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Published: October 27th 2015
American flag in the little hamburger (Japanese kid's meal)
October has been a SUPER busy month so far--I've been doing a fair amount of traveling, exploring, and (unfortunately) homework. It's been so much fun (well, homework hasn't been)!
One of my favorite activities I did this month was on a Sunday I went out with my host mom, younger host brother, and my host mom's friend and kids. It was a gorgeous Sunday--the sun was shining, no clouds in the sky, and it was warm. We went out for lunch and after words biked to 代々木故園 (Yoyogi koen
-- Yoyogi Park) (which was only about a 10 minute bike ride, and my host mom's didn't go with us because she had some stuff to do). It was my first time riding a bike in Tokyo, and let me tell you, IT WAS TERRIFYING. There are people everywhere and nobody moves so you have to swerve around them, nobody wears helmets when they bike, and Japanese bikes are built totally differently from American bikes. However, after a couple minutes on the bike, I got the hang of it (and didn't crash--huzzah!) which was good because when we got to 代々木故園 we rented tandem bikes and did the
My friend (Amanda) is good at the claw games.
She's in it to win it.
bike loop around the park. My host mom and I each took a tandem bike, and my host brother and his friend took turns riding in the back seat of my bike and my host brother's bike (my host brother's friend has a younger brother who was too young/small to ride my host brother's bike, so he rode in the back seat of my host mom's bike). It was so much fun!! It was also my first time ever riding a tandem bike, but it is something I would totally do again. Afterwords, my host mom's friend met up with us again and we all had ソフトクリーム (sofuto kuriimu
--soft serve ice cream) which was delicious--I had 抹茶 (maccha
-- matcha/green tea). 😊 Once we finished our ソフトクリーム, we biked to a nearby 和食 (washouku
-- traditional Japanese food) restaurant for dinner. It was really delicious and I got a kick out of the kids meals all of the kids had because the little hamburger patty came with a flag stuck in it, and one of the kids got an American flag. After dinner, we all went back to my host family's house and had some drinks and just hung out.
Mario Kart in the arcade!!
Unfortunately for me, I had to study before I could participate in the festivities, but my host mom let me hang out and study with everybody else (she also was really interested in my Japanese and kanji homework, as was her friend haha).
Side note: my host mom is ADORABLE and is the nicest person I ever met (in her own words, she has a "big heart"). When I'm at home, I always study at the kitchen table because I get distracted in my room (also being by a bed makes me want to take a nap...). Whenever I'm studying, she always makes me a cup of tea and it makes me so happy. She also loves to help me with my homework and checks it for me and explains what I did wrong. Something that I think is super funny about my host mom is that she makes flash cards for my younger host brother, and my own mom did the exact same thing for my younger brother when he was in school.
Another really fun adventure I had was the next weekend where I went to a gay bar with a group of really cool people.
yummy parfait! :)
Yes, you read that right, I went to a gay bar. My friend invited me to tag along, but he and all of our mutual friends ended up not coming till the very end because they went out to eat beforehand. It was so much fun though!! The people I went with were all recent college grads who are now in the JET program (an assistant English teaching program) and went on my study abroad program, and there were a couple other 早稲田大学生 (Waseda daigakusei --
Waseda University students; the university I am studying at this year). Everybody was so cool and I super wanna hang out with them again. The bar was called Dragon Men, and we went because they have a GREAT 飲み放題 (nomihoudai
-- all you can drink; there's no real equivalent to this in the States) deal for 1000 yen, which is about $10 USD. The drinks and the music were good, and it was a great experience. Nobody at the bar was weird or creepy (given that it was a gay bar and I'm a girl so not interested in me, but still) to anybody, and everybody had a great time.
My latest adventure
My friend and I on the Welcome Trip (we're both wearing yukata)
though was two weekends ago where I went with 虹の会 (niji no kai
-- the international club I belong to) to an 温泉 (onsen
-- public bath)!! I had always wanted to go to one, and it was AMAZING. For those who don't know, and 温泉 is a public bath where you basically get naked with a bunch of strangers and sit in a giant hot tub (minus the jets) together. There are separate baths for boys and girls. 温泉 are typically up in the mountains because the water in them come from hot springs. We (虹の会and I) all went to 秩父 (Chichibu
-- a city in Saitama prefecture) and stayed at a traditional Japanese lodge, complete with 畳 (tatami
-- bamboo mat floors), slippers, and 浴衣 (yukata
-- a thin, cotton robe you wear in the hotel). It was great fun, and I have to say the 温泉 was my favorite part. All my friends (both on my program and from Japan) went, and we all had a great time just hanging out in the 温泉 and talking. It was easily one of the most relaxing things I have ever done and I really want to go again. Also,
scenery from the Welcome Trip
putting on 浴衣 after taking a bath is a fantastic feeling. To my fellow Americans: if you are for whatever reason in Japan, go to an 温泉. Seriously. Don't be discouraged by the naked part, because I can promise you that literally no one there cares. A butt is a butt, we all have them.
As for my life right now, I've just been studying a lot and going on small adventures whenever I can. Some small adventures I've gone on were to 秋葉原 (Akihabara
-- the electronics and anime district), shopping at the 12 story ユニクロ (Yunikuro
-- UNIQLO, the Japanese equivalent of FOREVER 21), and having a party at home with my host family (which happens a lot because they really like to party -- they're social butterflies). This weekend is Halloween, but I'll be spending it on a retreat in 軽井沢 (Karuizawa
-- Karuizawa, a place in Nagano). We'll be having a Halloween party, which I am looking forward to! 😊 Also, people in Japan go hard on Halloween--the costumes are INSANE, and people have been celebrating all week, so I hope to go to a party on Friday but we shall see.
scenery from the Welcome Trip
a quick note, I am entering midterms season, so I will try to post next week after 軽井沢 before life gets too crazy. Until then, まったね！
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