Monday, October 31, 2005

Omens, Crew Team, and Why I feel a little more like Napolean Dynamite

So on Friday, while I was walking to my dorm after class, and later walking to meet up with crew team to head to Hiroshima. Walking to the dorm I was met by a snake. I just stood and watched the snake as it stopped, turned around, and slithered into the grass nearby. I thought this could be a sign. Then later I was talking the walk by the pond to meet up with the crew team, when I was met by this!!!

creepy crawly Posted by Picasa

Ahhh!!! It had pretty good speed, but when it saw me (and I saw it) we both stopped. I grabbed my camera to let you know about the creatures which rule the night in Japan (no I'm not talking about THAT night life). I admit it, I was a little freaked out..but then I started to feel like Steve Irwin, hypothesizing about its manifest destiny and possible adaptations and diet, my curiosity and "croiky, have-a-look-at-this-sheila" engine firing on all 12 cylinders. Luckily, I had my umbrella just incase the creepy crawly got any ideas. If I didn't have my umbrella with me, I'm pretty sure one of us would have sprinted home. :)

I had my first crew team practice in Hiroshima City on Saturday. I had planned to stay for both Saturday and Sunday's practice, but I had plans to meet Takuyan because I had to get some shopping done and see about going to the city hall to get my alien registration card. Saturday's practice started out easily enough. Wake up at 5am, grab a little bit of something to get the old glucose levels goin', you know. Practice starts at 6am, but warm-ups start at 5:15!! I learned this at 5:13! We did a little run followed by some stretching and bodyweight plyometrics, enough to start a little burn in the legs, some of the other members actually broke a sweat doing these, I think it was just that they were over dressed. Sure it was cold, but I was fine in shorts and a Tshirt. Nobody could believe that I wasn't freezing. Feels good to not be cold when everybody else is freezing :)
I got my first experience in a boat during the morning practice. Yuta, my rowing instructor, and I just kinda grabbed a boat, and Yuta showed me just the basics about oars, feet position and how to carry and replace the boat. After we were in the boat, I started to learn the technique. Legs, Arms, Arms, Legs. This is something that has to go into my system before I can join the rest of the team in the 8-man sweep (each person gets one oar) boat. Yuta and I were in a 2-man skulling boat. Skull is where you have two oars. I guess I did OK as far as my first time goes. We didn't capsize :) Learning a completely new sport is definitely difficult in a new language. Learning the ultra-focused terms for boating is pretty exciting.
During practice our crew managers make us all a huge meal. Huge in regards to the fact that they are cooking for 20 people, and also huge that there are 3 different sizes small(200yen), medium(250yen), and large(300yen). If I was eating at a normal restaurant, each meal would cost me more than 1000yen for the amount of food which is served. I had the medium, just because they didn't know if I had what it takes to finish the large size. I'm sure as I progress into the crew world, I'm gonna get a hankerin for some large size crew team grub. It really is a lot of food, too. We had rice, fish, and 3 more kinds of food served cold. There is also egg and soy sauce to mix into the rice (mmm...raw egg).
Afterwards, we had Hiruyasumi (afternoon break) until 3pm. This time is reserved to catch up on sleep, do a little bit of organizing on the webpage, discussing crew stuff, going into the city for a little shopping trip, pretty much anything as long as you're back by 3pm. I just hung out in the boathouse with the crew and looked over some magazines from Puma to get the new team uniforms.
Afternoon practice with Yuta was the longest practice ever!!! We went over the exercise routine so I could mesh with the flow a little better and know which exercise is next. Then for maybe 3hrs we discussed rigging. How to use the balance and protractor (Billy boi, this is for you,....protractor) and different measures to know the length of the oar, angle of the clutch pins, which hold the oars, and to set up the stretcher (place to put your feet). I think it was really a lot to take in all in one day, especially in Japanese! I don't quite know how long it will take to catch up to being able to practice with the rest of the crew, but right now I will be in the stroke seat, with Yuta in the bow seat, so my rigging numbers will just be the same and I have to memorize the process and the numbers.
Well, it was really a lot of fun...making a lof of great memories with these guys everytime we meet and remembering our outings at Carthage with my ppls over there!
>>>cough cough, I wanna give a shout out to uh..Big D, Billy Boi, Bubolz, Midnight, Sy Sy, Nasty Nate, Yoder Bear, Seb, Frau Jaessing and all my fans out there, keep it real!

souteibu1 Posted by Picasa
Yuta, Satomi, Ida Posted by Picasa
souteibu2 Posted by Picasa

And now for the part you've all be waiting for, why I feel like Napolean Dynamite. Let's face it, the reason we like Napolean Dynamite is because we all see a little bit of his awkwardness inside all of us, except me that is. I am like Napolean Dynamite in a complelely different paradigm. "How so?" you may ask. Well, the suspense is killing you by now, so I'll just tell you. It's because deep down, we are both country, straight-country to those of you urban folks. Today I noticed how much I love milk and potatoes. Two main staples of my diet and I know of Napolean Dynamites. I made a soup with some potatoes and a soup mix I had lying around. The potatoes were so good, could be something to do with being in Japan, but I mean really, can potatoes change flavor just by being grown somewhere else. I don't know how these are called, but they look like smaller versions of our Russet Potatoes (note that Idaho, Napolean's state, is the home of the potato). After the soup, I decided to try out my milk that I bought, and wouldn't you know, this milk had a totally different taste!!! (Remember Napolean Dynamite was in a milk tasting test) Granted it's a different company, but it's the same 2% Milk, with a completely different taste. I immediately reported the amazing information and newfound love for Japan and its milk selection to my next-door neighbor Daisuke, which he found less exciting than I did. The one that I had before was a rich smooth taste, but this one was actually, dare I say, sweet! No additives, no preserves, straight milk,.....different taste. I'm pretty sure most of you who didn't grow up in the country have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, but to my family and those of you who have lived in America's Heartland....this is a breakthrough discovery in Japanese culture, I believe :) I'm tempted to buy a different brand of milk each week now just to experience the rainbow of flavors which milk in Japan has to offer. (Then for my senior thesis, figure out a way to put this milk production into the global market place and later overthrow Wal-Mart, haha!) Moreoever on a short-term projection, I can safely say I feel closer to Napolean Dynamite than ever before.
Sore de, mata!! baibai!


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