Today the IES kids went to Kamakura. Since I’m such a good intern, I went along with. Before I go any further, I must mention how awesome I am. That is, I was supposed to be at the center between 8:00 and 8:15AM. Since I live out in Myoden, and usually leave myself an hour to leisurely get showered, dressed, and ready, I was planning on waking up at like 6. I even set my keitai alarm clock to wake me up at 5:45. Well, I decided even though I needed to be up earlier than I have all summer, to stay up until around 2 or so in the morning watching Kamen Rider Blade, which I brought with me. Yeeeeah, that didn’t work out so well. I remember waking up once around 3 because a HUGE mosquito was eating chunks of my flesh, but the next thing I know it’s 7:08AM. I definitely couldn’t not go on the Kamakura trip, and showing up late would be really bad since I’m supposed to be like staff or something.
First thing I do, of course, is check on my keitai what time my train leaves. 7:29, if I want to get to IES on time. Note again that it takes a bit under 10 minutes to walk from my apartment to the station. Somehow, I’m not really sure how, I managed to shower, get dressed, pack my bookbag, and RUN through heavy rain to the station in time to catch the 7:25 train! Since I’m pretty sure doing all that stuff in so little time is impossible, I will just assume that I am awesome.
Yes, it was raining. That’s not ideal for this kind of tour, where you go look at various temples and outdoor places. The bus ride wasn’t too bad, a bit under 2 hours with 1 rest stop, but I got a bit of a headache. Maybe it’s because I had my tornado of awesomeness getting me to the center on time. Anyway, I never get headaches, and I even less seldom take medicine, but I took some Tylenol on the bus. Worked I guess. I can’t remember the names of most of the places we went today, but I’ll cheat and read them off the schedule I have in front of me: Engakuji Temple (円覚寺), Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine (鶴岡八幡宮), Giant Buddah (大仏), and finally Hase-Dera (長谷寺). That was the order we went in. For the first two, it was raining hardcore and wasn’t so great to walk around in. By the time we were getting to halftime (AKA lunch), the rain was stopped and the weather was actually getting somewhat decent. The last two places were pretty sweet. I still would like to think that if I somehow ever get filthy rich, I’m going to buy a lot of land and make a house in old Chinese/temple style.
I’m not going to go into much more detail about each individual place, but I might a bit when I put up pictures (will be soon). One more interesting thing to talk about though: once again, I was mistaken for a Japanese person. I’m not talking about the just walking around the street kind of blending in, I’m talking about someone I’m actually having a conversation with. The first time it happened on this trip, last week or so, it was an IES student who didn’t know very much Japanese. He tried spitting out the sentence “Where did you study English?” Ummm yeah. It’s happened once or twice after that as well. Today’s was one of the summer students, Karen’s, host sister who came along, and we were talking or something and she asks me “So how long were you over there?. I at first assumed she was asking how long I’m in Japan for, and I asked “you mean this time?” until a few seconds later when I realized she was asking how long I was in America for, assuming I was a Japanese guy who studied abroad. So, it looks like my Japanese is somewhat decent enough to pass as a Japanese person. More importantly, my English is somewhat decent enough to pass as an American after a somewhat awkward explanation.
I’m never really offended when it happens, but I really think it’s kind of funny. There’s nothing like the distinct Japanese girl “へぇぇぇ？” (What?) when you say something like “No, I’m not Japanese, I’m American.” Maybe I should take it as a compliment.