Last photo’s

Okay, I have some last photo’s to share and then it’s done and I can continue to fill my blog with other things. These are pictures from my farewell party, two pictures taken at the lobby of a hotel and the welcoming sign for my flight. Fortunately, the scare quotes didn’t have any effect, my flight was safe and – by airplane standards – reasonably comfortable.

I just ate burrito’s. Mmmm, burrito’s…
Oh and what’s up with Albert Heijn and their continuous changing of shopping baskets? I can’t go away for four months and they’ve changed them for the, what, third or fourth time? Also, I don’t understand the euro anymore. This might take a few days…

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.

Minna de

Wow, I don’t remember the last time I drank so much that I woke up still drunk. (Oh and rice wine, ouch. That stuff goes straight to your limbs and doesn’t give you a buzz like beer does, it just starts paralyzing your abilities but you’re still capable of thinking “Um, what?”. It’s really strange, it’s kind of like you’re a spectator of your own drunkenness. Or maybe I’m just not used to strong liquor, if I drink I usually drink beer, I can’t be sure. I’ll see if I can find some when I’m back home and I’ll ask the experts 😉 )

Ambulances, trams and old people…

I didn’t do too much the past week. I ordered stroopwafels for my colleagues (there’s a shop in Kobe that makes them, see website HERE), took a picture of the bento stand where I usually buy my lunch and took some pictures of strange shop names (what is ‘Pafe’ and why ‘Be your happiness with the flower’?). The sidewalk you see is actually in one of the main shopping streets of Kyoto. I have no idea why it looks so crappy.

Another messy list of stories ;)

I’ve collected some stories again over the past week. Gotta catch ’em all 😉

I’ve talked to Alex over MSN about Japan. Although I think I’ve already gotten the point across that Japan is “different”, there’s plenty more to tell. Alex thought they wouldn’t have something like the weird floor mat (first picture in “Trip to Nara”) “cause it’s the land of hush hush”. Actually, they’re really open about some stuff, in a strange way. For example, I’ve been told that being ‘friends with benefits’ is pretty common here, so it’s not all hush hush. Same goes for reading porn on the train (even when your girlfriend is sitting next to you). It’s not publicly announced, but it’s no secret either.

There are a lot of weird contradictions here.

A lot of photo’s

Hi,

it’s me again. 😛 How are you doing? Attached, you may find a lot of photo’s from previous weekend and today (Saturday). Previous weekend, I went to Arashiyama (mountain in the west of Kyoto). I felt very much out of place and alone that weekend, lots of people staring at me (I actually did end up buying a scarf to cover up my hair) and even someone trying to capture me in film without me noticing.

A week ago I had an MSN conversation with Sander and I’ll summarize it below.

Stories

I didn’t do much the past few days, but still collected quite a lot of stories to tell. None of the stories below that are related to Japanese culture were a surprise to me, which confirms my suspicion that my preparation for this trip was actually reasonably good – save for the language.

I’ve mainly spent my going-out-time at Bar This Way and The Gael. I think I’m going to stick to clubs that the Lonely Planet recommends, you’ll understand why if you keep reading.

Weekends and meeting people

Okay, so let’s do another update. I’ll even throw in some new pictures! 😉 I had intended to rename them, but that’s just too much work, so they’ll keep their DSCxxxx names, sorry.

Last Friday, for the first time since I’ve been here, I really enjoyed the packed lunch. During lunch breaks, you can either go someplace to eat, or you can buy a ‘bento’, which is Japanese for ‘packed lunch’, I believe. Don’t have a picture, but you can find some information on it by clicking HERE. I said to Sander and others before, that I really couldn’t eat something in the afternoon that we consider to be an evening dish. That’s still true for warm dishes, I just had some warm rice and fish and my stomach doesn’t like it (Over the past few days I’ve had some stomach aches after eating a warm dish in the afternoon..) but the cold bento, that I’ve started to appreciate. However, I have noticed that I’ve lost some weight over the past few days, because of all the cycling and the fact that I get hungry pretty quickly after a meal. I think that may also be due to the white bread they have here, I don’t get a lot of energy from that. And of course the fact that everything is more expensive here. I’ll probably spend on food alone, what I would normally spend on food for two persons. That’s too bad, but it’s not a huge surprise.

First day in Japan

Written on Saturday, posted on Sunday.

Right now, I’m in the room where I’ll be spending the next four months. I’ll take pictures later and upload them. This story itself will have to go up later as well, because I don’t have internet in my room. Rather, internet is in a separate computer room, kinda like a small closet. I’ll request formal access next Monday. There was a welcome party, but I only popped in for a few minutes and then promptly asked where the computer room was so that I could send out a message that I’ve arrived okay, that was most important to me right now. I’m rather glad that not everyone secures their internet that well, I was one MAC-address filter away from not being able to send that message.

Time fail

Okay, so the time in Japan is not 9 hours later, but 7 hours later. Which means that today I need to stay awake for two more hours than I thought I would have to. Sander suggested I could also just go to bed at the time I planned, and tomorrow (that is, Wednesday) I’ll go to bed at the right time.

Some other things people have asked me: