Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Change of Plans

Today was one of those days where nothing seemed to be going quite to plan, but somehow turned out quite okay.

First, in the morning I went over to the repair centre with my parents to pick up the car and drive it home - only to find that they'd only repaired the front (and left the stuff at the back). No big deal, since we gotta take my dad's car in later on anyway - so they can look at it then.

Next thing was to try the car's spare key/remote: after having replaced the battery, it still doesn't seem to work. I even tried putting the battery in upside down, but alas that didn't seem to work either~ But i mean, it is a spare key after all so again it's one of those sort of minor annoyances that you can just ignore (and will probably turn into a major annoyance one day when the main key/remote runs out of battery)...

Then came the wonders of going to uni to do some study. Plan was simple: (1) go in to do some reading, (2) meet Chris, Michelle and Alex at 5pm in discussion room to talk about stuff from class, and then (3) go to uni badminton at 8pm.

Then i realised going to badminton was not really necessary and it would probably be quite crowded seeing as it was holidays anyway. Scrapped (3) and decided instead that (4) i'd drop off Grace's camera to her on the way in - and found out she was going in to uni too and (5) ended up taking her along.

When we got there, i was expecting it to be fairly empty and easy to find a spot to park, but of course, everbody decided that the hippest most awesome place to hang during the holidays was the university and there wasn't even a four-hour spot to be found. Settled for a two-hour spot, dragged all my stuff up to the law library and then realised i'd left my phone in the car. Good start Age. (>_<)

Started on (1) and read for maybe 30 minutes before (6) Clare dropped by to say hi for a while with some random articles about Tokyo station (in Japanese). My japanese seems to have run off even further down the metaphorical toilet. Found out that badminton at uni wasn't even on today which made me glad i'd changed my mind about (3)... Sort of lost motivation to work after that and (7) ended up taking a nap for about an hour.

Woke up, had to move the car (which i did) and did a little bit more (1) reading, then Lung msged to see if i wanted to (8) play badminton at Donvale, which after a few hours trying to look at a law textbook seemed like a pretty good idea. It then hit me that i knew next to nothing about how to answer the questions for the test i was studying for, but by then it was time for (2) at which point Alex messaged to tell me he couldn't come, leaving Chris, Michelle and i to puzzle it out.

After talking ourselves around in circles for about 45 minutes, (9) Charles luckily happened to be wondering around the LRC and came in to say hello. I say luckily because after talking to him for about 10 minutes we sort of realised we'd been on completely the wrong track and (we think) we are now on the right one. For some reason the LRC closed at 6pm so we thought we'd be smart and (10) move our disccusion to level 2 of the law building. But (11) we got kicked out about security 30 minutes later. Still, i guess we have a better idea of what we're doing than before at least.

After standing outside the law building for a bit, the three of us (Chris, Michelle and I) ended up (12) going eat KFC for dinner before we headed off. I think that's only the second time i've had KFC at uni this semester... (although i've probably been making up by having fried oily things from other places recently). On the way home, catastrophe struck again. Well okay not quite, but another change of plans. Lung called to tell me it looked like (8) badminton at donvale wasn't on. Actually apparently it didn't really look like anything at all, because he was just standing in the hall with all the lights off, but i think that was a pretty good indication of it not happening tonight. (^_^) So, we had the brilliant idea of instead popping over to (13) badminton at the doncaster hall. Which was a good idea until we realised since we were so late it might already be full ... But thankfully about 10 mins later Lung got there and called to give it the all green.

Got home just before 11pm, lacking motivation to read any more law ended up (14) watching some more 'Good Luck' (a Japanese drama) and (15) eating some more dinner before (16) starting to write this blog.

So in summary:
Today I managed to partially accomplish (1); got through (2) with minor ammendments (see (10) and (11)); decided to skip (3), ended up doing everything from (4) - (16) except for (8) which was replaced by (13). And all in all had a pretty good day.

And you know... that is starting to sound a lot like a judge interpreting legislation. (@_@) Note the clear conclusion but the lack of coherence to the common person in all parts preceding it ... Ahem, now i'm really rambling. I think it's time for me to get some sleep.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

More birthdays and beaches

So what's been up in my life in the last week or so? Well a lot of law reading and uni related stuff mainly. But funnily enough the two most interesting things once again involve beaches and birthdays. The easter break is here already - after only about a month back at uni - which is good since it gives me a chance to start catching up, and bad since it means we're going to have another 9 straight weeks of semester afterwards. I plan to start research for my assignments in the coming week...

On Wednesday this week i tried to go to this japanese language exchange session in the city; but when i got there i found it empty... guess they decided it was too close to the easter break. Luckily, Nancy convinced me to go shopping with her beforehand (where i ended up buying a pair of sneakers) so at least my hanging around until 7 o clock in the city wasn't a complete waste of time. On Thursday I was looking forward to having a nice relaxing end to the week, but got called into work all of a sudden because a couple of ppl were sick. Work was rather uneventful except for a rather spectacularly out of whack till count at the end of day...

Saturday night was when the fun began though. One of the girls at work, Ann, had her last shift and we all went out for a drink at Highpoint.


Drinks, pool and friends is usually a pretty good recipe for some fun - and i think it was a nice little farewell for Ann. From there, Mel, Ez and I grabbed some fast food for dinner and headed off to Chris and Eddie's 21st.

Me n Chris the birthday boy


The place was actually a breakfast/lunch place but they hired it out for special occasions at night, which meant it was a bit makeshift, but nice cozy place nonetheless. When we got there we were one of the first to arrive so it felt a bit funny having the whole place to ourselves, but it soon filled up and got quite lively.

Here is a photo of (probably) the only two sober people there (i.e. the responsible ones who gave us a lift home), Michelle and my sis Mel. Thanks for putting up with us all nite!


Of course, not having to worry at all about how to get home, with a nice big bar tab the alcohol was soon flowing pretty freely. Alex on the right here had a bit of a hard time giving a speech when he couldn't really stand straight... or at all really. He provided everyone with plenty of entertainment though~


I think i drank a bit too much too. Somehow I felt fine for most of the night until it all suddenly hit me... I think it must have been some weird side effect of eating Nandos chicken and beer cancelling out the effect of shots. Or they were using weird alcohol to make the drinks. Or something. I can remember everything from the start of the night quite clearly, but nothing from the end ... hmmm. I really don't know how everyone else fared, but by what i've heard there was plenty of other incapacitated drunk people around other than me haha.

I presume Sam here is closing Soh's mouth to stop him dribbling or something.


Not everyone was completely drunk though. I think. With the exception of Alex hanging in the background there, the rest of the crew here (Lisa, Susan, Michael and Bernice) all seemed to hold up well. All in all i (and most other people there too) had a fantastic night out. Big cheers to Chris and Eddie for hosting the party. And big happy birthdays too!


Today (Sunday) i woke up really nice and early and was feeling great - especially compared to how i was feeling by the end of last night. The weather wasn't fantastic, but it wasn't bad either so Sam, Soh, Grace and I headed down south to the beach. The drive took an hour and a bit but it went quite quickly since there was four of us to keep tihngs lively. We ended up not swimming a whole heap since it was quite cold, but Sam brought a long a soccer ball which kept us entertained for quite a while. We ended up stopping by to play some pool on the way home, before grabbing some dinner at a shanghainese place in Boxhill. Was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon - but now i think it's about time for me to start knuckling down and getting started on some revision/research :( ~

Anyway, till next time!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Beaches and Birthdays

Well i finally decided that it's about that time again so here's something new for all you people out there to read. I was just flicking through my last few posts and realised that i never even posted anything about my little trip to Torquay (which is a place down south by the coast for you non-Melbournians ^_^).

I went with my family (mum, dad, sis and grandma) right after i got back from Japan and basically just lay around recovering from my last hectic week on exchange for a couple of days. Was really nice though - especially when the weather cleared up.

Here's a shot of the sign at the front of 'The Sands' Golf Resort down there


And of course, this is the reason why most people come to Torquay (pronounced Tor-kee). The beaches. Although i have a feeling we may not have been at the right one judging by the lack of people.


Still, having the beach almost all to yourself is definitely not a bad thing. It was a pity i spent so much time sleeping and not down there enjoying the sun on the sand...


And the place even looks chill at night too ~ One of these days i've got to organise a trip down with some friends


In more recent news, on saturday just passed, my friend Nancy had her 21st where there was lots of food, friends and funny speeches. Except for the one i gave, which was a bit hopeless because i only managed to write it about 10 minutes before i got there hehe. Oh well, ad lib all the way eh?

Myself, the birthday girl Nancy and Ez


Variety food ... The thing on the left is a piece of good ol' KFC. The Japanese stuff on the right was meant to be justification for eating oily things (like KFC hehe)




Rear: Me, Jon, Ez, Sam, Front: Clare, Nancy and Amelia. And if you look close you can see the cool personalised cakes she had... Although i must say that eating a piece of cake with that cat on it was a bit weird haha


Anyway time to go; keep in touch and take care all~

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Sticker Pictures

Finally got round to scanning some of the sticker photos that i took while i was on exchange ... Can't think of anything intelligent to blog right now so the pic will have to do ~

Monday, March 14, 2005

I wish blogging counted as studying

And i'm sure a lot of you people reading this do too. Okay, so that wasn't such a deep and meaningful point. Leave me alone, it's late. The reason i'm actually writing tihs post is I'm sitting here at 2am (still making up excuses not to do my law reading) wondering what happened to my weekend... It went really quick i guess coz from work on Thurs/Fri till now it's been pretty much full of fun stuff to do.

Friday nite went out to have some pancakes wif Clare and friends (altho in the end i didn't end up eating any pancakes ...) Nice relaxing nite, and saw Ez and Tez and stuff there too ... On the way home I thought i'd go through the booze-buses set up on the freeway just for fun; bad idea. The police had blocked off two lanes (or was it three...) which sort of caused this massive traffic jam that reached back almost to the freeway entrance. Wasted about 15 minutes sitting in it.

Saturday, i had a nice sleep in and went to badminton training in the afternoon. Was going to go to see the Moomba 50th aniversary fireworks, but ended up being too lazy/tired to drive out. Later on i went with Mel to Sange's birthday at Frostbites which was quite fun (happy birthday Sangeee!). Unfortunately everyone seemed to have to leave quite early so we didn't stay too late either. But, inspired by Liang, i decided to get a doner kebab on the way home from the stall on the corner of Wetherby/Doncaster Rd - was yum (thanks Lung - definitely gonna go there more often).

Today, i thought i'd stay home and catch up on law reading. Instead, i ended up going over to my uncle's place after lunch to help set up his wireless network. That somehow took until it was time to go to my cousin Bernard's 21st family dinner thingo... And i actually remembered to take my camera along and take some photos there ~!

Here's lotsa ppl doing what we normally do at family gaterhings: eat


And this is *what* we were eating... well mainly - there were various other non-meat things too ^_^


The three golden rats (i.e. born in 1984, the year of the rat):
Bernard, Carl and myself


While Bernard's younger brother Daron went out to borrow some DVDs, Carl and I decided to take over his MSN and have some fun pretending to be him... Daron came back half way through our little session but luckily didn't seem to annoyed about it hehe. Reminds me of one time when i was still living up in Sydney, some friends and i convinced some guy from Poland to call our friend down the street...

Eventually we got tired of it though and ended up watching Eurotrip which was another one of those teen movies - but it was quite funny nonetheless. It still amazes me at how many films were inspired by American Pie. Oh well, i guess if it makes people laugh why not ~

Have i bored you with details yet? Well *someone* was complaining that my blogs were getting too short so i hope this has given you a bit more to read (and more to look at) if you've nothing better to do ^_^. Nite all!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Back to work

I had my second shift back at work today. Things are starting to fall back into place again - but there's still a lot of things that i've forgotten. The interesting thing is, at the moment there is actually a whole heap of different 'new' people there. First there's a couple of people who are actually new staff and have been around for maybe a month or so. Then there's myself, who's back after a six-month absence. Then comes Annie who was out for 12 months with some uni work experience programme and has just started again a week or two ago. And then, one of our older staff members, Carol, has just started back too after a 3 year absence.

So i guess i really shouldn't be complaining about having forgotten stuff huh.

As a totally unrelated aside, here's a photo i took the other day when i was feeling a little bit bored:
Dusk from my sister's room


Oh and I got a pleasant surprise the other day when i went to get myself some dinner at my regular chinese takeaway place in the foodcourt. They recognised me and were like, 'we haven't seen you for a long time!' and gave me staff discount too hehe. Although, considering i think i used to eat there about two out of every three days i worked, that might not be so amazing hehe. Busy was probably kinda slow without me around ^_^

In other news i'm still trying to decide whether or not i should stop playing badminton seriously. I've kind of lost the drive to really improve lately (which requires a lot more training), and i don't see a lot of point in just hanging around at the same level any longer. Especially with uni this year i don't know if i should be spending my time unproductively... Anyway i guess i will sleep on it.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Debriefings...

After the flurry of activity over my last few weeks in Japan, this place has become sadly quiet recently. I've been trying to convince myself that the reason i haven't been writing in my blog is because i want to keep it as an unblemished memory of my exchange experience in Tokyo. But i'm starting to realise that the real reason is far more mundane: i've just been too lazy to update it.

