So, hello guys. We're getting close to about......five weeks left, I think. It's amazing how much time has passed and how fast. This week I'll be talking about a few things that are honestly a bit old because they take place like two weeks ago. They were things that I knew I would do an update about but, as I said, I got distracted. I think in the future I'm not gonna make promises like, "I'll do updates every week," because look at how good a job I'm doing at that.
Okay, so two weekends ago was interesting because Nagoya had their annual school festival. School festivals in Japan are often very involved. Lots of classes and students will get in on it and plan huge events that will last all weekend. It started on Friday, so we didn't have any classes. But, instead of normal class, my Japanese Society class had a field trip to a museum/park called Meiji-mura, which is in.....Inuyama, which was like an hour's bus drive from campus. It was pretty cool, because another group came with the class, also composed of foreigners. And that group alone had like four students who were also from North Carolina State University. There were only two others in my program, so it was cool to meet more here. So I got to hang out with a bunch of them during the visit. The trip layout was pretty standard - we all were split into two groups with different tour guides to show us around, and then we all met up around 12:00 and were told that we could go wherever we wanted from then until like 3:45 when we had to get ready to head back. I ended up going with one of the NCSU students and their friends and we ate lunch at a Western Style Sit-in, and then wandered around until the designated time. Instead of going through a long description of anything, I'll just link you all to my Photobucket page with pictures I took there. Some of have descriptions on them, but not all. It's mainly just so you can see the imagery. Right this way.
So, after Meiji-mura, I was looking forward to checking out the school festival over the weekend. It was really interesting. They have tents (mainly food tents) set up all over campus, and also a few stages where they had musical performances and stuff. Unfortunately, I really only got to take in one day of the festival. Because Saturday evening and all of Sunday, the festival got cancelled. The reasoning being that apparently a couple people got food poisioning from something they ate at the festival. So at first I thought maybe everything would be cleared up by Sunday and everything would be back to normal, but then I went out Sunday morning, and I saw all these signs up. Fortunately I know enough Japanese that I could tell it said, "the festival for Sunday is cancelled". I guess they couldn't find out which food called the people to get sick so they just cancelled everything. I personally thought they overreacted a little, but whatever. I do have a few pictures, though.
Those were all when they were starting to close everything down though. I forgot to take my camera with me early on Saturday when there were people EVERYWHERE.
Okay, so there's one thing that's been going on for a little bit over a month that I forgot to tell you guys about. Right around the middle of May, like right before my birthday, I got contacted by my tutor. Every student in the program I'm in is automatically assigned a tutor from the school we're affiliated with. So I met with mine in May and we talked about how I could get involved with things in his lab. So we decided that I could come by, every Tuesday in the evening, and meet up with him and a group of Japanese students who were practicing their English for the projects they were working on. There's another foreigner who knows English well who sort of runs the sessions, and he's from.....India, I think. He might have mentioned it once, but I can't remember now. Anyway, it's fun. It's a very odd experience for me, though, because I'm having to learn how to simplify my own language so that they can understand. Because, while the students can all speak English, each speak it at varying degrees and there's lots of words that they don't know. I've only practiced speaking Japanese a little with them, but it's still very interesting, because it's made me look back differently at my own language and the words that I use. Basically we've been starting off each session with each student reading off, in English, the current stages or information on his project, and then I'm encouraged to ask them questions (which I've managed to do rather well despite how bad I usually am at asking questions) about what they read to me and they answer the best that they can. Then at the end we chat about whatever or play some kind of game to practice language.
Okay, not much more to talk about this week. I've got one more thing - a picture of a new food I ate that I found to be quite delicious.
I got this at a convenience store on campus. It's called "nikuman". "Niku" is the Japanese word for "meat". It's basically a kind of a pastey bun with meat stuffed into it. I bought it out of curiosity and found that it was really good. They also had a "pizzaman", which was the same thing except with pizza instead of meat, but that wasn't quite as good.
Okay, so that's all for this week. I have no idea what kinds of events will be happening from here on out, but I'll still try to have at least a couple more updates before my trip comes to an end. Hope you enjoyed reading~! =)