Posts tagged japan
Posts tagged japan
Hello Kitty Donuts at Mister Donut, Japan
Pizza Hut in Japan
Don’t expect anything out of Japanese education because it expects almost nothing from you. Maybe it’s just a cultural difference. It’s said that Japanese universities are incredibly hard to get into, but easy to graduate from. In fact, all you really have to do is graduate with enough units.
I was really shocked with the attendance being 50% of the grade and how little we actually learn (it depends on the class/teacher).
For example, my Advanced Composition class. It’s called “Watching Videos and Writing Compositions.” If it were Berkeley, we would probably have to write at least a page or two in response to the video every week. Instead, we watched videos every week and at the end of the semester, our big “report” was one page (400 characters) on whichever of the videos we liked the best, or an introduction of a famous person from our country.
Or, for another class, our big project for the semester took about half of the time my weekly Linguistics assignments at Berkeley took. This is from the same hypocritical teacher who said “The worst foreign language teachers are the ones who talk the whole time and don’t let the students get a word in.” I have two classes with her in a row. It’s like she takes a giant breath and talks for 3 hours straight.
Another one of my professors said, “Don’t worry about the final too much. It’s just about grades. You’ll all get the units that you want from this class” -____-
My other friend at Waseda mentioned that she had a professor who said “I know this is really challenging, but get used to this workload if you’re preparing to study abroad in America” as he assigned 12 pages of reading. 12 pages!!
Side note: your orientation guides will tell you never to be late to class, but some of your professors will never come until 10-15 minutes after class starts, so don’t worry too much.
I honestly believe that my Japanese would’ve improved more if I’d stayed at home because the classes are much more rigorous. Nothing is going to happen if you don’t go out and try to improve. You have to study on your own. Especially for the JLPT. I’ve learned more from hanging out with my Japanese friends, joining a dance circle, and my part-time job (teaching English -___- but in Japanese) then from my actual courses. In a way it’s nice. But on the other hand, it’s kind of disappointing that I pay so much to go here and I still learn so much more from my drinking buddies than my professors.
You have to experience Japan for yourself instead of relying on what your teachers and guidebooks tell you. As well intended as professors, blogs, and textbooks are, you really can’t generalize like that. “Japanese people can’t drink much.” “Japanese girls are not as headstrong as American girls.” “Japanese people won’t say what they mean upfront.” “Japanese people are bad at English.”
These statements many apply to many people, but do not expect them to be true for everybody.
I’ve noticed that some of my Japanese professors are especially prone to talking in hyperbole. “Japan is the only country that _______”, “Japanese is the only language where _______”, “You will only find _______ in Japan, nowhere else.” And it’s not always true.
All of my professors say, “You will never find a Japanese person eating or talking on the phone in the train.” And yet, those people are out there. I see them almost every day. There are also very few people around willing to give up their seats for the elderly or disabled, even if they’re already sitting in the priority seats. Japan guides also dictate that Japanese people do not talk on trains, and if they do it is in very hushed tones, but if you’ve ever had the misfortune of riding with a gaggle of high school girls, you will stop believing in these sources.
Teachers, guidebooks blogs, and orientations will all tell you to never make a Japanese person wait. Make sure you’re on time. Japanese people value punctuality. Ok? I’m not encouraging you to come late, you should value punctuality. You should show up on time. But your friends in Japan might come 30 minutes late, just like some of your friends in the States.
By all means, look up Japanese customs before coming. Prepare yourself. But just remember, even if you do everything “right”, it doesn’t mean you should expect actual Japanese people to. I know nobody wants to believe it, but rude Japanese people exist too! But it doesn’t mean we can act like them. As foreigners, we should probably try to be even more polite, as to not further the stigma.
The only thing that’s always true is that the train will probably never come late. That you can pretty much count on.