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This is how it goes… Mai 25, 2008

Posted by Izabela in Updates.
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To be honest,I wanted to finish the article about Sumo this weekend.

It didn’t happen,basically because my computer went offline for unknown reasons yesterday.

 Today I’ve  uploaded some videos/pictures on a.e youtube (check out username: easychan….) and wanted to start writing the articles right after having finished a little bit of reading (for the moment I’m reading among others some comics to,at least,get away from textbook Japanese….) when I realized that my electronic dictionary (denshi jisho) had decided to die on me.Yes,indeed,it’s broken,G*d,am I p*ssed of right now. So I spent the next 2 hours reading reviews for denshi jishos and comparing prices (in Jap.).So,that was basically my day.

The article will therefore have to wait,first I need a new denshi jisho. Probably I will just get the same model,most propably in Akihabara.

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Report 12 Mai 14, 2008

Posted by Izabela in Misc.
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Yesterday I participated in another „nomikai“ with students who are learning (or interested in) German.
Luckily,I did know about it in advance (althought only by chance…a Japanese friend of mine ran into me and asked if I too would be there…of cause,I wouldn’t want to miss that for all the tea in China….) so that I didn’t eat anything to have some room left for the tasty Japanese specialities served at such places.

This one took place at „Murasaki“ (a „izakaya“ not far away from the Hanno Main Station) and lasted from 5.30 p.m until the restaurant closed at about 1 am and we left.

God,that was totally worth it.

Japanese drinks are very nice,You can actually drink a LOT of them without getting really drunk or having a nasty hang-over the next day.

(Or perhaps we European students just have a lot of practice,too? )

If You are in Japan and do not visit a an „izakaya“ it’s like not having been in Japan at all I think.

Some of us went for some more fun (propably Karaoke….) but I and my two

European fellow students took a taxi-ride home because we had some lessons today. Well, to be honest, I nearly overleapt but somehow managed to get up nethertheless,propably because I fell out of my bed trying to make my

alarm-clock shut up.

Than I went to the lesson, wrote a Kanjitest which (I found) was pretty easy,afterwards I went to Hanno in order to buy myself some

decent Baseball equipement,a glove,shoes with spikes and a cap (yes,I’m a girl and I’m doing Baseball for sports…more about that later 🙂 ).

The cap is the one „Twenty-one“ (my Baseball circle) uses and was a „sabisu“ (a service,meaning a freebie). With the glove I also got a „sabisu“: Normally,when you buy a good one (one made of leather) its pretty hard in the beginning.So,in order to make it more user-friendly it is sprayed with silicone and,one could say, „baked“ in a special oven. Afterwards the store-clerk puts it on and beats into the palm with a round-headed wooden club causing the glove to bend.

About the shoes: They look pretty cool,unfortunately you can’t use them for anything else then runnning around on a Baseball court  (or generally on gras).

 

So,that was ist for today,stay tuned until Sunday when I will go to see an actual Sumo match!

 

 

Report 11 Mai 14, 2008

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Otorou Matsuri in Iruma (with videos)- Coming soon!

Report 10 Mai 14, 2008

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Circle Nomikai Madness- Coming soon

Report 09 Mai 7, 2008

Posted by Izabela in Misc.
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So,at least I have some time to go on with my blogging. Here’s a short retelling about the so called „Orientation Campus“ which

lasted from April the 9th until the next day. This is a somewhat unique feature of the Surugadai University intended to help freshmen/women (of the Faculty of Contemporary Culture,but I think there is something similar for the Law or/and Economics Faculty) to have an easier start into their campus life. This years „OC“ took place in an Onsen in Gunma Pref. (the next prefecture north to Saitama) in a sweet little place the name of which I will have to look up. It started at about 8.30 p.m. First we had to meet inside the main university building where each of us was given a name plate and informed about stuff and the exact order in which everything will take place. Something like that. I wasn’t really able to pay attention because I returned late from Tokyo the day before.

Most important thing was: No booze.

Then we went to the buses which were standing just outside the campus. I was really looking forward to get some sleep but that proved difficult because first,we had to introduce ourselves.Ok,no problem.Afterwards,so-called „Advisers“ (in Japanese: „adowaiza“) were showing some informational videos about voluntary work we could do if we wanted to-I was/still am interested in that but unfortunately the video did not provide any real information but was a kind of photo slide show accompanied with loud,let’s call it,music. Real information was handed out for own reading.I still have it somewhere on my „to read“ pile.
After that, another video was shown about the school’s own so-called „Career Center“. It was about getting internships and so and entertaining because of the overstated way the actors acted (Imagine something kawaii:“Sensei,about my career,what should I do?“. Cute.)

