Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sara-Things to do other than study in Japan

Since it is the New Year, I decided that I have too much free time and that I can't stand sitting around doing nothing after school. So, I took out the binder that I got during our orientation in August and flipped to the page that had information on the various cultural centers in Morioka. Unfortunately some of the information was wrong, and there were no addresses. Luckily, one of my teachers(the assistant PE teacher) knew where one place was, and I remembered Japan's Yellow pages. It's called Town pages and you can find them in Aiina which is the international center. One B&W copy of a page is 10yen and color is about 50. However, you can't just pay and copy. You have to go to the librarian, ask to copy the page, and they will hand you a form to fill out. I learned then that it's better to find ALL the pages you want first before going to them.

The town pages were not easy to navigate through, but after a while, I sort of had an idea as to how it was organized. I found the cultural centers, ballroom studios, Traditional Japanese Dance classes, and calligraphy schools for Paul.

These are the three that were in the book:

JEUGIA- This center is in the new AEON mall. It's the furthest from me but, it is easy to get to because you can take a bus there for a cheep price from the train station. The classes here are not too expensive, many are for 4,200yen, and you pay only for the month so it is easier to quit classes. I plan on taking Flamenco here.

NHK Bunka Center (Bunka means Culture)-This is a cultural center that is close to where I live. It's in the downtown but it's not really easy to find because it is a small building. However, they have many classes both in the building and outside. They are more expensive, and the classes are not for one month. Many are spread out, so you would take 6 classes in 3 months(2 classes per month).

Terebi (T.V) Iwate Academy-This is a small school and they don't have many classes, but this is next to the city hall and in the downtown.

Town pages website-

But the cultural centers and the town pages were not my only resource. My kyotosensei's (Vice Principal's) wife knows many people. She introduced me to her tea ceremony teacher (and so now I take classes there) and when she heard from her husband that I was looking for a Traditional Japanese Dance school, she introduced me to her friend's mother who is a teacher. In other words, teacher's at the schools probably know many more people in the city you live in than you, the centers, and the town pages.

And aside from knowing people, they are very friendly here and they like and want to help me. When I asked my third grade English teacher about how to make a polite phone call to see a ballroom dance class but not make any commitments, he quickly said "Oh don't worry, I'll call for you." I then said that I didn't want to trouble him etc. he just laughed and said "Really, don't worry. I enjoy calling people and I don't get to do it enough."

So, with all that said and done, you can look at the various pages for the centers and look at the various pictures for the classes. And the really nice thing is that whether you want to take a class at a cultural center, or at a private school,studio,etc. you can and probably should ask to just go in a see a class. The teachers are all very nice about it and you can easily bow out by saying "Thank you, and I will think about it. I just don't know what my schedule at my school will be for this year."

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