If you click this, Darlo can eat ^_^
Thursday 30th October @ 22:44
Well this might be my last entry for this month, but bare in mind it's already the 30th. Firstly I've put up some more pictures on the Blogspot account. Lately I've put up pictures from the hotel, Konan University, the "Meet The Family" shindig and also the first pics from my dorm in Kamishinjyou.
I also want to give a shout out to a friend of mine who's come over and is studying in Nagoya for a few months. Michael 'Kriffix' Kacar is a manga artist from the London, UK, who was a runner up in one of TokyoPop's Rising Stars of Manga Contests. Welcome to Japan dude, I hope you enjoy your time here!
Recently the weather here in Osaka and Kobe has dropped, and even though it's pretty much what Summer would feel like in the UK, it still feels pretty darn nippy. My aircon's now become my heater and I'm now wearing long sleeved tops all the time instead of noth ... um ... t-shirts. I also heard from Telford that they've had a nice bit of snow lately. Typical eh.
So last Saturday (after writing up the journal) I noticed a package had come for me. Unfortunately the office wasn't open so I couldn't pick it up. After completely forgetting about it and going to head out for the night, I remembered about it just as I was about to step through the door. After being handed what can only be described as a Christmas Turkey in a binbag, I dropped it in my room and headed out.
After another fun night out at Gush, Okamoto, where we discussed different areas of the UK, the pound to yen exchange rate (which has been killing me as I have some money to bring over from home), and differences between English and American (language), it was time to call it a day and two of us made our way back to Osaka. That night we needed to make a change at Awaji station; we normally get a train from Juso to Kamishinjyou, but not tonight.
At Awaji we decided to try an experiment. We'd been curious for quite some time which of the two stations (Awaji and Kamishinjyou) were nearer to home. We'd always used Kamishinjyou, but judging from the layout of the track and the little time between the two stations, we couldn't decide. So that night after getting off our train at Awaji, we decided to take a crack at walking it.
Having never done this walk before we decided to follow the track until a familliar point showed itself; a technique that aided areas of my walk from Okamoto to Sannomiya. Thankfully that wasn't too long, and we soon arrived back at the dorm. Problem was that we never actually timed how quick the walk was. To be honest, we've not timed it from Kamishinjyou either. We got home more confused than we were before, and even today we're still not sure which is faster. We plan one day to get a train back but one of us get off at Awaji and see who gets home first. We have roughly the same pace, so it shouldn't be a race between the two of us.
So my package was from home (UK), Momma-Darlo was kind enough to send me a huge selection of sweets (photo to come), an advent calendar (little early, I know), a castle ornament (don't ask), some books I asked for and a nice new coat. I've not yet worn the coat, but it looks warm and with the weather taking a turn you'll soon see me strutting the streets of Kamishinjyou sporting a lovely number.
Waking up Sunday's are always a feeling of 'eh'. Yeah I don't have to get up for University or breakfast, but living as I do every week I catch SDS (Sunday Dorm Syndrome). SDS basically takes control of your ability to speak on Sundays when, for whatever reason, you don't leave the house. Normally in a dorm (well this one anyway) you only really communicate with the other students if there's a valid reason (like you're passing a message on, or want to tell them their goldfish is on fire) or if it's a meal time (no food given to us on Sundays remember). Besides that, you might flash a "hi" or "ohayou" to anyone you pass on your trips to the bog, but that's it. Unless you get a phone call, you generally spend the entire day saying less than 20 words.
Compare this to the homestay. Same scenario, you don't fancy leaving the house. You'll still get to chat with your familly at dinner, and no doubt a familly member will pop by your room to see how you're doing, or check you've not killed yourself with your awesomely complicated Japanese remote control. The point is if you're in a dorm and are trying to save money by not going out, and let's face it everytime you go out you do spend some money, you're not going to improve your Japanese that day. Stick to learning kanji and forget about those vocal chords would be my advice, accept your SDS and sod showering that day ... no one will be around to notice.
Or maybe I'm just ranting on that one because the longer I'm here I notice the differences between dorm and what I'm being told about homestay-wise. Top that with the fact that dorm guys are actually paying more and it's a bit of a shot to the pills.
On Wednesday I had an exam for my business module (Mergers and Acquisitions). I didn't get much studying done for it as we've started the keigo (respectful) chapters of Minna No Nihongo and it's new and a bit complicated. However I don't think I did ... that bad. I was a bit worried that I seemed to finish quite early (we had two hours and I was done after about half an hour) so I kept on rechecking over my answers until I saw someone else hand in their paper. We get the marks back in just over a week.
