I'll start from the top and we'll work our way down!
Quite some time has passed, and of course I've done a lot of things since I last blogged. (Although, mostly I've been studying as usual — not that interesting to write about tbh) Because I study so much, not a lot of time is left to stay in touch, but I do take a lot of pictures and while I would've liked to make one post per experience, it'll have to be combined like this.
Last week we studied a lot as usual at our usual place in Ueno and last Wednesday we had our last test before our final, big test, which is this Thursday. So after school was out, instead of going to study we went to an Izakaya that was nearby, and the Chicken they have there is amazing. You can see the giant boat they serve it in on the pictures, and it was so good. (We actually went back on Saturday too — no regrets!) They also had バカ size (Baka size) beer and drinks, and you can see on the pictures how big those were compared to just normal sized glasses, haha.
Of course it was a lot of fun, and the Japanese in the Izakaya all toasted with us and the mood of the place was great. The longer we stayed and the drunker the Japanese people at the other tables got, the more they started to crowd around us until our table was the only one who had people around it. Everyone squeezed in to talk to us, and not in a normal way either, but like really sqeezed in between and around us — It was crazy! They all wanted to talk to us, and take pictures with us, which was all fine, but when all of them started to ask us to kiss them and hug them things got a little weird. One of our friends worded it pretty well, saying that it was like Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack of the Titans) but with Japanese people, so we named the incident Shingeki no Nihonjin. Because it was like we were being stormed/attacked by a huge mass of Japanese people — but it was also a lot of fun. I couldn't stop laughing, and even now I still think it was a completely (crazy!) but hilarious experience. ( When we were leaving one of the guys literally had to grab my hand and pull me away from the Japanese people who all wanted me to hug them. It was... Yeah. Very interesting.)
On Saturday I went to a mixer that some of my classmates had invited me to — they have a Japanese friend who works as an English teacher, and he wanted his students to get to practice English, so he created the event and invited us to let his students practice English, and let us practice Japanese. It was a lot of fun. We got to play games and we had to speak only in Japanese while his highschool students were only allowed to speak in English. In that fashion we played Charades, guess the word, and held discussions about different topics. It's quite interesting, but here in Japan, when the school's teach English, they only teach the students how to read and write, but not speak. Afterwards the teacher told us it was a really good experience for his students, so that makes me happy that we got to help them be more brave in that aspect of using the English language!
After the mixer, we were invited to go to an Izakaya, and most of us came along even though the clock was only around 15.30 in the afternoon. (It is never too early for Izakaya!) It allowed us to practice a lot more before parting ways with the Japanese people, and it was a great experience that I would love to repeat.
Yesterday was Sunday and I finally got to take a walk around Ayase — however, it was cut a little short because my friends called and we decided to meet up, which had me turn back to go to the station, but I still got to see some nice buildings and scenery close to my block that makes me think that I'll definitely have to take a day soon to just walk.
We met up at Asakusa station and went to 浅草寺 (Sensō-ji — Asakusa's famous temple) I visited the market stalls that stretch out before the temple when I was in Tokyo last time, but never actually walked up to the temple (for some reason??), and it was really cool to go! The red colour is very noticable, and actually pretty beautiful in my opinion. Dragons were a theme too, and after taking a picture under the big red lantern I noticed that there was a dragon engraved on the underside of it as well and took a picture of that too.
I also went to a hairstylist who happened upon me when I was walking around Harajuku one morning before School and invited me to their hairsalon to style my hair and then take pictures. I brought my friends along, just in case it turned out to be something shady, but luckily it wasn't and I got to spend an hour and a half in front of a camera with someone's fingers in my hair. That was an interesting experience too, and they might want to colour my hair and photograph it again sometime, but I feel like I have to think about that a little more before accepting.
On another note, now is quite a hard time for everyone. Because we have our last test this Thursday, everyone is studying until our head hurts every evening because no one wants to fail. I feel like everyone's under a lot of pressure, doing their best to memorize and understand as much as possible — me included, of course. The test will be four hours long, and it will be both grammar, reading, listening and kanji, and it has me genuinely stressed out, and I keep thinking "What if I fail?", "I don't want to fail.", "But what if I fail?", and "I don't want to fail...", and so on and so on and so on. (I've always been like that when it comes to school though, so it's something I'm used to dealing with) But it's still nerve-wrecking. Of course you do your best, but at the same time you can't help but wonder if it will be enough. We're still learning new things everyday, and we will continue to do so up until the day before the test too, which means we'll only have that very same evening to learn to understand what the teacher's told us during class.
Japanese is hard and confusing, but it's also a lot of fun and interesting and I really want to understand it fully, so even though I'm anxious now I'll keep studying hard and do my best and pray that it will be enough to get me through the final test on Thursday and let me advance to the next level. And if it isn't, I'll just recap and do everything all over again. If anything, I'm stubborn, and I don't really know how to quit or give up, so even if I'll probably be frustrated (and angry) if that happens, I will still take it in stride. However, until Thursday I'll definitely do my best to succeed in the first place.
Japan is so much fun, and Tokyo is lovely. I feel like the more time I spend here, the more I realise there is to experience and try and see and do — and I love it. I'm really, really, really happy that I came here and that I've met the people I've met and am able to experience everyting I am experiencing, even if some of those experiences are challenging. I've always loved a challenge.