Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Eve in Yokohama (25 Dec 05)

On Christmas day, my Thai friend who has been study in Nagoya for about 1 year visits me during New Year time. We meet in the morning at my accommodation and go out to travel around. Yokohama is the place that we decided to visit. We would like to go to Kare musuem (curry museum) but we have to ask others on the way to be there. Finally, we reach there at noon. Actually, the purpose of the museum is offerring the visitor to eat curry foods. They have trivial history about curry in Japan including old TV advertisement. Since we would like to taste as much style of curry as possible, we then visit two shops and order different kinds of food. The taste in the first shop is quite nice but the second shop is oishigunai (not delicious) even it's the famous shop.

After lunch, we take the train to Sakuragicho-station and take a bus to visit Yokohama Bay Bridge. It is the one of beautiful bridges in Japan. Yoko (side) + Hama (seashore) is the important harbor city. Today is the lucky day for us, we can see Fujisan (Fuji Mountain) from the beautiful bridge by having yokohama city at the foreground. We knew that only some day we can see Fujisan but normally he is so shy and hides behind the haze.

We go back to the central of Yokohama city again. Today is quite crowded because it is a Christmas day and most couples go out to have a date and dinner. Unfortunately that I don't have anyone beside me except my friend :(really only friend): However, it is better than walking and having dinner alone. We decide to have Italian dinner in Cappriciosa restaurants in Yokohama Landmark Tower, the skyhigh building. The taste is quite good but we cannot eat all because we ordered when we are starving.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Hiroshima Trip <13-15 Dec 05>

During 13-15 Dec, I visit Hiroshima for a joint seminar in Hiroshima City University. Okumura lab offers to pay the expenses for air-ticket and hotel including giving the remain pocket money (about 6,000 Yen) from total 40,000 Yen budget for each person. I just spend my own money for foods and transportations.

We take a flight at Haneda Airport (the newest airport of Japan) to Hiroshima. It's going to be the time for boarding but there is a problem for me. In the security checking area before entering the gate, the security girl ask about "pass-su-con". I thought that she want me to show passport but luckily I bring it too. I try to find passport in my bag but I cannot find it, where I kept my passport? It seems very exciting at that time, I almost move everything including my clothes, my socks, etc. out of my bag in order to find the passport. Takamura sung, a lab member, tell me that "pass-su-con" is "electronic device". Then I pick up my notebook computer and ask that "korewa desuka?". Oh.. actually, "pass-su-con" is "plasma computer". When I look back behind me, there is a lot of passengers waiting for security checking. Oh.. damn am I. I have to pass the metal checking machnie too and it's beep. I have to take of my belt and my shoe. She doesn't touch the passenger as in Thailand does :( Finally, I pass through the gate and can boarding at the last group. Oh.. Very tired!

After landing by ANA airline, we go to the central of city by airport bus limousine. We keep the stuffs in the hotel and looking for "Okonomiyaki", a famous Hiroshima food which we can call Japanese Pizza, shop for having lunch. There are a lot of Okonomiyaki in one building. We just walk pass shop by shop for surveying how famous of each shop. Finally, we sit at one shop. It's quite different from Okonomiyaki as I used to eat in Thailand. For our menu, every egg that is used for making Okunomiyaki is a twin egg yolk! Wow, terrific both the show for cooking of owner and taste. Let's come to try by yourself.

We go to the world heritage that is the remained thing after atomic bomb. We also visit the atomic bomb memorial musuem. Luckily that it has Thai audio guide. The emotion after you visit the museum is about the loss and depress. It's very terrible if you see the people who was attacked by bomb.

In dinner time, Okumura sensei and other lab members come to join. This is the restaurant that serves real Hiroshima food. Main dishes are Kaki (oyster) and local fishes. You can see from the pictures. After check bill, we almost get shock because the price for each person is about 8000 Yen. Even real Japanese, they think that it is very expensive (totamo takai desu) dinner.

