You Sick Little Moo Cow

A Class

Yes, as you can see from the subject, by some miracle I made it to A Class. For the first time I'm actually sad I started at the rock bottom in Q Class because since A Class is 6 months long (compared to the usual 3 months) and I can only study a maximum of 2 years on a student visa, I'll only manage to complete half of A Class, which I'm finding rather enjoyable. I could of course continue on a tourist visa but 2 years of sitting in a classroom here is enough for me and there's no guarantee they'd let me stay in A Class. They probably only put me through to shut me up and since it's my last term. Ah well. Part of why I'm enjoying it is doubtless because I've already mentally checked-out of Yamasa so I'm no longer putting so much pressure on myself to study.

In other news, my holiday back home in England was wonderful although I wound up being sick for most of it. I caught a cold on the second day which I'd mostly gotten over halfway through the holiday when I caught what I feel justified in calling the flu which I've never had before. I'm not one of those people who exaggerates a headache as a migraine or a splinter as a gaping wound so you can trust me here. I was rather ill. Particularly when I flew back to Japan. I though my eardrums were going to explode when we landed for the chang-over in Paris. Because of the sinus congestion my ears popped continuously because I couldn't swallow with a blocked nose without popping my ears and usually swallowing is how I deal with ear-poppage due to landing landing. I was beside myself it was so frightening. I seriouly thought I could feel my eardrums tearing. *Shudder*

Paris airport was covered in snow so many flights had been delayed which meant a huge queue at the Air France desk where I needed to get my new boarding pass. My previous plane had been an hour late which left me an hour to get my boarding pass but after waiting in the queue for half an hour during which time no-one moved forward (honestly) I started to panis and moved to the staff exit beside the desk area hoping to catch someone. Ten minutes later the board (which said my flight was on time) flashed to say my flight was boarding. I'd already seen a fight errupt in the queue when someone tried to push in so I ran to the security entrance to the departure gates and spoke to the guard there. He told me to queue, I told him if I queued I'd miss my flight, he told me 'Not my problem' which is pretty much why I hate the fucking French and I don't care who flames me 'cause they can fuck off too. I went back to the queue for another ten minutes when the board suddenly said my flight was departing at which point I started crying because I'd already been travellling for 9 hours including the train from Plymouth and the 4 hours I would up waiting at Bristol airport, plus the thing with my ears had left me unable to hear in one ear and my voice was going. In the end I did push in front of a woman who had been being seen to since I joined the queue in the very first place (50 minutes ago) . I apologised to the lady I'd pushed in front of and basically bawled my story (in English) to the guy behind the desk. I don't know how much he understood but he took the piece of paper I had detailing my flight and started typing frantically then tried phoning someone, then disappeared for over five minutes when no-one answered. It was the longest five minutes of my life. Obviously I wanted to get the travelling over with but add to that the fact I was ill, wanted to see my boyfriend at last in Japan, and was supposed to be checking into a hotel soon after arriving, I was beside myself. Plus there was no way I could afford a new ticket even if the airline might later refund me. I didn't even have temporary money.

Eventually the man came back and started calling for other passengers going to Nagoya, of which there were none. He escorted me back to the same asshole guard and I was scanned through. When I got to my gate I found that there were still plenty of people left to board. When I boarded I had to tell the person checking me in to key in the number on my pass because otherwise my bags would not be loaded on the plane. I asked how I would know for sure they made it on at this late hour and the man said I wouldn't know until I arrived in Japan which I accepted at the time, then found the first Japanese person I could on the flight and asked them about it. Since the Japanese are, unlike th French, all about customer service, the air hostess found a member of the ground crew who then located my bags and confirmed they'd made it onboard.  I then settled in for the most uncomfortable flight of my life with everyone around me pretty much treating me like a leper and donning face masks. I was soooo glad when we landed, and with much less ear-poppage too.

I had what seemed like an endless train ride to the hotel in Nagoya city during which time I had to sit on the floor because I thought I was going to pass out. I had thought about getting a taxi (which would have cost about the equivalent of 60 quid) but in the end it wasn't the exorbitant amount of money that stopped me, but the fact I found the train before I found the taxi rank. Otherwise I would have handed that money over and considered it well spent - and that coming from someone who usually balks at paying a fiver when walking is free!

