Sunday, 23 March 2014

A week of epic proportions

This week has been crazy. I have had so much fun I almost don't believe it myself!

Tuesday was an odd day for the emotions. I woke up reasonably early and proceeded to stuff my life into a suitcase. It took a good hour to do so and then another hour to return my room back to it's original state.
Packed and ready
I looked over my room with a lump in my throat, I was determined not to cry but I would be lying if I said I didn't. A few silent tears fell. I waited in the lounge wearing my Rotary blazer and sat in reflection. It is an odd feeling to wonder: "Will I ever be here again?" We drove to my new place and almost ran over a monkey walking across the road.

After arriving at my new place of residence and greeting my new host family it was time to make my farewells. Once again I was determined not to cry. I didn't, but I did make odd gurgling sounds instead of talking. After a hug and a handshake, I had left the Imai family and become part of the Kaneyama family.

Sadness was quickly replaced with excitement. I felt welcomed in already after the first night. The kindness of people is one of the best things about anything I reckon.
My new room
It's pretty awesome!
I studied Japanese with my host sister, Mayuko, she is the same age as me and is going to New Zealand later this year on the Rotary Youth Exchange. We don't know where yet. So we managed to study both Japanese and some proper Kiwi Englush, it was sweet as!

I slept until midday because there were no plans. Wednesday night was pretty cool. I met my older host brother, Ryo, he's twenty something and I also met my older host sister who is also twenty something. Over dinner I also met her husband who I get along with very well. We talked long into the night even though I had to get up early the next morning. Many laughs were had.

Thursday morning was an early get up in preparation for a ski trip to Hakuba. There was going to be exchange students from many nearby districts meeting up and it promised to be quite fun. I got car sick but that's pretty regular. After transferring from car to van to bus, we arrived in Hakuba. It was literally a winter wonderland. Completely covered in snow! It was beautiful!

We all gathered in the lobby of this big hotel complex thing as strangers and got geared up ready for the first day of skiing. The most common question for quite a while was: "Where are you from?" Everyone said: "That's so cool!" When I said I was from New Zealand, my national pride grew a fair bit. There were so many accents and I'm pretty proud to say I have an accent too! (Everyone thinks it's awesome!) 

My district's crew
Blurry photos everywhere

This fulla cooked up a mean feed!

A vicious snow fight ensued.
(This was the small group who were game enough to go outside)
 I rounded everyone up for a photo (It's amazing how a loud voice and a camera can direct people!) and as soon as the photo was taken I was smashed with snow. Standard. Jake and I (Jake is the one holding the snow ball in the above photo) decided it would be cool to jump of this big mound of snow into the deep snow. I was expecting to go ankle deep. What I got was a huge shock. I jumped and fell belly button deep into the snow. Jake was also stuck. It was quite hilarious until we actually couldn't get out. We had to be dug out!
If you look closely, the people in the behind us are also giving the piece sign!
 Skiing was great fun! The first day was raining so it was a bit shit but it was still great fun. We ski'd for a few hours and I had a good few wipe outs. I accidentally went with the pro group!

The second day was blizzard like! Fresh new snow and all that stuff. But I didn't have any facial protection, just my goggles. So my face stung something wicked when I got any speed. And whats more, my goggles always fogged up so I literally couldn't see anything infront of me, quite dangerous on a mountain with heaps of people! So I normally just didn't use them. But that created another problem! I could barely see because of the snow in my eyes! It was tough, but great fun!
Very hungry.
 So me and Jessie here were being interviewed by this guy and he asked us for a photo. We thought this was what he wanted but when he yelled at us in full and proper English: "NO! I want a photo of you talking!!" We just looked at him with mouths stuffed with food and could only laugh. I reckon this would have looked better in a newspaper.
Shenanigans at lunch time

I'd like to say I won...
This girl, Yurika, went to Germany for a year and she could speak fluent English, German and of course Japanese. What's more, she was a hardcore volley ball player and we had to settle in a draw in the above arm wrestle. I couldn't believe it!
Lunch time fun!

So many students!

