Sunday, October 31, 2004

Halloween in Japan

Well i said that i'd try to post a bit better over the weekend a few days ago, so here is my update for the weekend.

Dinner last night was good fun. The tempura place we went to was very reasonable in terms of price, and it tasted great. Or maybe it's just that i haven't eaten anything deep fried for a while. In anycase, the total bill only came to a bit over 1500 yen per head for dinner!

I spent most of dinner trying to speak to Gou-san in Japanese which was fun - sentences are slowly starting to come out a little bit easier now... But there's still a lot of basic stuff i can't say which gets quite frustrating.

Simone brought her Japanese friend Megumi, who went to the same uni as her back in the states. So she's a fluent english speaker.

This is the ppl i went to eat dinner with last night~ From left to right: Gou; Simone; Megumi; Tony; Kelly; Ji-Hee.


After dinner, it was still early (about 8:30) and seeing as the club only opened at 11pm, everyone was up for some pre-clubbing drinks... We sat around for another 30 or so minutes in the restaurant talking, during which time Hiro-san msged me to ask me where i was. It turned out he was in Shibuya too (okay, maybe that's not so much of a surprise...) and i invited him to come have drinks with us. We met him and a couple of other exchange students at our universal meeting place - Hachiko (i don't think i've ever actually taken a picture of that - i should .... somebody remind me if i don't post one in the next week). Hachiko is the name of this doggy-statue that sits in front of Shibuya station. There's actually even a 'Hachiko exit' which comes out right in front of it. Anyway, that's about the most crowded place in Tokyo, but for some reason we always decide to meet there (just like every other school and university students living in Japan i think).

It was raining reasonably hard by then, and we still hadn't decided on a venue for drinks. Hiro suggested we go to some place that he thought was really cheap; but when we got there the others realised that they'd been going there about once a week and wanted to try somewhere different. In the end we went to some bar called Za-zas (i think) - which isn't the cheapest place but it has a nice atmosphere. All the waitresses were dressed in school uniforms too :) Maybe that was just for halloween tho.

Here are some pics:

Step 1



Step 2



Voila.



Yeah well that's pretty much how we occupied ourselves for the next couple of hours. Unfortunately i wanted to actually go home before the sun came up, and the trains here stop around 12 midnite, so my night was cut a bit shorter than i would have liked. Before i left, we had a bit of fun with some jankenpon (rock-paper-scissors) and alcohol... We bought about 3 or 4 bottles of wine, and it was loser drinks a glass. That got boring after a bit and it turned into loser gets to pick someone to drink a glass. Oh, and Gou-san managed to get a photo with one of the waitresses after losing one of the earlier rounds too~ The picture must be on somebody else's camera tho because i can't find it on mine.

I caught the train back with Gou-san - and i actually took the Toukyuu-Sen which is a different line to my normal one. It means it costs a little bit more, but the upside is that it actually runs all the way to Shibuya (i.e. no line-changing required); meaning more time for me to stay out. The walk back from Hiyoshi station is maybe 5 minutes longer than from Shinkawasaki (my normal station) so i think i'll do that from now on if i'm coming back late.


Today, i actually got up (reasonably) early and went to the Badminton Soukeisen at Hiyoshi. There's a pretty strong alumni mentality here in Japan - as preceding the actual competition was an OB (old boys) match. Only, some of the OBs really aren't that old. For instance, one of the ex-Waseda guys is actually a current Japan national player - who played in the Athens 2004 olympics. Hehe so yeah that was a little bit unfair i think :) In any case, Keio lost the OB match to Waseda 7-5 or something.

The opening ceremony of the 52nd Annual Keio-Waseda Badminton Championship


In between the end of the OB match and the actual Soukeisen, i went down to Hiyoshi station to get some lunch. I decided to have some McDonalds since i think i've only eaten it once while i've been here... I tried some double-big-mac kind of burger which was actually not bad. It's sort of somewhere between Aussy McDonalds and Hungry Jacks. It was filling enough at least.

I managed to get back just in time for the opening of the (real) tournament so i got to see them all standing in lines and listening to the speeches. What was a bit surprising, was how many people are in the Waseda team. There's probably about 30 of them. Keio barely has 10 i think. It looked a bit funny when they were lined up facing each other i must say :)

Although i think the numbers sort of show the depth of talent that Waseda has, and Keio lacks. We got absolutely pounded. Out of all the matches that were played (and there was probably about 20 matches), Keio won a total of 1 set. We lost every other match 2-0; and most of them were scores like 15-2; 15-1. Looking at the Waseda guys play, they didn't really look that great, but i think the lack of match practice sort of showed the Keio team up a bit today. The top players from Waseda though are at least state if not lower-end national level back in Australia. The girls from Waseda are crazy though. Apparently this year Waseda's girls team won the national university championship... So yeah they're pretty good.

The last match was the captains game. Which turned out to be quite interesting in the end - as it was a lot closer than any of the other matches somehow - despite the fact that the Waseda no.1 was apparently Japan no.1 back in highschool or something. Maybe our no.1 is better than i thought ~ We were a bit unlucky to lose the first 15-13; but in the second a couple of mistakes crept in at the wrong time and we went down 15-8.

It's really nice to see the team spirit here though - the whole Keio team was lined up on one side of the court, with Waseda on the other. Plenty of noise happened between points i can assure you :)

Now for some more pix:

I just thought the blurry racket looked cool :) This was a shot from the captains match - the guy smashing is the Waseda no.1; the guy on the other end is Keio's no.1



This is everyone who took part waiting for the group photo



Yeah so that's my day. And some of last night. Now, i have all this stupid homework to do for tomorrow. Which is the other thing - i'm still not sure what's happening with class exactly tomorrow. I know that Keio actually won the baseball Soukeisen today, but i'm not sure if play actually went ahead on Saturday (i.e. i don't know if there's another game tomorrow). I think i'll go try to figure that out now... ~

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Soukeisen Day 1

I just woke up. For the second time today. If you ever take naps you'll know there's this sort of nap length where you wake up feeling more tired than you were before you went to sleep. Once i wake up properly it's all good though - it's just those first 10 minutes or so when you really have to force yourself not to go back to bed.

Uni today went only for one period. I normally have three, but these crazy Japanese ppl decided that despite the rain they would play the first game of the Soukeisen. Actually, when they decided to go ahead, it wasn't quite raining yet, but by looking at the sky there was about a 99% chance of rain within the next 3 minutes. That and the fact that the forecast said that it was going to rain definitely this afternoon, if not this morning too.

What i'm hoping, (and i have a feeling it's not really so far fetched either), is that the game today got cancelled/interrupted - meaning play will have to resume tomorrow. Seeing as it's a best of 3 series, Monday classes will be cancelled because they'll at least need to play game 2 then. If we're really lucky it will be 1 game a piece then and they'll have to play Tuesday too :) To make things even better Wednesday is a public holiday here.

After uni when we were all sort of hanging around wondering exactly what to do with ourselves at 10:30am on a Saturday morning (it's a little too early for lunch you see) - Asho and this other dude came by. Wearing their halloween costumes. I thought he was joking when he said that he was going to get a pikachu costume, but i was wrong. Man i wish i brought my camera. It was like a full yellow jumpsuit kind of thing. He attracted quite a lot of open stares amongst the Japanese students too hehe.

Tonight i'm going out to dinner in Shibuya. I ran into Gou-san (one of the Japanese ppl i met through friends of friends of acquaintances or something)... But anyway he wasn't doing anything tonight and seemed happy enough to come along. We're going to have tempura (i realised the other day that i hadn't had it in Japan before so i actually decided to do something about it)! A lot of the exchangees tonight are going clubbing in Shibuya later tonight for Halloween - but i can't because i need to get up tomorrow to go support the badminton pplz when we get trounced by Waseda Uni hehe.

I will try to get some photos to post up for tomorrow.

Comment Corner:
Food at Mos burger comes nicely presented yeah - just like in the photo a few posts back... I'd definitely try to find one of them over a McDonalds anyday if i'm in need of fast food.

If you ever come look at my site and there's a post with only some photos there, chances are it means i'm still writing the rest of the post. Check back in 15 minutes :)

As for hentai at Akihabara, i'll get some for souvenirs next time i go lol. I think i might get a cd-drive/dvd-drive first though seeing as that will mean i can actually buy some music here... Oh this is a bit off topic, but i can actually buy music online through the web here - but it's a bit crap because 1) it uses some sort of WMA format which means u have to use microsoft media player; 2) you can only upload it to a portable music player 3 times and 3) ipods don't support microsoft formats ... I think CDs are better anyway since they sound clearer and they give you something to hold on to :P

Friday, October 29, 2004

Italian Food in Japan

Well everyone, i got back pretty late last night and i didn't have energy to post anything. I'm a bit short on time tonight too because i have a couple of tests tomorrow that i need to study for. I'll try to post a bit better over the weekend.

We finally started doing some match-practice at badminton training (the Soukeisen - Keio v Waseda 'War' - is on Sunday). Playing games is so much easier than the training we normally do though - i don't think i even needed to change my shirt. I joined the guys after training to go eat, and this week we again had the problem of trying to find a place that was 1) near the train station 2) open at 11pm and 3) had enough seats to fit all 10 of us in there. After a bit of searching we ended up going to some italian-style cafe. I had some sort of spaghetti bolognes with sausage dish, which wasn't bad actually. I've realised that the Japanese normal people speak to their friends, and the Japanese we learn in class are pretty much two different languages. It's really hard for me to understand them when they're not directly speaking to me because of all the slang they use. They did try to teach me some 'useful' vocabulary hehe, but i don't remember half of it now :(

I somehow ended up hungry by the time i was half way home, so i stopped by the convenience store (i love it how there are seriously convenience stores on every street here) to get some snacks to eat...

Today, after class i went with Tony and Simone to a cafe on the other side of the train station. We were actually looking for this new Starbucks that had apparently opened, but instead we ended up going to an 'Excelsior Cafe'. The idea was to have a drink, then sit there and study until dinner time. Of course, it was more of a sit there for 3 hours and do pretty much nothing... Although Tony did manage to have a snooze, while Simone managed to spend at least one whole hour trying to send email msgs in Japanese.

I thought i'd try some of the weirder drinks i could see on the menu so below is a photo for all you pic lovers:

Maple-syrup flavoured latte!


If you zoom in i think you can even see the Excelsior logo on the cup.

We were meant to meet up with one of Tony's friends for dinner but in the end she couldn't make it so we had to find somewhere to eat ourselves. After walking up and down the street for a good 20 minutes we decided to head back to this place near uni to have italian food. The second time in two days for me.

It's pretty funny because on the menu you can order W-size instead of regular size for pastas - and the W is actually short for 'double' there hehe (日本語でダブル・サイズ) . Anyway i had a W-size regular spaghetti thing, which turned out to be quite huge. I'm still full now :)

Tomorrow the baseball Soukeisen (Keio vs Waseda War) starts, so IF the weather is good we only have 1 period of school. IF that's the case then i really only have to study a little bit more tonight since i won't have my other test. Unfortunately it looks like it's going to rain so i doubt the match will be played - meaning that we will have all our normal classes ... The upside to that is that we will probably have Monday off because they need two days to finish the match... Cool huh. They really are serious about their baseball. In fact speaking of which, my prof today in class said that when he was a student at Keio, there was one year when they had a whole week off because of the Soukeisen. And the other cool thing is (apparently anyway), if Keio wins theres a whole heap of places in Ginza which will be serving free drinks/food to Keio students. (i think a lot of Keio alumni own things in Ginza) There is the equivalent happening in Shinjuku if Waseda wins ehhe.

In any case, i better go get started on this whole studying thing!~

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Another trip to Electric Town

I think my teacher has some serious PMS mood-swing problems or else she is having an affair with somebody. Today, my usually extremely strict and intense Wednesday teacher was really high (in the sense of being very happy). AND she was wearing bright red sneakers, which looks really weird when the rest of your clothes are kind of formal. Also, for some reason, half the example sentences she makes seem to be about falling in love and starting to like people… The current theory is that she has fallen in love with somebody other than her husband in the last week or so. Among the exchange students that’s the theory anyway.

Had lunch with Simone and Tony in the cafeteria today, seeing as we hadn’t been there for a few days (we’ve been eating in the Seikyo lately – the other eatery at uni). I’ve realized that the rice dishes at the cafeteria are definitely more filling than the ones you get at the other place – but then I also realized that the price is a fair bit higher too. Everyone had class in third period though, so we couldn’t sit around to talk for too long. After class though, I ran into Tony again and we went to have a coffee with some other dudes at a place opposite the uni – and then ended up going to Akihabara because Tony wanted to get an electronic dictionary.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been to Akihabara, and I must say that it really is a great place to waste time if you have nothing to do. Well it is so long as you have some sort of interest in electronics at all. We must have walked down one of the streets for about 2 hours popping in and out of every shop that looked interesting. That means about 1 shop in 5. During that time, our focus shifted from looking for a dictionary to getting an mp3 player (well Tony’s focus did; I was looking around for a cd-drive for my laptop most of the time). Wanting to see what was around before getting anything, Tony and I sort of thought that we’d just remember the stores which had anything that looked interesting. Bad idea. After coming to the end of the main electric shopping district, we must have spent another good hour or so trying to find the shop that sold this Panasonic mp3 player. In the end, we didn’t find it. We did manage to find another store that sold the same model though – but it was a lot more expensive there. In the end, we went back to one of the shops almost right outside the train station and found a cool looking one there which Tony ended up getting. We even managed to get like a 1500 yen discount! Took us another hour or so to get it though because first, the problem was that they’d sold out of the small 128mb players which was what Tony wanted (so only the more expensive 256mb/512mb ones were there); and secondly it costs more to pay by card so we had to go to the bank to get cash.

I decided not to get myself a cd drive just yet – because I don’t know if I want to bother getting something which is really light, thin and portable (and costs a lot)… or something that is just big and chunky but can burn CDs/DVDs … OR something that is just big and chunky and can’t burn CDs but is really cheap. Problem for me at the moment is that without a CD drive, when I buy music CDs I can’t even make mp3s to put on my ipod ~ I think I might pop back to Akihabara tomorrow if I can work out what I’m after. Utada Hikaru has a new album out too which I wouldn’t mind getting a copy of.

Anyway back to our little outing – after getting the player we had been walking around for about 4 hours and hunger was starting to set in. I *finally* tried Mos Burger’ (it’s like the Japanese McDonalds) as neither of us had actually eaten there before. I think it’s better than McDonalds, but serving sizes are pretty small still. Below are some shots of the meals we had. The chips are small – but not as bad as what you get at KFC as I’m sure some of you remember from a few posts back.


My meal: i had a "Mos Cheese Burger Set". The green thing is a melon soda.



Tony's meal. Actually it's one hamburger meal + a hotdog. I can't remember what he had to
drink now, but i think it was something pretty ordinary.


We dawdled a little bit on the way home, and I decided to take a look inside one of the many anime/manga oriented stores for a bit. I now think I know why Japan has so many privacy problems. The store was pretty much set out like this: level 1 – hentai; level 2 – hentai; level 3 – mainly hentai. I’m not talking a hentai section, the whole of the first and second floors sell ONLY adult related manga/dvds/games, and the third has about half the floor space dedicated to the stuff. Funnily enough there don’t seem to be any female employees in the shop either … It just seems kind of amazing at how open that sort of thing is here – the shop isn’t even one of those little secluded places down a side alley – it’s on one of the main roads in Akihabara.

Oh, and apparently we have another typhoon coming some time next week, and possibly a big earthquake in central Tokyo too (or maybe the earthquake bit was just one of those bad Nostradamas type predictions ... i'm not sure). But somebody was saying that actually, because of the way Japan is situated near continental fault lines, earthquakes are expected to eventually destroy the country entirely. How's that for a positive outlook on life :) I'll just keep my fingers crossed that eventually means a long long time from now.

Well, that pretty much sums up the interesting stuff for the day. Now I need to do some boring stuff like homework and revision. Until next time.

Time...

It's 12:13 am right now as i write this here; and i'm still trying to work out what i did exactly with the 12 hours since i finished class... In any case, this is going to be a really short one since i want to get some rest.

Went to badminton training this evening. Managed to sort of explain the way i think when i play singles to Yoshinaga-kun - after about 20 minutes of fumbling around pointing and making up expressions. It's still weird for me because i really don't know how i fit into their whole hierarchy system ... Being a 3rd year student i'm "higher" than most of them, but quite a few of them are actually older than me (despite being in 2nd/1st year).

Oh at uni today, i met up with Min-Kyung and her Japanese friend, Mariko, for lunch. Mariko brought two of her friends, and a couple of exchange students later we had about 8 of us there. In the end that turned out to be sort of bad since we didn't talk very much... Still, i got to meet a couple of new people today which is always good. On the way out of the seikyoshokudou (cafeteria) i ran into Ben and Matthias who were sitting with the guys we went out with a few weeks back (the dude who had a concert last night that we ended up not going to) ... Him and all his friends seem to speak perfect english which is pretty cool (i think a lot of them lived in the states for quite a long time).

Comments:
My cooking usually involves eggs because 1) they're easy to cook; 2) they're filling; and 3) i'm trying to use up everything in my fridge so i can defrost it~

The other day i bought some spring onions so that's what i've been putting into my omelettes :) It tastes pretty weird but at least it makes it look some other colour than plain yellow ~

I will try my best to keep people up to date regarding my general state of health when the next earthquake/typhoon/natural disaster happens :) If i don't, hopefully it's just because i forgot, and not because there is no longer electricity in Tokyo. Seriously though, because i don't have a TV in my room, the amount of news i hear is quite minimal unless i'm hanging out in the lounge downstairs.

Um, as for photos of uni, i'll try to remember to take some; i don't have time in the mornings usually and by the time class finishes i've forgotten :)

Anyway, time to go~! Thanks for the comments everyone.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Japanese practice

Lots of stuff to write about today :)

This morning i was woken up by a small aftershock from Saturdays huge earthquake. I must say it works much better than an alarm clock - and it's not half as annoying once u get over the initial shock of the floor moving under you :) It's actually kind of like sitting on some sort of ride.

I still haven't worked out how i didn't realise it was happening on Saturday until a few people back in Aus messaged me about it; apparently here at the dorm it was pretty strong too - people were getting worried about their bookshelves falling on top of them and a whole bunch of them ran to the lounge... Maybe i was just sleeping on the train or something at the time.

I got to the train station early today for a change, and managed to get myself onto the 8:11 train. Unfortunately that was one of the trains that kind of runs in the opposite direction from Keio once it gets to the city loop. We got delayed on the way, and then i couldn't even fit on the first city loop train that came past at Oosaki station because it was so full. I almost didn't fit into the second either despite being the first person in line to get on (yep rush hour in japan is fun)... In the end i think i would have been better off waiting for the 8:15 train and saving myself the hassle.

Met up with Chieko today for lunch (and some japanese practice); she brought a friend, and i brought along Simone so things were nice and bubbly for the 45 mins or so we had before 3rd period classes began. None of them could believe i didn't realise there was an earthquake on saturday either.

After class, i followed Simone and Asli to meet up with their language partners again, and this week we went to a cafe to sit and talk which was nice. Fitting 5 people onto two tiny tables proved harder than it first appeared, but we managed to kill an hour or two there still. I was feeling a bit intrusive being there seeing as i hadn't even signed up for a language partner; and i seemed to be the one blabbing on more often than not. But, afterwards Asli actually asked me to try to come everyweek though because it helped keep the conversation alive lol (which still died a few times leaving us all in awkward silences...). I will try to keep the routine up i think.

Anyway when i got back, the dorm manager gave me a couple of books that somebody had apparently sent me... Upon opening them, i found they were 'english language proficiency' books (written in Japanese). Unless one of you people decided to send me something to read in the last couple of weeks, i don't think i was wrong in giving them back to the dorm manager :P

After that, Ben messaged me to see if i wanted to go to a concert in Yokohama (one of the guys i met a few weeks back was performing tonight) - but that was at about 6pm, and the concert started at 7pm. Considering we didn't know how to get there that didn't leave us much time - and i hadn't eaten dinner yet (yeah, okay, that was probably the real reason i didn't want to go). Ended up just sitting around and having a chat for another hour - that made it about 9pm.

Some cooking; eating and homework later, here i now sit... Since i sort of forgot that i had my camera in my bag today at the cafe, you'll all have to settle for some pictures of my cooking :P

I was feeling hungry on Sunday night. So this is what i cooked...



And this is the complimentary vegie dish



I even made potato salad !~



And this is what i had tonight ... No i didn't make the curry myself - all i had to do was warm it up :)

Sunday, October 24, 2004

The Weekend

Seeing as I’m kind of sitting around here trying to put off doing my homework, I thought maybe I’d post something up here.

Saturday:
Had three periods of classes – the newspaper class is turning out to be quite boring… The majority of the class does not seem to like talking much, and the teacher is very soft and has some sort of “if you don’t want to talk, I’m not going to make you” policy happening. That’s a good thing if you haven’t done any homework, but it makes the period go very slowly. The kanji practice from reading normal newspaper articles is really good though. Now, if I can just find the motivation to learn all of it.

