El Chris goes to Camp

Logo for Mori no Ike

I like words. I’ve always liked words. When I was in high school, my gift for words and language was nurtured, and as loudly as I complained about high school, I’m forever grateful for that. I was the first student at my high school who took three of the four languages offered, and the only reason I didn’t take German was because I would have had to start it after everyone else was a quarter ahead of me.

My senior year, I began studying Japanese. I was already damn near fluent in Spanish by that point and had skipped a year of French, and Japanese was a new challenge. Plus, there were girls in Japanese class. In fact, I met The Patient Wife because of Japanese class, but that’s a post for another day.

During about the first week, Sensei told us about a Japanese camp that we could go to, and I was SOLD. I would be there. There would be camp. And there would be food. And there would be girls. And there would be coffee. And there would be GIRLS. Japanese camp was going to be AWESOME.

Camp was indeed awesome. Nobody there had ever been to scout camp with the likes of ME before, so I brought some scout camp to Japanese camp. We sang songs. We hooted and hollered. We made Sensei go crazy. Mission. Accomplished.

Today, in 2001, I got back from Japanese camp. Life was good. I had a great time, I made good friends, and it made such an impression on me that I came home, logged into (the now defunct) Teenopendiary.com and wrote about it. The word blog wasn’t even around then, but I wrote anyway. I’m always amazed by how eloquent I thought I was in high school and what I actually wrote. Here’s what I wrote.

Itadakimasu – 11/4/2001

I got dressed this morning in Japan, and now, I sit in my humble abode and miss it. I was at Mori no Ike (Small pond of the forest, literally translated) Japanese camp through Concordia College. What an experience. I left during third hour on Thursday, and sat in a sweltering bus for five and a half hours until we got to bemiji. My counselor, Kanji, liked to teach us swear words. His favorite is fuck. I was amused. There were tons of people (and lots of girls. SKWEE!). All our meals were Kapanese food, and we had chopsticks, which led to some rather awkward eating and many jokes about my sloppy ability to use them. I prefer my fork. I met a lot of wonderful people, and I learned of a wonderful food called “Pockey” (said as “pokey”). It’s chocolaty and voluptuous. Download “Shingo Mama no Oha” by Katori Shingo. It rocks. It’s in Japanese.

Author: El Chris

I’m full of snark that doesn’t always come out. I have a soft spot for kids and people with special needs. I’m a disability advocate by day, and a coffee roasting photographer by night. You’ll love me, but your parents will love me more.

Tell Me Why I'm Wrong