Intermission: Summer Break

Hey everyone! 

Holy shit, I can’t believe it’s been 2 months since I last posted an update, I guess time really does fly when you’re busy writing essays and learning a new language. I’m not gonna cover everything, just give a brief update of how this summer semester has gone for me. 

First off, let me say that I had no idea what to expect going back to school, but with grades being posted today, I made out with 2 A’s and an A- for this semester! I know it’s just the first semester and I have at least 7 more to go before I finish, but after not being in school for 10 years, I have to admit I’m pretty proud of myself for pulling that off. Political Science class was very interesting, though I didn’t expect to have to write 3 essays in it, especially for the final, which I pulled out a B+ on, even though I only read a little bit of the 2 required books for the class. Beginner English was also a bit stressful, another 3 essays, but I think I pulled off a B on each one, + participation in class, bumped me to the A-; I’m honestly really surprised I did that good considering, once again, having not written a single essay is 10 years. Instead, I went into school and wrote 6 in 2 months, and got no less than a B on each one. My English professor is a cool dude, and the topics we covered were all Japan related and very interesting, so I think that’s what helped me write so well. I think the class I’m most impressed with though, is Japanese. I did everything in my power to avoid learning a new language in high school, I actually found a loophole that made it so I didn’t have to take one,  that being said, pulling an A in Japanese made me immensely happy. I can, with a decent amount of confidence, read and write hiragana and katakana, and I’m starting to recognize more the Kanji that I’ve learned. I’m still not too confident speaking it, but I think that is mostly attributed to not knowing enough vocabulary to actually hold a conversation in it. Even while writing it, I still struggle with sentence structure and use of particles, I understand now why everyone in high school said Japanese was super hard to learn, but I think I’m going alright, all things considered. The worst part of Summer semester, is the fact that it’s so short, but the courseloads are exactly the same amount as Fall and Spring semester, knowing this, I will definitely do my best next summer to make it as easy in myself as possible. Looking ahead to Fall semester, I have Japanese Elements 2, another English class with the same teacher, Elementary Algebra (the class I’m least looking forward to), and another class for my major, that I’ve heard is fairly easy to get through, even though it requires a few essays. So in celebration for my grades, I decided a beer for each A I got was in order. 

Now that school talk is out of the way. My time here in Japan has been spectacular so far! I’ve met some wonderful folks, most of which are Veterans, all of whom I am thankfully to call my friends. It’s been almost exactly like PCSing to a new location and not knowing anyone, but you connect because of your career field. In this case, most of them are Navy or Marines, but all good people nonetheless. We all share the same love for Japan, and that same love/hate relationship for the military. 

I haven’t had the opportunity to travel around and do much because of homework and school, but I have done some small things: go to a car show, visit Enoshima Beach and the Island that’s off its shores to see it’s shrine, visit Tokyo Disneyland, and I was lucky enough to see Ben Nicky at a night club here, unfortunately the next weekend, one of my favorite DJ’s was in Tokyo, but I had to miss him because of homework, all of which I will post pics of on my Flickr later.

It’s almost sort of bittersweet, but I’m finally “checking out” of my Homestay this Saturday morning. It’s been one hell of an experience, one that has aggravated me from time to time, simply because of house rules, but overall it did exactly what I had hoped it would do. I got to experience a real Japanese family and how they live…for the most part…mainly revolving around meals in all honesty. I’ve learned that Japanese breakfast is generally pretty lacking, but much healthier than an American one. Japanese dinner, however, is quite extraordinary, and even though I wasn’t able to partake in a full family dinner everyday, because of school mostly, I really see the importance of a family eating dinner together, talking about their day (I assume since my Japanese is still lacking)…and watching the news, haha. It has been an experience that I will cherish and look back on fondly for the rest of my life, I truly feel lucky to have been able to have had it. That being said, I am beyond excited to move finally move into my new place. I got lucky and one of my veteran friends needed a roommate, so I’m getting quite the deal. It’s a bit further from school, but the money I will save by living outside of Tokyo makes it all worth it. On top of that, my roommate is a former marine, who goes to the gym all of the time and has been needing a workout partner, so I’ll finally have someone to keep me motivated to get back into the gym (read: forcing me to go) and get rid of this Dad Bod I’ve been cultivating for the past few years.

I don’t have much planned for this summer break, other than the gym I guess, and probably anime. The biggest drawback to the GI Bill is only getting paid while in a school semester, so this check I received for housing yesterday, has to pay for 2 months rent, and allow me to have some semblance of fun at the same time. Thankfully with the first month we got paid, I booked a trip to Thailand for the end of August. A week of fun in the sun down there will be great after this stressful semester, looking forward to it! 

And with that, I think I’m all caught up on these past 2 months. It’s been hectic at times, writing 2 essays at once AND studying Japanese, since we had a test every class, but I managed it, and am looking forward to these next semesters. I couldn’t be happier with my decision to leave the Air Force and going to school in Japan, even though my Japanese is still very limited, and that makes it hard to do a lot of things, it’s a wonderful place to be and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Since it’s summer break now actually try to keep updating weekly at least, I have a few things that I want to do before Thailand, like see Fuji San, so I’ll be sure to keep you guys updated. 
Take care! 

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