I went off to Shibuya after class to meet up with Wei to check out the badminton club he’s been going to. The place was pretty small – only two courts. Right next to it there are table tennis tables. It’s sort of a little sports complex – I didn’t really have a look at what was on the other levels though. The level of the players (badminton) is pretty high – although they only seem to play doubles. I guess when you don’t have much space, playing singles is a bit of a waste of courts. I don’t know if my badminton experience here is a bit limited, but the level of badminton amongst the girls is definitely a lot higher here in Japan. The few who were there at Shibuya were all really strong – they’d easily be playing in open level back in Australia. (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned, but the girls in the team at Keio are really good too. Well at least one of them is; I think she used to represent the prefecture when she was a junior in school)

All in all, I think I’ll probably just stick with the Keio team training I’ve been going to. The people there are more my age; we have enough courts to do some proper singles practice; and plus it’s within walking distance from Plume IS. I think I go to Shibuya often enough as it is.


Today (Sunday):
I set my alarm for 9:30 but of course only got up at 11:30 as usual. Spent most of the day so far tidying up and doing the washing. There’s one more load of stuff I still need to hang out after this.

Reading that “Postwar Japanese Economy” book is slowly getting more interesting. It’s really making me see the usefulness of understanding some econometrics too. So much of the analysis in there is based on reasonably simple econometric forecasting – but I need to go over my notes to work out a lot of it still. If anybody knows anything about UFJ please feel free to post it in the comments btw; I’ve got to write something on it by this Friday for class, and so far I have no idea hehe.

Been pretty uninteresting today so I’ll save my blogging enthusiasm for a day when there’s more to write about ~


Just for all you people who need to have something to look at here are some random photos of ads at the train stations lol.

Random Ads... (in Akihabara station)



Another random ad at the train station... (this is at Tamachi station i think)

Oops

I just realised that i posted the wrong email address for my mobile phone back when i first got it... (thanks Ez!)

If anybody has been trying to send me email, the correct address is:

age-lim@ezweb.ne.jp

Cheers

Friday, October 22, 2004

Friday already...

I don't know where all my time's been going lately. I haven't been going out, i haven't really been studying much .... but somehow the whole week's already flown past.

Thursday:
Went to badminton training. Actually wasn't feeling too bad at the end of it and had some fun doing a few extra drills (smash practice mainly; it's a lot harder than you'd think to smash 10 shuttles on to the sidelines...). And after that I even played a game of singles! Was good to have some match practice again. I played Koike-kun (he's probably about 3rd/4th ranked in the team); i won the first set 11-1 but i lost the second 11-6. By then we were both too stuffed to play another set and it was getting near the 10 o clock lights off time.

Seeing as i don't have morning class on friday, i went wif a few of the guys after to eat. We were meant to go eat chinese food (of all things) but when we got to the place, the waitress kind of pulled down the menu (the one that they put up outside) while we were looking at it hehe; i.e. they were not taking any more customers for the night. We ended up instead going to some ramen place not far from there. I had some plain (shouyu, or in english, soysauce) ramen and a plate of fried rice. I realised then that i haven't actually had ramen once at a proper place since i got here in september... so it was a nice change from the normal. Slowly getting some more japanese practice too; the good thing is i'm the only gaijin there so there's nobody to speak english with :)

Friday:
Had class in the afternoon. Struggled all morning to find an economics article to report on. Ended up choosing one that was extremely similar to the one i chose last week about an environmental tax debate (for those interested, Russia has recently ratified the Kyoto protocol meaning that it is set to be implemented some time next year... as a result Japan has to find some ways of reducing it's greenhouse gas emissions in a hurry; but of course business leaders aren't too happy about environmental taxes eating up profits).

Class was alright. Today, prof let the students run the show pretty much - so we spent about 30 minutes talking about current news articles and then the rest of the time on a presentation prepared by one of the groups (which follows the text we're using).

After that, this photo pretty much sums up what we did for the next hour:



Yeah fun huh. We (the gaijin) all sort of just congregate in the middle of Keio and stand around after class. Aaron had a frisbee which kept us entertained for a little bit too. Most of the guys standing around there went out tonight for drinks in Shibuya. I didn't. Sigh, if only i didn't have class on saturday morning (the lucky ppls are all in 3B which is the only stream that doesn't have classes on saturday).

On the way home, i was starting to feel really hungry, so i grabbed something to eat from the supermarket:

Not bad for supermarket sushi huh...


That was entree. I cooked the rest of the chicken i had in my freezer with some teriyaki sauce and had it with potatoes and rice. Since then, i've been doing homework and i just finished (finally....)! Anyway, that's about all from me today. また、今度。

Thursday, October 21, 2004

My fridge

If you want to know why I don't buy a whole lot of stuff each trip to the supermarket, this is reason one. Look at the size of my fridge. I can't fit two kettles in it.




The little bit in the top right corner is the freezer - i can fit at most 3 packs of meat in there...



I'm not sure if you can tell by looking at the picture, but i would struggle to fit a second carton of eggs (depth-wise) down the bottom.


The other reason i don't buy a lot each time is because things start going off if i don't cook them. I rarely know whether i will be in or out more than a couple of days in advance, and I walk past the supermarket everytime i go to uni anyway so it's not too much of a detour.

Anyway i better get back to the books ...


P.S If you remember a few days back i managed to catch my frying pan on fire... Well I just realised how i managed to do it. I actually looked at the bottle of oil i bought, and it's *salad* oil ahha ... there's even a warning on the side that says if it gets too hot it might be flammable lol. Oh well it works well enough most of the time ~

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Typhoon again...

Well in the end we decided to call tonight's dinner off thanks to typhoon no. 23. As i write this, i'm glad that we did. The wind is really howling, and the rain is splatting quite hard on my verandah door/window. It'd be extremely crap trying to walk home from the station through this sort of weather.

I tried to go and take some photos of just how heavy the rain is in a typhoon, but i guess having no light makes it a bit hard to take photos :P

Instead you'll have to settle for some shots of my dorm/housing place. Actually speaking of dorms, i've been calling my place a 'ryo' (dorm) in japanese all this time, but yesterday after talking to Kogai-kun for a bit after training, i don't think where i'm living is really a 'ryo' (a ryo usually implies that there's a curfew). I guess even in english you wouldn't quite call it a dorm either - since we all have our own rooms, and have a key to open the place to get in and out at any time we like. In any case, on to the pictures.

This is where the mail comes. My letter-box is the most top-right one (i'm room 306).

The letter box area is actually right at the entrance when you walk in (or walk out) - which theoretically makes it very convenient to check if you have any mail. However I think i've opened the thing about two times ever, because i can never be bothered to get my key out of my bag. The last couple of times, if i've noticed something sticking out, i've been able to get it without having to open the letter-box door.

If you turn around 180 degrees from there, and walk through just around the elevator you'll come to the lounge. This is where people tend to hang whenever they get bored. It's nice and spacious and usually you'll find at least one or two people in there to have a talk to. Tonight when i popped in there though, it was empty.

This is the view when you look into the lounge from the left door


For some reason (i guess since it's quite big), there are actually two doors into the lounge, so below is a shot of the view from the other door.


