My routine is in place, and I’m on week 2 of classes. At 8:50 sharp my grammar class begins. Monday through Friday from 8:50 to 12:00, I have grammar class. Afterwards, I usually go to the seminar room where the English Education students hang out while I eat lunch. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday I also have a course that runs from 1:00 to 2:30, so I usually eat in a hurry while I show the Japanese samples of our childish grammar lessons. Starting tomorrow, Masami will be my tutor for a couple of hours a day, which will be nice. So far everything is nothing more than a very simplistic review of Japanese I have already mastered, but the course is moving at a tremendously quick pace. One advantage to the review, however, is the speaking practice. My reading and writing skills far outweigh my speaking so this helps me a lot. Ok…enough with the class talk and on to campus life.
Mie University is the only public university in Mie prefecture, but yet is very small. Some 4,000 Undergraduate students and 3,000 graduate students crawl the campus daily. There are few similarities beyond learning that I’ve found when comparing to UNCW. First is the scheduling. They have periods just like in High School; seven make up the full day which ends around 6 p.m. Everyone has the same hour for lunch, so the cafeterias are almost too busy to go to. Everyone commutes because there are no dormitories on campus for anyone other than International Students. Some students even ride the train for up to an hour and then bike to the campus for a total of an hour-and-a-half commute to school. Bikes line the sidewalks and streets of the campus so much so that it still amazes me everyday. Because it is the beginning of the academic year, all kinds of events are being held on campus. Dance teams perform at lunch, Japanese cheerleaders hand out fliers all over campus, and clubs welcome new members with a bonfire during the night while drinking bottles of sake and eating lots of snacks. There seems to be more school spirit here, even though there are no sports teams beyond a club. It provides for a very nice atmosphere.
The only thing about the University or any other public place in Japan that I cannot stand is the trash cans….or the complexity and lack thereof. There are a total of what seems to be only five places to throw away trash on campus. I always find myself with pockets full of trash just waiting until I can find a trash can. And then when you do find one, you have to sort it into six categories, which I still do not understand.