Let’s restart this whole thing – at least I will try. Spring is the time of new beginnings here, so let’s see if I can do here something along those lines. The anniversary in the title refers to my time in Japan: I arrived here exactly one year ago. It’s quite unbelievable, and I have to say this one year went by unbelievably fast, I didn’t even notice. Compared to my time being in Japan I managed to do far less than expected unfortunately. There are things I don’t feel like doing, or at times nothing at all, or sometimes daily life itself gets in the way – or it’s a good excuse, who knows, but let’s not go there. At least I’m trying, though sometimes I feel like I’m wasting time – on the other hand I can’t help but feel irritated after fighting my way though a few pages of Japanese secondary literature that bores me to no end or is needlessly difficultly written. And somehow I started to feel the same way about this blog. As I got busier it became clear, that it’s impossible to keep blogging as I have been up until that time. Not to mention I spent weeks at home reading for my research, which wasn’t that much fun to write about either, and after a while this blog became a drag to write always weighing down on me – so in the end I didn’t write anything. But given how forgetful I am and have a hard time remembering what happened a few weeks ago already, I have to do something, so let’s try something else. I will try to write shorter summaries, and we will see how it goes. The most important thing is to catch up to the present now, so this week I will start to get over the past few month. See you then~
It doesn’t really want to go the way I want, and not only did I not post here, but I neglected blogging itself too, so… ^^; Still, I want to work on this a bit more during the winter holidays, though I have a lot to do for the home and my research, so we will see. Anyway, I just wanted to make a post for Christmas here, though to tell the truth I hardly notice it’s Christmas at all: the weather in Kyoto is more like Autumn in Hungary, and despite all the Christmas songs and goods everywhere, the mood just isn’t there. For me it was just another day with an extensive supermarket tour and cleaning. Btw, it has been more than three weeks in my new place, and I love it!!! I have almost completely forgotten the horrible Heights Sanpo, and I feel really human and at home here. To close this short post here are some photos of the new place. My room is still only half-done: I have already found the office chair I want to have, but I’m still not sure about the chest under the table, and the furniture for the TV, which should go into a currently empty corner… We will see, I have another round at IKEA in the coming weeks… Oh, forgot to take a photo of the loft, though my manga is still just laying around there ^^;;; Next mission: cleaning up all the manga!
During the weekend it turned out the registration for the language course for this semester ended last Friday. I have to admit I “forgot” it kind of intentionally, because I still didn’t know if I should take any classes at all. In the end I went to KyoDai in the morning and tried my luck if I could still register. One of the administrator seemed to know me by name (how? o_O) and after a bit of grumbling I could register. There’s still the placement test this week, but I hope I can take Intermediate III classes on Thursday and Friday.
After lunch at home I left for Seika – and the heat is still unbearable for walking around orz In class we started watching a recent Korean animation – an interesting experience. At the supermarket on the way home I found some delicious-looking chestnuts. It’s expensive, but I felt like eating them, so I bought it, and tried to bake half of it. Unfortunately it wasn’t very successful as more pieces literally exploded in the oven (I never had that at home o.o), the skin didn’t really want to come off and they are not sweet either *sigh* Now I’m trying to figure out how to do better with the second half of the pack…
I only had one lecture at Seika, because the pHD seminar was used for personal consultation. The lecture was about Murakami Takashi and Kitazawa Rakuten (separately, not together), so it was interesting. After the class I just came home and tried to learn a bit for the placement test I wanted to take tomorrow – without much luck.
It was raining in the morning and I felt quite bad anyway, so the day wasn’t that great for me. I really considered taking the placement test on Thursday, but I just wanted to get over with it. While I was walking from Demachiyanagi to the Yoshida South Campus of KyoDai I was caught by a guerilla rain. It lasted for like 20 minutes only, but it was raining so bad that I got totally drenched despite having an umbrella. Now I really felt like I should have stayed at home for the day, but there was no return. I took the test but it wasn’t easy, and feeling bad and cold I was impatient too. I wasn’t really sure if I could pass for Intermediate III, but at least I felt it was better than in April. Anyway, the results would be out of Tuesday.
Although the results won’t be out till next week, we already have to attend the classes we would like to take, so in the afternoon I went to the two classes I had my eyes on. Both are reading classes, but I will drop the first one, because I don’t care about economics vocabulary, and the teacher has issues with speaking and hard to understand. I guess I will take a kanji class instead… After the class I dropped by the Hyakumanben 100-yen shop because they had their monthly discount~
The two classes I had my eyes on are in the morning, like starting at 8:45, so after a long while I had to get up early once again. That’s something very hard to get used to with my daily routine here, but I guess I will keep these classes. I just have to figure out the breakfast/brunch situation – today I bought something at the bakery, but it’s not an option on the long run or I will get hopelessly fat. Hm… It was nice to have the afternoon free, but I was just too tired after sleeping late last night and getting up early in the morning, so I was hardly usable for the rest of the day.
