Bring on the New Year…

31 12 2010

And so it is New Years Eve! I have survived my experience up til now, or maybe its better to say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it up til now, within the limits of knowing I still have a very long way to go. As cliche as it may seem, I can not believe how quick this thing has gone! Honestly I feel like it will end leaving me unsatisfied with what I’ve achieved, though actually I don’t think I would be satisfied no matter how much I achieve actually. But either way the end of this year will come no matter what I say so lets all look forward to, embrace and give our all in the new year of 2011 with all the wondrous opportunities and new experiences it brings to everyone.

 

As for a quick blog post, lately what have I been up to? Well school finished on the 14th or so, then from there I was in Osaka until the 22nd of December. All the exams went okay, though honestly speaking I didn’t study quite the way I should have for the Japanese exams, but all is well as I still got some good grades and will go on to study more next semester. In terms of what happened after exams up until I left for Tokyo on the night of the 22nd, most of my days were spent at school and trying to meet everyone at least once more before I left. I honestly wanted to take more photos and stuff but I was rather shy bout pulling out my camera so I didn’t really get much of my last week there, mostly figuring I’d be back there next semester. Anyway, a lot of the exchange students were going home so there were a lot of the Japanese people around to see people for the last time, and everyone seemed to be getting all caught up in the sad goodbyes.

 

All this led up to my final day with my first host family ever, and without a tear we went together to the bus stop, hugged, said our farewells and my host mother passed me an envelope and I got on that bus to Tokyo. And as you do when you’re passed something like that you open it right? And thus I did sitting next to a salary man on a night bus, I sat there and looked inside to find a letter and a bunch of photos they had printed off for me. First I looked through the photos, smiled and remembered some good times before moving onto the letter. Though knowing I would meet them again, just reading those words (or characters if you want to call them that) “we think of you as family” along with the rest of the letter in the end made me cry just a bit, and certainly woke me up, if I wasn’t already aware of it, that I was extremely lucky to be able to stay with that family.

 

Anyway hoefully I’ll post again, with a new video of New Years Eve on youtube up sometime soon if I take enough footage tonight!
(check out my channel (link on the side bar of this blog –>)

Wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope everyone enjoys all the celebrations no matter where you are in the world. Until next time..

 

じゃぁ、ピース!

Peace!

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But I just got here?…

4 12 2010

And thus my first semester here at Kansai Gaidai University is now coming to a close as I now go into my final two weeks and start preparing for final exams and working hard on my final assignments. Okay, well half of that is true…my first semester really is coming to a close. First of all I can’t believe this is only the second time I’ve actually made use of my blog, and secondly my sense of time tells me I only just got here a couple of weeks ago. It’s honestly a horribly harsh system with host families and so forth in terms of timing and so on. I’ve finally found myself extremely comfortable with my lifestyle and so forth, but now it is all about to end and go into the kitchen in the morning to see a piece of paper on the fridge with a calendar being slowly filled up with things to do before I leave this house and go to Tokyo.

 

So what has been going on lately? Well as was in my last post the  frustrations at times with the whole English thing for the most part, with many interviews and stuff I did on the topic with Japanese people and so on for an assignment in regards to foreigners in Japan, have slowly disappeared as I am becoming more and more comfortable with my situation. Don’t take it the wrong way of course and think for a second I was not happy here for any amount of time, while I admit I’m not a huge fan of Kansai Gaidai as a University, my situation in terms of where I am in the world and the lifestyle I’m leading is certainly something I’m grateful for and very happy with. In fact if anything, I enjoy the opportunity to be able to disprove the image that foreigners don’t understand Japanese, the culture, or its food etc. (though of this is certainly not what all foreigners in Japan are like, but that image has apparently come into existance at some point in time and so I felt I might as well put it out there).

 

Well anyway I don’t have much time to write this I actually just wanted to put up a link to my videos I’ve been putting up on youtube (spoken Japanese with English subtitles) as an opportunity to see what I do get up to over here (though its mostly things I don’t do everyday I put up there), and to see more than what you would see on this blog because at the moment I have a better posting rate on youtube than I do on this written blog which you would think would be so much easier to do than make a video..and you’d be right, it is easier to write. I don’t even make sense to myself haha.

 

 

じゃあ、ピース!

Peace ~





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~!