A Package from Home

Originally published on 26 June 2006. This post is part of a series of “e-mails to home” from my first ever solo trip to teach English in Japan!

Hi there all. The past few days have been up and down, so I’ll just hit the highlights for you.

We (the Americans) got the silent treatment at work Friday, save for corrections and necessary instructions. We were supposed to have a Japanese lesson from Yoko, but she wasn’t feeling well, so it got cancelled. Whew! I was dreading it. It’s very frustrating and discouraging for me. I don’t feel like I learn anything because I don’t understand anything they say, and they give us no clues. I’d thought Yoko wasn’t feeling well and she seemed irritated for some reason (and directed it at us, especially Anna), but I think the reason for class cancellation was more because she didn’t want to deal with us as much as we didn’t want to deal with the lesson. We don’t even have a Japanese lesson scheduled for them this week–hooray! That’s not to say they won’t add one, but I think everyone hopes not!

Saturday I was still in a not-so-wonderful mood thinking about the day before, but things really picked up. To start off, the man and woman I ordered pearls from called and brought them over! I got earrings for Mom and a bracelet for me. That really put a positive spin on the day!

The rest of the day actually turned out to be sunny and beautiful. I biked around to explore a little and went to the three Jingu museums in town–one about agriculture, one for fine art, and one for the shrines. I’m still a little in the dark about Shintoism and shrines. I think Jingu is perhaps a special kind of Shintoism? Probably not actually. I have no idea–it’s all in Japanese! The good thing about all the descriptions of the displays being in Japanese is that I’m not tempted to read them, so I got through all the exhibits quickly.I usually read everything and it takes me hours to get through a museum! I was very impressed with the size and setup of the museums. For such a small place (but with so much history and culture tied to it), I was amazed at how nice everything was. I think the museums are fairly new. And I got to see all three for 700 yen (maybe around $6.50?). I thought that was a good deal!


So after I got culturally enlightened and saw all that neat stuff, I went to the grocery for lunch and something to take to school for supper. The guys at the Japanese deli know my face (I’m pretty easy to spot around here) and always say “Ohayo!” (Good morning!) when they see me. They’re so friendly! I got my squid sushi and cucumber rolls and a salmon riceball and went back to the apartment to get ready for work.

When I arrived, lo and behold there on the table was a box from home! My parents sent oatmeal, a book about a little girl and her kimono, dried fruit, instant jello mix, lotion from Bath and Body for the girls at work and Mrs. Koda, Fourth of July flip flops and socks, my teddy bear, and various other “American” things. If a package from someone who loves you doesn’t brighten up your day, nothing will! I talked to Mom online for a little while and thanked her a lot.

Then I ate some sushi and left for school with the lotions for the girls. I think everyone was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel (tomorrow is a day off!), and having a sunny day helped, too. After I gave them the lotions, though, everyone seemed to be in better spirits. (I wasn’t trying to suck up, but I sure was glad it made them happy!

Mrs. Koda came in with pictures for me from my visit with them to the bar on Sunday. She can brighten even the darkest day because she’s just so cute and always happy! She said she and Mr. Koda are going to take us to some fitness center where they have hot springs and a pool, etc., in a couple of weeks. I’m excited about getting to try out the hot springs! More to look forward to!

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