I was lucky enough to have a carrot sale at the supermarket the day I had to make a soup~ After shopping I had to cook, otherwise I was enjoying not having to go anywhere for a change. The temperature went down a bit, so it’s not that hot anymore, though still not enough for me. And a bad thing happened too: I wanted to bake the second half of the chestnuts today, because I thought they have dried enough over the week, but it seems they were infected by some parasite, so in the end I had to throw out the whole thing :( Talk about wasting money *sigh* But now I know the chestnuts here are no good, so I won’t be tempted anymore…
Today I had to prepare the main dish for my lunch. Not particularly difficult, but it took a lot of time with my one gas burner. While I my rice cooker prepared the brown rice I fried the tofu I marinated yesterday. Unfortunately the tofu here is so soft it’s breaking at the slightest touch, but well, it tastes good anyway. Still, I would like to find a tofu here that’s more firm. While I fried the tofu in three rounds I cut the mushrooms (shimeji and bunapi), onion, and I fried these next. I could buy some butter for a good price recently, so I decided to use it in the dish. I fried the onions in oil, but when I added the mushrooms, I mixed in some butter as well. The seasoning is plain, salt, pepper, chili, and the most important: parsley. The end result was delicious, the butter gives a nice accent to the mushrooms. Actually the whole thing was screaming for white wine, so I guess I have to buy some to use it in dishes like this. My salad was a mixture from p-man and cucumbers, and my apple vinegar was perfect for it.
Nothing else happened, only that someone tried to deliver pizza to my room ^^; I was watching a Hungarian TV show on my laptop with a towel on my head, so of course I didn’t open the door – not to mention it’s not sure he would have believed I wasn’t the one ordering. The poor guy stood there for a while, though I don’t really get that either, because they should have the phone number of the one who ordered. Anyway, I hope he found the right address in the end.
Sorry for the big break. My past month was quite busy, because I’m finally moving to another flat, and there were all kinds of different stuff related to that. Well, it’s still not over, as the move itself is this weekend – good thing there’s no university this week and the next… And there I thought maybe I should skip the rest of the summer and quickly catch up with the current happenings. The thing is, half the August and September entries isn’t written, while I have a complete October and an almost complete November, so it might be better to get to the current happenings, and I will get back to the Summer entries over the winter holiday or so. So in the coming days I will post all of October and part of November, and hopefully catch up after the move~
In the morning I had to make a sauce for my sweet potato-kabocha mix, and then rush to the supermarket for some great sales. Since I have to arrive before 13:00 at Seika, lunch was rushed due to all these. The classes were intense, and I was dead tired when we finished around 17:45. On the way home I stopped by the supermarket there too, because I forgot one item that was on sale. In the end I bought even more, because that shop had totally different fruits than the one at Shuugakuin, and Tuesday fruits are sold at a 20% discount. Anyway, I was glad I could buy some fruit for dinner. Btw it was over 30 °C today – a record apparently, because there hasn’t been such a hot October-day for 14 years. And no, I wasn’t happy about this…
I was reading manga last night – again, and went to sleep too late – again orz I should stop this already. Due to this I totally didn’t feel like going anywhere, but I had to sign for the scholarship if I didn’t want to get it late again. Before that I had another trip to the supermarket, as they finally had eggs on discount. In the end I left in the afternoon for Seika – because signing would be there from now on. It was exciting, because I had no idea, but next time I will already know where and how. After that I dropped by the library to read some manga (Ima Ichiko’s Homeless Salaryman and Shimizu Reiko’s Deep Water totally recommended!!!), and on the way home I considered checking out the Book Off there, but thinking about my possible purchases in Osaka during the weekend, I better save it for that time. Still I dropped by the supermarket on the way home, and ended up with a few additional stuff.
