The last few months in a nutshell

Woah. It’s been about 8 months since I last posted. Oops. Life took over. It’s been fun, the ups and downs and the in between. Suddenly, we are midway through October and I am sort of staring at Christmas in the face. There will be better pictures and more detailed look at some stuff later on, but for now just a quick update.

Semester 1:
Sort of disastrous. I was very sick for most of the semester and had troubles keeping up with uni work. Frankly, home was a better zone. During these months, I didn’t do much besides work a lot, recuperating and then attempting to catch up with uni work.

Annual home visits:
Went home for about 10 days. Best days really. It was fun seeing family and friends again, although it felt rushed and some days I really didn’t want to go out at all.

A visit to dad’s niche reveals that time doesn’t really change anything or make things better. I can function really well, but there’s still a piece of me that’s missing and I can’t mend that.

Sis has graduated from her diploma in animation from Mages (yay!), I am so so proud of her! Her portfolio is small though and job hunt is, as any job hunt is in Singapore these days, difficult at best.

During the last few months though, she has discovered how to make amigurumi and is rather good at it. She has been selling to friends and such, but I might set up some sort of shop for her to do this a little more dedicatedly with. At the same time, I don’t want to stress her out, so this is currently in the works.

Personal projects
I have listed a few things to accomplish this year for myself. One of them was working through the recipe books I have got. Some of the outcomes looks, at best, like vomit or a pot of bracken water. But they are really nice lol! I am still trying to make the perfect fried chicken – but it’s been frustratingly bad so far. If you’re wondering why I am having so much troubles, it’s more because I want to combine a thousand flavours into that one chicken D:

The other was reading more books. Sadly, I haven’t done much in that direction, although I am getting started on a second run through with the Black Magician trilogy by Trudi Canavan. There’s been a new book since I last read the series, in it’s sequel series, so I thought its time to go through it again. Also need to re-read the southern vampire series.

Bought a number of Japanese books when I was in Osaka, and then more when I got back (mostly historical manga). Been trying to waddle through them, but I am easily distracted. Have touched some, but only a few pages each.

I was attempting to finish my ps3 games last year before the ps4 came out. Didn’t quite happen. Attempted to finish at least 5 from my pile of shame this year, only made it 3/4 through one. So terrible!

Enrolled myself in jlpt n3. As the date draws closer, I am starting to feel inept.

Anime:

This has been a good year! SÃO, log horizon both on season twos!

I watched a lot this year and a number of what I liked surprised me. First started on old school gundam. That was nice in small doses. Then
Log horizon
No game no life
Gintama
Akame ga kill
Sailormoon (old ones lol)
I have no friends
Strike the blood
Free season 1 and 2
Black bullet
Aldnoah zero
The world god only knows 1-3 (re watched the first two to remember where I was lol)
Dramatical murder
Brynhildr in the darkness
Hakkenden
Hunter x hunter.

I really got into hxh hardcore. Happened to see someone watching it on the bus in osaka, thought it looked interesting then bam, got suckered into it.

Smash 2014

Went to smash for both days! It was great! And tried ippudo for the first time! Love them pork buns! Will definitely talk about this more later

Kabuki 2014

Yet another post will be up soon about this. We did Sukeroku this year and it’s been a blast. We were asked to perform at the National Gallery (omg such recognition) and so we had 2 weekends of performance instead of one. Did a lot of cooking this year, way more than last year.

P.S Kat suited the role to a T.

Destiny the game


So one night, I was flipping through flipboard. Saw a video before destiny’s release where a guy was going trigger happy. It looked so fun, I bought it on release.

I don’t think I saw the sun much after that.

Nearly packed

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My time here is coming to an end. It is amazing how time flies so quickly, both when you are having fun and when you’re not. If you ask me, this period of time was perhaps too short to learn a language, yet it is also the longest time ever if you were just doing absolutely nothing.

The last few days have been a whirl of homework, studying, memorising and packing. Between a grammar exam and 2 10 minute presentations to prep for, I was a little flat out. Still, I managed to get the tough bit of my luggage packed – how to squeeze a thousand things into one small lugggage.

