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Browsing Posts published on September 19, 2004


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I forgot to mention that I have 2 national holidays this week. Also, my field placement High School is off on Wednesday since they just finished a week of exams. SO, that means I only have class on Tuesday and Friday this weekend. Hahahahah!

Fat guys in thongs

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On Saturday we had an IES Field Trip type of thing to Asakusa and Sumo Wrestling. Asakusa was interesting, just seeing the huge tourist trap that was once a temple. It was probably the 3rd time I’ve been to Asakusa (where the big Thunder Gate is), but it’s fun to walk down and see the shops, although you never buy anything there except for expensive souvenirs (I bought nothing).

One odd thing was near the smaller temple, there was a wedding. A bunch of us were in the courtyard, waiting for the rest of the group before we moved on to the next location. Next thing I know, I turn back around towards the temple and there was an old guy laying on the ground. Apparently he had fallen (was walking with a cane) and hit his head. I didn’t see that part myself. We were wondering if we should call an ambulance. I really thought we should have. 2 police offers walked up within a few minutes and seemed to have things under control. I never saw an ambulance before we left, so I have no idea what they ended up doing. I did however see them lift him up and move him away from the main entrance of the temple. Maybe it was to give him a better place to lay down? Maybe it was so he didn’t bring bad luck to the wedding in progress in the temple? I really don’t know, but I felt sorry for the old guy. It looked like he was walking around the templegrounds alone…

After that, we had a long hike and then a fun water taxi ride to Ryougoku. The boat ride really was awesome; we got to stand on top of the little boat taxi thing. After that we had sumo food called chanko-nabe. It’s pretty much just a big pot of meat, vegetables, and tofu. You cook it at your table, eat all the stuff, then cook udon noodles with the remaining broth. It was good but there was too much food (I suppose that’s why sumo like it). Also, since you cook it at your table, and there were a bunch of tables in the room cooking also, the room itself was like an oven. Not the way I like to live, let alone eat my meal.

Watched sumo afterwards in the sumo arena. Really a cool place. When you first walk in, it’s like any huge sports stadium, but then you realize that it’s decorated with a bunch of traditional Japanese decor, and instead of a playing field or a court, there is a little pavilion type area with 2 fat guys duking it out. The actual matches are fun to watch, but there is a lot of build-up and ritual before each match. Honestly, after about an hour of being there I started to doze off, but I guess I tend to do that in any sporting event where you actually go and sit in the nosebleed sections.

Overall, a fun day. The lunch and sumo tickets were covered in my IES payments, so no money spent there. Hoorah~

Classes Week 1 Wrap-up

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I know it’s been a while since I posted last. Well, now it’s time for two or three posts to make up for that. First will be a summary of my first full week of classes. You don’t want to hear about my classes? Then don’t read this.

I’m taking 18 credit hours here, between classes administered by Kanda University (神田外語大学) and the IES Center. Wow, Anthony, that’s a lot! Sounds like it, but I don’t think it will be that tough. Definitely shouldn’t be anything compared to I-Core. Plus, if I can get good grades, they will figure into my GPA at IU when I go back, which needs some padding. Oh, and if I really want to be sneaky, I can drop any class that I start doing bad in (except for Japanese, which is un-droppable). Withdrawal date here is NOVEMBER 20th or something ridiculous like that. Also, IES doesn’t put “W”‘s on transcripts, which would mean that it wouldn’t go back to IU. So it would be like I never took the class. Heheheheh, I can’t lose.

JP401 Japanese in Context (実践日本語) (7 cr): Meets every day for an hour and a half (1 period here). Japanese language class. Same teacher as Survival Japanese, which I had for the past two weeks as the lead-in to this class. Same students plus two new Korean girls. Honestly, this class probably shouldn’t be 7 credit hours for the amount of work I do. Which is less than I did for IU Japanese (bahahaha and how much did I do there?). Mainly I have a few quizzes, some papers, and a few presentations. Not bad at all. It’s pretty much just a continuation of Survival Japanese, so no surprises. From what Brian has told me, I think that this is going to much easier than what the folks at IU are doing with Rubinger. Taught all in Japanese.

Kanji Level 3 (2 cr): Amazingly, I tested into the kanji level that corresponds with my language class. At least I’m not behind. This class actually has the same teacher and 4 of the same students from my JP401 class, so that’s kind of funny. There are also about 10 other foreign exchange students. It’s a mix of Americans, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Koreans. Meets for one period every Tuesday. So far, we’re doing kanji I have already studied, so it won’t be too bad. If anything, this class is going to bore me to death. Taught in Japanese. Oh, and here I will mention 2 of the American students. They’re not IES, they’re with the other foreign exchange program here called Bekka (別科). I cannot stand these two guys. They’re both cocky, arrogant, and definitely not as good as they think they are. The worst of the two tries to seem super mellow and emotionless, and apparently he is a huge computer dork. During our self introductions to the class, he stated his hobby as “my computer,” after which he turns his cocky head to me and mutters in English “it’s my baby.” Seriously? Hey that’s great man. Why don’t you take the thing and jump off a bridge. Also he couldn’t write the kanji for fire (火) correctly, which is one of the most basic ones out there. We’ll see how these two turn out. But for now, I can’t stand them.

AN345 The Fantastic World of Japanese Manga and Anime (3 cr): I was fearing this class because I figured it would be full of the anime dorks from the IES program. I was half right about this, but the Professor seems really cool. He started off class asking who likes anime, and a bunch of us raised our hands. He then asked who would be considered a “mania” (like otaku, the world here for super-obsessive fans with no life), and there was only one guy who raised his hands. I knew he would. I won’t name names right now, but this kid is a very typical American otaku (the kind that I hate the most). Professor Aoyagi then proceeded to say he “doesn’t want those kind of people in his class.” The otaku’s head dropped. I was loving it. Taught in English primarily, and we’ll be doing a lot of analyzing and relating things to cultural conditions, etc. Sound like what I was looking for. The class will be pretty interesting, and if it transfers to IU as Kierstead’s anime class, I will be done with my Japanese major. And won’t have to deal with as many super otaku as Brian did. Bahaha

AN391/S391 Seminar: Social Organization of Japan (3 cr): This is the semi-weekly seminar class that goes with my field placement in the Japanese high school. Other people are placed in schools, non-for-profits, businesses, etc. Basically we will be trying to analyze Japanese organizational and group structure from the inside. It will be pretty easy. Taught in English and Japanese. The only thing I don’t get is why the class is only 3 cr hours. Sure, the seminar itself only meets every other week, but the field placement is once a week for around 8 hours (a regular work day). Seems kind of unbalanced. Ah well, it should be interesting.

HIS336 The History of Tokyo (3 cr): First bad sign: this class is in the IES conference room. We all sat in foldable chairs facing the teacher who had a desk and a whiteboard. For about 25 students, we really need a bigger and better room. No desks is a pain, and the room was a bit too hot for comfort. It will be an decent class, because I’m interested in the topics (looks like we’re analyzing Edo/Tokyo from the Tokugawa period to present day. The professor is a nice lady, but seemed really nervous. Hopefully she’ll get over it and go through material a bit quicker.

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