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THE COUNTDOWN IS ON

SIX DAYS

This time next week I will be in the process of spending my second night ever in the wonderful, busy and bustling city of Tokyo. (Because I spent one night in a Tokyo hotel room during my last trip to Japan)

I am glad to say that most things are sorted, my bag is probably about 80% packed, I got my CoE and Visa, and more or less organized my accommodation during the time before the sem houses open for orientation week…that being said, I still feel like I have so many things I still need to do before I go.

Actually the day before I start my flight to Japan is actually my 21st birthday, so I guess I am also a little preoccupied with that as well.

Anywho, I could drag out this entry, but I am kinda aiming on getting as much sleep as possible before going to Japan XD

So I am gonna take advantage of this goal now and sleep, before I go I should have at least on eupdate entry as well as the final entry for memories of the past.

Lori~~~

There is always a moment in our lives when we stop to think, and we realize “hey, I am actually quite lucky, I have some amazing friends”, this realization has been hitting me more and more often over the last few weeks as I am also starting to realize that I won’t be able to see many of these great friends of mine for a year.

Its weird, because my group of friends, I don’t get to see them that often anyway, since we all live in different states around Australia, so all our outings and meetups are planned in advance, and may happen every few months, meaning that some people need to fly or drive for long hours.

Anyway, one of these events happened last week, with about 20+ of my friends coming to South Australia from Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth.

I can honestly say, that it was just great seeing everyone before I leave, and I haven’t admitted it to now, but I actually cried as I was walking away from the airport after dropping the last leaving group at the airport.

I love everyone so much, and I am going to miss everyone even more.

Anyway, this isent just about me gushing on about my friends, believe it or not it actually does tie into a matter of my exchange.

And that being the luggage bag I brought.

First of all I will start of saying I LOVE MY LUGGAGE BAG, its been the luggage bag of my dreams ever since my first flight four or so odd years ago, it is nice and big, sturdy and strong, with a great storage layout and a ten year warranty, in the past whenever I have travelled my mother more or less forced me to buy a cheaper smaller luggage bag that usually ends up breaking after the first flight, so I have tons of old cheap luggage bags just lying around the house now, so its great to have one that is going to last.

Below are a few pictures of my bag as it was when I first brought it

My nice shiny new bag ❤

Inside my nice shiny new bag ❤ (and my cat)

Now going back to the topic of my friends, and the connection to my nice shiny new luggage bag, in what could be called a temporary lapse of judgment or insanity I decided it would be a good idea to give a few of my friends marker pens and let the scribble and write on my bag.

And hence, it ended up looking like this.

After my friends went mad with markers ❤

These are the memories I will keep

These are the words I'll Take with me

So I will never be alone

I'll treasure this and all that it represents

This was my way of always having my friends with me, and it makes my bag typically mine, some people may say it looks messy, but those thoughts and words belong to some of the people that are most important to me, it’s something that will be with me wherever I go.

Lori~

Its finally time for the next instalment of “memories of the past” I am worried that this may be a little short, especially when compared to the review of my time in Minamiechizen, but I think I am still suffering some of the after effects of my exam hell period, which means my brain doesn’t want to work properly at the moment XD

Any who, here it is. 

Kaga

After Minamiechizen I next travelled and stayed in the slightly bigger town of Kaga in the nearby Ishikawa prefecture. While staying in Kaga I actually did quite a fair bit of travelling, went to Kyoto as well as a few other nearby towns and Kanazawa, I got to see so many beautiful things during my stay in Kaga.

My host family was so amazing and caring, before arriving in Kaga I actually seriously sprained my knee while skiing, and my host family helped me get better within a few days, they also celebrated Christmas with me (on Christmas eve), and I also made some really good friends.

Kaga is also a onsen town, so almost every night I was in Kaga, but offcourse I couldn’t take my camera in there, so I don’t have any hot spring photos to share XD

As I stated earlier, when I was staying in Kaga I did a lot of travelling, I travelled to the main city in the Ishikawa prefecture, Kanazawa, with a few friends on two different occasions, we went shopping, ate amazingly expensive pasta and pizza at some Italian restaurant (we didn’t know it was so expensive when we ordered it) went to some Japanese gardens, and generally had a lot of fun. On the second trip to Kanazawa, we pretty much spent the whole day in the huge hot spring building, it was so big, I was amazed.

A Japanese Garden in Kanazawa

Then I also went on a day trip to Kyoto, it was actually the day before Christmas, so it was a very interesting new years eve for me, but it was so much fun, and I got to see so many beautiful things.

