Thursday, 29 November 2007

November 8th.

It was a Thursday. Today was touring around Himeji castle day plus going to The Syosya arts and crafts museum. In the morning we had to regroup at Miki SHS and all of the Malaysian students came with their host and the two teachers came as well. :P When the bus arrived to pick us up we all boarded and off we go sightseeing. So our first destination was Himeji-jo, or Himeji castle, the world cultural heritage. I got that from the brochure. So basically Himeji-jo is a huge castle that has a beatiful scenery not to mention the very high tower. urrrgh. We had to climb all the way up through seven floors if I'm not mistaken. It was very tiring but a good exercise though. :)
Here are pictures of Himeji castle before we went into the premise. :P

This is the moat/river/lake surrounding the area.

This is the entrance into the castle's area. It's a very big gate.

This is the map of the whole area. It's a pretty big place. sheesh

After we entered the gate there were lot's of gardens, beautiful gardens and this picture of me and Narmatha in front of cherry blossoms if i'm not mistake.
This is a view of the castle tower from one of the gardens in the area. As you can see the big one is the main tower. :P

This is a picture of the main tower upfront. Tall isn't it?

Around the area outside the castle there were lots of traditional japanese buildings. According to the brochure ;P the castle was built by many families and especially the royal bloods. And the picture above are symbols or crest tiles that represents the families that helped. Beautiful.

So after that we went into the castle, the main tower. It is a tower with seven floors. Two are underground and five are above. The interior design are very traditional and mostly made out of wood. So we toured around in the tower and we climbed until the top. It was a gruesome challenge not to mention tiring but of course it as fun. Oh i forgot to tell you that before we can get in the castle we had to take our shoes off and wear "uwabaki's"/ slippers while carrying our shoes around. urrgh, i wish they had an escalator though. eeheheh. On top of the tower was located a shrine/ "otera". Here are some of the pictures, enjoy.

These are weapons that were kept inside the castle in case of emergencie or what not. ;P

This is me in front of the shrine which is pretty weird don't you think putting a shrine on top of the tower.

this is the view from uptop. :D sugoi!

So it was a pretty cool experience getting to visit a real actual japanese castle, although meeting naruto would be nice but it's okay ;P. Then after touring we had lunch at a park situated just in the premises of the castle. In front of a souvenir shop. :)

After having a nice lunch we headed to the Shosha arts and crafts museum. We made masks and played gasing! surprising that japanese peaopl plays gasing but i'm sure they call it something else though. I made a hyotokko, i guess thats what it's called. :P

So this is taken before we went into the museum and some of us are out of the picture as you can see. I'm always the center of attention :P

Me making a hyotokko, beside me is Shige, tanoshi.

So which one looks good?

After we made the masks and waited for it to dry we snooped around the museum and took sme pictures, The above photo is of me surrounded by small buddhism statues that are scattered araound the museum. Very beautiful. After visiting the museum we had one last destination which is the bridge in the city, ahahha yeah i totally don't know the name of the bridge but what i know is it is the largest suspension bridge in the world , amazing huh. yeah i thought so. :P
This is us in front of the suspension bridge. It was freezing cold. brrrr.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

7th of november

Today Syogo and I went to school by car but this time the father drove us. He dropped us at the same spot the mother dropped us the day before. Then we walked to school. Today i was really excited because i get to stay in class and experience how the normal japanese classroom feels like. :P In the first period was Japanese. Me, Pua and Narmatha learned Hiragana, the Japanese alphabet. It was fun learning new and interesting things other than history or something. sheeesh. The teacher that taught us about the japanese alphabet was Kanda-sensei.

this is Kanda-sensei. very nice fellow.

