Right, lets start out with the things I ended with yesterday. The Japanese language placement tests. We had the first one yesterday, and although it did seem incredibly easy (especially when compared with what I’m used to at Leeds) I know I did make some mistakes through lack of revision. This was upholded even moreso today when the test was made harder. Although, I still think the structure was a lot more basic than the Leeds exams, especially as there were no dialogue compositions, translations, or genkoyooshi to complete. I think we find out what language group we’re in tomorrow, so I’ll keep you up to date with that one.
If you happen to come accross the news reports about the weather in the UK, you’ll discover that it’s looking pretty grim at the moment. Yeah lets face it, England isn’t famous for it’s great weather (unless you’re speaking sarcastically of course), but it has been quite bad. Osaka and Kobe are currently incredibly warm, and have been from the moment we touched down. Don’t get me wrong it was probably warm before I got here. I’m not inferring that my presence has blessed Japan with awesome weather, otherwise we’d never be moaning about the weather back home, but the weather here is nice and hot. The main problem was that at first it was too hot, and not to mention incredibly humid. Since we’ve been here the humidity has been between 80% and 100%. I don’t know about the others but I wasn’t expecting to be breathing water when I got off the plane and out of the airconditioned airport. However, a week on and my body has started to become accustomed to the new climate. I’m getting used to the humidity and don’t notice it that often, and I’m slowly getting used to the heat (although today I did drink 2 litres of water in a relatively short space of time … and for the record, yes I did make jokes about large jugs and so on). My one main problem with the weather that I won’t be able to rectify until it gets colder is my innability to store Chocolate in my room. I lose. Case Closed.
What next, ah yes. In the area of Osaka that we’re living in, foreigners just might be something of a rare occurence (especially four guys from England, France, Germany and Canada). Our first taste of “Oooh look” syndrome happened a few days ago. On the way back home a few kids were playing down an alley. When they spotted us they started to wave. Me being the kind of guy who likes to respond did so in kind, and as we passed the corner they started calling “Bye-bye” to us. I decided to call something back but because my brain decided not to work, like a cart-horse giving a proverbial “screw-you” to the carrot hanging in front og it’s face, the only thing I could muster was to shout that I was sorry … in the past tense.
The second time was a night or two ago when a friend and I were walking home (same route, different road) when we had to stop at some traffic lights. Across the road from us were a small group of school girls who then proceded to giggle as they crossed the road on the red light.
Just a side note here to say that I had heard about people from Osaka crossing lights when they’re on red before, but only from Azumanga Daioh’s Ayumu ‘Osaka’ Kasuga.
Anyway, we had a hunch it was us they were giggling about it and that was confirmed when they passed us saying “hello”. When me and my friend both simultaneously replied “hello” the group giggled louder as they continued on their way. I then thought I’d take another step on my “talk to as many Japanese people who I don’t know as I can” ladder, and then called “we understand Japanese”. This was then met with even louder laughter and giggles, despite the fact that the group had moved much further away. Moments later I then realised what they were potentially laughing it. For those of you who do not and have not tried learning Japanese, the Japanese language have these things called particles that can make you look like a complete and utter thicky if you use the wrong one at the wrong time. Guess what I did. Good guess.
Today after the placement tests we had a short presentation from a large Japanese phone company to tell us about their product, a mobile phone network. After hearing what they had to say and asking some questions of my own, I wasn’t entirely convinced that what they were offering was for me (or for many of the other students for that matter). So I’m going to have a look at the other two major networks before I sign up to anything, but I guess some folk really needed to get mobile. I’ve heard great good things about one company whom I shall just call ‘Cuddly Building Society’ as most of the Japanese people (and some non-Japanese) use them too.
After that we had our first Japan Studies lesson, linguistics. It was quite interesting and from what I’ve read of the book we’re using I think it’s definately going to be a taste-grabbing session. Tomorrow is my first session on Business, so I’m quite looking forward to that.
We returned to our local Alien Registration centre … wait, I can actually find the right term … one moment … ward office, to get our copies of our Alien Registration form … or something. Yes it’s confusing, and yes it’s complex, but Japanese bureaucracy is indeed infamous.
Oh, one thing I forgot to mention yesterday was that I managed to pick up two Phoenix Wright games (man how I love that series). I bought games three and four; game three never made it to the UK, and game four is the UK’s game three. Confused? Ney mind.
Right, that just about wraps up today and catches me up on what I’ve been up to. This weekend there’s a Danjiri Matsuri festival which I really want to see and get some pictures of. More info on that can be found here. I know you guys are still waiting to see my photos, but just a little more patience, ne? I might buy a multi-card reader soon rather than just struggle with finding another SD/USB converter. Can’t believe I left it in Shropshire T_T.
Ok, bostin for t’ bog.