Tuesday, September 1, 2009


[ Let's Skype! ]

Being here in Germany is exciting for a number of reasons, but one reason that is a bit unique is my prime placement between Japan and the United States, and its perfect location for good skype telecommunication. For those who don’t know, Skype is a free/low cost internet service that allows for online phone calls and video messaging. Being 6 hours away from America keeps me up to date with my family, but also very exciting is being only 7 hours away from Japan.

That means that I have much closer contact with my friends and family there too. Back in the states, I had to deal with 13 hour time differences to Japan, and thus having to plan out my phone calls and wake up very early, or stay up really late [which had me at peak performance to speak Japanese as you could imagine…] to call the Kai Family, my host family from Saga, Japan, and realistically it was never prime time for them to chat either. This past weekend however, on Sunday, a great day of the week in Germany for its calm nature and relaxing, I was able to call the Kai Family in the afternoon German time, and have it only be early in the evening Japan time.

The Kai family is very special to me, and it is hard to describe the feelings I have for them other than that they are where everything started in regards to my adventures abroad. Talking with them is always filled with laughs, and everything feels like I was just there with them. This past Sunday was a reminder to me just how terrible my Japanese was becoming – we still talked for an hour though [for some reason that still amazes me to this day when I look back on it – even if it is choppy Japanese… still – I just talked for an hour in Japanese?! ].

My vocabulary was a little rough, but the main problem, just like my really sketchy Polish “conversation” the other night with Olli’s mom, was that German words just kept fumbling into my sentences without thinking. I know it is weird to think how German words can mesh into Japanese grammar… but I managed to make it happen. I think the thing that made Otousan laugh the most was the fact that I kept accidentally saying Ja, ja, ja. [Kind of like how I naturally said hai, hai, hai after everything in America after my return from Saga…]. The only issue here is that in Japanese, to say no, you can say iie, or a stronger version iya … which kind of sounds like ja… So whenever I was responding in agreement with my host father… well you get the picture…

Everyone else in the family is doing well. It is a shame that the Kai’s didn’t have a web cam, so they only saw my face – to which Otousan said I looked much older now! [I guess I was kind of baby-faced when I was there] – but just talking brought out the best in everyone’s personality. My host parents are doing well, Otousan just did a triathlon – to which Erika typed secretly in the chat box:

He almost died…

Yurina is still shy but is going to a school with a special curriculum for culinary arts, and Erika and I still have the great ability to push each other’s buttons and just poke fun at each other. Unfortunately Ojiichan has been in the hospital recently due to several ailments, with one of them being Alzheimer’s, but Otousan said that he still remembers who I am and has mentioned me, which was extremely special for me to hear.

[ She will probably hate me for putting this here, but it is so Kawaii!!! She is the one who put in on facebook! Can you recognize the special people in this photo ;) ]

Every time I am on the phone with the Kai Family, Okaasan always says Hayaku kaetekudasai! Which means return quickly and always makes me so excited to see them again. I have met so many wonderful people around the world, and it is my connections that make me so motivated to continue traveling, sharing and writing.


  1. chris, reading your blog always makes we want to say "awww" and i'm not even an "awww" type of person.


  2. Again, I agree with 'g'...your blog makes me oohh and ahhh...especially those cute pictures of the little girl...you really need to start recording your converasations...it would be hilarious to hear you speak Japanese in an American accent intermixing German by responding in the affirmtive which really is a negative in Japanese!!!

    Maria K.