With quite a lot of free time in the evenings, I have managed to get out and explore Hirakata city. The city itself is not very big and walking 5 km in any direction away from the Hirakata City Station will almost end in nothing but houses. In my opinion, the city is not quite as nice as Takasaki, although it does have some good moments, even if fleeting. During orientation week, there will be plenty of opportunities to go out and explore the city, and my recommendation is to take full advantage of those opportunities. Every night Liz and I went out to try some new food or satisfy some culinary craving together with taste of the alcohol Japan has to offer. The food is great and most often we can determine our order through the pictures on the menu or the plastics displays outside the restaurant. We also managed to go to Karaoke with a group of 13 and my speaking partner Yasuharu. It was a crazy evening although maybe a smaller group would be a little easier to manage and get some decent singing done. Following the singing a few of us decided to grab some drinks close with about 40mins to spare. However, order took a good 20mins and by the time the drinks came we hang to pound them back and run to the bus, catching it just in time.
So registration came and went and with my absurdly high number, I still managed to get into 50% of the classes I wanted and waitlisted for the other 50%. A higher number would still be best; however, it doesn’t seem to make a significant difference as there are always ways to get into a full class except for the super full classes with a waitlist of 30+ students.
The opening ceremony was pretty good without being overly long, although the speech from the international student representative left a lot to be desired. The American Consulate representative was said to be a good speaker and delivered on all accounts. However, the highlight of the night was the food. As my roommate put it “…probably some of the best food you will have while in Japan”. It was well catered and the food was delicious with a large selection and variety. It also allowed everyone to mingle and enjoy some conversation over some great food.