Farewell party

Yesterday was my farewell party from RIMS, because today is my last official day of the internship. As always, there’s still plenty of work to be done, but next week I’m not going to work too much. I’ve asked my supervisor to take a look at my report and on Friday I should get some feedback and then we’ll see.

So anyway, we went out for dinner and people got me gifts! I didn’t know what to say, except “I didn’t even do anything for you people! I just did my internship!”. So, my suitcase now contains more stuff to take home with me 🙂 I’ll take pictures of my souvenirs and gifts later.

I learned some interesting things yesterday. For example, usually the kanji for animals and trees are not used and the Japanese name is spelled with katakana. This confused me, because katakana was, as far as I knew, used for foreign words. So I was wrong, sometimes they use the katakana instead of the kanji. Oh and I learned that the kanji for whale are actually the kanji that say ‘fish big city’.

Furthermore I learned that in Italy, a pizza Hawaii is, and I quote, “blasphemy”. Oops, remind me never to order that, should I ever go to Italy.

Lastly, of course at some point we had to arrive at the following topic. I’ve talked about it with several expats and tourists, but finally one of my colleagues brought it up: We talked about the drugs policy in the Netherlands (but not before having passed through stops ‘prostitution’ and ‘open-mindedness’ and having learned that my long-haired colleague and equally long-haired friend were not bothered in Nederland but as soon as they crossed the border to Germany they were stopped by police). I learned that in Japan, there is actually a death penalty on drug use. Then, I wondered, if medicinal marijuana was possible. I asked the Japanese people at the table and they said “nope”. (Well, actually they did the well-known cross with their forearms thingy.) Then, one of them said that whenever he smells marijuana, this really bothers him, because if a university professor is found to hang out in places where people smoke, it would be a scandal… It only took me a couple of seconds to think of the next question and I couldn’t keep a straight face as I asked him: “So how do you know what marijuana smells like?” It was awfully quiet after that question, haha.

Some other things:

  • When people toast (I mean “proosten”, that is, touching glasses, not the speech and all) they don’t look eachother in the eye. I personally try to make it a habit of looking the other person in the eye, but here they just stare at the glass. It may sound annoying, but it’s actually fun to be one of the few people who look eachother in the eye during toasting, because you’ll find other people, mostly foreigners, who do the same and it’s kind of like you have a connection… or something. Look at us, we’re awesome!
  • When people tell you it’s only a short walk to some destination and you could leave your bike behind, please double check. It’s happened to me like four or five times already that I left my bike behind and ended up having to walk an hour or more to get home or back to my bike.
  • It’s really silly to quote yourself, but this was a nice one so I’m going to anyway. My backpack with laptop were sitting next to the table and a colleague… a very drunk colleague, sat down next to the table (oh, yes, I forgot, I meant to say it’s a Japanese table and we were sitting on the floor so the table was low) and put his beer right next to my bag. I got up and moved my bag and when I caught the glazed look on his face, I told him “I trust you, but I don’t trust gravity, alcohol and Murphy’s law”. It’s a nice quote, don’t you think? No? Well, I like it 😛
  • When emptying the phonebook of my borrowed telephone, every time I wanted to delete a contact, the confirmation message said “Delete phonebook?” instead of “Delete from phonebook?”. And when I pressed yes, it replied “Phonebook deleted” even though it just deleted one contact, not all of them.