Happenings and moving

Long time no see~ I was busy moving, but finally I can write about all the happenings of the past few weeks. As I have already mentioned, I quit my job on the 25th February, but lost the whole week due to the flu. Still, there was one happening I needed to attend at all cost: the orientation at the Embassy on the 28th. That day I brought my application for the visa as well, and after that there was an orientation held by a diplomat and a Monbusho alumni, who came back from Japan last Fall. We heard many interesting details, some of them was already mentioned to me by friends, but there were some new things as well.  This was also the first time we could meet the other students who received the scholarship this year. There were six for the researcher scholarship myself included (plus there is one who will leave in Fall, so we’re seven altogether), and two for the regular university scholarship, and of course everybody will attend different universities in different cities. Some of us have studied in Japan before, and had some valuable advices as well. After the orientation we were all invited to the residence of the Ambassador to have a tea or coffee (there were some interesting sweets as well) and a nice chat with the diplomats. First we had to introduce ourselves, and of course everybody was pretty tense and nervous. After that the Ambassador and the diplomats came to us to chat about our fields of research, the cities we will be living in and such. They were all very nice, but of course, such events are not easy to handle. Since I’m still not confident enough to speak Japanese I was talking in English, but sometimes they were talking to me in Japanese, so it was fun – or it would have been if I was feeling myself better that time. Due to my sickness I was really done in by this event, so I spent the rest of the week in bed.

My last week in the capital was spent with visiting the utility service providers to either end the service or pay the bills up to the time of my move. It’s really troublesome, even when you are giving a rent back to the owner. I met with some friends as well, and on Friday I went back to my workplace for my papers, some forgotten things and to speak with my colleagues. It was strange, because it didn’t feel like I left at all, on the other hand I didn’t have the chance/time to actually miss the daily routine of going to work and such. Later on Friday I went to pick up my visa at the Embassy (awww, it’s pretty~~~), and then the last event for me in the capital took place last Saturday on the 9th March: the Monbusho get-together. It was the annual meeting of the Monbusho Alumni Association, but many diplomats and other guests attended as well. There was some official part, then the returnees talked a bit about their experiences in Japan, and after that we had to introduce ourselves as the new scholarship students. I was consequently sticking to English this time again, and it was better like that, as the introduction had to be more detailed than last time.

After the whole official part there was a small reception with drinks and sushi for the carnivores, where you could chat with others. It was another opportunity to talk to the other scholarship students, but also for getting to know others. I was feeling a bit uncomfortable that I didn’t have any business cards on me, but I didn’t think about it beforehand, oh well. My not eating anything granted me the opportunity to chat with the Ambassador a bit, as he was asking why I wasn’t eating anything XD After I explained that I don’t eat animals we moved on to my research and talked about that and generally about manga, like why I was focusing especially on the Sixties and Seventies shoujo, if female comics were popular in other comic cultures as well, why Japan was so special in that aspect and so on – and lastly about manga research in general starting with a question if there were many others in Hungary who are as knowledgeable about manga XD; All in all it was very nice albeit a bit straining. The Ambassador kindly offered his help to arrange a meeting with Satonaka Machiko, the Executive Director of the Japan Cartoonists Association which would be an amazing thing as Satonaka Sensei is another influential artist of the Sixties-Seventies. I have to polish my Japanese first of course, and find the opportunity to visit Tokyo, but I must not forget to take the business card of the Ambassador with me as this is a rare chance and not to be missed. Again, we were talking in Japanese first then switched to English later, it was interesting, oh and the Ambassador’s English is very nice too. Of course there were others as well, for example I met the teacher of my teacher who kindly helped me to get an emergency contact in Kyoto just in case, and others who had something to do with the conventions and magazines one way or another. All in all this event was a nice opportunity to build contacts which might come in handy later.

After this event I moved home on Sunday (comes later in the entry), but there was still some excitement: we received our plane tickets on Wednesday! The first information about the date of the departure arrived from the Embassy last week. We were informed that everybody was leaving on the 1st April with a Lufthansa machine at 10:40, split into two groups in Frankfurt depending on the destination which will be either Tokyo or Kansai/Osaka. The Kansai group (myself included) will arrive at 07:30 on 2nd April. After this we had to confirm with the university if it was okay with them, and report back to the Embassy. As a result the e-tickets were handed out now, and I already set up my ovo-lacto vegetarian meal on the Lufthansa website and picked the seat – there weren’t many available seats left, but I managed to get one next to the aisle. During these past weeks I was also contacted by the Kyoto University where the Japanese classes will be held, and they informed me about the schedule. The first week of April is reserved for the registration at the KyoDai, then on the 8th (Mon) there will be the opening ceremony and the placing test, and on the 9th (Tue) classes will start. After the arrival was decided I also contacted Seika about the schedule and I mailed my professor. Fortunately the schedule won’t be too tight on the first week. There will be an orientation for the new master and doctoral students at the Graduate School of Manga on the 4th (Thur) in the afternoon and my professor asked me to attend, and because of that my orientation at Seika will be the same day in the morning as well. I think I will register at KyoDai on the 3rd (Wed) to be safe, it wouldn’t be good if I went there on Friday and there was a problem, but we will see. This week I have been contacted by KyoDai again, and I need to fill out a questionnaire about my Japanese studies – I’m almost done with it, just stuck with the books we were using, but I have to finish and send it back tomorrow. Otherwise I informed my accommodation about the arrival as well, and later I will book the shuttle bus from the airport on the net, so everything is going as planned.

