Monday, November 27, 2006

Ah! The Pictures!

So, its come to my attention, that i havent really updated any of the pictures I've taken pretty much, well... all month. I think i'll do something about that when i go home tonight, so, lots of lots of pictures soon to come.

Well exams are over, the Japanese stuff was pretty easy, well they weren't easy but, how should i say... i already pretty much know the format of the test and how it works, so its not really all that hard to study for. Then again, the kanji midterm was alot easier than i thought it was gonna be. I figured it would be like most of the kanji quizzes/tests that we've had up till now where you have to write down the pronounciation from the kanji or vice versa. Now, reading kanji is waaay easier than remembering how to write them, especially since you have context around the kanji that usually gives you a hint at what it is. And to my surprise, the midterm kanji test was more knowing the reading or meaning for it, which made it waaay easier. And as a result, i did very well.

The Japanese history exam was, well... i managed. Prolly didnt study quite as well as i wanted to but, well these classes are taught in english, and theres actually quite a number of Japanese students in the class as well. they can speak english very well, some better than others as well, but conversing in english and writing a detailed essay in english is a different story. As a result, i'm sure they're graded easier. Well, the grading scale in Japan is just easier to start with anyways, sometimes i just dont understand grading scales, but i guess if its in my favor, then, meh.

Anyways, where have i gone lately... well i didnt really do a whole lot this weekend, in fact i kinda layed around all day saturday, which... was actually pretty nice to just relax and do nothing. Oh, Thursday, yes yes, had off of school thursday. Which... was Thanksgiving... right? lol, so yea, theres some differences in the holidays here, we did have off of school thursday, i forget what they called the holiday, but for all practical purposes, it was thanksgiving. And as we had the day off, i was finally able to meet up with Shu for the 1st time since getting here! it was actually really *really* nice to see a more familiar face. Like, i've got lots of close friends here, but i've only known them for 2 months, ya know.

Oh, quick note for those of you who may be thinking, "who is this... 'Shu'?" Yabui Shuichiro was my neighbor in the dorms for my 1st semester back at the U. Upon hearing he was from Tokyo when we were all introducing ourselves, i kinda... had to talk to him. Long story short, i was invited to stay with him when he went back to Tokyo that winter break. All i had to do was pay for the flight ticket, and most of my food and all of my lodging would be taken care of. Prolly the sweetest deal i've ever had in my life. I also stayed with Mia's (Kikuta Miyako) family in Fujisawa during that same trip. She studied abroad at my high school my senior year. I'll finally be able to head out and meet them for the 1st time this sunday, really lookin foward to that. I wish i coulda have met up with them earlier, but they're just so busy! lol

Well, taking the train out to where Shu lives was also a new adventure, as well super cool for the fact that, umm... i did it, and i did it on my own, booyah. So if you recall i mentioned generally how the railway systems work here in Tokyo. Primarily theres JR (Japan Rail) and the Metro (Subway). Well, theres also a number of private lines in various parts of Tokyo, one of the bigger being Keio. Shu lives west of Shinjuku, off a Keio line, so i had to use that to get there, which was a new experience. Well i've taken it before 2 years ago, but i dont really remember that as much anymore, especially since i've gotten so used to JR and the Metro. Anyways, heres how ya do it...

So i live in Heiwadai, from which you can only take the Metro, Yurakucho line to get further into Tokyo (since i live in the boonies), from which you can transfer and get most anywhere else. I guess one of the easier ways (from big station to big station) would be to take the Yurakucho to Ikebukuro, switch to JR and take one of the lines that goes to Shinjuku, and from there switch to Keio Toei Shinjuku line to Meidaimae, and switch one last time to the Inoshikara line for one more stop to Eifukucho. Piece 'a cake, eh? Actually its really not that hard, plus it makes the trip faster since its more interesting than just one boring long ride. Although transfering and waiting for the next train can take some time.

Well i have a commuter pass that i use every day to get here to Yotsuya, and i can go to any and all of the stations in between for free, including, Ichigaya, which happens to be one of the stops on the Keio Toei-Shinjuku line... or so i though. Well it is but like... You can only go as far as Shinjuku on that train, and then you have to pay another entrance fee to go any further. See like, when you ride the trains, it costs, oh about... 150 yen avg just to get on the train, and you can go i'd say, 4 stops or so for that much, and after that the next 3 or 4 are 20, 30 yen more expensive, and so on. So its really much more worth your money to take the train farther. So, in my attempt to save a lil money (and time), i switched at Ichigaya to the Toei-Shinjuku line, which did take me as far as Meidaimae, where i needed to go, but i still had to pay just as much as i normally would have had to, which is kinda a bummer, but meh. I prolly did save some time tho, so i guess thats cool.

Anyways, lots of fun meetin an old friend of mine again, haha. Also felt kinda odd to... talk in English... well it was normal for us to talk english since he's fluent, and we of course spoke in English back in the states, but i like... kinda wanted to prove how i'd advanced in my Japanese... or something, lol. Well i've sent him a number of emails in Japanese, and he complimented me on the fact that i'm using more common phrases and stuff, w/e. It was also really cool to go somewhere i've been to before too. Like, i dont exactly remember all of it as clear anymore, especially since my view of Japan now is completely filled with my experience of the past few months, but i did remember some of it, which was really cool. Of course this time its completely filled with a different outlook. Last time i took the trains quite often, but that was just my following my friend around, its not like i had any clue as to where we were going, lol.

But good news! Looks like i'll finally be getting a job, and a nice one at that it seems. Shu works for an english conversation/teaching school called Gaba, and he tells me i shouldnt really have much trouble working there as well, especially if i put him down as a reference. I've been looking for a part time job for awhile, but nothing has really turned up, but supposedly this should work out for sure. As well the hours are extremely flexible. I guess i can pretty much at liberty choose when i wanna work, which will be really nice. If i do the private tutoring, which is really nice and well payed, thats only like, an hour at a time, and unless you work really hard at getting the schedules lined up, well, tutoring isnt really done back to back in a block, its usually an hour here and an hour there right? So i may only be working 5 hours of tutoring, but it'll take up 10 hours of my time. But if you work at a company, you can work in block hours of time, which will work into my schedule very well, still giving me time to go out with friends, etc. AND, it seems the starting salary for working at Gaba is around 2100 yen an hour (approx 20 bux), which is pretty descent. You can make up to 3000 or more doing private tutoring, but espc without any experience, 2100 is really nice.

Good pay, good schedule, sounds good to me!

I've really gotta go get a work permit though, i keep forgetting about that. I'm here on a student visa, and they really rather you just study, since thats, well i guess what i'm here for, despite Japanese schools are way easier than America, but w/e. So if i wanna work, i've gotta go somewhere and get a work permit, meh. I don't think it takes that much time, so i should be alright. Then i can finally start working, making money, and not fealing guilty about spending money on all this stuff i've been doing. Well at least i'll be able to afford doing this stuff, its so expensive here in Tokyo, heh. I'm prolly gonna be broke after this is all said and done, but i'm 21, in college, and in Tokyo, when else am i gonna have a chance to do all this stuff.

Well, this has already gotten long enough, and it looks like i gotta get goin, later that Thursday i explored at park in Hikari ga Oka, which is next to Heiwadai, but if i talk about that now, this might turn even more into a novel, so i guess i'm out for now

More pictures to come later~


Anonymous Jamie said...

Hey Kris-

Hope you had a great Christmas in Japan! Hope things are going well for you over there and maybe I'll talk to you soon :)

12/27/2006 1:02 AM  

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