Thursday, October 27, 2005

One month later

Yesterday was my one-month anniversary for being in Sapporo. That means 9% of my time here is already gone. Unreal! It's been a fabulous month and I was reflecting on some of the things that have happened during that time. Let's see...

-I've been extremely lonely
-I've made a bunch of incredible friends
-I've gone to bed really hungry 4 nights in a row
-I've eaten the best Korean food I've ever had in my life
-I've climbed 2 mountains
-I've been so terribly bored
-I've been so frustrated with Japanese people, I just want to leave
-I've realized time and time again why I love this country and it's people so much
-I've gone for 1 month without praying before eating
-I've experienced new levels of God's love for me and His desire to know all people of every race and nationality

Thank you all for your e-mails and comments! I look forward to reading them more than I can say...


Friday, October 21, 2005

the cost of living

5 sweaters
2 sweatshirts
1 fleece
1 matching teaset
2 sets of chopsticks
1 beautiful plate
1 cereal bowl
a few nice hangers
1 purse
1 Bon Appetit, 1 Sunset and a Japanese art book
1 bread pan
and best of all...
1 super duper blue on one side paisley on the other side down comforter

All for less than 500 yen (<$5.00)!

This week the Sapporo International Women's Club held a flea market for the international students. It was like the world's best garage sale and the running price for all clothes was 10 yen! Yeah for cheap stuff!

I already posted a picture of my room, but it is much brighter now with all your smiling faces on my wall.

Speaking of my beautiful room and cheap things, tickets to Tokyo are $425 right now. Sushi anyone?

Monday, October 17, 2005

13 hours later...

This weekend was lovely. I recently joined an outdoor club at Hokkaido University so this was my first opportunity to go on a "mountain climbing" trip with them. We left at 7:30 am on Saturday morning. 400 km (248 miles) and 13 hours later, we arrived at our log cabin in the middle of the woods. This log cabin was amazing and was totally free for us to use. That night we cooked pork miso soup, rice and some other kind of meat soup with gas camp stoves. Japanese food warms the bones!

Everyone slept upstairs in the loft. The cabin was stocked with a mountain of mattresses and blankets. We woke up at 5:30 am, ate leftover soup and started the hike at 8:00. These students (and perhaps most Japanese) go about hiking in a very systematic way. They divided us (11 people) into 2 groups, each with a leader and a sub-leader. Before we started the hike, the leader decided the order we would hike in and we kept that order for the entire 7 hours! So interesting!

We reached the peak at about noon, ate our lunches and started back down an hour later. After gathering our belongings from the cabin, we began our long journey home at 4:00 pm. By that time I was thinking, "It's 4:00 now, so if we hurry, we will probably get home around 1 or 2 am." To say the least, I was a bit confused, yet intrigued, by all the 5 convenient store stops, our hour long dinner, and a trip to the onsen (Japanese hot spring). It's really hard to shift one's thinking from the American goal-oriented, let's see how fast we can get home paradigm to whatever was going on in my dear friends' minds. I have a lot to learn this year!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I want to ride my bicycle

My life has gone from somewhat boring to quite busy within the last couple of days. Today, we finally learned the results of our Japanese placement exam which we took 2 weeks ago...yikes! We were placed into different levels for the 5 different Japanese classes we will have. These classes are grammar, kanji (Chinese characters), conversation, reading and writing. Anyway, there are about 10 levels for each and I placed in the 2-4th level between all the classes. I have a long way to go!

This Wednesday and last Wednesday I went to a Outdoor Club meeting for Hokkaido University students. It is so very interesting compared to a outdoor club that one might attend in the US. First of all, the meetings last from 6:30-9pm on Monday and Wednesday each week. I am wondering how they have so much to talk about! Anyway, I have joined this club and am looking forward to the "mountain climbing" (a direct translation) that we will do this weekend. We will drive 6 hours and hike about 4 km, spend the night in a cabin and hike back the next day. It's Thursday right now, but from what I understand, whether we leave tomorrow night (Friday) or Saturday is dependent upon the weather forecast. I'll let you know how the trip goes!

Yesterday was the day we have been waiting for we raffle day! You see, our dormitory is about 15 minutes from campus on foot, a distance which can be covered in just a few minutes on a bike. It seems to me that biking is the most popular mode of transportation for university students as well as for businessmen, housewives, kids...Before we were eligible to receive a bike, the Sapporo city police came to the university to give us a 45 minute lecture about bicycle riding safely (video included). The video made me, a previously confident bicycle rider, quite unsure of my capabilities. Nevertheless, I picked out of the bag a winning ticket (there were 50 bikes for 80+ students) and now happily ride my 1000 yen ($10) bicycle, cautiously, all over the city.

Peace and love- Lindsey

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Looking up from here

Ahhhh...How much better this world is when we are surrounded by people who love us!

My first 2 weeks in Hokkaido have passed through the hour-glass and I am glad to say that I can look back and smile upon the good and the hard times that I have encountered in this period of time. My first week here was quite lonely. After leaving Eiko and family, every entrance into my quiet dorm room and meal eaten alone seemed quite unbearable. But this week was a week of new relationships and I can say that I am ever so excited to spend the next 11 months on this wintery island.

I stumbled upong this lovely pond at the Hokkaido Prefecture Office

My dorm room...chotto kitanai (it's a bit messy)

My Korean friends have adopted me into their family and I have joined with a smile.