I just had a conversation with my host mom that lasted over three hours about food, school, and a few other odds and ends. I was, of course, speaking very bad Japanese and we both made extensive use of our dictionaries, but for the most part I think we understood each other. I told her all about some foods I might make here if the recipes are easy enough and I can get the ingredients. We talked about how much more sweet things Canadians eat and that because of it Canadians and Americans in general are a lot bigger than Japanese people.

I tried five different various kinds of tea. Three were green tea, which is rather bitter. I’m not a big fan of it, especially the kind in tea ceremonies. There was a kind from Africa that, with lemon and sugar, was really really good. Mugicha, which I drink just about constantly, is really good too. I’d like to take some mix back to Canada with me.

I think I’ve become accustomed to the Japanese flavours that are so different. I remember when I first got here a lot of the food was only passable, but now I like eating everything. There was a person here from Scotland, Judith MacDonald, doing research on a Thomas Glover guy in connection with Rotary. We had a couple parties for her with some wild Japanese food.

It’s always cool to be able to speak English, though. I do find myself using Japanese more and more as days go on even though it would be really easy to get by on English alone. I met the music teacher at school for the first time this week. She speaks really good English and is incredible on the piano. She says I can come play any time, and I am always welcome in her classes. I like finding other things to do in school during my free periods other than sit around in the English conversation classroom. Calligraphy is really cool to do a couple of times a week. I finished the whole Katakana alphabet today and signed my name in Kanji on all the pages. I really like doing big thick kanji that takes up a whole page.

Also at school, I joined the Dragon Dancing (jaodori) team. Starting next week I think we practice every school day. I may not, but I’m looking forward to trying it for a while as part of my Japanese culture experience. I already got a cool jaodori t-shirt (Made in USA) out of it, and I might get to go to some sort of jaodori festival or tournament or something on the east side of kyuushuu.

On Sunday I’m going to Saga for another short orientation, and in a couple weeks we have the okunchi festival here in Nagasaki. My school’s also having a cultural festival on Sunday. I’m not very involved, but I’m definitely going to see it. This time I better remember my camera! I’ve been to about five school festivals already and haven’t taken any pictures of them. Taishi’s high school has a great view of the city from on top of a mountain and last night we were on top of Inasa-yama but I still haven’t gotten any pics of Nagasaki. Well I’ll be here for a while so I have lots of time, though people back home want to see pictures. I put a website up in my free time after school, but it only has pics from orientation. I can’t believe that was practically a month ago! Time flies by here!

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