Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Who Cares About You, Let's See the Baby

So here are the promised pictures of Sara. I didn't have anything to do for several hours one day last week at school, so Rie and Sara met me at the park surrounding the Emperial Palace, which is right across the street from the school. Sara spent about an hour walking around, with some help of course.

And then she was tired...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Locked and Loaded

So I had my interview, which went really well, and ended up getting placed in the level VI class. There are eight levels, so that's not too bad. It's the pre-advanced level, which basically means we learn the advanced level stuff (level VII) but we also spend time reviewing the more difficult intermediate grammer. I'm excited to start class.

I registered for electives in Japanese No theater, Japanese Tradition and Entertainment, Japanese Culture, and Classical Literature. I'm also taking a lecture class on preparing for the level 1 JLPT (not JPT, I made a mistake before).
Anyway, I took some pictures of the school when I had some free time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Back to School, Back to School

So I had my first day of school today. Well, my first day of orientation. Classes don't actually start until the 28th. This whole week is all orientation, placement, and registration related meetings and information.

Today I took the written placement test and did fairly well I think. They had a very short, simple portion on characters and I'm pretty sure I aced that part. The rest of the test was grammar related and was broken up into three parts. The first part was equal in difficulty to the 3rd and 4th (the two lowest levels) of the official Japanese Proficiency Test. That's the test you have to take if you want to do any translation work or even just work in Japan using Japanese. That part wasn't too hard, it was just long. Then the second part was equal to level 2 of the JPT and I was able to answer all of the questions there. We'll see how many I got right on Wednesday. The third part was equal to the highest level of the JPT, level 1, and it was pretty hard. I was able to answer a few of the questions, maybe correctly, but definitely not scoring high on that. That's okay though, because that's why I'm here. If I scored well in the level 2 section and my interview goes well tomorrow I think I should be placed in higher level class. We'll see. I'm not going to get my hopes up.

I was busy and tired, because I was at school fro 8:30 to 6:00 taking the test, listening to orientation (Rie and I already took care of all the legal stuff they told us about (Foreigner Registration, insurance, and whatnot)), and then sitting through the entrance ceremony. It was interesting because Doshisha is a Christian school, so they had a prayer at the beginning and end and had read the parable of the sower (the seeds by the wayside and stuff) from Matthew. They also had the dean of the religion college who is a reverend I guess bless us and the end. The chancellor of the school is an older gentleman, he spoke to us and seems really nice. He told us to take care of our atama (head) and kokoro (heart) health more then anything else. Mental health I guess you'd call it.

One of the hardest parts was after the test, which ended at 11:30, we had until 1:45 to do whatever until orientation began. We had two hours where none of us knew what to do. We went to the cafeteria and ate. I sat at table with a guy for New York, one from California, and one from Germany. It was a long time to wait.

At the end of everything they had "party" with food an drink for us. I ate real quick and ran. It's funny, the administrative people all know me because of the trouble Rie and I caused over my visa. But they are nice, so no worries.

Anyway, I was only able to take one picture because I was busy, but I will take more later. Of the school I mean.

Friday, September 4, 2009

It Never Ends

It seems like there's been one thing after another getting in our way, but we finally made it and we are now in Japan!

We had to go to L.A. before we took off to get Sara's Japanese passport and to get my student visa. The Japanese Consulate that serves Arizona is in Downtown L.A. I could have done my visa by mail, but just like American passports, Japanese ones have to be done in person.

So we drove to L.A. on Sunday morning and just stayed in our cheap hotel that was in the middle of Chinaland. Every building had Chinese on it and every person we saw was Asian.

The next day we drove in circles around Downtown trying first to find the Consulate and then parking. I finally pulled to the curb and called the Consulate to ask them where I should park. Surprisingly enough, everything went smoothly with the visa and passport.

After we finished at the Consulate we took off for Disneyland and spent the rest of the day there. Sachan had a great time pointing at everything, yelling at other kids, watching all the lights and movement, and listening to all the music and sounds. Rie and I had a good time too. It was nice just to relax for a little, though we were extremely tired by the end of the day. More than relaxing, I guess it was nice just not to think about everything and just watch Sachi enjoy herself. We rode a few rides for children, watched a few shows, and ate some food. It was nice.

We drove home on Tuesday and everything was going fine until we hit the I10/I17 junction. Well, the car had been making a strange noise since we left L.A. but at that point it was much louder and sounded like we had a flat tire. I checked it, but there didn't seem to be any problem with it. Just to be safe, I ended up (luckily) pulling into a gas station to change the tire. I say luckily because after I put the spare on and started lowering the jack I realized that the spare had almost no air in it. So I drove the car very slowly over to the air pump at the gas station and filled it up with air. While doing that I heard another strange noise and when I got and and looked, some cheapo plastic part had fallen out from the wheel well (is that what you call it?) apparently that was jammed in the axle or something and was making the noise I heard early and also causing the car to move like it had a flat tire. The tire turned out not to be flat. Anyway, when we finally reached Mom and Dad's house I had about all I could take.

On Wednesday morning we took off for the airport and realized when we got there that we had forgotten a suitcase. So Dad ran back home and got it for us. From that point on everything went smoothly. It's just a long flight from San Francisco to Kansai Airport, especially with a baby. Sachi was pretty good though and didn't really cry at all. I had to walk around with her a few times, but we can't complain. We were better off then some of the other parents on the flight.

Once I find out what I did with the SD card, I'll be posting some pictures from Disneyland, though I don't have too many. I will also take some picture of Rie's parent's house and the room we're staying in and whatnot once we get it all straightened up.