Today was my first day of going to campus to actually attend class. Today all I was supposed to have was my Japanese language class because my other class “Soft Power of Cool Japan” was cancelled. For the Japanese classes here in the Japanese Studies Program there are 4 levels of classes: A, B, C, and D. We took placement tests to see which level would be most appropriate, but for myself, two other students from the same university as me who were in my Japanese class, and one other student, the Japanese professor said that our level seems to be a bit higher than that of the D level and therefore the class would most likely be more of a review. The classes for A, B, C, and D are considered “intensive classes,” but there are “regular classes” for Japanese language that are taught through the university’s Japanese Language Institute (JLI). So, us four students will most likely be enrolling in those classes. However they do not start until September 23rd when the rest of the TIU students begin class. In the meanwhile I think we will either attend the D level class like we did today, or we will do something else depending on what the International Exchange Office and Japanese teachers decide.
Anyways, as for how this first day of class went I think it was a little bit overwhelming. The content being taught was slightly new, as it was a more detailed version of a self introduction. I could understand everything the teacher said too but what was overwhelming was the fact that it seemed like all of the other students spoke Japanese really well. Apparently this is a normal pattern according to one of the Japanese teachers. That is because most of the other students in the class are enrolled full time in the university as international students and have therefore been living and working in Japan for a while. Definitely longer than the JSP students who just arrived last week.
Our Japanese classes are actually 3 hours long. 1.5 hours, then a 10 minute break, and then another 1.5 hours. During class we read the story of momotaro and then answered a few questions about which animal we would choose to bring on the journey and why. Also, what are the weak points of those animals. The strong point is supposed to represent what you want people to think of you and the weak point is what you think your personal weakness is. I wrote that I would bring a cow. The advantages being that it is strong but the disadvantage being that it is prone to laziness or being kind of slow… I think that the assessment is pretty accurate unfortunately.
After we finished that part then we moved on to working on the self introductions. We will have to introduce ourselves to our teacher tomorrow since we do not have the same teacher every single day of the week. Different days of the week are taught by different teachers because they cover different content. So tomorrow we are supposed to introduce ourselves using the example we practiced today, and then by Monday we need to turn in a written copy. I have only had 1/3 classes and I will not have had all three of them for another week or so since my “Soft Power of Cool Japan” class was cancelled.
When class was over I had to go with the other students to go discuss with the Japanese professor about what we would like to do in terms of our Japanese class, then I ate lunch with those students since we were all starving. From there were went to the train station. At the train station we ran into some other JSP students and I decided to tag along because they were going to a bookstore in an area I hadn’t explored yet. Once we got off the train we walked a little bit to a long shopping street called “Crea Mall.” From there we walked that entire street to get to the second hand book store called “Book-Off” that was right after the mall ended.
I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular because I just wanted to explore different nearby areas, but I ended up buying two albums. When we were done there, some people decided they wanted to continue walking to Koedo which has the old buildings and traditional shops, but I wanted to head back so that I wouldn’t be out that late and end up getting lost. I didn’t really end up shopping my way back up the street because I was with another student who needed to get home so I will probably go back by myself later. When I got near the train station I ended up actually looking in the shopping mall since it had a Uniqlo. I didn’t buy anything there (this time) but I did buy a shirt from a store called WEGO that friends recommended to me before I came to Japan.
Finally I was ready to head home so I went back into the train station. I couldn’t figure out which side of the tracks I was supposed to stand on though so I guessed and guessed wrong and had to go all the way back up the steps and back around. Eventually I will figure this out!!!! Thankfully I made it back to Fujimino station and then took my nice 17 minute walk home in the shadeless sunny weather.
Now I have caught up to the present where I am sitting here writing this instead of completing my self-introduction and other homework. I hope I’ll have more interesting things to share. In the near future I have plans to meet up with my friend who was a study abroad student at my home university, go to Tokyo Disneyland with my host family, visit my relatives house in Tochigi, attend the international camp, and watch my host sibling’s undokai at their schools.
Today’s journal wasn’t really anything special but I am procrastinating on doing my homework. If you read this, thank you and I hope I have more fun things to write about next time!
BONUS! Pictures from the gudetama pudding kit I did yesterday with my host family.