Wednesday, April 17, 2013

School life: Busy, busy, busy!!

I'm so pooped, we've been to classes and registering for different courses! Sooo much to do,

I could write a bit about how this stuff works, I know some people are going to go to Waseda from next semester who probably would want some info, hehe.

1. Orientations, orientations, orientations..
    You will receive the when-and-wheres for the first orientations before you even leave for Japan, and it's really nice to know that they have stuff sorted out from the beginning. Pro-tip: When in the area/campus, ALWAYS have a map in your bag or pocket. You will get lost.  There is no system where the different buildings are, and why they are placed where they are. So yeah, just bring a map until you feel really familiar with the place:)
At the orientations you will get info about the dormitories, the academic programs and of course what to do if an earthquake occurs. Always with the earthquakes, the Japanese.. And with good reason! I've already had 2-3 minor (and I mean minor) earthquakes, so it's comforting knowing what to do if a bigger one hits.

2. Class Orientation Week
    This bit is pretty nice, actually. The first week of classes are pure orientations and placement tests, there to guide you to what kind of classes you feel you should be taking :) The ones I went to seemed 90% okay, that the teachers seem really nice and forgiving (lol).
The classes I'm taking are (among others)
- Keigo Communication
- Japanese sentence patterns in communication
- Learn Japanese through blogging (YES, BLOGGING.)

These three are what seem to be my favorite classes based on the teachers' level of awesomeness. I can't wait to start the blogging course, I will link the blog here later to show you how bad my Japanese is, LOL. I think the norm on that class is actually using Blogspot, but the teacher said I also could use Ameba :) Yay!

3. Regristration
    Now, this is the part where I kinda fucked up. lol. Later.
The program I'm on is called the Japanese Language Program, or JLP for short. I've found out later that it's easier to say I'm a BEKKA student, most people haven't heard of JLP, which makes no sense. Oh well. The Japanese Language Program contains several subjects for you to choose from, with one "main" course with 5 credits. Most other classes are 1 credit. The credit amount you have to have by the end of your stay is 26, according to Waseda University. But, according to UiB, I have to have 30 credit by the end of my stay. This means, I have to take classes outside the JLP program, so-called "open courses". This can be anything between heaven and hell offered by the university, and this is where you have to be careful.
How do you register?
Online, of course. The registration is in three parts, where you can add and drop any courses as you go to the different class orientations.
Thomas and I were registering for classes together one night, and for the one 2-credit open course we had to take we just picked random, because we could just drop it in the second or third registration.
Oh boy we were wrong.. It turns out, you can't drop courses that aren't offered by Waseda University itself, because the class thomas and I signed up for doesn't really belong to Waseda University. So now you are probably guessing what kind of class we signed up to, or?

Fucking English tutorials.
Yep, I now have to take English classes that are meant for Japanese students who want to learn English.
And no, I can't drop it. Thomas and I have tried, again and again, almost begging the school administration to let us drop the subject, but noooo. Can't be done, under ANY circumstance. Sometimes I reeeaally dislike the japanese and their love for following rules. Too damn strict.

Moral point of the story: If/when you register courses at Waseda, BE 100% SURE of what classes you're taking! :P

Other than that, I also managed to actually register to an English course I wanted to take! And it's not an english language tutorial class, lol. It's actually a class about Anime and Manga! I know I know, weeaboo etc. But even though I don't really watch that many animes or read a lot of manga, I still want to learn more about the culture, how it's popular and have a bit more discussion around the topic instead of just reading and watching. I think it'll be exciting. And next semester I'll be taking something called Earth & Space Science. We will there learn about the solar system, about galaxies, star clusters and even fucking PSEUDO SCIENCE, I'm dying of excitement!!

4. Schedules, periods, lunch hours
    The first period starts at 9.00 am and the last (5th) period is finished at 6.00 pm, so you could have pretty long days. i have two days where I'm at full throttle from 9 to 6, it's exhausting! But absolutely worth it, I really need to get more into the Japanese way of studying and working, and not the lazy Norwegian way.
    Each period lasts for 90 minutes, without any breaks. It's twice as long as I'm used to, so if I have a class in 5th period I usually am half asleep by the end of it all! After the 2nd period there's a lunch break for 50 minutes, which usually is enough to stop by the uni cafeteria to get a dirt cheap meal!
I'm serious. around 200 yen for a portion of japanese curry. LOVE IT. And it's a big enough portion for you to actually get full :) Good deal!

5. ......
    I don't think I have more to say regarding Waseda school life right now, my brain has turned into mush, becaaause...
The second (and last draft) for my bachelor thesis is due on Monday, so now I've finally opened the document and started writing again. Hurray! I hope I can write something real good and real fast until then, がんばります!High hopes and a bit more will power will do it! I'm only about halfway through already, so I'm not at the finish line just yet. But I'm guessing more of my fellow exchange student classmates are having the same problem.. Heh. Good luck to you! がんばってね!
That's all, folks! Have a great day :)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Goofing around in Ueno Park 04.04.2013

On thursday we went to Ueno park! The was to go hanami, but since he rainfall the past days was so strong, most of the flower petals had already fallen down from the trees.. Maybe next year! But we had fun anyways, I was soo tired and happy when I got home:)

My look for the day. I tried following a make up tutorial from Eggs april issue, I'm pretty satisfied with it:) 

My girls Kirsten, Xenia and Sandra! 

