Entries "September 2005":

Wednesday, 21 September 2005

Oh Happy Day;)

September 21, 2005

I am sooo excited; today was such a great day! This morning, I woke up and all I wanted to do was crawl back under the covers and retreat into hibernation once more; but since I didn’t finish my homework from the night before, I had no choice but to get up and finish it. I got a small yogurt from the fridge, and walked downstairs, only to find Kalifah’s new Japanese roomie up and about. We sat and talked for a while, and it turns out, she works at Cainz Mall which is a grocery store/Home Depot/Walmart in one big complex. I couldn’t belive how well she speaks Japanese, and she’s even graduated; she’s just taking the English class through my sister program, B, to hone her English-speaking skills *impressive*. So, since I had my homework to complete, I asked her to help me go over it to check for grammatical errors; and she helped me out drastically. I only got two or thee marks off of my entire homework packet because of her help:)

Well anyways, in class today we went over the new sentence pattern, which uses ageru, morau, kudasaru, and itadaku to covey the relationship between giving and receiving things in Japanese. I wish I’d known these wonderful words the first time I went to the Coco’s restaurant next to my dorm: since I didn’t know how to say, "Please give me back my card", the waitresses could not understand me, and nor could I understand them. I ended up leaving the restaurant in tears because I was so frustrated with my lack of Japanese language skills, and they laughed at me because I couldn’t understand them. But things are okay now. I can now order at a restaurant, so things should be easier at Coco’s . Just a small side note, in Japan, restaurants are a bit different than those in America: The waitresses greet you by saying, "itterasshaimase" which means "an honorable person has entered [the room/place]". Then, after being seated, you look at the menu, decide what you want, and you ring a small buzzer on your table to let the waitress know you’re ready to order. Depending on the place, in about 10-15 minutes, your food comes out, and the waitress places the bill in a small circular container, so you can look at it when you’re done, and walk up to the register to pay. And the most important part of it all is in Japan, there is NO such thing as tipping – it’s actually pretty rude if you attempt to tip someone anywhere.

So enough with tangents, back to my day. I got my placement for my Japanese homestay this weekend:) and brittney-san and I are roomies (she’s in some of my pics below). I’ll be staying with the Morishima family in Shiga-cho, and we’ll have a whole weekend filled with Ikebana, or flower arranging, tea Ceremony, Zen meditaation, (at Shutokuji Temple), and scaling a 1200 meter mountain. I’m really looking forward to the experience, and I post some more pics very soon.

In addition to all this, I got a internship placement!!! I’ll be working with a University of Shiga Prefecture Professor named Ishida-sensei as an assistant English teacher in a kindergarten class. My first day is Monday, so I’m hoping it’ll be a worthwhile experience.

Hhhmmm, and the best part of the day was sending out more postcards to my family, and receiving emails and messages from family and friends, letting me know that they read my blogs and they miss me a lot...aaawwww, just the encouragement I needed to update my blog this week:) So yeah, I have to go get my homework done (i.e. go download more songs and surf the web until I fall asleep), but I'll be back later with pics!

Until then...Oyasuminasai = good night

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Posted by: sumikomp    in: My travelblog
Friday, 16 September 2005

Missing America:(

So I`m sitting in the computer lab here, and I realize just how much I miss home.  i`ve had to go to the doctor twice this week, so I don`t feel well right now. Today for Japanese class, we took our second test (out of 11) and had a cooking project.  Since I was really sick earlier, right after the test, I was taken to the doctor. The funny thing here in Japan is when you go to the doctor, you usually get several medicines prescribed to you, but it`s not nearly as expensive as going to the doctor in the States. However, the doctors I`ve seen speak Japanese only, so it`s really hard to translate my illness and/or symptoms. I really miss speaking English in public...getting medicine I can mom  to tell me things are okay....hanging with my friends in campus ministry....just so many things that I took for granted at home that I don`t have here.  It`s fine being in Japan, I just wish I wasn`t so far away.

This weekend, I`m going to a Christian camp around the Osaka region (closer to the mountains than the city). My Japan email buddy, Showhey, will be there I`m excited to meet him for the first time. Also, it`ll be a great time to meet other Japanese/English speakers to fellowship and praise God together....I can`t wait! Hiiro-san and another brother from Nagoya will pick me up around 7pm Sat. evening, so I`ll get to hang out with Amanda-san before she goes into her host family...which reminds me, next weekend, I`ll be with a host family for the weekend, so I`ll try to post a lot of pics before and after that time. I have them stored on my home computer but not in the lab.

A small note on Japanese class -- studying is REALLY intense here. All my friends said it would be easy fro me to get an "A" here without studying, but they were wrong! I study about 7 hours a night, and still feel like I need to study more in order to do better in the class...and that`s with my 10-credit Japanese class alone; I have two other classes that I haven`t even began studying for! But it`s cool, because as I study the language more, the more I retain what I I`m actually learning the language :)

I really want to stay and type more, because so much has happened since my last blog, but it`s getting late here, and I need sleep (because I won`t be getting it this weekend at the camp), so I better tuck in for the night. Oyasuminasai =good night.


