Crap, I almost forgot to update today!
Back from Hiroshima…I was really tired last night and today (in part because the weather suddenly got really cold overnight, and the wind was gusting so hard that it woke me up at 5:30 AM, and I ran out onto the porch to rescue my clothes from being blown into the Clothing Black Hole over the railing). I also realized that I didn’t have nearly as much fun as I thought I would, because the sheer amount of blatantly unfriendly staring and the surprising amount of snide “oh, she’s an idiot foreigner who probably doesn’t understand Japanese, so let’s mock her” comments really stressed me out and kind of ruined my weekend. I’m used to only having those moments occasionally–I can handle sparing ones. My nerves were really fraying at the end, though, and even in Okayama, when boarding my train back to Ikeda, I got this really imperious, almost affronted stare from a woman on the train car I boarded.
However, when I let it slip to my JTE today, she immediately worked it into the lesson we did with the 3rd-years, insisting that it was an important lesson in awareness that the students needed to know. And it did open the kids’ eyes–while I doubt they ever were rude to a foreigner the way half the population of Hiroshima was this weekend, they probably didn’t realize how we feel when we’re singled out just for not being Japanese, and I could tell that it did get them to start thinking. I really am grateful for my JTE.
There was plenty of good this weekend, though…I walked a lot and my legs feel more toned, and I also had a lot of chances to relax. Since I’m not big on “nights on the town,” and I would never go into a bar alone, I ended up hanging out in coffeeshops all 3 nights, which isn’t something I really get to do here at all. I also got to eat a pretty wide variety of foreign foods…excellent Indian, Italian, Indonesian, Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, mediocre Indian, and Tex-Mex. I bought some goodies–candle holders at Loft (they didn’t have the lamps I’d been eyeing…however, there’s a Loft in Takamatsu, which I can totally hit up some weekend, and fill my car with all the Lofty goodness I couldn’t carry in my arms on the bus/train! SWEET!), a new sweatshirt at UNIQLO, a couple of used books (The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass – Stephen King, and another book that’s a discussion between an Indian Hindu and a Japanese Buddhist about spirituality) and some used CDs at BookOff (“Hangin’ Tough” – New Kids On The Block, “Spellbound” – Paula Abdul, “Best Friends” – Yoroiden Samurai Troopers/Ronin Warriors OST).
There’s a lot I could write about the Peace Park (besides the fact that I was accosted by Jehovah’s Witnesses) and Itsukushima Jinja on Miyajima, but those kind of deserve their own entry–particularly the bomb memorial and Peace Park.
Tonight I gave Julie another violin lesson. The weather got freaking cold, to the point that I actually had to pull out my heavy grey coat (it was probably overkill, but it felt so nice…as cold as it is, I’m astonished that I couldn’t see my breath outside). Instead of making her walk 20 minutes in the cold to catch a train, I drove 15 minutes in my heated car out to Mikamo after dinner, and we talked for an hour after our lesson, which honestly reenergized me and gave me a huge lift after feeling fairly dejected after the weekend (and after repeating one of my snide-comment stories 8 times over the course of 2 classes, since we’d made a “how was your weekend?” dialogue where it featured prominently; obviously that didn’t help my efforts to get my mind off it).
Okay, less than 20 minutes to get this in…and I really should get to bed. Good night, guys.