Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I've decided that I can't recap everything that's happened sequentially so I'm just going to write about different topics until everyone is brought up to speed. Today I'll do school since that's taking up most of my time right now (plus I'm typing this in school right now, IT class).

My school

I started school a few weeks ago and it's been interesting to say the least. I have to take the bus to school and back every day and on the first day, my host dad put me on the wrong bus. I was told the bus I was on would go straight to my stop with no changes so I stayed on the bus until the last stop. Luckily the bus driver I had that day was the nicest one I've come across so far so she was very helpful in making sure I got to where I needed to go. After a few small problems (no bus going to my stop), I finally made it to school (only an hour or two late). Thank goodness it wasn't an actual day with classes. I walked around the school and got lots of stares and pointing. I found my room and as I walked to it, two girls were standing outside the door and saw me. Smiling and with excitement they boldly and eloquently asked...."Jared?" and I answered with a triumphant "Yes!" Queue excitement and stares as I walk into the class. All the girls wanted a picture with me and asked me questions like "Do you have girlfriend?" Then the guys came up to me and asked things like "How tall are you?"

That day (and the day that followed) turned out to be days in preparation for the school festival that weekend! The days were basically me helping out my class with their room theme and watching the many dance groups practice. They really take it to the next level here. School festivas are all out with coordinated hip hop dancing, Japanese food stalls, bands playing on a stage, and rooms with themes like a haunted house or a quiz of some sort. Keep in mind that most of the dances were comprised of homeroom classes (not dance clubs or anything like that) and they were doing things like jump rope stunts and breakdancing and everything.

My class turned the room into a giant board game. I got to help as a person who sat outside the class inviting people to come to it. Most of the time I was going around to different rooms with some people from my class. There was a group of girls that weren't students that asked to take a picture with me and then would all giggle if they saw me around the school. I just found it kinda crazy because I would just stand there or say "Hi" or wave and they would go "Kakkoiiiiiiiiii" (So cool!). So, if you're planning on going on exchange and you have:

Non brown eyes
Non black hair

and/or you are:


People will think you're cool. (If you're a girl, everyone will think you're cute)

Since then I've been having regular school days. Everyone stays as a class and we stay in the same room for most classes. Class goes from 8:40 until 4:05 on every day except Friday (which gets out around 3:05). It's definitely been an interesting experience so far! I don't understand a lot of the classes so I just practice kanji or doodle for the time being. Except English classes. In those classes I help with pronunciation or grammar or things like that. My English reading teacher kind of annoyed me the other day because he pronounces everything himself and his accent isn't that great. He insisted to the class that wolf was pronounced as "oorf."

I'll write more about school in later posts. My next post will probably be about my recent trip to Kyoto and Osaka during Silver Week :D

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


So I've been in Japan for a little over a week now. Everything has been going so fast it feels way longer than 10 days.

I left Toronto Int'l Airport on Friday with two other exchange students who I met an hour before the flight. They both are in areas close to Tokyo though so no dice on meeting up with them really.

One 13 hour, continuously sunny flight later I was in Tokyo! After going through some customs and baggage claims, I met up with the other inbounds in my district. They were there along with two Japanese guys related to Rotary (rebounds I think) holding signs for the district. All the other inbounds had taken a different flight than me and were taking a connecting flight at the same airport. I, on the other hand, hand to first ride a bus with one of the Japanese guys to Haneda Airport for my flight to Komatsu. Unfortunately, the bus was slightly late in dropping me off at the airport so the Japanese guy had to work it out at the flight desk. Luckily there was a flight leaving two hours later and they changed my ticket so CRISIS AVERTED. (I just realized if you're quickly skimming this then you'll notice the bold words first and think something really bad could have happened)

The cool thing about my flight being later is that it got dark so my one hour flight was accented nicely by the lights of Tokyo and all cities in between. I even saw some fireworks going off as I flew overhead. Tokyo at night is really a sight to see in the air.

I arrived in Komatsu and when I got to the baggage claim, the other inbounds were picking up their baggage! I was 2 hours late and somehow managed to be synced with the other inbounds...

There was a big welcome group for me. I did a lot of handshaking and met my first host family some of my other host families as well as Yuki! Yuki was there with his family! That was cool.

It was physically hard to smile because of a mix of no sleep and holy-crap-this-is-happening

Everyone parted ways and I went home with my first host family in their car (with a BUILT IN TV).

I'll continue the rest later so I don't make a super large wall of text...