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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Back to school

A genuinely great day today.

I must admit, I was a bit nervous going in to that first class this morning. It's been what, 16 months since I was last had to do any work for SEAS, where effort really matters. There was also this fear that everyone else would be streets ahead of me, and I'd be left floundering like a harpooned whale - thankfully I wasn't the only that was constantly reaching for the dictionary to check the kanji! The essay I wrote may have been incredibly childlike, but I took great pleasure in just managing to write one-and-a-half sides in the time we had about "My year in Japan".

This afternoon, after turning 4 Japanese history text books into an A3 portfolio of some of my better photography of late (sold textbooks for £25, spent £20 on printing, £5 on a folder to put them in), it was time for our speaking lesson, in the brand spanking new sci-fi 'Information Commons' (as pictured below), an incredibly high-tech library of sorts which is more computer generated than the image which is this web page.



Once again, we were nervous. This was to be our first discussion in Japanese together. What if Edward had become fluent in his year abroad? What if everyone laughed when I asked what a yama was...?

As it happens though, it seems that everyone is pretty much at the same level. In fact, it was actually FUN talking together in Japanese! There wasn't this need to pronounce words in question form to check that people understood. They just did. And I understood them too, every word! How exciting is that?!! It still surprises me - I can understand Japanese, and even speak it to a certain extent! It feels great, and reminds me of why I started to learn it in the first place. Very different from the feeling I have when speaking in Japan (where I feel somewhat limited in ability) - here it becomes a special gift that we share. We can be clever together, and that's nice.

The other nice thing today was simply being with my classmates. It reminded me just how much I like them, everyone without exception, they are all so nice (I was banned from using that word at school). Our year apart has somehow brought us closer. Old quarrels have been forgotten, and there's a feeling of comradery (sp?) - we've survived this far together, and together we shall conquer the beast that is BA Japanese Studies!

I can see the workload is going to weigh down on me pretty soon. Already I have 2 presentations next week, and deadlines for essays. Then there's that pile of books about environmental issues in China that I got out of the library last week and am yet to look at... Must do that tonight.

Finally made it up to the healthfood shop tonight, great to get some organic fruit after a year without. Green & Black's chocolate too. yum yum.

Anyway, best get on.

Yep, it's good to be back.

Joseph

p.s. Today's link for a more positive approach to life is "One word that can change your reality..."

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