Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Well, since last time I updated, quite a bit happened. I had a school "Culture Festival", I had my first exchange orientation, went to a moon festival in my city, went karaoke-ing again, went sailing, and went driving with my host father. My school culture festival was unlike anything I had ever seen in America. Every single room was decorated with a different theme and had games or a store in it. The main halls of the school had huge balloon decorations and other random hanging things. There was DDR (I saw some crazy good people playing) and a few school bands playing (some of them were really good for school bands) and lots of other random things that have nothing to do with culture. The fair was for 2 days, but I had to leave halfway through the second day to go to my orientation. The only information I had as to where it was was my host father saying "Bayside Place, Paper building, 2nd floor". This didn't help at all. I managed to get to Bayside Place in time for the orientation, but I couldn't find a paper building at all. I looked for an hour and, right as I was about to give up and go home, I found a printing company...I had no idea thats what my host father meant by "paper building". So I was an hour late for my orientation. When I got there I saw only 1 other exchange student from my school (the other 3 were through different organizations) and 6 other people I didn't know. After a while I learned that 1 was from Thailand, 1 from America (Ohio), 1 from Austria, and 3 from Australia. The 3 from Australia came in January, so they already know a lot of Japanese, but the other 5 of us weren't very good. After the orientation, we went to a moon festival. It wasn't night, but there was still a moon festival. We walked around and there were a ton of tiny portable stands for stores and food. At the end of the road there was a temple and we went inside. After that, we went to go do karaoke. We did 2 hours and the room we were in was huge. It was 504 yen per person (about 5 dollars), which is really good for 2 hours at night. Sailing again was pretty much the same as last time, but this time I got to steer and we did a race within my host fathers sailing club. Me and my host father got 2nd place out of 6, which is really good considering that it was only my second time sailing. Then the next day (Monday was a national holiday, respect the elderly day or something) he took me driving to another prefecture (they're like states, but smaller). When we got to our final destination, we went to some kind of spring and filled up water bottles. Thats it...we just drove about an hour and a half to fill up water bottles. After filling the bottles, we went to a ramen shop and ate delicious ramen and chinese dumplings. Well, thats all the interesting stuff I've done since last time. Hopefully find a way to upload pictures soon, bye.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Sorry I haven't updated in a while, I've just been super busy. I've been staying at school till 7-8 at night getting ready for a school fair. Since my last post I went sailing with my host father, went to another baseball game with him, bought a guitar, bought a cable for my camera, and got settled into school. Sailing was fun for the first hour, then it just got long and tedious. The thing we sailed on was so small I wouldn't even call it a boat. It was about the size of a table for 6 people. During the second baseball game, I took more pictures, but we also lost. I bought a white Les Paul knockoff guitar. The brand is Photo Genic and I will have a picture of it up when I figure out how to get photos on here. I bought a cable for my camera so I could put pictures on here, but I still don't know how to get them on the blog. School is pretty nice now. It starts at 8:50 and ends at 3:30, so its less school than I thought it would be. We also only go to school for 5 days a week, which is surprising for Japanese school. I'm taking about 12 classes, but I don't think they have the same credit system as us. I think they just automatically pass and they have to get really good on their college entrance exams, so they study hard. People here sleep in class a lot more. I think there have been at least 2 people sleeping in every class that I've had. I've even slept during some classes. That's about it for interesting stuff I've done since last time, so I'll try to update this more often.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Hello everybody. I've been in Japan for a week now and I'm settling in now. So far I've done many interesting things and made lots of friends already. So far I've been to many landmark places in Fukuoka such as Fukuoka Tower, Canal City, Hakata Station, Ohori Park, Fukuoka Dome, and Tenjin. Fukuoka Tower is a seaside tower that is 123 meters to the highest floor and has views of the whole city. Canal City is a gigantic mall (7 stories and about twice the base size as Ala Moana) that has a canal running through the middle of it and has fountain shows every hour. Hakata Station is the Grand Central Station of Fukuoka. It has many shops and restaurants underground and has lots of trains, subways, and busses. Ohori Park is the Central Park of Fukuoka. It is mostly a pond with a long island in the middle and a bike and running path around and through the middle of it. There is also a museum and Fukuoka Castle in Ohori. Fukuoka Dome is where the professional baseball team of Fukuoka (Softbank Hawks) play. I live right next to it and have been to one game so far (it was a tie against the #1 ranked team in the country). Tenjin is the shopping district of Fukuoka. There are 3 malls there that are all bigger than Canal City and lots of expensive stores. Thats where I bought my school uniform. My house is in the middle of the city and my family is comprised of my host mother, my host father, and my host sister. I think my host father is a lawyer and if I told you what my mother is I would have to kill you (just kidding). My host sister is a college student and she just went to Korea today (I have no idea how long she's gone for). They all speak English decently, so I'm not starving to death. I have a pretty decent sized room and it has a piano, electronic drum set, and a very uncomfortable futon. My school is quite large with 4 stories and 1,200 students. There are 4 other exchange students this year; 2 from Germany, 1 from Sweden, and 1 from Finland. They all speak English fluently as well. The 5 of us have our own lounge room in the school where we take Japanese class and have a computer with internet and can pretty much do anything in there. The school is pretty loose with rules, especially for being a Christian private school. We have chapel and bible study twice a week and go to school for 5 days a week from 8:50 until 3:30 (that's extremely short for Japanese school). I am in 2nd grade of High School, which is the equivalent to 11th grade. The school year here started in April, so I skipped half a grade (yay me) and will be here for the whole of their long break. Today after school me and the other exchange students went to a karaoke place. The karaoke places here are different than in America. You go to the desk and you get your own private room with your group for an hour or two. I also have a new favorite food, udon noodles. I have taken pictures of most of those places and things and I will upload them as soon as I can get to an electronics store and buy a cable for my camera. I will try to update this blog every day with pictures and what I did.