Fourteenth Week #16 - Performance

December 20th, 2018

Hey guys, what is up? You've been waiting way too long, so I'll make everything short in order to cover all the juicy (or not so juicy) stories for you. Try to enjoy!


This entry will cover my experiences: December 3rd - December 9th


Monday (Dec. 3rd):

  • Since I moved houses I have to get up earlier. I actually managed to be up at 6 o'clock (before that It was about 6.30).
  • I took the only midterm exams (?) I could: maths and English. Maths was rather challenging due to the fact that I didn't get the content (something about sine and tangents) and couldn't recall covering the exact same thing in Germany. So I was quite lazy regarding studying vocabulary (mathematical terms) or reviewing the stuff. I hope next time I will comprehend the actual math better and therefore be more motivated to exercise and try my best (although there is no way I would be as fast or as good as the other students). Though a lot of the Japanese students I met, said they didn't like maths that much, they seem to be quite talented. But even though I can't judge that will I feel like the time they have for the tasks is very short.
  • Also took the English exam. This time unlike the time before, I understood the Japanese tasks (at least most of it), so I knew if they wanted me to choose the answer that fits or the one that is incorrect. I would say I did quite well except for the last part with translation and some grammar. Not having studied English grammar/translating in Japanese I didn't perform that well.
  • Right after the tests I took the train back to my new town's station to go to the municipal office to register the move and new adress with my new hostmother. Waiting for our turn in line (it was quite busy for a Monday noon, but what do I know?) she already taught me some vocabulary and I felt relieved realizing that I was learning and having conversation.
  • We ate Ramen for lunch and at home I had some free time so I practiced playing the guitar (it's been too long!) also due to the fact that I would have a performance that weekend. But I played anything else but my actual performance song.
  • Watched some TV; at my first hostfam's place I mostly watched kids' shows, which was also very entertaining and so easy that I could understand most of the content. But real TV is a challenge and a chance to improve my Japanese even more... hopefully :D

Tuesday (4th):

  • Reviewed some Kanji that I hadn't looked at in a while (Heisig's) since I was allowed to stay at home and study instead of traveling to school and studying in the library while the other students would take tests (subjects, that are too difficult).
  • Ate delicious Obentou (lunch meal prepared for students/work people, in Japan mostly containing rice, vegetables and meat/fish) made by my hostmother who had some plans on that day.
  • Found a new show on Amazon Prime (I can only watch on my smartphone at the moment, which is annoying and furthermore the shows, that are available to watch in foreign countries are limited), that I was so obsessed with, that I probably watched too much. Be sure to check it out in case you can afford the (waste of?) time/money (if you don't have Amazon Prime): Beat (only available in German or with Turkish subtitles, I think, though). I consider the show worth the contraproductive effect on my language exchange. 
  • The hostmother (the hostfather, btw, was on vacation to Thailand during the first week) cooked Oyakodon (my favorite Japanese, google it if you want to) for me and it was as delicious as expected,


  • Watched the rest of the series (it's 6 or 7 episodes but about one hour).
  • Studied more Kanji (Chinese characters)
  • Drank tea (don't know what that was on my notebook, but it must've been very good tea)

Thursday (6th):

  • Went to school at about 10 o'clock to practice for our performance at the American partner school's (Zama American High School) winter concert.
  • It was a friend's birthday and we all congratulated her and she got some presents.
  • Then we went to the American military base, where the school is located, received gift cards for a food court there and ate lunch. I had french fries (yes, french fries in an American military base in Japan) and an Oreo shake and also bought some utterly delicious cookies.
  • (Have I metioned yet how many goddamn sweets I eat/sweet drinks I drink?!)
  • We took some photos in front of some Christmas illuminations. They were big and bright and a little kitschy for my German taste, but Japanese illuminations are comparable.
  • During the actual performance my voice cracked like two times but I'll just pretend nobody heard it because I cannot sing the high-as-heaven Christmas medley songs. But we got through it. The Americans were so nice! Thanking us and assuring us that we did well and we even got a small Christmas bag with sweets (AGAIN SWEETS, WHY CAN'T I RESIST YOU?!)! It's so funny and a little confusing to see actual Americans speaking actual English like in all the movies and shows. But as far as I saw it, some of them really do have such a kind and open personality even to strangers.
  • I really enjoyed it. Especially since Italian girl, the ESS girls and the chorus, so the people I spend much time with, were there.
  • Had a conversation with my hostmum about when to apologize. I seem to apologize too much or at least sometimes at times when I wouldn't have to. But I still don't get it and have to learn more about that. It's just so easy for me to do things that could offend one, which is the last thing I want to do. Not in Japan, not in Germany, almost nowhere. There's is almost never a reason to offend someone, but if you are reading this, you probably know (just implying here that my friends/family that I gave the link to are smart enough to understand and that any possible future exchange students are open-minded enough). I'll just keep apologizing whenever I cause inconvenience; it just feels strange to say nothing. But like maybe in Germany it's more casual to apologize and except apologies ("Ah! Sorry/Tschuldigung - "Kein Stress, alter :D") at least I think so. So maybe in Japan, although I think Japanese apology often, it's just not so casual because it's like taking the actual blame and not like "I am feeling SORRY!" (i. e. I feel sad because of this but not necessarily guilty about it because maybe it was due to a natural cause or not on purpose). [Sorry for extending that, but I feel like this is an interesting but kind of subtle difference I spotted and my thoughts on a possible explaination.]

