Friday, October 22, 2010

Journey to big waters (aka: the beach)

My host dad works part time as a kayak tour person (at least that’s what I think he said) but he’s pretty famous for what he does. He’s in a lot of kayaking/camping magazines and stuff like that. He doesn’t work a lot during the fall/winter seasons though, it’s mostly during the summer (he actually spends the WHOLE summer at the beach kayaking sometimes). Since me and Vicky had been dropping a lot of hints (well maybe we weren’t all that subtle…), he decided to take us with him on one of his excursions J We woke up early one morning and basically started driving. When my Otosan (host dad) was younger, he used to live in Okinawa so he has a lot of Okinawan CDs (which we listened to the whole drive up). Some songs are really catchy, some are funny, and some have ear bleeding qualities about them. Like in one song these ladies with really really (realllyyyyy) high nasally voices keep repeating “Iya…SASASASASASA” and just when you think it’s finally over, again, “Iya…SASASASASASA”. My favorite song is the one about goats though. Yes, goats. Supposedly Okinawa is known for its many goats (?) so there’s a song where this shady guy says “Okinawa dokodemo hija ‘MEMMEMEM’’. It literally means “Okinawa anywhere goats ‘MEMEMEMEM’” The “mem” part is the guy trying to sound like a goat. And then there’s a crazy guy in the back screaming “Memmemme!” in a high pitched raspy voice. The first time I heard it, honestly I was frightened. But now that I have gotten used to it I enjoy listening/singing along. I do quite a good “MEMMEMMEM” if I do say so myself.

The beach itself was really pretty. It felt like we were on a tropical island :O While Otosan was working, me and Vicky walked around the neighborhood. We found a little island with a lot of houses, an abandoned haunted looking building, this crazy Egyptian guy, and a temple. Japan surprises you sometimes like that. On the island with a lot of houses Vicky had to go to the bathroom so we went looking for one. However, all we found was a bunch of narrow streets and alleyways. When we got to the Ojisan (old man) we asked him where a public bathroom was and he chuckled and said there wasn’t any on the island, just houses. But he kindly let Vicky use his bathroom J When he opened the front door to his house his wife looked at us like “What the heck are these foreigners doing in my house?” but then she warmed up to us xD When Vicky was finished we went looking some more around the neighborhood and found this cat lady. But all her cats were sneezing for some reason…Then we found this guy dressed in all black and he started whispering something to us. We decided something wasn’t right on this island and before the townspeople could offer us as sacrifices at the temple we decided to go back to the mainland. Where we preceded to make a sand castle J

Overall it was a pretty fun day, and all the scenery was like out of a Hayao Miyazaki movie. That’s something I’ve noticed about Japan though. I used to think that the scenes in Manga and Anime were just imagination, but it’s really just the real Japan. Aside from the fantasy manga, the scenery and different places in Japan aren’t glamorized or made into something else; for the most part they’re copied down exactly how they are.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nara with the deer~

Me and Vicky took a train to see the deer in Nara! It was a lot of fun!! And I found my favorite matcha ice cream too ^o^ The deer were really kawaii (cute) but they were very forceful…and I bought some of the sanbei to feed the deer with. They nudge you a lot and there was this one deer that seemed like a demon deer with its cut off horns and gray fur. We pet the deer for a while and then we walked around the shopping district and I bought souvenirs for people in America.

Baseball Game

A few weeks back my Okaasan took me, Vicky, and my little host brother to a baseball game. Since this was on my list of stuff I wanted to do I was really excited :D My okaasan made a big lunch of rice balls and sandwiches and we set out. My Otosan drove us to the Osaka dome (another thing of my list J ) and dropped us off. It was a really exciting atmosphere! It was pretty much like a baseball game in America, but there was actually less technology when it came to the tickets. I think that’s because this wasn’t a major league game though, just a small league. We came into a big room and gave a person our tickets (and we got a discount because of my little brother’s school ^^) and they gave us free T-shirts. Tada suki (I like free)!! \(^0^)/ When we got into the arena it was a lot bigger than I thought it would be! And it seemed to perfect, like a hologram or something. I found the cheering very interesting though. It wasn’t like America where people just yell and shout out random things; people knew exactly what to chant/yell. It was very orderly and they switched between fans. Like our team sung/chanted/did a specific song, then the other team did the same. It reminded me of my high school football teams and how the bands play. Oh and something else that I found quite interesting was that there were a lot of foreigners on the baseball team. Like there were 3 whites guys, One Hispanic, and one Indian guy. Whenever the white guys went they played rock music, Hispanic guy: samba, Indian guy: music from the movie soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire xDD Towards the end, we blew up these balloons (that looked oddly familiar to something I learned about in health class…) and we let them go all together. It was really pretty, I wish I could have gotten a video :O Otosan said he didn’t feel like picking us up (gotta love Otosan haha xD) so we took the train home. Overall it was a good day ^^

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Birthday :)

Well, my birthday is September 23rd, and it was on a Wednesday, but we didn’t celebrate it until Friday. The day of my birthday was actually kind of sad. My Otosan (father)’s Obaachan (grandma) died on the day of my birthday (depressing….) so my host parents had to drive far away to get to her funeral. When I came downstairs my Otosan was playing on his guitar in the dark and singing a really sad Japanese song… My okaasan (mother) was ok though. She kept apologizing at the fact that they couldn’t celebrate my birthday. What the heck???? I’m not a monster!!!! His grandma DIED!! Of course I understood!!!! She made me feel bad. But it was ok. Anyways, they put me and Vicky (did I mention that me and Vicky live in the same house? It’s a long story) in charge of my little brother and the dog Reita (yeah, she said dog too xD) and said we could use the internet in my Otosan’s office. It was funny though because when I came home from school I found this huge pile of junk food (instant ramen, melon bread, candy, etc) on the dining room table table and I was like “eh…is someone robbing our pantry?” and then I found a note from my Okaasan that said “Dinner is on the table” Hahaha I love my Okaasan. And she knows how much I love budou (grapes) so even though they are takai (expensive), she bought some and they were on the table too. Along with a note that said “Here is budou for Jojo~ Hugs and kisses, okaasan”. So nice!!! (>_<) That day my little host brother was going to a friend's house so me and Vicky went to Karaoke with my three good friends Misato, Shota, and Chibi (Mai), along with Shota’s friends and some other exchangers. It was a lot of fun and I got a really cute gift from Chibi (^0^) and Shota gave me a dragon ball. Yeah, don’t really know how to explain that. Then me and Vicky came home and had budou and instant ramen for dinner. Not very healthy but it tasted good xD And then we went out again with my yankii host sister and her boyfriend to sushi :D My birthday was kind of sad though. I really missed my family and friends back home :( Ok now for Friday. This was definitely one of the best birthday celebrations I have ever had. It was just…perfect. Okaasan made all of my favorite Japanese food (including Karaage [Japanese/Chinese style fried chicken] and dumplings). I think the best part was my cake though. She spelled name with budou on the top. Best. Cake. Ever. xD Now onto my Otosan. Even though Okaasan and Vicky are always saying how much he likes me (because I make him laugh a lot, something he rarely does), he never shows it much because that’s how Japanese dudes are. But his present to me was my name in Kanji. It’s a really beautiful kanji that literally means, “beautiful, pretty, lady” and basically a bunch of other pretty things. My okaasan said it took him a long time to figure out the name. So my Japanese name is: Jojo Yoshikawa (the last name is my host family’s name). I was so touched!!!! I actually almost cried. I really feel apart of the family!!! I think this was one of my happiest moments here. I feel so grateful to have such a great host family.