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Almost home.
I'm a little annoyed because I thought I didn't have enough money to take a shuttle from the airport to actually see some places during my layover, but now I find out I did, and it's pretty much too late. (Well, I do have 4 hours until boarding... I don't know.)
*waves to Jupiter across the islands*
So tired...
Also, I checked my U of MN e-mail, and apparently we're signing up for our shifts for the rest of the summer? I guess that's good because I can take as many days off as I need to actually get some SLEEP, but at the same time I doubt there's many shifts left as I can't assume the other students both remembered that I'm coming back and decided to be so courteous to me as to reduce their opportunities to make money. (And I'm not saying this is bad of them - it's just a fact.)
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Trying to explain finger quotes is fun.
So is talking about poop and constipation and farts. :)

[What was really funny was when I was explaining the noun "poop" and the verb "to poop" to one of my girls, she said "I... want... poop.". Luckily it was easy to explain the error, but it still made me giggle. :)]
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As I was saying, one of my kids (絢子 [Ayako]?) was crying in bed last night, so I tried to comfort her, asking if I could come up to her bunk, rubbing her back, and asking her to tell me what was wrong. The Japanese kids, however, were telling her not to cry and 「元気出して。」 [Cheer up.]. I don't exactly remember why we started discussing it, but I was explaing to one of my other girls that I couldn't 「気にしない」 ["not worry about it", as she had told me not to worry about it - I should also clarify at this point that given the situation I let go of my normal insistence on English and was openly talking in Japanese], perhaps because of culture differences. I think maybe it's part of American culture to worry about others when they cry, and to encourage people to cry when they are sad, believing that it will make you feel better. Perhaps crying is the opposite of がまん [patience; endurance; perseverance; tolerance; self-control; self-denial: a major concept in Japan] in Japn?
Of course, I'm making a big assumption to assume this is not caring, and I'm sure I'm wrong. [Still, it was a shock to me.]
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Today for some reason I'm feeling rather depressed about my performance as an A.C. again today. Again, I feel like I"m a good counselor to my はくちょう [Hakuchou] girls, but today during recreation I tried to go to the lobby and be active and outgoing, and I just sort of failed and gave up and went back to the はくちょう [Hakuchou] room where 絢子ちゃん [Ayako-chan] was studying. I can't neccesarily blame myself for not being able to strike up good conversation topics, but maybe introversion just isn't a good quality in ACs.
Actually, I just got back from talking to 司 [Tsukasa, the JD (Japanese Director) of the camp], and she really helped to ease my mind. We did decided, however, that I would probably be the most "productive" (I couldn't think of the right word, and still can't) if I focus on identifying loner kids during rec times and spend time with them, and also that I should express some of my feelings at the next meeting (which happens to be tomorrow) in the hopes that they'll be able to support me a bit (help me think of good group activities, or not expect me to neccesarily be totally in synch when doing things as a group). [I never did, mainly because I decided it wasn't really anything anyone could or would want to help me with.
I'm going to think about what I want to talk about (and what I don't) as I take my bath and go to bed tonight. IN the mean time, a bit of a change of topic: perhaps my second culture shock? (My first was learnign that if you miss on what Larissa (or was it マイヤーさん [Maiyaa-san, a girl who was in first semester third year Japanese with me]?) called "squatty potties", you only have to mop it up with toilet paper.)
In any case,
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It's certainly been a few days since I last wrote. Today's my third day at 自然の家[*] [Shizen no Ie, the name of the camp facility we stayed at], and so far I am having a lot of fun. My kids (i.e. the ones in my room) are all really fun. Their names are [I decided to remove the family names in this public entry] 絢子 (Ayako), 友希 (Yuki), 舞子 (Maiko), 梓 (Azusa), 美怜 (Misato), 晃子(あっこ) (Akiko (Akko)) and 麻里 (Mari). Unfortunately, however, I only remember two of their names (at least I can only match two of their faces to their names: Mari and Azusa - and Azusa I only got down today. ^^;
I've been trying to work really hard at being a good AC, but in the end my introvertedness can only bring me so far. I'm just not all that good at interacting in groups of 50 people. However, I'm trying to make up for it by interacting a lot with my kids. I know it's mainly just because my names is so long and because I suggested it, but they've started calling me ナッチャン [Nacchan] (sorry for accidentally stealing your name, Tasha ^^;). なんかうれしい。 [Somehow this makes me happy.]
Japanese baths are actually really nice. I especially like the being able to wash while sitting on my ass bit. ^^ I'm so lazy. I've also enjoyed eating Japanese meals, although we had grilled fish today, and I really suck at eating whole fish with chopsticks, and I eventually gave up on what was left.
One other amusing story: the other day I was using the squat toilet, and I totally mis-aimed! That was fun to clean up... ^^;

