Thousands of Miles from Home


Keep Yourself Busy

What a day. There was no school for me because 3rd year students were taking tests so all my 3rd year classes were cancelled. However, today was my first class at the Okayama Institute of Languages in Okayama city. I got to sleep in, then took the 10:09 bus with Shoko to Okayama because she needed to buy a few items "in town." For lunch she surprised me with reservations at Umeno Hana which means "cherry blossom," a fancy restaurant 21st floor of the Credo building in Okayama. She told me that it is her mother's favorite restaurant, and specializes in tofu dishes. The restaurant could be easily described as beautiful, with private tatami tea rooms overlooking the bulk of Okayama city, Asahi river, and surrounding mountains. The food was also outstanding, with tofu incorporated into every dish. I am not a very adimate tofu eater, but this would convert even the most staunch gastronome. About five courses were served, including a tofu salad, tofu and salmon, tofu soup, fried rice tofu, and other dishes which I could not define. The meal finished with some tea and mango sorbet.

After lunch we had a few minutes before my language class started, but as we went up the escalator one of Shoko's friends spotted us so we talked for a while then went to a nearby coffee shop. They would not accept that I was full so Shoko and I split a piece of rasberry cake. We chatted for a bit then I left for my lesson.

The Okayama Institute of Languages is located close to the bus station and as it's name suggests provides instruction in various languages including japanese. When I entered the building I was greeted by a crowd of japanese students and the secretary directed me to one of the couches in the room where Cori, the exchange student from Canada, was sitting with who was to become our japanese teacher. Janna, the exchange student from Virginia showed up with her host councellor and the three of us went with Kimura sensei to another building. We got our own personal classroom and for the next few hours introducted ourselves to our new teacher and started with some basic japanese lessons. I had already become familiar with some of the basic concepts of japanese, as well as hiragana and katakana, so I got a good chance to test my "skillz." We were also provided with many textbooks which look like they will be very helpful in learning japanese. Our teacher is also very nice so I will look forward to the weekly classes.

After the lesson Janna's councellor invited the three of us to another welcome party October 16th in Tsuyama. Tomorrow I am also going to some sort of welcome party so the parties abound in japan. After the councellor left I talked with Cori and Janna about school and we all seem to be having a good time and also agreed that Rotary takes excellent care of us both physically and financially.

Janna mentioned her lack of access to new music in Japan and I agreed, but she also has an iPod so she gave hers to me so we could swap some songs. She had also heard of the weakerthans and the postal service which I suppose isn't surprising because everyone seems to like them now. But it is good to get a new influx of music into my collection because listen to it everyday on the way to school.

I took the 5:08 bus home to Tamano (which should really be described in more detail because the sky was a deep pink with a good evening song playing in the background among sea, clouds, and mountains), and had just enough time to eat before it was off the Kyudo practice with Shoko, Yamashita-san, and Andee. We got to shoot again at real targets again, and Andee and I both cut our hands in the exact same place. Now I am very tired but get to sleep in again tomorrow because I don't have to go to school until 3rd period.

Also if you find my (a) grammar or (b) spelling to be poor you are both observant and correct, but I feel no impulse to respond to either of these problems :D


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