Sunday, April 1, 2007

Everybody Loves Sunday

"BS News" on television news show
"Freshness Burger" restaurant
"Wearable Memo" on small notepad
"Dust Box" really means trash bin

TEMPLE WASHING: there are covered areas with water fountains that you wash your hands in before entering the temple. With the long-handled scoop, you pour water over your right hand, then left hand, and then wash out your mouth with the left hand's water.

FACE MASKS: aren't worn only by sick people, those with hayfever wear them to keep out the pollen.

Today I went sightseeing (sampou suru) with my host family in Yokohama. We went to three temples: the take (bamboo) one, and two others. I ate blueberry icecream! It was surprisingly tasty! Then we visited a soba shop (noodle restaurant), and I had "zaru-soba", or soba with shredded nori (dried seaweed). It comes with a cup of sauce/soup that you use with the noodles, and when finished, you add hot noodle-water (soba-yu) to make a soup to drink.

For dessert, we had some kind of mochi (glutinous rice) with yellow dusty stuff (derived from soybeans). It tasted like coffee, but it was hard to eat because it was SOO STICKY.

We visited Yukiko's friend's teahouse, where we ate cheesecake (Japanese style, drier than ours) and apple pie (more like apple tart with phyllo dough) and fruit-tea. Fruit-tea is like sangria, but with tea instead of wine, and served hot. Very delicious! I'll have to make it when I get home. I think they brewed English black tea in strawberry, brandy-soaked grapes, melon, peach, apple and kiwi.

Afterwards, we stopped by an ENORMOUS shopping center (depa-to), called Sogo in Yokohama to buy ingredients to make Chris and mine's "special pasta". I thought of Dad because it was SO BUSY and CROWDED (kondeiru from the verb komu)-- he would have hated it! However, there was every kind of food imaginable and a lot of imported groceries. I tried to find Myzthera cheese, but to no avail. Japan is not big on cheese :(.

Yukiko helped me, and brought me salt while cooking the pasta sauce. I used quite a bit of it... "boy, Japanese tomatoes are *sweet*"... hmmm the salt was actually sugar. [snort]

PRESENTS: "Omiyage"
My host family really liked the presents I brought: saltwater taffy (they had never had before), the myrtlewood cutting board, hazelnuts from Ethel (that was really exciting, they are apparently really hard to get in Japan), Oregon-wine filled chocolates from Euphoria, and the Violet-Blueberry dressing that Chris picked out.

SHASHIN (pictures)
The pictures of the Badlands were a huge hit, as were the pictures of my white and salmon-colored ballgown.

MICHI NI MAYOU "Loosing my way"
Okay, I admit it: I got lost yesterday trying to come home from Waseda. [rolls eyes] I was fine transferring two different trains from two different systems- that wasn't the problem. Walking 5 minutes in the correct direction from the station was. I walked for mabye 15 minutes, saw a major road that I didn't remember, and started to get suspicious. Luckily, the family I asked to help me had just returned from Hawaii and had lived in California- they knew English!!! I talked to their middle-scool aged daughter about public school! The addresses in Japan are pretty confusing, so we visited Kouban (police station) and argued over the map. The family was so nice as to walk with me for 10 minutes to get me home!

PLACEMENT TEST (Yesterday: Saturday)
Holy cow was it hard! For one hour, we had to fill in the blank of really tedious sentences in Japanese. Afterwards, we were handed a paper. No verbal directions, just one line, written in Japanese, which Carsten translated for us. Apparently we were supposed to write a 400 character essay about computers. We had 20 minutes to begin with, but by the time I knew what to do, only 15 minutes remained.

I *did* reach the 400 character mark, but it was an unorganized, boring essay, I tell you what.

We were definitely reminded of our ignorance!

KEITAI (Cell Phone)

Tokyo Lesson #1: keitai is ESSENTIAL to any life here. Seriously.

My host father helped me fill out the paperwork on Friday, but were running late for his Opera lesson, so I will go back tomorrow (Monday) to retrieve my cell phone. I can't wait! It'll be nice to have a lifeline. Some of the other exchange students from the US aready got their cell phones- they are so technologically advanced! Sharon would love them. Instead of calling each other or writing down numbers, you can point the phones at each other and you automatically recieve the other phone's contact info!!

No comments: