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, 25 April 2015

Treading Water

Hey everyone. I know I haven't been blogging regularly for quite some time. It's not that I've forgotten about this blog, far from it, but that after the holidays where I had nothing to say, school turned out to have so many things going on that I'm barely treading water.

Right now, I have 4 book reports due in Japanese, which means I have to read four books (and search for 3 of them, because they're out of print), then write four reports by the end of this month. I've only finished reading 2 books and writing 1 report. Yeah... barely treading water as it is.

Three of the books in question. 

I have lots to say about tutorials and the start of the 3rd year, but I don't think I'll have the time until after Golden Week.

Sorry, and thanks for being so patient!

(If you have any questions, just leave them in the comments below or drop me an email using the widget in the right sidebar)

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Huis Ten Bosch: Bye bye One Piece Boat

Ok, I'm finally here with the second part of the Huis Ten Bosch update. This time, instead of a new attraction, I'll be talking about one that is closing down soon.

As you may know, Huis Ten Bosch has quite a few One Piece attractions. It's quite strange, because Huis Ten Bosch is essentially a model of a Dutch town, but hey, I wasn't the architect. One of the two big One Piece attractions is the One Piece day cruise, which is closing in less than 20 days to go to a Huis Ten Bosch clone in Aichi (I checked the homepage, it's a clone). And since my friend was here, and we have friends in common that would go insane if they knew of the ship, we decided to just splash out, take lots of pics, and then tag everyone in the photo.

Sorry I didn't realise the picture was blurry. But yeah, the ticket. 

I almost didn't get on the ride though. We went to the game museum before the ride, and I lost the ticket there. Whoops. It took a lot of searching before it was found (and thankfully, there weren't that many people in the museum itself). But yay, disaster averted.

Ok, I tried to rein myself in, but there is still some photo spam. Enjoy, One Piece fans!

When I sent one of my friends pictures of this, he demanded to FaceTime immediately for a virtual tour. And then he asked to see Boa Hancock, who wasn't even on the ship.

I think this was the library in the original show? But they replaced it with cartoon pictures of sea creatures.

The boat is basically built like the anime, which is pretty cool. The lower deck is all shut in, but if you like Chopper, Sanji or Usopp, then it's the place for you. I prefer the upper deck though, for the fresh air and the sea view.

The boat ride is only 20 minutes though, so it's extremely short! They do sell food, and like drinks in a collectible mug, but it's really expensive and I'd rather have the food back in the Huis Ten Bosch (which is actually cheaper, though still expensive)

Most popular guy on the ship

For some reason, this reminds me of the cranky snail from SpongeBob Squarepants

The amazing thing is that my friend didn't spend all his time in this room. 
The view was pretty amazing too. I've never seen this view before.

Ok, back to the ship.

Nah, the view.

I've been resisting going on because it's pretty expensive, especially after you pay for lunch, the entrance tickets, etc (ok, comparatively, it's not that bad, but additional expenses stress the wallet). I'd say it's more for the One Piece fans, and I hope they get a normal, short cruise, because that alone is pretty fun.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Huis Ten Bosch: SM Town Theatre

So recently, I had the opportunity to go to Huis Ten Bosch because I was showing a friend around. Apart from looking at the lawn of phlox flowers (aka lawn sakura), I also went to two attractions that I haven't been before.

The first is SM Town@Huis Ten Bosch. Are you a KPop fan? Then you'll know about SM Entertainment. They manage bands like Shinee, Exo, F(x), DBSK — which sadly broke up —, Super Junior, Girls Generation and others. Incidentally, the bands I named are the bands that appear in the "concert".

The SM Town Hologram Cocnert is taking the place of Mysterious Escher, which is now gone for good. It's quite sad for me, because I've always had a soft spot for that show.

