Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Too school for cool

Why hello there, how are you doing? I know, right, it's been ages! But you're looking good, is that a new hair cut? But enough about you.

University! I am now in my second week of lessons at Doshisha, which means that 'learning' and 'thinking' are now both things I do, which as I mentioned in my last post, I have not done in a while. It's actually all going rather well.

I have made peace with Level IV. This is both because it has picked up in speed but also because of an important realization. I should be in Level V, if not VI. By this I mean that, considering the time I have spent learning and the lessons available to me, my Japanese should be at that level. But it is not. I have studied much of what is in Level IV at various times, but the truth is that I have not remembered enough of it. Even what I remember I can often not use it precisely enough to sound like a really natural, native speaker rather than the struggling foreigner I am. I have never been a good worker. I blagged a good set of GCSEs and A levels, a place at a top university and a near miss of a 2.1 in the first year of said university with - excepting a few honorable months here and there - little hard work. For this my Japanese is okay, in the way that words are only so much a part of communication and grammar only so important to words, I can communicate pretty decently in Japanese. But it's not really 'good', and it's certainly not as good as much English which is is the level I would one day like to reach. So while I would like to be in Level V, while a large part of me rebels against the idea of studying what I have studied so often before, I understand now the need to get, not so much the basics, as the intermediates really, really solid, before my Japanese can mature to a level I can be really proud of. I need to work.

And it seems that I'm able to! There are a lot of amazing cafes open until 24:00/25:00 (Yes, 25:00 is a time, as is 27:00 apparently...) and the combination of coffee + nice atmosphere + no internet seems to = 6 hours productive homework a day.

So I'll let you know how the language goes, but I feel like things are off to a good start.

But oh yeah, I met some students from Sheffield. All us Cambridge students were amazed to hear that they had to write at least one essay in Japanese every week, and that they got regular oral/conversation classes. But what's more amazing is that all the Cambridge students were amazed that language students at another university had to write essays and speak the language as part of there course. I learned a lot in my first year, especially regarding history and literature. Our language textbooks, written by university staff, are really good and explain grammar in a very intelligent way. But when it comes down to it, second year Japanese teaching at Cambridge is a fucking shambles, the compromise being less on the line of guided teaching/independent learning and more like independent learning/not providing an education. Having seen the language opportunities students at other unis have, I'm sure this class will have a lot of questions for our teachers upon our return.

Oh yes, my dad was here! Which was really nice. I've got some amusing photos - he has been rated from "he looks so young and cool" from one girl to "he looks like an action film villain, in the best possible way" from one guy" - which I need to upload, so I'll make our 3 day adventure it's own post.

And as for my social life, the key word is 鴨飲み which is read かものみ which is read kamonomi which means to nomu by the Kamogawa, which means to drink by the Kamo River. That's a Doshisha student word. So now you know a Japanese word which only cool Japanese people know. Congratulations! OH AND I went to a vegetarian festival Where someone tried to send me energy from the common spirit. OH AND I went to a gig in Osaka at a British Pub and felt really cool for being British.

This post is lacking in links and pictures. It's because don't have the time to sort out links and pictures if I'm gonna sleep at a sensible time.

Which would be now, night night

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