Happy “Friendsgiving”!

One of my Japanese teachers invited me to attend a luncheon/gathering at her house today, which she happily entitled a “Waffle Party”. The guests included myself, two of her students from this last summer’s trip to Japan, the college’s Japanese tutor (and her boyfriend), and our honored guest(s), Rina (along with her mother and younger brother) who will be graduating this term from Clark College before she returns to Japan.

I kind of regret not taking pictures or bringing my camera along with me tonight, but it was quite a great time. As a Japanese custom, whenever people are invited to someone’s home, the guests often bring something for the host, as a small little thank you/gift of hospitality. I couldn’t really decide on anything to bring, so I brought over a dozen fresh eggs I had collected from my chickens in the backyard. I felt that Okuhara sensei definitely outdid herself, as she had a large assortment of fruits and snacks ready for us before she started making us some custom-made waffles.

All in all, it was an outstanding experience, as the conversations were broken down into various segments of Japanese and English. Although these were split, it was no surprise that the majority of the language spoken was Japanese. I’m quite shocked at how much I was able to pick up on, and understand throughout the various conversations we had, but I still feel that there is still a lot for me to learn. I could definitely benefit from more vocabulary words, but even though this was the case, Rina’s mom complimented me on my fluency in Japanese. It always makes me feel good to have a native Japanese speaker compliment me on my speaking abilities (even though Japanese class is an entirely different ballgame).

Interestingly enough, I learned that Rina’s parents actually opened up their home to several of the students that went on the trip to Japan. I had wanted to go initially, however due to complications with scheduling (I would have missed the first two and a half weeks of classes at Portland State University) I wasn’t able to attend. Interestingly enough, Rina’s boyfriend, Pierre (a French transfer student, who was also a fellow second year Japanese classmate of mine) is currently living and going to school in Tokyo, at the moment.

I’m unsure of how she came so prepared, while handing out gifts to those that she saw from the Japan trip, she somehow managed to come prepared with a gift for me as well. I was very thankful, and Okuhara sensei ended up sharing some of the eggs I had brought for her with Rina’s mom.

At the end of the night, as we were all ‘waffled-out’ and filled to the brim with the numerous rounds of delicious green tea, Rina, Taito and Kachiko (I believe was her name) talked with me for a short while and actually invited me to stay with them in Tokyo, should I ever decide to come and visit. I told them that I would do my best, as the costs of traveling there are quite high at the moment, but I’d definitely consider it. Kachiko, also through in that I should also go so that I can see and hangout with Pierre while I’m there. This is definitely an outstanding invitation that I can’t help but consider for the future. Kachiko was telling me that they currently live in a part of Tokyo, in an area/neighborhood that is the most sought-out area possible (Downtown Tokyo). This alone almost seals the deal, and most definitely gets me excited about contacting them, should I ever desire to travel to Tokyo.

Anyway, I couldn’t have asked for a more entertaining time. It’s these friendships that I establish, these small gestures and all of these little things that accumulate to so much for me to be thankful for. I believe another friend of mine, that recently moved out, will be trying to host a “Friendsgiving” at her house, next weekend. At that shindig, we’ll probably be drawing names (like we did last year) in order to participate in Secret Santa – at possibly my house this year.

Again, I have so much to be grateful for, and I can’t wait to share these various things I’m appreciative of at dinner with my family tomorrow. So if I don’t have the chance to do it tomorrow; I truly wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, tomorrow.