What an exciting week I had!! I had an awesome time with my homestay family (the T family) and I am so glad I did this! This family has a 9 year old boy named Towa and a very cute little Pomeranian!
I'll do my best to do a day by day recollection of what I did this past week...
Monday was my first day there and my teammates Bob and Teresa joined us for a delicious lunch! The family I stayed with invited some of her friends over that speak English and we had a really good time visiting with them!
Tuesday morning I had a team prayer meeting so after a breakfast of salad, eggs, ham, rice, and miso soup, I headed off to that. I came back and had lunch with the T family. We played Uno after lunch and I was able to relax a little. A few neighbours came over for a BBQ in the evening and they stayed until 9:30 or so.... I just have to say that small talk gets old pretty fast! Between my limited Japanese and their limited English, there wasn't much conversation on my part, but I still had a good time interacting with them!
Wednesday my morning started with salad, salmon, tofu, rice, miso soup and natto (fermented soya beans... you should google it!!). I had my Japanese lesson in the morning in Hikari and then I came home around lunch time again. After lunch we went to the mall and did some browsing. Then we went to KFC for supper (I looked at it as my reward for eating natto for breakfast!) and then we went to the 'night zoo' in Tokuyama. (Once a year they have the zoo open at night for a week so that you can actually see the nocturnal animals being active) It was lots of fun with Towa as our guide :) I have to say it was kind of funny to see prairie dogs and raccoons at the zoo! (although I guess they have them in North American zoos too don't they?) I just love the zoo!
Thursday morning was relaxing and I slept in a little. I wrote some letters and did some reading. Then at lunch some neighbours came over for a 'tako-yaki' party. (battered octopus) The lady who made the batter and brought all the fixings brought her daughter who has a 1 1/2 year old son. She was really nice and her English was really good. She actually lived in Canada for a year and met her husband there! (he's from Japan too) It was kind of funny... as we were talking, she was asking about how I like Japan so I told her I love it here and I will most likely end up coming back permanently. She thought it would be a good idea for us to switch places since she loves Canada so much and I love Japan! I told her that I would switch on the condition that we trade again in August so that I could escape the humidity!
Then in the evening we went to the much anticipated 'Goldfish festival' in Yanai. We walked around a little, then we watched the parade... which was actually one of the strangest parades I have ever seen... Basically from what I saw, they line up the floats (which are almost all the same) and then they just stop and people walk arond the floats. They are unique floats though... they spin around and kids take turns spinning them around. After the parade, there was fireworks... only 7 minutes though! (as opposed to the 70 minute ones I got to enjoy last week at the Hirao festival!) We watched them from the second level of a parkade with a bunch of other people. They were really good fireworks even though they were short! I took a video of part of them....
I loved seeing all of the traditional clothes and just taking in the cultural experience! I got to watch a little dance that a bunch of girls and ladies did in a circle on the street. Man, Japanese kids are just SOOO cute!
On Friday we went to Oshima island because I've never been there before. It was absolutely gorgeous! I am so blessed to be living in such a beautiful country right by the ocean!! I love the ocean so much! We stopped at a petting zoo, and then a 'touch pool' which was really cool! The petting zoo wasnt' that great but sort of fun... we were feeding some rabbits and one of them bit me!! Thankfully it didn't break the skin, but it still hurt! This petting zoo also had a dog breeding place where they just have a bunch of random dogs outside together and then a little 'store' inside where they sell the puppies. Towa and I fell in love with a big Saint Bernard! I love big dogs, but I don't exactly enjoy their massive slobber! The touch pool was sort of neat too... it's basically a small room with little pools of fish and starfish that you can reach in and touch. Towa actually went in the water and tried to catch the fish with another little boy, but I'm not sure he was supposed to! There was an octopus in there somewhere but it went into hiding when Towa and the other boy started fishing!
When we came home, I made dinner (tuna casserole) and we had 'make your own sushi'. Mrs. T's sister and her husband came over for a visit with their little 8 month old girl! They didn't speak a lot of English and I was a little discouraged by the fact that just as I felt like I was making little baby steps toward progress in understanding more Japanese, I wasn't able to understand more than one question they asked me!!
Their little baby was so cute, but she was really afraid of me! She cried almost the whole time I held her! (I eventually held her so she wasn't facing me and that seemed ok!) Poor girl!
After they left, some of the neighbours came over with their 2 boys that are around Towa's age and we lit some fireworks! I think I'm becoming addicted to Japanese fireworks! We did have some bigger ones where you light them and back off, but we had a lot of 'hand held' fireworks which are kind of like sparklers, but a little bit bigger and more fun.
Then Saturday we had another relaxing morning with breakfast and lunch together. Then I packed up and after a few more rounds of Uno I came home. Towa and I finally started to bond around Wednesday and he seemed sad that I had to leave. We had a good 'ol tickle fight right before I left so I've got a really good 'last memory' of him :) It was fun to have a little brother for a week since I've never had a younger brother! (I can't say I've never had a brother though because now Brad is my brother!) I'm just glad that it wasn't a 'final' goodbye because I'm still here for a few more months and I know that I will be able to see them any time I miss them :)
Those are just some of the pictures I took this week... Some of them aren't that great, but hopefully it gives you a glimpse of my week! That was the easiest way of posting all of them, but e-mail me if you can't see the slideshow and I'll post some of my favorites individually.
Saturday, about an hour after I came home, I left for our "Friday Night" event... yes, Friday Night on a Saturday this month! We had intentions of having a beach BBQ, but the rain made us have a BBQ at the church instead. But, it was still fun and I think everyone had a good time! We started at 5 and I think everyone left just after 10! We ate and then played games after. I came to the conclusion that I love games... with the right people of course! It's such a fun way to get to know people! Last night I lost my title of 'spoons champion' (although I can blame it on the fact that we played 'bears' instead of spoons... we used tiny plastic bears!) but I did do pretty good at Scum!
Well, I think that about sums up my week! I should probably get going... I've got cupcakes to finish baking! (yes, that's right, I made cupcakes from scratch!!) (Can you tell I'm getting a little bit proud of my new kitchen skills?!
Oh, speaking of kitchen skills... when I helped Mrs T make Japanese curry, Towa said told her that he doesn't usually like her curry but he did that day and he said that I need to come and help her make curry more often! Then, when I made tuna casserole, Mr T kept saying 'oishii' (which means delicious!) and she said that he never says that about her meals! (My Mom was teasing me that I caused major family problems because of my cooking... hopefully that's not true!)