Inside the lounge, not only do you have those nice couch thingies, but there's also a table where it's possible to do homework, use your laptop ... or just read the paper... The other handy thing is, if you're feeling extremely lazy, you can reach the vending machine to get a drink without getting out of your chair :P




And that's the tour for today :)


Uni today was fairly standard - we had our usual 3 hours of compulsory language class; after which i grabbed a quick bento for lunch before heading to my one elective for the day - intermediate japanese grammar... I actually made myself go pretty much straight home after that; but i of course dawdled a little bit and stopped by at the supermarket where i got a few groceries which are meant to feed me for the next couple of days.

On days like tomorrow (thursday) when i don't have uni, i actually prefer to eat in because it means i don't have to walk anywhere to get the food :P Of course when i have uni, since i'm already out and about where all the eating places are, eating out is preferable ~ Tonight i don't know what i was thinking exactly, but i put so much chilli and chilli powder into my chicken that it ended up quite hot. Actually it was hot to the point of being unable to taste the chicken. Seeing as i didn't really feel like cooking for another 20 minutes, i ate it anyway :) At least i suppose i got a good dose of vitamin c.

I shall try not to do that tomorrow.

No photo again

Sorry, no photo today either.

Only had class in periods 1 and 2 today - so i was finished by lunch time. The aim was to have lunch then come straight home, have a nap, then do some homework. Of course, what actually happened was i had lunch, sat around and talked, found some more friends and sat around and talked more, then came home and had a nap. The homework bit kind of got left off until after i got back from badminton (hence why this blog is being posted at 12:23am my time and not earlier).

I learnt how to say 'how are you' in korean today, but i've forgotten already. Sigh. I really need to learn how to read/write hangul, so i can write down the stuff i learn.

Badminton tonight was pretty average, but i managed to overstretch during one of the drills and ended up just resting for the last 30 mins or so. People were actually playing some games afterwards today which was nice to see. Although i'm sort of starting to understand why nobody feels like playing after training here; you just have no energy left. Somehow even though i didn't play i managed to sit around there until about 10.15 though. I grabbed a bento box on the way home for dinner since it was probably the quickest (filling) thing to eat.

Oh tomorrow I organised dinner with Simone, Hiro and two other japanese girls i met the other day. But apparently there is another stoopid typhoon coming. This is at least the 3rd that's hit Japan since i've come. That's almost one every week and a half. Although seeing as the typhoons here don't have names (unlike when hurricanes hit Australia/America); and are just called "Typhoon no.23" i shouldn't be so surprised. Anyway we shall see how brave we are feeling tomorrow - staying out all night isn't so bad if you're inside somewhere. And if we end up going, it might be our only option if they cancel all the trains....

But hopefully the typhoon kind of misses Tokyo :)

I cut up a fuji apple to eat when i started writing this, and i'm up to my last piece now which i think is a sign that i should stop writing :) The apples here are yum, but they're so expensive compared to Australian prices. I paid 500 yen for 3 fujis this afternoon.... That's like $2 an apple. And with that i shall take my leave. (sorry i've been reading George R.R. Martin too much again).

Monday, October 18, 2004

Language Partners

Today I managed to wake up at 7am, but fall asleep again until about 7.50. That left about 5 minutes to get myself ready to go to school. We made it to the station in good time and jumped on the 8.23 train which was delayed and only came at about 8.26 (yeah, for Japan that's a pretty big delay... seriously). Anyway it turned out there was some sort of accident that had happened. I couldn't quite understand the announcement unfortunately so i can't give you much more detail than that. At first i thought they said due to an earthquake, but i THINK it was somebody who had fallen on the tracks or something more like that.

In any case, the train was extremely crowded, and the ride took us about twice as long as normal. We were thus late for class. We somehow did manage to beat the rest of the people from my dorm there though.

After classes finished today, Simone was scheduled to meet up with her language partner for the first time, and since i had nothing better to do i went along too (yeah, i kind of didn't sign up for one... oh well). For some reason they meet up in pairs (as in, two language partners with two foreign students) so we ended up with 5 people. Actually it was 6, because Tony's partner for some reason moved their time till 4pm from 2.45pm... But Tony didn't really stay long.

The language partners sound like very studious types ... or at least more studious than the ppl i've met so far. They actually go to classes! And they're not in garage punk-rock bands ehhe. ALthough being girls might have something to do with that. We sat around for a bit over an hour, but the conversation was a bit weird. Asli (the other foreign student; she's from Turkey i think), didn't say much, so it ended up more me and Simone talking - or at least trying to talk :) I somehow ended up trying to talk about Australian law (both of the language partners are law students at keio) which is a bit difficult when you try to explain things like common law and precedent. Even with a dictionary, in the end i just gave up lol.

I suppose if i'm ever bored i will try to go along to the meetings every now and then - since it is good japanese practice i suppose. My intention of learning japanese through just going out and drinking still stands though hehe~

Oh and as for the spoon in my photo yesterday, no it's not particularly more bent than normal :)

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Sunday at home

I've been struggling these last few days to find interesting photos to post up here. So, when dinner came around and i still hadn't thought of anything, I resorted to taking a photo of my cooking once again :)

I still haven't worked out what sort of meat it is that i've been cooking (i only know it's some sort of pork), but it seems to taste quite ok. Tonight i made some sort of pork + potato dish which i don't really have a name for just yet - but i somehow cooked enough to have left overs. Soooo, guess i can save myself some time and eat it again 2morrow! (although the time it takes to heat stuff up without a microwave is almost as long as cooking a meal normally since you have to clean up still)

Dinner - nice and easy.


As for the vegies, i've been using this 'goma salad dressing' (goma = sesame oil) which tastes pretty good just on its own. Rice, pork and salad actually goes together better than you might think.

The rest of the day can be summed up pretty briefly. I woke up at 12pm, had some instant noodles for lunch, and decided to clean my room. I even vacuumed the carpet! After having procrastinated for about as long as I could manage, i started working on my essay which took me a few hours to fix up. Popped over to the supermarket in the afternoon to get some bread, snacks and chocolate spread... And that's about it. Bit boring unfortunately. But days like these are nice, because it gives you some nice quiet time to just relax. Having my own room here is really such a luxury - it's just big enough so as not to feel cramped, but small enough to be easy to keep clean. And of course it gives me somewhere to sit and have a think... or read.

Now for my homework for tomorrow...

School on saturday

I don't have any photos to post today, so i'm going to try to write about some of the things i've probably been leaving out in my posts so far. Well let me see, what did i do today... Got woken up rather painfully by my alarms (yeah i set two these days so that i definitely get up) this morning at 7am. After being able to sleep in till 10 on wednesday/thursday 7am feels REALLY early :(

On saturday's, the station is relatively less crowded, so it's a lot easier to meet up with the other exchangees on the platform. I think we scare the normal commuters when we all start speaking english. One thing i have noticed here, is that despite being extremely full of people, the trains are surprisingly quiet. It is quite rare for a japanese person to speak to the person next to them even on the train (the one exception being school girls who seem to talk non-stop all the time). And talking on your phone while in the train is actually not allowed at all - although once in every blue moon you do see the odd business man take a call.

Anyway, when we all jump onto the train speaking english, it makes it feel that much weirder since we are the only ones talking...

