APU Life

Few months in the culture, I have had time to adapt to the Japanese up-in-the-mountain way of life. Here are some characteristics I have gotten more or less familiar with.

Some of the Happy R3 residents
There can never be too many pictures. Some of the Happy R3 residents

When you are tired, you sleep. No matter if you’re in a train, in the cafeteria, or in class. The library is open until midnight, and people often stay up until the wee hours of morning. In APU, the classes can last until 7.30 pm. No wonder students doze off – usually sleeping is very obvious and not even tried to hide.

Modest nap in class
Modest nap in class

Birthdays are celebrated at midnight, when the birthday is beginning, rather than bringing breakfast in bed like sometimes in Finland.

Tatsuro got his piece of the cake
Tatsuro got his piece of the cake

The word “party” usually making dinner with more than 2 people, rather than going drinking and/or dancing. Parties may also include games, activities etc. This came as a surprise to some of the exchange students in the beginning of the semester.

Floor party: Japanese winter food Nabe.
Floor party: Japanese winter food Nabe.

Other things I’ve noticed in APU:

Unlike in Europe, where perm is equivalent to the hottest of hot 80’s style, in Japan getting a perm is popular. At least in APU, that is.

The Japanese never say no. When they mean no, they can say maybe, a little… or even yes – in a special tone that is supposed to give the hint. Sometimes this can be a bit challenging/frustrating or even annoying. Or maybe I should learn to not say no?

The myth of the healthy Japanese diet has nothing to do with the substances people consume here. And by substances I mean the more or less processes products people fill themselves with throughout the day. Besides the polished rice, pasta is a big hit!

Guess who is about to be eaten?
Look who is about to be eaten!

For most people, there is rarely such leisure as free time. If not in lectures, students go to their circles activities, do homework or prepare presentations etc. Also, the AP house residents are not that keen on leaving the house.

Stairway to campus
Stairway to campus from Ap House

School, finally

The first school week is almost over and I am overwhelmed, to say the least. After the first Japanese lecture on Monday morning, I was shocked of the amount of small Asian people all around me, even though I though I had some concept on the population here.

Campus getting busier, summer weather still going on

A good student as I am, I took too many courses. Therefore I am now in the happy situation of having to drop my least favorite ones, and hoping that my university will accept my learning agreement (as if they had a choice). So far, I am considering dropping Introduction to management (Chinese teacher with really poor English), and the rest remains a mystery. Maybe I will just do one extra course for fun. I can hardly call Japanese traditional arts (which means tea ceremony) studying hard, can I?

My schedule every week is first 95 minutes of Japanese, which will probably take the most effort. Then I either have a nice almost 2 hour break, or a lecture on Principles of marketing. After that follows Human Ecology or Social Theory, followed by Business Ethics on Mondays. On the other quarter my Tuesday afternoons will be International Marketing and aforementioned Japanese Traditional Arts.

Study environment

In APU, Wednesdays are a day off for most people – I happen to have Consumer Behavior lecture in the morning. No parties or trips on Tuesdays, then, since the lecturer is pretty strict and the course demands a lot of effort. On Wednesdays there are many clubs, or circles as they are called here, and I will probably post later about them when I find out which I will join.
I am not planning on buying expensive books for just a few weeks use, so it will be interesting to see how I will manage to pass the courses that require books.

I am rather happy with my course selection, although I had few courses in mind that I couldn’t get (like International Management, Media and Pop Culture and Japanese Culture and Society). On the other hand, this amount of courses seems to be more than the average, so maybe it will be ok – at least I’ll have time to put effort on learning Japanese!