Anyway, I got to the hotel, checked in, had a bath, spoke to Alex during his stopover in Tokyo (he arrived back from Boston on the same day as me but 7 hours later), then I had a short nap. I was already feeling much more human and my excitement carried me through the reunion with Alex in good form before I started feeling crap again around midnight. Now, almost two weeks after my return, I think it's fair to say my flu has subsided to a terrible cold. I no longer have the terrible body aches or headaches or earraches, for which I'm very grateful. I did have to take the first 4 days off school though. I missed the Friday, went for two lessons on the Monday morning, then went home and stayed there until Thursday. Now I just can't seem to shift the cold.

However, I do feel very happy to be back wrapping up my time in Okazaki and able to see Alex again whenever I want to. Our new apartment in Gifu is signed and sealed, Alex is sorting the gas, water and electric today, then we'll be shopping for appliances which will be fun. I'm also starting to look for a job although I need to figure out how to do a Japanese CV first. At least I now have a mobile phone which is pretty vital to the process.

And that's pretty much it. I made a mean spagetti bolognese the other day, the leftovers of which are currently reheating. During the peak of my illness there was a five-day period where I ate about 5 mouthfuls in total so I lost any weight I might have gained over Christmas plus a little extra but now I'm eating almost normally again. Hurrah!
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Good bottle.

2009


HAPPY NEW YEAR!


We're having a quiet one here in Plymouth but however the rest of you are greeting 2009 I hope you have a ball.


       

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    depressed missing Alex
North & South 'Happy Ending'

Home At Last


Yes, I am home at last. It all came quite quickly in the end. One minute I was counting the days until I left Japan and the next I was on the plane. I arrived on Thrusday and since then I've been run off my feet. Friday took be to town and my beloved Ted Baker. Yesterday I did a round-trip to Bath to seem some Uni friends who were travelling down from Oxford and London. Today was spend visiting family and eventually just sitting and catching up on some emails. It seems I've managed to catch a cold the second I come home after having been as healthy as a horse during all my time in Japan.

Tomorrow I'll be Christmas shopping (yikes) then on Tuesday there's more shopping followed by the movies with cucumberfaye who has graciously agreed to watch Twilight with me.

Other than that my time should be taken up mostly with eating my way through my food list. of which I've already managed to cross off quite a few items. I can feel the pounds piling on already :o)

Speaking of which, I think the time may have come to cross of Number 17: Smokey bacon crisps...
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Yellow Rose

New Goal

Oh happy day. It's raining and it's cold. On the downside that means I had to skip my workout today because Alex's veranda where the equipment is set up is currently awash, but on the upside it means I'll sleep reeeeaaaallllly well tonight despite things being so unsettled all around me.

I'm still not sure what I'm going to be doing next term (i.e. my final term). If I'm allowed up to A Class I'll stay and do that, if not there's no point staying and wasting money repeating a term I already understand the necessary 文法、言葉 and 漢字. And don't ask why I felt the need to put that in Japanese as it was entirely unnecessary. It's just that every time I write these posts in English one of the many voices in my head reminds me that I should be doing them in Japanese - which I can do perfectly well now...it's just...well, forgive me for saying it since I've been studying another language in another country for 18 months but, ENGLISH IS SOOOOO WONDERFUL! Aside from the food I intend to consume when I get home, vying for equal precedence is my need to burst into Waterstones, launch myself upon a random table of best-sellers, and make a book angel. Pardon my language but I have to be savage to convey the depth of my need to - sorry again - rape Waterstones. Not the books themselves, mind you. Those I will make love to tenderly. But Waterstones...Waterstones is going down...

Ahem.

Anywho...

On the subject of books, some of you may have noticed I've been lacking a little direction of late, say, oh about the last 18 months or so? My writing ceased as soon as I started studying Japanese. I feel like the constant memorization of facts pretty much locked the creative part of my brain in a stranglehold. A similar thing happened when Dad died so I'm hoping that after Yamasa, if I stick with it and build my writing stamina back up again, I should be able to revive the aspiring author in me once more. In fact, with the end of Yamasa in sight, I can already feel her shrugging off the coils. I just have to hold off for a few more weeks because I have the feeling that if I let her out now, after 18 months of creative draught, I won't get any of the studying I need to get done in favour of writing about anything and everything that strikes me as being nonsensical and thus preferable to the grey reality of recent months.

