After lunch we all headed to the New Zealand student classroom (a classroom just for us which is also known as seminar room 32). As soon as we entered, everything was laid out with paper on the desk and the calligraphy teacher waiting for us. Our main activity today was doing calligraphy and writing in Kanji. Writing in Kanji was really really hard, especially with ink and a brush . The teacher wrote our names both in Katakana and Kanji. Katakana was mostly easy because of less line dashes. However, kanji on the other hand was hard. At first trying to mimic the teachers exemplar was difficult but as I kept doing it, I eventually got used to it. I had managed to write quite a lot of stuff such as my name, my buddies name, my surname etc.
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Tanabata is one of the many known festivals in Japan. Tanabata represents the yearning of two star crossed lovers who separated after marriage and only the opportunity to meet each other once a year on 7th of July. Princess Orihime was a weaver who was lonely making her sad. Her father decided to take things into his own hands and arrange a marriage with Hikoboshi who was a cow herder. They both fell in love so much that they neglected their jobs. People got angry which angered her father causing him to separate them. Seeing princess Orihime sad lead to her father making this decision that they were allowed to see each other only on the 7th of July. This caused them to work hard and get their done as they patiently waited for this day to come. During Tanabata people make wished and tie it on the bamboo tree hoping that their wished can be heard.
In Jishukan, the only day the students get a day off is Sunday. A Sunday for Jishukan students is considered a weekend. Lucky for us it was the 7th of July where in Japan it is the day of Tanabata festival. After spending time with my family, my buddy Rie and me caught a train to Hirastuka where we met up with all our friends. Here I got to meet some more new friends.
The first group of friends that I made were Rie, Issa, Mitsuki, Mahiro, Suzumi, Rena and Yuhi. These are the names that I will forever remember. They were all really knid and fun to be with as they always kept trying to know more about me as I was trying to know more about them. Interesting things I found out was that Issa has been to New Zealand and Australia for an exchange and he has really good English. Mitsuki loves tennis and has cute English. Mahiro is the scholar in Jishukan, he can speak English really well and in the future he wants to be a doctor. Suzumi loves dancing and we both love Kpop, Rena loves to play basketball and Yuhi loves baseball as he is huge a fan of Hanshin Tigers. This group of friends, I would never forget them as they were the ones who helped me the most in Japan.They treated me as part of their group. They taught me the everything from do's to the don'ts. We gossiped about Who is dating who and Who likes who. I made such wonderful friends, as were always there to help me out in times of need. They will forever be remember!!!
We walked to the mall where my friends took me to an arcade. My first impression was WOW!. I love arcades so this was like heaven for me. This arcade was really big and colorful. All the boys had a go to the claw machine, unfortunately no one was successful. After a while of roaming around in the arcade, the boys decided to have a competition with me at Mario cart. I was really fun and sadly I came third.
Overall today I made lots of new friends, I wore a yukata for the first time. Wearing a yukata is really hard especially if it is a windy day and you are walking. Bad experience. Some other experiences that I had was going to a haunted house. Initially I thought it was going to be scary but in reality it wasn't that bad. My buddy who was scared to go, ended up crying. If she thinks that this was scary, I doubt she would want to go to spookers in New Zealand. 😂
Today, I got to experience a new culture. I wore a yukata for the first time, I walked for 8 hours and most important of all, I made new friends, whom I will forever cherish and remember.
Today was a Sunday. This meant 'NO SCHOOL!!!' 😁😁😁 In Jishukan, a Sunday was weekend for the students. The night before Okasaan told me " don't worry, you don't have to wake up early. You can sleep in". I am glad she said that as I was able to catch up on sleep that I missed out on over past 3 days.
Waking up around 9ish, I changed and had breakfast. Since, later on the day, my buddy and I were going to the Tanabata fesitval, we changed into Yukata's. After fully getting ready, we headed out. Otosan took us out to for a drive where we headed towards Odawara castle. The castle was sooo HUGE and BEAUTIFUL. After the castle sightseeing, we rested for a while. Following on from that we headed to a resturtant in that area that was famous for their Soba (cold noodles). It was my first time eating soba and it actually Oshii. I loved eating the tempura maybe it's cause I really love eating shrimp. Overall soba was pretty nice. During the meal, we got into conversations such as they were asking me about famous foods back in New Zealand to how I am finding Japan right now. It was cute to see my parents trying their hardest to talk to me. One thing that was amazing about Japanese was their excellent customer service. The lady forgot my buddies order and when my okasaan reminded her she felt so bad that she kept on bring free drinks and desserts. Even we we finished and was leaving, the chef also came out and apologised for their mistake. I was impressed at how good customer service in Japan is.
