It was quite an easy week. After the busy weekend with karaoke and fun I became somewhat run-down. Tuesday was medical checkup day at school that means a day of for me. Unfortunately I became ill and stayed in bed most of the time.
I went to the hair dresser! The looks are still the same, don’t worry, just having the dead points removed. And they thinned my hair, without asking. It appears that they always do this in Japan. Its not that bad but next time I will explain that I don’t want that.
This week I received my box! The box with Dutch things that my parents send me. Perhaps you think that I am homesick but that not the case, it is actually because my host parents do so much for me. My parents just like it and I like to show and give something of ‘our culture’. You should have seen Otou-san eyes when I showed him the cheese!
Wednesday Rachel had a meeting with the Rotary and left me ‘all alone’. But I was happy that I managed to go well along with the other students in my class. I finally could talk with some girls and even with some boys in my class. My school put me with another exchange student, Rachel, in the same class so she can help me. But since we sit next to each other we do often speak English together. Next time I should sit next to a Japanese.
In the afternoon I went to soft tennis and they were all delighted that I was there again. They play the game so good and because it is slightly different from tennis I feel somewhat foolish. But I will practice a lot so my game will become better over time! And they don’t mind that I am not that good yet.
There was a boy named Kumi sempai. Sempai means something like ‘senior’. For example the first year students call second year students sempai. It is to be polite to ‘older’ students. Kumi is now in the first year of the university and is an ex Yamanote student, he comes to play tennis often. He is very nice and handsome! :P. And he plays tennis very well, the same level as the tennis teachers.
At about 17:30 I was playing the ball back and forth with another student when I suddenly didn’t see clear anymore. I first thought it had to do with the reflection in the windows, but then I became dizzy. I tried to explain (with help of my iphone dictionary) what happened and then went inside for a while. This while became pretty long when I became more and more dizzy and felt sick.
Unfortunately I couldn’t find any English speaking person and finally went to the library and explained in my best Japanese that I didn’t feel well. Apparently the fever had returned. The librarian gave me a mask. I Holland you wear a mask when you visit very sick people and in Japan you wear a mask when you have a cold. Out of politeness I have been wearing the mask but finally took it off 😛
I have been waiting quite a while for my mentor and finally, because both Okaa-san and Otou-san were at work, my AFS LP picked me up and brought me home.
Before I left I went to the tennis club to say that I was leaving and probably wouldn’t be there tomorrow. They just smiled at me and didn’t say anything.
Thursday and Friday I stayed home to rest and become fit again. I think I was too busy the last days and did a little more than what is good for me. Besides that I still had a bad cough and did sleep well because of that.
My life here is of course rather different compared to Holland. The major differences are the long schooldays, clubs and communication. Especially the communication is stressful. You want to say and explain so much but every time I try I can’t find the words. It is getting better every day but it is still difficult.
On Saturday we had our first AFS meeting. Together with Tyler we took the 9 O’clock train to Sapporo Eki. Tylers LP (AFS contact) was already waiting for us because my LP wasn’t able to come. First she came to me but I thought it was just somebody, that confused a little. We went to a ten story building were we went to the 10th floor. We were the first students and the AFS volunteers and the AFS Sapporo Principal were already there.
When everybody was there first of all the AFS rules were repeated. They emphasized that having contact with your family at home was maybe already too much. Perhaps it’s hard for them to understand that we don’t live in the post mail era anymore but, ok…. At one O’clock all host families arrived and we had to speech again. I really think that I will be a professional in speeches some day. I felt just like Obama Obama, ‘Yes we can!’. I do however have to admit that I am much more nervous in smaller groups than with for example 1000 students.
When we exchanged our experiences I happen to find out that I am on one of the most strict schools of all AFS students. No problem for me, except that it surprised me! It was very nice to see all AFS exchangers after a month. It is by the way a group of seven students.
They handed out an agenda with all AFS trips and camps, it’s gone be a busy year, with lots of fun.
After the AFS meeting Erika from Denmark, Emma from Australia and Museon from Korea and I went to Sapporo Eki. The we made purikura (these photoshopped photo’s) had an ice cream and had fun. We also visited the Poké center, a shop just selling Pokémon stuff.
Being with people from all over the World you feel a real cosmopolitan. You go to Japan as an exchange student and you learn to know people from all over the world! My slogan: free bed and breakfast where ever I go! 😛
I arrived at home early at 18:30 and at 8 O’clock, I am not kidding, everyone went to bed. I then started to make up my room and I went to bed at 9 O’clock.
In Holland we would stay up on Saturday evening and hang on the couch and watch TV with the family, but here they don’t do that.
Here at dinner time you start and finish your dinner and leave the table whenever you want. In the Netherlands it is common to have dinner together were you discuss your experiences of the day and chat about whatever you like. You leave the table together when everybody has finished dinner.
Also watching TV together in the evening or going somewhere together is quite normal.
Here everything is different and that makes you extra aware of being in another country with another culture, and I have to admit that is not always that easy.
But that is of course one of the charms of being an exchange student! After being away from home for 41 days it makes you recognize and appreciate your own culture.
Sunday was relaxing day. I went with Otou-san to a garden center to but a barbeque. We found one quickly. We also went for fish food when suddenly I saw these small puppies.
In Holland we have a political party ‘For the animals’. When they would see this……
They were all Chi hua hua puppies and they were all in very small glass boxes. You can then choose and buy a puppy. In Holland we only buy cavies and rabbits that way but here puppies too. They were so cute but I felt sorry for them!
Monday the 30th I had a day off from school since it is Golden week. In the morning I assisted Okaa-san to plant tulips in the garden. Okaa-san explained me that all bulbs she has are from the Netherlands!
Although I am not a kitchen princess I made ‘pannekoeken’ for lunch, a typical Dutch delicatessen, and to be honest they were pretty good! The family liked them very much they almost fought for it! Except they found the ‘stroop’ (syrup) rather salty…. How can ‘stroop’ be salty?! It’s made of caramelized sugar. Japanese don’t like salt that much. They like spicy and sour.
Today Rachel and Yamazaki sensei (my Japanese private teacher) went to say goodbye to Celeste because she is going back home to Australia. First I had to walk for about 40 minutes from the station to school. It was about 27 degrees Celsius and…. That is pretty warm.
A lot of people came to say goodbye, a lot of host families. Rotary people change host family several times such that exchange students learn a lot different experiences. There were several students and teachers from my school, Rotary exchange students and Japanese friends. Although I know her shortly I found it pretty hard to see her standing there crying. She wanted to stay longer. It was pretty sad. I cannot image right know that I will be standing there next year. I won’t think about it right know.
(sorry but some pictures are very small, these are not mine but the only pictures I could find!)
This week I have only have lessons on Wednesday because the other days are holidays.
The weather gets better day by day! While it still snowed two weeks ago it is now about 17 degrees Celsius and in two more weeks we probably see the cherry blossom! And that is great! But right now I don’t know if we are going to do something then because they are always that busy. But I will find out what there is to do in Sapporo.
Ik hope you had a nice queens day back home in Holland!
I hereby want to wish all Lyceum students success with their exams! And let’s hope I don’t see you next year at school because then you failed your exams 😀
Oh, almost forgot! I often get the question of what we eat here in Japan. I will try to make many pictures to give you an impression! Don’t ask me what it is, because I often don’t know myself! I am not kidding but until now it’s all delicious! But I still having a hard time eating mushrooms. I sometimes try them but I really don’t like them.
For those who like it, I put two self made films on the video page! I will make more films! And on the Photo page I have put all pictures made until now.
This post is also available in: Dutch