Tuesday, April 14, 2009

University after exam

After exam. I visited the professor's laboratory to meet the secretary. She kept on reassuring me that I'll be fine with the exam. While I knew I'd definitely be the worse.

So I refused to see the dormitory since I don't think I can enter the university. And that was sort of a wrong choice. Now I don't know how good/bad the dormitory is. It's in another campus' complex. And I have to take a free shuttle to reach my campus. And that other campus is far from the station (I think). Oh well.

Though mom was also sure I'd pass since the professor kept on asking whether I can pay the tuition fee without working part time. I'm not sure if I won't be allowed to work part time (I'd love to work in a konbini, imagine being surrounded by those cute snacks and drinks and sweets).

Later in the afternoon, I received an urgent email from the secretary, saying that the professor needs to meet all of use, the exam takers. Since it's not possible to go on that day (it was already too late by the time I knew the email), I decided to go for the next day.

I arrived early at the university. The queue into the train was so awesome. Very. Very. Tidy. They all queue in one line, should've took pic of it. After waited for awhile, I was asked to go in and talk with the professor.

The professor told me that I was the worse among 6 of us. I knew it. And he was sure I won't pass even though the official announcement is still 1 month later. He told me that if I want to enter as a research student, he'll accept me. And that I can enter at any time I want. The other students entered as a research student in September, I think. One was since April.

I was asked again whether I studied properly or not. *cringed* I feel so very guilty. But he also told me that there's never been the case of a foreign student got in directly through the entrance exams. Normally, people go through a research student phase. And that made me relieved. He expected too much of me, maybe? But I'm pretty sure I'm the dumbest of them all. Not to mention the only girl. I already felt very intimidated. Though that does give me a plus.

So. I said I will talk again with the secretary regarding research student after discussing with my family. The secretary then gave me the form for research student and told me that this is a rare chance. They rejected lots of students in the past. And for me to be able to be his research student was awesome. And that what made me sure I have to grab this chance. I was initially unsure that I'd fit with this field and wanted to pursue another field.

So yes, I shall begin my life in Japan as a research student.

Finding accommodation

After deciding to live in Japan, the next step is to find accommodation. I wouldn't want to move around my heavy stuff in Japan. So I need a steady place to live from the start. You see, I should've seen the dorm first. The dorm was very cheap. If I remember correctly, only around $200 per month. But my mom wants a big new room, so...

Thankfully, my father's friend in Japan helped me in finding the place. Meanwhile I also search around the internet for places around my university. Well, the stations that are close to the campus. It's best to have a place near the station, right? Later it was decided that a furnished ones is preferable, as buying them would be too troublesome as I'd have to move to another place in less than a year time.

I looked at so many websites. But asked for like 5 apartments. But they're all impossible to have contract with. Some of the reasons are I have to be in Japan already, the apartment's not yet done, least contract is 2 years, some didn't give me any email reply. I'm actually not sure if it has something to do with me being a gaijin. But to do a contract from abroad is difficult. I actually have some contact with this company, he seems nice, but since dad's friend is helping me, I decided to stop the process.

The secretary then advised me to looks at leo palace. It's actually a pretty good place, furnished, flexible, and a relatively nice price, also has Teppei. Normally you'd have to pay those bulky unrecoverable amounts when you sign the contract, but not for this. But, apparently I can only do the contract after meeting the person in charge directly in Japan. And I was told that the wall is so thin. I was beginning to get scared if I can never get an apartment before I reach Japan.

Then, my friend told me there's this monthly apartment that's pretty good. I thought monthly apartments are normally big and expensive, for the foreign expats. This one is well, still expensive, but considering I'm living for less than a year, it costs more or less the same with normal apartments (considering the thank you money, etc). There's a cheaper one nearby, but the room's too small.

So finally I could secure a contract. Yay. I had to pay the whole amount in front, though. But I can still change one month in advance, if I want to leave the place earlier. Mine costs 4500 yen per day. I think it includes the electricity and such. I'll recheck when I get there. But it definitely includes a cable(?) tv and an internet connection. I accidentally ordered a package for sleeping/living. So I don't need to buy/bring a new fry pan etc.

