Sunday, May 14, 2006

golden week

Last week was Golden Week, a Japanese holiday which has relatively little meaning, except for the whole nation getting 3 days off of work or school and traveling! I went on my spring debut hike with my outdoor club to a nearby mountain called Oshamambe-dake. It was such beautiful weather from the peak we could see both the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean.
We started hiking Wednesday afternoon and we reached our little cabin a few hours later. We played in the snow for a while, then ate a wonderful dinner or pork-kimchee, nabe soup and rice. Our wake up call was at 4:30am the next morning! WHY do we have to get up so early? We eat a nice huge breakfast of Japanese noodles and start the hike at about 7am.
When hiking, everyone wears a matching pants and windbreaker outfit. I think if we all got caught in a blizzard and died, this guy, Tommy, would be the first one to be found.
Yeah, the summit!
Me and Yasuda at one of the random stops along the way home. This was only one weird rest stop. Among the others were a sausage factory, a tofu tasting heaven, a potato farm, spring water geyser...etc. I am going to miss these kind of road trips!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

sails away

Hello friends- I was talking to my friend Brittany on the phone the other day and she said she more than regularly checks my blog (like everyday!) but has been disappointed for a long time now with no updates. So, here you are Brit. I will try my best from now on!

Spring break is over and classes have begun. The snow has mostly melted from the streets of Sapporo, except for the remains of the 15ft. high snow deposit mountains scattered throughout the city. The cherry trees have already bloomed throughout the rest of Japan, but we are still patiently waiting for ours. Japanese have a tradition called hanami where every year with friends or family, they pack a lunch and sake to sit and eat under the glorious pink curtain. I will be going with my outdoor club friends in a few weeks.

At the very end of spring break, I got to go on a cruise with Hokkaido University's Marine Science department. We sailed for 5 days off the coast of Hokkaido doing, well, pretty much nothing. Actually we did experiments and had "watch" duty and played a lot of cards and ate 4 meals a day, but our days still seemed empty within the confined walls of the Oshoro ship. There were 5 international students (2 germans, 2 koreans and me) and about 40 Japanese students, so it was a good chance to speak only Japanese.

六直=Group #6- I spent a lot of time with these guys in my group. At first they were so shy, I don't think they talked to me at all for the first 2 days...they warmed up to small conversations by the 5th day.
Paying close attention to the instructor as he tells us how to weigh and measure the pollock.
My mandatory experiment uniform.
We had different uniforms for all our different activities...hats included.

I have been in Japan for 8 months now with 3 months to go. All of us international students get teary eyed when we even think about leaving each other and leaving Sapporo. And although I am going to miss my friends and my life here, I miss all you guys at home too and am excited to see you. Until then...peace be with you.