catching up

It’s been a while.

 

2016-10-05-15-01-02
you missed the typhoon that hit the university’s bike, what violence

 

I’ve been away on Friday, joining the Rotary of Kyushu for some more awesome opportunities. I’ll make it short but it was basically a lot of Chinese/Nagasaki food on Friday, with a tour in the Peace Park and the Atomic Bomb Museum (which I’ve finally done), a talk from a survivor (which hurt right in the gut) and a night festival with some awesome locations. We were given the first seats to see dances and all the events associated with the Kunchi matsuri. This is an autumn festival, happening yearly for 380 years, with a lot of performances. It’s hard to describe but it was sure impressive to see and I didn’t use any of my seat privileges since I was too busy sitting on the raw floor in front of the performers to get some nice pictures.

[you’ll get the pictures when i’ll be done going through the 9xx pictures i took…]

We slept in a hotel, in a traditional Japanese room, offering us a beautiful view on Nagasaki. Being in the outside onsen while watching the city was definitely a magic experience. The sunrise and the light waking us up through the window was also largely appreciated.

2016-10-08-07-10-14-1

2016-10-08-07-10-17

The whole thing was a bit overshadowed by the fact that my DSLR once more gave up on me. This time for some intern electronic mishaps and the rest of the pictures of the day were taken by phone.

Not that much of a problem because at 9 we were gone to Huis Ten Bosch, a gigantic theme park in the middle of Kyushu.

2016-10-08 11.00.21.jpg

A theme park about the Netherlands. A freaking park about the Netherlands. With replicas of churches from Utrecht, train stations from Amsterdam and canals everywhere.

2016-10-08-11-02-15

2016-10-08-10-40-45

The funny thing is that everything is larger than the actual thing in the Netherlands. The canals are wider, the houses bigger with more spaces and the streets seem luxurious when really, the whole thing is covered with bikes ready to drive over you.

2016-10-08-11-27-54

 

2016-10-08-10-48-14
with the beautiful raincoat

 

To add some reality to the whole theme experience, it was raining that day. And not a little bit. The Rotary being really prepared, each of us got a raincoat and we were ready to walk along the streets. I was with a Rotex (studying in my university and living in my dorm!!) who went to the USA and another one who just came back from exchange from the USA as well. We kind of made it a mission to focus our 4 hours visit on food and we started by getting frozen yoghurt. Later on, we tried every free food sample the park had to offer, and let me tell you, they had a lot.

 

2016-10-08-11-44-53
mind you, i only ate one of those and it was enough to make me sick
2016-10-08-13-35-29
free sample of castella, Nagasaki’s sponge cake (declined into a dozens of flavours)(tried them all, of course)
2016-10-08-13-55-49
we continue the weird tasting with cheese and weird toppings

 

We tried everything. At least I did. I even went overboard and when it was time to hop on the bus back, I felt sick as hell. The good thing is that my intern illness waited for me to arrive home to release the kraken and I suffered long 13 hours of food poisoning. I think I ate something I shouldn’t have and all the sugar/fat I added onto it didn’t help.

 

I woke up on Sunday, and I needed to get up at some point so I did. I ran some errands with my bike and inexorably ended up at the food stalls of the festival. It was the last day and I absolutely wanted to try some of the food they had. Stuff like taiyaki (fish-shaped red bean paste cakes) are only found there and this is some of the stuff I love the most.

2016-10-09-14-20-15

 

2016-10-09-15-26-00
taiyaki #thegraal

 

So I buckled up my body disagreements (and avoided to tell my mom that no, I didn’t follow a coke and rice diet, but rather a « festival-food based-diet » 24 hours after my food poisoning) and ate some of the stuff I really wanted. No one died in the end and I survived the aftershock pretty well.

I went back to sleep for a dozen of hours and woke up fresh like a flower on Monday morning. Great timing, Monday is a holiday day and the weather finally started to get fresher.

 

It is only 25 degrees in the apartment now in the morning, far from the 33 degrees of last week. Sleeping at night with the window open even felt a bit frisky, which is an appreciated sensation after weeks of Indian summer.

