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Nihon de: The adventures of Maggie » New Friends


Posted by maggie on May 18, 2012 in In Japan

I’m quickly getting over my sense of personal space. It is hardly ever respected in Tokyo, especially not on trains, but it’s been much easier to adapt to than I had thought previously. Maybe it is because the people on the trains are quiet enough that if I want to sit there and just enjoy the ride with my headphones in, I’m not struggling to hear them like I would be on the buses in Harrisonburg.

On Wednesday we went to the Tsukiji fish market, a massive place with dead, alive, or just plain bloody fish. Then, on Thursday we went to go see the sumo tournaments at Kokugikan. That was an interesting cultural experience, and I have to say I now roll my eyes a little at people who say “Fat Guys in Diapers.” While the sport is not particularly my cup of tea, I respect it for the cultural and entertainment value it represents. And no, they aren’t just fat guys. They work out and train for this, so while it looks like flab on the surface, a lot of the underneath is muscle. The matches were quick, and if I have to be perfectly honest, a bit more interesting than I’ve found football so far. What are these things but parallels in different countries? The arenas have boundaries, there are referees, T.V.’s at home do instant replays if the match looks close. It’s actually kind of cool, and it has a significance beyond just two big guys trying to push each other out of the ring.

Other than that, not much is going on. Some of us are heading over to a religious festival in Asakusa; I hope that will be fun times for all. Sueko-san and I have conversations now; they may not be very long or delve into much depth just yet, but we’re conversing a lot, and I think that’s certainly something.

Some Keio University students came to hang out with us in class on Friday. They seem nice, I hope I get more time to talk to them. One of them expressed an interest in having contacts in the U.S. It’s nice to find more people to talk to.

I feel exhausted a lot when I come home at night. I’m trying to get better about that; last night I stayed up until 1 a.m. just to prove that I could make it. I need a lot of energy to make it through the day, and I don’t want to eat too much.

These all just seem randomly strung together, I know, but I’m thinking about all that’s happened this week, and honestly, I’ve been feeling low a lot of the time. I know it’s natural and fine, but I’ve been trying to keep it under control, and so far, that works about as well as it usually does. Sometimes at night, actually mostly during that time because I find myself alone and just kind of chilling, I reflect on the day and come across a few things that make me feel a little homesick. These blogs are supposed to get us thinking, but I feel like, for right now, I wish I could just turn off my brain and enjoy the ride. During the day, my brain is on, of course, but there is so much to see and learn that I don’t have as much time to think about bumming stuff. Maybe I need to find something to do at night. I still need my time to be introverted, but maybe I should find something else to do, like take a walk or something like that. I haven’t seen much of Japan at night. I’m sure Sueko-san wouldn’t mind, considering Hideki-san comes in late from work anyway. As long as I lock up. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll try it sometime.

I need to get more comfortable exploring on my own. I know how to ask for directions, and I’ve learned that it’s easier to ask women, because women in general speak more slowly. But there is stuff I want to go see, and anyway, once the group trip is over, when I’m not interning I’m going to want to spend my free time somehow.

Off to the festival soon. I hope it’s fun. Yesterday I picked up some more batteries for my camera, so I’ll be posting on facebook for sure. I hope everyone else is doing well at home, I miss them so much.

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