Sunday, 27 September 2009

Turning Japanese

Hello folks, what's the crack eh? Well, I'll let you know what's been going on here, but first I'd like to apologise once again for my lack of recent blogging. Excuses aside, It's pretty bloody hard to write one of these things every week, so you'll have to accept a less frequently posted addition every so often when I have the time.

So where do I start? Last time I blogged, I mentioned my arrival at the dormitory and all the stupid rules of the place. Well, having met a few people and got a feel for just how far the rules can be bent, it's not as bad as I first thought. When they say you're not allowed people of the opposite sex in your room/ people in your room after 11, what they mean is "if we see this happening, we'll say no". Also, the curfew only really means "the door will be locked at 12, so get your pal to let you in if you come back after that". No real biggie. On top of that, I have my own little secret way in, which I shan't divulge here - just to maintain the secrecy of it, but to suffice to say, "s'all good in the hood". I've managed to have a few late night "parties" in here, and no-one has complained, so it seems like the rules are more relaxed than they appear.

There's a photo of my room as best as I could take right now. Like I said before, I have a massaging toilet seat, a electronic stove thing, shower, bed, fridge, desk and plenty of storage space.

I started classes last Monday, having sat a placement test during orientation to decide my level of Japanese. I'm not sure how exact the test, which took 4 hours and included an interview, was as there are people better than me in lower classes, and worse than me in better classes. As usual, I wound up slap bang in the middle class, and while I find some of the material a little easy, they say it is because some of my skills (such as listening and speaking) are pretty shitty, and so need the lower level to be brought up. I get another placement test before the start of the second semester, and I hopefully hould perform a lot better then. The biggest problem of the classes however, is that they are all at 9am. Had I been a lower or higher level I would have had a bit more of a lie in.

I was also permitted to sit in on some Spanish classes, and am now signed up for "Advanced Spanish Speaking", and "Japanese to Spanish Advanced Translation". The latter of which is causing me some concern as I don't think my level of Japanese is suffice to produce a satisfying Japanese translation, but I suppose it is some incentive to study harder.

Aside from the mundane educational aspects of this year abroad, I have also been partaking in much social revelry with some good friends that I have made at the dorm, university, and those that I knew before my arrival in Japan. I have so far had the chance to attend the time honoured traditional social activity of カラオケ three times in the last week, each time messier than the last. I also ended up going to a club last Friday night, which proved to be a rather unwise decision. Not only did it involve staying out until 6am (not due to curfew, but to having to catch the first train back), but the night itself was something I would rather forget. Nonetheless, an experience in itself.

As well as night time activities, I have been able to take advantage of some of my 9am starts to make the most of the days, and have been travelling around Tokyo, visiting the sites and what not. Also, I have just returned today from (not very proud to say this) Tokyo Game Show. A few years ago, I would have given up my kidney for the opportunity to go to such a place, but having matured a bit, and not really played video games for the past 3 years, I wasn't overly keen to fork out the £25 it cost to get there and back. But, Naoko insisted she wanted to go, and I have to say, I wasn't disappointed. Yes, it was a complete nerd-fest, and there were a lot of creepy things going on there, but on the whole, I had a good time, and was able to rekindle the video-game-playing kid in me that I thought I had lost forever.

I know it's not a terribly long entry, especially since the long time between my last blog, but its almost 1am and I have to be up at 7, so I think I'm going to call it a night. Hopefully I can get something else written soon, but having learnt from experience, I won't make any promises about when I'll write the next one.

As they say in Spanish (as I am yet to learn the Japanese expression for it) "hasta la proxima", and I leave you with some sound advice from JR train's "JT group"

Speak to you soon(ish)

1 comment:

  1. Hello James from the Bengal Chaa in stirchley, Birmingham. All out for my dads birhtday with your folks as well. they told us about your blog so loaded it up on the iPhone. Isn't technology wonderful. Great to hear you're doing well, and your toilet massages! Go easy on the sake fella and take care. Sayanara hombre.