Archive for April, 2012


Karate and Ramen.

Aaah… could this day get any better? I had my very first, ever, karate lesson today. And then I went out to lunch at YouMe Town and tried the famous tonkatsu ramen, which was so amazingly good (though, LOTS of noodles). Never thought I’D be liking soup, but there you have it.

I’m a bit sore from three hours of karate, but it was well worth it and I will definitely be returning. I learned to walk, today.

 

This may not… seem like the most terribly exciting thing, but it’s absolutely essential to karate. When I told Sensei that I was level zero (lit: Never studied before), he clapped his hands and more or less said, “Goody! You’re ahead of the curve since I don’t have to retrain you.” So he taught me to walk.

Let me ask you something. When you walk, do you think about it? Do you plan each step, feel what muscles you’re using to achieve this end? The answer is most likely, no.

So. Three hours of karate drills. I learned not only how to walk, but how to block, punch, and kick. Of course, right now, I suck at all of those. But ‘s okay! I’ll learn. But as you can imagine, I’m exhausted, so… no pictures today. I’m. Going. To. Sleep. G’night!

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In Japan, clubs are known as “maru,” or “circles.” The circle is a symbol of correct, whole things, and so carries one of the most positive connotations of any Japanese symbol. It is also the perfect illustrator of wa (benevolent harmony) in Zen Buddhism:

Clubs in Japanese colleges are not like those in American colleges. The ones at APU meet during class periods (Periods 1, 6, and 7 are very popular for club meetings) and are more organized than most clubs in Rutgers at least. I am a part of Nihongo Netto, or Japanese Net. The name comes from the idea of a “safety net” and the club acts as just that–a way for international students to get support from domestic students. Mostly, you talk to each other. The club leaders are very patient and help correct your speech (Over. And over. And over.) and also teach you new words. Many of them don’t speak much English, and want to learn from you as they’re teaching.

Mm… so today I learned about how to number months. Seems simple, but in Japan, there are over 500 counter-suffixes, each one used to classify a different type of object (i.e. sanmai = three flat, thin objects: think stamps or pieces of paper). So, for months, you say ___kagetsu. 1ヶ月前、日本に来ました。 Ichikagetsu mae nihon ni kimashita: One month ago, I came to Japan.

Clubs often meet in classrooms, but they can also meet in rooms like this:

Your club is literally like your family. I cannot stress this enough. Don’t neglect your club or you’ll regret it. Attend every meeting you can, and if you miss one, immediately e-mail your leader to explain why and to apologize. Networking is a very, very important part of Japanese society, and most professional relationships begin in clubs or through members of clubs (your former club member introduces you to his friend, Mr. CEO).

I don’t… recommend… joining more than one club. You can if you like, but make sure that you can balance. Most clubs meet 2-4 times per week, and even though the meetings last only technically one period, everyone stays after the time to chat, chill, maybe get dinner if it’s early enough. In the first two months of college, it is expected that you will be club hopping, but after a time, settle for one. Maaaybe two if you’re an overachiever. Just be careful–sometimes joining two clubs (especially if one is a sports team) makes it look as if you aren’t giving your all to either–so keep that in mind.

Good luck! Ganbatte! Have fun with your club membership and don’t be too stressed over doing everything right. Just show up to the meetings, be polite and respectful, and contribute to your club’s discussions and events. In time, you’ll wonder how you lived without these great friends~.

Picnic cancelled due to Ominous Clouds of Doom and the still-sopping wet grass. So, since I was NOT just staying in AP House and eating sandwiches (they’d bought the food already, so they just served it in the lobby), I ducked out and ventured my way to the  ̶N̶i̶n̶e̶  Eight Hells of Beppu.

Why do I cross out nine? Oh, so you noticed. This is because Japan is extraordinarily superstitious of the number nine. It doesn’t exist to them, or shouldn’t. Even the bus fare board has nine either hollowed out or gone entirely. So, though there are nine hells, we pretend that there are eight. You only get tickets for eight, every sign says “eight hells,” but there are actually nine. Interesting, huh? The root of this superstition is that the Japanese word for nine (kyuu or kuu) sounds a lot like the word for “suffering” (kuu).

