Wednesday, March 4, 2009


The second time I stayed at Yoshimi's, I got to go to a Shu-Ji (japanese calligraphy) class with her. It was a small, quiet classroom with a few people sitting on matts, bent over their work. We went with Yoshimi's friend, Judy. Judy was really funny, and she asked if she could touch my eyelashes. So I let her. haha.
The word I wrote was Sara in Hiragana, one of the Japanese alphabets. I'm trying to learn Hiragana but I haven't gotten very far. The Japanese alphabet is very different than the English alphabet, as far as the sounds. Each charachter represents a syllable. So far I'm trying to memorize a,(pronounced as in car) ka, sa, ta, na, ha, ma, ya, ra, and wa. Here is a chart of the Hiragana alphabet:

And that is just Hiragana, then there is the Katakana alphabet, which is just as big. Katakana is used mostly for foreign names and words. THEN there's Kanji, which is derived from chinese, and are characters that represent a thing or idea and can have more than one syllable. And get this-there are 50,000 different Kanji characters. So if you want to read a road sign or anything in Japanese, the characters are a mixture of all three of these alphabets, hiragana, katakana, and kanji. haha... it's insane! I was talking to one of Aya's friends about the Japanese prime minister, and she said that everybody in Japan hates him. She said he is not very smart and that he knows less kanji than she does. It seems so complicated to me, but I think if I had lived here all my life it wouldn't be.
Anyway here is a photo of me at the Shu-Ji class with the Shu-Ji instructor and Judy, and some other guy who was super shy. So we asked if we could have his picture. haha.

Yoshimi is in this picture too. I don't know why they have those matching sweat outfits, maybe it's especially for Shu-Ji?

Here is Judy and Yoshimi.

I think Yoshimi is really good at Shu-Ji.

Here are my shu-ji hanging up to dry on the laundry rack.

This is one of Yoshimi's shu-ji that her mom showed to me proudly.

This is Rika (Yoshimi's mom) and I before we left to visit Yoshimi's Grandparents. I'm going to do a seperate blog on that.

Yoshimi and I.

I took some photos of the house before we left; they live in a really quiet but beautiful neighborhood in the mountains.


  1. Cool! Your name is beautiful in Shiju! Yoshimis yard is so nice.

    I'm glad you are making so many friends on your trip. Hopefully they can all come visit here sometime!

    The soccer ball is blowing around in the full trampoline pit this morning. It is our weather gauge.

    David and five of his friends go to Boardman tomorrow for an overnight tournament. It is the qualifier for State. Your Dad and maybe Max's dad will be taking them.

    I am planning on going skiing if the weather is good.

    Love you and miss you!


  2. I noticed the gorgeous tree in the yard also!
    The Kanji is an art form-right?
    A person could use the hiragana to depict all the words but it is considered incorrect--like a kid says "I goed to the store" -understandable but not the accepted way we say went---I am just wondering.
    Shu-Ji is beautiful. Miss you!

  3. Renee-Yeah they have the tree with the pink blossoms, and I asked if it was a cherry tree and they said no, so I don't know what it is. But they have a plum tree that they use to make umeboshi(pickled plums). But I will be here when the cherry trees start to bloom!
    I think Kanji is considered an art form too, because the characters are much more detailed that the regular alphabets.
    I don't really understand the grammar yet... haha. It's kind of mystifying to me.
    I love you and miss you!!

    mom-Yeah their yard is beautiful, almost all the houses on that street look like that. I'm really lucky Ayako has introduced me to so many cool people here.Tell David good luck for me! owch... I can't believe he is wrestling with braces...crazy.
    Love you, miss you

  4. wow. i thought russian was hard.
    p.s. what do they think of Totoro over there? i just re-watched the newer version (with Dakota Fanning doing on the girls' voices), it wasn't quite the same but still wonderful.

  5. I haven't seen many totoro things here, though I have been SEARCHING. I've seen a few dish towels with totoro on them and lunchboxes, but thats all. I LOVE TOTORO.! I really want to watch it again, it's one of those movies that sort of defined me as a kid. We should watch it when I get back.
    Love you