Nar3: Japan

Ruddy changes
Posted on Wednesday, February 25th, 2004 at 6:24am by Brett.
(Wednesday, February 25th, 2004 at 8:24pm Japanese Standard Time)

Grawr. They've decided to change the Japanese language classes here. While it's good that they've finally realized that the classes go too quickly, cover too many topics (thus not giving any enough attention), and are filled with too broad a skill level, the changes they have made will be a major set back for the students caught in the transitions.

It would have been much nicer if either these changes would have been in place before I got here, or if they were going into effect after I leave. Because the changes to the system are so drastic, it will basically mean that I'm going to have to retake part of the class I'm currently in next trimester, which means I will not be taught any new topics. As an added bonus, they are cutting down the amount of credits given, so it will end up looking on my trascript as though I failed my Japanese class, then took a different, less credited version of the same class, and only covered half the topics.

This new system basically cuts the current classes into two or three different levels each, which is something that was desperately needed. But because they are cutting up the classes so much, and making the pace so much slower, they've ...(More)

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Posted on Tuesday, February 24th, 2004 at 3:24am by Brett.
(Tuesday, February 24th, 2004 at 5:24pm Japanese Standard Time)

Old!!! I'm so old!!!!

I was trying to go to sleep last night, and aftering counting sheep, counting backwards from 100, counting the powers of 2, and counting in multiples of 17, I still couldn't fall asleep. I started reciting every poem I could remember to myself. After a couple, I started:

"It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee,
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love, and be love by, me."

I got through the first verse and then realized that I learned that poem over 8 years ago. *8* years ago!!!!! I'm so old!!!!!

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Weaving and *sigh* band
Posted on Saturday, February 21st, 2004 at 7:10am by Brett.
(Saturday, February 21st, 2004 at 9:10pm Japanese Standard Time)

Today was the second class in a two-class intensive course I'm taking. The first class involved the pottery making disaster. In today's class, we made a coaster.

It was a lot easier than the pottery because it required about no skill. It was just using looms, basically. Easy stuff. I sucessfully made two 11cm coasters. Ohhhh....ahhhh.....

It was...fun, I guess. I broke my loom 3 times. On the third time, one of the ladies teaching us smacked me...

After that, we went to some museum about...uh...something. I'm not exactly sure, honestly. I have to write a two page report on it.

On the band front, don't be alarmed, I'm still out of it, but I had to go back to return a suit that I had borrowed for the concert.

It was weird. When I entered the building where we had practice, it was like the happiness was sucked out of me. I could feel myself getting depressed and all I could think was "I need to leave...Must go home...Can't stay!" It's like...the band as a collective is a huge Dementor...sucking the happiness right out of me...*shudder*

Anyway, I found The Guy and returned the suit I ...(More)

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Site updates
Posted on Tuesday, February 17th, 2004 at 5:37am by Brett.
(Tuesday, February 17th, 2004 at 7:37pm Japanese Standard Time)

Few site updates...

Editing comments work now.
Viewing comments in full mode now shows edit and delete for your own comments.

Have fun.

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Morning sucks.
Posted on Monday, February 16th, 2004 at 7:49pm by Brett.
(Tuesday, February 17th, 2004 at 9:49am Japanese Standard Time)

The mattress is at setting sun
A burden there to stay.
At sun's return, there, it seems
I'd rather spend my day.

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It's over!
Posted on Sunday, February 15th, 2004 at 6:50am by Brett.
(Sunday, February 15th, 2004 at 8:50pm Japanese Standard Time)

It's over! It's over! Halleluja it's over!!

No more band! I survived through the world's longest concert today and am finished!!!!!

This concert, which I like to call "The Beast's Last Go At My Soul", started at 1:00pm. Because every single member of the band is a right mentalist, call was at 8:00am. For the same reason, this concert lasted until 10:00, with tear down scheduled to go until midnight.

Why so long? Because the these people take a decent thing like band, and try to stuff as much of it into a day as possible. It was an ensemble concert, and there were about 50 different ensembles performing. Brett, the ensemble (in hiragana) didn't perform until 2:00, and the Sailor Moon *kanji kanji* ensemble, the other ensemble I was tricked into joining, wasn't until 8:15. Luckily, for them, we were allowed to leave for lunch and dinner.

