January 24, 2011

The Week in Review

Posted in Japan, LEX Internship at 11:11 pm by catsinboxes

Looking back over my first week in Japan, there’s quite a lot I could say. On Tuesday and Wednesday I was able to experience normal days of office work. Right now LEX Japan is getting ready to send delegate application forms to the US. My job has been to go through the forms and make sure that delegates have adequate health information. Often there is additional information attached in Japanese. One of the women I work with will translate this for me, and then if necessary, I add this to the form. It’s a fun job, involving a bit of conscise word crunching.

The LEX office

I love the environment in the LEX office, and the best way to describe it is to relate a slight misadventure of mine. On Tuesday morning, I took the subway all by myself. I was okay until I arrived at Shibuya train station. (From Shibuya I walk to the office) Shibuya is a very, very large train station, and I realized that I had no idea which way I should leave (north, south, east, or west). I found a pay phone and called the office. The lady I work with, Hiroko, told me the name of the street I needed to find and advised me to ask one of the station workers. I was a little worried because usually the station workers don’t speak English, but the man I asked did speak English very well. He gave me directions in perfect English; it turned out I was just down the street from where I needed to go, and off I went. When I walked into the office everyone (and there are at least 30 people!) started clapping! It was very funny, and I had to laugh.

After three days of work, I was ready for a fourth, but on Thursday morning matters took a different turn. I woke up sick and with the unhappy knowledge that there was no way I could head into the office. My bug, some kind of cold and fever, continued through Friday and over the weekend, making things pretty low-key!

By Saturday afternoon, I felt well enough to attend my host family’s Hippo Family club meeting. Afterward there was a party at the home of the LEX fellow for an exchange student from Korea. At the end of the party, as I was getting ready to leave, he asked me how long I was staying in Japan. I answered, “8 months”, and then I asked him when he was going back to Korea. He laughed and said, “Next week!” It made me smile; I really am here for a while!

 

My host family's LEX Family Club

I do feel like I’m coming along nicely learning Japanese. I still have a very long way to go, but on Saturday I was finally able to remember several phrases that have been evading me all week. There was quite a sense of achievement!

That’s all for now; come back soon for pictures that I took on a walk around my host family’s neighborhood . . .

January 15, 2011

Arrival in Japan

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:23 pm by catsinboxes

I often read in books about people waking up and suddenly remembering that they’re in a new place. I was always rather skeptical of such an experience . . . until today. This morning I woke up and lay in bed. Without opening my eyes, I knew where I was (in my room in Wisconsin) and just what I would see when I opened my eyes. Just as quickly as the thought came, it left as I realized, “I’m in Japan!!!”

I arrived yesterday and am now settling into life with my host family. I just returned from biking to the park with my host mom. It was about a 10 minute bike ride and very fun. The weather here is chilly (my hands are still warming up, should have worn gloves!), but it is much, much warmer than Wisconsin. While the trees are bare, some of the hedges are flowering, and I even noticed some pansies in a window box.

This afternoon my family is having a welcome party for me, and I will be able to meet members of their Hippo Family Club. I’ll be sure to take pictures. Now I’m off to study some Japanese and spend time getting to know my host family.

P.S.  My apologies for not posting this earlier: more will soon follow!

January 13, 2011

On my way . . .

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:02 pm by catsinboxes

I’m writing this in O’Hare airport.  Soon I’ll be getting on my plane and heading toward Japan.  In the past few weeks I’ve been so busy, but the lines of one of my favorite hymns has been going through my head.

“Hither to thy love hast blest me,

Thou has brought me to this place,

And I know thy hand will lead me,

Safely home by thy good grace . . . “

~Thank you to all my friends for your encouragement, support, and prayers.