last night I went to see the apartment where Y-san`s friend lives. I got to meet her and take a look around. Y-san`s friend and I got to know each other and "talk business"....I can`t believe my good luck....the apartment is wonderful, and his friend, F-chan, will be leaving almost everything for me to use! The only small problem is that the washing machine is kinda broken...but I can ask the landlord to fix it, hopefully. F-chan seems to be a really nice girl. So I really, really hope it works out.....I still can`t believe it....but I think it will.
My last Chit Chat Club session...

Yesterday was my last Chit Chat Club session kara, chotto sabishi desu, so I`m a bit sad about that. But it was one of my best sessions ever. Both conversations were great. First, I asked the students if they wanted to get married and have children and all of them, without hesitation, said, "Of course". The people in the first session were all guys so I asked them if they thought a husband should help out his wife around the house, and most said yes. However, when I asked them if they would be ok with their wives having a career and the answers were mixed. Some would be totally ok with it and some said absolutely not (some said, "I would hope that she would stay at home to raise the children"). To those who said no, I asked them if they would let their wifes work if they weren`t earning enough money and most answered, "No...I would work harder." Fushigina... Can you believe it?

In the second session, which was all girls, I asked them if they would want their husbands to help them out around the house and without hesitation thye said yes. Then, I asked them if they would stop working after getting married and having kids. The answers were varied. Some said they would stop working after marriage, some said after having children, and some actually said they wanted to have a career and raise a family. Sadly enough, I asked both sessions what they wanted to do after graduation and the guys had set plans, like being a lawyer, working for a company. The girls, however, didn`t seem to have set plans (there were one or two who did, so I`m not saying that this is the case for all girls). They simply said they wanted to work and when I asked them what kind of work, they said, "I haven`t decided yet".

I also asked them if they wanted a girlfriend/boyfriend (none of them had significant others) and all the guys said yes, but some of the girls actually said no....but then I wonder if what they were trying to say is that they don`t have time for one. And when I asked them if they would be ok dating a foreigner/non-Japanese, I got mixed answers too.
These are the kinds of things I had wanted to talk about at Chit Chat Club, but when I first started working there, the questions seemed to far above their English speaking level...or they seemed hesitant to answer. It`s a shame that it was during my last session that it finally clicked, because I would have liked to ask a lot more students and get a better idea about the views of most Japanese college students.

Anywayz, after the second session, YT got everyone`s attention and announced that it was my last day working at Chit Chat. Everyone clapped and of course, I was embarrassed. They even made me do a "speech" which I did ok on, I think. Then, YT presented me with an album with the pictures of everyone at Chit Chat and a short message from each of them. It was sooo nice. I was really touched. Afterwards there was a meeting and afterwards, after almost everyone had left, KY, who used to be in the Taiko Club, did a special Taiko performance "in my honor", using a table as a drum. Everytime I see/hear a Taiko performance, I am always impressed and this time was no exception, especially from him because I know he did it from the heart. I will never forget it.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

More in the news...

When I read about the conjoined Iranian twins that died in surgery that would have separated them, it simply broke my heart. One would think that conjoined twins would be used to living attached to one another, considering that they have never known another way...but it must be a very tedious life if those Iranian twins were willing to risk their lives to become separated. Well, I believe their deaths were not in vain. Hopefully the doctors will have learned from whatever mistakes they made and in the future, this kind of surgery will be successful, so this last surgery will pave the way for similar surgeries...

I do not know if people in the US heard the news about the four-year-old Japanese boy who was found dead in Nagasaki. Well, apparently, he was out shopping with his family and he went to look at the video games section of the store they were in. It was there where he dissapeared. Apparently, a 12 year old lured him away from the store to a building 4km away and killed him there. They were able to catch the culprit because a security camera captured the both of them walking down the street. Even though this kind of thing is more common in the US, I still find it pretty disturbing. It`s a shame because one of the differences I noticed between Japan and the US is that Japanese parents are not afraid to let their kids out of their sight...they might even send their young children on errands, whereas American parents have become totally paranoid. I`m afraid that this incident will mark the "end of the innocence" for Japanese parents. They will become more like American parents in that they will be afraid to let their kids out of their sight.
Another rant...!

So I click on to Yahoo.com and I in the news section, I see "Britney Spears says she`s not a virgin" as one of the headlines. What the hell!? I cannot believe that stupid stuff like that actually makes the news. Who gives a crap if Britney Spears is a virgin or not?

So how come when I admit I`m a virgin, it doesn`t make the news? Actually...I`d rather it not (lol) ;-)
This is funny! Thanks to the person who sent this to me!

Monday, July 07, 2003

Under orders from A!....

I just want to apologize for not writing on my blog in a while. The thing is, last week was really hectic. I had to study for a Kanji test that I had on Monday and on top of that, I had to start figuring out what I`m going to do about the immediate future. That is, what I need to do to prepare for my stay in Japan. On Wednesday, I went with JS and Jessica to look at apartments. It`s a good thing that JS is also looking for a place to live and that she had already started her apartment search or I would have never started...Anywayz, we saw a few apartments on Wednesday. We fell in love with this apartment in a nice neighborhood in Kitano. It is located on top of a hill, has a nice view of Hachioji, and had TWO windows (which is rare in Japanese apartments), and new tatami...and it had a traditional paper-screen sliding door. Unfortunately, it`s rather out of the way...and the up-front payment is pretty expensive....and the contract is for one year, and unfortunately, I don`t think I will be able to honor that. Afterwards, JS introduced me to this scary real-estate agent that she met before. I mean, he wasn`t a bad person, just really intimidating. He showed me an apartment which is a lot nearer to where I live (and near to where J lives!...but that doesn`t matter, really). The good thing about it is that he`s willing to rent it to me for less than a year. All in all, it was a pretty stressful experience because I had a very hard time communicating with the real estate agents....JS, who has only studied Japanese since September, had to translate for me sometimes! I was pretty ashamed.

