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Archive for June, 2010

[Live Post] 30 June 2010 – 1800 hours (+9GMT)

Woa, the first time I did a live post. Haha.

Well, today went badly for me. It was pouring since the early mornings, from Morioka to Asamushionsen to Aomori to Hirosaki = all the way rained! Gosh! In addition, I found out from many denki-ya (electric stores) that nobody in Japan sells adapter for foreign power adapters to be used in Japan. They only sell adapter for Japanese to use in other foreign countries. This means that I should have bought one from Singapore and brought it to Japan. Shucks! I thought hotels would normally provide – my hotel on the first day in Minami-Senju did.

Well, not being to have an adapter to charge my lappie and my handphone is still a small problem. Not having one to charge my digital camera is a big one. No camera then how to take pictures? So I decided to get a new camera from Japan, anyway since my own camera is very lousy on the graphics, as last time I tried to save money to get a Olympus camera, and after that people say that Canon is better.

The hotel staff is very kind, they helped me called up the denki stores to check if such adapter can be bought in Japan, and then when I said that I wished to go there to buy a new camera, they offered to call up the taxi company to call a taxi for me, so that I wouldnt have to explain to the driver when the taxi comes.

I got there without any problems – Yamada Denkim that is, one of the largest departmental stores that sell only electric products. I found the aisle of the camera products, and when the salesperson approached me, I just said:

Sumimasen, watashi wa nihongo o hanasemasen.

Then the salesperson offered to get me a translater from Softbank, which has a booth nearby. The lady (Taka-san) helped me with the translation throughout and helped me with my questions. I am grateful for such help to be available to foreigners like me in Japan. πŸ™‚

I think it has just stopped raining. But I am still waiting for my new camera battery to finish charging. Later going to walk over to Hirosaki CastleΒ  for a new look before it gets late. Still do not know where to have my ban go-han (dinner) hmm .. shall figure out later on.

Alright, I shall update more tomorrow, if possible. Tomorrow will be a great day, going to the fabulous Oirase, Hakkoda-san and Towada-ko, really looking forward to it.

Till then, ja matta! πŸ™‚

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[Necro-post] 30 June 2010 – 1335 hours (+9GMT)

Finally time for my next entry as I wait for the train to start for Hirosaki Station from Aomori.

This morning I went to the Asamushi Aquarium to see dolphin shows and get to have a glimpse of penguins and sea otters amongst other smaller and ess heard of fishes. I also went to the seaside at Asaumshi Onsen Gyoen where the weather is freezing cold at 18 degrees C and have gusts of cold wind from the sea.

Today, I am happy to say that I finally had a chance to ask something toally in Japanese, without the need to use English. It is really not easy but it will definitely help as many people here often mistake me for a Japanese. Perhaps I should get myself a straw hat to wear as well HAHA!

Hopefully when I get to Hirosaki, my hotel would be able to provide me with an adapter for charging my camera, handphone and laptop. If not I would have problems taking more pictures. Let’s hope for the best! *fingers crossed*

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[Necro-post] 29 June 2010 – 1626 hours (+9GMT)

Now on my way back from the trip to Ryusendo. Bus is rocky, so wouldnt be able to write much.

Today I spent much time on travelling (3 hours on Shinkansen, 5 hours to and fro Ryusendo from Morioka), hence didnt have much time outside to enjoy nature.

But, the bus ride is amazing! Routes led right into mountain passes, through small (and I mean small) suburban towns in mountain valleys (like Horowako, etc.) complete with houses, farms, shops, schools, etc. How amazing if I were to stay here, I guess the people here need not be bothered by the busy city life, crowded places, pollution and what-not.

The sights of Ryusendo are also amazing. A real limestone cave oh my gosh! with stalacitites, stalagmites (ya I donno how to spell them still) and a freezing trip of 13 degrees C and seeing BATS for the first time without any barrier between them and me, it is really an eye-opening trip.

Oh! I just saw some school children going home from school. Everyone is so respectful here. People nod to bus captains for letting them cross the street etc.

Another interesting thing is the lack of bus stop sign, or rather in some cases, signs are so small and inconspicuous that I wonder how people see them.

Today I am really grateful towards the driver of the bus I took to Ryusendo, both to and fro (same driver for both trips). Upon finding out that I am not local to Japan (using JR Pass – foreigner), he took extra measures to make sure I understood the rules and the place I am going. Even when the bus took a 5 min break at Santouku, a souvenir-selling place in between the journey from Morioka to Ryusendo, he volunteered to help me to take a picture, which I think is one of the rarest pictures I have, that has me in it. Haha. So grateful for him giving me a wonderful experience.