So passed the first hour and I did not get any sleep.After about 2 hours (not counting a short stay at a motorway station which was crowded by groups of pupils and students) we reached our destination,a hotel. We went to our rooms. They were really great.

Each room was equipped with 2 beds,a bathroom,a toilet (the one that sprinkles your bottom with warm water and keeps the toilet seat warm….),a sofa,table,chairs,a TV set,a water heater and a set of tea. I was staying with 2 Chinese exchange students who are really cool (with whom I speak Japanese….). One of them made some tea for us all. I couldn’t wait to drink something refreshing but what hit senses was pure nausea. It was the refined taste of sea water combined with the flowery taste of seaweed. It was Kombu-cha (seaweed tea).

I couldn’t believe it,what the hell?! Sorry,this is something I can only eat as maki-sushi (rolled sushi). If my future children will not behave I will punish them by forcing them to drink this.That will teach them.

Did I mention there were three of us and two beds? That wasn’t a problem though because there was much space and a futon bed.Or two.

I took everything there was in the closet,spread it out on the floor and took a short nap.Or at least I was going to. About 10 minutes after I fell asleep a cleaning lady apeared out of nowhere,positioned herself somewhere near my futon and what she was saying echoed distantly through the veil of sleep.Go away…must get…sleep. She didn’t and I realized that ignoring did not work.I opend my eyes and stood up.

She told me very politely that I had put the top bed sheet upside down.Thank God,I though the hotel was burning down or something.

So she controled all sheets systematicly while I stood by and tried to sleep while doing so. No way.She kept talking about futon-connected stuff and I was too polite not to acknowledge that.I was also counting sheep in order to stiffle my growing agression which worked perfectly.So,at last,I layed myself down to…no,I didn’t,it was already time for lunch in the hotel dining hall.

There was rice with curry (although I like your mensa’s better), I ordered an extra helping

and got to know some people with whom I’m hanging out now (mostly Japanese,but also Chinese and Korean).

After the lunch we went to the nearby town. In its center you can find all kinds of different shops,a temple and hot,sulfuric springs.

There is a special bassin the hot water is directed into were you can wet your limbs which is very relaxing.

We returned after about an hour or so and spend the next 2-3 hours in a traditional room with tatami mats with some teachers and advisors. What we did there? Well,first of all we had the opportunity to talk to the professors about their courses and get their help in putting your own timetable together. This is a somewhat unique service,at public universities you have to do that by yourself (or with the help of tutors,probably). Well,several days before that we got an information package with the schedules of all courses.Unfortunately,

the way to look up something that interests you is somewhat annoying. First,you have to look up the name,or,for me,to understand what the course is about.So I sat there with my Nintendo DS and my Denshi Jisho (elect. dictionary) and translated.Ok,now you have to look up,in a different booklet,the time it will take place and than you have to check your timetable if there is an opening.

After two tries I went the other way round: I looked at my timetable,than at the second booklet. (I’ve chosen a quite interesting seminar on politics). At the LMU,you can do this online and print out your timetable.

Oh,and the exchange students were given a big cardbord poster on which,on one side,each group (from America,China,Germany) had to paint the flag of the country they were from or living in and,on the other side,some basic informations: Capital,food (what is „Haxe“ in Japanese :-D?) and such.

Then,there was the main event.

We were led into a huge convention room were already all the other students and professors were seated. First,the latter ones introduced themselves one after another. That took about 30 minutes.Afterwards,we had to introduce ourselves,one after another,in Japanese and hold up our cardbord posters no one further away than 3 metres could read anyway.

After this,the chairs were carried out and we played some party games I would like to introduce to You:

 

Drinking contest

I had been already asked back on the bus if I was going to participate in a drinking contest.Yes,of cause.Drinking….yeah,something non-alcoholic of cause.So I went with green tea.

The point of this game was to drink your beverage (juice,cola,tea-about 0.5 l) as fast as you could,afterward to run to a table and get the beverage for the next person in your group and so on until the last one finished.

My group lost,but I myself did great. Anyways,this game is pretty much fun.

Finding wierd stuff

One of each group runs to a box filled with folded papers.On each paper,something is written on f.e

„red sock“ or „blue mobile phone“. If no one has something like that,you have to go back and fetch another

folded paper and so on.If someone has something that is written on a paper he or she has to put it into a seperate box and fetch the next paper. After a set timelimit the group with the most stuff in the seperate box is the winner.

Who’s who?

