steepholm: (Default)
[personal profile] steepholm
Perhaps I should make some attempt to describe this campus. Toukyou Joshi Dai isn't a big university by the standards of the UK (it has about 3,000 students to Cardiff's 30,000, for example). It takes up what in American terms would be a block (if you're from Bristol, think of the zoo). That space has quite a few older buildings dotted around, like the one in which I'm living, some of which were apparently designed by a pupil of Frank Lloyd Wright with a taste for inverted dishes, as well as a few plate-glass jobs with offices and teaching rooms.

DSC00028
This turns out to be purely decorative, and not after all a way of communicating with extra-terrestials

There's also a rather grand main building, with the Latin motto "QUAECUNQUE SUNT VERA" inscribed on the front. For this is a Christian foundation, as its English name (Tokyo Woman's Christian University) makes clear, even though the "Christian" bit is dropped in Japanese translation.

DSC00054

There are trees (木), groves (林) and woods (森) (who said that kanji were hard to learn?), and although these come with matching mosquitoes I think it's well worth it. It certainly doesn't feel like the middle of one of the world's great metropoles. In some ways it resembles my idea of an American liberal arts college, although before you use this as a reliable reference you should remember that my ideas of American liberal arts colleges derive entirely from having read The Secret History and Tam Lin. Unlike a typical liberal arts college, this university appears (as far as I can tell) not to be a hub for ritual murder, whether inspired by Dionysian frenzy or the need to pay a tithe to hell, and as far as I'm concerned this is a plus. On the contrary, they take rather paternalistic care of their students, locking the gates at 11pm each evening (though nothing as extreme as the broken glass and razor wire I saw surrounding the female dorms in a Christian university in Taiwan a few years ago). Even I, when I leave the campus, have to hand my key over the guards (there are usually at least two) and pick it up again on my return - perhaps five minutes later, after a dash to the combini. I'm not sure what purpose is served by this requirement, but the guards are always very cheerful and polite, so I can't resent it.

The area is neither central Tokyo nor the suburbs, but a sweet spot somewhere in between. Turning left from the main gate the streets are quiet, with houses, family restaurants, antique and bookshops. There are people milling about, but no sense of city hustle, and more bicycles than cars. Here it is at about 7pm on my first evening, with dusk already falling in the abrupt Asian manner:

DSC00025

In the other direction is fashionable Kichijouji, a far more bustling place, for shopping by day or eating by night. Here's where you need to go if you want to eat a curry doughnut, which I intend to do as soon as may be:

DSC00051

On my first full day in Japan, though, I contented myself with buying a yukata and all the trimmings - something I've wanted for a long time. I placed myself in the hands of a very friendly department store assistant, and luckily it was one of those days when my Japanese was flowing pretty well (it varies greatly). She walked me through the process of putting on the underdress, the yukata itself, the obi, the geta (alas! my feet are so large that I had to get men's ones), and then set me up with accessories - a flower for the hair, and of course one of those terribly useful baskets.

DSC00070

I hesitate to say how much all that cost, but suffice it to say that it sated my desire to shop for at least a day.

"They order these things better in Japan" Dept. A useful feature of Japanese supermarkets is that, rather than put the food into your shopping bags at the checkout, potentially holding up other customers as you do so, they provide tables where you can take your shopping basket/trolley after you've paid, and put things in bags at your leisure - rather like the tables in airport security where you can sort out your possessions after they've been through the scanner. A simple idea, but a good one - which I noticed only having held everyone up at the checkout putting things in bags, of course.

On the other hand, here at Toukyou Joshi Dai I seem to be a celebrity:

DSC00069DSC00053

Let's hope I live up to the billing.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-26 02:13 am (UTC)
calimac: (Default)
From: [personal profile] calimac
How is handing over your key to the guards worthy of note? Is it because this isn't a hotel? In Britain and Europe I've frequently encountered the rule that hotel guests are supposed to hand over their key at the front desk whenever they leave the hotel. We don't do that in the States.

I attended a large university, not a small liberal arts college, though I've worked at some. All I can say that sounds relevant is that the size of their campuses can vary tremendously.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-26 03:46 am (UTC)
thistleingrey: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thistleingrey
The yukata's pattern is lovely (as is the sunset, unrelatedly). Are they purple flowers?

There are trees (木), groves (林) and woods (森) (who said that kanji were hard to learn?)

I LOLed.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-27 03:40 am (UTC)
thistleingrey: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thistleingrey
Ah, no, I wasn't sure of my eyes. Lovely color!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-26 06:19 am (UTC)
sovay: (Haruspex: Autumn War)
From: [personal profile] sovay
On my first full day in Japan, though, I contented myself with buying a yukata and all the trimmings - something I've wanted for a long time.

It's a lovely pattern.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-26 10:53 am (UTC)
shewhomust: (bibendum)
From: [personal profile] shewhomust
Who wouldn't want to eat a curry doughnut? Report hungrily anticipated!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-26 11:05 am (UTC)
cmcmck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cmcmck
Very much the way Aldi have always done it in places European of course- it makes so much more sense!

digression

Date: 2017-06-26 11:16 am (UTC)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
From: [personal profile] redbird
When you described that as being "in American terms, a block" I envisioned something rather smaller. But I'm from a city where we use blocks as a unit of size/distance (three small or "street" blocks to one long or "avenue" block, and twelve avenue blocks to the kilometer/twenty to the mile), and I don't think of the campuses that interrupt the street grid that way (Columbia and City College) as being blocks.

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