Got to uni a little bit late - but still got there in time for our 'revision test' (which i bothered to study for this time). Speaking of tests, i got my last one back, and i failed in the essay bit haha. I got 12/25 for that section because i had so many mistakes with my particles... Although they do seem to take off a lot of marks for one mistake... Overall i guess my mark wasn't so bad, because getting full marks in the dictation/kanji section is pretty easy. But still, i think a bit more effort is required :)

For lunch, i had a quick one at the shokudou. There are two cafeterias at the Mita campus (well i think maybe 3 - but one of them nobody goes to). One is called "The Cafeteria" and is all new and nice inside. They have nice katsu kare (curry pork cutlet on rice) and chikinnanbandon (sort of sweet fried chicken on rice) there. The serves are big, and the prices are from about 450 yen per dish. Normally lunch there will consist of just one dish + a drink (maybe). Although what's nice, is they provide chilled water/hot tea for free.

The other place has some other name, but i just call it 'shokudou' (which kinda translates as eating place). It's a bit older, but there seems to be a larger variety of dishes (although you can't actually get the same ones that are served at the cafeteria). The serves are smaller, prices a bit lower, and generally people will get a main dish; a salad; some miso soup; and maybe some rice. Again you can have tea/water if you don't want to buy a beverage (or even if you do buy one). Overall i think the shokudou is slightly cheaper (if you buy a roughly equivalent amount of food). The other reason why the shokudou is good, is it's a bit closer to the buildings where i have class. That matters on days like today, when i had class in period 3 - which only leaves me 45 minutes to get lunch and eat.

I think i had some weird japanese style hamburger (japanese hamburgers are just the meat patty; you eat them with rice), and some tofu/salad thing... It wasn't bad, but i was still hungry after and ended up getting some sweet bread thing too.

After that i had one class, which ended about 40 minutes early which is always nice. I went with Fabian to Tokyo station afterwards to pickup the textbook i need for my english economics subject. On the way there, i renewed my train pass - and changed it to a 'suica card' (it's like a smart proximity card instead of a ticket - so you just need to put your wallet near the sensor at the station. And yeah it's just like an octopus card if you've been to hong kong). That set me back by 15600 yen (3 month ticket) which works out to about 170 yen a day. Not tooo bad, but then not toooo good either - because a lot of the time i still have to pay normal fare since i travel outside my designated stations to go out/eat etc.

Arriving at Tokyo station, we got some directions to the bookstore from the information desk - and almost ended up going home because we thought the place was shut. The sign had opening hours written as weekdays and sunday only - so we assumed that saturday it was closed. Having a huge gate shut right next to the sign didn't help out much either. It turned out that we were looking at the wrong entrance, and after a bit more fumbling around in japanese (next time, remind me to check the title and author of a book before i turn up to buy it) we found the right place and picked up our textbooks.

On the way home i picked up some stuff from the various supermarkets at Shinagawa station, and then also at the one that's on the walk home. I'm realising as i look around, that each place sells some things cheap, some things really expensive. I haven't found anywhere that's noticeably cheaper across the board. At least it makes shopping a bit more interesting i suppose.

By the time i finished doing that and actually got home, it was already 5.30~! After some homework; cooking; and sitting and staring at my ridiculously bad essay about bionic ears (in japanese); i'm now writing this instead. Seeing as i just got up to there, i think it's time to go :)

Miss you all!~

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Comments on comments

Due to popular demand, i thought i'd just post to respond to some of the comments that have been popping up. If i miss your question feel free to tell me via a comment/email and i'll try to stick it into my next post :)

The sausage i ate the other night came with a pair of scissors to cut it up. You can see the scissors if you look carefully at the photo hehe. I should have rotated the photo, but if you haven't realised it was actually on this funny stand that held it up vertically...

As for the pizza, i actually saw a Domino's pizza ad on the train today, so they must have some more western-style pizza chains around in japan too ... although so far i've as yet to try one.

In other food news, I've bought myself a potato/fruit peeler thingo so hopefully i can make those good ol' healthy fried chips a bit more quickly next time. Oh and i figured, it's probably not a bad idea to sort of boil the potato before hand so that the inside is all nice n soft :)

Re: becoming fluent in Japanese - for any of you wondering, it still doesn't really feel like my spoken japanese has improved very much ... but i suppose listening is definitely better now. Mental note to self: go out with japanese ppl more.

Badminton training is still very physical. Although the other day i did see some of them playing games. The lower end of the team isn't that strong, but the 3-4 stronger players are definitely pretty good. I really don't know where i'd fall in yet as i still haven't played any of them in a game... The annual Waseda vs Keio match is coming up and they are trying to select a team (i think there's one too many players - so somebody is not going to make it.)

Gee there's quite a lot of cooking related stuff on here... thanks for the tips everyone though. I still haven't got any salad dressing - i think i'll go have a look for some tomorrow evening when after uni ... not having to COOK the vegies sounds like a pretty good idea :) Only problem is, i'm seriously running low on space to keep everything ... the cupboard space is pretty limited, and lets not even get started about my fridge.

Anyway that's most of the recent comments i think~ Time to go!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Reposting

Well right now I’m waiting for my rice to cook so I can eat some of the left-overs from dinner last night for lunch. Anyway, for those of you who don’t know, my post for yesterday disappeared when I tried to publish it last night – and it was too late to redo it so I’m writing about it now. I'm going to write all my posts in word or something first from now on to avoid that happening again.

Wednesday night was the first time I’ve been to eat somewhere that’s actually near to the Mita campus. Matthias kindly invited me and a couple of the other exchangees to go with him to eat with these Japanese people he’d met recently. I still can’t believe he met them while walking around lost and trying to find a convenience store. All of them are currently 4th year Keio students studying economics. We went to a medium-sized izakaya to eat. Dinner started out with some jikoshoukai (self-introductions), which got shorter and shorter as we went around the table. I’m so bad at remembering Japanese names; but at least I now know that I’m not the only one. My friends did about as badly as I did ~

A few drinks and a bit of food later we were all having lots of fun – even if I’m sure that half of the people couldn’t remember who was who. I think it’s just as hard for the Japanese people to remember foreigners’ names too – Ben got called John a few times during the night~ One of the guys there had lived in the states for about 10 years so he spoke extremely fluent English, but the rest of them spoke no English at all (at least not to us). I’m still sort of surprised sometimes when I think of ways to express myself in Japanese even when I don’t know the word lol. I think if you can get over the problem of worrying about correct expression, you can actually communicate most things reasonably if you just use a bit of logic…

As you can see in my previous post, we had all sorts of weird food to eat – all of it seemed to taste quite ok. I got another taste of Japanese-style pizza too – this time it looked more like they used normal bread for the base. Still tasted okay some how hehe. The highlight would have to be that huge long sausage somebody ordered. Cutting it up was definitely lots of fun haha.

Everybody (except me and Ben) had class on Thursday morning so we didn’t actually get back too late which was nice for a change. Hopefully we’ll meet up with them again sometime.

