Thursday, 30 May 2013

Happiness is.... (#2)

Your direct juniors (they are this year's D Class, I am from last year's D Class) win first place in the ボート大会(bo-to taikai: boating competition). At last, we have been revenged.

Yes, this is last year's photo. And yes, it perfectly sums up
what I did the whole day. 

Boat Taikai details:

If you want the long story, feel free to read my post from last year. What I didn't mention last year was that we choked on the last few races (Fine, my teammates choked, I was at the sidelines yelling "YAKINIKUUUUUU") and ended up third. We were really hoping to be avenged, and we were!

Happiness is..... is a mini-series I do on this blog to document the smalls things in life that I'm thankful for. There are probably a lot that I missed, but these are the ones that caught my attention. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Cream Puffs and Eclairs (クッキーシュークリームとエクレア)

Today, I attended my first ケーキの教室(ke-ki no kyoushitsu: cake class), and learnt how to make cream puffs (with a cookie topping!) and eclairs! It was extremely fun and easier than I expected.

So without further ado, here are photos to make you drool (hopefully. I'm aiming for that anyway):

Ok, the first three photos were taken at the class with my iPad. I would take more, but I was more concerned with getting it done right. Plus, this isn't a cooking blog, so I don't think a step-by-step guide is necessary:

Here they are fresh out of the oven! They're yet to be filled.

The cream puffs! 

The eclairs!
Well, I couldn't stop the photography bug entirely - I took our my camera as soon as I got home. So here are more close up photos!

This is the only puff without a cookie cover. It's ok, you're still delicious!

A close up of the eclair

Most of my cream puffs have two flavours - caramel filling
on top of custard filling. 

The only custard-only puff. YOU'RE STILL DELICIOUS TO ME!

THE PUFF. No, not a powerpuff. Just a delicious puff.
The class was so fun I signed up for another one at the end of next month! Now, I'm stuck with the problem of having too many to eat, but too little to share. Sigh, if only all problems were this delicious(;

Incidentally, I have the recipe, if anyone's interested. The only thing is that it's all in Japanese. If you're interested, let me know!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Kyushu University: Year 1

Alright, here's the long-awaited blog post on Kyushu University! I don't think it's a very popular university (I'm the only MEXT scholar here after all), but I really do think that it's one you should consider.

Besides, even though I'm the only MEXT scholar (I think, I mean, I'm the only name I see signing off the scholarship forms), Kyushu University is the fifth largest university interms of foreign students. They're private students or on scholarship from their own governments, but that's a minor minor detail (apart from the fact that I'm the only foreign student that didn't have to take an entrance exam).

Like the last sentence implies, applying to Kyushu University was pretty easy. After I submitted my choices to Monbukagakusho and got the "you may apply" reply, all I had to do was wait. Why? Because Kyushu University has no entrance exams or interviews (MEXT scholars only). For those of you who dislike interviews and/or exams, this is a huge huge plus.

Since I'm a first-year student, I'm currently studying at the brand-new Ito campus (I'll transfer to the Hakozaki campus in the second half of the second year, but that's another topic). Ito campus is new and absolutely beautiful.

Amazing view(:
Of course, this amazing view is made possible by the fact that the campus is elevated (on a mountain-ish thing?) and near the ocean. This means WINDY. I'm getting glad for it now that the weather is heating up, but I don't want to think what it's going to be like in winter. On the bright side, I hear that winters in Kyushu are short.

If you're wondering about student support in Kyushu, worry not at all! Apart from regular student support (There's a support center for the year ones, with seniors who will advise you on classes), there's extra support for us foreign-students. That comes in the form of an extra-orientation (also included: how to make friends with Japanese students), KUIFA (a sort of club for foreign students and Japanese students to mingle), as well as 日本事情 (nihonjijyou - Japanese affairs), a class that's targeted at foreign students (and aimed at helping them make friends. So it's half foreigners, half Japanese students and all fun).

Classes are actually quite fun (although I'm not sure how I'm going to fare for Latin and Ancient Greek, considering that it's taught in Japanese :p). And um, unlike last year, I'm now in Golf. I highly recommend golf as well. I think my first few friends were made in golf (among the fellow newbies).

