I am still here, homestay-ing, alive and well…

23 10 2010

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–

 

じゃ、ピース~!

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6 responses

26 10 2010
Blue Shoe

When I studied at 上智大学 in Tokyo it was similar. I had daily Japanese classes, but my others were conducted in English. Honestly that was ok with me, since I did learn a lot of interesting stuff from some good professors, and I’m confident that had they been in Japanese, my language ability would have improved but I wouldn’t have learned nearly as much about economics or Chinese history and society. Each to his own, I suppose.

I lived in a private dorm with some other foreigners and then Japanese salarymen and some college students. There was really only one Japanese guy that I talked to sometimes – the others weren’t very friendly. So I mostly hung out with the foreigners. Again, I don’t really regret it, since I made some good friends there (even though they weren’t Japanese).

I respect your commitment to learning Japanese and it’s certainly a good goal and reason for going to Japan to study, but I’d also recommend just taking things as they come and recognizing that your other experiences may have value, even if they don’t contribute to learning Japanese.

You should also look for opportunities that may not be apparent at first. One of my American friends spoke pretty decent Japanese and joined the school’s racquetball circle. When I found out, I joined up, too. It was a great way to make some Japanese friends and use my Japanese, since those folks weren’t particularly interested in English.

Personally I don’t really keep friendships with people here who have no interest in Japan or learning Japanese, but as utilitarian as it sounds, having foreign friends who are really good at or interested in Japanese can be a good tool. You can study together or introduce each other to your Japanese friends/acquaintances to widen your circle.

Anyway, hang in there! I hope things pick up and you start to have an easier time reaching your goals.

29 10 2010
Quynh

It is difficult to make friends regardless of race. Kansai Gaidai has all kinds of people so I’m sure your kind of people is also there. You just haven’t met them yet. If you cannot stand being “English tutor” to your Japanese acquaintances then perhaps it’s better to keep a distance from them. Don’t focus too much on one thing and forget to enjoy other things that studying abroad at KG has to offer. Best wishes.

5 11 2010
saki

Shane! fbでもゆうとって気になっててん…Shaneと同じことゆうてる留学生の子いっぱいおったからShaneがどんだけその状況うっとおしいと思ってるかめちゃわかるわー。てゆうかたぶん「げんき」にそうゆう悩み相談の日本語の例あったと思う!探してみて★笑 けど思うんは、Shaneはまだいい人に出会えてないんかも!だってあたしの周りの友達は少なくとも日本語で話してそのあと英語(めっちゃくちゃやったけどな笑)で会話しとったもん!というかほとんど意味わからんジェスチャーやったな。笑。とにかく聞いてくれる子は絶対聞いてくれるって。あとーサンキューとソーリーはたぶん何十年も前からそんな感じやからどうしようもないかも。笑。わからんけど、ありがとうってゆうより簡単に感じる人もおるみたいやで。「愛してる」とは言えんでも「i love you」やったら言えるってこと。んーあたしが言いたいことわかる?(-_-;)ま、とにかく負けずにがんばりやー!帰ったら連絡するから会おうや!ほんで大阪弁で話しよー♪笑 長なってごめんやで☆

5 11 2010
anohito91

コメントありがとーー!
まず・・その「げんき」って言ったのはあの「げんき」っていう教科書に示してんの?それなら俺は持ってへんで><げんきはレベル3までなんやから、俺はもうレベル5なんや =/
んー、やっぱ俺はまだいい人に出会ってへんってわけじゃなくて、授業と授業のところも別なんやから、いい人に出会っても、出会った時からまた会うのは難しいって事やって思うわ。例えば、俺サークルに入ってんやけどね・・で、サークルでいい人いっぱい会ったんやけど、そのサークル活動以外俺はその人達に全然会ってへんよ。俺のスケジュールと日本人の学生のと違うし、昼を食べる時間も違うし・・。てか、一番喋りやすい人はそのサークルの先輩なんで、先輩たちと一緒に時間を過ごすチャンスが必ず来ないなぁーww>< まあ、結局俺は考え過ぎやなぁww
んー、その「サンキューとかソッリーって言われる」の嫌な感じは一般的に「その人は外国人やから英語でなんか言った方がいい」みたいな考え方なんや。例えば、今日学際で俺は俺のサークルのブースでとりなべを売ってたんや、でなんか、おばさんに日本語で色んな事を言ったら(そのとりなべの材料も日本語で説明したんやO_O)、結局おばさんが注文した時に「一個ください・・・one」って言われた。大したことじゃないってわかってんやけど、そのことが言われたら、俺は周りの人(日本人)と全く違うって思っちゃう・・。まぁ、それにしても、俺は日本人じゃないってわかってんやけど、そう言うことが起こったら俺は普通の人のように日本に住めないって感じもあるから嫌だ。。
どうせ、先言ったとおりに、俺は考え過ぎやww。とにかく、こういう愚痴を言っても、俺は日本の生活をすごく楽しんでんねん~!:D:D

7 11 2010
dc

Wow!! So passionate. Enjoy the journey

16 11 2010
saki

教科書のげんき!…せやったっけ?笑
考えすぎじゃなくて、考えたからそうゆう気持ちになったんやって!きっとShaneは今国際人になりつつあるねんって(^^)/日本人でもオーストラリア人でもなく!おばちゃんもShaneの一生懸命さが通じて必死で返事しようと思ったんちゃう?あたしもそうゆわれてみればこっちでおばちゃんに嫌なしゃべりかたされた経験あったわー…。ことばって難しいー!けど一生マスターできんしやからこそ学びがいがあるんよな☆^^ おたがいがんばろー♪

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