This past week has been one of relative relaxation. However, Classes are starting t pick up and in all 6 of my classes we are assigned a group presentation. And in all 6 of my classes i was chosen to be the "group leader" which is humbling and flattering but overwhelmingly exhausting. The good thing is I have outstanding group members in all my groups and hopefully i can effectively pool all our talent and create an outstanding final presentation.
In my down time I have found myself frequenting the wild onsen and exploring its immediate surroundings. There is something that is so calming and peaceful being out in the wild and just sitting in a natural hot tub. Earlier this week me and some friends discovered a new onsen (after getting on the wrong bus and ending up on the wrong side of the mountain and had to get off at some African Safari)in the same area. This one is a little more exclusive and is surrounded by high walls of sulfurous rock on all sides. And the sides that aren't are the trees of the forest. It was really cool climbing to this new onsen because the ground surrounding it you could literally feel the hot rocks, and if you weren't careful you could burn yourself. Which added a little adventure (speaking of adventure, the rest of this day ended up being quite an adventure. one that has no relevance to the topic of this post. so if you would like to hear more about i will address these concerns on an individual basis). Of course there was the ever present stink of rotten eggs but I quickly got used to it and just enjoyed my surroundings. Off in the not so far off distance is a mountain, the highest in the region, and i plan on climbing it within the next few weeks.
Quick comment on Japanese culture: I have found that in Japan when one sneezes, no body says, "bless you" in return. Which was an interesting concept to me and i find myself holding my tongue after someone sneezes lest i look like a freak who likes to comment on people who sneeze. On the flip side of that coin i feel like a social obligation has been lifted off my shoulders and hopefully will soon not even have to consciously not comment on people sneezing.
Lastly, i have officially started Aikido which is a Japanese martial art. So far i am really enjoying learning new ways to subdue an attacker other than my brute strength and ravishing charm. But on a serious note, i am always learning new things in terms of the martial art itself as well as different things in the language of Japanese. I have found that the Japanese language is extremely contextual, and there is only so much i can gain from a book telling me what to say. In fact, i conducted research and found that 4 out of 5 people in my study would consider themselves below average Japanese speakers. That is until they drink a little "liquid courage" as i like to call it (aka sake) at which point the number drastically decreases to only 1 out of 5. This theory has been applied and proven multiple times at the various "nomihoudai"'s i have engaged in. And my research concludes that people are more willing to put themselves out on a limb to talk in Japanese when they have had a few cups of sake. Which begs the question, if one made a conscious effort to talk to as many people in Japanese as they could, how much more of the language would they learn in a given amount of time? I submit that the answer would be exponentially higher than that of a person who would rather keep to themselves and take only what a text book has to offer.
PS. I have recently discovered an "all you can eat" meat restaurant which i have in fact just returned from. Funny enough the Japanese call this "all you can eat" style; "VIKING." As if one needed to pillage and plunder and wear horns on their head in order to enter. Silly.
Also, more new pics at:
Until Next Time,
PPS- HAPPY 18th BIRTHDAY MITCHELL!!