Monday, 30 January 2012

Handing in the Pledge

Today, I made a trip down to the embassy to hand in the signed Pledge and a photocopy of the passport. The Pledge is basically a one page agreement that I have to sign, stating certain standards that the scholarship awardees have to uphold. If you're wondering what it looks like, here's a picture:
The terms and conditions are actually really reasonable, and I felt so happy when I handed it in. And when I handed in the documents today, I managed to speak with Ms Chiang, who liaised most of the time (at least I think it's her!). So now, I have confirmation: rent is not paid by MEXT, it's to be paid out of your monthly allowance (123 000 yen/month for me). But for Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS) at least, a single room costs about 17700 a month, excluding water and electricity bills, which is really cheap for Tokyo. If you're wondering, they have a monthly average/estimate of costs for students here (scroll down to "What are monthly living costs?" for a breakdown).

 Plus, I found out that this year, only 5 students were award the scholarship. That's down from 7 last year and 14 the year before if I remember correctly. When I learnt the news, I realised how much it is by God's grace. I'm not sure the number of applicants, but in the exam round, there were more than 10 of us for the Humanities section alone, not including the the Science applicants. But on the bright side, there are three of us going to TUFS together, so I can't wait to meet them!

You know, it's really funny. Whenever I walk down Nassim Road to get to the embassy, the greenery reminds me of Japan (sorry, I forgot to take a photo, and I can't find one on the web). Or maybe it's just the mood I'm in, knowing that I'm going to the Japanese Embassy. And after my trip in Secondary 3, I cannot listen to two songs: Tattoo by Jordin Sparks and 言葉より大切な物 (kotoba yori taisetsu na mono) by 嵐 (arashi) without being reminded of the trip. That's because my mp3 was already breaking down at that time, so I only listened to two songs during the trip. But that's enough for me, because now, the memories are stuck to the songs. So now, whenever I go to the embassy, I make it a point to listen to those two songs.