Sunday, June 26, 2011

First day of high school (6/24)

I woke up around 6:30. I woke up thinking only about friends and family in America. I started tearing up but I tried to conceal it. I didn't want my host family to see me weepy on only the second day. Okasan (host mom) made obento for Katsuumi and me. I changed into my school uniform, grabbed my back pack and headed out to school. It`s so cool. I get to walk to school! No crazy bus ride or subway ride, just a 20 minute walk! By the time I got to school I felt fine and wasn't sad at all. I was very nervous though. I walked up 4 flights of stairs to homeroom, where I left my lunch and backpack.

All the students headed off to the gym for an assembly. The principal awarded the students for something, I think for some achievment in English but I couldn't understand most of it with all the Japanese. Then I was called out of the blue, unbeknownst to me to stand before the entire school (800 students) and give an introduction. I tried my best in Japanese: I'm very glad to be here in Okinawa. I'm excited about this. It's hot isn't it?. I said something along those lines. I went back embarassed and waited for the end of the assembly. From the gym I walked with Katsuumi to the science room. From what I understood it's a physics class. I don't understand anything that's going on, even if it were in English I probably still wouldn't understand! So I sat there for an hour, eagerly awaiting the end of class. When the end of class came I was greeted with a humorous surprise, the class bell is fur elise, the Beethoven song. At most American high schools it's just a ringing bell or a beep of some kind. Classes are about 50 minutes with about 10 minutes in between each class. From science we headed off to chemistry, up the winding stairs to the chemistry room. There were only 4 kids, including myself in the class. When I asked why there are so few kids in the class from what I understood the class isn't very popular. It was fun though! They were balancing equations, which I understood, but the teacher only lectured for about 10 minutes. The teacher was very welcoming which was nice. I appreciated it a lot. The teacher gave a brief lecture and then the rest of the class we made popcorn in a beaker with with a bunsen burner. たのしい ね⁉

From there we headed back to the homeroom classroom for some kind of government/politics class. Apparantly even the Japanese students think it's boring. Pretty much the whole class the teachers is just lecturing in rapid Japanese. I took out my Japanese grammar book and studied and just zoned out. Then we proceeded back to the physics room for some science class which no one knew the English name of. In this class they're watching The Day After Tomorrow (with Jake Gylenhall) dubbed in Japanese. It was nice to have something I'm familiar with. Everyone is really engrossed by the movie, however at one of the action scenes the bell rang to the outcry of the students and we headed back to the homeroom room for lunch. I ate my obento lunch, (rice and some kind of meat), but didn't finish it. My host mom packed me some fried fish thing that tastes like fried chicken, I ate and didn't think about what it really was. This was around 2:30. Their lunch is around 1 hr long. I got to meet one of the English teachers during lunch and speak English with an English speaker which felt amazing. She's Brown~san from California and she finishes teaching August 1st, the same day I return. I learned a lot about the school from her persepctive. Apparantly my school is one of the least academic schools in the area. The students don't get much homework and most go to technical school and not university. The school is also really lax about uniform. Girls have earrings and piercings and boys don't have belts and leave their shirts untucked yet nothing happens. Next week is exam week and she promised to take me out to lunch for AMERICAN food one day! There's not much for me to do during exam week and she told me to bring a good book.

I guess due to the non-academic-ness of the school few students can really speak English. I asked them about what music they like and they really like American music. One girl in my class is OBSESSED with Miley Cyrus. She has a Miley Cyrus backpack, a Miley pencil case, a lanyard, and camera case. Another BOY had pretty much every Beyoncé song I know exists. I don`t think I`ll be judged for my Britney Spears collection here!

They were all really friendly. Then we went to the science room for a 'welcome party', for me! It was so sweet. They had coke, ocha and jasmine tea. They also had cheesecake and German cake. German cake is the same in Japanese! (Jyaman Kaiku) We played a game called fruit basket. In the game, there's one less seat than there are people. Everyone is assigned a fruit: melon, orange, and apple. One person without a seat stands in the middle of the circle of chairs and calls a fruit, and everyone with that fruit switches seats. One person is always left without a seat. If the person in the middle calls 'fruit basket', everyone must find a new seat. We played that for about a half hour and then we took a group picture. I walked home with Katsuumi and his friends and we played game cube. We just hung out until okaasan came home. Then we got PIZZA for dinner! It made me so happy, just to to eat something I'm familiar with. We ate and I felt exhauated by 8. I forced myself to stay up till 9 but I was still exhausted. I quickly fell asleep in bed after my first full day with my host family.

1 comment:

andreww said...

Hey John, nice blog! Your mom told me you're in Japan and shared with me your blog. I haven't been to Okinawa before, but I have been to Kyoto, Tokyo, and Osaka in the past and really enjoyed all those places. Maybe you can get a chance to go explore the historical parts in the main island! If you want to have the opportunity to hang out with some English speaking people once awhile, there's usually an international or english speaking churches in the city, so ask your host family, they may know one nearby!