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:: My Urban Eyes ::

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:: Saturday, March 18, 2006 ::

Craziness Ensues

Wow, have I been out of touch. Here's the ultra-short version of the catch up:

Japanese level five is hard. Really hard. I'm doing alright, but studying is taking up a lot more of my life than it used to. Gomen, ne.

Ceramics is the most amazing amount of fun. I've told you how much Sensei rocks, right? He still rocks. ^_^ I am learning soooo much, and making some pretty things to boot. Recent accomplishment include plates and fruit bowls. And I managed to find a glazing combo I love. I'm so gonna miss this class when I leave. -_-

My afternoon class is called Making the News in Japan and it's fun because a) we get to discuss/debate about Japanese news b) there's very little homework c) it's easy, giving me more time to study language.

The biggest news is that I've moved out from my host family, and now I'm in the dorms. It's also the hardest news to truncate, so I'm not even going to try.

(Note: I've been debating if I should post this whole thing here. But I figure, I've been telling all of these stories to all of these friends, and even though it's not a happy thing, it did happen. And before I even start, let me say that I am fine, and that all is now fine.)

Let me say first that this is a different host family from the first semester. I loved the Terada's from last semester, but they get a new host student every semester, regardless. So, this semester I was placed with the... let's call them the x's. Awesome match--they're mad close to school (less than ten minutes on my bike, and that's going up the hill), the mom is a doll, I have two host sisters (ages 24 and 27), and we go tons of different places. In the last couple of months we've been to a ryokan (Japanese style inn) that had hot spring baths, all different kinds of restaurants, and plans to go to Kyoto and other places as well.

So, why did I leave? Well, on Monday night, at around 10 o'clock my host sister and I were called downstairs by my host father. "Nee-san... Kaa-ra..." When I open my door I can see straight down the stairs to the front door, and my host mom was lying there on the ground, as if she had fallen. Turns out my host father had beaten her. A lot of yelling ensued after that (which I wasn't a part of), and my host sister calmed my host father down. Turns out that because my host mom didn't offer me rice at dinner my host dad got mad. And he was drunk, so it was a 'good and mad', and he hit her. (For the record, she did in fact offer me rice, and I said, "No thanks".) So once I got back up to my room I called my university (it was 9 am in Albany) and talked with the study abroad department. They started the paperwork going, and they also put me on the line with a counselor to talk with, which was much appreciated. In the morning I leave after everyone else has gone to work, so I went to school and talked over everything with them. That night they accompanied me to the house, talked with my host family (in amazingly polite Japanese reserved for situations such as this), and helped me move out and into the dorms.

I'm fine, I'm safe, I can't stress that enough--I don't want you guys to worry. I have a lot of friends here, and all of them have been amazingly supportive. People have been offering me food and ears and tea and fun since I first arrived--if any of you guys are reading this, I want you to know that I really appreciate it. My teachers also know what's going on, which is good. And now that I'm in the dorms, maybe I can get a little more studying done... or maybe not. -_^

Turns out that the Japanese view of domestic violence is very different from the America's. My friend was telling me about a movie she saw concerning the subject. In the movie, a wife goes to the police, saying that her husband just hit her and she needs help. The police respond with, "Oh, that's an issue between husband and wife, and we can't get involved in that sort of thing". Society pushes women out of the workforce when they have children, and many never return. This makes women dependent on their husbands, making divorce harder if not impossible in some cases. The whole situation stinks... the relative lack of gender equality in this society is one reason I can't see myself moving here permanently.

Okay, long winded and full of bad news, but that's my round up. Now that I'm in the dorms I have more computer access... hopefully that will equal more posts for you guys. ^_^

Oh! Next week is spring break, and I'm going to be traveling to Niigata, which is a ways North of Tokyo. I'm using a train ticket that, while super cheap, only allows me to use the slowest trains, so I get to do a bunch of sightseeing on the way. There's a planned day and a half in Tokyo, wheeee! I'm really looking forward to it, and hopefully I'll have a lot of pics to post for you guys.

And no, I haven't forgotten about the rest of my pictures from when Mark came, don't worry. :P

Alright, that's enough from me. Catch you again soon. ^_^

Labels: ,

:: Kazen @ Always Doing 8:22 AM [+] ::
:: ... 1 comments | backtrack ::

Yaaay! a Post! Booo... the subject. I'm glad you handled it the way you did, though. See, you have a good head on your shoulders, we don't need to worry (too much!) about you. Keep studying!
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