Wednesday, December 22, 2004

My (Possibly) Last Post for 2004

I just finished eating my dinner and packing my bags for Nagano. We're meeting at 10pm at Ikebukuro station which gives me about... one more hour here before i have to leave. I will be there until Saturday evening i think, and then on Monday morning i'm off to Hong Kong - so as the title suggests, there might not be another post before New Year. On to the (rather boring unfortunately) details:

Had class, msged Yuki for lunch but she had a presentation that she hadn't prepared for that afternoon. Instead i hung around with Hiro and Kris for a little bit (Hiro is going to England just after new years to see if he likes it enough to go on exchange there) before heading home to get ready for badminton. 'Getting ready' involved mainly taking a nap until it was time to go :) I did manage to get my homework done for today's classes before i left though.

Training was officially the last one for 2004, and quite possibly the last for my stay in Japan. They don't have training in January because that's exam period for everybody ... and i don't know if i'll be here in Tokyo in Feb. We did a LOT of multi-feed yesterday too for some reason.
After doing 5 sets of 20 shuttles of smash/net multi-feed, we did 5 x 20 of half court smash practice, and then did 20 x 20 of full court cover. I don't know how good an idea that was for me to do the whole lot given that i'm meant to be snowboarding tomorrow. My legs and feet are quite sore as i type this ~

Being the last day of class everybody was in reasonably good spirits. We had a visiting Japanese teacher from Washington University observing us in class today. I didn't realise he was there (we were told about it last week, but i sort of forgot) until after class finished though. I hope i didn't say anything too rude in my random example sentences hehe.

After lunch, i had my last grammar class of 2004 which was extremely empty. Guess a lot of people have already gone home for Christmas. After that, i said bye to Matthias/Miguel (who i have grammar class with), but i managed to run into them two more times by accident. In the end i just walked to the station with them haha.

Since then i've just been packing and getting my washing done (i didn't think leaving my shirt from last night's training unwashed for a week is a good idea). Now hopefully i can find Kris or Ben or somebody to give my unused eggs to, so that they don't go off and get wasted while i'm gone...

Anyway, in case i don't post again, everybody have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year! I'll see you all in 2005!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Christmas Party (with photos)

Well today i only woke up half an hour late!~ I woke up still dizzy though ... Somehow managed to have a shower and get myself ready for school. Woke Ben up after knocking for about 5 minutes on his door... Apparently after i decided to sleep last night, a few of them stayed even later watching some stuff on TV. I hope we didn't make enough noise to cause any more complaints from the neighbours (as we already got a warning from our resident dorm assistant the other day regarding noise complaints).

As for last night's party, it was a whole heap of fun. Almost everybody went to quite a bit of trouble to cook something ... and everything was really nice. The range of food was all pretty much asian, seeing as the vast majority of the people who showed up were either Korean or Chinese. There was some interesting western style お好み焼き (Japanese pancakes) with ham and cheese inside too courtesy of one of our American representatives hehe. I made some curry, which i thought i made too hot by adding a lot of chilli to, but everyone seemed to be quite okay with it. Unfortunately though, I managed to be the only person to think of cooking rice out of everybody who came. I ended up eating my curry with Kou-san's fried rice :) Later Kris turned up with his rice cooker which was good though.

Souhei, Asli and Hyun-Jyung all came along too. I think they all probably got an overly good impression of how fun it is to live in the dorm - although i really can't complain, i wish everybody would turn up to the lounge like last night more often.

After eating (and sort of cleaning up) we played this blindfolded hide-and-seek kind of game. Restricted to the lounge. Basically, one person is blind folded in the middle of the room, and their job is to wander around and find somebody, and name them. Not as easy as it sounds, when all you have is your sense of touch to go on. Except when you find Kris - who has a shaved it which kind of stands out lol. After blindfolded hide-and-seek... Everybody else is allowed to move until the person stops spinning, at which point you have to stay on the spot you are standing (you can try to avoid the blind folded person any way you like, as long as you have at least one foot planted where you started though). It is a lot of fun, and very difficult when you don't know half the people's names. We did write them all up on the board - but seeing as you are blindfolded when you need to know them it's not all that useful.

The other side of the room

The other other side

After that, i popped back to my room to clean my dishes. I for some reason didn't feel like sleeping and headed back down not too long after though. Where i really can't remember what we did exactly now. It involved alcohol though...