Technically not a game. A number of people is seperated and the rest is given a question f.e

„Someone of this x-persons is a fan of whatever,but who?“ Than each one has to gather around the person he or she thinks fits the description.

This might be funnier if there are over 50 people who do not know each other very well and if there is something to drink.

 

Now,after all these activities,it was about 11 o’clock in the evening and I wondered already if I would be able to at least see the hot springs.

Not now. We were scheduled to have another meeting in 20 minutes or so so not time to take a nap there either.

This meeting found place a one of the normal hotel rooms in the presence of some advisors who brought some chips,cookies,beverages along with them but unfortunately forgot to bring some booze.

I’m just kidding, I did not care. If I had liked to drink some there was an automat selling beer (!) on the third floor but I did not want to break the „ru-ru“ (this is the Japanese word for „rules“, an interesting topic in itself I hopefully will be able to examine more closely some time in the future).

Well, when it comes to alcohol this excoursion was very different from everything I have participated before.

(As far as I know,an excoursion on which no alcohol had been consumated during the evenings would have made school history.Yeah,there was a „rule“ about no alcohol but there was also another: “ Don’t let yourself get caught.“ 🙂 )

I took the chance to ask about the reason for this. I imagined something like f.e drunken students demolishing hotel rooms or such.

The reason I was told is a different one.

You see, in Japan a student is part of the university he/she is attending. This seems needless to say because is seems natural,but the huge difference is that here,inapropriate behaviour of a student is also completely likely to tarnish the university’s reputation. So,to avoid that from happening, certain precautions are taken (Also,many freshmen are,from a judical point of view,not allowed to drink (or smoke) because they are under the age of 20 (!) ).

I don’t know if this is true for all Japanese universities but if so than I’m glad that in Europe,a student has to take the blame for his/her misbaviour on him/herself alone because,otherwise, our universities would be ruined. And besides,why should anyone feel ashamed because of some students of f.e German Studies just because they belong to the same university as oneself?

Anyways, the next two hours were really pleasant if not for the fact that now I really was wondering if there actually were some onsen somewhere around. It was 1 am. I was tired but nethertheless determined to get my share of the local hot springs experience.

So I went to my room,got my stuff and luckily ran into some freshmen who invited me to go with them.The onsen (hot springs) was located in the hotel basement and on its outside,one seperate for man and one for women.I had never thaught that.

So, totally not caring about anything anymore that day,I took down my clothes on the outside and got into a special room were you are to take a shower while sitting on a low bench.After that, you can immerse yourself in the pool which is located in the same room or you can go outside and use the pool there.The water is not really hot but very warm and,through a system of underground pipes, is directed into the pools.

As it is vulcanic,it has the characteristic smell and (sour) taste of sulfur.

I sat there with some other girls until about 3 o’clock in the morning and it was worth every minute.

If You ever have the chance to go to an onsen,do it and don’t miss out on it!

The next day we were already scheduled to return to Hanno. In the morning,which ment 4 hours and 30 minutes to catch up some sleep until breakfast.

It became 4 hours when,at about 7.15 a.m,were were payed a short visit by two advisors who just wanted to remind us about not coming late for breakfast. 7.15 a.m is not the best time to come when I’m putting on my trousers and looking stoned. But I was to sleepy even to get a little bit angered. Normally I’m used to something like: „Well,breakfest is at 8 o’clock,if you don’t come than you stay hungry.“

Breakfeast was „baikingu“. I first understood „biking“ and was struck with horror because sports was the least thing I was able to do now. „Baikingu“ is the Japanese exquivalent to all-you-can eat and I did.The bufet was situated on a very long table and you could choose from a wide range of food and beverages-from pancake to fruits,cornflakes,rice,salad; from juice to coffee,tea,milk and so on.

After breakfest we packed our belongings,got unto the bus and were driven home. Another video was shown about why we shoud want to participate in the preperation of the annual school festival but this time I doozed off to be awaken again shortly after to tell everyone in Japanese if and why I liked the this 1,5 days.Well, I had 4 hours of sleep during this time and I made it. That should be a good exercise for the next time we will be able to participate in the „Orientation Campus“ and to which I am looking forward to.

 

Interlude Mai 4, 2008

Posted by Izabela in Updates.
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Woah,what a week…no,two.

So many things happened I had to take care of,an sucessfully,did,but that kept me from:

1. Blogging

2. Uploading new videos

3. At last taking care of my Polish and German blogs

4. Starting the „About me“ section as well as articles about f.e  about Hanno including videos

Sorry everyone,I promise to catch up as soon as possible (my report on our tour to the onsen (hot springs) is nearly finished) so please stay tuned until then.