After lunch, me and my buddy separated from our parents. Saying goodbye to them and with only 3 minutes left, we began to run. I am going to say this a lot, but Yukata is honestly really hard to manage. Especially if you are running and the slit keeps opening up. Just barely making it to the train station, we caught the next train to Hirastuka, where our friends were waiting for us.
Wearing a yukata and walking around, I felt a bit awkward but my buddy told me not to worry as it was quite normal. One thing that I have come to relaise is that wearing a Yukata is REALLY DIFFICULT. I don't know how people in Japan manage that.
The First day of school ended on a good note. Even though we were all half dead by the time school finished, we eventually got through it.
After school, we headed for to the bus stop by school. It was cute how as we were waiting, Jishukan students approached us, started talking to us. Getting on the bus, we went to Aiko-isida station where we took the train to Oyama. When we got to Oyama, we were all amazed at the beautiful scenery and the many colourful shops along the way. Oyama is known for it's shrine as it is also referred to as 'The Holy Mountain' by the locals.
Reaching the top, the one thing that went through my mind was WOW! The view from the top was absolutely amazing. I could literally see all of Kanagawa Prefecture.
I thought 'YAY, no more stairs' . Unfortunately I was wrong. We still need to climb more stairs to get to the shrine. At least it wasn't that long and bad. My buddy and Shareek decided to keep us entertained by having a race to the top. Shareek ended up winning but it was funny to see my buddy struggling to catch up. 😂 Getting to the top, we went to the entrance which was a Tori gate. There was a big circle in the middle, where Ono sensei explained to us that we need to pray they step over the circle to enter the house of the gods. Thankfully Ono sensei was with us to explain to us the rules and make sure that we do not do anything wrong. After looking around, and taking lots of pictures, we decided to head back to the cable car. From there we walked back down to the bus and went to find Memory and Yuki sensei.
After that LONG AND TIRING WALK, we headed down to a shop which was famous for their shaved ice. As soon as we walked into the shop everyone began to reunite with their buddies. However, for me, my buddy was with me the whole time so it wasn't much of a reunion. I can honestly say this but SHAVED ICE IS NOW ONE OF MY FAVOURITES! 😍 We decided to go for a strawberry flavour and honestly it was the best. No wonder this shop was famous for it's shaved ice!
After enjoying our shaved ice, we caught the bus again to the station. In the bus, we encountered grade 1 Jishukan students. They were soooo cute. Even though they couldn't speak English well, they tried to get into a conversation with us. The bus ride became more enjoyable as the students kept us entertained. Getting off the bus, we all said goodbye and headed our separate ways. My buddy and I caught the train back home. Afterwards I got more relaxed, we watched a movie and I got to know more about my family. I also got to meet her sister who came from Tokyo.
Today was the first day of school. Even though I was physically tired, I was always mentally awake. I got to meet new people and experience Japanese culture. I am really grateful to be given this opportunity to be here because this is honestly an opportunity of a life time and I will forever cherish these memories.
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!
That is the sound I wake up to everyday. Waking up was the most difficult part. The night before I asked my buddy what time she normally gets up and her reply was 5:30am. 😱. I am a person who has never woken up that early just for school. I am sure you guys can imagine how hard it was for me to wake up the next morning.
Lucky I had gotten up by 5, still half asleep, I got ready for school. I came out and was greeted with a smile☺and a Ohayo from my Okasaan. Placed before me was breakfast and I can tell you this. It was Oshiiii ! After breakfast, my okasaan handed me a cute bento. It was my first time getting bento. I was really excited for lunch to come.
Leaving the house around 6ish, we headed to the car Okasaan was going to drop us the train station. After 10 mins drive we had successfully arrived at the station. We then headed to aiko-ishida where we had to walk for 15 MINS just to get to school. My routine everyday was......
A 10 min drive, 30 mins train and 15 min walk everyday.
This is the reason why I had to wake up everyday at 5 in the morning. Even though most of the time I was half asleep, I had my buddy and friends to accompany me and try and keep me more alive while walking.
First day of SCHOOL On SATURDAY. What can I say. It is completely different to the school that I have been attending for 5 years. For starters, we had school on SATURDAY. Arriving at school, I had to walk up flight of steps, to the very top just to get to my buddy classroom. My buddy first gave me a tour of the school then took me to the LOCKER ROOM. Following from that we headed to the cafeteria (yes they have a cafeteria and not only 1 but 2) where I met her friends Issa, Mitsuki, Takuma and Yuta. The first thing I notice is that they all walk in with books in their hands, studying before school even started. I doubt you would find someone in New Zealand doing that. I had gotten into conversations with them such as they likes and dislikes, what clubs they do and hobbies.
Mitsuki (in the front), Issa, Takuma (by the door), Yuta (hiding behind Takuma)