Made in Japan: Hello Spring! ハロー春!

平成二十四年五月十九日 05/19/2012

Spring break has ended and we are about a month into classes. It confuses me to see friends so excited about the end of the semester when I am just starting mine. It makes me SO jealous of their summer break, but I have to remember that I had a two month long spring break. I can’t be jealous.

Cherry Blossoms at Shinjuku Park

Speaking of the new school year, in Japan, the beginning of the school year is spring. Students are lucky, because spring means cherry blossoms and right before school starts everyone goes to お花見 or flower watching. About a week before school started, my friends and I went to Shinjuku Park and had an awesome lunch together. We talked, ate, watched the cherry blossoms, and relaxed. When viewing cherry blossoms, alcohol is usually consumed. I’m trying to keep this clean as possible, but it is “tradition” to drink, play traditional card games, and have fun under the cherry blossoms. I was really surprised at first when I saw everyone was drinking with little babies and kids around them. I had asked my friend if this was normal, they had said that お花見 is basically a reason to drink and relax with family, friends, and co-workers. Amazing how strong the power of the cherry blossom is! 桜の力!Sakura power! The cherry blossoms were indeed absolutely beautiful. I wish they would stay all year long, but their impermanence is what drives everyone to go view them in the two week time span they have. I have to say, I was impressed by the cherry blossoms, but when my parents bought our house years ago (in the US), they planted a weeping willow cherry blossom. It made me think of the times when I didn’t even appreciate it, however when I am home during the spring time again, I will definitely have a picnic under it.

Just before the cherry blossoms took full bloom, I was extremely happy to have both of my parents take time out of their busy schedules to visit me in Japan. At times it was difficult, because I don’t think they enjoyed the fact that I was “in charge” of them. It made me happy to show them around and give them an insight on what my life has been like the past months. After their trip, I realized how much I have learned in this amount of time and the self-empowerment I have built up . Japan was a culture shock at first, but I can honestly say, I  don’t want to return to the United States. Haha. I’m not sure how I’m going to react when I have to leave, because I don’t want to at all. I feel like I’ve planted roots and just as soon as they are sprouting I have to yank them out and plant them again.

Final Match!!!

Well, I try not to think about leaving too much, because I still have those 3 months left to have adventures. I’m trying to plan as many as I can in this last stretch of the race. One such adventure I experienced was Sumo wrestling! I went yesterday to 両国国技館 or Sumo Hall and watched the matches that were held. It was such an interesting, traditional experience. The Sumo wrestlers were so HUGE. I couldn’t believe a person could be that large. I can honestly say that I have a new hobby and that is watching sumo. The whole atmosphere was low-key, but bouts of high energy and enthusiastic shouts and yells for fan favorites was so exciting. Also, the entire ceremony was polite and courtesy amongst  all the wrestlers. The matches were very fast, almost less than 2 minutes, but the process of intimidating the other player and introductions were about 10 minutes. I hope I can watch Sumo on TV in the United States! I really enjoyed it.
Speaking of large people, this week I got off of the train and I saw the tallest Japanese man alive! I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was the size of a small bus. His name is Okayama Yasutaka. I really couldn’t believe it. I felt bad though, because EVERYONE, including me, was staring at him. Absolutely unbelievable though.
I’ve had an exciting week, but I need to stay focused with school! I have two more months of school and three more months until I return to the United States. More adventures will come, I hope!