Once Cassie and I were up the next morning, we packed up and headed out. We stopped at the grocery store to grab some food and quick things for breakfast then hit the road. The drive was beautiful. (There will be about 70 pictures posted tomorrow, so look forward to that.) When we got to the city where the beach party would be, we stopped at a convenience store to pick up a few more supplies. Outside the store, we ran into another foreigner and, (I’m embarrassed to say), I stared like a Japanese person at him for a few moments until he said, “konnichiwa.” I probably turned bright red because I know better than to stare. I quickly mumbled a, “konnichiwa,” in response without thinking. Then he chuckled and said, “I guess I can say hello.”
After we got our food, we headed to the pier and waited for our ferry. At least, we were told it was a ferry. Silly me, I was thinking it would be a large ferry that could take us all over at once. Instead, we rode over on a motorboat. The water was choppy and it was awesome. I was sitting at the front of the boat, so I got sprayed and got to enjoy the sudden drops. I’m not ashamed to say was grinning and laughing with every sudden drop. No matter how old I get, that kind of thing is still fun.
At the beach, once other people arrived, I got to meet some of the JETs from Kagoshima (where the beach was) which is the next prefecture over from Miyazaki. I was shaking a Brit’s hand when I introduced myself and he commented that I had a strong handshake. I laughed and responded, “I’m American. We have to practice this kind of thing.” Another Brit that I was talking to commented that he had to see this for himself so I shook a few more hands.
I got a nice tan and a little burned, but nothing serious. We ate, we drank a bit, and we just enjoyed the beach. Afterwards, we caught the boat back and six of us piled into Cassie’s car to head back to the hotel. There I had a wonderful shower (A REAL SHOWER!) and we all headed out to an izakaya for dinner. An izakaya is a family style restaurant where you can also drink. All in all, a very good night.
The next morning I rode back with a car of northern Miyazaki JETs so that I wouldn’t have to take the train back from Kushima. Along the way, we had to stop at a mechanic to get some more oil for the car. I got to act as translator for the driver (though she barely needed me. I just had to help with what the mechanic said and supply one verb for her to use). It was a quick and painless process, then we were back on the road.
A two of my favorite lines from the time spent in the car: “You have to choose your hangover food properly, because if you throw it up, you want it to taste good.” And the most Canadian road rage ever: the driver, shouted, “You are inconveniencing me!”
Most of the ride I was pretty quiet. Which brings me to my next point: as much as I love chances to socialize and meet new people, I’m introverted and social events can take a lot out of me. That is compounded when surrounded with new people or when I’m trying to find a place with a group of people who already have an established friendship and circle.
But back to the quietness. I struggle with social situations because my natural state around new people is one of silence. I speak rarely but that doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying myself. However, then everyone thinks something is wrong. They ask me if I’m mad or bored or tired, etc. Then I feel forced to talk and end up trying to be funny or something, but instead I end up saying things that don’t make sense or no one gets. Then I feel like an idiot and lapse back into silence. It’s a self perpetuating cycle in some ways, but only because I’m so quiet and introverted. After I’m comfortable with a group and I understand the script, so to speak, I feel able to join, but I have to observe at first. But not many people believe me when I say I’m introverted. They think I’m joking, but that’s only because once I’m comfortable with a group I end up being…charismatic isn’t the right word, but social isn’t quite right either. Basically, I become more confident. One of my goals is to shorten the amount of time I spend in the quiet and analyzing period (if not eliminate it altogether) while I’m here.
Long story short: This weekend was fun. I look forward to having some time to myself in the upcoming week, but I’m also looking forward to the next social event in two weeks.