These ‘hells’ are actually hot springs. They’re one of Beppu’s most famous tourist attractions, but local people go as well when they want to be reminded of nature’s awesome diversity. But what exactly are they? Why go so many miles just to look at hot springs? Well… let’s find out.

When you get to the Umijigoku Mae bus stop (catch the number 41 bus from Beppu Station’s West Exit), you will be directly in front of three of the nine hells. The first is Umijigoku, or “Sea Hell.” At the ticket booth, say, “Zenbu jigoku no kippu o ichimai onegaishimasu” (One ticket to all hells, please). This costs 2000 JPY, but is preferable to paying 400 JPY for each hell (you save 1200 JPY just to start with–more money for souvenirs). You will receive a small booklet with eight tickets inside. Now, enter the first hell.

1. Umijigoku (Sea Hell)

Each of these attractions is not only a hell, but also a national park. There is beautiful scenery everywhere you look:

The first hell is famous for its cobalt-blue water. The water itself is blue, due to minerals found just underneath the surface of the Earth. It’s a gorgeous color:

There is also a Shinto shrine that visitors can pray to (the red gates in the first and second picture lead to this). You can make offerings and pray, but it’s considered rude to take pictures of such a sacred place, so don’t do that. If you visit the shrine, just remember to bow to its gates after you leave. It’s just respectful, and I’m sure whatever deity you worship won’t mind. 😛

Now, then, I should warn you. These hells are set into the mountainside. This means that a lot of them contain many hills and steep paths. Be careful not to slip, and if you’re not in decent physical condition, think carefully about whether or not you should go on the walking tour. It is roughly 750 meters of walking, so that’s 7 1/2 football fields. Only, uphill most of the way.

2. Oniishibozu Jigoku (Stone Pot Hell)

The next hell is named for its vast bubbles which break the surface and appear to be almost like the shaven heads of monks. The water is stone-gray in appearance and looks almost like liquid granite:

This hell also includes the “Demon’s Bed,” a collection of rocks that emit bursts of high-temperature steam. Compared to the beds at APU it looks really comfortable! Okay, so I’m joking. But have a picture.

3. Yamajigoku (Mountain Hell)

This is the third hell. It’s actually not a true onsen like the others, but a pile of steaming rocks that give off extreme levels of heat. There is also a small zoo you can walk through.

The shop is a place where you can buy food prepared using hot spring steam–onsen tamago (hot spring eggs) are one of the most famous foods served by these shops. You can also get steamed corn on the cob, Japanese sweet potato, and even pudding (if you don’t mind eating it warm!).

So, you leave the third hell and wonder, where the heck am I? Where’s the next hell? The map is useless, so don’t even look at that. Instead, face Umijigoku (don’t walk there, just look, you’ll see it), turn 180 degrees, and continue down this path. In about two minutes, you’ll see the next hell.

4. Shiraike Jigoku (White Pond Hell)

This hell is beautiful and unique, featuring almost milky white water:

5. Kamado Jigoku (Cooking Pot Hell)

This hell is one of the smaller ones, mostly because it features a restaurant where hot spring specialties are served. This is where most people on the full tour get lunch, because its menu offers the widest variety. There are a few points of interest, however (namely, the “entrance to Hell” pictured below):

You can drink water from the hot springs at the stand pictured above, but it’s 80-90 degrees Celsius, so be wary of that (the sign actually reads “Chotto Atsui Yo!” or “It’s a little hot, really!”). There are also stands where you can wash your hands in hot spring water (it’s really smooth feeling, though very hot).

6. Oniyama Jigoku (Mountain Monster Hell)

This is an interesting hell because it is actually a scientific research project as well as a tourist attraction. Crocodiles are bred here, in the extremely high-pressured steam that billows off of the hot water:

7. Kinryu Jigoku (Golden Dragon Hell)

Exactly What it Says on the Tin, this hell features a giant dragon statue roaring steam and a large greenhouse heated by hot spring steam.

8. Chinoike Jigoku (Bloody Pond Hell)

To get to this hell, find the Kannawa bus stop and take the NUMBER SIXTEEN BUS (NOT the sixth bus.  >_>;; Stupid ears failing me.) about three kilometers to the final two hells. This one is the most famous of the Nine Hells. It is, quite simply, a vast lake of what appears oddly like blood. The clay of this lake is also red, and is used as a treatment for various skin diseases. So, without further ado, here’s all of the pictures of blood-red water I took while wandering around:

And of course, one of the possessed table, since that’s just plain cool.

9. Tatsumaki Jigoku (Spout Hell)

Well, this is it. The ninth hell. It’s actually the smallest one, but is still cool despite this. It features an amphitheatre surrounding an unassuming crack in the ground. Watch and be amazed as it… does nothing. Take a seat, stretch your legs, relax. For this hell only bursts into life every twenty to thirty minutes, and only for five minutes at a time.

What it is, in fact, is a geyser. Once it begins to erupt, people swarm around to get pictures, so be quick. Here, have a look:

After you finish ooohing at the beautiful spray, head back the way you came and go souvenir shopping for all your friends so that you can say “I went to Hell and back!” and prove it.

I’m Living in A Cloud.

Since Beppu is on the mountaintop, it’s at a really high altitude. And it is now *officially* the rainy season. So, this means that when I woke up this morning…

All I could see out of my windows was white:

The weird ripples are the chain-mail esque screens on every window in Beppu. This is because Beppu is one of the homes of the lovely Japanese giant hornet, which can burrow through ordinary screens:

Don’t worry, they rarely get this big outside of captivity, and they’re not usually aggressive towards humans (unless if you piss one off, in which case, like any animal, it will defend itself). In fact, they eat bugs which eat our crops, so they’re a bit like spiders. Most rural areas in Japan have some numbers of these hornets, since they like building nests in trees.

But I digress. The mist itself made visibility next to nothing (probably 10 meters, and that’s being generous), and had a peculiar effect on the campus. Everything seemed really soft and fuzzy around the edges, and the loud sounds of college students heading to class seemed muted. I thought this looked particularly cool:

“You see, we programmed the fountain to turn on between the hours of 11 AM and 4 PM, and dammit, it’s going to go on whether anyone can see it or not!” 😀

So that’s it for today~.

Tomorrow we’re having a picnic uhh… somewhere. I’m just going to follow the loud people in orange shirts (RAs). Hopefully this will have lifted by then, though I think it’s already starting to. Jaa, ato de ne?

I went shopping today at both Tokiwa and You Me Town. Tokiwa was having their “Wednesday market” wherein certain kinds of meat and vegetables are marked waaay down (such as a half kilo of chicken breast being marked from 340 down to 200 yen). …that’s when I realized. Except for the occasional familiar brand name (Skippy, Heinz, Coke) that jumped out at me, most of the food I was looking at was marked completely in Japanese characters. So a lot of times, if I didn’t KNOW what something was just looking at it, I had to go through and read every character I recognized to piece together what I was looking at.

So. I decided to make a quick guide to food in Japan. God knows I could have used one before I got here…!

1. Where to Go

Japanese people love good food. And you can find food pretty much anywhere you go in Japan. For APU students, the Co-Op shops in both AP House 1 and the Student Union Building will be your absolute best friends. Though they do not offer any sort of variety, they offer the basics. And many times their prices are lower than those of You Me Town and Tokiwa.

…But you can’t buy fresh meat or vegetables at the Co-op. They do sell some fruit, apples and bananas, and occasionally I’ve seen carrots or potatoes, but those sell out so quickly that you hardly have a chance. So, head to the ugly mustard-yellow building in front of the Beppu Tower Mae bus stop and take the escalator to the basement. It’s best to go on a Wednesday as this is when there are many sales, but remember that it will be bustling with people and that you need to get there early to get the best deals.

2. Okay… I’m here. Now what?

I would recommend learning the names of foods before you go and a few basic kanji, for milk and meat and chicken, but it’s not entirely necessary if know katakana and are a really good player of guessing games. To help you out, though, here are some absolute essentials you can buy in Japanese stores all over the place:

MILK

You may not think that milk would be so hard to shop for, but you would be wrong. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve stood indecisively in front of the shelf, staring at all of those evil little pictures and wondering why I can’t seem to find ANYTHING resembling skim milk (I finally looked it up online and at laaast, I have my skim milk). Here is a typical Japanese shelf with milk:

So many kanji, so little time. So okay. I won’t try and teach you all the kanji you see here. Rest assured, this is all milk (they’ll always separate milk from soy and lactose-free alternatives, so don’t worry about that). However. Be careful. Some of it is zero fat but 100% milk (not QUITE skim milk), some’s full-fat, some’s half. The way I finally beat the system was that I began to look at nutrition facts. LEARN THE KANJI FOR PROTEIN, FAT, AND IRON. They will help you IMMENSELY while shopping. Looking at each container in turn, I found the one without fat, and that was the skim milk.

BREAD

The only thing I have to say about bread in Japan is, it’s much different from the stuff sold in America. For one thing, it’s sweeter. Japanese people see anything with flour in it (even pancakes) as dessert and so like to add sugar to their breads. Is it extremely distracting? No. But here is the most popular brand of bread in Beppu:

A quick note on this bread. It comes in four-, five-, and six-slice varieties. Depending on the thickness of the slice. So the thicker you like your bread, the smaller loaf size you should buy.

RICE

If you’re like me, at APU, you’re on a budget. You don’t want to spend 5400 yen on a rice cooker, especially since that rice takes so bloody long to cook. And you have to eat rice because… you’re in Japan. So what to do?

Luckily, Japan has the answer and it’s BRILLIANT. Here, look:

There are fifteen million brands of this stuff in every store you go to. But it’s all basically the same thing. It’s microwavable rice packets.You will be living off of these while in Japan. They’re cheap, fast, and delicious. The rice itself cooks up steaming hot and tasting exactly like it just came out of a rice cooker–only, this takes just two minutes and has no annoying cleanup afterwards. I honestly have no clue why we don’t sell these in America. Easier than minute rice and much better tasting as well.

You can find these in the “lazy college student” aisle in every grocery. It’s marked by long rows of instant ramen and (surprise) our next essential food.

INSTANT CURRY MIX

Japanese curry is nothing like Indian curry. It’s sweet, has a tiny hint of spiciness, and comes in about sixty different flavors. Have a look:

There will be at LEAST twenty types of curry in the Lazy College Students aisle. Most likely there will be close to forty different types. In general, blue is mild, green is medium, and red is hot–though some companies switch the blue and green, there’s really no difference between them. Red is always hot. You’ll want to eat this while in Japan–a few potatoes, carrots, some meat, and this makes a large meal for four or five people and it’s perfect for a crowd. I like the tofu/squash one, myself, but my friends assure me that the beef is superior (suuuure). Since in Japan, eating together is considered to be essential to any friendship, you’ll be wanting to make a pot of this and invite your friends.

SOY SAUCE

Okay, so you may be thinking, “How could I possibly screw up buying soy sauce?!” But trust me. Japan has a nasty habit of putting all of their brown sauces on one shelf: including soy, teriyaki, yakitori, udon sauce, fish sauce, and god knows what else. So this is just to clarify. These are the most popular brands of soy sauce in Japan:

Green cap means lower sodium. All of these except for the one on the far left are soy sauce (the one on the far left is udon soup sauce, which has a soy flavor but is NOT soy sauce). Be careful! If it’s a small bottle that says “Shouyu” in hiragana on it, it’s probably a concentrate. Meaning that you use a lot less than you would normally. I’d buy the concentrate if I were you, only because it can be found in most dollar stores.

So, you now have the basics for surviving in Japan. Other staple foods (eggs, vegetables, meats) are fairly easy to find without a guide, as Japan is fond of clear plastic wrap. Just learn what the cuts of meat you’re going to buy actually look like before you go. Oh. And there’s sixteen million brands of tofu, but they’re all basically the same. So if you’re like me and practically living off of it (that, and peanut butter. Nom.), make sure that you learn the kanji for textures. I’d post them here but it’s three AM and I am. Going. To. Bed.

I was talking with a friend today about people’s amazing tendency to judge other people based solely on incorrect information… and it occurred to me that the average American and the average Japanese both have views of the other which are based in pure fiction. I’ve been asked what it’s like to eat hamburgers every day. Similarly, Americans have asked me questions about Japanese people that make me confused.

So, let’s list out some common myths about Japanese people and then debunk them:

1) Japanese people do not like sweet things and rich foods.

In fact, Japanese people love sweet foods; however, there’s a set idea of when these foods are good to eat. Usually Japanese people are very health-conscious, so “junk” foods are considered good occasional snacks. You’ll also find that their portion sizes are a lot smaller than what we serve in America. So they like sweet and rich just fine–but in moderation.

2) Japanese people are perverts.

I’ve heard this so many times… let’s see. Japanese people are no more or less perverse than any of us, they’ve just decided to market it. Rather successfully, too, despite the attempts of the government to censor sexual content (and we all know that just makes people get -creative-). Instead of pretending it doesn’t exist, they openly accept it and manage to make money from it.

3) Japanese people are sexist.

Mostly, people think this because of Japan’s “gentlemen clubs,” where guys go to get flirted with by pretty waitresses. What they often don’t realize is that there are ALSO “lady clubs,” which are the exact opposite. In fact, there are many more types of clubs dedicated to giving women attention, with all sorts of themes. You’ll never see THIS on a Japanese clothes tag:

4) Japanese people are really, really good at math.

What list of myths would be complete without the “Asians = math geniuses” one? In fact, my roommate and most of my floormates HATE math and are not good at it. This myth stems from all of the Japanese students studying abroad who are in fact the best and brightest and therefore set a good paradigm that most Japanese students can’t be arsed to live up to:

5) In Japan, anime plays on TV all day long and you see cosplayers everywhere.

Wanna know how many episodes of anime I’ve seen since I got here? What about cosplayers? I’ll give you a hint; the number’s less than one. Japanese TV in fact hardly ever shows anime. They don’t have an anime channel unless you buy an extra packet of stations. And though I’ve seen two people with dyed hair, I haven’t seen a single cosplayer. Maybe in Tokyo you get this, I dunno, but not here. So, to repeat. This is not my class:

Annnd now for some about Americans:

1) Americans eat hamburgers every day.

Just thinking about trying to eat a hamburger every day even for a week makes my stomach churn. I tried explaining this to my floormates and they sort of eyed me disbelievingly. Apparently seeing me live off of broccoli, carrots, rice, and tofu hasn’t convinced them yet. -sigh- Damn Windows-sponsored Burger King commercials…

2) Each American has four significant others and is easy.

I’ve actually been asked how many boyfriends I have! When I answered “Imasen. (I don’t have any)” They looked stunned. “Did you break up before coming here?” “…No.” As per the usual, I blame television. Japan gets (and loves) all of our action movies, and those movies perpetuate this incredibly sexual and promiscuous belief. Of course, our celebrities may also be to blame:

3) Americans are all fundamentalist Christian and homophobic.

I can… sort of see where this one comes from… with the Tea Party on TV every day raving about some new nonexistent injustice or another, and our incredibly ridiculous aversion to anything “gay.” In Japan, masculinity is less defined along the lines of being “macho,” so most Japanese are either ambivalent or accepting of homosexuality. To be fair, homosexual marriage is still illegal in Japan as well, but at least you don’t see this at military funerals:

4) Americans all drive expensive sports cars.

Again, I blame television. All those action movies with the cool cars usually blowing up in impossible ways… it’s no wonder Japanese think that all Americans own four cars and at least one cherry-red convertible among those.

5) Americans don’t know anything about the world.

Oookay, this one may NOT be too much of a myth… but it’s less that we don’t know and more that we don’t CARE, per say. Apathy is a new sport among American youths–is it any surprise that the world sees us as ignorant? I mean, honestly, one of my classmates in history pointed to Britain and said it was Thailand… Luckily, not ALL of us think like this:

Any of these sounding familiar? My goal is to hopefully dispel some of these myths, as they’re just plain stereotyping. Maybe you’ll disagree with me, but in my opinion, stereotyping = bad.

