Well, my class list is nearly finalized, which is exciting. There are loads of very interesting classes to take here at Kansai Gaidai, but I can only take three.

As for my Japanese speaking/writing classes, I finally got my placement – level 2 in both. I was prepared for worse, but this isn’t too bad. I don’t think that the university will transfer these as higher level courses, but it will essentially be a step up from where I was before, in both cases. The syllabus says, for example, that for Reading and Writing Japanese 2, one needs to know hiragana, katakana, and about 100 kanji, which I can do.

For those who don’t know, the Japanese have three alphabets for writing.




 Hiragana is on the left, katakana is in the middle, and kanji is on the right. Hiragana is the most simplified form of Japanese, and is used for everything except foreign words. Katakana is used for words in Japanese that come from a foreign language, so usually you’ll see words like “taxi” in katakana. That’s why katakana is one of the least used alphabets. Kanji are borrowed from the Chinese system of writing, and are very complex. They’re used all the time in Japanese and are used for most words (not particles) in Japanese. There are thousands and thousands of kanji, which is why it’s difficult to know many of them.
These are the other classes I’m taking:

– Peace, Development, Democratization, and Human Rights: the Asia Challenge

– Intercultural Business Communication in Japan

– International Negotiation: Resolving Conflict and Closing the Deal

I know. Business communication? Why am I taking a class about that? In the syllabus and course descriptions, it sounds like this will be a class heavily focused on communication in an international setting. It says it will try to make us “more effective communicators when working with individuals from different cultural backgrounds.” This would be invaluable when working in the Foreign Service. Plus, it’s a Japan-focused class, which will apply to my Asian Studies major. The Human Rights class sounds very exciting, because we will be having guest speakers come in and talk about critical issues in Asia, including human trafficking in Burma and the general problems with North Korea.

I was worried because I was waitlisted for “International Negotiation,” but it turned out that today I got the paper saying I was admitted to the class. Yay! It’s pretty obvious from the title how the class could prove useful to me. It’s rather pleasing to know that all my forms and payments were made out okay. I got the same satisfaction when I officially “moved in” to the dorm. I was staying in the same room and everything, but now it’s “official.” So I’ll be going to my first class for the semester in 15 minutes.

I still haven’t found a store where I can get things like, oh, detergent so that I can wash my clothes. I’m going to have to search around a bit. I guess some 100-yen stores (like a dollar store) sell detergent.