Today I was planning to spend the day at home, because it was too much action for the week already. Actually I’m out of olive oil and need some clothes, but I’m postponing that trip to next week. Instead I got some stuff at the supermarket for cooking tomorrow, and made a copy of my residence card at the conbini. Yeah, there was a twist with my application for a debit card, because it requires an account with the bank, and as a foreigner I’m restricted from opening one in the first six months I’m here. That’s why I got another mail from Rakuten to resend the copy of my ID, and of course I waited till the time the six months were up – hence I went to make a copy today. This time I knew which machine to use, and it turned out it has an English menu, so it ended without a hitch – well, almost, because I realized in the afternoon at home, that I left my ID in the machine orz I had a feeling it would be like that and I tried to be careful, but it still happened. Somehow I wasn’t really worried, because I had the feeling the conbini personal had it, and it was indeed like that. It would have been troublesome, so in the end I was lucky nothing happened. Otherwise I’m in a bad mood, who knows why…
Today I had to prepare lunch. The last time I discovered a new type of mushroom, Hiratake at the supermarket they usually don’t offer, and since the price was okay too, I decided to try it. If it doesn’t cost a fortune I’m willing to try any mushrooms, they are yummy~~~ I also got some shjimeji, p-man, so I fried them together with some onion. Hiratake is delicious by the way, and I will get it again, if they have it at the supermarket. It turned out we also have it in Hungary (laskagomba), but somehow I don’t remember it being this tasty and fleshy…
I also wanted to try tofu, but I so far I couldn’t decide which. At home I could only eat smoked tofu, not to mention the ones here aren’t firm enough for my taste, but well, I decided to try a more firm looking one anyway. I fried it with salt, pepper and garlic, but the inside of the tofu was still kinda tasteless, so I do need smoked tofu. (On Sunday it tasted much better, so I guess I have to marinade it.) Today I used all these for fried rice with adding an egg to the mix – yay~ Otherwise, nothing special.
A trip to Osaka~~~ A friend from Hungary came to Osaka with a one-year scholarship, and I went to meet him. It’s so unbelievable we met here and like this :D And there was another interesting aspect of this meeting on this day. Generally we would go to the Hungarian anime convention MondoCon together, and it turned out today _was_ the MondoCon in Hungary XD
I wanted to do some shopping as well, so I woke up quite early to leave for Osaka. The weather report said there would be rain all day, and it was raining a bit in the morning, so I brought my umbrella and no sunglasses – a mistake apparently, as it wasn’t raining at all, the sun was shining a bit and it was damn hot and humid… The umbrella was in the way the whole day, so I need to get a new fold one – but I’m also sure it would have rained if I didn’t bring any, so yeah ^^; I was in Osaka around half past 9 already, and wanted to go to the only manga-related shops opening at 10, the Animate and Lashinbang in Nanba. I arrived too early, so I was randomly walking around the sleeping town. Most of the shops were closed or just opening in the arcade, but there were already long lines in front of the pachinko parols – well… Anyway, there were only few people on the streets, so me being white was even more standing out XD I quickly ran around Animate, but nothing caught my attention, so I went to raid Lashinbang and despite my efforts to save money I found some stuff I just couldn’t leave there.
At 11 I met said friend at Honmachi, because I wanted to have lunch at Green Earth – hoping that it would be open this time XD; We still had 20 minutes till the opening, so we were walking till then – and almost couldn’t find back XD The place was open, and we got the daily lunch plate – costs 700, but adding 150 you can pick coffee or tea too. The place was interesting, because the owner speaks English, so we got into the funny situation that he was speaking English all the time, while we were speaking Japanese ^^; The lunch included a thick soup with some fake meat I guess, sekihan, broccoli with some sea weed, salad and some kind of a pumpkin dish maybe mixed with fake meat? Anyway, I loved it, like the whole lunch~ I will eat here the next time I go to Osaka for sure~
I wanted to go to the Mandarake next to Shinsaibashi, so we wanted to walk there. But soon it turned out we headed north instead of south ^^; Well, Japan is hard to figure out without street names… Oh well, we didn’t hurry anywhere. But then it got complicated again, because I didn’t check in the morning where exactly Mandarake was, and it took me a while till I realized we went further in the West than necessary, but in the end we found it, and we saw many parts of the city and ate conbini pancakes during a break~ Delicious, didn’t even know the Seven Eleven pancakes were this good~ We spent a long time at Mandarake, and both of us were buying a lot XD
After this we weren’t sure where to, but away from that part of the city, because it was getting very crowded… My friend was planning to go to a gathering and I couldn’t decide if I should visit the Umeda Mandarake as well, but in the end both of us went there and had another round of shopping – well, especially me ^^; In the end my bags were incredibly heavy, so it was a fight to get them home. It was already getting late, so while I went to Osaka with Keihan I choose Hankyuu this time. At the station I had to fend off a drunk salaryman, who wanted to be too polite to me while I was buying water. Hm… I was happy to be able to sit down on the crowded train, and in Kyoto I choose a bus where I had the least to walk and dragged my heavy book-luggage home.