So anyways, I was pretty stressed about this whole apartment thing. The next day, JS sent me this really nice email, saying not to worry about it and that things will turn out ok. I was at Chit Chat Club when I received it and a few minutes later, Y-san went up to me and gave me some really good news. Apparently, there is this girl who is going to Cambodia for study abroad at the end of August and she is looking for someone to sub-let her apartment. I will hopefully be looking at the apartment on Thursday and I hope it works out because I think it would be a lot easier than renting an apartment through a real-estate agent.

In other news, the last of the three Soka students that were at UD this past year finally came back. I was walking by Gakkusei Hall with T when I heard someone say "Salem-san?" I turned around and saw that it was a guy with a red shirt and spikey hair. Like TK before him, he said, "Do you remember me?" I started at him for a moment and thought, "Could it be? Is it KM?".
So I said, "Are you....KM?" and sure enough, it was! I couldn`t believe it.....the first time I met him, he had these thick, geeky-looking glasses, pale skin, and clothes and hairstyle that can only be described as well....Japanese ;-) He totally changed! His hairstyle and clothes are different, he has a tan, and no longer wears glasses! I almost want to say he looks cute? Unfortunately, we didn`t talk for long. There was this girl with him that seemed to be in a hurry to get somewhere. I talked to TK later and apparently, she is KM`s girlfriend, who traveled all the way to UD to visit KM for New Year`s!

I saw KM again yesterday after Chit Chat. Unfortunately, I was in a hurry to get to work so I was kinda rushed. But we exchanged phone numbers and email addresses. He says he wants to get together with me and Brian to go to Hard Rock in Yokohama...how awesome would that be?? Unfortunately, Brian is leaving this Saturday so there may not be any time to do so...

4th of July

So how was everyone`s 4th of July back home? I started off in a very Japanese way when I went with T to the Takiyama Taiko debut. It was supposed to take place on Tuesday but it was cancelled because of the rain, but thankfully it was a really nice day (relatively speaking, considering that it`s tsuyu). The "debut" is when the newest members of a school club make their first appearance. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of the Taiko club (traditional Japanese percussion club) at practice and I often think that Taiko must be very theraputic, with all the banging on the drums and all that yelling that they do. However, it`s defenitely a precise art. I was very impressed with their performance...they`re awesome. I wish I could show you their performance because I cannot describe it in writing. Afterwards, there was a dance party held in honor of the Chit Chat Club and English Forumn staff since most of us will be leaving soon. I was sure that the Japanese would be too shy to dance....but when it came time for the dance, it ended up being the foreign exchange students that didn`t want to dance! Well, some of the Japanese Chit Chat Club members were a little hesitant but RN and I convinced them to go out and dance.

Afterwards, a bunch of us went to Y-san`s apartment for our "usual" Friday night get-together, except that this time, we were celebrating Y-san`s birthday, which was the previous Monday. It was a lot of fun for the most part. I spent most of my time talking to TK. RN made some very delicious gnocchi...damn, I missed it! Around 2:30, I was beginning to feel down, but I realized that it was probably because I was very tired so I realized that it was time for me to go home, since I had to get up 4 hours later to get ready to go to work...!!

Yeah, it was a bummer that I had to go to work so early...but I was able to leave at 1pm and therefore participate in a Soka foreign exchange student activity that I thought I wasn`t going to be able to participate in. And I`m so glad I was able to because it ended up being so much fun. Nine traditional Japanese art/craft/cultural clubs came to bekka and the foreign exchange students were able to pick a club to spend an afternoon with and afterwards, perform in front of everyone at bekka. I wanted to participate in the Koto Club but T convinced me to participate in Taiko with her, which I`m glad I did because it ended up being a lot of fun, even though I couldn`t drum worth a damn (ok, maybe not that bad....but the performance later was bad). We made friends with some of the guys in the club, one of them who had come to my table at Chit Chat Club. Another person I saw, that I had come two times to my table at Chit Chat was A-kun, who belongs to the "Mission Hands" club. I had thought that the "Mission Hands" club was some sort of charity club, but it ends ups that it is a Japanese sign language club!! When they performed, they had the participants get into pairs and have a basic conversation in sign language. Sign language is something that has caught my interest recently, especially after a deaf person came to talk to my Court Interpretation class last year. Do you know that Japanese sign language is not based on spoken Japanese, and is in fact a totally separate language, with it`s own grammar. Also, sign language used in Britain and in the US are different from each other! Ok, I am digressing....Anywayz, the Koto Club, the Tea Ceremony Club (a bit boring I must say), the Traditional Dance Club, the Okinawan Dance Club, the Judo Club, and the Kendo Club (I finally got to see the full kendo regalia...it looks like a fencing club, but more Japanese)....and last but not least, the Taiko Club. After our paltry performance, the actual members of Taiko performed for us....they were simply amazing....they put so much passion into it! After the performance, I saw that some of them had huge bleeding blisters on their hands...that`s devotion.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?