First Week, part four.

Thursday morning, we woke up bright and early to take our placement tests. A few people had been vaguely concerned, but I wasn’t; I’d place where I’d place, whether or not I worried. Besides, a few days in Japan had me in a Japanese state of mind. The test was in two parts: writing and speaking. The written test was, for lack of a better term, a joke. Seriously, it was identification of pictures, some particles (always tricky), and a few sentences to complete. There were only four Westerners (our fourth being Marta, an Italian girl who lives near the school in her own place instead of the dorm). As for the speaking test, the four of us described a picture, then did a mock conversation as a bunch of students socializing at an 居酒屋。We finished pretty quickly, bid goodbye to Marta, and came back by ourselves. The Asian students, meanwhile, took much longer to finish, since their test was considerably more difficult. I would have liked to try their test, myself, just to see.

Ayaka, one of the tutors, took us out later to show us where to find Yamada Denki (aka ヤマデン) for electronics, specifically a rice cooker for Kika and Gabby (also from Tianjin). Gabby had a problem; her camera had broken shortly after arriving, and she wanted to replace it. I recommended Hard Off, since she’d be able to get one cheaper, and she grudgingly agreed (apparently unused to Japanese taking care of their stuff before selling it). Thus, we returned to the dorm, then a few of us headed back out to look for some things we needed. A trip to Hard Off was fruitful for Gabby, who found a used Sony camera to replace her old one (though no memory card; she’s currently borrowing mine since her old one doesn’t fit). We also stopped by Seiyu again, and a few of us had Sugakiya (so good).

I hung out with some of the Chinese girls afterward in Kika’s room. One of the girls, who calls herself 1 (like the number, since her name sounds similar), apparently speaks pretty good English from taking classes. I helped her a little with pronunciation, and both Gabby and Kika asked me to help them as well (with the former picking up pronunciation rather quickly). This is the kind of dorm I could get used to.

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