Archive for September, 2008

More Rain

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Today wasn’t that exciting. I was really sleepy because of the rain. It was quite heavy and gray.

I met up with Norweigan and we tried to go to the cheap udon place for “breakfast” but it was closed. Instead we went to Hotto Motto and bought bentos and ate it at the school. I had a fish bento set for 380 yen.

Class was as usual. I found out how I did on the mock test and my grammar/listening turned out pretty terrible. The kanji was pretty good, but I think it was just the questions themselves that were easy, not reflective of my kanji skills at all hahaha. I think they will only concentrate on this mock test for the rest of the week. Today the teacher went over each listening question… frick… it’s tricky. Because I always start daydreaming by the third question.

After school we tried going to the public gym but it was friggin closed. I have no idea why, there was no indication they would be off today, even on their website. We’re going to try again tomorrow. MEGA-BOO.

Instead we went to a Izakaya with other students. I unfortunately spent 2500 yen though I think I prolly ate/drank around 500 yen’s worth. But I didn’t want to spoil the nomihoudai. Behh! But it was nice of them to invite me^^ I was able to see what horse sashimi ( :( ) looked like among other things…
There’s this one girl on my floor who blasts music really loudly early in the morning and late at night… I’m listening to it right now >_>;; The guys say they can hear someone typing on the other side of their wall. Haha. Well I hope it’s not the case because I sing in the shower sometimes XD

Pitchers of Ice Cream

Monday, September 29th, 2008

This week class starts late - 11:30. I unintentionally slept in past breakfast.

I had the first exam intensive hour today. I told the teacher I wanted to focus on listening, since that is something I can’t study by myself (without buying a crapload of CDs) so we concentrate on that. Boy… I flunked the ones we went through. But it’s good, it seems that I’m the only one taking it (at least, for this week) so I get full attention for that hour. She gave me a mock test to do for tonight- it’s going to be hard doing it without looking up words :P

I had a bento for lunch. It cost 360 yen which was quite reasonable. The afternoon classes was just me and another guy, which was really good as well. We were focused and, unlike last week, finished all the planned material for the class.

It was 5.30 when class ended so a bunch of us went to the Starbucks nearby. Then we split up and me and three other guys went to eat dinner at Tenjin Core. We had small amount of pasta for a ridiculous price :( But afterwards we went to the dessert place and ordered a giant pitcher of ice cream to share among the four of us. It was quite delicious and calorific. We all got little long spoons and dug in, and eventually by the time you get to the bottom it’s a huge nasty mess.

By the way, I was still harassing the British guys on their accent :)

Then me and American guy from my dorm went home while the British went to the pub.

On another note, I was asked for information twice today! By Japanese people! One asked me train information and one asked me directions to the shopping mall. I think I managed to fool them hahaha. But then… when I went to Lawson and attempted to buy a prepaid card… wow that was a disaster. The three workers just stared at me in silence as I poorly tried to explain I wanted phone minutes. Last ditch attempt I said “prepaid card” and no one understood, and kept staring. 10 minutes later they lead me to the card machine and one girl says “pu-ri-pai-do-ca-a-do” … …. … *falls over*

A Not-So-Boring Sunday

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Originally I was supposed to meet with a Mixi friend today, but she was not feeling well so it was postponed.

One of the other students in my dorm called me up in the afternoon and together we, and the Norweigan also in our dorm went to eat lunch. We went to the super-cheap udon/don place by the station. All of us ended up getting both donburi and udon, because none of us had breakfast. I had kitsune-udon and negi-toro don. I had already agreed to go to play badminton with the American (let’s call him A) in the evening so we discussed what to do until then. In the end, we decided on karaoke! :D

We went back to the dorm and backed our gym clothes and headed off to Tenjin. We entered this huge karaoke building… my first time in a karaoke place in Japan!! There are 5 floors of rooms. We had to wait a few minutes but soon we were on the third floor in a tiny room. But…oh my.. the song selection!! Brought tears to my eyes!! I could finally sing 壊れかけのRadio, Le Salle de Bain, Kiss Me Goodbye, etc etc!! I want to go by myself one day and sing the whole Angela Aki/Sheena Ringo/Amano Tsukiko list<3

After 3 hours, we went to meet another guy from our class. Before that though, we fooled around a bit at the arcade. I made everyone do a purikura (too bad I don’t have a scanner, the pictures are pretty hilarious). The guys played a Rambo arcade game… that game had a giant plasma screen.. it was pretty epic… So, after meeting up with the other guy, the four of us headed off to the gymnasium.. called Momoji and I don’t remember what the place is called except it was super far away and it cost 250yen by subway :( It was badminton night and we discovered the courts were very, very full. Even worse, a league was coming to practice and took up every single court except one. We met one of the GenkiJACs teachers there.

Well, I decided not to wait for a turn especially since I can’t play badminton, so I wandered around and found myself in the training room. I could finally run!!! So I ran a bit and used the bike as well, and then some weights. It was really quite empty. It was pretty nice, actually, I hope I can run again soon (though, I only brought 2 changes of gym clothes here so maybe I’ll need to wash more often).

