Keio Life: First Week Part 2

Because Saturday school unfortunately still exists here.

Saturday (Sept 27)

Surprisingly, a good day.

I had class in the morning at 9, so I had to wake up at 7 to prepare and leave for the train. I’m not a superstitious person, but when I really want something, I can be. So I put on a new dress/tunic I got from Ikebukuro for luck since the other shirt I bought from the same place brought me to TGS.

Since I had another placement test (to get into a higher level), I studied on the train – even though I was super embarrassed. 

And at Mita, I just went straight to the South School Building for Japanese class. Ate the anpan I bought the day before and immediately regretted buying anpan. I don’t know why I thought I’d like it. I really don’t like red bean paste that much. I also looked through my bag and found out I DIDN’T BRING MY PENCIL CASE. Yes, I was freaking out. It was the day of the big test and I didn’t bring my pencils?!

Luckily, I got to borrow one from Juu, but still. It felt awkward without my Staedtler eraser.

*Advice point: bring like a cute BIG tote bag or one of those Asian style backpacks to study abroad if you want to keep up with fashion. I brought my Jansport and I don’t take it out because it’s….uh. Big and unfashionable.

Ah – something I forgot to mention – the JLP Japanese teachers rotate out. You have a different teacher for each class of the week (say, for example, you have three Japanese classes per week. You will have three different teachers for each class of that week, but you’ll still have the same teachers each week).

We had Sanai on Saturday, and she was really funny and it was an interesting class, even though the material was still too easy. We went over ことですand potential form. I still make so many mistakes.

Took a bite outta that

Took a bite outta that

The class was super long (and I studied throughout) and Juu and I both went to the student store after to buy snacks and lead. These chocolate, custard filled eclairs were on sale, so we each bought one and went to the test room to study more before the test at 1:00. The eclairs were so good. The desserts in Japan….ohhhh my gosh.

Anyways, the test itself was okay. It was easier than the first general JLP test. It consisted of a writing, hearing, and kanji section. The writing portion was an hour long and the other two were each fifteen minutes. The writing section has causative, passive, grammar points, particles, transitive, and intransitive on it. The hearing section wasn’t too difficult – you listen to a passage twice and answer questions (though answers A, B, and C are spoken and not actually written on the paper, so it really is all listening). There are also two sentences where you have to write down word-by-word what they say on the CD. Lastly, the kanji section….now this was the most difficult part for me. I hadn’t learned A LOT of the kanji that was on the test. We learned kanji in a different order than in Japan, it seems. Like in the elementary levels, they don’t learn the kanji for the よう in the days of the week, yet it was one of the first kanji I learned.

In any case, I totally thought I failed the test miserably after I took the kanji portion. But Juu and I were so

The Saizeriya is hidden underground

The Saizeriya is hidden underground

done after that test, we just went to eat out at Saizeriya afterwards (yes, there’s a Saizeriya near campus!

My doria

My doria

So affordable eating can be done!). It’s hard to find the Saizeriya since it’s underground and you have to spot the sign. I finally got to try the Doria I spotted at the Chiba branch. I got the one with an egg on it (¥368). Doria, contrary to what I expected, was actually a baked rice dish. I thought it looked like mashed

Juu's Mushroom Pasta

Juu’s Mushroom Pasta

potatoes in the picture. It was pretty good, but not the best thing I’ve ever eaten. I think Saizeriya’s pastas are probably the best thing on their menu. Juu got the special mushroom pasta on the front of the menu, which tasted really yummy (¥499). Then I wanted dessert, so we made a stop at 7/11. The milk flavored Gari Gari kun (¥121 for flavors other than regular) was calling me, but I ignored it and went for the cheaper Fuwa Fuwa Whipped Cream Cake thing (¥108).

Fuwa Fuwa Souffle

Fuwa Fuwa Souffle

We went to the South Building, where out tests results would be at 4:00, and I ate my Fuwa Fuwa cake. I don’t recommend buying it. But whipped cream is always good.

At 4, we headed up to the 6th floor of the building and had to wait a long time for our results, since the professor talked to everyone individually. I was one of the last ones to be called, and had to watch Juu get into level 4C (just barely). The first thing the professor asked me was how I thought of the test – the kanji part was hard. And then she revealed to me that I was to skip two levels! I was super surprised. I didn’t do well on kanji, as expected, but apparently, my grammar and listening sections were really good. I was very happy, and definitely wanted to move up. Turns out, two other girls also got moved into level 5CM. Three people (including Juu) also moved up to level 4C. Of course, since we were moving up levels, we had to stay behind longer to talk about the classes. 5CM…was difficult to understand. I felt like the professor was speaking in difficult sentences and I was so overwhelmed. Since a week has already passed, too, we have to do all of last week’s homework AND take the test everyone in level 5 is taking Tuesday. We just got into a higher level and already have so much work piled up because we couldn’t enter earlier. Luckily, I have the two others who moved up with me to experience everything with me (and we can help each other out!).

Juu and I decided to celebrate afterwards, so we went to kaitenzushi at Hamazushi (again). Kyuu joined us and the wait was super long, since it was a Saturday. But I got to try a bunch of stuff this time, since I sat next to the ordering screen. Got to try, for example, shirasu, which is a tiny fish that is a clear-white color and eaten whole, and sea urchin. I didn’t really like either. But especially the shirasu.

Shirasu. Just look at dem tiny eyes staring right back at you.

Shirasu. Just look at dem tiny eyes staring right back at you.

It tastes not even like fishy. It just tastes rotten. I recommend the カキフライ (fried oyster), though! I also ate salmon and octopus. Twelve pieces of sushi can surprisingly be filling. Also tried the ponzu sauce.

Fried oyster

Fried oyster

Then I went back to Hiyoshi and ate ice cream. And drank milk tea. Yes, I spoiled myself. I was celebrating getting into a higher level, okay? Even though I should’ve started homework…but oh, well, you know?

I’m totally going to gain weight in Japan. Don’t have time to do my usual pilates routine now…



PS: I guess I’m okay with revealing my level now. I was in level 3 (in which, you take a dictation test every morning – you do that in every class) and moved up to level 5. There are a total of 12 levels of Japanese at Keio, with 1~3 being elementary, and 4~7 being intermediate.


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