As for Thursday, I slept in till about 12; lazed about for a bit and then went to badminton training. Neil (the dude who went on exchange to Melbourne about 20 years ago) kindly came along again to say hi to me – and he’s going to try to come every Thursday after he finishes training the high school team. I was still sore from training on Tuesday, and after doing (or rather trying) a set of 50 multi-fed full-court retrieval I decided that it was time to head for home. I paid my first phone bill as well – which came to about 4000 yen for the first couple of weeks. That’s not too bad considering there was a 2700 yen connection fee.

Anyway, my rice just cooked, so I’m going to go eat!

Bleh

I just typed up a whole post but it stuffed up when i tried to publish it. It's late now and i can't be bothered to rewrite it. Will post later.

For now here are some pictures from Wednesday night.

I have no idea what was in this, but it tasted good :)



Izakaya fun



I have NO idea why we had a metre long sausage...

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

A short post

Hey everyone, just wanted to chuck up something quickly before i go out.

Training last nite was fun, i'm getting lots of japanese practice - and i'm actually able to sort of keep up with them for most of the stuff now. They're all really friendly - even if they're very serious about their training.

After i came back, i had an interesting time trying to cook an egg. I was trying to get my washing started at the same time, and sort of left the hotplate to heat up for a little bit. 30 seconds later, my frying pan (with nothing but oil in it) was on fire. That gave me a bit of a shock :P Nothing got ruined though luckily... Anyway, i gotta eat quickly then run off to the station~ Laters all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Home for a whole day

Well, despite staying in my room for the whole day yesterday, i somehow forgot that i needed to blog. (Yesterday was a public holiday here in Tokyo for some reason - so there was no uni!) Anyway after having gone out a fair bit in the past few days i decided that i'd spend one whole day in my room. It was good because i actually got some homework done :P On the downside, i didn't really have anything really to make a meal out of except some potatoes and egg. I had some fun deep frying the potatoes trying to make something that vaguely resembled chips. They look a bit weird, but they tasted quite okay :)


Deep fried potatoes (aka chips)~



It was plenty to make me full which was the main thing i suppose. I think by staying in my room i ate about 10x more junkfood/snacks than normal though. Or it could have been the fact that i was doing homework - which always sort of makes me feel like eating. I've gone half way through my family-pack of kitkats and about a quarter way through the pack of cookies i bought :)


Anyway as for today i just went to uni and did a lil bit of grocery shopping on the way home. I'm still trying to find a place that's near my daily commute to uni where i can buy the "Nikkei Weekly" (an english economics/business newspaper). Even though i wondered all over both Tamachi station (where my uni is) and Shinagawa station (the main station on the way home), i still haven't found a place that sells it.

The week feels really short because of not having class yesterday - and also because the typhoon on saturday meant one of my classes was cancelled then too... And then tomorrow is wednesday already - which is like my friday night since i have no class on thursday. Neat huh. I met some more japanese peoples today at lunch which was cool - and tomorrow i'm hopefully going to go out with some Japanese ppl my friend met on the way to the convenience store (of all places lol). More japanese practice for me ~!

Tonight, i've got badminton training again, which should be good so long as the sky doesn't open up and rain on me when i walk there/back. Thanks everyone for your comments btw, it's really nice to hear from everybody~~ Laters all.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Karaoke amongst other things

Well everybody, in the end i did decide to go out last night (or was it the night before...) even though the typhoon meant most of the trains were cancelled. I only got back at about 7am on Sunday so you'll have to forgive me for not updating my blog sooner :)

Somehow, Jakob and I managed to get to Shibuya despite leaving Plume IS at about 10.30pm. Normally here the trains all stop at 12; and it's at least a 15 minute walk to the station for us. That didn't leave a lot of leeway if anything went wrong - because we had to change lines twice to get to Sangenjaya Station which always takes time. And having a typhoon and all - i wasn't even sure if there'd be trains running on our line. It turns out we were quite lucky, as we managed to catch one of the last trains running back into Tokyo, and then change to another line to get to Shibuya station where we changed lines again. And made the very last train running to Sangenjaya. 5 more minutes and we would have been spending the night wandering around by ourselves.

Anyway at Sangenjaya Matthias and Ben met us at the station, and before long the rest of the crew arrived. Most of the people i think i have met, but as usual i can't remember their names. Everyone there except for one guy (i think) was an exchange student - which was bad because it meant no japanese practice. The karaoke worked out to about 2600yen per head - and we were in there from a bit after midnite until about 4am. It was actually meant to be until 5am, but because some of the guys brought in alcohol purchased at the convenience store, we thought it best if we left a little bit early (before we could get in trouble). I still had a good time though - but i think i'm going to try my best not to go to that sort of outing any more because 1) you don't get to talk to people properly in such a big group and 2) i want to learn some japanese!

We had to wait until about 5.15 for the first train - and the whole trip home was an expected hour and a bit for the ppl who live in my dorm. Because of this we almost decided to walk part of the way instead of just standing aronud waiting for the train. But in the end, fatigue (or perhaps it was the fact that Jakob needed to go to the bathroom...) got the better of us and we caught trains the whole way. I didn't drink much considering how long we were out for - and i actually had enough energy to come home and have a shower before i went to sleep which is always a good thing. One thing i've found, is it's pretty icky to wake up smelling like alcohol because you were too tired to change the night before...

Anyway this morning (well now it's yesterday morning), i was woken up by a phone call from Hiro-kun. I didn't realise it was him at first, and i was wondering why he didn't understand when i tried to speak english to him lol. It was an invitation to go to dinner; which after having no japanese practice at all last nite i happily accepted.

Between then and dinner, i decided to be semi-productive and tidied up my room!~ It probably doesn't look that neat to you ppls, but compared to before it seems pretty clean to me :) There are some pix of it below.

Dinner was in Shibuya (yep you guessed it), and we went to the same Izakaya that we were at last week. I think it's Hiro's favourite place. We drank a lot more than we ate though - and afterwards Hiro was actually still hungry and went off to eat more by himself. Hiro brought Yuki (not the Yuki i met at the welcome party though - a diff one who i met last week) along, and Matthias and Miguel came too. We were all a bit tired though from last night though - so the conversation was a bit slow. As usual, afterwards we had the weekly dilemma of what to do next; in the end deciding on some pool instead of karaoke. That killed about an hour or so.

Guilt got the best of me then, and i decided to head for home instead of staying out all night again (Simone and some other people were having drinks at a place right underneath where we were playing pool - we ran into them by chance as we were walking in actually, and for a bit i was tempted to go with them). I think Hiro, Yuki and Yuke (her friend) did end up going back there after Matthias and i left though. I shall find out tomorrow (or rather, later today) i suppose. Anyway on to the pix:


My cleaned room~!



and reorganised shelf



This is what a train station looks like when the trains have been cancelled due to typhoons



Frances, Matthias and Me in the Karaoke room...

Saturday, October 09, 2004

School and Typhoons

The typhoon still hasn't officially hit Tokyo yet. It is apparently going to be pretty big though i think, because classes after lunch were all cancelled so that we could get home. When/if a typhoon hits, a lot of the trains stop running - which means people won't be able to get home...
After class today i went to visit the Australian embassy to vote with Catherine and Francis (the other two Melbourne Uni ppls). The embassy looks a bit like some sort of fortress - with metal shields in front of the windows (i think they're shields, coz they sort of point downwards so i don't think they're to block out the sun hehe) and a high wall all around etc. The front security is pretty lax though - you have to walk through the metal scanning thing and everything, but if it goes off, you can just show them that you're wearing a belt with a metal buckle and then it's ok. Hopefully no terrorists decide to wear belts when they come to visit.



