Past 2 Days
I realized that I never posted anything yesterday. It was intentional. I just needed the day to rest and relax. I was not feeling so well from the day before. Yesterday morning was the first day I had to sleep in longer than usual. Normally we have been waking up early to either arrive at breakfast or we had early meeting times. Yesterday we did not have to meet until 930 so it was a nice relaxing morning. At 930 we met and walked for about 20 minutes to the Ghibli museum. Ghibli Studios is the company that produces Miyazaki's famous anime films. The Ghibli Museum was funded completely by Miyazki himself to give children a chance to experience his films in real life. We were not allowed to take photos while inside the museum but we could take photos of the Totoro out side. He's a big giant loveable bunny. He's cute!! If you don't know who he is you should google Totoro. He's really cute. The museum is like a fantacy land. Everything inside was very interactive. Many of the students on this program were very familiar with all of Miyazaki's films so they were very excited to be looking through everything inside and felt that there was not enought time to see everything. The museum was not that large so there was plenty of time. They were just over excited. The gift shopt was rediculously crowded inside. I managed to purchase a dust ball spirit key chain. They are so cute. I love them.
After the museum, we headed to the JR rail station so we could learn how to communte to and from Sophia University. Everyone has their name written on thier card, but my first name happens to be Jerry. There was a mistake and they did not notice the mistake until a couple of days late when it was too late to get it fixed. My last name is correct but my first name will just have to be Jerry. Using the trains are a mix of a subway and the Arizona light rail put into one. It made sense, but the map of all the routs are so very confusing.
Once we arrived at the campus we were split into to groups and had a guide take us around campus to show us were everything is. Our guide did not know anything. She couldn't tell us where the buildings were or what were in them. And she wasn't able to answer any of our questions. She had to ask many questions as to were things were and we ended up joining another group because she did not know what to do. We did not learn anything from her and it was very frustating. I would have done better had they just given me a map of the campus. There are only 12 buildings at Sophia University. It's very small. There are not many opportunities to make a mistake or get lost. The only confusing things is that all the buildings are numbered based on when they were built, not by an address. So just because something is at building 12 and your next to building 6 does not actually mean that you only have 6 more buildings until you reach 12. The buildings next to each other could be numbered 12, 4, 46, you don't really know where anything is, so you cannot find things in Japan by the building numbers. That's the last thing you want to be doing.
After the said "tour" we headed up the stairs to wait I guess, I'm not sure what we were doing up there for 30 minutes. They told us that we could not talk in the hallways because classes were in session and right after our tour guides told us this they proceed to talk amungst themselves. So what do you think happened after then? Of course no one listened to what they told us. They weren't even going to do what they instructed us to do then no one is going to take them seriously. It was really stupid and made me SOO mad. It ruined my entire day. I was so angry that she made us walk up and down 6 flights of stairs throughout the entire campus and the entire time she didn't know what she was doing. I wonder how she can even take her school work seriously. Sometimes I really resent being an American because of how other American people enforce the false sterio types in their selfish actions. I'm embarrassed when it happens.
We were released after the program director showed up, so I just went back to my hotel room after purchacing some food and relaxed. I watched some tv and found that there are very little commercials. I watched a mystory show that lasted an hour and only had 2 commercial breaks that were really short. I found that if I turn on subtitles then I understand more of what they are saying.
Today, we did not have to arrive at the school until 11 am. So I figured leaving at 1015 would be a good time to figure out how to use the trains from the hotel to the school. I went with someone and got on the train and began riding. After about 15 minutes, we realized that we were on the wrong train. We got off and I had to ask someone which train would take us to the station we needed. He told us were the train was and we boarded the correct train. When we finally arrived we were 45 minutes late to orientation. As it turns out, I did not miss anything because they were doing group work for catagories and they had just started discussing what each group came up with when we arrived.
After orientation we were given instructions on the stavenger hunt as a group. We had to take pictures of specific locations and collect certain items and head to destinations. We went to Shinjuku, Shibuya, Tokyo, and Akihabara. I SOO want to go back to Akihabara. It was like everything America knows about Japan central! The first building we went into was a 6 story building of arcade games. It was massive. We had to use a Purikuri machine and submit the picture. It's like a photo booth, but 100 times better. It was so much fun! I cannot wait to go back there and see everything that is around Akihabara. It's the coolest place I have found in Japan thus far. I think that I will try and go back tomorrow since tomorrow is a free day.
The scavenger hunt was designed to get use to asking for directions and learning how to find our way around using the trains. It would have been better had they listened to me when I said, "Please don't talk or ask me anything yet until after I read the list out to you guys." I was designated the group leader at the start of the program and my job is make sure that everyone in my group is accounted for and that no one goes running off. I guess they don't think I look at least 4 years older than all of them because all but one decided on what they wanted to do without talking to anyone else and they all got angry when I wouldn't listen to them or go where they wanted to do what they asked because everyone was talking all at once. I finally just shouted at them to shut up and gave each person individual instructions. That worked for everyone except one. The 17 year old who just graduated high school and thinks he is an expert in Japanese after having taken one year, and he got really angry when we wouldn't ride the train he said would take us to the correct place when we had asked a nice Japanese man which train was headed to our destination. He was nice enough to take us to the station and told us exactly which train to transfer to and what was around the station once we arrived. The Japanese mad was very nice to help us. However, this high school graduate made a hissy fit for the rest of the hunt just because we woulnd't listen to him about the trains. After 2 hours of his whining we finally agreed to let him show us the next train we needed when we headed to another destination. Turns out he was wrong, and we all knew that he was but he just needed to know that for himself so he would stop acting like he's an expert in Japan transportation. The JR stations are very confusing and very difficult to understand. There is no way that any one can understand the entire network by looking at a map only once. He shut up after then and let us figure out where to go from then. Most of the stations have English but there are still many that don't. Being the only one who has had 3 years of Japanese education I was the only one who could read most of the kanji. (Not to mention that his pronunciation is so terrible, not a single Japanese person we encountered understood what he was saying. Someone else had to repeat what he was saying to the Japanese person.) There was a Chinese girl in our group so she knew what the signs meant, but when it came to city names, she doesn't know what they say because it's a Japanese combination not a Chinese one. This kid who has had one year of Japanese is not even able to recognize the kanji for Tokyo. Ok, that's enough ranting. He really made me stressed.
We finally get back after a every long 4 hours and one girl was so angry she just went steight home. One guy was quite during the entire hunt. He was either on his phone or taking pictures with his phone. He just didn't care. When the highschool kid finally left, a couple of us got ice cream because this guy frustated all of us. I'm sure the scavenger hunt would have been more fun had we had another person in our group or just did not have him at all. We were the only group of 7. Everyone else was a group of 6.
Anyway, now I am back at my hotel room and probably going to go out for a bit just to look for new things and explore the near by city. It's very safe here. I feel safer walking around the streets at night here than I do around my house back home. I hope this post finds you all well! I think I'm going to take a Japanese style bath and study some Japanese. :)
Good night everyone!