so in an attempt to help me (re)study Japanese and Chinese, I figured my writing/typing out my lesson will be better for me. I am technically about an N3/HSK3 level but I am going to start at the beginning. I will also include my tips and tricks for studying Japanese and Chinese which will also be available on my Tumblr blog. Feel free to ask any questions and I will try to answer them the best I can. Each Language lesson will in the Japanese/Chinese page respectively.
Onsen/sento are huge things in Japan. For those that don’t know, Onsens and Sentos are public bathing house. WHATT PUBLIC?? Yes public, meaning you will be getting stark naked with strangers. And don’t worry both men and women are separate. You can find mixed bathing house but there aren’t a lot of them and typically more expensive. But anyway, the difference between Onsen and Sento are that an Onsen is a hot spring, meaning that the water is heat by natural hot springs and Sento is the same idea but instead of natural hot springs, the water is heated by heaters. Both are perfect if you just want to relax.
So how do you do onsens/sentos? Well first you will get naked will other people, and while you may be completely and utterly self concise (like me), I swear no one is going to paying attention to you, no one will judge you. It was so embarrassing the first time I went to one with my friends whom I had just met like a week ago, since we are in the same program, and I was so embarrassed but there was people of all shapes and sizes just getting buck naked so I was like whatever, JUST DO IT. Anyway, next there are typically lockers that free that come with a key to lock you shit up, find one that is open put all you stuff in there. BTW, I should mention, some place will give you a small, free, rental towel but other places will charge you a couple of yen, so bring you towel if you can. After you enter the onsen/sento, find an open shower and rinse off/ take a shower.Whatever you feel like, you just need to wash the dirt from your body before you get into the bath since it is a shared bath. They will most likely have shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Once you rinsed off, you may now enter the bath. Also if you have long hair either put it in a bun or tie it up. Don’t let it in the bath. Relax, chill out, they usually don’t have a time limit, and then once you are done you can re-take a shower or just go back and put on your cloths. This is just your ordinary sento/onsen. Other place have more amenities to offer or other complementary things and more types of bath to check out. I suggest researching the place you are going to first to see what they offer. This is just How To for every onsen/sento. YOU HAVE TO WASH OFF FIRST BEFORE YOU ENTER THE BATH.
Now, there are a couple in Hikone, but I have only been to one so far. And that is the one in the hotel across lake Biwa. It is only a 7 minute bike ride form JCMU, which is sweet. This is an onsen, the water is heat by natural hot springs and it is one the 6th floor of the hotel. It gives you the perfect view of Lake Biwa and if you go at sunset, just no words, it is gorgeous The price is not bad at all, 600 Yen (ish) before 5 p.m. and 800 yen (ish) after. There is a little ticket machine next to the check in counter. That is where you purchase the tickets. You have to put the money in first and then click on the kanji that has this 大人 (adult). Bring you own towels if you can, some place give out a free small towel but other places, like this one, will charge you a couple of yen to rent/buy one. It does have hair dryers, shampoo, body wash, and conditioner. The hotel was formerly name Hikone prince hotel (and some people will still remember it by that name) but it is now called かんぽの宿 彦根 (kanpanoyado hikone).Directions: Leave JCMU and head toward the 7 eleven. Right before you hit 7 ELevem, there is a dirt path with the Bikwako on the right shoulder. Take that path straight down all way till you see the hotel.
So I have been super busy lately which it why I have
n’t updated this blog. But I am now. I know that I am shit at updating but I swear I’ll try to be better. Anyway today I went with one of my friends to the cafe cafe in Hikone city. It is called にやんこっこ (nyankoko).They don’t have an English site but you can try to google translate it (haha). It is pretty easy to operate though even if you don’t understand Japanese. You don’t need to make a reservation like most other places, you can just go anytime it’s open. The prices are not expensive. It is 900 yen for 1 hour or, I believe, 1,100 yen for free time which I think means unlimited. So I would suggest bringing your homework or something to do and just do that while you chill with the cats.And if you go during a special day in each month, they have a discount. Cat treats are about 100 yen and the drinks are 110 yen. Like I said, not too expensive. But speaking of the cats. They are so adorable. I recommend buying the treats because that way the cat will definitely come to you when they hear that bag wrinkling. A total de-stresser from classes and test if you need one.There are 2 floors of this place. There are about 13 cats in total there. It was a really relaxing atmosphere and they workers there were so nice but beware that they don’t speak much English so be prepared to speak that Japanese you have been learning. I can’t give you directions because I actually got a bit lost trying to get there but this student also wrote a blog on it with directions. So go check her out. But it was really nice day, a bit windy bur otherwise good. I don’t know how but I spent nearly 4,000 yen and I don’t know where it went ( I mean I do technically) but I’m in Japan, got to live a little (meaning I’m going to broke when I get back to the States if I keep saying that), lol.
