Getting ready for Kyoto!
So today I woke up later and just didn't go to breakfast. Instead, I just ate food that my madre sent me. :) How kind of her to do such things. Anyway, I headed to school by myself today and was anxious for school to be over the entire day.
They are having some 100 aniversary special at Sophia University this week. I kind of wish they would have told us about it because we get out of class and there are people everywhere! They are having campus tours for all the high school students in Japan. They kept trying to make me take a tote bag and I finally did. I might as well take free stuff if they are going to force it to me. I head to 7/11 to eat onigiri and while standing in line, one of the Japanese high school students start talking to me in English. I was surprised. Most of the younger Japanese people are terrified of using English, especially to foreigners, but after having talked to her for a while I found out that she studied in Canada for a few weeks not too long ago and it made sense why she wasn't afraid to talk to me in English. Her mother was with her and was so proud that we were having a conversation in English. Her mother occasionally would tell her to ask me things in English but I understood what she was saying so I just answered her in Japanese. Now, the Japanese have a way of expression surprise that I just love. It's like the English equivallent to the word "wow," except it sounds funnier and it makes me smile whever they do it. It's hard to describe in words so when you see me and think about it, ask me to demonstrate because I can do it quite well. I have heard it enough times at this point that it's easy for me. Anyway, if I HAD to put it into English it would be "ehhhhhh!" It's really awesome. Anyway, that was the reaction from both the mother and the daughter. If I remember right, her name was Tsureko. But I suck at remembering names in English so don't quote me on that. They were really excited that I could speak Japanese. Her mother just asked me questions directly and I did my best to answer in Japanese. Sometimes I didn't know the exact words to say so I just made up some expression that would get the basic idea across. A couple times when I could see that they were confused I just told her in English but most of the time they just smiled and tried not to laugh then told me the correct expression. But at least they understood me. :D We ended up talking for about an hour then she had to meet with her group for the campus tour. As they left, her mother thanked me and told me that I was very beautiful and hopes we will meet again some day. She also thanked me for taking the time to speak to her daughter in English. I could tell that she was very very proud of her daughter speaking English to someone without fear. Her daughter spoke very good English. I was rather impressed for someone who was only in her 2nd year of high school.
I met up with some friends, well I didn't meet up with them, I was on my way to the station and there they were. I walked over to them and we talked for a while. They were talking about going to a Japanese gay club. I laughed and asked them why there out of all the places to see in Tokyo? They told me that it was one of the places they had always wanted to go to in Japan. If you want to go there that badly then I guess it's ok. After talking with them for the entire journey home I discovered that only one person in the group was actually gay. The rest were just going because they think it will be fun. I asked if any of them were looking for a romantic relationship and none of them were, they just were wanting to go there and drink and dance and just have a good time. Whatever floats your boat. Although, whenever I think of gay clubs or bars I think of the movie PS I Love You. Holly goes to a men's gay bar/club for her birthday with her friends and it has always looked like fun to me. Lol. I'm not going to go now that I'm married but that's the reason why I think it would be fun only because of that one scene from that movie.
Once I got back, I did my laundry and made some Japanese flash cards so that it will be easier (I actually don't think it will help any because there are millions of words I don't know) to talk with my friend I'm meeting tomorrow in Kyoto. I have packed my bags, wrote down the directions to all the places that I need to get to and back, and messaged my friend letting her know that I am ready and really excited to see her tomorrow. I'm really nervous to be going on this overnight trip alone but at the same time I'm really looking forward to it. I have already reported my overnight stay in Kyoto to the program director for CIEE. At this point, I just need to arrive there and purchase my ticket for back home and that will be that. I'm also nervous that I won't be able to come back home. People keep telling me that travel is crowded now because of the summer vacation, but I was also told by the travel agent at the station that I can just buy the ticket home in Kyoto. I'm just scared about that because of the amount of people that live in this country. You have no idea how many people are here. NO idea. There are about 25 million people that live in Tokyo and another 2.5 million who commute to Tokyo everyday for school or work who live in other prefectures. I'm pretty sure they all come to festivals at the same time too. It's really quite ridiculous. There are a total of 125 milion people who live in Japan. That's a lot of people! It feels like they all live in the same place too.
The one major difference between the US and Japan is that no one bumps into you unless they have no other choice. And for the most part they say sorry but at times when it's obviously unavoidable, no one says anything. Like being smashed on the trains. When we come to a stop and being as smashed as we are together in there, there is no way that you cannot shove, push, and bump into people trying either to get off or on. It's just unavoidable. No one says anything because we all know that it's just a way of life. But when you are crossing the street with a large group, people avoid running into one another and if they do, they appologize as if they just offended God or something. In the US, no one cares about any one but themselves. They will bump into you and say you are the one who needs to appologize. I didn't realize this difference until I was at the train station looking at the transit map on the wall trying to figure out which line I needed to take to get somewhere and an American guy bumps into me so hard I hit my head on the pole next to me. He didn't stop to say he was sorry he just kept going and told me to watch it and got mad at me for standing in the middle of the walk way. It's not like I had suddenly come to a stop in the middle of the crowds, I was about a foot away from the wall reading a map attached the wall and had been standing there for a few minutes trying to figure out the map away from the people walking along. I wasn't the only one just standing there either. There were several people doing the exact same thing as me. When I hit my head, the Japanese people who saw what happened attended to me and offered to help me. I had about 12 Japanese people trying to help me all at once. They are such a nice people. I just know that I'm going to get reverse culture shock when I come back. I already consider this place my home. Anyway, that's just the biggest difference. That and the fact that they don't have my cups I love so much back home. I miss my cup.