Fairly good fortune

Now it happened what I was afraid of. I got sick! I caught a cold and my nose is running and someone is tickling my throat. Here people wear masks to either protect other people from getting sick or they are trying to protect themselves from getting sick from others. I was wondering before that if I get sick should I wear a mask as well.. but I just can’t. Just the image of me wearing a mask seems bizarre and ridiculous. I hope no one is afraid of me or think I am disgusting when I am blowing my nose or sneezing… I try to do it secretly.. :-D

Anyways I am glad that I didn’t get sick when my friend was here visiting me. I was very happy that she came here although it made me a bit homesick afterwards. I miss my amazing friends! She was here 4,5 days and I think we were able to see lots of things. We spent half a day in Osaka and the rest of the days in Kyoto and Otsu. The best thing we did was definitely having a “photoshoot” in a special photobooth. 99% of the instructions were in Japanese so we had a blast while trying to succeed to modify the photographs and try to get them printed. We got two sheets of photographs which costed only 400 yen (2,9 euros). Here’s the result:

Beauty Photoshoot

The decoration got a bit out of hands but it was so much fun. We have also now very weird alter ego names due to the fact the we panicked and just pressed some buttons (Japanese characters) in order to get something on the screen. That’s how we became Seshike & Suekonefu.

In Osaka we visited the Pokemon Center, Osaka Castle and Shinsaibashi (the shopping street) which according to some people and internet pages are the main attractions in Osaka (in addition to the Universal Studios Japan). I was so surprised how “silent” the city was because it is the third biggest city in Japan. But later we found out that the main action was under the ground. I’ve never experienced such a thing that there are more people underground than on the ground! During the daylight the city didn’t impress me but I’ve heard I should experience the nightlife so maybe my next visit will be directed to experience the bars and the clubs of Osaka.

In Kyoto we visited the Golden Pavilion Kinkakuji, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Heian Shrinethe Bamboo Forest, the Gion area and the downtown. I knew that I wouldn’t be the best guide here but I was surprised how challenging it actually is to move around the city. It is hard to manage time and sometimes even the public transportation. When to go and where to go… This is definitely the most challenging place so far in my life where I really can’t understand anything around me, the signs, the language, and so on…. Although living is at times a bit tiring and challenging here, it offers memorable experiences and adventures :-)
And we saw five Geishas!!! I don’t know if they were Geishas or Maikos (“Geisha students”) but we were so lucky. At least once I am in the right place in the right time.

I have also managed to use my nonexistent Japanese language skills and had even a small conversion which didn’t last long but encouraged me enough to believe that one day I might be able to actually communicate in Japanese in complete and clear sentences, haha.

I made a mistake and bought a ticket of fortune forecasting. How depressing :-D It says that I should give up about love, haha. Apropos… Let’s all cross our fingers and say a little prayer that hopefully the two nice persons are still ahead and that I haven’t met them. And that I won’t lose anything…

Fairly Good luck 2 Fairly Good luck

Here are few pictures from last weekend (Kyoto & Osaka):

Tomorrow we will have a Halloween party! My “costume” is still a work-in-process.. I couldn’t find today what I was looking for but I am hopeful that I’ll find it tomorrow.. Hopefully I succeed finding it and hopefully I will succeed in what I am trying to do :-D

I’ve been also surprised how excited the Japanese are about Halloween. At least having parties with the Halloween theme because I saw already last weekend many people wearing Halloween costumes in the nightlife.

Anyways.. Happy Halloween everyone :-)


Study, Explore & Experience

My weekdays are almost the same every week. I just go to the classes and then do the homework and study Japanese a lot. Finally I’ve learned hiragana and katakana and last week we started studying kanji. I am terrified… Assumably by the end of the semester I will know around 200 kanji characters. There are thousands of them in total… But it is very rewarding to study Japanese because the feeling is so great when you understand even a bit and specially when you find something new from the supermarket that you are able to eat. I don’t eat meat (red & white meat) so sometimes it is really depressing to try to find food because you can’t surely tell what’s inside the food.But now I am also able to ask ;-)

I also went to the university gym and the gym was quite well equipped so I think I’ll start going there weekly. I am also thinking about going to play basketball but it is not easy to find basketball shoes in my living area. Even one of the players said they buy their shoes from the internet. I actually have ordered shoes but the process is still not clear :-D I’ve been receiving long emails in Japanese from the online store so I will let you know if I actually succeed in getting the shoes.

Couple of weeks ago we went to Arashiyama where we visited Monkey Park and Bamboo forest. The Bamboo forest was breathtaking, and also the Monkey Park was great! The monkeys live on a mountain and visitors can visit the park and hang around with the monkeys. I also gave them bananas :-D They were so cute.




Bohemian rhapsody

I’ve been here so far a month but it doesn’t feel like I’ve been here for so long. Now that the courses have started and I have a some sort of a daily routine the time seems to fly. I have classes every day but on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I have only one class which is perfect start and end of the school week. For the first week we were able to go to classes and check what the teachers say about their courses and after the first week we had to enroll for the courses. I chose first 11 courses but I am dropping off two so in total I’ll have 9 courses. We will study all the courses through the semester and in the end of the semester we will have exams or reports. We have one class of 90 minutes every week. I have three courses of Japanese language so I am expecting to actually learn some Japanese during my stay here :-D

I remember reading earlier this year an article about the hardness of different languages and I remember that Japanese was in the category of “the hardest language to learn”. I can totally agree with that. So far the writing system is still a mystery to me but I become ridiculously happy when I am able to read something although I might not understand the meaning of the word. I get the same reaction if I understand what someone is saying in Japanese or if I spot a familiar word. I believe that I can learn the basic grammar quite easily and the pronunciation (you pronounce Japanese words the same way like Finnish words) but learning the words can be a struggle.

Watashi no namae wa Jaana desu. Watashi wa finrandojin desu.
My name is Jaana. I am Finnish.

Easy, right?

This week we will have another welcome party in another dormitory (there are five dormitories which equals five different welcome parties). Last weekend after the dormitory party we decided to stay in the city for the whole night. Our last train leaves from Kyoto Station around 00:30am and the first train starts to work around 5am so we really need to decide whether we want to go home early or stay up the whole night. After the dormitory party most people from the party went to a bar where you can sing karaoke. Before that we were able to lose one of us (still no one really knows how it happened) but we found him outside when were changing the bar to another place. Later we decided to go and rent a private karaoke room which is very popular here. People usually go there to sing or to sleep and wait for the first train of the morning. We did both :-D Mainly boys were singing and the girls were enjoying the show and sleeping a bit. There were also some small music instruments. The Japanese really love karaoke and singing, which was a surprise to me. Some even go and practice alone in order to improve their singing skill. So cute! I will be truly surprised if I will ever sing publicly.

Today I had a happy moment when we got gym accesses, yey!!! We had to take part in a “training room orientation workshop” which was held, of course, in Japanese but there was a person who was able to explain to us in English that how does the gym system work. It made me SO HAPPY. The Japanese part lasted 30 minutes and I could see that the instructor was also making demonstrations of how to use the gym equipment.. :-)
There will always be professionals who can help us if we want to ask about techniques and also a physiotherapist.

I am also planning to go to check out the basketball practices but I need some encouragement. I’ll keep you updated if I ever am brave enough to go and play.

Sorry no pics this time! Have a nice week :-)

PS. We had a small typhoon here on a night between Sunday and Monday. Because of it first two lectures were cancelled. It is usually a precaution when there are typhoons and if the typhoon is strong there might be more cancelled classes.