a day to regroup

weill in japan: day 42

Milestone: I have been in a Japanese class where pornography was discussed.

The day after our second midterm was spent on less than productive things in class. Half of our time -- the second and third hours -- was spent in the computer lab gathering information for our presentations tomorrow. The first hour was spent, as usual, on discussions about anything and everything. One student broke one of the biggest taboos in Japanese education and mentioned that he visited a store in Akihabara which specializes in products about "hageshii sekkusu." The word hageshii means "violent," and sekkusu is a transliteration of the English word "sex." He also mentioned hentai, literally "pervert" but also known as a name for animated pornography which often includes extreme imagery. I had to explain the meaning of that word to my classmate sitting next to me. She was... surprised. The discussion lasted a surprisingly long time, although people were reluctant to offer too much information. I mentioned that I had seen a pornography vending machine, but I hadn't used it.

After our colorful discussions and our two hours of lab time, hour four consisted of talking with Japanese people about topics related to our presentations. Our only homework assignment is to plan for the presentation tomorrow. Our written report is due Thursday, but I can finish that tomorrow night.

Today was a day of preparation, but no new material is being introduced this close to the end of classes. At the same time, our class continues to lose people. Today, only nine people showed up in the morning, our lowest level to date. The four people who were absent will likely miss the remaining three days and not do the project. If any other people miss the project, it would reflect even more poorly on the teaching staff for this course.

Presentations will likely be informal compared to what I've done in the past. After a semester that culminated in two 25-minute PowerPoint slide shows and two reports that totaled 19 pages in length, tomorrow's ten-minute presentation and subsequent short report are nothing.

My first day of money rationing went well. I went to campus with my ration of ¥1200 ($10.00) plus a few small coins. After selling my extra bus card for ¥300, or about half of its value, I had more than enough money for drinks during the day and a tasty off-campus lunch. I even dropped ¥200 for a game of Taiko no Tatsujin 3, leaving me with just ¥35 remaining. Tomorrow I won't have any extra source of income, but it won't be hard to spend my budget exactly.

It's going to be very hard to pack my suitcase exactly to capacity. I did a trial run with all my clothing. The clothing fits if it's all tightly rolled and packed. Even my laptop case will fit. I will need every last cubic inch of space in all three of my bags, but I am confident that I can pack everything. The only problem will be if I snap a zipper from packing too much.

Just three days of classes remain. My report can be done tomorrow on campus if I bring my laptop. Packing for home will be an experience to remember.