Saturday, June 16, 2012

the International House

The entrance of the I House

The International House is the dormitory where the international students of the Kyoto Sangyo University live. It is located about 5 minutes walking from the campus, which is really practical for the students.
This semester, is hosts about 50 students from all over the world who came here in order to study in Japan. While some people only came for one semester, the majority of the exchange students usually stay here for a 1 year period. Also, some I House students are actually Japanese students who decided to live here as "assistants". Either looking for more contact with foreigners, a nice way to help others, or just a cheaper way to get somewhere to live next to the university, their role is to help the exchange students in their everyday life.
Let me present you the I House, which is the place I live in !

 This is a google maps widget, so feel free to look at the surroundings as well by clicking on the map !

On this map, A is the university campus, and B is the I House, in case you didn't notice it before.

The building of the I House consists of 4 floors (in Japan, the ground floor is called 1st floor). When you enter it, as in a lot of places in Japan, you have to take off your shoes and wear slippers or socks.

The lobby of the I House

The lobby is the first place you see when you enter the building, either from the main doors (closed after 8pm and on sundays) or from the back door (with a magnetic card). It is also the only place where visitors are allowed to stay.

In the entrance, there is an office in which the security men and the responsibles of the I House stay most of the time. It is the place you have to got to if you have any issues or questions. You should also submit staying-away-forms there when you plan to sleep outside of the I House.

Apart from that, the lobby is a quite well furnished place : TV set with DVD and VHS player, small chairs and tables, old video-game consoles, information boards, a vending machine, shelves with flyers and other leaflets about interesting stuff to do or to see around Kyoto, letterboxes of the students...

There are two corridors in the first floor : one is leading to the Family rooms (for foreign teachers and their family), and the other brings you to 4 places : the tatami room, the common room, the computer room and... the toilets.

Tatami room, common room and computer room (sorry, no pictures of the toilets !)

The tatami room is a room made with tatami mats on the floor, shoji doors (made of rice paper) and other elements which aim at creating a peaceful and traditional atmosphere. While some people often go there to study or just to rest, it remains the place where most of the parties and games take place.

The common room is a wide room in which people usually study, because it has LAN cables and a printer, which is quite useful.

The computer room is, without any surprise, a place where you can use one of the 10 available computers. The only problem is that they run on Windows 7... in Japanese !

Now, let's go upstairs !

The main room of the second floor

Nobody actually lives in the second floor. Even if it has rooms and everything like the 3rd and the 4th floor, it is supposed to be reserved for people who come for really short period of times (like for the summer school that lasts only one month, or for other special occasions). Some people still go there because it's usually faster to cook food here (since there are less people) and because it's also quieter than the other upper floors, with still the ability to use the WiFi internet. Some of the parties are also held in the 2nd floor (usually when it gathers a lot of people).

The main room of the third floor (impossible to take a picture with nobody on it !)
The third floor is undoubtedly the most dynamic place in the I House. Why ? Mostly because of its population ! The main room is not really big compared to the ones in the 2nd and 4th floor, so it is almost always crowded there. Everytime you go there, something different is taking place (even if most of the time, some people are just studying or using their computers).

The main room of the fourth floor

The fourth floor is the highest floor of the I House building and is the floor I live in. Something strange is that the main room is quite big, even less people live there. It is usually a quiet place, and most of the people who stay here are Japanese or Chinese : it is a really interesting place to go if you want to improve your oral skills ! Now that we brought a TV and a Gamecube there, the 4th floor can also becomes lively and dynamic.

In the fourth floor, there are also some other useful places for the students : a laundry room, a ironing room, and a Skype room. I don't think you need any explanations about the purpose of such places !

Ironing room, laundry room and Skype room

This is it ! Now you know how the I House looks like and where I live !

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