I have been slacking a bit with blogging, but I have just been so busy! I'll try to do a little catch up, but my facebook photos should also explain a little! When we were in Kyoto, I got to see the outside of Nintendo! It was really cool! (Even though it was just a big white building...) I got to go to a studio ghibli store which was in a really cute little village! After Kyoto, we went to Fukuoka, which is in Kyushu! We only stayed there for a night though, but we tried this delicious restaurant that served you 10 courses! The sashimi we had was quite delicious and extremely fresh. How fresh? Well, the fish was alive before we got to the restaurant! The next two days we traveled around Nagasaki. We went to Glover Gardens, as well as the Peace Park and the Hypocenter of the Atomic Bomb. The hypocenter was very powerful. The destruction that occurred from the blast that killed thousands of innocent people was just horrid. I can write more about this, but I do not wish to anger anyone with a differing opinion.
After our last day in Nagasaki, we traveled back up to Fukuoka so that I could meet the rest of the JASIN (Japan Studies in Nagasaki) program students! Most of us are from around America, but we have a handful of students from France. A few of the American students had started a groupme chat (a sort of instant message app), so a few of us knew each other once we got here. It was kind of nice knowing people beforehand, as some of the awkwardness that comes with meeting someone for the first time. As with large groups, people tend to find friends with some and not as much with others. Generally though they are all pretty nice. We are all in the same boat, so to speak. We all try to help each other out.
Nagasaki in general is pretty nice. It is in the mountains, so like most buildings are part of a mountain. Kind of like West Virginia, but way more populated and smaller buildings.
As part of my commute to and from NUFS (Nagasaki University of Foreign Studies, also called Gai Dai by the locals) I have to take 2 different buses. My host mom went with me today on the way there (this whole week and next week are orientation), but when it came time for me to go back home I got a little turned around looking for the bus stop, so I asked the locals! I was told that they would be really nice, and they sure were! I asked a girl, who seemed about my age, where this bus stop was. She had me follow her, even though it was the complete opposite direction from where she was originally going. Then she asked these two older ladies if they knew where the bus stop was. They seemed to know (the language barrier was a bit hard), and they led me to where it was. The girl left at that point, going to wherever she was going to before. The two ladies walked me down to the bus stop and checked the times for me! They also read me the Kanji slowly, so that I would understand! Then they waited with me until the bus came to make sure I got on the right bus! I cannot believe how sweet that is!!!!!
So, my host family! My host mom is in her 60s, and she is super sweet!!! Her house is up on a hill, and has a really nice view of Nagasaki (I will try to get a photo sometime!). She is a vegetarian, although she eats fish (I think) and eggs. All of her meals are very healthy, as she cares about a healthy diet a lot!! Dinner last night was this warm egg custard with a whole bunch of things. It was also served with rice (which had seaweed, carrots, and other things in it). We also had snap peas, tomatoes, and for dessert, sour and sweet oranges (that was how she described them). For breakfast we had toast with margarine, a banana, tomatoes, 1 egg with mushrooms, and some other things, but I can't really remember. Tonights dinner was Shumai (I think), lotus root, spinach, miso soup, carrots, some kind of bean, and brown rice. I am really liking all this healthy food. Between the food and the amount of walking we do, we all joke that by the time we leave Japan, we will all be super fit and lose a bunch of weight!
My room is kinda tiny, but I really like it. My bed is a futon (not like a couch bed) on top of wooden pallets. It is taking some getting used to.... My floor is tatami mats, and she has given me a shelf (some decorations are on it), a desk with a cork board, a little lamp, and a calendar from tokyo disney land! The doors have a pretty design with flowers on them (I think). When I imagine a Japanese house, this room is what I imagine. It is very nice.
Japanese and American homes are quite different in many ways. Japanese homes have a place where you take off your shoes and put on slippers, the toilets are way different (and are never in the room with the bathtub), and the shower is outside the tub! I actually really like it. Their style of bathing saves so much water. I have yet to take a bath here, but I will soon! In order to use hot water, you have to push a little button to turn it on, and then turn it up a little. Another interesting fact about Japanese homes is that most Japanese homes do not have dryers! They usually hang their clothes up to dry outside or in a seperate room, even when it is cold out! They do have laundromats with dryers, but if you want laundry done in home, it all has to be hung up. According to my host mom, it kills bacteria better by drying in the sun. Its crazy how different it all is!!
Well, that is all for now! Tomorrow I have the Entrance Ceremony for NUFS!!!!
Links to my photos on Facebook: