Published: September 17th 2008September 17th 2008
My Host family
Nana, Koji, Yuka, Host father (Shigeru), White Kid, Host mother (Kazuko)
Today was my first day at Waseda for orientation. It's about an hour away from my house. The students there seemed very friendly, but very American. Most of them are living in the dorm, which is very close to campus, but I'm glad I chose to live with the host family instead. I will definitely get to use more Japanese. It seems that the few students who chose to live with host families are the ones that are more serious about the language. I really hope I'm right about learning more with the family. That's the reason I'm halfway around the world. We had a campus tour today too. The campus seems very haphazardly laid out. I will get lost this week, no doubt. We got tons of orientation materials and forms, and our class choices. There are some good ones in there. I take 6 credits of Japanese language a week (4 days a week!) and 10 credits of whatever else. We have our Japanese placement tests tomorrow. I'm going for the mid-intermediate level (level 3). I need to do well on the Kanji. My head right now is spinning with fragments of Japanese language. It's going to take a few weeks to settle down in there.
Tokyo is the most bizarre city. It has all parts of American and European in it, good and bad. Everything here is automated that can reasonably be automated (taxi doors open for you). The amount of red tape and paper work is disgusting. We need to fill out forms to obtain other forms. Re-entry forms, health insurance forms, student registration forms, etc etc. However there are parts that are absolutely charming...pictures to come. Little specialty shops "omise" selling sushi, udon, open air fish markets, fruit stands are all down the main street of Setagaya. I'll take my camera tomorrow.
I need to shorten my name to "Eman" "uel" is a very hard sound for Japanese people to pronounce. Not being able to communicate the way you want is one of the most frustrating feelings. I can't wait until I can keep up with the family in conversation.