2014 ~~ Here we Come

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It has been a while~~ hasn’t it?

I hope everyone had a awesome ^^ Christmas ~~~

Christmas kind of passed by here~~ it was the first christmas where I could go outside without a coat on. It was warm. I had a potluck brunch with a few people~~ Then went out for sushi, mister donuts and star bucks by myself~~ I skipped the christmas party and instead skyped with my family and opened presents.

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So ?? where have I been?? ꒰⌯͒•·̫•⌯͒꒱

My last post was in September…just before school started. (ᵒ̤̑ ₀̑ ᵒ̤̑)wow!*✰

time has passed by so fast. So much has happened.

I won’t get into any of it. However, all I can say is it too me a while to adjust to Japan. I did not feel like I could blog during times when I was so down or when I was experiencing so many emotions.

I guess…now having been in Japan for 4 months…I needed to figure out how I felt about life in Japan. I don’t even know if what I feel now is my exact feelings.

However, it New Years Eve. I’m not going to go deep and analyze everything I have experienced.  I am just going to say I feel content with where I am now. I feel comfortable with my life. ٩(^ᴗ^)۶

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The seasons have changed so much here~~~

I am now on Winter Break. I go back in two weeks. After that I have one week of school then finals ⊙▂⊙

It feels weird to think that I started school back in September~~~ and it already going to be January in 6 hours from now, as I write this.

In February I will be returning to Canada for one month ^^ as that is spring vacation.

However, when I return to Japan I will not be coming back to the Kansai region~~

I will be moving to Tokyo. (=^-ω-^=)

I will be starting a new adventure. O(≧▽≦)O At a new University. This will be only for one semester~~ However, I am looking forward to it~~

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I have made so many new friends here. I am going to miss them~~

Even though I am excited about returning to Canada to  see all my friends and family. I really, sometimes, don’t want to think about. I don’t want to think about leaving…or that fact that the people I have met here…I probably will never see again in my life 。・゚゚・(>д<)・゚゚・。

I also don’t like thinking that I will be starting over…from square one…at my new school. However, I really want to see what kind of people I will meet and make friends with.

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IMG_1779But now that the new year is upon us. A new adventure…a new year…is about to begin.

I guess I will have to see where it takes me.

Happy New Year . Happy 2014. To everyone~~ From the future ~~

 

 

 

 

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One Week until School~~ Osaka Namba~~

537014_10153190737020632_268982291_nSo with only 1 week left before school starts I decided to make, at least, one more trip out of the small city I am living in . So I went to Osaka-Namba !! I wanted to check out the fashion….but instead I was seeing all the crowds of people that were there on a Saturday.

I am definitely a fan of big city transportation systems (subways, fast buses etc;) and conveniences (things stay open late, etc) however I much prefer my small cities population compared to bigger ones (Osaka and Tokyo).

Now when I arrived at Namba station the first  thing I thought was “Osaka kind of reminds me a little bit of Taipei”!!

Next…I realized that finding my way around Namba was a little bit difficult as I felt maps weren’t as clear as the ones in Kyoto were.

I don’t know much about Osaka (neither do I about Kyoto, for that matter). So when picking a place to go in Osaka I really just put into google “shopping…Osaka” and this is what it lead me to.

Now I am still, slightly, getting over my illness so most of my day (though i did check out clothing and book stores) was spent in cafes taking little breaks .

I LOVE that Japan has so many cafes. I felt that when I lived in Taipei there weren’t as many.  However, the drink and food portions in terms of sandwiches/coffees etc; are a bit smallers then Canada which I am still not use to (I pay for a full meal that still leaves me hungry when finished).

 

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First I went to Starbucks !!! There I debated on what I should do for lunch ~~ ^_^ I decided on Sushi Train (回転寿司)which I was directed to by google maps ~~ I went to the one inside Namba Park XD It tasted so good~~ however it was expensive( TДT) I did not realize how much it until I went in and saw the plate prices (which by then was too late to leave) !! Usually sushi trains are 105 yen per plate (2 sushi on plate) but this time it varied by colour of plate!!