Today, gave my speech in 発表授業 (presentation class) which went well ... I was surprised i could still remember it. Afterwards, had conversation partner session (last one for 2004! and possibly the last one with Souhei too :( ... he's going to be busy over January unfortunately). I left really early though, because i had to meet up with Min-Kyung to go get a present for the ski trip christmas party. After grabbing some McDonalds (that's only like ... the second or third time i've eaten it here, ever, i think), we just went to Shinagawa station to find something. Funnily enough i bought the very first thing i saw in the very first shop we went to lol. It was this little shoe-scenting teddy bear (a perfumed teddy bear that fits in your shoes basically). Min-Kyung didn't take much longer either so we were done in like 15 minutes hehe. Speed shopping :)

Chilled for a bit with Aaron since getting back home ... Actually it was probably more than a bit. It's already approaching 10pm and i haven't done anything productive except buy dinner from the convenience store and eat it. I shall go get started on my second last bit of homework for 2004! :)

Christmas Parties

Someone remind me not to drink so much on a sunday night... It's going to hurt trying to get up tomorrow...

I thought i should try to write this down since i probably won't remember by tomorrow morning. After cleaning up my pots/plates after the christmas party tonight i decided for some stoopid reason to head back to the lounge. There, i don't know what i drank, but i feel really dizzy now ... which means tomorrow my head is going to hurt. Sigh.

I have some photos from the night's activites, but i don't think i'm going to be able to upload them right now... Bleh, time to sleep. I think. Nite. (Why the hell i bothered posting this i don't know........)

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Quick update.

It's late again, so just a short one.

Did some homework, went to school, came straight home and did more homework/study. Got bored of doing that and went to sit in the lounge until it was time for bed. Yeh, boring day huh.

Had a test this morning (hence the study yesterday), and another one this afternoon. I need to learn more kanji still ... :( Not much to today either when i think about it unfortunately. Actually had some motivation to do some study when i got home - but i soon got a bit sleepy and had a nap until it was time to get dinner ready. Made curry tonight, and i'm planning to make curry again tomorrow as well for the dorm christmas party that is happening here. (The notice says everyone should bring food for 3-4 people so i figured that's an easy way to do it... however, it also means that if people follow instructions there will be way too much food hehe).

I was down in the lounge just before and i watched the second half of Shrek 1 (in Japanese) ... it's been so long since i've seen it that most of the jokes were quite fresh. I think i prefer the sequel still however. We might watch that tomorrow, since Chris has the DVD-twin pack with both 1 and 2 inside.

Tomorrow i'm planning to meet Souhei in the morning to go to the sports shop in Shinkawasaki so that i can get some ski goggles/gloves and things. Need to go to an ATM too which is a bit annoying since half of them close on weekends... Afterwards i need to do some study before the party (have a presentation on monday) so hopefully i won't get too sidetracked doing other things.


Friday, December 17, 2004


Everything is starting to pile up now. There’s so much to do, but so little time to do it. And it’s not just the homework either. I just realized that I’m actually not going to be in Tokyo for the majority of the next three weeks, and I’ve hardly made any preparations. I need to go get some stuff for Nagano (and work out what’s happening with ski-equipment rental!); organize myself for HK; choose a topic for my term paper; study for all the tests coming up… the list goes on. Anyway, I will start with what I can do for now: blogging.

Last night I went to Yokohama International Stadium to watch Japan take on Germany in an international friendly. Jakob very kindly organized the whole thing and got the tickets shipped all the way from Germany (he bought them through the German soccer association or something I think). Our seats were really good – had a good view and lots of happy German supporters. I think I might have preferred to sit down with the Japanese fans though who seemed to be more energetic even when Japan conceded a goal, or two, or three. So yeah unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who’s side you are on) Japan lost to Germany 3-0 in the end.

Go-go Japan!~ (see what i mean about being enthusiastic? that was one huge flag)

There was about 10 of us all together who were meant to meet at the stadium at 7pm – in the end we met up closer to 8pm for a variety of reasons: mine mainly being my own disorganization. But poor Rim actually went to the wrong stadium (there’s another stadium in Yokohama for baseball called Yokohama Stadium – as opposed to Yokohama International Stadium), but still somehow managed to get there on time.