All pictures belong to their respective owners… I mean no copyright infringement, I make no money off of this, and this is all for fun.

I’m at a loss.

I honestly don’t know what to write for today.

…I… went to Beppu and did the week’s shopping? But I only went to Tokiwa this time, and you already have pictures of that. I had potato soup (it comes in a pouch) with some of my friends. I did the rest of my homework. I’m boring, what can I say?

I may not post every day from now on. Or, if I do, it’ll be things like “AP House Guide” and such, whenever another event-free day like this comes around. I have some trips planned for next weekend, but until then it’ll mostly be class. Class. And more class. I’m taking 14 credits after all, and I have six full hours of Japanese lecture alone each week (this not counting the immersion, homework, or group study FOR said class–all in Japanese too).

But for today, I’m really just… tired.

The last of the magnolias are blooming along APU’s campus:

Sorry. I’ll try to be more fun tomorrow. ‘Til then.

 

…This post was much longer, but for some unfathomable reason, it decided to vanish on me once I clicked Publish.

So. Bathhouses. I realize that I did not cover everything I wanted to in my “getting clean” post. Since nothing else happened today (I stayed in to do homework), I figure today’s a good day to get to it.

This is a Japanese public bathhouse:

This one is of a similar size to the APU bathhouse. Obviously I’m not allowed my camera in APU’s, so we’ll have to use our imaginations. The one in APU also has windows; however, there are fifteen-foot (five meter) walls surrounding them. Their only purpose is to let in sunlight. ‘Sides, they’re usually all fogged up due to steam.

You trade your room key for a bathhouse key at the AP House Office. Bring your towel, change of clothes, shampoo, soap, et cetera. When you walk into the APU bathhouse, you’ll see a tatami floored changing room with a shoe box to one side. Obviously, do not set shoes on the tatami. Stow your shoes and key (and glasses if you wear them) in this shoe box before rounding the corner to the next room. This one is lined with shelves and baskets. Put your towel and clothes in one of these baskets. All of your clothes. Don’t think about it.

When you get into the room pictured above, the actual bathing room, find a large plastic bucket and turn it over by one of the showers. Clean yourself extremely thoroughly before entering the water. I know I’ve said this before but it’s very, very important. Getting dirt in the bath is WORSE than stepping on tatami with shoes. Okay? Get the picture? It’s reallllly bad.

Some quick rules/tips: Don’t look at anyone who didn’t come in with you; it’s rude to stare at strangers. Don’t bring your towel into the bathing room–though it’s rude to stare, you -will- get some odd glances if you cover yourself up. Don’t feel so awkward. You’ll survive. Honest. And lastly and possibly most importantly, please, PLEASE be careful not to get heat stroke. These baths run anywhere from 105 F to 113 F. There are little jets that constantly pump what feels like lava into the water to keep it hot. So just… know yourself, only stay in for fifteen minutes and see how you fare with that. If you feel fine, you can always go back in.

To end, how about a funny picture for all us dumb foreigners visiting Japanese hotels?

WARNING: Massive rant ahead. If you don’t want to listen to me complain, don’t bother reading this. No pictures again today (well, maybe one). I know, I know. Tomorrow. Promise. Pinky swear. Okay? Moving on.

 

I don’t typically like to judge people based on one meeting, as I realize that no one’s perfect and that we all have bad days. Usually, if I catch myself judging someone, I hit myself over the head until I stop.

However. In this case, I am willing to make an exception.

I’m sure we’ve all met that guy. That guy, who walks in the room and exudes an air of arrogance and irritability. Who you take one look at and realize, “I dislike this person and I’ll think of a reason why later.” Ladies and gentlemen, I have met that guy today.

I won’t name names since that would be childish. But he is a professor at Ritsumeikan APU and he happens to come from England. Oh, and let’s not forget: he came from a law school. Why is it that the worst professors I’ve ever had have come from law schools? Do they manufacture jerks there?

