Wednesday, September 27, 2006

- miyako part 2 -

currently listening to - promiscuous girl (nelly furtado feat. timbaland)
mood - troubled

yeah especially when you thought you did a good job for the exams and you turn around finding that actually everyone around you performed as good as you or even better than you. and when you get unbelievably famous throughout the school for foreign students because you're being stalked by some lunatic who fell in love with you (who enjoys examining your room with binoculars every night and take snapshots of you when you're unaware of it. apparently).


so yeah. just came back from our 2nd UA outing to kyoto. some proof.....

we promised our japanese culture teacher that (who lives in kyoto and is a very briliant tour guide) to be punctual this time - since we took the wrong train previously and ended up reaching the meeting place later than the expected time. but then........ sad to say, the fact that we didn't know that 23rd of september, the autumn equinox day, is a PUBLIC HOLIDAY (which means the buses will follow the sunday/holiday timetable instead of the usual saturday one) delayed our arrival at the train station. on top of that, one of our fellow classmates overslept (as usual). made it to kyoto a few 10 minutes after 12 noon (when we're supposed to be there by 11.30am).

then we received an e-mail from out teacher. "get out of the train station, walk along Karasuma-dori towards south for 5 minutes, and you'll see a Family Mart. i'm there." and we did. except that we didn't realise we were walking towards the north. surprisingly there WAS a Family Mart at the north part. thanks to modern technology (the cellphone) we were able to reunite with our teacher, who glared at us for not knowing how to tell directions by referring to the position of the sun.

had kyo-ryori (kyoto dishes) for lunch. teacher's treat. we love you, sir. 3 of us ordered sashimi set lunch, and the remaining 3, tempura set lunch. reported to dear sir (with love) about how we caused chaos in the shabushabu restaurant in our previous outing after he left us, till we were stared at by every single japanese customer and the waiters.

later we took a train to the Eigamura (direct translation: Movie Village. but its actual english name's something to do with the word "studio" bla bla...). that was my 1st time taking a train that runs on the tarred road together with the cars and other vehicles (and follows the traffic lights too). this is the place where many famous japanese historical dramas were produced. found the olden japanese-style toilets (a male urinal and a squatting toilet), as well as an antique wooden bathtub. fooled around the bathtub till we attracted a lot of curious tourists (our crazy Russian friend was pretending to bathe in the bathtub by pulling down her spaghetti straps *sexily* when a kid stopped his mother and both of them looked at us in awe).

our teacher then tried out some games like archery and japanese darts (they call it shuriken. please watch more naruto). bragged about how "you'll be able to get the grand prize when you understand the trick of the game muahahahahahahaha" (he told us he's from a real ninja village and that fact did amaze me a little, especially since i've really seen the name of the clan somewhere in a ninja manga. NOT naruto, ok) and things like that. in the end, he got us loads of party goods. and a katana-shaped balloon. but not the grand prize.

watched a ninja show at the theatre about Hattori Hanzo (Tokugawa Ieyasu's loyal right-hand man) and his double (naruto's Kagebunshin). was very cool if you had actually been there to sit it through. during the "intermission" the actor who played as the villain "interviewed" our crazy Russian friend, thinking that she's some foreign tourist who can't speak japanese, who went there in the company of a few japanese people (us. who looked almost the same as japanese). he even greeted her " " (which meant "goodbye" in Russian) at the end of the show.

next we went to a museum filled with japanese superhero figures like KAMEN-RIDER, that looked like housefly at 1st glance (but if i said it loud someone would've killed me). our korean classmate was practically thrilled when she saw her beloved "Red" figures. the rest of us went around ooh-aah-ing, taking random snapshots. whereas our teacher........ he was enthralled as well. apparently he has been a huge fan of KAMEN-RIDER since young. i could sense him screaming "Oh, YOUTH!" anytime.

at last we returned to Kawaramachi, walked pass the "host spot" (where japanese hosts scattered abundantly, preparing to lay their hands on their targets *huhuhuhuhu*) and arrived at the shabby Nepalan restaurant. that was the most unique restaurant i have ever been to, probably because i have never entered a pub/bar or a dark (literally) restaurant where lighted candles are the only source of illumination. the floor and the ceiling are covered with many carpet-like cloths, and the rectangular tables were very low (no chairs. had to sit cross-legged). nevertheless, the 11-course meal was very satisfying. can't really use words like "scrumptious" or "tantalizing" to describe it, but i must say i was rather relieved that all the dishes were not spicy. well, at leat i didn't think it was. maybe my level of bearing spiciness has increased greatly, since my dear friend (whom i always eat with) declared that she's a person who can't live without hot stuff (figuratively and literally).