It was a great day and we will repeat it for sure. However I only have a few photos, because I had too much stuff to carry around orz
I woke up with a huge headache due to lack of sleep and an aching body due to all the running around yesterday. Because of that I was just resting and resting a bit to a class next week. The bad thing, today it was 32°C again!!! When will this heat stop already?! T__T
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The last exam day at KyoDai – as expected, it was a tiring day. The main event of the day was the speech. It was quite okay, since I memorized it all the way – although it wasn’t perfect of course. Actually I have a problem with holding a speech like that. Up until now all my speeches and presentations were free: I would have the outlines, but otherwise I would speak freely. I have also studied how to make a speech before in high school when I was in a contest, so I know that’s the way it should be. That’s also the reason why I’m always annoyed when people just read a full composition off their paper, because that’s not a real speech. The tempo is usually too fast, and the structure of the sentences too complicated for the audience. Written and spoken texts are different, and it’s bad to use written texts during a speech. Well, I know holding speeches it not everyone’s forte, but yeah… For this reason I wasn’t feeling comfortable reciting a completely memorized written text, but unfortunately I had to admit that my Japanese isn’t up to the level to speak freely about something during a speech :( This was also quite clear after the Q&A session after the presentation… Somehow I have to find a way to improve my speaking abilities *sigh* But all in all it was a nice experience and a good practice for the real deal tomorrow.
Although I was tired I was craving some pancakes, so I made some in the evening – just plain ones, so it was some fast, and enjoyed them with jam~ Unfortunately the jam here isn’t really suitable for pancakes because it’s a jam with a high percentage of water, but if you eat it immediately anyway it’s all good :D
The final day. My morning was free and I could rest and practice a bit. I had lunch at home, and before getting to school at 13:00 I even paid my rent. Since there would be a ceremony in the evening I put a dress on and even a bit of make-up, though only lipstick and mascara because I was afraid anything else would melt in the heat orz My dress was light, but I was afraid a bit to open for the Japanese taste, so I had to bring a light cardigan as well, which was still too hot in the 35 °C… Not to mention I lost weight since moving here (though I might have gained since then because I’m always hungry and eat too…), so it wasn’t that fitting anymore with the strap kinda slipping at times, oh well…
Anyway, first we had a rehearsal, and the real deal started at 14:30. The order was decided beforehand, so I came in second. It went okay, though I just can’t like this kind of memorized speech. The Q&A session was the issue again, but I finished with a good feeling. What we didn’t know before, the bests of every level would have to make the speech once more at the closing ceremony. I was already tired and hungry, but I ended up being the one from our level orz The ceremony started at 17:00, there were talks, we received a diploma, so it meant for me that I had to keep my concentration for a long time, and it wasn’t that great. The speech this time had a few mistakes, and once again I felt my limits by not having enough vocabulary to instantly correct the rest. But well, it was okay, and it was indeed the last time.
I was absolutely spent by the time it ended – and hungry too. Actually I brought snacks with me especially for this reason, but I didn’t have the opportunity to eat it. Well, after the ceremony we went to have a small party on the campus café. After the toast we got food and drink, and although I was suspicious, in the end the vegetarians could find thinks to eat as well. They were also aware of the Muslim students having Ramadan, so the saved food for them so they could eat after sunset. We were talking to a lot of people, fellow students, teachers, and it lasted till after 20:00. It was a good-bye from many, though all those who wanted to take classes in fall were free to do so, so it might not have been a good-bye forever from everyone. It was a busy day, so I arrived home dead tired, but there was still one thing: I found a lizard in the house – it was fast so I was lucky to be able to take a photo at all. And like this the language course ended and my deadly summer holidays started.