In the next day, we go to Hiroshima City University for joint meeting. Unfortunately that all presentations are held in Japanese language, I just roughly get the clue what their researches about but not deeply in detail. The university offers an Italian lunch for us but as you know about the Italian food, it is the same all places in the world. We go back after 6.00 p.m. and have dinner in the central of city. We order a lot of food but the price of each dish is not greater than 390 Yen (a campaign of this restaurant). When we pay the bill, they just let me pay only 1000 Yen because I'm guest! Oh.. very generous friends. We go out the restaurant and continue to eat ramen at the near shop. It is Japanese style to eat in many places with many kinds of food in one meal, I just know. Actually on the first day, they went to eat Okonomiyaki again after expensive dinner, but I made an excuse to return hotel. Tonight, they invite me to one room of the member for drinking. They buy a champagne and tasty cocktails, but I don't bring anything because I don't know. They ask me to join when we already reach hotel. We talk about many things including some secret topics :) I just know that they are the scuba divers also. They got the license in Philippines and had many dives. Hope that we can dive together once in Thailand.

On the last day, we travel to "Miyajima", an island near to Hiroshima. It has a shrine (sarn-jao) on the sea. It is one of the 3 most important sightseeing places of Japan. It has nothing. just the architecture of stilts in the mid of sea. We walk in the shrine and I take a fortune telling paper even I cannot read though. They translate to me and said many things, I remember just one fortune tell that "if i love anyone, that one will love back to me". Oh.. lucky. We have lunch in one shop. Another famous dish of this city is "A-na-go" (conger eel) with rice.
This is my first time in eating eel :o We also eat some local sweets, and buy local souvenirs. We go home by ferry the same means as we came here but different way. We catch the train and the bus to the airport. We return Tokyo safely but I did mistake again by getting on the express train which is not stop at the station of my apartment. I have to take the returned local train back from Yokohama. Hahaha.. funny and tired.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Cooking Skill Improvement <7 Dec 05>

This morning I wake up very early because I have my first Japanese class at 9.00 a.m. It's quite late to join them this time because they already passed 15 chapters from 25 chapters. I cannot catch the lesson well but it's better than not joining.
After having class I have lunch in canteen of univ. It's cheaper than eating outside but still costly (399 Yen for simple meal). After that I have to go home early about 2.00 p.m. because I made an appointment with Nong Toon (a brother who I stay with) to bring me to district office for making an alien card. After finish, N'Toon go to work but I go to shop in the supermarket nearby. I bought lots of stuffs for cooking tonight. Today I have shrimp which cost about 390 Yen for about 15 pieces, not too much expensive!

My skill of cooking is improved rapidly. Today I have fried broccoli with shrimp and fried pork plating with bread flour and mizo soup. Luxurious !!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Welcome Party <6 Dec 05>

Today I am so please because the Okumura lab members gave me a welcome party. They prepared everything by taking a train to Nagatsuta (2 stations from Suzukakedai campus) and buy foods, beverages, and snacks for the party. In the evening, I don't know when and where the party will occur. Tamura sung (the one who sits in front and wears eye glasses) is the manager for this party. He sent mail to me the day before party to ask whether I'm free or not for today. He just gave a rough information that they will have a welcome party for me. I noticed mail in the late night and reply back to him. Even it's not too long for prepration, they suddenly disappear after the evening class for seminar and I didn't get any information from them. I just keep sitting on my desk and wait for someone to inform me something.

About 7.00 p.m., they returned to the lab and bring those kinds of stuffs. Ohh.. it is very beautiful and delicious foods and very special for me too. They cannot speaek English well but try to talk and explain everything to me. It is a topnotch welcome party that I ever have. We need not to go outside and spend a lot of money. We can entertain within the lab and everyone helps to clean the garbages after the party. We also drink a little of alcohol though. They all share 1000 Yen each except me, but at the present Tamura still cannot collect his money back from other members yet.
Thank you very much for all of them :) How's about my Japanese friends' looking?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Lost in Ueno & Kabura nani? <5 Dec 05>