Ueno! As you can see, the trees aren't that white and pretty anymore.. but we sat down under the anyway, yeah!

My crepe! Mmmh, delish.

Thomas, Oliver and Sapan looking cool

The weather was soo nice though, there were lots of people out and about! :) 

 Xenia looking cute! 

 Me advertising for beer and Thomas fiddling with a camera

 #selfie #lolhashtags

Thomas, with a single flower petal in his hair.. Kawaii deshou? (*≧▽≦) lol

 Sapan and Thomas wathcing fish.. So interesting.

 We went on pedalboat rides! 

 Happy nerd #1
Happy nerd #2

 Swans! Swans everywhere!

This little cutie came to say hi while we were eating! Look at the ears, they're dyed red, soo cute! :) 

The plum blossoms are still in bloom, gorgeous colours :) 

All in all, it was quite a lovely day, I hope the weather stays like this forever!! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April 1st and so forth..

April 1st is kind of a big deal in Japan. Not because of April fools, but because the school year officially starts that day! Also, starting a new job, opening a new event etc is normal to set on the 1st of April. Why? I have no idea. If anyone knows the origin on it that'd be awesome.

Yes, school has officially started with opening ceremonies and shit, even though the actual classes don't start until Saturday 6th! Oh well, I can't complain :)
We went to campus to pick up our student ID cards, and were, mildly put, BLOWN.AWAY. What the hell was happening here?? There are people shouting, noise and music EVERYWHERE. It didn't take long until i figured it out; It was all the clubs, all the circles trying to recruit more members! Baseball teams, band clubs, soccer clubs, cheerleading clubs, art clubs... You name it! It was such a weird and fun experience, and people pushing flyers into your hands and ask if you like <insert club name> with a huge smile on their face, blissfully unknowing that my japanese isn't all that good yet.

Performance dance form called Yosakoi, which seemed reeeally fun! Such a positive and energetic way of dancing, and they were all smiles :) It'd be fun joining this club, but I don't know if they welcome gaijins.. Hm.

Red shirts underneath  

Video of them dancing: 

Doesn't it look like fun? :D 

One way of promoting your rock band club... 

Anyway here's a small vid of some of the stuff we saw!

I loved it. So energetic and positive, it was like this all over campus :) Luckily it won't stay like this throughout the year, that'd be a bit too much XD

The next couple of day were pretty chill, the weather was pretty bad (awful, actually), so we didn't do much :P On Thursday we (Thomas, Xenia, Sandra and I) went to Shinjuku to find a specific 300yen shop I wanted to go to, but we couldn't find it!! Aaaaah I need to go some time alone on a sunny day, and write down the bloody directions! Taken the shop still excists, of course. It's called YOUYOU, so if any of you knows if it still exists or not, please shout out! They don't have a web page, so it's kind of tricky to find.

At KFC Shinjuku eatin sum fried chicken! Damn good. Damn. 

Bought new glasses! Aren't they cute? They match my hair really nicely as well!

New boots! 

I actually had to buy these, because the only pair of shoes I brought had a hole in them! I had noo idea, so my feet went quickly from being perfectly dry and happy to splishy-splashy wet and... unpleasant. We had to stop buy a Forever 21, and I bought some boots. These were on sale, and really cute :) Brown isn't really my thing, but this color was so nice I thought I'd give them a go! 

Stylus pen I bought at a vending machine, so tiny! 

These are from yesterday (wednesday), we got our bank account all set up and went to eat. Seriously, I need to stop buying food out at restaurants.. it's very addicting!

Awesome building near campus. Art nouveau :) 

Flowers in bloom!  

Next post will be about the gangs trip to Ueno park! Stay tuned :) 

Party time! 30.03.2012

On Friday the 29th I didn't do anything special, just more and more orientations, and went to bed after watching RuPauls Drag race... 

Me @ campus!

But on Saturday we went partying in Kabukichô! Me, Sandra and Thomas went out to eat at Saizeriya (since it's so cheap lol) close to the dorm, and then proceeded to a karaoke bar in Kabukichô. We ordered a room for 2 hours with all-you-can-drink, all in all 3500 yen. I think that's not half bad! And they don't really hold back on the liquor in the coctails as well, haha. Had to be careful with that one, being a Norwegian and all ;) 


Sandra and me! 

Me at a karaokebar.. I filmed some of our singing action, buuuut... Yeah, we're not very good at singing while intoxicated, haha! 

