Homestays and new experiences
So far on our journey, we have encountered so many kind people and even made some great new friends. The professors at the University of Fukui have been so helpful. Dylan basically takes us everywhere we need/want to go whenever he is available. It is really nice to have him around to help us read things and interpret what people around us are saying. A couple of the other professors have gone to the schools with us a few times, as well as to lunch. It is really helpful to have someone around that speaks English whenever possible. I am not sure what I would do without their support.
Along with the professors, we have also made many friends within the English Education Department. A few times we have observed and even taught a bit in Dylan’s English classes. Through that and our night and weekend trips with students, we have made so many friends. The seniors and super seniors have taken us out to dinner, and even came to a few of the schools with us to help translate and run bigger lessons. The super seniors even took us out for karaoke. In Japan, karaoke is very popular. You go to a place and reserve a room just for your friend group. There are couches, a table, a stage, and fancy lights in the rooms. They provide you with a tablet that has almost every song you can think of and two microphones. Karaoke was truly one of the best things we have experienced here!
Junior Fukui University students are the people we tend to spend the most time with here, and serve as our hosts for homestays over the weekends. The first weekend, Julia and I stayed in two different homes, but we met up to hang out as a group over the weekend. The students took us to the mall in Fukui called The Lovely Partner. It is one of the biggest malls I have ever seen. There is even a grocery store inside! We also got to try Japanese-style hamburgers at a place called Mos Burger. I can honestly say that it was one of the best hamburgers I have had. That evening we made Takoyaki. They are balls of dough, usually filled with octopus, but we made ours with sausage. They were very good!
On our second Saturday, we went to a castle with our host and two other students. We also tried Dango, Japanese sweet dumplings, which are chewy, bite-sized balls made with sweetened rice flour on bamboo skewers. It was not my personal style of dessert, but don’t they look pretty? The second and third night of the second weekend, we got to stay with Akiho, a student who came to Findlay with the Fukui Exchange Program. Julia was a host for one of her homestays in the US, and took her to Indiana. I went along with them as well. We visited Chicago and took her tubing on the lake. Since she had such a great time with us in the States, she wanted to do something fun for us while we were in Japan. She ended up taking us to Kyoto which is the equivalent of Chicago in Japan. It’s a huge city that is filled with shrines, shops and many other tourist spots.