Where was I?

So. Many of you will also be aware that I've yet to stop being a student and I'm 24 already so I'd like to at least appear to have grown up some day soon. Had I stayed in England I would have tried (whatever my success may have been) to enter into publishing. Now that my foreseeable future is grounded in Japan, I've had to rethink things somewhat. Realistically, since I loathe the Japanese workplace, any work I do here will be teaching English or the oh-so-appealing manual translation. Also, if I can find Japan based English language publisher, magazine or newspaper willing to take me on, I certainly won't say no. However, since none of these are my dream job, I intend to keep my soul alive by writing and taking up a craft.

My dad was a carpenter who could literally make anything he set his mind to using tools, materials and his own two hands. And that's the crux of it, after SATs, GCSEs, A-Levels, Bachelors, Masters, and now pre-advanced Japanese, I think I'm through relying solely on my head (and what a dangerous that is concept anyway O_o) Next I want to learn to employ my hands. My days in the Yamasa classrooms have been some of the most sedentary days of my life. I even took up bloody weight-lifting a year ago to combat it! Not that I regret that since I love it, but still...

As soon as I got to Japan, the goal I'd been planning throughout my Masters degree just as I'd planned my Masters during my Bachelors and my Bachelors during my A-Levels, I stopped having anything to plan. My goals just disappeared. Part of that is undoubtedly because I met Alex - role your eyes all you please but everyone gets to be a fool in love once. About a month ago, though, I decided what I want to do, which is actually something I've wanted to do since I was little. I want to learn to make books. It isn't just reading them or writing them I love, it's absolutely everything about them. I thought perhaps I would learn wood-turning one day and the idea certainly does still appeal, but the one that predates it is hand bookbinding.

The happier me that's been posting lately is partly due to this new direction. Admittedly it involves me being a student a little longer but not that much as, at this stage, I will have to content myself with short courses and develope my skills alone in the intervening time. I've been waiting to get to England before purchasing any books on the subject so literally at this stage all I know is what I want to do, not the pros and cons involved in actually doing it. I have all this ideas about using traditional Japanese washii paper for binding or end papers,  a traditional Japanese form of sword handle wrapping using cord on the spine, which would then fit very nicely with a slipcase made of ホウの木 which is the kind of wood that 白鞘 (shirasaya: literally 'white scabbard') are made of. I'm certain there's more than one person out there using washii paper in bookbinding but I don't know about the other two ideas or how feasible they are. Plus ホウの木 is exorbitantly expensive so I'd probably have to use an alternative that wouldn't be half as satiny smooth or pure in colour.

All this will involve another trip back to England after Christmas - sooner rather than later depending on next terms status. But as I said, things are very unsettled here right now so I don't know what's going to happen exactly. At least I have something to think about until I've tried my hand at it in the flesh and discovered whether it really is for me or not.

Btw, I know mentioned weight lifting but don't expect me to be bursting out my clothes like Hulk when you see me. I was very careful to avoid that, I promise. It's purely for health and enjoyment, not so I can enter the UFC or ground and pound anyone in my way once I get to Waterstones...
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Yellow Rose

5 weeks to go!

Yep, I'm counting down to my Christmas holiday already. Honestly, the prospect of Christmas hasn't been this exciting since I was little. The only bad thing will be being away from my boyfriend for two and a half weeks but I dare say it'll do us both some good and I intend to stay too busy to be lonely.

My English lessons on Friday both wound up being about the origins of the Cornish pasty which is testament to my current preoccupation. Who knows, next week could be about Thorntons toffee...

*Drool*

So, I had my first real tests of the term on Friday which went neither too badly or too well. Thankfully I've reached the state where I just don't care. After literally working myself ragged last term to keep passing the bar which they raised twice having already taken our money, I still wound up having to beg my way through to the next level. Since nothing I do apparently matters, Yamasa can fuck the hell off.

