Thousands of Miles from Home


For Lack of a Better Name

This week was chock full o' nuts. Enough so that I couldn't find the time to post an entry for a few days. However, I did resort to scribbling incomprehensible notes into a journal so here's the best stab at putting them into some sort of logical order. Although I'm here to learn japanese, take in the culture, and be laughed at from time to time, japanese TV is certainly worth watching, mostly for it's comedic value. I usually sit with Shun and Shoko so they can explain what I can't understand by general deduction and cursory knowledge of japanese. So far I have two favorite programs aside from the daily news in the morning which has it's own array of wacky humor (I may have mentioned this before but one morning on the news a woman was run over by a bakery truck in Kobe and the news station make an elderly-woman-being-hit-by-a-truck scenatio with 3D animation which left me half chuckling/sick to my stomach).

But regardless one of my favorite shows is called "Toribia no Izumi" (Well of Trivia) and involves two hosts and a panel of famous japanese actors, singers, magicians, etc. The hosts present the panel with useless but interesting knowldge (the more hilarious the better; examples "until 1995 Japan's Meteorological Agency measured the intensity of earthquakes on how strong its staff members felt they were," "spiders can't create webs properly if they drink coffee", or "there is a bronze statue of a group of 1980s heartthrobs on an uninhabited island in Okinawa"). The panel then responds to the level of humor or shock by pressing a button in front of them which makes a very nasal "hee" sound. The hosts talk some more and ask questions to the panel, then all of the "hee"s are tabulated to give an overall rating of humor. I hear that the ratings on this show surpassed the very popular "SMAP X SMAP" (which i have not had the pleasure of viewing yet) The show I watched the other night was also a riot. I was not sure of the name, but yet again it featured a panel of famous japanese people. Their challenge was to perform various traditional japanese activities ranging from giving and receiving gifts to viewing a dead body. A panel of apparently knowledgable japanese would rate each of the contestants on form and execution to the amusement of everyone watching at home. It was reassuring to know that most of the contestants didn't know much more than I did when it came to most of the "traditional" japanese activities. One particularly hilarious part of the program came when the contestants watched a video of a boss offering to pay for his staff's lunches. Something was done incorrectly on the video and the contestants had to come up to a giant head of a cat with a camera inside, stick their own head into it's mouth, and whisper their answer. But enough about TV. Yesterday at school all of my classes ended 10 minutes early for a "special presentation" to the school after lunch. At the appropriate time the whole school filed into the gym where a man was waiting with a powerpoint presentation. After deciphering the first line of text I discerned that he was from the Okayama Women's Studies Institute to give us a little talk about the "birds and the bees." His whole presentation ended up being about STDs, prophylactics, and general sex ed. I thought it was very informative, even in japanese. The kids also didn't laugh very much throughout the whole presentation which was impressive.

On Friday after school Sakaguchi-sensei came to Kendo practice (which is very uncommon because he is very busy with school meetings and had not been to practice in a few weeks). I had been practicing everyday, however, and he said my improvement was "astonishing." He had Asama, the captain, dress in the Kendo armor and I got to take some swings at him. This was the first time I had hit anything with the sword and it was amazing. You make this growl/yell sound before you swing, and when you hit your opponent you yell "men!" or "do!" depending on where your strike lands. This is especially awesome because I am not a very agressive person and hitting people with sticks feels really good. I can't wait to put the armor on myself and go at it for real.

Last night I went to eat dinner with Andee's host family. There are five people, but the oldest host daughter, "Keiko," is in America. His host family is very nice, and we had a delicious dinner of tempura and teriyaki. Andee's other host sister goes to college in Okayama and loves the Strokes. She speaks english well so we had a talk about college in japan among other things. Then I had a really long japanese conversation with Andee's family about america and japan. After dinner (around 11 PM) Andee and I took advantage of the safety of japan to take a bikeride to the beach (about 20 mins away). We stayed till about 12:30 taking some photos and admiring the night sea. Wonderful.

There is a whole lot more that happened this week but I want to post this before it gets too long. More to come soon...


  • Would Shoko ever watch those TV shows if you weren't in the house? Plus, you can never get too much of that sex ed.

    By mom, at 8:22 PM  

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