As the new year was approaching, the third-year students started to apply for universities. One exam cost about 30,000 yen ($300), but many students applied to 3 to 10 schools. I remember my sister took exams for 3 or 4 schools.
I applied for the International Law Dept. of Sophia University, Law Dept. and Business Dept. of Waseda University. I had decided on the law because I thought it suited my obstinate and judgemental personality. I also thought if I couldn’t make it in the legal career, I’d try to make it in business. I didn’t consider literature because 1) I had not read much in the past five years, and 2) I didn’t want to struggle more than necessary as a female new graduate in the job market.
The exam for Sophia University came first, and I took the bullet train to Tokyo and stayed in a hotel by the campus. There were many people of my age eating dinner alone at the hotel restaurant, reading study materials for the exam the following day. Waseda exams were two weeks later, and by then, I had received the rejection letter from Sophia. I had stayed in a hotel again for the Law Dept. exam and gave it all my energy and concentration. I felt I did well and let the fate up to the universe. When I left the Waseda campus, something left from the crown of my head. I felt a few kgs lighter, and the sky looked bluer.
I took the train to my sister’s place. I was going to stay with her that night and take the Business Dept. exam the following day before going home. She had lived in a slightly larger than the previous but still small studio apartment with her bartender boyfriend. The place was filled with stuff, and I had to sleep curled up small in the corner of the room. But I slept surprisingly well, for the first time in a few years.
The next day, I took the Business Dept. exam, but I was no longer bothered and didn’t even review it after I finished. After the exam, I went straight home and let myself relax. I watched movies as much as I wanted and slept for hours. I needed to rest so badly I couldn’t even lift a book.