Monday, September 27, 2010

A Week Gone Past

Hi All,

So I've been in Japan a week!
::shock:: time flies.

We've gotten to know the campus relatively well. We still have had only 2 days of classes (Only one for me, I have no Monday classes, unintentionally I promise--
But who's complaining about a 3-day weekend?)
We've learned that everyone here rides a bike, Every One.

This past weekend I didn't do much because we aren't familiar enough with the place or the language to go crazy so I just walked around far enough so that I could still easily figure out my way back. But this gave me the opportunity to stroll around two very nice-- very spiritual? parks around here. Something else I noticed, this town is completely surrounded by mountains (not surprising since Mt. Fuji is extremely close by). There's something both compelling and intimidating about that. If you carefully down every street or so you will see mountains at the end.

Billy (SBU) and Damien (France) looking ahead at the bank that took us many turns and way too long to find. lol

We found a department store (Or mall, I'd say mall). We were looking for food, but with people our age (hardly mature and always up to diversions) we ended up exploring the store... then food. As usual I picked the least suspicious and familiar looking things on the menu. If I can't read it I don't want it. And if I have never heard of it, eating it is not the way I will first familiarize myself with it.
What? Don't judge me! lol I'm not Andrew Zimmern!

This was chicken fingers with an egg cooked 3/4 of the way on top. Wasn't bad but *sigh I was a little uncomfortable eating the egg because it was bit 'slimy' looking. But props I did eat the whole thing!!

Billy (SBU) Dale (Ohio) and Heather (New Jersey)


Day two of school, randomly a guy (tall and big) comes up from my right and without introduction or even manners asks very demanding so "Where are you from?! I turn and reply in utter shock "New York". He starts to walk away and yells back "My friend here can speak English". I stood there. I stared. "What was that?"

The Panic-- So my check card won't work and won't be accepted any where. Fantastic. I have a total of 6 Japanese cents and 2-3 weeks before my alien registration comes through and I can open a Japanese bank account (I'm staying a year might as well if it will facilitate a million things including getting a cellphone). I went to the International office (they are awesome), they called a bunch of banks for me (turns out closes ATM that will accept my card is back in Tokyo or 3 hours south)... so those 3 weeks are looking long.
Called my bank (collect using skype!), there's hope yet-- I'll let you know how it works out for me.

Registering for classes. It's a bit difficult figuring out what will transfer and what will just be classes you are taking for fun. But I think I have gotten most of it straighten out and thus I will be taking:
1) Art and Society -- roughly an intro art history class.
2) Gender and Society -- roughly a sociology class.
3) International Relations II-- No idea, but it's about international crimes and how they are prosecuted.
4) Intercultural Relations I -- Modern Japanese History
5) Japanese Studies IV -- roughly a humanities course about understanding Japanese society
6) Japanese Language -- class level that I placed into
sounds like a lot maybe but it's only 12 credits.

Well until next week?

See you later.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Arrival, Settling and Jet-Lag

Hi All,

I don't know how to start this or amuse you enough to continue to read more. But here goes the introduction:

I arrived at Narita Airport, Japan Monday 20th Sept.

The flight was a little over 13 hours. The first 8 hours weren't horrific since I slept about 5 of them. I pulled an all-nighter the night before with the full intent of knocking out most of the flight and all I got was a 5-hour nap??

The first night I slept over at my friend's house(Yoshiko, Waseda U. exchange student to Stony Brook Fall09-Spring10). I got to meet her family which I was extremely honored and happy to do because she had gotten to meet my family during her stay in the states.

To add to how much of an amazing person and friend Yoshiko is,not only did she pick me up at Narita (and struggled with me as we carried a year's worth of nothing that somehow all weighed over 150lbs along Tokyo's subway); She delivered me right up to the Bullet train to Mishima, Shizuoka the next morning (again struggling with luggage and morning rush-hour). Do I love her? yes, yes very much so.

Arriving at Mishima...

Got picked up by a school representative from the station
. Apologized every time I breathed about the heavy luggage... and for being late (because of course I was late). Everything else was very standard of a new arrival.


The first night I was in Tokyo, Yoshiko took me out to dinner and introduced me to her friend Angela (intern from Germany to Nihon University,Tokyo campus). She is an amazing person, charismatic and speaks conversational English, knows Latin and speaks fluent German and Japanese.

A two-year on the way to dinner stopped dead in her tracks upon seeing me. She stared at me until I was out of her sight. After I walked past her I turned to check if she was still staring at me, and she waved good-bye. She stared out of curiosity and amazement of seeing some one who is so different from everyone else she is used to. She was incredibly adorable!

I got to meet other international/exchange students. We're very diverse and from all over the world, which I *love. There's Damien from France, Heather from NJ, Dale from Ohio, there's Moris? from Mexico, Ka Lai (SBU) but is originally from China, Billy (SBU) and a three students from Korean-- whom I will make greater efforts to befriend and learn their names since they are fluent in Korean and Japanese but not English.

Well until something semi-interesting happens.
See you later.