Alas, as I am learning, not all of my days can be filled with as much fun and enjoyment (or length of fun) that the trip to Sakai had!
Today was the day of our placement tests, which ultimately would dictate our level of knowledge for the japanese language, both spoken, as well as written. While I had done a little studying before I had left, it was more speaking, though this particular test was in regards to written. It was a test over how much Hiragana and Katakana we knew. For me, it was likely to be the simplest test I’ve ever taken, as I quite literally wrote my name upon the paper and turned it back in to the teacher. Of course, I knew I was going to be placed in the lowest most learning courses for the language (which were actually optional, given that I am a C-course student).
Allow me a moment to explain. There are two types of exchange students that goes to Nagoya…. J-course and C-course. J-course are Japanese course students, those who actually come to Japan to learn more about the Japanese language. There are grammar and kanji classes, as well as reading, citation, and other such courses that deal soley with the language. C-course are Contemporary course students, which deal with more the culture side of the classes, such as business classes, culture and food, and other such classes. The J-course students -have- to take all the necessary Japanese language classes, while C-course students -have- to take all the necessary culture classes. So as a C-course student, the J-course classes of grammar and kanji are actually optional…. but whats the point of coming to Japan, if not to spend some time learning the language? So it was optional, though I still knew I’d likely be in the lowest of the language courses, along with my buddy Jason.
With the test taking only a short amount of time, eventually we were given instruction about how courses would go, as well as what was likely going to happen, as many of the people who obviously didn’t know Hiragana and Katakana were taken aside and let known that we would be in Grammar 1 if we decided to take the language courses. This would take a large portion of the morning, simply talking about the way the Grammar classes would go, the books we would need to get, and where classes would be done.
Eventually though, as this took only a bit of the morning, we actually headed back to I-House with a couple of the other grammar 1 students to do a little bit of studying after the test. We headed towards I-House, where they lived, and sat at one of the tables in the public area and each went over a bit of Hiragana more or less on our own, chatting a bit and getting to know more about the other people as we did so. We were motivated for studying for about the first hour, though after that, it got easier to procrastinate and spend a little more focus upon talking.
After a bit of time chatting, a group of I-House students started making plans for lunch. A rather large group was gotten together to go, so we decided to head to Hamazushi (the conveyor belt sushi place). It was a different experience being there with a larger group, especially when there were 12 people (we ended up needing 2 seperate booths for everyone), so our table had a full 6, and only 1 screen on which to order the food…. and since I sat on the very inside, by the conveyor belt and screen, means I got to be the waiter and put in peoples food orders, as well as pull it off the conveyor for them. Also found out that there is a limit to how much food can be ordered at once, meaning we had to wait for some food to be delivered before we could even order more. Luckily there was stuff we could simply grab off the line, which was good. We were all pretty hungry, as you can tell by the amount of plates we accumulated upon the table!
With tummies full of sushi and such, we finished up our meal and kind of headed our separate ways. Jason and I actually headed towards the store… we had decided that we had enough of those rather uncomfortable beds, so we went in search of a way to pad the beds and offer some form of comfort. What we ultimately decided to do was buy a futon set in one of the home decor stores. The futon set was ultimately a thin pad to lay on, a comfortable thick blanket to cover yourself with, as well as a a sheet. Buying this meant we could use the ‘blanket’ that they gave us as extra cushioning, along with the pad from the futon set. It made the bed far more comfortable, albeit not nearly as comfortable as my own bed at home. 😦
With a bit of comfort found in the bed now, I turned my attention to a few snack items I had purchased on the trip, to test them out. I am an avid Pepsi drinker (my tummy will prove such a claim) and Japan has this thing called Pepsi Strong Zero…. so naturally, I was interested, especially given I couldn’t find a Pepsi Strong version. My opinion? Not as good as normal pepsi… which really sucks, given that I got a rather large container of it to try out. I guess the zero should have told me it was a diet version. But where the drink let me down, the snacks more than made up for it. The first was some kind of cheesy puff that seemed DBZ inspired… think puffed cheetos, except even softer in texture. They were pretty good! And the other snack actually turns out to be one of my favorite snacks to munch on while in Japan! These are like actual crunchy cheetos, except instead of cheese, they are flavored in a kind of bbq manner. I love them, though Jason wasn’t altogether impressed with them. These snacks actually filled me up when I ate them towards dinner-time, so I actually went to bed without eating anything else.
End of Day 6!