Friday (7th):

  • I overslept because I used to set my alarm every evening before (for some stupid reason I was afraid that setting it to repeat everyday would cause problems) and had forgotten to do it.
  • Got my math exam results: 19 points out of 100... At least not zero! No seriously, I know I can do better and since the content we are covering now (fractions and powers) is comprehensible for me, I will try to catch up with the other students as well as I can. And hopefully I can prepare possible vocabulary of the tasks.
  • Had rehearsal for the exchange student music festival I would participate in. I just wrote down in my note: "condensation on my glasses, hot, fun" 

Saturday (8th):

  • Day of the music festival. I got there a little too late had some chats, we had last rehearsals and adjustments and so on and so forth. It's hard to describe and define which details are important. It was just fun and excitement and nervousness. 
  • When I had my solo performance I performed a German song playing the guitar and singing. I actual played some wrong chords purely out of nervousness not having played them wrong the whole practicing before, but at least the singing was correct (I only sang one word different from the original lyrics, also because of nervousness, but even if there had been any Germans/German speakers in the audience they would only have noticed if they were the most eager fans of the song, because the word I used means almost the same).
  • All participants song performance: to my surprise, I was handed one of the three microphones to increase the volume. We had practiced each time with different people having mics, so I did not expect that they handed me one. But, of course, although I was the weakest singer of the three mic guys, I was kind of flattered to be chosen. But like the song is at some parts too low which means that my voice could be hardly heard. Anyway, I didn't bomb (=make an embarrassing mistake) so that was nice. 
  • All participants dance performance: It was really fun because I like the song and had pretty much memorized the whole dance. Also there was golden confetti falling from the ceiling during the last 20 seconds or something! It was awesome and unexpected but as I said fun.
  • At the end we handed the audience paper cranes we had folded at the beginning of practice the weeks before. One guy, I handed a crane, spoke German to me and I was so surprised that I couldn't give a cool and witty answer. I even forgot what he said, but I think it was something like "very good" or something. Then my old hostmum called me, which I was also surprised by because I didn't think I'd have time/chance to meet her at the concert. And what a coincidence: My new hostmother sat the row in front of her. I felt kind of uncomfortable because I had forgotten to tell them that the other was also going to come, but I was happy to see that they had come. My old hostbrother was also there but  he had fallen asleep ^^. Anyway, I had to return to the stage again.
  • We had a small party with snacks, drinks and conversation. I talked to one American dude, who apparently is an idol in a J-Pop (Japanese Pop) (?) band and to other people. It really had been fun and definitely helped to talk to people who are neither at my school nor my hostfamily. I feel like it helped me to open up more and find conversation topics and so on. I can just recommend doing an activity/joining a similar event to any future exchange students because it's language and social skills practice outside of the classroom and your exchange home. Although to be clear, it has to be mentioned that my first hostfam's mum had found the notice on the internet and it's probably hard for exchange students to find such events on their own.

Sunday (9th):

  • Went to a bookshop a nearby department store and to a pasta restaurant with the hostmum. It's unnecessary to say that as a human being (not only as an exchange student/tourist or whatever) you should go see/experience as many things as you can because that's what will stick with you your whole life or even if it's just for one moment, it's worth it. That's part of a big lesson I've made coming here and I cannot express how thankful I am for that.
  • Can't recall the rest of the day and didn't make notes, so.... yeah

THANKS FOR READING (I hope you did :D)! Still open to comments, questions, advice in the comment section below.

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