Monday, April 27, 2009

Hong Kong

Hiya peeps.
It's your favorite neighborhood otaku (computer geek) signing in from Hong Kong.
It's the last leg of today's journey and I'm glad it's almost over.

By the way, I'm starting to feel the heat.
It was 14 degrees this morning in Fukuoka and last time I checked, it's 34 degrees in Manila.

I'm in Taiwan at the moment... @@

Yep, that's right.

I'm in Terminal I of Taoyuan airport. I'm here cuz I have to take three transit flights to get to the Philippines (cheaper that way). So that's Fukuoka-Taipei-Hong Kong-Manila. So I'm just gonna be in the airport for an hour.

Nevertheless, it feels surreal to be back here after six months, and most of all, just passing through! Anyhow, just wanna share what I feel.

Next stop: Hong Kong.

I hope they have wireless Internet connection cuz my Japanese phone doesn't work overseas.


I took the night bus and have just arrived in Fukuoka, where I will be catching my flight in a couple of hours.

I'm writing this entry from my cellphone.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I will be away for two weeks starting Monday to attend my grandmother's funeral.

I have been making the necessary arrangements for the past few days (tickets, reentry permits, etc.)

I guess the reality of the situation hasn't hit me yet cuz I am so far away.

Overall, however, I am at peace because my grandmother lived a full life (she was about 90 years old) and I feel relieved knowing that she doesn't have to continue suffering as the cancer has been causing her much pain towards the end.

I will always carry her in my memory as the person who taught me the value of saving money, who peeled oranges for me when I was little, who gave me my first chance to walk on the streetr without an adult companion, who speaks English and Filipino with a cute accent, and many more. 〓

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Miniatur Wunderland

I realize that this has nothing to do with Japan, but I just wanted to share this video about the impressive Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany

Monday, April 13, 2009


Was browsing through books at the local bookstore yesterday when I came across this.
The two pages following the cover page was so funny I had to share this with you!
As an added bonus, the book's helpful for learning Japanese, too!
Give a holler if you're interested in reading the book!

...and tell me what you think!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pork chops

For dinner I made pork chops the way my dad makes them.
It was my first try but I think I came really close to the real thing, around 90% I would say.
I'm just so proud of myself I called my mom and my dad to brag.

Reading material

I woke up at around noon today and was trying to force myself to wake up so I lied down on my carpet and that brought my attention to the pile of reading materials waiting to be read (see picture). I categorized them into three classifications: (left to right) pleasure reading (mostly in English), Japanese, and research-related.

I counted down the remaining months I have left in Kagoshima (around four months... sob) and was filled with a determination to plow through the three piles of reading materials before the end of my stay. That way I can bring back with me those that I still need and discard those that I don't need.

That surge of energy got me through three hours of reading various materials. Lol, I haven't gone this long without going online for quite some time now.

I'm proud of myself :P

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Potential thesis topic?

After two and a half years of being a master's student, I finally came up with a potential topic that could potentially become my thesis topic.

I was watching Ghostbusters (the movie) the other day and was surprised to find that I still remember parts of the song. That led me to reflect on how I learn and use English. I usually refer back to lyrics that I have in my head instead of regurgitating grammar rules when I get stuck constructing sentences.

So I thought, could memorizing songs be the best way to learn a language? I hypothesize that through this method, one can not only learn vocabulary words, grammar constructions, and pronunciation, but also retain it for a longer period of time!

So, now I'm ready to test this hypothesis and I want to do a pilot study on this. I will do it with Japanese and if anyone else wants to do this with me with any language, do tell me. My plan is to memorize one song per week, learn vocabulary words by looking up their meanings on the dictionary, learning grammatical constructions through the forms presented in the lyrics, and practice pronunciation by repeatedly singing along with the song. At the same time, I will be keeping a journal to write down any thoughts and ideas (about the learning process, frustrations, small victories, etc.) during the process.

Any feedback and suggestions are most welcome.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring and cherry blossoms at IUK

The cherry blossoms (sakura) in Kagoshima is in full bloom, and IUK is no exception.
I took some really good pictures, too!

Look at the petals on the grass. They look like snow, don't you think?

This is building no. 6, where the graduate school labs and classrooms are located.

This is the view from the deck by the outdoor cafe.

From left: Souzen, me, Hiroshi (new guy from Taiwan), and Hayashi.

The path that leads to the main entrance.

The cherry blossoms looks really pretty especially with the blue sky as the backdrop... :P

March 15: Makurazaki + Yamakawa trip

I wanted to post this although the trip was from last month.
I got a message from Hiromitsu one day saying that they're going out for soba noodles and to the hot springs after and asked whether I would want to join them. I happen to be craving for some zarusoba, soba noodles served cold with a dip.

So here it is:

Here's what the soba place looked like from the outside. Very Japanese.

The dips came first. The one on the left is for the soba noodles, while the one on the right is for the tempura.

Nice interior.

Me and Hiromitsu.

The zarusoba and tempura set cost around 1000 yen and was very filling.

I love the clouds above the soba place!

This is what I love most about living in Kagoshima... :)

Hiromitsu and Ryousuke started working this month so this was probably our last trip in a while, though... :(

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Volunteer weekend at Hakkenmura

Last weekend, I took part in a volunteer event with Hakkenmura, which is an organization that is dedicated to providing assistance and shelter to homeless people in Japan.

I didn't really understood what I was in for when I told my friend Ayumi that I will be joining her for the volunteer event. It was only later that I understood that we will be asking for donations for the homeless at Tenmonkan, which is located downtown. Two hours later, we collected 65,606 yen for the homeless. It was pretty interesting that most of those who donated money were young males. Who would've thought?

The pictures are, again, out of sequence, so I'll comment on each picture in turn:

This picture was take at the press conference signaling the official establishment of the Kagoshima branch of Hakkenmura. Suffice to say, I was not able to understand most of what was being said... :P

After the donation event and before the press conference, we had dinner at a nearby pasta place. I learned how to make a chick with a wet towel (see below)

Here, we're sorting the money we collected in the afternoon

After the press conference, the volunteers were divided into teams. Each team went to a different area in Kagoshima City to find homeless people, give them information about the organization, and give them some food. My team went to Taniyama and consisted of me, Ayumi, Prof. Batoh, a professor of Economics at IUK, and three other males whose names I forgot (@@)... Two of those males used to live on the streets themselves so they knew where the homeless spend the night. I was surprised that we were able to find 4 in Taniyama alone. According to the official statistics they presented at the press conference, there are at least 100 homeless people in Kagoshima City alone.

This next picture was taken at Chuo Park. The volunteers, people from Hakkenmura, and even some of the former and current homeless people helped out in making lunch and snacks for hanami (flower watching).

I remember thinking to myself that day that I wasn't able to differentiate between the homeless and the volunteers at times because everyone helped out in cooking the food and cleaning afterwards. It was also interesting to see that starving as they were, the homeless sat quietly in front of the food offered to them and waited until they were told that it was okay to start eating. I don't think the same thing could happen in many other countries.

The man in the checkered shirt at the leftmost corner in the last picture is called Wada. He cooked for nearly three hours that day and probably did not eat much. I still don't know whether he's homeless or not, but I do know that I am immensely impressed by his cooking skills and his willingness to do things without asking for anything in return.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Zhao's best shots?

In a previous post, I posted a photo that me and Trisha both agree is probably the best shot we have of Faiz to date here.

So, today I was going through my pictures and saw a couple of shots I have of Zhao that may be his best yet (at least in my camera). See if you agree! :)