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Posts Tagged ‘Nanzan’

My birthday, which I was expecting to be lonely dull and boring, turned out to be one of the best ever. No less than 5 people made me cakes (thank you to Rumi, Cynthia and Joy, Diana and a random Japanese girl I don’t really know) and although I hadn’t really planned anything, we sat out in the green area of Nanzan for the entire afternoon in gorgeous warm weather (wearing a t-shirt on my birthday has got to be a first!)  eating sushi and snacks. It was lovely because everyone passes through there and I saw a lot of my Japanese friends and other well wishes during the course of the afternoon. We then spent the rest of the evening at Phucs house eating yummy Vietnamese food.

I don’t really remeber why but for some reason Yasha said something which provoked a response and although I thought I could jokingly kickbox-high-kick him, I actually kicked him in the shin and ended up in a world of pain. I think I may have broken or slightly damaged my right big toe, as it is now black all over. I can kind of bend it but it hurts a lot. Its also very swollen. Is this a bad thing? I havent paid my health insurance yet so I think I will leave it and hope it gets better!

Obviously I am also extremely pleased that my birthday coincided with such a momentous day in the world of politics; Hooray for Obama!! I only know one person who voted against him and they shall remain annonymous for their own safety!! Hopefully Obama will live up to his promises. The fact that he got elected shows that the America is ready for change and I believe that he will have a positive impact on not only america but the world in general. I think the right man won so I’m happy.

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Japan can often seem like a bewildering place for a gaijin (outside person = foreigner) and I still get surprised about some of the little things that occur on a daily basis.

Once you get over all the obvious differences like vending machines every 50 metres, height difference, the cutsie cartoons that tell you how you should behave/how to operate a water fountain etc, the abundance of advertisement (even on handrails on escalators in a major station – now THATS thinking outside the box!) you start to notice the smaller things.

The following are a couple of things which really stuck out.

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The first few days have been a total whilrwind of food parties, meeting new people and JAPANESE! Its already been such good practise as I have to speak Japanese 90% of the time, and my confidence has skyrocketed. Theres no way I could write it all down, but a few things that have amused me so far include:

Jelly in a can – bought from a drinks vending machine. Is it a drink? Is it food? Im not quite sure, but its very yummy!

Engrish – its absolutely everywhere. I have a file which says: “Yeah, I want to make my arms like ham… pretend like you`re a pretty kitty” and a notebook which says: “tiny flowers of shine”. Ive also tried a beer which according to its description on the label* “taste of autumn”… whatever that means.

Oh and we went to a fake English style pub last night where you could choose from 4 sizes of beer: half pint, Pint, 3/4 pint, and a LITRE. (I had a 3/4 pint just to see what it looked like, but it is actually just a 3/4 pint sized glass filled to the top, not a pint which isnt fully filled up in case you were wondering.)

Everything is going really well, everyone is really nice, my jetlag is non-existent and the food is delicious. Today I had yaki-soba for breakfast, mochi icecream for lunch, jelly in a can as a snack and who knows what for dinner. Not particularly healthy, but very Japan.

There has been a LOT of orientation (more like disorientaion in the case of the talk on finance) and had a campus tour, Ive discovered internet which you dont have to log-on to (we havent had that orientation seminar yet!) in the CJS office so thats where I am right now. The campus is amazing, and massive compared to what Im used to at SOAS, so its going to be a while before I really know my way around! Theres a gym, a pool, (free to use!) a (proper) bookshop, a movie rental store (free!!) a language exchange centre where Japanese is prohibited so to promote other languages, about 4 or 5 cafeterias, a couple of cafes, sports grounds…. whereas SOAS is essentally one building! So I feel like Im having a real university experience! Its much more what one would expect uni to be like. The best part is, my dormitory is literally spitting distance form the main gates! 

Will try to update again soon, Im thinking about getting internet in my room; its very expensive (25 pounds per month) but I think its a necessity. Especially since there are no wireless networks on campus (its all dial-up!!) all the wireless networks around my hall are secured and even though there is a room where one can skype from on campus, the computer rooms shut about 8.30. Even to using an internet cafe requires registration, so its a bit of a hassle really.

Hope you are all well back home!

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