New Blog!

Hey there! I've decided to continue blogging at a different blog. The MEXT archives and some of my travel posts will remain here, but I'll be moving some stuff over. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

My New Home (Pictures!)

Today, I can finally say that my home is mostly complete! I just need a table.

And why did I wait so long? Well, my piano only got delivered today! Yes, you read right, a piano. Yes, I know, I haven't said much about music, but hey, just cause I'm not a professional doesn't mean I can't own a piano.

I'll even let you in on a secret

*whispers* "My piano costs less than my MacBook!"

In the corner - the more expensive stuff. Priorities people, priorities. 

Well, it is an electric piano after all.

So here, this is how my room looks like:

And if you're wondering where I sleep, I (thankfully), have a loft. Remember, lofts are good. Lofts are awesome. Lofts give you extra space:

My sleeping area is really futon on futon under blanket
(which I can use as a futon too)

I can even have visitors. I just put futons down all over the loft:

My Dad took this picture when he was here, which is why I'm
actually in a photo.
Here are some more photos of the house (taken by my dad):

Tiny Kitchenette. Not much difference from the dorm.

I love IKEA. Tip: Go shop there for furniture if you can!
(another recommendation is Muji)

And this is why, I chose to move in to an apartment immediately instead of going to a dorm.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

English vs 日本語 #1: 黒柳徹子の「窓ぎわのトットちゃん」(Totto-chan by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi)

Just before I moved, I wanted to do a line by line comparison of various books for people learning Japanese.  But I moved so....

Please remember, you need to know at least hiragana and katakana, plus have the ability to look up kanji to make the most of this. I'm definitely not putting romaji in here.

Last bit before I start: I'm doing a line by line because I want you all to be able to check the Japanese version against the English translation. Try to understand why each sentence was written like that.

Alright, without further ado (suddenly I hear applause), the first three paragraphs of Totto-chan!


The Railroad Station

They got off the Oimachi train at Jiyugaoka Station, and Mother took Totto-chan by the hand to lead her through the gate.

She had hardly ever been on a train before and was reluctant to give up the precious ticket she was clutching.

"May I keep it" Totto-chan asked the ticket collector.

"No you can't," he replied, taking it from her.


If you have any suggestions on how to improve the format, feel free to tell me. The next book will probably be Lola Rose (unless I find T.A. Barron's Merlin series in English in time).

Sunday, 24 March 2013

I Have Moved!!!

I took this from the plane, can you see Mount Fuji through the plane?
Apologies for the long delay, but I moved, and I've been busy trying to set up. And yes, posts for the immediate future will be few, especially as I'm trying to get all my furniture together. So maybe, wait another week for the next post?

And this is the view I pass by every time I go to the station.
So far, I'm really loving my new place! It's a lot more convenient than I imagined. The only thing is that I've been spending a lot on transport...

Friday, 15 March 2013

Moving Out of the Dorm

Today, I moved out of my dorm. I think I still haven't understood what this means (I did wake up at 6 am to finish packing after all), so I'm not exactly emotional. Right now, I'm staying with my senior, and I'll leave for Fukuoka on Monday morning (6am. Again).

So this has two implications:

a. I won't have internet for a while, and even if I do, I will be busy settling down.

b. (or a.i.) There won't be a FAQ Part II post like I originally planned. Instead, I'll do my best to reply to all the remaining questions, and then I'll make up to it by telling you how the settling down is going(:

Alright, back to the moving out. As I said, I woke up at 6am. And slept between midnight and After all, I was busy trying to finish packing (failed) and give my friends sweets (success):

Cookie dough bites and Orea - Marshmallow bars! 
And of course, we celebrated by taking Polaroid photos:

I will miss all my friends!
See you around!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

I Graduate Today!!!

Today (as you can obviously see from the title), is the day I graduated from my one-year course at TUFS. The reason why this post is written so late is that today was also the day of my farewell from Kendo, and a last class dinner.

For some reason, I was chosen to be the representative of the humanities students, which means that I was the first one to get my certificate, and I got it way way earlier than most of my friends:

Oh happy day!
After the party (which had a lot of food), I went for a second lunch with the kendo team! They were all so sweet! I got some awesome presents from them (no photos sorry! Do you want to see it very badly? I could take one and upload it I guess....)

I love my kendo team. Kohai's: Go join kendo! 

Incidentally, I was told that my clothes were very casual by the kendo team. O.o I thought I was semiformal!

Sorry, this is the only full-body pic I have (I think) It's not very good.
Also, I got my official acceptance letter from Kyushu University!

