Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Neck deep in busy!

No really, I'm up to my neck in this stuff
So busy
I'll start with school;

Last week was pretty relaxed because of these 'parent-teacher conferences', which meant everyone could go home after lunch! And these interviews went on for the whole week! Brilliant!

I enjoy school but, you know, can't complain when you're told to go home!

Tuesday was pretty interesting. It started off with me dreading a whole afternoon's worth of kendo. I love kendo but I just had this feeling that because we finished school early, we were going to be doing extra practice.

But I had forgotten about a previous arrangement which saved the day! 

So I help out with this practical English class in school and we had been planning a trip to the local primary school. We were going to go and teach them the alphabet and play a few games using English. We had made big posters with letters on them and then pictures to go along with the corresponding letter.

For example, we would hold up a big "A" and a picture of an apple. We also had a chant to go along with it. The plan was that us students would chant it and have the kids (about 6-7 years old) repeat it back. There were 11 of us high schoolers and a couple of teachers.

It ended up being one of the teachers and I chanting while the other students mumbled. (Nothing against them, but Japanese students can be very shy.) Nevertheless, the kids chanted back.

We started off with an introduction in both English and Japanese. Our first guy got on the mic to introduce us as a group and the volume was, to be honest, a little bit loud. But one of the kids, (remember, 6-7 years old.) got up and yelled the Japanese equivalent of: "F**k that's loud!!"

He got a stern talking to from his teachers but us students just couldn't stop laughing.

I did a small speech in English and then repeated it in Japanese. I felt pretty important.

It all went smoothly and it was an awesome day!
A real cute bunch of young scholars
That night I got pretty beat up at karate. More than anything my pride hurts the most. Up until that night, I had never been knocked down via head kick. I've certainly been kicked in the head more times that I should have been but so far I haven't been kicked to the ground.

Until that night. Of course I was fighting with Fuyuki and this week was his 'turn' to win. I've probably said it before but I'll sat it again; I win one week and he wins the next, I get revenge the next and then he gets me back again. And it's a vicious cycle.

Fuyuki was working his magic and putting me through hell when he loaded up his favourite jump kick. And I took the bait and blocked his feint, which was followed up by his shin smashing across my jaw. 

I was stunned. I fell to my knees. Shit..... My vision was all blurry and I had to lay down for a while. It was an awesome kick. 

I got home and couldn't eat my dinner properly because my jaw wouldn't move right. I lost pretty bad. Bugger. No worries, my turn is next week. (writing from the future... It went my way!)

I had an interview on Wednesday and it was pretty chill. My host brother got the real deal, they talked about grades and shit but my one was more like:

"Are you having fun?... Cool as, keep it up!"

I had to leave kendo early for that. I would have liked to have done a full training session but once again, other plans got in the way.

My host brother had recently been sick with this thing called: "Micro-plasma"

I'd never heard of it before but surprise surprise, i got it too. We didn't know that yet but we were off to see the doctor with a few suspicions. He checked over me and pretty much said:

"Well, you'd better take a few days off school."
Taking hits from the nose-bong
I don't know what purpose this served.
Cooooooooool as. I was quarantined in the house because I was infected. I'm not gonna lie, I just had a sore throat, but the Doc ordered me home so I wasn't going to argue.

I also broke the "quarantine" and went out to get some noodles the next day. It was pretty chill. 

I wasn't allowed to do karate though which was a bit disappointing but I was actually for real carrying this virus. 

On Friday I was pretty much all healed and the Doc said I could do karate again, but might as well take the day off school. No problems there!!

My host Mum and I went and had a look around town at some of the nice areas and it was an all round good day.
I didn't even know this was pretty much 10 minute's walk from where I stay


There are a whole heap of red bridges here
Friday wasn't just a day off though; there was karate!

I had plans with (Karate) Sensei and Fuyuki to go to the beach on Saturday and Sunday, so that meant a lot of driving. Gifu province isn't connected to the sea so we had to go north quite a distance. Because of this, we were going to stay at Sensei's on Friday night and leave at some ungodly hour in the morning.

I didn't know it, but Sensei runs a Friday night class in a building near his house, so of course I was more than keen to have a go.

We trained and it was a decent session! I went back to Sensei's and we had a real good feed and ended up talking about world history. We talked about WWII and why the Japanese don't like the Chinese and vice versa.

It was a pretty cool night!

There was a lot more food before this picture
We went to sleep at around 12 am and then woke up at around 2:30 am and got on the move.