Then I went walking around Namba!! i saw tons of book off !! i actually just this past week found a book off near my apartment which sells cheap manga !! I bought the first volume of Ranma 1/2 for 50Cents.

I was trying to get to get to Amerikamura ….but I wasn’t sure if I was going the right way or if I was even it!! I eventually ended up going past lots of shops, Namba Cafe street and found myself in Forever 21/ H&M area~

I think I would, in the future, like to shop in Osaka Namba but this trip was merely window shopping and getting a lay of the land.

After walking for about 2 and half hours~~ I returned to Namba cafe street ~ I really wanted to go to this England cafe~~ But it was packed!!

So I decided on going to Nanaha (Nana’s green tea cafe) which was located inside 010 mall (it next to namba cafe street)!!

Now as I drooled all over the delcious menu I decided to go with 抹茶生チョコレートパフェイ !! Matcha Chocolate Parfait !!

Parfaits are really big in Japan~~

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In almost any cafe I stumble upon I see them!! My city has so many shops that have them…and I literally want to try them all!!

Doesn’t this look to a-mazing!! It tasted just as it looks….superb!! It was 10$ well spent XD

After finished it…I was full!!! So I had some coffee and then about 5:30 headed back on home on the kintetsu line~~

It was a good day!!

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Home Sickness

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Moving to a foreign country~~ eating foreign food~~ meeting new friends~~ living on your own for the first time is stressful, scary and sometimes cause homesickess. or at least…that what i am realizing now.

However, i must take a deep breath in and out and forget my worries. I just need to take each day as it goes. Enjoy and see the beauty of every little things. Explore and get out of the little apartment I have been holed up in. Talk with people. Interact. Create a routine.

Because of all these changes my body has taken quite a beating in the past week and half. I got sick from all this (plus probably a stomach bug of some sort).

Basically my stomach has been in a lot of pain~ I am realizing I need to face my fears and not worry so much.  Bike riding (though i have never really done it before in my life) is scary (when you originally come somewhere as flat as Saskatchewan) when your going up and down the hills …but it is ok. I am probably not the only one feeling all these things.

I think in order for me to get back on track …. I need to get on a routine . A) finding part time work b) starting school (sept 23) and c) leaving my apartment and exploring this small town i am in or  leaving it for a big city *kyoto or osaka* !!

d) hang out with others (I don’t know many people right now…however I hope i get to make some friends in the next week or two when classes start to start up.

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I am not use to the food ~~ sushi is find. However, everything else is new…strange..and foreign to me. So i realize it need to slowly introduce japanese food into my system. Not just rush into it.

Right now i am sticking to food that i am accustom to….and slowly introducing japanese styled food into my diet.

 

Stop fretting over my Japanese!! It sucks. I know. However, I am here to learn !! And in that process of learning I just need to speak as much Japanese as i can..even if I am afraid to speak <–which is my current dilemma. However, I WILL over come it ^-^

—-

I am successfully registered for my university classes. I will be taking 10 classes . 7 of them are Japanese. I took the placement test and scored level A on my japanese (level A is beginners…level F is like intermediate). However, after the English teacher/Academic Advisor  once she found out my results quickly startled to battle with the Japanese teacher and moved me up to Class B. The level A teacher said my test scores were the dime between A and B so he had a hard time choosing. WIll see how this goes ~~~

 

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I am thinking of joining the “Tea Ceremony Club” at my school ~~

I have also been to Kyoto twice in the past week. I went once to the Manga Museum & to see Higashi Honganji Temple. I went with two girls from Indonesia & a girl from Germany 😀

Then the second time I went alone to check out the Import store (campbell chicken noodle soup, crackers, cereal, chocolates, gummy bears etc;) .

There is so much stuff around Kyoto Station !! So much stuff to Explore~~

I still haven’t been to Osaka or Nara yet hehe ^_^

The Manga Museum was interesting~~ they had manga in all different languages.

I also saw manga from 1970’s, 1960’s etc. I was able to buy post cards and eat Omelette Rice!!!

