I'm pretty bad at updating, 'cause I have too much going on in my life or whatever. EXCUSES.
Let's see if I can quickly recap what's been going on in my life.
Tuesday morning was the monthly festival (tsukinamisai) at Susanoo Shrine. I hadn't been able to go for the past three months because of one thing or another (well, graduate school application deadline, food poisoning, and being in Tokyo respectively), so it was nice to see everyone again. I...hadn't forgotten everything either! And I got to fold paper for the offering trays and apparently was proclaimed a genius because even though I was shown how to fold the paper from the bottom corner up, I was able to make the exact same shape from the top corner down. Um. I'd call that basic spatial awareness, not genius, but whatever.
Also, Nakano-san offered to take me to a fire purification festival that's performed at Misogi Shrine, about 3 hours by car from Nagoya. It's very unusual, because most fire purification ceremonies are performed at temples, not shrines. Her husband works at the shrine, and she apparently goes up there a fair amount, so she offered to take me the next time she goes up. Pretty exciting!
Tuesday evening I had Japanese class, where we read about how people are giving their children ridiculously difficult to read names. This won't mean anything to anyone who doesn't speak Japanese, but some names in the article included: 結愛（ゆあ）, 明日（ともろう）, 笑（えりく）, 香魚（かな）, 夢紅（むく）, and, my personal favorite, 響（りずむ）. WHO THE HECK NAMES THEIR KID THAT? That's just cruel.
After class, we had a nomikai with the foreign freshmen and Tuesday sensei*. It was pretty fun, although it quickly degenerated to learning swear words in foreign languages. I know now some swear words in Chinese! Yay? Also, one of the freshmen is Mexican, and was trying to teach everyone cusses in Spanish, but finally one of the Chinese boys asked, "Can't you cuss at people without involving their parents?" Ahahaha, it's kind of true.
Anyway, Wednesday morning I had penmanship class, where, funnily enough, we had a long discussion about people naming their children ridiculous things.
Also, I practiced writing this:
I hope you are super impressed by that heart radical. It took me...FOREVER.
Anyway, Wednesday afternoon everyone in the dorm had a mandatory disaster drill, because, you know, almost all the foreign students are leaving in a month and it would really suck if a disaster occurred in the next month and they didn't know how to deal with it. Yeahhhhhhhhhhhh. Anyway, you would think that a disaster drill would only take...oh, an hour, right? I mean, there are only so many disasters that can occur. We aren't near active volcanoes or anything... But, no, it took 3 hours. THREE. HOURS. Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
After that everyone wanted to throw themselves out of windows, but we couldn't find any appropriate windows so instead a bunch of us went to all-you-can-eat pizza again (and I, once again, failed at eating pizza but ate a million pounds of eggplant pasta; it was AMAZING).
Today I had Japanese class in the evening, and we learned some crazy shortened words. In Japanese, a lot of borrowed words are simply too long to use in daily speech (plus, Japanese is all about making words shorter than they already are), so words get shortened. Like air conditioner becomes eakon. And Starbucks becomes sutaba. See how many of these words you can figure out (all of them are shortened forms of commonly used English words or phrases**):
Hint: 1-7 are two or more words mashed into one, while 8-10 is a single word which has had the second half chopped off.
If you speak Japanese and can figure out 9 OR if you don't speak Japanese*** and can figure out 6...I'll give you a prize or something, I guess. OH MAN, PRESSURE'S ON NOW. It should be noted that we have a native speaker tutor in our class, and she couldn't figure out some of these. So they're not easy. And, no, it won't work to put them through Google translate. You have to think about it. You can work in teams if you want, just as long as you are working as a team, not just mooching off some poor soul.
So, yeah, that's what I've been up to!
*Although now I guess he's We Don't Take Class with You sensei. IT'S SO CONFUSING. Monday sensei is now Thursday sensei and Thursday sensei is Tuesday sensei. I don't know what to believe.
**I could have thrown in some German to be a jerk, but I'm not a jerk. Aren't you happy I'm not a jerk?
***For those of you who want to try this but don't speak Japanese, all vowels are pronounced like in Spanish. R is pronounced like a cross between an L and an R and is used for either sound in English. A double A is pronounced like a normal A, just twice the length. Everything else should be intuitively obvious.