So, starting today i'm going to try to keep it updated with some sort of frequency - although I think it will rather unfortunately not be as bright and interesting as I settle into my life of reading law text books and judgments back here at Uni in Australia.

And why the sudden realisation? Well today after class i managed to find my way (after getting lost and having to ask for directions...) to the study abroad/exchange returnee debriefing session. My law class was until late though so i only actually caught the last 15 minutes of the two hour session. Still i think they must have saved the best for last. So for any of you who might have been, or are still on, exchange here's some words of wisdom that i took out of the session:

Don't put your experience of exchange neatly on the shelf and move on as you settle back into life at home. Make use of it. Find ways to use some of the skills you acquired in your time away. Get involved with incoming exchangees. Give something back to the programme that you got so much out of. And most of all, don't forget it.

Now that probably sounds like a whole lot of rather unastounding, common sense stuff - but when you suddenly yank yourself out of your life as an exchangee and suddenly find yourself back home it's very easy to forget. Especially with all the different sorts of pressures you may have to face after a lengthy absence. Friends change. Or maybe you have. Things don't work the same way as you remember. And perhaps what is most frustrating, is that you really can't properly convey the experience to anybody who has never been on exchange. It's a really strange feeling to be home but feel so alone. I can't count the number of times i've been asked 'so how was your exchange?'... Good? Great? Fun? I really don't know. It's like asking 'so how has the last six-months of your life been?' as a greeting. And in the midst of all that uni starts and you have no choice but to do your best to adapt to the way things run and leave the memories for later.

The thing that was really good about today's session was to find some people there who i could really relate to - even if i'd never met them and they had been to completely different corners of the globe for their exchanges. It's funny how we all seem to have the same sort of problems settling back in to life at home.

After the debriefing, there was an exchange student welcome party of sorts (or maybe, judging from the turn out, it was more like a welcome home party) at Pug Mahoney's Pub down the street from Uni. Caught up with a couple of people who had also been in Japan for the last six-months/year and had a few laughs over things there. And to top it all off, i met a japanese girl there who's on exchange from Sophia University who knows my friend Jerry! Coincidence? Perhaps. But it definitely made me think 'i'm glad i bothered spending that extra bit of effort finding the debriefing session...' It reminded me of one of the most important things (i think) i learnt from my exchange: life is what you make of it - and if so much of life rests on chance, it is up to you to grab hold and make the most of it.

So what are you doing sitting here still reading this? Go and do something productive ^^

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Even more farewells

I only managed to fit in four of my farewells in the last post. There was actually one more little goodbye when i got home that night to the dorm. Despite being told about how awesome the view was from the roof of the dorm, i'd somehow managed to neglect to go up there in the five months of my stay in Japan... at least until then. It's really beautiful up there even though it's only 6 levels high - because there are no other tall building to block the view.

This is looking towards the station - that tall building on the left overlooks Shinkawasaki-eki


This is looking out towards Yokohama (i think...) Oh and i figured out how to stop my photos turning yellow at night too haha


Now the thing about the roof is there's actually a higher little tower thing you can climb up to where the lightning rod is (you know, the pole that sticks out of buildings so that lightning hits it instead of the building). That gives you an even better - albeit more windy - vantage point.

Here's Aaron and Ben taking it all in


Cheh and myself braving out the wind up there


All in all was real sad to have to say bye to the guys. Had a great time with everyone and hopefully one day we'll all meet up again... By the time we decided that it was too windy up there it was around 3 or 4am i think - which unfortunately left Ben no time to sleep before his plane ride out to Thailand. I did manage to get myself a bit of sleep before getting up early to finish off my packing tho. In the morning, i gave all my remaining cutlery/pots/and other miscellaneous things to Jakob (thanks Jakob!~) and had a nice last chat in my room. Hongo-san came up to make sure everything was going ok and brought me a whole lot of chocolates to take home too. I'm really grateful for being able to stay at Plume IS - it really was more than just accommodation, it felt like my second home.

Mrs Hongo and myself in my almost-ready-to-leave room


Sohei came to help me take all my luggage to the station at about 12.30 and i said my last farewell in the dorm standing in front of the elevator to Jakob - which was funny because i think it was right there that i met him; the very first person i met from the dorm. Down at the entrance with Hongo-san


My last meal in Japan was at a nice sushi place in Kawasaki where i had this assorted thing which consisted of sushi, salad, tempura and some miso soup. Definitely left me with some fond memories of the food...


Sohei and myself just before we started eating...



Sohei dropped me off at the station in true japanese-style: right on time to catch the Airport Narita train - which took me all the way to my last stop in Japan~