Switch to Japanese （日本語）
I went back to Asia for the winter/spring of 2003 and put a second set of journals/updates/drivel/whatever you want to call them on my web site. I went to Japan to continue my study of the Japanese language, and in the process found a lot of things to write about. I was in Okazaki, Japan at a school which specializes in Japanese language and culture classes for foreigners. For info on their programs, check out http://www.yamasa.org/acjs/english/index.html. Lots of fun!
Note - words in italics are Japanese words written in Romaji (basically, the Japanese words phonetically spelled out). In some cases I have also used the Japanese phoenetic characters (katakana and hiragana), but because most people reading this won't have these fonts installed on their computer, even when I do this, I also include the romaji equivalent.
#1 - Welcome back to Japan (January 23, 2003). "I've done it. I have up and headed off to Japan for almost 2 months of studying the Japanese language and learning the culture..."
#2 - I've regressed to first grade (January 25, 2003). "Ok, I feel like a child again. In my first Japanese class they started right from scratch. I was taught words like cat (neko) and dog (inu)..."
#3 - Torii and warped trees (February 1, 2003). "Another student and I have been out running a few times. He showed me an area not far from school (close enough that we run right from the dorms) where there are rice fields and farms..."
#4 - No Soccer Moms (February 5, 2003) "The dorms I live in across the street from a local high school. My schedule has me walking past it pretty much at the same time that the students are heading in to school. Some noticeable differences between U.S. schools and Japanese ones..."
#5 - Fire Festival (February 9, 2003) "I went to a local festival this weekend called Oni Matsuri (fire festival). Here's part of the description I found in a local publication..."
#6 - Conflicting Japan (February 14, 2003) "Japan is a country of many conflicting ideas. For example..."
#7 - Kyoto and Nara (February 19, 2003) "I went to Kyoto and Nara last weekend with a pair of other students. Kyoto and Nara are both very old cities, both having been very early capitals of Japan (over a thousand years ago)..."
#8 - Maneki Neko - The Beckoning Cat (February 27, 2003) "Ok. Whenever you go to a Japanese restaurant, or one that often serves Japanese clients, you will see these porcelain cats in the window or just after you enter the door. I finally got the scoop on them (at least if I understood the shop keeper correctly, I did). They are called Maneki neko, or beckoning cat..."
#9 - Nagoya Castle (March 2, 2003) "It rained yesterday (Saturday), so I holed myself up and studied for much of the day (Ok, I did some non-studious things also, like napping and watching TV). But the weather was nice Sunday, so I headed up to Nagoya to see it's castle and do some shopping..."
#10 - I have a job offer!?! (March 3, 2003) "I had an interview at a Japanese company. I won't name it here, but it is a technology based subsidiary of one of the Japanese car manufacturers. They are looking for someone in a mixture of sales, business development, and marketing to help them take their products international..."
#11 - Japanese Ryokan (March 9, 2003) "I am in Tokyo for the weekend. Decided to stay at a Japanese Ryokan, which is basically the Japanese equivalent to an American Bed and Breakfast. A few differences, though..."
#12 - Exploring Tokyo (March 10, 2003) "Before I left for Korea, my brother had given me a book called Little Adventures in Tokyo. Unfortunately, I had not had a chance prior to now to check out the adventures listed here. But this weekend, the opportunity came along and I had a great time at it...
#13 - Back to Studying (April 20, 2003) "I am back in Japan now. I arrived back here in the middle of last week, spent the first night sleeping off jet lag at a hotel near the airport, and then took the trains down to school..."
#14 - Homestay (April 27, 2003) "I have moved in with the Tanaka family in a homestay situation. Has been a great learning experience so far, and should offer many more opportunities over the next few weeks..."
#15 - Baseball, Hot Dogs, and SARS (May 1, 2003) "Yakyuu (baseball) is very big over here. Intersting that the word for baseball is Japanese, but they use English based words for most every part of the game..."
#16 - Gamagori (May 5, 2003) "This week is Golden Week, when a group of holidays are put together to give most Japanese a full week off. Unfortunately, many of the holidays fell on the weekend, so most many people did not get the full week off. My school only gave us two days off. I used one of them to take a day trip to Gamagori with one of my classmates..."
#17 - Back to Kyoto (May 14, 2003) "I took a school-sponsored day trip last weekend back to Kyoto. Even though I had been there already, it is such a large city and region with so much to see that it was still worthwhile to go back..."
#18 - Mune Ageshiki (May 15, 2003) "On my way home one day this week, I noticed that about a block away from the house was a crowd of people. I watched a bit from the window in my room, and it intrigued me..."
#19 - Yakyuu Shiai (baseball game) (May 21, 2003) "Went to a Yakyuu Shiai (baseball game) with my host family and a couple of friends from school. Saw the Nagoya Duragonsu (Dragons) take on the Hiroshima Karupu (Carp). Definitely was interesting to see what was the same and what different between the how the game is played here and in the States..."
#20 - Is there an onsen in this town? (May 24, 2003) "A couple of my classmates and I decided to head to an onsen we saw listed on a web site. Supposed to be famous and is in the mountains (providing a differnet view than the one we went to by the sea in Gamagori). So off we went..."
#21 - Meiji-Mura (May 25, 2003) "Today my host family took me to Meiji-Mura (or Meiji Village). This is a collection of buildings and such from the Meiji period of Japan..."
#22 - In Closing (June 9, 2003) "My time in Okazaki is over. Completed 12 weeks of classes there and though I'd love to go back for more, I guess it is time to stop playing and head back to the working world..."