The temple was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

I wanted to film inside and i tried before a Japanese guard came shooing my camera away hehe !! SO i only got photos of the outer parts. it was raining .

However it was so quiet and peaceful. It was nice.

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i also got my cellphone ~ I got  smart phone, 3g!! it’s going to cost me about the same as in Canada for my iphone per month T_T however, I love internet and apps !!

Because I bought with soft bank …..they gave me a towel as a present

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My cell phone ~~ is a Honey bee

 

1 week in Japan ^__^

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So last Sunday (August 25th, 2013) I jetted off, at exactly 9:25A.M, for Japan and arrived in Tokyo on August 26th, 2013 at 4:30P.M .

(*^ワ^*) Everything went quite smoothly except for the 2 hr I was stuck in a small immigration office (/_\) Most scariest

2 hours of my life!!! I did not know what was going on!! However, ,in the end I found it was a) due to machine troubles that they

couldn’t print my work # and b) they could not understand why I was going to a school in Nara Prefecture but was landing in

Tokyo and had no later flight, that night, to Osaka. I basically explain in broken Japanese that I would be leaving on Wednesday

from Haneda airport to Osaka and those two days in Tokyo were for rest!!!

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Those two days were spent in Shibuya !!  I got to Shibuya just fine!! It was coming back to my hotel that I got lost! I got off at the wrong station 0_0 it was rush hour!! Got back on the train!!! Got to the right station…and by then i was so stressed…i thought I lost my train ticket and cellphone (which I didn’t) ~~ and ended up buying the train tickets all over again T_T However, it was an amazing day in Shibuya!!

Things I have noticed !!! 

1)-Smoking is quite popular here!!  In Shibuya you could go into cafe and smoking was allowed.  As I someone who comes from a country where smoking is not allowed in restaurants etc; This was a little bit of a shock. It also quite annoying. However, this is Japan not Canada lol !! Also where my apartment is in Nara I haven’t had to deal with smoking in restaurants yet.

-At the bus stops at Narita Airport they have these glass made, little box things, where people can go in and smoke!!

2)  At Haneda Airport (on the roof,outside, restaurant patio, and in the station for the monorail back to Haneda Airport, they have this mist, water, like, stuff, sprinkling down on people so you feel cool.

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3) There vending machines everywhere 0_______0 (。♥‿♥。)

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4) It is unbelievably hot and humid here~~~ I now regret complaining, in Canada, about it being so cold lol

5) People are extremely………unbelievably……polite!!!!!!!!! ∑(O_O;)

More so then Canada. I sometimes do not know how to respond to all this politeness and respect. I think it a really beautiful part of Japanese culture!!!

Lot of bowing!! When i got on the bus from Narita to Haneda….the workers bowed when the bus arrived and departed.

When I am in the supermarket, and I accidentally get into someones way….or the other way….people will bow and say “sumimasen” (excuse me)~~

6) Things are either more expensive here then Canada or cheaper….

ex;  New Bike = 8,500 yen =about 87$ CDN

ex: Fruits = 4 mini tomatos : 2$ CDN

7) People are extremely helpful when you need help!!

I have a tutor that was assigned to me!! She has been extremely helpful and patient with me!!

I always feel extremely bad, and a burden, because a) my japanese is not that good and b) she helping me out so much that I do not know how to repay/thank her 😀

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10 Days Until~~日本に日本語を勉強しに行きます。

The countdown has officially started!!!….well…actually I have been counting down for almost a month now…but anyways :

10 days until I leave for Japan to study Japanese 

It still feels like a dream!!!! It feels like time is moving so slow….but really it’s moving quickly. It is also a very scary prospect that I will be leaving in 10 days.

I  cannot recall if I was scared when I moved to Taiwan in 2011. .I think I was too excited at the time.! it was not until I landed in Taipei that the nervousness  hit!!

However, I think this is normal!!

It kind of surreal to think that starting this monday i can say: “I am leaving this sunday”!! It is also surreal to think that this saturday and sunday will be the last weekend shift I do at part time job (even though I am working next tues, thurs and fri) !!!