as expected, we made a lot of noise in the restaurant. including our teacher, who went berserk together with our crazy Russian friend (probably because he got drunk). he was reciting one of the KAMEN-RIDER theme songs while trying to put out the candle fire with the gust of wind created by his fist-blow. when he DID succeed, all of us went cheering and applauding loudly (despite knowing that we're in a restaurant with the Nepalan restaurant owner staring at us with troubled expressions). and every customer turned around. again. they were probably wondering why on earth were these weird foreigners conversing in japanese in such fluency (but with weird intonations). and why was the japanese man demonstrating different KAMEN-RIDER transformation styles so enthusiastically.

the climax came when our friend (the one who overslept) blew his katana-shaped balloon (please refer to the photo above. see a long, white balloon that's being used to strangle the poor man in the middle? i personally thought that it looked like a white-belly fish..). after paying the bills, the 2 insane people started battling outside the restaurant. swordsman vs........... i don't know. some retarded emperor??? as our crazy Russian friend grabbed hold of her big japanese fan (the one you use to hit people), the teacher began to attack her with the "katana" (or was it the other way round...). anyway, they had an interesting cat fight. almost pulled a battle royale if we joined forces with each of them at that time. the restaurant owner was so annoyed he shut the door. later, the owner of the restaurant opposite glared through his door with utter disgust. that was when our teacher finally realised he was making a fool out of himself and muttered "gomennasai........" to the owners.

that was so much fun. if i were to report everything i saw that day, my post today will be much much longer (and as you can see, it IS already damn long). ok just the last bit. we came back to the dormitory safely (?) and on the following tuesday (which was yesterday) our japanese culture class was cancelled. by inspection, i think our dear teacher is still having a hangover.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

- since -

currently listening to - Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (Shimamiya Eiko)
mood - confused

i am pretty much free now, waiting to be called to re-sit the mathematics paper (but if i were to be called, almost everyone else in the science stream would have to re-sit the test as well) and trying to study kanji for tomorrow's *yet more* test (but as you can see, i'm not even paying attention to the kanji textbook), might as well post something on the blog, neh?

the temperature difference between the highest and lowest temperatures in one day is rather scary nowadays. during daytime, sweatdrops (or more accurately, sweat-streams?) irritate you to the point that you wanna curse the scorching sun; after dinner time, you begin to think that you should've bought a longer winter jacket to protect you from the howling wind. not joking. it was freaking cold last night when i was scrutinising my grammar handouts. outside the dorm.

speaking of howl, kimutaku (Kimura Takuya in short. if you don't know him, go ask wikipedia) appears too often in tv commercials. 1st you see him in a black suit twisting his curly hair and dancing along with the "I~ can give you gatsby~... " song, then you see him examining a Nikon D80 digital SLR saying something like.. "すげえ…ああ、やっぱりいいわ、ニコン。" (= "awesome... ah, Nikon's good.. as i expected")....... and then he turned into a were-rabbit when he saw the moon in the Fujitsu laptop... and so on.. there's another one that's got something to do with coffee i think..... ah whatever.

so the september exams are finally over but i'm not completely relieved. probably because another BIG exam will be haunting us in december. and i am pretty sure that even if i get a perfect score for maths in this coming exam my average score for maths will still be a C. yay, cookie cookie cookie starts with C.

anyway. the UA members (plus a few external members) made a bet: the one who gets the highest total score will have to treat (most probably ice-creams) the rest of the people who participated in the betting. and i am safely out of the "top scorer" category. i think.

