Sunday, April 14, 2013

First Week of School - 終わり

Happy Saturday. Well, erm, Sunday now for me! What a week has it been! Classes started on Monday as did clubs so I’ve been super busy! Foots almost better (just a few more days) so I’ll be able to get out and about more again soon!!

My class schedule isn’t set in stone yet and since there was a misunderstanding with a couple of the Japanese classes (of which there are only 7 of us exchange students) I’ll be late in registering for a couple of my Japanese classes. For those of you who didn’t read or forgot about it, Japan Women’s University class registration system works something like this. You choose classes from one of seemingly a dozen books with help from people you live with. You find their times in another book and then you attend the classes for a week. On Monday of week 2 you register for your classes and take only the ones you like after having been introduced to the classes. I’ll tell you more about the second part of this process later.

Also, classes at Japan Women’s University work on a period system. Remember high school and middle school? Yeah, just like that. Classes always start at the same time and there are 5 periods per day. Per day being Monday – Saturday, though I’m not taking any Saturday courses.

On Monday I have a Japanese Grammar class, Tuesday 2-3 Japanese classes (the third is yet to be decided), Wednesday is a Japanese Listening class, Thursday is Japanese class (still undecided) and an American comparative literature class. Friday I have the best classes ever and I’m really looking forward to it. On Friday I have my American Culture and a 2 period (periods 3 & 4) Japanese clothing making class (which as 4 teachers to help out) where I will get to make and bring home a Yukata. I bought my material for that class today.

One thing I want to mention is that I’ve found a lot of classes include fees which you must pay directly to the class after tuition is paid. For example, I was considering a cooking class, but you have to pay 700 (about $7) per lesson. Not bad, but I was startled. On top of that some classes require you buy and bring certain things. In the case of my Japanese clothing making class I had to buy my own fabric for the class.

The first day of my classes were all very normal. In comparison to classes in the U.S. I’d call them identical except that there’s less syllabus coverage as those seem to be non-existent here. However in my Japanese clothing class we did start doing some hand sewing for practice on making a little robe thing for newborn babies which they wear to a special event. At this point there is nothing more I really want to say about my classes since it was, all told, identical to first days back home. With the exception of I understood less of it.

Next we have clubs. As I’ve said, or maybe I haven’t, I’m joining 4 clubs; volleyball, field archery, tea ceremony and ikebana. When you want to join a club here there is an even in April which clubs try to recruit. After that there are a few club meetings where you can go and see what the club is like before you decide to join. Upon joining many clubs have fees to help pay for club stuff. My club schedule looks like this: Monday – Volleyball 6-8 pm, Tuesday – Tea Ceremony 5-8 pm, Wednesday – Ikebana 4:30-5:30 (2 times a month) and Volleyball 5-8 pm (except on Ikebana days when it is 6-8 pm), Thursday – Field Archery 12:30 – 4:00 pm, Friday – Volleyball 5-8 pm, Saturday – N/A, Sunday – Field Archery 12:30 – 4:00. So that’s the basic rundown.

Volleyball was as you’d expect (only I couldn’t actually do anything thanks to my foot). Everyone was really awesome and you could really see everyone wanting to be there and doing their best. Not to mention they were all a VERY good at what they do. I’m almost a little hesitant joining with my rusty skills. Positive note though, I’m the tallest girl in the club.

Tea ceremony had a very different feeling than volleyball. Everyone was very dedicated and focused upon arriving and until they were finished. They explained the club calendar and showed me and the other “Just-looking” first years a few of the basic how to’s. Seems like it will be difficult as there is so much to remember, not to mention sitting on the knees. Honestly, I’m not 100% sure about joining, but I’ve wanted to learn tea ceremony for forever so I’m going to join it while I have the chance to learn cheap. Fee for this club is 5,000 ($50) for 4 months and I have to buy some of my own things to use (about 6,000).

I haven’t yet done Ikebana, but the first meeting is this week, so I’ll update you.

Field archery was super awesome. I’ve always wanted to do archery, but I’ve only ever actually used a bow a couple of times. So I went to the first meeting, learned how to put on the stuff and how to use the bow and got to practice for an hour or so before other people showed up and we began to rotate. Amazingly awesome and if I really could only choose one club I think it would be this one (over my lifelong love of volleyball). This club is also a joint club between Japan Women’s University and Keio University. What this means is that there are both girls AND guys in this club. Also, the location of this club is about 25 minutes from JWU using the train and walking. I’m not quite sure about the fees for this club, but they said it ends up being about 10,000 ($100) for the entire year, so not too bad. But I also have to buy my own bow and other equipment before the end of May which will run me about 15,000 ($150). So we’ll see how this works out sending things home in a few months.

So yeah, that’s the basic run down of what went down this week.

Also, today is now officially my birthday in Japan! Last night (it’s 2 am as I’m writing this) I went to an Izakaya with a couple of my new friends and Briana! It was a blast. Saw a performing monkey in Ueno Park with Eri. 

Performing Monkey in Ueno Park.
Afterwards we had my first 飲み放題 (all you can drink) with Kasane and Briana and walked home. Today it’s off to the Biohazard Café (Resident Evil Café) in Shibuya and then the Sky Tree. I also have a sneaking suspicion the girls on my floor are up to something for when I get home tomorrow though.
On the way home!


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