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Posted by: sumikomp    in: My travelblog

Modified on September 16, 2005 at 3:49 PM
Friday, 09 September 2005


A couple of us JCMU girls went biking on a Saturday afternoon to Hikone Castle. On the way, we stopped at this Shinto Shrine. Here's a pic of the sign in front of the shrine (I don't Know what it says)

A pic of the girls that went with me, standing in front of the shrine (Left:Nikki, Amanda, Rebecca, Britney)

Inside the shrine

The gong inside the shrine (yes, we had to take our shoes off on the inside, and no, I did not hit the gong:))

An example of a public Japanese toilet...scary;)

Off to Hikone Castle!!! I climbed too many flights of stairs to get to this point of taking the picture

First, we looked at the map, only to find some wonderful Engrish...I really like the "Area plane epitome" part

And here we are at the me, there were LOTS of these

This prayer booth is sooo small...Rebecca is really short, so that should give a good idea about the size of this place

Finally, at the top of Hikone Castle, here's the view -- you can see a lot of businesses and stores from this point, even a baseball field!

One more picture...

ME!!! This was at one of the signs that we saw as we climbed to the top of the castle. It was a long hike, but we made it!

Well, gotta get some sleep -- big exam tomorrow....Jamata-ne.

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Posted by: sumikomp    in: My travelblog

Modified on September 8, 2005 at 4:13 PM
Thursday, 08 September 2005

Gomenasai (I apologize)

Sorry for the hiatus...Besides tons of HW, jet-lag, and grocery shopping, I`ve been going to sleep during my normal blogging time. There were a few times during the week that I tried to post some pictures from school and around Hikone, but the computer won`t download them, so I`ll try really hard tonight from my computer, and we`ll see what happens.  I cannot believe there`s an International ATM around the Hikone BK (post office)! I`ve been looking for it, but I still haven`t found it. Maybe one of my wonderful friends from Michigan can help me with that...?^_^

Anyways, classes go really fast here. Back at U of M, I slacked off on my Japanese homework, came to some classes late (or not at all), and I studied at the most two hours a day. Being here has drastically changed my perspective.I study four hours at night completing homework and studying Japanese grammar, and then I wake up between 66:30am to finish studying Japanese and other homework for 2-2.5 hours, and it seems like I`m doing the bare minimum.  My roomie, Lan, is in the 3rd year Japanese class, and she studies even more than me! This program is difficult, however, it`s okay for now because I can keep up.

For now, my biggest dilemma is trying to get to church service in Nagoya Since I am a Christian, it`s hard for me to build up my faith when the people in my dorm do not practice Christianity. I`m hoping that this week things work out with taking the train to Nagoya; from what someone told me, the Nagoya Church of Christ is about a three minute walk from the train station. I`ll take lots of pics so when I finally have the capabilities to post them, I can put captions and walk through each picture.

Well, it`s time to go do some more homework. Until next time...


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Posted by: sumikomp    in: My travelblog

Modified on September 8, 2005 at 7:50 AM
Friday, 02 September 2005

Jet Lag and at the Post Office

So Im up at 4:30am in Hikone, Japan, denying the fact that I have Jet Lag. I keep telling myself, "Maybe I`m wired from the Ramen and Lemon Saki I had for dinner (yum)" or "I always wake up a crazy hours of the night in America", but yeah, at least you know the truth. This entry today will discuss a funny experience I had since being here in Japan.

1. I went to the post office with four friends to exchange dollars for yen and to get mone from the atm. When my number was called, I walked up to the wndow and handed the teller my TCF bank card, asking him to help me get money from the card. He stared at me with a puzzled glance, not really understanding why I was handing him my card. Suddenly, he began rambling off tons of Japanese (in Keigo, which is an extremely polite version of Japanese) and I couldn`t understand anything he was saying to me except for ATM. I called my friend, Tim, over there to help out with the translation stuff. It turns out, he was trying to tell me to try the ATM first, so Tim, the teller, and I went over to the ATM to see if my card would work. Unfortunately, before leaving the States, I forgot to change my pin number from being 8 digits long to four, so it didn`t work on the machine. At that point, the teller spent about ten minutes telling me to go to Osaka or Tokyo to get money from my card, in which both places are so far away, it`s not worth the trip traveling. But anyways, in the meantime, we still need to do our transactions before 5pm when the bank closes, and let me tell you, when a place closes at 5pm in Japan, it closes at exactly 5pm in Japan. No matter how hard I tried to get my card back so I could do my second transaction (by saying, "daijoubu desu. Jamata-ne), the guy just kept rambling on and on. Finally, he returned my card to me, and my four friends are looking at me like what`s going on over there.  I rushed to the office window, but the one in front of me was closed. I asked the bank teller I was talking to, "which window should I go to?", and he told me "6 or 7"; so I walked over to both of them and the last customers that left the window were the last to get service at these windows before 5pm. Exasperated, I looked over at the teller and asked him could he elp me, but he replied, "Oh, sorry! We`re closed!" The nerve of that guy! He kept me held up for 15 minutes, and then tells me "Oh, sorry! We`re closed!"  I wanted to strangle him, but that guy was only doing his job. As we biked from the post office (yuubenkyou), my friends all laughed and made jokes about the incident. How ironic!


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Posted by: sumikomp    in: My travelblog
In Japan!!!!

I`m here!  Later on, I`ll post the journal entry I wrote while on the plane yesterday, but today is September 2, 2005 in Japan at  11:41am. I`ve met tons of people and everything is great...still haven`t really gripped that I`m in Japan yet. I keep thinking that I`m staying in Colorado, or some other random place. But anywho, we have orientation right now, so I gotta go.



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Posted by: sumikomp    in: My travelblog