Ishida House, Matsudo

It's a weekend! I got to sleep in today, although I really shouldn't have. After I got up and ate, I commandeered the family's internet for a few hours. I set up the journal website so that it doesn't look quite so naked anymore, and added in the journal I kept two years ago. I even got a chance to video chat with mom, Clay and Bill to introduce them to the Ishida family.

After that, Yuto, Naoto and I went outside to play hacky-sack. Despite Mayuko and a few friends doing their best to get their heads knocked off (by randomly running, biking even, through the circle), we had fun. Once Naota understood the goal, he didn't want to go inside until we pulled off another double hack. We stayed out there for at least an hour.

While we were playing, at about 5:00 I heard a loudspeaker play some music through the neighborhood. I asked what it was, and Naota explained that it meant that children's playtime was over. They've got a communal playtime, I was wondering why there were so many other kids running around.

We had dinner, tempura, and afterwards Yokoo-sensei (my old host mother) came over and we all walked to Kita-Kogane for the festival. I took lots of pictures with my fancy phone, but most of them are kinda dark without any flash. I even took a few movies. Once I figure out how to get them onto my computer, I'll upload them.

After we got back home, somehow classical music came up in conversation. I couldn't remember what the piece I was thinking of was, so I pulled out my Nodame Cantabile game and showed them (it was Carmen Fantasy, by Sarasate). All of them like classical music to some degree, and the kids were especially interested in the game. Great fun.

One of the most striking things I remember about being in Japan is the rate at which you learn the language. Having been here a week, I can affirm that the head rush is even more ludicrous than I remember. I'm just hearing so much, all the time, that it's impossible not to understand some of it. The weird thing is that I'm understanding more and more of it. The more I know, the faster I learn, so the data flow is growing exponentially. I've had to remind myself that something I was listening to was in Japanese, because I understood it so fluidly. I'm actually constructing sentences in real time, even though I hardly spoke Japanese at all the last time I was here. I find myself participating in conversations instead of just observing them. This is awesome. The task of learning an entirely new language is seeming far less daunting than it did a week ago.