Monday, 4 August 2014


So last week I had just gotten back from seeing off the last senior and was about to spend my first night with my new host family. I can tell from night one already that it's gonna be a pretty interesting few months.

My family makes rubber car parts in a factory that they own which is literally right next to the house. They are always working but they are especially busy for now. They get up really early and work until quite late. It's quite tough.

But they are super nice and quite a good laugh. Unfortunately, half the stuff said is too inappropriate for the blog so you'll have to take my word for it. There is a festival coming up real soon and everyone wears traditional Japanese pajamas clothes. My hosts shouted me a "Jinbei" and gave it to me as a gift. A Jinbei looks and feels like pajamas, but it's not. It's great!
Host sister, Kumi, myself and sister's friend.

A whole mix of traditional and 'modern-fashion'
So in this photo is my: host cousin? Host sister x2, sister's boyfriend and then myself.
The festival was the esteemed Gero-festival, three days of all sorts of fun. Everyone goes to the first day, where stalls are opened up everywhere and later at night, dragons dance around under fireworks. It sounded quite fun. The second day is less popular, many people still go but lots just go into pubs to get drunk. The last day is a pretty spectacular display of fireworks. A fun packed three days.

The first day started with an early get up, even though the festival was at night. We got up early because some "mikoshi" came and stopped by the rubber factory. A mikoshi is like a shrine that's carried on the shoulders of men wearing cloths. Because we live so far out in the country, the mikoshi was brought in on a truck.
Modern technology meets tradition
The mikoshi goes by all the work places and asks for a donation. I asked my host Dad what this donation was for, expecting some good cause but he said that they would use that money to get drunk the next day at the festival. Turns out that was mostly true. Some of the money goes into the petrol it takes to get the mikoshi to the work places.

So we milled about for the rest of the day whilst we waited for the festival. I have to write a speech for an upcoming meeting so I got a wee bit of that done.

But soon enough it was time for the festival!

Not the best at taking photos it seems

Lots of people coming to watch the dragons

I took a panorama shot but the light changed as I did so, turned out kinda cool

There's that mikoshi from earlier. Driven by manpower this time

It was impressive

Myself, my host Mum's crazy friend and my host Mum herself.
The performance started off with the kid's dragons, they were smaller and run around by children but it was pretty cool. There was Japanese taiko as well, the traditional drums that just add so much atmosphere. During the kid's show, other kids did taiko and it was quite impressive. 

But the real show came with the five bigger dragons and the coolest taiko I've heard yet. The bass from these drums made the air vibrate and the beat was just the best. It was so fitting when these five dragons came running out.

There was a green one, a yellow one, red, blue and white also. These people came out running, carrying the beasts on poles. They ran laps around the small intersection as their heads moved all over the place. It was just so cool.

Each dragon had an individual performance and then they all came together again at the end. There was fireworks, pyrotechnics and a lot of steam/smoke.

It went on for ages but I was enticed the whole time. Apparently the heads of the dragons were super heavy and you could see it as they ran around. They would carry the head really low and then move it up real high as they ran and it looked like quite the strain.

I found some friends!
I don't think it's their kid
A bit hard to see but I got to have a go on the drums after the performance
After the dragons had done their thing, we went back to check the stalls out.
Mayu, myself and Ayano
Mayu is my host sister at the moment but she is leaving for America real soon. Ayano is also going to America shortly after. 

We found my karate Sensei and a whole heap of friends. It was awesome fun! We also found a big group of foreigners. The "ALT's", or assistant language teachers. I only knew a couple of them but when you're the only English speakers in a sea of Japanese, you become good mates pretty quick. And we sure did.

We went home late and everyone went to bed straight away because we were exhausted from the nights festivities. Can't wait for tomorrow!

It was Saturday, I wasn't paying attention to the days, I thought it was like, Wednesday or something but it wasn't. It was Saturday and I had been invited back to help out with some English at the hostel/lodge I was at a wee while ago.

And it was another awesome day!

