Seeing as I haven`t updated in a while, there`s a lot to say and little time to say it all. I`ll begin by thanking those who have sent me letters and such, in case I run out of time ^_^.
Stephanie: Considering I`ve only spoken to you a couple of times at MYP, it was a very welcome surprise to receive your postcard! I hadn`t received anything up until then, so it brightened my day ^^. Unfortunately, I don`t have your address to send you anything in return – maybe you could give me your new University term-time address or something?
Chris: Just received your letter about 20 minutes ago, but haven`t read it yet because Internet is scheduled and limited ^^;. Will reply ASAP.
Also, I received a parcel which I also haven`t opened, which I think is from home; so thanks in advance!
Okay. So a week ago Saturday, Jess, Lizzie, Christine and I all hitched a lift to Hanshin home where the other two Cheshire volunteers, Dave and Sarah, work. We caught the train to Osaka late Sunday morning and headed to Namba, beginning our wonder for DenDen Town. After about 3 hours (and a light udon lunch), we found it. Primarily we were here for Christine today (as it was her birthday the Friday beforehand), looking for a iPOD and also a Gamecube for Lizzie. We found both, at pretty respectable prices – I think Lizzie got her second hand Gamecube bundle for about 40 pounds!
The rest of the group wanted to head home early-ish for a drinking party in the evening (much to my usual discontent). I returned to Osaka for a lone shopping trip the next day while everyone was indisposed due to the alcohol. The evening was okay though, and I did try some of the stuff that was bought (Jack Daniels, Baracardi, Vodka), but unsurprisingly it failed to convince me otherwise of my abstinence. But enough of that. The following day was much better (or worse, depending whether you were looking at my face or wallet). I bought several CDs (Final Fantasy orchestrations), a few manga and perused numerous capsule toy shops, but still failing to find any useless-but-oh-so-appealing models I wanted. I didn`t eat at all during the day, and walked from one end of Shinsaibashi to DenDen Town – a LOT of shops. Just to add, Tokyu Hands is a pretty interesting super-8-floors-store, with loads of creatively-orientated goods. After my trip, I met with Jess and the Harima girls to go back to our rural paradise.
The week was pretty normal. Aside from the usual crafts and tasks, on Wednesday we had Tea Ceremony, where we were joined by 4 JET volunteers – one of which lives in Ichinomiya, the Town nearest us – and I learnt the name of the shop in Yamasaki that sells the great okashi (sweets) they give us during the ceremony. This could prove to be a very bad thing, as my sweet-sugar intake has increased immensely since I`ve been out here. My excuse is that it`s compensating for the really healthy food we`re given at Shiso :P. Azuki bean everything is my new favourite dish ^_^. On Friday Jess and I had our first Kendo class, which was very cool. I remembered a little from the time I did it at Tsurumine High School, so I`m looking forward to future sessions.
Saturday was the culmination of all the craft sessions and preparations – the undoukai (sports festival). All the residents and staff went to the nearby sports hall in Haga where we did mini Olympic Games; including obstacle courses, pushing giant foam balls and picking sticky buns off strings with our mouths ^_^. The day was a lot of fun, and I even got a chance to try some candid photography while everyone was engaged in the activities. It`s amazing the difference in pictures, just by catchign somebody in a natural pose – which reminds me; I`m also reading `People Watching` by Desmond Morris at the moment, which I highly recommend if you`re at all interested in the greater picture people present when going about the world around you.
Sunday was a day in – sleeping mainly, and a trip to the bakery. Monday (after the morning rain had stopped), Jess and I ventured to Yamasaki by bicycle again. The hours cycle there (and returning) was much better than last time, which must mean I`m either getting fitter or conditioned to riding a bicycle (now fixed from the earlier puncture). We bought McDonalds (which is actually brought to your table and HOT out here!) and looked around the giant Jusco superstore. I bought a shirt, CDs (to burn) and some other random things to send to people at some point – including sock glue! ^_^
Alrighty. That about sums things up for now. The work is getting better, and I have a strong feeling that if I really knuckle down and learn Japanese properly some evenings, things will be a lot better. I hope everyone is doing well during the first weeks of University (or very close to starting)! Keep in touch!
(Note to self: Must write letters soon).