The moral was a bit low lately and after the two busy days in Unzen, it was time to be back and go back to normal affairs. I took the time to send my lens for repair, get the translation of my driving license and arrange the last things I needed at the city hall.
On Monday, we had a Japanese test in order to get our placement and we got the results this morning. I failed pretty harshly and got placed in the beginner course… I was very disappointed and kind of felt like an impostor. I’m living my life pretty nicely here and going around my way. I get the services I need without any help and without the use of any other language than Japanese. I can hold a conversation for a while without struggling.
Yet, if you put me in front of a paper with grammatical questions and kanji recognition quizz, I’ll just be a disaster.
I tried to make myself feel better by picturing what a French grammar test would look like. I think I’d also fail pretty magistrally, yet I still speak French.
So you can imagine that in my stressed state, it just made everything worse and I could not imagine going on with my day without knowing what would become of the Japanese classes. The level I was put in had 5 classes per week (worth no credits at all) and it was clashing with the courses Leiden University approved. I asked and I was allowed to skip some of the classes. I asked again and they suddenly became all mandatory.
I asked to change and go the intermediate level and I was laughed at and put back to my score test; it’s too low, I belong to the beginner class, along with the people who cannot form sentences yet.
I went out, ate a bit with the other students. It was just weighing on my mind.
I came back again to the front desk and asked if I could take a mix. Skip the classes that were clashing with my official classes, and attend some of the higher level. I was met with a firm no, then I had to wait for another supervisor to arrive 30mn later.
I was finally told that Japanese classes weren’t mandatory and I could just ignore them if I wanted. For fuck sake, after already 2 years of university without any proper Japanese classes, I thought I could get them in damn Japan.
I try to talk my way out in Japanese, would it be just to show that I can survive in an intermediate class. I’m eventually told the name of the Japanese teacher and led to her desk.
Another story begins and I face the same issue; my test scores are low, I belong to the beginner class.
She decides to take a look at the results and where I failed, and she concludes that since I was close to the limit, I can take intermediate classes.
We went on talking (mind you, in Japanese) and she told me about her teaching experience abroad, and her love for Colombia and how the return to Japan was harsh.
In the end of our long 30-mn talk, she decides that the intermediate class is useless for me while the advanced would be too hard. I’m kind of forced to come up with the conclusion that I should self-study (ahah, I hate this concept so hard now) grammar, since it’s my weak point. She’s not really supportive (thinks I won’t do it) but she’s not offering any other options either… She shows me some books I could buy before leading me to the university book store… I suggest borrowing them from the library and she kind of brushes it off like « oh, you’re not that motivated eh, you’re not even gonna buy them? »
Well, lady, thank you for putting so much faith in me. I also like to believe that I cannot achieve things. This mindset will obviously lead me to do great things, duh.
I kind of left completely washed out. The other exchange students went out to the beach but I didn’t go, my head was too full of dark thoughts.
I went for cake because fuck it, people weren’t going to be supportive here and I needed something sweet. I stayed for a long time in that cafe, thinking about what I should do.
I have 5 courses in Japanese. They’ll need to be validated, good grammar or not.
I can self-study. I am in the country of the language I’m learning and will be able to put it in direct application. And if that’s not good enough of an incentive, I need to pass these classes in Japanese. May it just be to understand what the fuck I’m told, I’m gonna need to know these grammar structures. It’s just stupid straight learning. And it’s fine if no one can hold my hand and guide me through. I got it that they weren’t gonna do that here.
After some wise words from my mom, I moved on and went to buy some vegetables and note book. Once home, I escaped the heat and got right into grammar. Starting from the beginning, to make sure I’m starting on clean bases.
I got a message from Angie and Bettsy, both German, inviting me for an evening walk. It was warm and it had just rained. We went up this long hill, a 2 km hike.
At the top, this night view of Nagasaki. Above the horizon, some summer storms making lightnings pop up there and there.
It was a bit fresher up there. We went down and I invited them over for dinner.
It was good to have new people around, with kinder words than what I’ve been hearing lately.
Suck it up uh? I gotta get a thicker skin and not take to heart too much what I’m told.
It does feel like I’ve put my heart and my mind under pressure. I can feel that my eyes are ready to let a good quantity of tears if I think too much. It’s a tiring state. It’s like if I were ready to burst at any moment. Just waiting for the one drop that will overflow the already full glass.