Life in Ann Arbor, Michigan
2005年 02月 21日

Same people but somehow different...

Today, I woke up early in the morning to go shopping for second hand clothes (古着) with Keisuke and Seiko. First we went to a store called Kiwanis. Kiwanis is only open on Saturdays from 9am to Noon. Doesn't that sound weird, open only once a week? They sell not only second hand clothes but also books, furniture, toys, electronics, and much much more. It was my second time at Kiwanis but I didn't buy anything there this time around.

After Kiwanis, we headed to another second hand shop on Jackson Rd. Seiko really liked shopping for second hand clothes and she wanted to show us the place. It was a much bigger place compared with Kiwanis, and they had much more clothes. Even though the sizes were mostly too big for me, I somehow found some items I liked. Bought a sweater, two shirts, a t-shirt, and a leather belt for a total of $13. Wow, really cheap:)

After shopping, Keisuke, Seiko, and I had lunch together at a American breakfast restaurant. I had a very typical American breakfast and it was enough to satisfy me for the afternoon. It was really enjoyable spending Saturday morning shopping for clothes with two ppl who are very fond with art. Seiko is a visiting scholar who has been studying art for most of her career and Keisuke has a mini-major(?) in Art and has work experience in designing magazines. I had a good time listening to them talking about art.

After shopping, I spend some time back in my dorm and then headed out soon after to go to a city called Novi to participate in an indoor soccer tournament with ppl from the JSA (Japanese Student Association). It was a tournament played between the JSA's in 4 universities in Michigan: JSA of University of Michigan, JSA of Michigan State University, JSA of Western Michigan University, and JSA of Eastern Michigan University. Actually, this was the first time I was involved as a member in a JSA event. I've been to their movie events but I had not participated as a member of the JSA before.

So we got a ride from one of the JSA members and reached the city of Novi in about half an hour. Novi was said to be a city where many Japanese ppl lived so they had a real big Japanese grocery. We stopped by at that grocery on the way but we didn't buy anything since we didn't have time.

Anyways, we arrived at an indoor soccer facility, which seemed to be a hockey arena that was reconstructed. I was surprised by how big the place was; they had about 5 soccer fields which were all considerably huge. I would say bigger than a futsal court. Members in the JSA of the 4 universities had gathered at the facility. Most of the ppl there were Japanese and it felt kind of weird to be in an environment where Japanese ppl were the majority.

We began the tournament and ended up playing 4 games in total, each game with 15 minute halves. It was really exhausting... To make it brief, the team of University of Michigan almost got close to becoming the champions but we lost our final game to Michigan State, so we were second place... It seems simple just writing what happened but I felt such a regret after losing the last game against State 3-2 cuz I was the goalie who lost the last 2points in the last 2 minutes of the game... Damn... Why was I appointed goalie in such a crucial time period in the game (we were tied 1-1)... Well I can blame a lot of things for giving up the last 2 goals but let's face it, I suck at soccer...

Just a briefing on my personal statistics: 2 goals given up (as goalie), 1 own goal..., and maybe about 2 assists. Horrible playing on this day. I knew I was bad at soccer, but my play today made me feel really bad...

Well, but I guess I had a good time as well getting to know all the ppl from JSA whom I hadn't talked to at all except Koichi, who used to be friends with my senpai, Kazu-san when he was in Michigan. But one thing I noticed was that most of the ppl in this event were living in the US since they were little and had much more experience in American schools than I had. They seemed "Americanized" in many aspects and I couldn't really approach them all as a "real Japanese".

Anyways, after the tournament, which ended surprisingly past 11pm at night, many members from the 4 universities went to a Japanese "Izakaya" called Sanpei. I was so excited cuz I hadn't been to a Izakaya since I left Japan and I had heard that they had Karaoke there, which I had been missing so badly. I wanted to see if the Izakaya really was the same thing as the one in Japan, but it turned out that it was some how a bit different from the ones in Japan. It seemed the same, but maybe it just didn't feel the same since it wasn't in Japan.

As soon as we the Nomikai started and we had some Otsumami and tons of beer, the students started screaming on the Karaoke... I was kind of intimidated by this cuz they started singing "Linda Linda" in the beginning... And they were jumping up and down like crazy. Wow, excuse me please.... You're not supposed to do that! In Japan, it is kind of like an implicit rule not to sing the "very upbeat" songs till the end of the Karaoke session, but the "Americanized" Japanese ppl here just broke that rule... Moreover, after Linda Linda, this really queer guy started singing Utada Hikaru's "Automatic". WOW, EXCUSE ME AGAIN, but how the hell can you do that??? From that point on, I didn't feel like singing in front... Actually I was really motivated to sing on the Karaoke when we arrived but once ppl started screaming on the microphone and dancing up in front, I just lost everything I had to keep me motivated. That was not Karaoke, it was a hybrid type of Karaoke which I did not feel like following....

All I wanted to do was sing like I used to do back in Japan. Just be relaxed in the beginning singing songs that you really wanted to sing, and then exploding with up-beat songs in the end. I guess things do not go that way here in the US. Well, at least I enjoyed the beer cuz they had a huge glass mug which you would never see in Japan. I was drunk as hell, but some how did not have the feeling to talk with a lot of ppl that day.. I think I have a inferiority complex that makes me not feel like talking to ppl who I meet for the first time, or to ppl who seem to be more of an "asobi-nin" (ppl who hang out playing around more than they study).

Bottom point: I was really really drunk but didn't feel so well cuz of my bad performance as a soccer player and cuz of not being able to socialize with many ppl at the Nomikai... Felt pretty bad after the Nomikai... Sh*t......

by kamakusa | 2005-02-21 15:55 | University Life

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