Japan Days 8-18: Enter Nagoya

Shit, where do I start. I wanted to make this a weekly or bi-weekly sort of thing but the newness of everything involved in starting school in Nagoya has thrown me off. There’s just so much excitement that I can’t seem to find the time to settle down and sort through everything. So I’ll do my best. I haven’t been forgetful due to laziness–quite the opposite. I’ve been busy and restless as all hell.


This puzzle caught my eye at Melonbooks

The rest of August since my last update was mostly uneventful. I stayed at Marilyn’s until Monday. There are only a couple noteworthy things. The first being an issue with my debit card not working at a couple ATMs I attempted. I still don’t know why it didn’t work at this one specific 711 but the rest seem to be fine. I called my card company and they told me my magnetic strip was broken over and over. Hah. The following day (Friday) I went out in the torrential rain and found success at a post office. I got enough cash to get me to Nagoya by Shinkansen and then some. I still haven’t had to withdraw yet, so I’d say I’m doing quite well. Later on that Friday, I went to the AMS arcade in Kumamoto and played Mario Kart with a random dude and won. It was pretty fun. I played Taiko no Tatsujin some more by myself, but I did find an opponent and played a couple of rounds with her, I won both times but I mean yo whatevs, what can I say. (disclaimer: I’m not that great at Taiko compared to the ‘pros,’ the girl looked like she didn’t really h


Dinner at MJ.

ave a clue what was going on, but her friends were amused.) So that happened. I explored the Melonbooks shop and a number of Little Busters and One Piece merch in particular caught my eye. I wanted to wait until I settled in at Nagoya to really go souvenir shopping though. Living out of a suitcase in a crowded apartment didn’t make for a good scenario to go on shopping sprees. I ate at a diner called MJ Glory Street Diner and had a few drinks. Some dope niku went along with it. That’s pretty much all there is to say about the rest of the weekend. I read some One Piece and stayed in bed pretty much until Monday.


Shinkansen journey.

On Monday morning I began my journey to Nagoya. I was really excited to get settled in because I was just fucking sick of living out of a suitcase. Also I was desperate for an air conditioned room. The journey itself was fairly quick and painless and I enjoyed an entire volume of One Piece. However, when I arrived in Nagoya I kind of messed up because there was some confusion on when my pick up service was supposed to arrive. I had formerly stated it’d be around 12:30, but I was asked to confirm my time of arrival and I had said 2:30 because I couldn’t remember what I had written in July. I hoped they’d receive the notice in time but they used the earlier pick up time so I missed them by a couple of hours. Felt terrible about that, but I found my way to Nanzan by subway.

During the final stretch, a steep uphill slope with my 90 lbs of luggage, it started raining. It was dreadful. Luckily, two of the NKK Japanese residents found me just outside of the building (I wasn’t sure what it looked like), and within 10 minutes I was shown to my room by my Japanese roommate and my suitcase dumped onto my floor. Nice.

Obviously, the first thing I did was take a godly shower and then I went with my

The unpack.

The unpack.

roommate Aki up to the community room for yakisoba and introductions. These things are really difficult for me because I can barely articulate myself in English, much less Japanese, which I am increasingly discovering to be one of the biggest challenges of my life, but more on that later. Many folks didn’t arrive until Tuesday, but I met a number of great people and played Super Smash Bros Brawl for a bit. The community room is decked out with quite a lot of Wii, PS2, PS1 and N64 games, including Brawl, Mario Kart 64, Dead or Alive, Taiko no Tatsujin, DDR, Crash Bandi

My room!

My room!

coot, One Piece Grand Battle 2, Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn, Mario Party 8 and who knows what else. Anyway, I believe I went to the conbeni that night too, to stock up on some grub.

Some goodies that were left behind by the former residents.

Some goodies that were left behind by the former residents.

On Tuesday, the rest of the students arrived and I slowly became acquaintances with each of them. I recall going to the supermarket with my other two roommates that day, stocking the fridge and whatnot. Later on, a couple of Japanese residents took us as two groups out to go shopping and see some parts of town. We ended up at Aeon Mall and a lot of kids picked up supplies. I didn’t really need anything but it was a fun excursion nonetheless. Ran into a fantastic example of engrish in the form of a shirt reading “it becomes somehow”


That evening, there was another welcome dinner, this time udon, for the people who arrived on Tuesday. Very pleasant, I got to chat with a lot of people and played more Super Smash Bros. I will be repeating this a lot, because it keeps hAPPENING. It was a relatively early night though, because we all needed to be well rested for our first real trip to campus, in the form of the placement exam at 9:45 Wednesday morning.

So that happened. It was a very stressful morning. I mean it’s a thing I was stressing about for quite awhile. I really wanted to make it into the second level, NIJ400, but nobody knew

Just before the placement exam.