So after Sandra went home and me and Thomas were done singing, we went to Bar PSY! We couldn't find the place at first, so we had to ask someone. And believe me, people are sooo nice here! We went up to these guys and girls who were kinda cool-looking, and they helped us take us there personally! They couldn't find it on their phones, so they just took us there in person. Super nice of them :) The girl I talked to looked so cool, she wore a white mini dress, denim studded jacket, ancle socks and a huge cap. Her hair were in ponytails, and her make up was pretty gyaru inspired. I should've taken a picture! :P 

Now, there was a reason why I wanted to come to this Bar PSY in the first place. Three years ago, when I last visited Tokyo, Veronica, Emilie, Oda and me visited a rock bar named Rock in Current, and we had suuuuch a great time there! But last year, the club closed down, I was so sad! But I also heard that a new bar had opened with pretty much the same staff and clientele, so I figured I could go there to meet up with people ^^ It was so much fun! It was good seeing Emma, Masami and everyone else again :D  

Emma and me ^^

Thomas and Mayumi

Cash, drinks and smokes, all we need ;) 

Masami! The most decent photo I've seen of him so far :P 

Thomas, Adam and me. 

Now this guy Adam, he was/is in Tokyo for his brothers wedding, and he was at this bar all alone! So we took him along, he was really nice. We wanted to go dancing, and we ended up in this almost-empty club with okay music and poledancers. Fine by me! 

White people... XD 

Now, I tried to take some pictures of them, but the lighting was all wrong and I was drunk. Excuses, excuses XD I filmed them as well, but my computer won't upload it, for some reason.. poop! I got it! Here's the video: 

They were so strong and flexible though! And their outfits were sooo cute, with flowers and all ^^

Yeah.. the photos weren't the greatest x)

After some dancing and some more drinking, this nice chinese man helped us get back to shinjuku station (kabukichô  is bloody confusing), and I think I was in bed around 6am.. Phew! But I had such a good time, can't wait to go out in Shinjuku again :) On Sunday we were supposed to go to Harajuku, and go hanami at Ueno park, but... the hours flew and we were so tired from the night before, so we just ate and went home again x)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Shinjuku Ward Office address registration (28.03.2013)

This Thursday all new Hoshien residents had to go to the Shinjuku Ward office to register our new address, and sign up for the Japanese National Health Insurance. If I didn't live in any of the dorms, I would've had to go there myself, I'm soo glad we get so much guidance! :) 

The address application forms were filled out the day before at the orientation at uni, so we only had to hand in some paper to get it approved! 
The national health insurance is actually mandatory when studying in Japan, which is actually really good! So if you are in need of medical attention, you only pay 30% of the total cost! So I'm getting my teeth done here, haha. And we were reminded more than once, that plastic surgery did not fall under this insurance, haha. Ofc.

As it always is on official errands, we had to wait a lot. A looooot. But that's how the world works! :) In the meantime, we looked at some brochures, and we came across this:

The brochure name is self-explanatory. And the illustrations were sooo cute!


Then we had a break, lunch with the gang at Cafe Gusto :) 


....and then it was back to the City office again :P 

 Lovely Hoshien people! :) 

Then we finally could go home, and Thomas, Xenia and me decided to make dinner together! 

The kitchen also had a TV, and Pokemon was on! It was sooo weird watching it in Japanese though, I'm brought up with the Norwegian dub.. heh. 

Orientation day (27.03.2013)

The schedule from day 1 was busy, there's always someplace we need to be! I can't for the stress to settle down a bit, and start our lectures and daily life :) 

Today we went to campus for the first time! We had to get an orientation about the dormitories, and get a quick campus tour. 
One of the first things they brought up was what to do if there's an earthquake. Better safe than sorry, I guess! lol

The picture in the corner was actually a .gif, it kept shaking haha.

Me and Sandra, from Cali! 

Jeffrey, from Hong Kong (I think) and Thomas

Some of the student community orginazations also had presentations/orientations, and one of them had som small games as well! It was really fun :) 

Sandra is the bear, I'm the bunny :3

Shigenobu Okuma, the founder of Waseda University.

A bit rainy campus tour :) 

Free lunch, yay! It seems that the Japanese really love mayo... why.jpg. There's mayo on almost anything. 

The Waseda University campus is so big and compact compared to Bergen Uni, so confusing! Hopefully I'll get adjusted to it quickly.
Later that night a few of us decided to get something to eat, and we went to this cheap Italian place called Saizeriya. The food is so-so, but it's so cheap that it doesn't have to be a gourmet meal to be enjoyed ;) 

 Oliver from Germany, and Xenia fra Russia :)

 Sapan from India and Thomas!

 Me and Thomas

I had a pasta meal and 2 beers, which cost around 75NOK.. So cheap! It's a bit dangerous, haha. I could go crazy with eating at restaurants in Japan like Norwegian tourists go crazy with drinking alcohol when they're on vacation :P I probably won't, though. I'm too stingy, haha.