Saturday, July 31, 2010


I thought tsuyu (the rainy season) was bad, always walking around dragging an umbrella along (always forgetting it too) and still getting wet. But nothing beats waking up in the morning with your face covered in sweat. Japan's summer is incredibly hot and humid. The common conversation always seems to start with "atsui" or "It's hot".

The cost of power in Japan is very high, so everyone is very conservative in using the air conditioning. In fact, it's common for a lot of Japanese households to only heat one room and air condition one room. The same goes with my family.

So what does one do to fight this heat and humidity? Well, many people carry around folding fans called sensu. Others carry small wash clothes to wipe the sweat off. Stores also hand out paper fans (of course with advertisements on them haha).

There's also what I call conbini skipping (or skipping from the air conditioned convience store to another convience store) to cool down. And of course, going to the ocean (but with lots and LOTS of sunscreen).

Summer break has also rolled in and students have about a month off (though most of them go to summer school anyway to study more). Clubs also go through the summer holiday, so the students are kept busy.      

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Well, a lot of things have been happening lately and I've been really busy. Everyday I think to myself "I need to blog" but never really get around to it.
Today I am.
I guess I'll start with going to the ocean and then the hospital.
So first off the other day I was planning to hang with some AFS and Japanese friends at the beach. I hadn't been to the beach near me yet and so followed the (little) directions of a friend of mine. "Just take the train to school, get to the school, turn right, and head in that direction for five minutes."
After ten minutes of walking in a not so quite straight direction (the streets wind constantly and some are so narrow only people and bikes can get through them) I started to get worried... I wanted to ask some one for directions but no one was around and besides if I asked "where's the ocean?" I would probably get stared at. After all, it's a silly question to ask when Japan is an island.
Finally, around 20 minutes later I reached the ocean. The water was sparkling clear and the sun shone bright and warm. Truely a perfect day for the beach.
Then my friends arrived, a Japanese man stopped us and took a picture with us while all of us were screaming the different countries we were from (America, Italy, France, Canada, Hungary, Japan, and some others).
The day was a blast, swimming, exploring, burying people in the sand, but half way through the day a few of my friends commented "your face is getting red". Then I realized, I hadn't put any sunscrene on. Horror sank in, I had left my sunscrene at home and with this red hair and pale skin, I was going to be a lobster tommorrow. The day came to an end way too soon and I started heading home again (I could start to already feel the burn). And of course, got lost on the way back (since I had the bright idea to head home a different way). After actually asking directions, I arrived at the station and took the long train ride home, looked in the mirror, and wanted to screamed.
I was red. Really red. Almost as if someone had painted me the same color as the Golden Gate Bridge.
There was hardly any sleep for me during the night. In so much pain, I woke up and looked in the mirror. Blisters had started to cover my face. (I think it's best if I don't describe them). I groaned and put some ice on my skin.
The next day my parents decided to take me to the hospital. It was my first time in a Japanese hospital and all I wanted to do was hide my face.
But there were some differences.

First, the hospital (might have been more like a Clinic) I went to had traditional Japanese sliding doors. Second, you had to change your shoes and wear slippers (although I expected that) the slippers in this place came out of a machine! I wanted to take a picture but I didn't have my camera and I'm fairly certain my host mom would have been almost as embarrassed as I am when people take pictures of me. Though there was the usual check in like in America, the sheets they gave me only asked a few simple questions and then I was called into a large room that was divided by curtains. A female doctor sat on a chair (with a mask on, all of the staff wore masks). こんにちは、(Hello) I said shyly, not sure of what to say. お願いします (please- the same phrase used before a teacher teaches the class) said my mother.
Of course I thought, wanting to bang my red head, お願いします(onegaishimasu) was a MUCH more appropriate thing to say. 「座って」と先生が言いました。"Please have a seat" the doctor said. 「はい!」I answered and sat down on a chair to the side. My mother and the doctor started to talk about the burns and before I could have a good look around the doctor pulled out a magnifying glass and looked at my face and back. I wondered briefly if that's what doctors did back home to look at burns, but I couldn't remember. And besides, back home I had never forgotten my sunscrene.

The whole ordeal must have taken less then five minutes because before I knew it, we where led out through the sliding doors and into the waiting room (待合室). Once again, similar to in The States, I had my name called and I went up to the front desk to recieve a prescription.
Convinently, there was a pharmacy right across the clinic. But, my mom and I probably waited there longer than my oppentment. You see, the people in the pharmacy there actually made the medicine while you were waiting, or that's how my mom explained it. This actually might also happen in the states (I'm not entirely sure) but it seems more common in Japan to make the medicine while the customers are waiting.

Well, there's some news! :)
oh and I apologize for any grammar/spelling mistakes. I wrote this one my iPod (which doesn't have spell check)....(though I know that's not a very good excuse :p)