Wednesday, 30 January 2013

To My Kouhai's

So you've gotten the MEXT scholarship! おめでとう!

Now, if you're anything like me, you might have started worrying about preparations, and so, look like this:

Or maybe it was just me.

But I think some of you have questions (and a few of you have asked me, I hope I helped!), and I'd like to help. Please tell me your questions via comments, and I'll do a blog post and try to answer. You can ask about things like what to pack, how much money do you really need (if you don't trust the embassy(; ), what do the rooms come with, orientation and such.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

卒業論文 (Graduation Essays) Part I

As you may know, I'm in my last semester at language school! Which means I have two graduation essays to write, and this is frankly scaring me, since I don't think my Japanese is good enough.

(Side note: to my juniors, you may thing it's ok to skip classes now that all the university stuff is done, but remember, you have to have at least an 80% attendance or you don't graduate. And if you don't graduate, you can't go on to university.)

But anyway, I have two essays - a general one for Japanese class, and one for Politics and Economics class. That and a presentation to do.

You may know this, but for my Politics and Economics essay, I'm analysing this awesome book called Silence:


The topic is: 遠藤周作の沈黙にある集団意識と拒絶(Group Conciousness and Betrayal in Endo Shusaku's Silence)

I love it and all, but it's really hard to understand. Which led to an ironical realisation that although I'm writing in Japanese, about a Japanese novel, half my secondary sources are in English.

At least I've finally worked out the structure of my essay and finished a third of the presentation on the progress of the essay.

For my other essay, my topic is "中小企業とソーシャルメディアマーケティングによるマーケティング効果"(Effectiveness of Social Media Marketing for SME owners), and my biggest problem is finding SME owners to interview.

If you're an SME owner, would you mind a short email interview with me?

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

My Week of Nutella

So last week was my week of Nutella. I think it's a brilliant marketing gimmick by the folks that own Nutella to make you start developing the habit of eating it every day (too bad for you, this week was kaya week for me!).

They have this daily-sized container of Nutella, with one for each day of the week.

All lined up in a pretty row
If I had my way, I'd never open them. But, I remember that if you don't eat it soon, it doesn't taste so good.

Look at them, begging to be eaten. 
 I guess I'll just have to wait for someone to go through an airport. -Goes to hunt for travelling relatives -
This is the start - Sunday
Does anyone know how to re-orientate a photo on Blogger?
And look at the end, with the lonely Nutella bottle

And how come this one is magically oriented the right way? 
So now, I'm wondering what to do with seven tiny empty bottles of Nutella. Any ideas?


Saturday, 19 January 2013

SSAJ Winter Trip - Gifu

I think those of you who have me on Google+ know I went to Gifu just before the term started. I uploaded a few instagram photos and even wrote a brief travel guide for MindChicClub (link goes to the page). So here, I'm going to fill in the blanks with more pictures (and before my memory fades away, yikes!)

I'm a pretty relaxed person, so I quite like wandering around. I don't need a busy tour schedule. I just wish the bus ride wasn't so long - you have no idea how happy I was to actually get off the bus at Takayama! (Seriously, slipping on ice is better than a four hour bus ride).

I think I talked about the beef in the other article, but I almost didn't get to eat it. I have two (awesome) senpai who can't eat beef, so I went with them for lunch. Thankfully, the restaurant we found had beef~ Unfortunately, there was a long queue. This delicious dango stand saved my stomach though. ^^

We did see lots of interesting sights, but what I remember is this huge huge dog! It's so cute!

 The way snow falls on the wall is really pretty too!

When I wrote that I was allergic to ginko in the travel form (I will hyperventilate whenever I ingest it), I didn't expect that it'd actually be in the food! Good thing I wrote it down, although this meant I had to sit away from my friends.

Although, there was an annoying encounter where I was accused of speaking poor English because the listener didn't know what "hyperventilate" was, and thought that "asthma attack" and "heart attack" were similar =.=

I have this fascination with icicles. They're so pretty!

And the next day, at Shirakawa-go (I must have mispelt it about five times before getting the spelling right!), we had an interesting snowball fight. Of course, I didn't want to take part (I saw the participants and choose to be warm-ish and dry) so I volunteered to hold all the expensive camera gear. Possibly the best way to protect yourself from snowballs.

I have some pretty pictures of the fight, but in the interesting of my safety, look, a snowman!

The first time I see a snowman that wants to be run down by a car. 
I was born and bred in the tropics (except for that year in England), so the cold was.... -whimper-. I didn't know trees could freeze!

And after all this fun, a seven hour bus ride back to Shinjuku (poor weather conditions made it worse T.T). I think I ran off the bus going "GROUND!"

Monday, 14 January 2013

Cookie Dough Bites

Today is the first day that it snowed in Tokyo! And it's also the coming-of-age-day ( seijin no hi), so it's a public holiday. The snow was actually pretty heavy, I only made it out once, to get this picture:

You may not see it, but the snowfall was really heavy
And because of the snow, Bekah couldn't come over to cook with me ): She was on her way here when the buses (and I think trains) stopped. Thankfully, she made it back to her dorm. Unfortunately, Rena was/is stranded in Yamanashi-ken. I'm praying she manages to make it back.

I did intend to go out again with my camera, but then, I started cooking. I was inspired by these cookie pops over at Juanita's Cocina, but mine turned out very differently.