Here’s what happened. He walks into the class and starts passing big sheets of paper with the syllabus on them out. He seems okay at first, introducing himself and saying that he’ll be teaching a special lecture on Political Science because he was asked here (As. A. Guest.) by the university to teach this class. And then… he keeps talking…

This school is weird. The classes are too short. He doesn’t have enough time to cover what he wants to. He’d prefer to cover full books each lecture but obviously we just won’t be able to do that. He should expect us students to put in six hours of work per week outside of the class time. So that’s fine, we can do that. But then he says that we probably won’t because “Most teachers in this school don’t give a damn about education and most of the students are the same. Put them in a room together and they’re quite happy.” And let’s not forget the little comment about how “if you were attending a civilized school, you’d be expected to do this level of work.” Ummm, hello?! We’re a real school! Accredited and everything. And in fact, a lot of the classes are very difficult here. He made it sound like HE was the only REAL professor in this school, even saying, “I refuse to compromise, so I will teach this class exactly as I would anywhere else.” He then generalized the entire class (“Judging by a quick look, not many of you [are native English speakers].”) and generally set off every “asshat alarm” that I have.

Let me make it clear that this is all within the first twenty minutes of class. I sat there, getting angrier and angrier, biting my tongue so hard that I swear I made myself bleed, and finally when he started talking about how only ‘dedicated students’ would stay in his class, I stood up and left. Quietly, I didn’t make a fuss. I wanted to. Oh believe me, I wanted to. But one more minute of that and I would have leaped across the room and strangled him.

I’m sorry. Maybe I’m overreacting. But those quotes are all quotes, I swear to you that they are accurate. Now riddle me this. If you are a guest lecturer in a university which is admittedly new, but known for its international standards (and is also the sister school to Ritsumeikan in Kyoto, which is a very esteemed college), would you come in and insult your hosts in such a coarse and rude manner? Call them uncivilized? Say that they’re strange and wrong and not a real university? I know I wouldn’t be as rude as he was.

Plus, he has a stupid accent. Posh. Nyah.

Okay, rant over.

Have a worried puppy picture:

If you got that reference… I love you. xD Now then. Today was my very first day of class! Whoooo!

To be honest, I was getting a little tired of having nothing to do with my days. So today I had Japanese Foundation II and Cultural Anthropology. The way that classes work at APU is a little different than most American universities. See, at APU, there are six set “periods” in the day. The first period begins at 8:45 and ends at 10:20. That’s a ninety minute class period with a five minute break in the middle. You get ten minutes in between periods to get to your next class. APU’s campus is fairly small, so it’s manageable.

APU is also on the “quarter system” which means that most classes last about a month and a half. For “semester” courses, that length doubles. This is why most students at APU can take 16-20 credits a semester, because quarter classes are shorter. Of course, it’s the same amount of material as in a regular class, only covered twice as quickly. So do please be careful not to over-schedule yourselves. I’d recommend 18 credits if you can find that many classes that you are interested in.

BE CAREFUL: For study abroad students on a college visa, the minimum required credits are 10. This is so easy to accomplish at APU that it shouldn’t present any concerns to most students… but if you’re lazy or don’t like the course selection, suck it up and make sure you schedule at least 10 for your semester.

I don’t have any pictures for today. Sorry.

My Japanese sensei’s name is Iwamoto Jouji. He, apparently, loves gadgets and singing in his rock band. He’s from Kyoto and seems like a fairly interesting professor; though, I try not to judge until after the first full week of lessons. And… he looks a little like Adachi from Persona 4 (! Should I be worried? There’s a TV in our classroom. :P). Just sayin’.

If you don’t know SMT games, don’t try to get the joke. Not for y’all.

My other professor is Americanadiaustralian. Yay triple nationalities…? That really screws with the accent, huh? He seems nice too, taught the whole class how to use Blackboard v. 6 today. Apparently we shall be watching a ten part anthropological series in his class. Seems interesting, judging by the first five minutes he showed us. And… I laugh at his “this is a heavy workload” comment. We get to watch TV and read sixty pages a week. Compared to Rutgers, that’s like… a children’s storybook. The only thing keeping me busy will be my ridiculous amount of credits.

Anyway, I feel like I’m rambling so I’m going to go to bed, because it’s late and I have a morning class tomorrow. Oh, goody!