Well, if I’m going to be true to everything that is happening during my time abroad here then I suppose I need to include the conflicts and confrontations that come along with that. But I will give everyone the condensed version, don’t worry.
When I arrived to Japan my first week was spent on a district orientation where I had a fantastic time meeting new people and seeing Japan. On the last day of our trip, less than 24 hours away from meeting my host family for the first time, my host dad has a rather severe heart attack and needs to be in the hospital for nearly 2 weeks. I was shocked and worried, and I think my local club absolutely scrambled to figure out what to do. They ended up putting me in a local hotel for a whole week before I moved into my current home. Within all of that confusion I never really connected well with my local counselor. Therefore I did not understand his role, the club president’s role, and the Rotary district’s role. I had just made very good friends with the district Rotarians and trusted them very much.
For that reason I have been in close touch with the district chair, and she has been so kind and understanding to me. She offered to talk to my host family for me when I had a question about visiting friends over winter break. Well I never guessed that her emailing my club would start a war, but it certainly has. My counselor felt insulted that I had not contacted him first and my host mother was irate that she find out after the Rotarians. I was so caught off guard that I really didn’t know how to act. Looking back on it now (even though it’s only 3 days ago) I can tell in my fluster I chose the wrong path. The Japanese are a very proud culture, especially older men. So when I tried to plead my case to my counselor and host parents, that just made them even angrier. They thought that I was being rude, maybe even talking back to them. That is where these cultures are so different. I as their inferior need to treat them with the utmost respect and not tell them how I feel, so when they literally ragged on me, my district chair, and the families that invited me to winter break for several hours, I should just have let them blow off steam and approached them now a couple days later.
The good news is that today I had a mature and apologetic conversation with my local counselor as he had finally settled down. He told me that I need to give him written reports every time I have an idea (not even a plan) to leave town, and that he was “cross” (he lived in England for several years) that I had not done so sooner. I told him that no one had ever told me to do that, which he was surprised at. He said that it was the district’s job to inform me of the procedure, not his. I didn’t argue as he went on to explain that in my reports I need to tell him: where I’ll go, with whom, for how long, where we’ll visit, what we’ll do, a telephone number at which he can reach me at all times, if I’ll be riding trains or cars, when I’ll board the vehicles, when I’ll de-board, where we’ll eat lunch (!?!random?!?), and who will be there to pick me up when it’s all over. He also talked to me for a good five minutes about how Rotary students had died in the past, and he was specifically worried about car crashes (a point he brought up three or four times and which I am still scratching my head over, but whatever). I am just happy they are now allowing me to go with the other exchange students to Tokyo on the 28th of this month when before they were saying they might not. I’m going to give them even more space and approach them about winter break plans next week.
My host mom is still really criticizing of me and won’t let the topic drop, but I have basically just given her space and not responded to her when every meal she wants to insult the district Rotarians and Rotex. I just bow my head, eat, and leave. So sad that that is the connection I have with my host family. It just makes me even more optimistic and hopeful for my time at the Kobayashi’s. Okay, I’m going to get out of the house again tonight and chat with Miki and her family until as late as possible. Haha, I am certainly finding ways NOT to interact with my hosts, if that’s anything to take away from this. Hope everyone else has a less dramatic Saturday. I’m just relieved my counselor isn’t furious with me anymore, I haven’t slept well the past two nights because I’ve tossed and turned thinking about what I needed to say or do. But I’m in a good mood now!
~~Sorry no fun pictures, not a fun topic so it doesn't deserve one. Plus what would it have been, my counselor lecturing me?! Yeah that would have added a lot to this page ; ] ~~