The road going into Kyoto

In a small shop on the long hike up to a Kyoto temple, I actually got in trouble for taking this photo

And offcourse I also did a bit of sightseeing around Kaga, really it is a beautiful town, on Christmas day I was taken to the Kaga gardens and some water arm museum with my host brother and two friends, some of the stuff at the museum was amazing, and the garden was beautiful and had so many fun activities.

Kaga Gardens

Shades of blue

I really hope I get the chance to visit Kaga again.

Lori~~~

I just sat my major Japanese exam for this year, I have been meaning to update this blog for a while, but I haven’t had time since I have been bogged down under study for said exam.

 But now that this exam is over, and I have handed in all of my assignments, I am now fully done with university for this semester; to think the next time I will be doing any kind of major study will be in Japan.

As for preparation for Japan several things have happened -I talked to my old host father in Tsuruga, and organized visiting there for a while during August

-Talked to a friend in Tokyo, and organized a few days in Tokyo

-Been talking to my friend Aki, and have organized a few things with him

-Decided (roughly) what classes I would like to take while at Kansai Gaidai

-Received an email from Kansai Gaidai stating that I had been accepted into the home stay program

I looked at a few luggage bags in Adelaide when I went into the city to do my exam today, I found one I really like, and really wanna buy, but my mum was hesitant for one reason or another, so I will hopefully be able to buy it in two weeks time.

But now that I am done with my exams I will be able to starting organizing all of the finer details. Also tomorrow or the next day I will upload the second instalment of “Memories Of The Past: Kaga”

I thought that with the new experience ahead of me, it would maybe be beneicial to post a little bit on my past experience in Japan.

During December 2007 and January 2008 I spent my time travelling around the rural country side prefectures of Fukui and Ishikawa in Japan, I was lucky enough to be welcomed into the houses of several great families, who still, after several years, hold a very important in heart.

 So over the next few days I will be posting a entry about my exchange to Japan during December 2007 and January 2008, it will probably be separated into three parts.

Minamiechizen

First I stayed in a small town called Minamiechizen in Fukui prefecture, this really was such a small town, especially for Japan, I myself am originally from a small town in Australia, but this was amazing. The town was just so beautifully small and quaint, everyone I met, no matter how briefly was just so kind, I think every town, no matter how big or small should be like Minamiehcizen.

Also it was such a visually beautiful place, surrounded by high mountains covered in snow with fog jumping off, a mixture of green and white and traditional buildings, I really can’t full describe how amazing it all was.   

A view of a Minamiechizen road on a random drive

That picture no way near catches the beauty of it, but sadly my photography skills failed back then.

But back on to the topic of the wonderful people there, the two host families I had in Minamiechizen were great, straight away I felt like I was part of the family, I hope I can see them again once again when I go back to Japan starting august.

The view outside the window of my bedroom in Minamiechizen

 I wanna see my host nieces so much.

I got to make soba noodles from the very start of the process, it was hard work, made even harder when I got them finished, started eating them and decided I don’t like soba (I prefer udon) but it was still fun, it was one of the first things I did in Japan, so it’s a fond memory.

I got to visit the towns local small temple, it was so different that the big temples you think of when you think of Tokyo and Kyoto, it was small and oddly homely, but it was great, I was happy that it was the first shrine/temple I got to visit. 

Inside the Minamiechizen temple/shrine

Outside the Minamiechizen temple/shrine

I got to visit the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum; I don’t even know what to say about it, I had never been to a dinosaur museum before, so seeing some of the stuff on display was awe inspiring, they had everything, from small little creatures to the huge ones like mammoths and Apatosaurus.

Outside the museum

Outside the museum, its just so cute >w<

I got to have so many great experiences; it was truly such a great time of my life.

So I will end this blog with a picture of my host nieces and their friends dressing me as a ghost.

My host niece Chisa and me as a ghost

Being turned into a ghost

Lori  ~<3

Plane Ticket: GOT!!!

Finally got my plane tickets.

I will arrive at Narita airport at around 6am on Friday the 13th of August.

I am gonna give myself a few hours to get of the plane, grab my luggage, go through customs etc, then I will probably grab something to eat somewhere in the terminal then go buy a ticket for the shuttle bus, I am going to try to arrange with a friend to meet me at Shibuya station.

So in total I will probably give myself around two and a half hours, maybe even three from the time I arrive, just to do everything I need in the terminal, anyone who knows me knows I can get lost and confused easily, so this amount of time is warranted.