I had borrowed bits of clothes from different people until I had managed to assemble what was remarkably similar to a suit. You'd be amazed how hard it is to find "normal" sized clothes here. One guy was trying to get me to wear size 27 pants....wasn't working. Nothing I borrowed fit me quit right...the pants were too short, ...(More)

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Posted on Thursday, February 12th, 2004 at 9:21am by Brett.
(Thursday, February 12th, 2004 at 11:21pm Japanese Standard Time)

I did it! I told the band guy that I'm quitting after this Sunday's concert! I have but mere days until the band hell is over! Yay for having my evenings back! Yay for passing classes! Yay for sanity regained!!!!

It was odd, because going to tell this guy was a lot like going to tell your parents or teacher that you've done something wrong. Having just written a paper on the topic, I realize now that while I was talking with the guy, I not only code switched to Japanese, but also used the desu/-masu form of Japanese...both of which created distance...interesting thing, linguistics...

Anyway, I tell him that I'm going to quit after Sunday, and he gives me a very smug "Sou ka.." No matter, it's a good day.

Yesterday, I helped one of my friends move to a new dorm. While I was on the trip to Hokkaido, she had an unexpected visitor. Around 4am, she heard a noise and woke up. She looked up and saw a Japanese guy standing with his head inside her door talking to her in Japanese. Unfortunately, her door lock had broken just that day, but luckily she had chained it, so he couldn't get all the way in. She was, obviously, a little freaked out, and called one of our ...(More)

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Yuki Matsuri
Posted on Tuesday, February 10th, 2004 at 5:47am by Brett.
(Tuesday, February 10th, 2004 at 7:47pm Japanese Standard Time)

Well, I just got back from a nice 5 day vacation to Hokkaido in northern Japan. Liz, Katie, and I went to the Yuki Matsuri in Sapporo. It was loads of fun. Check out the pictures of it. Notice the new gallery, too. Oooh...ahhh...

To get there, we had to take a Ferry from Oarai, near Tokyo...kinda...to somewhere in Hokkaido. The ferry ride was 20 hours, but it was a blast. We got bumped to first class because they were out of the super cheap tickets, so our room as pretty nice. Liz and I spent a lot of the trip on the way there playing Bomber Man in the game room, while Katie impressed the old Japanese men with her skills at the quasi gambling machines.

Speaking of the game room, it was a bit odd. There was your normal arcade games like Bomber Man, Space Invaders...stuff like that, then right next to them you had your Strip Poker, Girl-on-girl action game, and other assorted porn-based video entertainment. To play the Jurassic Park shooting game, Liz and I had to walk around the dirty old man playing the Nude Girl Goh game. It was odd...

Anyway, we got to Sapporo, and met up with two friends ...(More)

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Posted on Wednesday, February 4th, 2004 at 8:25pm by Brett.
(Thursday, February 5th, 2004 at 10:25am Japanese Standard Time)

Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday dear me!
Happy birthday to me!

(That's the Japanese version. They throw in a couple extra "Happy birthdays" for some reason...)

Anyway, I'm 22 today, or tomorrow for you westerners.

Tonight, around midnight, Katie, Liz, and I will be boarding a ferry to go to Sapporo, in Hokkaido, which is in northern Japan. We're going to the snow festival there. It should be loads of fun. I'll have lots of pictures when I get back next Tuesday!

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Jack of all trades
Posted on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004 at 6:33am by Brett.
(Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004 at 8:33pm Japanese Standard Time)

This past weekend, I had the chance to take a class where we went to a traditional Japanese ceramic making place. We got to make our own pottery. All in all, it was pretty fun.

I was amazingly horrible. People were making like, 5 bowls and cups and plates and vases. On my first 4 tries, the people that were teaching us would come over, tell me to try again, and then get rid of the ruined clay. Even though I was sucking, it was a lot of fun.

I managed to make a very ambiguous bowl, a cup that looks suspiciously like another bowl, and a plate with an identify crisis. They told us after a month, they would return the finished products to us. It should be interesting...

During my 6th or 7th attempt to make something, I said to myself in a sort of hushed whisper "I am REALLY bad at this...I can't do it all..." My friend sitting next to me said, jokingly, "Hah, you sound like this is the first time that's happened." And I turned around to him and said "It is!"

I wasn't being conceited, but it's true. I'm what you call a jack of all trades. Most people don't realize that there is more to it than that. The original phrase goes something like "A Jack of all ...(More)

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