Friday, 9 May 2014

Keeping it full on

Another full on week with no signs of slowing down next week, tired but excited. Here in Japan we've just had a holiday called "Golden Week." I don't know how much it has to do with gold and it wasn't even a whole week but it was cool to get some time off school. I got heaps done! From BBQ's to castles. It was great fun.

I left off last week after a home bbq and a late night. It was pretty damn great. But I had expressed interest in a historically famous town/area "not too far away" from where we live. I had said I'd love to go there which was met with "Why not got tomorrow?" So we did just that.

It turns out that "not too far away" is actually three hours away in the car but that was no problem, we were all keen for getting out and about.

I wanted to go to this place called: Sekigahara, it was the location of one of Japan's most important battles back in the day. (1600 to be exact. A good 400 years ago.) This town was built on the site of the battle and it was an eerie feeling to be walking about the place where 400 years ago, people were literally hacking each other to bits.

My host Dad put it pretty well when he stopped and said: "I wonder who died here where I stand." Made me think for a while.

We went to this museum that had actual artifacts from the battle and the armour that was worn by the real people.
These murals look so cool but when you look closely:

It's pretty grim
still cool though

The smiling samurai

It's just so cool! It's even got a mustache on the mask

I wonder how heavy it all is

400 year old sword. It's probably still usable

One of the leader's armour, actually worn 400 years ago. 

Once again, 400 year old stuff.
That helmet needs some new shampoo

The layout of the battle, minus the head.
It was such a good day, the weather was great and it wasn't too busy. Everyone was out on their holidays going to theme parks and what not but us nerds were looking at history. And it was the best.
Casual casualties
 In the above sign, you can see a bunch of mates sitting around looking at heads. What they are actually doing is looking at the trophies collected by their soldiers. Samurai fights were pretty tense and when it all comes to a head, it really does. Often you would slice of the other guy's head and use his hair to tie it to your belt. The fullas in the above photo were inspecting the heads of the more revered soldiers.

But just behind that sign was the sight of the head inspecting. I got to walk around this place where instead of there being the possibility that some guys fought here 400 years ago, it was the actual location of some pretty serious stuff. It was quite chilling.
Just gonna head over here for a look.
I can't read it but it's probably significant.
After we had looked about and I had spent a small fortune buying a small amount of souvenirs (they conned me real good.) we went up this mountain called: Ibukiyama 伊吹山

It was pretty damn cool. Literally. It's 1377 m high and the wind was cruel. But it had the best view and it only made a great day even better.
Could see for miles!

Host Mum, sister and I

Pretty high right now

We then went shopping and it was pretty cool. There was this big department store in a nearby city so we went there and it was massive!
All these shops and I bought one pair of sunglasses
So it was an awesome day. Packed to the brim with stuff to do and that's how it would stay for the rest of the week.

Monday was another bbq day. I got a decent sleep in before we went out for the feed. My host family is best mates with the head of my Rotary district so it was best behaviour! (It's always best behaviour.)

I was taken aback when the boss says to me: "Would you like a drink, Brennan?" all sorts of thoughts ran through my head; "What do I say?" "Will he tell me off for accepting his beer?" "Am I gonna get sent home for failing his test?" "Is he actually going to give me his beer?" "Shiiiiiiiiiit."
I ended up saying: "Yes, please!" As polite as I could. Anyway, he gave me a bottle of water and I felt like a right dick for the previous worrying.
plenty of food to come.
plenty of water too.
We bbq'd from 11:30 am until about 6pm when it was time to go home. I was pretty full and a wee bit tired. The weather was terrible as it poured down all day. But no problems,we were under shelter so it made no difference. 

After everything, my host Mum said she would take me to a temple to have a look around. So we went to the local temple to find a whole heap of people having a bbq. We sat down and chatted away and had another mean feed. It was great because there were tons of people to talk to and I talked late into the night.

I had an early get up on Tuesday and a fun day planned.

 My Japanese teacher from last year was in Nagoya for a few weeks so we planned to have a catch up and Tuesday was the day. 