After that we were brought to the school library, the place was nothing out of the ordinary and truth be told, who loves the library anyways? i mean come on. So we stayed in there for a single period making fools out of ourselves pretending like we can read the japanese written books. There was no english books to be found so I was a bit disappointed. :( Then after the agony of boredom was over we went to our classrooms and had maths. For the first time in my form four life i was feeling sleepy during maths. yeah surprised i know. ;PI love maths but the teacher made me feel so sleepy that i nearly blow up my eyeballs just trying to be awake. Urrgh. Moving on, the next period was home economics and the lesson today was origamis, It was a lot of fun, eventhough my creations were looking weird and unseemingly but it was fun making things out of papers. Plus we had to do like a story using all of the origamis and glue them in the book. Of course i didn't get to complete mine. I'm no professional.

they don't look so good. ;P

At 1230 in the afternoon we had lunch and in the normal japanese classroom, it is allowed to eat in class with exception not to make a mess. And from what i have noticed, it is a custom of the japanese to bring their own lunchboxes/ "obento" to school. Most of the students of my class brought their lunchbox to school including me courtesy of my "ocasan". :) I ate onigiri, eggroll, salad, pickles, and sambal ikan bilis. mmmmm. After making myself like a fat kid i we went to the LL room for a history presentation about Miki SHS. They did a powerpoint presentation to us and it was kind of boring as we're used to it but guess what, the powerpoint culture is just starting in Japan according to a teacher who told me. ;P Oh and i never thought that Japanese school had cheerleading squads as well as male cheerleaders, ahahaha it was funny watching them do their routine in the presentation.

so this is a picture of how the LL room looks like. Pretty spacey huh?

School ended at 305 and i straight away went to class and hung out there. I talkked to some of my classmates and trying to get to know them. Networking you might say. ;P Oh and i took some pictures for remembrance.

After making some new friends i headed to the tatami room, a room where he floors are embedded with tatami matresses. They're really soft and nice to sit on. ;P Actually the reason i went to this very room is to observe an actual Tea Ceremony. A traditional Japanese custom. Fyi, i had to taste the tea and i'm telling you it taste friggin bitter. Like i'm going to die bitter. But luckily i managed to live and put on a smiling face saying it tastes good. I think they know i was lying but who cares. :P
A demonstration by a student making the green bitter tea. urrgh.

the entrance to the tatami matressed room. :P

When it was 530 I and my host student went home by foot and then boarded the train/"shintetsu". But on our way home Syogo brought me to his friend's house which is also a host student for my friend Din. The house was filled with sculptures or dolls or whatever they are called. But it was kind of scary having those faces staring at you when you enter the house. So we ate some potato chips and had milk. yummmy.
From left: the grandmother, my host Syogo-kun, Shige-kun; my friend's host, me, Din, and the mother.
Then after the trip to the friend's house we went home by car as my host's father came and picked us up. Then he picked the other members of the family and we went to a japanese restaurant. We ate sushi and oh my god it was raaw, urrgh, some tasted good but others were just plain bad. :(
From left: Syogo, me, "otosan", "ocasan", and Junki the younger brother. Oh i look so shoort. uurgh.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007


Tuesday, 5 in the morning, the clock woke me up and i quickly got out of bed and stood straight staring blankly into space. I'm sure everyone does this all the time in the morning so it's no embarassment to me. ;P Well let me tell you the reason i had to wake up at 5 am . I had to do my ibadah prayer, subuh to be exact. So i tried as hard as possible to be quiet as a mouse and went to the bathroom to take my "wudhuk". After i prayed i straight away went back to sleep and snored for a few moment. Later my host student woke me up and invited me to breakfast. Note that their dining table is a lot different from the usual dining table. The table is short and underneath it is an underground compartment where you can put your feet in and underneath it there is a heater. It is very high tech in a traditional kind of way. "Ocasan" served salad, egg, and peach. The only one that wasn't present was the father, i guessed he'd already went to work. They're such workaholics. urrgh. The custom in my foster house is that you can shower or take a bathe after you've had your meal, so i was going wih the flow. I had a nice shower, a quick one and then i got ready to go to school. The mother dropped me and Syogo off at somewhere near the school and then we met Izudin and his host, apparently my host and Din's host are really good friends.After that we walked to school. In school i had to wait in the reception room with Pua and Narmatha for the principle. When he came he took us into his car and we toured for a while around Miki city and then he brought us to meet the mayor of Miki. We all talked and we even made it in the newspaper. I have the copy, ;P. Then the principal took us to a carpenter studio where we made our own frames and put our own pictures.
And then we filled our stomachs at a japanese restaurant.

