Keio Life: 1st Week

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write a post, since I’ve been super busy deciding classes and studying for a second Japanese language placement test.

This post will, hopefully, be much more condensed, since I can’t recall every single detail of every day of this past week.

Keio is interesting in how they have exchange students treat the first week as an audit week. You can sit in whatever classes you like, provided that they are in the JLP or KIP handbooks. It’s basically shopping for classes. For JLP (and I think, KIP, in terms of Japanese courses), classes are restricted by which level you are in. There are elementary, intermediate, and advanced level Japanese courses for topics such as orthography, presentations, aural comprehension, grammar, and conversation. JLP students can still take KIP courses through the international center – which I highly recommend, since you can actually find Japanese students in those classes (especially the business and economics related courses).

Classes are divided into periods, each of which are 90 minutes long (yes, super long classes). JLP students’ Japanese classes are two periods long and start at 9:00 a.m. Three hours of Japanese. Yay.

Periods: 9 – 10:30, 10:45 – 12:15, 1 – 2:30, 2:45 – 4:15, 4:30 – 6, 6:10 – 7:40.

There’s a lunch break between 2nd and 3rd period. And between 1st and 2nd period of Japanese, you get a 15 minute break.

Also, in the first week, all the specified classes for Japanese are 35 minutes long instead of the typical 90 minutes.

Monday (Sept 22)

Some of the terms for Cinema class

Some of the terms for Cinema class

I had one class. Japanese Cinema 2 at 4:30 p.m. It wasn’t a terrible class and the workload didn’t seem too tough, but when the teacher started spitting out specific terms, I decided I didn’t want to take it. Also, the class wasn’t showing Millennium Actress  (one of my favorite movies) like the course packet said it would. Also, if I don’t take the class, I have no classes Monday.

After class, there was a Hajimemashite-kai (a gathering to meet new people) set up by KOSMIC. It was ¥100 for entry. There were yummy snacks (these coconut cracker-cookie things were so good and I don’t even like coconut) and drinks at every table. However, most of the people there were international students. I at least made a friend from California and met….some Japanese people, but didn’t really hit it off.

Some of the people after Hajimemashite-kai

Some of the people after Hajimemashite-kai

Ikura Sushi!!!

Ikura Sushi!!!

Went to kaitenzushi (conveyor-belt sushi) afterwards with a bunch of friends (some new) – nearly all Chinese or Taiwanese. The kaitenzushi was amazing. ¥100 for 2 pieces. And so much variety. I tried many different kinds that I can’t remember the names of. I’m sure it wasn’t the real, quality, product, but I tried ootoro! They also offer hamburgers, roast beef, and ham on sushi at Hamazushi.

Tuesday (Sept 23)

Yummy whipped cream, mikan, and pineapple sandwich!

Yummy whipped cream, mikan, and pineapple sandwich!

No classes! National Holiday. Went to Yokohama to check out Citibank, which was, unfortunately, closed. Also hung out with my Cali friend from the Hajimemashite-kai. Got to try dessert sandwiches for the first time! Whipped cream surprisingly goes so well with bread. Also went back to Yokohama Bay and saw a bunch of dancers around the convention center. There was some performance going on, but it was ¥3000 for entry.

Wednesday (Sept 24)

Three classes in a row from 2:45 – 6:00 p.m. Intermediate Modern Text I, which I don’t think I’ll take, since I was informed it won’t count for anything back home. There weren’t a lot of people for that class anyways. Since the class was only 35 minutes, went to lunch with Kyuu, and met up with Kungqi and Kino. Got the Keio Power Don for the first time and I’d say it’s the best thing on the cafeteria menu.

Then Japanese Sound Culture in a Global Context. I heard the class isn’t tough, but the teacher was extremely boring. I cannot stay awake in that class. Will not take. At least I made a friend in the class. But….listening to nature’s sounds on video…not my thing.

The (not so) elusive Keio Power Don!

The (not so) elusive Keio Power Don!

Next was Japanese Organization and Human Resource Management. So I took a HRM class back at my home university and I really liked it and was excited for this class. There were even a lot of Japanese students in the classroom!…but the teacher never showed up. Keio gives international course teachers a 30 minute leeway, but this teacher didn’t even make it in that time. And we were all waiting so patiently. Turns out the class got cancelled. You’d think they’d tell us before we waste our time sitting in.

Afterwards, headed to Hiyoshi campus to check out Revolve, one of the three dance clubs on campus (and the cheapest). It was a lot different than the style of hip-hop I’m used to at home. Plus, I didn’t feel very welcomed…

Thursday (Sept 25)

Packed trains in the mornings

Packed trains in the mornings

All six periods filled today. You can tell how that can be very, very tiring. I had my first day of Japanese class, and the whole time, Juu and I were thinking how ridiculously easy the class was. Juu was very vocal about it, actually…

But yeah, it was way too easy. And 3 hours of relearning たり form….could not handle. Was very glad when it was over.

