Today was the “Sayonara Party” for the Konan exchange students, an event which was meant to be pretty formal. However due to a tear in my only shirt, I went wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Still I made the effort somewhats, wearing my One Life One Meaning shirt.
The ceremony hall was full of students, staff members and host families. Initially two of our Japanese friends who had come were asked to leave/come back at 3 (when it finished), but after some convincing of the fact that dorm students had no one to be there with, they were let in. Lots of speeches were made and posh-nosh eaten. Mind you I popped into McDonalds beforehand so didn’t feel like eating. An award was given to the best Japanese speaker of the year, awarded on a range of scores, attendance, improvement yardy yardy yar, and it went to the person in the (almost) fluent class who won the Japanese speech contest (by giving the first bit of their speech in English explaining what the speech was going to be about).
For me though something good did happen, I got some money! Don’t mean for that to sound entirely selfish, it’s part of the initial lump sum we paid at the start of the year for textbooks; we all pay a certain amount at the start of the year and at the end the money not used is given back according to what classes we took (and what books those classes used). After the 10,000 yen we dorm folk were given in Hiroshima (I say given, but this 10k came from the textbook money) to help stay alive, I really wasn’t expecting to get anything back. From conversations with other students mine seemed to be one of the larger amounts given back. I put this down to the fact that I brought and used my own Minna No Nihongo books from home, saving some money.
There was an after party in Okamoto afterward which I skipped. Reason being (and I told this to anyone who asked me) I just don’t like most of the people who went. Harsh as it may sound most people on this programme are jerks or tossers, and a couple being a combination of the two with a pinch of git added in.
Moving on, tonight I hung out in Umeda with one of my Japanese friends who I probably won’t be able to see again before I take that voyage into the big blue. After nosing at a some business bags (laptop bags with enough room for lots of documents), we headed to dinner. I don’t remember the name of the style of meal, but it was like a “make your own tempura” style restaurant.
We had a 食べ放題 (tabehoudai, all you can eat) meal where you take what ever you feel like frying (pre-skewered), dip it in in batter and breadcrumbs and deep fat fry it yourself right at your table. It was a lot of fun, and thankfully the spitting fat didn’t get me too often. After eating we had a walk back and then said our goodbyes on a train.
After leaving my station I experienced (ish) my first car accident. I know this isn’t something to normally get excited about, but since I’ve been in Japan I’ve heard many a foreigner criticise Japanese drivers (and cyclists) and while I’d admit I’ve seen many close calls and horns blown, the cars involved have always just gotten away with it. So this accident (which I heard the crash on the way to the 99 yen shop and turned to reveal the incident in the middle of a busy crossroad near my dorm) confirms that even though it may seem Japanese drivers share a psyche in which they all know what they will do (to avoid crashes), it doesn’t always work.
And so before I sign off and head over to the Japanese blog to make an entry, I’ll leave you with Goodbye My Lover by James Blunt, as my way of saying goodbye to Konan University (though I’ll probably pop in before I leave Japan next week … T_T).