With that early resolution, life has gotten a little more bearable here in grey old Okazaki. I'm reconnecting with anime and manga - namely anime though as I'm watching Vampire Knight Guilty and Kuroshitsuji. As for manga, I've finally started investing in the native language editions but sadly I don't find them as pretty as the Tokyopop translations. Still, Fruits Basket is Fruits basket whatever the language. Plus I'm reading this full colour manga about a lost kitten called Chii and a beautiful hardback compilation of Chibi Marco-chan stories. Neither are very ambitious I grant you, but I hate having to read with a dictionary permanently on hand.

In other news, is anyone watching the HBO series, True Blood? I'm loving it! What is it about vampires? Plus I have Top Gear, Crusoe, Merlin, Family Guy, South Park, The Simpsons, Vampire Knight Guilty, Kuroshitsuji, Boston Legal and Bones every week which means, at long bloody last, SOMETHING NEW TO WATCH!! I've watched everything else I have so many times I'm surprised I can't see through the disks yet.

Anyway, I'm off. My hands are too cold to type anymore. (Yay Winter!)

Ja ne!
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North & South 'Happy Ending'

Christmas In The Air

As the weather gets colder it seem I get happier. Now that my flight home for Christmas is finally booked my head is already more in England than Japan. I've even typed up and printed my list of food demands for my mum :o) 

Since I've only had 2 days off in the 19 months since I started at Yamasa, I've decided to skip the last Thursday and Friday of school this term since they're never very instructive and involve more games than learning. That means I'll be flying to England in the morning on Thursday 18th December and arriving in Bristol that same Thursday in the afternoon since I'll be flyiing back in time. Christmas and Easter sees the longest Yamasa holidays (both usually 20 days long), and given that I'm skiving those extra days, I'll be staying in Plymouth for just over 2 weeks, leaving in the morning on Tuesday 6th January.

I am soooooooooo excited. I can't wait to sit on a  soft sofa and watch English TV, and go to the cinema and eat sweet popcorn. Apart from my trip to Boston I haven't enjoyed a sofa since I can to Japan, plus neither Japan or America do sweet popcorn O_o My boyfriend has never even tasted it! Sadly he'll have to wait until next time since he's off back to Boston to be with his family this time around. He's Jewish so perhaps the level of festive celebrating I have in mind scared him off ;o)

Can I book you for some cinema trips, cucumberfaye ?

Meanwhile, B Class has settled into a pattern. It's not a pattern I'm very happy with but then Yamasa has been falling short in pretty much every area for the last few months so I'm at last ceasing to be surprised. Yesterday the whole school did the mock Japanese Language Profieciency Test - 1 is the highest level and 4 is the lowest. Everyone in my class except me is taking level 2 for real in December this year (the Asian students are taking level 1) so I'm stuck doing the preparation work for level 2 as if I were really taking it. Anyway, I passed the mock exam yesterday which was rather gratifying. It uses real past JLPT exam questions so it was a decent gauge of progression which these days is owed more to my own study than the senseis' teaching. Sadly it was only a mock so no nice certificate for me :o(

So, despite the fact that Yamasa continues to suck, I'm feeling rather happy. The first big tests of term (that count) are next Friday so be pepared for my mood to change.

Bye for now!
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Special Dad

B Class


So, today was the first day of B Class and my second stint as 'Sensei'. First let's address the one that didn't suck; the teaching.

Actually, while the teaching was once again surpirisngly enjoyable, what's really worth mentioning is an encounter I had on the way to the lesson. I'd just left school and was passing きつつき (which means woodpecker and refers to the restaurant eatery by school), when I was stopped by a random woman. I think she was probably Chinese and I couldn't understand her Japanese or broken English very well so at first I thought she was looking for her daughter's teacher and figured that her daughter must be studying at Yamasa since the mother seemed foreign. After being interrupted with the question of where I was from (and bearing in mind that school had overrun and I was in danger of being late for my student), I explained quickly that Yamasa was that building just over there which is where she should ask about her daughter's teacher. The lady then said, "No,no, you teach daughter English and I pay you salary," at which point she whipped open her wallet and brandished a photo of a 5ish year-old. I said the required "kawaii" and explained that I was on my way to work. She offered to give me her mobile number but I said I didn't have a phone so she gave me her email instead. "If have time you teach daughter English, yes? I wait. Thank you. Good bye." Thus the encounter ended. o_O Am I the only one who see's something iffy with finding your child's teacher on the street?

