Posted tagged ‘Egypt’

As Long As I Know Icelandic…

January 26, 2010

From now on I’m going to make this my stream-of-consciousness zone for my Tokyo life! I think I was trying to plan out my entries too much… hence the lack of updates. But from now on I will try to post more!!

So, I am currently going through final exams right now. It’s not really any fun. But actually the only thing I am really stressed out about is that little class called Iceland, Language & Culture that I am taking. My final is in TWO DAYS. Last week I was freaking out because, honestly, I didn’t even know how to say “hello” in Icelandic after a whole semester. But now, you will be proud of me, I’ve buckled down and studied studied studied!! I think right now I might be able to get a 40% on the exam. So I am still in “failing mode.” But give me one more day and you will see that I can totally pass this test. Sure, I still don’t know how to say “hello”… But that’s besides the point… possessives, definite articles, verb conjugations, declensions for all masculine, neuter and feminine nouns?? I know them!!

The second thing that has been occupying my time lately is of course Ancient Egyptian. I am going to my favorite museum in Tokyo (it’s the tiniest cutest thing!! I wrote about it in 2008) next week with one of my friends from the Egyptology department at Waseda. We’re going to see the current Egypt exhibit and eat Mexican food at my favorite mall in Tokyo =) Oh, but really what’s going to take up WAY MORE TIME than studying hieroglyphs or going on random excursions is a little project my professor has recently given me. It involves 700 pages and lots and lots of Tutankhamun-related jargon. Yes, I’m going to be a copy-editor for my prof’s dissertation. We’ll see how that goes…

Number three is work at the marketing company I have a part time job at. After finals I have a whopping 2 month break before the next semester begins – so basically all of February I am planning to work in Shibuya every day, 10-6, a real day job! I’m really hoping that I will be able to get more involved by being there full-time. Lately I’ve been so busy and we’ve had some changes in who’s working there, so I need to focus on finding a way to keep track of all the Japan marketing news, latest releases, campaigns, etc. in a more efficient fashion. Other than that, it will be the usual writing reports on all that news for our clients. And going around Shibuya looking for interesting new things in Tokyo. Fun ;)

I’ve worked full-time at this company before (summer of 2008), but back then I hardly new anyone in Tokyo and my life really completely centered around my internship there. This time it will be different because I have lots of things to plan outside of that job – excursions with friends, nomikai of course, a visit to my good friend in Kyoto, etc! So now it looks like it will be more like my summer last year in Washington DC, where I interned at National Geographic but really the fun stuff centered around Georgetown, campus, friends and M Street.

OK, so let’s hope I survive the next 3 days of finals week… then I get two (maybe three) nomikai, one musical, and a chance to finally sleep in!


Ancient Egypt in Japan. Not An Oxymoron.

December 21, 2009

So, while Waseda is indeed one of the best universities in Japan, Japanese uni students have mastered the art of BS-ing admirably well. It’s very inspiring. In general, they are much, much more interested in school club activities and preparing for the Real World than actually learning anything. They show up 45 minutes late (and still get attendance marks), sleep in class, beg for deadline extensions, skip classes for weeks at a time, and so on.

Anyway, this is great for the classes I don’t care about, but there was no way I was going to go through a WHOLE YEAR doing absolutely nothing in class.

For people who are interested in digging further, Waseda is a wonderful, very large university with tons of resources. One thing I’ve always been interested in is Ancient Egypt.

Incidentally, I interned for National Geographic in Washington DC last summer

So, I asked the Waseda professor of my English-taught class “Ancient Egyptian Civilization” if he could help me get involved in Egyptology here.

It turns out that this professor has completely taken me under his wing. I am not even kidding. Within the first hour I met him he was offering to write me a recommendation for grad school. He introduced me to the whole department here,  first of all. Then he got me attending his Ancient Egyptian history class (taught in Japanese) every Tuesday. I’ve become good friends with two future Egyptologists (students my age), been proofreading English in archaeological reports, and the department has got me learning how to trace reliefs and wall carvings for publication. I also helped out at the Cairo Forum 2009 at Waseda – definitely an interesting experience to be behind-the-scenes at one of those crazy formal functions in Japan.

Basically, I am VERY involved at the Institute of Egyptology here at Waseda, much more so than anything I’ve ever been involved in back at Georgetown.

Oh, and I’m actually learning Ancient Egyptian properly this time. I had taken a semester-long tutorial in it before and a few weeks of it in high school, but this time I am hardcore doing the homework and memorizing things like no other. Apparently my prof started teaching this class in the first place because I showed interest in it last summer. So… because of me… the whole department of Egyptology at Waseda is learning Ancient Egyptian. Pretty awesome.

I can read this... with a dictionary

The big question mark at this point is probably, “WHY, Natalie??” Why am I putting in so much time and effort, until 10 PM some nights, 4 classes a week, volunteering on top of that?

Well, I don’t think it’s for grad school. I don’t think I want to be an Egyptologist. I am also very interested in international marketing and that seems like a better career choice, plus I would hate to have to teach anything, be a professor, or dig in any sand. I am no academic. But ancient Egypt has always been something I’ve been interested in, and this is the perfect opportunity to really learn about it…. Believe it or not, it’s 100 times easier for me to study Egyptology in Japan than in America.

Plus, it’s amazing Japanese practice. Learning hieroglyphs, being exposed to and part of an authentic Japanese work environment, meeting so many professors and researchers – all in Japanese – is probably going to end up being one of the best experiences I’ve had in Tokyo.

Well, right now, they’re all in Luxor, Egypt doing their job, i.e., archaeology… but don’t worry, I’ll be working way too much again next month.

Ancient Egyptian-inspired soda released this fall. Marketing, Japan and ancient Egypt. All my interests together!