David Chart's Japan Diary

February 6th 2005

An unfortunate side-effect of the fact that I almost always write this diary on the same day as I do my laundry is my persistent tendency to comment on how good the drying weather is this week. (Excellent today, in case anybody's interested. Although I can't imagine why you would be.)

That tendency becomes particularly pronounced when, like this week, the week in question wasn't particularly interesting, at least not to write about. It's been a pretty normal school week, except for the amount of homework. There's been a lot of composition to do, largely as a result of the looming Yamasa Speech Contest, and my decision to take the drama option class. Still, the drama is now written, and I have a first draft of my speech. I think I want to revise it; the end was a bit rushed because the battery in my lap-top was running down.

The most interesting thing last week, I think, was a news story that Kitabora-sensei relayed on Friday. A man went to rob a convenience store, producing a knife and demanding that the 60-something woman on duty hand over the money. Unsurprisingly, she looked absolutely terrified.

Somewhat more surprisingly, this provoked the man to apologise profusely. "I'm terribly sorry. I'll turn myself in to the police tomorrow. I'll leave this in the meantime." With that, he handed over an identity card with his photograph, name, and address on.

The following day, no-one appeared at the police station.

The day after that, however, he did turn himself in. "I'm terribly sorry I'm late, I wasn't too well yesterday..."

Only in Japan.

We did have a large test on Tuesday morning, which seemed to be OK. Most of it was closely based on what we've studied in class, so I think I did all right.

I also took a test on Friday, but that was rather different. A former teacher at Yamasa is now doing graduate research into (I would guess) Japanese language learning, at Nagoya University, and wanted some English-speaking experimental subjects to take some tests. Apparently, when she was teaching here, eight years ago, it was a really small school. It's now quite big, and still growing; there's a new set of flats being built at the moment. The test was OK; lots of questions about particles, which are one of the areas English speakers have trouble with.

Apart from the tests, we had quite a lot of homework last week, including a fair bit of composition. Part of this was for a conversation in class, part for the annual Yamasa speech contest, and part for the drama option class. The drama is now complete, and it looks fun, and rather more coherent than might have been expected from something being written by half-a-dozen different people, one or two scenes each. Sakamoto-sensei is probably working hard to type up and correct our lines as I type.

Talking of correction, I've started asking my teachers to correct my online diary. They don't mind, and I'm rotating through them so that no teacher gets asked every week. Last week, I complained in my diary that Hang's compositions came back with almost no red ink on them. So, Nakane-sensei returned my diary with almost no red ink on. She used a blue pen... Oh well.

Next week will have to include preparing my tax return and my application for change of visa status. I think I'll have to go and talk to Declan again, to clarify just what, exactly, needs to be in the explanation I'm supposed to submit with the forms, and to verify that the vast majority of the forms are, indeed, completely irrelevant to my situation. That's going to take up quite a bit of my time, I fear.

Speaking of time, I should wrap this up. I have to read the rest of this week's section of the novel we're studying in class this evening.