First thing in the morning on Monday, I repacked my suitcases and neatly put away my futon. My friend’s mom loaded up the family car, and after a quick breakfast, we drove to the ICU campus. I wasn’t really prepared for how green the campus was. We drove for miles passed nothing but buildings squished up against each other with mere centimeters in between, before rounding a bend into a giant forest of trees. Inside the middle of this forest is the campus. When we arrived, we easily found my dorm and they helped me into my room. When all was settled, I thanked my friend’s mom for all the help and to let me know if I could ever repay her, and we said our goodbyes. Strangely, even though I expected to see them again regularly, I never did, but I’m still grateful for their help even to this day.
After they left, I unpacked a little bit, before exploring my new housing. I didn’t take any pictures, and am still kicking myself for that. I chose the newer dorms with fewer restrictions, they also had older style Japanese dorms available but those came with strict curfews, and I knew I was going to be out late quite often. We had dorm parents, a middle age couple who sat in a room at the entrance, and controlled the locks on the doors and monitored the student’s behaviors. Most of the other students found them too controlling and naggy, but I didn’t know anybody else in the program, and they kind of adopted me while I was there, always helping me with my studies and being generally warm and inviting.
The first floor of the dorm had two sliding glass doors. The first door was always unlocked, so you could come inside and speak to the dorm parents through the window, grab your mail from the mail boxes, before passing through the second door into the main room. To the right was the smoking room, which had a large air filtration system to clean the air for the non-smokers. Beyond that was a tea room to the left, and a living room in the center. To far right were the stairs that went up multiple floors. Each floor had several shared apartments. Each apartment had one kitchen, one bathroom and shower, one dining room, and four small bedrooms complete with bed, desk, and closet. I don’t remember much about the other girls I shared the apartment with, but there was one who roomed next door. She was far more advanced than I was, and would spend her meal time writing kanji on the large white board on the wall of the small dining room. This youtube video I found (not mine) shows the dorm that I stayed in quite well.
That first day we had an afternoon meeting with our program, they wanted to help us familiarize ourselves with the surrounding area and led a guided tour around the outside of campus to show where the shops are so we could buy food, clothes, and toiletries. It wasn’t a manditory tour, so once we knew where we could buy shampoo and get some meals, most of us broke off to explore on our own. I turned on my ipod, picked a direction, and walked a few km until I got hungry, stopping into a McDonald’s for some dinner, before walking back to my new home. I wasn’t too happy how far the campus was from the train station. It was either a 45 minute walk or a 15 minute walk and a 10 minute bus ride during business hours. I spent most of my time at ICU walking on and off campus more than anything else. Since I didn’t take any pictures of the campus, here are a few I found around google, with source links of course.
|Large field in front of the main building for relaxing.|
|Bus terminal on campus to the train station.|
|Main entrance to campus, a really really really really loooooooooong walk.|