Wednesday, May 12, 2010

This blog post almost cost my computer its life!

The problem with blogging is that it involves all this time. Something better comes up and you tell yourself you’ll make-up for it tomorrow. And so instead of blogging you end up at Japanese reggae festivals and at all-you-can-drink karaoke. The problem then becomes remembering all the riveting details and in what order it happened. This is followed by the task that is trying to organize it into something comprehendible and entertaining for those currently less fortunate than you (aka at home working).

This time a round, we are going to re-visit the past five days through photos AND if we’re lucky I will get some video uploaded too! So lets begin…

Alrighty, up first we have some candids from Orientation on Saturday May 8th. Our Japanese guides Kazuma, Yuta and Takehiro who are all students here at Senshu University, took us on a campus tour and for lunch down by the station (Mukogaoka-Yuen Station). On the way home we stumbled across a Russo-Japanese War Cemetery - always ideal for Asian tourist photos - so of course I indulged!

Finally, upon dorm return, Roman and I thought it best to teach everyone the song we wrote in Japanese last year, "Ichi, Ni, San, Shi, Nihongo wa Tanoshi". Roughly translating into "One, Two, Three, Four, Japanese is Fun". It was definitely a big hit! The complicated lyrics ("I eat sushi, I drink sake, I have fun everyday, I am ok") really showcased our Japanese skills. I'm sure we'll go down as the most Japanese challenge yet musically inclined group to ever grace the International Dormitory - or not.

Next up we have some photos from the Reggae Festival at Yoyogi Park near Harajuku Station.

A friend I met through Levi up in Niseko back in 2008, Tat, is in Tokyo for a few weeks just hanging out with some friends before he goes to Hawaii. Tat is Nihonjin (Japanese) with the exception of his perfectly Australian accent developed through years of Aussie grooming up in Niseko. I'm sure I'll get some sort of shit from him for publicly alerting everyone to his Australian status.

The Reggae Festival was awesome! I was super excited to see Tat and loved the huge atmosphere at the festival. Sunday, a friend from class, Jess, and I went to Roppongi for the day to hang out at the German Wine & Beer Festival with some of her friends here in Tokyo (Jess did a working holiday in Japan a few years ago too). The wandered around the Midtown Tokyo Park while we waited for her friends to arrive and took a few blog-worthy photos... We went back to Yoyogi in the afternoon for day 2 of the festival. Tat and a bunch of his friends were already there, so we grabbed a beer or five and joined in! Weekend one - complete!

The past 3 days have been mostly dedicated to Japanese class. Monday morning we wrote a 3 and ½ hour placement test, which included writing, listening and interview portions. Extra scary! My level placement is J2B, which I guess is technically the 3rd level. Computer orientation, opening ceremony, tea party and after party – in that order – followed the test and “kicked-off” our official stint as spring semester students! The picture below is of me and my conversation partner, Masumi. We have been e-mailing during the month leading up to our trip. Oh, and I almost forgot the break-dance bro off in the TV room, see video below!

In an attempt to find sushi, we spent an hour wandering around lost, even with a local student. So to celebrate our incompetence and defeat we found a restaurant/bar/karaoke establishment and proceeded to eat, drink and slaughter every Celine Dion, Queen and Taylor Swift song know to man in an inspiringly intoxicated state. This occasion merits a video of course! Roman lost his shoes (and got a ride home from Jess - as seen below), the Spaniard lost his voice, and we all lost a little dignity singing to Miley Cyrus' "Its the Climb".

Tuesday was the official first day of classes, actually it was a day of all sorts of first – the first time I realized I actually can NOT communicate in Japanese, the first time it became known to me that despite my obvious talent in Japanese calligraphy, I probably won’t be making a career out of it, and the first time I have gone to bed at 9pm in about 10 years. I’ll be sure to document any other firsts that occur in the near future!

Today – more school, more rice, and more orientation. I’m starting to wonder if there are any more things for which I require orientation in my life – these school officials may be on to something. (a side note to Suze; maybe you just need a little orientation in your life?) So post-orientation sentiments – I am feeling very orientated – particularly regarding my homestay family! To weekends from now we all get to “live” with a Japanese family in Tokyo. I am being dead serious when I say I won the homestay family jackpot!

Family of 4: the father enjoys “skysports” and snowboarding, Mom is an “English teacher for kids” whose interests include skiing, swimming and tennis, and their two girls (4 & 6 years old) are both in kindergarten and like to dance, paint, play with dolls, and play the keyboard. Did I mention they have a goldfish? Life is sunshine, rainbows and lollipops in homestay land!

Anyways, I am feeling slight animosity towards my computer right now and my laptop is not going to survive any sort of hostility after falling off my top bunk on the first night! Goodbye!

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