It is today that Ajarn will go home. Before we seperate, we go shopping near Ueno station. Some cool stuffs there. Lots of nice shirts, sweater, coat and expensive scarf (19,000 Yen burburrey brand). Well, I don't want to spend my money for that when I have to use my money for surviving here. Just take a look desire to have it. I also found the supermarket that sells food under that building. It's time for me to buy stuffs for cooking. I get rice (Japanese rice is chubby but small), sausages, eggs , porks, ketchup, mizo paste. Cost is quite high, it's about 5-10 times comparing to Thailand. 300g of pork is about 500 Yen = 170 THB. The big problem is oil, I saw the bottle that looks like oil both its shape and color. I confirmed it again with the cashier but unfortunately she cannot speak English at all, just keep speaking Japanese (but she looks cute na). Therefore I take it, but after I meet with Ajarn again he said that it's a kind of vinegar. Oh.. my god, I waste my money. So I ask him how to say oil in Japanese on the way to the station that we will seperate. I got it "kabura". Its sound like caburetor that we use in the car engine, so I map with it. We seperate very quickly because Ajarn has to catch the coming train. Oh.. now I'm lonely and have to encounter everything by myself.

I walk back to the other Ueno station for taking the train to tsurumi (my home). It takes several minutes to know the direction and ticket price from here to tsurumi (station of my home). I buy it and get into the train system. Ahh. I saw the sign but it doesn't say anything about tsurumi. It writes about the terminal station. That one is quite familiar to me, so I take that way. After pass two stations, I got shock because it's not the correct way. This way is the way that I used it on the first day to hotel but I don't intend to use it now. So I bring a lot of my stuffs and get off the train. Change the direction and return to the correct way.. Finally, reach my home station.. Wow.. how smart (or stupid) I am? We have to learn from mistake so we can memorize it quickly.

On the way to my home, I stop by some supermarket to buy oil. The vender is a guy who wears whiskers. He looks like Yaguza from movie. However, I have to speak in Japanese now. "Kabura arimasuka?" (Do you have Kabura?) He silences for a sec and I ask again. It seems that he's so confusing and ask me back "Kabura nani?" (What is Kabura). Oh.. god damn bless me, what's wrong with my Japanese? I have to use my body language and say cooking cooking and oil oil like foreigner want to buy something from local Thai. He finally knows what I mean and bring me to the oil and say "korewa abura desu". Ahh.. actually, it is "Abura" not "Kabura. I made a mistake again. The bottle of oil looks like the one uses for bathroom cleaning but i know it from color and attached picture. Just one litre of oil costs me 450 Y uh... muscular.
Today I cooked the food by myself at the first time in Japan as shown in the pictures. Very Very delicious na even it's the simple food. I can make the mizo soup which is quite similar taste to Japanese style too.

Ok.. very late night now it's about 2:00 p.m. Time to sleep.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Second day of Adventure (2 Dec 05)

Oh.. very early morning for wake up today. I cannot adjust my jet-lag yet so I could not sleep well. This time is 5:30 a.m. local time. We slept at 10:00 p.m. last night without writing any paper because we're very tired for yesterday activities. Ajarn is still sleeping wearing his pyjamus (oh! cool). I try to repack my stuff again by hoping that it will becomes lighter. After unsuccessful and got wound from that, I go to shower instead.

Today, we have to move out to another hotel near to Ebisu station and go to TOKODAI, Ookayama campus for meeting some Prof. A mistake occurs when we pass the ticket stamping machine. We cannot find the escalator or elevator to lift us up to platform. We cannot go out because of already stamp the ticket. Therefore, I have to lift my big luggage up the stairs step by step. It is very very tired and heavy. No one offers for helping because it's the morning and everyone hurries to work. Finally, Ajarn comes down to find me after I pass half of 40 steps and he helps to lift the rear part of luggage. That's the easily way to lift the heavy luggage which I knew from having a trip with P'Kaew, but I didn't dare to ask Ajarn to help at that time. After check-in to hotel, we move to Ookayama campus. At first sight, this campus is quite beautiful. The leafs of plant are starting to change their colors to be yellow, orange and red. Many big sakura trees locate here. There are some students riding their bicycles to school. I just got the information that Ajarn didn't tell the Prof. that we will meet today in advance. Actually, they are his old colleages and friends. He just comes instantly without prior appointment. We couldn't find the first Prof because she's now in the class, but we could catch the second one in another building. I ask him for any contribution I could do with his laboratory but usually no commitment at the first time we meet. We finish talking and move to talk with the first one again. We find her on the way when we're snooping in each classroom. Muscular Japanese talking happens among Ajarn and her, but I just keep smiling and say "Hai", "Sodesune".

