Today was really quite a day, but I haven’t talked about my internship experience last week with the Health and Welfare Department, so I will post on that VERY briefly. I know some of you are saying ‘Yeah, right...’ at the moment, but I will try to keep this short.
For starters, it was kind of a crappy week because I don’t really have much of an interest in what this department does. Don’t get me wrong, they do great things, and I did enjoy parts of the internship, but most of the week was spent sitting down and listening to lectures about VERY specific administrative duties, legalities, and other procedural matters. Had this been emergency management-related, I might have had some interest. Now that I have my whining out of the way, I will try to stay positive about the rest of the week.
I spent the week visiting facilities with three Japanese college students. It was actually really nice to talk with some young people and have less than completely serious discussions at lunch. It was also nice not to have to worry about speaking formal Japanese for once. They were all really nice and we went bowling on Friday as a celebration for getting through the week. As usual, I was terrible in the first game, but I got my stride and bowled a 123 in the second game (not like you really care, anyway).
When we weren’t listening to excruciatingly boring lectures, we did see some cool facilities. We visited a home for the elderly, got to sit in a speech class for people with mental handicaps or brain trauma, visited a volunteer center, and got to play with kids at a day care center. All of the people we visited, young and old, healthy and not so healthy, gave us a warm welcome with big smiles on their faces. Yuki, the one guy among the three college kids, did some magic tricks at the volunteer center and was a big a hit as the foreign guy speaking Japanese. It’s kind of cool that I don’t have to carry around a pack of cards with me to woo over the old ladies and little kids…
One last note on why I didn’t really enjoy these lectures… The three college students are studying social welfare because they intend to work in the field one of these days. We had chances to ask questions when we didn’t understand something, but I really didn’t want to slow things down for them because of my poor Japanese vocabulary (especially when discussing social welfare programs), because they actually needed to learn this stuff. If I listened intently I could pick up a lot of it, but I hated to ask someone to slow it down just so I could look up words in my dictionary. Anyway, I made it through the week and I still had some good experiences.
Now wasn’t that short?