This time there was a family coming to stay overnight and do a whole heap of fun activities whilst practicing English. They were already pretty good too! There were a couple of Mums and four wee kids. The foreigners had been shuffled too, there was the one French fella from last time and myself but another two Frenchies turned up. I wish I could speak French! 

We swam in the river, did some rope work and had a good feed for lunch. Everyone was already pretty good at English so it wasn't super difficult! Even the kids had a grasp on the language.
While NZ isn't beating France in rugby, they're having lunch in Japan

Hard at work
These kids swung me into the beams and there was nothing I could do about it

We even got to do some boxing!
 Apparently this wee boy likes to punch, so once he heard I was into karate he wanted to have a go. I wasn't expecting a volley of punches to the face though, which is what I got. We laughed for ages, he just came up let loose.
River fun

Battle ships
It was a hot day and I got slightly sun burnt but luckily I had sunscreen so it wasn't severe at all. I just have a semi-permanent singlet with me at the moment.

I had to leave early because of the festival but I said I'd love to come back again because it was just so much fun!

I got home and got ready for another big night. This one was crazy. There was dancing in the streets and plenty of food to eat at the stalls.
I wonder what this is.
 Yea, what is that? Well first, it's raw. So it's "Sashimi". You dip this meat in that sauce which was just amazing. I did find out what the meat was though. It was pretty damn tasty, quite chewy. There's nothing quite like raw horse meat!
Host Dad in the back trying to speak English.
 We had organised a dinner and there were going to be a couple of foreigners; a few ALT's. They know my host family and speak real good Japanese so it was no problem. It was gonna be a good night.
But then all of the foreigners in the area turned up. And it was an amazing night!
It was a really good night that was spent laughing loudly and talking about the wonders of travelling. A handful of them may have had sore heads in the morning!

It was another late night and as soon as I got back home it was straight to bed. There was one more day! 

I woke up early on this Sunday morning and finished off my speech. I didn't realise there was so much time in the morning, I know I should be getting up early more often but I don't. I'll try and get on top of this sometime.

I ran an errand with my host Dad, the fridge had stopped working so we went into town and picked up a new one. It was still early so we were both in our pajamas but that was no problem. 

Sometime before lunchtime, a family friend of my host's came over and we all went out to lunch. We had Italian. Italian seems to be pretty popular in Japan.

We got home and I did some speech practice. There was plenty of time before the last leg of the festival so I took a nap. I was pretty tired. I had a real good sleep but when I got up, I had lost most of my energy. I wasn't drowsy, but it was like I hadn't sleep for a whole day. It wasn't too good at all.

I only ate a wee bit for dinner because I wasn't hungry at all. I don't know why but I was just feeling a bit down. The festival was alright though, I saw a bunch of mates and that was real cool but I still felt a bit detached. It was real odd, I felt lonely, all I wanted to do was speak English and be understood.

But I guess that's homesickness, I'm all good now though so no worries. I don't know why, I must have literally woken up on the wrong side of the bed or something.

I still got some nice photos though!
Just a few days ago, dragons were romping around here

There was a whole heap of people!

Could barely walk!
There were some real mint fireworks at the end of the night too, I got a fair bit of it on video but I forgot to to take photos. Woops. Take my word, it was pretty cool. There was music synced up to pattern of the fireworks and it was quite beautiful. 

It was a good night, I just felt out of sorts. But yea, all good now. I got home and had a shower, practiced my speech and then it was off to bed for a semi-early-ish night.

Had to get up early today as well. Had to actually give the speech. As per usual I was starting to get nervous as I arrived at the hotel where we always have these meetings. But I'm starting to get pretty decent at staying on top of the nerves.

The speech went just fine and I was pretty happy. Even the lunch today was better than usual! After the meeting, I came home and started writing this blog. 

Tomorrow I've got one last hard training session before the karate tournament on SUNDAY. I can't believe it, I'm a bit nervous. I'm actually quite nervous. But at the same time I'm very excited. I feel more technically able than the previous tournament and if I haven't botched up my training somehow, I should be stronger and fitter than before as well.

But I guess we'll see. 

And that's all I've got for now!

Until next time!
Ready to teach English!

No comments:

Post a Comment