The only thing that I can think to mention about classes is that I have to take two languages - English and one other (I'm taking Chinese) - I do believe that this is the same for at least Osaka University and Tokyo University though (or at least, I have impressions of my friends having to learn at least one foreign language). And that we have a 専攻日 (senkouhi - specialty day) once a week, where I go to the Hakozaki campus for classes on economics.

If you have any questions on Kyushu University at all, please tell me in the comments(: I'll try to answer them right away, and really, they'll help me with what I should blog about the next time I update you about my awesome school.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Golden Week #3 (Fukuoka Zoo)

Yesterday was the last day of Golden Week (sadly), but at least instead of staying at home, I went out with my golf friends!

Of course, nothing can compare to the Singapore Zoo, but it was really fun all the same:

They were having a stamp rally, but sadly, it's only for middle-school students and lower :/ We ALL wanted to do the rally :p

I don't know if the zoo is considered big, but it's divided into roughly two sections: the animals, and the plants. And since the zoo closes at 5pm, (we arrived at around 2pm) we only had time for the animals. BUT WE VISITED EVERY ANIMAL! Yes, I was like a little kid in a toy store.

A really big bird cage!
As much as I would love to show you lots of pictures, I can't. My friends are in most of them, and they were candid shots (I was asked why I take mostly candid shots - the answer, by the way, is that the peace sign gets tired after a while).

I really want to ride an Elephant - take me to Singapore Zoo!
I'm pretty sure that this zoo is already better than others (look at the birdcage), but I felt quite bad for some of the animals. Their enclosures were all some form of concrete, sand and water. It looks unhappy compared to the natural-looking environment of the Singapore Zoo (okok, I'll stop with the comparisons). But it's not all bad, the zoo is actually quite beautiful, and the birds in the giant birdcage thing look happy.

After that, we went for a shabu-shabu buffet! It was really good, and we made arrangements to go to golf today! (It's not an official practice day but...). And yes, golf today was really fun.

That's my Golden Week in three posts. How was your Golden Week?

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Golden Week #2 (Huis Ten Bosch)

For those of you keeping track, this is my third time to Huis Ten Bosch since I've arrived in Kyushu. It also means I broke even on my one year pass :D

This time, I went with Wawa and Momo, who are also ryuugakusei (foreign students) from Malaysia! Yes, my neighbouring country! They haven't been to Huis Ten Bosch before, so I decided to bring them yesterday. There were two reasons for this: one, Golden Week Fireworks; two, the Professor Layton mystery ends on the 6th of May.

And yes, I did manage to solve the mystery:

My prize is a little notebook! And there was a really sweet 3 minute
video to finish of the mystery. 
Since we decided to stay to watch the fireworks, we had a lot more time to explore the place. I went in to the Porcelain Museum and the Glass Museum this time! And yes, I managed to get some night shots and some firework shots. So, here are some photos (I'm not very good at night shots yet so....)

A bird's eye view of World Bazaar
By the way, I totally recommend going up the tower to get some shots.

This is the tower I'm talking about. 
So beautiful!
Here's a firework shot:

Actually, I can do one better. I took a short (maybe 22 seconds?) video of the fireworks, because I'm not very good with the Manual Setting:

On a side note, all these photos haven't been post-processed. This is really because I haven't decided which photos to edit, and because I came back this morning If you have me on Google+ (look to the right!) or on 500px (link to profile), you'll see them when I'm done (might be a while though)

After the fireworks, we went for karaoke! I would have liked a hotel, but it's Golden Week and everything is booked. Plus, overnight karaoke is cheaper. So we took a train to a fairly close-by karaoke place, where I learnt a few this:

a. Overnight karaoke after a day of school is vastly different from overnight karaoke after a day of walking.

b. I can actually lose my voice.

c. It is possible to not sleep at all.

d. When you're sleep deprived, you choose weird songs (no, I'm not telling)

Since I'm normally a "8/9/10 hours a day" girl, this was amazingly 苦しい (kurushii - tough). Free time ends at 5am in the morning, so we had to go to the train station, wait for the earliest train (6am) back to Huis Ten Bosch, and then for the earliest train back to Hakata (9.45am). We actually sat in the lobby of a hotel and I fell asleep. And again on the train. Lights out.

