Thursday, April 9, 2009

EastWest chirp

Simple List:

  • I thought bowing might seem silly here, but after only a couple days, it felt totally natural to do constantly throughout the day. And pretty nice too. People actually acknowledge others here!
  • The crosswalks chirp East/West and beep North/South.
  • Going to restaurants is becoming less frustrating because we can read and understand numbers now! And plastic food in the windows with signs helps too.
  • Grocery shopping is done several times a week here. You only buy a basketful (little more or little less) each time. Shopping carts are very small and simply hold one basket on top and one basket on the bottom. And they roll in every direction (B loves this)! [Something about spinning the grocery "cart" around in circles is really childishly amusing. In America this is impossible because the rear 2 wheels are fixed. - Brian]
  • Finding cheap fabric is seemingly impossible.
  • Soccer really is the universal language.
  • Our hours start anywhere from 1 to 4:30 PM each day, and end at 9:30 PM at the latest. We work Tuesday-Saturday and love it.
  • My biggest class is 4 students. Brian's is 10 I think [Yep, 10 adults in my biggest adult class. 5 kids in my biggest kids class. - Brian]
  • They're as young as 6 and as old as, well, sky's the limit on that one. All our students rock pretty hard. We love them.
  • GOMI. There will be an entire post on this later.
  • We sleep on tatami mat floors with futon mattresses. And like it.
  • I'm a little larger than average here, which is weird.
  • Rice paddies, gardens, houses and highways can all be found within a 1 mile radius in Yamaguchi. It's awesome. I love all the green and space here. We picked a good town.
  • There are water trenches on the sides of some roads here, most likely for irrigating the fields. Unlike Ghana, they are SUPER clean, very pretty, and bubble sweetly. No goats or chickens in these trenches.
  • Traffic can get congested in the middle of the day for no reason, but no one ever honks. People even look calm all the time in their cars. My road rage is pretty non-existent.
  • Japanese writing uses three styles, all in the same sentences sometimes. Hiregana is letter based (a, e, i, o, u, ka, ke, ki, ko, ku, etc), swoopy, and most commonly seen in America. Katekana is blockier, but still letter based. It's used mostly to write English words in Japanese. Kanji is the Chinese writing system of characters, each with a meaning you must memorize, no letters, though you can combine kanji to makes new ones. It's going to take us a long time to learn how to read.
  • Met the Baha'is in Yamaguchi and they're absolutely wonderful and have already adopted us into the community whole-heartedly.
  • Yes, sushi is popular here.
That's it for now. Sorry it's so short, but here are a couple pictures at least!

The white crane we see in every river. So beautiful. There's a blue-grey one too that usually is with the white one.

Us with friends at the Yudaonsen White Fox Festival. People were throwing mochi (rice cakes) into the crowd from an elevated platform and we all got one! Victorious!
[I'm taller than most people here, so it wasn't too hard to grab one for all of us, and give the extras to kids who didn't get one. - Brian]

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