I re-watched over the Miss Dynamite animations/interactive comic a few nights ago in order to relax a little. Sirkowski's currently making episode 24, for which an animatic is available to be seen, aswell as offering an incentive for Americans to vote for Obama. His site may be a little risque for younger internet users, but I still find it funny.
Remember in the last package from home how I mentioned getting my hair clippers? Well unfortunately for me they don't work here. Why? Because not only did I forget that it wasn't enough to merely change the plug pins (with an adapter), but I had also forgotten that electrical equipment in the UK generally needs more power than what a Japanese plug socket can dish out. This is something we discovered tonight when I went to cut my friends hair (with permission of course) and all I could get was a slight vibrating sensation. Either I was being electrocuted or the clippers were working at a speed not fast enough to cut through a fly's wings, but either way it left me with no means of cutting my hair, my friends hair, shaving the box-dog down the road or someone's teddy bear and sending it back fluff by fluff.
Well tomorrow's halloween (one of the reasons my aforementioned friend wanted his hair cutting), and even though it's not a big thing in my area of the UK (you try telling the shops that) some of the Americans here are making a bit of a song and dance about it. I wonder if they'll think of us as weird when we try to blow things up on the 5th of November. So there's a bit of a shindig involved where people are coming into Uni in costume followed by a night out in Sannomiya (Kobe). While it would be nice to have the ability to go out and spend money on something you're only going to wear for one day without looking like a complete pillock, I have chosen to go down my own route costume wise and will merely be wearing a hat.
Not just a hat, normal clothes too of course. I'll also put that Skeleton (Gaikotsu) that I won at the Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri on my balcony; it's about time I cleared the skeletons from the closet. I have noticed a huge lack of public decoration compared to England so I'm interested to see how the Japanese do halloween, and also how they find the American's actions for the night >_<.
I haven't decided if I'm going to go to Sannomiya with them or not yet, but I have decided that if I do go, then I'll be walking there from Okamoto once again! That way I'll save 180 yen and feel like I've really deserved that first drink.
For now though, I'll leave you with a youtube video of how I probably sound to a native Japanese speaker (I sound like the guy in white).
Saturday 25th October 12:41pm
I was going to write this entry last night in celebration of the end of mid-terms, but instead I thought about doing something logical and actually going out to celebrate the end of mid-terms. This in turn makes it possible for me to write an entry celebrating that I managed to get both of the last trains back (I have to make a connection), thus avoiding a walk that would have been my longest so far in Japan. Ok, let me just take a sec to look at my last entry to see in what area of limbo I left you guys floating.
Oh right, my body-clock screwation (not a real word). Well as I already said we've had mid-terms this week and although they didn't feel as difficult as the exams we had in Leeds, to me an exam is an exam and they're something I never do well in, especially when I leave the exam room and think that I've done well. This can be seen from my actual results from Leeds ... shame on me.
It started out on Wednesday with the oral tests. Me and oral have always had a very odd relationship ... for those of you shouting inuendo at your screens please take a step back and realise I'm clearly talking about speaking ... perverts. Anyway, when I speak in Japanese it can normally go perfectly fine until someone says the words "your Japanese is good" and whatnot, something I have mentioned before. But also if I find that I don't know a word or a term then I'll take a brave stab at making one up. One example was when I wanted to refer to a Car Boot Sale, something Japan doesn't have. This made me come up with the term Car Rear Market Day. And when I couldn't remember the word for wallet I simply said money bag.
So anyway the exam went quite well, there was some Q&A based around some of our speeches which wasn't too tricky, though trying to explain why your favourite food is apple sauce and that you'd happilly suck it down right from the jar was a bit hard. Following this we were presented with a choice of about 5 simple items and asked to talk about them. Of the items given I can only remember there being a pen, pair of chopsticks and electronic dictionary, but I chose the pen. Here's an approximate account of what I spoke about for a ballpoint pen.
"This pen is a special pen. This pen is a very important pen. I recieved this pen from a friend. This friend was called Pete. One time when me and Pete went to Germany, we had to fight against some robbers. After that, because we won we went to the shop. I bought him a cat and he bought me this pen. Because of that, this is a very important pen."
To which my teacher asked me what happened to my friend (the name Pete was never mentioned again).
"Hmm ... that's a little bit difficult. There was an accident. Unfortunate isn't it. My friend went to Italy to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa because he wanted to try looking at it. But when he was there the tower fell over and he passed away. This year they built the tower again, but when I look at this pen I always remember my friend."
