Hello everyone! Well, I've just gotten through my first three days of 'school,' though really all we've done so far was orientation, but still, it's tuckered me out. I won't recount the full thing in detail (especially since we hit a rough patch on day two), but overall, I've survived, got a basic outline of my classes, and am more than ready to get this beast underway. As it happens, I'm going to be taking three Japanese classes (the Japanese language), one about Japan and the world, a Comparative Culture class, a Regional Sociology class, and two independent study classes, so that should be interesting. We got our full tour of the library and I've already managed to check a few books out, we got a tour of the healthcare center/nurse's office, where I got a free thermometer (score!), and then we got a self defense class, where we learned how to assault perverts, should we be accosted by any, getting to practice on each other. Also, we had our opening ceremony, which we managed to be one minute late for, and got our sweaty pictures taken about a hundred times with various members of the faculty, though we did get three very nice bentos out of it (complete with sliced duck). But, more than all the school crap, what was really fun was getting to hang out with my fellow whiteys and explore the Grandberry Mall by the station, and the 109 movie theater, and best of all, the Tokyu Supermarket, which is the size of a home depot and has every kind of food or kitchen ware you could ever even imagine needing. That place has been a real exercise in restraint for me, because I still have food in my apartment, but everytime we go, I want to buy more (they have purple sweet potatoes roasting before you on a grill that you can just pick up and eat!). I've managed to skate by without spending too much, but I've learned that, contrary to everything I believed, I have fallen in love with Natto (the fermented beans). They were the highlight of my lunch today (which is saying something, since I bought fried beef and mashed potato pancakes). After this hard, albeit short week, I took last night off, having myself a pretty dessert I'd bought, some irish coffee (homemade), and watched a movie, which was so nice.
I've managed to figure out the bathtub contraption on the wall, which up until this point has remained a mystery to me. It seems to monitor the amount of water in the bath, and plays a tune when it's done. So, that's good to know. Also, I got a bank account with the post office (JP), but for anyone planning on studying here, don't try it with the post office, as they too have the six month rule (though the fudged it for me). My recommendation would first be the Sumitomo bank, which I've heard you can get easily, without a stamp (inkan), or to buy a stamp (at a stationary store, an inkan store, or ask you school for help), and use the Mitzubishi UFJ, which should let you get an account. Anyways, somehow it sort of worked out, I think, but I'm not entirely certain. In other news, I bought some Tajomaru movie merchandise like I've been wanting, and hope to see the movie again before it goes out of theaters this Friday, though we'll see if I can. And this morning I had a political discussion with my host brother about Obama, Abortion, Bush, North Korea, the KKK (he couldn't believe it still exists), Racism/descrimination and illegal immigrants. Of course, all of this was discussed in a mixture of English and Japanese, as I'm not nearly good enough at Japanese to hold a candle to really explaining American politics to anyone in another language. The hardest thing to explain is what a redneck is. Yeah, just try it. He explained to me the relationship between Japan and North Korea, saying that he hopes someday that America will help fight N. Korea, because as it stands, N.Korea shoots missiles at Japan frequently, comes over in boats and abducts Japanese people, then takes them back to N.Korea to brainwash them or hold them as POWs, sort of, and yet Japan is still bound by the sanction (or clause or whatever) that America put on it after WWII, so it is unable to rearm itself and wage war on N. Korea, and South Korea is unwilling to help out. So anyways, it was a very interesting, very educational discussion for the both of us. Anywho, I'm going to go (I've got tea ceremony today), but I'll try to post whenever I can. TTYL!