So, Minamata’s dealt with. I move on.

Next year, in order to ensure that we don’t spend all our time in a cozy izakaya (pub) drinking sake, we have to complete a ‘Year Abroad Project’, which is basically a research excercise, designed to get us out and about with a questionnaire investigating Japanese attitudes towards this that and the other.

I was going to do something challenging, in an area that really interests me, such as civil rights movements or attitudes towards GM products (no, I’m not talking about SUVs here), but then, when I started thinking in depth about what questions I’d ask, who I’d approach etc, it all started seeming a bit complex (apologies to the tutor who spent some time imparting words of wisdom regarding the above, and apologies also for being drunk when you did so… it was the end of term though).

Thus, I have opted to go for something which I already know a fair bit about, something which probably won’t be all that challenging (and thus not as interesting as the above), something which, put bluntly, won’t require as much effort. Having had a hint of what is in store for me at Rikkyo I want to rid myself of as many other responsibilities as possible, in order that I have a wee bit of time to actually enjoy being back in Japan!

Thus, I have decided to focus upon the International Couple Scene. That’s if my tutor will let me – there’s a slight conflict of interest here in that *cough’s* dissertation is focusing upon Intercultural Marriages. Still, I’ve informed my tutor (so as not to be accused of plagarism at a later date!)… I await a response. If he says no I shall have to have words.

Anyway, I’ve learnt quite a lot about foreigners in Japan. Such as, when *cough* and I get married (did I really say that?) she will be one of only about 370 Japanese ladies lucky enough to marry a British bloke that year (as opposed to over 7000 Chinese). Did you know that interethnic marriages account for 5% of the total in Japan, vs. only 2% here in the UK? Well I never! There was me thinking we were the most intermultiethnicallycultural-inclined and all that over here.

I ‘met’ one of her sisters yesterday via video-messenger thing. Crazy. And I thought my family was mad…

I switched my mobile phone on for the first time in about 5 days last night. Not a single text or missed call. aaaahhh bliss. Noticeble drop in the number of emails I’ve received too – why can’t it always be Easter? No queue at the supermarket. AGGHH! Did I say supermarket? I’m afraid so. Sainsbury’s is located just at the end of the street that my kitchen looks out onto, vs. my favourite ever local organic shop which is 20 minutes away up a big hill. I’m afraid this semester, with this workload, there’s been no competition.

So, it’s pretty much all over in 5 weeks, other than a couple of exams. There’ll be no more ‘proper’ classes for Joseph until Sep 2007. Ok, ok, so it does sound like I’ll be a bit busy at Rikkyo, but at the end of the day, it’s only a pass-or-fail year, so I don’t have to go working myself into the ground as I have done these past 18 months in order to get firsts all the time. I do want to do well though in terms of language aquisition, just a case of not being so damn lazy as I tend to be with *cough*. She speaks japanese, I speak English.

Anyhow, I’m bloody knacked, my eyes are utterly unfocused and my futon is awaiting.

oyasumi xxx

5 Responses

  1. Regards your year out, is this topic which you have to choose a prelude of sorts to your dissertation (sp) or just for this year abroad, and surely it doesnt last the full year?

    How much money do you have saved for your year out?
    How much of this is from grants?
    Do you plan to get a job whilst in Japan for the year?
    I know its a long way off but im intrested to see how youve started to plan your year?
    I take it you plan to meet up with people you already know there if possible?
    *ming wandering* do you think you’l be involved with an “english soc” ?


  2. Hi Mikey,

    we were advised that if we were to choose a topic related to a future dissertation that would be ok, provided we were careful to avoid any form of self-plagiarism. It also says in the handbook, “If you can tie the project in with your future career plans, so much the better, though of course this is only a suggestion”.

    So basically, no, it does not have to have any relationship to your dissertation, but it can if you want it to. The year abroad project is not really that big a deal, in my opinion. After all, it is only pass or fail.

    I have no money saved for my year out, although I hope to earn some by gardening in the summer. I’m aiming to take about 1000 pounds with me. My funding will basically be:

    400 per month from my scholarship (fngers crossed)
    5000 pounds from my LEA / Student Loans company, which will be adjusted in the event that I do get a scholarship. (This is broken down as 4000 ish loan, 1000 grant).
    Flights paid for by LEA
    40% of insurance paid for by LEA
    16 pound train fare from Narita airport to Kichijoji paid for by LEA!

    My rent will be 300 pounds per month, although if I’d wanted to I could have stayed in uni accomodation for a lot less.

    I have no definate plans to get a job whilst in Japan, based on the above figures and knowing how little it is possible to live on I should be ok without. However, if I do get one I would like to work in a Japanese environment, instead of teaching english. having said that, the latter can be easy money…

    Yes, I’ll be seeing all my old friends 🙂

    Re. English soc, ha! I dunno. I’ll just try and get as involved as poss in student activities so as to improve my Japanese.


  3. International Couple Scene, hey? 😀 As one who shares this interest (though largely from a different angle), I look forward to hearing all about it!

  4. I shall of course pass on any golden nuggets of wisdom in the unlikely event that I happen to stumble upon any during my research.

    I must admit I’m going into this with more than a little bias, having felt discriminated against when in the relevant situation in the past. We’re talking big problems with estate agents and the like…

    The real problem is getting around the tatamae curtain. ‘Demand characteristics’ / ‘social desirability’ will no doubt affect the answers I get, especially as it will a gaijin doing research – I’m gonna have to do some kind of control study, i.e. get some japanese people to fill in an identical questionnaire to that used in the main study without knowing there’s a gaijin behind it. Must get in touch with my make-up artist.

    I don’t know if you’ve had a look at the proposal outline on page 10 of the booklet, but this YAP proposal is proving to be a little more time-consuming that the couple-of-hour job I thought it would be!