ONE MONTH! At this time one month ago I had landed in Narita Airport, Japan, and was climbing into a car with Ayano Baba and Mr. Aoyama. I can’t understand how time has been so flexible. I skyped with Mackenzie O’Connell yesterday and she said it best when she said, “At times I feel like I have nothing to do and am extremely bored, and at other times I can’t slow life down enough to take it all in.” I couldn’t agree more. It’s a odd sensation to be living with.
That aside, today was absolutely a blast. I went to a sports day with my good friend Miki. She has been extremely fun getting to know. Is it odd that my two best friends in Japan are both named Miki? I find it funny =) To give you an idea of Miki’s personality, for those of you who know her, think of the Japanese version of Chelsea Koenigs. In other words very welcoming, quick to laugh, and patient.
After the sports day, during which I played the most badmitton of my life (over 3 hours of badmittion-ing) Miki took me along with four of her friends to the Ogawa Grand Bowl. It was quite the bowling alley as it came with a game room, karaoke, Pirates of the Caribbean playing overhead, and live video of your pins! I surprised everyone (myself included) when the first ball I threw down the lane ended up with a strike. Miki’s friend Yuka (the girl on the right) studied in New Zealand last year, and her English was excellent so we had a fun time speaking in Japenglish together. She flattered me by saying that she couldn’t believe I’d only been in Japan for one month. I immediately denied the complement (as is the custom in Japan) but on the inside I was beaming.
We walked the river looking at the stars because tonight is the equinox. Dinner afterwards was at my new local hangout “Yakiniku” 焼肉, a grilled meat restaurant where Papa Sato is more than a regular and to which I’ve now been 4 times in the past week. The owner and his right hand man, Ma, offer me a free drink and rice cracker everyday on my ride home from school. The food was delicious and the company was exceedingly Japanese. I am glad I now feel comfortable sitting around a table with practical strangers and can finally make conversation.
When I was dropped back off at the Sato’s I met Mama Sato’s two brother-in-laws who had stopped by for a chat. The one, Yageta-san, had been to Minnesota FIVE times with his work in the feed and agriculture business. His English was excellent and he blew me away with his knowledge of the US and our culture. We hit it off very well. That’s one great thing about the Japanese, they always look for the smallest connection they have with you and then consider you their new best friend because of it.
I hope my ten other months go by as well as this first one.