Then was Elementary Conversation II. Now I am a terrible conversationalist, especially in Japanese, since my vocabulary is tiny, and I never practice, but this class was still way too easy. We just learned how to say where we our from and how to say this, that, and that thing over there in Japanese. It was really bad. I won’t be taking this class, even though I thought it would be challenging. It really wasn’t. Honestly, level I

Yumminess called a Custard Danish

Yumminess called a Custard Danish

could probably take it and do fine…though instruction is in Japanese, so maybe not. Again, this was a 35 minute class, so I went to buy a custard danish at Family Mart afterwards. Also bought my ticket to the Sh*t Kingz performance in November! Super excited. I’m a fan 🙂 It was pricey at ¥4000, though. Plus the Family Mart charge of ¥560.

Next was a Case Analysis on Management and Strategy of Japanese Corporations class. I wasn’t actually planning on going to this class, but Juu wanted to check it out. I was lucky, though – I thought the class was interesting and the teacher was hilarious. It was really enjoyable. There were also a lot of Japanese students in this class. Funnily enough, Japanese students seem to always sit in the very back of the classroom and stick together, while the internationals sit in the front.

Even after being charmed by the class, I wasn’t sure I wanted to take it (because of the ¥7000 price tag on the cases), but the teacher wanted to lower the number of students and used a lottery system to pick students. So I decided to leave it up to chance. All the Japanese students were allowed to take the class, but the international students were given numbers, and, when called on, had to say where they were from. Mitsuhashi (the teacher) then divided us into two

The big maru meaning I got the class

The big maru meaning I got the class

groups of thirteen and then had us go by groups to pick a lot out of a plastic bag. Those who got an “O” on their piece of paper were allowed to take the class, while those with “X” had to leave. I was lucky and got the “O” – so I guess fate chose me for this class lol. Juu also got in! Now let’s just hope it actually counts for credits back home.

The next class was Japan-America Shared Histories. I have absolutely no interest in American history at all. However, I need to fulfill a US general elective credit back at home, so I decided to check out this class because it was the only class that related to America in any way. But the class was….kind of boring. The teacher kind of rambles on and goes on tangents, which completely confused me and caused me to zone out a lot. But he expects us to write a paragraph for every session on what we talk about in class. It’s difficult when you can’t even follow what he’s saying. So, I kind of hope it doesn’t count for credits, since I really don’t want that class. Guess I’ll just have to find something back at home.

Last, I had the Arts/Arts Workshop class. So many people walked into that class: Juu, Ching, Denise (Cali girl), etc. It was really chill. The teacher was super nice, but didn’t seem very authoritative. But the class seems super easy. It’s just not-difficult art projects, one after the other, and a couple of field trips on weekends. Honestly, what attracted me to the class was that it said food photography, but I don’t think they really do a lot of that…The only thing bad about the class is that I don’t really do art anymore (it’s hard to draw the perfect piece that you envision) and that it seems like you might have to spend money on this class. It’s also super late at night.

After class, headed back to Hiyoshi with Ching and Juu (Juu wasn’t very happy that day after Japanese

Gyudon-nabe thing from Yoshinoya

Gyudon-nabe thing from Yoshinoya

class) and we ate at Yoshinoya. My first time! I didn’t get the gyuudon, but got this nabe-like dish with no broth.

Long day.

Friday (Sept 26)

Three classes in a row again. It gets super tiring, honestly. Since classes are 90 minutes long each…

I had Japanese Business and Society, Elementary Orthography II, and The Globalization of Japan. I thought the first class was fine. The professor seemed really nice, and the class, not too difficult. I didn’t think I would be interested in ethics, but I guess when the class is about opinions, it’s not hard to write a 10 page paper. I also met a girl who is an acquaintance of one of the exchange students who studied abroad at my university last year!

Elementary Orthography II wasn’t too easy for me. I am ethnically Taiwanese, but I never learned how to read or write Chinese, so my kanji skills are absolutely terrible. This class, thus, seems right for me – even though it is elementary level. There’s even a Japanese level 7 and level 5 in that class.

Last was the globalization class. There were plenty of Japanese students in that class. The professor, again, was really interesting. He was from Bath in the UK, did the Jet Programme, and was a professor for three different Japanese universities.

All the business class professors are good speakers.

But anyways, yes, he was interesting, but I am not good at talking with people, so when we were split into groups and had to define what globalization was, I only talked once. Also, I’m not a deep thinker, so my opinions always seem elementary. I don’t know if this class is for me – but I definitely don’t want three classes in a row.

When class ended, went with Tammy (another California girl) back to Hiyoshi, where we found A&W root beer at Aeon Liquor. Warning to study abroaders: if you like root beer, be prepared to do without, since it’s

Hey, look! Canada Dry and A&W, with the US flags on the labels

Hey, look! Canada Dry and A&W, with the US flags on the labels

not popular here. Tammy really wanted it, so she bought the cream soda and regular variations. They also had diet only Canada Dry. And a couple of chu-hi below the root beer shelf. But I’m not ready to start drinking yet.

Lastly, bought a 4-pack of mini anpan from 7/11.


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