Reflections Abroad: Oct. 24-Oct. 31

Onyasai is a shabushabu restaurant, where you boil meat and vegetables in a special broths and dig right in!

Here I am with yet another blog post.  Man, this week was awesome.

Here’s why.

October 24, 2015: Taiko Drums

The university where I study abroad had a festival where I got to do many things for free, one of which one was watch a taiko drum performance.  I’d seen taiko drums once before in middle school, but I didn’t have a front row seat.

In a school gym, where all the power could reverberate throughout my body.

If you ever get a chance, watch a taiko drum performance.  Feel the majesty of something as pure as percussion.  You might not like drums or loud sounds, but you’ll enjoy the hard work of the drummers and the fun they’re having.

October 25, 2015: Kimonos

Another thing I got to do for free was walk around in a kimono for two hours.

And not just a yukata.  An actual silk kimono, with an obi, and a lot of tightness in the chest involved.  Like wearing a corset, but slightly better.  Though I’ve never worn a corset, this probably came pretty close.

The kimono shone with a lovely light blue color, and the pink obi made it even cuter.  Beauty and cuteness.  I would say that suits me well.  It was certainly what my roommate said once she saw the helpers put it on me.

October 26, 2015: No-Shame Planning

After the fun activities of the festival, I spent some much needed time planning out the rest of my week and my homework.

There’s no shame in planning out your day or week.  There’s no shame in not having a plan either.  So long as I recognize that life doesn’t follow a plan and that I can plan only so much, I’ll be fine.

October 27, 2015: Special Gifts

For the postcard and pistachios, O-san made, by hand, something that I will treasure and carry with my whenever I have my Nintendo 3DS.


O-san made the charm on the left by hand.

By hand.

I know.

I can’t believe it either.

I don’t even think I have the patience for this kind of craft.  The plastic thread, the small beads, the careful symmetric design.

I am eternally grateful to her, and to S-san for their kindness.  They will be two people I will miss greatly when I come back to the United States.  Which will be relatively soon.

October 28, 2015: Fighting Back

I don’t know what came over me on Wednesday, but there was a sense of dread.  A sense of not wanting to do anything.  Not even homework.  A sense of pointlessness.

It could have been hormones.  It could have been energy drain from the essay I wrote in the morning.  It could have been anything.

So I did what I felt.  I followed my instincts and took a break.  And I ate dinner.

And I got right back into homework again, and completed it earlier than usual.

Taught me a valuable lesson: Sometimes, even the smallest of breaks are needed.

October 29, 2015: Taking It Easy

The day after, I finished the rough draft of the essay for my Japanese class, living with the fact that I did as much as a I could with it, and trying to add another 1000 characters felt impossible and unnecessary.

I made piece with something that wasn’t perfect, and that was hard for me to do.

But I’m glad I wasn’t the only one struggling.  And I’m glad the teachers understood that the character limit was hard.

October 30, 2015: Nabe

The photo for this week’s blog post came from a shabu shabu restaurant, or “nabe” cooking.  “Shabu shabu” is just the onomatopoeia for the food cooking in the boiling pot.

I ate there with my club circle members and a few other new people.

And it was great! Believe me, if you eat here, you won’t feel guilty.

It’s nothing but meat and vegetables and whatever else you want in the pot.  Potatoes, shrimp cakes, mushrooms, sprouts.  And not a whole lot of oil! Come here if you’re a vegetarian or trying to lose weight.

Of course, that’s not the sole reason I came.  I had a good time at the restaurant and practicing my Japanese, even though most of it was listening to others.  But after two hours of sustained listening in the setting, one can learn quite a bit.

The English and worries just shut away after a while.

October 31, 2015: Halloween at the Dorm

I didn’t celebrate Halloween like the rest of my dormmates and California friends who probably went to parties and walked the streets of Shibuya and Harajuku, looking at all the different costumes.

It was rather chill.  And by chill, I mean Halloween music, writing part of my novel, playing Monster Hunter 4, and having a bit of See’s Candy from my aunt.

And that was just fine.  Halloween needn’t extravagant.  It’d needn’t be grand.

It can be a party of one.


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