Exploring the City and Japanese TV

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Today was the first day of the Orientation week that we had nothing to do. Well, the only people who had things to do this day were the people meeting their host families on this day. I meet my host family on Sunday though, so I had all day to do whatever I wanted.

I woke up at 5:30 with the sun but wasn’t able to leave until noon time when the rest of my friends I planned to go with were awake and ready to go.

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Outside the Hirakata City Station

We went down to the station and were greeted by lots of buses and taxis trying to finagle their way around each other and get to their desired destination. The buildings were much taller than the ones around the residential area I’ve been staying in so I was a bit overwhelmed at first, but I adjusted relatively quickly and went to explore the area.

We ended up going to the Keihan Department Store, which is about a two to three minute walk (depending on pedestrian traffic) from the station. It has six stories full of shops and restaurants, most of which being clothes stores.

On the fourth floor was an arcade full of claw machines and coin slot games and lots of screaming children. On the fifth floor was a huge home store that (if you found the tiny entryway in the corner) was the store Animate, which carries popular culture goods such as manga, anime, magazines, CDs, cute little knick-knacks, and gatcha machines.

I knew this store from the Japanese singers that I like so I was hoping to find some of their albums there since I couldn’t get them easily (or cheaply) in America. I was lucky enough to find one of the albums I wanted, but they didn’t have any of the others. I also grabbed the manga 「君の名は」 (kimi no na wa / your name) because I’ve heard good things about it (also from the Japanese singers I like) and I wanted something to practice reading Japanese with. The cashier was super nice and the book even came with a complimentary bookmark and image!

From top left to bottom right: Manga: Your Name, CD: Prerhythm Arch by Mafumafu and Soraru, Bookmark: Your Name, Image: Your Name

Outside animate were the gatcha machines, which are little machines that dispense little toys in a similar fashion of how you get a gumball from a gumball machine. There was one that had little cute cats on it so of course I used that one and got a small figurine of a cat lounging on its stomach and a little stand for it that looks like grass and a porch.

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After shopping there, we picked up some bentos (lunchboxes) in the grocery store and went back to the Seminar House to eat. My bento had rice, egg, tonkatsu, and a little bit of fish. I didn’t end up taking a picture of it though.

But, we decided to turn on the TV as we ate and let me just say that was probably the best and worst decision we could’ve have made.

It started off nice with a high school swimming competition but then we changed channels and found a show about little kids playing soccer. And then it went to a performance for kids with dancing mascots and really happy performers singing to the children about breakfast. Then a terrible anime featuring haunted scarves and jealous ghosts. Then Japanese Spongebob with surprisingly not terrible voice acting.

At that point I had had enough and took a break to walk to the close by park and read the manga I had bought earlier.

But there were dogs everywhere so instead of reading manga I just looked at all the cute dogs and cried happiness on the inside a lit bit.

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Once it got dark, I had returned to the Seminar House to find my roommates watching more Japanese TV. This time with English-speaking sushi who were trying to read numbers and remember the numbers to the passcode on their bike. They never did figure it out. And, before I went to bed, the people shown on the TV were trying to make a huge lens out of ice to set a pile of sticks on fire. They succeeded though, unlike the English speaking sushi.




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