 

 

Autumn is definitely around the corner.

2016-10-10-15-15-07

I went for a walk and gifted myself to a lunch outside to a nearby coffee. I then walked some kilometers to the center to try another French cake shop (where I got so much free cake, because the lady was excited that I was French)(and they were all very kind)(and the cakes good) and finally, I joined some friends to the top of Inasayama. It’s a very popular spot in Nagasaki and it took me a good month to finally see it, and oh my, it was so worth it!

2016-10-10-17-33-15

2016-10-10-17-33-49

2016-10-10-17-34-14

The view was amazing and the sunset to die for. These shades of oranges shifting to pink progressively, and the reflection of the sun on the sea and the nearby islands was just a treat for the eyes. The fainting light on the city and the port was also pretty sweet, and overall, it was a nice way to end the day.

2016-10-10-17-28-10

2016-10-10-17-42-45

2016-10-10-18-05-34

Publicités

like a rainbow

As soon as classes started, I finished all of them today. 8 classes crammed in 3 days, schedule got approved by my university (now waiting for my home university to accept the unchangeable :D) and I am now free!

 

DSC_6963.jpg
the view from the biggest building of the university (through construction fenses)

How to describe the classes? Most of the classes in English started by the teacher scanning the class and looking terribly disappointed when he eyed a non-Asian person. He then proceeds to let out of his mouth some bitter words: « Do you… speak Japanese? »

We shake our heads.

He sighs.

« Alright… I… I wanted to do the course in Japanese if… if there were only Japanese people… But… okay… I’ll do it in English… I guess… »

Yes. Let’s make a real course in English, and not just write it on paper for the government to be proud of ‘so many Japanese universities offering courses in English’!

The classes in Japanese were way more interesting, the subjects helping: « Gender and Human Rights », « Asian Languages and Cultures » and « European Languages and Cultures » (with in addition a « Dutch Culture », 3 hours per week all in Japanese). It does take quite a big effort to understand because there are a lot of unknown vocabularies and I spent a good deal of time writing it down. But damn, it was interesting. I’m sad the language barrier (may it be for Japanese teachers or Japanese students) is so strong that they have to dumb the content of courses in English. Unfortunately, I have to take the courses because I need the credits, so interesting or not, I’ll take them.

So far, the content of the classes seems alright. Let’s be honest, it’s done the Japanese way. Students show up in class and proceed to gently fall asleep for an hour and a half. No one takes notes, they just stare in front of them while the teacher ignores the rest of the room and talks mindlessly. Once the class is over, students stand up and leave. So does the teacher, and everyone goes to their next class, to do the same thing over. Repeat that 6 times a day, and you have a classical day at university.

DSC_6962.jpg

Of course, all courses aren’t the same. Dutch Culture is taught by a naturalized Japanese (born Dutch) and he’s doing his classes the Western way. What does it mean? He knows people will lose their attention, and he tries to do something about it. He makes the class interactive, asks questions, makes jokes and he succeeded to hold a class for 3 hours without anyone falling asleep. And damn, it’s a challenge when the class is from 4 to 7 on a Wednesday.

The first course of Gender and Human Rights was taught by a Mongolese-born Chinese, living in Japan (with a flawless, flawless Japanese) and she’s just the most interesting person to listen to. Fair enough, there is a lot of things I don’t understand in detail but I get the main idea, and this makes me very happy. In general, I think I have a total of 8 hours of classes in Japanese. So even though I might not understand all of it, my ears are gonna hear real and (hopefully) interesting Japanese for 8 hours a week. The only challenge is to keep the motivation of catching and writing down the words I don’t know.

And write reports and pass exams. This is the most important part.

Since no one takes notes, I have no pressure taking actual notes during class. Everything is done with handouts. The biggest challenge will be to write something coherent in a limited amount of time. But you know, I don’t want to things in half, so I’ll do my best to keep things serious. After all, I need to deserve the 4-days weekend I built myself for the next 6 months.

