Monday, 19 November 2012

Departure Date

So I'm not going in April like I thought. I'm officially leaving in the third week of March. Four months and counting!

AFS posted a package with two booklets, one on how to best ensure my personal safety and one on the kinds of things I should expect in Japan and some dos and don'ts. It was very informative. I learned that:

• If you see a guy with a perm, that means he's a gang member. Avoid his eyes to avoid getting killed.
• I have to watch out for Train Perverts.
• Families share bath water.
• I'm not allowed to bring a laptop with me to Japan.

I think I'm a lot more upset about not having a computer in Japan than curly-haired organized crime members!

So right now I need to apply for my visa and write a thank you to my sponsors who gave me this scholarship.

Four months is such a short time! I'm so nervous and excited! It's gonna be here before I know it.

See ya!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Hiroshima, the City of Water!

I got the Hiroshima City scholarship!! Just got the e-mail today! Woohoo!

This means that a) $7,000 have been knocked off the price of the exchange, and b) I know for sure what city I'll be going to! The excitement is going to kill me <3

The Hiroshima Castle

I hear the Hiroshimaians speak differently from the Tokyoites, like a sort of universal slang. I'll arrive in Japan speaking a broken Tokyoan Japanese and leave fluent in a completely different language! xD Looking forward to that.

I'll post again when I have news.
Stay tuned! xx

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Expectations & Update

As you can read in the mini-bio over there -------->
I'm sixteen years old and am going to Japan in April. Exciting, right?

Right now I don't know exactly where in Japan, or if I've gotten a scholarship. Hopefully I'll find out soon, but I talked to another student who's on an exchange in New Zealand (my home country) and she said she found out about her host family three weeks before departure. Yikes! =x
I'm not hoping for anywhere in particular. I used to want to go to Tokyo because many of the other major places have their own dialect, which I didn't want to fall into, but now I don't really care. The whole point is to absorb the culture of wherever you end up, right? So I'll just live it.

Right now I really really REALLY need to fundraise, but I have no idea what to do! >_< Whatever it is, it'll have to be late November/early December because of exams. Which is a nice little justification for saying "I'll do it later!"


 So I think I'll start this blog off by listing some of my expectations of Japan, just so I can look back later and laugh at silly old Past Isabelle.

I'll be studying aaallll the time. My friend Momoko (and fellow exchange student, mentioned above) says that in Japan she was doing fifteen subjects. Other sources say they were doing ten. Comparing that to my measly five subjects... and they've all been in English, for the most part!
• I'm going to have to be very careful and polite. From what I heard, the Japanese have very complex social rules. I have a feeling I'm going to be stepping on a lot of metaphorical toes.
• I'll find out I know a lot less Japanese than I thought. Somehow I don't think, "I plan to go to the movies," is going to get me all that far in a classroom situation.
• I'm going to buy lots of clothes. I hope I'll have enough room in my suitcase for all my stuff...
• I'm going to go traveling around Japan. To Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Hiroshima.
• I'm going to be eating a lot of strange foods.
• I'm going to be doing lots of strange and different things. Flower arranging, tea ceremonies, cultural festivals, public baths (not sure I'll try this one), the school entrance ceremony. All those things they don't do in New Zealand or the USA.
• I'm going to make some amazing memories.

I'll probably add to this list later. It'd be fun to go back while I'm in Japan, or after, and list the things I got wrong or the things that happened that I didn't see coming.


Last Sunday (October 28) I went to my first chapter meeting, which was really interesting! We carved pumpkins, something I thought I'd never do in New Zealand, and ate lots of yummy food. I got to talk with other exchange students I didn't know (AFSers, we'll call them from now on, AFS being the organization running the show), and talk more with the ones I'd already met.

It was good fun and everyone was very friendly. I found out that there's another AFSer at my school, but I forgot to go up and ask her name so I could say hi to her next time I saw her. Oh well.

Momoko has invited Bryar (the other girl going to Japan next year) and I, as well as the one other person going to Japan provided they're also female, to come stay at her house over the summer so she can show us around Tokyo. That sounds amazing to me and really drives home the fact that this is actually happening.

Well that concludes today's blog post, sorry about the wall of text and not being all that interesting. I'll update when I have something to say.
See ya! xx