22 september (fri... tomorrow) - the usual weekly kanji test (chapter 24, 25).... gah...
23 september (sat) - kyoto outing with UA members + japanese culture teacher. try out kyoto dishes. visit shrines and temples. at night, we'll be having something special for dinner as well (nepalan dishes?).
30 september (sat) - outing with seniors. location not fixed yet.
8 october (sun) - harvesting rice at teacher's place in nara.

looking forward to the harvesting outing very much. wonder what will the 2 jokers (who squealed and went berserk around the paddy-field after being greeted by a few frogs and earthworms during the previous outing) do this time. no more slumpy field. no worries about earthworms and probably less frogs. but i can so imagine that this time, the sky will be filled with dragonflies and grasshoppers. i mean, they are better high-jumpers than frogs, right? :D

Sunday, September 17, 2006

- we -

currently listening to - Sora wo Miro (Sakamoto Maaya)
mood - slightly relieved
quote of the day - YOU CAN ORDER ONLINE???? (referring to pizza)

were talking about how each of us made it to japan. i have no idea how many times have i repeated the same story to different people from different places (ok.. maybe not that many. i'm not a person who enjoys boasting about my past, mind you), but still we shared out thoughts amiably while we're on our way back to the dormitory one night. i realised that i've even mentioned this in my presentation during japanese culture class, but it's still lingering on my mind. our minds. we, as in, my friend and i, who sat for the scholarship selection test at the same venue last year.

was in singapore when i found out that i was qualified for the selection test. i didn't (and i still don't) understand why was i chosen instead of people who are obviously more hardworking and intelligent than me. anyway, i rushed back home a day before the test, and was, once more, shocked by the fact that i had to stay in the examination hall from morning till late in the evening, just because i chose to take the japanese papers (optional) as well.

on the other hand, my friend, who lives in the northern part of the country (a few-hour's drive away from the capital, where the test was held), planned to take a night bus to the capital together with his fellow schoolmates the night before the test. the plan was to reach the capital about 2 hours before the test, idle away their time around the city, then sit for the test. and their lovely plan would've worked if it hadn't been the night bus, which decided to puncture one of its tyres and release another one during their journey to the south (yeah, i don't get it why but apparently one of the tyres went missing suddenly). to top it all, the bus conductor announced that passengers who were in a hurry could take an alternative night bus, when all of them were... asleep.

i must say, they were really lucky, since they managed to make it to the examination hall........ not exactly on time, though.

so, back to the thing that's bothering us (yes, i sidetracked again). the selection test was held in a chinese high school that adopted the name of a famous chinese thinker and social philosopher (which rhymes with the word "confusion"). not sure if it's a coincidence, but it seemed like the school was having a anti-japanese movement on the very same day, seeing that the 10-metre wide notice board in front of the examination hall was covered with newspaper cuttings about how local men and women were tortured by the japaese army during wwii and the like.....

hell yeah it happened and it's true that many suffered. and i can see that many are stereotyping japanese as proud ideologists who discriminate women and foreigners. but i doubt that mere newspaper cuttings will be able to change a determined person's mind, no? (fuiyo... talking big eh....)

this is my 2nd time studying abroad. yet i've learnt a lot of new things in half a year. new facts, in fact. about how normal it is for some families to own 10 cars at home. about how お嬢さん (pronunciation: "o-jo-sun". meaning: a naive/unsophisticated woman from a wealthy/good family who knows nothing about the world) can a person be (and i'm surprised that i'm not in that category). a classmate of mine who's studying overseas for the 3rd time, had never gripped a frying pan in her entire life before coming here (although my cooking skills really suck, at least i know something about cooking). wanted to boil potatoes, but they turned into charcoals after leaving the fire on for 5 hours. wanted to use the frying pan, but wasn't sure if she should fry with oil or water. wanted to slice onions, but hesitated between cutting off the edges 1st or peeling off the skin 1st. and so on.

sorry 'coz my sentences seem to be lengthy and hard to read. =p was told by my essay teacher that i should try limiting my number of words per sentence to less than 3 lines of a manuscript paper (which is like... less than 60 kanji........ ok that sounds a lot..). speaking of which.. i'll be sitting for my essay paper the day after tomorrow.... darn, i'm still halfway through the exams..