School (almost) sorted out, I decided to take my life in my hands and go eat cake. Yes, again some could say. It’s true and the workouts I’ve done so far do not excuse them but I felt like celebrating life for a while there.

 

dsc_6964
getting closer to the station
dsc_6974
dejima warf

 

I heard about a cafe during the Dutch evening party and I wanted to check it out. Unfortunately, it was closed but I found something else on the side, while the area was completely busy preparing for Kunchi, one of the biggest festival of Nagasaki. It lasts 3 days and it has food stalls everywhere.

DSC_6983.jpg

DSC_6992.jpg

DSC_6977.jpg

Happiness in a bucket.

dsc_7000

dsc_6984

Angie joined me (German fellow) and we enjoyed some lovely view in front of a sea sunset. My, I want this to be life. Cool atmosphere near the sea with sweet treats and good company.

 

dsc_7010
yes, there is a face on that café

dsc_7008

The terrace wasn’t really busy and we stayed there for a while, enjoying the surroundings. When the sun set, we walked around the port and I was able to get some cool shots.

 

dsc_7024
#losingmytan #no #comeback

dsc_7025

dsc_7035

I re-discovered the concept of ‘night’ and the amazing feeling it is to walk at night in a T-shirt and shorts, with a slight breeze and not even the slight worry of getting harassed. We were just stopping there and there to take pictures, me trying to get countless long posed shots. Running to get the cruise ferry taking out of the port for its next destination in Asia. I didn’t get a good picture but just to see this giant sea building passing the bridge of Nagasaki is a treat for the eyes and for the heart.

dsc_7059-pano

dsc_7077

DSC_7085.jpg

I came back to my dorms by bike and got lost once more in my musical life guided by some « She’s A Rainbow » as always and « Isn’t She Lovely ».

dsc_7091

dsc_7098

Damn, do I enjoy nights here in Japan. It is worry-free, liberating and it heals the soul a bit. It pushes the anxiety away for some hours and you get a taste of carefreeness.

dsc_7122

Ah, youth.

let’s celebrate the okay days

First day of class!

Woke up at 8, made myself some breakfast as well as prepared a little bento box.

10 a.m. and I was gone on my bike. It wasn’t too humid outside and I was just strolling on the sound of the Rolling Stones onto a new day. I arrived and found my way to the tallest building of the campus, a 13-flour structure.

Stepped into one of my fellow Dutch student and we had class together. We entered the room and we gently sat down among the 10 other Asian students. The teacher arrived and seemed surprise to see us. The course is « Japanese-English Contrastive Linguistic » (and yes, it is as amazing as it sounds, so much fun) and it is supposed to be in English. The professor mutters some words and looking at us, ask us if we can speak some Japanese. We shake our heads and he then repeats: do you want the class to be in English?

 

Well, you know, it’s written it’s supposed to be in English. So I’d say, yes? Pretty please?

It’s in a broken English that he gave us the syllabus, all in Japanese. Then he went on to talk about English grammar, translating the sentences into Japanese. I was lost from the beginning to the end. Ditransitive verbs, compound structures and their equivalent in Japanese. The differences between ‘will be’ and ‘will be going to’ translated in Japanese (I tried to guess and I got almost all of them wrong 😬). We were given papers to translate and after a long stare, the teacher told us to just talk about it. We did it seriously, even though I wasn’t in my element at all. It felt like going back to Junior High School with grammar structures I am unaware of. But not in French, this time it’s in English and Japanese ahah.

Ahah.

 

DSC_6877.jpg
eyeing the faraway cafeteria bento

 

The class ends and we leave. We sit outside to eat a bit and we’re joined by a Hong Kong exchange student (Kiki!) but unfortunately, I realized that we weren’t really inclusive and spent most of our time talking about how we were screwed if the courses supposed to be in English were already in Japanese…

While we had lunch, the cats of the neighbourhood all got very interested in Kiki’s onigiri and she was a bit startled by them.

