I went to church today. When Dad was still here we went to see where it was. The way the subway is set up, for one station there are many exits that end up in totally different areas. I took the wrong exit and wound up walking for half an hour. I kept expecting the right street to be the next one, and the next one, and the next one. Finally I decided to ask someone. No one spoke English in the first place I went into, so I tried another convenience store. The guy behind the counter spoke a little English and when I asked him where Meiji University was he told me it was very far. He couldn’t even show me in a map book how to get there. On the back of a receipt he drew the station I needed to go to and what station to get off at. I followed his directions (which were very helpful) and finally oriented myself. I found the church about 45 minutes after the service started. Someone else was arriving just as I was and she showed me where to go for the service. I found out later that her name is Candice and she is from Singapore but her English is wonderful. She has been here since May and knows a good amount of Japanese.
After the service I met a few other people, including some Americans who told me to come to their house if I ever was missing American culture again. Everyone was very friendly and after Candice showed me around the building we went into the basement and ate lunch together. I met a guy (I think his name is Tim) who said he went to ACU. I was so surprised to hear that! He told me he found it because he wanted a college with an undergraduate and graduate program associated with the Church of Christ. So even though I was super late, I am very thankful I made it. Everyone I met told me to come back next week, I definitely will. Next time I will know what exit to come out of.
After I got back Mai, Yui and Masayuki where playing a matching game with cards. We played one round and then took bicycles to the electronic store. We were going to make more stops but when we got out of the store it started sprinkling. Riding the bike made me want to get one even more. It’s a ten minute walk from the house to the station and having a bike would help save some time. The thing is that all bikes in Japan are registered. If the registration is not under my name, I could get arrested. Also I’m not sure how comfortable I would be with riding here. The rules are different than in the States.
Tonight Ayumi brought me to a “chatting session.” People who come want to improve their English or Japanese. There was a big group from Spain there and a lot of them were learning some form of martial arts. It was a time filled with laughter and fun. At one point all the newcomers stood up one at a time to introduce themselves. One of the leaders, a Japanese man who talked extensively with me, told one of the guys from Spain to sing. We finally got him to sing and he had a very nice, deep voice. Mai and Yui did a little dance (Mai had no qualms about it but Yui was very shy) which everyone loved. They all wanted a picture with and of them. At the end one of the Japanese men who spoke English very well told me to please come back. Most of the Japanese men and women there know that I don’t speak Japanese but a few of them said a few sentences to me anyway, trying to help me learn a few phrases.
In short, I’ve had an amazing day filled with new faces and names (most of which I cannot remember). Tomorrow is my first day of class. I’m very excited and nervous. I hope I’ll be able to continue these updates somewhat regularly even when school really begins.