So, my first week at Rikkyo has come to an end. After spending the day eating and vegetating I think I am ready to explain what I did this week! First of all, I was finally able to get a commuter pass (定期券）for travelling from Shiki to Ikebukuro which has been saving me SO much money. Getting a pass for six months costs around 255,800￥ which is really good when it has been costing me around 600￥ a day to get to Rikkyo! Divide numbers by 100 to get the approximate Canadian dollar value. Along with my commuter pass I also got my student ID which means I now have WiFi on campus!! It’s been a hard two weeks not having any, but I no longer have to complain about it! I’ve also obviously started classes.
My class schedule is a little different than what I am used to doing at Saint Mary’s. In Canada, I have 5 courses per semester, each course is twice a week for 75 minutes. At Rikkyo, the course blocks are 90 minutes and each class is only once a week. I am registered in ten classes, a seminar in Japanese to help us with speaking Japanese, four university courses on Japanese history and culture, and then five Japanese classes. I was placed in J2 (the scale is J0 – J8) so I have a different type of Japanese class every day. On Monday’s it’s Reading and Writing, Tuesday is Grammar 1, Wednesday is Listening and Conversation, Thursday is another is Grammar 2, and Friday is Total Skills. Total Skills is supposed to be a class that kind of combines all of our skills that we have learned in our other classes and it is the only class that I dislike; I am not even sure why I don’t like it because the classroom is really cool and old styled! The rest of my classes I think I am going to like a lot! Even though in Japanese I either have homework or a quiz everyday. Not to mention all the vocabulary and kanji (picture to the right) that I have to memorize. It is a little stressful but I can’t wait to improve my skills! The more I go to my Japanese language classes the more confidence outside I get! I can’t wait to see how much I am able to improve in the next month.
Something really crazy about going to school for me is that I have had to get used to taking the train during the commuting hours in the morning and afternoon. A lot of people that work and go to school in Tokyo actually live outside the city so in the morning millions of people have to travel by train into the city centers every day. I have class every morning at 9:00 am so I have to be on the train at 8:02 to make sure that I get to school in time for class. The people are so close together that you cannot move at all and the last people on the train often go in backwards and barely fit inside the train! It’s often so full that you don’t need to hold onto anything when you are standing because other peoples bodies hold you in place! If you are scared of people touching you it’s definitely not the place to be. Luckily I am fine with it.
A girl from my university that will be studying at Iwate University in Morioka, Iwate also came to Japan this week. She is spending the week in Tokyo before she takes the shinkansen (bullet train) to Morioka. We were able to meet at Rikkyo and then go to the aquarium in Sunshine City with Sosuke!! It took a long time because Sosuke accidentally slept in until only 20 minutes before our meeting time and he lives over an hour from Ikebukuro! It worked out really well in the end though. It was really fun because I have never been to an aquarium before. I was able to see many things that I had never experienced before. We also ate supper and did purikura together! I think that Sosuke was being extra kind to us when we wanted to do purikura! They turned out really nicely and now I have something to decorate my room with. It’s a really nice memory for me.
Lastly, yesterday I joined a welcome party held by a club at Rikkyo called JOINUS. It’s a group on campus that holds activities for Japanese students and international students to interact with each other. I think around 100 people went at least and there was a lot of food that we could eat. It cost 1,500￥ to enter the party so I ate as much as I could! I’m a little shy at big social events like this so I am really proud that I was able to go and participate and have fun. Afterwards I was even able to go with some people that came to the party, Japanese and not, to go get ice cream! I ate so much at the party that I definitely didn’t need it but it was a really fun experience for me that I could socialize with others. I think that it is hard for me to do so I am glad that I am working on improving myself!! I want to go to more JOINUS events in the future and gain lots of new friends. This means that I am going to start going to the JOINUS lunch meetings too. I will be able to eat lunch and maybe make some new friends.
This week has been pretty hectic but I also think that it was been pretty rewarding too. I was able to catch up on cleaning my room, doing laundry, and organizing my school things. I was also able to interact with Japanese people when I went to the bookstore to use a gift card that I won and also when I was having trouble buying my concert ticket today at the convenience store. It makes me feel that by the end of this year I’ll actually be able to read the book that I bought!