weill in japan: day 23
Work is boring but it's getting done. My laundry is nearly dry. The
rains from a typhoon have come and gone. I have slept through an earthquake.
With the exception of a vocabulary quiz that I aced on two days' study
today, I really haven't had much classwork to do this week. This has allowed
for a lot of recreation and just plain rest. Right now my plans for the
weekend are still up in the air, but hopefully something will materialize on
Typhoon 9 struck southwestern Japan today, but we got hit hard with heavy
rains during the middle of the day. These rains were much more intense than
the ones during Typhoon 7, but still nowhere near the level of the hurricanes
I'm used to back home. Maybe these typhoons aren't the strongest ones
possible, but my guess is that we haven't been hit with the full force of
Sleep is essential to good starts in the morning, and yesterday was one
of very few days when I actually got eight full hours of sleep -- no more,
and no less. As a result, I was fully energized without any caffeine to
wake myself up.
Today was another typical day of classes, followed by lunch on campus and
a meeting with my professor. The class's attitude towards this one professor
is trending as far negative as I've ever seen, especially considering that
we are subjected to two professors for two hours a day every day.
Her insistent corrections and use of a bell to indicate when we should stop
speaking are obviously backed with good intentions, but they come across as
very irritating. I don't think I've looked forward to Friday this much
since high school.
Another trip to Kichijoji marked the close of the day. Unlike my trip
on Saturday, this time around featured
less insistent shop owners and a slightly more tolerable crowd size. Now that
schools in Japan are on summer vacation, the Capcom Plaza arcade was packed
with schoolchildren. Justin and I played Dance Dance Revolution -- his first
time while in Japan, my third -- and failed. Repeatedly. Guess we need more
practice and more coins.
The 100-yen coin is both a blessing and a curse. It's roughly equal to
$0.86 in American dollars, but it is used as often as the American quarter
dollar. Nearly all video games cost either ¥100 or ¥200. Capsule
vending machines only take 100-yen coins, although a few also take the
500-yen coins that I dread losing. Coin-operated lockers, telephones, and
many vending machines are centered around ¥100 price points. All this
means that the coin is extremely easy to spend, and I've probably spent at
least ¥5000 ($42) in ¥100s already. It's nice to have a coin that
is worth so much, but at the same time I can't regard it the same way as a
There are only 16 computers in the library that summer students are allowed
to use, and one of them was having network problems today. That meant that
I had to wait for about 20 minutes to get a free computer, since college
students need plenty of time to get all their e-mail and instant message
conversations done. It really annoys me that we're not allowed to use the
dozens of Windows 2000 computers that sit unused in the library -- not because
they're Windows machines as opposed to Macs, but simply because they're
perfectly good machines that we can't use.
Even though my trip to Kichijoji today was pretty short, I did a little
gift shopping for friends and family back home. Although I didn't buy too
much, I decided to jump at the chance to get the Opera Singing Santa that
I first saw last week. For ¥1000, it's a bargain, and it'll make a fine
prize for an upcoming College Bowl event. The big problem now will be wedging
that large box into my duffel bag, and shuffling my various belongings around
to get everything packed. My level of Stuff is getting a little excessive.
Just one more day and the week is over. I think I might just get through
this week alive.