Monday July 12th
Tsurumine High School – Day 1
A large part of the day was occupied travelling and we had an hour’s shopping time in a very large bookshop, during which I bought a Kanji dictionary and two Japanese textbooks ‘Minna no Nihongo’. I talked with Heather a little more about the gap year, and I think I definitely want this placement now, as Japan has been great so far.
Afterwards, we came to Tsurumine High School, where we received a warm greeting. I was pretty nervous during my speech – my hand holding the paper shaking embarrassingly the whole while – but I managed to get through it without stuttering too much. After the introductions, each of us went to sit with out Host Family for the next two days. Mine were the Kawashima family; my host brother – Takahito (17-18), mother – Mayoko (I think), father – Eeji (I think), sister – Ayaka (16) and youngest sister – Natsuki (14). It probably seems odd that I don’t know my host mother or father’s names, but we are expected to call them by ‘okaasan’ and ‘otoosan’ (mother and father, respectively) instead of, for example, Mayoko-san. Takahito doesn’t have very good English, and okaasan, virtually none at all ^_^;;. My poor Japanese struggled to get very far and the dictionaries were pulled out a lot, but I am managing quite well so far.
Okaasan took me back to her house (which was quite small, but cosy). They had a huge dog called Rocky (but I’m not sure on the type – I’m clueless about breed of dogs). I originally thought it was called ‘Loki’ though, due to the ‘l’-‘r’ problem I wrote about earlier ^^;. Dinner was interesting; definitely the most adventurous stuff I’m had so far. Gyooza, sashimi (raw fish – and this really *was* raw!), and noodles. I tried a Japanese pickled plum afterwards which was, well, *strong*, shall we say… o.O; We played Boggle after dinner (the present I gave them) and then Othello after that. I feel the present I brought it a little cheap compared to the books and chopsticks they got for me and my family, and the great job they did hosting me, so I intend to send a thank you present out after I get back from DofE. I met otoosan briefly when he arrived home at 10pm from his job as a policeman in Tokyo. He was really nice and kept trying to say things slowly and in the best English he could muster. I managed to ask for use of the Internet to send an email as well.