My first Photography critique went well enough. We basically picked three of our best photos and put them on an empty wall and discussed them. It was very different from the critiques in my other Photography class. This time all the students contributed to the discussion, the lights were on (in my other class the lights had to be turned off because we used a projector so it was like talking into a black hole), the class itself is a lot smaller about 14, and we got into some pretty deep discussions.
Friday I had lunch with Yumi and Junko, two amazing Christian women who work here at Temple. We ended up going to lunch at a sandwich shop “David’s Deli,” a nice, Jewish place that the school had ordered from for the week of orientation. Since the school ordered about 200 sandwiches they were given a bunch of cards for free cake and coffee. Yumi brought two and Junko forgot to bring hers. Our waitress was very nice though and let us all have free cake (she even remembered who Yumi was). During the meal we talked about how God had been working in our lives to bring us to where we are now, all the crazy, random things that have happened. Junko talked about how my file and name kept coming to her. She took it as a sign that she was supposed to look out for me. And we talked about how I met Steph to which Junko said, “We’re supposed to meet each other, but if we don’t God pushes us together.” So true. It was one of the best lunches I’ve had and I hope that next time Steph will be able to join us.
Friday night was fun too. After school Steph and I went to the Japanese 7-Eleven (known as “7 & i Holdings,” you can do anything there, buy a meal, have them heat it for you, pay your bills…) and picked up junk food. After riding the bus for about 45 minutes we arrived at her “dorm” (an apartment building owned by the school). It was a really nice place, with a little kitchen, a toilet room (all houses here have a separate room for the toilet), a shower and a small bedroom. The bedroom is actually the size of my room here but with less floor space since they can’t roll up their bunk bed and put it in the closet every morning.
Steph made spaghetti (it was really good) and we ate and talked. She showed me the lounge, just another apartment with a couch, two computers, a t.v. and a laundry room instead of a shower. We ended up watching “She’s the Man” and “The Last Samurai.” I hadn’t seen either of them and enjoyed them both. During part of “She’s the Man” a guy named Bobby came in to use the computer. After both movies were over we talked with him and a guy who happens to be in my Photography class, Nick. The three of them were going to a sumo tournament with the school the next day and the guys went to bed semi-early. Steph and I ended up staying up until 3 am talking about random things. It was nice to get a taste of dorm life. While I enjoyed it, I don’t think I could handle getting that little sleep every night. Steph had told me that everyone stays up until about 3 am and they have parties all the time. It makes me appreciate doing a homestay even more.
On Sunday a group of us went to a karaoke club after church. It was different than I had expected. Since I had only done karaoke about two times in the States, I had expected it to be in a big room with lots of people with a few people singing. We got to the club, reserved a room for two hours, got our basket with two mics and a remote and got on the elevator for the ninth floor. The room was narrow with booths on almost all of the walls. There was a table in the middle, a t.v. by the door and the walls were painted with dolphins and an underwater fantasy scene that could only be seen when the black lights shone. Candice handed me a giant book with foreign songs (they had Chinese and Taiwanese as well) and when I picked the ones I wanted, I used the remote to input them. It was a bit overwhelming and when the singing started it got really loud. Everyone who knew a song would sing out, no one was shy about it at all. It was amazing to see these “quiet” people singing their hearts out, I was seeing a totally different side of them. It was fun to hang out with people from church outside of church and see a bit of the karaoke culture.
Monday was a holiday, Respect for the Aged. I had to go to a museum for Art History and almost didn’t make it on time. After leaving the museum I walked around the area, got some very expensive (but tasty) ice cream and was overwhelmed with all the directions I could have gone on my walk. I needed to get paper for my Drawing class so I took the subway to the area the store is in. I ended up walking around for about an hour, asking directions from three different people before finally finding it (but I almost walked right past it since the sign didn’t have any English). So twice in one day I saw more of Japan than I had planned on, one on purpose and one totally by accident. But I’ve come to expect getting lost going anywhere new.
Today (Wednesday) Steph and I sat at a table during tea time (12:30-1:30 when no classes are scheduled and the cafeteria is always packed). All the people who were starting clubs set up a table and a sign up sheet for all those interested in joining. We had two demonstrations, one by a girl with her baton and another of three people street dancing. Both were quite impressive and if I had more time I might join them. Steph is the president of the Christian club and I am the treasurer (though neither of us are really sure what my real job is). We had one person sign up and some people looked like they were going to laugh when they saw our flyer. I was a little discouraged but Steph was very optimistic. I’m really praying that this club does well, even if we only have a few people.
In Drawing we had our first live model. When models come in our class schedule is a lot more strict. Every twenty minutes we have a five minute break and if we come back late, we’ll be locked out. Today the model did eight 15 second poses at the beginning. It was really tough trying to get the outline in just 15 seconds. After the first eight we had 5 one minutes poses. Then two 10 minute, one 15 minute and one 20 minute. It was very challenging and I was never really satisfied with the end result though I couldn’t wait for the timer to go off every time.
Ayumi has been teaching me a little Japanese every night after dinner. She’s been teaching me phrases about things I do every day like, “I’ll go to school” or “I’ll take a shower.” And I’ve been helping her with her English. At the end of October the community center close by (where we went for the “chatting session”) is offering a free Japanese class which I’m obviously going to join. I hope to be able to have a simple conversation with Ayumi sometime in the near future.