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

- grave story -

currently listening to - final your song (SeanNorth)
mood - more traumatised, as expected

and so, as a creditable person who keeps promises (eh) , i joined the other OUFS yosakoi (pronunciation: "yo-sah-coy". a highly-energetic Japanese dance which combines traditional Japanese dance movements with modern music. popular event during festivals.) dance group members and performed in the annual Koiya Matsuri, an extremely big and lively yosakoi dance festival held on the 8th, 9th and 10th of september this year. i must've been mad for agreeing to perform in the festival, since i have exams during the very same period.

anway it doesn't matter now since everthing's over (but not the dreadful exams unfortunately).

was one of the most memorable festivals i have ever been to. first of all the main event was held in front of Osaka Castle. and obviously it costed me a bit to get there from my dorm which is in the isolated northern jungle. plus, we had the opportunity to enjoy free public bath - we waited under the trees for decades for the heavy rain to stop. had to squeeze out water from our costumes before our performance.

then, there was this unbearably mushy moment when our leader announced that some of the seniors will retire from the group after that night's performance. it feels weird when you're one of the few who doesn't cry when everyone else is weeping. and it feels weirder when you finally got watery-eyed and suddenly your friend turns to you and says "Come on, cry!!"


but the most surprising thing was that we actually received the best dance performance award for Kyobashi-Ekimae area (the biggest stage after Osakajo-Koen). yeah. didn't expect that our dance was that good. the champion and the 1st runners-up were, needless to say, very awesome. should've taken pictures but i didn't bring my digicam. well, even if i did, i wouldn't have wanted to risk losing it while suffocating among 3000+ dancers (and probably a thousand more audience or something..).


so yeah.. the main topic of my post this time is actually NOT ABOUT yosakoi, as you can see from the title. well yeah it did resulted me in very depressing exam results (probably). thank you for your kind patience. *slap*

i was anxiously waiting for my friend's reply confirming whether we would study together (omfg i can't believe i just said that) when i decided to call her directly. i suppose she was overly-traumatised and horrified by the disastrous exam papers since i didn't quite get what she meant by "The police are in my room now!! Come Quickly!!!" well yeah i think she is insane but still i followed her commands and carried out my rescue mission.

apparently, she was selling drugs in the dormitory ever since she arrived in osaka. liar. she's been lying to me all this while, saying things like "It was only tempura flour for my favourite fried chicken". so i took a shot-gun off the wall and fired two warning shots. BANG. into her head. the police applauded and commended me for the brilliant shots. and i was awarded the sogeking (the best shooter in one piece) award and lived happily ever....

shall we get back to reality now?


apparently in may, my friend got a 2nd-hand (or 3rd-hand? 4th-leg?) bicycle from our friend's senior, who got the bicycle from his landowner. and APPARENTLY, one's supposed to report to the police when he wants to give the ownership of his goods away... by the flow of my story, you should be able to tell that no one bothered to visit the police. and in the end, the landowner claimed that his bicycle, which was supposed to be under the care of the senior, was stolen. is it just me or is everyone here having a headache trying to understand what the hell am i talking about?

so. we (actually it's me) had a fun-filled debate with the 2 policemen in front of my friend's room, and finally concluded that we should head to the senior's place and uncover the truth. 1st we dashed up and down like crazy chickens trying to track down our friend (who?), the one whose senior is the one we're looking for. then to our delight, we realised that the senior was missing in action after several attempts of knocking on his door.

what a wonderful outing. that day we were like celebrities. everyone turned and looked at the 3 of us in awe. and as i expected, some glared at us with questioning eyes and flocked to us and threw us the ever-cliched line often used by curious middle-aged aunties living next door: "So what happened to you just now?" i was so tempted to say something really lame but decided to spend more effort in deciphering the unfamiliar equations all over my physics textbook instead.

*sigh* can i end my blog now? i'm tired and hungry. till we meet again.

that's if i'm still alive after this week.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

- i'm lookin' for -

currently listening to - A Perfect Sky (BONNIE PINK)
mood - a little traumatised

the ideal plan for september examinations: begin がり勉 ("gariben". pronunciation: "gah-ree-ben". meaning: cram/study. singaporean english "mugging") a month before examinations start, i.e. spend most of the summer holidays on revision and drills. time allocation for examination subjects according to level of difficulty (for me): maths >>>>> physics > chemistry > japanese culture > reading comprehension (friday) > reading comprehension (thursday) > reading comprehension (monday) > japanese grammar > kobun (japanese classsics) > composition > conversation > kanbun (classical chinese) > listening comprehension > kanji.

the reality: spent a week on chemistry. 2 days on summer holidays homework (a day on all 4 essays, another day for the rest of the work). a few hours on kobun. and did nothing else but playing, eating, watching tv and sleeping, as mentioned in the previous post. i remember, everyday i slept from 3 am - 3 pm, went to the computer lab after waking up, cooked and had my dinner, watched anime / useless variety shows, AND THEN i started "working".