For one thing, I didn't actually use her recipe. I looked at the ingredients, got lazy, and bought the Betty Crocker pre-mix. It's a chocolate chip cookie dough, but I melted the chips so it became a chocolate cookie dough:

Hello you lovely looking piece of dough
Two boxes added up to about 70+ of this pops (and no, I didn't buy sticks, so they're just dough... bites)

Oh, you have friends. Nice to eat you.
The second thing is actually a mistake: I didn't buy enough chocolate (I underestimated the amount of dough I'd get). So, Stella and I (Stella came for the chocolate part!) decided to just drizzle some chocolate on the bites, and add sprinkles


And being (ex)-Literature students, we started joking about the meaning of the white chocolate. We came to the conclusion it symbolises snow (to commemorate today) because it's: white (duh) and melts when warm. Yeah, they aren't very good proofs.

We ran out of chocolate about 2/3 of the way in, so I guess we'll have to continue tomorrow:

Ignore the messy desk. Look at what we made today!
And here's the special pink version. It's pink because uh, some sprinkles melted in. But pink is cute!

I suppose those who meet me while I carry this green box tomorrow are the lucky ones who will get to eat it!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Bilingual Book Review: I Never Promised You an Apple Orchard (君にリンゴの果樹園を約束したおぼえはないね)

今日、スヌーピの本「君にリンゴの果樹園を約束したおぼえはないね」についたはなしたいとおもいます。(ごめんね、まだ口頭表現モードにいている)

この本は、英語から通訳した。買った本は英語と日本語もある、だから、比較できる。

一つの文でまとめなら:英語版の方が面白い。

この本はジョックがたくさん書いてあるが、日本語によめると、あまり面白くない。なぜなら、ジョックはたいてい名前に基づいて、英語で「Pun」と言う。でも、日本語に通訳あと、意味がなくなる。

例:夜に、よろいで迷っているねずみはそういった ”よろい戸をあけて早く出して!” 英語では "Help me make it through the knight". 英語のジョックは”よろい”の”Knight”と”夜”の”Night"の発音は同じ。でも、これは日本語でそうではない。

まあ、本の最後の部分は説明から、読んだら、ジョックの意味が分かるかもしれない。この本はたぶん英語を勉強している、または、英語に興味がある人にとっておもしろいが、他の人にとっては分かりにくいかもしれない。

I bought this book quite some time ago, but the grammar was too hard for me, so I didn't actually finish it until recently. It really is a bilingual book (in English and Japanese), and of course, it's really entertaining. In English that is (I love puns!).

In Japanese though, the puns don't carry across so well, so you may be a little confused. Thankfully, there's a short explanation after the book.

If you like snoopy though, you should get this book. Since it's also in English, you can enjoy the original text, and compare it to the Japanese. Sadly, it's divided into two distinct sections, so you'll be flipping back and forth a lot.

I would recommend this for intermediate learners and up.

Monday, 7 January 2013

UNIVERSITY POSTING!!! (MEXT Undergraduate Scholarship)

So today is the first day of school. And when everyone goes for lunch, lo and behold, the university postings are out! (Even though we were told to wait for the tenth). Of course, me being me, I only found out on the way back to the dorm O...TL. I just gobbled some food and rushed back to open the Envelope (which deserves a capitalisation).

At first, I didn't want to tell anyone my posting (I'm not putting it on facebook), although I've already told those who asked. But then I remembered, I have so many kohai's here, and they should know (I know at least one person has asked me). So, here's a little kanji practice for you:
Please excuse my messy table

 I'm not sure if I can bring myself to type the name, but I'm sure most of you can figure out where it is. Since I've actually got the campus guide, so I suppose I should start reading it.

Oh, and I should start hunting for a new apartment now.

6 more weeks to go! I don't know if I'm excited or scared.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Gotta Collect 'Em All! Japanese Kit Kat version(:

I don't know if you know this, but KitKat is a huge deal in Japan. In fact, I recently saw this special KitKat for people enrolling into... places. Like school and work and things. You can actually give the KitKat as a gift, and each KitKat comes with a message inscribed on the chocolate.

And I find the box pretty too~
I bought two packs, one for me and one for Rena, and we're now going to try and get all 15 messages! Here are the four that we got (we had two messages that were exactly the same). One pack contains three KitKat bars.

"The Sakura will definitely blossom"

"Do you best! Fight!"

No translation needed.

"Be confident!"
Note: The translations may not be very accurate. Especially the "Be confident one", because the exact sentence is a pain to translate. I'm just giving you the meaning of the sentence(:

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

あけましておめでとうございます!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you managed to usher in the new year in style!

I hanged out at Church, kanpai'ed at midnight, taught people how to yumseng (or should I say YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMSENG!) and played boggle.

Yes, boggle. Where all the native English speakers lost to Toki (why are you so good Toki!?!?!). Also, whenever Jesse shakes the boggle thing, the letters "Qu" and "x" will come out, leading to what Pastor Rich called "the most emotion ever to come out of playing boggle". And of course, there was Jesse and I doing our "this is a real word!" move, with things like "Ged" and "Yeo" (thank you Dictionary.com app!)

I don't have any cool photos, but my awesome cousin drew this:

She's an awesome illustrator/graphic designer (she did the kendo team logo I showed you before!). If you like what you see, amble over to ellustrate to view more!