Blaine, outbound to Japan

Hello again everyone!(みんなこんにちは) So I have already move host families to my third host family. I really can’t believe how fast the time has gone. I feel like the past three months went by in just a few weeks. I have experienced a lot since I’ve been here, and learned so much. In the journal I’m going to try to focus on the new things I have experienced since I’ve been here.

One of the best I can think was the first time I saw snow! Living in Florida my whole life I never really had a chance to see it. About two months ago, two Rotarians took me to a place called Nikko, which is about two and a half hours away just so I could see snow! On our way there I fell asleep in the car and when I woke up everything was pure white. I stepped out of the car and almost immediately fell. Snow is a little slippery I found out.

We walked around a small town, and then they took me to an outdoor Onsen. For anyone who doesn't know what an Onsen or (温泉) is, it is a public bath where everyone sits in nice hot water. I was a little shy the first time I ever went to one but I’m not anymore. The outside Onsen was really interesting I thought. I was sitting in really hot water but my head was freezing because it was snowing outside. That was a very fun day full of new experiences.

Another thing I thought was just kind of funny. My second host family and I would commonly go to a sushi restaurant near our house. At this restaurant you order on a screen and the food is brought to you on a small train. It’s very cool. On the menu they have sections and one of them is a side menu with such things like French fries and fried octopus. I noticed last time I was there that they had chicken wings. It has been 6 long, long months without chicken wings, so I mentioned something to my host dad so of course he orders them. When they arrived without even thinking about it, I started eating these chicken wings with my chopsticks… my host dad probably thought I was crazy when I started laughing really hard when I realized what I was doing. He too was eating them with chopsticks so I had to explain that in the U.S. we eat them with our hands. My girlfriend back in the U.S. said before I left that I would come back eating everything with chopsticks and I'm now starting to believe that statement.

The last one I will talk about in this journal was the moment I felt like Japanese for a few seconds. I was sitting at the table with my counselor talking about my upcoming move. I was telling her that the next week my school was having tests. (When my school has tests I don't have to go). She didn't know that the next week were tests and thought I was joking and I immediately responded with a very Japanese response. Everyone in the house stopped and went “oooooo” and then started laughing. They all told me I sounded very Japanese and I was so happy. It may not sound like too much but for an exchange student that means almost everything.