DSC_6878.jpg

We went to check out the gym afterwards because after that we were told that there was no gym in this university, we wanted to see for ourselves. And guess what, there is one! It is legit from the 50s though because the equipment is very old and there are like 3 machines (one of them is broken). I went over each one with my Dutch mate to try to understand what does what. Even though we are going to some stone age period, I’ll give it a try. I wanna get strong a bit and train a bit my upper body (I’m good with the legs, I need to be able to carry something with my arms now!)

So we’ll see how that goes, but I’d be very curious to start and try. We discovered some more stone age work out tools outside and I couldn’t resist to immortalize it.

 

DSC_6880.jpg
man, working out in nagasaki is like time-travel

 

We went back to the AC building to wait for our next class. This time, this one was crazily full: Peace and Conflicts. A class that really seemed promising. I even found back my German friend Betsy!

The only problem was that the teacher was speaking REALLY slowly and he spent 20 minutes warning the Japanese students that the course was in English in case someone made any mistakes and that they should change if they have any difficulty. Damn, it starts well when a teacher goes like « you can still change uh ». (we were also tempted to play a game and take a shot every time he pronounced the word English. We would have been dead drunk on the 3rd minute)

Followed 90 minutes of rumbling about three-dimensional relationships, cooperative, aggressive and business (hello randomness). The class ended with a dozen of people asleep and international students joking about many things (I am shamefully included in that)(there’s like 30 seconds break between each word of the lecturer, so I wasn’t missing anything)

After the class, I quickly ran home with my bike to put my stuff away and I went out again, with my loyal headphones and a fiery sky.

dsc_6890

dsc_6894

I was invited to a dinner to celebrate a Dutch celebration that happens every 3 October in Leiden, and we were kind of celebrating from afar with all the Dutch of Nagasaki (and me). On the way, I couldn’t help but stop to take some pictures. Damn, it was pretty.

dsc_6912-2

 

dsc_6914
even caught a tiny rainbow in the sky

 

dsc_6923

At the Izakaya, I met back with Evelien (the Dutch girl I left with), Jim (he’s doing Japanese studies in Leiden and he’s on exchange), Yamashita (Dutch professor) as well as a couple (Jessica and Ron) installed in Nagasaki since May and another professor and his wife who I haven’t caught the name.

I arrived a bit late because I had to run to the station to withdraw some money, and found my seat on the opposite of the other students. I was then next to Jessica, Ron and this professor’s wife, and it was pretty nice!

Jessica and Ron were the kindest people and damn, I found so much helpfulness tonight! I got a lot of recommendations of nice places to go with my mom, or by myself (real coffee place!), great career advice in general and some inspiring thoughts in general. We also had some great food, Izakaya style, with many dishes arriving on the table through the evening. Chicken on stick, kara-age, sashimi, salads, sake, ume-shu (I’m in love with it now) etc… I left the evening with a smile, happy to hop back on my bike for a 30mn ride in a cool night with great soundtrack to accompany me.

12489.jpg

I’m a bit sad it took me to be 10 000km away to appreciate a bit Dutch culture. But it feels like in such a different country, it’s the closest you can get to home and you just go with the flow more easily. Maybe the Netherlands is also so close to France that the comparison happens very fast and critics can be harsh. But it was nice to talk about how we missed bread and cheese, even though we do not have the same conception of it, we all cannot find the things we want here.

I think I don’t really miss French food anymore. Of course, I’d love some raclette at any time but I have learnt to go with what’s around and in the worst of case, I have been blessed with two hands and I can cook for myself. Won’t be as good and I’ll mess it up sometimes, but it’s a good way to avoid homesickness and get busy by recreating the tastes you miss. A funny thing is that no matter what I cook, my roommates ask me if it’s French. For my 4th year abroad, the only way I can describe my cooking is ‘it’s international’. I mix soy sauce with curry powder, add some garlic powder and nutmeg in there. No heavy cream or butter (I’m not too into that anymore) but some olive oil to recreate the Mediterranean diet and I’m looking forward discovering some more culinary tools from other countries of Asia. I want to taste kimchi, I want to taste the Taiwanese gyoza and all that. I have many more flavours to discover!

dsc_6953

dsc_6957

Thus conclude the day, on a sweet breeze of the wind at night, feeling powerful and carefree as ever.

dsc_6948

dsc_6949

With the advice I was given, I want to invest into a camera that I can take video with. Recently, I was asked to give permission to use a part of a timelapse I’ve done to German TV and I want to get more serious with it. I want to experiment and make good use of the money I received. I am still thinking about what to get and where to get used cameras that fit into my budget so it is a process but it is really occupying my mind. I want to get better and do more!

