Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Golden Week #1 (能古島)

Yesterday was the first day of Golden Week! Then I have school for the next three days (today, tomorrow, thursday), then a FOUR DAY WEEKEND. Woohoo.

So yesterday, I battled my inherent laziness and reluctance to be around large crowds of people to go to 能古島 (I'm told you pronounce it noukonoshima, with an extra "no" between "ko" and "shima") with the KUIFA people (KUIFA/QUIFA is a circle for people who wish to interact with foreign students [if you're Japanese] or with Japanese students [if you're foreign]).

It was actually really fun! I took along my camera and kind of... took pictures. A LOT of pictures. 250 to be exact. Of course, I used my camera as an excuse to sit out of dodgeball - believe me, I'm the sort that has more fun watching than participating.

Ok, backing up a little, we were running a bit late, so the first thing we did when we got there was to get lunch!

Sweet potato tempura udon. You're excused for drooling.
And then, off to see the flowers:

Gorgeous
Stopping to do things like look at rabbits:

NO SLEEPING FRIEND. PLAY WITH ME.
And play on swings:

This... looks dangerous.
And more flowers!

"The hills are alive, with the sound of music"
And as mentioned before, dodgeball. Unfortunately, since most of those pictures have faces, I don't think I'll post them here. My friends may not want to have their faces on a blog. But rest assured, it was very fun.

The only "downside" was that we were almost late for the 6.30 ferry back because there was a timing mix-up. Thankfully, a bus more-or-less miraculously appeared (thank you God!) and we made it just in time!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

This is a Good News/Bad News Thing (Update)

Alright, this time, I have a valid excuse for the lack of updates. 

I was sick. 

It wasn't as bad as that time last year (considering that I didn't actually need to fly back), but it did result in this:

What I want to know is "Why does the fact
that I fall sick always end in my not being able to eat?"
That is the big bad news that I got. I had to skip a day of school /sobs (okok, I'm a nerd, I know). I also had to skip golf /sobs harder.

But, I'm back to normal, and I've even settled my schedule for this term! That's really good news for me ^^

And well, today was a good news/bad news/learning point kind of day. You see, I got a letter (well I got a few letters from various government bodies/companies), and it took me till today to remember to bring them to school and get someone to explain them to me. So I realised that I had to go to the post office to pay for my gas. And well, when I got there, I was told I could pay using the ATM. Unfortunately, by the time I realised I had no idea how to use the ATM, the post bank was closed (it closes at four). So re-queueing to try again!

Well, it failed (something is missing from my account). And I was told that I may have to go to a different bank to pay directly. And this bank closes at three! Three! Think about it, Three in the afternoon! I end school at 6.10 on most days!

And I have to pay by the end of the month. 

And Golden Week is coming up. 

So what is the lesson from all this? Don't be afraid to ask for help. The first people you should ask are those closest to you - like your friends. Then those in similar positions (like senpai's from the same country or from your university). And of course, don't ever be afraid to ask the company/person in authority directly. In the end, I called up the gas company, and asked them if they could extend the payment period till after Golden Week. I realised that customer service in Japan is excellent (even if their service hours are way too short), so don't be afraid to call customer service or the office or whatever

Last part of this post, what's coming up. Well, I mentioned it earlier, but Golden Week is coming up! Yay! I think I have stuff planned, so yes, I will try my best to post every time something interesting happens. And a little after Golden Week, I'll get around to that Kyushu University introductory posts, for those of you interested in coming here to study(; 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

My Weekend with Nic (Huis Ten Bosch - Yes, Again)

Woah, is it Wednesday already? I'd planned to post this on Monday, but I had golf (it is so fun, but it means I come back at 11.30pm-ish), and on Tuesday, I was busy catching up on stuff I didn't do on Monday :p

I will reply to all the comments as soon as possible ok? Please wait a bit.

Anyway, Nic came on Saturday and we set off for Huis Ten Bosch straightaway. She was with me the first time we came, so we were both majorly excited about revisiting the place. That and the Layton course.

We are SO excited!

Nic also happens to take Japanese, but she claims she's not very good. However, she's actually quite good with the whole listening part (which I'm terrible at).

So um yeah, Layton:

Get both courses. You save 200 yen :D 
There's the Luke Course and the Layton Course. The Luke course is way way easier (well, it is for kids and all). Both courses are also only in Japanese, and only till Golden Week. Book your tickets now!