My instant feedback, which I'm always really grateful for, was that even though I tried to be creative and use plenty of grammar points, I did use most of them wrong. Buggar! The next morning we had our marks for that test (seconds before starting the Kanji test) and I scored an 8.6 (86%) and some very helpful feedback.
Thursday ... Kanji Test. It wasn't until the last week of being at Leeds I discovered a system to learn kanji ... well, learn it in such a way that I could do "ok" on the weekly Leeds tests. Unfortunately that system doesn't really work over here. However, after I bought myself a small whiteboard I was able to learn kanji so much easier. It was unfortunate that it didn't help me on Thursday as I blew spoiled chunks onto my kanji exam (not literally thank god). This was confirmed during the break between the kanji test and the reading test when the teacher marking through them wanted to double check that I was actually from Leeds (Leeds is known for it's emphasis on kanji) ... *SHAMED*.
I don't remember a lot about Thursday's reading test, except for the fact that a lot of the kanji from the previous test showed up teasing me with it's furigana reminding me that I actually DID know some of the things I blatantly got wrong. BAH!
So to finish the midterms yesterday we started with a listening test, pretty simple just listen to a tape and write down or circle an answer ... I probably failed that one, and then we moved onto the big grammar test.
The thought of 9 pages of a language exam comically freaked out some of the students, but Leeds exams, especially that last one, were much longer. This one comprised of testing all the different elements we've covered including particles, structure, translation, some minor composition, but I have no idea how I did. Normally I come out of an exam thinking either "I've failed that" (to which I normally have) or "Wow I passed that one easilly" (to which I normally haven't) but when I left the exam room I didn't have any direct thought about how I'd done. Whistle and wait as my parents used to (and probably still do) say.
So tests being over some of us went into Okamoto (in Kobe) and had a little fun. In one bar we went into, Gush, there were two dogs on the balcony, so we had a chat and a play with them. Lots of time passed, conversations were had and then it was time to head back. By fluke and coincidence we (the two remaining folk) got back to Okamoto Station in time for the last train to Juso. Throughout the night I had been joking about walking home if I missed the last train, but frankly from Kobe I didn't really fancy it much. On the train I was preparing myself for a walk from Juso to home (a 15 minute train ride) by napping and getting up intime to see the stations passing by. Upon arrival at Juso however I was thrilled to see that there was one last train heading my way, hoorah!
Head on pillow, I'm home!
Just a thought on how little things can change people's attitudes before signing off and doing some washing. I few days ago I was walking around Kita-Umeda trying to find a specific building. Not only did it have no heavilly definable features, I had no clue what it looked like, only a crudely set map. Well after wandering around like a hamster in a maze and going right past the bloody place twice I finally found it and then walked back to Umeda. Needless to see I was pretty miffed with myself (thats a bad thing). On my way there was an old woman watering plants outside her shop with a hose. The distance between her, the shop, the plants and the road meant that I was going to get wet, I honestly didn't expect her to lower the hose. When I got closer we made eye-contact, with my eyes giving off the message "It's ok, I'm prepared for your wetness".
She shocked me though, lowering the hose and turning it off so I could pass dry. With this I bowed to her and said "arigatou gozaimasu" to which she gave me the biggest smile I'd seen since I got here and she replied "domo" in a very pleasant yet shocked voice. I don't think she was expecting me to be able to communicate at all, let alone to thank her. Anyway my point of this little story is that seeing her smile put a smile back on my face. It's the little things that can really make your day, I'll try to remember than when I do another load of washing this afternoon.
19th October 16:19
Well ... I've gone and done it again. Destroyed my body clock just when I was getting into the swing of things. It's about 20 past 4, and I've just crawled out of bed and got myself some of the pizza taken from Tuesdays pizza party. But why did I do such a thing? Why did I not go to bed until about 7:10 this morning? Heck, why did I not get home until 7 o'clock this morning? Any why wasn't I drunk? The truth is I wanted to experience the Japanese past-time of all-night karaoke. BUT! As most of you know I'm no stranger to staying up late, so why was today especially rough for me? Well, with the addition to a trip to a whiskey factory early in the morning I've done a hell of a lot of walking ... more than the Okamoto to Sannomiya walk!
So the day (yesterday) actually started with a bit of a lie-in. The Suntory Yamazaki Distillery was further towards Kyoto, so the train to get there conveniently went through Kamishinjou. This meant that whilst everyone was meeting at Okamoto for about 8:15, at that time I was having breakfast and kicking back a bit, before meeting the group on the train at 8:58.