Domou Arigatou Gozaimashita!

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[Necro-post] 29 June 2010 – 1005 hours (+9GMT)

I am now on board the Tohoku Shinkansen. The ride is super comfortable and I have sat, slept and sightsaw (if there is such a word) for the past 2 hours. Just 2 more hours to my destination – Morioka.

One thing I have to say that is most astonishing is the Japanese concept of time. When the train timetable says 0802 for the shinkansen ride this morning, I didnt expect that it meant exactly that, even when I heard that trains here are very punctual. The train arrive at 0802 sharp, and left when it became 0803. Also, the orderliness of the station platform is shocking too. Lines are drawn on the ground to show you where to stand to line up for the bus, where to board for which car of the train, and which part of the train is reserved and which is non-reserved.

Along the way to Morioka, there was a fair share of buildings and suburbs, and after Sendai, it became mostly tunnels and overpasses and farms. There are some videos that I took of the beautiful view, which I will upload when I have the time.

Also the train allows eating! Woohoo! There’s a lady pushing a cart, just like in the Harry Potter stories. The train captain also wears a uniform with shiny buttons and a cap. So UK style right?

Gonna reach Morioka soon in less than an hour. Yay! It has stopped raining. But the temperature here is still quite colling, about 25-26 degrees C.

Shall stop blogging to enjoy more views now.

πŸ™‚

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28 June 2010 | 0015 hours (+8GMT)

Okay, blogging during the trip in Japan isnt gonna be easy. Since not every place I go to would have an internet access, so I shall do what forumites called “necro-posting”. Basically I record down my thoughts and experiences as and when I feel like it and post them up when internet access is available.

This is my first entry and I am on the flight, going to Narita. On the way to the airport, all the way I was feeling very nervous, more than being excited. The rush hour, the language barrier, the sense of travelling alone, the worry for things back home all started sinking in.

I try to think of it as a test of independence. If I pass this test, I shouldnt have any problem living abroad elsewhere. Well having said that, I can now put my mind to rest.

The service on ANA is superb, I would say much better than SIA. My seat partner was a Singaporean too, what a coincidence. He is a PhD student studying in Cambridge with 1-2 years left to go, background in NUS Engineering. We chatted for quite some time and then he went to sleep but I just couldnt sleep. Hopefully this doesnt affect my sleep pattern later on in the day hahah.

Okay I see food coming this way, they are serving almond and cheese bread, and milk/apple juice. Yumms!

So I shall stop here for now, catch me on my next post yups!

28 June 2010 | 2209 hours (+9GMT)

Yay back to hostel once again – home sweet home. Kinda scary to come back late at night, cos the streets are dark and God knows what will happen when streets are dark and quiet. Better sleep early to prepare for early check out tomorrow.

Well today I would say that it is a most eventful day. Morning I took 3 train rides from the airport to get to this hostel. At first, I was quite nervous to take the trains, because one station can have 22 platforms (others have more!) and I landed in Narita Airport during rush hour, so everybody is all rushing somewhere! But luckily for me, I change my train schedule last minute so that I can re-route the rush hour stations, to take the more ulu ones, which makes the journey longer but less stressful. In these rides, I figured the train system out and now has no problem travelling to any train station in japan πŸ˜€

I spent the entire morning changing trains and trying to get to the hostel. Got lost on the way a couple of times, but staff in supermarkets and convenience stores or even train stations are very helpful, even when their command of the English language is very limited. Most of the time I speak to them in Japanese, mixed with English here and there. πŸ˜€

I reached my hostel at around 11am (+9GMT) took a little rest, facebooked a little, and then went out for walk walk haha. At first, I was quite nervous to go for lunch, because I’m not sure how they serve lunch outside in those ryokan or restaurants, but I found one rather cheap but with nice decor and tried to push my luck and went in. The staff were very polite and served me immediately. I spoke to them in Japanese, the greetings and all, and they thought I was local, so replied in Japanese as well. My identity was revealed when I had problems ordering the food hahaha. The pictures look nice, but I do not know what the ingredient for the dish was hahaha. In the end, I can only say “kore o kudasai” means “can you please give me this” + point to the menu hahaha. and they understood. πŸ˜€

Afternoon I went to Ueno park, but unfortunately today apparently all attractions are closed for some reason, summer holiday or something as the signboard says. So I took a train and went to Akihabara, or the Electric City, where all consumer electronic shops are located, from computers, to internet to cameras. The scene reminded me of Mongkok in Hong Kong. Shall post some pictures when I have the time to upload. After Akihabara, I took another train to Shinjuku, the busiest ward of Japan. It houses about 30+ platforms, so you can sort of imagine how crowded it can be and how big the station is like. I walked from Shinjuku to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, where there is an observatory to see the whole of Japan from 45th storey. The view is simply amazing. Took several videos and ate at a super luxurious cafe at the observatory. Food were sold at quite reasonable price though.

