Review on one month Nanzan University!

I wanted to write about my university life some time ago but now I think I feel like doing it.

It will be mostly text, so if you don't like, close my blog nooow :D

First about Nanzan University
The great entrance gate to the campus!

At first, Nanzan University has 2 campuses: The one I go to is located in the Showa-part of Nagoya. The Showa-campus mostly contains the language, literature and social studies courses and that's the reason some boys of the dorm say that there are only girls on the campus but I think there are lot of men too :D

The foreign students get looked after by the so-called Center for Japanese Studies (CJS), which is located in the newest building of the university.
The CJS-building~
There is a bureau where the most friendly and helpful people work, who I ever met. 
They are so kind, always willingly to help and so patient with all us chaotic foreign students :D

In the building of the CJS there are not only most of the courses for the foreign students but also a lot of courses for japanese students, for example language courses etc.


But twice a week I also have courses in the older buildings here, which look like those typical japanese school rooms^^

first I want to write about Japanese language lessons!

When I came to Nanzan University, I first had to make placement test on which would be decided to which level of lesson I would fit best.
I reached NIJ500, which is a intermediate course to advanced Japanese.

At Nanzan there are 5 levels of Japanese: NIJ300 (very beginner), NIJ400(beginner), NIJ500(intermediate), NIJ600(advanced), NIJ700(very advanced).
To be honest, NIJ500 is not very stressful for me until now. When the study began, the (very friendly!) teachers told us:
"It's gonna be very stressful.
you won't sleep very much from now on.
you will have to stand up more early from now on.
you will probably study a lot more than in your home universities."

Well for me, that is totally not true. XD 

I have no idea when university in other countries start but in Germany university starts at 8:30am so I had to stand up at 6am every morning.
Here in Japan university starts at 9:20am so I can sleep until 7:30 which is almost too long for me XDD
Furthermore it is not stressful. Ok, we have tests every week: A vocabulary-test on monday, a kanji-test on thursday, we have to do homework everyday and every few weeks there is a big test about the past sections.
 BUT it is so much less to learn than it was in Germany. In Germany it was like: Learn 25 kanji per week PLUS 2 compounds for each kanji..and up to 40 or 60 vocabs a week and 3 pages of grammar and also doing a lot of homework for other courses and the minor subject, oh well and don't forget to preapre this presentation and read those 40 pages of texts for some seminar and also work on your project work etc...

So here in Japan it is SO chilled for me. 
And that is great. I feel like having so much strength again, my tests are great, I can concentrate on studying so much better. I don't have to do part-time jobbing and feel so much more relaxed. Of course this might also be because I already know a lot of kanji and vocabulary but there is still a lot of new things or me, especially when it comes to grammar.

Don't misunderstand me, the lessons are excellent! They are intensive, versatile and creative. And I also learn so many more things and I also really have to study, as I said before, there are tests every week but it's doable!

I'm having Communication-lesson every day á 90 minutes and 3 times a week additional kanji and reading lesson, also á 90 minutes.

Every 2nd week japanese students come to our lesson so that we can speak with them and we often do role plays or watch news in the internet etc. It is really funny and versatile!

My two teachers are really nice and cute ladies. The communication-teacher is a very young and cute lady who is always friendly and symphathic. I think I'm a bit lucky, to have her, the others say their teachers are more strict. She reminds me lot of my dear teachers in Germany so I feel very comfortable in her lessons.
My kanji-teacher is an older lady which always reminds me of a Ghibli-character. She is very friendly and warm-hearted also if she's different than the other teacher^^
I really like the teachers^^

Furthermore I chose a Literature-course which is completely about the novels of my favourite authour ever: Murakami Haruki!
The teacher is a very friendly, old man who mixes his Old-man-Japanese with a few words of English which makes it really difficult to understand him ofently, also because the content of the course is oftenly abstract and complicated.
I have to admit, I oftenly understand nothing and sometimes feel frustrated because there are many students of a higher level who can speak so much more then I can BUT the teacher gives his best for everybody to understand and puts so much effort in everything, that I like the course very well.

