Thursday, June 30, 2005

Massive Photo Update

I just realised i wrote something while i was on the Shinkansen on the way to Kyoto; so to save myself writing more here it is (plus a whole heap of photos):

"Sitting on the ‘Hikari’ Shinkansen on the way to Kyoto at the moment. We should get there at about 1pm hopefully. Things here have been quite hectic since I arrived, but lots of fun too. Here’s a short summary of what’s been going on.

Saturday
Arrived at Narita pretty much on schedule and managed (after a little bit of confusion) to exchange the rail pass vouchers and get on the next train heading to Tokyo. Was such a strange feeling when I first got on the train because the one that runs to the airport is actually the same train that I used to catch every day to go to school.

Ben met us halfway back from the station and took us back to the dorm. It turned out to be Melanie’s birthday (not my sis) that night too so after spending a couple of hours chatting in the lounge we ended up going to karaoke until quite late. Jakob kindly used his rather large backpack to sneak in a whole heap of drinks and snacks ^^ Afterwards about three quarters of us ended up going to sit by the river with some fireworks (see the pics in my previous post) and a guitar until the sun sort of came up. We managed to attract the attention of the police wondering around at the time (who strangely only told us to stop playing the guitar and said nothing about shooting fireworks off at 3am in the morning) who took down address/phone number etc but I don’t think anything eventuated from that. Let’s hope not anyway.

Sunday
Went to Akihabara to have a look around at camera prices. Because of the late night on Saturday however we only got there in the afternoon. Turned out to be some sort of music festival happening there too which was cool; car access to the main street was blocked for pedestrians, and the performers were sort of just randomly set up along the road.

At night Ben had organised dinner in Shibuya where I got to meet up with almost all my friends from last semester. The place was extremely dark but had a pretty chill atmosphere. Thinking it would be really busy Sayaka booked for us but it turned out to be almost empty aside from our bunch – which is usually a good thing because it makes it a lot easier to talk. At the dorm later that night Aaron found this interesting new thing on google which kept us entertained for quite a while. Basically it’s maps made from photographs taken by satellite up in space (I think it’s at http://maps.google.com) where we were able to zoom all the way into Aaron’s house/old school etc etc. Ben’s place we would have been able to see but for the rather annoyingly large amounts of cloud covering the photo. Unfortunately the photographs of Melbourne (and surrounding suburbs) weren’t even available at much closer than a state level.

Monday
Spent the day in Shibuya walking around. We went to the ‘109 building’ which I’d never actually been inside despite the frequent trips to Shibuya during my exchange. The whole thing (7 or so levels of shops, 1 or 2 levels of eateries) is basically aimed at Japanese girls. It’s actually a pretty good place to get a look at some Japanese fashion without having to stand outside in the heat. It’s also good for a perve ^^

Dinner was in Shibuya at も~も~パラダイス (Momo paradise) which is an all you can eat sukiyaki/shabu-shabu place that I’ve been to a number of times. Dinner was quite fun, and what’s more the ‘hot guy’ was actually working again haha. After going back there more than once to look for him Simone and Asli were quite happy ^^"


Asli and Kris at Mo-mo-paradise


What happens if you try too hard to make a funny face


Melanie and Melanie at the dorm


Sachiko and I


Afterwards at the dorm I sat in the lounge probably way too late (until about 3am) despite having to get up this morning to pack for our Kansai trip. Had a good chat/laugh with the guys from the dorm though, and even managed to meet up with Chou-san (one of the people from my class last semester).

Trying to fix computers can be tough


They were at it until about 2am ... not sure if it got fixed in the end either


Kaiten sushi sample


Kyoto Station (from the inside)


Kyoto Station (from the outside... is it just me or does that actually look like Federation Square)


Dragons are always cool, even when they spew water instead of fire


First look at the city of Kyoto


Taxis outside the station


Okonomiyaki. Yum


Mel and I at Kiyomizu-Dera


A lot of school kids at Kiyomizu-Dera


Another water-spewing dragon


The view from Kiyomizu


Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavillion)


Greenery in Japan

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Blog from J-Hoppers

I can't seem to get my laptop connected to the internet here so no pictures for now. Basically for the last couple of days we've just been doing the usual sites around Kyoto (temples, shrines etc). Unfortunately it started raining finally last night (it's actually meant to be rainy season here but so far it's been remarkably dry) ... but it was good in a way because it kept the heat down a bit while Mel and I were trekking around today.

Anyway i just found out that they DO have wireless here so hopefully i'll get it set up and post something proper with photos. Lots of photos.

Till then

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Picture Post

On the plane


Still on the plane ... but that was one cool cloud


Plane fruit salad


Fireworks and alcohol


More fireworks


Jakob and his firework


Akiba (some festival was on or something)


Japanese menus are hard to read...


