Friday, December 4, 2009

Thursday, December 3-Friday, December 4, 2009-

The fact that we are now finishing the first trimester here at Bato High School is a bit of a wakeup call for me. I’m one third done with classes here in Japan. I’ll admit that at times it has felt like much longer than just three months, but in other ways I can still picture myself stepping through security at Minneapolis Airport, stopping to slip on my shoes, grab my backpack and wave back to my family one last time before heading to gate G4. See what I mean? Time is flat out twisted for me still.

Anyway, because all the students were taking finals yesterday, today, and will again on Monday, I’ve been spending my days in the library. Yesterday was downright chilly! The rain didn’t stop all day and the view of the mountains from the library’s third floor windows tell it all (photo to the right). Once at home, I happily curled up with a huge down comforter, watched a movie on my laptop again, and snacked on the big package of delicious thanksgiving treats Chuck, Cindy, Andrew, and Kaitlin (cousins) sent me!! Today was much better weather, and I decided I’d explore the library a bit while I sat and studied. So here are some of the cool shots I snapped = )

PS. I just went out to dinner with the Kobayashi family (my next host family) and had the most delicious Unagi (fried and marinated fresh water eel) I've ever eaten in my life! Yummmmm

PPS. I added red イルミネーションライト to my Christmas Tree! 10 Points if you can figure out what that means = )

The sun poking over the top of this shelf of Japanese Encyclopedias
I have NO idea what this says, but I admire the Asian languages that use characters so much more now. It's truly a lifetime of studying in order to understand the written language. I can't imagine having to do that with English!
Quick Cultural Note: Back in the USA I finished taking spelling tests around grade 6. I was never very good at spelling (I know you just scoffed at that understatement, Weaver!) and could probably have used some more. But here in Japan "Kanji Tests" (or tests on the Chinese characters) happen two or three times each trimester and are considerably challenging for students here. It takes years to become proficient in them. I will hardly scratch the surface during my year!
These ones win the coolest binding contest!
A look inside another Encyclopedia
Falling in different directions
I'm reading a copy of "The Japanese History with Simple English." It's meant for native Japanese people, but I just reverse translate the things they translate. It's confusing, but I like it. I also found the set of textbooks used in English courses at Tokyo University (think Oxford or Harvard for Japan) and I am self studying. It should be good practice for University of Denver next year...
I stopped off for a gelato at the Bato Town Highway Rest Stop. It seems like the last kind of place that would have good gelato, but it was rather yum yum. I had Pumpkin and Italian Vanilla for only 300 Yen. Score!

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