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.
* opening a new blog for my Japan trip – will be wordpress I guess, I just have to figure out a fancy blog name for the address…
* finishing the translation of a manhwa volume
* writing the article about female roles in manga based on my panel in November
* making a presentation about Hungary
* getting advice about cosmetics in Japan (shampoo and skin cream)
* event on the 28th February – hand in pledge, form for visa, copy of my passport and copy of the certificate from the uni
* event on the 9th March – and getting the visa on a weekday before
* moving home from the capital
* clarifying things with my bank
* money exchange
* clarifying my tax status
* reporting permanent leave of the country
* insurance for the trip
* buying a few more sets of contacts and maybe a new pair of glasses
* buying a suitcase
* buying some clothes/shoes
* ordering some business cards for the first weeks
* short check at the dentist
* getting adapters for my laptop and external HD – it seems I just need the right plug, as both seem to work on an input between 100-240 V and 50-60 Hz
* buying souvenirs
* getting a haircut
* getting the info about the flight, informing the accommodation and Seika about the arrival
* getting the schedule of the first few days
Though I quit my job last week and was supposed to have two weeks in the capital to do everything necessary, I lost the whole last week due to some nasty flu. I’m kind of over it now, but having to stuff everything in five weekdays doesn’t make things easy. Anyway, here is a post about recent ongoings and preparations. The post itself is a few weeks old and another cross-posting from my LJ, so some of the things planned here are already over. There are a lot of new developments, but I’m planning to write about them after the Monbusho happening on Saturday.
So, what happened since December until a few weeks ago? We were informed about the acceptance in December. After the Christmas holiday, when I came back to the capital I found a mail from the university in my mailbox: a certificate of the acceptance as a research student. The end date of the course is 2014 instead of 2015 on the paper, but that may be the usual procedure, so I didn’t worry about it. In January we were contacted by the Embassy about an orientation on the 28th February and an additional Monbusho happening on the 9th March where we need to introduce ourselves. A day later we received the final confirmation about which university we can attend based on the decision by MEXT. Since I only had one university, that was no question for me at least, but they also informed me that the six-month-long intensive Japanese language course will take place at the Kyoto University.
With this announcement we started the real preparation for the departure. We were asked to contact the university about the next step, questions about the arrival, trip from the airport, accommodation and so on, and we received the documents for the visa.
As noted in the “About me” section, I opened this blog to document an upcoming, hopefully very exciting part of my life: my years as a research student for manga in Kyoto, Japan. Not only the time in Japan itself, I also want to write about all the preparations and such, as there are so many things going on already, and maybe it will come in handy for others, who are hoping to apply for a scholarship in Japan. And why in English? Well, I have only ever blogged in English, so… ^^; But who knows, maybe there will be a time when I feel the need to switch to Hungarian, just to be able to practice my mother tongue on the other side of the world.
So how did it start? (partially cross-posting from my LJ)
I applied for the research student scholarship of MEXT at the Japanese Embassy last May. A month before I wasn’t even sure I should apply already, as I wasn’t sure of my Japanese, but there is an age limit for the scholarship, and being able to speak Japanese isn’t a requirement, so I just had to do it, and there was no other way for me to make my dreams come true. On the other hand I wasn’t sure if the Ministry would welcome a manga-themed research, not to mention the place I wanted to go to is a private university, but I had nothing to lose, and in the end it turned out well. There were tons of things for the application to do. There was a thorough medical check (I got blood drawn for the first time in my life x_x), I had to get official copies of my academic records, write a research plan, abstracts of my theses, make a list of my publications, fill the application forms and so on – a test in itself already. We started out with 41 applicants at the written exam. There we had to write a two-hours Japanese and a one-hour English exam – it was long and intense. Then we remained 21 for the oral exam where we had an interview with three diplomats and a monbushou graduate at the Embassy. It was interesting as compared to others, who have been there for 8-10 minutes, I was in for more that 20, and I didn’t know if it’s good or bad. Actually they were pretty interested in my manga-related work, especially our magazine and the conventions, so it was probably just that. After I was notified I passed the second round, I had to contact the university and the professor I was hoping could accept me as a research student. I only had one choice, the Manga Faculty of the Kyoto Seika University, and two years ago I have met a professor from the university, so I contacted her and it was successful, I received a letter of acceptance from the university. The way I got is was quite adventurous as I had to hand it in till the end of September, and I was away for most of the month, while the professor was in Europe till September, so they couldn’t issue the letter earlier, but with some help the letter reached the Embassy successfully. After that there was nothing left to do but wait for a result. The first good sign arrived from the university in November, that the MEXT contacted them to ask if they would officially accept me as a research student. They asked me to hand in the application form of the university and the copy of my passport, and after that I could only wait for the final results to come, and although it could be taken for quite sure already, I didn’t dare to believe it. Then in December the Embassy called me that that I got the scholarship, so I will spend at least two years in Kyoto starting this Spring, though it still seems quite unreal. It was a long way, and I guess it won’t sink in till I’m in fact in Japan. Currently we’re in the middle of the preparations for the departure. I just quit my day job and will move home from the capital in two weeks, so now I’ll only concentrate on the journey and my family (with some translations and the mag on the side).
Next time I will post about the preparations going on – there are so many things, you wouldn’t even believe~