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O Fim duma Viagem

New Goal in Life

FRANCE | Tuesday, 26 January 2016 | Views [416]

Friday, we finished up survival Japanese by learning just how convenient Japanese convenience stores are. We got a page front and back listing things you may or may not be able to do in a konbini. Included on the list was things like buy shinkansen tickets, (yes) charge your electric car (depending on the store) and register for insurance (yes.) Japanese konbini are kind of insane.

Then survival Japanese was over and we were on to textbook Japanese. The textbook we're using is Tobira, which is the same book we'd started using in my Japanese class last year. Which leads to the slightly frustrating knowledge that, if my Japanese had improved instead of deteriorating since May, I would probably be in the next level. As is, a lot of what we'll be learning for the next month will be a review, which is a contrast from the people who are looking at the review as new information.

On the other hand, this was my first time in nine months that I was receiving a textbook for a class. And it came with a workbook and a kanji book and it was all related and cohesive. After last semester (and last summer), that's worth a lot.

Dan and I bought lunch at the konbini, and on the way back I stopped at a vending machine, but didn't get something to drink because it was comparatively expensive. I made an idle comment to Dan asking who owned the vending machines, and why there was such a difference between prices even between two vending machines on the same street. By the time we got back to the building, that had become an actual question that I really wanted an answer to.

Google was there for me. The majority of vending machines in Japan were privately owned. Leading to the next question: what did it take to own a vending machine? Answer: literally just the land to put it on and the money to buy one. If you want it to be a functional vending machine, you also need drinks and money for power.

I looked this up further. If you want to own a vending machine, you have two ways you doing it: you can enter into a contract with a beverage company, where they'll pay for everything and keep the majority of the profits, or you can buy the vending machine, drinks, and power yourself. You get to keep all the profits, and get to set the prices yourself. The second way is much more work, but potentially way more profitable. Really, the only hard part is getting a bit of land that other people will walk through frequently. Once you have that, you're good to go.

I want to have that. I want a vending machine in Japan. I want to be able to show it to my friends and go “do you see that vending machine? That’s mine. Now, you’re looking a little thirsty. Couldn’t you use a refreshing drink? Only 100 yen!” (Like I’ve mentioned previously, I’m a wonderful friend.)

I left behind dreams of my future vending machine (if you could make it solar powered, you’d cut down on the main monthly cost…) for the last hour of class, then went back to my room to make further plans/enjoy a little time away from people. Then back the the international center to meet up and go to karaoke.

Karaoke was fun enough. Officially, the languages offered were English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, but in reality if you looked hard enough under English songs you could find songs in French, Italian, Spanish, German… the problem is that, in any language, I don’t know much music that’s likely to come up in karaoke. (One of my least-favorite questions that I’ve heard multiple times: どんな音楽が好きですか。[What kind of music do you like?] It’s a hard enough question to explain in English, but in Japanese, even if I go for the vast oversimplification of “Indie,” I still need to explain what that is. Which leads to problems, since I actually have no idea, just know that in the US it usually gets people to leave me alone.) Even when I could find songs I felt comfortable with, other people mostly didn’t, and I wasn’t about to sing along. So I contented myself listening to other people and occasionally looking to see what songs I knew that I could find. My favorite was probably finding “Fairytale of New York.” If only I could find someone to sing that one with me…

After karaoke, the group quietly and slowly devolved. Aimee and Rachel got dinner, (because karaoke started at 17:15 and lasted three hours without food. This is not the first time CET has done something like that) and other Rachel, Sara, and I ended up at the grocery store watching the Japanese roommates run around the store. They picked things up and checked out, and then we headed back. Or so we thought.

After running across the train tracks, (you need to stand outside in the cold waiting for seven distinct trains to pass and you understand why hearing the “gates going down soon” noise translates to “run for it!”) we needed to wait around for that train to pass so we could go back and hear what the Japanese students on the other side of the track were saying. They were going somewhere to eat (I believe the guy’s dorm) but since we already had, we just wandered back to the our own apartment.

And once again, it was the weekend.

Tags: karaoke, life goals, textbooks, vending machines

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