{Shaun in Japan}

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Hello from Himeji

Posted by Shaun

So, I'm back in Japan, studying Japanese on an intensive language scholarship program.
This blog is not in any way sponsored by or associated with said program. And so on and so forth.

I want to apologize to everyone that I told I would update my blog.

I'm safe, I'm having a good time, I'm learning a lot, but I am not in a blogging brain space right now. I can't promise I will update much at all.
First of all, I'm speaking Japanese almost 100% of the time, so for the most part I'm thinking in Japanese, so writing decent entries is hard.
Second, updating feels like homework, and I have a lot of homework and I spend a lot of time in class, so when I leave, the last thing I want to do is do anything that feels required. Sorry.

Third, and probably most significantly, I'm not in the reflective frame of mind required to keep a good blog. I'm actually trying to avoid reflection as much as possible.
If I start thinking and reflecting, then I start thinking about my future, and how I have no idea what I'm going to do after I finish this program. Everyone here is so motivated, with big plans for the future.
And then here I am, the burnt out recent grad with no plan and no energy for chasing her dreams.

I hope you're beginning to see why I'm trying to avoid reflecting.

I like Himeji much better than Tokyo, though. The thing I like, which is also the hardest to get used to, is how small the city is. There are 500,000 people here, but I see the same people every day when I walk to the bus every morning, and the university I'm studying at is so small that you run into people you know all the time, unlike Waseda, which was so crowded that you could pass someone you know while walking to class and never know it.

Tonight I had the really weird experience of having a guy in a van pull up to the sidewalk and ask me which direction Himeji Castle was.  I think he actually had been trying to get my attention for a couple of minutes previously.When I walked past the convenience store, he pulled into the parking lot and was saying something that sounded to me like "naname, naname" which would be "diagonal, diagonal," but it might have been "ano ne, ano ne" "um, hey... um, hey..."
From the way he pointed at the dashboard of his car while he talked to me, I guess his car GPS was messing with his head or something. I told him Himeji Castle was in the opposite direction that he was going and then he suddenly noticed I wasn't Japanese.
It was dark, and I was wearing one of my more Japanese-fashion-type outfits, and he saw me from the back first, but I'm not sure how he mistook me for anyone but a foreigner, but after I answered his question he said "Ah! Gaijin-san desu ka?" "Oh! You're not Japanese!" and then he started asking me where I was from and how long I had been in Japan and how old I was. It was really uncomfortable, but I couldn't figure out if he was honestly just lost in the dark in an unknown place, out of it, and then curious about the new person he accidentally started talking to, or if he had some kind of creepy intentions. But it's definitely one of the weirder interactions I've had with a random stranger in Japan...

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