The view from my hotel this morning:
Before I get into the main part of my entry, a few random things.
1. While I was still getting ready for the trip, there were a couple things that I noticed about American culture that I knew but didn’t really think of before. The Japanese like to wrap just about everything you buy. Though I was at tourist spots before so I don’t know if this applies to everywhere. I’ll let you know. I thought of this because I was buying a gift at Barnes & Noble before I left and the cashier had to ask another clerk to wrap the book I was buying. And they both seemed really surprised by the whole thing. And I’m probably going to be completely spoiled by the exceptional customer service in Japan. At Wendy’s (in Steubenville, OH) I had to send my sandwich back 2 times because they couldn’t get it right. A simple cheeseburger with only ketchup & onion. It’s not rocket science, people.
2. I was planning on mailing a box of winter clothes to myself at my Host Mother’s place. But when I went to do that I found out that postage would be $81. That was USPS and UPS was even more. I decided to just pack my suitcases past the 50 pound mark and pay the extra fee. Then I realized that I might have to pay the overweight baggage fee on both flights. I did on the flight from Pittsburgh to New York, but for some reason they didn’t charge me for it from New York. I lucked out on that one. ^_^
3. I’ve been preparing for Japan my entire life without even knowing it. Apparently it’s not socially unacceptable to sniff incessantly when you have a runny nose. My parents can tell you that I’ve pretty much always done that. Heh. I guess blowing your nose in public is even more rude here than it is in America. And even though most Japanese people will carry a handkerchief with them all the time, it’s definitely not meant to be used to blow your nose in it. It’s for wiping sweat from your face or drying your hands after washing them at a public restroom. They usually don’t have paper towels or a hand dryer.
Now what will probably read like a diary, today’s events.
I managed to get about 7 hours of sleep last night and I’m really glad that I did. After a full, exhausting day of travel, I slept really well. Today we had an orientation, small tour of the campus and we got our computer logins. After that we went on a small tour of Kobe’s downtown area with 4 exchange students (including myself) and 4 Konan University students. They all spoke some English and I tried to use Japanese. I know I’m not as good with Japanese as some of the other students, but I know I’ll get better one way or the other.
Lunch (catered on Konan campus):
I want all of you to know that I actually, willingly ate FISH today. Yes, I did. I think there were two kinds, too. Salmon and tuna. I think they were both cooked. I didn’t eat all of the salmon, but I ate all of the tuna. At least, I think that’s what they were. I didn’t really ask. I just ate them. Though I think I’ve sufficiently mentally convinced myself that I really, really don’t like fish. During the last bite of tuna, it was particularly slimy and my stomach almost (literally) couldn’t handle it. ^^” I quickly ate some rice and didn’t eat much more after that. I think I’m going to have to work my way up to eating more & more fish. But I did try it. I’m sorry, but I didn’t take any pictures of it. I’ll have to remember to do it next time. Oh! And they had donuts. The consistency of the donuts here are a little more dense than in the US. The one that I had was really tasty. I think it had raspberry icing. ^_^
Dinner (during the tour of the city):
I tried some other things at dinner later. One was rice, with ginger and a couple other (unknown) things in it, and you poured green tea over it. It was alright, but a little spicy. My favorite part was the oumuraisu (I think that’s how it would be written). Basically scrambled eggs and rice with a few other sauces over it. That one was really good. I hope I don’t irritate my new Japanese friends and Host Mother with my annoying eating habits…
And I think that’s enough for now. I need to get a shower after sweating like crazy all day. おやすみなさい! Good night!
(I fixed the formatting! \^_^/)