General Updates

It's been a rather lonesome day, partly due to my own indifference towards seeing anybody in particular under the guise of having too much work to do (which, granted, is mostly true!). The mushroom tempura I had for dinner at Tenya wasn't that spectacular either; for the most part it had the same pieces of tempura the regular 500 yen tendon had, but just with a single extra piece of mediocre fried mushroom that bumped the price up by 190. I should be saving my money.

So, the third week of class is starting at Waseda. In addition to the required Japanese language course, I'm also taking Cultural Anthropology and the Practicum in Japanese Arts. During the first day of Cultural Anthropology, the professor used the typical scare tactic of acting like a short-tempered tyrant, which managed to effectively cut the class size down by half. Last Wednesday when I took her class, she seemed to be in quite a jolly mood, and I think she might have even smiled...? As for the Practicum in Japanese Arts goes, I wasn't originally planning on taking an art class while I was here; this year was going to be my break from six-hour studio classes that always managed to sufficiently drain me every semester I took them at Calstate. However, as it turns out, the class is only about 30% studio work; the rest of the time is spent going on field trips. When we finally do start our studio work, I'll be taking woodblock print class, which is probably just about as stereotypically Japanese Art as you can get, but heck, why not?

There are six levels of Japanese language classes in Waseda's School of International Liberal Studies, and for some reason I managed to slip into the level 5 class. Of course, it's a little difficult for me as I was wholly expecting to place in level 3, 4 if I was lucky, but this is just fine since I guess I should probably put a little more effort into studying the language now that I'm here for the next year. However, this past Friday one of my Japanese teachers (the one focusing on vocabulary and listening comprehension) asked me during our break in class whether I thought the class was too difficult, and if I would like to move down...? Granted the kanji quiz from the first week weren't too hot, but I did perfectly fine on the tests this week, especially on the vocab tests from this specific teacher which I know she graded already, so I'm a little miffed that she asked me this. :\

Before Waseda classes started, the CSU group had gone on our first daytrip together to Narai and Matsumoto Castle up in Nagano prefecture, about three hours away from Shinjuku by bus. My camera was running low on battery so I only got a few photos of Narai, but my cell phone managed to catch a few more of Matsumoto. While I can't say I was all too greatly affected by the trip considering that it was all pretty formulaic as far as visiting old places in Japan goes, I do get to accept the honor of being CSU's first Japan study abroad incident.

That is, I hit my head underneath a bridge after carelessly standing up too fast. And after curling into a foetal position and being laughed at for a few minutes, I took my hand off my head to find it soaked in blood. 8D

Of course, the other students in the class were all like "holy shit"; David may or may not have felt bad about having snapped those photos of my agony from earlier; and the Resident Director Dr. Shek, a usually cheerful and petit man of good humour, quickly changed his mood as he muttered a solemn "Oh my." At first I didn't think it was a big deal since, despite the blood, it hurt just as much as any other time I've ever hit my head. But, after being repeatedly warned not to fall asleep in case I had a concussion, I started to worry just a little...?

Long story short, the periodic snaps of camera phones going off behind me from the Japanese students trying to take a picture of the band-aid that was sloppily applied by Takako (the program associate who has been working with the CSU International Program for 20-some years, who had suggested shaving my head for the band-aid to hold a little better) as they exclaimed how "kawaii" I looked in my pitiful and injured state served as a good enough hint that I most likely was going to survive if I decided to take a nap after all. (Which I did, because what the hell else are you going to do riding home on the bus for three hours, right?)

We were told during our orientation that pretty much everybody falls into a cycle when they study abroad, especially in a place like Japan where the society is so contrary to what we're accustomed to in the United States: first, you're elated about your new surroundings and everything is absolutely splendiferous; then, once that feeling has died down, you start feeling homesick, and eventually everything you loved about your new living situation turns into everything you hate about it; and finally, you adjust, and you come out of it a better human being.

I don't know if I'm just being optimistic or not, and I honestly hope I'm not deluding myself, but so far I don't think I'll ever be hitting that second stage of the cycle. I've yet to find anything about this city that I actively dislike; rather, I still find pleasure just walking around on the streets on my own and indulging myself in the urban atmosphere. Furthermore, in spite of the language barrier, I feel more at home here than I ever did going to school in America. Well, who knows. I was always kind of socially awkward back in California anyways, so anything's a step up from that, am i rite??

I'm hungry again.