Time really is a precious good here, as no matter where you live, there’s always not much left of it when you find yourself catching your breath. So many things have happened, but for a general description of the place and basic habits please check the blog of my friend Grega, one of the Vulcanus bunch, the first to open a blog (in my knowledge).
I agree very much with his observations, and the things he points out. Instead what really gets to me is that deep and strong sensation that gets your throat and your guts, that empty-inside feeling that suddenly brings you uneasiness.
The communication problems or, as someone more worthy than me said before, communication breakdown, can really make you feel very alone. We are strangers in an alien world, and not being able to truly interact with them just puts you in a parallel reality, as my friend Roberto said.
In effect we are not that alone, as we are a big group, and for dispersed we can be, all around Tokyo and its suburbs, when we meet we stick close together and have so many things to catch up with one with the others that we’re basically talking all the time and reassuring, supporting each other. BUT this is where the parallel reality comes into play. It’s like we took our lives and transplanted them to this place for now. Yeah we did sightseeing, shopping, eating and drinking…but the feeling still is that of a sudden teleportation to a different dimension.
That’s where I hoped (and I still do) that the school could help us. Surely speaking some japanese would enable us to connect to the local population, so kind even when there’ s no shared language in between.
So today I was very motivated when I listened to Suzuki-sensei, the principal of the school, making his introduction. But as soon as classes started, I think we all realised that there was no joke intended, no fun and no games: this is real stuff.
Lessons are held completely in japanese, with teachers who allow just a few english word every now and then to let us make clarifying questions. An english which they definitely don’t master, as their pronunciation is bad and the pronunciation…let’s not talk about that.
Probably this is intended, or just a roleplay, but if this is not the case, I’m sure as hell those teacher were chosen because of this.
So, change of plans. No more games, no more free hanging out. The vacation’s over, back to schooldesks. As if our years of high school and university studies meant nothing. Or so it seems to our friend Roberto who, sure of the fact that during his traineeship english will be the only language used (the company told him and Diego so), came here completely blank on nipponic notions.
By now I think he has starting coping with it, as we all are, and now, everyday, the schedule will probably run as follows:
~9.00 – 9.50 free study (optional, but actually necessary)
9-55 – 12.30 classes
12.30 – 13.30 lunch break
13.30 – 16.00 classes
16.00 – ~19.00 free study (again, unmissable…whether at home or at school)
Classes include conversation, vocabulary, calligraphy and sometimes other activities (outdoor trips, and so on)
So we were just starting to feel a bit lost and lonely, and we found ourselves already busy in a japanese work-like daily schedule.
I got home dead tired, and I’m mad I still have tons of pictures from last week which need conversion and definitely publication on the e-world…
So good bye hanging out at evening (never night, as the trains stop very early, in between 22.00 and 0.00…only weekends are left for us to hit the streets.
We’d better put ourselves strongly into studying this totally different language, as to get the included reward as soon as possible: as everybody is telling me, and obviously they’re right, as soon as we will be able to speak some words to the locals, we will be overwhelmed by their openness, curiosity and gentle nature, and every effort will be rewarded.
But still, it’s a long way to go…and a climb more than a walk.