Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Another Day Over

Today I got my back account set up and managed to deposit all the travelers cheques. It took us about two and half hours of sitting in the bank waiting to do it though. I’m so glad that my aunty was here – there was no way we could have managed to get it done without her.

Problem 1: the bit of paper I was issued yesterday as a temporary paper isn’t recognized as a proper ID.
Problem 2: I (thought I) forgot to bring my Keio University papers which showed me to be an exchange student there. I later found the papers after they’d decided to let me open an account.
Problem 3: I also forgot to bring the map that we were given at Keio yesterday, which had the Keio International Centre phone number written on it.
Problem 4: the phone number of my accommodation was printed on the papers given me to Keio (which I didn’t bring) – so I didn’t have a contact number.
Problem 5: the traveler’s cheques were in my mum’s name, but had been signed and endorsed to me. They wanted to see my mum sign in front of them. Mum is in Australia.

Somehow, the bank either decided that I was legitimate enough, or my aunty managed to convince them that my case was pretty standard procedure for foreign exchange students, and they allowed me to open an account and put the money in. Seriously though, I’m very impressed with how hard they try here. I’m sure that if I was a foreign exchange student in Australia, the bank staff would have given up after about problem one. It’s really nice to see how different the work ethic is here. It’s kind of like the Asian-Chinese mentality of working hard – combined with the Western-Anglo attention to service. Yeah I know that’s pretty bad stereotyping but I can’t think of a better way to explain it. Now I just have to wait for the ATM card to be posted to me. For the moment I’ll have to make do with withdrawing in person.

After that we made another trip to my accommodation and there were actually some exchange students there! First priority was to appease my grandma and make sure I actually had a big soft pillow to sleep on (and not the small little bean one they gave me… which I thought was rather cool btw). My aunty rather accurately noted that it would be my grandma would be quite unable to sleep until I got one. Also of some concern was the matter of food, food utensils and other miscellaneous items for my place. We made a short walk down the road to the local convenience store and supermarket and picked up various things like toilet cleaner, detergent, washing powder and paper tissues. I’m so spoilt. I’m going to just move in there and have everything ready to go. I heard some of the other guys complaining about how far it was to walk when you’re carrying all the things for your room back with you…

When we got back I decided I should go meet the neighbours so I hopped in the lift and went down to the lounge on level one (or ground level in Australian talk). It’s a bit funny at first here because 1F is the lowest floor – unless there’s a basement/underground levels. I’m getting sidetracked again (although it is a blog…). When I walked in everyone kind of looked at me funny. They all spoke really good Japanese which made me feel a bit out of place. One beer and about 10 minutes later it was all good though. So far I’ve met one Korean girl (I think there’s only the one girl, there might be another guy from Korea but I’m not sure); two guys from China; one dude from America; two from Canada… They’re all really nice~ The level of Japanese actually ranges from almost beginner to quite fluent (to me anyway). I didn’t really get a chance to talk to anybody a whole heap because I’m still not actually staying at Plume IS (my accommodation) yet – but don’t worry, I’ll have plenty of opportunities in the coming weeks and months no doubt.

I’ve had hardly any time to sit on the net these past few days, so I’m really out of touch with all the blogging that’s been going on. I’m not sure where I saw it, but someone said that a few more blogs have started recently… must be in the comments somewhere. I really want to see how everyone’s been going – so as soon as I have some time I’ll sit down to read them. It can be like my homework every night… fingers crossed there isn’t too much from Keio though. That will be decided tomorrow I guess. I’ve got my placement test which will determine my class and level of Japanese that I do. That’s partly the reason that staying at the hotel is good for now – I’ll only take about 15-20 minutes to get to the university in the morning, whereas from Plume IS I’m looking at closer to 50-60 minutes with rush hour happening.

Well that's about all I can think of right now. Keep in touch everyone.

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