Lists of stuff ;)

Three more days to go, and then I’m flying back home. Let me tell you some things I didn’t say before.

Firstly, I’ve bought so many souvenirs that I was afraid that I would have to buy a second suitcase (and pay a lot of money for taking a second suitcase onto the plane) or throw away as many things as I can: Contact lens fluids, soap, pens, paper, maybe even the book I brought for the exam I had to do here. I even considered tossing out my toothbrush, deodorant and the two towels I brought, if it means that I would up with one suitcase that weighs less than 20kg. However, after weighing my suitcase, I’m still well under the limit. Whew.

Let me tell you what I’m going to miss about Japanese culture and what things from this culture I’m more than happy to leave behind. Let’s start with the latter.

Farewell party

Yesterday was my farewell party from RIMS, because today is my last official day of the internship. As always, there’s still plenty of work to be done, but next week I’m not going to work too much. I’ve asked my supervisor to take a look at my report and on Friday I should get some feedback and then we’ll see.

Finishing my report and spending time at a beach… :O

Right now, I’m working on some stuff I have to finish before Friday. My internship officially ends on the 24th and I’d like to have my report finished by then, even though the official (well, sorta official) deadline is “before September 1st”. Saturday, I went to my office to work. It’s a bit Japanese, I know. I would have stayed at home and worked at the computer room, but the air conditioning there has broken down, which is about the worst that can happen to you with the heat and humidity here.

Need a bit of moral support..

If you’ve read my blog a little, you’ll know that I’m only telling stories about Japanese culture (In a lot of cases, I just forward what I’ve been told, actually, so don’t shoot the messenger ๐Ÿ˜› ) and nothing about my internship itself. That’s not because I don’t have anything to say about it, but rather because I realize that people involved in my internship may read this as well: I don’t want to pass any positive or negative judgment on this internship while I’m still here. Afterward, I’ll be able to reflect on it and say what went good and bad and how things should have/could have/would have been different, but I decided not to do that during the internship.

Halfway!

I’m halfway my internship! I’ll be back home in one month and four weeks exactly ๐Ÿ™‚

I think I’ve been writing quite a lot so far, but it’s slowly becoming more difficult to write down what I’m doing. Edit: Okay, I’ve written a huge page again, never mind.

Life in Japan just continues and I’m getting to know some people that I hope to meet again sometime, maybe in The Netherlands, maybe somewhere else. What is most interesting is to see how people deal with Japan: Everyone responds differently to Japanese culture. Yesterday, I described it to someone in a way that I thought was quite nice, so I’m going to repeat that here.

Chopsticks and culture

I’ve learned some new things about Japan, so here goes ๐Ÿ˜‰

On the topic of culture, I’ve had some interesting talks with people. Most were on the topic of integration and foreigners in Japan, obviously, and opinions differ. In any case, even after living for years in Japan, you’ll apparently stay a foreigner and you can encounter discrimination: There are establishments where they only allow Japanese people in, no gaijins (foreigners). That wouldn’t be possible in The Netherlands, it’d make the news. Also, someone said that he felt that more people should come to Japan, and that it would be good for Japan. I’m not sure I agree on that. Japan is the way it is, and having more foreigners would probably drastically change the country, maybe even make it less safe, less friendly and less.. Well, less Japan. For example, the fact that people don’t (want to) speak English is not a consequence of Japanese culture, it is Japanese culture, I think. Closely related is the example of their methods of teaching. My Hiragana/Katakana class consists mostly of repeating what the teacher says and memorizing short conversations. Sylvia and I agreed that we’re not trained to do that, she’s a mathematician and I’m a computer scientist; we derive things, instead of memorizing.

Quick update

Not much has happened this week. I’ve spent most of my time at Kyoto University, studying. The material I have to read is… very very difficult. The main obstacle is […]

Kyoto: Best described as a mix of … well.. stuff

So, where was I…

Last Wednesday I attended an elementary Japanese class. This was another great opportunity to meet new people, I’ve met Kin, a Vietnamese girl who sat next to me, Pattma from .. Korea I think – I’ll ask her later – and Hรฉlรจn from France, whose boyfriend I share my office with. The teacher didn’t speak much English herself (To be honest, I think young kids in the Netherlands would be able to compete with her), but it was enough. The class consisted of a lot of embarrassed laughter, mainly by said teacher (a little bit as if she’s embarrassed that that’s the way her country works) and in the end she asked us to introduce ourselves, which resulted in even more laughter because the Japanese pronunciation of some names is very different. For example Sylvia from Canada, had to repeat her name about ten times before the teacher got it. She then explained that Japanese doesn’t have a ‘v’ and also doesn’t have loose consonants. Sylvia would, in Japanese, be written and pronounced as Sirubia. The class mainly focussed on some basic hirgana and katakana (two of the used alphabets) and some sentences we could use in daily life.

First day in Japan

Written on Saturday, posted on Sunday.

Right now, I’m in the room where I’ll be spending the next four months. I’ll take pictures later and upload them. This story itself will have to go up later as well, because I don’t have internet in my room. Rather, internet is in a separate computer room, kinda like a small closet. I’ll request formal access next Monday. There was a welcome party, but I only popped in for a few minutes and then promptly asked where the computer room was so that I could send out a message that I’ve arrived okay, that was most important to me right now. I’m rather glad that not everyone secures their internet that well, I was one MAC-address filter away from not being able to send that message.