The match itself was pretty mediocre, given that Germany was clearly the stronger team for 90% of the match. But it was definitely worth it just for the atmosphere and experience of seeing an international soccer game live. The other thing that detracted a little from the experience was how damn cold it was. I was wearing my jacket on top of two layers of clothes AND a scarf (thanks Kwokie!~) and I was shivering by the second half.

The players on field ...

The ride home (and the walk to the station) was something in itself too. Seeing as the vast majority of people here catch public transport everywhere – when you have 60,000 people crammed into one stadium who all leave at the same time, things tend to get a bit hectic. There were people all the way from the stadium to the train station when we finally got out of the stadium itself. Walking normally it probably takes about 15 minutes tops to get to the station from there. With that many people, it took about 45 minutes. Then trying to get IN to the station to get on to a train also took a good amount of time. The match finished about 10pm but we only managed to catch the second last train home which was near 12 midnight… We lost Ben and Matthias on the way back too – I have this feeling that maybe they just decided to stay out in Yokohama for the night to celebrate the German victory hehe.

Madness in the train station


Thursday, December 16, 2004

Class Dinner 2

Last night (Wednesday) we had our second class gathering. We went to a restaurant in Harajuku which i've forgotten the name of now. The setting was really nice - we had one of those Japanese style rooms where you all sit on the floor on cushions, but unfortunately i forgot to bring my camera. Will post photos when i get some from my friends. The place served basically fusion food (like ... a mix of eastern-western style dishes) and overall everything was very well done. Main complaint was that there was just way too little food lol. I mean for about fifteen of us they basically gave us two little bowls per course...

I went straight from school to the dinner - despite finishing class at 2:30 in the afternoon. In the time between, i popped back to the travel agent to confirm my ticket and then spent the next few hours in the library. I didn't realise the place was so big! There's about 5 levels above ground, and another 3 or 4 below. Trouble is the vast majority of the books are a in Japanese.

Anyway i need to get some work done. I wasted most of today by sleeping in till 1:30 - the consequence of having about 4 hours sleep for the last three days straight.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

It's been 4 days...

Since i last blogged. The gaps between blogs seems to be getting longer these days. Definitely have to make an effort to keep it updated regularly.

Slept from about 6am till about 11:30am after the night out on Friday. I don't know why i woke up then - i didn't even set my alarm that early. But i figured for the sake of having a reasonable sleeping pattern, getting up then wasn't such a bad thing.

Seeing as i wasn't going to class (figured it wasn't worth rushing to school just for my afternoon class), i tried to call Carol (Min-Kyung's sis) to see if she wanted to go walk about Shibuya. She must have either been sleeping still, or already out and about coz nobody answered. Min-Kyung somehow still went to class that morning (although the fact that if she misses one more saturday class she will fail is probably partly the reason for that). So, i spent Saturday tidying up my room, doing a little bit of revision, and generally having a good recovery day :)

On Saturday nite i had a chat to Ben for a while about Christmas travelling plans. We were originally planning to go to the Kansai-area (where Osaka/Kyoto is), but seeing as I will be in Nagano-ken for the first week Ben thought he might go up north by himself for a bit. While we didn't really work out what to do exactly, we decided to each call up some youth hostels and stuff on Sunday to at least find out about availability over the new year period.

Well on Sunday i didn't call a single youth hostel and neither did Ben. Ben spent the whole day writing an essay that he was meant to hand in last week (i think). I on the other hand, went to Shinagawa to study with Simone and Tony (well, we went off and ate lunch first for about 3 hours ... before settling down to freeze in the Starbucks at Shinagawa station...). The starbucks at Shinagawa is in a kind of 'open-ended' mall, which means it can be quite breezy there. Definitely not a good thing when the max temp was about 10 degrees.

Overall i think i probably did about as much work as i'd normally do at home there (which isn't a whole lot i guess hehe) - since instead of having a computer (BLOGGER) to distract me i had people to talk to. Was a nice day out though - and getting home from there only takes 30 minutes!

Oh and while i was chatting to Simone/Tony about my dillemma over what to do during New Years, the idea of visiting either Hong Kong or Korea came up. Tony's going back to Korea over new years while Simone is going back to Hong Kong. That got me thinking and by Sunday evening i was checking flight availability/prices online.

After class i went to the travel agent at school to see about tickets to HK/Korea. Seeing as i had left it so late, my expectations weren't too high. The lady i spoke to there was really helpful and i found out most of what i wanted to know. The main thing was, there were still seats available on flights to HK/Korea over new years...