Which, in retrospect, was a good thing, because when I'm sleep-deprived, I tend to walk into objects like lamposts. It becomes a game of "make sure Eustacia doesn't hit something by mistake", which is no fun for all parties involved. Plus, my grammar disappeared (along with my Japanese) and I didn't have a reaction time. Now I know what the walking dead feel like.

Despite THAT. It was an awesomely fun trip. I actually still want to go back to Huis Ten Bosch again.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Nic's Weekend With Eustacia (Guest Post)

Hey all~ If you remember, I recently blogged about my weekend with one of my best friends - Nic. And she's so nice, she agreed to write a blog post telling her version of the same weekend. Enjoy~

I apologise that this post is over a week late, but I promised Tacia a guest post on her blog when I was staying over awhile back, so here it is 8) I’m sorry in advance if I’m long winded, or ramble utter nonsense throughout this whole post. Not much of a blogger myself.

Been about a week plus since I’ve been back from my Japan holiday with friends and the post-trip excitement has dwindled, but memories still vivid. Holy crap it was seriously frigging fun XD The whole trip was 9 days, mostly spent in Tokyo, but on my 2nd to 3rd day, I flew to Fukuoka to stay with Tacia for a day. So damn glad I decided to do that even though it caused my trip expenses to rise significantly XD

Thank goodness I didn’t get into any trouble on the flights to Fukuoka and back. Can’t say I didn’t get lost though, but lucky it didn’t take long to get back on track. Walking out of Arrival to see Tacia’s face was freakin crazy! Uwwwaahhhhhh I missed her so much OTL

As she already mentioned in her post, we spent the day at Huis Ten Bosch. Way cool, considering we’d been there five years back during a school trip and it really brought back memories. For me, at least. There were so many new attractions now, and I really had to keep my One Piece fangirl in check /ahem/ HAHA. Nahh, since I was with Tacia it was easy having fun throughout the whole place. The Layton course was interesting, hard for me cos, well, not good at Japanese. Won’t really go in detail here I guess. Oh. BUT I REALLY HAVE TO MENTION THE HAUNTED HOUSE.

Okay, the Haunted house area overall wasn’t that scary, BUT THEN WE WENT INTO THE HAUNTED MANSION ONE. SLFKJHSJDSDSKJFHJSFK THAT ONE WAS FRIGHTENING AS SFLKH. I’m not even sure I was happy to be able to vaguely understand Japanese, considering that meant I understood what the heck I was listening to. I really cant explain more for fear of obscene vulgarities here, but LSKJFHLJSDSKFJSFH you need to experience it.

Was slightly disappointed we didn’t have more time to go shopping and do more stuff before having to rush for the train. But dinner was good (and Tacia) treated so that made up for it. a little XD

I really like Tacia’s house. Really. When I’m in Aussie for uni in July I’d be awesome to be able to find a place something like that, though maybe without the stairs-to-sleeping-area part. The place wasn’t big or much, but absolutely loved how cosy it felt.

Flight back to Tokyo was in the morning to meet up back with my traveling group. IT WAS SO HEARTBREAKING FOR ME TO SAY BYE TO TACIA OTL UHUUUHUHUHU. Thanks for letting me stay over, friend <3 so friggin happy I managed to visit you in Japan. TAKE CARE, YOU.

Blargh, really can’t be bothered to blog in full, proper English. I tried at the beginning. Sorry.

I love you too Nic <3 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Happiness is... (#1)

Happiness is...

eating a hot sweet potato.

I wasn't much of a sweet potato fan back in Singapore, but I find these incredibly delicious (my potato-loving younger sis is envious, I wonder if I can somehow teleport these to China).

Potato Details
These potatoes have been baked for so long they're practically mashed potatoes! And so sweet! Sadly, this seems to be only limited to cold-weather times (unless that's only in Tokyo?)

And the vendor guy was really nice. He spoke a little too fast, but I followed my senpai's advice: when in doubt, just say "はい (hai)". In the end, I got to try the sweet potato before buying (another, different one).

Happiness is..... is a mini-series I do on this blog to document the smalls things in life that I'm thankful for. There are probably a lot that I missed, but these are the ones that caught my attention.