It’s strange to think that I’ve been here less than a week. Having got accustomed to living in Seminar House 4, I’m about to move out. I meet with my host family in about two hours’ time, and get taken to my home for the rest of this semester. I’m kind of excited, as my family seem pretty cool. There are three children, ranging in age from early twenties to one year younger than me – just what I wanted, as I get on better with people my own age or older than young kids. One is even a Kansai Gaidai student, which is great.
Others haven’t been nearly so lucky. Janey found out that her host family were a 60-to-70-something couple who put as the reason for hosting her “We feel lonely without children”. They’re blatantly going to smother her, which could be either great, or not so great depending on her point of view. Taking the ‘supportive’ view, one of her friends took to constantly reminding her that, being old, they could die at any time. Another guy’s host ‘family’ consisted of one 70-year-old woman who listed her hobbies as “beer and skittles, playing mah-jong”. One of the things about being in a fluid environment, such as your first week at a new uni, is that people can cross your path any number of times, but you still have trouble remembering them. So, when people began a story about “this one guy” and his host family, I’d immediately shout “beer and skittles guy!” and I’d always be right. I’d think it was some kind of Kansai Gaidai urban legend, were it not for the suspicion that I first heard it from the guy himself.
I also found out the results of my Japanese placement test yesterday. I was placed in Level 3, 1 being beginner and 5 being near-bilingual. Out of the four other Leeds students, two were in 3 and two in 4, so there’s no shame in being placed there. In fact, last year’s students were placed in either 2 or 3. I was pleased with how I did, since I was convinced that I’d done terribly on the test. I know I’ve let myself slip over the summer (and possibly the whole of the first year) and I want to do better now I’ve been this given this awesome opportunity. I’ll try my absolute hardest to do well, and move up to level 4 if I can. And now it’s on the internet, I’m relying on you to hold me to that.
…Looking back on what I’ve just wrote, I hope Dr Weste (the director of the year abroad program) doesn’t google my name and read what I’ve written in parentheses in the last paragraph. Well, I’d better go prepare for meeting the Ogawas. I hope wherever (and whoever) he is, that guy is enjoying his beer and skittles.