January 2009 Started searching Apartment
March 2009 Finally get an Apartment Contract
April 2009 Revised Apartment Contract

University exam

As soon as I arrived in Osaka few days before the exam, and checked into the hotel, I went to the university just for small greetings and gift to the lab. Also to check how much time is needed to get to the university. After that me and mom went for some shopping. For the days before exam, it's like, shopping till night.

cross hotel
Then I'd try to do last minute study at night on the bed. While tempted to watch the awesome variety shows on TV. I know it's bad. But the quality of the TV was so good and it's a really big LCD TV in our hotel room at Cross Hotel (don't expect any help with luggage and remember to return both room keys on check out, other than that, awesome hotel). Nonetheless, I doubt last minute studying can help much on my minimum exam preparation. I was busy with university back then and no one to help me with.

dusty stairs
It took more than an hour to get to the university from the hotel. I think we went somewhere near 7am. The exam starts at 9am. I didn't have any confidence on passing the exam. And my preparation was definitely not enough. We went to the old building where the exam was held. It was so old and so dusty. Probably one of the dirtiest place I've seen in Japan. The room is not dirty. But the floor outside was. I was very nervous and after some time of waiting, other guys who'd be taking the exam with me came. And they're all boys, as expected. Moreover, there are only 6 of us, and 4 of them are Chinese. And turned out that we were all going for the same professor. o_o; I can't imagine how popular my professor is. At least with the foreign students. It's a foreign student exam btw.

And so the exam. Of course the introductory speech was all done in Japanese. But I had no trouble understanding it. The problem was the exam. I think it lasted for 3 hours. And there were 2 papers to be done in that time given. I was already finished probably in 1 hour. And I really couldn't think of what else to write. Those other guys were all still busy writing. Oh btw, when applying I was supposed to choose 2 subjects out of 10 options for the exam. I suppose it could be expected that those guys took similar subjects as I did. And so, that indicates how badly I did at the exam. I never finishes writing exam answers before the time finishes, and I always stay behind for checking the answers. But I never finish 2 hours earlier! I was sleepy waiting for the exam time to finish and tried to add more answers as I could.

And then when the time finishes. It's time for lunch. I was relieved to leave the exam place. Though after that I had to face an interview exam. The lunch was wonderful though. The canteen is big and had lots of nice food. And it has this conveyor belt for people to put away their bowls and stuff. It's awesome. But I miss how Australians male would normally open doors for ladies or people behind. It's not the case here. =(

waiting room
Time for the exam, and I was back at the designated building. We were told to wait in this waiting room till our number was called. I was the last, being the only person who was not a research student. After the person before me is in the interview room, I waited at the chair right outside the interview room. I was dreaded by that time...

I was expecting 3 people interviewing me. Heck, 1 person is scary enough. But. There were like... all of the department's professor present in the big meeting room. At least 10 of them. I feel so dead. Most of them remained quiet and seem to be busy with something else. The one asking me were the main professor, my professor, and another professor who marked my exam (yes, already, how fast, it's only during lunchtime!!).

I heard from the other students that they were only asked general questions like why you choose this university and so. But for me. I was asked what I did I major in. My exam result was so bad. So bad that it's shameful (maybe?) that I come from a sort of mechanical background. Also asked if I didn't study. I answered that I didn't study enough. I couldn't answer properly in Japanese and also had trouble hearing them in Japanese. So we used English.

I was asked if I can make it to level 1 ability of Japanese. I knew I wouldn't be able to pass the JLPT level 1 I just took. So I said so but I will try hard for getting better before April. It didn't last long, 10 min max. And I was let go.But I felt so awful and just want to get away from there. I felt really low and stupid and crazy for even trying to go for the exam. At least I proved I'm brave enough as the only girl there. Maybe. Sigh. And so next... is after the exam, and what research student really is.