Smiles on the bus

The outbounds from my district and I

Jake getting some action

You could just jump into any photo at any time, it was great


My current host sister on the far right, Mayuko

Jessie must have seen something different to what I saw

I won a Hello Kitty toy!
 We had this huge game of bingo and I promised the girl beside me that I would jump up and make a huge scene if I won. The only problem is, I was very nervous. I was double checking my numbers like crazy cos I would die of embarrassment if I made a huge scene and had the wrong numbers.

When my luck shined, I jumped and screamed. It was glorious, I had eyes for the Hello Kitty soft toy and I was gonna get it. Woops, I missing a number. Ah shit. I hung my head in shame and sat down with my failure.

Bam! My missing number was called out next! Dreams come true if you truly believe! I walked over to the toy and picked it up, turned to face the crowd and held it over my head gloriously. It was great! But as soon as my hand touched the toy, screams of protest erupted from every girl in the room, it was quite hilarious.

So it was a three day expedition, the first night was reasonably tame, I hung out with a group of Americans and other assorted foreigners and we talked until something like 1:30 am.

The second night couldn't have been more different!
Late night shenanigans 
I hung out with some girls who were in the room next to mine for a while and it was like a mini party! We had snacks and talked and laughed for ages! But come 1:30 am, it was time to leave...

To another party!
Good times!
I went up up to a different floor and found another group of people who were keen to chill. We had loud music, more snacks and plenty more laughs!

But once again, it was time to go. Better go to bed I thought. And I found that my door was locked. Well, I had better get back to another party. 

I found a ton of people in this one room but it was pretty quiet. I remembered the power of the voice and invited everyone to my room! We rounded up the other party goers from around the floor and managed to make an elevator malfunction due to excessive weight. There was a ton of us!

So we all piled into my two person room which was already packed because there were three of us staying in it. But we smashed that three person limit and had about 20 of us all partying in the room! We had music and food and drinks, it was awesome!
Party at mine

So we were all having a blast in my room and sharing photos and what not and I just happened to have a photo of Shrek the sheep. Before I knew it, I was spinning a yarn about New Zealand's most famous sheep and everyone was listening. Spreading Kiwi culture to the world!

We party'd until early morning and it was the best!
Thumbs up at dinner time!
 This weeks photos are definitely not in chronological order so you'll have to bear with me. The first night's dinner was a buffet of amazing foods, I definitely over ate. The second night was a traditional Japanese feed and it too was delicious but I had to wolf it down because I spent so much time talking!
The second night's dinner
 On the first night (with the buffet and bingo) all of us inbounds exchanged badges. There were some pretty cool badges but I had forgotten to get mine from my room. So I went and got mine and brang them down in what I thought was an inconvenient box. I don't know if I told Mum but I reckon I had too many badges. It turns out that the box was incredibly convenient and I had a good amount!

Me and some guys literally stole a table and used it as a counter to give away badges from. The loud voice came in handy again and I herded all the students in and donated badges and shared more Kiwi culture at the same time! It was actually amazing, we positioned ourselves so that when people entered or left the room they would have go past the badges. Now there will be many people walking around with a bit of NZ on their blazers!
Photos in the lobby
My roommates and I missed the first days breakfast because of sleep. Woops. But on the second day I managed to get up in time for a feed which was good. Breakfast buffet!

We had a small meeting and made our way in buses to a nearby castle!
Walking the streets of Matsumoto

This hurts my head a little bit

A bunch of us infront of the cottage


400 something years old!

Once again, I could just sit and stare for ages
We all boarded a bus and made our way back home. We had a stop off in a lovely little area with some choice as scenery
Only one cloud!
Soon the bus stopped and I was reminded of karate. Those times when you are fighting and you can see a big uppercut moving towards your guts but you have no way of blocking it in time. It was the same feeling if inevitability as I knew I had to leave and it was gonna hurt. I know that I will meet up with some of the people I met again in the future sometime but there will be people who I may never see again. You learn not to dwell on that fact and instead smile at that fact that you got to meet them in the first place!

Now it is Sunday and I am pretty tired. There is a ceremony of some sort at school tomorrow and at the moment I am relaxing. I have settled in well here and I am having a blast!

Until next time!
Quite pleased with my win

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