Friday, 4 November 2011

Homeward Bound.

Today's been a poor effort on my part. What should have been a hard day of lectures followed by my leaving London in a blaze of glory instead turned into a magical mix of antidepressants, antibiotics, exhaustion and a chest infection keeping me asleep through two exams. I just limped out of the shower and I'm now getting ready to go home for the weekend to spend my birthday with my family. Hopefully I can get a doctor's letter vis-a-vis the current state of my health so I don't get hauled over the coals by my department.

On the upside, the costs of student halls in Japan were confusingly printed by the department; the costs were placed in cells that represented everything else on a week-by-week basis - so accommodation in Tokyo is £400-£560 a month, not a week as I had previously thought.

While this brings me one small step closer to actually getting to study in Japan, I still have to somehow get £10,000 on a bank statement for the end of January. On top of that, I apparently will still have to find at least £300 of air fare to Japan, plus it seems that I actually receive less student financing for studying in one of the world's most expensive countries than I do for London. What is this I don't even...

A friend of mine with considerably more experience of Japan was telling me about his girlfriend, who works in a hostess bar; the Japanese concept of a 'host' or 'hostess' in this context is somewhat less sleazy than the European mind might imagine - sex doesn't enter the equation. Rather, they're employed by specialized bars to keep otherwise lonely or socially-awkward members of the opposite sex company for the evening, to laugh at their jokes, be friendly and self-effacing and ensure that their client spends the entire contents of the their wallet at the bar. This became relevant to my interests when I discovered that men do this as well - and earn about 13,000 yen an hour for their troubles. I would gladly keep a lonely housewife/widow company for an evening for £104 an hour. Maybe all that weightlifting and general peacockery I indulge in will finally be useful for something...

Monday, 31 October 2011

It Begins...

I guess I should introduce myself. I'm a second-year BA Japanese/History of Art/Archaeology student at London's School of Oriental and African Studies, or SOAS.

I've just had it dropped on my toes that I need £10,000 on a bank statement at the end of January, or I can't undertake my third year, a year's exchange with a Japanese univeristy - in Japan!

Apparently this is a Japanese government stipulation to show that you have sufficient funds to pay your way in an emergency (just what kind of emergency warrants a fallback of £10,000? Having your apartment fumigated for Mothra?). There are no exceptions. Apparently, this isn't a problem, you just borrow the money from your friends and relatives, then pay it back to them.

I haven't got any friends and all my relatives are dead. In the face of this, I've done the only logical thing I can think of. I've started a blog to chronicle my attempts to go from £0 to £10,000 in three months.