Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

How was your Christmas? I've had a really quiet day at home. But then again, I received three books I ordered from Amazon Japan (Some girls shop for clothes when they're sad, I shop for books) and I got a free copy of APE by Guy Kawasaki!

Well, I still wish I was in Singapore but still....

Last night, I played the piano (first time in public for a long long time) for my Church's candlelight service. I made a few small mistakes, but I'm just thankful I didn't freeze up and pause halfway.

It was kind of dark too. 
And to end of, here's my cover of Silent Night and The First Noel in Japanese. The piano you hear softly in the background would be the piano cover I did for Church.
    

And to end off, here's a Christmas Card I made. Unfortunately, the html code isn't Blogger compatible, but please take a look at this link!

Monday, 16 December 2013

My Little Brother Got Hurt!

Remember how I talked about doing my best to post more often? Well, that just hit a setback. I went to Nokonoshima with my mom and little brother today, and while my little brother was playing, he fell and tore his ligament. We had to find a way to get back, go to the hospital and all that.

Thankfully, there were so many helpful people along the way! There were the staff, which carried him from the jungle-gym like place (which is on a fairly steep slope), administered first aid and drove us to the ferry; a really kind stranger who helped push his wheelchair off the boat and carried him into the taxi; the taxi driver, who helped me find the hospital; and of course, the nurse and doctors, who patched him up and lent him crutches. There's really a lot to be thankful for. ^_^

My poor brother. Although he is enjoying having
a cast for people to sign. 
He'll be in crutches for the next three weeks (and he's going back in a week D:), so I'll have to help out more than usual. I'll be busy just making sure my book blog is on schedule (and I may have to miss posts there), so I suppose things like my BAT post at my personal blog and stuff will have to wait. ><

I'll still be around on Google+ though! It takes much less time for me to share a post.

Sorry and see you!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Huis Ten Bosch (2013 Illuminations)

Sorry for the total lack of updates this week. I had three exams in this week alone (I'm not sure how they all crept up on me!), so I really had no time to blog at all. I'll try to make a better effort next week(:

But on Sunday, I went to Huis Ten Bosch with my mom and my little bro. My mom's seen my photos of Huis Ten Bosch on Facebook, and this was the one place she wanted to travel to. My brother just wanted to have fun. 

Thankfully, Huis Ten Bosch had more to offer than I realised. With my mom and brother, I went to a few attractions that I haven't been to previously, and it was actually really fun. 

Wait, no one wants to hear a description. And I can't tell a story without involving my family (and for that, I'd need my mom and bro's permission so..... well, I won't compromise my family's privacy - my life, on the other hand, is an open blog). So that leaves photos. 

I haven't edited many of the photos, but no worry, I have other photos of Huis Ten Bosch that I took before and haven't shared yet:

A rainy day can make for an awesome photo

This is basically full of haunted houses, but it sure is pretty at night!


There is an awesome illumination show here! It costs money to get
in, but it's totally worth it!
And of course, thanks to the awesome Google+, I've got a few special photos for you:

SPARKLES :D 


The GIF! Finally, a night GIF worked! I never knew that I loved
GIFS so much!
Now, I'm off to fulfill other blogging obligations. And to write a few emails for robotics.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Mostly about Space World

Last Wednesday, my mom and my little brother came to stay with me for a month. While I wanted to bring them here and there, I (unfortunately) have school, and my dad doesn't want us to spend too much money anyway. But so far, I've brought them around my home, to IKEA and to Space World.

So let's talk about Space World. We went in the off-peak season, and it was much more fun than I expected! One good thing about a nearly-empty park is that you can go on rides without waiting, and go on them again and again. I'm still processing the photos, but here are three photos of Space World for you to enjoy:

Go around sunset. That's my recommendation. Although the rides close
around 5pm, and some of them are pretty fun. So uh, ok, maybe you should go
for the whole day. 

I actually advocate going when it's off-peak,
at the end of the year, for the Christmas illuminations. 

Although according to my friend, who's from Kitakyushu
(where Space World is located), the illuminations only became really cool
about last year or so. 
And here, is a Google+ GIF of Spaceworld that I made:





Somehow, my photos only get made into GIFS if they're taken in broad daylight :/

I'll be doing a more detailed review soon (and then I'll post a link to it here), so wait for my news!

One interesting (although not very fun) thing that happened was that I almost got into a confrontation at Space World. There was a group of students (I think they're Vietnamese, although I can't really distinguish it by sound - My mom and I are pretty sure it's somewhere in South East Asia, and not Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines or Indonesia though). We were at a huge bouncy egg (It's literally called "fuwa fuwa egg", which is for kids ages 3-12 (I think. It might have been cut off at age 10).

Suddenly, the students came in and started bouncing around. There were only two kids on the egg (my brother and another girl), but I really didn't think they should have been doing that. So I went up to them and told them in Japanese that they weren't allowed to play here. I was kinda nervous and mispronounced a word, but they got the message and left. Also, the park attendant came so they ran off apologising. I'm kind of glad I did that, because the play area is basically like a big bouncy balloon and I was scared that they would puncture it if they kept jumping up and down.

And in other, non-Space World related news. my favourite Winter/Spring ice-cream is back!

You. Must. Try. This. (Is my mind control working?)
I like the cookies, but I love this ice-cream! I ate it everyday while I was in Gaidai (and when I first moved here). It's a good thing my metabolism is still really fast :p
If you love cookie ice cream (Think of Baskin Robin's Cookie Dough ice-cream, but cheaper), you have to get this!

