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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Japan Journal Eight: I Get Free Babywearing Gear, and Other Magical Moments

Me: "My brother is a Junior in high school."
Everyone: "Oh, so you're the same age?"
NO, I'm just abroad studying as a Junior, because I am a weirdo. I'm too old for grades now. I don't even know. Don't try to understand it.
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Guess who got herself some free suck pads that came with a magazine? THIS GIRL. Disney-themed! I am pretty hype. I wonder if I can dye them aqua....
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I went into a store today and only came out with one thing that wasn't on my list.
Do I get some kind of award? I think I deserve one, honestly. A medal would be ideal.
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So, YouTube recommended a video for me that was titled "What Should You Do With your Life?"
Well, excuse you, YouTube. I clearly have my life together.
Just kidding. In reality, I'm just like


And YouTube is like

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When people are asking me a question and I'm confused:

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We had a new teacher in Shodou, and she was BUTCHERING the kanji readings of everyone's names while she took attendance. And of course, my entire class was snickering when she mispronounced people's names, yet another reminder that kids are alike the world over, as we did the same thing in high school.
There was a girl in my class with a kind of complicated first name, and when we had a sub who was taking attendance, the girl in question would just have this "God help us all" expression on her face, because she knew someone was about to kill her name. And we all laughed, every time, because we are horrible people.
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I'm about to go shopping; will I keep the crud-buying to a minimum? WAIT AND FIND OUT.
I probably won't.Yesterday, I bought erasable hilighters, and you can't tell me that's not magical. Random crap is worth every penny, yo.
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I'm eating the mother of all Halloween cookies right now. It takes like magic, and fulfilled dreams. And a little bit like diabetes, but I'm willing to overlook that. Thanks God for Haloween in Japan, which is basically just a time to eat baked goods.
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Someone: *Says something that I don't understand*
Me: *Nods because I'm tired and I don't feel like spending the next ten minuets trying to figure out what they're saying* (Sometimes moving on is just the best option)
Them: "Do you understand?"
Me (in an overly confident voice?): "Yeah!"
Them: "Oh, awesome, can you tell me how to say it in English?"
CRAP.
Then I'm just like, "No, I lied, I don't understand at all," and then it's uncomfortable.
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It's 11:30 at night, and I was just down trying to converse with my host family, and things got awkward and vaguely offensive really fast.
Everyone was drunk except for me, so that may have played a part in what happened, and I was insanely tired, so following conversation was kind of a chore, but man. 
At some point, my host Grandmother called me a Goddess, apparently, unless I heard the word incorrectly, so that was weird. I'm not sure how much alcohol she's imbibed, but I assume it was quite a bit if I suddenly became Goddess material.
A lot was said about me working hard to learn Japanese, and to become good at Japanese, but it was said in a way that left me feeling like I'm really crappy and I don't try hard enough, which is kind of hard to explain. Earlier, my adviser came and visited the house, and she said that she had just visited an Australian boy who has been here since March, and will be here for a total of ten months. She bragged about his Japanese skills a little bit and stuff, and I was like, "An Australian who speaks Japanese? And he wants to be a translator? My ovaries just exploded." BUT then, for some reason, I guess my host family decided it would be fun to bring up the fact that I really could be better at Japanese if I stayed for ten months, and that I ought to have stayed for ten months, which was mega frustrating, because I tried SO HARD to be able to come here for ten months, and I want with all of my soul to stay for longer, and they don't know how many tears, and how much effort, I put into trying to stay for longer. So, the whole thing was ridiculous, and made me feel extremely upset. And it wasn't helped by the fact that, although I clearly understood the Japanese, my family kept randomly translating words into English ( "I am here for three months," I said. "Yeah, only three months," said my host mother. "THREE," my host grandmother translated into English, which is baffling, as I had JUST SAID IT in Japanese). I am definitely overreacting, but man, it sucked a lot. 
I don't really know how the goddess part of the conversation started up, but whatever. It doesn't really make up for the other, more frustrating parts, most of which I'm not going to describe here, because I don't want to remember that they have happened. 
