Friday, August 31, 2012


Last night, I got back from a three day trip to the ocean. Okaasan, an exchange student from New Zealand, and I traveled by train to the seaside town of Toba in the Ise Prefecture. The name, Toba,  means bird wing.

We stayed at a hotel in a tatami room and slept on futons. We went shopping in town and went swimming in the Pacific ocean. The water was a deep sea green and was really deep not far from shore. There were tons of fish swimming about. Some were large and grey, but others had beautiful yellow and black stripes. My friend and I layed out on a floating platform and watched them swimming around. There were a few pieces of garbage and some dead jellly fish floating about, but it was a wonderful beach.

On the last day, We took a bus to see Meoto-iwa or Wedded Rocks. These two rocks jutting out of the ocean are connected by a large, long rope draped between them. The larger of the two represents the husband, while the smaller one represents the wife.

We then took another bus to see the Ise Jingu Outer Shrine . It started pouring rain as soon as we got off the bus. We had to buy umbrellas, but still ended up rather wet. The Shrine was located on sprawling, wooded acerage. It was a long, wet walk down a wide gravel path in the rain. There was a large river, many creeks, manacure gardens and lots ferns. The cedar trees had impressive girths that would take at least five men with linked arms to match their circumferences. We made our way to the shrine, but could not go in because only monks can enter. I managed to slip in my flip flops on the rock stairs. I only fell a short ways, but my camera was in my hand. I`m afraid the poor device ended up in the water logged gravel with me sprawled on top of it. Somehow the camera managed to survive and still works perfectly. And if your wondering how I faired through the ordeal, I ended up with a slightly muddy leg, but that`s it.

We ate Curry and Rice before we took a taxi to the train station. I love riding the trains, but it was hard to stay awake during the two hour trip due to exhaustion.  

Monday, August 27, 2012


The toilets here never fail to confuse me. They are so complicated and high tech that they belong in a futuristic sci-fi movie.

When you sit down, it powers on automatically. Off to the right side, there is a control panel that looks almost like an arm rest. This panel contains brightly colored buttons that controls the bidets, the water pressure, seat temperature, water temperature, ect.  Japanese toilets can do almost everything imaginable. I found a toilet in a department store that made running water sounds when it detected use.

In public bathrooms, there is a long intricate poster/manual describing each toilet function and its button location on the control panel. Thankfully, there is a small portion of the manual written in English for Gaijins like me.  Without that English portion, I would be even more confused that I already am.

I still have not figured out how to use the Eastern style squat potty. I have stood there staring at one for quite some time, but I still don`t know which end is the front and which is the back.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

I`m in Japan!!!!

I am in Japan!!!! I`ve been here for six days already, but it feels like a month. I`ve been very busy registering my address with the government, applying for health insurance, and ordering my school uniform.

Last weekend, I had my first orientation. I met all the other inbounds from all of the world, the Japanese outbounds, and Rotex. Together, we traveled to a town called Inuyama. We went to an onsen (public bath house), an Inuyama Rotary Club meeting, hiked up to Inuyama castle, tried hawaiian dancing, set off fireworks, and went to Little World (a park dedicated to exhibits of houses and cultures from all around the world).

I have alread given my first speech to my host Rotary Club, Nagoya Osu RC. It seemed to go well. I have to do another speech on September 6th.

I am going to start school around September 3rd. I am supposed to give a short speech to the teachers and students. I have the cutest sailor uniform. It has a navy blue, pleated skirt that goes down to my knees and a light blue blouse. The necktie is sea green.

I am having abit of trouble sleeping due to jetlag. I can`t sleep past 3 or 4 AM. I walk around in a daze and have trouble remember things. Hopefully this will pass soon.

I have not been able to get my computer to connect my host parent`s internet. I am currently borrowing their computer. I will upload pictures as soon as I can get my computer online.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Guarantee Forms!

My Guarantee Forms finally came!!!!
Here's what I found out:
I am going to be living in Nagoya, Japan, Rotary District, 2760. It is a large city in the Aichi prefecture and it is sandwiched between the capitol city, Tokyo, and the large sea port of Osaka. In Nagoya, I will be living in the city limits. It will be very different from the American Midwestern countryside that I live in now. It will be interesting to be a city girl for a while.  

I have been told that I will be attending a girl's high school. It is supposed to be one of the best girl's schools in Nagoya. I finally found the school's website and with help from "Google Translate", did some interesting research. The high school is connected to a university and has a new, modern building. They also have numerous after school clubs, which I am very excited about joining. I think I saw the back of the school uniform in a picture. I think it will be sailor suit style with the cute bandanna around the neck.

I didn't have to contact my first host family. They contacted me first via email. I was so excited to hear from them. It has been several weeks since their first email, and they seem so kind and considerate. My host mom has told me a bit about their daily life and some of their hobbies. They have asked me to call them "Otousan" and "Okaasan" which is Japanese for "Father" and "Mother".

Otousan plays golf and a Japanese board game called "Igo". He has promised to teach me how to play it, but I'm not sure how well I will do since it is all about strategy (I can't play any game that requires strategy of any kind. It just doesn't happen.). Okaasan enjoys doing SUDOKU. She said by the time I leave I will be able to solve them. I'll try, but I'm not sure that is possible considering my skill with numbers.

I think this upcoming year will be an interesting and I will definitely learn a lot. I am getting more excited and terrified everyday. I have about two and a half weeks left in the USA. I can't believe it.