And once again, we experienced really good Japanese service:

Don't these cakes look good? There's a story behind them!
 On Sunday, my family and I wanted to eat out. But, we couldn't find a suitable restaurant, so I suggested the coffee shop opposite my place, since it has fries that my brother will eat. But when we got there and set down, we discovered that they stopped serving food already!

I was kind of embarrassed and kept apologising as we left. But, I met my match in the owner of the shop, who probably apologised more. She even gave us those three yummy pieces of cake as an apology. The cakes, by the way, were awesome, and that made me decide to eat there more often. At least for tea, if not for a proper meal.

I guess I could have broken up this post into three separate posts. But I really wanted to share this with you guys. So now you have a sense of what it's like to talk to me when I'm excited(;

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A Very Quick Blog Update

If you've visited this blog lately, you might have seen this poll: 

I'd really like to thank the people that made up the 21 votes. I'm not sure how many people actually voted since I allowed multiple votes.  Now this would be the full options (some words have been cut off) and the breakdown of votes: 

More about your life!
  12 (57%)
 
Introduce some classes at Kyushu University!
  9 (42%)
 
An FAQ about living in Japan
  10 (47%)
 
An FAQ about the MEXT scholarship (be warned, for this I will organise I Google+ Hangout to get questions)
  12 (57%)
 
Go travel!/Travel Recommendations!
  5 (23%)
 
Go look for a job!
  7 (33%)
 
Give us advice about learning Japanese!
  4 (19%)
 

In first place:

"More about your life": THANK YOU YOU TEN VOTERS :D I'm happy to see that you enjoy reading about what I'm doing. Since my mom and bro have come, I'm sure that I'll have more things to share about (and I do, I really do. I just have to find time to blog)

And (it's a tie)

"FAQ about MEXT Scholarship": I kind of expected this to win, so here's the deal. If you want to take part in the Google+ hangout, which will be sometime in January next year, add me on Google+ and drop me a private post (you can make a post and share it only to me). If I get five people, I'll hunt down a few other MEXT scholars and get them to come hangout as well. 

Second Place:

"FAQ about living in Japan": I did get a really interesting email from Clement (Hi Clement!) about studying in Japan, and once I get that written into a nice post, I'll share it with everyone. In the meantime, feel free to use the comments below to ask me anything you want about life in Japan. 

Third Place: 

"Introduce some classes at Kyushu University": I plan to do that(: I um, I just have to write it. Wow, I have a lot of stuff to write about now. 

The Rest: 

Are stuff that I was planning to write. In fact, I was planning to write about all these options, except the teach Japanese one (because I've stopped Japanese classes a long time ago - when I get better at Hakata-ben, perhaps then I'll do a post. So wait for another year or two(; ), which is why I'm so glad that it got the least number of votes. 

Heh. This was a boring post. But anyway, you now know what to look forward too, and if some of the posts don't appear, feel free to comment/email me and bug me for them. 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Wrap-Up: I am a Winner!


The web badge is not lying, I am a NaNoWriMo 2013 winner! That makes it the second win in a row which is something I'm really delighted about! Especially since I started the week doubting whether I could make it to the 50k that all participants dream about.

My trip to Tokyo let me with a four day word-deficit (I don't even want to calculate how many words that is). But reading through Google+, and seeing people who managed to write many many words in a short span of time ( +Dennis Jernberg calls it 'Panic Time' and that's true!) gave me the encouragement to try again. So even though my mom and bro arrived on Wednesday, I managed to write 3000-4000 words a day, and more or less caught up.

Until Friday that is.

Da da dum.

On Friday, I went to meet my Aunt, Uncle and cousin (they were on a trip to Kyushu and that was their last day). We only met around 8 plus, and they came to my house as well. So by the time they left and I took a shower it was past midnight and I decided to sleep (I caved, I know). And on Saturday, I had to go out with my family to get a mattress and go to Kendo practice (More on all these stuff later).

That means I was left with one-and-a-half hours (I started around 10.30pm to write about 3400 words. I'm not sure what happened, but around 11.50pm, I managed to validate my manuscript and win NaNoWriMo!

Even though I won last year as well, I really do want to compare the two years (I changed the software I used, and there was a slight change in my writing methods), so there will probably be another post in a week or two, after I have had time to calm down and probably analyze what I did. But for now:

I WON NANOWRIMO 2013!!! :D

And this is my ending, written during Panic Time, in Panic Mode:

“So, I figured that the best thing would be to get you two together. Even if it makes the ending really cliched. But hey, a cliched happy ending is still a happy ending, and it’s cool that the Princess gets together with the Prince. Or at least, a member of nobility, seeing that Yuu is the younger son of nobility and I’m the Prince.”  

 “Are you ever going to forget the quest?” I think he’s more vested in this quest that I was.  
 “Nope. It was a good experience, although I still don’t fully get the point. But you look happier and that’s the important part. And now that you know how Yuu feels, you look even happier, just like Angela predicted.”  
 “Where is that girl anyway?” “She couldn’t get out of going to her family’s Church today. She’ll be coming over later today, latest tomorrow to congratulate the two of you anyway.” 
 “You two, I can’t believe it! I don’t know if I should be mad or grateful.”  
 “Be grateful” Yuu suggests and he pulls me closer.  
 So, even though it’s really cliched and corny and whatnot, this is where I’m going to end my story. Because like Ray says, happy endings are happy endings, even if they’re so cliched they can practically become a template for future stories and so sweet that they make your teeth fall out. That’s why we say “and they lived happily ever after.”