The content is mostly discussing and writing. We could chose if we read the books in English or Japanese.The homework is always: 'Read until chapter x,y and write your feelings and interpretation'. This is oftenly difficult but always interesting.
Until now I wrote my homeworks in English but I want to start writing them in Japanese soon! I bought the books in English AND Japanese but reading it in Japanese is still difficult for me. I am not fast enough so I read the books in english for my lesson but I definitely want to read them in Japanese in my own pace^^

The other course I took is Japanese History.
The teacher is an older British, very kind and chilled. He makes me feel comfortable, very friendly and understanding. Though I have to admit that it is oftenly difficult for me to understand English if it's spoken very fast, and especially because the course lasts from 1:30 to 3:45 and in the end I just need a break and my coffee XDD. 
That's the reason I sometimes don't notice when he is asking a question and just a few seconds later I regocognize that he asked a questions and  would have known the answer :(
But the lesson is interesting, in Germany I already learned a lot about Japanese history but mostly concentrated on culture and art and here the lesson is more about politics.
I like it, I believe it's important to know more about Japanese history, even more important than culture. I mean, to know the culture you can go on the street, there is japanese culture! But if you know about history, you can understand also culture better, I think..

There are various artistic and cultural courses here:
Sado (tea cerenomy), Hanga (wood-block printing), Ikebana (flower arrangement), Shodo (calligraphy) and Sumie (ink painting). 
Actually I wanted to take Sado but creating the schedule was kind of complicated to I ended up with Ikebana. But I regret nothing.
Before I thought Ikebana was 'looking nice while arranging flowers and pretending to do zen' XD 
But now I really look different on it. Of course I would not say there is something like 'Japanese spirit' or a lot of 'zen' or whatever inside, I think everybody can do this but it is nothing you can do without learning it. It's not like 'just putting flowers randomly in a vase' or something.
There are various schools and styles of ikebana and everyone has its own rules.
The right degrees of the flowers, the right proportion of the flowers etc. WHY those rules are there I don't know but you have to follow them to make a proper ikebana. The first styles are really easy but now it becomes really more and more difficult.

And it can be really stressful. 
I think I am maybe a bit of a 'artistic minded person'. 
By that I mean, I am not the worst at drawing, I like arranging things, having an eye for what looks good and having a balance, I like crafting and making things nice. Of course many people have the same characteristics.
Maybe that's why until now I got only complimented by my teachers and co-students for my ikebana.
I don't know if my ikebana is nice but I always arrange it very long and thoroughly and give my best, though I often think it is not perfect afterwards.

I think I definitely want to buy ikebana-materials in Germany and continue doing this art, it is nice, relaxing and challenging in the same time.

About getting in contact with Japanese.

I often hear that Nanzan University is not like the other japanese universities because it has such a strong exchange system and such a good international education.
And I think that's true.
We are always surrounded by japanese students who want to get to know us.
Once a month there is the so-called "Coffee hour", a meeting with coffee and cookies where international students and japanese students meet and talk.
Furthermore there is the so-called "Japan Plaza" and the "World Plaza". In "Japan Plaza" you only speak Japanese, there japanese and foreign students have oftenly lunch together and chatting. I haven't gone there until now but I want to go soon!
"World Plaza" is a bit more strict, there is every language allowed EXCEPT Japanese :D So there oftenly go japanese students who want to speak in another language and get to know new people.

There are various circles and clubs which we can join!
For example many sports clubs like Kendo, Aikido, Baseball, Karate, Judo, Handball etc. etc. There are music clubs, Jazz clubs, Tea cerenomy club, literature club, movie club etc.
To be honest, I didn't join one of those clubs or circles. Many people say that I will regret it but I just could not find anything which I had a lot of interest in :(
I was really interested in Kendo but they train 4 times a week, also on weekends etc., it's really strict. And I want to also go on trips and often do other things so I also didn't do kendo.

