Just like most Embassy recommended Monbukagakusho scholarship students, I came to Japan as a Research Student. I had to undergo the intensive Japanese language course for four months at the International Student Centre, O-okayama Campus, Tokyo Institute of Technology. Life in Japan can be a total mess if your Japanese language capability is limited. Contrary to my expectation prior to coming here, most Japanese people on the street can hardly speak English. My first week in Tokyo was full of language problems. I got lost several times in Shibuya and wasted a lot of time trying to find my way out of the skyscrapers simply because it was difficult to get street information from the locals. I could see from their faces that they were willing to help but they could not just manage because of the language barrier. Even in shops, I used to have the same language problems. In light of all these experiences, the intensive Japanese language course proved to be very useful.
Because I had never studied Japanese before, Prof Hirakawa put me in Class A. Students who had studied Japanese before were placed in either Class B and C depending on the level of their knowledge. My class was composed of 15 students from the following countries: Indonesia (4), Iran (3), Turkey (1), Bangladesh (1), Phillipines (1), England (1), Nigeria (1),Ethiopia (1), Madagascar (1) and Malawi (myself). Our sessions used to run from 9:00am to 12:10pm from Monday to Friday except on Thursday when we used to have an afternoon session with Professor Hirakawa himself. Although there were a lot of quizzes and home work, I enjoyed the class greatly. Here are some of the photos of the class:
Clement (Squatting),Standing from the left: Pious (Nigeria),Berrin (Turkey), Sangeeta (Bangladesh), Jean (Phillipines), Fazil (Ethiopia) and in the distance is Irvan Mhd (Indonesia)
Clement (Malawi) and my Japanese language lecturer, Professor Hirakawa (of course from Japan)
All the three classes (A, B and C) together
With an African friend Pious Okekunle from Nigeria