And then it was late. Too bad, I actually wanted to visit their Takashimaya, which was just nearby, and their Kinokuniya too, but I thought I had better get back to charge my batteries for my camera for tomorrow (used up both batteries today for camwhoring haha). And also the fact that Japan’s streets are not very safe when it is dark and late into the night … not where I’m staying at least. Quite a few blocks of abandoned buildings and people getting drunk on the street… yerr not my type of living place. Wouldnt have stayed here if not for the cheap prices haha.

Okay then, so far updates for today. Looking forward to another great day tomorrow. Shall be riding on the shinkasen early tomorrow morning, and going to Ryusendo Cave for the whole day. Shall elaborate more tomorrow!

Oyasuminasai!

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Stressssssed! T_T

Gosh, this week is a super stressed week for me. Plan trip plan until like mad liao, then everyday still got people want get on my nerves. ARGH! want go holiday also cannot enjoy, walao eh … I think after this trip maybe I dont want to go overseas anymore le, waste money and waste time and cannot sleep well. Past few days keep having nightmares of plane crash la, car crash la, whatever ways to picture myself dead. Or could this be a premonition of what is to come? *shudders*

Then recently, another matter keep getting on my nerve also. How come when people start work liao, earn big bucks liao then become arrogant ar? These people (yes, not only one) keep think that they are sooo busy with work, and hence others, who unfortunately are not working, are very free and can thus and dump every piece of shit work on them? I finished my contract last Tuesday, and until now I cant even get some peace or some of the weekend time for myself, every day is poring over travel itinerary, rushing here and there making payments, changing money, buying stuff, calling to do administrative procedures, not even having time to sit down and play maple, or go out to watch some movies. Always wanted to watch The Karate Kid, but I think I wont have a chance to watch it before my trip le.

With all these going on, I am really missing my old colleagues, and the joy and comfort in going to school everyday, not knowing when is morning or when is afternoon and just purely indulging in the work and teaching. Everytime I thought of these thoughts, I always felt like crying and that time just passes too quickly over the good times.

I miss you all very very much … contact me soon okay?

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Coming full circle

Just realized that I have not blogged for several days haha … still trying to get use to the habit of blogging πŸ™‚ well, what has been happening lately hmm … oh ya I got a new spectacles frame made recently and so many problems have come out of it. The boss of the spectacle shop was away, so his apprentice took over to cut my lens and put into the new frame, cos the old one was broken. But somehow or rather, he say the new cut lens had a shorter focal length, so end up me having headaches for the past few days, because I have been straining my eyes to see things. I went back to the shop daily for the past 4 days to do adjustments but still the problem is still there haiz. My guess is that the apprentice accidentally cut more than he should, so he just said it has a shorter focal length, if not why should he reduce the focal length, since the new frame is smaller is diameter? What a bother, now I have to spend another 400 bucks just to remake my lens, haiz …

Well anyway, enough of the rant, these few days are my last days of working at RP. Time flies man, and soon it will be 3 months and my internship shall be over. It has been very fun so far, and most importantly I get to teach the students yesterday! That was like the most enjoyable thing I have ever done since my days at the tuition school. It really cheers me up a lot, but I know I’m gonna miss the peeps here a lot more when the last day comes. Just thinking about that last day already made me want to cry. Just hope that I will be able to leave with a smile on Tuesday.

Today when I was coming back on the bus, I suddenly thought about my problems faced last year, and the huge change in me that took place as a result. It was natural of me to keep thinking back on these events because this internship now is some sort of a redemption for me to get a ‘second chance’ to ‘redo’ my internship, if you know what I mean, though the organization is different and the people I worked with is different. But to me, it matters.

So far in this internship, there had been times where I was really pissed off with some colleagues over some minor matters, or with students because of their attitude, but to think of it, I never really blow my top as easily as in the past, which to me was surprising. I think I handled it quite naturally, and got around it without much problems. Sometimes I think to myself, whether or not my depression has really been cured. I had not felt that way for quite several months already, or perhaps it is the company I mixed with over here that has helped me, I’m not sure. But I’m sure that this will be an upward path for me, and this has helped me get back some of my old self-confidence, and persistence that I have lost last year because of that incident, and now I can focus and work on tasks much much better le.

This, I can say, is the best gift that the peeps at RP have given me. I am most touched :’) Thanks a lot guys!

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