Sunday, April 03, 2005

A gender-bending emcee duo speak with Yamada (center) after his acoustic performance. He preceeded Groovy Dust (see blog entry).

The Nagoyanz (teens from Nagoya) doing a Chinese yo-yo routine at Sakura Night Festa (sakura = cherry blossoms).

My university's high school kids handbell choir. They played "Beauty and the Beast".

My first and only encounter with Yakuza thus far.

"32nd Sagamihara People's Cherry Blossom Festival"

Why did the Japanese police officer have this on his motorcycle (which was a HARLEY)?


Fishing for goldfish

Crowded street (Pikachu - L; okonomiyaki - R)

More fashion in Japan

Fashion in Japan

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Easter and Cherry Blossom Festival (イースターと桜祭り)

OK. This is an update for the past week. Of course this past Sunday was Easter. I went to Kamimizo Church (上溝教会) for Easter. While there, we had a worship service, a meal (my hostmother told them ahead of time not to give me anything with mayonnaise, so I was safe), and chatted after that. The pastor asked me to stand up and speak about Easter in America, so I told them about how my family eats with family, has church, hunts for Easter eggs at church and at home, how the elder kids at church hide the eggs, and that the eggs are often plastic and filled with candy. They were surprised that my family spends nearly all day doing Easter things. Just like Christmas day, Japanese people don't spend all day on the holiday for some reason. Well, anyways, then Ohashi-san and I had Easter dinner with her son and his family. That was fun. Kento is growing up pretty fast, and can aaaalmost say "Anpanman" now; he says something akin to "ampammam". Anpanman is a superhero for kids in Japan named so because his head is an "anpan", or a bread filled with sweet bean.

Oh! I just remembered: before my hostmother and I went to church, she called me down and gave me a present. It was a dual-language (English and Japanese) Bible! And an expensive one at that (45 dollars, approx.)! The inside has an inscription that basically says "To Kyle, in order to commemorate Easter, from Ohashi". It's great, and I spent all day reading it and looking at the translation. It's a fair translation.

Anyways, that was Easter. This past week, I didn't do much. However, today (Saturday) came, and I went to the Cherry Blossom Festival here in Sagamihara. It was great, and I took lots of pictures. I was happy at first, experiencing something new. However, my hostmother had brought along her granddaughter; her granddaughter kept saying "I'm hungry", and then we'd eat something. A few minutes later, yet again: "I'm hungry"! Argh! I was getting so pissed off because I was having to tag along with them instead of doing the things I wanted to do. I didn't even get to see the street dancing because of the two of them! This is why I prefer not to travel in Japan with other people; I have one chance, basically, to do whatever it is I am doing. I don't need someone else there screwing it up by wanting to do something expensive or go somewhere I don't want to go. Anyways, eventually they left, and I stayed for an hour more or so to see the live music and other performances by people from Sagamihara and the surrounding area in Kanagawa. There was even a pair from Nagoya called 'The Nagoyanz' who spoke with a nice Nagoyan accent (sentences ended with 'みゃ' every once in a while, and I heard 'ほんまに' (honma ni) instead of 'ほんとうに' (hontou ni) once, when I realized that 'The Nagoyanz' meant "The People from Nagoya" and not just some stupid Engrish phrase gone wrong. They did some stuff with crystal stix like what are sold at the Texas Rennaisance Festival, only they lit theirs on fire at one point! They also did Chinese Yo-yo. They were pretty entertaining as well. They kept saying "please clap!" every time they would do something neat; the crowd was definitely into them. I heard some live music by a group called Groovy Dust also; they were a band from 青山学院大学 (Aoyama University). Furthermore, there was a handbell performance from Obirin University, my uni! One final thing that I saw earlier in the day that blew my mind was the police officers motorbike club. They did some cool tricks with Honda motorcycles. I wonder why our police can't do stuff like that. They also have their own orchestra! WTF, mate?

I went off to find the bus route back home, but on my way, I saw a sign that said Fuchinobe Station 0.8km, so I just went there, and got my free bus ride back to the house from there (via my commuter's pass).

Before I end this post, I will share a few interesting words/phrases from the past week:

Japanesekanameaningliteral translation
~に力を入れる~にちからをいれるto flex the ~to put power into the ~
金時豆きんときまめkidney beangolden time bean (sounds like kidney if read きんじ, but きんとき also kind-of sounds like 'kidney'
郵政民営化ゆうせいみんえいかpostal privatization
国防長官こくぼうちょうかんSecretary of Defense
国務長官こくむちょうかんSec. of State

OK, I'm done. Later! Oh, and I'll be putting pictures up soon.

Oh yeah, and a Jehova's Witness approached me on my way to a bus stop to come home. He gave me some literature, and we had a mature conversation about religion and whether or not it is the cause of the world's problems (he was interested to hear my views that religion doesn't cause the problems; rather, people misinterpreting religion cause the problems).