[* 長崎県立世知原少年自然の家 (Nagasaki-ken Ritsu Sechibaru Shounen Shizen no Ie, or Nagasaki Prefecture Public Sechibaru Boys House of Nature, or something like that)]
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Writing in my brand-new Japanese notebook - yay! Unfortunately I've spent way too much money and I'm essentially out of cash, and Japanese ATMs seem to be ちょう [very] picky about what cards they take. This especially sucks because Matt wanted me to buy him Spitz CDs at a used books (etc.) store, but the one two blocks from this hotel where I bought my manga only takes 現金 [cash]. Seriously, though, I have about 750円 (Yen) left. Not good. At least if I can't get any more cash I'll be guaranteed to have enough money for my 電子辞書 [electronic dictionary] when I get back. Plus, I already bought my おみやげ [souvenirs] and お中元(まっ茶カステラ) [summer gift (matcha castella): unfortunately the matcha castella got kind of beaten up in my luggage, so it's gonna be kind of a lame summer gift], and I have a nice set of postcards, too. It's not going to be fun lugging all this shit around, though.
おぼん [the Bon Festival] is... loud. And monotonous. Also interesting and pretty, but once is enough. I would like to reasearch more about it when I get home, though.
I'm tired. Bed now, more later.
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[The following is the song list for the Japanese Favorites radio station on the NWA flights.]

パンキッシュ☆ / mihimaru GT
my brand new way / 小池徹平
SAD SONG / John-Hoon
きっと永遠に / Crystal Kay
君に贈る歌 / 小池徹平
invitation / 柴崎コウ
哀歌(エレジー) / 平井堅
東京にもあったんだ / 福山雅治
I remember you / YUI
Flow / 河村隆一
ひと恋めぐり / 柴崎コウ
シチリアーナ / 平原綾香
Kiss Me Good-Bye / Angela Aki
Here & There / CHAGE and ASKA
世界 / Chara
Ivory / Dragon Ash
The Last Season / サディスティック・ミカ・バンド
CHU-LIP / 大塚愛
道標 / 橘慶太
Snowdome / 木村カエラ

Japan 2/13

Aug. 13th, 2007 01:21 am
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After a 2 hour nap I took at about 9:30, I am damn pooped. This journal is falling apart, too. Good thing I'm only using it until I can upload my entries to LJ. Anyways, I was just thinking about how they never show flight information in the middle of flights, even when there isn't a movie or anything showing, and then I realized why: people are probably made uncomfortable by thinking that there's nothing but ocean around them for hundreds of miles, and that if anything were to happen... [Actually, at least on the flight from HNL to MSP, and I think on some of the others, they did show where we were over the ocean.]
The first movie that was on today was one called The Last Mimzy. Frankly, it was rather overly hippy-ish, especially at the end when they showe schols of the future as a bunch of children and their teacher sitting around a Mandala of flowers on the grass in the mountains, and then flying away. Of course, I did watch half of it in Japanese and half in German, so I might have missed some of it. (Or maybe that was a good thing?)
The third movie, Pride, which I'm listening to now, is pretty interesting, even if full to the brim with saccharine Hollywood feel-good [oooh, it rhymes].
Umm, yay for flights to Asia with lots of green tea. :)

Japan 1/13

Aug. 12th, 2007 06:00 pm
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After a two-hour delay due to what turned out to be a medical emergency requiring a stop in Anchorage, we're finally in the air and allowed to bring our trays down and all that jazz. I've already met one of my co-counselors, Meghan Something. She's quite nice, and has been a lot of help in answering my question about the program (she was in it for the whole summer last year). She's currently a geography student, and after 4 years on the synchronized swimming team she's going to spend her last year on a different team - I forgot which (water polo?).
One of the pieces of good news I heard abou the trip is that the hotel we'll be staying at in Nagasaki [I think I meant Fukuoka] is real near the train station, which is in turn near a shopping mall-ish area where I'll have time for some shopping. Apparently she also knows of a beach nearby [I think this part referred to Nagasaki], and I made sure to pack my simming suit. :) [We never went to the beach.]
I'm not so sure I should have bought these earrings though. [Earrings that I lost somewhere along the way. ^^; I would literally lose my head if it weren't attached.]
Oh yes, there are also two people in my four-seat row. Score!
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Flight got delayed by two hours, but we got a $10 food voucher (12" Subway meatball sandwich with cheddar, onions, cucumbers, and green peppers ftw) and 2000 miles for it, so I don't really mind. I also met one of my fellow counselors already. She did the camp for the whole summer last year, and I'm learning lots of great stuff about how things work from her. I think I'm gonna have a total blast. :) (Looks like I'll have some decent shopping time in Nagasaki too.) Oh yeah, apparently the food is going to be all wa-shoku (Japanese food), so even though it'll be cafeteria style, I'll have a good chance to eat real daily food, rather than the fancy stuff I feel obliged to eat when I go to restaraunts.
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At the airport using a terribly designed (either that or designed with only durability in mind) internet kiosk. Unfortunately the internet never came back at home... Anyways, It's about two hours until my flight leaves, so I'm just killing a bit of time going window shopping and the like. Anyways, I have some other stuff to do before I meet the minimum payment time limit, so this was me checking in.


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