Third Week #5 - I can't even (recall)...

September 29th, 2018

Again, it's been a while (two weeks?), so I'm going to wrap things up (or at least try). I hope you can still enjoy!


Monday (Sept 17th):

  • Since it was national holiday, my hostmum and I were able to go to the Italian restaurant that is pretty much next door, and it was delicious! The chef also makes pancake-art!
  • We went to a newly built Library in Yamato and I saw a robot (its name was "Pepper"), which you can have a conversation with. 
  • I think on this day, we also partly watched the movie "Sound of Music", which I've never seen.

Tuesday (18th):

  • I joined the choir (club) for the first time. And it was quite okay, because all song lyrics were in Hiragana (alphabet-like). I am not used to singing at sight, but I tried my best! I am singing the Alto-part with a very nice girl from another class (still 11th grader though). Some of us went to the station together (choir is always on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays after classes and lasts until around 6 p.m.). They all seemed nice, but I still had trouble finding conversation topics or keeping conversations going. For the first time I was the last one to come home (it's not that late, but still I have to get used to it).
  • According to notes I made about, what I did during the week, on this Tuesday (18th) I also had a meeting about the trip to Kamakura. But I cannot really recall.
  • My consultant teacher and I talked about my schedule. Luckily my school offers the exchange student much freedom in what classes the can choose. For example, on my first day of school, in my first lesson, I had "World History", where I barely understood a thing. Therefor, it's rather counterproductive to learning Japanese (at least in my opinion, because if I had understood like 5-10%, I would've seen a chance, that I will be able to understand more). So my consultant teacher have now rearranged my schedule, so that I have more lessons, which I can actually participate in.
  • My hostmum and I continued to watch "Sound of Music", but still didn't finish.

Wednesday (19th):

  • Since my schedule was rearranged I took part in 2 English classes of the 10th graders and hell, the second one, was the most fun I had in school so far: I entered the classroom, after having a small chat with the teacher (in English and Japanese) and he made me introduce myself in English (I tried my best to speak simply, but it's really hard, if you are not used to it). Then people were allowed to ask questions. And I just want to note, that everyone seemed extraordinarily interested in me. Of course the 10th graders are younger than the people from my original class, but that was rather relieving than intimidating. So people started asking many and sometimes quite interesting questions, which was a new experience, because most of the times I introduced myself and the students were told to ask questions, they kept it on a very basic level (some classes didn't even ask one question, but I am sure it's more out of embarassment than a lack of interest). I'll try to sum up the questions I can remember (some are rephrased):
    • What kind of music do you like? --> (American) Pop, Ed Sheeran
    • What sports do you like/play? --> Badminton, Handball, E-Sport
    • What are your hobbies? --> Reading books, playing video games, playing the guitar
    • What kind of books do you read [Maybe that question was asked in another class] --> Harry Potter (although I only saw the movies, but the genre is the same)............. ah, yeah, Mockingjay books (couldn't remember the English Title)
    • Can I have your Email-adress? --> Not in front of the class, but in private, sure, yes (The person didn't ask me in private ^^)
    • Do you have a boyfriend --> No.
    • Do you like my face [asked by the same guy]? --> {I turned to the door and left and came back after like 2 seconds saying: "Next question!" [Most entertaining part of the questioning]}
    • Do you like cats? --> No... well, yeah, but I prefer dogs.
    • What Japanese food do you like? --> Onigiri, Takoyaki, Yakisoba
    • Are German potatoes good? [I am still not sure, whether I understood the question correctly or not...] --> Yes? Well, I have no real comparison...

      Overall, everyone had fun, I guess. And I really felt like people showed honest interest in me. Although, of course, I think it's more like a game for the boys, because they kept pushing each other to ask another question, but I will not lie and say I hated the attention. I just hope things will not get boring and that they (girls included) will still try to talk to me although their English is not "ze yellow from ze egg" (;D) and my Japanese is "mada jouzu ja arimasen". I am so desperate to make friends and I guess other exchange students can feel me. That aside, there are so many interesting things we could talk about, I'm sure! Only if it wasn't for the communication problems... I will try my best!
  • I had ESS (English .... something...) club for the first time. It's on Wednesday and Friday so it won't collide with choir sessions. We formed 3 groups that will go to 3 different classes to an elementary school to hold an English lesson.