Afterwards had conversation partner meeting as usual. Except we sort of swapped partners this week. Simone/Asli and I spoke with Souhei, while Tony/Chris talked with our usual partners (Mari and Yuka). Didn't get as much Japanese practice as i normally do since Souhei's english is so good... Whenever i couldn't express something, i could speak in English instead of trying to figure it out in Japanese... Still, we stayed around till pretty late talking. Interestingly, unlike the rest of the world New Year's Eve/Day in Japan sounds like it's generally really quiet. Most people spend the time with family and possibly close friends .... Not going out partying/drinking. Unless maybe you go to Shibuya - where it's kind of a party every night.

Well by this morning i'd decided what i was going to do with my New Year's! After lunch, i booked myself a ticket to HK on the 27th of this month - returning on the 4th just before school starts again.

I spent the rest of the afternoon getting my re-entry permit (into Japan) organised from the Immigration Bureau of Tokyo - which isn't far from Shinagawa station luckily. Took quite a while though because there are so many people leaving the country around this time...

After, i went to badminton (which was the smallest training i've been to yet, 4 people including myself at the beginning). I found out that it stops next Tuesday until Feb (or late Jan) which actually fits in quite well with my plans for Christmas/New Years BUT then doesn't fit so well when i come bak hehe. I hope all the running around for the last few months doesn't get wasted in the month when i have off training :(

Well, i think it's about time for bed now. See you all~!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Clubbing in Shibuya

After class yesterday i met up with Yuuki and Simone for coffee. Aaron, Ben and his conversation partner ended up coming along too and we sat around for a good two hours. We had dinner at a place nearby which is just opposite the Mita campus... The food came out pretty quick and was actually pretty good for a 700 yen meal. When i start staying at school to study more i think i'll go there again.

More interestingly though i went clubbing last night with Min-kyung, her sister (who just arrived in Tokyo for a holiday yesterday) and this club/society called IRR (i forgot what it stands for now - international something or other). IRR is actually the club that is organising the ski trip over Christmas so i thought this would be a good chance to meet them. We were originally meant to meet at 7pm; but that time got moved to 7.30. I ended up getting there about 8pm hehe :)

Despite that, when we actually got to Xanadu (a bar/club place) there was actually a private event on until 9pm so we had about an hour to chill anyway. Just ended up having some (more) coffee at the shop right next door to the club.

Xanadu is actually quite a nice place to just sit and talk despite boasting some rather large-loud-looking speakers. There are lots of little bar tables and stools around the place and the music isn't so loud that it's difficult to hear each other. With a few exceptions, the IRR people and us foreigners were a little bit stand-offish unfortunately. Of the fifteen or so of them there, i think i only met about 5. Still, there was plenty of alcohol and i think most people had a really good time.

Min-Kyung; Ji-Hee; Me; Jun; Carol (Min-Kyung's sis) at Xanadu

Me and Osu (actual name Yuu-san)

When it got to about 11.40 though, the party sort of ended. Most of the IRR members didn't want to stay out all night, and needed to catch the last train home. Seeing as we only got there at 9pm though, about half of us exchangees didn't feel like going home. After about 15 minutes deliberation we managed to convince the other half plus two of the IRR dudes to stay out too :)

We went to Club Buenos which was a short walk from Xanadu. When we got there it was empty. Seriously we were six of about the ten people in the club. As it got later though, it got increasingly crowded until it came to the point of hardly being able to move lol. It was R&B night - but there wasn't any popular R&B at all. Everything (that i remember) was actually sung live by various Japanese groups. That was fun at first, but after about 3 hours started to lose its sparkle...

Min-kyung and Carol at Club Buenos

Outside Club Buenos

In the end we ended up getting out of the club at about 3:30 or so - at which point Min-Kyung, Carol and Ji-Hee took a taxi home. The rest of us had another hour and a bit till the first train, so we went off to grab some food from one of the Japanese-style fastfood places called 'Matsuya'. Basically it's a place that serves rice dishes - really quickly, and really cheaply. I had some large set thing which came with a raw egg too. I think it was probably just as well the alcohol had worn off by that time since being really tired, drunk and trying to eat raw eggs doesn't go down too well.

