Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Recap: Life after the S-As' departure

Last time traveling post for now, so might as well enjoy it while it lasts!*

Some stuff that has happened since Nick left for home:

1. My new suitemate came.  Her name is Louki, she is Dutch, and she cleans things when she is bored.  Needless to say, we get along well.  Also, our suite is significantly cleaner and sometimes I don't have to wash a sink full of dishes every time I want to make dinner.

2. The semester ended.  Our Monday and Tuesday classes were definitely not parties.  I could see how an outside observer might think they were parties, but that outside observer would be wrong.  Definitely very serious classes.

3. Tuesday-sensei apparently knows someone who wants an English conversation partner, so he said he'll put us in touch.

4. I finished my graduate school applications.

5. I wrote an article for The Fulbrighter.
5a. I found out my article is going to be published.

6. I set up an interview with a priest at Ueno Tenmanguu for next Tuesday.  Hopefully it will go well.  I'm trying to type up and revise my interview questions so that I make sure to hit all the important points in a single sitting.

7. I was told that I must have been Japanese in a previous life.  (This is the standard response when people can't figure out why the heck I would be interested in Japan.  Never mind that it's interesting or anything.  I MUST have been Japanese in a previous life.)

8. I read Religious Violence in Contemporary Japan, which convinced me
A. I really don't want to join a millenarian movement
B. I really don't want to engage in any research where my research subjects are likely to try to murder me.

9. I tried Dutch licorice.  It is...really odd.

10. Itou-san invited me (and my roommates, so Louki is coming with me) to a Thing at Nagoya University tomorrow.  It involves mochi and foreign students aaaaaaaaaaaaand that's pretty much all I know.  But it should be fun!

11. I had penmanship class and somehow managed to screw up the kanji in my calligraphy name as well as the stroke order for pretty much every kanji ever.  MY SHAME IS UNBEARABLE.
It got to the point that Nakano-san would be chatting to the other ladies, and it would sound like, "Oh, did you hear that Suzuki-san is STROKE ORDER, DANA-CHAN moving to Hokkaido?"
11a. On the upside, Nakano-san gave me two children's books that are published by a publishing company that is associated with a shrine.  Needless to say, they're supposed to teach kids about Shinto.  The one I'm currently reading is about a hinoki (Japanese cypress) tree growing up in a forest.  Thus far in the story, the wind has taught the hinoki about the kami and how everyone has a meaning in life and the hinoki's best friend (a dung beetle) dropped dead from the cold. kind of morbid yet happy?

12. I bought a tea pot!  So now I can drink SO MUCH TEA.

13. I developed a minor addiction to kinkan, which my dictionary tells me means "kumquat" but is definitely not a kumquat.  Or at least what we think of in the states as a kumquat.  It's about twice as big and DELICIOUS.  I would eat a million of them every day if fruit wasn't so darned expensive.

14. I found out that the Fulbright mid-year conference is going to be on March 22, so I will be in Tokyo March 18-23 at the very least.  Might be there longer, depending on whether some other things pan out.  I'm definitely going to try to hit the Ghibli Museum and Washinomiya Shrine (the Lucky Star Shrine) while I am there, though.
14a. I found out that at the conference I have to give a presentation on my research...that is 3-5 minutes long.  I AM GOING TO GO INSANE.  How can I say anything worthwhile in that space?  lskjskhekrhaea
14b. I'm going on a tour of Nikko, sponsored by the Tokyo Fulbright Alumni Association, March 18-20.  It should be cool.

15. I apparently caught Steven's post office curse**, because when I went to the post office to get a customs declaration form so I could send (really late) Christmas presents home, they were convinced I actually wanted a box.
"I need the form you have to write the contents of the box on." 
"You mean a box?" 
"No, it is paper. If you put noodles in the box, you write 'noodles' on the form." 
"You mean a box?" 
"NO, it is a FORM for WRITING WHAT IS IN THE BOX. You post it on the box when you send things out of the country." 
 "You mean a box?"

So, yeah.  It hasn't been all that crazy exciting, but I've had some time to sit and read and do all the things I wasn't doing while I was traipsing all over Japan.  Tomorrow I've got the mystery mochi thing in the evening, and then Friday through Sunday is the fieldtrip to Izumo Taisha.  Updates will come...when updates come.

*I totally had this stuck in my head about a week ago, so now I will INFLICT IT UPON YOU MWAHAHAHA.

**Every time Steven goes to the post office, it inevitably ends in disaster and suffering.  Last time he went, their ATM malfunctioned.  Clearly the post office curse is contagious.

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