Walking to the entrance...



Check out those window shields...!


Voting was pretty easy - and the turn out of Australians was surprisingly high (especially considering the weather today). About 15 minutes later we were done, and the rain was starting to come down a bit more heavily. Tonight, some of the exchangees are having a party at their dorm (Willing Setagaya), and then going out to karaoke or something. Hopefully the trains start working again a bit later on so i can get out there. Hopefully also, the rain eases off a bit, because i was fully soaked by the time i got home after walking from the station back to my room. An umbrella doesn't seem to keep your bottom half dry very well :(

Anyway i think i might go have a nap :)

Friday, October 08, 2004

Typhoon is coming

Today it rained again. It's starting to get a bit annoying because when you have to walk for 15 minutes to the station, you invariably get wet even when you have an umbrella and a raincoat on. Going to uni this morning was okay - the rain was so light i didn't bother opening up my umbrella. Coming home was a different story.

Apparently tomorrow there is going to be another typhoon. So today's crappy weather is sort of the lead up to it. What should be fun is we have another exchange student outing happening tomorrow night - which will probably be smack bang in the middle of when the typhoon crashes into Tokyo. Maybe we'll just stay overnight at some karaoke place instead of trying to wade through the water...

In any case, today was relatively uninteresting. Had a nice sleep in till about 10am, then headed to uni to meet up wif Simone for lunch. She came all the way in to school to give me and Tony some stuff she printed for us~ (Thanks Simone!). I managed to waste the next 2 hours walking around the uni bookroom wif Kelly looking for some sort of Keio University memorabilia to buy. In the end neither of us got anything with Keio uni written on it. I did try some weird Japanese snack thing which was takoyaki (fried octopus ball) flavoured though lol.

Class at 2:45 was my economics class (in english); which was quite interesting i suppose. Ichikawa sensei basically just gave a lecture on the changes to the japanese economy immediately following world war 2 which was a nice introduction for me. There was about 10 more people in the class compared to last week - so the room was really packed full today. There's actually some Japanese students in the class now - and they all seem to speak very good english.

I stopped at the supermarket on the way home wif Jakob, and got a bag of rice; and about 20 other things i probably didn't need to buy (like chocolate cookies; kit-kats; potatoes; milk tea... the list goes on). The walk home was the most painful walk yet. Do you have any idea how hard it is to carry 10 kg of shopping on one hand; ur uni books on ur back; and still keep the umbrella between you and the rain? Let's just say i couldn't feel my fingers by the time i got home. Jakob had the same problem coz he decided to buy 3 or 4 two litre drinks lol.

Anyway i've spent long enough writing this (and putting off doing my homework...) so it's time to go~!


P.S. Where's the comments people?! My blog is starting to feel very lonely hehe.

Chance...

Today I stayed home after all - which i'm sort of glad about now as apparently there was more alcohol going on than studying at the group session.

Wrote a short english essay (well it was just a short summary + comments on a newspaper article) this morning, and then got really lazy and sat around reading my ebook (George R.R. Martin - 'A Game of Thrones'... i think that's the title... anyway it's getting really interesting now but what's a bit annoying is all these characters seem to be dying).

I did manage to pull myself out of my room for an hour or so to walk down to the hyaku yen shop and buy myself a fry pan; knife; 2 A4 folders; a sponge; a mug; some cough lollies and a hole puncher. I challenge any one of you to try to buy all of that for less than 1000 yen (hmmm .. AUD$14?).

Badminton training was really cool tonight - i met this guy (he even has an english name - Neil) who went on exchange to Melbourne about 20 years ago! He speaks really good english, and what's even weirder is he knows Ko Beng~ (Ko Beng organises a lot of the badminton competitions and helps train with Lenny at Kilsyth; so i used to see him when i used to train at kilsyth). It turns out that Neil's actually the guy Ko Beng was trying to give me contact details of before i left for Japan... Talk about small world. I'm 8000 kilometres from Australia and i happened to pick the right university and the right day to go to badminton training to meet this dude who was meant to be introduced to me anyway!~ It almost reminds me of 'My Sassy Girl' (and for those of you who haven't seen it, go watch it ... i thought it was quite cute).

Anyway it's late, and i haven't even had my shower. Here's some pictures to make up for my lack of original thought tonight.


Dinner... (this is what food from the convenience store looks like here... cool huh)



Itadakimasu



A rice cooker at last



And a look inside too

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Wednesday is the start of my weekend...

Sorry I didn’t post yesterday. I actually went to training and only got back about 10 pm – at which point I had decided that dinner was more important than the blog. I don’t really remember anything worthwhile posting about from yesterday so I’ll just jump straight to today.

We had another ‘revision’ test today – which would have been extremely easy if I’d bothered to study for it. IF. Anyhow it wasn’t too bad I think, but I know I made a fair few mistakes. The bad thing about making mistakes in these tests is (as I found out today) we have to rewrite and resubmit anything we didn’t do so well on later. When we get our papers back they make us rewrite the stuff we screwed up and hand it in again for correction! Hmmm maybe I should study and save myself some time and effort.

Had grammar class (one of the Japanese electives) after that and learned a thing or two which was nice. It’s going to be one of the harder subjects I take this semester I think. Today is sort of like my weekend because I don’t have any classes at all on Thursday, and then my class on Friday only starts at 2:45 so I can sleep in then too. After class today I was originally intending to head straight home and get stuck into some revision/homework – as I haven’t really been doing much of that lately. But (rather unsurprisingly) I found a few people sitting around and ended up talking for an hour or two, before going to Excelsior (a café chain that looks a lot like Starbucks) with Ji-Hee for a drink and more bumming. I’m apparently going to be her English teacher, and she’s teaching me Korean ahha. I learnt how to read a bit of Hangeul again – and I’ve already forgotten how to say my name is Adrian. Maybe I should just stick to Japanese.

Dinner tonight was in Shinjuku (we decided to have a bit of a change from Shibuya which we’ve been going to a bit too regularly). We didn’t have any clue what we wanted to eat though so we randomly picked some little place that served various rice dishes. Food was okay, but not terribly exciting.



This is us, minus Simone and Sung, at the eating place in Shinjuku



After dinner we went to have desert at this cake place which was really cute. It’s at the top of this clothing store and is a really nice place to sit and chill. It’s not the cheapest place around though – each slice of cake weighs in at about 630-800 yen (AUD$10 roughly?). But I must say everything we ordered was delicious. There was some drinking thing happening in Ginza after that with some of the other exchange guys but I decided that I’d try to do something productive with myself tonight and headed back home (to write my blog for example!). Apparently we’re having a group study session in some café in Shibuya tomorrow – but I have a feeling that I’ll probably get about 10 times more work done by staying home. Ah the joys of being an exchange student. Until next time~

This is the cake menu ... the stuff comes out (as usual) looking identical to the pictures. The blueberry thing on the top left is the one i ordered.