A couple of weeks ago, I went to Kenshukan to brush up on some of my Japanese.
I was pretty much panicked. How was I going to make it onto the ferry and onto the proper connecting bus and find the right hotel? What if the taxi didn’t know where the building for the classes was? (I had been told that that was a likely possibility). Well, it all turned out alright when my supervisor announced that his son would be on all the same transportation about 5 minutes before I boarded the ferry. Would have liked to have known sooner that, if I screwed up, someone would be there to help me, but hey. I’m not complaining.
I will complain about the ferry a little bit. It was the week of Obon, a holiday/festival time to honor the family’s ancestors and pray for them. And then have some good ol’ fun and see fireworks and whatnot (which I had seen the night before my departure. And I must admit that Japanese fireworks are the prettiest I’ve ever seen. More on those later). Anyway, the ferry was crowded. The poor boy and myself got stuck sitting outside on the rusty-ish floor. I wasn’t so pleased about those seating arrangements, but the company was good, relatively entertaining, and insightful.
And then there was the hotel. It smelled like smoke, there was dried blood on my sheets (which I most certainly did NOT use), and there were these grates in the floor so you could see down to the levels below you and beyond. Of course, my room was in a dark, only faintly lit corner. I was not pleased. But, it was a place to sleep, no creepers came to my door, and I could take as long and hot a shower as I desired (which I did).
Kenshukan itself was rather enjoyable. We began class every day with one student standing and ordering us to kiritsu (stand up), ki wo tsuke (…it could translate to ‘stand up straight,’ I guess…), and rei (bow). And then we sang “If You’re Happy and You Know It” just about every morning in Japanese.
I got to meet many of my fellow Shimane JETs and we had a good time living, learning, and going out together. I must admit there was less learning than the course seemed to have been intended for, and much MUCH more playing and going out.
After Kenshukan was orientation for two days, where I got to meet even more Shimane JETs. Then, finally, after just over a week, it was time to go home. I was happy to return, and not so happy at the mukade that greeted me at the door….