October 19 , 2006
Nothing makes a Thursday better than realizing that the last classes you had to actually attend for the week were on Wednesday. Well, I have archery tomorrow, but shooting arrows at things when you can’t understand your coach really doesn’t have the same connotations as an hour and a half of lectures. Have I mentioned before that I love this place?
Thursdays are also greatly improved by field trips: today I had two. First was an excursion to Hagi with my “History of US-Japan Relations” class. We were drawn not by the pretty seaside views or famed hagi-yaki pottery, but instead because it happens to be the home of Yoshida Shoin, a nineteenth century revolutionary. We spent a great deal of time peering into the murky depths of the old wooden houses where he had spent his later years and winding our way through a rickety maze of dark plywood walls and pale wax figures in a museum depicting scenes from his life. Later we almost certainly saw Shoin’s grave. I really couldn’t tell you which of the twenty or so marble tombstones in that mossy cemetery marked his final resting place, although it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. We spent fifteen minutes doggedly retracing our steps between worn monuments in the wake of our lost, but well-meaning professor, and the futility of it all
had us all laughing despite the long hike uphill it had taken to get us there.
As soon as we got back to Yamaguchi we immediately headed to class… a fourth grade class, to be exact. One of the girls we met at YPU teaches once a week at Miyano Elementary School, so today she had all the exchange students (representing China, Korea, Spain, Canada, and, of course, Danville, Kentucky) come to her class as a sort of cultural exchange. Thus we found ourselves crouching on tiny wooden chairs wearing bright green slippers several