We have lunch here in canteen of campus. The price is cheaper but still a bit expensive for me, 388 Yen for a cup of curry pork with miso soup. After that we moves to Suzukakeidai campus because we will discuss about what I will do here with Okumura sensei. We connect about 3 trains to reach there. It's still confused me about the direction and the station's names.

Today, I have my own table with Debian OS computer in the lab. I still not remember the name of members, and there are some members that I didn't meet them yesterday come to introduce themselves. Oh.. at least there is one Japanese master degree girl works here too. Her name is Yoshida (what's the meaning, who knows?). She's wearing fashion style and make up in Japanese way that is underline the eyepit with heavy black color. From my opinion on two days being here, All of Japanese girls look cute but they are similar in their looking. Not too often that we can see the outstanding one, because they all already look cute by good dressing, hair style, her bearing and fine skin with pale color. It is also the same way as the guy. If p'kaew comes here, you will feel bored for moderate good-looking guys around here. Therefore, the ugly guy as I am may become popular here because it's scarce :P

In the evening, we have a time to walk in Shibuya. This place is crowded because it's the second big city in Tokyo and a lot of young generations walk around here. We also have dinner here. I'm starting to get bored with Japanese food. We also go to Tokyo Hand which is the big department store in Shibuya that sells Japanese-made things. I see a lot of cool things such as the cookie box which will yell out different words when you open the lid, the small flashlight to reduce static electricity, the flat star-shaped plastic which will change to a circle ball in the air when we throw it, etc. After that, we just walk around the Shibuya. I see a "Condomania" Shop which sell something that you expect, but I don't have time to inspect insight because I have to catch Ajarn. There is also a "Soap bar" which I have no idea either what is inside (what's your idea?). However, I do not see any secret place where my friend said about yet. Maybe, he has to give me an exact direction attached with map.

Oh... It passed midnight already. I have to wake up very early to write papers. We have to finish them before Ajarn return to Thailand. I hope I will get some messages from any of you krub. C ya.

P.S. If you want to leave a comment for this posting, you just simply click the comment, But if you want to contact or discuss something with me instead of using mail, please go to and visit my Webboard there. I often check it.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Virgin Moment in Japan (1 Dec 05)

"Ohiogosaimasu", this is the first sound that wake me up from took a nap for just two hours. This time is about 4.00 p.m. (Thailand local time) from my watch and why someone has to wake me up very early. After regain my conscious, I found that I'm currently sitting on the plane to Japan with my advisor besides me. That sound is come from a cute Japanese airhostess try to annoy passenger by waking them up to get her hot towel. The flight schedule is departing from Bangkok 11:55 p.m. and arriving in Narita 7:35 a.m. local time which means we take about 6 hours for flight. But as a matter of fact, the plane took of 00:30 a.m. Thai local time. Rewind to last night before I left Thailand, my whole family members including the family of my two married brothers came to send me at the airport. The total number is about 7 persons which makes me feel very warm. Actually, I restrain all of my good friends to send me at the airport because I don't want anyone to be in trouble for me and I may not forbear to feel melancholy if I realize that I won't see them for 4 months :(

In pass days especially few months before this, I used to have a happiness time with them and feel as if I don't need anything more than only these friends. They are really nice to make me feel warm, closed and happy all the times to hang out or talk with them. We spent a time to have activities together which I cannot forget, or at least we have been chatting quite often. But from now on, it might not happen to my life. I may not have a chance to have lunch together with them, may not have a chance to send somebody at condominium, house or dormitory, may not have a chance anymore to argue everytime I talk with someone, may not have long phone with some cool friends, may not see someone play games, watch movies or download movies everyday. And the worse thing is I cannot hang out with them for a while. Even I know that I can do that after I come back but no one can guarantees because the time changes the people changes (including me) and somebody may not work in SIIT before I come back. That's why I feel depressed because I scared about future changing. Many friends called me to greet me before I left. Simultaneously gladness and sadness was happened to me. Gladness that my friends still recognize me but sadness for leaving them. "OK. don't worried you will have a better life there!" That's the word I got from one of my friends to cheer me up. I hope I can do that.

