Fourth Week #6 - Kamakura trip and it's already a month!

October 6th, 2018

I will (as always) try to wrap things up. Sorry for all inconveniences.


Monday (Sept. 24th):

  • Students from my school (YNHS) and their partner school Zama High, which is a school in an American base in Japan, guided by teachers, went to a trip to the traditional and very tourist attracting city Kamakura. We formed groups of 4 or 5 consisting of YNHS and Zama High students. I happened to be in a group of 5 with the girl I always go to school with, her friend and 2 Zama High girls. They were real nice and after a while, I'd say the ice broke and we could have some fun, although I probably talked too much to them and should've spoken to the Japanese YNHS girls. But I'd say I made friends on that trip. Just not more Japanese friends.
  • We decided that after visiting the most famous temple in Kamakura, Hokojitsu temple (or something like that) we would go through a famous "shopping" (that is shopping for food and souvenirs) street. It was crowded but since we were very early still tolerable.
  • I really wanted some matcha ice cream because there were about 12 stands who offered it, but I was looking for the cheapest option. And right when I thought I'd found it and ordered frozen matcha ice cream (I would kill for that taste) my American friend was holding a waffle with matcha ice cream as well. ONLY that she'd gone to the stand right next to where I'd bought my ice cream and that hers was cheaper! GRRRRR!!!
  • I really liked the train we boarded, because its floor was made out of wood and that created a cozier atmosphere than in those high-tech express trains like Shinkansen, I guess.
  • I also talked some German because there were two Americans who actually spoke the language. It was pretty weird at first since it felt so strange to speak German (and not English/Japanese)
  • Apparently a YNHS and a Zama High student became a couple!

Tuesday (25th):

  • Only interesting thing (or maybe the only thing I can remember, because I found a picture with the right date): The choir planned the schedule for the next months. We will have a performance, too! And practice at Yamato hall, which is like a big building and the room we will practice at has good acoustics.
  • I had my first IT lesson and fortunately one of my classmates (really nice girl, I hope we can be good friends) helped me out, when I couldn't understand (that is, read) Kanji or tasks. 

Wednesday (26th):

  • Had English classes with the 10th graders (which is always the most fun lesson of the week, because they somehow are very interested and excited/exciting). At the beginning of the lesson: a round of questions. I asked the boy, who asked me if I liked his face, whether he liked my face (he said he does XD) And I exchanged LINE contacts with 3 girls.
  • We got the calendar for October, which tells when we have tests, holidays, trips and other school stuff. 
  • In ESS (apparently that stands for English-Speaking-Society) I received the instagram info of 4 girls
  • I bought a new SIM card (data only), because the first one would only last for a month. But I didn't find the one the same (IIJ Mio Travel Japan), which requires only online registration, in the 3 months version. So I bought another "brand" (still IIJ MIO, but not Travel Japan) after I asked a clerk about that. The clerk told me that the registration would require a telephone call, but I didn't worry that much.

Thursday (27th):

  • I had German class, and a little conversation with the people. And the assisting German teacher told me how there was something about the Japanese, which one will not notice if they just stay for few weeks or months, but he didn't tell me yet and I'm not sure if I want to know. Of course the Japanese are a little reserved and might seem cold and only acting as-if, but in the end we are all the same.
  • When I was studying in the library I also explored what kind of books it offers and I found the "Oksa Pollock" books, which I read as young teenager. Very cool!
  • I had my second private Japanese lesson from my AYUSA areacoordinator (I later asked her, but I'm the only exchange student from Ayusa that she teaches Japanese, because I'm close enough to Tokyo. I'm very lucky!) and I practiced JLPT N3 (Japanese test) reading comprehension. At first I really struggled because I only covered the N5 content (basic level) and kind of skipped N4 (I'm hoping to learn it just through being in Japan). But after the 3rd text, I felt like I was getting better. I'm trying my best!

Friday (28th):

  • In Music class we play the recorder so we practiced that in 3rd and 4th period, but I just suck because of the difference in practice time (or I'm just bad). But I don't really mind. At least I don't have to draw anything! Had some conversation with another student and we motivated each other.
  • Since we would have a test on that day, I reviewed the vocabulary which I thought was page 400-425 with each page having about 8 new words (in Kanji only, so I had to look up the Kanji and find out the reading). But as it turned out, I had always studied the wrong words, because it wasn't PAGES 400-425 but rather word NUMBER (they have numbers in the textbook) 400-425.
  • In ESS club we set goals for what we want to achieve in the club. And I really hope we will be successful!

Saturday (29th):

  • My hostmum and I had a really useful conversation about how the first month was and what we could "improve"(? not the correct word, but who cares?). I have to admit that I neglected my role as big sister, because I don't really know how to be a big sibling since I was always the youngest child in the family. And I always felt like: what can I say? Will my hostbrother think I'm boring? What shall I do, if I don't understand what he says? (I think it's challenging to speak an easy version of your mother tongue, and I'm already 18. So how hard must it be for a 5-year old?) But I promised to try harder! And I can say (from the perspective of October 6th, today) that it's not that hard and actually fun to spend more time with him, be it studying in the same room or being shown what he had made in kindergarten. It's fun! The only thing that I sometimes worried about and wanted to talk about is that I'd like to have my school shirts washed in the washing machine, every evening, because I only have 2 long-sleeved (and 2 short-sleeved) ones, so when sometimes, the washing machine was started without the shirt I'd worn that day inside, I worried, that it might not dry until the next evening. But my hostmother fully understood and I've noticed, that the waits with starting the machine. [It has to be said, that I always had a fresh shirt on a school day, but like when a worn shirt wouldn't be washed in the evening, I didn't know when it would be and I was afraid of having to wear a shirt which was either too warm or too cold (e.g. if it was cold and I only had the short-sleeved shirts to wear)]
  • Since I wanted to make the first money withdrawal at an ATM in Japan (still had some money, but it was pretty much end of the month) and my hostmum wanted to do some grocery-shopping we went together. I used the ATM in a 7-eleven shop, which apparently doesn't charge fees for money withdrawals. And luckily (I had been worried, that something would go wrong) everything went fine.
  • I created a new email account as emergency contact, because I noticed, that I still spent too much time on WhatsApp thinking, that maybe my friends/family had something really important to tell me. In the end it was never that important. I just really need to limit my contact to Germany. So I will not use WhatsApp for 2 more months (at that time, I will change my hostfamily). Limiting how much you have interactions with your homecountry is one of the first things I'd recommend to any future exchange students. Just block any notifications on whatever message-app your using. It's dragging you down.

Sunday (30th):

  • Again, not much happened (or I can't recall), but I probably studied Japanese.
  • My hostmother kindly called the SIM card company to figure out if I (not being a Japanese citizen and so on) could use the card. Fortunately it all worked out and if I want to recharge the card (after 3 months), I will just have to buy a "ticket" and enter a code or something
  • I had Oyakodon, which is, as for now, my favourite Japanese dish. It's just a bowl of rice with eggs and chickenmeat "poured" (?) over it, but the taste is just overwhelming. I hope I can learn how to make that, so I can eat it in Germany, too.


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