Orientation Week

Posted in Japan, Life at 11:48 am by Acorns

The remaining part of the orientation week week was busy but not as completely filled as the first day. Having not been able to buy an umbrella on the first day (I went at 5:00 after all the meetings had ended and found the shop to be closed) I almost had to walk to the school in the rain again. Fortunately my Seminar House keeps a set of umbrellas (‘kasa’) on hand for such cases and I was able to borrow one; the first thing I did when I got to campus was to buy my own! Despite the umbrella I was still soaked; the rain always manages to fall at just the right angle to avoid the umbrella. Oh well.

Having done most of the required things on the first day the biggest event on the second was class registration. I took a long time deciding on which courses I wanted; in the end I decided partially based on schedule (I can’t take two classes at once, and didn’t want a class that lasted until 5:20). Since I don’t need any credits towards my major I focused on classes that looked personally interesting and would increase my understanding of the Japanese and their culture. The first and most obvious for me was “Popular Media and Culture in Japan” – a class about anime, manga and tv dramas! Unfortunately this class conflicted with two others that I wanted to take; oh well, I’d rather take it and find other classes. Next came “Inter cultural Communication: Social Experience”. I chose this because it sounded interesting, but also because I liked the professor’s introductory speech (given on the first day). Finally was “The Body and Communication in Japan” – this last class was the most interesting that fit my schedule but I still debate it; I love learning the meanings and different interpretations of body movements but have very little interesting in learning Japanese Sign Language (which the course focuses on more than I would like).

Registration itself involved lining up in the order of the numbers we had drawn the previous day. I was 98, a somewhat good number; all of the classes I wanted still had open spots when I arrived. They didn’t like the “proof of insurance” I had printed off before so I had to sign an agreement agreeing to give them a proper “proof of insurance” within the first week of classes. After signing this form it was simply a matter of handing them the sheet with the classes I wanted checked off; they entered them into the computer, handed me a student ID card and ushered me out. I wish class registration procedures at UNI were ever that simple for me!

The rest of the day was supposed to be spent in safety meetings, however we had a two hour break between registration and the first meeting. Never give students a 2 hour break; they tend to wander off. Alisha and I thought it would be a good idea to check out the ‘100 yen’ stores around the area and promptly left to find them. As you can probably guess, we didn’t make it to any of the safety meetings :/ I’m told we didn’t miss anything, though.

Alisha did make it back in time to take the banking session offered that day. I was planning on buying a bike and attending the bike registration session but as I hadn’t bought one by the time the meeting started I didn’t end up going. The rest of the day was spent grabbing dinner and then organizing my room. The first week I didn’t talk much with any of my housemates; I had tried to several times without much success. It wasn’t until later that I even learned all of their names.

I slept just as well as always; keeping the room at a nice 20c. Everything here is in Celsius; I usually love metric over English but in this case I think Fahrenheit is better. A system that went from 0 (either freezing or human-dies-if-they-stay-out-in-it/coldest it reasonably gets without going too far north/south) to 100 (around 120 Fahrenheit) would be perfect but Fahrenheit at least approximates that. Celsius is better mathematically but for room temperature it covers an arbitrary span without enough depth. Aka, I am constantly wishing I could increase/decrease the temp by .5c or perhaps less.

I was going to include the opening ceremony in this post, but I will do a short one on it instead later. It will have more pictures; there was a lot to take pictures of! Hopefully with the freetime I have tomorrow I can get at least one more post done.

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