I managed to catch the very first Yamanote-line train and the very first Yokosuka-line train home too! That got me home in record time for a night out - i got back to my room at 5.30am! I took a few cool looking shots of the view from my balcony (it's always so nice to stand outside around then because it's so quiet, and the air is really nice and fresh)... It was actually pretty much black when i took these shots, but with some extended shutter times they come out quite well.

Twilight in Shinkawasaki

Anyway i am going to have a shower and get myself some food! Laters.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Cooking cookies?

Sorry i haven't posted for so long ppls. I keep running out of time when i have class on Mondays through Wednesday. Every night i seem to manage to stay up till 2am finishing off my homework - before having to drag myself out of bed at 7am the next morning to go to school again. Anyway let me think what i got up to:

Had a test in class. It was one of the harder tests we've had because it was on chapter 7, which was the chapter where everything suddenly started getting a lot harder than before (i.e. the sentences got a lot longer, the grammar got more advanced, the vocab got harder). I think in the end it was okay, but a lot of people didn't even manage to finish. Teachers really don't seem to care here because they just told whoever wanted to have more time to go to their office after lunch and finish it off.

After lunch, i went with Ben to have a look at some travel packages to Osaka/Kyoto for the Christmas break. We really had (and still have) no idea what we wanted to do, but we did get some information about youth hostels and stuff down there. I am going to have a fair bit of time free after i finish semester in January anyway so i might end up going to kansai then.

Plans for Christmas so far are skiing in Nagano-ken with Min-Kyung (some club from Keio which i've never met is organising it). Have yet to get details on that though :(

I just remember that i was really bored in class. Came home straight afterwards, and wasted the whole night sitting on MSN/ICQ. Remind me not to do that when i intend to go out the next few days :(

Today (Thursday):
Well today was extremely cold. The temperature suddenly dropped down to like, 12 degrees, and with the wind-chill factor it felt colder. Oh and i actually have something interesting to write about too. I visited Souhei today (i just met him on Monday at the conversation partner meeting). He really lives quite close to me - about a 10 minute walk from Shinkawasaki station. However, all up because it already takes me 15 minutes to walk to Shinkawasaki station, it is a 25 minute walk from my room. Still, it's a lot closer than anybody else i've met so far :)

A couple of Souhei's friends came over too, and Simone and Tony (Souhei is actually Tony's conversation partner) came as well. The point of the gathering? It was one of Souhei's friend's birthdays tomorrow, so today was cookie making day. The two girls, Star-chan (Yumika i think is her actual name) and Osa-chan (her real name was Osada i think) brought an ambitious looking recipe along with them. Basically, the idea was to make a cottage (complete with icing for snow) out of big cookies. It even had a chimney and a door. In the picture, it also had a little cookie animal sitting next to it - but they opted to skip making that, which Tony was quite disappointed about.

Well if you think that sounds complicated, it was. After having lunch (we just bought some stuff from the supermarket to Souhei's place), we spent at least another 2 hours there working out measurements and things so we knew how much ingredients to buy. Well, i should correct myself there and say that Star-chan and Osa-chan spent 2 hours working out stuff; Me, Simone, Tony just sat there watching. Souhei spent most of the time running back and forth trying to get the recipe printed so that we'd know what to buy at the supermarket.

An hour later we'd managed to go to the supermarket, come back and get ready to start preparing everything. I don't know if they have the saying 'too many cooks spoil the broth' in Japanese, but i think we were verging on it today. There was a total of 7 of us there... If you consider the size of an average Japanese place (and Souhei's place was actually relatively nice and spacious) that's about 5 too many people :)

Anyway here are some photos:

Star-chan, Osa-chan and Ten-geng-san in the kitchen

Simone hiding behind the furawaa (flour), and Tony trying to work out how to use the sieve (it was one of those mechanical things - but it got stuck half way through sifting the 900 grams of flour we needed)

This is Me, Souhei and Tony ALL trying to work out how to use the sieve~

We did eventually figure out that we just needed to hit it a bit to unblock it by the way :) By the time we'd done that though, it was already verging on 4 o clock and seeing as i had training it was getting near to being time to go :( I almost skipped going to training so i could eat some of the cookies - but in the end i felt bad about not telling the badminton guys i wasn't coming and left at about 5 pm. I will have to ask Tony how the cookies turned out.

At training today there was only 6 of us there for the most part (including myself) so i suppose it was just as well i went. We didn't even set up all four courts since there was so few of us. I suppose a lot of people are studying for exams and stuff at the moment... Anyway, i need sleep.

