Week 2 in Japan

The pace of life in Tokyo is even faster than New York City. I used to complain to myself about how crowded the trains are during rush hour. By the time I return to NYC, I’d think that the trains are not crowded at all. Trains in Tokyo are about are similar to European train stations; going into one of them makes you feel like you are at an airport.

I finally obtained my commuter pass, which will let me use the train lines between Nakano station (where my school’s newly opened campus is located), and Meidaimai station. The total cost would be around 200 dollars for 4 months. Although it is restricted to only the route I need to take for school and back, it will make fares going to other stations cheaper as well. Plus, I can use points in the card to buy drinks at the vending machine or even pay for merchandises within Tokyo!

My Commuter Pass from dorm to school~
My Commuter Pass from dorm to school~

Classes began on April 10th at Meiji University! A period of class is an hour and thirty minutes long. Every class meets once a week too! That is half the work we do at New Paltz! I would not mind studying here for four years since I would have a lot more free time to focus on other extracurricular activities. However, this also means more independent studying is required for students here. Luckily my classes do not require me to buy a lot of textbooks. The cost of living is higher in Tokyo than New York City, so I need to budget myself.


my school campus!

I am taking three different Japanese classes that each focus on a different area of the language, which are reading, writing, and speaking. Unfortunately they are beginner level classes because I did not do well on my Japanese placement exam. Looking back, I should have guessed the remaining 30+ questions that I did not complete. There would be a 20% chance of me getting enough points to be placed in intermediate level.  However even in these beginner level classes, I still learn new things and see what I was doing wrong before.

My remaining classes are Comparative Culture, Language and Culture, Modern Japanese History, and Physical Education. Out of these, one of the classes will be conducted in Japanese only! I attended the first class and found myself being unable to understand a lot of the vocabulary the professor used. The same day, I went out to buy my Denshi Jisho, or electric-powered dictionary. It costed around 100 dollars! I never imagined myself going this far to learn a language.

My campus-mate is a Vietnamese girl who I known about through the students from Meiji University last semester. Since I am also Vietnamese, I find relief in being able to speak my native language in a foreign country. Not to mention that she is a really, how can I say, a person who can put a smile on other people’s faces. Although she teases me all the time, I can see her good intentions. She is my senpai, or senior since she is a junior at Meiji University. Almost everyone I know here so far are my senpais, with the exception of a few international students who plan to study here for four years. They would be considered my kohai, or junior.

So far I have seen a couple of my friends who studied at New Paltz, from last year and last semester. It is more difficult to meet up with my friends from last year because they are seniors now. They are busy job hunting, which is highly competitive in Japan. I wish them the best of luck~their experiences abroad will surely make them stand out among the bunch.


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