Hello readers (hopefully there’s more than one of you), I want to apologize for the lapse in blogs. I’ve been extremely busy with school work the past two weeks so the blog kind of slipped my mind…which is when I started to realize that I’m actually fitting in with life here in Japan. The area my dorm is located in is MY area, the nearby station is MY station, and I feel attached. At school my classes are going excellently and I’m actually making some pretty awesome friends. Of course I still make culture mistakes, for instance shoving your chopsticks into your food to sit is rude, instead you have to lay the chopsticks across the top of the bowl or lean them against the bowl, but everyone is nice about pointing out the mistake and correcting me. My Japanese is still lacking fluency, but I’m able to get across what I’m trying to say. The food is always delicious, even when I’m not 100% sure what exactly I’m eating. Anyways, since my days have become routine, I thought I’d share “A day in the life of me”. I’ll have the time that it is here, as well as the time zone in Appleton/Madison so when you read this blog you’ll know what I’m about ^^
|6:30a||4:30p||Wake Up||I have class at the same time every morning, which is convenient in that I can have a consistent sleeping pattern. This of course changes on the weekends… More like 9a or 10a|
|7:40a||5:40p||Leave Dorm||This may not seem like a lot of time to get ready, but because I have a long commute to school I don’t eat breakfast in the morning. I simply get dressed, brush teeth, get my school stuff together and leave.|
|8:00a||6:00p||Arrive at Station||At this point I reach my local station and get packed into a train like a sardine. Unfortunately I have to leave in the middle of rush hour every day.|
|8:30a||6:30p||Switch Trains||I take two trains to school and sadly the trade-off is at a GIANT station and the trains I take are each at opposite ends, so I have to weave my way through a plethora of people all moving at different speeds and in different directions.|
|8:45a||6:45p||Arrive at School||The first thing I do at school is buy breakfast at the local convenience store. I used to eat right away in the morning (2 hours earlier) but then lunch isn’t until 1p so I would always be starving, thus the change. I buy an onigiri or a bread and then my vegetables for the day, which consists of a veggie-drink packed full of nutrition.|
|9:15a||7:15p||Class starts||My first class M-F is Japanese Language. I chose to take the intensive course, instead of the regular course, so we meet for two class periods (3 hours total) every morning.|
|12:30p||10:30a||Lunch Time!||I usually eat lunch at one of the school cafeterias, one because it’s delicious, and two because it’s cheap. I also get to eat with my friends and classmates. This is one of my favorite parts of everyday|
|1:30p||11:30a||Next Class/Home||Twice a week I have afternoon classes, and the other three days I’m done after Japanese. If I’m done, I usually head home to start homework or stay and study at the library. Sometimes I go out to eat somewhere special (ie not at school) but not often. If it’s the other two days I head to Japanese Literature class. I really enjoy this class, though I honestly don’t have much of a mind for delving into and finding meaning in literature and poetry.|
|3:00p||1:00a||End of Class||At this point I have one more class so I head across campus. Sometimes I’ll stop at one of the many vending machines and get something fun to drink, or stop at the convenience store for a snack.|
|3:15p||1:15a||Last Class||My last class is Linguistics. Technically I think it’s normally taught as just English linguistics, but we’re actually studying Japanese linguistics as well, so hopefully my pronunciation of the Japanese language will improve.|
|4:45p||2:45a||End of School||At this point I’m done with class and I usually head home. Sometimes I make plans with friends, or run into friends and make plans on the fly.|
|4:55p||2:55a||Arrive at Station||Guess what? I arrive just in time for rush hour at the station, twice in one day I get to be squished by all manner of people.|
|5:10p||3:10a||Transfer Trains||At this point, if I’m lucky, I can get in line early and get a seat on the train back to where I live. If not, this train is usually not too overly crowded, so even if I have to stand I’m not pushed by anybody|
|5:40p||3:40a||Arrive at Station||I usually get to my station about this time, though it differs depending on which train I take.|
