Greetings from beautiful, exciting Japan! I don't have a lot of time to update, because I have a TON of homework to do (classes here are keeping me incredibly busy), but I wanted to write a quick note to say that I am here, loving it, overwhelmed but delighted every day.
Right now I am sitting in the language lab at Kanda University, where I am taking classes. Diane is sitting beside me and we're discussing (griping is perhaps the more accurate word) our homework load. "Humongous, mumbo-jumbo reading," she says. Yep.
My host family is absolutely fantastic. The children are just precious and and I love spending time with them; Nana-chan (the 3-yr.old) and I have already become fast friends. As soon as I come home, she climbs all over me and chatters in Japanese, most of which I do not understand. Risa-chan (6 yr. old) understands that I don't understand, and looks at me with open, sensitive eyes. She is very perceptive and sweet. Keiko-san (my host mom) is amazing; probably the best cook I've ever met, and so thoughtful. She speaks great English but always tries to speak to me in Japanese. I love living with them and feel so very grateful.
I don't have time to write more, but I wanted to write this little bit to say I'm alive, I'm loving it. I wish I could write better sentences and describe things with language that matches my feelings... but too busy! All the time.
It's thrilling to be surrounded by the Japanese every day; I love listening to Japanese all day long and there are so many things here that I am intrigued by. I want to know the meanings behind certain customs, certain ways of speaking, etc. But every time I am tempted to regard every behavior, sight, and custom as something "so unusual" or "so un-Western," I am reminded of this: that children are the same everywhere. Japanese children, like American children, laugh and misbehave and fight and dance. Also, dogs and birds are the same everywhere. And so is the moon.
New photos posted! No time to tag many of them, but I'm sure you can figure out what's going on... will try to describe them in detail later.
Sayonara, for now!