 

Motivation kicked back and I am so happy. The stress is still looming back  there but it’s not on the spotlight anymore and I’ll try to make it last 😉

 

In today’s episode; we cook some aubergine thing

Hi there.

DSC_6848.jpg

I woke up around 8:30, not feeling very fresh but definitely ready to welcome my mysterious visitor at 9. Someone rings and I open the door. It’s a girl my age but nobody seems to know her in my apartment. She then starts to explain and everything come to place.

The shop I sent my lens for repair did not have my phone number and did not communicate by email (I was told the contrary, but alright!) Therefore they sent out one of their personal, here a girl from my university having a side-job to this camera shop, and she came all the way to my dorm to deliver me some news; the cost of repair of my lens (I still feel awful that it’s been barely two weeks and I’ve already broken one of my lens.) Thankfully, it is far from the hundreds and hundreds of euros I was told in most of the shop, and I biked to the physical location of the store in the afternoon to tell them I’d go with the repair. Yay!

 

dsc_6841
on the way to the camera store

 

dsc_6842
it’s 30 degrees and very humid, i’m having a lot of fun on my bike for 30mn #sweat

 

dsc_6844
much heat, much clouds, so much fun

 

Once this encounter over, and multiple multiple thanks to have come all this way to give me the information on a Sunday morning, I go on with my day. Nothing exciting except some culinary recipe that I found some weeks ago and have done three times so far. So let’s go!

 

Aubergine thing

I’ll let you click on the pictures because we are an interactive blog here.

Step 1:

 

Step 2:

 

aubergine-5
look at the temperature and despair because it’s only 9:41 god damnit

 

 

Step 3:

 

Step 4:

 

Step 5:

 

Step 6:

 

Done with my little morning cooking, I went for some grocery shopping and brought back enough to make a Green Tea Chiffon Cake. I mentioned it some days ago and the peer pressure was strong enough for me not to wait any longer and I made it today with Yuuka, my roommate. This is the third day in a row that I am eating like a monster, ugh.

But anyway, we worked our arm muscles and beat the egg whites to make them raise, and we baked two small and beautiful chiffon cakes.

DSC_6850.jpg

 

Then I’ll keep it short, but it was a real mess to organize something for dinner. It took hours but eventually, we ate. So yay, mission success!

 

dsc_6853
take a good look at these homemade gyoza, because they got completely destroyed while cooking

dsc_6854

 

 

dsc_6855
seven people cooking in a small kitchen, today’s challenge (and challenge for many days to come it seems)

 

 

dsc_6859
setting up the table with the aubergines and what is left of the gyoza after burning them

 

And the result, with the homemade dessert (accompanied with vanilla ice cream and homemade anko -red bean paste- 😉 )

dsc_6860

 

dsc_6863
#yes #goalcake #someonemakethatforme #illmarryyou #welldiscussthetermsmaybefirstbutyougettheidea #millenials #theyusethesedamnhashtagsallthetime #cantreadathingwithoutspace #ugh #sorrymomanddad

 

We ended up the dinner with alcohol (but it’s a secret, the foreigners being the only ones ‘old enough’ to drink legally) and some conversation I wasn’t too much into. The evening was really nice but the subjects of conversations weren’t too crazy.

 

dsc_6870
we shall not give up to the victory sign. not this time

 

 

dsc_6871
 i don’t really know what we went for there

 

 

dsc_6873
peach liquor and then plum!

 

The evening ended (I guiltily kind of pushed it to an end. We already lost one person gone to her room to talk to her family and drunk conversations with Japanese girls isn’t fun, it’s all gossips about people we don’t know 😦 ) and it’s with excrutiating bellies that we waved goodbye to the girls of the other apartment and we wished each other good luck for tomorrow.

