Sunday, November 6, 2011

Good Food and Rainy Days

I think rain is one of the worst things for exchange students. At a school like Ritsumeikan, you don't get many days off for random holidays. Even national holidays are spent in the classroom. While it doesn't bother me too much, I feel like all of the other exchange students are bothered by this much more. Being at school usually gives me something to do, and although I enjoy sitting around, surfing the web, and spending my time relaxing, I'd much rather be at school learning something I can use.

I've found that rainy days can be quite productive. Japanese storms are much softer than the storms back home in Texas, so instead of hiding in fear of thunder, lightening, and tornadoes, I usually take a stroll outside when it rains. Today, I was fortunate enough to go with a group from school, Colorful, to make Japanese food. The day started off cloudy, but as soon as all of the exchange students and Japanese students saw each other, it seemed as if all of us were on a summer break in the middle of Autumn. It was so much fun just to relax with everyone. We shopped for groceries together, prepared the food together, and made enough that we could all take some home.

 (These pictures were taken by my friend, Laura.)

I was also relieved to finally use my Japanese again. While it's not a bad thing, I haven't been sticking to my rule about speaking in Japanese to my Japanese friends everyday. Today was motivation for me to use my second language more often, and to study a bit more seriously than I was these past two weeks. Of course, while my inner-procrastinator is telling me that this will start from tomorrow after a good night of rest, I would really like to take my studying more seriously from this point forward.

I forget how much fun I have when speaking Japanese At home, I'm hot-tempered when it comes to criticism, and I hate failure. here, failure is fun and exciting. I want to learn new things, so I smile when I'm criticized, and I find myself being unafraid to ask, "I'm sorry, could you say that again?" or, "Could you please teach me how to . . . " I want to start having food parties just so i can spend time with my friends. It's amazing how food and language can bring people of different backgrounds together.

It's even more amazing that twenty hungry college students couldn't finish all of the food that was made.

However, I'm also discovering that there is a side of me striving to be physically active. I've never really understood why people want to jog at four in the morning, run on a treadmill, or why my boyfriend was so upset when he wasn't able to find a gym. I am waling more in one day in Japan than I would have in about two days in the States. (Sad, but true.) It feels like the more I walk, the more active I want to become. I can't wait until the next Aikido Practice--although I'm very nervous--and I want to buy a bicycle so I won't have to rely on public transportation, but more so for the exercise. But even more so, I really want to run.

The only time that I can remember wanting to run was in high school. I think this was because I was finding myself, and I didn't know where to find it. Instead of looking inward, I wanted to run to a new place and discover everything that I could. But this feels different. I don't feel like this is wanderlust. I feel like this is a part of me that has been submerged. I feel like years of not playing a music instrument or participating in sports daily have finally caught up with me. I want to run and feel the wind cutting though me. I miss the metallic taste of Autumn and Winter air at six in the morning before basketball practice. I miss the weather outside. I just want to go! 


And I find myself listening to this more and more. The title "Hoshi ni Negai wo" translates to "A Wish Upon a Star." But the transition into the chorus, "Ikanakucha" translates into:

I have to go.

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