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~