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Gishi no Mokusou

Alex Forencich's contemplations on Life, Engineering, and Japan


Archive for July, 2010

Today was my first day at Japan Women’s University (JWU). The summer intensive language program will be taking place there starting Friday.  Today, however, I have to take the placement test to determine what level of Japanese class I need to take.  In Japanese, JWU is 日本女子大学, nihon joshi daigaku.  Most Japanese people shorten to to 女子大学 (joshi daigaku) or even just 女子 (joshi).

The first part of the test was about an hour, one part kanji reading and writing and one part grammar.  Both were slightly frustrating as I forgot some of the kanji I should have known and I didn’t have enough time to finish the whole grammar section.  The second part of the test was much longer and consisted of a pile of kanji that I had never seen before and a pile of multiple choice grammar questions that I couldn’t even read, much less understand enough to pick a correct answer.  I understood maybe three questions out of the whole grammar part of that test.  It was really annoying.  But I wasn’t the only one; only the really advanced students figured out some of what was on there.

After the tests, we went to the cafeteria to have lunch.  And we discovered an absolutely classic example of Engrish on the way there.  Perhaps they’re trying to imply that their food has a French flair to it?  Or maybe they’re trying to duplicate the McDonald’s McCafe commercials.  I dunno.  Everyone took the obligatory snapshot and then we got our grub.

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After dropping off my bags in my new room at the Weekly Mansion, I decided to check out the town to figure out where the food was.  However, I ran into Austin in the elevator on the way down.  He was going to Akihabara (秋葉原) to buy a digital camera since his had just recently stopped working.  Akihabara, for those not in the know, is essentially the biggest geek fest in Tokyo, perhaps even in all of Japan.  If you need anything computer related, you’ll find it there.  They also have just about every anime and manga under the sun.  They’re also home to a uniquely Japanese phenmenon, the maid cafe.  More on that in a bit. Also, Akihabara is commonly abbreviated as Akiba (アキバ).

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(nihon kara konnichi wa; hello from Japan)

I just arrived yesterday at Narita Airport outside of Tokyo, Japan.  Unfortunately, I did not manage to get any sleep on the flight, so by the time I got to bed last night around 9:00 pm Tokyo time I had been up for just about 24 hours.  9:00 pm in Tokyo is 5:00 am PST and that’s the time I had to get out of bed to leave for the airport in Portland.  Needless to say, I have a little adjusting to do, indicated by the fact I woke up around 5:00 am Tokyo time and was unable to get back to sleep.  Oh, well.

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