Thursday (20th):

  • I had German again and gave the other students Haribo gummy candy, but it's not very special because I've seen it in shops. But still, I tried!
  • Since the other English Communication students will have an oral exam soon we practiced the interview questions. These were all about Japan and life in Japan for example:
    • Tell me about the Japanese education system?
    • What is popular among Japanese teenagers?
      So I learned, that the word "instagrammable" exists... at least in Japan. And they have something that's similar to the German Cheestrings (which is probably rather American than German, but who cares?)
  • I had choir again and I really like the song we are practicing (I won't tell you the title now...)

Friday (21th - now things will get real difficult, because I stopped making notes about the week):

  • According to schedule I must've had my first music lessons (apart from the day before where I joined a 10th graders class, but I felt, it was better to study Japanese on my own than have another class where I (yet) understood only bits and pieces with new faces, whose names I would have to try to remember, so I asked my consultant teacher if I could cancel it). We played an anime medley from the Ghibli studios with recorders (flutes). I hadn't really played in a while (about 10 years?), so you can imagine me struggling. But it was definitely better than arts, because I really despise drawing pictures (because I am not good at it and feel like I'm becoming less creative the more I draw). I'd like to be able to practice at home, but I wouldn't practice anyway ^^ (no time, no big motivation).
  • I had my first private Japanese lesson with the area coordinator (she will come to my school every week now :D, so lucky to have extra lessons). Since I had texted her, that I wanted to take the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) N4 we talked about that and she said, she thought, I could take the N3 as well (N5 is the easiest level, N1 the hardest). She had brought sample tests from the N4, but only about half of my answers were correct. But I told her, I would still want to try the N3, because if I actually studied the required vocab, grammar and Kanji (Chinese characters, that look (and are) difficult to remember), I thought I could do it (I hadn't really studied that much in Japan until then, and even before that I hadn't studied for taking the test (any level)). But now, I've decided, I will take the test (not sure which level) in Germany, but still study as if I was going to take the N3 in December (2018) in Japan.
  • I had ESS and I think we prepared some cards with fruits (English) on them that the elementary school kids will have to remember; went to the station with the Italian exchange student :D

Saturday (22th):

  • The hostmother, -brother and I went to see a movie about babies and toddlers and how they learn and explore things. It was really good and entertaining. It was produced internationally, so they interviewed people from many different countries. The subtitles were in Japanese, but with Kanji (Chinese, difficult characters, that I can barely read), so whenever the person talking spoke English, it was easy, but when a French or Swedish person spoke, I tried reading the subtitles, but the emphasis is on tried. A friend of my hostmother was also present and he kindly invited me over, whenever I had time :D
  • After the movie we went to a room where kids could play and I read some kids' books (I really like doing that, because I feel like it improves my Japanese (comprehension) skills and it's still entertaining.
  • We had lunch at a bakery and ate something (I had disgustingly bitter ice coffee, but only because I was 1) too proud to order coke and 2) too stupid to mix the coffee thoroughly with the sugar-liquid - I am used to sugar in solid shape).
  • We also went to a library and I again looked at kids' books. They also held a small reading session, where they read books to all kids interested. We also joined, of course :D.

Sunday (23th):

  • Hostmother, -brother and I did field work on a rice field!! The organizer invited parents and children (especially also foreigners) to collect the rice together and put them on several bars so they would dry. When my hostmum told me to wear long-sleeved clothes, mistakes were made (by me). I chose a long-sleeved, black sweater. And now I fully understand why they are called sweater: You sweat in them. At least in Summer. In Japan, Doing field work. After the first field was done (it was interesting and enjoyable, but there were so many bugs and so much sweat!!), my hostmum kindly drove us back so I could change my clothes. But I had thought we were done already, so I changed into cool, not field-work-appropriate clothes that in the end were dirtier than the things I'd worn before.
  • The second field we worked on was much muddier and we saw more frogs (Japanese: kaeru) and I had a nice chat with an American lady.
  • After we finished, the kids got some ice juice. And then the real meal with Onigiri, Nashi (Japanese apple pears, most delicious fruit on earth, and other specialties were offered).
  • As we sat on a plastic blanket a man on a strange, cospicuous vehicle approached. It was like a futuristic skateboard or something. Unfortunately I couldn't take a picture, because my phone was in the car and I didn't want to fetch it.
  • In the evening, I think, we went to a restaurant that was pretty much in nature. I had some really good curry and bought a matcha muffin :D

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