I just had to skip a few days, because I’m alway writing in the evening, and either I was too tired, or had to do something for my studies. So last week on Monday we had the opening ceremony at the Kyoto University, an orientation, lectures and such. The ceremony wasn’t that formal, first the teachers were introducing themselves, and then we did. There were more than 40 MEXT students from all over the world! Next to me was an Indonesian girl, and we ended up in the same group, so it was interesting ^^ After this we got some lectures about safety on the streets, but it was more for the bikers, and a short one about what to do in case of fire or earthquake. We had one hour free for lunch, and since the German girl was vegetarian too, we went to look for some food together. I knew there were two vegetarian restaurants near the campus, but one of them is closed on Mondays, so we tried the other one, Sujata. It’s a small little restaurant run by an older lady and helpers. We got the lunch set and it had all kinds of interesting food with boiled and raw vegetables, tofu, soup, rice and such. Although it seemed a lot, the food is not really heavy so it’s best too eat everything up. After my experience at the Seika cafeteria the week before I didn’t have much hope here, but everything was nicely seasoned and very yummy! The lunch set costs 850 yen, so it’s not for every day, but I will go back there more for sure.
After the lunch we had to write the placement tests. The first one was really simple with hiragana, katakana and basic particles, though I have to confess I did somewhat have trouble with some katakana, because you just don’t use them that much ^^; After this we got the more complicated test which had separate parts for N3, N2 and N1 in all problem types. There was multiple choice, reading and even writing, and well, there I really felt how much I neglected writing due to work the past year. I didn’t feel the test went well and it was indeed like that, I ended up in the Intermediate II group, which is basically N3 level. We had to pick our classes, and I took almost all Intermediate II ones and a Basic Kanji II just for the sake of practice, because I can read them, but can’t write them at all. It turned out that I will have four classes on Monday, so I can’t attend the seminars at Seika, so I wanted to at least go to the class on Tuesday. For that I didn’t take the Conversation class, so I’m hoping my skills will get better in the Japanese environment just with that. Fortunately I don’t have any classes on Wednesday, which is useful for doing other things. Now after a week in classes I can already say that all of them are very didactic, and some of them are not really how I thought they would be. For example in the kanji classes we learn everything else from the lessons in the class, practice reading in the Basic Kanji II as well, which is just boring for me, and we don’t practice writing at all. We have to do that alone at home, which is just… The reason I didn’t get rid of these classes is, that like this I will be forced to practice the kanji, otherwise I might skip it altogether. Many of the classes aren’t fulfilling their purpose, but I don’t really want to complain much more. I guess I will have to do more self-study or I won’t get anywhere. The test and then the wait till we had the results was very long, so it was already half past six by the time we finished, and so the day was already over as well.
Despite the lateness I had to wash my hair, because I couldn’t on Sunday, and my hair are long, so while I generally don’t use the dryer, this time I was forced to as it was too late already (and cold too). In addition to that I had to prepare the egg plants in my fridge, otherwise they would have died in there. Somehow the fridge was set too high in the beginning and the egg plants didn’t like it, so I just pealed them, that way they would be soft much sooner as well. I made my fave egg plants in tomato sauce with basil, and it was delicious! Generally I put them on rice and strew some cheese on them and put it in the oven for the cheese to melt, but well, it’s impossible here. I put the sauce away for later and planned to eat them with ramen noodles – well, it was an emergency case.
On Tuesday we had the our first class, Grammar, which it totally boring for me, but what to do. The class ends at 12:00, and the seminar at Seika starts at 14:40, so I decided to eat at Sujata once more. They had the same lunch as the day before, but I totally didn’t mind, because I loved the tofu in that. One side dish was different, but everything was really great again. By the time I finished (since I’m still clumsy with chopsticks it takes 30-35 minutes for me to eat everything up) there was nobody at the restaurant, so we were chatting a bit with the lady running the shop. She was very nice, and my Japanese was also a bit better than before, so it was a good experience :)
After that I decided to take the bus to Takaragaike or even further depending where the bus would go. It was my first time riding this type of a bus, I mean one that’s leaving the central part and costs more after a while, so you have to put your pre-paid card in the machine when you ride and leave the bus. All in all it was a different experience than the train, because here we would go through smaller streets as well. The trip was cheaper than the train, the only problem is that the bus is running quite rarely, once every hour or so, though there are two buses, so twice every hour. Since I didn’t want to walk I was riding the bus till the final station of the subway. There was still some time, so I decided to check out the Life supermarket (and successfully withstood the urge to go to the Book Off there). I wanted to buy honey, which I did, though the taste isn’t that great compared to the Hungarian one, I guess. I was also checking out the alcoholic drinks because generally I don’t drink alcohol often, but sometimes I just crave some good brandy. They were only carrying one by a local maker, Suntory and like that it wasn’t even that expensive, so I might try it later.
Then I had the first class at Seika. It’s one for doctoral students and the level is pretty high, basically too high for me at this time. Sometimes I do understand like 80%, sometimes just 30-40%, and generally it’s around 60%, which is obviously not enough. There were two presentations and the class was discussing the works, but it was hard enough for me to understand the presentations and take notes. I really have to work hard on my Japanese if I want to grow up to that level. Otherwise it’s very interesting, and it’s good to be there. The class was very long, we finished almost at half past 6, so I was dead tired and there was a long line for the shuttle bus as well. Despite that I did some shoppings on the way home at Fresco, though I totally can’t remember what I bought there. Maybe that was the time I got some Red Globe grapes – they were to a good price and very yummy. Anyway, that day was very exhausting and I just wanted to sleep.
On Wednesday I was taking it easy because I was still feeling quite tired. I spent the morning in my room, and then I could finally eat my egg plants tomato sauce. Actually the ramen noodle doesn’t really go well with such food, but for me it was like heaven :D After eating I got ready to go to Seika for paying some kind of a fee. On the way I met the German girl and she meant our student cards were ready, so I decided to drop by the International Office too. She just got her cell from Docomo, a basic one with hardly any fees and a plan concentrating on mails. I’m really considering to get the same as her, because generally I don’t use the phone much, and for net and such I’m planning to get a tablet anyway. Actually I still couldn’t decide, maybe also because the plans and discounts are all in Japanese on the websites orz Anyway I payed the fee and when to went for my student card, there was some more paperwork to do, but it should have been the last one XD I was also taken to apply for my wifi access around the campus, which is great. It’s already done too, I just didn’t have the chance to get it.
On the way home I stopped by the Book Off. Actually I wanted to look if the books for KyoDai would be available there, but they weren’t. In the end I got another huge batch on manga – don’t say anything, I know ^^; I was also checking out the drug store on the way (it was quite big and okay, though since then I’ve found an even better and bigger one). I got some necessities and took a look at the Vitamin C offers and the sun cremes. Actually I still couldn’t figure them out, so it took some surfing on the net, and the issue is solved already, but that time I didn’t buy any. Same for the Vitamin C – they seemed too pricey and one of them even had nicotine o_O The issue was solved yesterday as well, but here it was just like… heh? It turned out (yay, internet) in Japan there are no 1000 mg tablets, you have to take more pills a day to get the same amount – confusing… Actually some drinks here are very high on Vitamin C, like C.C. Lemon (over 1000 mg a bottle), so I got that till I solved this question.
That’s how my day ended, and I will close the diary for today as well. Have some more pics of a really small part of Seika.