Just before the placement exam.

what to expect on the exam. Turns out it was an 80 question multiple choice test and you could stop and turn it in when it stopped making sense. I started guessing around 35 and by the time I reached 50 I was at my limit, and the good news is I shared that ballpark with a number of people so it made me feel better. We got lunch at the dining hall/conbeni on campus for the first time and I met a lot of other students who I had either not seen at NKK yet, or lived in another dorm or with a homestay. I started passing around a Facebook Friend List so we could get connected online and start a Facebook group. Because necessary. The list got really huge. I was so happy omfg i felt so important u dont even kno

After lunch we had to go through an introduction orientation with the administrators of Nanzan. There were some strange speeches about not doing drugs and trite talks about all being in this together because Japanese isn’t our first language, followed by repeatedly telling us how rigorous and

My lunch after the exam. Note the PUNGENCY

My lunch after the exam. Note the PUNGENCY

impossible the coursework is going to be. Also don’t do drugs. It went on. It was nice, but just kind of weird and foreboding in some way. Anyway, following that we were broken up into small groups and given tours of the campus by Nanzan students. It’s a pretty campus. Maybe a third of the size of my homeland Mizzou, if that, but I mean whatever right it was CUTE. We were shown all the dope restaurants; I’m personally most stoked to try the curry, but there was Italian and I don’t even know what else anymore. We’ll see.

Photo of campus from during the tour.

Photo of campus from during the tour.

After the tour, we had a dinner ceremony in one of the dining halls. I stuck to mostly sushi and sausage. Chatted it up about One Piece and Mario with my tour guides and stuff. Good talks and good food. I was however abruptly swept away by a growing group of people wanting to explore Nagoya and do karaoke, so I was like fuck it yolo lets do this.

It rained. and rained. and rained. It was painful. At this point if I had wet socks for the rest of my life I’d probably barely notice. That’s not true. Wet socks is the worst feeling in the

The karaoke group

The karaoke group

universe. And I’ve been feeling it a lot lately. Anyway, the karaoke was pretty fun, we did a number of anime songs and snuck in some Katy Perry so all in all it was good. We took the subway back home and the rain let up. Successful evening.

Oh and I’m pretty sure I played Smash Bros again that night.

There was more orientation on Thursday. I woke up a little early to photocopy some docs and went to a housing orientation. Nothing really necessary aside from informing me that I’ll be receiving 30,000 yen back per month from the security deposit I paid in June which is AMAZING. We had to set up a bank account here in Japan though and design a name seal so that was kind of blah. But it’s squared away now. I went off with a couple friends after to look for an alternative eating location aside from the usual cafeteria but nothing was open, so whatevs it’s chill we just went back to NKK and I did up some bacon and eggs. I think I forgot to mention that we registered for classes too. That’s also when I found out that I got into NIJ400 as I wanted to, but that came along with the discovery of having to take another test on the first day of class this coming Wednesday to determine if we need to be moved up, down, or stay. So really the first test was very tentative, and the next one will not be multiple choice. So naturally I’ve been shitting bricks about that.

This is ye Oasis21. Beautiful

This is ye Oasis21. Beautiful

Still on Thursday, I went with about 10 other people to Sakae Station where there’s a

shopping center called Oasis21 that is just gorgeous. We got some sunny weather for once and I definitely took advantage of that. Myself and two others broke apart from the main group to go find a little dive or some place to chill. We tried a bar that was not gaijin friendly before finally finding one that was. It was cute because it had a couple shelves with manga on it and the staff there were nice and seemed interested in our foreign-ness (in a positive way). We had a couple drinks and talked, which was cool because these two were homestay kids who I hadn’t seen much of around the place. So that was nice. I got back to NKK later on and I’m not sure what the evening entailed aside from probably Super Smash Bros????

FRIDAY. Good lord I am up to like 1,800 words right now. It was another orientation day. The dullest of them all. First was internet orientation, where we were given our login access for the school computers, but aside from that it was about 50 minutes of slideshows that would have maybe been confusing for an 8 year old. I was fucking beat. Worse still was the library orientation, where we had to listen to how to use the search tool on the library’s database to find books and to PROVE OUR WORTH complete a SCAVENGER HUNT after the lecture. Just pointless and exhausting. I tagged along with some peeps for lunch after and brought my gyoza. I love gyoza. I went home for a sick ass nap afterward.

Group photo from the kickoff party :)

Group photo from the kickoff party šŸ™‚

It was a pretty slow afternoon of hanging out in the community room. I cooked dinner, beef and green beans from the grocery store with some onigiri that was to die for. We started a game of Mario Party 8 that was kind of shortlived because, around 8pm we had a kick off party in the community room. Which was nice. There were snacks and refreshers. We did formal introductions by room numbers, in Japanese. After that, we had to play a name game quick draw type

The festivities.