That’s where we stand with the official part, and now at home I started to organize all the other things on my to-do list. First we clarified things with my bank. For several reasons I won’t delete my bank account yet, later I will authorize my Dad to do that, we just requested not to get a new credit card when my current one expires. We got some information about exchanging my savings to yen, and for that purpose I have to get all the money off my account and thanks to some stupid law recently made it will cost me quite some money :/ Seriously, I should have withdrawn all my money before this idiotic law was coming into force, but we didn’t think of it before. As for exchanging to yen, the exchange rate is quite bad again, so we’re waiting a bit longer, though if it depends on the government there won’t be any positive change in near future ><

The other frustrating thing is my health insurance here in Hungary. We wanted report that I will leave the country for two years so that I didn’t have to pay the health insurance while I’m away as it’s a waste of money. It turned out our government made another idiotic law and starting this March there is no official way to report a temporary leave from the country. The only way to avoid paying was to report a permanent leave, in that case they would withdraw my personal ID and resident card, and completely remove me from the records! My nationality would remain of course, but I would only have my passport and no official ties to my home country! Seriously, are they trying to force people out of their own country?! On the other hand this drastic method it’s that easy to do either because you can’t own anything in the country and I’m the owner of my parents’ house, not to mention I will still work for the mag and the publishers from Japan, so I will have an income and pay taxes, so I will be unable to leave (not that I really liked this drastic method). Seriously, why do I have to pay 80.000 Ft a year when I’m not even in the country?! Yeah, it’s all about the money for them, I know :/

All in all my to-do list is getting shorter and shorter, but I still don’t feel I’m much further into the preparations, maybe because of all the unpacking after the move. The upcoming part will be mostly about my moving home, so you might wanna skip the rest.

Manga shelves 1

Manga shelves 1

Moving is not easy, especially if you lived in a place for almost five years and you need to move the whole household into a house with another complete household ^^; So, I was moving away from the capital back to my parents’ house last Sunday, and all the unpacking kept me busy for the whole week. Well, I’m still not completely done, but my room is starting to feel like a home again. Otherwise I enjoy being a kid once again pampered by my parents till the time of my departure. With all the things needed to be done before and after the big journey it’s good to have a home where you can relax for these few weeks. As for the move itself, part of my stuff was brought back home on Thursday last week, but we did the bigger part on Sunday. I didn’t even think all that stuff would fit in the Berlingo my Dad brought, but in the end we managed to pull it off. The most problematic part was to pack and move all my manga (a few hundred volumes), doujinshi (over 200) and magazines (six years worth of Mondo and German mags), not to mention all my notes, reference books and such. My Dad delivered some boxes on Thursday, and so I started packing the books on Saturday after the Monbusho event, but the boxes weren’t enough, and there was still much packing left for Sunday. All my stuff was placed in these two closets in the capital – you wouldn’t even think how many volumes there are, but well, most of the shelves have the volumes in two rows and stuffed to the fullest.

Manga shelves 2

Manga shelves 2

There were so many things we couldn’t even imagine beforehand, but we arrived home safely with all my stuff. However that was only the beginning, because we had to find a place for all my stuff starting with the kitchen (now we have two microwaves, two ovens, tons of cups, another set of tableware and so on…), bathroom and all the things in my room. My room was already full as it was, not to mention my manga and DJ collection grew immensely over the past four and half years, so I have to somehow make a place for everything. I literally went over the whole room, got rid of tons of useless stuff, we will put a lot of high school and university books in the garage later, and somehow I managed to find a place for everything. I took me two days to put away all the manga and DJs, and another one to organize all my manga-related notes and such. I guess I will finally finish tomorrow when I put away all my clothes – outside of my room, as there’s no place here anymore XD; It’s probably due to this that I don’t really feel the stress of the departure yet, on the other hand I’m hoping for some more relaxing days for the next two weeks.

And closing the entry I wanted to add some pics of my room where I lived for four and half years in the capital (taken with my crappy phone, hence the low quality…). It was a rent, but we were the ones who bought all the furniture, and the walls were decorated with the paintings I own as well. I could truly feel at home in that room, and I will somehow miss it. The bed and the couch were great, and there was so much space in the room! I was too busy to lament the loss of my home in the capital, but now that I’m writing about it I do feel a bit melancholic about it… My life in the capital ended without me noticing. Now when I’m away (and will be even further away) I realize all the things I missed to do while I was living there. Although I never loved the overly busy, dirty capital of ours, there are things I will miss for sure. Good bye, sweet home~

The view from the door

The view from the door

My big bed, paintings and the shogun statue

My big bed, paintings and the shogun statue

The couch and the table - a very big and incredibly heavy table

The couch and the table – a very big and incredibly heavy table

The view from the couch, I loved my TV

The view from the couch, I loved my TV

My workplace, though generally the table wasn't nearly as neat XD;

My workplace, though generally the table wasn’t nearly as neat XD;

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