Orientation week

So even though orientation week isn’t over yet, the last few days have been filled with a ton of things to do. Since I got to the dorms early, I was scheduled to do most of the pre-orientation activities the next day. Which was the chance to get most of the main orientation requirements done so I didn’t have to worry about them during the week. I had my language lab orientation and banking session on Monday. The language lab was pretty straight forward and simple. After it was over there was a campus tour that Jess and I opted out of. We got food from the cafeteria and then went to the banking session. I had heard that this was the most frustrating part of orientation and it definitely lived up to that expectation. All of us EMU kids had to open a bank account since we get a meal stipend from Kansai Gaidai. The bank forms require you to write your name and information exactly like it is on your passport and to sign exactly the same way every time. Needless to say there were people who had to rewrite their forms. I had to do a few over as well. They said they will check over them this week and if we get a slip in our mail box from them it means we have to do a form over again. As of today I haven’t seen anything in my mail box from them so I’m hoping my forms were okay.

Tuesday was my placement exam. The listening part was terrible because you only had one chance to listen and it was pretty fast. Most people I’ve talked to said they didn’t do well on the listening so I’m not really too concerned. The next part was a hiragana and translation test. I tried to translate as much as I could. Next was the main test. It was multiple choice and actually pretty easy. There are five sections labeled A,B,C,D,E and you take different ones depending on how many years you’ve studied. I did A,B,C, and maybe three or four questions into D. I’m hoping to be placed in Japanese 3. I feel pretty confident that I will make it there. I’ll know by tomorrow.

I met up with Samara and Matt after paying for my fees and we got lunch from the cafeteria again. Let me just say that the cafeteria food is actually good and really cheap. I’m thinking I’ll probably end up getting lunch there a lot. After, Samara and I went to get my cell phone. They were out of the white one since all of the students here are getting the same phone, so I ended up with black. It’s a decent phone and as long as it sends messages and calls people I’m happy with it. Matt had his language lab orientation so we waited for him to finish then went in search of a bike shop. I ended up paying around $65 for my bike. Matt payed a bit more since he is tall and had to get a bigger bike. Biking makes getting around Hirakata much easier and a whole lot faster. I will say that it is kind of hard to ride since the streets here are so narrow and there are always people walking on them. Apparently students get hit by cars pretty frequently here. I’m going to aim to avoid being one of those people.

That night all the rest of my suite mates checked in and we all spent some time in our common area chatting. One of the girls had both of her suitcases sent to Hawaii so she was without clothes. We all told her she can borrow what she needs from us. Hopefully her stuff will show up soon though. It was my nightmare and biggest worry that my luggage would go missing when I got here, so I can sympathize with her.

Today was busy as well, as we had a general orientation this morning at nine thirty. There were two more orientations later on in the day for the faculty introduction and a sessions on safety in Japan. The safety one was done by one of the english teachers and ended up being fairly amusing. How much of what we learned will be practiced by the international students is yet to be seen though, haha.

I also checked my mail box at school and low and behold I was assigned a home visit family! I had thought my application for it didn’t get submitted because of some errors I had sending it via email. But it went through and I’m super happy it did. I got a sheet telling me about my family and a note from their son who is a Kansai Gaidai freshman. I get to meet them tomorrow at the school. I am super excited, but also very nervous. I hope my Japanese can rise to meet the challenge. Either that or it’s going to be stretched to the limit.

Tonight we went out to a placed called Gusto for dinner. It was a bizarre mix of food from random places. They had Japanese food mixed in with Italian and Mexican. Their desserts were also really, really good! According to Tim though there is a place in Osaka called Sweets Paradise that is all you can eat desserts for ninety minutes. I may or may not die from sweet overload if I ever go there.

All in all it’s been an interesting couple of days. There were some good times, and then some not so good ones. I’m not sure if it’s culture shock or just getting adjusted to being on a campus with a ton of students. Either way I’m making the best of it!

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