Saturday, 31 October 2009

Camp, football and Happy Halloween

Howdy folks.

I figure I should round of the end of the month with a new blog entry, just to keep you all informed of my goings on.

Well, I ended the last blog entry saying that I was about to take part in the sports day football team. You'll be happy to hear that I did indeed take part, and thanks to my superior goal keeping skills, were able to win our first match (a feat we didn't think possible). It was a close game, and we took the lead early on, only to concede a goal in the dying seconds (there's a video of this somewhere on facebook). Luckily though we won the penalty shoot out and progressed to the second round where we were soundly beaten 3-0. Oh well, we got a lot further than we had expected.

That following weekend was the international societies "autumn camp", so we headed out on Saturday for a countryside-ish region of Tokyo, where we had a barbecue, drank lots of alcohol, and slept in log cabins. It was quite a nice area right next to a river, so we were able to have the barbecue on a "beach", and then head inside for some drinking games. I was able to teach some people "ride the bus", and I was introduced to the real way to play beer pong (although, it didn't last too long as most of use were pretty knackered by then).

It was a good night with lots of drunken debauchery, and by about 3am most people were asleep, despite being woken up around that time by an uninvited guest.
Since then it's been pretty much standard living. I've gotten used to having to wake up at 7am to make it in for 9, and I've also got used to eating some form of rice every single day of the week (You can't escape the stuff here).

Two nights ago was the international society "Halloween Party", and while it only ran from 6pm to 8.30, it was OK. Afterwards we ended up going to Karaoke, and not getting back to the dorm until 3am. Luckily, we have a week off for autumn holidays at the moment, so I'm able to take it easy.

University starts again on Thursday with mid-term exams, so I should really get started on some revision.

Anyway, feel free to drop me an email/message on facebook to let me know how things are going back in the big UK (or anywhere else you may be).


Monday, 12 October 2009

Typhoon Trouble and All That Jazz

It has certainly been an entertaining couple of weeks since my last blog entry.

Firstly, something important that I failed to mention last time is that there has been an interesting change with the status of my "scholarship". Originally I had applied for 2 scholarships before coming to Japan. The first was a government offered scholarship of a little under £600/month with "no strings attached" so to speak (aside from having to write a report at the end of the year abroad outlining what benefits the year abroad had). Failing to get that, Rikkyo University offered their own "scholarship" to foreign students. I was notified that I had received the Rikkyo Scholarship sometime around May, meaning that I had not been accepted on the government scholarship (JASSO). I was perfectly happy with that, until I found out that it wasn't really a scholarship, but instead was a rent cover for staying at my current dormitory. The problem is that, you only receive it if you stay here, and due to the rules and regulations of the place, I was strongly considering moving out and finding my own place.

By some stroke of luck however, the Japanese government decided to invest more money in foreign scholarships, and when I arrived, I found out during orientation that I had actually received the JASSO, and so was getting more money, and more freedom. Hells. (I have no idea why the Japanese government offers such scholarships - there must be 70 recipients in my university alone, but why question it eh?)

The increase in money couldn't have come as a better time, as the pound (and euro, and dollar, and practically every other currency) seems to be getting a poorer exchange rate with the yen every single day.

In other news, classes were cancelled last Tuesday due to some massive typhoon. I would love to have been able to give you a detailed account of how loudly the wind howled and how heavily the rain poured, but truth be told, I was asleep. We got news of cancelled classes the night before when it was still dry and warm, so we all headed out to an all you can drink karaoke. When we left at 2am it was really heavily raining, but that's about all I remember. I woke up the following day at 1pm to clear blue skies. The wind was still pretty strong, and I could hear it blowing every now and again through my closed window, but that was about it.

Aside from that it's been the usual study/socialising mix that I've been doing more or less since I got here. Classes are generally relaxed and not too taxing, but I can certainly feel my grasp of the language is improving. My spanish classes are also going pretty well, apart from the fact that they are at 4.30pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which doesn't really fit with the Japanese classes which are everyday at 9am - but it does mean I hang around to university and get some work done.

Today was also a national holiday, meaning no university classes. On top of that, Thursday is Rikkyo University's sports day, so there won't be classes then either (although for some reason I have signed up to play for the international student's football team, and so will probably be playing then - what the hell am I doing??)

Anyway, hope all is well wherever you are, and I'll leave you with an important message.