REAL hard


The food still came though


Sayaka, Atsuko and Simone


Japanese cocktails own

Saturday, June 25, 2005

On the plane

Writing this feels just a little nostalgic, as I sit here on the plane on the way to Japan again. I used to write in this word file during my exchange when I had no access to the internet… Wow… Sorry, we just ran into a pretty fun bit of turbulence for about 2 minutes… Anyway, I just read through all the posts in this word document which brings back some good memories. Still can’t really believe that it’s already coming up to 6 months since I said goodbye to my life as an exchange student in Tokyo.

Anyway packing for the trip here was rather easier than I thought; which was helped largely by the fact that it’s only for a couple of weeks. Definitely beats trying to pack everything you’re going to need for the next 6 months. However, this morning I was still unfortunately looking around everywhere trying to find my little coin pouch – which in the end was not to be found. Seems like such a stupid thing to be getting worked up over, but it didn’t leave me in a very good mood this morning. Guess I’ll just grab myself another one when I see a shop selling them here ^^

The flight so far has actually gone quite quick; Mel and I managed to plan our Kansai itinerary and I’ve now got quite a collection of photos of the wonderful view of the sky out the window. I must say though, the sun really doesn’t look all that different now that we’re 30 mins from Narita compared to when we took off just over Melbourne …

I think I’m going to have to turn my laptop off soon since the descent is going to start, so I’ll leave it there for now. I’m going to try to keep a fairly regular blog until I get back home; so for all you bored people out there hopefully this will give you something to do for a few minutes every day hehe. Till then.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Moving

This morning i went down to Tullamarine with my dad to help unload some of the furniture we bought from Thailand. The trouble was the 'cartons' that the stuff was meant to come in looked like they were just hammered together in about 30 seconds each. So they sort of fell apart when you pulled too hard on one side which made things a little bit harder.

Nonetheless, we managed to get everything out in about 3 hours. I pity the poor removalists who are going to have to actually move it into our place though...

The crate


The warehouse


Thank goodness for forklifts...


Anyway, tomorrow morning i'm off to Japan for a few weeks. ^^ I better get back to packing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Realisations

Exams are two thirds of the way through for me now. Just the one paper left on friday. So far they seem to be going okay... I really need to get started on some study for it but since my exam this morning i haven't really had much motivation (not much of a surprise there huh). So instead, i've been amusing myself catching up on blog reading and email, and while i was doing that something sort of hit me - but i don't really know how to put it into words.

It's sort of like waking up a bit from a hazy dream... only to find things still kind of hazy in real life. Okay maybe i'll just stop trying to describe it and just ramble on about it ^^ (yep, that's right u guys get to read one of my rare 'thinking' posts hehe)

I just found out a friend i met in Japan has left for home a bit earlier than expected - which i guess is the beginning of the end (again) of my exchange. Japan without my exchange friends - and without a lot of my Japanese friends as well who've since graduated and are now busy in their new lives as 新入社員 (new employees) - will be a very different Japan indeed. In my short time over there, everybody else seemed to be staying on for what (at the time) seemed like an eternity longer than i was. But time has flown by as always and now its June and most of the '04-'05 exchangees are starting to think of heading back home. I think the Japan i have in my head is sort of a Japan frozen back in the time i was on exchange. And on my trip at the end of the month i was really looking forward to having the chance to revisit that dream. But today i realised that when i get back there things are probably going to be different: places will have changed; people will be different and perhaps just as significantly, i'm going to be different too.

And then reading various blogs kept by various peoples another realisation dawned on me in a similar kind of way. The middle of exam period for me has always been, not quite enjoyable, but at least not an overly unpleasant time. It's a time when i get to look at what i'm meant to have learnt in the last 12 weeks of class and actually sit down and learn some of it - without distractions of lectures to attend, and having ppl around all the time. And having an exam at the end is sort of like a challenge for myself to actually learn the stuff i'm meant to know and have something to show for it. But i think i probably take it for granted that i don't suffer from the level of stress that seems to hit a lot of people around now.

Even though probably 90% of the conversations i have with ppl from uni around now all revolve around exams and how stressed everyone is, somehow it usually never really sinks into me that people are actually feeling quite overcome by all the pressure. Maybe i'm just not very good at being empathetic but somehow it only just hit me that it really is a rather unpleasant experience to feel that there's an insurmountable barrier in front of you that no matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to see a way around. Actually thinking of it now, probably one of the ppl i talk to most (my lil sis) tends to feel the pressure like that too.. Maybe it was just being in an exam today and talking to ppl afterwards that the sense of the moment finally impressed itself on me.