A wanted to play past 9 so the rest of us decided to leave an hour before that to grab some food. We went to eat at an omerice restaurant at Solaria Plaza.

So, pretty good Sunday, though I spent a lot of money :x


Saturday, September 27th, 2008

I met up with the guys at 10am today.

Apparently I am hard of hearing because I thought they were going shopping at 10. But they were going to jijitsu fighting!!! WTTTFF!!! I felt sooo stupid.

So I went shopping, agreeing to meet up with them at 1.30. I was soooo worried about having to pass the time. I went to Tenjin core and decided to visit every store for at least 5 minutes bottom-up (except mens stores).

This fall in Japan, the popular styles are: checkered-pattern scarves or shirts, one-pieces with large knitted pictures

Well, I liked a lot of stuff, but I knew most would be too small anyways. My policy was if the salesgirl tried to talk to me more than once I would run away. But I was looking at one store when the girl caught me. As soon as I said I wasn’t Japanese her face lit up and start talking nonstop to me. She was really cheerful though, and not annoying, so I kept talking to her. She called me ‘kawaii nee-chan’, though she was older than me. I told her I wanted jeans but I couldn’t fit in Japanese sizes and she said ‘you totally CAN’… and handed me a medium pair. Oh god… my ass couldn’t even fit. So then she handed me an L size. It fits… barely. I told her and then she launched into a 10 minute speech on how denim stretches and you’re supposed to suffer the first few times you wear it and she used to feel the same before she started working at the store, that all sizes were too small for her and you just need to keep stretching it and it’ll fit perfectly. Ok.. yeah.. I’ll admit, I gave in and bought the pair of 100$ jeans >_< She kept complimenting me nonstop hahhaa.. her salespower is WIN. Definitely the friendliest I’ve ever experienced in Japan.
There is also a goth floor in Tenjin Core. It has H Naoto, Algonquins, Kera, etc. People were staring at me disapprovingly, as I was dressed far from goth. I didn’t buy anything… GOOD ON ME!

I met up with the guys as promised, and one of the British guys bought me a coffee. He’s a really nice guy. He’s actually going to Hong Kong on Monday to stay with his girlfriend for a while. So maybe he’ll know Cantonese later hahaha. I love his accent. He sounds, and looks like Dominic Monoghan XD
We met up with even more people at Tenjin Station and we headed over to Canal City. Canal City is an outdoor-ish mall with a small canal running through it. I met two new people, another American and another British guy. We went to eat at a lunch buffet. I asked the British to teach me slang words… Hahahhahaa.. I was laughing uncontrollably… I love the insult “muppet” XDDD

Oh yeah I found out the Norweigen is also a future engineer, though he already did engineering stuff in the army!

I hope to study for the rest of tonight. Tomorrow evening I will go to badminton with the American student in my dorm (he assured me I can be a complete beginner… he better not be lying)

Weekly Party

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Since so many people come and go every week at the language school, it is customary for a small event to be held every week on Friday.

Several people “graduated” this week, including a teacher who was leaving, so there was a staff party along with a student party to be held in the evening.

After class, I went with the British engineering student to eat lunch. We had a traditional Japanese lunch, which was quite nice. I had a nejiri-toro bowl along with soba set. He lost his password the day before, and had to prepare numerous paperwork. He said he was freaking out but I think I would be acting 1000x worse if I were in his situation, since he had to leave the next day. We went to the bank afterwards since he had to send documents to the consulate. I went back to the dorm afterwards. I actually met some people living in the same dorm as me who go to the school. They decided to meet in the lobby and go together back to the school for the party in the evening.

There are four people. One of them is leaving this week, one of the will leave next week. They are both British. There is a Norweigen and a teenager American too. I hung out with them most of the time during the party, along with a really pretty German girl. One of the British students told me about the city gym. I think I will try to go there next week. There is a girl from Tahiti in our school too. She was really nice. People in our school are in 3 categories:

1. People graduated high school, taking a year off

2. People in university, having fun for a year

3. People who quit their jobs, and don’t know what to do

That’s a bit sad, but makes me feel good that I’m not the only one.

After the party (a few sensei’s were drunk), I went with the group to a bar. Honestly, the conversation was quite slow, but I enjoyed being in the company of people!! I was beginning to pick up on the British accent hahaha… I hope they don’t think me as a wannabe hahaha. It just sounds so much better British! XD

We came back home around 12.30.

Ramen 2

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

After class (which again was slow), I went with the American classmate and his friends to eat at another ramen place. This one was more unique, in that each person gets his own mini-booth. The person orders on a sheet of paper (eg the fat content of soup, the tenderness of meat) and hands it over to window in front of him. The staff takes the order, makes the ramen and then closes the curtain on your booth. You can’t really talk to anyone because it’s all booths, but it’s quite a different experience.

We went to eat cake at the shop next door but no one seemed to enjoy it.

The students went back to school after and I went home.

When I got home, the dorm lady gave me a postcard! It was from the hair salon! The hairstylist wanted to know how I liked my style and if I had any questions and good luck in school. That’s really cute! I have no idea if I should reply or not… Maybe I should ask someone…
I attempted to do laundry this day. I wanted to do it early afternoon so no one could see me screw up. But ‘It will be simple’, I thought.

