Posts tagged japan
Posts tagged japan
3. Go to Kiyomizu-dera (again)
1. Go to Kinkakuji (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion)
Go to Fushimi Inari Taisha (Shrine)
Go to Kiyomizu-dera (again) 4. Go to Universal Studios Japan (USJ)
5. Go to that famous aquarium in Osaka
6. Go to Nara. Try not to step in deer poop.
7. Go to Obama City
8. Go to Hokkaido
9. Go back to Tokyo and visit ILP friends
10. And Yokohama again. And this time ride the ferris wheel!
11. Hang out for a day, with no real itinerary, in the town where I was supposed to grow up
12. Go to Disneyland or Disney Sea
13. Travel to a nearby country (or countries) 14. Go to a random prefecture on a class cancellation day 15. Go to a concert
17. Do well at my part time job, earn more money for travelling and shopping!!
18. send a package of my winter clothes home when it gets too warm for them and try not to sob over how much it’ll cost
19. Buy some Japanese books
20. Read a book. By a tree. In a park.
21. Buy lots of (…okay, more) cute clothes, trinkets, presents, etc.
22. But try not to own one of everything from the local 100yen shop
23. (Continue) to learn to make kick ass Japanese food
24. Pass all my classes but try not to worry about my GPA too much 25. Learn more through experience than in the classroom 26. Dance a ton, get better at a genre I would have limited access to at home
27. Keep my homesickness at bay
Dance Dance Revolution guy at a game center in Chayamachi
Baby Mickey plushie that my boyfriend won me from a claw game.
They call it the “UFO game” here
really intense DDR guy at a game center
Costs so. freaking. much.
We went to see the Hobbit in 3D, so that 3D ticket cost 2100yen!! D:
At least next time we go we get 100yen off if we bring our own glasses. Thank God it was a good movie or else I’d feel even worse about spending that much money.
The staff at the Tokyo Study Center for UCEAP recently asked me how I felt about the program, but I couldn’t come up with too much on the spot. Here’s my midterm evaluation of the program.
-Diversity: You truly get to meet people from all over the world. I thought California was diverse, but I’ve never met so many different kinds of people before. There is also a slight range in ages (19-30ish maybe) even though we’re mostly 3rd years, so that’s pretty nice too.
-Dorm: I lucked out, but I have a single+my own bathroom in the cleanest dorm which is still half of what I paid for a small/untidy triple in my apartment at Berkeley. We also have free access to laundry, linen service, our own air conditioner/heater. Internet isn’t included, but the school introduces you to the service. I got the nicest package for my job, and although it does go out every now and then, generally the internet is speedy and fabulous.
-Quiet study environment: Minoh is far away from everything, but it does help me calm down to study. Plus it makes me think twice about spending a ton of money for a night out on the town (but I’m in Japan!! I probably should be going out as much as I can).
-Space: If you don’t like the crowdedness of Tokyo, this program might be a better option.
-Food: Japan/Kansai in general has the best food. The BEST.
-Fashion: This is Japan, so if you are a girl, you are expected to wear makeup and dress to the nines. It sounds like a lot of pressure, but since I’m only out and about in the exchange student’s building, I don’t feel much pressure to try and impress everyone like I did in Tokyo. Of course, if I do feel like dressing up, I don’t get as much crap for that as I would in America. Like, I think everyone would disown me for wearing heels to class in Berkeley, but in Japan it’s pretty normal. It’s fun to dress up for no reason sometimes.
-Weather: Call me crazy, but I miss being in a place with four distinct seasons. Summer is disgusting and winter is crazy cold here, but it’s nice to get out of “the city with no seasons” for one year.
-Away from home: I feel like I had so many obligations back home, and being here gives me a great (and educational) opportunity to escape from all of that.
-Future: Being here has helped me realize so many things I want/don’t want for myself in the future. I don’t want to be an interpreter because you have to know more Japanese than an actual Japanese person. I don’t want to work in Japan (for life). I don’t want a full time job that’s like my current part time job. Translation might be an option. Etc. etc.
-Location: I like Osaka and Kyoto, but they’re so far away! Minoh Campus is super isolated from everything, and just a trip to go shopping for clothes can take 30 minutes to an hour. It’s pretty normal to have to take the train for hours in Japan, but it gets pretty annoying.
-Isolation: The study abroad students are all holed up in one building on campus. We take classes together, live together, etc. There are some opportunities to meet Japanese students (tutor, a club that organizes international exchange) but otherwise you have to join clubs and make your own friends.
-Expense: Japan is expensive in general, but living so far away makes everything even more expensive.
-Lack of immersion: I always end up speaking English to other exchange students, the people I see on a daily basis, so I feel like my Japanese isn’t improving dramatically.
-Rigor: Maybe it’s just because I come from Berkeley, but I’m really not impressed with the quality of the education here. I think it’s more Japan than Maple itself, but I dislike having each class only once a week and I’m underwhelmed with the work load. Even though I’m taking two composition classes, I haven’t had to write a proper essay since ILP in Tokyo, so I feel like my writing skills are even lower than they were when I was in America.
-Dreamworld: Being in a foreign country away from the life that I’m used to makes me feel like I’m living in a dreamworld. The things I do, the money I spend, the people I’m with, sometimes none of it feels real. And that is so dangerous.
Here’s a picture of our Christmas cake. I was so surprised to find out that people here eat cake and KFC every year for Christmas (google it, I’m not making that up).
When I told my students I’ve never had Christmas Cake in America they were so shocked, haha.
Times I feel really Japanese:
-when signing my name or using an inkan (Chinese character name stamps used as signatures here)
-“I can’t! I have work that day!”
-Living really far away from everything
-When I put on tons of make-up and dress up for no reason
-when I use a point card
-when getting really excited about cake
-when I wear something unnecessarily frilly, especially socks
-when I take pictures of anything
-when I use a 10000yen bill to pay for something
-when I use my ICOCA (IC card for taking the trains)
-when I say more than 2 sentences about the current weather
-when I use sound symbolism words
-when other exchange students are worrying about their visas and stuff
-when I use my passbook for my post office savings account and the atm prints out all my transactions…and then I squint, frown at my passbook, and sigh.
-when I take the teeny portion of rice in the cafeteria
-when I say “This ramen isn’t very good…”
Times I feel really foreign:
-when salespeople speak to me so politely I can’t understand them
-when I make a mistake using the public transportation system
-when all my Japanese friends laugh about something I didn’t quite catch
-when I’m having a normal conversation but can’t think of a simple word
-when everyone is talking about how western food is too oily
-when there are no western toilets
-when people talk numbers (10,000 is a unit here, which really confuses me)
-when people use the metric system or military time
-when I’m carrying one huge bag instead of several small bags
-when my arms are too long for shirts here (NEVER a problem in America)
-when people coo over how cute something is when I think it’s really ugly
-when I don’t wear make-up
-when I don’t get drunk off a glass of beer