I’ve been diligently keeping up with this season’s TV shows, and since discovering I can directly plug my USB into the big TV, I’ve been watching them in there. Unlike using my netbook in my own room, the TV in there has a larger screen, better speakers, and I can turn on the heat for free. I’ve also been drinking microwaved oolong tea, so better microwave access is also a plus. I generally wait until evening, when everyone’s gone to bed or is busy with homework. I’ve also been playing games a little more recently; I’d slowed down for a while, in part because my homework had increased, and in part because I’d been going to places like Tokyo and Kyoto. Lately, I’ve had less homework and therefore more free time.
The Japanese 360 was a good investment. Not only will I have hours of gameplay when I get back, but Japanese-language games are good listening and reading practice. It’s looking like I’ll have a fair amount of free time next semester, too. I only need four classes to graduate: all of them required, none of them upper-division. On top of that, my two best friends who still live in the area will both be gone by the time I get back. Since this will be the first semester back that I won’t be studying a foreign language, and I don’t want my Japanese to get rusty, I plan to use my Japanese games and my extensive drama CD library to keep my listening skills sharp. For speaking, I can talk with my Japanese friends on Xbox Live, or maybe get some of the people here to Skype with me. All that’s left will be the reading/writing aspect, which will be the hardest part, since I won’t have an easy resource to lean on nor external incentive; I’ll just have to practice writing kanji and reading up on grammar to stay active.
After graduation, I figure I’ll use the summer to put things in order, and then come back to study somewhere more intensive. The Chinese and Korean students here have been studying Japanese for roughly as long as I have, maybe less, yet are way above me in all four aspects of the language. If they can do it, so can I — I just need to find somewhere that will teach me what I want to know and keep the pressure on.
So for now, I’ll finish this semester and learn what I can, then go home and focus both on graduating and solidifying leads on school and work here. If all goes well, I can be back sooner rather than later.