Oh one more thing, our friends from Mikikita joined us as well. ;P
After eating the delicous japanese delicacy we went back to school and watched the recitation contest in the LL room, no i do not know what does the LL stands for. It was fun seeing junior school students recite texts from their textbooks. And during the intermissions we had to introduce ourselves to the rest of the people in the room. urrrgh another public speaking. sheeesh. By the way, i met grace-sensei and michael-sensei. They were really nice and friendly. Then i met most of my classmate of class 2-3. All of them are really friendly too. They even offered me a candy which was yummy! Oishii :P.

From left : Saya, Mayi, Kumichou, and Rihou
Then me and Syogo went home by train. To tell you the truth i actually had high hopes of the Japanese railway system but when i went there for the first time it was just normal, Perhaps similar to the Malaysian LRT. Surprisingly i met Aisyah at the station and we exchange stories. But it was still a new experience. ("_") For dinner we had steamboat, or whatever it is caleed but it was still tasty. mmmmmm.

Japan ; first day

After six hours of watching the latest movies and sleeping for a while in the airplane, we finally arrived at the Kansai International Airport. We had to go through customs and all sorts of things but it all went smoothly.

When we arrived at the Kansai Airport the hyogo prefectural representative had already been waiting for our arrival at the gateway. He introduced himself and lead us to the bus. Note that the second we step foot out of the airport , it was freezing cold. The atmosphere out in the open was more colder compared to the atmosphere in the airport which was already at a high temperature. I took out my jacket and wrapped it around my body to keep me warm. :P After putting away our luggage in the bus compartment we went back into the airport and walked around to kill time. So of course i took pictures and all. The airport was huge and it was already like a museum.

After touring around the airport, the hyogo representative brought us to the Kobe Harbour and there we took pictures and what not. We get to see the Kobe Tower and other Kobe landmarks.

Here we are in front of the Kobe tower, we didn't get to go in the tower because we didn't have enough time to sightsee.

Then after that we were taken to the Rokusso Hotel for a briefing and explanation on our itinerary during our stay in Japan. Plus they taught us a few of japanese that was proven to be useful. Oh did i forget to mention that during this meeting i had to give a speech. urrgh. it was disastrous. ;P

After all that was over, they brought us to Miki Senior High School to meet our respected families. I, Pua and Narmatha was introduced to the principal and vice principal of Miki SHS. Then we sat in the reception room where we waited our fate. ;P My host student, this is what we call our foster brothers and sisters. Our "host student". ;P well my host student came and greeted me, we exchanged names and he said he had to go to for his club activities and that he will be back shortly. A few moments later he and his mother came and i explained to them about my solat prayer. Then they took me home by car. Their house is situated on top of a hill, it was very cool and other than that it was cold. Most of the japanese house are modern and it's unlikely to come across a traditional house as Japan is an advanced country both technologically and economically. During dinner i was intorduced to the rest of the family. It wasn't a big family , there was the father, otosan, the mother ocasan, my host student Syogo which is his name by the way and his younger brother Junki. They were really friendly and made me feel just at home. Did i forget to mention that my host student gave me his room to sleep in while he sleeps in his brother's room. Aren't they just nice. ;P

Monday, 26 November 2007

2nd November

I decided that i wanted to write about my experience when i went to Japan in the student exchange programme. It was a lot of fun and i would love to share it with everyone. :)

The student programme started in Malaysia in an unknown hotel. I forgot the name of the hotel all thanks to my inefficient memory. There's nothing much to tell during this period before taking off to Japan, all we did was practise for the dance performance and fashion show and as for me i practised for my speech which. urrrgh don't you just hate public speaking. Plus we filled our stomach with classy hotel buffet cuisine, it's not like we're never going to eat malaysian food but we were already missing our families and we haven't even departed yet. We stayed in the hotel until the 4th and took off for Japan at 2300 hours. The fligh took 6 hours, so we just enjoyed our flight. ;P

This is when we were at the hotel and practising the dance and fashion shows. Currently they are wearing the dance costumes.
Girls from left: Nabilla, Aisyah, Farena, Hanani, Narmatha
Boys from the left: Pua, Sufian, Azuan, Jaudad, Izudin
When we first step foot in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Of course we were "jakon".
This was taken in KLIA. What was intended to look like a huddle but ended up looking like something else. Plus two people are missing; Nani and Aisyah
Just having a our last malaysian meal before we boarded the airplane. :P