Cherise's Journal

Cherise has arrived at Kagoshima airport safe and sound. After long flights, her journey towards cultural encounters has just begun!
11月28日 シェリーズは無事、鹿児島空港へ到着しました。12月14日までの約2週間、鹿児島県に滞在し、日本の家庭生活や学校生活を体験します。

December 9, 2017 We had school today even though it is Saturday! The starting time was the same but the overall schedule was completely different; there wasn`t any academic classes like すうがく(math). All we did was play dodgeball, practice some volleyball and learn about cranes. Most of the school day was spent in the crane room, we did lots of different things there. We added up all the cranes we had counted while driving around on Thursday and everyone places sticky notes on a map where they were spotted. I get the feeling that the students take care of at least half the work of counting the cranes for the city, if not all. One thing that led me to think they do the work was the fact that a television man came to record us. When school had ended my classmates and I went to get interviewed by him; of course I didn`t say much, I was too scared of the camera. The entire time I was fidgeting and supper nervous, obviously self-conscious. But なお(Nao) and the others seemed fine, which was good because they were doing the talking. The cameraman was やさしい(kind), he gave us presents afterwards. The rest of the day was down time so I showed the mom an anime I like and then went to tennis practice with my Japanese siblings.
December 8, 2017 Today was another fun day, I showed family pictures to あかいし先生(Teacher Akaishi) and another teacher showed us some videos of her pet bird. She thought the bird had said its own name but everyone laughed together when we saw that it was really only her saying its name, or so I think. It was a pretty bird and was dancing hissing and squawking, unfortunately not at the same time. We talked lots today and did a few presentations. For the English class, we had to give a few sentence presentation in English about the most important thing to us. These could have been simple things that are important to us; or bigger picture sort of thing. りこ(Riko) chose to talk about money because she can`t by anything without it. なお(Nao) chose to talk about chocolate, it is her favorite food. けんと(Kento) likes nature because it`s beautiful and chose to speak about that. I myself chose to talk about the treatment of other people. You never know what someone has been through, so treat everyone with kindness. For another class we were asked to make a poster about things in our culture and city. I learned a little bit from it but it was difficult to understand. I attempted to present my poster in Japanese but I don’t know if it turned out ok.
December 7, 2017 We did something new today! ツルのぶんさんちょうさ.(Research of the cranes) We rode in a taxi looking for cranes, when we found some あかいし先生,(Teacher Akaishi) りこさん(Riko) and あやねさん(Ayane) wrote some stuff down on a map. I get the feeling that the upperclassmen at the school take care of counting the ツル(cranes) for the city. There weren’t many birds around, we only saw 11 in total. I spotted group of cranes once, but I was tired so I accidently fell asleep. Luckily (for me only), there wasn`t any more ツル(cranes) to be found after I fell asleep. Still, I`m a little frustrated that I couldn`t keep my eyes open- I think it was my first time riding in a taxi. After school, I went to a gym with the mom and なおさん(Nao). I don`t think that was the normal place but なお(Nao) practiced dancing with her cousin. There was lots of little kids, I was told they have a competition coming up and that なお(Nao)`s practice is tomorrow. I am still getting used to people giving me a bit of a look when they see me, I`m basically the stereotypical blond hair and blue eyed American. I don`t think they see Americans often. Other than that, I taught them how to make my favorite breakfast food - thin pancakes. The family had fun and everyone liked it, I was supper glad that they enjoyed it. Lots of pictures were taken, they were cutting the pancakes up an displaying tem perfectly for pictures. We took some to the grandparents who were having a party with some close friends.
December 6, 2017 They turned on the stove today, yay! Not only that, they announced that we can start wearing tights to school. The classroom is not quite as cold and I`m grateful for any heat I can get, though the water is still cold ice on my hands. That aside, haven`t been able to finish my lunch. Even though it is tasty, my appetite isn’t as large. I think I might be missing American food, but there are some things that I`m eating lots of. For example, I ate around 9 ? 10 ぎゅどん(a beef and rice bowl) for dinner tonight. I`m having an awesome time and will miss my Japanese family when I come back to America.