Osaka student exchange

However, there were a few regrets, of course. I wished I planned my time and money here better, so I could have enjoyed this a lot better. I wished too that I actually went through with some of my plans here, instead of lounging around, worried about some stuff. As I mentioned before, I honestly thought I wouldn’t be able to come. As I started packing my bags, the one thing I was really glad about was that I didn’t have to do this in Australia – pack my bags to go back to Singapore.

Minoh and Osaka has truly grown on me. The people here have been more than helpful and friendly, Osaka people are so warm and friendly that sometimes it borders on the line of craziness! Why would you invite a complete stranger home?!

But can I live here? One of the people I met in my journeys here asked me if I would ever come here to work and live here for the rest of my life. My answer back then and even now, I think, is still largely the same. I love Japan as a whole and it has plenty to offer me and me to her. However, I am not quite sure if I can keep pace with the life here. There are also so many social norms that I stress to remember on a daily basis, and wondered if I had broke any in every single encounter. I can’t imagine doing that for the rest of my life, although perhaps if I stay here longer, my tune might change.

Nerdy shopping

There are a few things that really stand out to me about Japan, especially living here after a short while. The amount of completely conflicting issues really baffles me.

Firstly, the thing about wasting. You see a lot of posters, letters, notes and so on reminding people not to waste, showing them ways to not waste (especially in terms of rubbish) and encouraging people to really work on their rubbish separation to cut down on wastes and makes recycling easier and so on. Tonnes of information and action.

Then you get slapped with a thousand plastic bags where ever you go. Initially I started collecting them to basically reused as in-house trash bags to be letter combined when I used their burnables trash bag. After a while, it just got ridiculous and I threw out nearly a whole burnable bag worth of plastic bags themselves!

Secondly, cleanliness. People often talk about how beautiful Singapore is and how CLEAN. Come to the housing blocks, especially the old ones, you had be wondering where the cleanliness went and where the smell is coming from (hint, it’s not the rubbish area). Coming to Japan, I have seen housewives wipe down balconies with sanitising wipes, bordering nearly on an OCD level. On the roads, it’s usually clean except on trash collection day, then there are neat piles of bags either by the side of the roads or inside the collection area. Furthermore, I have even seen old ladies forcing their dogs to squat into poo bags so they won’t be pooping on the ground.

Go to a public toilet in some outlying area, and the stench just overwhelms you, with overflowing bins and incredibly wet floor – I don’t even want to think why it’s wet.

Field trip to Takayama, 2014

Perhaps, the most infamous and interesting conflicting things of all, is how the modern co-exists with the old, classy side of Japan. It still amazes me how people still live in old, wooden houses, modelled and built in an era long gone by, and they watch plasma TVs in side there. Or, dressed to the hilt in Kimono, and they are tapping furiously away on their mobile phones. More interestingly, how teachers can co-exist in schools that has some of the best robotics programs, and not know how to use computers.

As with anything in this world, Japan has its own good and bad side. Those were not the bad stuff, but the stuff to remember that with everything, there’s something there you might not like. And it just so happens, those are the very thing I will miss about Japan too!

Of course, I will also miss the endless opportunities to visit cultural things. The opportunities to do be a part of this society that is far different from my Australian and Singaporean one.

But, I do miss my home, my bed and my job. It had be nice to be back being all independent and having an INCOME.

EXCHANGE STUDENT Q AND A PART 3

Field trip to Takayama, 2014

Weather

I love and tolerate the cold real well, so take whatever I say with a pinch of salt. E.g. I just walked out this morning, somewhere around 0 degrees, in just my summer t shirt and 3 quarter pants to throw out rubbish.

Firstly, it will get colder between the time you arrive and the time you leave, not warmer. Either get a jacket and come buy your warm gear here (I recommend Uniqlo’s heat tech… They were so warm that I started perspiring in the dead of winter. comes as good under layers, like singlets, leggings etc) or you bring a ton and be proud that you did so.

There are also those body warmer stuff that they sell here. Don’t get all excited when you first see them – You can get stashes of them from the 100 yen shop. Also, be forewarned that they can get pretty hot and you CAN hurt yourself. don’t put it on your skin or on top of a thin shirt. Someone has mildly hurt herself thanks to that idea.