I love Japan. So, so much <3 And my host family is pretty fabulous. But man, this was not a great moment.
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I think that you might need this today.
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I got to help my host Grandmother at the farm today! It was so wonderful. Usually, if I ask her if I can help, she says no, but I think that Hosoya Sensei said something yesterday about how the rules of JFIE say that I am so be helpful, because she allowed me to do so! It was really enjoyable--we chatted while we picked vegetables, and it all felt very natural and awesome. 
Also, I picked up some more pretty leaves to press--I'm excited to see how these will turn out. I think it will be really cool to have them when I go back, something natural and tangible with which to remember my first trip to Japan.
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Japanese people wear Crocs without a hint of irony. It amuses me greatly. Like, today I saw a scene-style couple at a restaurant, and the dude was sitting there, defying societal standards and sticking it to the man, in his Mickey Mouse Crocs. Good for you guys, rock on with your bad selves.
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I totally ship Lards/Sadie (from Steven Universe).
Last night, I watched "Island Adventure" and was like, "OMG, MY OTP IS CANON," and then I realized that I was shipping characters on a children's cartoon.
Like, so this is what it's come to.
Seriously, though, Steven Universe is legit. All of the representation, and the different body types, and the gobs of strong female characters, and the fact that many of the secondary characters are also female, and the fact that it's quite possibly the ONLY children's show currently airing that isn't aimed at a particular gender (TV is for everyone--woot woot!), and also the fact that it's the first Cartoon Network show headed by a female animator (Rebecca Sugar); I basically love it. It's like a feminist's dream show. 
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Wise Tumblr words:
I'm alive, but only ironically.
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Today, I had to fill out a survey about my athletic activity (LOL), which was pretty fun.
At one point, there was a bank of sports, and I was supposed to choose the owns in which I participate, which is hysterical, because I do nothing at all. So, I checked swimming because it was the only thing I had done at all recently (if by recently, you mean three months ago), and was instantly reminded of this:
*Someone compliments Spencer's muscularness*
Specer: "Well, you know, I swim."
Carly: "Since when do you swim?"
Spencer: "I swam once."
Literally me.
Also, I was trying to find video of this, but instead I found this gem:
 Carly: Come on! You don't really want Spencer!
Spencer: I'm a mess!
Carly: Such a mess!
Sam: He has no job!
Spencer: Who would hire me?
Freddie: He doesn't hang out with anyone his own age!
Spencer: I've never been popular!
Carly: He drinks milk in the shower!
Spencer: All naked and wet!
Carly: Oh, and he hasn't had a steady girlfriend since high school!
Spencer: Ok, well maybe not a steady girlfriend per se---!
Sam: And look at his flat butt!
Spencer: TOO FAR! [grabs her fishstick and throws it into the air]
Spencer, honest to goodness.

..I think I AM Spencer.
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Again with the sport survey, I was just like.....
......Is fangirling a sport?

Destroying the patriarchy is my cardio, what now?
Yeah, I had nothing.
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 Then it asked if I do any sports clubs outside of school, and I was just like, "What do you think?"
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It got worse. It was like, "How many hours per day do you spend online?"
...And I was like, "I don't want to talk about it."
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I wrote hark at some point today in place of Hank.
"Hank the Herald Angels Sing" could be a heck of a Nerdfigher Christmas song.
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Every time I see a foreigner (which is almost never), I wonder if I should go and talk to them. And then I realize, and say what? Like, "Hey, I noticed that you, too, are white, Should we become friends?"
Or like, "hey, we have something in common. It's that we're both foreign."
So, I say nothing.
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I don't know if I get started at more when I'm alone, or if I just don't notice people staring at me when I'm focused on speaking Japanese, but man, I was at the station today alone (yay for shopping without anyone rushing me~), and SO many people stared at me. It was a little bit over the top, like, c'mon guys, I know you see foreigners on TV.
It's funny, though, not weird/isolating. We need tone phonts or something, for pete's sakes. If you don't know me and you read things like this, I probably sound clinically depressed, when, in reality, my reaction to stares is something like this:

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