I am kind of soaking in all the things I will probably miss about Canada: Tim Hortons, Cookies made by Orange Boot Bakery etc;

It kind of hit that I would be leaving for Japan last Sunday when my phone buzzed in the morning, before work, telling me that in two weeks I would be leaving for Japan.

That same night…was also my first going away party.

My dad’s side of the family was invited over to my Mom’s house and a going away was thrown. We had pizza hit,  homemade potato salad (thanks to my cousin Leha), chicken, homegrown cucumbers & bread. My cousin Jackie brought a huge marble cake (pic above) with the words, in read, reading “Good Luck in Japan”!!! I was so surprised. I wasn’t expecting a cake…and it was so delicious.

So awesome…that my roommate ate all the leftovers (╯︵╰,)!!

It was an awesome night!! It was nice to see my family once before I depart!!

Next is my second going away party!! which is is my mom’s family and it is on Wednesday ヾ(*⌒ヮ⌒*)ゞ


I am also going for high tea on that day✿♥‿♥✿ That is one thing I want to do before I leave!!!

Also I finally sat down and made a list of all the things I need to buy & do before I depart. So I am going to try to accomplish that list by Monday evening as I work all the way up until I leave ಥ_ಥand during my time off I will probably be either to tired….or visiting with my friends!!! I am going to see the Mortal Instruments next wednesday !!! ^_^

I think this time around I am going to have a serious jet leg while in Japan ╥﹏╥  Because my last two trips to Asia I actually started, weeks before, to adjust myself to their timezone!! However, since i am working *bright and early* I cannot do that!! oh well 😦

Until Next Time~~~

August 25th….10 days O(≧∇≦)O

~Maura ヾ(^∇^)

15 Days to Go….


I can’t believe 4 years have gone by so fast!!! 2009 feels like a lifetime ago 😀 July 18th ~31 was the first time I ever got to travel abroad, alone.  I was this shy, newly turn, 16 year on her very first travel abroad, with classmates, to Yokohama, Japan for 2 weeks.

There I stayed with a host family for 2 weeks and got to see a tiny bit of Japan. Those two weeks basically sparked my passion for adventure and travel.

I had no ideas that those two weeks would eventually lead to me living in Taiwan as a Rotary Youth Exchange (2011-2012) student!!! In Taipei, Taiwan I got to study mandarin, live with a host family, meet awesome-people & friends and study in a local high school/college. Unfortunately I left Taiwan mid-way (end of March 2012) through my exchange. However, that time abroad made me realize that what I wanted to study in University was international languages and journalism. So I applied to my local university as a Japanese major and am now doubling my major with journalism,

These chain of events have now lead up to this moment in time. Now I will spend a year abroad in Japan as a University student at Tenri University.

-All the photos used in this post were taken during my trip in 2009.


In 15 days I will be departing to Japan where I will be studying Japanese for year at Tenri University!! I am superb excited…and totally nervous!!

This time there will be no host family!! no one cooking my meals!! or giving me monthly allowance *rotary does that :D*!! Nope it will be just me !!!

So for one year I will be living in Nara Prefecture XD


I already have my flight book!!

visa arrived last week!!!

 

Things I want to do in Japan (bucket-list)

-Drink Melon Soda <—I have never tried it before…and some of my friends think I am crazy for nothing have done so!!

-Meet lots of new people  & make lots of friends (both Japanese and international) 

-Visit various places (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara City, Shizuoka, Tokyo, etc;)

-Visit Shrines & beautiful places.

-Try new foods

-Karaoke, see vending machines, sushi train, shopping, check out book stores ^-^

 

Goals While in Japan

-study hard & take advantage of being able to use the language ^_^ <–my Japanese sucks right now 😦 I really want to improve!!! Improve enough that I can have conversations and read things (ex; magazine, books, manga)!! I know I won’t be fluent!!

-Keep my blog & youtube updated XD

-Be adventurous 

I have a Japanese placement test on September 1st!! I been studying a bit!! However, I know I probably should be studying more

~_~ summer makes me lazy XD lol

August 25….15 days!!!!

~Maura