That said, Osaka is still warmer than her more famous relatives further up and around. So if you intend to go travelling elsewhere, you do have to bring warmer clothes anyway.

Nerdy shopping
I want to get my nerd on, but Akihabara is so far away!

I know! So is Comiket, the winter version of which runs while you are IN country! Isn’t that so sad!? haha

Firstly, let me clear any questions about Comiket up – book your accommodation early as they do run out the closer to date you get. The same as flight tickets, as the dates do fall on and around New Year’s. The location is at Big Sight at Odaiba, it’s crappy at the best of times to get around there, and apparently it’s worse during Comiket – so stay further away at your own risk. Also, queues can get huge, so really think about organising this early.

Depending on what you fanboy/girl over, there are different locations for you to go to.

Nerdy shopping

Pokemon center, Rilakkuma shop, a small Studio Ghibli shop and Shonen Jump shop are in Umeda, the “centre” of Osaka.

If you are into manga, but live off poor uni students’ wages, I highly suggest you find and head to a nearby Book Off first. There’s one at the end of one of the bus lines, basically around Minoh station. There’s another one that’s closer to a train station but, of course, costs an extra couple of dollars to get to (Esaka train station). They sell second hand manga, some games, some cds and dvds there (although, other than books, the Esaka store doesn’t have much of everything else). They also have the 100 yen section, E.g I got a nice hardcover Harry Potter book for 100 yen – about 900 yen cheaper than the same book in the non-100 yen section.

Nerdy shopping

The rest of your fandom can probably be satisfied in Nipponbashi. I will tell you first, I accidentally walked into the tail end of Nipponbashi when I got off at the Namba station and decided to eat first before visiting Nipponbashi. While Nipponbashi is way longer than just that section (starting at an appropriately named place known as Otaku Road), I just needed a few shops to find what I want.

There’s sofmap, super potato (both shops containing second hand games, at ridiculously priced games for really rare games, like 500 yen), Kotobukiya, Volks, Animate and various other collectors’ shops for figurines, dvds, VERY SPECIAL MANGA and relevant merchandises. There are also maid cafes nearby, some even with open windows so you can watch them have fun and play games with their goshujin-samas.

Nipponbashi isn’t as crazy, loud and bright as it’s cousin, Akihabara. There are colourful posters here and there, but very sporadic in comparison. Nevertheless, you can still find awesome stuff in there that you are unlikely to find outside of Japan anyway, especially collectors’ limited edition stuff. In volks and a couple of stores, they have got space for collectors to sell their collections. Some of these things are old, some are incredibly rare and, on top of that, it’s an experience just to see people come and sell their stuff. The care they put into looking after their figurines are amazing and you can see some really have a hard time parting with their babies.

No, there’s no used pantsu vending machines here either. stop looking, gosh.

However, if you know what you want and have no interesting in mingling your perspiration with that of others, welcome to the fantastic world of online shopping in Japan. If you think it was amazing already in Australia and America and wherever corner you came from, be prepared to be further amazed.

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Some of the above shops and more have online presence (even Pokemon shops and tourist souvenirs). This also includes clothings, in case you ran out of clothes to roll around in. People also happily sell their second hand stuff online, so finding rare stuff is also possible. The fun part comes in both the shopping experience, the PAYING experience AND the shipping experience.

1) you can pay COD, in Konbini or via CC on the website. of course the abilities to do so also depends on the seller.

2) Shipping is way faster than what they declare sometimes, at, sometimes, no extra expense. e.g. I got something delivered within 24 hours of me paying, even though it was suggested it will take like 5 days.

3) Things are VERY carefully packed,no matter what those goods are.

4) Their idea of second hand/damaged is crazy – my books had a rip on the PAPER cover. REALLY TINY. but you probably can’t tell the difference if you’re the type to throw the cover away. For that, they deducted 7 dollars off the price. crazy.

This means you can, literally, shop at all times of the day, giving you more time to study or travel and experience other things.

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Personally, I usually use a mix of Amazon, Rakuten and physically going to the shops. I get plenty of discount on Amazon, Rakuten have some odd stuff that I don’t know the name of and can better find and in physical stores, you get to see the quality of the things before you pay for it :)

Current Mood: (accomplished) accomplished