I was dead tired from yesterday, so the first day of my summer holidays was spent resting – aside from cooking of course. I had to make a soup and I decided to prepare a broccoli cream soup. I don’t have a mixer, so I just smashed the broccoli and was hoping I could mix it well with the crème, and while it was yummy, it didn’t feel like a real broccoli crème soup. This was the day when I realized I had to get a mixer, also for the sake of my future pumpkin crème soups… Speaking of crème, my delicious eringi with parsley always felt like it was screaming for crème. Today I decided to try it that way, and OMG! It’s heavenly~~~ From now on I will always eat eringi like this *__*
And finally the last full week started at the language course – and with it the final exams, so it wasn’t all that great to be honest. We had short tests during the semester, and those were much better for me, while this exams every day while going to classes was just too much. If we have exams than no classes, please. Anyway, this day was special, because we agreed to meet for dinner with our group from the language course. We were planning to have lunch in one of the vegetarian places before (since we’re two vegetarians, one on halal and a meat-eater), but somehow it never worked out, but now we could agree on a dinner – well, a farewell dinner to be exact. After school I dropped off my stuff at home, and we met on the campus in the evening. Since it was Monday, Café Proverbs wasn’t open, so we decided to try another one, Sunny Place. I wanted to try it for a while now, but never managed to get there, so we had to look for it, but it was where I thought it whould be. Still, surprisingly we found the place closed, although it wasn’t their scheduled holiday. There was nothing else to do, we went for another place, and settled for Sujata in the end. I thought we couldn’t sit together there, but the small tables could be put together, so it was okay. We got the dinner set and it was great~ I could try many vegetable I didn’t dare before, like the bitter goya or sweet potato – while I will avoid the former, I will most use the latter. We had a nice dinner and talked about a lot of things, it was all fun~
Somehow I had the worst mood today. We had the last grammar class, and I took it very bad, I suffered through the class till the end – would have been better to skip it completely. Then I thought we would have the last class at Seika today, but it turned out the last one was last week ^^; Well, reading some manga at the library made me feel better, so it’s okay, and then I got some manga at Book Off too. On the way home I dropped by the supermarket, otherwise nothing special for today.
Today I had to go to the supermarket first and make a soup, but the free day wasn’t over with that. Then despite having a day off I had to go to KyoDai, because at 13:00 there would be a rehearsal for our speeches next week. Although I tried to memorize it already, I wasn’t there yet, so starting today it’s all about practicing. I would have my speech in the class on Monday anyway, and we decided to have another rehearsal on the final day, so it should go well.
I needed to buy a few things, so I headed for Chayama and Quanat from the uni. I wanted to get small crème brulle dishes for smaller cakes, and needed another bottle of brandy as well XD For dishes there is a 100 yen shop, for the brandy Yamaya. The local Suntory brandy wasn’t that bad, but I decided to try something else in hopes for a better taste. In the end I decided on the J.P. Chenet French brandy and I didn’t regret it~ Of course I dropped by Comic Storm too, and got a few volumes.
I spent the morning cooking lunch – my new fave pumpkin curry~~~ The afternoon had an exam, but it was all easy, so no worries. On the way home I had to do some shopping, and there I saw a whole water melon for a quite bearable price: 1380! Sure it’s horribly expensive compared to Hungary, but here it was okay for an M size, and I need whole water melons~~~ I was very excited about it and it turned out to be very yummy~~~
This was a long day. The morning was free, but the classes in the afternoon had exams, so yeah :/ In the evening there was a dinner with our Listening teacher and most of the class, and the chosen restaurant was at the Shijou-Kawaramachi crossing in the Marui building. Since my class ended after 4 and the meeting was at 7 I wasn’t sure if I should go home beforehand or go directly to the shopping district. In the end I went directly with my heavy bag, but I wanted to shop for some manga and that takes time. My main goal was purchasing to Hagio Moto collector editions, but in the end I only found one. In the end I took another book instead about Hagio Moto with interview and pre-debut manga pages – love~~~~ Of course I had to drop by Lashingban as well, and got some nice titles :D
At 7 pm we met in front of Marui and headed for the restaurant. It was an all you can eat place (costs 2000 yen and we choose the additional all you can drink too), and while I was a bit afraid I couldn’t find anything to eat, it was a nice surprise, because they had a lot of soy meat dishes and those seemed and tasted totally safe. I tried a lot of different things in food and drinks, and I was especially fond of the dessert-fruits table – I even went for seconds XD We had a nice evening with the class, and we lest around 9 in the evening. It was a long, tiring but fun day.
I spent this weekend at home, because I still had some studying to do, not to mention the memorizing of my final speech. In case of the speech it was like I was repeating the text in my head almost every single second, till I knew it by heart.
On Saturday the only interesting thing was, that I made pancakes here the first time. I had a leftover piece of pumpkin, and I decided to rasp it and use it for salty pancakes. Our pancakes aren’t like the American ones, more like crépe, and it can be very exciting if you add rasped fruits or vegetables to the dough. This time I only added pumpkin, salt, pepper, but next time I will add rasped onions as well~ All in all, it was great, only the frying took like forever, since you need to do it on a small flame for the pumpkin to be fried.
On Sunday I got some ingredients, and made food for Monday. I really love brown rice and eringi, and the dish with these two quickly became one of my faves here.