Saturday, 2 October 2010

Day Zero

First of October, Day Zero, life as a graduate student has begun....
I managed to have an altercation with the first teacher I encountered... the head of Japanese language.... apparently notorious for her inflexibility. Mindless inflexibility ... a feature of Japanese institutions.  In a rather raised voice she told me I 'shouldn't be studying Japanese' and walked out of the classroom.... hmmm.

 Language classes don't count to Masters units - but they get calculated as part of a student's GPA (Grade Point Average).   Attendance is very strict and there is a test every lesson.  I asked if there is some way around this - like could I come as an unregistered student.
 A.  NO!  We don't allow students to come and just sit in. It's a bother for the teacher. 
 Q. But if I give an assurance that I will participate fully and do my homework seriously.  
 A. No.
Q.  But I want to learn Japanese.  
A. Well You shouldn't work.  
Q. But I can't stop working in the middle of a university term when I committed to it in February.

not very encouraging.

Lucky I am a tough cookie... 

I sent a letter this morning pointing out that the attitude conflicts with the blurb on the Uni  website:
The Masters Program...'encourages the study of Japanese' and developing a competent grounding in Japanese and/or other second or third languages.  
It's false advertising....the whole point of studying from a Japanese university was that I would be able to improve Japanese.   I'll be quite upset if they won't be flexible.

Happily my afternoon classes were interesting and fun - one on Global History, one on Nationalism.  

But lots of homework for the weekend.

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