Monday, October 11, 2010

Day in life and thoughts about Japanese family culture

I am slowly adjusting to living in a Japanese home. When I get home from school I sometimes do my homework and sometimes I watch TV. Okasan watches two of the grandkids during the day, so depending on how early I come home I can spend time with the girls. They generally watch children's TV. I kind of like watching Children's TV because I can understand more of what they are saying. Okasan generally takes them home around 6ish. Sometimes I get home while she is out, which is a little strange coming home to an empty house. Otosan comes home around 6:30, which for Japanese is really early, but he works in construction, I think. We have supper around 7.Okasan tells me,every day, to wash my hands before we eat, which is a great habit, just not one that I am in. She suggested that I wash my hands when I get home, and that has worked better.  She was giving me a great deal of food, so I told her that I was on a diet. This is only partly true, but you try to explain that you can't eat that much in a foreign language where you have to look up every other word without just sounding polite. Now she gives me a decent portion, which I am grateful for. She and Otosan generally eat out to the same dishes. I wash only my own dishes.
After dinner I go and watch TV or work on my homework until Okasan tells me to go take a shower. Otosan takes his shower before dinner right after he comes home. Okasan takes her shower after me. From what I gather this is because they had problems previously with the home stay students leaving the gas to heat the water on. They do not have a water heater tank, but they turn the water heater on and off. This keeps the gas bill down and mostly prevents fires in case of earthquakes. All gas is turned off when the family leaves the house.
Okasan and Otosan generally go to bed around 9:00. I am told to go to my room about that time if I am not there already. I usually try to stay up until 10:00 because I don't want to wake up to early. As it is I generally wake up around 6:30 or 7. I liked to get to school around 8 so that I could meet Katie, relax and prepare myself for the day, but Okasan told me that coming to breakfast at 7 made her "panic". Otosan eats at 7 and she makes him and her son (who is married) a lunch. Otosan leaves around 7:30 or 7:45. First I was told not to come to breakfast until 7:30. I still wanted to get to school early. I had a bit of an emotional crisis that was mostly between me and the Lord and my notebook, wherein I was told to wait, and be patient. I think that a lot of the problem is because I am used to being independent, and doing things when I think is good. Here I am told what and when to do almost everything. Do this, don't do that. I appreciate that I am living in someone else's house and their way if doing it will probably be different than mine, but I feel like I am treated like a child. I tried to tell her that I could get my own breakfast, or eat cereal. I even bought some to eat. She made me some yogurt to eat it with, and then asked me to eat at 7:40. Michaela says that that is just the Asian mother's way of doing things. I have become resolved to just being later to school. Really, it takes me 20 mins. to get to school on my bicycle, and my first class is never before 9:00.  So now I eat by myself at 7:40ish and take off to school right after I wash my dishes.
Sometimes I just don't want to be at home because it is not comfortable, and I find it hard to relax. I have a hard time relaxing anywhere. I am used to having a home to relax in, so this is kind of hard. I have to find both a way and time to relax. I am very busy with classes, and homework. I can not study as hard and relax some, then not be as prepared for class, or I can study hard and be ready for class, but be really tired. I have yet to find a balance. I find that I get tired really easily, and I will be very glad to adjust physically finally.

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