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Oceanborn Owl


Well, as of yesterday morning, I'm back, and my trip was incredible! Honestly, it could not have been any better, I just wanted it to be longer!

I guess I'll do a little day-by-day recap...

Day 1 (August 8 and 9):

My flight out of O'Hare was at noon, so we left at 9:00. It was my first time ever flying alone, and I was actually pretty nervous, but naturally it wasn't much different. I really hate long flights though...no matter what you do, they can only be so comfortable. Maybe in first class, where the seats fold out into beds, ha. Anyway, despite spending half the trip attempting to sleep, I was never able to. =/ The flight was delayed a whole hour too; 30 minutes to wait for another flight to merge, 30 minutes because of some problem with lavatory waste disposal...ew. On the plane I sat next to a girl who was Chinese but more or less raised in America by parents who each spoke six languages (!), and who was now going to medical school.

Upon arrival, I was met by a person from the Osaka International House named Tegon Chubb. I don't know about you, but hearing that name made me picture a black man, but it turned out to be an Australian woman, and I felt embarrassed, ha. We took a bus from the airport to Uehonmachi station, and walked a few blocks from there to the International House where I met my host family. On the ride we talked in English, and I told her that while I should really be talking in Japanese, with the tiredness from my plane ride English was just easier at the moment. But when we got there a woman told me all the details super fast, and I felt like, "hold on, I need transition time!" Ha, it is interesting how while I get this illusion of having become decent at speaking in Japanese at home, when I got over there it still was a little shaky at first. I may be able to express nearly anything in Japanese without a dictionary now, but conversation is still the toughest. It obviously got progressively easier as the days went on, but I've still a ways to go. I should be pretty fluent after spending a year abroad though :D

I was a little nervous about my host family at the very beginning, but that's more or less inevitable. In actuality, I could've hardly asked for a better family. The mom and dad were in their 40s and both really nice people, though the dad was on call the whole week and especially busy since it was the Obon holiday, so there would be nights he wouldn't even come home to sleep. They also had two girls, Ryouko, who was 11, and Mikako, 9. First we went to Yodobashi Camera, a electronics/department store at ("at" seems more accurate than "next to", anyway) Umeda station, which had an eighth floor of all restaurants, called "Yodobashi The Dining", haha. We met with Ayumi, the 19-year-old niece of my host parents, and all ate at an Osaka-style udon and soba place. As for Ayumi, she was really pretty, but I never got to talk to her much, so I was kinda disappointed. She's a rouninsei though, someone who couldn't pass the entrance exam of the college there wanted to get into and rather than going to a lesser school studies for a year at a preparatory school to try again on the following year's entrance exam, so while everyone else was on summer break, she still had class, and it would run until like 7:00 pm. =/ She may or may not be my type, but that didn't really matter to me; I was looking forward to spending time with a Japanese girl my own age. Oh well, I'll probably see her again sometime in my year abroad.

After dinner, we took the Hankyuu train back to Toyonaka, the northern suburb that they lived in, and walked back to their place. It was an apartment, probably what one would call a manshon, and though not roomy, it had a homey feel to it. After the genkan, there were two bedrooms, neither used as such, but one having a piano and Mikako's desk (in which I put my luggage), the other with a TV, computer, and Ryouko's desk. There was a toilet room and a room with a sink, mirror, and washing machine which led into the bath and shower room, a kitchen, a living room with a TV and the only air conditioner as well a table for dining that was put to the side at night to make room for a row of futons, and finally a connecting washitsu which I slept in with the door half closed. It was around 100°F every day, which I did get used to by the end of the trip, but I had to sleep with the assistance of an ice pillow (an ice pack wrapped in a towel) and a fan at my feet. The first night I couldn't really sleep at all what with jet lag and excitement and a foreign place to sleep, but after that I was out really quick every night.

Hm, shoot. I'm tired so I guess I'll continue tomorrow...but over the course of a few days I'll cover the entirety of my adventures. :D


Oceanborn Owl

September 2006

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