Dillon, outbound to Japan

First week of Japanese high school!

Today I officially completed my first week of high school in Japan. I will explain how it went in chronological order:

Monday: I was very excited when I awoke at 7am on Monday morning. I had prepared my seifuku (school uniform) the night before so it was layed out and ready for me. I did my normal morning routine which includes going downstairs, taking a shower, putting my contacts in, brushing my teeth,combing my hair, and eating breakfast. I left with my host brother, Daichi, at about 8am. From our house it is about a 10 minute bike ride, which I will soon take a video of, to the school. The reason I will take a video is so that you know I’m not exaggerating when I say I go down the mountain we live on at about 30 mph… ON A BIKE! The first time I went down, I thought for sure that I was going to fall and get injured, but luckily I was ok. Now arriving at the school, I had to run in, give a quick introduction to my class, head upstairs, give another introduction to all of the teachers, and meet the ALT (assistant language teacher) from Minnesota. The ALT’s name is Emma-Sen sei and she also is just starting to learn Japanese so we have made a schedule of when we will practice together. So, because it was testing day, I was in the library for most of Monday. At the end of the day I gave a short speech in Japanese and English to literally the entire school and all of the teachers, so I’m not joking when I say everyone in the school knows my name!

Tuesday: On Tuesday I began taking classes with everyone, or at least, the people of room 1-2. Down below you can see my school schedule and how confusing it is. The first class I had on Tuesday was Math 1, which turned out to be Geometry, The worst math in all of existence. I had no idea what was going on because it was all in Japanese but I did answer the questions that had to do with finding angles and lengths. P.E was actually pretty fun because we played basketball and I did amazingly because they are all short, so I could out run them, and hold the ball out of their reach. Chemistry was one of the classes I understood the most in because its all elements, balancing equations, and other things that I think are universal to chemistry in every country. I was able to answer some questions, unlike every other class where I just sat, stared, got bored, and started doodling some tree with a city under it. About 10 minutes into my next class, traditional Japanese, I realized t here was no way I was getting any work what so ever done. I can’t read regular Japanese let alone traditional Japanese. That’s like asking someone just starting to learn English to read Shakespeare.

Wednesday - I didn’t go into detail on the English class on Tuesday because there is not much to say, the same goes for Wednesday. We start the class, the class reads some English, the class translates the English to Japanese, the students ask me for help, the teacher asks me if the grammar is right, the class ends. For Japanese and Long Home Room, I decided to just study Japanese with Emma-Sensei. I skip Long Home Room because the entire class, the students are writing essays in Japanese, and I can’t do that yet. The excitement of Wednesday happened after school when we went to a Rotary meeting. I was told that I was going to give a short power point presentation and play two songs on a piano. My host brother told me the meeting was at a hotel and that I was playing a beaten down, old piano. So I wasn’t expecting more than 15 people in a small room in a small hotel. The actual scenario was that we showed to a massive hotel where we traveled to the top to a n all white room, bar and bartenders included, where I was greeted by about 40 Rotarians and a solid white grand piano. Boy was I shocked! During the meeting, I handed out my business cards, which I guess literally everyone in Japan has one, and I got to meet my other host families. Fun fact: My next host dad is Buddhist and lives in a temple with his 6 year old daughter and 16 year old son.

Thursday - Yesterday I had health and physical education which is the exact same in Japan as it is in the United States, by that I mean you watch really weird videos on how bad drugs and alcohol are for you the whole class. Next was music class which is by far my favorite class so far. Now be for I tell you about music, I have to inform you how classes work. Unlike in the United States, instead of switching class rooms, the teacher come to your class. So for the majority of the day, you are in the same class with the same people all through out high school. The reason I tell you that in because Music class is one of the only classes that is optional, and obviously I picked it. But because it is optional, we only have about 20 of the 40 students in our class come to music. I don’t yet know where the rest go. The way we started the class was by listening to a classical disk called the “Carnival of Animals”. As we listened to each piece of music, we would write down which animal it sounded like. Later on we sang in Japanese and, because I didn’t know the words, the teacher said I could just say “La La La” to the melody. The next class was information processing and I’m still not sure what that class is about. We went to a computer room, turned on computers but never actually used them, and watched videos on a projector.

Friday - Today I was happy that the weekend is coming because I am exhausted. We had Math A to start off with this time and I’m not convinced its even math; I didn’t see any numbers the entire class, just a bunch of Japanese. We then headed to Home Economics where we leaned something about calories and white Japanese radishes. When we went back to Math A I never in my life thought that I’d be happy to see Geometry. The rest of the day I was just practicing Japanese with Emma-Sensei. After school I was interviewed by the newspaper club. Now I am at home writing this for all of you and coming to the end of another day in Japan, but first I have to go eat Japanese BBQ with my family! 日本語 は 難しい です が, 面白い です. さようなら と おやすみなさい!

Week A =

Monday - Math A, Information processing, Math 1, World History, English communication.

Tuesday - Math 1, English expressions, P.E, Chemistry, Japanese

Wednesday - English communications, English expressions, Japanese, Long Home Room.

Thursday - Health and physical education, Music, Information processing, P.E.

Friday - Math A, Home economics, Math 1, English communications, Japanese

Week B =

Monday - English expressions, Information processing, World History, English communications, Japanese,

Tuesday - Home economics, Biology, P.E, Math 1, Japanese

Wednesday - Math 1, English communications, Chemistry, Long Home Room

Thursday - Health and physical education, Music, Home economics, Biology, P.E

Friday - World History, Japanese, Math 1, Math A, English communications