So, in lieu of anything at all interesting happening this week (minus a visit to Meiji Jingu, a famous shrine next to Harajuku), I thought I’d make a post that might turn out useful or informative or something for people who will come to study at Waseda in the future.
Okuma Shigenobu, Former prime minister of Japan and founder of Waseda University
So, Waseda has three accommodations listed on their website – 早稲田奉仕園, Waseda Houshien (But usually dubbed just ‘Hoshien’), 西早稲田 留学生寮, Nishiwaseda Ryuugakuseiryou (dubbed just ‘Nishi Waseda’), or 早稲田大学 留学生寮 南棟・北棟, Nishiwaseda Ryuugakuseiryou Minamitou/Kitatou (dubbed absolutely nothing. I have literally no idea where this building is, I’m pretty sure I haven’t met anybody living here. It’s apparently a five minute waking distance from Nishi, but I honestly wouldn’t know. If you’ll be living here: sorry?)
The building I currently live in is Hoshien #3. Hoshien is composed of 3 buildings – 1, 3, and 5 – which all face a church that seems to be super popular to film Japanese soap operas outside of (I still have no idea what they were filming). Also, quick tip – if you get Hoshien and you can’t figure out what those four numbers are, we’ll use 3-114 as an example: first number before the dash is the building number, the next two numbers are your floor number, and final number is your room. So 3-114 is building 3, floor 11 (of 12), and room number 4.
Only ever empty on a morning
If you get building 3, you hit the absolute jackpot. Building 3 has a communal common room, filled with things like pianos, guitars and gaming consoles (N64, Gamecube, Xbox 306, PS4) that are usually being used to play either Super Smash Brothers or Super Mario Kart. The rules are slightly relaxed for us as opposed to the other dorms – while at Nishi Waseda there’s no common room and no outsiders are allowed in full stop (sorry), at Hoshien, we can have other people who live in Hoshien in our rooms till 11pm, and the common room can be used until 1am. There’s no curfew at any of the buildings – people coming in during the early hours of the morning just use the back entrance.
There’s also a small study/computer room just opposite the common room, where you can print for the small charge of 10 yen (7p), provided you bring your own paper.
Waseda managed to stay green all through Autumn – only in Winter are things changing
The kitchens are already equipped with what you’d need – frying pans, pots, rice cookers, kettles, big knives, spatulas, etc. – but you’ll need to buy your own cups, bowls, plates, cutlery (just go down toward Waseda Station and you’ll find Daiso aka. the 100 yen shop, which will have that stocked for you.)
Every room in building 3 has an ensuite toilet, but showers are shared – there are 2 showers on each floor, but being shared between only 10 people I’ve never run into a problem with having to wait for a shower. Furthermore, every room has its own Wifi, meaning high-speed 24/7 – Basically, if you get Hoshien #3, you’re set.
I wanted to move on to talk about campus and everything surrounding it, but I’m a pretty firm believer that these things should be experienced with fresh eyes. The best advice I can give as someone who was once reasonably a little worried about moving to Japan is – don’t overthink the small things. Just remember that everybody is in the same boat as you, and nobody is going to leave you to fend for yourself – everyone recognises that we’re still silly students who don’t have much life experience and will need a push from time to time.
Now that it’s cold, vending machines serve heated drinks
So, if anyone is like me and worried about these particular things, let’s clear this up:
- 1. You’ll be picked up from the airport.
- 2. Even if your Japanese is bad, just try! Use loads of hand gestures. You’ll pick up the vocab in no time.
- 3. Campus, and all the buildings, are on google maps.
- 4. You’ll meet people from so many different walks of life. Prepare to be surprised.
- 5. There are several massive grocery shops around Hoshien.
I suppose it’s a bit premature to write this when I’ve only been here for 3 months (exactly, actually – happy 3 month Japanniversary!), but just let yourself look like a fool, and let yourself get lost. Fall into the culture and it’ll reward you. Say yes to all the opportunities offered to you and watch yourself grow. I can’t believe I’ve got another crazy 8 months of being here, but I can say without a doubt that I am having the most enriching, exciting time of my life. Being here has changed the way that I perceive things and my plans for the future so much – it has helped me let go of things I can’t change either.
So, I’ll brace through this incredible drop in weather, continue to do my best, and look forward to what Christmas will bring!
(By the way, pictures of the autumn leaves on campus and the featured image of this post were taken on the same day. Both on campus. The seasons here are super weird.)