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Journals from Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan

2012-09-23 The Start of an Adventure

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The weather is always either hot and humid or rainy and humid!

 Hello again!

I’ve gotten a little more settled in to life in Japan since my last blog post, so I thought I’d share some more!

College life is fairly different from what I’m used to at Linfield.  For starters, my dorm is about an hour’s train ride away from the school, so if I forget anything, there’s really no chance of my going back to get it.  Also, the class schedule is very different.  Most classes only meet once per week.  I certainly hope that I don’t forget everything I learned in the previous class before having it again the next week!

Dorm life is a little strange for me as well.  The women’s dormitory has a curfew of 11 p.m., so I don’t get to enjoy the night life quite the same way as the guys in the men’s dormitory seem to be able to.  I find it a little bit difficult to live with girls only; I feel like I have to work harder to impress everyone.  I tend to prefer hanging out with guys just because I feel like I can be more laid back and casual, but luckily, I am making friends with some of the girls on my floor.  Some of us have even shared complaints about feeling the need to get dressed up for breakfast first thing in the morning.

The campus at Aoyama Gakuin University is gorgeous, but it’s a little bit difficult for me to find my way around.  It is a Christian school, so if I arrive on campus during the church service, the entryway smells like incense.

I’ve found that I get most nervous when purchasing things.  If a cashier asks me if I’d like a bag or if I have a point card, unless I’m anticipating such questions, I get thrown entirely off-guard.  I become flustered and suddenly forget how to speak Japanese entirely.  I once bought ice cream and was asked if I’d like dry ice, I suppose to keep the ice cream cold until I could get it home.  I think these real-life applications of Japanese are really helpful, though, so while they make me nervous, I am grateful for the opportunities life in Japan is giving me to improve my language skills.

So far, classes have just barely started, so I’m not sure how difficult they’ll be for me.  The exchange students aren’t actually allowed to register for classes until a week after they start, so for now, I can go to nearly any class I like and try it out before committing to it, which is nice.  Beyond my required language courses, I’m hoping to take some normal classes in Japanese.  They might be too difficult for me to succeed, but I think I’d like to at least give them a shot.  After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Alex Dickey

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