During one of my language sessions with Masako I was interviewed by the local television about my thoughts on a change of the start of the academic year in Japan from Spring to Autumn. Weirdly enough, they indeed broadcasted it and Masako recorded it later (that’s the girl’s voice in the background ).
And just for the content, I basically said that it would be easier for foreign students to study in Japan if they changed it to autumn. I actually said more in the interview, but that stuff has seemingly been cut out ^^
This time, I have to disappoint you as I have no pictures or videos for you, but I still have something to tell. Last Friday I had to write my placement test to determine, which language classes I can and have to take. Funnily enough, on that day the room was filled mostly with chinese and korean people (like 80-90% altogether) and I was thinking, that this does reflect the percentages of foreigners in Japan quite well. Still, it felt odd somehow, beeing like encircled as a foreigner between foreigners. As if beeing an oddity in Japan itself wouldn’t already be enough. Strange feeling, I can tell you ^^
The test itself started rather easy, after everything was explained to us in Japanese, Chinese and English, and I was able to make good progress until halfway, when things really started to become difficult. There was a steadily rising amount of Kanji and words that were unknown to me and the number of questions were I was just guessing grew in proportion to that, until I was just guessing in the end, when we were told that there were only 2 minutes left (great announcement – so timely…). Anyway, I made it into level 3 of 5 as expected (I was told nearly everyone coming from Hamburg gets into that level) and was able to choose from courses of level 3 and 4. After the level 3 class this morning, which was easily understandable, I decided to take the opportunity to also take one level higher and now have 2 courses of level 3 and 2 of level 4 in my schedule. Above that, I’ll visit two lectures on each Friday in Japanese about ‘Family, Environment and Industry’ and ‘Science and Society’ to try and understand more university Japanese and get more input towards the topic of my Bachelor degree, which I’d like to write about environment/environmental movements/society in Japan. we’ll see how that works out – I still haven’t written to my professor about that, but there still is time and I have to figure it out a little bit better myself before I do that.
That’s the deal so far. I’m meeting a lot of cool people here, Japanese as well as foreigners, and it’s a cool time despite the moments of homesickness in the evening in my cold room (and it’s really fucking cold here in the evening and at night!). Still, everything’s fine and I’m starting to make plans for the Golden Week, which is a national holiday at the beginning of May. Maybe visit Kobe and osaka… we’ll see…
On Monday, I had a talk with my coordinator for my year abroad to discuss the current situation and what to do about it. As it stands, the University of Hamburg is still in the mindset, that we aren’t allowed to go into Tokyo and the regions around it and that it is highly advised not to go to Japan at all (read: don’t go there or we don’t guarantee for anything!), which is all fair and that, but it leads to different problems for me. Because honestly: I would fly on the 31st if the university wouldn’t block me. Right now, I have to wait for 1-2 weeks to see how the situation in Fukushima develops and wait for my coordinator to give me the official ‘ok’ on flying.
At least he was also a little bit shocked by the mail from a professor of the University of Hiroshima, whi advised us to come at the beginning of April or skip one semester, because there would be too much problems otherwise and we Germans would be overreacting anyway. Those are not his exact words, but I took the liberty to paraphase it, because that’s what it reads like. If anything we’re rightfully more sensible to the dangers and risks of nuclear power and radiation. That aside, I would fly on my planned date if the reactors won’t blow up further and the situation was further stabilised, as I feel pretty save in Hiroshima. But that’s not my decision alone, it seems.
Therefor from today on, my flight date is officially classified by me as 31st of March + x. A fellow student of mine (you can read her blog on the right side) might have more informations on Friday, as her latest permitted entry date to Japan is the 6th of April and her matters are more urgent. I can still wait for the 1st of May to enter Japan, as my university was a bit slower with all the documents. What looked like a drawback at first seems to be an advantage now. So hopefully, I can give new input on Friday.
Today I’m just two weeks away from my booked flight to Japan. Considering the situation right now it seems unlikely, that I can take that flight without taking the risk of not knowing how the situation in the nuclear plant Fukushima 1 will develop further. The University of Hamburg has issued the warning for all students to cancel or to postpone their flights until the beginning of May, so I will probably give up one month in trade for a possibly stable situation and no risks, which I cannot calculate.
I’ll still have a talk with my language teacher and coordinator next week on Monday, to talk about how to deal with the situation and what should be done. He’s a japanese guy and most surprisingly they seem to take this disaster in a much less panicky fashion than we do in Germany. Possibly all cases of しかたがない, I suppose.
I’ll keep you updated!
Believe it or not, I’m going to study in Hiroshima for one year – starting next year! *insert dance moves here* It’ll either start in next years March or September, which I still have to find out because the sources are kinda contradicting on this matter (and as I have to apply for financial support, it might be useful to have the exact dates ready ^^”). Anyway – it’s awesome either way and I’m really really happy about it!
By the way – I googled Hiroshima wit their image search and the first page is showing only pictures of the atomic bomb damage and victims except of one, which shows the new city. Maybe I’ll come back glowing in the dark or something like that… xD