Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Finished but not yet Recounted

I really didn't want to come back. Japan is so cool, I really just wanted to stay. I just have to figure out how to get back to Japan without breaking the bank. Janice said that anybody who wanted to could join the class without taking the class next year. In otherwords cheap stay without having to go to all the classes. But then again I think there is a better option, especially if I'm in Germany next year. Hmm... could be really quite interesting, and hopefully affordable. Lufthansa has direct flights from Fankfurt to Osaka for about 1300 dollars.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Lost and Loving It

Who says lost is bad? Not me but then I really wasn`t lost yesterday. Really I wasn`t. I knew where I was and how to get back, just not how to get where I wanted to get to. Asking a few questions of people who didn`t know english and then one who did but with no idea of where my destination lay. I walked around for about two or three hours without success and finally came back. Hopefully I might be able to find it on Saturday or next Tuesday, hmm... if I just knew alot more Japanese. I know directions and asking where something is but there are alot of ummmss and all sorts of akward pauses.

And writing this much later, all the interactions I had with shopkeepers were either in broken english or broken japanese. It helps that I learned to say (in broken japanese) kore wa hitatsu or futatsu or the counters such as ban and all the rest. If I write any more it will be tomorrow morning or Monday morning.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Rainy Day

I finished copying down the hirigana and katakana so I may be able to sound things out at least. It will not help me understand what I am saying, just a way to help facilitate meal ordering. Maybe by the end of the trip I will be able to recognize the kana on their own without the help of a notebook. The best classroom is the real world. I forget who said that.

Today is raining pretty hard from what I hear, I have not looked outside myself but it sounds like its raining pretty hard. Now do not jump all over my apostrophe grammar, I would have to hit too many keys to actually use it. Also today we are going to learn a little bit more about the way of tea and ikebana or flower arranging. I should hope that it will be a good day despite the rain.

Yesterday, after the welcome party we visited the music building and participated in a class that was taught in English and it was about music. It was very elementry for the music and not overly hard for the english and something that american schools would probably never fund.

Long Day

So it was a great day, wandering around the campus on a tour, getting welcomed at a welcome luncheon and then getting a "train lesson" and eating some superb ramen at nishinomia kitaguchi station. All in all a great day, now to go copy some hirigana and katakana so that I`m able to at least sound out what I want rather than pointing it out.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Here and already loving it

Flew in yesterday on a flight that would never end, 14 hours from Dallas to Osaka. I think I went crazy during the flight, not really but it did seem as though nothing really happened. I slept maybe a total of twenty minutes on the entire flight. That is quite amazing when thinking that we got up at 3 a.m. to get to the airport to catch a flight to Dallas and then the long flight from Dallas.

The weather right now is just the right temperature with very little humidity. Already went wandering this morning watching all the people going to work. It seems most walk down to the mass transit and take that where they are going rather than driving. We went through a temple on the way back up to the college we are staying at. It is such a different society and I understand about one of a thousand words. We are getting a tour in an hour or so and then a welcome party, should be interesting.

This keyboard that I am using seems like a normal keyboard except that it has hirigana all across it, hmm... I think there is a button that might do something いぇん I think that says yen, but not really more like ien. I will take some pictures and eat some ramen.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Japan, Two Days to Go

All the paperwork's finished, I have my passport, starting to pack, reading the books for the class, am I forgeting anything? I don't think I am. I know how to pack for trips because my family traveled at least once or twice a year. The optimum amount of junk (clothing, toiletries, gifts) all depends on the person. I pack light, the lighter the better. I'm going to have to carry it so it might as well be managable. Here's a partial list of stuff I think I need:

-6 days of clothing, so it will be laundry twice while I'm there
-Gifts, a book, a placemat and a deck of cards
-Hakama and Gi, in case I can practice some kendo still trying to decide whether or not to take it.

-Books, notebook, pencil, pens, smaller more portable notebooks, class materials in otherwords
-Camera with extra batteries and a charger
-shoes, one pair has to be an inside pair only unless I want to be in my socks or barefeet all the time

I really can't think of much more to go with me. I think I will be prepared though so nothing should surprise me.