Needless to say, I haven't decided whether to contact this lady yet. On the one hand I could use the money, on the other I kind of like going through 暮らしの学校 for my students. Plus I'm not so sure about teaching kids... Or where we'd conduct the lessons... I definitely don't want to go to a stranger's house.

I'll think about it.

As for the real reason for this post - I started B Class today (all the way from Q Class!). The first day of term is usually a 'getting to know your fellow classmates' kind of affair, but today, apart from the first lesson, we swapped all the lengthy introductions, explanations, and personal mission statements........................................................
........................................................................................................................
.............................wait for it...........................................................................
.............................................................................................
TESTS!

Clearly it just wouldn't do for us to start the term with a shred of confidence. Nope. Let's nip that in the bud sharpish. Plus it's all in preparation for the 能力試験 (Japanese Language Proficiency test not held by Yamasa) which I'm not even taking!

UGH.

The fact is, though, I probably would have preferred the testing to the ritual time-wasting crap we usually have to put up with, except that I totally screwed up on the Writing test. I didn't realise that when some of the people in my class dissappeared for break, that they weren't intending to come back. Instead they were heading to a diffferent classroom since the class is split into two groups of people planning to take 能力試験2級 or 能力試験1級 (Level 1 is the highest you can go which limits it to either Asian students who know kanji, or uber Westerners who've been studying it for quite a long time). Anyway, once I realised I was with all the 1級 student, I halled ass downstairs to join the Westerners taking 2級. By then I'd already missed the explanation on how to fill out the answer sheet which I found out I'd done wrong when I handed it in . Not that it would have made a difference since I took too long on the reading section which left me with no time to answer the far more simple grammar stuff which I could have answered most of correctly. It's my own fault. I should have left the reading for last, but I thought the whole test was reading since the first 6-odd pages of the booklet we had was exactly that. Why didn't I think to check further?!?!

Basically it was not a good start to the term, especially considering they made me beg on my damn knees to get into this class in the first place. Speaking of which, there are a couple of people in the class who may actually have less ability than I do (in some areas at least). I hope they had to beg too.

Only 4 people made it through to A Class which leaves a few people repeating B Class - I'll have to battle to get some answers in before they do since they've already studied it all. Our class totals 13 people which is large considering the maximum at Yamasa is 15. We also have a very small classroom and no apparent way to arrange the desks so that more than half of us can see the board. I hope that gets sorted soon... It's bad enough having horrid chairs and evil desks you can't cross your legs under without missing half the teacher's instruction too.

Sorry for all the complaining. I'll try for something nicer next post. Please just trust that I'm not making this stuff up or exaggerating in any way. I tell it as it is...unfortunately...

Oh, and one more gripe, the cold weather went away!

Yellow Rose

Sensei? Me?

Hey folks. It's time for a new layout. I thought I might be more inclined to visit if the scenery were a little different.

Today I taught my first English lesson and found myself being called 'Sensei' for the frist time. In Japan sensei is applied not only to teachers, but to doctors, lawyers, novelists, musicians, artists e.t.c - basically to people who has acheived a level of mastery in their profession. I always hoped to be called sensei in relation to my writing one day but I'll admit, I never saw myself as an an actual sensei sensei. Very bizarre. Having said that, I did toy with the idea of taking a TEFL course before I came here (even just one of the shorter ones) in case this situation arose. Now that it has, I can certainly see how such a qualification would have been advantageous but I think I fared fairly well today none-the-less. Luckily my new student knows the basics at least.

In other news, the weather has taken a wonderful turn for the chilly recently. Actually it was as if someone flicked a switch on Wednesday last week. Just like that I stopped using the air conditioner, stuck my duvet back in the sheet I'd been sleeping under, and even had the heating on low for a brief period
. My room which feels like a cell in the Summer feels almost cosy in the Winter so this change is more than welcome. On the other hand the colder it gets the better I sleep and the harder it is the leave my bed in the morning.