The Suntory itself was quite impressive and I did learn a fair bit (thanks to the English audio guide, which by the way was done by a Japanese woman who had clearly studied English in the UK ... thank you ^_^) including whiskey being totally clear when it's first made. The tour was shortly followed by a tasting session and many parodies of Bill Murray's "For relaxing times, make it Suntory time" speech from Lost in Translation.
After the Suntory we all went to a little jazz cafe for a snack and drink. I had some Earl Grey tea (for what I believe is the first time in my life ... take that stereotype!) and what was called a Milk Crepe. Delicious as pancakes with milk-sauce are (and I mean that literally, it was damn good), it was a little tricky to read the katakana on the menu; mi.ru.ku.re.-.pu. So at first I didn't know whether I was getting a Mill Crepe (which sounds quite nice), or whether I was going to be subjected to a Milk Rape, a thought that scares me. When it came though I soon discovered it was a joyful combination of the two.
On the train back I found out that some students were going to be doing an all-night karaoke in Umeda. It sounded good, and if I went to Umeda straight from the train I was on, I could hang out in Umeda, do a bit mroe exploring, and take some more pictures. That being said, I'm uploading some more pictures right now. Today's ones are the animal pictures in a park in London. I also wanted to get some more pictures from up the Acty Building. I'd been up there before, but the weather wasn't great so didn't take any pictures.
After a hell of a lot of walking around, exploring the city, and a few phone calls, I met up with some friends (other than those I was to meet for karaoke). Soon we arrived at a destination that wasn't originally on my 'list' but sure is now; a Pokemon Centre. Though it's true I lost interest in Pokemon after a the number of monsters surpassed 151, it was still an interesting place. In essence it was just a large pokemon shop, but it also had areas set asside so people could play, trade cards, and generally mingle.
We then went off for a look at Yodobashi Camera, the biggest electronic shop that I've ever been to. To give people back in Telford a general idea of it's size, imagine the New Bucks Head stadium, only twice as high, twice as long, and twice as wide ... twice as big really (ish). A lot of people at Uni have nicknamed this the 'cheap' electronics shop, but to be honest the best I way could describe their prices is 'meh'. Yeah it's not horrendously expensive and there's a humongous range, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it cheap. That being said most of the people who have refferred to it that way are usually shopping on Daddy's credit card, and easilly forked out hundreds of pounds on Denshi-Jisho's (electronic dictionaries) without shopping around. Sod that, I'll stick with my (old style) Nintendo DS with Kanji Sonomama and a good old book style dictionary. Maybe we should have a Jisho (dictionary) dropping contest and see how many people cry, hehehe. I don't think we actually bought anything from YC, but it is a cool shop just to have a look in.
A trip to Den Den Town was had soon after, and had I known it was actually the same place as when a few of us went to Nipponbashi I probably would have stayed in Umeda. So for those who didn't see my entry on Nipponbashi and are too lazy to look for it (don't worry, I am too) it's a large area of Osaka that caters for fans of Otaku culture and has been nicknamed the city's version of Akihabara. Once again I mainly stuck to second hand stores, and after doing Through the Fire and Flames on normal to a small audience, went and bought some cheap manga titles. How cheap? Well the cheapest three I got were 50 yen each (see XE.com for exchange rate).
After we seperated I headed back for Umeda for some more exploring. I was meant to meet with the karaoke group at about 10:30 so took my time in having a good look around. After another yonk of a walk I ended up at Umeda's 7th tallest building, the Umeda Sky Building. Note that I didn't walk the obvious A-B or as the crow flies, but by an interesting curve around from the Acty building stopping off at a Softmap (what I would consider to be a cheap electronics shop) ... tempted to buy a Wii for roughly 90 quid (second hand of course).
When I arrived at the building designed by Hiroshi Hara, I saw a notice which (I'm pretty sure) said it closed at 7:30. It was 7:50. I approached one of the doors and it opened. I obviously took this as an opportunity to become the stupid foreigner and walked right in. After taking a lift to the top floor, I was presented with no windows but instead an Indian restaurant. Going down a floor gave me a window and a perfect place to get some more pictures of the city at night, if only my camera wasn't so cheap. T_T
After meeting up with the karaokers to make sure everyone was about, I then did something I hadn't done since I first got to Japan; went to a random bar solo. I wanted, like before, to find a place that either had no other patrons or very few so that I wouldn't get the 'record skipping' effect upon entry. Ironically on my way I passed a McDonalds and felt the thirst for an OJ. Buying a medium Orange Juice I kept on walking.
