Scooter vs Japan

Things settleth | September 2, 2009

It’s been a busy few days. I landed in Japan on Saturday night, and have pretty much spent the last few days going around and getting used to the area.

School wise, things are going as well as can can be expected. Actually, I have the majority of tomorrow off. I finished almost all of my orientation stuff already. As it turns out, I am apparently getting a large Japanese scholarship, which brings my received funding up to an estimated $15000 in scholarships. Not bad. Now, before I curse the whole deal, here’s what’s going on. There is a large scholarship called JASSO which I applied for. Having not heard anything, I assumed that I didn’t get it, until I got an e-mail on Saturday about scholarship disbursement. More details point out that I have 480 000 yen coming in in 6 installments until December. Because I am on a year long trip, I’m curious if I get another sum in 2010. This added to my $3000 from my home University makes a nice sum to work with.

Anyways, banking is actually a bit of a pain. I cannot withdrawal (at least at the moment) any meaningful amount of money from my Canadian bank account. Furthermore, our Japanese accounts don’t open for a few weeks. This caused some brief troubles in paying my school fees. Fortunately, the school has offered me (and a number of other students) an option to have our fees taken off our scholarship. That means that I don’t have to pay directly for my school fees here, on top of not having to directly pay my tuition back home (which is also taken from my loan before I get it). So fee payment is basically a non-issue, which makes my life a bit easier.

I also registered for classes today and met a few of my potential profs. There are some cool courses offered here, and I’m excited for tomorrow when I learn about what classes I got into. The registration here is quite interesting. At home, you are assigned a date to pick your classes, and all classes are first come first serve. This is fine for some situations, but it really screws a lot of students because someone else took all the classes you need. Here at Kansai, they just introduced an online registration system (to replace a physical lottery). You register for the courses you want, and if they are full, a lottery is held to determine who gets into the class. It sucks for the person who registered first, but it means you can register whenever you can. Very cool.

I’m still waiting on the results of my language placement, which basically angers me. I know what class I need to be in, based on my background and the chapters of the textbook (used both at home and here) that I have done. But I need to wait until Friday to see where the school feels like placing me. I can retake the placement test, but there isn’t an actual audit method. Everything is based on tests, which don’t really work for a language. In a conversation,  you can ask questions and clarify information. In a listening drill, where a statement is only heard once and contains conflicting info, this is very hard to answer and unnatural.

Anyways,  school is going fairly well. I know where things are on campus, and I’m just about ready to start classes. Here’s hoping nothing screws up too badly.

Stay tuned for the “Living” version of Things Settleth, where I talk about buying a cell phone, and the magic food and shopping adventures I keep having. I just don’t want to write anymore right now.

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Posted in School

1 Comment »

  1. Write mooooooooore! I want to know what you’re probing.

    Comment by Lauren — September 16, 2009 @ 5:04 am


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About author

Scooter is an ESL teacher and Japanese anthropologist. He hopes to document his thoughts of living in Japan, continued cultural studies, and to provide advice for others looking to hop the pond.

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