Hey folks. I've been pretty busy over the last week or so. Got the results of the placement test back. I placed into the 4th-year Japanese class, which is the highest-level one they offer here. Not bad, considering I was sick before and during the test and consequently didn't study at all. Ended up just going clean-shaven for the group picture thing (along with my absurd pink tie, and some fresh sakura blossoms I stuck in my hat).
I went to the iaido shop the other day to buy myself a Japanese hakama and dogi, as well as a nifty new sword bag. It was kinda expensive; I'm sure the old Japanese guy who owns the shop appreciates my business. While I was on the train heading to the shop, I was watching the scenery go by. I was struck by the sheer beauty of it: the sakura trees in full bloom everywhere, the buildings built in the old traditional style, and right next to all of this there were existing skyscrapers and construction cranes either demolishing old skyscrapers or building new ones. It was a very strange dichotomy between the old and the new, but that is kind of what Japan is. I imagine there are plenty of other places in Europe and Asia that also have that same dichotomy, but I haven't spent time in any countries besides the US and Japan.
Also, I've got several other potential complications on my plate for this semester. I don't really need any additional complications in my life at this point, but they're there whether I want them or not. I won't really go into them in such a public forum, but I will say that I have quite a feeling of foreboding. This likely won't end well.