Monday, 31 March 2014

The best times are the busy times

Another exciting week has passed and it was filled to the brim with good times!

I left off last week on a lazy Sunday with not much to do but relax and enjoy the weather but come Monday I was back into the thick of it! We had to get up pretty damn early as my new house is quite far away from school. After riding the train for about 40-50 minutes, we arrived at school. I got to see my class mates again which was great, everyone had a few stories to tell and I certainly had enough to go around.

We all went to the hall and sat on the floor as we listened to the final closing ceremony. I really don't understand what's going on, I thought we had already officially finished but apparently not. It took an age and it didn't help that the wooden floor wasn't all too comfortable. Eventually it ended and we got to stretch our legs, have lunch and go home; it was a half day! I caught the train home and studied Japanese with my family for a wee bit.

Tuesday was a good day but it was quite painful. Firstly, I had no plans for the morning so I got to sleep in for a good few hours which was great! I got up and had lunch and got back to relaxing, my only plan for the day was karate so it was pretty cruisey. 

Soon it was time for karate and I was keen for a fight! Training started off as usual and it was awesome! Fuyuki and I were fighting pretty hard (I've talked about him a few times, him and I are pretty equal.) We we had agreed to fight full power and man, it was great. We were smashing each other with all we had; I would land a punch him and it would be returned immediately with a counter kick and vice versa. I can't express how much fun this was until the fight finished. I heard Sensei give the command to stop, the time was up, the fight was over. I heard this and relaxed, I stepped back ready to walk back to my starting position when I was hit one last time. Fuyuki hadn't heard the command because we were so intense.

Last week in my blog I compared getting smacked by and unblockable punch to saying goodbye to your friends. Almost as if to make sure I knew what that feeling felt like (the punch) I got to experience such a blow at training.

I had my stomach muscles 100% relaxed and he was using 100% of his power. The punch literally sunk into my guts and that was that. I heard a ringing in my ears, my vision went blurry and I couldn't do anything but fall to the ground. I was in a fair bit of pain, I wanted to vomit. It was horrible. He even commented on how odd it felt punching me. I was just not ready. More than anything though, my pride was hurt. He dropped me and that wasn't a good feeling. But that's OK, I will get him back next time!

Wednesday brang with it something of a challenge. I had sore legs from the previous nights training and funnily enough, I had sore guts too. I had to get up early again and ride the train to school for morning Kendo training. It was quite tough. I had a good time though, yelling and smacking people with sticks. After training I missed the first train home. (Mainly because it leaves about five minutes after training finishes.) So I had not much to do between 11:00 am and 3:30 pm. It was pretty dull. It was raining and I was alone so I stayed in the club room and slept. 

Thursday was back to adventures! Some exchange students and I went to Nagoya for a day of stupidity and laughs. We didn't really have a plan but rather we just kept walking wherever our feet took us and we laughed the whole way. It was an awesome time.
Ready to hit the city

A few people here and there

Sakura are starting to bloom

Damn tourists...
A small bit of calm...

After a very long day of mucking about in the city we made a mad dash for the train station. We all got split up somehow and had to make our own way through the subways and the stations. Trains are very punctual in Japan, they leave on the minute so if your ticket says your train is going at 7:23 pm, it wont be there at 7:24 pm. I had to run through the station and look really out of place (more than usual) but I made it. Just.

No time to rest! I got home to packing for the next days adventure! My family and I went to Shiga prefecture and stayed in the flashest hotel on the edge of lake Biwa, Japan's biggest freshwater lake. It's got a surface area of 670 km squared so it's a bit over seven times the size of lake Tekapo. It was huuuuuuuuge!
Lake Biwa

In this photo we have: Mayuko, my sister, my Grandmothers and my Mum

The lobby

We had a pretty choice room

Seriously lovely people
We had Italian food for dinner and it was delicious. I got to use a knife and fork again and it was great. My host Dad shouted me a beer with dinner which too, was great. We finished dinner and went to the onsen. Dad and I chilled out in the sauna for a while and then went back up to the room where we had a small feast of snacks and had a few beers and maybe a couple of wines. It was an awesome night. 

I feel that I am really getting along with this family and it is awesome.

The next day we checked out and went off sight seeing. What trip is complete without a castle?
I can never get sick of these amazing buildings

And the views are amazing
Although the stairs inside of the castles are always so damn steep.

More Sakura!

The weather was pretty plain but it was a pleasant day

Castle gardens, beaut.
After our trip to the castle, we went into the city and wandered the streets as the weather picked up to become quite hot.
Temples are sweet as

Japanese art is pretty cool too



I don't even know what this is

Giant kaleidoscope! 
Into the markets
So that was a great day but it was quite long. The best thing to do at the end of a long day is to go and pig out on sushi! So off to one of those big sushi go round places. I couldn't take any photos because I was eating. Sorry. It was delicious and I definitely over ate but I don't mind really. The food is just too good.

So we got home quite late and I went to bed because once again I had plans for the next day.

Sunday brang with it rain. And it was shit. My friends and I had planned a trip to Inuyama-shi. That translates to "Dog mountain city." I don't know why.  The weather just poured down on us the whole time and we got pretty soaked. We went to this place called "Little World" which was like a big village with various different styles of buildings and cultures from around the world. But the weather made it pretty difficult to do much.

We did however, find a circus. We sat down in a sort of stadium and watched as these Russian athletes did some pretty awesome stunts. It was actually awesome. They had this clown who interacted with the audience and of course, he picked out us foreigners. He handed a bunch of people small basket balls which we threw at him and he would catch them with a net on his back. Except me, he decided to muck me around. Foreigners...

The weather picked up ever so slightly and we wandered about without much aim but rather just had fun conversing and hanging out. It was awesome!
Japanese culture

Photo timing

I decided to jump in and make this photo better

Almost missed this photo
It was a good day! There was more running about in train stations as we were jumping between trains but that's all part of the fun!

So it seems that my week wasn't all that busy in the first half but it picked up. I am pretty tired but not at all uncomfortable. I still sit here sometimes and marvel at the fact that I am living the dream. This time last year I was sitting in school, day dreaming of going to Japan. Sometimes I don't believe it but here I am!

My favourite thing is the language. I am still learning but now I can have conversations with people, I can understand lots more now than I could when I arrived and I love it. There is still so much that I don't understand but that is just as exciting as speaking. There is this feeling you get when you learn something new. At first when everyone is talking, it all sounds like gibberish but little by little as I learn new words, I start to notice them pop up in conversations. And what was once gibberish now has meaning and can convey a message.

That's all for now! Until next time!
Not so amused

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