Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Zakka tour

For the past week or so, I have felt so happy, the reason being that I finally feel at home here. I shall do my best to explain.

Some time last week, something just clicked and everything seemed to fall into place. I think perhaps the feeling of hostility towards a new culture or environment that culture shock is said to often bring has passed and in theoretical speak, I am at stage three - 'acceptance and embrace'. Oh dear, I sound like a self help book, forgive me.

Since arriving in Japan in August, I've had some happy times here and there but for the most part, have felt utter bewilderment. Feeling bewildered can assume many guises and mine made me feel even more sensitive than usual;I feel I can be honest now and admit openly (where better than here eh?)that there have been many tears since August. I worried about everything. I felt tired and fatigued all the time. I found it difficult to recall my reasons for wanting to come to Japan. The thing that upset me most of all was that I felt I had lost my curiosity. What's more, all the other Westerners I know here seemed to be throwing themselves into life and really assimilating well. I felt so tentative and hesitant about trying to embrace things.

I have been having the best time ever lately, namely because I am filling my time with fun things. I have started Japanese classes and look forward to seeing Hanh and Hoi, my two Vietnamese friends there each week. They always cycle me home and we speak in broken Japanese all the way. My lessons at school have been going so well. I feel such an attachment to and genuine fondness for my students now. Instead of seeing a sea of forty blank faces, I can pick out names, faces and personalities from each class. I still have a few difficult classes - Japan is the land of the silent child, but I am learning to coax them into participating.

This is Yumi. I met Yumi at a party a couple of weeks back. Yumi likes arty little shops, making things, cake eating and stamp collecting. Today, we went on a zakka tour. Zakka is the Japanese word for very small and cute things and ya is the Japanese word for shop. Yumi is oozing with enthusiasm and she is the prettiest stamp collector I know.

I went to a Halloween party in Takamatsu last week. My camera ran out of batteries so I only got a few snaps. Here is Yumi, Ed and I.

Cat, an Obaasan (Japanese grandma) and witch

This weekend, I am going to Kyoto, so a more picture filled entry is on its way soon. Ahh, I feel so happy to be here! I am beginning to find some beauty in Marugame; I must take a picture of the trees by the castle. The leaves have turned the most beautiful shades of red and golden. I am so excited about all the trips I have coming up; Kyoto this weekend, Osaka the weekend after (I'm going to stay in a capsule hotel - google it!) and a trip to Fukuoka in Kyuushu in the next national holiday we have coming up. I'm not sure if seven months is long enough for my lovely new friendships to blossom and to see and do all the things I have planned :-)


1 comment:

  1. Awwww, Isabel. I'm so happy for you. How delightful that you're going to Kyoto. Can I recommend, if the opportunity arises, staying in a traditional ryokan (bed & breakfast Japanese-style) there? And Nara's temples, in addition to all the weirdly tame deer, are well worth seeing. Sending lots of love from London. We love your photos! xoxo