Translation: Hey all. Today is my birthday. I'm turning 21.
Haha too simple...I have to learn how to be more expressive in Japanese. Sorry for the long wait. This is my 4th day at Kansai Gaidai.
After 18 hours on a plane (two flights) and 1hr 30min bus ride from the airport I'm finally in Japan. The experience so far is stressful, novel, and exhausting. I'm starting to get used to life here. I'm still in orientation week. Okay from the beginning, right now I'm placed in Seminar House 4 which is the newest and possibly the nicest dorm on campus. International students live in the seminar houses (1-4) while all other Japanese students live in apartments or commute. My dorm is a Japanese style dorm complete with tatami mat floors, low table, futon bedding (the most comfortable thing I have ever slept on), and a section to take off your shoes. I love the fact that you can control the heating and air-conditioning. For orientation week only, three students are places in a dorm. Two students who actually living in the room and one homestay student. I guess they want to encourage people to socialize so homestays don't feel lonely. In my case, I'm the homestay so I'll get the boot at the end of this week. My roommates are from Arkansas and Latvia.
What I find interesting about the dorms is that the bathroom is separate from the toliets. When you use the toliets you have to wear slippers. Even more amazing is that we are the only (I think) dorm that has modern Japanese toliets complete with music options and warm seats.
Japanese life is in many different from life in America. Of course it is a different culture but for some reason I feel comfortable here. I feel safe and for the most part welcomed. Random note...I love konbinis! There is one near Kansai Gaidai called 99 or known affectionately as kyuu kyuu. It is a very cheap please to get food, every day items, and school supplies. I always thought living in Japan would be very expensive but it really isn't unless you live in the major cities.During orientation, you are reponsible for feeding yourself. So many people go out to buy food. Its not that bad. Japan has really good ready-made food. Be adventurous! Try everything. One thing I love is Onigiri (rice balls.) They are inexpensive, filling and delicious. Curry and rice is one thing I also find very good.
(One of my meals...rice, curry, croquette, and banana juice = $4 meal well actually $3 because my friend gave me the croquette and I gave her some of my curry)
Today I wasn't sure how to celebrate my birthday. I started a tradition for myself where I would give instead of receive. But I really don't know people here. I made some friends but it hard to keep in touch since I don't have a cell phone yet. I have a tendency to isolate myself because I'm an introvert. I know I have the ability to be social but it really takes a lot out of me. So, I forced myself to go on a tour of Hirakata city and then dinner with a large groups of students and our Japanese student tour guides. I met new people, learned how to used the trains, and even spoke some Japanese. Dinner was at a place called don't quote me on this Asian Days which served dumplings and such. We did the-all-you-can-eat meal and I'm stuffed.