So in my last entry it was Day One of Translation/Interpretation camp. I had every intention of writing something each night while I was there, but that was two weeks ago. Here's what happened:
The next morning when I woke up, I tried checking my email, and the internet no longer loaded. I checked every night and every morning after that, and there was no change. Some of the faculty had warned that directly after class, or after our 11pm curfew, it would be slow, but no matter when I checked, or how long I waited, nothing loaded.
Now this was not such a big deal. Tuesday evening after classes I had an early dinner, took a nap, and went down to the gym to play basketball. Other nights after finishing preparing for the next day, we would grab some beers from the convenient store and sit around the lounge area of our dorm floor. By "we" I mean the other participants, a few of which I knew previously, but many were new to me, and VERY INTERESTING!
One of the first characters I met was a Korean whose last name is Baek, pronounced the same as my last name! If that wasn't enough, the Chinese character for "Baek" was white, which I joked made us both "white Becks". And endless puns did ensue.
One man from Italy confirmed that, although I have no Italian ancestry whatsoever, I looked like I could have come from his hometown, Naples, so all those Japanese strangers who ask if I'm Italian: you're all off the hook. Another guy, Manny, who was as funny as he was tall, spoke very frankly and explained a lot of interesting things about real Mexican culture, which only makes me feel more embarrassed for never having been. Next Summer. Definitely.
I also talked to many more people from various countries on numerous topics which was all very international of me, but I balanced this out by returning to my laptop each night and watching episodes of Star Trek Enterprise. I've always love Star Trek, and Scott Bakula from Quantum Leap, but I somehow never saw this series, so I'm catching up now at a furious pace. In the last two and half weeks I've seen almost three whole seasons, but if you think I've been avoiding the real world, you'd be wrong.
On top of Star Trek, meeting people, translation camp and work, snowboard season has started! Last Sunday I got up at 5:00am with some friends, three people from three different countries, and we drove up to Mizuho Highland where we slid the day away on tons of fresh powder! It was so awesome that this Wednesday, the Emperor's Birthday, we're goin' again! Woooo!
Another thing keeping me busy are Japanese year-end parties called bounenkai (forget-the-year party). Because I travel in so many circles, I am obligated to participate in 4 this month. The ken-cho's was on December 4th and the restaurant we went to specialized in Suppon (snapping turtle). We ate its meat boiled in a soup, tried its eggs, raw in soy sauce, liver (also raw and surprisingly refreshing), and even the blood mixed with sake! Then there was the touch rugby bounenkai, and tonight is my English Lunch Club bounenkai, which I planned. Also last Saturday was an Exchange Party at the International Center. This wasn't a bounenkai, but since it was work, I had to stay late and MC the whole thing! Finally, this Saturday will be the Center's bounenkai, also planned by me. This one has 17 people, includes bowling, Chinese food, prizes and presents! Also since it's more formal than my English Club, I had to make seating charts, a budget, do all the preparation and receive approval for every step! Woo!
Luckily, Christmas will be just me and my girl. I got her a great present and she's planning the day for us, so i can relax about that one thing at least.
Next Sunday will be my last day of work this year, but I will pop into work Monday to pick up my much needed paycheck!
Hope your lives are as fun and filled as mine! Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!