It took me half an hour to friggen figure out how to start the machine!!!

I still don’t know what went wrong. But the card ate up a weeks worth of laundry money :(

I also left a tissue in one of my pants. BOOOOOO!!!

But at least everything dried fast in the heat. It was all dry by late evening.

Resuming Class

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

I’ve come to understand that no one does their “homework”. It’s a bit annoying because we spend many minutes on something that should be understood in 2. But, in general, I find that conversation and grammar classes are definitely NOT test-paced. There is an “extra’ course you can buy weekly, around 2100 yen, for test papers. I may have to do that. But it will cost over 200$ in the end. Which is kind of a ripoff since I signed for the “exam course”. Hmm… I’m really gonna fail >:(

That day, I went to lunch with a British classmate and a student from Australia. We went to try Hakata ramen. Well, people keep telling me the name of that place but I forget. It’s one of the more famous ramen places in the city. The menu is really small but it was very good. The soup is very, very rich. The British student is an engineering student. We discussed how lax the classes are, among other things. It was enjoyable talking to him. We then went to Mr Donut for dessert and then the CD shop.

In the evening, I met up with a guy who I met on Mixi. He is an architecture student who studies English by himself on the side. We met up in Ijiri station. Apparently he lives an hour away!! He was really nice. Though we ended up eating at Macdonalds hahahha. He paid for me meal and acted pretty gentlemenly which was nice of him hahaa. We were able to communicate quite well without too many awkward silences. He said we should go to the beach sometime, which would be nice because I haven’t seen the ocean yet.

National Holiday

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

It was a national holiday today which meant no class.

Having not exercised for days, I decided to go to Ohori Park, a city park in downtown.

It took about half an hour to walk there from Tenjin Station. You can actually take a subway there but I thought it wouldn’t be too bad. Well, it wasn’t besides the fact that it was a super muggy day and I was sweating buckets by the time I reached the park. The park is connecting to several other small parks but Ohori is essentially a giant running track with a lake in the middle. There are cycling, jogging, and walking lanes. There was a mini matsuri making its way around the circle.

Most people were there as a couple, and there were lots of kids. But it didn’t seem too strange to walk there by myself. After an hour and a half I went back.

I’m not sure I remember what I did after that…. it might’ve been the day I tried the 199yen udon near my dorm. It was pretty good! And I didn’t get sick hahaha

First Day of School

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Class started at 9.30, when the level check commenced. GenkiJACs is located in Tenjin, the core of Fukuoka city. There is a train going from Ijiri to Fukuoka, which takes 15 minutes. The walk to the school is about 10 minutes form the Tenjin Station. It’s really easy to find.

I took a level check test for the first hour. I ended up in level 4. Which is.. intermediate. The highest is 6, but it’s all using the same textbook, so I don’t really think you can distinguish… There were three others students in my class, but for two of them, this was their last week.

Each class features a different teacher, and apparently the teachers rotate every day, not to mention every week. I have no idea how they do it. But it’s kind of confusing. I had only 4 hours of classes each day.

Which means a lot of free time. The classes are kind of slow too… definitely not the fast pace of the proficiency test I’m looking for…. Yikes… might have to ask about it next week.

After class, which as about 1.30, I tagged along with a classmate and his friend to each lunch. We went to an Indian place, which was pretty good. The butter chicken didn’t really taste like butter chicken though… hahaha… The classmate is from US and the other from Germany. They’ve been here a while so they know how to get around. They showed me how to get my phone card for the cellphone I rented from the school. We then went to the park to drink our smoothies. It was a nice day. Then they went back to the school and I went to the station to get my commuter pass. Going home so early (as opposed to 6.30pm for work) was really shocking…

Rainy Day

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

I woke up early expecting to catch the breakfast being served in the dormitory from 7-8.30am. But, as I failed to catch on, meals are not served on Sundays. It was raining hard outside but I did not want to go back and sleep, so I went out to Macdonalds a five-minute walk away. Several people were also sitting inside staring at the rain.

By the time I had breakfast and idled, it was 9.30. I decided to wander around Ijiri, which is a ward outside of main Fukuoka. It’s a quiet place, not too busy outside rush hour. Everything was closed because of the time, but I kept wandering until the shops began to open.

I went to Daiso and the bakery. Then came back to the room. I got bored after noon had passed, so I decided to go out and get a haircut (I had been badly needing one for a while). The first one I went to did not have space until 2 hours later, so I kept walking around. Eventually I found one on the second floor of a building. The place had a very earthy feel. I don’t think young people would go to this place. But they had an empty slot and started working on me. The hairstylist was a young guy and he was very nice. My Japanese was sooo bad but he kept the conversation going. He cut my hair reallly short but he understood what I wanted- something to suit the Fukuoka humidity while keeping the asymmetry in the front. Also, a hair color that was light but natural. Well, the service wasn’t as good as the one in Harajuku, but the people were very pleasant and results quite nice!

I don’t remember what I did after that. But I ate the 2 buns I bought from the bakery for lunch and dinner.