 

Tomorrow is Monday.

 

Back to university 😬

#yes #comeanddestroyme #mybodyisfulloffood #imreadytobesad

knock knock, it’s october

Woke up with a migraine, the same of the previous days. Definitely, the change in the weather is not doing me any favours.

The sky was blue outside but it quickly turned back to low clouds and high humidity. I went for grammar as the other mornings and made myself some lunch with a salad. (you can be sure I am chewing these expensive grape tomatoes with a very high level of consciousness)(it doesn’t taste better to do that though)

DSC_6791.jpg

In the afternoon, after my roommates were in a good enough state to go outside, we went to buy trash cans. I kind of forced the idea because I couldn’t fathom the fact that we were going to live out of plastic bags in the living room for six months. Amazingly, this is how they have all been living so far, but really, I think trash cans are a fabulous invention and we should use the technology we have. So let’s buy these plastic containers with an opening on top that allows you to gently put your trash without having it in the eyes of the world.

The choice was hard. There was like 2 options at best, but we still took the time to stare at them for a while in the shop. My mind was boiling inside, but so be it, let’s stare at the two trash cans and wonder which one we should pick.

 

Making decisions in Japan is a tough process.

 

When we finally decided, we went back home and I was kind of caught into to the conversation « what should we eat tonight », shared between my apartment and the one next to us. I understood that they were all very friends and were sometimes cooking together, but so far it looks like any meal opportunity is the chance to gather at 8 and cook. Far away went the idea to have a light dinner and to portion control (because I am terrible in social gatherings, I just keep eating out of anxiety) tonight. I mean, the cooking was fun, except for the fact that it was just my roommate and I cooking in our apartment, and Evelien joined us. Later, the other eaters joined once the dinner was ready.

dsc_6794

dsc_6797

And I ate a lot. It was very good, but still.

dsc_6804

dsc_6803

On the menu tonight, Hayashi Rice (a sort of beef meat, onion, red wine and tomato sauce stew) and a sort of Japanese potato salad (with a lot, a lot of mayonnaise). As usual, I finished the evening with an inflated belly and the classical ‘never again’. When shall I learn?

dsc_6806

 

dsc_6809
we don’t really have the cute factor yet

 

It was overall a nice evening, even though once more, I can feel the harsh divide between the interests of 18 years-old and 21 years-old. I hope I don’t sound like an old grumpy and bitter person already, but it is hard to keep up with subjects in Japanese that aren’t really captivating. No deep conversation about anything, just really light and ‘meaningless’ talks (does anyone want to talk about France is handling terrorism right now? Or the Brexit? Or the American elections? I have a lot to say on that!!)

 

I do think I sound like a bitter person. I wish sometimes I could see Japan as I saw it the first time I arrived there. Now it feels like the novelty has faded and I am left with the harsh things to digest. It certainly doesn’t help that I have this migraine following me and difficult relations with the university. My hope is that when this will be sorted out, I will finally be able to relax and focus my mind and energy on enjoying my surroundings.

For now, I have some gulps of air within the sea of worries I put myself into. I need to reach safe grounds instead of just pulling my head out of the water for a while. May it be a boat, a raft or a shore, I’ll take anything.

 

10:30 p.m.

 

A knock on my door. « Some of my friends will come at 9 to meet you.’

I’m in the process of applying moisturizer on half on my face when I muffle a « what? »

« Yeah, my friends, I mean not really, we don’t really talk but, uh, they’re coming tomorrow at 9 to meet you. Is that too early? »

« I guess no. I’ll go to bed early then. »

 

« Great, see you tomorrow, good night! »

 

 

 

Wait, what? Who am I meeting at 9? Why? Do you know these people? Why at 9 on a Sunday morning?

ok, it did get better today

oh my, I can’t believe it but it got better!