I got up at 7 and got rode the train to Nagoya. A good two hours from where I live. The weather was good and it promised to be a great day. 
That's not the castle

Getting quite warm here

When Japan was young

So cool!

Sensei and I, sitting on a golden fish

Mean views

Nagoya's a big place

A small bit of calm in the bustling city

Can't escape from it, wherever you go!
So the above photo is actually a big glass platform. It's pretty sweet

A talent quest was going on underneath the glass platform
tons of people getting up and singing to those who aren't as brave

Nagoya TV tower. The highest viewing point is 100 metres

I love being high!

There is something quite profound about being above everything

Thumbs up for a great day!
By the end of the day I was well buggered and ready for a sleep. I was quite keen to get home and have a feed but my train ran into a bit of a problem. That problem was a big boulder on the train tracks. 

A sudden stop caught all us passengers off guard and caused a fair bit of commotion. Over the intercom came the nervous voice of the train man. I didn't understand what he was saying but I could hear in his voice: "They never prepared me for this!" We sat and waited for the tracks to be cleared but time dragged on. 50 minutes later we managed to start up again. 

It was an interesting way to end the day.

Back to school on Wednesday. It was a good day and I got a heap of stuff done! But kendo mucked me up real good. It was another one of those days where I couldn't get the strikes right and I kept getting the hard hits. Soon enough I had a worse than usual headache and there was nothing I could do about it.

Well shit. I had just better scream. So I did. Kendo is good like that, you can literally roar and make all the funny sounds in the world and no one bats an eye. I think that might be one of my favourite parts of Kendo. Karate is a great stress relief but nothing removes stress like screaming until you can't scream anymore.

I got home and slumped down at the dinner table. I wasn't in the highest of spirits and my host family noticed and cheered me up. It ended up being a good night and we talked and laughed until late. I could smile through my headache which made everything just fine. 

The next morning my head still hurt but it was a new day! A hot day. I got heaps done again and I have got some new grammar down which means I can make slightly more intelligent conversation. I have found a passion in talking people's ears of. Great fun!

Kendo was a better than yesterday in the sense that I didn't get my head smashed. So I count it as a good day. I'm still having trouble with the strikes but I'm slowly improving.

I get disappointed in myself when I keep mucking up at kendo but today was no problem. I had karate later on!

No bruises this time but plenty of sore muscles. It was a good night.

I got home well and truly exhausted but with a smile. Once again we all talked late into the night.

Friday was a good day too. Shit, everyday is a good day.

School was slightly less productive than the rest of the week but I still learned some new stuff which is always good. 

I almost forgot to take a photo of lunch!

I took a day off kendo because I have lost a bit of skin of the bottom of my foot which made walking painful. I wasn't too keen to have more skin ripped up by stomping around.

So on the train home I sat with one of my mates and we had a full on, fluent, non-interrupted conversation in Japanese and I was beaming. I was so proud to have just been able to chat away with this guy without having to get out a dictionary. Still stoked!

We got home and relaxed. It was nice to have a day off even the we had just had a big holiday and tomorrow is the weekend. I must be getting soft.

Tonight's dinner put me in an unfamiliar position. I was nervous to eat what was put infront of me. Normally I don't even hesitate about eating what I'm given. I've eaten raw squid babies, I've eaten whole fish, head included. I've eaten some weird stuff but tonight's "Squid ink noodles" made me stop.

Maybe it was the smell, I don't even know why I hesitated, these black noodles caught me fully off guard.
What to do?
I put the noodles in my mouth and they were delicious. They were actually really amazing! I could have eaten tons more of them! 

I went to bed late because of the weekend. I got to sleep in late because of the same reason.

As I finish up writing, we are starting to prepare for a bbq! This time it's for my birthday! On Tuesday I will turn 18. Kinda old. 

Anyway, it promises to be another great day and tomorrow is going to be spent relaxing.

I'm confronted with some slight homesickness as I have my first birthday away from home but this is all part of growing up and I'm excited really. 

That's all for now! Until next time !
Those squid ink noodles were delicious until I saw my face.
We laughed for ages

No comments:

Post a Comment