So I am going to talk to you all about grocery shopping in Hikone, Japan. It is hard. For foreigners, it not like where ever you are from. You can’t get a lot of things that are international unless you live in a bigger city. Or you can buy online which you can do here. That site is the most popular, of course there are other ones. A quick google search can tell you that. But actual shopping. I’ll be truthful, I’m from America and I get spoiled while being in America, the food is super cheap and international. And then I get to Japan, I knew it was going to be expensive but damn I did not expect this. A bag of apples is like 5oo yen for 6. Very expensive to me, but that’s the way it is in Japan. Plus, I can’t get my
Anyway, there are there close grocery store in Hikone near JCMU: Beisha, Trial, and Al Plaza. out of the three, Beisha the most expensive, but it does have the better quality produce and the layout is much better. Trial is the cheapest. However, personally, the produce is sub-par and there aren’t as many choices or brand to choose from unlike Beisha. In Al Plaza, the grocery store is on same price level as Beisha but I don’t shop there very much so I can’t comment on the quality. But Al Plaza does have a 100 yen store (ひゃく円） on the 4th floor which I practically live for but understand that is not a Diaso! That is a different brand of 100 Yen store. Similar to how we have Dollar Tree and Dollar General in the States.
But here are some tips to grocery shopping:
Always go in with a list. Meaning know what you want and know what you are going to cook for the week. This will prevent over buying and FYI Japanese fruits don’t last long.
Recommend cooking Japanese dishes, easy ingredients you will be able to find.
Make sure to have some type of offline Japanese- English Dictionary. You will need it
Don’t be afraid to ask were something is, they will help you and be nice about it.
Make sure that when you buy laundry detergent it have this kanji on it 洗濯 and not柔軟剤 <- this one is fabric softener.
You will need to go to the grocery store like every week, that’s okay. it’s normal. Most of the things at the grocery store are small, unless you go to Costco to get bulk items.
The eggs here are fucking phenomenal, trust me try them.
Bread here is very thick.
Don’t buy more than you can fit in your basket.
Invest in some reusable bags, or else you have to buy plastic bags there to put your stuff in if you don’t. They don’t bag the grocery items. That is all on you.
items (like shampoo and conditioner) that come in plastic-bag like container are refills. Don’t buy them unless you already have a bottle to refill
I’ll add more when I think of more.
Directions: To get to Beisha from JCMU. Go out the front door and go right to the sidewalk and then take left. Go straight down that path. Do not take the dirt road that has the lake on the left sire of it. Continue on the actual sidewalk. you will pass about three signals. On the fourth you will see a Caiz store, go in that parking lot an go down a bit further, there Beisha. To Trial: Take the same way as Beisha except on the third signal, make a left and then keep going straight, it will be on your right hand side.
Long title, I know, lol. So for some who has never left home, and by that I mean living on her own, away from her family, you think its gonna be fine like you can’t wait to be away and on your own. But leaving the country is a bit different. I was so ready, I though I was gonna be fine, I couldn’t wait to leave. And then I got here and it was fun for the first day or two, like it hadn’t sunk in that I was here, in Japan- a totally different country than America. But then the reality sunk in and it was like I was in a constant state of wanting to cry. I still don’t why I wanted to, it’s literally only been a not even a week. I knew I was going to miss home. But it wasn’t even that, I just felt so lonely. I’m not the best at making friends really but it feel weird being cramping my dorm room just studying but I literally have no time to anything else because this language program is very intense. But I see other people going out and I want to join them I just can’t bring myself to ask. Always struggling between being an extrovert and introvert. And I had no problem being in my room at home, but see, some one was almost always home, I was never truly myself which is why think that I wanted to cry. And because Japanese buildings, at lest the one I’m in, doesn’t have insulation or central heating, everywhere besides your room which has a space heater is fucking cold, so like why would I venture out to the common room or something when I’ll be freezing?? But then it also feels like I haven’t done anything all day which makes me feel restless. It’s a double edge sword. I don’t even know anymore. I just never thought I’d feel this way. I was so comfortable in America with all my friends and family. I miss my friends that I can be myself around. I didn’t know living aboard would be this hard. I’m shit at Japanese even though I’ve taken three semesters of it and now I’m back at level but that what you get when you don’t study it for a year. I can’t read anything thing at the grocery store, I’m afraid to speak it because I think I’ll fuck it up. But this is me learning, learning how to survive in another country so different from my own, learning how be away from my comfort zone, learning how to travel because that it what I want to do when I grow older was to travel but now I’m not so sure if I’m cut out for it. And maybe it will get better the longer I’m here, maybe I won’t wanna leave but as of right now I’m homesick, well not really homesick but maybe more like comfort-sick, where I miss being comfortable. So the point to all this is for me to look back by the end of this semester and see if I still feel the same way. And for you guys, or for any one who might actually read my blog, to feel like your not alone when your missing home and you just feel like crying all the time and you don’t know why but mostly to let you guys know that you will feel this way inevitable at some point when you leave your comfort zone for the first time at least. Well, that is all I have to rant about this time.