It's only been a little over two weeks since I got here in Akita International University and this place already feels too small. There is one thing a person must realize before they come here: there is nothing surrounding the school. There are a few shops, but this place is like the island of Lana'i. Everything closes early. If you get hungry after 9 o'clock and have no food in your refrigerator, you have to take a 15 minute bus ride to the nearest mall. On top of all of that, if you miss the last bus home, you have to walk back to school through a bear infested forest in the pitch black of night.
Life here in Akita International University is similar to living in an isolated world. You need to make an effort to get out of it. Being stuck in a little area of Akita is not the most exciting thing out there, so I bought a bike. A nice black bike with a basket, a little light, a bell, and a little thing on the back where you can pack somebody. It even comes with a funky stand and a lock that is attached to the back wheel. In Hawaii, these bikes would not last for long. The lock locks the back wheel, but if a person truly wanted to steal the bike, they could just pick it up and walk away with it. Luckily, Japan is super safe. You could leave your wallet in the middle of the road, and the chances that it will still be there tomorrow is pretty high... or at least that is what everyone in Japan is trying to tell me.
The other day, me and three buses worth of students had the opportunity to visit Akita's Tazawa lake and Kakunodate Town. The lake was beautiful. It was so beautiful, I swam in it with just my underwear. Yup, that's right. Only underwear. At first, I tried searching the nearby areas for some swim shorts or a towel, but no matter where I went, the local people would say they don't know.
The town of Kakunodate was not like how I expected it would be. I expected it to be a super old school town with roads made of dirt, and surroundings filled with rice fields. I didn't expect a museum like atmosphere with vending machines on every other corner, and shops that filled the streets. Although it wasn't like how I expected, the bright side of it all was that I got to see samurai armor and weapons. I even got to see beautifully designed Japanese style houses that have stood the challenge of time for many years. I even had the opportunity to meet the 13th generation of a samurai family.
I finally was able to go to a place known as an Izakaya. It's like a bar and a restaurant all thrown into one. For 3000 yen, you can drink all you want, and almost anything you want, for 3 hours. Of course, I took the deal. The Izakaya's name was Babylon by Bus. With the reggae music playing in the background, the smell of cigarettes in the air, and pakalolo decorations all over the place, it reminded me a lot of Hawaii.
Last but not least, I had the opportunity to go to a ninja park! It's actually an athletic park, but I call it a ninja park. There were loads of obstacles and stuff that you had to climb over, climb through, or swing on. Being a kid at heart, it was a lot of fun! I'm sure that we would have had a lot more fun, if we were to take our time through the obstacles. Me, however, I had to go through it at full force! It reminded me of a play place we used to have in Hawaii called Discovery zone. This park, however, was better, it was way bigger and had a lot more obstacles than discovery zone had.