Thirteenth Week #15 - Preparing and Packing; Moving to a new Hostfamily :P)

December 9th, 2018

What up, my friends, family, followers and stalkers? I hope you're doing well so far. Are you feeling the Christmas spirit? Is it as cold as in Japan? Are you buying presents already? Well, it's that time of year, right? Take it easy, guys.


Monday (December 26th):

  • I still don't like sports particularly, but because it was the last lesson for the course this year we had a match and I like real matches. And the guy I played with and I were not doing as bad. We won 2 out of 4 matches! I ate lunch with the girl I went to the movies with (actually thinking about inviting her again to watch the Queens movie), but unfortunately I didn't have much time again because of chorus practice.
  • Felt like I didn't/hadn't improve(d) much as for Japanese skills recently. I do get the gist of most N3 texts I read or daily conversation I hear, but it's not enough.
  • My AC (exchange organization area coordinator) gave me the information about my new hostfamily! I'm glad she found them in such a short time. I would be moving there in a week! The new hostfamily consists of a retired couple with kids that have already moved out. Unfortunately they live a little far from Yamato Nishi High School, so I have to wake up earlier and go to bed sooner. It also means that I can spend less time with them, which is sad considering the fact that they invite into their house to have a cultural exchange and spend time with me. So I'm currently thinking about quitting ESS (English) club for a while thus being free on 2 weekdays. Well, so because of the move I also have to get a new commuter pass for school. I think it's kind of perfect that I can experience these two kinds of families (working people with a kid vs. retired people).

Tuesday (27th):

  • The other students all had to prepare for the test the upcoming week. Since I would only be taking maths and English I could take it more slowly.
  • I tried reading German author Michael Ende's "Momo" in Japanese! I mean only the beginning. I didn't understand much, but a little, so it's okay.
  • Had to buy an adapter for Japan sockets since I had been using my first hostfamily's adapter so far. I also got some "clothes" for winter because Japanese winter is as cold as its summer is hot (compared to Germany). I'd recommend any future exchange students to Japan to prepare for that. Because size and options may vary. I actually bought leggings and socks and a sweater. Just wanna mention (maybe I already have) that there are still female students walking around with their short socks and short skirts while I'm taking the "embarrassment" of leggings. I think tights would not serve the cause as well.
  • Ate Takoyaki (dough balls filled with octopus and vegetables) for dinner. Unfortunately it got a little late, but it was delicious. On the occasion the hostfather, who is very much into cooking, and I talked about German food and I promised to cook something from the cookbook with German dishes written in English, that I gave them as a hostfamily present.
  • In the late evening I contacted the hostfamily via LINE (Japanese "WhatsApp") for the first time and I was immediately invited to join them in an event, so it went quite well.

Wednesday (28th): 

  • We played the study games on in English class, which was fun :D
  • Went to Sagami-Ono station to get a new SIM-card or at least a coupon to charge my current one and to get some wrapping paper for the presents for the next hostfamily (I had bought them already in Germany but not wrapped yet (would've been very stupid to wrap it all up already, right?))
  • My hostbrother showed me how to fold paper shurikens and I made a swan (I learned how to fold those at the meetings for preparation for a foreign students music festival I would be attending).

Thursday (29th):

  • Played kahoot-study quizzes in German class.
  • Met my area coordinator to go to the cityhall for registering the residential move and so on. After that we went to my new hostfamily's place to talk to them and so that the AC could inform them about their responsibilities and stuff. And of course we just chatted a little. (Mostly them because it was kind of adult vocabulary, which I do not listen to daily during casual school life.) For the first time I could watch/hear very polite greetings and other polite conversation. It was interesting but seemed way above my Japanese cultural comprehension level.

