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31
Oct

Reader Response 3: My Day

I keep writing this, send me questions! Luckily some of you actually listen to me, and here I am, poised to answer another email I received. As always, send me more mail or posts! Suggest something or ask a question, please!

Well, until now, I had avoided giving much about my day-to-day schedule here in Tokyo. I figured it wasn’t nearly as interesting as Kabuki theatre or sushi bars. Perhaps this was a miscalculation. Not only have I gotten a number of questions about the drudgery of studying abroad, but, it occurs to me now that it is just the everyday-like experiences I need to be passing on. Still, I’ll keep it short.

I am taking five courses at Temple University-Japan, the country’s largest and oldest foreign university: three classes on Asian politics, one focusing on modern Japanese history and a few hours on Asian religions. Everyday presents the opportunity to not only learn anywhere outside the classroom, but also to find new perspectives and previously unfamiliar strata of academic thought regarding the political systems and historical concepts I once thought I understood. I am a nerd, you might say. I enjoy school, and I particularly enjoy these five classes. I have two three days a week, and the three others Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Mondays and Tuesdays I can sleep in, which means I generally wake up before 10am. The last three days a week I tutor, helping other TUJ students with literature classes and writing. At a foreign university overwhelmingly attended by students learning English as a second language, I suddenly become an asset. It doesn’t pay very well, but it does help me with costs and it also provides a unique vehicle to sharing and speaking with people from all over the world. I spend a great deal of my time helping Japanese students with grammar, but I also have spoken with an Iranian woman about her graduate work in psychology and a Ukrainian undergraduate about Sigmund Freud.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, if I haven’t found any side trips to take on my bicycle, I will get home after 5pm. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I usually walk through my door before 8pm. I always try to get some work done – reading or researching or paper-writing – on weekdays so I can keep my weekends free for the excitement I pledged I would find at the end of each week.

My professors are moslty Europeans, more specifically, they are mostly old British ex-pats. My favorite teacher might be a chubby, thirty-something professor who has spent much of his life living in East Asia. In that time, he has become fluent in Japanese and Chinese, with some Korean for fun.

Well, there it is. Interesting? I don’t know, maybe not. You tell me. Keeping sending or posting your comments and questions.

Jaa mata,
Christopher

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