Hard to believe I’ve been here over two months. There are a little over 5 more weeks left of school; time flies whether you’re ready or not.
Last Friday was quite a busy day. In the morning I had my Gender midterm and finally got my paper back (I got an A-!). After the midterm I had a lot of time to kill. When Steph and I saw The Lake House I started thinking about how tired I was of my hair. Sandra Bullock’s hair is really cute in the movie and I decided I wanted the same style. During my break I went to a salon really close to the school (where Steph got her hair straightened for free, go here for the story) and made an appointment for 2. Since I had some time before our club meeting I decided to go to Shinjuku to pick up some Drawing supplies, this time I didn’t get lost for an hour. I arrived back at school just in time for our meeting. Again it was only Steph, Matt and me but I think we all enjoyed our time together.
When I finally headed to the salon I started getting a little nervous. The style was drastically different from what I’ve had for a long time but I was excited about the change. The man who I made the appointment with spoke English and after washing my hair he began cutting my hair with gusto. The entire time I had my head down as I flipped through a Japanese Vogue. I only wanted to see the before and after, nothing in between. See the difference for yourself. I really like it, it’s easy to take care of, after I get it wet I basically just have to shake my head and that’s it. The only thing is getting used to bangs which I grew out 10 years ago and haven’t had since.
Friday night Steph and I went back to her church for the college group. Besides the two of us there were four other people (whose names I can’t remember because they were all Japanese). We had dinner, sang a few songs and talked about Japanese culture. After we went upstairs and had a jam session. Steph played her guitar and sang, I and the other girl accompanied her with our voices and the other three guys played the drums, bass and piano. It was amazing and I was sad when we had to stop because it was getting late. I won’t be able to go this week because I have to get up early tomorrow (Saturday) morning for the English Camp.
On Saturday Mai’s kindergarten had a bazaar and I bought a thermos and lunchbox for a total of about $5.80. And then on Sunday Koshigaya was having a city festival. Ayumi, the girls and I went to it and we stopped by the flea market section first. I bought a really nice blouse and jacket and spent another $6. We watched a few street performers who juggled flaming torches and ate them. Inside the community center they also had displays set up and a table for free crafts. Ayumi and I made beaded penguins and I put mine on my cell phone. We had a lot of fun and I was surprised because the whole event felt like a fair in the States.
Since I went to the festival, I missed church in Tokyo and the night before I had done some research on churches in my area. I found one that was only two stations away from mine and the service started at 2pm. Ayumi went home and I parked my bike near the station and made my way to the church. I found the building with no problems and when I entered the room the first thing I noticed was how small the “congregation” was (only 5 in the audience). The room itself was very small and echo-y. The pastor stood in front with a mic that magnified his voice even more, and since there were only 5 there I wondered why he even used the system, maybe to make it feel more official or something. Or maybe he was recording his message for those who were absent. Whatever the reason, his voice echoed off the walls and after his message he played a video with the volume turned way up. Though the people were really nice, I’ve decided I’m not going back.
I decided to start using a bike to get from the house to the station since it takes about half the time as walking. Ayumi and I found a parking structure (because if I don’t use official parking the bike could get confiscated) and I paid to park there for the rest of October and all of November. So this week I’ve been using a bike to get to the station and I’m really enjoying it. Monday night it was raining when I got back to the station. After about twenty seconds of riding, the top of my legs were completely soaked. You can see what my pants looked like. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that wet in such a short time aside from jumping into a pool with all my clothes on. Riding a bike certainly gives my legs a workout.
Wednesday was a school holiday and in the morning I went with Ayumi to her cooking circle. The circle gets together and cooks foods from different countries and this time it was Russian. Amy, another homestay student in the area, came with her host mother and we made a pumpkin pie. I found out that Ayumi does in fact have an oven, her microwave also works as an oven, which makes sense because of the lack of space. I was very happy about this discovery because I really wanted to make my family a pie but wasn’t sure how I was going to do it without an oven.
That afternoon I still went to school because they were having a culture exchange with a high school from Saitama (where I live). I only made it to the last event because of a miscommunication about time, but I had a good time anyway. The students taught us several traditional Japanese games which we played. They also performed a dance and surprised us by making inviting us to learn the dance which involved a lot of squatting (causing my already sore legs to be even sore…r). I’m really glad I was able to participate.
Yesterday (Thursday) I met with Richard (from my home church) and we talked and ate at a cafe for about 45 minutes. He gave me a care package from my parents (thank you, thank you, thank you!) and we talked about how and what I’m doing and it was a really nice time. When I got home I made a pie for my family; it was really good if I do say so myself. Hopefully next time I can make them cinnamon rolls.
Today I had my third critique for Photography and again it went really smoothly. Shinya didn’t really have any criticism for me and he even told me he was impressed with my work. After we were finished, Shinya randomly started talking about my hair cut and trying to figure out what anime character I looked like. Everyone started talking about who I looked like while I just stood there with an embarrassed smile on my face. At the beginning of class Shinya had said how I look younger now that my hair is shorter. That confused me since I’ve been told cutting my hair makes me look older. But Ayumi also said I look less Japanese while I’ve also been told I look more Japanese now. Whatever, I’ve cut my hair, I look different and that’s all that matters.
Tomorrow I’m waking up at 4:45 so I can make it to the station in time for the English Camp bus. I’m really looking forward to this weekend and I’m sure I’ll have a lot to report when I get back.