Archive | October, 2013

I thought college in Japan was supposed to be easy?

24 Oct

Well let me tell you now that that is a myth, well at least it is here at Tsuda. I am drowning in homework. Kanji test with 25 new Kanji and 80 vocab each week, 2 work sheets, 1 essay, reading 5 pages and meeting with a tutor once a week for 1.5 hours. The benefit is that my Japanese should be amazing when I leave next year.

Luckily I can escape on weekends but with curfew even that is hard. I spend my weekends eating crepes in Harajuku, shopping in Shibuya and karaoke in Kokubunji. I went to see the movie Hafu which is an excellent document about Biracial Japanese people. Check it out if you get a chance. It’s being released in cities around the world in the upcoming weeks. I also got to meet with a professional sumo wrestler this past week! Winter festival is coming up and I have a gymnastics meet that same weekend. Life is busy but better than the last time I blogged. I’m erasing people that cause me stress and focusing on enjoying my time abroad.Image

What’s the Difference Between Cultural Exchange and Cultural Appropriation?

18 Oct

Unsettling America

Courtesy of Elephant Journal(Related: “Cultural Appreciation or Cultural Appropriation?” and “Wanting To Be Indian“)

Jarune Uwujaren explains that there needs to be some element of mutual understanding, equality, and respect for it to be a true exchange.

From The Good Men Project

Cultural appropriation is a term that isn’t often heard in daily conversation, which means it’s inevitably misunderstood by those who feel attacked by feminists, sociologically-informed bloggers, and others who use the term.

Many a white person sporting dreadlocks or a bindi online has taken cultural appropriation to mean the policing of what white people can or can’t wear and enjoy.

Having considered their fashion choices a form of personal expression, some may feel unfairly targeted for simply dressing and acting in a way that feels comfortable for them.

The same can be said for those who find criticisms of the Harlem Shake meme and whatever it is Miley Cyrus did…

View original post 1,481 more words

Life in Japan 6 week check in

12 Oct

Life has been very hectic here in Japan. I think I have already went through the 2 phases of culture shock (honeymoom phase and the debbie downer phase) so now I’ve reached the acceptance phase. This means that I accept Japan for what it has and doesn’t have. I recognize that I will never find Welch’s fruit snacks, colby jack cheese, pepperoni or lawry salt seasoning. I’ve come to an understanding that carbs will make up 80% of my daily diet and that having 9 classes is normal here.

I’ve been filling up my days to stay busy. Trying not to thing about him (not so happy breakup before I left to Japan). I’ve been quite successful I must say. Gymnastics 3x a week and badminton 2x a week and maybe a boxing class here or there. Nothing beats throwing yourself into fitness regardless of the underlying reasons. Plus I have homework in 5-6 of my classes usually. I learn about 25 kanji a week and that is very stressful. Weekends I shop in Shibuya, sing karaoke for hours on end or go out to eat. All in all that equals a large chunk of money but it offers me piece of mind if that makes any sense. 

I’ve attached a few pics of my new cell phone, boxing class and from the welcome party at Tsuda. I have no idea why one of my friends covered herself with that thing lolImageImageImage

Classes have begun!

1 Oct

I started my first semester of classes of what will be a year long exchange here at Tsuda College for the semester. I must say that it is very intense compared to the 3-5 classes and average student in the US might have. I have 9 classes! I’m currently taking Kanji, Grammar, Reading, Conversation, Japanese Society, Japanese Modern History, Japanese seminar, Australian studies and Spanish 3 (random I know). They are all very interesting classes although my Spanish class is review of things I learned in in 201. They meet once a week.

I also joined the gymnastics club which is very intensive a most Japanese clubs are. Clubs in Japan meet 5-10 hours a week while circles are more social and may meet 1-2 hours a week. I practice on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays from 4-7pm. No one speaks much english and I am definitely the awkward girl at practice but maybe that’ll change over the course of the next year. The have legit competitions and are even ordering a uniform for me. I may join the boxing club or samba club which practices twice a week at 7pm. Weight loss is on the horizon! It is the best way to form friendships with people my age so far.

My cooking has not improved and I mainly eat rice made with my lovely rice maker and curry packets. I supplement this with the occasional pancakes, cereal or eggs with green peppers. I attempted to make a hamburger and with only salt and pepper it turned into a giant breakfast sausage. I added syrup to make up for no ketchup. I’ve brought some vegetables and meat to make stew so I’ll let you know how that all goes. Fruit is very expensive in Japan due to the importation taxes so unfortunately I don’t eat many vegetables. I have found a new vegan restaurant in Tokyo that I plan to try out in the next couple of weeks. I need a cell phone to get around and use these train lines!

No pictures today but I promise to be more proactive in documenting my experience through photos 🙂