Blood Oaths and Difficulty With Breathing: Saturday 13th August

Earlier this week I received a letter from the family that I will be doing my homestay with (for one month beginning at the end of September), and I was delighted to find out they live in Hokkaido, near the beautiful lake Toya. My sensei very kindly rewrote the letter out for me on the computer, as the handwritten scrawl literally looked like it had come from some third century Japanese manuscript. With the help of a dictionary, Google translator, and my own (very limited) translation skills I managed to ascertain that the head of the family was also the president of his local international exchange committee, and that he had a daughter who was married to an Englishman and living in the suburbs of London.  Google translator also mentioned something about a blood oath; but as every other sentence in that translation also contained the words ‘alternating current’ I tried my best to take it with a pinch of salt.

A pretty straightforward translation...

This afternoon’s weekly yoga session was a bit of a mixed bag. It started off fairly promisingly, with me actually managing to engage in a conversation with the Sensei rearguing my plans over the weekend. Although, as I misheard: ‘Are you okay with the humidity’, as: ‘When did you last eat’, my response of: ‘about six hours ago’ was initially met with confusion, before eventually being interpreted as an indication of my sleeping patterns. I also managed to pick out some new key phrases; with ‘Keep your knees bent as you reach for the ceiling’ leaving me feeling particularly chuffed. However all this good work was swiftly undone when I realized that what I had thought was ‘inhale’ was actually ‘exhale’, and visa versa: no wonder I’d been finding it so bloody difficult to breath during the routines!


About truehamlet

Sam is a senior lecturer in Science Communication, who researches the different ways in which media such as poetry and film can be used to communicate science to new audiences.
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