Monday, June 27, 2011

Week #2 in Japan

This week I did not get the chance to explore Japan or even Iwakuni. Unfortunately, I had to work all week including this weekend. The good news is this weekend was the last full weekend I had to work, so after this week I will be able to go out and explore parts of Japan I haven’t seen yet.

On Saturday I did get the opportunity to run on the sea wall. The sea wall on base goes along the Nishiki river delta. It is about a 4 mile run down and back. The sea wall makes its way to the very back of base where it can be very scenic and peaceful. I was able to run the sea wall a few times so far this summer. I enjoy running along the Nishiki river delta and seeing the mountains around me.

My room on base is a pretty typical hotel room. As you can see, it has one bed, a refrigerator, sink, bathroom, and a plasma TV. We live in barracks with other military personal, but luckily all of the Camp people are located in the same area. Where we live is close to the commissary (grocery store), MCX (a store like a small younkers), and the food court.
The two places where I work on base is the outdoor pool called Waterworks and the Indoor Pool called Ironworks. The Indoor pool is located in the gym and both pools are very nice. They are large 50 meter length pools. I am happy again this year that I am getting the opportunity to work with Japanese people, and hopefully by the end of the summer I will know a little more Japanese than I did last summer.

Well that is about it for my blog this week. I am sorry if it was boring this week, but not much happened this second week. Hopefully I will have many more adventures to talk about other than my room and my work.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Week 1

I have finally decided to begin a blog about my travels overseas during my time with Camp Adventure. Yes, this is my fourth summer doing Camp, but this summer I am really going to make an effort telling about my adventure. This summer Camp Adventure placed me in Iwakuni, Japan as the Aquatics Project Coordinator. If you do not know the definition of this job title, I am overseeing 8 aquatic counselors. My job is making sure they are basically doing their jobs well. The aquatic counselors will be teaching swimming lessons to military children from all ages (0-12), and of course they will be lifeguarding. I am looking forward to a great summer and I am hoping to improve my leadership abilities during these 10 weeks of camp.
My first impression of Iwakuni is the city is a lot different than Tokyo. There are several small stores, shops, and restaurants. All of the stores and restaurants seem to be abandoned most of the day. Additionally, almost all of the Japanese people drive. In Tokyo people walked everywhere, but since this is a smaller city everyone drives. I have ventured out in Iwakuni only twice and I ate chicken and sushi. I cannot say I have a passion for sushi, but I am always up for the challenge of strange food.
This weekend all of the staff traveled to Fukouka. Fukouka is a larger urban city in the southern part of Japan. A small group of us went to the Hard Rock Café where we basically tore up the place. The meal was amazing and I am glad I had my American fix. After we ate, we went shopping and walked around the city. I really enjoy just walking around new cities and seeing what I can find. Ryan and I of course stumbled upon a Family Mart and bought goodies there. Family Mart is the equivalent to Kwik Star but without the gas and American food. Instead of purchasing turkey sandwiches, you get to purchase rice balls, sushi, and sandwiches with hardboiled cut up eggs in the middle. I very much enjoy the rice balls, egg sandwiches, and pretty much everything in the store. As you can see, I like to eat even if it is not in America.
Yesterday (Sunday the 16th) I got the wonderful opportunity of working all day while the rest of the staff explored Iwakuni (please note I am being sarcastic). Instead of the working I got the chance to hang out with a Japanese lifeguard. It is amazing to me how many Japanese people know how to speak English fluently. The lifeguard I worked with said he wasn’t good at English, but he could speak pretty fluently. Over the past summers many of the foreigners I worked with said their English was not good even though they could have normal conservations with me. My definition of not good is not being able to speak or read the language, but their definition of "not good" is not understanding every word in English. One major change I would make in America is requiring everyone to learn another language. In my opinion, learning another language makes you more appreciative of other cultures and their differences.  I had a great day with him learning about the Japanese culture. I am glad I get the chance to work with Japanese lifeguards and maybe by the end of the summer I will know more than 3 Japanese words.
Well that is basically my first week in Iwakuni. I will try to keep my blog updated but I hope everyone is having a great summer so far!.