The festivities.

game where roommates would go against other roommates to see who could remember the others’ names first. Kinda fun. But really the excitement was high for the bar night ahead of us. I think there were somewhere around 43 of us in attendance, so the walk was long and probably obnoxious for passersby. Anyway, we got the place, all you can drink for 1500 yen (that’s around 15 bucks. Think about that.) And the festivities began. We did a grand kampai and I probably chugged down the first beer before I finished clanking glasses with people in my immediate vicinity. One became two which became

Some jan-ken-pon action. (I probably lost).

Some jan-ken-pon action. (I probably lost).

like… 10? I just recall having a lot of fun

talking to people and singing songs terribly and drunkenly, and playing jan-ken-pon drinking elimination, which brought my alcohol count up with an additional 4-6 cups of sake. I think I left when my roommate started not feeling so good, and another roommate of mine came with. We helped each other walk back to NKK and I kinda sorta blacked out when I got back to my room. I think I threw up? Well, lots of fun, that


So Saturday was rough. I had some curry before noon and crashed again. Until like 4:30.



Shelby has a nice butt. After that I met up with friends again to go out to Nagoya Station and find some dinner. Which happened, and it was glorious. We had pork on the grill followed by shabu shabu. And yakiniku. So that conquered the hangover. After that we went to a little dessert cafe and did that. Yummy. Not much else to say, but it was a nice evening. When I got back I chatted in the community room for a hot minute until 11pm. About Studio Ghibli, Pixar, Fire Emblem, Pokemon, etc. Oh yeah I played Super Smash Bros.

SO THAT FINALLY BRINGS ME TO TODAY. Which will probably be brief because not a lot really happened. I went with a group to the Municipal Ward to do notification of residence stuff. It was terrible because I hadn’t showered since Friday and reeked of ratchet. And I was so tired. And it was so boring. The application form was mostly Kanji and we had to be walked through each box pretty much. Then just the processing time took a couple hours. Made some small talk with the people next to me but it was all just so half assed. I had another Dragon Ball cola. When it was all over, I stopped by Lawson’s to get a pick-me-up in the form of karaage (fried chicken) that was spicy and greasy and I have to go back for more. Like it’s all I want. I took a little nap then threw some laundry in and got my study on in the community room with some friends and chatted. I guess I tend to do a lot of that. We also made another trip to the conbeni to re-up on snacks. Afterward, one of the Japanese students was cooking dinner and we were invited to that, so I went and had pork kimchi soup(?) and rice. It was really good! We played some strange form of Texas Hold Em using candies to bet with. Then I picked up my laundry and went to my room where I started typing this like a fucking hour ago.

And I’m not proofreading this so if there are any typos sue me.

I’m not looking forward to even more orientation tomorrow, but it’ll be nice to see some of the homestay friends again. What’s this week look like, you ask?

Well class starts on Wednesday, with that exam that I am dreading. Aside from the exam I guess I’m sort of masochistically excited to start classes. I feel like my Japanese is definitely not improving by simply being in Japan. Who would have thought. I NEED DISCIPLINE. I just really don’t want to bomb the test and have to go to level 1. I don’t know what I will do with myself :C THE SHAME.

Hopefully when I next update I’ll be feeling a little bit more optimistic about things. But right now all I can think about is mexican food and test anxiety. Help me.


About playbradlyplay

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2 Responses to Japan Days 8-18: Enter Nagoya

  1. Penney Barrett says:

    Ohhh Bradly! The fun, the excitement, the never ending newness! This is just what you needed! I am so excited for you and yes, discipline could come in handy, LOL! You will do great, I’m sure, on your next exam! I am so proud of you for taking care of things and getting things done! I can’t imagine what it is like being there so thank you for this blog! You are already going places, congratulations! And as for feeling important about getting the FB list going, yes, I know, exactly how you felt, because I know you with all my heart. As for all the words you have typed? You couldn’t have done it any other way, you have always been a good writer with a lot to say! I love you and I am very proud of you and can’t wait to read the next installment!

  2. Kelly Knight says:

    Wow!! What an amazing travel story having to take the subway to Nanzan and despite the rain somehow making it just when you needed to be found- surreal!!
    Sounds like you did much better than you thought you would on the placement exam, I’m sure you will rock the next test! Is it weird- the whole time you were talking about the tedious orientation all I could hear in my head was the FFVIII music that plays when you first explore Balamb gardens? Oasis21 is stunning, I hope you take a bazillion pictures!
    Mexican food LOLz! On my trip to Norway all I could do was think about how badly I missed the Bell! Speaking of food, somehow I don’t think it was an coincidence that PORK.MEAT.LOVE was centered right above your Shelby butt comment- just sayin’ :b
    Sounds like you are making some fab memories, can’t wait to read more!!

    Cousin Kelly

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