Confession time: I dropped my Japanese communication class.


Although that did make the decision rather less regrettable.

The problem was I wasn't doing any astrophysics; the job for which I was being paid. It occurred to me that sooner or later this was going to end badly.

The full Japanese course at Hokkaido University for international members consists of seven 90 minute weekly classes; three grammar lessons on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, two lessons on the Kanji writing system on Tuesday and Thursday and two communication lessons running after Kanji. Each of those classes has homework for the next lesson which usually comprises of a test.

Amusingly, this was the general language course. There was also an 'intensive' version for students who REALLY wanted to get serious.

Each class is excellent and --for all my complaints-- I was learning a lot in communication even if I had to sit in a dark and silent room for half an hour afterwards. However, add to that a weekly 3 hour group meeting and sessions with my student and my own research became something I tinkered with for a few hours a week. I began to suspect I spent longer cleaning my teeth than writing actual code whereas previously, that activity had only been surpassed by the time I spent on facebook.

Clearly, this was very wrong.

I was also in work at 8 am and left just shy of midnight. Then I was admitted to hospital with a migraine. Could there be a connection? I doubted it but the potential that this could lead to a reduction in internet procrastination was concerning.

So now I'm down one class. To demonstrate that I COULD HAVE STAYED IF I HAD WANTED TO I wrote my email of explanation to my teacher in Japanese. At the very least, this proved I could always resort to a notepad and paper to get my point across at Starbucks if necessary. This had the unfortunate consequence of her writing back to me in Japanese whereupon I had to resort to an online translator to ensure she hadn't told me to burn in the fiery pits of hell. Since the Japanese are unfailingly polite, I'm still slightly unsure about this.

I did promise I would enrol again in April. I think she told me to get to it.