Japan 2014 post 27

October twenty eighth
Today I woke up early so that I wouldn’t miss Robin on his birthday. But maybe 7:15 was too early, as they were in the middle of a farm meeting when I tried to call. But after they finished they called me back, and I had a good talk with everyone. Happy Birthday Robin!
At breakfast time I poured myself a bowl of granola, opened the fridge, and cried. There was no milk! I decided that I would just eat my cereal dry, but I couldn’t find a spoon either! So I ended up eating dry granola with a fork. After I finished my odd breakfast, I went back up to my room and did my devotional, and a workout. I had a shower once I finished, then I watched parkour videos for a little while. Reiko and I had study time together, and she and I (mostly her) wrote an abbreviated journal or yesterday. In Japanese. As we went through it, she explained words and phrases that I didn’t know. Once it was finished she had me read through it out loud, and she said my pronunciation was excellent. I think that was a good way to study, but since there were new words in it, I’ll have to read the piece everyday for a while in order to learn them. We studied for about half an hour, then Reiko showed me where the park was. She had to buy groceries, so she walked with me on her way, then let me find my way back alone. It was very easy to get to, so I won’t have trouble getting back. And just to be sure, Reiko drew a map for me. I practiced parkour and freerunning for an hour. There are a lots more obstacles in this park than at the one near Catherine’s house, so it was awesome for training. I’m hoping to shoot a video there someday.
When I got home I did my blog posting for the day, and bought a song in preparation for the aforementioned video. That way I’ll sort of know what mood the video will be, and I’ll have the music for it. All I have to do now is get the clips!
We had a great lunch. I had a yummy bread and sausage thingy, a cucumber, a bowl of ikura and rice, and a cake roll. It was delicious. After I finished eating, which didn’t take long, I went back to the park for another hour. Since I’ve started stretching before and after training, I wasn’t too sore yet. But I bet I’ll feel it tomorrow. I managed to get in lots more good training, and even worked on more physically straining things than earlier. While I was working on flips off a couple rocks, I saw a middle aged lady coming towards me. I stopped what I was doing, because I didn’t want to get in trouble, but she started our conversation by saying “Sugoi jumpu!” Great jumping. Parkour doesn’t seem to have a name in Japanese, or at least it’s not popularized yet, so it was hard to explain what I was doing. She wasn’t mad at all though, in fact she was impressed. We ended up having a good conversation (in Japanese). I didn’t understand every single word she was saying, but it was usually enough for me to formulate some sort of response. Though of course there were a few times where we just looked at each other, trying to understand or reply! But we always sort of figured it out. She asked where I was from, was I staying nearby, what grade was I in, and the like. She was very friendly. It turned out that she was a teacher at the school Momoka goes to, which is right across the street from where I was doing parkour. Sometime in the conversation, she pulled out some pieces of paper with Japanese and English printed on them. They were about a different branch or tradition of Buddhism. It was actually pretty interesting. Come to think about it, it sounded similar to Jesus’ story. It was about a lesser Buddha, but he was a great mind. And Japan hated him, and tried to kill him, but they couldn’t. Then he crushed them somehow (I think it involved a lot of light and a great force from the sky), and anyone who believes in him and tells other people about him will surely be happy. I think you were also supposed to say his name three times a day. So it wasn’t exactly the same, but the similarities were interesting. I didn’t realize those similarities until today though.
Once I got home, Reiko and I went to Jusco to do some shopping. She needed to get a card for Keito (today was his birthday), and I wanted to buy some shorts. I ended up getting a pair of shorts, as well as a sports t-shirt. Reiko really liked it, so she said she would buy it for me if I liked it. It was really nice, and felt so smooth and soft, almost like velvet. So I accepted her gift. She ended up paying for my shorts too, despite my protests! We moved onto the card place, and I ended up finding a little something for a present to take home too. Reiko got the card, and we went home. The workout, two hours of parkour, and intense Japanese session were getting to me, so we both had a nap when we got home. We have two hours of volleyball tonight, so I wanted to be ready. I can’t sleep of course, so I just watched parkour videos. But that was enough rest.
After that I went for a quick walk to the park, around the park, then back home. I worked on my story for half an hour before supper. I’m fairly pleased with my progress.
Reiko and I had a bit of rice and curry before leaving for volleyball, which was good because it was intense! When we got to the school who’s gym were renting, we found that the usual entrance had been blocked. It took a while to eventually find a staff person with keys for a different entrance, but luckily there was another team member so we weren’t alone. We set up the gym next, including pulling a huge net across half of the gym, as we’re sharing it with a basketball team. I noticed that one of the players on the basketball team had a ton of tattoos. On his back, and arms, and chest. I thought they looked pretty sweet, but they’re very uncommon in Japan. Usually only gang members get them, and you’re not allowed to do certain things if you have them. For instance you can’t go to the onsen (public baths), and it would be very hard to get a job. But they did look nice.
Our group today was made up of several people from Saturdays volleyball, as well as a few people who are new to me. One of whom has a daughter in junior high who also plays on the team. We started the same way as Saturdays, by hitting the ball around in a circle before playing. I like doing that.
The games were a lot like Saturday as well. Not much laughter, but still a good time. It was more serious. One of the men from Saturday was playing, but I managed to block a few of his spikes! Although once on of them just tipped the top of my hand and hurt my finger. But I still had a great time, and wished we could keep playing once we had to stop. I really like volleyball, and Reiko thinks I’m improving lots.
For supper I had an enormous bowl of curry and rice, some pickled carrots, daikon, tomatoes, and cucumbers, and frozen strawberry mochi for desert. It was a great end to a great day. But with great days comes the need to sleep, so I went to bed without writing my journal. But that’s ok.
Christopher
P.S. I should’ve mentioned that yesterday at the amusement park I was able to use lots of Japanese with Reiko and Keito! image

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