Orientation the Second

Today was my long-awaited second (and last) orientation meeting. I now have all the information I will have about the program until I meet everybody at the airport on June 3.

The Room

You are tearing me apart, Lisa!
One of the first things we talked about today was the room assignments. He wrote out a bunch of room numbers on the board, like such:

101 (3) 洋室
102 (3) 和室
201 (2)
202 (2)
203 (2)
204 (2)
和 1 (2)
洋 2 (2)
洋 3 (2)

The line there separated the two different dorms, the boy's and girls' dorms. The number in parentheses was there to represent how many people each room accommodates. 

I immediately started to get excited when I saw that 和室 (wah-sheetsu). I had originally assumed all of the rooms would be 洋室 (yo-sheetsu), since the dorm is called 和交寮 (wah-ko-ryo), which roughly means "Japanese exchange dorm."

Oh wait, you don't know Japanese? A washitsu is a Japanese-style room (as opposed to the western-style yoshitsu), with tatami mats and futons that you get to lay out every night and put away every morning. I'm not sure what is going to be available in this particular room, but traditionally you basically change the room as needed. In the day, you might put out, for instance, a chabudai. A chabudai, being one of those low tables with floor cushions (zabuton) that you may or may not have heard of.
Yeah, kinda like that.

I was excited because living in one of these Japanese-style rooms is something I've really, really wanted to do/try to do ever since I've started watching anime studying Japanese. As it turns out, there was only one washitsu, so I had to be audacious if I wanted to have this experience anytime in the next... God knows how long.

Nailed it! The person who half-heartedly volunteered to be a sort-of "group leader" went ahead and claimed it. At this point I knew that if I didn't speak fast, my chances would dry up like gasoline on hot asphalt. I quickly piped in, "hey, wanna room with me?" and score! I had successfully secured the washitsu.

As you saw earlier, the room holds 3. Unsurprisingly, the next person was volunteering for that final spot. I was gonna take a picture with my roommates, but I forgot. Oops.

Class Selection

Next, we were divided into "A group" and "B group," based on the placement test we took the time before. I was put in the A group, for more advanced learners.
The way it works, as I understood, is "A group" are all taking the same classes together, and "B group" are taking a separate set of classes. We sign up for 6 credits, but the course number is just a label and is somewhat irrelevant to the actual course material. I was told to sign up for 3330 and 4330, so that's what I'll do, as soon as the system lets me. Since I'm not a matriculated U of U student, I don't have a UNID yet, so I'm waiting for an email so I can get in.

The program director pulled me and a guy named Sean to the side at the end of class because we had notably high placement test scores/completion times and he was worried that we would be bored or disappointed with the course content. He warned us not to get upset or complain to the teachers there. I assured him that I would never be so rude as to complain directly to a teacher about their coursework, and also that I have had the same problem before, but have found ways to make the best of the situation. I'm gonna be in Japan, after all. What better way to get better at Japanese than being in Japan? He told us that he might be able to help us arrange sitting in on some actual university classes for Japanese people! This trip just keeps getting better and better!

Until Next Time, I Guess

It was definitely a very exciting meeting, but now I have a month and a half of rocking back-and-forth in the fetal position, giddy with anticipation, to overcome. Also hopefully Kim Jong-un will calm down, because I daresay a war with North Korea would have a not-so-positive effect on this trip.

I hope you are looking forward to my next post as much as I am. Actually, I hope you're not, because that would probably make you crazy.


  1. I must be crazy! I'm impressed with how entertaining your making this blog. Makes me that much more excited for you to get out of here!

    How's that situation going with your passport?

    1. I ended up finding, I think, 8 forms of identification to send to them, most of them 5 years or older. I haven't heard back from them, but hopefully that's all going smoothly. Their "application status" checker thing on their website is a joke. It tells you no more than it told you when you were applying. That's the last thing I need before I will feel secure that this is definitely happening, so obviously I'm pretty eager to get that.