So I will probably try to catch the shuttle bus around 9:30 or 10am, and since the shuttle bus takes between 85minutes and 115minutes (depending on traffic) to arrive at the Shibuya drop offs, I will hopefully be able to meet my friend at around 12ish.

Ahhhh its gonna be so busy *__*

I’m lucky, it is a direct flight except for my domestic flight from Adelaide to Sydney.

I will probably arrive in Hirakata either the 29th or 30th of August So looking forward to this now.

Taken during flight from Sydney to Tokyo in 2007

 Soon I will be staring out at that view again.

Lori ❤

Watashi No Keiken

Finally I have my Kansai Gaidai exchange blog

I have been wanting to start this blog for so long now, but until this point there has always been something stopping me from doing so.

At the start when I was going through the application process my thought was “what if I don’t get in, if that’s the case this blog will just become a bad memory”, but now that the application process is done, that’s not so much of a worry anymore.

Actually I think my application process was somewhat easy compared to what I read on other blogs, the application through my university was almost absurdly easy, it was quite a while ago, but if I remember right, I just needed to fill in some basic information, one teacher reference, and to write a short two paragraph description of why I wanted to go to Japan, as well as list my top 3 choices of university…. Now for a admission…. Kansai Gaidai was actually my third choice of university, but I can explain this.

Originally I was determined on going to Nagoya University of Foreign Studies because I have a friend who I meet last time I went to Japan, who studies there, so for some reason my mind was solely concentrated on NUFS, then I randomly put down Tsukuba university as my second choice with only slight research, and Kansai Gaidai into third with no research what so ever apart from the fact that is was near Osaka and I have a friend who lives near Osaka.

Now I can say without doubt that getting my third choice was the best thing that could have happened to me, there are so many ways that Kansai Gaidai suits me better, one being the home stay program.

However initially I was upset, it meant a change in plans, luckily a friend was able to calm me down and start me thinking rationally.

After that step was complete it was onto the Kansai Gaidai application part of the process, now this had a lot more work involved in it, so many forums to fill out, essays to write…..10 passport style photos, and the dreaded teacher references, I will admit, that I had a lot of trouble chasing the teachers references, one of my teachers ended up being unavailable due to illness, and no one thought it would be good to tell me until 5 days before the deadline >.<, luckily I was able to get another teacher to quickly do the reference, but another of my references…it was pure hell, in the end it ended up being received by Kansai Gaidai….THE DAY BEFORE THE DEADLINE.

Talk about a panic attack.

But with that the application process was finally complete, and apart from the mass amount of butterflies flying around in the pit of my stomach I could relax.

I banned my mum from checking my uni email (a bad habit of hers) because I wanted to be the first one to read the next email from Kansai Gaidai, regardless to whether it was acceptance or rejection. But despite this….my mother still read it first >.<

 She tried hard to hide the fact that she read it, just coming into my room and saying I got a new email from Kansai Gaidai, but I knew straight away from the smile on her face, I went and read it anyway, shaking like crazy, but I got in.

I must say, those are the best few words I have ever read.

So anyway, now we are here, the in between point.

I have filled in my housing information, as well as my arrival information, and I am waiting for my COE before I apply for my visa in Perth or Melbourne (because Adelaide doesn’t have an embassy) I still haven’t booked my plane tickets, because I want to talk to my host families during my last stay, to see if I can go early and visit and stay with them for a few days each before I book my tickets, and I am also on the hunt for a good new luggage bag, not a BIG W cheapie that I usually end up getting.

I am also trying to finish of my last few assignments for this semester, study for my last exam (this blog will be made all pretty once my assignments and exams are done), and get all the sewing I need to get done before Japan done.

 Busy times are busy, but it will all be worth it.

The second issue that delayed me from starting this blog was the naming of it, I always tend to over think these kind of things, I wanted to have a blog name that would be a emphasis on my experience while in Japan, without being cliché or cheesy.

after about a week of thinking and stressing “my experience” suddenly came into my mind, I am constantly saying it, that this will be my experience, so it finally clicked that it would be the perfect name for my blog, but I wanted it to become a bit more Japanese, so tranlasted it into Japanese and it becomes “私の経験” or in romaji “Watashi No Keiken”

To put all of this into a conclusion, I have no doubt that there will be hard times, difficult times where I wish I was home, times I wish I was home with my friends and family, but there will also be many great times, great experiences that I wouldn’t get any other way.

This is my experience; it will be what I make it.

Lori~~~<3