Chi Chai Monchan

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I inquired about my internet situation and I was told that I probably won't even get the paperwork for another month. After I get the paperwork, then I mail it back and THEN they send someone out to hook me up…oooooooh, you have no idea how depressed that made me. I actually went home an hour early because I was so upset. Ah, being unhappy makes me lose my appetite!! So not cool.

So, I'm posting from school now. I'm going to go over to Adam's place sometime soon and post everything I've written so far and then in a month I'll do it all over again!

Though most of you don't know it, I've been going through a lot of "culture shock" but I'm slowly realizing that's not the case. I'm learning Japanese and I like it here. OH, do I have stories! But back to the point for now, it's not that I'm having a problem with the culture, it's that I'm lonely!

When I was in America, I would go absolutely crazy when I was alone for too long. I've always lived with someone. I've had my family and then after that I had my roommates. I don't have any problems with Japan right now. In fact, I am so damn lucky, it's crazy! But I'm still sad because I live alone. I know there are a few of you who have witnessed my crazy loneliness issues. Christina (old roommate) knows because she would have to nurse me back to health once she finally returned. Adam knows because I spent an entire weekend at his place randomly because I didn't want to be home alone (remember the DDR pics? Febuary 20th to be exact. And my dad knows because over the summer when I was home alone, I would just start talking about random things, and he was the first person home so he heard all of it! I just needed someone to talk to!

So, right now it's depressing to be at my apartment. I don't feel like cooking ever, and I don't want to really do anything there but sleep. Oh, I finally got a cover for my futon – whoo. Thought I was going to dye of "white-trash-itis. That's when you do things that only white trash do. Like sleeping on a mattress that doesn't have sheets. My next goal is to buy a bed frame so I can get off the floor!

So anyway, I don't have internet and I don't have cable, so being at my apartment is all about the boring.

But, let's get to how lucky I am.

One of the things that they say about JET is that everyone's experience is different. Everyone says I'll get sick of hearing it but ya know what? It's so true that I don't get tired of it. It's amazing how true it is. It's everyone's situation and mostly how they react to it. I'm learning slowly that I'm not a very typical JET.

A lot of people here don't really understand Japanese culture. Especially the girls. They say that things are much harder for girls than for boys. I haven't noticed it yet but when I do, I'll be sure to blog about it. ;) Aside from that, most of the girls will get a chip on their shoulder (at least in my area) where they hate Japanese guys because they treat their girlfriends poorly, and they don't like Japanese girls because they are frivolous and jealous of their gaijin power. Pretty much they get tired of trying to learn the language and culture when they got thrown into it in the first place without any preparation! I know a bunch of people who have been here for a while and still can't really speak much at all! You can get away with it too!

I, on the other hand, have studied the culture and there are plenty of times when I could have been insulted but I understand that it was a cultural thing and the person is actually just being Japanese polite and not American rude! HA!

I was hanging out with my Japanese family the other day. They see me as a person and not the token gaijin (more on that later), and so when they complimented me on my Japanese ability and culture skills, I looked at them and pretty much told them to be serious. I don't know hardly enough and I feel like it's really not that great but not for lack of effort or anything. They told me that they were truly impressed because every ALT before me never learned Japanese. They also never ate anything that still had eyes. They said that they really thought it was a cool thing that I was trying so hard and that I was so different from the other girls. I was really flattered.

Ok, such luckiness.

Well, I've been adopted by a Japanese family. I go over there all the time to have dinner and spend the night. It's a bit of a ways away but they actually live right next to my second school in Odochi so I'll be spending every Sunday night there so I won't have to ride the bus on Monday morning. Too bad I can't do that for Tuesday night as well. (I go to Odochi every Monday and Wednesday. 40 minute bus ride and school starts at 8:20. You do the math)

I've been told that most everyone will see me as the token gaijin. That means that they only want to be friends with me because I'm gaijin. I was expecting that but I haven't seen it yet. The Shinozaki's see me as me but they know that being an American and a Gaijin are what make up who I am though they are not only who I am.

Next, I have a friend in Tokyo, Tomoe, whom I met while I was in college and I'll probably go visit her at the end of this month. She's a genuinely nice and interesting person and I hope I get to see her again soon.

I have another friend, Aozora, who goes to school in Osaka. I'll probably be visiting her later as well. She and I totally get each other. She loves American culture as much as I love Japanese culture and we really fit each other. We understand each other. We are really good friends and that makes me thrilled beyond belief!

I have my friend, Tsubasa, whom I met while I was in high school when he first came to America with the Tosayamada exchange group. We've kept in touch and tonight we're going out drinking! He's not friends with me because I'm just a gaijin. He's a great guy and I'm lucky to have so many close friends and I've only been here for three weeks! (Exactly.)

So I have friends and I didn't even realize it. I'm not the token gaijin and I really get along here!

The next thing that people warned me about was that when it's convenient for the Japanese, they will treat me like a gaijin and at other times they'll treat me like a Japanese person. It just depends on what works best for them. Well, I haven't noticed such maliciousness yet so I asked Adam about it. He said that it was very difficult at times. When you get into the classroom, they want you to act and put on this gaijin show for the students and only speak in English and be fun and interesting and full of magical gaijin facts. But then when you get back into the teachers room they want you to act like a Japanese person and follow all the strange rules and policies as if they were native to you.


That's exactly what I was expecting!!!!!

I'm expecting to follow Japanese rules. I am here to learn to do things the Japanese way. You know, when in Rome…? But at the same time, I'm supposed to bring this knowledge of my home country and kinda show it off as a walking talking example. Ok, I can deal with that.

Who are these people that think they can be an exception to every rule just because they aren't from here?

If anyone goes to America, they are expected to speak English and understand all the etiquette rules. Why shouldn't I expect the same thing in a different culture?

Eh, this is a really long post.

In the end, I have really good work conditions. I love my coworkers. They're good people. I was put in the newspaper today. My picture is horrible but if everyone else likes it, whatever. I love my extended family, and if I listen to happy-go-lucky music, I feel better and it helps to lessen my anxiety. Hope I get over this loneliness!

Thanks for the comments. I love you guys so much!!!! And you have no idea how I miss you all!!

3 shared their love:

Anonymous said...

Miss you too! Oh great fountain! Or should I say gajin?

jessica said...

All I have to say is....wait...I've slept on a bare mattress before...or is that just because I'm lazy?? Any way, you are a fountain of knowledge, American knowledge, now you have this great opportunity to be a fountain of Japanese knowledge, or a small pool, either way keep sprinkling on us with your blog, and I'll keep adoring you. Much love, glad to hear things are better than bleak ;)

dan said...

^ What she said. :p

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