The summer weather seems to have finally broken–humidity has gone down a lot and the heat has lessened. The past few nights have had an edge of chilliness. My Japanese teacher said that autumn might be arriving (maybe). I will happily welcome the change in the weather–no more clothes sticking as soon as you step outside, a chance to wear jeans and layer shirts (no one enjoyed dressing up for matriculation), and hopefully the vending machines with their chilled, tasty beverages will no longer seem so appealing. (To see other people’s opinion on weather, I recommend watching this. And yes, the vending machines are an evil, evil, well-crafted plan of Japan.)
I am officially in Japanese 300. We took a test on Monday, and I did abysmally (7 out of 37 pts on the first section alone). I spent a day in a state of semi-panic, trying to figure out how to replace 4 classes and 10 credits. As it happened, the teacher recommended I stay in the class. As she told us all the next morning, we shouldn’t worry because even if we thought the test didn’t go well, we were all on the same level. (I can’t translate what she said properly, but I know enough about Japanese manner to understand that she meant, the test went pretty terribly, but 201 is full, and you all need more work.) So my schedule for the semester has become Japanese 300, Kanji class, J. Reading Comprehension, East Asia Geography, and South and North Korean Socities (with some catch-up review on the side). My two non-Japanese classes seem pretty standard, but Korean Socities is on hold. The teacher has been asked to travel to North Korea (for the first time in five years, after being jailed last time), so classes will, if all goes well, resume on September 14. The assigned reading is from the Complete Idiots’ Guide to North Korea, which the professor wrote himself. We’ve been asked to photocopy it as is A) out of print, and B) Japan monitors the available information about Korea.
Cafeteria food is wearing thin. Breakfast doesn’t bear talking about by western standards. /sigh. Lunch is usually the best, but it’s not a guarentee. There’s usually a fish meal and some kind of noodle bowl and two other dishes to choose from. I’ve had some very tasty lunches (the salmon is all ways delicious). Dinner….is a shakier bet. It’s often curry or some combination of sprouts and rice. There is, not surprisingly, usually a fish plate available. Fortunately, when choices are limited, there is always unending rice and miso. Unfortunately, every non-Asia student reaches a point where they just can’t eat any more rice. Period. Luckily, I’ve discovered that I really like miso soup. I think it will be one of the things I miss when I leave. It’s always warm and satisfying, in a chicken soup sort of way. So when I’m unsure about the entree I make sure to grab a bowl of soup.
In other good news, my friends Katt and Kimi have finally arrived in Tokyo! (hooray!) They made the trip safe and sound, and I’m already checking my calendar for when I can visit them.
Japanese word of the day: shokudou / しょくどう (show-ku-doe) cafeteria