ダニエル先生が、津山に来てから１０ヶ月近くになりますが、短い期間にもかかわらず、様々な経験を通して地域の人たちとの交流を楽しんでいます。 大好きな剣道に加え、今は卓球仲間もできました。 これからのお花見の季節、どんな新しい経験が待っているのでしょうか。
Since being in Japan I have tried many new activities. In the fall I participated in the Omikoshi Festival. In the winter I went snowmobiling for the first time in Okutsu, as I am sure many of you have heard. Just recently I picked up photography, though I am still a beginner. I also got the chance to play cricket with a couple of my British and Australian friends. Even though it’s not baseball I still had a lot of fun. These activities are all things that I would have never thought I would try in Japan.
One not-so-new activity I have been doing is table tennis. When I was in Junior High School my father bought a table tennis table for me for Christmas. From then on I have played on and off but never seriously. However, this has changed in Japan. For about half a year now I have been playing almost every Monday with several older Japanese people, one of whom is my Japanese teacher. Unlike most of the other activities that I do, table tennis has me interacting a lot in Japanese even compared to Kendo. So, I like to treat it as not only table tennis practice but as Japanese practice as well.
More importantly, it has given me a chance to get more involved with the Tsuyama community. This was a big goal of mine when coming to Japan. I wanted to be a part of Tsuyama. By practicing at the Jousai Community Center I feel like I am spreading some part of American culture and in turn learning more about Japanese culture. Most of the people that I play with have had little to no interaction with foreigners, except my Japanese teacher. This is true for a lot of the people in Tsuyama so I have to remember how I act and what I do leaves an impression about foreigners. A lot of the times, this is the only impression that people have.
Now that spring is coming around and more people will be out and about, I will have even more chances to interact with the community. I am especially looking forward to the Flower Viewing parties and the Cherry Blossom Festival. I enjoy chatting with the local people and I am sure this will be an excellent opportunity. My community was always important to me and it was a very big influence on my life when I was a child. Tsuyama, in the short time I have been here, has already created a lot of special memories for me and I only have more to look forward to.