So today saw a bit of backtracking, a taste of something new and a grand adventure in the evening. Quite a Monday, if I do say so myself. I started nihongo today, although it was still syllabus day so I feel relaxed and competent still. I’m in the same class with Steph, which is super nice and we honestly didn’t get to any real stuff yet. That stops tomorrow though (eep!) so tonight was some serious fukushuu. After class was a workshop with Japanese denshi jisho, otherwise known as a Japanese dictionary. It sounds like a radical idea (get it? cause the Japanese language has a lot of radicals? bwahaha), but using the damn thing proved too much for my simply self on this sleepy start of the week. Maybe it was the madness, maybe it was the fact that I was paired with Lizzie and we can’t function together – who knows? Definitely not me, cause I understood jack. It seems the rest of the class was intrigued though, so props to them. Troopers, in my opinion.
We got our ridiculous 2 hour lunch break after that, followed by my minorities class in which I again question why I did the reading. Seriously, what is this structure, or more like lack thereof? I guess we’re still starting out, but I want shit done and I want to know how that’s gonna happen, and so far both of those preferences get a big fat X. Alas, my suffering is little.
Once I was free around 3, I headed to Teramachi yet again with some purposeful shopping in mind, including a pencil case, tenugui, folders, a card holder and more. I ended up finding the first two and more, including a gorgeous tissue pack holder, a beautiful furoshiki to wrap/protect my goshuincho in (don’t want the poor old thing to get injured), a セラフィナイトstone (can’t google the english right now, slow wifi) and my tenugui is Fuji-sama. I couldn’t find the Hyaku-en Shop I freakin’ went there for, but that’s fine -okaa-san says she knows some more around here. More exploring for me. Which, I’d like to say I’m getting pretty good at, but the trip home proved otherwise. Some comments before that, though.
I wouldn’t say I’m good at Japanese. I’ve been studying it for 2 years but it’s been a whole summer, I forgot a lot of my kanji and I need you to speak a bit slow, please and thank you. That’s not to say I can’t maneuver my way around, politely order from a restaurant and have a nice, brief interaction with a shopkeeper. I just wouldn’t say I’m particularly good. Today, however, made me feel pretty dang pleased with myself. I had a nice long chat with the shopkeeper at the crystal store I went to (2 things: hella rad & hella expensive), and I told her about my huge singing bowl at home – they only had small ones here – and what I’m doing in Japan, how I like it and oh yeah, what a badass store you have! Definitely going back there. Then I had a long convo with this super sweet girl who designed her own pants and whatnot at another store, who told me all about this fashion show she’s having in Osaka with food, a live band and general merriment. She invited me to go and I just might, and from there we just got talking about how I like Japan, what I’ve seen around the city, cooking and some other chill topics. I also found out that she wants to go to America for 3 places: New York, Houston and Disneyland. The first? Self-explanatory. Second? She’s heard that there’s a lot of anime/conventions there and wants to see for herself. The last? Her broski studied abroad in Toronto and his 1 trip to America was for Disneyland. An interesting mix and a really nice chick! Tack on a few more shopkeep exchanges and the bus woman I asked for help who told me my nihongo was good (pfft! too sweet, too full of lies) and my day was made! At least, mentally it was.
Physically I was exhausted and my route home exacerbated that. I wanted to take bus A, but I got a bit disoriented in the vastness of Teramachi and ended up on some street with busses, so I just decided to go with it. I asked the kindly bus lady mentioned above which direction was headed the right way and etcetera, and I knew I could also take options B/C so I did. And it was fine, for a 45 minute ride back. I did take the right bus but judging by okaa-san’s befuddlement and laughter it must’ve been the longest one ever. So one could say I took the long way home, or at least you would if you’re okaa-san. I like to think I amuse her with my tales of navigation, or lack of ability thereof, so that’s something that makes me feel simultaneously pitiful and amusing. I mean, I made it, so that’s what counts, right! On the upside I found out I’m less than 15 minutes from Kinkakuji by bus & walking, so that’s a for-sure explore place in the future.
Dinner was a fantastic combo of gyoza and karaage, paired with egg-miso soup and rice. I truly hope I didn’t make them wait too long for me, gah. They said it was alright though (not that they’d tell me if it wasn’t, they’re so kind). Okaa-san found lychee juice like I’d asked about the other day, and while it was salt and lychee, aka weird and interesting, it was delicious and I’m so touched that she went out of her way to find it. Then I showed her all of my goods after dinner, and she promptly showed me a whole shloop of ways to fold the furoshiki into a bag, book wrap, wine carrier and beyond. She also gave me this gorgeous blank book bound by her monk friend, as well as a fan on which her mother, a calligraphy sensei, had painted. Lemme tell you, it is absolutely beauuutiful. Pluuuus a heap (a whole heap!) of free tissues from the post office. The kindness is unreal man, I don’t know what to do with myself. Like, how am I this fantastically lucky to be around such amazing, thoughtful and caring people all the time? I’m a humble bumble my friends.
Lastly, over dinner and beyond we were watching this spectacularly entertaining program called ‘Q-sama’, in which there were a lot of entertaining smart people, a few Japanese-fluent Americans who’re my aspirations one day, a lot of fun facts I maybe 1/16th understood and a whole general sense of being awesome. Look it up, and in specific look up カズレーザ. That is all.