These past few days have been hilarious fun. With David and Jeff, two boys from Iowa, we have slowly but surely begun to explore Nagoya. Between Karaoke on Wednesday, wandering into new restaurants on Thursday and more Karaoke and ramen on Friday, and then going to Sakae today, I've had a pretty good four days.
As summary pictures go, this is a pretty good one of the last few days.
Boring orientation at Nanzan University aside, we're starting to learn about the area. We learned about the ridiculousness of the hours at restaurants - a lot of them are closed from 3pm to 5pm, or only open from 11am to 2pm, weird stuff like that. Which is really unfortunate for us when we get off school at 2:30pm or so.
Last night stands out as hilariously awesome. Me, the boys, a crazy Japanese girl named Ayame plus some of her friends and some of their friends ALL went out to get some dinner, followed by the (legal) purchasing of alcohol (in Japan, you can legally purchase alcohol at 20 years old, but bars and stores rarely card kids anyway), to finally end up at a Karaoke room (300 yen each for a room for four hours!! AWWYEAH.jpg)
Alcohol and singing in front of people seems to be an extremely natural pairing. In Japan, there are no Karaoke bars - instead, you rent a room with a bunch of people and eat and drink and have your own TV and microphones that you sing into. And as alcohol and singing in front of people pair so naturally, it gets to be real funny real fast.
I've been in three musicals and have even had solos and singing in front of people still freaks me the hell out.
Ayame, probably the Japanese girl I'm closest to here (aside from my host mother, who I have lengthy conversations with everyday), is insane. She's hilarious, though. All we do is joke - learning how to joke in Japanese is FUN, by the way. Now that I know how to joke I'm pretty much unstoppable and plan to take over Japan with my wit. One small step for a Japanese speaker...
From left to right; Jeff, Chika, Ayame, me, and David
It's hilarious to be in public with Ayame because she studied English in high school like so many students, but Europe/American studies is her major, so she's actually really good and doesn't know it. And I, of course, want to practice my Japanese, so whenever we're in public together, she's speaking English and I respond in Japanese and the looks on people's faces are priceless.
Speaking of people staring, that pretty sums up my Japanese life so far. Everywhere. People staring. On the train. Walking between stations. At convenience stores. All the time. It hasn't started annoying me yet, but my self-conscious level is definitely around a seven, seven-point-two. Walking down the street is the most intriguing, because as traffic starts to back up and people are forced to run stationary while I walk past them, it's just me walking past a bunch of cars and the drivers watching me. And naturally, because I'm not used to being watched yet, I watch them back, and then we got this whole circle of awkwardness going and I just wish I wasn't so noticeable.
OH AND TODAY, I played a Crane Game (though they call it UFO Catcher here) and Ayame was all, "It's impossible, you can't win," and I was all like,
so I put in 100 yen and hit the buttons, set the crane to go...AND GUESS WHO WON A PRIZE ON HER FIRST TRY?!?! THIS GIRL!
My excitement comes off as fear in this picture, but it's my Major Award! It's a Major Award - I won it! (Name that movie!) and therefore it is something to cherish forever and ever.
By the way, no, I have no idea what it is.