There is a pool on the campus, two big sports halls and a training room. 
And it's all for free! 
This is really awesome! 
Since the sports are for free, I started to go to the training room since one month every 2nd day. As I said before, I want to keep an eye on my weight but also don't skip all the good foods and until now it works pretty good this way. I do sports and eat :D
Usually I do 1/2hour to 45minutes of LIGHT muscle training (mostly legs) and afterwards 1 hour ergometer. Besides the weight control I also feel much fitter and with more energy.
I think I want to continue doing this back in Germany too.
The building in which the pool and training room and halls are located~

 If I'm remembering right, we have 3 canteens on the campus and one restaurant. Those canteens are really great in my eyes.
They are a bit more expensive than my canteen in Germany but the food is SO much better than SO much more!
The prices start at app. 200Yen for noodles and go up to 400Yen which is still very less because the portions are huge!
What is great about the food,is that it's fastfood but still gets prepared fresh!
Besides to the Canteens where you can get Kare rice (Curry), Hayashi rice, Udon, ramen, Kishimen, burgers, various Donburi etc.), we also  have a Lawson convinience store right on the campus, a little bakery shop, an italian restaurant and a little coffee shop (where the coffee is surprisingly good) where you can also buy ice cream^^
And additionally to that there are little cute boothes everyday on the campus selling other little delicacies^^;;

So when it comes to food, this university is more than best prepared XD

One of the canteens: 

Today I had Kishimen, a speciality of Nagoya.

Kishimen themselves taste and look like tagliatelle but they are served in a udon-broth^^ Very goodn though Udon are still my favourite^^

For me, the food tastes really good! But I'm also a person who was sold on the food I got in the airplane on my way to Japan :D I never expect the best and greatest thing if it comes to journeys or canteens but compared to the "food" they give us in the Duesseldorf canteen, this here is pure heaven^^ 

I like the canteens though I don't go there often because the portions are too big for me and last time I went there I felt sick afterwards because I didn't want to leave a rest on the plate and ate everything though I was full.. but today I bought a new little bento box and I think if I cannot eat everything next time, I could put the rest in the box so that I have a dinner XD I don't know if it's strange to do that but at least the food would not be wasted and I really cannot help if I just cannot eat everything..(the curry portions are gigantic o.o;) 

Well..what could I tell more.. I feel very happy here in this university.
The only things that is still a bit strange is that Nanzan is a catholic university. It's not really affecting our everyday life but there is a little chapel on the campus for example and everyday you hear the bells..that is really strange because it's so much like Germany somehow..furthermore there are oftenly christain messages and events, it's not that much but here and there you see a poster about an upcoming christian event or something.

On the other hand, I asked a japanese dorm mate if the students are all Christian and he said that's totally not the case. He for example is buddhist and he said most of the students just go to Nanzan because of study and have nothing to do with religion. 
That's calming because I don't have a religion (I really don't have, I didn't got baptized so I don't have nothing) and I don't like it if some institution is too eager about religion or something like that..

So except for some crosses here and there, it's not bothering me at all XD 

The next bigger entry I want to write is about the city of Nagoya because I think this city  is still very underestimated as I often hear stuff like "There is nothing in Nagoya, is there?" "There are only rich people that's why everybody is arrogant", "What's Nagoya?" etc. XD
And people might forget that Nagoya is the fourth largest city of Japan^^ It's not a village or something XD Of course it's not the greatest city but is there really the 'best' city in Japan? I think every city has it's dark and light sides. But I can definitely say that Nagoya has a lot to show and to give^^

And now I have to learn.. on thursday there's a kanji test again and friday a lesson test (-.-) 


  1. Der schulraum sieht wirklich so richtig typisch japanisch aus, wie man das aus Animes kennt. War sofort mein erster Gedanke xDD
    Die Uhrzeit ist ja auch sehr human, quasi halb 10 gehts los. Da sind wir Deutschen dann schon was anderes gewohnt mit unserem Schulstart/ Arbeitsbeginn von 8:00 Uhr wa?! :D Aber hey, so kannst du wenigstens ausschlafen!! Der Eingang und das Gebäude sehen total toll aus von außen!! Sehr hübsch :) Freut mich, dass ihr auch gute Chancen habt, mit anderen Japanern in Kontakt zu treten, nur so lernt man immerhin die Sprache!
    Au ja das wär lieb, wenn du mir deine Addy nochmal schreiben könntest, ich bin da sehr skeptisch ob das sonst ankommt ehrlich gesagt. An Tabea hab ich auch immer in Romanji geschrieben und dann nur die Stadt und das Land nochmal in Kanji (also Tokyo und Japan).
    Viel "Spaß" beim Lernen und viel Erfolg bei den Tests!! :)
    Liebe Grüße

  2. Thank you so much for sharing! I am considering doing an exchange at this university in the future. :)