Reflections Abroad: Sep.19-Sep. 26

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This is one of the many stores I saw in Jindaiji Temple today.  I think they sold trinkets and food.  I don’t quite remember.

But at least this week, it’s not a picture of food.

September 19, 2015: Tokyo Game Show, Part 2

So, remember that cliffhanger I gave on last week about Tokyo Game Show?

Well, here’s the rest of it.

Tokyo Game Show ended around 5 o’clock.  My roommate Ni and I were tired from walking around, and to make matters worse, we were heading into rush hour Tokyo traffic, the infamous bane of Japan.

And I mean infamous.

Let me tell you something…

You do not, I repeat, do not want to find yourself in rush hour traffic heading toward Tokyo on one of the subways.

I know I certainly do not want to experience the feeling of my hips being squeezed inside a car against dozens of people, of bumping against the front of a Japanese businessman as the train kept swaying on the tracks, and of having difficulty breathing due to the strap of my Tokyo Game Show goodie bag constricting against my chest while someone pressed up from behind me.  I do not want that. Ever again.

I have learned my lesson.

Once Ni and I arrived at Tokyo, however, the Chuo Line was much clearer, and we had the chance to sit down in peace on our way home.

September 20, 2015: Shinjuku

The next day, I went with my roommate and my new friend, who I will refer to as S, to an art store in Shinjuku called Sekaidou.  While I wasn’t an artist like Ni and S were, it was still fun to look at all the art supplies, and watch the two of them get excited about materials.

I bought a small white board for my Japanese kanji studies and journal for myself, since the one I brought with me is almost out of pages (like a true writer’s journal should always be).

There was a festival on the way home.  Watching all of the men carry the town shrine was pleasant.  I helped carry a shrine five years ago, and it was extremely heavy.  The experience made a deep impression in my heart (and my shoulder).  So whenever I see a shrine festival, I can’t help but smile at the strength and spirituality of the people carrying it.

September 21, 2015: Homework

The beginning of my three-day weekend, or Silver Week, consisted of rest and homework.

September 22, 2015: Homework

The homework, sadly, continued.

September 23, 2015: Ramen for Lunch

I didn’t get out too much, apart from going out to ramen for lunch with Ni, since the university was scheduling power maintenance throughout the day.

That was nice.

I also managed to complete all of my homework before coming back to school on Thursday.

September 24, 2015: Back in the Saddle

School resumed on Thursday, and classes were normal.  I told my Japanese teacher that I felt nervous about my speaking ability, and she was very calm, understanding, and professional with me.  Much of my anxiety about speaking Japanese, I have found, has gone away.  Though I can feel it linger, sometimes.

I just have to practice, like with everything else.

Good thing I’m getting a conversation partner soon!

September 25, 2015: I-Week

And in addition to that conversation partner, I gained three new ones in a circle that I joined.

I-Week is a small circle (sort of like a club, but not as intense) that hosts events and opportunities to practice Japanese and make friendships.  While it still has a formal feel, I gather it’s very informal.

Its three members, all young women, are very nice, bright, and friendly.  And I’m glad that I joined, even though I joined quite late in the term.  I had always envisioned making Japanese friends, but did not want the intense requirements of a club like practice, rehearsals, initiations, etc.

This is my balance, and I like it.

September 26, 2015: Jindaiji Temple

On the 26th, I went to Jindaiji Temple as a part of the new student retreat program hosted by my university.

Jindaiji Temple is almost like a park, with multiple shrines inside it for different purposes.  For example, there was a specific shrine dedicated to a certain Budddha/priest or other for matchmaking.

I am not religious, but I love going to Japanese shrines.  I love the architecture, the spirituality within nature, the shops and community nestled inside it.  I could go to just about any one and love them all.

Hmm, now there’s an idea.

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