Me and the ticket. My nose looks huge haha. (Why did I notice that first?)
If you have the annual passport (like me), or just the one day passport (like most people), then you get FREE SEATS. Well, you have to register in advance, and the seats aren't the best. But, I think they're pretty good, especially since the concert hall is so tiny anyway.

I'm not too sure who these people are, but I'm sure someone knows. 
The concert itself was better than what I expected. They took advantage of the fact it was a hologram to add a lot of special effects, but the people themselves looked quite real. I can say I didn't recognise about 90% of the songs, but it was interesting. Here's a teaser from the official channel:

This special attraction is open until the 5th of July, so you should hurry over if you want to watch the concert.

Now, can someone tell me why Henry from SuJu is so popular? So far, two people I've told this to have said "I'm not a huge fan of SuJu, but I like Henry".

Friday, 10 April 2015

Sakura 2015: Fukuoka Castle and Huis Ten Bosch

Because I came back to Japan relatively late, I thought I'd have missed the sakura. And I did, well, most of it. When I came back, the sakura were basically more-or-less fallen, although one or two trees were still in bloom.

Like this. 
 I'm just glad I made it back for any sakura, to be honest. So, without any further ado, here are pictures of the sakura I managed to capture these last two days.

Another one from outside my house. 
Fukuoka Castle
Most of the sakura pictures basically came from this one tree. I don't know if it was a late bloomer or just extraordinary tenacious, but it's now my favourite tree in the whole place. Assuming, that is, that I can find it again next year.

I wonder, what colour sakura do you like? I see pink and I see white, and I like both, though pink is more striking when viewed from a distance.

Here's a shot you might recognise - I probably took a similar one last year.

This year, though, I was bring a friend around, so he snapped some shots for me. Thanks James!

Huis Ten Bosch - Lawn Sakura  (芝桜)
For Huis Ten Bosch, I didn't really take photos of sakura, which had all fallen. Instead, I took photos of the lawn sakura, or more accurately, the Phlox Subulata. I guess it gets its name from the fact that it looks like sakura has fallen all over the grass. It's a really pretty sight!

The one at Huis Ten Bosch basically goes under the flying fox ride - imagine "flying" across this!

I actually thought something went wrong with my photo, then I realise the flower patch stopped in a nice straight line. 
Phone photo, with Dom Toren and the Ferries Wheel in the background. 
I actually have a few more photos, including close-ups, but they're not ready to share yet. I will, though, once they're done. Probably to Google+ and/or 500px.

And speaking of Huis Ten Bosch, they've got a new attraction that KPop fans may love. I'll be talking about that next.

More Sakura Pictures!

2012 Photos (in Tokyo)
2014: Hakozaki Campus
2014: Muromi
2014: Fukuoka Castle (Day)
2014: Fukuoka Castle (Night)

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

My sister, studying in Japan

Great news everyone! I got my internet back (The Internet guy came today and fixed it this morning)! Oh, and I may have a sibling staying with me in Japan soon :D

You see, my youngest sister has been wanting to do two things: Study in an IB program, and study overseas someday. However, there's a shortage of IB schools in Singapore, and well, Singapore is home, not overseas.

But, when she came to visit me last year, we made a huge discovery. On our walk to Fukuoka Tower, we saw the Fukuoka International School (and some dolphin statues). Further investigation shows that the school takes in students all year round, so we made a plan. If she didn't get into ACS(I), she would apply to study in FIS, and come live with me. Walking distance and all that.

The dolphins were a huge draw too
She didn't get into ACS(I), and well, you know what happened. I wanted to tell everyone about her admittance earlier, but we hadn't settled visa matters. By the time we settled visa matters, the internet died. And so, today's the earliest that I can tell everyone. (one quarter of the year in. Where did time go?).

I'm soo excited. My apartment is really small, so fitting two in for the long term may be a challenge. At least there is a separate toilet and bath, so that should help in the mornings and evenings. Plus, we could always look for something in the area if that doesn't work out.

I can't wait!

Contemplating her future