My new-found friends
During this study-abroad semester in Japan I've been much more concerned about making friends with the students at my Japanese university than with my homestay (which, frankly, has been a drag). In my program classes they've been teaching us about things like tatemae/honne and uchi/soto. And I think that's fine for dealing with your homestay family. But that doesn't really have to do with me and my friends. They've studied abroad; they're really cool, and they're a lot like my friends at home.

First, I'll explain how I met my friends. It all started when I was walking to the station with Doug. He saw a Japanese kid, Shinsuke, that he knew from the US branch of our campus, so he decided to yell out to him. Then one day at lunch Shinsuke came up to me and started talking to me. It turns out that he met my good friend Tom who goes to Keio at a party and Tom mentioned my name to him. So we sat around talking for awhile; about 10 minutes, and then had to go to class. I then realized that this guy was pretty cool. He reminds me of some of my friends back home. So I decided to find him at lunch and sit and eat with him, and every day I did. Then one day as we were talking he said that his other friends are coming for some seminar and he wondered if I wanted to meet them. Well I met them and at first I thought that they had an attitude problem, so I didn't really like them.

Hanging out with my friends
Anyway weeks went by and once again I saw Shinsuke sitting with those friends. I had free time so I sat down and 2 hours went by as we (the guys I didn't really like at first) laughed and talked. It was great. Then they told me that every Monday the gang meets at one guy's house (Kazu) and they just sit and drink and party with everybody so they asked me if I'd like to come. I was thrilled and of course I went. We stayed up til 4:30 speaking in just Japanese. They are all really cool and I feel that they are similar to my American friends. They all went to the American campus for a year so at the beginning they would speak English until I asked them to speak only in Japanese. They are all really good at helping me learn because they tell me when I use the wrong words and help me to use the right ones. They are very patient with me.

On Fri. and Sun. I spent the day with Shinsuke. We hung out in Shinjuku and went window shopping. I had an English interview and he helped me find where it was. Monday came around but Shinsuke was too tired from Sunday so he didn't go to school. He is usually the one I go with to Kazu's house but since I feel like I now know them better I went this time by myself. Only 6 people showed up this time. Kazu's birthday is on Friday so we all chipped in and got him really drunk. It was funny, any time he would mess up in saying something, we all would sing Happy BARsuday so he would finish the rest of his drink. Well, he passed out pretty early, 8:30 or so, I left around 9:00.

Tuesday came and Shinsuke was going to help me go look for an apartment. Well, the apartment guy was on his day off so we couldn't go. We decided to go to Kazu's place and hang out. There were 4 other people so we sat around chatted and then went to dinner. I really needed help getting an apartment because I want to get out of my homestay. So I asked Shinsuke if he could help me tomorrow. He couldn't, but Yuki was quick to help out. We decided to meet tomorrow at 12:15 to go to search.

The next day Yuki and I went to the Rental Place. He helped me converse better with the worker there and explained everything I needed to know. We then went back and checked out the place I decided to rent. It's great. I can't wait to move in.

I mess up. . . but I'm gonna do better
Last Saturday I went out with Jun. We met at 2:00 to go shopping for a TV for my new apartment. A thing I didn't realize is he had plans already but since I asked him if he wanted to do something he dropped his plans and went with me. I had no clue that he already had plans and on that day I had no idea I messed up. But later when I was moving into my apartment I had a real heart-to-heart talk with Shinsuke. He told me that Jun cancelled his date to go out with me. When I found out... I felt really bad.

Anyway when Jun and I met at 2:00 we went to see a movie. Then we went to visit another friend who was working at his part time job. It was pretty funny because we were the first people in his restaurant. He was very surprised to see us. Anyway we sat there for about 2 hours, then decided to go buy my TV. Well let me tell you flat out I messed up again that day really bad. What I didn't realize was that we were supposed to go to Kazu's house at 12:15 that night. Well, I was really tired, so at 9:00 I decided to stay at home. That was the mistake. I should have gone through with the plan as a Japanese person would. Well the thing that bothers me was why didn't Jun tell me he had plans? I don't want to be someone special. Treat me like a friend. If you don't want to or can't go then say so. That's what I told Shinsuke in the car and he will pass it to the other guys. Shinsuke and I really get along. He really understands what's going on and is helping out as a good friend.

Wednesday I moved! Yes, I'm so happy I'm out of my homestay house! The homestay was going downhill. I think I'm going to do much better with my new friends.

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