to school i go

Today I went to see Hitotsubashi University, the school I`m going to in March. Its in Kunitachi, a quiet town when compared to say, Shinjuku. The campus itself is divided into two by a main road, and each of the two areas is enclosed by a wall or a fence. There are lots and lots of huge trees and plenty of greenery in general, and the outer walls of the campus are lined with bikes. All the buildings are pretty old except the international house where I`ll be staying. I had heard bad things about the place so I wanted to check it out myself. Sure enough, it wasn`t exactly luxury living and the other guy from Penn who has been here for a semester already (John) later told me they had a few problems with the administration when they tried to renovate the really crappy common room. On the plus side though the rooms were not as small as I thought they would be and they did have their own bathrooms.
Before going to ihouse I had actually gone to see my exchange-student advisor who had been very helpful during the LONG preparation stage of my trip (remember Japanese bureaucracy?) I wanted to express my thanks so I bought her a colourful headscarf from Saudi.
I walk into the office and its made up of rows of desks and office workers, more than one of whom was chatting on MSN. I go up to her and introduce myself, and everything is going well until I give her the gift. All of a sudden, she goes all Japanese on me, and backs up like I`m offering her a human head or something and starts bowing at me. Okay, I tell myself that maybe this is just the Japanese gift giving routine taken to the extreme (they usually delay receiving the gift by saying you shouldn`t have etc). So I say “its really nothing”. She launches herself into a bowing/apologizing/shaking her head combo. Then out of nowhere an old man appears on my left (the big boss I think) and takes the scarf away from me. It was turning into a circus and the worst part was that all the other office people were watching for what faux pas the baka gaijin was going to commit next. I turn to the old guy and say its really a small thing, a boring thing etc in Japanese. He looks at it for ten seconds and then nods his head very slowly and puts it to one side. What the hell.
Later, when the advisor was giving me a tour of the campus she explained that Hitotsubashi is a national university and therefore she can`t accept gifts from students. Darn, I hoped that I didn`t get her into trouble (the old guy looked mean) and I told her so. She said nothing would happen and they will probably end up putting the scarf on display. Welcome to Japan.

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2 responses to “to school i go

  1. Dear Ezz!
    Greetings!
    You rae reminding me of my old days! Refreshing!
    Thanks for visiting my new sushi blog! I do have quite some stuff about vegetarian sushi, although I’m of the omnivorous kind. The fact is I have been asked quite a few times, so it was only fair to start with that kind!
    Looking forward to reading your posts!
    Cheers,
    Robert-Gilles

  2. damn it was a what the situation is man but well i heard of japan too damn forget about that scarf man^^inshalla i’ll visit japan to cheer u up(but don’t know when) NE wyz hope you enjoy life there^^

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