|By Nora Roberts; Continued from:
day at the Japanese university
Matt's Okaasan had prepared a buffet selection of delectable
dishes, so we all sat down at the giant kotatsu (heated table) and ate. And ate.. And ate (This is a common theme of my writings, have you noticed?).
Matt's Okaasan was very sweet, and started forming relationships with
Tegan, Kim and Lillian. She had hosted 7 exchange students before Matt. So we all felt very welcome in her home. Matt showed me his room, which was large and with a TV set. Man, was I jealous. But he too had steep stairs up to his room (just like at my house!).
Fil and Vinny showed us an interactive video they made back on Australia's Gold Coast, with them and their friends in it too. It showed a day in the life of a 20 something year old, and the game had a 'choose your own adventure' type feel to it. When it was time to walk home, everyone was sad, because we had such a great time. I had totally forgotten about the terrible stone steps of death, until there they were, right in front of us. So I took a photo.
||The next day, I was determined to
open a new bank
account. So I walked to the city with a purpose. Didn't I feel silly when I got there and Vinny asked if I had brought my documents? Well, um, uh, yeah, well, not really, no. So Lillian patiently and sweetly offered to walk home with me, it being such a lovely day and all. So we walked, and chatted. It took about an hour and a half to get there and back, though we both got changed and ate
chou creme on the way. At the bank, I was feeling quite proud because Vinny had asked me how many times I'd filled out the form, and I said one. Then the teller called me back over to say that my middle name (that I don't even use at home!) didn't match the spelling on some other document, so could I please fill out a second form. So much for Lillian writing the kanji for me the first time, as I was stuck at the desk and had to do it myself. Upon leaving the bank, we were hungry, so Vinny showed us a cheap food hall below the train station. I had
yakiudon which was really cheap and tasted great. The cleaning system was similar to the one at the university as we had to rinse the dishes ourselves. I like the sense of community.
On Wednesday, I finally found the bread. It was in the freezer drawer. So I felt peace of mind at knowing bread was near. I studied all morning, and was approached by the others in the library. We studied together for a while, dreading the class placement test and with Matt stressing out completely. I calmed myself, knowing that whichever class I was placed in, would no doubt be the right level for my ability.
The test was difficult, but most of us finished on time. The allowed time was one and a half hours. There was a kanji section, which I all but ignored, preferring to spend more time on the essay rather than wasting time trying to remember things which I wasn't certain I'd ever studied. All in all, I felt satisfied with my effort, and quite frankly, I wanted to go straight to bed. But I soldiered on, going downstairs to the on campus convenience store and eating packets of
snacks. I tried melon Fanta for the first time, and found it to be so sweet that I swore I could actually feel my teeth rotting. On the way home, Fil gave Lillian a dinky on his bike, which led to me calling them 'Fil and Lil' (from Rugrats). We went to Saty Department Store to get stickers. I had bought really cheap and boring notebooks at university, and wanted to make them
look cute so I would want to use them. On the cover of the notebooks is written (in English): 'This is the most comfortable notebook you have ever run into. You will feel like writing with it all the time. Enjoy lasting pleasure and satisfaction in using this notebook made of the best quality paper.' Great, huh?
For dinner we ate an amazing amount of
even more Japanese food. My favorite part was what I like to call a 'mushroom udon fish egg surprise' which is exactly what it sounds like, but in a cute little pot with a lid. I offered Cadburys Caramello koalas (chocolate from Australia) to my host parents, but when we opened the packets, we found they had all been decapitated on the plane. Batman Forever was on the movie channel. I asked Hitomi if I could put some fresh jonquils in my room, so she prepared a little vase for me. The tulips in the garden somehow made their way into a vase on the kitchen table. Hitomi said I could take any flowers I liked from her garden. I was touched, as flowers are her favorite thing. On the way back from taking the rubbish out to the communal rubbish pick up area, we slunk stealthily through the dark to secretly snip some
sakura sprigs from the playground opposite the house. They looked brilliant with the tulips.
Related links: First
Japanese festival Japan
festival in New York City