What I’ve learned in two days..

Here are a few things that I’ve learned in Japan these past two days:

There is such a thing as too much rice. 
After moving to Austin, I don’t eat as much rice as I used to. I believe I’ve eaten more rice these past two days then the past two and a half years that I have lived in Austin, and frankly I’m tired of it. Maybe it’s because I just experienced a sushi belt, but right now I could use a lot of veggies or a salad. Okay, maybe not right now because it’s 2334 right now.

Things are cheaper in Japan.
Okay, maybe not that much cheaper. Also, as a side note, the exchange rate favors the dollar right now. That being said, we ate at the school’s cafeteria today and I got about four plates of dishes (fried eggplant, okonomiyaki on a skewer, rice, and miso) and it came out to be 290 yen. 290 yen is roughly $2.90. Let’s think about that for a second and remember that lunch at my school for that amount of food would come out three times what I paid for. Also, there is a lot more variety! Maybe it’s because we’re not accustomed to that type of food so it was more exciting. A lot of other things like clothes and stuff are just a bit cheaper and the things that I’m interested in are less expensive because I don’t have to pay import fees. That being said, I’m actually not spending as much as I expected.

Buying gifts and souvenirs is really annoying.
I’m never asking a friend to buy me something from their own trip ever again. Enough said.

People are very friendly and warm.. even if they will laugh at (or with?) you with their mouths covered.
Yesterday, my group and I stumbled upon a temple and even though we screwed up and placed our shoes in the wrong side of the building, the priest was kind enough to let us walk in and even answer some of our questions. (Some priests spend ten years in the mountains! Some priests go days without drinking water!! Some priests can get married!!!) We also went into this tiny French(ie Davis) bakery and even though I just bought a small slice of strawberry cake, the owner was very kind and offered the six of us free tea. (Fun fact, telling someone from Texas will bring a smile to their face). Yes, they might laugh at you, but it might be because they’re shy and not used to foreigners. They’ll still be very friendly. Don’t know english and you’re awkwardly paying for something? They’ll still treat you very well. Even our buddies are some of the nicest people in the world. We can all stand to learn something from them.

That being said, Beppu is used to tourists. I’m not sure how we will be received if we were in another city.

Here are some of the more “educational” things that I’ve learned:
-Proper tea ceremony protocol
-Flower arrangement
-Saying “thank you” in Japanese
-Don’t eat too much rice
-I’m not as drunk as I thought I would be (no alcohol yet what?)
-When they say that “pericura” (photobooths) are popular in Japan.. welp, that’s an understatement
-How to make and serve tea. In fact, I served my school’s dean tea and she served me!
-There are a lot of things that I wish that the United States could adopt.. Like vending machines everywhere with hot coffees and teas.

Things I need to work on:
-Stop being a whiny baby. Am I whining too much? Maybe. Hopefully not. We’ll see.

I’ve been having a blast. Right now, it’s 11:50 pm. I’m going to get to bed and I’ll be visiting a steel factory and another mall (ugh?). I’ll catch ya’ll on the flipside.

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