Sunday, 17 March 2013

Japan: Week 1

1 - Arrival

Just to make sure all my readers are on the same page, I am not in England right now. I've come to Nagoya, Japan to complete a Teaching English as a Foreign Language qualification in four months at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies. I'll be posting every Sunday an update of my stay, and some extra Japan-related posts might slip themselves in mid-week as well.

I'm staying in University accommodation a 2 minute walk away from uni, a supermarket, a sushi bar, an 100-yen (75p) shop, and several restaurants. However the best thing about the International House is not its location. The people contained within its walls are going to be the reason I have an unforgettable time here. Within my first 10 minutes of entering the building, absolutely everybody had spoken to me, and I was very quickly invited out to the Combini (convenience store) for my first clutch of Japanese goodies.

Half the students have been here since September, they're on a year long course and will be leaving at the same time as me. The rest of us arrived at some point this week and will be completing either 4 months or a year. Us newbies are all subjected to the odd sensation of feeling like we’ve lived in I-House all our lives and known each other for years, while simultaneously in disbelief that a whole week has passed since we left our home countries.

I have finally got over my jet-lag, which actually took conscious effort and a degree of timetabling, making sure I ate and slept at the right times so that my body could adjust. As such, I no longer wander around feeling dizzy, or wake up in the middle of the night, alert and ready to start a day. This is comforting, as when lessons start (I believe, Monday week) I want to be as prepared as possible.

Japan is just as I remembered it. Terrifying drivers; bright packaging, as yet still a little incomprehensible; people who will carefully work around each other, living independently of strangers, but who become engaging and grateful of your stay in their country when they interact with you.

Do you know any other countries where the manhole covers look like this?

I've nearly collected everything I'll require to get by. Cooking utensils, frying pan, saucepan, cleaning products, 5 kilos of rice... My room is starting to look colourful and occupied; a space I would like to live in for a few months.

I'm genuinely excited for everything to get going. This week we had orientation sessions and tours of the university and local area. I feel prepared to go to lessons and start a qualification I have absolutely no experience in. I want to spend my free time investigating more of Nagoya and reading in a Japanese library and attempting to cook authentic cuisine. Roll on next week, and all of the rest of it.


PS. If you want a pictorial blog to follow try here!

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