Oh, and i have a favour to ask. Could all of you who read this post, stick a comment up?~ I just want to see how many people actually bother looking at this thing regularly (or bother READING until the end hehe). Thanks everyone :)

Monday, December 06, 2004

Someone help me think of an original title...

Well, despite having to struggle with myself to get out of bed this morning, on the whole i'm quite glad i did. Today was one of those days where i was just in good spirits for no particular reason. Maybe it was just in comparison to yesterday - which i almost entirely spent doing homework (yeah that pretty sums up my whole day yesterday so i won't write anything else about it).

Oh, but on Saturday night, i watched 'Go' (without any English subtitles at all!~). Highly recommend it to anybody who likes romantic-comedies. It's a remake of 'Tokyo Love Story' I think - but it's definitely worth seeing; it's a bit like ... umm ... My Sassy Girl - Japanese style. I think i might have even enjoyed it more if i had some english subs to help me understand.

Class was a little slow today - but i'm finding that the more questions i ask the easier it is to concentrate. Even if they're not very useful questions lol. On the other hand, some of the other exchangees have started doing their homework during class to help pass the time hehe. Hopefully i won't have to resort to doing that :)

We had a joint conversation partner session today with Tony and his partner which was good fun. His partner's name is Souhei-san and he's lived in the US for a year or so. His english is amazingly good - he even has a perfect American accent~ What's really cool though, is Souhei-san lives in Shinkawasaki just like me!~ His place is really close to the station, so i guess it'll be really easy to hang out when we have free time. Kuri-chan came along again today too - but she had class in 4th period so she only got there quite late.

Oh and the other weird thing i have to jot down is that the weather's been acting funny here again. Yesterday it was about 26 or 27 degrees. Despite the fact that the night before it rained like crazy. BUT, it was 26/27 degrees with galeforce winds, so it didn't feel that hot. I actually thought my door might blow down at one point it was so strong. Today, it was back to normal Autumn/Winter weather - a cool 14 degrees with nice blue skies and a rather cold breeze. Somehow though, walking home this evening felt warmer than walking to the station this morning with the sun out. Yeah, either i'm getting sick, or the weather in Japan is just weird overall :)

Oh and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my lil sister Mel~! ! !

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Saturday ... again?

I'm not quite sure what happened to my week this week - i can't seem to remember what i did on each of the seven days since last Saturday. But my little alarm clock definitely says it's December 4 - so i suppose it must just be the routine of getting up and going to school starting to really blur together.

Had my economics class. Did the second part of my presentation since we ran out of time the week before. The class got very side tracked on some other random comment half way through though - so i was just standing up the front for about 30 minutes while we had a class discussion. We ran out of time to finish presenting the other part my group prepared though. This week was the sixth week it's been put off since the date it was 'due'...

I actually did some kanji study out of self-interest last night after i got home. Have you ever wondered whether it is good to listen to music while you study? Well, i now have a new theory. I think for me, music is actually helpful for me to remember things. If i'm sitting down trying to just memorise kanji, or vocab having music helps me concentrate - mainly because it stops me feeling really bored and getting sleepy. But somehow, it seems to make me able to concentrate for longer without needing to get up to stretch my legs and take a break.

On the other hand, when you have to do more analytical things like solving a problem, or just generally arranging your thoughts to form a coherent argument for an essay, listening to music seems to be more of a hinderance than a help. It is incredibly annoying to be half way through something and then get caught up listening to whatever's playing and lose your train of thought.

Had class from period 1 to period 3... Met up with Min-Kyung for lunch - but because of period three classes our lunch break is only about 45 minutes long (minus another 15 minutes for lining up and getting your food) which doesn't leave much time to do anything but eat :(

Hiro was wondering around after class today (although come to think of it, he's kind of wondering around after class everyday), and he showed me what he is doing in his english class. It looks pretty hardcore - it's basically a book put together from random facts from the New York Times. Topics range from the spread of HIV in Africa to the trend towards shame-based punishment in the US. When i asked him if he understood it though, he said he only understood the bits translated by the teacher hehe :)

Decided to try cooking something a little different tonight, so i got some chicken wings on the way home... I don't really know what i put on them exactly, but they turned out okay :)


And now i guess i should go start on that essay that i have due on monday~

Friday, December 03, 2004

Badminton Recreation Day

Slept in till about 1pm as i tend to do on Thursdays when i don't have anything pressing to do. And was quite productive in the afternoon - I managed to finish some homework before it was time to head off to badminton.

