School in Japan
All I can say that it’s so different from the states.
Firstly, getting to school from the dorm is much more of a hassle than it is at New Paltz, but it’ll be good for me. To get to class that starts at 9, I have to wake up at 7:30 at the latest and be on a train before 8:20. Back home, all I have to do is walk 10 minutes.
The trains in the morning here are NUTS. Since everyone goes to school at the same time and people commute to and from work at the same time, it’s impossible to not be squished in there. I did try and take pictures, but I thought it would be rude, and it was also impossible for me to move to get my phone out. I’m sure if anyone looks up “Trains in Tokyo” on google, they’d get the idea.
But after the disaster that is Japanese trains, the campuses I’m commuting to are really nice.
One is the main campus where my Japanese Language classes are, and the other one is closer to my station where all my other classes are. I signed up for 20 credits (Japanese included) and was told by friends back in the states that I’m nuts, but classes here are only 2 credits each for the most part, and actually really easy so far. There are more things that are different though…
First, they only happen once a week, which is really weird (for me, at least). Second, they’re about an hour and a half long, which isn’t too bad unless they’re night classes, which I do have a couple of. Third, attendance is SO essential here. Most of my classes only allow 3 unexcused absences before they FAIl you, which is pretty shocking considering most kids here just sleep in the class and the teacher doesn’t do anything about it (this will be discussed further whenever I get around to writing about the culture shock I’ve experienced so far here).
On the bright side though, none of my classes really give out too much homework and for the most part only have a couple of papers, a presentation or two, and one final exam.
So far, the only thing I think I need to ‘worry’ about are the two classes I’m taking that are taught in Japanese, but I’m also really excited to take them and don’t think I’ll have a problem paying attention. Understanding what the professor is talking about, however, is another issue, but I have a few Japanese friends in both of those classes so hopefully they’ll help me.
My Japanese class was determined by what level I placed on a test that was pretty much impossible. I somehow managed to get into the Intermediate level, which I was a little upset about at first since I had finished Intermediate back in the states, but it’s much more difficult here. I can safely say that my worries about not learning anything new have gone out the window now.
I’m gonna try to join a few clubs here since that’s what most kids do after classes other than getting a part-time job. I was thinking of a music/band club, but I’d have to see if they’d make me buy an instrument with my own money, because that’s not happening. Maybe a singing/drawing club… I’m not sure yet it’s only been a few weeks.
But honestly I’m loving it here so far. All the students and professors are really friendly and helpful. The only thing I think I’m gonna have a hard time with is the commute, but I do have months to get used to it.