Sunday, July 29, 2007

The shortest 6 months of my life

I just finished my Japanese Language course, which was actually pretty good. I can read and speak a lot better than when I first came, and a lot better than if I had only been studying on my own for the last few months. As part of the course I had to give a 10 minute presentation in Japanese on a topic of my choice, mine involved semantics with reference to a cat shaped robot from the future. The one really surprising thing about the course though, was that in just over 3 months they managed to complete the promised 6 months of Japanese language training that I was supposed to be given as part of my scholarship. Japanese efficiency...

Oh I should probably mention that I have decided that I will probably not being doing my masters degree here. I've learnt a lot more about the Japanese system since getting here and I don't really think the masters degree would be worth it. One of the biggest points is the time it would take, if I was still in NZ I would finish by the end of this year, but here I wouldn't even start until next April and it would take two years after that. I would have to spend a few months studying for the entrance exams, which are in areas completely unrelated to what I want to study and which have no bearing on what I've studied until now in New Zealand. Add to that rumours that the exams and courses require as much rote learning as actual understanding and it doesn't seem like my sort of thing.

So my current plan is to stick around until next year at least and decide whether I want to try and get into a Phd program here, while spending my time on my own research and hopefully get a paper or two published. If I decide not to stay I will look at getting another scholarship and moving on to Europe to do my Phd there. Of course during my time here there are a lot of people I can learn a fair bit from, and I will of course be able to improve my Japanese. Plus to be honest, the lifestyle here is enjoyable enough that I'm not in any hurry to leave.

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