Japan Day 3: Class and a Day at the Park. A Travel Log

Today was the first day of classes. Bright and early at 8am. Keeping with my usual way of doing things, I got myself ready and only had time to chug a glass of orange juice before class started. There are three other people in my class and none of them were staying in the residence. Apparently, there was only one spot open, and I’m in it. Weird. I thought there was an actual residence. That explains why my accommodations are the way they are, though.

Squeezing in some reading before class.
Squeezing in some reading before class.

The teacher for today, the co-teacher besides L, had us start with a warm up exercise where we wrote words or drew pictures that had something to do with facts about us and then the rest of the class had to guess what that fact was. Super fun and a tiny bit awkward, as all icebreakers are. From this exercise, he had us assign each other nicknames, which works well for this blog. My classmates are nicknamed Kami, Little Brother, and Mr. Young. The teacher’s name is Dawg (because his clue “dog” is the only one we couldn’t get for the life of us). My name is Curry, because it’s one of the few meals I can cook confidently.

The living room is all ready for learning.
The living room is all ready for learning.

My classmates are cool people. Little Brother and Kami are American, but Kami has been going to a Japanese university for the last two-and-a-half years and Little Brother has been traveling through South Asia for the last few months. Mr. Young is originally from Ghana, but he has been living in Japan for six years. Everyone has such interesting backgrounds.

Better ready to face the cold to get lunch. I love my little blue hat.
Better ready to face the cold to get lunch. I love my little blue hat.

At lunch we went to the convenient store. The highlight of my day: I bought a bento all by myself, using Japanese, and it went smoothly! I’ve never been in a store without R, who speaks Japanese and translates for me when the cashiers start asking me things that I don’t understand. (I still don’t understand, really, but I know what they ask and how to respond.)

Mizumoto Park
Mizumoto Park

Class ended at 3pm. After only one day of class, I already have so much homework. We need to prepare six core phrases using 9 different sets of vocabulary, because on Wednesday, we are going to Wayo Womens University to teach a class. Also, I need to find a one-on-one partner to tutor for two sessions, outside of class. I need to find someone myself. Kami has offered to find people for us, since she has a lot of Japanese friends (obviously). Thank you, Kami!

R thinks these trees are some kind of sycamore.
R thinks these trees are some kind of sycamore.

After class, I worked on my lesson for a while. When R got home, we went biking around Mizumoto Park. Very beautiful place. Apparently, in the spring, when the cherry blossoms (sakura) are in bloom, there are cherry blossom festivals at that park. I’m at least a month too early for that. The cherry trees are quite stick-like in February. We biked around the neighborhood for a while more. It was fun, but man, I’m out of shape. My thighs were burning quite a bit. Before coming to Japan, I don’t think I’ve ridden a bicycle for two years at the very least.IMG_1743

We went to a grocery store and bought food for dinner. I bought a tea that R hates but he said one of his friends love. It tastes like wheat. I don’t think I’ll be getting it again. I bought more milk tea and a pack of the Japanese equivalent to pork buns on the way home.

The bike I've been riding places. And my little patchwork purse.
The bike I’ve been riding places. And my little patchwork purse.

After dinner, I took a bath. This bath went more smoothly than the first one. It was much more pleasant. A day of new discoveries and being a little less confused. This time, I knew how to start and drain the bath, how to prop up the bath covering so that it dries out, and I figured out that if you sit on the little showering stool instead of standing, you stay warm (why? I don’t know). Win for me.

The Koaidame River that runs through the park.
The Koaidame River that runs through the park.

I took my milk tea to my room to work on my homework, feeling very much like an anime character. My homework took me hours, which is also very anime-like. It was the first assignment of the class, though, and the first assignment never goes very smoothly for me. Once I get into the groove, things speed up and simplify.

The parking lot for one of the grocery stores.
The parking lot for one of the grocery stores.

I set up a new Paypal account (so I can pay the remaining balance on my class) and I paid off my credit card bill. I had planned to use my credit card instead of my debit card while in Japan because credit is more secure against fraud, supposedly. I was concerned about spending too much and forgetting to pay it, but really, I’ve been paying cash for everything. I withdrew some money, and I think that’s how I’ll keep doing it. Japan really is a cash-based society. I feel like if I tried to pay for my groceries by credit card instead of cash, I would hold up the line.


A/N: Now that class has started, I fear my posts aren’t going to be so interesting, since I won’t be going to wonderful touristy places every day. Then again, I enjoy reading about people’s everyday experiences more than their trips to Kyoto and such so maybe you will enjoy mine. I plan to take trips every weekend, though. One of my goals for Japan is to take the Shinkansen (the bullet train) somewhere. I’m not sure where, yet. Maybe Kyoto or Osaka. Maybe both.

 

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