Nar3: Japan

Tsukuba City Festival and Placement Tests
Posted on Monday, September 8th, 2003 at 5:04am by Brett.
(Monday, September 8th, 2003 at 6:04pm Japanese Standard Time)

A couple days ago, the exchange students and their tutors from the college of international studies (that's me) went to the Tsukuba city festival. It was really fun. I forgot my camera, so no pictures...grr

After the festival, the tutors had a BBQ for us. It was really fun. I learned a new word! "Yopparai" It applied to a few of the people there....

Today was the placement test for the Japanese language courses. You have to pass the test in order to be able to take any language classes that give you credit, so it's a bit important. Imagine, if you will, the hardest cumulative final you have ever taken. Multiply that by 2. Now imagine that beast-of-a-test in a language you only just know. Now imagine that it is dictated to you from an audio tape. That's about what this placement test was. It was some of the fastest Japanese I've ever heard. Within 15 minutes, my brain was begging for mercy. It was a two hour test.

Luckily (???), after the first hour, they had half of the students take what they called the "yasashi test". Basically, it was for the students who didn't know as much Japanese...like me! It wasn't as bad as the first half, but it wasn't overly easy. I did pretty poorly on the kanji, but I think I did really well on the grammar.

My room is starting to shape up a bit more. Looks less like a prison cell and more like a room. I got a fridge and a microwave, now all that's left is some carpet or rugs and a dresser or something like that.

I got my fridge yesterday. Sei borrowed a car from one of his friends and took me to a Recycle shop. It was still crowded because of the festival, so what should have been a quick little jaunt was like an hour ride.

Let me tell you something about the drivers in Japan. First off, they drive on the left side of the road. Inherently, there is nothing wrong with this. The only problem is that they do so poorly. All of them. Sei's driving was very...hrm...it was very accurate. I mean, I'm positive he's driven a car at least two or three times before. One of those times was probably a standard, like this one was...but he lacked...skills. It was like he had read the driver's manual completely from front to back without ever actually getting in the car. It was technically very accurate. It was just a little scary.

Another oddity is that while they DRIVE on the left side of the road, the PARK on the right. Oh! And in Japan, not backing into a parking place is apparently punishable by death. No matter how easy it might be to pull into the parking place, you must back into it. If this requires a 20-point turn, so be it. Back in...always...back...

Anyway, I haven't gotten net access in my room yet...maybe another month until that. So I'm burning yen in the Cube still. It'll be nice once I can get online from my place...