Saturday, November 04, 2006

Eh-hum # 120

I have been living and studying in Japan for a month. Though I couldn't say I have sucessfully adjusted to the Pinoy-in-Japan way of life (my definition is applying the Pinoy practical know-how or diskarte with Japan's rigid, off-beat, high-tech and expensive environment), I could say that I can see myself spending the next 11 months in this country. I've always dreamed of going to Japan to study, so why quit now?

Three weeks of attending Nihongo class was quite a challenge. The medium of instruction is of course, Nihongo. But whenever I give my sensei a blank look while saying "wakarimasen", she or he kindly explains in English (phrases, not sentences), but not without a "polite" chuckle. In my dormitory, I am one of the few students who cannot converse in Japanese. Most of the students are young, European/American University students who have the energy to go out every week or weekend to a party, event, etc. They're a friendly bunch, but I rarely go out with them, it sort of reminds me how old(er) I really am and how different my approach is while living in Japan. However, I do get along well with other research students and Ph D students (wink, wink). What keeps me from bursting a vein from trying to perfect my Japanese are my classes at another faculty. I am taking two other courses in English and are more in tune with my field of interest, which is international relations/peace and security/environment.

The more I stay here, the more it is okay to spend money, one amounting to 25000 yen. Last Thursday, I went to an electronic store and bought a spanking new electronic (duh) dictionary. It took me one whole week to debate whether I need to buy one. For one, I need to buy it for practical reasons, like a more up to date dictionary. On the other hand, I need it because its sorta, kinda feels awkward to consult my little Japanese-Engligh Oxford Dictionary while my seatmates are all digital (DAMN you peer pressure!). But I bought it anyways and am contented with it. Now, I am seriously considering of buying a new digital camera; my Canon Powershot A85 is experience some technical difficulties when taking pictures (sorry folks, no pictures in this blog).

Observations Part 1 (Celebration of Japan's Uniqueness, or rather, Intended Not to Offend Anyone)

1. (Almost) Everything here uses some state of the art sensor technology. You name it, doors, faucets, lights, escalator and even trash cans. One time, I thought the escalator is not working becuase it stopped moving. I took the stairs and when I got to the train platform, I saw an old couple using the escalator. It turns out, it shuts down when the sensors do not...uh, "sense" people who would use it.

2. Kobe is the shoe capital of Japan. A good 80% of the ladies here wear boots; stilettos, combat boots, cowboy boots, leather, suede, etc, etc. Usually paired with skinny jeans, short shorts and short skirts. Channeling Carrie Bradshaw, some of the stiletto loving ladies of Kobe can run to catch a bus and climb up a 60 degree angle hill wearing these killer boots.

3. Most of Kobe's young people here have an unique fashion sense (Note, I did not use strange, but for some, that could also work). Hair stylishly disheveled (will check spelling later, sowee) and dyed, purple pants, fur trimmed jackets, lotsa bling (bling!) and shoulder bags. YES, boys here use shoulder bags. For the ladies, the bigger the hair, the better. Also, leather, in whatever form, is good.

4. Need Make-Up Advice? Ask the girls and the boys. While its understood that girls love make-up (one girl was putting so much mascara that I thought she wont able to open her eyes just as soon as she blinks), the guys like to put a little of the stuff as well. Plus, they like to shave their eyebrows.

5. Love train rides. Though this may sound strange, I like riding trains. Back in the Philippines, I am a supporter of the MRT and LRT systems. Here, the trains are high-tech and clean with a capital C. The public transportation in Japan is excellent.

6. The senior citizens of Japan are so active (playing sports, taking their dogs for walks, going to the gorcery, etc), I think they can live to about 200 years old. It must be the tea.

Now back to studying...hehehehe.

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