Anyway, all this sort of made me think a bit more. And as thinking tends to do, it leads to more thinking. It's not so much that i discovered anything incredibly ground-shaking today, but more that i discovered something about myself. I tend to be quite critical of a lot of things when i see them and often probably don't pay things full credit - even when they deserve it. And i do that even though i'm aware that i do it (more to myself in my head than outloud) . But what was interesting today, was that i realised that perhaps more than being critical, the reason why i don't think much of a lot of things might be because i'm only seeing half the picture. The things i realised today made me think that maybe i'm living more in my own conception of the world than i'd care to admit. So if any of you do notice me doing that, please feel free give me a whack on the head and show me ^^

Oh and for those of you still struggling with your last couple of exams, good luck, and keep studying hard even if it seems like you'll never get there - because like a lot of things, you'll find that it's not until all the other parts are in place that the whole thing seems to fall together. I've done a couple of exams where it wasn't until i was IN the exam answering the question that i suddenly realised i understood. So don't despair, just put in what you can and give it your best shot. Things tend to work themselves out in the end ...

Enough from my haughty-advice-giving self for now. Till then.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Exams ...

First exam yesterday. Was a reasonably easy paper (one of the questions was word-for-word the same as a question from the mid-semester paper). BUT being me i managed to mis-manage my time and almost didn't finish. I hope my 5 min effort at the last question doesn't score too badly lol...

While we were waiting for the exam to start, we had lunch at the museum cafe next door to the exam place.

Ahah. And look what I found there.


Anyway time to get started on some law. ^^

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Swotvac

Well today is the middle of swotvac (did you know that 'to swot' means to study? ... hence the name for our week off uni before exams). I've been making myself head into uni to try to soak up some of that study enthusiasm that seems to be oozing out of everyone at the moment. And I think today it actually started working. Sort of.

After sleeping through my alarm at 8am this morning, i managed to get into uni by 12. I was actually only planning to get in by 10 so i was only 2 hours behind schedule. The problem was that when i got to the library there was already waaay to many people in there. I walked around the place for about 15 minutes before finding somewhere to sit... Not a good start. Then somehow, everytime i was just starting to get into my reading i'd get a msg from somebody. Why don't I ever seem to get any when i'm just bored sitting around doing nothing i wonder... Anyway, pre-lunch result: 2 hours in library, 30 minutes spent productively.

Lunch was another good excuse to waste some more time; went off and had some pizza wif Eric. Spent the next hour after that just walking around the law building (ran into various ppl; got my property multimedia assignment back amongst other things). Eventually though, i made myself walk over to main campus and plonked myself in the library there. And i actually stayed in there reading until about 9.30! Final result: 8 hours in the library, 5 hours spent productively. So today i was more than 50% productive. Not bad not bad ^_^

Monday had a fun nite out down at Strike Bar (for various reasons hehe)... First time bowling in a loongggg time. Which kind of showed by my impressive start of 0-0, 0-3 (or something) in my first two frames. Got better though. Slightly. Luckily by the second game my persistence was starting to pay off since my competition consisted of: Ez (who was starting to feel the effects of all that beer), Sam (who had had about 2 hours of sleep since he had an essay due that afternoon), Jasmine (who bowls so slow that the things don't seem to fall over when the ball hits them) and Tez (who just can't bowl properly anyway hehe ^^). Eric went home early to study; and Lili (friend of Jasmine) and Soh (see below) were out of my league since they actually seemed to hit at least some pins with every ball lol...

Soh showing off his bowling abilities with that ramp thing...

I'd just like to add, that after lining the slide up for a good 30 seconds, Soh managed to hit a total of about 3 pins with that ball.

We went off and grabbed some food after that on at Notturno on Lygon which was fairly ordinary but still not such a bad way to end the nite out.

Tues nite i went out to have supper at midnite with Dave and Alec and Ez. I ordered 'honey glazed pork on rice' thinking it was something different. I found out that it is apparently the english name for char-siew on rice, much to my dismay. Still, company was good and i had a good laugh - which is always good when u've been trying to study all day.

And that's about all i can think of. Catch.

Edit: I just realised, it's the first day of winter! No wonder it's so cold... And here is my nerd score:

I am nerdier than 18% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

hmmmmmm definitely been reading too much law; can't even pass the nerd test @_@

And thanks to all you ppl who took the time to answer my 'amazing' quiz hehe. If any of you haven't tried it yet and want to, pop over to http://www.bebo.com/quiz/1242092a239947241b89 (you have to register but i think you can use a fake email addy if u don't wanna put a real one in). Average score is still pretty close to my predicted 50%... who thinks they can pull it up a bit ^_^?