December 5, 2017 There are so many differences in the cultures of America and Japan. For example, the jobs of volunteers in America may be jobs taken care of by the prefecture in Japan. Another example is the schools. In my school we have the same schedule every day, but in Japan they have a different schedule for every day and the same schedule every week. Some other differences include: The teachers moving from one class to another, specific shoes worn inside the school and the students change uniforms when they have to clean the classroom. Even though it has been a week since I came, I`m still having a hard time staying awake. I think it`s because of the time difference. The literature and history classes are the most difficult because they are using words I haven’t learned yet. Not only is it exhausting to try and stay awake, it is supper cold! Wearing cloths outside of the uniform is a no go. So, my legs freeze because I`m wearing a dress. Just so you know, the school doesn`t have air conditioning much less a heater. They have just enough stoves for every classroom, but we haven’t used that yet. The two warm places in the school are the library and changing room, though the mom gives me a hand warmer every day. After school we study or wait for some people, it varies. It is colder here but maybe that is because I don’t spend time outside when it’s cold.
December 4, 2017 Since today was Monday we went to school. Even though it is really cold we walk to school. I never understand what the schedule is so I have to make sure I am always with one of my classmates. Today I learned what happens when I don’t stay near a classmate. Thinking about it, it is kind of funny, but at the time I was supper stressed. It was after lunch and I was following なお(Nao) around like I normally do, when she told me to find りこ(Riko)- another classmate. なお(Nao) had a meeting to go to so she told me where りこ(Riko) was, only she wasn`t there. A little confused, I looked around for a while before deciding that it would be best if I waited in the classroom. About an hour went by before a teacher finally came and realized that I had been waiting. After talking with her for a bit, she too, looked for my classmates. They weren`t with her when she came back and I figured that they were in another class. During that entire time I was alone I worried and read a book hoping they would come look for me. Before that entire affair, we had a P.E. class and I got to play soft volleyball. It was hilarious, no one was very good at it and my team ended up losing.
December 3, 2017 Today was really relaxed, I woke up at 12:20pm and went to a professional きもの(kimono) dresser after showering. The きもの(kimono) was beautiful and I really enjoyed wearing it. They took me on a tour of a neighborhood with some historical value and then I got to see an old さむらい(samurai) house which was really cool. The rest of today was free time, and I didn’t do much. Although, I did continue to wear the きもの(kimono) for a few hours after we returned. The grandma wanted many pictures of me in the きもの(kimono) so I figured she and the dad would want to see me in it. On the way home from the tour we went to pick じょうのすけ(Jonosuke) from tennis (he didn`t end up coming home with us). I wasn`t planning on getting out of the car because I was embarrassed about being in a きもの(kimono), but for some reason or another practically everyone- including Japanese teenage boys- stopped by the car. I wanted to hide.
December 2, 2017 I woke up early today, we went to go count cranes at 5:30 am. It was super cold and I was thankful for the several layers I was wearing as well as the hand warmers 葵(Aoi) gave me. My feet didn`t get cold because the mom had also given me some feet warmers; one side stuck to my sock. I had gone to bed late last night and was tired, but when the sun rose I woke up with excitement. Probably 15,000 cranes crowded into a small area. Which I don’t think was larger than an acre but I could be wrong. Birds were flying everywhere and I have no idea how they counted them all, I practiced it once but it was too difficult. After a while crows and small birds joined the mix, it felt like all the birds in 出水(Izumi) were gathered in one field. As we were driving home I was able to get a few close up pictures of the cranes. At home I we ate some みそしる(miso soup) and then あおい(Aoi), じょうのすけ(Jonosuke), れん(Ren) and I went to a おふろ(public bath). It was my first time and it was a little embarrassing. For those of you who don`t know what that is, sorry, but I`m not saying a word. My favorite part was the place with jets at your feet and bubbles on your back as you laid down. We bought some snacks afterward and I tried まちゃ(green tea) flavored ice cream. The next thing we did was go sing some karaoke. I tried my best to sing along, we sang ぜんぜんぜんせ(Zenzenzense/a Japanese song) and some English songs but there was only one that they sang. As I was trying to explain the cup song to the mom I grabbed a cup that still had pop in it and spilled it in my lap. I`m naturally clumsy and I felt really bad for the person who had to clean it up. We ate french-fries and other snack foods. Next to the Karaoke building there was a game center / arcade. I was super excited to go there, I had never been to one quite like it. A super nice employee helped me with the crane games and taught me how to win prizes. She moved the prize back if we messed up and often moved the prize around so I could get it. It was really fun and I thanked her a lot. After that there was a time we didn’t have to do anything and I just relaxed for a while. There was a party that night and we somehow fit 30 people in a small room. It was really fun, I taught some people how to play a game and the kids played games on the T.V. I showed many people pictures of my family and explained it to them. I also got to try lots of Japanese foo. I was very sad and apologetic, but a few of the things they gave me refused to go down my throat. I had gag reflexes even though I rarely do; I often saw that I could handle chewing it but when I tried to swallow, it refused to go down my throat.
