So this past Friday in my Japanese class, Tezuka-sensee passes around a few pamphlets for Japanese-oriented (lol) things and one of them is for a program called the Hokkaido International Foundation. In this program, you go to Hakodate, Hokkaido (the really big island just North of mainland Japan) for 8 weeks and for 5 hours a day you take Japanese language and cultural classes. It's completely immersive so you're expected to use English only when absolutely necessary for the entire program. It's also required that you participate in a homestay program (you go live with a family instead of on a campus).
A bit of backstory, although I've told many of you. I've always wanted to go to Japan, especially Hokkaido because it's so beautiful. My plan from a few years ago was to graduate college, get a stable job, and save up money to move to Japan for one year. I would get an apartment there and hopefully teach English or History at a high school. Of course to do that, I would need to get licensure to teach there and go through the trouble of moving. I would also have to be fairly literate in Japanese just to be able to get by, much less teach Japanese students. In major cities like Tokyo, you could probably get away with minimal Japanese knowledge, but I don't want to live in the big cities. Sounds complicated and aggravating, right? Obviously to be able to participate in this program would mean to be able to see a stable family and community life for 8 straight weeks, which would give me a pretty good idea on whether I'd like to stay there for the rest of my life. It would be a very sad opportunity to miss. Granted they hold this program every year, but if I don't do it in college, there would be no point...
SO... now the hard part: getting approval of the parents (and their money). I talk to my mother about this because she's my secondary defense on bringing up stupid-sounding things to my father. She says that she agrees it would be a good opportunity and that it wouldn't hurt to ask. Fortunately my father was in good spirits that night so I just asked him about an hour later. In response to my question, he decided to tell me a story of his friend, lj-cut for length and because it kindof goes off topic. I do want to mention it because he told me this long-ass story before finally telling me what he thought about the proposal. It was very interesting, especially if you know my father well.
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After this amazingly long tangent-driven conversation with my father, he finally gave me his answer. I assume he was buying time to decide on what to say to me during the 15 minutes it took to tell me all this. He simply said that it would be a great experience and that I should go for it...
Once again, if you know my father, this is some absurdly odd shit coming out of his mouth after I just told him that I wanted $6000 to go to Japan for 8 weeks and learn... He told me to get a passport as soon as I could because after 9/11 it takes a long-ass time to get it done and that I shouldn't just dick around until the last minute and hope to get anything done. Things don't fly like that when you're trying to leave the country. So I said I'd give him all the information I could and I'd apply for a passport during this week.
tl;dr: I'M GOING TO JAPAN THIS SUMMER!!! (Hopefully)