It was a pretty long drive to our destination but I couldn't sleep in the car. I talked to Fuyuki instead and the ride was over before we knew it. We arrived at around 6 am and the weather was pretty odd. 
Doesn't look terrible...

Behind me was a massive thunder storm
It was pretty damn loud

There was a harbour and stuff

It started raining pretty heavy so we took refuge in this innocent looking boat
Ready for the beach!
But I think I'm forgetting something...

We took turns at burying each other
You actually need to dig a very deep hole
 There was this old man who came up from behind us and asked what were doing. Then he saw that I was burying Fuyuki and he just went into hysterics. He couldn't stop laughing. He'd never seen anything like this before. He was literally in tears.

Then he asks how a father could do this to his son and then Fuyuki and I lost it. We had to explain that we were mates. It was a pretty random situation.
Sand is also surprisingly heavy! It was hard to breath but not so bad.
Impossible to get out of though

It was a good day, thunder, rain and shine.

We didn't have a place to stay so we were "homeless" for the night.
Fuyuki and I slept in the car while Sensei braved the tarpaulin
That's what I forgot!
That night we tried some fishing but caught nothing but seawater. Off to bed then, turns out it was midnight. This weekend's sleeping pattern was pretty erratic. 

So Fuyuki and I slept in the car with Sensei braving the elements outside until the elements got mad and kicked up a mean ruckus.

There was this great show of lightening whilst we were fishing but absolutely no sound. We figured the storm was pretty far away.

But it got close in the night. It brought rain, wind and the most thunder I've ever heard in my life.

I woke up to the car shaking violently and I got a hell of a fright! What kind of storm is this! Shit!

Turns out it was Sensei, all of our gear was flying off elsewhere and we were needed urgently.

We got out, picked our stuff up and moved back into the car, this time plus Sensei.

All good.

I just watched the lightening until I fell asleep. It was amazing. The sky would light up for over ten seconds at a time, and the thunder would shake the windows of the car and boom on for minutes on end. It was spectacular.

The next morning was fine, no signs of any storm whatsoever. (Save some missing gear.)

We caught a couple of wee fish and then went back to the beach. My back hurt so I was pretty lame and just chilled on the sand. But I had plenty of sunscreen on.

Some little girl walked up to me and Fuyuki, pulled a water gun from out behind her back and started shooting us.

Whaaaaaat. It was pretty funny but I was damn confused. One minute, I'm as warm as can be and nek minnit I'm soaked. 

We pakced up and decided to go to Shirakawago, that world heritage site I went to a while back.
It's still a pretty cool place
I hear there are silk worms in the tops of these buildings

Gotta love those shrines
We then went back to Sensei's and had another huge feed. Loving it!
Sensei bent the law and caught these oysters.

Next is cow's heart! Your choice of raw or cooked.
I had both. It was interesting.
It was a great weekend but a long one. I was pretty buggered and ready to go home so I could sleep on my own floor again. 

But this floor wont be mine for much longer, I'm moving again on the 26th and it's bringing back all these weird feelings. I've become real close with this family and I don't want to move but once again, I'm looking forward to meeting a new family and living a new life.

To be honest, I haven't thought about this move as much as I did the last. Mainly because when I do, I start to get all teary and it's not cool. I've been trying spend this time as best as I can while I've got it.I can't believe another two months have just about come to an end. 

It doesn't seem real, six months. Six months left. It feels like I only arrived yesterday. I can remember the cruel wind and the cold walk from the airport to the car. I can remember not being able to understand anything that was said to me and stuttering when I talked.

But whilst this time has flown, it has also crawled. It feels like I've been here forever. I think in Japanese and do Japanese things. I have Japanese friends and a Japanese family. The seasons have changed and I think I've changed a wee bit with them. 

People sometimes message me from back home and every now and then, someone says: 

"How is your trip?"

Don't get me wrong, I'm actually really humbled that people are taking interest in this adventure, it means a lot.

But that word, "trip" just doesn't fit. This isn't just a year away, it's not just an exchange, it certainly is not a trip or a holiday.

This is a life. It really is a life in a year and I don't know how to explain it. I don't know how to tell people about "how it's going." 

I feel completely at home here and I am starting to forget what everyday life was like back in NZ.

It's an odd feeling, but it's good I think.

That's all I've got for now.

This is pretty damn late, apologies for that!

Until next time!
Try though I might, I just couldn't stand up.
I was in "Seiza" which is Japanese for "proper sitting"
It's basically kneeling, and it hurts.

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