September 10, 2016. I attended my very first live concert…my very first J-Pop concert…and my very first Kalafina concert. So many firsts for one splendid evening!
Years ago, I fell in love with a song called Hoshikuzu, by the composer Kajiura Yuki and sung by FictionJunction. I had been watching anime for years before that, but this one song was so beautiful and so ethereal, that I wanted to understand what they were singing about by myself and not rely on lyrics I find. Sounds fleeting a motive, but it was what gave me the final push towards enrolling in Japanese classes, something I’ve been thinking about for a while but never taking the final step.
Yuki Kajiura would go on to form the group, Kalafina, who would sing some of the best songs I’ve ever come across and I’ve followed them and all their songs from the very beginning.
To be able to listen to them live was a wish that had always felt too much like a dream. But listening to the song, Hoshikuzu, starting to learn Japanese and falling in love with that infuriating and exquisite language brought me to Japan.
We know how to collect the stardust from a yearning, lonely and sleepless night
Fireworks in summer is one of Japan’s most famous experiences. It is in every anime I’ve watched so far and it has been in my bucket-list forever.
I’m in Japan right now; so I was definitely going to see hanabi. In summer, there are firework shows almost everyday, but I decided on the biggest show around my area, the Nishinippon Ohori Koen Fireworks Festival!
‘450,000 visited last year’ O_O Well then…
Today was perfect. Parks and castles (ruins anyway) and museums and godzilla and yakisoba and anime! Living the fangirl life!
Ohori Koen and Maizuru Koen are gorgeous and ridiculously huge parks, located right in the middle of the city! The number of people jogging and exercising in the sun was ridiculous though. I was sweating just sitting under a canopy.
Anyway, on to the best part….’Godzilla at the Museum: Creative Tracks of Daikaiju’ exhibit at the Fukuoka Art Museum!
…and this awful, suffocating heat.
Today, I spent the day at a Primary School in Japan as a part of my course.To be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to it, but I ended up having a grand day! The kids were so cute and so proper and really wonderful to be around! I had a bespectacled 11-year old boy as my guide for the day and I was basically dying from cuteness the whole time! And of course, I was comparing all the anime schools I’ve seen with the real one and internally squeeing!
Golden Week in Japan in the one week which has 4 National Holidays (April 29, May 3, 4, 5) and is considered the most popular for traveling etc. I’ve been hearing about Golden Week for a long time but this year I actually spent it in Japan. \^_^/ I used it to travel and visit surrounding places around Fukuoka.
Here are the places that I visited during the golden week:
Friday, 29th April
Dazaifu Shrine, Fukuoka (blog)
Kyushu National Musueum, Fukuoka (blog)
Saturday, 30th April
Sunday, 1st May
Disaster Prevention Center, Fukuoka
Momochi Beach, Fukuoka
Monday, 2nd May
Uminonakamichi Seaside Park, Fukuoka (blog)
Tuesday, 3rd May
Suikyou Shrine, Fukuoka
Kushida Shrine, Fukuoka
Hakata Canal City, Fukuoka
Wednesday, 4th May
Kawachi Fujien Wisteria Gardens (blog)
Hakata Dontaku Parade, Fukuoka
Pretty good for a week, right? 😀
It has been 10 days since I came to Japan to study at Kyushu University. Weirdly, it feels like a much longer time. Japan and life in Japan, is everything I imagined it to be and so much more.
The first week was mainly full of administrative procedures like residence certificate, bank accounts, insurance etc. There are numerous procedures and everything is very detailed, almost to an irritating degree. I’m beginning to understand what meticulous actually means. But, though it is detailed, the process is smooth and everyone is very helpful and understanding.
My dorm room is tiny but brilliantly designed that there is enough space for everything and does not feel cramped. It even has a spacious balcony. Being a corner room on the ninth floor, I also have fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. I’m beginning to get used to living by myself. Since the campus is farther away from the city, it is very quiet and peaceful. It is also surrounded by mountains with a few old-fashioned Japanese homes.
The weather is the most problematic for me. It changes hugely with every day. Last week, one day was very rainy, the next was very windy and sunny, and then the next very cold. I’m not used to the cold, especially when it is very windy. But, I’m much better this week than the last, so I hope I can get used to it gradually!
So does, Japan live up to my imagination? Yes, it most certainly does!
Things that have really impressed me about Japan – weird and wonderful!
- People really do go out of their way to help you. I got lost on my way to class one day and had a professor walk two floors up with me to actually take me to the class instead of just explaining the way.
- Everyone is unfailingly polite. At all times. And they bow a lot! I end up bowing back a lot too because it feels incredibly rude not to.
- It is incredibly clean and incredibly beautiful.
- Everyone is so fashionable and impeccably dressed. And I’m not even in Tokyo. Sometimes I feel like a hobo walking among them.
- I don’t understand the need for a lot of the administrative procedures or even some specific procedures at the ATMs, where to pay what etc. Sometimes it feels needlessly complicated. But it is the way it is. A place for everything and everything in its place.
- The shops are absolutely incredible!
- There are no switches. I mean, there are light switches etc. but there are no switches for the plug/sockets. You have to pull out the plug itself once you are done. Which is silly and irritating.
- Staying on the topic of switches, the light switches have tiny lights on them which come on when you turn off the light, so you can see where the switch is in the dark.
- The special coloured bags for garbage are so expensive.
- Oh yes, the rumors are accurate. Everything is expensive.
- I love the buses and the drivers who keep informing over the mic that the bus is going to turn or start or stop etc. But again, expensive!
- The watchword is cute! Everything and everyone is cute! Everything has a cute mascot character. Even my teachers draw cute smileys and pictures to teach! CUTE!
- This is going to sound ridiculous. But it is really difficult to watch anime while in Japan unless you have a TV. Yeah. So, I have resorted to Netflix which is the best option for me right now. Though I cannot watch the current season which is really irritating.
- But, I have cheap manga!!
I’m really beginning to get used to both living alone and living in Japan. I’ve stopped feeling hyper-aware and a bit more relaxed about my surroundings. Also, I’ve seriously started craving junk food for the past couple of days, which is a sure sign that I’m regaining my normal fangirl-self!
Till next time!
It is 9 pm on April 1st! It is very late to say this but here goes…
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAKURA-CHAN!!!
On 3rd, I’m leaving for Japan to start my post-graduate studies at Kyushu University. This is the first time I’m travelling alone anywhere, let alone out of the country. So, I’m incredibly excited but also equally nervous. Packing is 99% done. I think I’ve gotten everything in order. Right now, I’m trying not to think about the actual leaving bit, because I will freak out. Instead, I will think about Sakura-chan!
Stumbling across the anime show, Cardcaptor Sakura, years ago while surfing channels got me into watching anime. And it has snowballed from there. It has, in turn, led to more anime, reading manga, becoming a figure-collector, learn about Japan and most importantly, learn Japanese. Learning Japanese made me realize that I loved languages and I can learn and use multiple language, which in turn led me to start learning German. I want to learn at least two more languages. But that is for the future.
While I went to college for my undergraduate studies, I wasn’t 100% sure on what I wanted to do with my life – career wise. Learning Japanese made me come to the conclusion that I wanted my career/life to be built around languages. Hence, after many years, i”m starting this post-graduate course in Japan. I will write more about my journey till here a little later (when I’m done freaking out). But this is the culmination of years of hopes and dreams and wishes and they have been kept alive because of my love of anime and Japanese as a language.
And it all started with meeting the little magical girl! To the girl who changed my life and who continues to keep me going, thank you. I love you, Sakura-chan!