Now that I've caught up on some of the sleep I missed out on this term I've been feeling pretty bored. I've got a stack of books to read and I'm eating my way through Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer but I really feel like being out and around other people - that's right, people - lately. Anything to escape the flippin' noise wagons that have been parading around with their loud-speakers this last week. If I understood the hairdresser correctly today, the campaign for mayor is in it's final swing adnt aht's what all the yelling has been about. Seriously, anyone making that kind of racket from 8pm on a weekday morning, let alone a Sunday,  would be hung, drawn and bloody quartered in England. No such luck here, apparently. Just like the police here don't seem able to do a thing about the lone biker gang that terrorizes the place. Not that they do anything but rev their engines and joy ride, mind you, but when they're doing that in the Mini Stop car park next door to where you live, it can be a pain in the ass. Sometimes I'll go the Mini Stop late at night and see them - one scrawny git in particular - reclining proudly on his crotch-rocket which is little more than scrambler anyway and definitely not something anyone with an established IQ would try so deperately to draw attention to. God I wish the Hells Angels would pay a visit. That would teach the little cretins a lesson.

Oops. That wasn't meant to be quite such a long rant. Aside from the restlessness, I'm actually feeling fairly chipper today.

Lots of people have just moved out of Hane (the dorm building I live in) so I'm awaiting an influx of new faces in the next couple of days. My friend Mia from the first term got one of the rooms downstairs so I can't wait for her to arrive from Israel. I've been lacking an onsen buddy for some time now :o)
Yellow Rose

*Phew*

That last week will forever be known as Hell Week (and by forever I mean until an even shittier week comes along).

First things first: I passed. I'm going through to the next class. I spent all weekend fearing I'd failed my final tests (especially the Listening) but actually I did fine; 88.6% on the Written, 80% on the Listening (which a lot of people failed), and 91.3% on the Speaking - all above the average.

It used to be that the pass grade was 70% for all three areas which meant that, apart from the odd tricky listening test, you were fairly likely to pass. After the first tests this term, however, we were told we had to get over 80% in the Writing, which seemed fair enough given the level we're now at. Then, apparently for this second round of tests, we were supposed to get over 85% on the Written which we once again learned after the event. Basically Yamasa seems to be making it all up as they go along and some people are having to repeat this term who possibly shouldn't, and more would be repaeating if they weren't leaving this term. Others got through by the skin of their teeth. Like me.

Although I passed their tests and was joint best with one other guy (who minored in Japanese at college for 3 years before coming to Yamasa) at all the essays, in the end I had to beg to go through to the next level because I failed the 実力テスト. This is the competency test every Yamasa student has to do once a term for Yamasa's own records so that they can gauge our progress. There's one for the first 4 terms and another for the last four terms. Basically, if you're in the bottom class when you do the first one for the first term, you won't know the answers to most of the questions asked because you haven't studied the gramar yet. What it does mean is that you can guess (however wildly) and a right answer counts as a right answer whether you had any reasoning  or not.

Anyway, since I've now been at Yamasa for a year and a half, I did the second test for the second time and was told I had to get over 70% to pass it unlike last time when the pass rate was 50%. Now, these pass rates are based on previous averages so if the previous class the average was taken from is compased of people who know kanji and/or have studied Japanese before coming to Yamasa, that average is bound to be high. Long story short, I only got a 63% on that test.

My head sensei for this term was Aya sensei who was firmly on my side and believed I should go through to B Class. She gave me my results on Monday and we were both very pleased since we didn't see any problem with me advancing. We had a meeting at the end of that day to discuss everything and we parted with her saying she would email me the verdict once she had spoken to what sounded like a board of teachers who say whether you can advance of now but is namely one man - Yokozawa sensei. It was a very positive meeting and I went away quietly confident that I was going up and Aya sensei seemed so too.

