Saturday, September 24, 2011

Back To School

It’s back to school time.  This past week was my first week of real classes.  Actually, it’s more like private lessons since I’m the only student in the class, but even when the class is “full” there is a maximum of four students.  My teacher, Tanka Sensei, tells me that it has been hard to get students since the tsunami.  The lessons have been informative.  It’s basically a 1.5 hour conversation in Japanese where Tanaksan emphasizes a particular set of grammar rules for the day.  It is exhausting attempting to hold a Japanese conversation for so long, even if it’s probably only fifty percent in Japanese.  I have previously learned most of the material we have been covering, but I have never been confident enough to use it in conversations so the class is really helping with my speaking ability.

So what do my days look like?  I usually wake up around 9 and eat some bread and cereal.  Next I spend about an hour and a half start studying Kanji.  So far, I have memorized the meanings of around 500 characters, but I’m having a lot of trouble retaining them.  I still can’t read much, but I can pick out a fair number of symbols.  I’m using a great book called Remembering the Kanji which really seems to work.  From there I go through some vocabulary flashcards, listen to 30 minutes of Pimsleur, pick up some instant noodles or a bento lunch from my local 7-11, and then bike to class.  When I get back, I do my homework and I might hang out in the lobby studying and talking to people as they get back from work.  I’ve been alternating between cooking my own dinners and heading out to restaurants.  When I cook, it’s usually some sort of stir fry.  When I go out it’s sushi, ramen, or some kind of tempura/katsu.  In the evenings I’ll either read, study, watch some downloaded TV, or head out to Shinsaibashi for a few drinks.  While I’m getting to know the nightlife, I feel like I need to venture out during the day more.  I really want to spend a day riding my bike around and just checking out Osaka.

I weighed myself in the gym the other day and I’m down to 155lbs from my 165lbs pre-Japan weight.  That’s 10lbs in 2.5 weeks.  Japan, it’s the ultimate diet.  It’s a little concerning since I can’t afford to keep losing weight like this.  It’s not that the food is particularly healthy, but the portions are pretty small.  I have been trying to maintain an active lifestyle which probably contributes to some of the weight loss.  Living in Japan involves a fair amount of walking and bike riding, but I also have a weekly trip to the gym and run around Osaka Castle.  As a bonus I’ve been trying to do 7 Minute Abs every other day.  Although I can now see my ribs, no six pack yet.


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