OK, so this has taken me what, 2 months to actually get something written and posted on this darn blog. I would like to say I’ve been flat out busy with whatever and thus have not been able to write, but then I would be lying. Honestly I just haven’t felt like posting anything, mostly because I haven’t felt anything has been major enough to post. I believe having already had one trip to Japan before I am not quite as amazed as I was last time by everything that surrounds me. Though not to say I do not love what surrounds me, I think this time its just something I haven’t felt like yelling like I did last time.
So anyway starting from when I got here. First of all I landed in Kansai International Airport and from there went to my friends house in Himeji. This honestly was the best way for me to start things, starting with a few days with friends just to get me comfortable and enjoying things. In those few days while I admit my Japanese was not great, nor is it that great now, I was able to meet some new people and go to some new places and just kind of sort of fun in quite a casual way. Though anyway this only lasted a few days before I had to move into the dorms in Hirakata. And this is where the issues started…So the first issue was getting there itself, I took the wrong exit on the final walk to the dorms and my suitcase broke and so that was by no means a good start to my time in the dorms. I did eventually get there by taxi after walking for about 40minutes in the wrong direction in 38 degree heat or whatever it was that day. So yes from there it kind of did go downhill further. For some reason I can’t explain (not just on here, but I literally can’t put it into words that well) I absolutely hated my time in the dorms (and for this reason I will try limit my time in there before next semester, or if possible avoid it all together). While I did have a pretty decent roommate, well one of them was, the other guy was very in and out and never really saw much of him anyway, the rest of the dorms just didn’t go down well with me. But that’s enough of complaining about stuff I can’t even reason properly, and on to my current living situation!
So I’m doing homestay. This was by far the best choice I could have ever made. My family has had quite a few Australians here before, and other people so they are experienced with having foreign students. The food here is great, the family are extremely allowing for me to go out and so forth as I have my own seperate room from the house with my own key which has allowed me to go out all night and so forth as long as I let them know. I honestly haven’t really heard any bad stories as such from people about homestays, though I did see someone move out of there homestay (don’t know the reason though).
And now onto the university itself, with a big warning: this is where the bulk of my complaints exist. Though of course with complaints it does not mean in anyway that I do not love being here and want to go home. So firstly, the situation of the foreigners, the CIE (where all the foreigners have class), the lessons taught in English, and the Japanese students. Well rather than ‘firstly,’ this is basically the base of all the issues I have with this university. So basically the amount of foreigners, putting them all in one building in the setting of a foreign language university has kind of created issues, though not everyone will experience it the same. For me I am here for Japanese language study specifically, which has meant those classes taught in English have become a huge hindrance on my studies, and have made it a little bit harder to focus on my Japanese. And of course beyond this is the issue of actually making Japanese friends. And of course when I say friends I mean FRIENDS, I did not come here to teach English, nor be someones English practice. While as friends I would be happy to help check there homework if I am there friend, but I unfortunately for study reasons can not speak in English for them to practice listening and so forth. And this is where it gets hard, because this is what half the Japanese people here are thinking when they meet a foreign person. And it doesn’t matter how good your Japanese is, unless you can pull off being Japanese, this sort of mindset in the Japanese will come out, whether it be in the form of a quick “sankyuu (Thank You)” or “sorii (sorry)” or whether it come in full (possibly broken) sentences. And I don’t mean to make there level sound low or anything, because my Japanese of course is not perfect, but there is a strong imprint in the minds of many of the Japanese here that foreigner = English. I have had some Japanese insist on using English despite my many times asking them to use Japanese (which was actually originally because I didn’t understand what he was trying to say). Though in the end it ended up that he would not use Japanese, I couldn’t understand him and I gave up talking to him because I obviously don’t want to make a friend who is as stubborn as that. So basically, it is hard to make friends here as Japanese friends, without being nothing more than English speaking friend in there eyes, without being a hi-bye type “friend”, and without being anything else superficial on a level that develops no real friendship, but just an association labelled with the word “friend.” Of course the situation of the CIE, and the English classes don’t help because it means you end up having classes with English speaking people, in an English speaking environment. Then of course the only Japanese people that come to the CIE building are those Japanese who want foreign friends or help with English or practice etc. I mean I expected an English trap, but this is quite a bit tougher to get out of than I thought it would be, which I suppose is the greatest, or only shock I’ve really got coming here. I’m still in hope that with time I can find a more comfortable place and get out of all these sort of thoughts.
Anyway this was all abit wordy, but being my first post since I’ve got here I had to get my thoughts down on paper and hopefully see things change and later look back on this and think how stupid I was (haha). Alright peace out until next time–