Oh Buddha! I'm in amazement overload.

Everytime I go to add tags to these blogs the only one that pops into my head at first is Japan. And then I stop... and smile. BECAUSE I'M IN JAPAN. Had to get that off my chest.

So in my last blog I said I'd go into detail about a bit of shtuff ASAP and here I am, keeping my promise!

Just a shot while wandering around the Hotaru (Fireflies) festival.Firstly I'd like to tell you about Tanabata. It's an awesome little festival that lights up all the streets with bright colourful pieces of paper tied to bamboo. People write wishes and hopes on the paper. But there is a whole big yearn about the origin of the festival and what it's all about. Here comes the science! Kind of... On aprroximately the seventh day of the seventh month each year, there are two stars in the sky which align with each other. The story from China says that these two stars are two lovers who may only meet once a year. EXCEPT! If the sky is cloudy or rainy you can't see the stars right? Hence, the lovers can't meet because they're seperated by a river, or an ocean or whichever kind of barrier you like. I dunno if it was pointless telling this story but I thought it was pretty neat so there!

Next on the list was that I went to a Monkey Show. As a spur of the moment thing we went to see a monkey show in the shadow of Mt. Fuji. I didn't really understand that's what they meant when they asked if I wanted to go see monkies. I was warned before I left for Japan (Quoting Kevin Hickey again) that as with all cultures, there are probably lots of things that I don't particularly agree with or like, but to take it as a difference rather than a negative thing. I really can't say I liked the Monkey Show. I felt awful during it but I tried so hard to see the merits. On one hand, my god monkeys are amazing creatures! So flexible and have perfect balance! But on the other hand seeing a creature as wonderful as that dressed in a silly little kimono type thing and on a lead really annoyed me.

I guess it's just another lesson in life about the varying tastes and opinions of people. They're different! It makes life interesting.

Moving swiftly on from that slightly serious topic, I went to a baseball match!! It was DEADLY. I really would've slapped myself last year if I had said to myself that baseball was in anyway a fun spectator sport, but it is! The sport Just a snap of the CRAZY people at the basball match :)itself perhaps is not so interesting to watch. But I knew that already. It was the crowd at this match that made it so great. It was a hot, sticky day. Possibly the hottest day of the year at the time (we've had hotter since). And a group of about 40 or 50 odd Seiryo High School students all borrowed bikes off of friends and headed off to the other side of town to support their school team. I have seen baseball on tv before and wasn't mad about it, but over here it's TRULY more popular than bread. So when my friend Yuki (who speaks amazing english) asked me if I wanted to skip class and go with them I jumped at the chance to see what the fuss was about... and to get out of the clammy school building. Needless to say, I got sunburnt. Horribly sunburnt on my arms and I am still paying the price but it was well worth it. The crowd supporting Seiryo were literally jumping. People singin songs and dancing along the benches. In Sync! That was also the other bit... they all sang on time and danced in sync. It was such craic. I would definitely go again if I get the chance.

The following day I went on a hunt for money. My own money, don't worry I may have skipped school but I haven't started robbing people yet. This story itself isn't really all that great. I spent a day running around the place in a tizzy trying to find an ATM that would accept my card and then when that didn't work I trekked off to a far away bank to do a currency exchange. What is worthy of note however, is the kindness and sweetness of the japanese people who jumped at the chance to help me out. In every single bank, despite our communication difficulties, I had really kind and truly very helpful people giving me a hand. When the ATM in one bank wouldn't accept my card, the security guard walked me to the bank across the road and showed me the ATM there. When that didn't work and I decided a currency exchange would be best the lady behind the desk printed me off a map with directions and phone numbers, opening times and walking distance and all the things I could possibly need to get there. I was just so happy with how they helped and I am planning to drop into the bank with a small print of a photo from Ireland with a thank you note on the back. :)

Continuing on the how awesome japanese people are, on my way back from the successful bank, I found THE BEST CAMERA SHOP N THE WORLD!!

Wait, I literally was JUST approached by a group of Japanese women admiring my typing skills and the fact that I was a foreigner. (Am in an information centre with free internet) The friendliness of these people is oceans deep!

Anywhoo.... best camera shop in the world. I am also going to return to that shop with a thank you card because although the old couple who ran it and seem to live there spoke no english, their daughter lives in Australia with her family and was there at the time and talked the ear off me! She was superbly helpful though because she was able to guide me to where I found my new CF card reader which has uploaded all of these photos! :D So they too are going to recieve a thank you photo and I will snap the shop while I'm at it because the number of cameras in that shop literally goes through the roof. All kinds of wonders are sitting out in the sunlight and have collected a thick dusty layer. It's just full of character and I'm made for it.

I think this blog is long enough. In my next blog I want to tell you all about the amazingness of my two host families. Because I just recently moved and have so much more to say!

I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! :D

Lauren :)