Adapting my study routine to Japan

Since I’ve gotten to Japan I have experimented quite a lot with my study schedule, figuring out how to adapt what I usually do to a different environment, different goals, and a different class schedule. As classes have now been going on for a couple of weeks, I feel like I’ve nearly perfected my study/daily routine and i’d like to share it with you in this post.

A New Environment: One of the big things I’ve noticed over the past couple of weeks is that I can handle the massive amount of people, less well than I thought I could. I live in a busy city myself back home, but it’s not at all comparable to Tokyo. I can get overwhelmed quite quickly with such crowds of people, especially during rush hour. The way I incorporated dealing with this aspect of a new environment into my schedule is the following; Lucky for me I’ve found a way to organize my class schedule in such a way that I have Monday’s and Friday’s off! Because of this I try to use these two days to do all things that require me to be in the busiest parts of Tokyo such as shopping in Shibuya, strolling around Harajuku, relaxing at Shiba-Koen park and hanging out with friends. Of-course some places are busy no matter what day of the week you go (aka Tokyo station) but generally it’s still not as busy as it is in the weekends.

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Tokyu Plaza, Harajuku

Optimal Use Of Time: Because I have Mondays and Fridays off the rest of the week is quite busy for me when it comes to classes. My Tuesday’s, Wednesdays and Thursday’s are packed and one way I try to reduce the workload on these days is to complete all my homework and assignments for these classes on Friday, the week before they’re due. On Friday morning, I have been waking up at 6am to take the train to Shibuya where there is a Starbucks located on the top of a skyscraper connected to an amazing terrace with a view of the city. I order a cup of coffee, take a seat and get to work. The reason I like doing this is because by waking up early, I increase the hours i’m actually productive as I tend to be more productive in the morning instead of the evening. Waking up early means that there aren’t that many people around which makes my work environment much more peaceful as the Starbucks isn’t as busy and in the early morning usually attracts people that are there for the same reason as I am, to get some shit done. Not only is it more peaceful and creates a better work environment, working in the morning is a good IMG_3296option for me because I usually manage to get all of my work done by noon and actually, since i’ve started waking up this early i’ve been getting more stuff done before noon than i sometimes did during the entire day! Not only is that incredibly motivating, it also means I still have half of Friday and the entire weekend to do what I want and not having to stress about any assignments coming up the next week. This can be relaxing and watching a movie but it can also mean reading a book I didn’t have the time for or working on that one project i’ve been putting off. I’ve also noticed that my sleeping pattern has improved a lot since I started waking up this early. I feel like i have more energy, get better sleep and have a better and organized day even though i don’t actually sleep more. It’s just that I’ve changed my bedtime to a time that was actually right for me and allows me to get the most hours of productivity into my day.

Weekends: In the weekend, I try to spend a large chunk of the day studying for the JLPT that is coming up soon and I usually remain in the area of my dormitory. Because I usually get all of my homework and assignments for the upcoming week done on Friday morning, my weekends are JLPT only study wise. I try to specifically focus on my JLPT

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Coffee at Tully’s

textbooks with vocabulary, grammar, kanji and practice exercises in order to kick ass and hopefully get that certificate in a couple of months. Lately I’ve also been trying to pick up the habit of going for a run in the early morning to improve my endurance and get into a more healthy lifestyle which is something I like to do during the weekends. One of my absolute favorite things I like to do in the weekend every once in a while is to wake up at 6 or 7 am on a Saturday, get dressed, walk to the station for a 2 minute train ride and get my favorite breakfast at the station which is the toasted salmon cream cheese bagel at the bagel & bagels cafe. This motivates me to get up early in the morning and next to this gives me a good start of my day since i’ve already been walking around and getting some movement and fresh air. Then I go back to the station closest to my dorm and either go to Tully’s to do some work for a couple of hours, or i go back to the dorm’s cafeteria to study.

Morning Routine: One of the things I’ve been trying to get better at is maintaining a steady morning routine. For me this mostly means that I try to organize and clean up my room before I go off to class so I don’t have to come back home to a garbage dump. It also means I try to eat breakfast every single day before I leave the dorm because it’s something i’ve been struggling with since I got here. It’s not that I intentionally don’t eat any breakfast, it’s more-so that getting ready takes me more time than I anticipate and then before you know it i’m rushing to get to the station while realising I haven’t eaten anything yet. And while there are lots of people who function perfectly fine without breakfast, I am not one of them. These are just a couple of the things i’ve been adapting to and changing with regards to my study routine in Japan but i’m hoping on making a post soon that details more comprehensively how exactly I study for my courses, what I do in terms of managing home work and how I organize a regular day at university.

One key to success is to have lunch at the time of the day most people have breakfast. – Robert Brault

 

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Tokyo 2018 : March/April In Review

As I’m writing this, it has been nearly a month since I’ve left the Netherlands and have been living in Tokyo, Japan. This past month has been wild. While I’ve lived in Japan before, Tokyo is a whole different story when compared to living in the beautiful but slow-paced country side.

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Pastel Donuts in Shibuya 109

I spent the first week or so mostly unpacking, getting used to the dormitory,  decorating my room to be a little bit less impersonal and getting to know the other international students in my dorm. Next to exploring the area around my dormitory, I re-visited my favorite spots in Tokyo which mainly consisted of endlessly strolling around/shopping in Shibuya, stuffing myself with Korean BBQ in Shin-Okubo (Tokyo’s Korea-town) and Sakura viewing at Harajuku’s Yoyogi Park since I arrived just in time for the Sakura to be in full bloom! I stuffed myself with sushi, strolled around Shinjuku at night admiring the view of the entire city from the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and ate Okonomiyaki to die for. Needless to say my first couple of weeks were busy and chaotic but definitely in a good way.

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Shinjuku at night

I feel like when it comes to Tokyo, there’s too much to see and do to ever get tired of it, and I am discovering new places every single day. The biggest difference between the country side and Tokyo is just the sheer amount of people. In Tokyo it doesn’t really matter what area you’re in or at what time you’re there, there are always people around. Life is fast-paced, fun and upbeat but also rushed and chaotic which is something I did not experience as much in the country side. I have to say, there’s nothing you can experience that comes close to being in a packed train in central Tokyo, commuting to campus during rush hour with people squeezed into every possible corner of the train imaginable. I can tell you that’s not the most relaxing way to arrive at your 9AM lecture

For me, classes have started and I am enjoying every minute of it! The main reason for me to put everything on hold back home academically and go to Japan again was to improve my Japanese and obtain the N2 certificate of the JLPT in July and I am absolutely ready to crush it! Now that I have a concrete goal in mind, I feel motivated and energized to improve my Japanese even more and to get the most out of my classes possible. With regards to traveling, my next big trip will be to Seoul for a couple of days at the end of May, which I could not be more excited about! In a nutshell, that was it for the end of March and beginning of April. If you have any suggestions of places I should visit in either Tokyo or Seoul, definitely let me know in the comments down below!

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustav Flaubert