David Chart's Japan Diary

February 15th 2004

This last week was another fairly ordinary week; the most exciting thing was going to see The Return of the King yesterday. That was quite exciting. I enjoyed the film, and I have now seen each of the three films of the trilogy on a different continent: Fellowship in California, Two Towers in England, and now Return in Japan. Oh, I'm such an international jet-setter.

On Friday we had a class speech competition. This was preparation for the Yamasa speech competition, which is this coming Friday. Everyone in the AIJP prepares a speech, and each class selects a representative for the main competition. The final winner tends to be from a fairly high class, but not from the highest. Still, it would be rather surprising if someone who had been studying Japanese for about eight weeks managed to win.

I did well in the competition; I wasn't selected. I didn't score too far behind the person who was, though, so the speech must have been OK. I talked about how I think that modern Japanese culture was alive and thus adapting with the times, rather than deteriorating under the influence of the West.

I've also finally recovered from the cold, or whatever it was. I think I must have been more ill than I realised, based on how much better I feel now. It's not just physical; I'm feeling much more positive about, well, everything. My skin is still rather dry, but I suspect that's the weather rather than anything more serious.

The building I live in has been having its outside thoroughly maintained over the last few weeks. It's been completely repainted, and apparently I live in Yamasa Student Village 3 now. New flooring has gone down in the walkway outside the flats, and additional bars have been fitted round the groundfloor balconies to make it harder to break in. Oh, and the internet in my flat is now working reliably.

A final random note that I keep meaning to mention. Okazaki station has a platform 0. I've not noticed this at any other Japanese stations, so I think this is a local oddity rather than a Japanese one. I wonder if there are any stations with negative platforms?