Imagine my surprise then when I got Aya sensei's email later that night and it said very apologetically, that the teachers were worried and she couldn't yet say whether I was going up or not but that we would need to have yet another meeting on Tuesday. Since I've always been bettter at writing than speaking I sent an email stating my case. The next day we had our meeting where I pulled out all the evidence of my study (vaste notes and mountainous flash cards) so that Aya-sensei would have more in her arsenal to once again argue my case. She already knows I work blooody hard which is why she was so willing to battle on my behalf. She then asked me if she could show Yokozawa sensei my email from last night and if I would write another one after this second meeting, which I did. At long last, I found out after school on Wednesday, that I was being allowed to go up. I still don't know about a few other people who we being similarly scaremongered based on this one competency test we were always told was not important but rather, simply for Yamasa's own benifit. They even told us every single term that we didn't need to bother preparing for it when now it seems we should have been teaching ourselves grammar we've yet to cover in class in preparation.

As for my sending emails to plead my case, it seems to have started a trend. Now other people in danger of not going up are being asked to write similar emails >_<

I'm telling you, it was one trying week. If I hadn't gone up I would have just gone home which would have been a lot earlier than I'd planned. Plus Yamasa would have been pretty much stealing my money. I'm so glad I'm going to be out of there soon. They are going down the pan fast and I'm not the only one noticing it.

Anyway, sorry for the dry post. I just wanted to get this crap written down while I remembered it. I'll be reviewing Yamasa properly once I leave. Hopefully they'll get their act togetehr before then. I won't hold my breath though.

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Ruki Spasm

The End of C Class - I hope.


Uh...hey... It's been a while...

How is everyone?

I think the last time I posted was about 6 months ago so it'd be futile to attempt a round up of everything that's happened in that time. I'll stick with the important stuff. I'm in C Class now, halfway through the pre-advanced New Approach textbook - otherwise knows as HAHAHAHAHAHA! Thought You Could Learn Japanese? Think Again! If The Ring had been a book rather than a film, it would probably be this book.

Actually there's only one week left of C Class. I had my final tests on Friday. I definitely bombed the listening and now that the pass grade for the writing test has changed I'm convinced they're going to want me to repeat this term. Which I won't be doing since I understand all the grammar, I just don't happen to understand every single kanji like my Asian class mates. Plus I'm the second best in the class at writing essays and that ought to count for something.

Anyway, enough of that. Too depressing by far.

So I've got a two week holiday coming up but nothing planned for it except sleeping and hopefully preparing myself for B Class. My friend Mia who I met in the first term is coming back to study here again for another 6 months so it would be a shame to have to go home now. I was planning to actually see some of Japan this next term after having lived here for almost 18 months! Better late than never.

The huge earthquake some psychic was adamant was going to hit this area last weekend never came, although we had a typhoon yesterday which was nothing compared to 3 weeks ago when we had the 7th or 8th highest amount of rainfall in one night since records began and the whole place flooded. I'd heard of school snow days but never rain days! It was pretty intense. The thunder shook the ground so much that it easily surpassed the worst earthquake I've experienced here - granted they've all been pretty weak so far.

I'm due to start teaching English in a week's time. I can't believe I managed to go this long without a job quite frankly. I have to say though, I never dreamed I'd wind up teaching. This could be my briefest work position ever.

I've promised my mum I'll come to England for Xmas so she's booked tickets over from Spain and it should be quite a busy family affair this year.  By then it will have been 22 months since I've seen her and we'll be spending most of our time in the kitchen since I've already started making my list of things I want to eat, including sausages, Mr Brain's faggots, lasagna, pasties, fish and chips with curry sauce, roast pork with crackling, roast lamb with Yorkshire puddings, brown bread, Granny Smith apples, Frosted Shreddies, Rice Crispies, lemon meringue pie, fresh cream eclairs, a pink iced finger, crumpets with utterly butterly, cheese cake, a Kinder Bueno, Galaxy Caramel, Malteasers, Sour Squirms, sweet popcorn, smokey bacon crisps....

....I may have to book 2 seats for the flight back....

Oh! And I need some of that natural fruity liquorice and original flapjacks from Holland and Barrett. And pistachio nuts. And dry roasted nuts....

I'm hungry. I'm going to go get some tea.

Sorry it took me so long but I'll try to do better with the updating from now on, I promise!