|6:00p||4:00a||Arrive at Home||I stop and get dinner on the way home from the station. There’s a convenience store within a 30 sec walk from my dorm so I buy cup-noodle or onigiri or some kind of bread. Sometimes I’ll have apples or bananas as well. Honestly though, lunch is really filling so I’m usually not hungry when I get home.|
|6:00p-||4:00a-||Homework/Study||After I get home its homework and study time. I spend over 4 hours a day doing homework and that’s without distractions. Sometimes I watch Bones on hulu while I’m working, other times I need complete focus. I usually don’t go/stay out late on school nights, because I have to get up so early in the morning.|
|10:00p||8:00a||Bedtime/Study||If I’m lucky I can get to bed by 10:00p, but this is usually a miracle if it happens. Otherwise I make some hot tea and keep chipping away at my mountain of homework.|
|12:00a||10:00a||Bedtime/Study||This is a more feasible goal. I’d say 2 of 5 school nights I start getting for bed around midnight and am asleep by 12:30a getting a reasonable 6 hours of sleep. This is a lot by my current standards.|
|2:00a||12:00p||Sleeping||There has been one night where I was up until 2:30a reading The Tale of Genji, otherwise I’m always asleep by 2:00a. This ensures I get at least 4.5 hours of sleep.|
|6:30a||4:30p||Wake Up||I get to start this schedule all over again!! YAY!|
Of course there are other activities that are not done every day but are still a part of my routine, for instance, doing laundry. I have to do laundry once a week. I just realized this. Yesterday I did about 2 weeks’ worth of laundry. I was able to fit everything in the washing machine; however I let it slip my mind that the dryers here are inefficient. Let’s just say that my balcony was pretty much completely covered with my clothing. Fortunately it didn’t rain, which was a huge relief.
Grocery shopping is for food for the weekends. During the week I buy all my food throughout the day but on the weekend, unless I have plans with friends, I usually buy easy to prepare foods like sandwich fillings and bread, or yogurt, or I hard-boil eggs, or cook eggs over some microwavable rice.
On Tuesdays and Saturdays I have basketball practice which is one of the best parts of my life here. At my home college, I never got into the basketball thing because I was too busy at school and sports in the US are more demanding in my opinion. In Japan, if I have plans or have a test in class or am sick, it’s completely fine to let everybody know and take a break from practice. Everyone that I’ve met on the team speaks Japanese and a little English, and the captain is really good at English, so I get to practice my Japanese a ton. A funny story about my second day of practice, I noticed that whenever someone made a shot, everyone on the team said something. To me it sounded something like “Shaw”. When I finally got up the courage to ask, they explained that they were saying “Nice Shot”! I’m really bad at understanding Japanese English words and we all laughed at my realization. Everyone is really nice and I’m starting to really feel like part of the team, not just a visiting player.
Usually I got out with friends once a week, sometimes twice a week. This usually happens on the weekends because that’s when everyone has time. Most often it’s on Sundays. Which is a little weird for me, because Sundays were always my homework days, but in Japan, through high school, school is on Saturday as well, so Sunday is the only completely free day. People go out on Friday and Saturday nights, but any daytrips are usually held on Sundays. I’ve been to many different places and done many things, though in comparison I’ve only done a teeny tiny fraction of all there is to do. I’ve gone shopping in Harajuku, Shinjuku, Akihabara, and Shinokubo, gone to izakayas (Japanese pubs) in Shinjuku, eaten at reastaurants in Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Akihabara, Yotsuya and Harajuku. I took a day trip to Odaiba (in Tokyo Bay) where we went to this super fun “place” where the paintings on the wall are 3D through a camera lens so we could take all different kinds of fun pictures. In Odaiba we also bought “dinner” at a convenience store and watched an amazing fireworks display. One of these times I’m going to Tokyo Disneyland… hopefully. And I’ve been taking a lot of pictures of the different foods I’m trying, so one of these days I’m going to do a blog strictly on food!
Tokyo is filled with an unimaginable number of new foods to try, new activities to fail at, new sites to see, and new places to get lost in. I’m still focusing on school and my studies but anytime I have the chance to experience something new I get excited. If I can make even the smallest of dents on experiencing the amazingness that is Japan, I’ll be beyond happy! ^^
Thank you for reading!!