Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

It has been a long time since I’ve updated. I guess that goes without saying, considering those who read my blog have checked my blog only to see that it hasn’t been updated hehe sorry. I’m also going to practice my Japanese too.

Today I have no classes but I have to be at school anyways from 8:00 – 4:15 pm with absolutely nothing to do. I thought it’d be a good time to update my blog. Also this post is a bit text heavy, sorry, I really like to include pictures and videos but my camera is a little messed so up I haven’t been able do that. I plan on buying a new one soon.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in Japan. For those in America today is Thanksgiving so, Happy Thanksgiving! This is my 2nd Thanksgiving I’ve spent away from family. Last year I was able to eat with a large group of friends and we had somewhat of a mock Thanksgiving dinner, which was really good considering it was in Japan. We actually had real turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and so on. This year was a bit different. I went to an all you can eat yaki-niku (grilled meat) place with Matt, our friend Yui, and her friend we met for the first time. Nothing like a regular Thanksgiving dinner but it was nicer than cooking for ourselves. Basically at this place you pay for one hour or so and you can order as much different meats as you want and you grill it yourself. We all got our fill.

I definitely miss eating dinner with my family. Ohhh turkey… drool. And then leftover turkey sandwiches… sigh, I can’t believe I’m missing it again. They don’t even have any form of turkey here. The only place I’ve found turkey is at Subway, on a turkey sandwich. Basically unless you maybe go to some specialty store, you can’t find it here. I’m surprised I’ve survived this long without losing my food sanity. Food is getting so redundant here. I constantly eat a list of no more than 10 things. The couple that I’m getting tired of are curry and rice, ramen, gyudon (or grilled beef over rice), some form of chicken or pork meal. There’s only so much I can eat considering that I don’t like seafood. Matt also doesn’t like or care for an array of vegetables. Since we almost always eat together I feel like my eating habits have gotten worse because of him.

I wanna go back home so I can actually eat decent food, like family meals. The food here is definitely healthier than American food but I’m getting tired of Japanese food. Matt has lost 40 pounds or something like that without even exercising. I’ve stayed around the same weight but that’s because I think I ate healthily even in America. Also it’s probably impossible for me to lose any weight because I’m small as it is.

My fourth month of life in Osaka has come to an end. Osaka is a nice place. Definitely distinct from Tokyo and for that matter all of Japan. People are certainly different here. The mind set is a bit different. People’s expectation and reactions are different. The people here tend to be slightly more eccentric and outgoing. That doesn’t mean that everyone here is like that of course. There are plenty of boring people too. The ones that stand out, stand out more here. Osaka isn’t the best place in the world. The place I live is in the middle of downtown so as you can imagine it’s pretty dirty. When I say pretty dirty I mean its Japan dirty which means it’s probably cleaner than an average city in America.

Also my third month teaching in Osaka has come to an end. It is quiet different from teaching in Tochigi (where I used to live). The teachers and students have different personalities and outlooks than those in Tochigi. A noticeable number of the students don’t seem to care about English. It’s a bit frustrating but I don’t let it get to me. Its really only the 2nd and 3rd year students. Unlike America where you have a choice of what language you want to study, here they have to study English.

I remember studying Spanish when I was their age and after 3 years I didn’t really like it anymore either so I can understand how they feel. The textbook is just so dry. Its like teaching is crossing the desert. Even for me it’s boring so I know they can’t be having fun. I kind of wish I could change the way they teach here but they have to use the textbooks I suppose. Also what is important is reading writing and grammar. There’s no real focus on speaking at all. Speaking is pretty important I think, but there is no test on it. The kids study grammar and probably know more than me about English grammar but what good does knowing the rules do if you can speak simple sentences. My Japanese sucks too and I’ve lived here for over a year. In America you have to become good at English quickly to survive, but here you can get away with speaking English, that sucks! I really want to become bilingual/fluent in Japanese but it’s tough.

Recently I’ve started teaching private lessons, and it’s a lot of fun. I want to teach more, but need a way of getting students. I have an interview next week for a company that helps you get students. If will make 3000 yen per hour teaching private lessons. That is about 32 dollars an hour or so!

I think Matt and I will move to the apartment above the one we currently live in next week. To be honest I want to get out of the building. Our place absolutely sucks. There are only two things I like about our place. The location is pretty convenient, and it’s a pretty large place considering its Japan and its in a city. Other than that our place is an absolute shithole. There are holes in the wall. Wires of which have no use hanging out of places. Despite our cleaning efforts it just looks dirty. Thinking back I can’t believe Matt convinced me to live here. I think it actually makes me sad I live there. It might even be affecting my mood. I know about how your environment can have a serious impact on you, and I’m starting to see it. I’m irritable and feel sad when I shouldn’t.

Something else that may be contributing to that is the fact that Matt rarely cleans up. He cleans up if I ask him to, but even then sometimes it doesn’t happen. For example usually one of us cooks the other one does the dishes. When I cook the dishes aren’t done usually. I don’t know its something I shouldn’t really care about, but since our place is already so dirty it’s just frustrating to have it feel any dirtier than it is. That’s one of the tradeoffs of having a roommate. It’s great because you have someone to talk to or hang out with 24/7, but if they don’t clean up after themselves you have to put up with it. I much rather live with a roommate and have a dirty place than live alone I suppose so it isn’t as bad as I make it seem.

This time of year in Japan many people go to see the autumn leaves. A lot of people leave the city and head to shrines or temples and go leaf viewing. I went to Kyoto with Matt, Seiji, and Asuka. It was really nice, I didn’t do it in Tochigi so it was a good experience. Asuka too pictures and I got them from her camera. Finally I get to post pictures! We got to Kyoto and saw a full rainbow. That's rare to see the entire arch.

I really want to start taking advantage of being in a city more. I want to join some classes or groups and meet more people. I feel like I’m not taking advantage of being in Japan!


今日は期末テストなので授業がない。 暇いっぱいあるから日記を書きたいと思った。この日記では写真とか動画あまりないけどカメラがちょっと故障してしまった。もうすぐ新しいカメラを買うつもり。











Kristine said...

Nice job on the Japanese, I have been lazy with that. But yeah, couldn't you have tried to order turkey from FBC? Def understand about the environment affecting your mood... can you hang things up on the walls over the wires and holes? How about pretty lamps to give it better/warmer lighting? Maybe some decorative touches will do the trick.

John Milito said...

It will be over someday. Enjoy it! Let's hear about some of the food in Osaka. Do they have anything especially weird over there that's not in the north? I heard they don't eat natto in Osaka. Is that true?