Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Well the first week of classes is almost over, and I've been to all my classes at least once this week.

They weren't too bad, and I expect that once we actually get into the material, they should be more interesting. My first class of the week, Eco-tourism, is probably going to be one of the harder classes for me and my attention span. APU divides the classes into periods 1-6, with each period lasting 1.5 hours. My Eco-tourism class is once a week, for three hours. Back at Grand Valley, I have studio classes that are 3 hours long, but those go by quite quickly because I'm actually doing something. Three hours of pure lecture from a man that has a harsh Japanese accent and uses the same words almost every sentence is rather tough to pull through. He tends to have a strange, high pitched dialect while talking, and he uses the words, "however" and "as I mentioned before" almost every chance he can. Oh well. Hopefully I'll be able to get through it without any trouble.

My Japanese language class is going to be good. We have some interesting people in the class, its a mix of people that seem to be either a little to confident in their verbal skills, and quiet, strange ones that are very afraid of participation. My teacher is very funny, but she's also very tough. If we are so much as thirty seconds late in the class, we are considered absent. Punctuality speaks louder than words here, and Japanese people take it incredibly seriously.

For example, there was a gymnasium guidance session today at 1:30. The Beppu Crew and I arrived literally at 1:31, with our hands ready to touch the door handle, when the lady shut it and said that the next session was in an hour. We tried to weasel our way in, but there was no way around it, so we had to wait for an hour.

Anyway, the Tea Ceremony class I'm in is going to be the most interesting of my classes. My teacher is very funny and an overall nice lady. There is a sense of humbleness and tranquility in the special room were are in. It was built specifically for Tea Ceremony ritual, with tatami mats and paper doors. Right off the bat, our teacher explained how we were going to learn the art of tea making, and the ritual of ancient Japanese culture. But then she smiled and said that we would do that later, and gave us sweets and tea first. It was a good start.

My Multiculturalism and Society class is another 2 period class and its going to also be tough to pull through. Three hour lectures just are not good for me. Steph is in that class too, so we are going to try and wake each other up whenever we are nudging off the cliff of consciousness.

Apart from classes, its been pretty interesting. I've made some more Japanese friends, which is good since they are helping us with homework, and we are helping with their English. Its been really cold here for the past few days, and rainy too. I'm trying not to complain too much because I know that I'll be doing plenty of complaining when its so hot that I just want to douse myself with ice.

I'm starting to miss odd things from home, like the comfort of my bed and the taste of good macaroni and cheese. I miss my dog and watching movies in the basement. I'm trying to keep myself occupied so that I won't get sucked into thinking about it especially since its only been a couple weeks.

By the way, if anyone wants to skype with me, just let me know. I will try my hardest to set something up, but the 13 hour difference is rather difficult to make arrangements. That and my classes/homework. But let me know!


  1. Yes mom would like to skype with you. Sounds like you are doing well. I am happy for you. Love you. Mom

  2. this is the first post i've read :( but i promise to go back and read your earlier ones! i'll probably read some of them tonight - i have a paper due tomorrow and i keep nodding off. i decided to read your blog and hope it'll keep me awake and interested

    your tea ceremony class sounds like so much fun!! i'm so jealous! also, don't let yourself get hung up on homesickness, pretend like you're not and keep yourself occupied. in china, i missed cheese like crazy and had this weird depressed period where i constantly thought about it... also, now that i think about it, the first week and a half were the hardest for me. push through! explore! you might feel like you're the only one who's homesick, but you're not. i thought i was the only depressed one when i got to beijing because everyone else seemed so happy, but i talked about it a month later with a group of friends and found out that we all felt the same way but didn't think anyone else was unhappy