Well, I said last week I’d write more about where I’m living so I’m sorry it’s taken so long. I also received complaints from certain pedantic people that there were no pictures of flowerbeds in my last post, so I’ve given up on the “A __ of __ and ___” titles for now since they would just have become even more contrived.
I’ve just had my first day of classes (posts about the orientation and lectures and stuff will come shortly) so I’ll also give you a quick photo tour of the university. This is also the start of the barrage of macro photography which is likely to come throughout the year.
First, the place I live. It’s a dormitory/apartment type place where exchange students from many different universities live. It’s called Azalea House, or azeria-hausu in Japanese. Yes, they have a word for “azalea” and one for “house” but they still prefer to Japanise the English words. I can only assume it sounds cooler to a Japanese person.
Having talked to some of the other people here, it sounds like I’m lucky to have a 40-minute commute to university. In fact, having talked to some of the people at university, it sounds like a 90-minute commute is quite normal here. That’s probably not surprising to some people but to me (given that I’ve never lived more than 15 minutes away from school or university) it sounds terrible!
As I’ve said, the university is about 40 minutes away, most of which is walking — the train only takes 10 minutes to get most of the way, but it’s a 15-minute walk at either end. I was a little worried about how much it would cost to commute (the trains aren’t really cost-effective for short distances), but I now have a special student card which lets me travel to and from university for free.
The university itself is an interesting place. Pictures will be easier than words so I’ll shut up (figuratively speaking) and let you read the captions.
That’s about all I have time for now, but more posts about my recent exploits are on the way. There are reasons why I haven’t posted anything for the past week!
- Traffic lights are horizontal here, but the pedestrian stop/go signs are vertical. It’s probably copied from somewhere, but to my perfectionist eye it makes no sense — could they not just pick an orientation and stick with it?
- My phone doesn’t work here so it’s strange not being constantly online. I even have to arrange to meet people at certain times in advance and assume they’ll make it on time rather than texting when I’m on the way!
- In Japanese, “thank you” is “arigatou gozaimasu.” As you might imagine, that’s too long for most people to bother saying. However, it’s rarely shortened to “arigatou” (as I was led to believe in Japanese class) since that’s too casual for most situations — apparently mushing it into “agtzmasu” is a more appropriate thing to do
And to close, a random Japanese word I learned today: shoten means “book shop”. The reason I’m mentioning this is that I used to use honya (which has the same meaning) but found out today that it makes me sound like a primary school student. According to my teacher I should be moving on to junior high school level Japanese, so from now on I shall use shoten.