Friday (30th):

  • Whereas the other students took midterm (or something) tests in difficult subjects, I could take a day off to pack for the move, prepare and take care of returning stuff and cleaning the room and so on. My suitcase is already too crammed so that I had to stuff everything into one big suitscase, one small one, a handbag and my school loafers in an extra bag. I don't know how to manage everything for when I leave Japan! I'd like to bring so many sweets and presents back to Germany, but it seems kind of impossible (although I'll will have gotten rid of the school uniform and hostfamily presents ;P). I will probably write an advise list for what to bring to Japan for future exchange students someday.
  • Had practice for the exchange students festival in Kanagawa (prefecture): dancing, singing, folding cranes (made a mistake when I said I could fold swans; it's cranes) and chatting

Saturday (Dec. 1th):

  • Practiced the dance for the music festival (even took a video to show it to my BFFS (M. and L.) and the gääääng when I come back ;P)
  • It was the last full day with my first hostfamily, So I decided to finally cook a German meal for them, although I cannot cook. I looked up the recipe for the small pancake pieces ("Kaiserschmarren") in the German recipe book I gave them as a gift. They went out to the library so I had pretty much free time. I tried to find confectioner's sugar and vanilla sugar, but couldn't find, but since regular sugar would serve the cause, as well, it was fine. I started to make the dough after struggling a little with tiny problems as it was the first time I cooked these and pretty much the most difficult one (not that making pancakes is difficult, but compared to cooking spaghetthi...). Because the dough required 4 pans, I could experiment a little and adjust. My first pan was a little too dark and didn't taste sweet but rather salty which I think was due to the fact that I used butter and not oil for the pan. So I put the first round of pancake pieces on the table and my hostbrother ate it, although it didn't taste that good. So for the second round I used oil instead of butter and added more sugar and so on and so on... It got better each time, but I was still disappointed and a little angry that my first attempts had failed so badly and in the end there were only few good pieces left. I actually had enjoyed the cooking but no one likes bad results, so yeah. I felt so unsatisfied, that I lost my appetite and ate only one piece of the last, the best, pan.
  • Cleaned my room and packed and wrote the blog (at least I think that's what I must've been doing)

Sunday (2nd):

  • My Ayusa area coordinator was as kind as to offer to drive me and my luggage in her own car to the new hostfamily's place, so I had to be ready at 10 a.m.
  • After having a wonderful dish for breakfast (can't recall what it was, but it was delicious as always) finished cleaning the room and packing my stuff and returned things that the hostfam and lent me (a key, an adapter and clothes or something).
  • [SHOUT OUT TO MY FIRST HOSTFAMILY] Then the sweetest thing happened: My hostmum, being well-versed in photography and computers, had created a diashow of pictures of me and them in our short hostfamily time together. There were many pictures I hadn't seen before and I was so moved, that they had created that last gift for me. Furthermore, my hostbrother (5yrs) also had made a letter for me; I read it only after I had arrived at the new hostfam's place. But I could offer nothing in return :(, although I am so thankful and really appreciated that they were my first hostfamily, accepting me, a stranger from another country, as a family member, explaining to me Japanese culture/language, welcoming me into their house, leaving me freedom to go out with friends, telling me when I had done something considered rude in Japan and so on and so forth. So I feel real bad for not having something to show my gratitude.
  • They helped me carry my bag outside and my area coordinator arrived to fetch me. We said goodbye and I said thank you (but not as "deep" as I would've liked to) and I was embraced in a hug (the dog was also involved in it :P) and then we drove away.
  • I arrived at the new hostfam's place about an hour later and was warmly welcomed. My AC left and I was shown to my new room (with Tatami mats) and explained to some household customs. I had something great to eat (can't recall what, though) and we talked a lot and I learned that they had hosted many exchange students before, but they were all university students. They explained to me how to get to the school and so on and so forth. I still think, that it is the best to experience several hostfamilies in order to find the typical Japanese similarities.
  • Fortunately they allowed me to borrow their guitar for the music festival, so I didn't have to borrow one from school or from my first hostfam.
  • I ironed my school uniform shirts for the first time because they were real creased after being crammed into the suitcase (I had 2 suitcases, one bag with my laptop and a single plastic bag with my loafers for school).
  • We went out to eat sushi at a nearby restaurant and it was delicious! As you all might know I am obsessed with matcha (green tea) sweets and at sushi (or even some other restaurants?) you can serve yourself as much as you want because there is a jar with matcha powder and a tap with hot water. I tried "Buri", which is a kind of fish and is a pun on my name because in Japanese my name is pronounced like "Buritonii" and some people call me "Buri-chan" ("chan" as a diminutive of names of (female) people). But I think my favourite was "Unagi", eel.
  • Felt asleep very fast and slept very well (as usually, I am blessed with the gift of good night sleep)

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