December 1, 2017 I`m having so much fun here! I am starting to feel like I’m actually a family member. 温泉に行きましょう!とさそわれました。(I was asked to go to hotsprings together by the family.) We had a 走るレース(running race) and I took 2nd place out of 11 girls. Everyone was surprised that I enjoy running, they all thought I was really fast but normally I`m faster. I haven’t ran in a while so it was very difficult to run half the distance that I normally do. The boys had to run farther so when I finished my race they were still running. There was one guy that was slower than the rest, everyone else had finished when he was halfway through. Two girls decided to run with him and cheer him on because he probably felt bad. When I realized what they were doing I ran to catch up. It was slow and long but I had a lot of fun. Understanding conversations is very different from understanding a Japanese literature or history class. Because I already know what we are learning in math, science and the English class the only problem I have is the language Barrier. Literature and history are difficult classes because of the language barrier as well as the culture difference. I feel really bad that I can`t keep my eyes open during class but I`m never able to understand their conversation. Everyone has been helpful but I want to give special credit to the math teacher. Funny and kind, are two words that describe him. On the first day of school I had already learned the stuff Nao is learning but because the homework is in Japanese I didn`t know what to do. I get the feeling that he stayed up late studying English so he could help me. The next day, he gave me a copy of the same homework but with English vocabulary and the Kanji. I have also been helping my classmates in any way I can when I understand. Every day I have been teaching my host family about the differences between Japan and America. If I notice a difference in the cultures I make a mental note of it. I also teach them about Oregon and what my hometown is known for.
November 30, 2017 The time difference is starting to have an effect, I was starting to fall asleep in class today and that doesn`t happen often. Thankfully I am understanding more and more of what they are saying. All of the classes are very difficult. I have learned some of it already, but because everything is in Japanese I am struggling to do the work. I have yet to learn everyone’s names. My host family`s names are 大惣 (Taiso, Host dad)、葵 (Aoi, Host mom)、なお (Nao, Host sister)、まな (Mana, Host sister)、and じょうのすけ (Jonosuke, Host brother)。 じょうのすけさん(Jonosuke) and I both like ラーメン(ramen noodles), 葵さん(Aoi) likes volleyball, 大惣さん(Taiso) likes soccer, なおさんはダンスとテニスが好きです。(Nao likes dancing and playing tennis.) まなさん(Mana) enjoys tennis. Tomorrow the entire school will clean the toilets as well as the classrooms. That will be interesting because the toilets are not the ones you sit on, the toilets are in the floor.
November 29, 2017 Mrs. Araki woke me up at 6:30 and I got ready for school. I got to experience a Japanese shower for the first time, the shower head wasn’t attached to the wall directly- it was connected by a hose and instead of standing I had to sit down. We ate breakfast together, there was rice and miso soup. Thankfully they had an extra school uniform that I will be borrowing so I won`t stand out more than I already do. When we were leaving for school I slipped and fell on the stairs, now I have a large scrape on my arm that is sensitive to the touch. They were concerned and it made me feel glad that they cared even though I was embarrassed. So far everyone has been helpful and understanding. The school is different than what I am used to, the students clean the classroom courtyard and they save the milk cartons for recycling. Also, the students have one specific classroom that they use throughout the day instead of moving from classroom to classroom. I started to feel a little lost when the teachers were talking, I realized that I know a lot less Japanese than I thought I did. All of the teachers tried to help me understand but most of them don’t know English well. I was able to understand some of what they were saying but sometimes I had no idea as to what they were saying. For lunch I ate saraudon and an orange, afterwards the entire school played dodgeball. Dodgeball is different in Japan, instead of many small balls they use one large ball. After school I had a small snack and watched some TV with the younger brother and older sister. We ate yakisoba, shiosaba, karaage and kimuchi.
November 27-28, 2017 The plane ride was long and it was difficult to stay seated. The trip to kagoshima was exhausting, and I didn`t sleep at all. By the time I did go to sleep I had been awake for 25 hours. I chose to stay awake because I thought that if I slept I wouldn`t be able to sleep when I got to the Araki`s house. At the airport in kagoshima I met my host family, I was excited and scared at the same time. They were very friendly and helped me to understand what they were saying. We got to the house at 11:30pm and I went to bed around 12:30.
シェリーズの日記
Cherise's Journal
シェリーズの写真
Cherise's Photo album