 

so I didn’t sleep well. Woke up around 10 with the same headache, chilling with me these past three days. I was awake at 6 because of the sunrise and at 7 because of loud roommates. So I didn’t get much sleep and was awake only after half the morning was already gone. I had a lazy start with two chapters of grammar before I decided to take my bike and go to the city center and buy some battery for my dictionary and some eye mask to sleep past 6 a.m.

dsc_6763

dsc_6764

dsc_6765

There was some sort of ‘coffee fair’ in front of the train station with coffee degustation and food trucks!! I never saw that in Japan before and I kind of got hyped up so I had to get something… I went for a green-tea/red beans crepe and I talked a bit with the owner who was definitely really kind.

dsc_6766

dsc_6767

I had just enough time to bike back to the university, pick up the necessary papers for the courses registration and hop up onto the second registration.

 

 

There was very little new information 😬

 

It took a lot of time, with very few interesting pieces of information in it. Most of the stuff explained should have been explained two weeks ago. It’s a bit too late to tell us now how the trash works, but alright, we’re okay hearing it for the third time. 😬

 

After the two hours passed, we were invited to a welcome student party, and I have to say that the staff of Nagasaki University tried really hard to make it enjoyable and they succeeded! Even though they are completely stuck in this spiral of bureaucracy (where rules are the rules, and the moment something is not written in the rules, it is complete fucking utter space and no one understands what is going on and you’re left with a « sorry, you can’t do that ») and it is literally killing everyone’s patience and creativity, tonight was a good experience!

 

Never thought I’d see a piece of light in this tunnel (even though it’s more like a window on the outside until the descent continues).

 

We were all the international students from all the faculties (including medicine!) and it was a mix of Koreans, Chinese, Taiwanese, Hong Kongese, Malaysians, Brunei (met 2 of them, adorable!), Egyptians (3 super enthusiastic people), Nigeria, Uganda and our little group of Europeans (some British, German, Dutch, French, Belgium, Italian so far). I tried to go out of my way and ended up talking to quite a few nationalities (I am patting my shoulder for having the courage to go around and talk to people I don’t know.)

I also enjoyed the opportunity to stuff myself with all the free chocolate there was to eat. This was basically my dinner.

The welcome party was basically a chance for us to all meet and I was very happy to go out of my circle because inevitably, there was a divide between Asians and Europeans, and most of the people stayed with their own nationalities/people they knew. There’s also the fact that the Europeans all speak English while the Asians speak already quite a bit of Japanese.

Overall, good event and I even met a professor that studied at Leiden University and who, naturalized Japanese, now works at Nagasaki University. He invited us to drink a beer after the event. It’s with 2 Dutch, 1 Belgium, 1 German and 2 Japanese that we went there, and all had more or less a link with the Netherlands, so there was a lot of Dutch involved. The fact that somehow I ended up there makes me smile.

dsc_6776

dsc_6777

dsc_6778

We went to a bar I heard a lot about and the evening was really nice as well. The professor was pretty helpful about our situation and with the help of some of the students, I was able to identify a bit more precisely which courses I could take. It does feel like I’m doing the cold chicken, but I was straight up told that I would fail the courses I would take in Japanese. It was hard and no exception was made for international students.

I, therefore, managed to reduce the amount of courses in Japanese to 2 only. I gave up some interesting subjects for way less interesting ones, but I feel like getting the credits is going to be way more difficult than I thought if they fail you without hesitation here…  The professor let me have one of his classes and this evening ended up easing my panic a little bit. Now, I just need to manage 2 classes in Japanese and validate them! (+ the 6 others ones in English)

Somehow in my head, it feels easier than 4 classes in Japanese. We’ll see… But I was glad to have some guidance on the courses. I was told that the teacher of one the class was pretty bad/not understood by anyone and since his subject is Humanity and Cosmology, I’m not gonna risk that one…

dsc_6780

dsc_6781

dsc_6783

 

So yeah, things were a bit clearer. Still have to wait for October 13th to be sure, but you know, we’ll get there eventually. At least having one professor supporting us lifted a big big big weight out of my shoulder. I mean, I don’t think much can be done, but just the moral support was tremendous.