Remind me to write about the LAN perty we had last night.

I'll write about the last Musashi quote when I'm in Japan, got to go.

Monday, May 01, 2006

3rd Month, nearly 30 people

Happy May Day! What does may day celebrate anyway, hmm... hold on a second. Ah ha, May Day is International Workers' Day that sort of started in the US when workers wanted shorter working days. People always say shorter hours, but hours are hours, unless of course you say that you work for 45 minutes then take a fifteen minute break. Americans are notoriously overworked. Some European countries have a lot less gross hours over a year and hardly any overtime put in, their economies aren't quite as stable but still we could cut back a little even after 150 years after the first strikes to get "shorter hours."

I am really tired of school. This is the best week though. It's Finals. Finals means no homework, other than studying, and shorter hours compared to a job. The rest of the weeks at school are cumbersome with all the homework that has to be done outside of class, hence homework. I really don't like homework, when I have a job there will only be some overtime, no homework. And then I will retire... but that's way far away when I'm 60 or so (~40 years), a blink of an eye or less.

Saturday and Sunday were awesome. The kendo tournament did not go well for me but this my first one and I need to practice more, a lot more. I won one match in the team matches. I got one point and it was good and solid. The good thing about that point was that it was against someone who had a higher rank than me. Unfortunately on Friday night during practice I developed a blister on the bottom of my left foot, right in the center of the ball as big as my thumb. I tried to tape it up for the tournament but by that time it had created a bruise right under the toes so it was very painful and threw off my concentration(excuses, I know, excuses). I was able to concentrate on Sunday for the rank test though just because I put it out of my mind. After sliding around a wooden floor for about three days I popped it and today I was able to get back to training with no pain what-so-ever. I will have to be more careful next time before a tournament or a test. The criteria for testing were simple: 30 hours of practice within a consecutive amount of time, I had 60, know all nine bokuto kata or nihon kata, I know all nine of them plus the waza names for instance number nine is uchiotoshi waza. If you want info go visit the Wyoming Kendo site. And then be able to do basic things such as kiri kaeshi and uchi komi geiko. We tested in groups of four and Iwakabe-sensei (the head sensei for Rocky Mountain Kendo) said that the group that I was in did the bokuto kata the best! That's an excellent comment from Sensei. I hope I made 5th kyu, the second rank, but I will be happy if I made 6th kyu. If I didn't make rank then I will practice much harder, but as people said, the real requirements for making 6th kyu is that you can stand and breath. I can do both and attempt to show my best kendo skills at the same time so I definitely made 6th. My parents were able to come watch the tournament and finally see what I was talking about when I said kendo. Although I have a few complaints about how the tournament worked, I'm preparing for the next.

The Japan trip is coming up very quickly. We leave in a week and a day. I will have access to computers while in Japan so I will try to update as often as possible. I've been hearing only good things about this trip and am eagerly looking forward to it. I am going to make the class a little bit tougher so that it will meet some senior level course requirements but as I said before, I will do research on the correlation of the bushi, warriors, and Zen Buddhism. I might trhow in something about how this compares to others such as merchants and ninjas, I don't quite know yet.

Last, but not least:

"Overlook nothing regardless of its insignificance." Number eight of nine basic attitudes for a warrior from Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as translated by Stephen F. Kaufman. I like this one particularly because I hardly do overlook anything. I notice when something changes, say for intance knowing that my roommate has been at the house by seeing the melting pattern of the snow on the sidewalk where his car left a shadow while the rest of the snow melted. Although sometimes I will notice something is different but not be able to pinpoint it, only rarely though. If you do not notice the signs then you may be trapped, that's from me as far as I can tell. There are many situations that are life threatening or just embarrassing that can be avoided if you can see and recognize the signs.

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John studied himself in the mirror as best he could through tears. Red, puffy eyes stared back at him, a running nose already leaked just a ...