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Having Fun isn't Hard when you have your (hour-long informational library lecture | pointo kaado)

JAPAN | Saturday, 23 January 2016 | Views [174]

Tuesday’s Survival Japanese began with an hour of discussing travel plans. So I now had the vocabulary to explain why my phone was asking me questions like “Did you have a nice trip in Osaka? Are you ready to fly back to Paris?” (not literally asking, but starting to give me suggestions like the weather back in Paris, and how I should get to the airport, and have I seen all of the tourists attractions in Osaka? ‘Cause it seems like I’ve just stayed in the same quiet, kind of suburban residential area…) The answer to that second question is almost yes, except that I have no place to stay and nothing to do back in Paris. And that would require me pack again. Packing sucks.

The second hour was a slight explanation of rewards cards (pointo kaado, in romanji). This culminated in us going back to Friend Mart (the Super, and technically only the next day) to register for that. You get 1 point for every 100 yen you spend, and 5 points for buying something, but not using a bag. When you get 1000 points, you get 1000 yen. Let’s see if I make enough separate trips (or spend enough money) to have that be worth it. (Note to self: clear out wallet. Because even if it doesn’t have any US cards, it has a number of French ones now.)

Hour three was the library. This involved us leaving the building to go across campus to an informational description. This was a blend of the boring talk I’d heard every time I started a new school, with the exception of last semester (“here are the computers. Here’s how you use databases. Did you know that libraries contain more than just books?”) and the challenging and unusual experience of having it all take place in Japanese. Basically, if I understood what the English equivalent of what they were saying was, I was fine. If I didn’t, I was kind of lost. So when we entered via a staff entrance the area containing old books? I was completely lost. There were so many, including a lot in European languages, but I didn’t understand how I could be allowed to look at any of them. So leaving that area was a sad experience. The rest of the library I intend to return to alone and not as part of a guided tour, since that’s the way libraries are meant to be explore.

As we left, we grabbed lunch. Suzuki-sensei showed us one of the on-campus places we liked to eat, which was a bakery that insisted on trying to give French names to things and succeeded in confusing me considerably. The general (meaning Dan said this and I agree with him) consensus on the food was that it wasn’t exactly sufficient for lunch, but would make a good breakfast. Except that it opened at nine, the same time class started. Which kind of makes eating there infeasible.

During lunch, Dan continued trying to fold a paper crane, eventually giving up and making it a boat instead. It was a pretty nice boat, though I’m not sure anyone knows how he ended up making it.

The last hour of class was dedicated to names of body parts and illnesses and such. No annoyingly repetitive songs to learn them, which was almost disappointing. No plucking of birds or heaving ears like a balloon (but not being able to fly) or knee bones connected to the ankle bones or anything. Just plain vocabulary written on the board. And no Simon Says either. Really, a very boring way to learn the vocabulary, all things considered.

After class, I went back to my room, hung out for a bit, then remembered that I really needed to buy more toiletries. Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash could all be bought at the nearest konbini, but I’d been told that the Super had more options, and more cheaply. So off I went.

A few weeks earlier, I’d told my parents that buying toiletries in Japan isn’t that bad, even for a non-Japanese speaker, since important words are usually written in English. This is mostly true, though “moisturizing” and “repairing” appear to be more important words than “shampoo” and “conditioner.” Besides, even though the selection at the Super is much better than at the konbini, it’s still not exactly what I’m used to. (An entire shelf of medium-sized bottles of all different colors and types.) However, being able to read katakana meant I was able to buy shampoo and conditioner (which is more than I’d been able to do four months into my semester in Paris… la di da da…) of a type that looked promising enough. It was larger and slightly more expensive than I’m used to, but the only bottles appeared to be large ones. And the one that I chose had refill packets cheaper, so if I use up my shampoo and conditioner, I will be able to get more more cheaply. Less variety, but hopefully I’d like it.

Now, every time I brush my hair, I marvel at how soft it feels. This is how I know I made a good choice. If only I had the same luck with choosing meals randomly… (not making fish makes an imperfect knowledge of Japanese way more problematic when you’re in a restaurant or store shopping for dinner…)

Tags: japanese, konbini, library, origami, shampoo, super

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