This is only my second full day at Kansai Gaidai. Since I arrived the evening before last, I’ve been meeting new people, making friends, going out and exploring our new home – and I love it. It’s struck me that, in effect, this is my second chance at a first year, and I’m going to use that opportunity to its fullest.
After the flight, we were picked up at the airport by Kansai Gaidai and driven to our dorms. Another student from Leeds was on the same flight as me, so I had someone to keep me company on the journey. As soon as we stepped into Seminar House 4, an immaculate modern building which had been constructed just this year, we were met by students sitting around in the entry hall, where people’s shoes were left. Three girls asked me were I was from, and I asked them the same.
“The United States…” And here she looked slightly apolgetic and added, “Sorry.”
It occured to me that in the first thirty seconds in my dorm, I’d met more different nationalities than I had in my entire first year at Leeds.
All the international students are living in dorms until the weekend, when those are doing homestay (such as yours truly) move in with their families. The rooms are spacious enough, even with 3-4 people sleeping there, and have tatami mat floors, the awesomeness of which I still can’t get over. Seminar House 4 is situated about ten minutes walk away from the campus. Coming out of the building, you turn right and get a view of the typical Japanese skyline of low-roofed traditional houses and blocky modern buildings crowded together, power lines strung between them. You can walk along this road to Kansai Gaidai, some shops further along, or a bus stop that will take you into the centre of Hirakata City. Some photos of the above to follow soon, hopefully.
The campus itself is also quite shiny and new. It seems quite small, but I realise that it must be average-size; it’s only small compared to Leeds. I’ve done the registration thing of many long meetings and even more bits of paper that have to be signed, stamped and filled in to the exact last detail before you can get rid of them. But to the victor, the spoils, and I was officially registered as a student this morning, as well as getting a bank account set up. It’s been a lot of activity for two days, and stuff seems to happen a lot quicker.
For example, I ran into a guy and a girl (who were boyfriend and girlfriend from the same university) while looking for info on a course I wanted to register for. Then, while chatting with them and their friends later, I got invited out for dinner. By the evening, I was sitting round a table with five Americans and a Canadian, laughing and joking like they were old friends, when most of us had met each other less than 24 hours ago. It’s this kind of thing that makes people want to travel and do things, and keeps anxiety and homesickness at bay. The socialising may well continue tonight, as I was invited by a guy I met in the corridor to a ‘typhoon party’ at a park near Seminar House 4. The fact that a) I’d never talked to this guy before, and b) he was telling a long and involved story about his diarrhoea when I passed him could temper my enthusiasm, but we shall see.
[NB. All times for my posts from Japan will be adjusted to local time. I don't want you thinking my sleep patterns are all over the place. Even though they are. Uh. Whatever.]