One notable difference between doing a PhD here and doing it in the Netherlands is that here, there's a requirement to get some credits from taking lectures. I am required to get 8 credits, which by whatever system they're using (I'm not sure what it is, it's definitely different from ECTS though) comes down to four courses.
This isn't a problem of course. I have registered for four courses this semester so if I get credits for them all I'll be done with it. One factor that makes this more interesting is that most lectures are given in Japanese. Only one out of the four lectures I'm taking is in English. So can I understand those lectures in Japanese? Not really. One of them is okay because he has slides that are in English, but the other two are not so easy. But it doesn't really matter, I'll just have to attend the lectures and submit a paper (which I can write in English) and I'll get the credits. Sure, there are more useful ways I could spend my time, but it's a requirement and there's nothing I can do about so there's no point in complaining. I've got my laptop and wireless Internet so I can just work on something else during the lectures if I can't understand it.
Besides those four courses I also have to participate in a special seminar for students from my department. Here Master and PhD students give a presentation, usually a survey of recent research in whatever field they're also working in. Of course most of those are also in Japanese. I'll have to give a presentation myself as well of course, that one will be in English.
So with those four lectures, the seminar and Japanese classes three times a week (I'm taking those again as well), my schedule is looking pretty full (and it's all at Hongo so I have to spend some time travelling too, about an hour in each direction). And wasn't I supposed to do research too? :P
At least I won't be bored. :)
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