4. Such a different culture (25/8/2019)

So here from out, I will try to briefly let you know about my weeks here abroad from Monday to Sunday. Edit: In case of really bad weather or other similar factors I may not write about some days (more about this in the next post).

たのしんでください! (Tanoshinde kudasai = Please enjoy)

Monday

The first day of the orientation week started with us exchange students getting notified of different rules and aspects regarding our upcoming fall semester (and spring for full-year students). We had ourselves registered to the school’s network, walked around the campus, went and paid the school insurance too. After the very long school day, we had an info meeting about the rules of our dormy (which encluded NO BOYFRIEND rule haha).

Later us dormy students recided to go shopping at the local mall. We had our first dinner at the dormitory canteen late in the evening (which is included in the rent, as well as breakfast), which was very interesting. I decided to go and buy a Japanese router for my apartment (as it doesn’t come with one) and was an interesting experience I must say the least. It didn’t take too much time though, but having it done completely in Japanese was a hassle. Before finishing up the day I organized my stuff at the apartment. Oh wow I’m tired!

Walking around the campus

Tuesday

We had a Japanese Placement Test in the morning to see which level we’re going to end up in. I did study some Japanese before coming here, but the levels are more challenging at this school, so I think I might take the Beginning one. After the school day I needed to get some more stuff for my apartment. The Dormy Fukuoka apartments are furnished, but they don’t include cleaning supplies, kitchen hardware (plates, glasses, spoons etc.) nor cooking hardware. Personally, I don’t think I’m going to be cooking much because of the dormy’s breakfast and dinner, and I can eat cheap lunch at school. Before finishing up the day us dormy girls went to downtown Tenjin to do some shopping (mostly just for SIM cards and important stuff for apartments, but we had a really fun time exploring the center). Feeling pretty good so far, minus the ongoing jetlag!

Found some Moomin merch at Tenjin

Wednesday

I’m still not somehow used to sleeping normally here, maybe the jetlag won’t leave me alone yet. I really hope it goes away soon!

The school’s opening ceremony started in the early morning, where the staff and guests introduced themselves, and us exchange students did the same. We had a chance to get know other Japanese students better which was awesome, I met a girl who had been in JAMK the previous year but never met while in Finland! So annoyingg… The school offered us sushi and other great snacks at the party and the tutors organized us an after party, which was a great place to get to know other exchange students. I met so many people there, I hope I can remember all their names. Might be impossible.

I might be a little exhausted from meeting so many people and trying to speak Japanese rather than English, which is really hard for me still. I don’t have a culture shock, but switching between three languages in short amount of time is INSANE. I really hope I can sleep better next night!

Dormy Fukuoka students

Thursday

The last thing of the orientation week was to go and fully register ourselves as residents in the local ward office. That took some time and the staff were very confused seeing so many foreigners coming in at once haha! When getting our residence cards back, we went and ate at a Japanese chain burger place. I tried teriyaki chicken burger which was so good.

Me and my tutor Chika went to get me a proper SIM card for the rest of the fall, which was a great hassle. Apparently most Japanese mobile companies offer you a contract for the minimum of 1 year or more, so we had to find an affordable plan for a short stay. This was all in Japanese mind you so I’m glad Chika offered her help. At dinner we had kareeraisu (curry rice) which was delicious, probably one of my favorite foods here yet.

Friday

The first school day! Well it was barely a day, about 1,5 hours of Beginning Japanese. I might have to ask to move to an upper level as it’s literally the basic stuff that I already know. I’ll have to see. But the classes otherwise seem pretty good so far!

After the usual stuff during the afternoon, some of us Dormy Fukuoka students joined the International House students to the afterparty at a restaurant really close to our apartments. The event there was basically an all-you-can-drink, “sitsit” type a thing, but without all the rules that come with those. I had a blast talking with my new friends and getting to know each other more in a more casual setting. Some Japanese businessmen also joined us in the party, which was a plus of course!

Saturday

In the morning we headed off to a town not so close to us to experience “somen nagashi”, a traditional Japanese event. Simply put you try to pick up really thin noodles with chopsticks from a water stream that is flowing through half of a bamboo stick. And then you eat it. Having not used a fork or a spoon since I’ve arrived to Japan it was pretty easy, chopsticks are not hard to use at all anymore! This was a free event for us exchange students, which was nice.

After the event was over, we wanted to see a local shrine. Some local guided us through with the steps of entering a shrine and how to make a wish. I really loved the area and the structures there.

In the evening I decided to take it easy and relax a bit, doing something big every day for 12 hours is pretty exhausting, at least for me. It seems like the other students think the same thing, we’re so very excited to be in a new, cool country with new places to explore and awesome things to do, but you will hit a wall at some point.

Somen Nagashi
Shrine practices

Sunday

Me, Chika (my tutor), her cousin Keisuke and another exchange student Ying went off early in the morning to visit Canal City in Hakata, which is a very big mall. We had planned for some time now to go to a Moomin Café located there. It was pretty funny being there, with Moomin characters on chairs and Finnish items on shelves. The food and coffee there was great tho! A little pricey, but delicious. I got to experience a Japanese photo booth, which is a huge thing here. A weird thing too with all the filters and such. We had a great time shopping for stuff and seeing a water fountain show. Canal City is such a pretty mall. After 7 hours of being there we decided to get some dinner as a last thing before leaving. I’m not completely sure what I had but it had deep fried pork, eggs, onions and other things in it. And of course rice and miso soup too.

I think my Japanese speaking has improved a lot just in a single day. Keisuke didn’t speak English almost at all so me and Ying tried our best to talk with him as much as possible. My understanding for the language is way better, but making up sentences is pretty hard still. But oh well, I have a lot of time to improve that here!

 

Oh, and by the way, I will add more pictures to the Photos section of this website (and some videos to the Videos one) so make sure to check them out if interested. I’m adding only some to this post. Mata raishuu! (See you next week)