I was told that the Japanese teacher I had a meeting with, has quite a reputation and she said to the other Dutch students that our worries were just drama 😬   So maybe this is just her, and I’ll just keep my distance from now on.

DSC_6785.jpg

After the bar, we parted and I went to the common room of one of the international houses with 2 Dutch, 1 German, 1 Ukrainian, 1 Australian and 1 Japanese to play some card version of the Werewolf with beers and a little bit of food.

dsc_6786

dsc_6787

We played up to 1 a.m. and damn, if you knew how much it felt good. I have been in such a shit hole lately and getting my mind out of it (even though I kind of turned the whole dinner into a ‘let’s find a solution’ evening…) is like getting wings. I am flying away from my worries and I can look at them from afar.

I just need to get the courses approved, then we’ll be good. Then, I’ll just have to work as best as I can to validate everything.

 

It can be done. I’ll try at least, you can be sure.

The song She’s A Rainbow of the Rolling Stones suddenly reappeared and I was just strolling around today with this jewel in my ears. It’s not that hot anymore and being outside is doable so I am enjoying the return of my ‘sound-tracked’ life.

 

Let’s make it last through the weekend before the university nightmare comes back Monday and destroys all of my schedule plans 😬  #cantwait #yes #ruinallofmyplans #loveit #illendupseppukuanyway

it just gets better everyday

Today was honestly another source of despair.

Day started quietly by grammar (ahah…) where I finished the first very beginner book. Now that the really basic bases have been written and reviewed, time to upgrade it.

Made myself some lunch before joining my two German crew at the university in the early afternoon. Angie gave me a booklet that was describing the courses (what we should have been given months ago) and I was able to re-adjust some of the wishes I wanted to make course-wise. I mean, it’s still quite complicated as half of my courses are in Japanese, but at least the other half is in English.

 

DSC_6754.jpg
cafeteria meal the girls ate

 

Then, we had the orientation. I will not describe it. It was a pure joke, lasting two hours. 40 exchange students, and 30 Japanese students tutors.

A guy showed up and was giving the explanations while another lady from the administration was translating. At every step of the course registration procedure or anything university related, she was punctuating the translation with a: « I don’t know why you have to do that but… », or « I know it is useless but… » and even better « I’m sorry, I don’t know why you need to get the approval of 3 people for each course you want to take. »

 

So yes. I still don’t know my time schedule. Nor the classes I’m allowed to take. The way it works is that you show up to class and you beg the teacher to accept you. That’s the first approval you need. Once you’ve done it with all the classes you need (8 in my case), you need to have your supervisor’s approval. So far, it seems like it’s just another person in the administration. When this is done, you need to get the administration approval. This needs to be done before October 13th.

Mind you, at the same time, I need to make sure my home university accepts these courses.

 

 

I swear, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be crying in a corner.

 

This university is a joke and even Japanese students at the end stood up to say they didn’t understand a word of the class registration process. We were all asked to go out and the orientation was over.

 

This place is a pit of anxiety, nothing else.

 

DSC_6756.jpg
let’s stare at the cats of the university to relax, ok?

 

I went home at 7:00 p.m., and since there was a plan to make dinner with my roommates, I waited for them to come home. They were actually asleep and it’s only towards 9 that we could eat. I was starving but the homemade-ness of the meal was really worth it. We made some niku-jaga, a mix of beef, potatoes, onions and carrots cooked together, along with some Japanese soup and rice. I felt like I just re-tasted this part of Japanese cuisine that I like so much. The simplicity of a homemade meal.

DSC_6760.jpg

We stayed awake until 11:30 p.m. to prepare in the common room the birthday of one of the guy from the dormitory. We were around 8 girls, decorating the room and laying out the cakes. Evelien and I got some weird look from girls that never saw us before and the atmosphere was a bit strange at times, but overall everyone was very friendly and it was hard not to feel included!

‘Ken-Chan’ arrived, we sang happy birthday and ate a piece of cake. He turned 19 and he was gifted two bottles of wisky. Thank god the drinking age is 20 in Japan 😉