Shopping Class

Weather report: rain—and just when we need it on the day we’ll be out and about…

Morning class was another opportunity to get a lot more stuff crammed in my brain. I don’t know how I’m going to survive at this pace! It seems that no sooner do I get my flash cards made for the current vocabulary and pull out the relevant kanji cards, then we’re on to the next chapter. I knew it was going to be an accelerated experience, but wow…

We got done a bit early, and were on our own for lunch before the field trip. Alia and I ate at Makudo again, and I’ve now officially eaten at McDonalds more since coming to Japan than I have in the previous year at home. It’s just easy and centrally located—and you get all-you-can-drink free refills, which apparently isn’t particularly common except for tea.

Today’s main event was a shopping excursion to Nishiki Market, where we had to go into the shops and ask what various things were, how much they cost and what they were used for—should’ve been easy, right? Well, not exactly. I tend to still clam up in public, and had a surprisingly difficult time of it, though I managed to complete the assignment. We were each given ¥500 (around $5.00) and had to purchase something. I blew mine on something that I never get at home: roasted sweet chestnuts—and they were yummy! They brought back a lot of memories, since I think the last time I ate them was when I was living in Italy.

After the “official” part of the excursion was over, we were free to go our own way. I sort of engineered going off completely by myself and had a rather philosophically enjoyable time. I guess I’m somewhat of a loner by nature, so I was already feeling the need to get away. I like just wandering off alone in completely alien surroundings just to prove that I can handle myself just fine without freaking out. I visited a huge, 5-floor bookstore for a while, mostly reading the signs to figure out what the sections were. I also strolled through the exclusive Hankyu department store (but didn’t buy anything, natch…). It was just endlessly fascinating for me to watch the people and what they were doing—people shopping, school kids on their way home, shop owners taking care of customers, bishonen passing out fliers for clubs, you name it. I felt completely safe in this wonderful country, and never once was afraid I’d get lost or wouldn’t be able to communicate if necessary. Besides, I was protected by the de facto “Gaijin Safety Zone”! Rode the bus back without even a hint of being lost and had dinner at the dorm.

And then? Study, of course! We have our first exam tomorrow, incidentally…

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One thought on “Shopping Class

  1. There was 1 comment on the original blog entry:

    Phyllis
    Doug,
    I finally took the time to read through your journal – well, at least this week’s entries. You certainly have many “firsts” to enjoy and remember! Your photos show the beautiful country that Japan is. Although I have never been there, my nephew lived there for a couple years.
    Full-time Japanese study sounds very beneficial, both humbling and rewarding. Keep up the good work!
    Sally, Nancy, Trish, and I are off to Salt Lake City on Sunday to train the NBU in Outlook New Features and Managing Email (on Monday). We fly back home Monday night.
    Regards,
    Phyllis
    Friday, June 23, 2006 – 09:03 AM

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