After finding a nice little place I kept on walking to find a bin and then intended to head back. The only problem seemed to be that Umeda didn't seem to have any bins where I was, or where I wasking. After walking for about half an hour and ending up back at Hankyu Umeda train station I finally had a place to put my OJ cup. Now if I'd have bought a can or bottle from a vending machine then I'd have had no problem finding somewhere to put the rubbish, as most venders have bins for cans and plastic bottles.
So heading back to the bar I very nervously walked in, announcing my presence and enquiring if the bar was open; last thing I'd want to do is look like a complete tit by going into a closed place, or worse someone's house that just looked like a pub! Thankfully it was open and eagerly awaiting someone to come in and buy a drink. Though me and the bar lady didn't really talk much or for very long, I was thankful that at no point did she say something along the lines of "your Japanese is very good", as that's normally the key it takes for me to forget every Japanese lesson I've ever taken. After having a couple of (pretty damn good) beers, I was on my way and met up with the others.
Karaoke started shortly after 11 and ended at about 5 o'clock. There really isn't much more I can add to the obvious; lots of singing throughout the night. For the record I did sing my usual Life is Like a Boat and Clubhouse Sandwich combo as well as an array of othertunes.
After seeing some of the guys off on their way, me and one other person stuck around waiting for McDonalds to open. After polishing off a Sausage (and cheese) Muffin and a Hashbrown (with that ol' OJ favourite), I too headed home. It was roughly now I wished I hadn't done so much walking throughout the day as my legs felt so angry with me it was taking all my might just to get my knees to function properly. I did fall asleep a couple of times on the train, but each time waking up as we approached a station, and I don't remember much about the walk from the station to the dorm except for the fact that a dog was standing up in a car. The only real way I could remember that is because this dog (who we have nicknamed 'Box Dog') lives in a box inside a garage and never seems to leave it, occaisionally moving his head every now and then.
When I got back into my room I quickly swept everything off the bed put my head on the pillow and ...
That's something I keep forgetting to talk about! My beloved new pillow! For those of you who are fans of Azumanga Daioh out there think back to when Nyamo buys a new Danish pillow and Yukari tries it out. Yes, that scene! For those of you who have no idea what I'm banging on about, a YouTube video follows this paragraph. Well I too have now bought one of those legendary pillows which has swiftly replaced my sack of rocks with a permanent central dent. It has really helped me sleep better, but it has worked a bit too well. Somedays instead of me getting out of bed at 7 for breakfast I find myself abusing the snooze button more times than it can handle, with it swiftly saying "sod it, i'll have your breakfast instead of you, you lazy git". But it can easilly be forgiven. My major plus side is that unlike Nyamo I didn't pay 10,000 yen for it, but a mere 980 yen ... the same price as my awesomely cheap trainers! So here as my way of saying adios for now ... here's an English dub of that particular scene. Enjoy!
So once again it's been a few days since my recent blog entry. My bad, once again I've been quite busy. As I type though, I'm currently uploading some more pictures to the Blogspot picture journal, so be sure to check it out. This is probably the first time I've written an entry straight from Uni, at the moment I'm in the main room that the international students hang out in, as well as many Japanese students, 'The Ajisai Room'. It's not the biggest place ever, and when a lot of the north american students congregate here it can get incredibly noisy. That isn't to say we Europeans don't make any noise, it's just that it's normally overshadowed. Still, it's normally a pretty friendly and relaxing place.
My business presentation on Wednesday was a big flop. Most of my ideas, that seemed like good ideas at the time, I realised were absolutely crap. It's just too bad I didn't realise this before I was standing infront of the group giving out random words I didn't really understand like an overgenerous mother giving out seconds on pudding. Setting that aside, yesterday we had to give a presentation (a group of 4 of us) for Linguistics. Even though our time between gathering data and presenting it was short (the only time we managed to get together before giving it was 10 minutes before presentation time), I think we managed to pull it off. That is to say I hope we managed to.
Tutoring was fun, admitadly I only had one student come for help and I didn't know much about the topic he needed help with (Economics), but working together we managed to accomplish his goal. I'll be back on Monday if anyone needs some help ^_^.
