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Apr
02

Home Sweet Nagasaki

Posted on Thursday April 02, 2009 at 7:54am in

I’m all settled into my home in Nagasaki. Here are a ton of photos and some stuff that’s been going on…

Nagasaki
The sakura are blooming this time of year. I got here just in time to enjoy them.

So we took the bus to our school. The way there was really cool because there was a lot to see. Nagasaki is by the ocean so there is always a cool breeze. Also, there are a lot of palm trees.

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Kaiti being precious.

When we got to school we ordered bentou from Hotto Motto, a popular bentou restaurant in the area. This was what the meals looked like…

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They were very good! Although the fish had bones in it (which you’re supposed to eat, too…but they were hard to chew).

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This is my school from the front.

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The view from the school. See the ocean?

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No!!!!!!!! Drugs. There are a lot of flyers like this hung throughout the school.

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This is an aerial photo of the school.

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Library

After day one of orientation (which was very serious business…) After about two hours of listening to Japanese customs and manners and hearing horror stories of previous students’ faux pas, we went to meet our host families for the first time. I met with mine and they drove me to their house.

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This was the sign on my door that the grandkids made for me. It says “Welcome, Drew”

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My room.

The first night we had sashimi for dinner. Shashimi is basically just raw fish. I took a photo:

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It was very good! I tried everything and liked most of it. Although, the squid was much gooier than I am used to.

I gave them the gifts I brought them after dinner. It took about an hour to give it all to them because they were so interested in each gift. They spent about 30 minutes talking about how much they liked the puzzle of New York I got them. They enjoyed the music I brought! Turns out my host mom is a fan of ABBA (and Mamma Mia), which is the CD I chose for her.

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Nozomi-kun liked his gifts.

I haven’t been able to give Yuuna –chan her gifts yet because I only saw her for a few minutes.

Getting used to living in Japan is pretty strange. For example, all of the trash is separated. There are about 6 different kinds of trash and all of it needs to go in separate bins. Therefore, I have 6 wastebaskets in my room. The neighborhood garbage association is very strict and would scold my family if I didn’t sort the garbage accordingly! Also because Japanese homes don’t have heating, the house is verrry cold in the morning. I hope this gets better as summer approaches… Another thing is the bus system. It seems complicated to me now because the city is so foreign. I recognize pretty much nothing yet, so it’s going to take some time to get the hang of that. More on the bus system later.

On the first morning, I woke up and had a shower (Japanese people usually bathe at night, this is tradition – but I still prefer showers in the morning). My host mother came with me the first day to show me the bus route to take on the city bus. There is a school bus I can take, but as school hasn’t started yet, the bus hasn’t started yet either. On the way, she showed me many stops and I became pretty overwhelmed. But, I bought a bus smart card which makes paying for trips a lot easier.

At school the second day, we filled out some forms and then broke off into groups to go exploring. Tami, Daniel (one of my roommates for the second part of the semester) and I went exploring around the school.

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This is the nearest shopping area to the school. There is also a post office around here. The sakura sure are nice.

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We saw this tiny dog while walking around.

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We met up with Kaiti and she came with us to find lunch. We ate at this cool little restaurant near the school. They played all American music there. Very homey. Everyone took phtos of their food…

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This barbed-wire here is on the fence outside of the girls’ dormitory. It’s there to keep out people trying to sneak into the dorms. This is a very common problem in Japan. On the other side of the dorm is a moat. Very protective… You can see that someone tried to get in already where the wire is pried off the gate.

Anyway, here is a small story about the complication of the bus system (from my eyes). When I was coming home from the second day of orientation, I didn’t have anyone with me. So, I had to go off of what I remembered from the confusing trip in the morning…which was mostly nothing. I remembered where the bus stop was and where to transfer (thankfully it was a main transfer point), but that was about it. I ended up getting off at the wrong stop (although to my credit, the stop I was supposed to get off had a name that was practically identical, with the first and last two kanji being the same.) So, I was off at what I thought was the correct place, but nothing looked very familiar. So I started walking in one direction for about twenty minutes, decided that there was nothing up there and then turned a different direction. While I initially thought it was the right stop, I eventually abandoned that hope and decided that I had gotten lost for the first time.

So, I found the nearest super market. While I was there going to the phone, a Japanese man on a bike struck up a conversation with me. It was interesting, he was a nice guy. I made a phone call to my host mom on the phone there and told her I didn’t know where the house was. She explained that I had gotten off at the wrong place and to head to Nagayo station. I asked the man on the bike how to get there, and he gave me directions. Eventually, I made it home. Fun story.

This is Moko-chan, our household dog:

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At the end of the second day, I went online and skyped with my parents. It’s snowing back in Eau Claire!

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Sierra came up to say hi.

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My host mom and Nozomi wanted to talk too. Here they are talking to my sister.

Oh and lastly, I got my student ID for Nagasaki Gaidai:

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That card will get me discounts at movie theaters and ferries and stuff. I don’t know what all I get discounts on, but If I show it whenever I buy things the discounts will add up.

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