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Reflecting on my Time in Japan

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Kyoto

Wow Japan is amazing. Most people (including myself  for the last 5 weeks) focus on the differences between Japan and other countries but recently I have been focusing on the similarities. I am aware of all the strange difference but I’ve come to realize we are more similar than we think. I believe we can learn a great deal from this country and will continue to do my best at not only learning their culture but also sharing my own. 
Over the last two weeks I have had the opportunity to travel to Kyoto twice. I was specifically interested in traveling to Kyoto because of its history as Japan’s ancient capital and this means a lot more “old Japanese” sights to see. The first time I went to Kyoto it was with my host parents. We drove their which was nice for a change because we have been using the trains to go everywhere and in a car you can see more of the scenery and get a better sense of the people and environment. We stopped at a famous ramen shop on the way there. I knew the ramen mu…

One Burnt Mouth and A Lot of Grape Juice

On Sunday, I scorched my mouth eating uzura tamago. Also known as deep fried quail egg on a stick. I did not think it would be hot but I was sorely mistaken. At first, it didn’t feel hot but it instantly burnt me. A few moments later I was starting to comprehend the damage that had been done. The roof of my mouth had paid the price of my ignorance. Since then I have tried to nurse it back to life. I’ve eaten a lot of ice cream and fruit. Today Nori, our friend Kin, and I went and watch the new Spider man movie. It was surprisingly refreshing to spend a couple hours just listening to fluent English. To get the theater, we biked 2.5 miles. We finished the movie and biked home. After we returned home, Nori and I put on some running clothes and ran 4.5 miles along the Muko River. We got back quite sweaty and tired. We then proceeded to walk to a near by family mart (similar to 711) to buy some refreshments. I wanted something easy for my burnt mouth. We ended up with a family sized carton…

Nara Park

Hello everyone! My life in Japan is starting to slow down. I have 3 more school days and they are only 40 minutes class period. After that I will have 11 or so days to travel around Japan. This experience is so unique because I get to live life like a normal Japanese person and when I don’t have school get to be a tourist. On Friday my classmates traveled to different colleges to get a campus tour. I did not go to school but instead traveled to Nara with my host mom. I had briefly researched Nara and discovered I would be seeing a lot of deer but besides that I didn’t know what to expect. She let me sleep in so we got a pretty late start. We took the train to Nara. We had to change trains a couple of times but it wasn’t too confusing. I slept on the train so it went by pretty quickly. Our destination was Nara Park.. Once arriving at the station around 11:45 we set off on foot for lunch. My host mom took me to a small Italian restaurant for lunch. It was very nice! I will attach images…

My School's Culture Festival and Tanabata

I have now been living in Nishinomiya for 3 weeks. This means I only have 3 more weeks left. Time really does fly. I have become acclimated to my new home but the generosity of my host family continues to shock me daily. The meals that they cook and the relationship between each family member is crazy. Everyone is always happy and friendly. I believe this stems from the high level of respect that everyone holds for each other. This level of order and structure is one of the many reasons I love Japan. 
For the last 3 months my whole school has been preparing for our Bunkasai which means Culture Festival. Each class chooses to do something for the two day celebration. My class chose to do a dance but other classes choose to cook takoyaki, churros, french fries, or sell ice cream, juice, or candy. Some classes performed plays or they decorated their classrooms into pictures taking areas or game rooms. In preparation for this 20 minute dance we had been practicing everyday at lunch. Howeve…

First Week

Even though it's already going on my third week of being here in Japan, I thought I should probably finish writing this blog post about my first week. So--here's how my first day of school went! First of all, I woke up at about 6:30am and made my bed. Then, I went out to the kitchen to eat breakfast with my host family. The breakfast consisted of French toast and juice; the day before, I tried showing my host mother how to make French toast, and then she managed to make it even better than I did! Now that my second week here has already passed, I usually eat cereal or bread for breakfast, which is delicious nonetheless! After breakfast, I got changed into my uniform and left to walk to school at about 7:30am. About half of the walk is uphill, and since the humidity is so high I got really sweaty. When we arrived at school it was about 8:10, and Hana and I were supposed to give our introduction speeches to the all of the teachers. Beforehand, we met three important faculty memb…

Two Short Stories

Hello! I have been super busy lately so I am sorry I have not posted another update. I want to share these 2 stories with you and hope you enjoy them as much as I did experiencing them.

The Dental Check
My host brother thinks I eat way too much but I just say I am a growing boy. I told my host mom that in America I normally eat snacks throughout the day to keep me full between breakfast and lunch. The next day she gave me a pack of chocolate bread to take to school in addition to my lunch. After the first 65 minutes of school, I was starting to get a little hungry. I opened the bread bag and offered a piece to my host brother, Nori. He thankfully accepted and we both started eating the delicious bread. Half way through, one of our classmates came up to us and said something to Nori in Japanese. I wasn’t sure what was said but Nori said “uh oooh” and stopped eating. He then proceeded to translate what had been said. Both he and I had completely forgotten the dental check next class pe…