Monday, September 10, 2012

Ryszard - Osaka, Japan - Fall 2012

Welcome Elmhurst Students!
Japan has been great to me so far. Allow me to give you a preview of my adventure.
I flew into Tokyo from O'Hare on August 23rd, however, the flight to Tokyo was delayed for several hours in O'Hare. Therefore, I spent my first night in Japan in a hotel in Tokyo (what they say about the toilets is completely true). The following morning, I had to get up at 6:30am to catch a bus to an airport 1 and a half hours away. Let me take some time to praise Japan on being on time. Upon getting to the airport, going through security took about 15 minutes. My flight was scheduled for 10am. The boarding process began at 9:50am, and we were off the ground at 10:05am.
After ariving at the Osaka international airport, the true adventure began. Prior to coming to Japan, I had no training in the language. I managed to get from the airport to Kansai Gaidai all by myself without any help from anyone but a lady at the information desk where I asked for a map. The trains and busses here are precisely on time, which was great because I never have to wonder when they will actually arive.
I try to make time to explore more of the small city where the University is located, but it does get hectic sometimes with my schedule. One thing I recommend to anyone who comes here is to make sure you have enough money to last you until October. The reason why I say this is because as a full exchange student, you are required to open a bank account, a truly frustrating experience for many people. It usually takes anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours to fill out the application. After that is completed, it takes about 30 days for an application to process and be finalized. I am expected to have my bank account active around September 28th. With that in mind, I am forced to spend as little as possible, once again, a difficult challenge because the food here is extremely expensive. By that I mean that an apple or two can cost you close to $8 and a two liter bottle of soda ranges from $2-3. Due to these costs, I have decided not to purchase a bicycle, and instead walk everywhere (also because as an exchange student, I am not allowed to drive).
That aside, I have visited Osaka several times. Shinsaibashi-suji ( a HUGE!!! shopping street) is a wonderful place to be, even if you are only walking through it. There are so many shops and restaurants that it is truly awesome. There are people everywhere and everyone is having a good time just being there. The people here are very polite in everything they do, especially sales people. They always welcome you to the store and are very kind to you when you are at the register. I have also visited the Kiymizu temple in Kyoto.
Let's talk about classes, because I know that a lot of you are wondering about this topic. I am currently enrolled in:
1101 Spoken Japanese 1A
1201 Reading and Writing Japanese 1A
1411 The Dynamics of Modern Japan
1429 Shinto B
1602 Intermediate Ceramic Techniques

Spoken Japanese is a required course for all international students, and takes place in the morning 5 days a week. Reading and Writing also takes place in the morning, but only 3 times a week. The registration is quite simple, and takes place online. So far, these classes are wonderful and I am learning quite a lot in every one of them.


Blogger The Adventures of Lali said...

Question, I'm thinking of going to Kansai Gaidai in the fall next year, are you staying near the campus or are you with a host family? What is the food like? I was just wondering. :D Glad to see that you're having fun!

12:07 AM  
Blogger Ryszard said...

The seminar houses are about 15 minutes walk away from the school. You are also given the option of purchasing a bicycle (about 7,000¥). I decided not to get a bike.
As for the food, it is very delicious (for my tastes). the rules here are quite strict, especially about noise levels.
Kansai Gaidai is a great school.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Douglas Vrchota said...

Your trip sounds amazing so far! I have always wanted to visit Japan! How are the people there? How do you get along without knowing Japanese language right now? Also, are you planning on traveling to the different islands of Japan?! It sounds like you having quite the experience already!!!!

12:33 PM  
Blogger Kelsey Rowley said...

Sounds like you are really enjoying Japan! I am planning on studying abroad in China next semester and I'm really nervous about not knowing the language. Have you had any major problems with the language?

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So not having any prior experience with such a place, how intense was the culture shock?! Especially after having to try and navigate your way around just after arriving!

Hope you're just about settled in!

11:11 PM  
Blogger Mary Zizzo said...

Hope you are enjoying your time! Were the classes you signed up for the ones you had on your preliminary form or did you run into any problems with that?

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Dan Petrokas said...

Ryszard, many Elmhurst students come from a European background and therefore have an easier time adjusting to, or are at least more aware of, European culture. Japan, on the other hand, seems very different! Did you have any understanding of Japanese culture before your trip? If so, has it changed during your time there? Finally, do you feel as though you've experienced any sort of culture shock?

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Iris said...

Hey Ryszard,

I finally decided to go to Japan too man. After hearing you and Albi talking about your awesome time there I signed up for CPP250 the very next day. Any tips on selecting classes in Kansai Gaidai? Did you experience any culture shock?

1:47 PM  

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