What was special about today's badminton session was it was the 納会 (last session of the year). So instead of normal training we had a 'recreation' day. What does that mean? Well have a look down below:

Basketball anybody?

We spent most of our normal 30 minutes warm-up time running around with basketballs, volleyballs and some weird foam things instead of stretching. Needless to say, i think the whole badminton team sucks pretty badly at anything not involving a badminton racket, myself included. I have some fun movie clips of people trying to play basketball which i can't post up here...

We ended up playing dodgeball for the first half hour or so and then moved on to soccer. For some reason we decided that the only way to score a goal was by heading the ball in, which made it a 0-0 game. (Despite some valiant attempts to crawl past the goal keepers, heads down). Eventually somebody from the other team (by fluke) kicked the ball really hard into somebody else's unsuspecting head and scored... We had to change the rules in the second half - but unfortunately that only led to another own goal by my team resulting in a 2-0 loss. Determined to get revenge we played another game of dodge ball - which my team lost as well.

After that i think we were slowly realising that we needed some badminton so we set up a mini team tournament between ourselves, comprising two singles games; two doubles games; and one mixed game.

Getting ready for our mini-tournament

The two girls 高橋さん(Takahashi-san) and 本出さん(Motode-san) **EDIT: Changed those ちゃんs into さんs. Can't use chan with surnames! Thanks Yuuki!** were designated the team captains so that they wouldn't inadvertently both end up on one team. Despite much clapping and cheering on my team's part, we lost. Quite badly too.

The results ... (weird how we all got 12 points huh)

My team is the one on the right. The open circles mean 'win'; the coloured in circles mean 'loss'. Notice the lack of open circles on my team's side :) Now i should probably point out that the teams were actually different for dodge ball and soccer etc - so it wasn't the same people losing every time. It was just me that seemed to be on the losing team everytime hehe. Still, it was a really fun change from the normal serious training sessions we have.

Went to some other chinese food place for dinner afterwards, where i finally had something which came with a decent serving of vegetables! It was actually an oyster dish but it came served on top of some greens (choy-sum i think) fried with oyster sauce 'chinese' style!~

On the way home, since i had my camera, i thought i'd just take a picture of something i always see on my walk back. Unfortunately there is not much light at 11pm around there so this was the only shot that was worth keeping (i had to rest it on something to keep the camera still enough to take a night shot):

Yagami campus by night (in the background there)

And with that i think it's time to go have a shower~ Night all.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Music at last

Well after buying that dvd drive last wednesday, today i finally got around to plugging it into my computer. Thankfully i didn't have to do anything to make it work except put the power cable into it - guessing the meaning of every second kanji in an instruction manual takes a lot longer than you'd think :( I also finally bought some music too...

My dvd drive (it works sideways like that hehe!) and some music CDs

The japanese style of putting a lot of effort into presentation carries over even to their CDs. That Zard album lying on my desk in the photo actually doesn't have a plastic cd case. Instead it's like a mini book with lyrics and full colour photos when you open it up (and of course the CD is in there at the back too ehe).

I had a test for my grammar class today. Everybody seemed quite worried about it yesterday but (as most of the tests here have turned out) it wasn't very hard. Unfortunately, I didn't know that yesterday and was up till about 2am last night studying for it. Well okay, i studied for it till about 12.30am, and then just ended up talking (Aaron and I decided to study in the lounge... which tends to induce more talk than study.)

Oh and later on Kris came down to watch Kill Bill (he rented it) which was quite funny. I didn't realise how bad the Japanese sounded in that movie until last night lol. (You probably won't understand the next bit unless you've actually seen Kill Bill vol 1). What was funny was when we watched the scene where the bride comes into that sushi shop and pretends she can't speak Japanese. We watched it with Japanese audio with english subs - so she's like saying that she can't speak japanese IN japanese. But the japanese definitely goes really funny in the bits where she's actually meant to be speaking in Japanese - because it goes into like baby-talk mode. Eventually i realised that i really needed to sleep more than i needed to laugh at Lucy Liu's japanese and went to bed though :)

Anyway i'm going to go learn some kanji now that i've given you all something to read and look at ~ :)