I'm now three weeks into my stay here, and I'm enjoying my time in Otaru more and more. Motoko-san, Chad-san, and Tomo-kun are all great, and I've made a lot of new friends at Otaru university.
Me, Tomo-chan, Chad-san, and Motoko-san all went to a cherry blossom viewing party a week or so ago, which was a lot of fun. Everyone drank, ate, and talked a lot. The flowers were very pretty, like the last time I'd visited them. After a few hours of meeting with old and new friends, everyone went down to the local shrine to continue the party. A bunch of different people had their turn playing in front of the crowd in front of the shrine, and a few stands were open nearby, selling toys and things for the kids there. Chad-san got called on stage to sing, which was fun to watch (he did very well on such short notice!), and some of the other singers were pretty great too. The person who arranged the party, an older man who works as a carpenter, had an incredible singing voice. He sounded like a professional! It was a very fun evening, and the atmosphere was very nice. It was obvious that everyone there was happy to see each other.
Me and Chad-san went to an Iaido class a few days ago, which was very intersting. We watched the seven or so people there practice their sword swinging for awhile, and then they invited us to join in. They handed me and Chad-san wooden swords, and then taught us how to use them. Practicing for awhile made me realize just how good the people in the class were - one of the guys I talked to (a huge anime fan, and very funny) had been doing it for fifteen years, and it showed; he was very quick and very accurate. Impressive! Me and Chad-san didn't do so well compared to the people there, but we still had fun. I'm pretty sure I'd beat Chad-san in a sword fight, though.
I've also been spending a lot of time at Otaru's university for the past week and a half or so. I've made a lot of friends there and ended up having to buy a cellphone to keep in touch with them. There are a lot of international students there too, which is great, since a lot of them speak both English and Japanese (a few of them spoke five languages!). Going to a party and to a museum with some of them tomorrow. Should be fun!
Also met a bunch of people at the university's music building. A big group of mandalin players, and a pianist girl. They were all awesome! Looking forward to seeing them all again. Hopefully piano girl isn't going out with anybody. She's ridiculously cute, and a great pianist. And she loves Chopin! Need to improve my Japanese before I ask her out, though...
Joined the University's Judo club, too. All the guys there are great. If any of them spoke any English at all, I'd hang out with them outside of class for sure. I need to start studying Japanese harder to talk to them, too!
So...yeah! Having a ridiculously good time, here. I haven't even left yet, and I'm already planning on my trip back!