Thousands of Miles from Home


City Days

Yesterday I took a trip to Okayama by bus to meet the other rotary exchange students (inbound and last year's outbound) for the day. Shoko had left for Kobe to help Miyu shop for an apartment, Masatoshi went to takamatsu for a rotary meeting and lecture on internal medecine, and shun left for school earlier that morning. So I was home alone, but I had a pretty good idea of how to get where I needed to go. To get to Okayama I was to take the 9:39 bus that stops near our house, but at about 9:25 a heavy rain started so although later in the day it cleared up and got quite hot i was left carrying an umbrella.

I had a bus pass so riding to the city was easy, taking about an hour. While waiting for the bus I had a short conversation with a man about the rain and other weather related conditions, and felt confident in my small-talk abilities. When I arrived in Okayama I met Keiko at the nearby fountain, our designated meeting place. Keiko went to Dallas, Texas last year and said she had a great time. In a few minutes we were joined by Janna, the inbound from Virginia, Cari, from Canada, Asuka, who went to Ohio, and Kayo, who went to Canada.

We started by shopping in the nearby massive underground complex under the bus station. It was the same place I had come with Shun before, so I sort of knew my way around. I wanted to buy a light jacket and got a great deal on one and found a patch that says "too fast to be a turtle" at a store called StarVations (i thought it was a funny name). I also went to the gap and bought a pair of pants. Janna bought some cds at Tower records and I listened to some japanese Ska. The cds here are very expensive, however, around $20-30 a pop. Some you can find for a little cheaper.

For lunch we stopped in a restaurant that had many omlets on display. There wasn't a table big enough for the six of us, so we split us and I sat with Kayo and Asuka. As soon as we sat down they said that the guy at the next table was looking at them weird and I was surprised to see my friend from school and his girlfriend at the table next to us. Pretty crazy considering the few kids that I know at school. I also saw two girls later in the day who I didn't know but they apparently knew my name. At the restaurant I ordered a type of rice with meat sauce, sort of spaghetti with rice and no noodles. The restaurant was famous for it's parfaits, and at the table behind us some girls ordered a huge parfait with banannas and kiwi and ice cream and sparklers. I was content with a corn flake and ice cream parfait with Janna. I talked with Kayo and Asuka about their exchanged and they tought me some colloquial japanese.

After lunch we went to a pikura (japanese picture booths), which are very popular in japan. For a few hundred yen you get a page of sticker photos of yourself that you decorate at a nearby computer with crazy hearts and stars and random japanese. It's way more fun than a regular picture booth. So we took about a billion crazy photos and had an awesome time.
After the picture booth we went back to shopping. I bought some art supplies for art class and a pencil case, as well as a snazzy cd case. Around 6 i rode the bus back to tamano, feeling a little sleepy but happy. Shun and I were home alone so he ordered some chinese food (yep, just like america except better tasting) and we watched Hero on DVD.

This morning Masatoshi came home and took me to a few electronics stores to buy small speakers and some cd-r's. We also went to a book shop where i bought moby dick because it was pretty inexpensive. Tamano has a library and I'd like to check that out soon. I'm doing a lot of reading and maybe I can get through those classics I've never read but should have in high school. Masatoshi ordered some ramen for dinner and japanese pizza, which is still nothing like american pizza but i like it.


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