This week has felt very abridged since Tuesday was a national holiday. Therefore, Monday felt like Friday, and Wednesday felt like Monday, and it doesn’t quite seem like it should be Friday yet. I had two classes on Monday. Since it’s the last week of classes, we’re really doing nothing but playing review games. I played battle ship in first grade. I totally could have won against my partner, but I didn’t. I let the kid win. He was holding his paper so low that I could see exactly where his battle ships were. In second grade, I played a review game that Mr. Fujiwara made up. It was like a board game, and each space said things like “Name the days of the week,” “Make a sentence with ‘Are you ______?’” , “Fix this sentence: ‘You is a girl’,” etc. Some of the spaces featured me, so they said things like “Ask the ALT ‘Are you ______?’”, “Shake hands with the ALT,” “Touch ALT’s head,” “Touch ALT’s nose,” etc. I constantly had two or three kids around me at any given time during the class asking me questions or trying to touch my head. That was a lot of fun! I did realize that Japanese students don’t know how to properly shake a hand. Most Japanese don’t shake hands unless it’s to a foreigner. They bow at any occasion that we would shake hands. I’m guessing that they aren’t taught to have a firm grasp. (Plus, it might seem too aggressive for Japanese society.) Every kid gave me a limp noodle handshake, and I felt like DEAD people would have better grasps than some of these kids!
Monday afternoon, Ian picked me up from school, and we rode with Mary up to the city. Her boyfriend, Hiro, was having an enkai, and she asked us if we would go with her so that she wouldn’t be the only awkward foreigner there. We had a really good time watching other drivers on the expressway. We all agreed that one guy seriously looked like he was sleeping while driving. I really hope that he had some type of auto-pilot! One lady was driving and had one hand on the wheel. She was holding a little pet bird with her other hand. I laughed so hard at that one! Oh, Japan and your silly drivers!
The enkai was very small, but it was the best one I’ve been to so far. As usual, Ian charmed the Japanese. For whatever reason, the Japanese LOVE Ian. Maybe it’s his facial hair, maybe it’s his bubbling personality, and maybe it’s the way he drinks any Japanese person under the table, but regardless, THEY LOVE HIM. While Mary didn’t appreciate it very much, it was funny how Hiro was reaching OVER her to talk to Ian or offer Ian more food or drink. I showed pictures of my family to Hiro’s friends, and they all said that my nephews and niece were cute and that my sister, Amanda, and I look so much alike. I get that a lot.
We stayed the night in the city at Ana’s apartment. She was nice enough to offer her place even though she was going to Hitoyoshi to spend the holiday with Michael. She has a cute little apartment. Ian and I were jealous of how everything matches. She has a brown futon with brown sheets, pillow cases, and curtains. All of ours are a hodge-podge of hand-me-downs. Beggars can’t be choosers, but….. I woke up on Tuesday morning around nine and walked to the store to get us breakfast. By the time I got back, Ian was awake. I skyped my sister, Amanda. It’s always very difficult to get ahold of her because she leads a very busy life, so it was nice to catch up with her for a little while.
We spent the day with Mary and Hiro. After Ian described the awesomeness of Reef Burger to Hiro, he wanted to try it. Mary and I laughed as he tried to delicately eat the big, fat, greasy burger. We told him to just dig in. For some reason the Japanese like to eat french fries with chopsticks or a fork, but Mary swatted his hand as he tried to and said, “Nope, you eat those with your hand!” After that, we went to the mall. It was a REAL mall….not just a cluster of shops. I don’t particularly enjoy shopping, but it was nice to be in a place big enough to have a mall! It was also really, really packed. It reminded me of Christmas shopping season. Mary said that that mall is ALWAYS like that, and the weekend before when she was there with Hiro it was even worse than what we saw! My favorite store of the day was the foreign food store. It had so many things that are difficult to get in Japan…..German chocolates, English teas, Mexican tortillas, French cheeses, etc. Ian and I bought some English and German tea that we’ve had before and are good. We wandered around the mall for a good long while before dropping Hiro off and driving back to our little middle-of-nowhere towns.
On Tuesday night Ian booked his flight home. The only reason that he was holding out on it was to check out Murray’s fall schedule. Potentially, we was going to stay for fall semester, but after waiting and waiting and waiting for Murray to put it out, we were afraid if we didn’t book soon, airline prices would go up. He’s still going to try to take online classes or do work from over here as much as possible to finish up his degree and return to Murray the following spring semester. He got a REALLY good deal on his flight and will be arriving back in the States on June 29th. What I particularly enjoyed is that he was able to book the same flight as Mommy and I on the return trip. Yay! We can all fly back together!
Eeeeek! This blog is starting to border the too long phase, so I’ll just have to write another one to cover the rest of this week.