The best part (apart from having someone to hold onto in the Haunted Houses, and going on rides together), might possibly the illusion museum. Might. The day was full of awesomeness. Here are three of my favourite photos:

There are two animals in this photo,
can you seem them both?
Apart from the cool paintings, there's the "be in the photo" part:

Reading till the end(;
That is so me.
HELP I'M FALLING!
Well, apart from all this fun, we had a really great long chat. Well, we fell asleep on the way there and back (trains are amazingly good for sleeping in), but we compensated by chatting till the next day.

Nic promised to tell everyone her side of the story too, so please, wait with bated breath!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

I've started Uni! (Kyushu University Entrance Ceremony and First Day)

Hi everyone! I wanted to update yesterday, straight after the first day of university, but I ended late. For example, coming back 11.30ish late. And today, my friend Nic came to visit me (more on that later)! But now, I've finally got time and I really want to share with you what the first day was like.

The only entrance ceremony sign I could find
Before school started on Friday, we had a bunch of orientations. And the entrance ceremony. Sadly, I couldn't take a photo next to a 九州大学入学式 sign because I couldn't find one. Plus, we had to go to a different campus for an orientation straight away!

I was wearing a very cute outfit (if I do say so myself):
I couldn't find a photo of me alone,
but this photo is from last year's entrance
ceremony. I miss Gaidai :/
Yes, it's the SIA uniform! And SIA's currently celebrating it's 25th year of flying to Fukuoka, so the uniform is plastered everywhere!

After that, there were orientations and buying of The Textbooks (including English). I've met my class (the girls in my class at least), and they seem nice. But, I'm having a lot of trouble with my foreign languages. I need to take two to graduate, but right now, it's a bit iffy if I can take English, since I'm considered a native speaker. And well, if I take Russian (the only other available language for my time slot), I can't take some other classes I really like. So, here's another piece of advice "check what languages you have to take - and if you can take them"

The first day though, was really interesting. I've more or less cemented the whole "Kyushu library is a good place to study" thing, and Chinese was interesting. I gave my name to the school in Katakana (which is what my teacher got). And since my teacher wanted to translate everyone's name into Chinese, this is what my named turned out to be:

For the record, my Chinese name is "陈沛灵"

So naturally, I replied "到("here")!(like what my teacher wanted)" and then continued with something like "老师,您可以用我的华文名字吗?(teacher, can you please use my Chinese name)". And of course, I had to tell her my name in Chinese, and while I was doing so, I could feel the class buzzing in shock. And of course, the teacher thought I didn't need to attend the class. Oh well.... (;

After school, I stayed all the way to the end to take a look at golf! They practiced at the driving range, and it was so good to finally get to play golf again! After that, we got sukiyaki for dinner. So yeah, I joined. For the golf, not the food! (please don't misunderstand!)

I think this is a great start for university! How's everyone doing at their universities/Tokyo Gaidai/Handai? Do let me know, and yeah, guest posts are welcome! Also, this is really early, but for those in the first year now, do consider Kyushu University! It's really really great(:

P.s. I wanted to talk about Kyushu University, but this already a bit too long. I'll cover that in a later post ok?

Sunday, 7 April 2013

500px News and Other Updates

Alright, I actually did have a pretty eventful week (had some orientations), but I've been so tired lately. I did want to share with you about Huis Ten Bosch, but I've got two other visits planned (with friends), so I figured I might as well wait for all the visits to be over and then do a huge long post(s - one will be for MindChicClub).

In the meantime, I'll like to share this photo with you:

Screenshot from 500px
The photo is one that I took at Huis Ten Bosch (and I really do like it), but please look at the "Popular" tag. It's the second time that I've ever managed to have a picture reach popular! I guess that's a good sign that my photos have been improving!

*happy dance until tired*

Okok, here are some another photos I took at Huis Ten Bosch - Isn't it a cool place?

This place is supposed to be full of illusions. Unfortunately,
you're supposed to go with someone who can take photos of you.

I found Sakura! (Just outside Huis Ten Bosch)

If you're a Professor Layton fan, there's a (temporary)
Professor Layton restaurent! Isn't it awesome?
(of course I had lunch there!)

Apart from my visit to Huis Ten Bosch, I've had an orientation by the student co-op, which was honestly very fun but tiring. I'm not a huge-groups person, so thankfully we were in small groups. Unfortunately, there were a few mass activities at the end (like a quiz), which really tired me out (I stopped speaking after a while).

Plus quite a lot of paperwork to do, which is frankly very scary because it's all in Japanese. I've realised that I do ok in Japanese if I'm speaking face-to-face with someone, or with small amounts of text. Huge booklets and phone conversations SCARE me.

So, I know that most of you would have finished about a week at TUFS/Osaka. How are you guys doing? Is anyone willing to share their experience (via a guest post)?