Final exams, day three: Finals and letdowns.

Thursday was the final day for both exams and the semester at ASU for me. I took some assorted paperwork with me to ask the office staff about it, and reviewed some grammar on the bus and on the walk to class.

As with Tabata-sensei’s J3 listening class, her J4 reading class had been given a list of vocabulary which would be our only tool for the test. We received two readings, and had to answer questions about each one. The last page covered some of the grammatical points we’d been given, and I just barely figured out and fixed a mistake in the last few minutes. I’d intended to review my kanji again during lunch since I’d never needed the entire hour to eat, but I had to ask the ladies in the office about some things. Oka-san explained which paperwork I needed, which I didn’t, and which I was to fill out and return, but it kinda took her a while. I ended up losing about half my lunch/study break because of it, leaving me just enough time to grab a Yamazaki egg-salad sandwich duo and hammer out some review on my own before the test.

The reason I was taking J1 kanji was not that my kanji was weak — which it is — but that it was the only kanji class offered. Of the four of us in the class, three of us had previous kanji experience and one of us didn’t. Because there was no real way for them to measure our individual levels, they just threw us all into the beginner class. I can’t say I didn’t learn a fair number of characters, but the way it was taught meant that I only learned one reading at a time, and no mention of radicals. I suppose it gives me more incentive to study them on my own.

The kanji test was actually our second that week; we’d taken the reading test on Monday in the usual time slot. For Monday’s test, rather than read kana and write kanji, we did the same in reverse. I did moderately well, I think, but forgot the readings of a few characters and compounds I don’t see very often. (Rest assured they’ll all go into my self-study after I get home.) The final was like our midterm: basically an exact copy of the “practice test” she’d given us beforehand. I missed half of four characters, but I’m confident I did fairly well. Last time, we had just under fifty minutes to do fifty sentences, but this time it was two hours for fifty sentences. By the end, my hand hurt, but my last test was done.

I headed down to the teachers’ room afterward, since no fewer than three people had told me to go see Abe-sensei after testing that day. What I got when I arrived was an informal closing ceremony, since I won’t be here for the real one. Abe-sensei, Suzuki-sensei, and Tabata-sensei stood across from me as Abe-sensei presented me with a cloth bag that held the folder where my certificate will go once they send it to WVU, as well as a piece of high-quality cardboard with all my teachers’ signatures, and finally, an ASU mug Abe-sensei designed. We chatted for a bit after, mostly about my flight and how much stuff I’d acquired since coming.

Since my cough had returned again and I’d missed the 3:15 bus, I figured I might as well walk back, since the Kondo clinic was on the way, anyway. (This made the third time in two days I’d walked home from campus.) I got there before 4:00, when they supposedly open, but past experience kept me from being surprised when I arrived fifteen minutes to four and found people in the waiting room. They saw to me quickly, and this time, Dr. Kondo asked if maybe two weeks of meds would be okay. I balked slightly, saying it seemed like a lot and sounded expensive, but he eventually put me down for two weeks anyway. His suggestion was that if I started to feel better, to go ahead and stop taking the pills. Thing is, I told him, while I was taking the medicine, I did feel better — I didn’t know if my cough would come back until after I quit. We finally agreed that I’d go ahead and take the pills until shortly after getting back to America, and then stop and see what happened. The clinic bill was low, but the pharmacy bill reflected the larger dosage I received (yet still beats American prices for prescription pills).

Because I’d been seen so quickly, this gave me time after getting back to eat the rest of my superb dinner from the night before. I had to go soon, though, because it was also the last day I’d be going to kendo club. I boarded the bus and got off at Hoshigaoka, walked up through campus and all the way to the gym, and found… no one. The gym and changing room were empty. I glanced at my phone and found that Satoru had sent a message about ten minutes before saying club was cancelled, but it had taken me ten minutes just to get there from the bus station. As I was reading the message, Yasuda spotted me and also told me club was cancelled, and the two of us commiserated as we left campus. It was too late to really go anywhere, I’d already spent the 200円 for bus fare, and since I’d eaten so recently, my plan to get one last meal at CoCo Ichiya was nullified. With really nothing left to do, I said goodbye to Yasuda and caught the bus back to the dorm (another 200円 gone).

The upside to getting back early was that I was able to start packing sooner. I put all my books and such into my backpack, then started on the massive amount of paperwork I had: homework, official documents, and stuff I’d received before I even came back to Japan. I sorted through the lot, separating out anything I didn’t need, and put the rest in some sort of order before jamming it into the backpack as well. Next came the suitcase, and that’s when things fell apart — I didn’t realize quite how much I still had to pack. After trying to fit it all into the remaining suitcase, I gave up. I managed to fit a few more things into the already-packed suitcase (which still isn’t very heavy) and set some things aside — as I feared, I’ll have to mail one more box. I can do it tomorrow when I go down for a haircut; the 床屋 is really close to the 郵便局。 After a while, I finally decided to take a break and catch up on my writing downstairs, which is where I am now.

I’ve consolidated all the things I have to pack and sorted my dirty clothes, and tomorrow I’ll give away the things that I can’t or won’t bring home, but which are useful enough I don’t just want to leave them up for grabs. I have yet to clean the bathroom and fridge, but I can’t think that’ll take awfully long. Tomorrow’s also my last day to go out, and I plan to make the most of it. Just gotta make sure not to acquire too much.


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