Ok, so this is a little later than I guess it probably should be, but oh well. Lets begin.
Yes folks, I’m now in Japan. No not on holiday, I’m living and studying here for 9 months. Living in Osaka, I get to enjoy a daily commute to Kobe to study at Konan University. To begin with though during our orientation, we were staying at the fabulous (darling, lol) Sheraton Hotel on Rokko Island. It was nice, but it wasn’t until I randomly walked into a bar (alone) and spent 45 minutes talking to the barman, who couldn’t speak a word of English, that I really felt like I was in Japan.
Now that I’ve moved into my dorm near the Kamishinjyou station, I feel even more like I’m experiencing a more Japanese lifestyle. Everyday (except for Sundays) there’s a range of Japanese meals, and of course there’re things in the dorm itself I’d never experience back in Telford. Such as a traditional Japanese toilet … yeah, the squatter! That being said I still haven’t tried it yet as there’s also a western style one. However at the hotel I did get to try a ‘butt-wash’ feature on the highly technological toilet seat. But also the area that I have to walk through on my way to Uni, the way my train pass is swiped through the terminal, the way that the station has people to push and squeeze people onto the train, all of these and more have really helped me realise that I’ve actually managed to come into an area of Japan that real Japanese people live in, and I love it here.
On the subject of meals, going out for a meal is awesomely cheap in comparision to the UK. For the price of what I’d normally get at a McDonalds, here you can get an absolutely huge meal at a very nice restaurant. And what about McDonalds you say? Well not only is it cheaper here, but the staff are generally much more welcoming and friendly (sorry to the few members at UK McDonalds who are friendly). But that friendliness can generally extend beyond restaurants to pretty much all staff members that I’ve met, and also the majority of people in general.
I’m going to just take this moment to break away and say that Melon Bread is the snack of the gods!
One thing I’m still not used to (and may not be for quite some time) is the road crossing etiquette that I’ve seen. For marked areas you cross when the pedestrian light is green, much like the UK. However, cars are still allowed to go if there’s no one on the crossing, like in Canada. Sometimes people cross when the light’s red but no traffic seems to be coming, which is fine with them, but my pessimistic nature reminds me that a very quiet car would likely be coming and I wouldn’t notice it until it’s too late. So when asked why I wait on a clear road, I normally say “a true Englishman always waits”. The zebra crossings also confuse me. In England it is the pedestrian who had the right of way, but here I’m still yet to discover who has the priority.
Right, so today we had to sit the first of our placement tests to determine which Japanese language group we’d be studying in. It seemed to go pretty well … too well … which means tomorrow (yeah, I’m used to tests on Monday and Tuesday) could be incredibly difficult. We (the guys from my dorm) also went with our dorm supporters to fill in the paperwork for our Alien Registration Cards. We have to go back tomorrow to … um … do something … I can’t even remember any more T_T.
Then we went to downtown Kobe again (we went during the orientation) and it was really cool (again). This could well be my favourite place so far in Japan. There’re lots of people, shops, and awesome photographic hotspots. I was going to take some pics, but we spent a lot of time trying to find a place to eat. I’ll more than likely head back soon for some pictures.
On that note you’ll notice that there aren’t any pictures up yet. That’s not because I’ve not taken any, it’s because the SD-USB converter I have got left at home somehow and I haven’t any means to upload them. It sucks I know, but they’ll be up eventually.
Ok, I’m off to bed. Remember folks there’s an 8 hour time difference here from the UK, so when it’s 6pm there it’s 2am here! Please remember that before you call me at dumb-o’clock to tell me that you’ve lost the game (Simon).
Tomorrow, I’ll try to write about how the tests went, how the weather is, buying two Phoenix Wright games (including the one England missed), and the first 2 times as being pointed out as ‘The Foreigner’ ^_^.