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My Web Site -- Japan

Shinto I by Mary Ellen Long

Back to the Beginning · About Me · Resume
2001 Aug - Dec
2002 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
2003 Feb Mar Apr

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16 Feb
Arrived back from Kagoshima City, where I spent the weekend. On the plane, ended up sitting next to a very kind woman who teaches Japanese at one of my schools. She always initiates conversations with me whereas most of the teachers avoid me altogether. She gave me a shogi (Japanese calligraphy) set last year, which I haven't touched in months--shame on me. She's always very patient with me as I trip and stumble my way through the Japanese language. We chatted in Japanese the whole way back. I was amazed, though, at how utterly horrendous my Japanese has become. It's as if, now that I have decided to go home, my brain has simply given up on it.

17 Feb
Got on the wrong bus this morning. All of the bus names are, of course, written in kanji (Chinese characters). As I don't have a hope in hell of reading most of them, I use the following very effective system for taking the bus. First, I stand on the side of the street that follows the direction I want to go. I stand in front of the bus stop and stare impatiently down the street, waiting for a bus to approach. After a minute or so of waiting, I consider taking a taxi. I glance at the clock and wonder whether I even have time to wait for the bus, since my first class is starting in about 15 minutes. I continue debating until a bus finally does approach, at which point I am so relieved that I get on without bothering to try and read the destination name written on the front. I don't even ask the busdriver where he's going. Instead, I just ride along until we turn the wrong way and suddenly I realize we're headed in exactly the opposite direction of where I want to go. I then quickly press the bell, walk to the front of the bus, tell the busdriver I took the wrong bus, pay full bus fare even though we've only gone about half a mile, exit the bus, and start all over again. Or I give up and just get a taxi. This morning, though, I was lucky. The kind busdriver (the same one who played Name That Keitai Tune with me last March) let me off without making me pay. He's a sweetheart.