i think i've succeeded in creating the nocturnal me towards the end of the holidays. but that kinda deviated from the previous plan. so basically, i'm screwed for the exams. as usual. especially for maths. as usual.

ah well (eh??).

by observation, some tend to get "off track" when examination period approaches. in other words, the more they feel the urge to study, the more distracted they are. and they'll start doing things that are not so important at that time, so as to "escape" from studying.

here i am, blogging. even though tomorrow is the first day of exams. when i was in singapore, i used to download manga and read fanfics online before, each and everytime an important examination came, without fail. at first it was bleach, then chrno crusade, peacemaker, fullmetal alchemist etc....... but i can see that even without internet connection in the room, i'm still not doing what i'm supposed to do properly.

mom's typical reaction here: why can't you be more concentrated??

mom, sorry i'm such a diluted person. but at least i did my chemistry, right?

a week ago, we could still fry chickens on the tarred road. yesterday when i looked out of my window, i saw pouring rain. and i, who could bathe in ice water during winter (not coz i'm a saddist. the heater froze dammit.), had to put on my jacket these days. though summer hasn't ended, we can definitely tell that autumn is coming soon. which means that the cicadas will stop chanting soon. YESHHHHHHHHHH!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

- i've finally bought new, non-auntie sandals -

currently listening to - Negaraku

just joking..

currently listening to - These Boots Are Made For Walkin' (Ito Yuna)
mood - damn.. holidays are over...

first of all, photo exhibition!!! if you happen to wonder, the following photos are all taken by me and i didn't get them from other places. =p

prawn doria. potato+sausage gratin. fried chicken. corn soup. steak. coke. etc. oh bravo.
@ Skylark in front of Chiba University's Nishi-Chiba Campus.
dammit, i'm drooling.

lovely kyohou (some kind of giant grapes) in Katsunuma Budou-kyou,
Yamanashi Prefecture.
some handsome owl in Inokashira Kouen, Tokyo.
by the way (for some people's information),
the Mitaka Ghibli Art Museum thingie is less than a km's distance away from this place.

home sweet home. so true... sometimes. to some, who are unable to return home so frequently (partly due to stinginess) - LIKE ME - the dormitory would probably be the best substitute for home.

ahem.. if you don't get what i meant, was i was trying to say is: i love my room. it's rather obvious, since i was able to spend half of my summer holidays in my room, NOWHERE ELSE, doing nothing but watching TV, eating and sleeping (and occassionally peeping into reference books scattered around the room). pretty prepared for the september exams, eh? prepared to die.

but then, sometimes you really can't stand your own room (then sit down lorh), no matter how passionately in love you are with him/her/it/whatever. in happened to me *quite* recently, when i peeled my newly-bought garlics. it's quite easy to tell what happened next, right?

thought that i'd be in my dorm-mates' way (and it's embarassing, coz i'm slow) if i'd done it in the kitchen, so i ingeniously brought my knife and the entire bag of garlics into the air-conditioned 11msq room (i.e. bad ventilation).

for the first time, the toilet smelled better than the bedroom. of course, having such attractive fragrance in the room wasn't totally a bad thing. at least i won't need to worry about being attacked by vampires. or even their dear 'fanged relatives' (the centipede clan).

maybe i should try cracking durians in my room one day.

in any case, stopping the air-conditioner for a while and opening the windows to ventilate the room during summer will be a bad idea. i'm not quite sure if the insects will die of suffocation once they invade the room.


SPEAKING OF INSECTS, we accidentally (?) found free wireless connection in the campus (eh? anything to do with insects ka?)... the connection speed's lovely. i might say it's better than the one i used in singapore. the only annoying thing was that the server logs us out by itself from time to time.

automatic vending machines are right in front of you, and you can enjoy the night sky and natural air-conditioner (it's quite cold at night now) while downloading *weird* stuff like crazy. plus, you can enjoy free show by adorable performers like praying-mantises and cockroaches. audience participation is availabe. a friend of mine was so stunned when a big fat green praying-mantis greeted her from behind her laptop lid. wonderfu environment for surfing (the internet).

it's just that, i don't have a laptop.