Thousands of Miles from Home


To Oz

Today the international course students at school took a trip to Okayama to meet with college students and other foreigners who live in the area. We left school around 11:30 without any teachers for the train station on foot, and took the 11:50 train to Okayama. It was my first time taking the train and there were a few changes but the other students looked after Andee and I(except one stop where everyone got off the train and Andee and I didn't notice so we rushed off the train only to realize we were on the right train and everybody got back on)

In Okayama we had a little time before we had to be at the Kokusai Koryuu Sentaa so Andee and I walked around to some bakeries and shops inspecting (and tasting) their wares. This day also marked my first time in Macdonaldo, japan's macdonalds, and as far as I could tell everything was the same except a little more expensive and smaller portions. Andee bought a chicken sandwich but I passed. At the Sentaa (I'm not sure if this was supposed to be center, my information sheet had the former) we went to the 8th floor and ate lunch while 14 people from various countries conversed among themselves on the other side of the large lecture hall. After lunch, and being at a slight advantage over the other students who could not speak english, I wandered over to meet the people the students would be interviewing for the day. I met Eric Heien, who graduated from Berkeley in computer science but now teaches languages in Okayama with computer consulting on the side. We ended up talking for a long time so I didn't get to meet many more people until the interview began.

After all the students had eaten lunch, they assembeled in small groups to meet with one of the guest speakers. In my group was Rosi from Indonesia, who is studying chemistry in okayama. The students asked her questions and I translated when their english failed using my poor japanese and useful electronic dictionary. I also learned a lot about Indonesia (which isn't saying much because I knew very little before today). Around 4 o' clock the day ended and the students were allowed to return home. Of course, many students stayed in Okayama to shop.

Andee and I walked from the Okayama train terminal and bus station to Tenmaya square, about 1.4 Km away, to look at some shops including a very large book and department store. I have found that english books are expensive, but there are usually sales that can be found. And considering the amount of money I save with not buying food everyday, and the allowance from Rotary, I don't feel bad dropping thousands of yen (tens of dollars).

We shopped for a few hours, ate a little bit, then dragged outselves back to the train station around dark. Shopping is quite fun because of all the surprises that can be found. From engrish to interesting clothing to cute stuffed toys, I think anyone can be entertained with a day out. Amazingly, among all the people in Okayama, I saw Yuudai and two of his friends on the same train home to Tamano. Later they were joined by some girls from school. So the eight of us went back to Tamano, where Andee and I left together to go back to the school to get our bikes. Japan by night is not only very peaceful, but I also feel very safe. On the way back to school we met one of the english teachers, so had a brief conversation about the day.

Andee and I then rode home on our bikes, where we were rather tired and hungry but satisfied with the day. I would like to say the weekend will be relaxing but I know there will be a lot to do. A lunch party tomorrow and then kyudo in the evening. On tuesday Thomas Conroy comes from Australia.

A few more:

Hey Ho, Let's Go

Wataru on guitar


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