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21 September 2012 @ 06:02 am
letters from a foreign exchange student  
We're two weeks into classes and so far, while I've been keeping up, that's about all that I've been doing. It's been a fast process where we ease into the schedule (which is classes from 10 am to 12, then from 1:30 - 3, then homework whenever you can). I've managed to reach some kind of equilibrium with the housemate, I think, so that's good (though she has her quirks - one of which is not getting up to unlock the door when she's sitting in the living room even though it takes me a while to fish out my key).

I've also made a friend who happens to be in both my morning and afternoon class, Sam, who is whip smart and funny and generally incredibly easy to be around (and handily has even cooked us dinner and poured me some very very fine whiskey the two times we've hung out to work on homework). He's already got plans to make thanksgiving dinner for us expat studens somehow (even though his kitchen is smaller than ours), and we're going to trade papers (in english and japanese) to edit each other. It's just nice to have found a kindred spirit and somewhere I can relax and be a dork (he doesn't judge). I feel like I've known him for much longer than a couple of weeks. He also has a bunch of people (including a lovely sounding girlfriend) planning on popping in to stay with him and if they're half as entertaining as he it should be a grand time all round.

As far as the Japanese goes, it's slow going, though I keep reminding myself it's only been two weeks. They talk about culture shock sometimes, but the good part of having been here before, even if it was only in the summer, is that things aren't really shocking anymore. Oh, sure, stuff is occasionally a little strange, but most of us are so used to shrugging and going 'that's just Japan' (like the way you have to recycle here - literally everything is sorted - and by everything i mean we have *5* different garbage cans - paper/burnable trash/non-burnable trash/plastic (non-bottles)/plastic bottles+ cans and YES I'M SERIOUS about that).

I came *this* close to stopping at a local bar/cafe tonight on my way home from Sam's house, but then took the path of virtue by reminding myself that I don't currently have my funding yet (it's coming in next week) and I can wait. But soon that's going to be me stopping at some weird neighborhood place so I can start to talk to Japanese people instead of my American housemate or school friends. The two places I have scoped out are the Jazz Bar that's right next to our train station, and this other place that's fancies itself an old fashioned burger joint (with bar) but occasionally plays punk music. Don't they both sound like fun?

And fun will happen. However, not this weekend, where instead going to edit a statement of purpose, write some interview questions for our interviews next week (oh joy, we get to interview our senseis!) and do some laundry. Laundry in Japan sounds like an exotic endeavor, doesn't it? I'll tell you a secret though - it's much the same as elsewhere - you put the laundry in the washer, put the detergent in, and set the cycle to wash. :D

also posted to dreamwidth | you can reply here or there | um, but don't worry, i'm still an lj girl
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
literate and stylishmishloran on September 21st, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
Yep, sounds like Japan is following in Bristol' footsteps - back home in Briz, we have seperate containers for: paper, cardboard, glass, tin-foil, white hard plastic and food waste. God knows what goes in the main bin any more!?

In Covo I chuck everything into a giant bin and they sort it out themselves. It's weird how different it is in different places in the UK!
missus_gracemissus_grace on September 21st, 2012 08:41 pm (UTC)
Good to hear from you! Sounds like you're settling in, and I've glad you've met Sam - he might be a good antidote to weirdo roomie.