And if you're wondering what the graduation certificate looks like, these two photos should satisfy your curiosity:

The cover

The left side is in English, the right side is in Japanese
I'm happy to graduate, but I wish I didn't have to leave my friends behind. Sadly, I'm the only one going to Kyushu University.

Saturday, 9 March 2013










Note to Japanese learners: this book contains fairly advanced grammar and vocabulary  Personally, I couldn't read it until the Autumn term (and I read most of it only during the Winter term). That would be an close to advanced/advanced level.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

発表会と皆勤賞/Presentations and Attendance

From 9am to 4pm. Apparently, it's held every year.

Today was my 終了発表会(shuuryou happyou kai - Final Presentations). A select few (about half of us), are picked to do some sort of presentation or the other. And even though I tried my best, I still ended up doing a group presentation on "Betrayal as a reaction by rejected characters in 'Silence' by Shusaku Endo and 'The Man Within' by Graham Green". In Japanese, it's 「沈黙」及び「The Man Within」における拒絶された人物による反応としての裏切り.

And as usual, no one understood it (and half the audience was sleeping m(._.)m )! Comments came mostly from the teachers. I seem to have a knack for picking topics that my teachers find interesting but my peers don't understand....

The whole thing went pretty smoothly (we had some scares here and there, especially when my partner Sonya's eye started hurting), and despite what we considered an inadequate amount of rehearsals, I think it went as well as it could. There is no way that you can compress a 3998 word thesis (limit was 4000 words, or I would have written a lot more) that compares two books into ten minutes. Sadly.

Well, there was one thing that was pretty embarrassing. We had this poster presentation aspect, where you go to the presentations you want to go to. So after I finished one, I flopped (It was either me trying to run but failing, or me trying to act cute but failing) over to annoy Nicholas. Or at least, I tried to. But after I poked him in his arm, I realised that I was annoying the wrong guy )O.O(

Later, I had to listen to the two guys explain why even though they were wearing blue jackets, it should be obvious from the back that I had the wrong guy, and that even though I was short I should have looked up to see the hair or looked down to see the jeans to check. Like I remember what colour jeans they were wearing (sorry, I have a bad memory guys).

One more thing: I somehow won an award for perfect attendance (皆勤賞  - kaikinshou).

Apparently, even though I went to the doctor's place many times, and even left straight after the Autumn mid-terms to go back to Singapore to see the doctor, I somehow got perfect attendance. Looks like missing a bus trip doesn't count as an absence :D Also, Nicholas also got it, so that makes two out of the four people in total, and two out of three people. My dear Singaporean kohai's, try your best to ALL get it next year~

This is a very awesome keepsake of TUFS to have ^^

Friday, 1 March 2013

Bus Trip to Yokohama

This week was really really quiet (I was basically preparing for my presentation), but today was the second official bus trip we had. Well, it was my first, because the first time there was a trip (to Nagano), I was on a plane back to Singapore because I was too ill (yet, I have a perfect attendance record. Go figure).

Tomorrow, we have some kind of farewell/homecoming (for past students) party, so I figured I should do a quick recap today, and another post tomorrow.

Sorry for the lousy picture, I'll post a proper photo post later.

The day started too early (we had to meet at 7.45 am), and I learnt about Martenitsa (link to Wikipedia). It's a cute red and white wristband that celebrates the holiday of Baba Marta. I received two from Mira! (This is what happens when you take one, see another and go "so pretty, can I have that one too?")

The two places that I went to was Sankeien (三渓園) and Chinatown ( 中華街 chukagai). I was supposed to go to the court too, to watch a trial, but I lost track of time at Chinatown (I was at an all-you-can-eat buffet).

So first, Sankeien. This is actually where most of the photos from the next photo posts will be, so um, no photos this time. Sorry guys~ (Unless you have me on Google+, then you've probably seen the instagrams I did).

So, Chinatown. Normally, I take pictures of the food, but not this time. Poukei and I went crazy when we saw the dishes (we assumed the taste was more or less like home), so we were just ordering and eating and ordering and eating, until we ordered too much (too over-excited Chinese girls shouldn't be eating together :p). The taste wasn't exactly like home, but it's very close.

The people there are really nice too. Poukei was 10 yen short, and they told her not to worry. And yes, I did try to pay for her 10 yen, but the lady told me not to worry. I've found that most of the Chinese people in Japan tend to be like that. I suppose the fact that Poukei and I were talking in Chinese to the staff the whole time had something to do with it too(;


I really wish that I realised how awesome this place was earlier. I might be tempted to make a two-hour plus trip to get stuff - like real soya milk (good enough to move Rena to tears!). Although there are somethings that don't seem very Chinese:

This is cute, but I've never seen this before :O
This was totally worth missing a trial for!