Existing Member?

Yet another blog about Japan


JAPAN | Saturday, 20 February 2016 | Views [575]

はじめて (hajimete): for the first time

I've been in Japan now for almost 6 months, and still, this week was full of はじめて:

- This is the first blog entry in february. Hooray!

- According to my supervisor, on Sunday we had a summer day, defined by a temperature higher than 25°C. This was followed by the first snow [that I actually saw falling in Japan] on Monday. Is it April already? Anyway, now it's as usual, mostly sunny and (estimatedly) around 10°C.

- The weather says it's maybe summer, maybe winter - the calendar says, it's spring. To mark this occasion, my backpack decided it's time for spring-cleaning and opened the refill bag of shower gel all by itself - which I only noticed in the next morning, when I actually wanted to leave for work. Now my backpack is spick and span again and fortunately nothing was destroyed (also the Kindle survived!) by my disaster...

- Everyone knows the Japanese working hours. Early morning until late evening, right? For me, as an intern, these don't really apply. Actually nobody ever told me exactly, when I have to be here, and so I usually start at about 9am* (as most others in my working group do - so much for early morning), and leave between 5pm and 7pm, dependent on work load, motivation and other plans for the evening. This week happened, what I thought to be impossible - I stayed longer than my supervisor! And not only once, but even three times this week. Am I working to much or he too little?

- And while we are already taling about work: I was introduced to another measurement technique: XRD¹. Furthermore, after characterizing a whole bunch of different samples with different techniques, I finally could use every method I learned** my supervisor showed me so far on ONE sample. And yeah - the measurements are coherent. Even with literature. YAY!

- Yesterday I managed to attend the Japanese class for the first time. Huh? Ok, more precisely: I managed to attend the FREE Japanese class for the first time. It's a service from Japanese, who once a week teach Gaijins from all over the world - at no charge. While it's not on Naganuma level (not like I expected that), it's still a good opportunity to speak Japanese. I'm definitely going there as often as possible now. Together with the private classes I'm taking now once a week I might be able to at least keep my current level (上手ではありません!).

- On the way back from this Japanese class, we took a train. If you read my previous post, you might have noticed, that I already used Japanese trains on rare occasions during the language course. But this time, it was a red train. And to top it all off, it was a local train bound for Hakone. I didn't even know that existed...

- And to save the best for last *drum roll* I went swimming in a gym - which is less then 5 min by foot from the dormitory... It's a bit expensive, but that only means, that I have to go now as often as possible. Because I already paid the 6 months membership. Because I'm (half) Swabian. And because I love it.
The staff are super patient and friendly (or should I say: Japanese) and tried their best to understand my broken Japanese and even to answer in English, if I didn't understand their Japanese. It's probably needless to say, that everything is perfectly tidy and clean (because I'm in Japan). The 25m pool is not extremely, but sufficiently deep, with a convenient temperature and - most important - not crowded***. A bathing cap is compulsory in the pool, but it can be borrowed free of charge. After swimming, a sauna, a steam bath and a whirlpool are already waiting... Perfect. The only downside is my current shape - but I'm going to tackle this for sure :)

- And here is the chance for your own はじめて: Be the first one to answer my quiz (https://journals.worldnomads.com/monika/story/139961/Japan/The-Naganuma-School) to win your personal postcard (languages available: English, deutsch, 日本語)!
Hint: The answer for question a) can be found within this blog.


* Or later, if my backpack competes for attention
** For example, I wouldn't consider myself an expert in PL². On the other hand, I'm still waiting for the SEM³, which I've worked with a lot at various places.
*** Even if it was, I'm sure they'd swim in a very civilised way - always on the right side, giving space for faster swimmers, using a lane with appropriate speed, ... - because they are Japanese.

¹ X-ray diffraction
² Photoluminescence spectroscopy
³ Scanning electron microscope

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.

About monika

The GAP umbrella is reliable in rain and sun

Follow Me

Where I've been

Photo Galleries

My trip journals

See all my tags 



Travel Answers about Japan

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.