Tonight we're going out for a bit of a shindig with the dorm-supporters, and I think the Brothers & Sisters have also been invited, so hopefully I'll get some more cool photos then. Tomorrow morning the business class are going to a Whiskey factory. For some of these guys (who aren't legally allowed to drink until 21 in their respective countries), this could be an ... experience. Then Monday marks the start of mid-terms, so I'll be (trying to) studying over the weekend, good luck to me eh!
12th October 11:24am
Yeah, I guess it's been a while eh. Truth is since the trip to Koya-san I found myself horrendously busy, and I'm sorry to say it hasn't been all fun stuff that's kept me occupied. Don't get me wrong I've had a few moments of enjoyment (which I'll talk about this morning ... if I can remember them), and have finally found a few minutes to have a bowl of cereal and take a little break away from the world of Japaneseness ... even though I am still in Japan.
"Cereal?" I hear you ask, yes cereal. At our local 99 yen shop (see XE.com for currency converter) they were selling boxes of Chocolate-Cornflakes. Don't get me wrong, the boxes are a lot smaller than in the UK. I'll describe them as what a Kellogg's Variety size box should be; enough to actually FILL a bowl. I still don't know if it's a perk or a burden not getting food on Sundays and holidays (for the record tomorrow is a holiday, but I still have classes). The obvious plus side is that I get to take a break from minimal choice in favour of ... well, pretty much anything I want. Also, like this morning, I didn't have to get up early to make sure I was fed. The main downpart of course is that unless you're fasting for the day, you'll have to shell out from your own pocket.
Excuse me for a moment, I'm just going to wash my bowl - another downside I guess.
I'm back, yeah that was quick. I didn't actually wash the bowl yet, I got in the washroom but someone was in there sorting his hair out. So rather look like a complete and utter pillock, I just grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge ... only looking like a partial pillock.
Oh, I want to take a moment to thank Timefortea3 for visiting my blog and leaving a comment on my guestbook. Hope the Fish and Chips were great!
I've finally started to upload my mountain of photographs of my trip to Japan. But because of the shere weight of them I didn't want to destroy my bandwidth in one foul swoop, I started a photo-specific blog on Blogspot - http://darlosworld.blogspot.com. It's pretty good because it gives you the opportunity to leave comments about them. At the moment it's just photographs from the London stage of my trip, but I will soon get up to the more recent Japanese ones ... eventually.
Karaoke - It's popular, and it's fun. Why? Because it gives people who can't sing (like yours truly) the chance to sing anyway with no fear of mockery between your friends. They may mock you after, but who cares, you had the balls to sing in front of people! So far I've been to karaoke three times, at three different brands of karaoke room, with three different groups of people, in three different scenarios, in three different areas (Okamoto, Sannomiya and Umeda) ... but have sung the same three songs at each one. With variation on some of the other songs, I noticed that I always end up doing Parklife (Blur) in English, Life is Like a Boat (Rie Fu) in English and Japanese, and Clubhouse Sandwich (Yuumao) in Japanese. Ironically, Clubhouse Sandwich is what's playing now on WinAmp.
On Friday night we (exchange students) were invited to a party from one of the circles here at University, SPICE. SPICE (from what I can tell) are a group who like to hang out and improve their skills in English, though no one there seems to know how the group got it's name. The party, which although had a kid's birthday feel to it was still incredibly fun, was shortly followed by karaoke in Okamoto (see above paragraph). Everyone from SPICE was incredibly friendly and went two or three steps further to make everyone feel welcome, and for this I thank them very much. I've still not joined any clubs or circles yet, mainly because I wanted to make sure I had a properly set timetable before having things change and having to leave groups, but now that I'm settled I'm going to start looking around.
On that note there has been a fair bit of interest in Rock Paper Scissors all of a sudden.
One of the things I wanted to wait on hearing about was a part time tutoring job at Konan, which I'm pleased to say I got. I'm working for two hours a week (on a Monday afternoon), starting tomorrow. I have no idea how it's going to go, but I'll still give it my all. I was also waiting to hear if I got into one of the PE classes. These were limited to 2 exchange students dependant on the number of Japanese applicants. I decided to go for the Practical Athletic Training as I'd wanted to make use of the gym, but knew without an obligatory push I'd never get around to it (just like in Leeds, but here I didn't fork out £100 for a wasted unused membership). Ironically I got into this class by default - I was the only one to apply for it >_<.
As I glance around my bedroom (knowing that I really should tidy up before the cockroaches start complaining about the mess ... joke) and gander over to the balcony, I can't really think of anything else that's happened except for me opening a bank account. So on that note, I'll say goodbye and go back to practicing kanji ... after I go to wash out that bowl.