Keeping up with this thing is tricky, seeing as they keep us pretty busy.
Today was supposed to rain, but it was dry and warm, so my umbrella and jeans were entirely unnecessary. I ate my Calorie Mate — cheese flavor, though it was more like two lightly-flavored, soft, Pepperidge-Farm-style biscuits — for breakfast on the way to class. (That lasted about two hours.)
Japanese was with Oomura-sensei, and went by pretty quickly. Professor Kowalczyk’s class was next. I’m not sure how I like his class; he’s intelligent and informed, but he lets us do a lot of the talking. Next came lunch, prefaced briefly by some leftover grudge-based annoyance.We’d been asked to help out in two freshman business-English classes today, and I honestly felt it was only fitting to go. These people have been good to us, so I was glad to help. Mike, Heaven, and I went to the first class, taught by a guy named Joshua. We were put into groups and filled out sheets with questions about what we did in our free time, then interviewed people outside of our group to get their answers. Next came negotiation, wherein we (as a group) had to plan a day’s worth of activities with only 20,000円 for all of us. Not as easy as you might think, especially when train costs were part of our expenses and we had six people to the other two groups’ five.
The next class was with the woman who’d invited us originally, and her teaching style was much less orthodox. Warren joined us then, so we were four. In groups, we spoke about 和製英語 (Japanese-created English) and how different it was from regular English (or, in some cases, the French or German they borrowed it from). After was a discussion of topics with cultural differences, like pizza toppings (they like corn, potatoes, and mayonnaise) or dental visits (they only go if there’s a problem). Both classes were a lot of fun, and the people who chose not to go really missed out (not to mention the lack of respect shown to the university’s minor request).
It was late enough when we got back that we didn’t feel like going anywhere. Heaven had split off to go to dinner with two e-Cube friends (the e-Cube being an English-only hangout on campus), while the remaining three of us sat around and talked for a while, then fell to review of our Japanese material so far. Mike and Warren are really picking things up quickly, which will serve them well in coming semesters (though it might also make the lessons a bit dull).
The last part of my night was a call to my friend Nobu in Yokohama. The hotel pay phone isn’t the greatest, and it’s not cheap, but I had no other choice, really. He remained firm in his decision not to come to meet me if another of my Japanese friends is there, and until I know the itinerary for our time in Tokyo, I can’t offer him another option for time and place. Frustrating, but I don’t have much choice.
One of the hotel employees, a Korean girl named Jin, complimented my Japanese as I went to get more change for my phone call — she’d heard some of what I was saying in the echoing lobby. She explained that she also had difficulty with Japanese when she was learning it to come live and work in Japan. It meant a lot to me in retrospect, since she wasn’t a native speaker, and understood what it was like to learn from the outside.
Looking back on the day, it was mostly fun, but there was some minor irritation as well. I’m hoping the weekend is crap-free.