As soon as classes started, I finished all of them today. 8 classes crammed in 3 days, schedule got approved by my university (now waiting for my home university to accept the unchangeable :D) and I am now free!
How to describe the classes? Most of the classes in English started by the teacher scanning the class and looking terribly disappointed when he eyed a non-Asian person. He then proceeds to let out of his mouth some bitter words: « Do you… speak Japanese? »
We shake our heads.
« Alright… I… I wanted to do the course in Japanese if… if there were only Japanese people… But… okay… I’ll do it in English… I guess… »
Yes. Let’s make a real course in English, and not just write it on paper for the government to be proud of ‘so many Japanese universities offering courses in English’!
The classes in Japanese were way more interesting, the subjects helping: « Gender and Human Rights », « Asian Languages and Cultures » and « European Languages and Cultures » (with in addition a « Dutch Culture », 3 hours per week all in Japanese). It does take quite a big effort to understand because there are a lot of unknown vocabularies and I spent a good deal of time writing it down. But damn, it was interesting. I’m sad the language barrier (may it be for Japanese teachers or Japanese students) is so strong that they have to dumb the content of courses in English. Unfortunately, I have to take the courses because I need the credits, so interesting or not, I’ll take them.
So far, the content of the classes seems alright. Let’s be honest, it’s done the Japanese way. Students show up in class and proceed to gently fall asleep for an hour and a half. No one takes notes, they just stare in front of them while the teacher ignores the rest of the room and talks mindlessly. Once the class is over, students stand up and leave. So does the teacher, and everyone goes to their next class, to do the same thing over. Repeat that 6 times a day, and you have a classical day at university.
Of course, all courses aren’t the same. Dutch Culture is taught by a naturalized Japanese (born Dutch) and he’s doing his classes the Western way. What does it mean? He knows people will lose their attention, and he tries to do something about it. He makes the class interactive, asks questions, makes jokes and he succeeded to hold a class for 3 hours without anyone falling asleep. And damn, it’s a challenge when the class is from 4 to 7 on a Wednesday.
The first course of Gender and Human Rights was taught by a Mongolese-born Chinese, living in Japan (with a flawless, flawless Japanese) and she’s just the most interesting person to listen to. Fair enough, there is a lot of things I don’t understand in detail but I get the main idea, and this makes me very happy. In general, I think I have a total of 8 hours of classes in Japanese. So even though I might not understand all of it, my ears are gonna hear real and (hopefully) interesting Japanese for 8 hours a week. The only challenge is to keep the motivation of catching and writing down the words I don’t know.
And write reports and pass exams. This is the most important part.
Since no one takes notes, I have no pressure taking actual notes during class. Everything is done with handouts. The biggest challenge will be to write something coherent in a limited amount of time. But you know, I don’t want to things in half, so I’ll do my best to keep things serious. After all, I need to deserve the 4-days weekend I built myself for the next 6 months.
School (almost) sorted out, I decided to take my life in my hands and go eat cake. Yes, again some could say. It’s true and the workouts I’ve done so far do not excuse them but I felt like celebrating life for a while there.
I heard about a cafe during the Dutch evening party and I wanted to check it out. Unfortunately, it was closed but I found something else on the side, while the area was completely busy preparing for Kunchi, one of the biggest festival of Nagasaki. It lasts 3 days and it has food stalls everywhere.
Happiness in a bucket.
Angie joined me (German fellow) and we enjoyed some lovely view in front of a sea sunset. My, I want this to be life. Cool atmosphere near the sea with sweet treats and good company.
The terrace wasn’t really busy and we stayed there for a while, enjoying the surroundings. When the sun set, we walked around the port and I was able to get some cool shots.
I re-discovered the concept of ‘night’ and the amazing feeling it is to walk at night in a T-shirt and shorts, with a slight breeze and not even the slight worry of getting harassed. We were just stopping there and there to take pictures, me trying to get countless long posed shots. Running to get the cruise ferry taking out of the port for its next destination in Asia. I didn’t get a good picture but just to see this giant sea building passing the bridge of Nagasaki is a treat for the eyes and for the heart.
I came back to my dorms by bike and got lost once more in my musical life guided by some « She’s A Rainbow » as always and « Isn’t She Lovely ».
Damn, do I enjoy nights here in Japan. It is worry-free, liberating and it heals the soul a bit. It pushes the anxiety away for some hours and you get a taste of carefreeness.