On the plane, Ajarn and me chat together all along the way as if we never meet together for months. Mostly about research works and study lifes (some is about gozzip others). We reach Narita airport about 5 mins later than schedule but we spend about one hour for immigration process because of the crowded of immigrants arriving by many flights. Ajarn is very expert to bring us out from airport to the central of tokyo with cheapest price. We take a skyliner train instead of JR from Narita airport to Ueno station by using only 1000 yens but takes about two hours. Since we didn't reserve the hotel yet, then he try to check availability of hotel for stay. After 1 hours, we finally get the hotel because many hotels are full. We have to take another train to hotel at Shinjugu. It is about noon When we reach Shinjugu and complete check-in process, it is about noon already. We go out to have lunch in Yoshinoya shop. My first meal is butadon which is the pork topping with curry soup and a mizo soup. The taste is quite good but it's not spicy enough for me even I put a 7-taste things (like a Thai cayenne pepper). Ajarn bring me to a Kanikuniya bookstore after finished lunch. All books are Japanese which I couldn't read for sure. Ajarn try to persuade me to see the good books but nothing can interest me though. I try to find the secret corner as someone said but I cannot find anything secret :P After that we go to Tokyo Institute of Technology (TOKODAI), Suzukakeidai campus which is the place that Okumura sensei's Laboratory locates. Ajarn try to explain about the complex train system of Japan, but I can get only some. It's really complicate to remember the station's names and how to connect the trains. A lot of train connections and how to expressly go somewhere are needed to study right now.

Finally we reach the campus about 4 p.m. and finally meet Okumura sensei and all of lab members. I cannot remember all of their names but surely that I can do it later. They cannot speak English well even from poor experience English skill of mine. All of them are guy, most of them are Japanese but only two are foreigners, one from Korea and another from Spain. There are about 12 members in the lab. I can remember only one member who is the Research Associate here. His name is Takamura. He is really nice and look like my old friend. After 1.30 hour, we finish a roughly discussion with Okumura sensei and beg to be excused for returning hotel. First question that I asked Ajarn is "Did I talk too much?" because they didn't talk anything too much, just listened to me and Ajarn. So I'm quite sure that it's a Japanese style but have to confirm again. You know, I talk everything even they didn't ask. Such as what I expect to come here, where I live, research works, how to come to campus, my suspect about Japanese style in keep looking to their phones on the train, or even offering them to give me any suggestions or blaming. I just want to entertain them make a familar with them but I may approach too much at the first time. As you know, how am I then you can imagine about that. But it doesn't matter, they didn't act as if they are disgusting or wanted me to stop. O.K. they will know me more later. Haha.

We return to Shinjugu and take a free time for night sightseeing and have dinner. The sun sets very quickly at this time, 5:00 p.m. looks like about 8:00 p.m. in Thailand. The weather is quite cold here. I think it's about 10degree celcius in 6:00 p.m. I don't have time to chat MSN or sending any mails to my friends and a lot of muscular pain also because I have to trolley the 40 kg luggage and two bags up and down the train stations along the way to the hotel. It would be better if I can get Sakib's massage. As I expected, the hotel here is very small compared to Thailand even the quite luxurious one. This night costs about 15000 Yen (5000 THB) for twin room but don't worried because Ajarn pay for it and he can reimburse from my scholarship supporter. With this price, we can stay in sweet room of some hotels closed to the sea in Thailand. We will stay here for only 1 day and move to another hotel near to ebisu station (4 stations from here) because of the room availability. So, I have to move my big luggage again. I will stay with Ajarn until he come back to Thailand on Monday and move to brother of my friend apartment after that.

Today, I found that the language barrier is the main problem of people who lives here. I need to know more Japanese to communicate and survive by myself after Ajarn come back. The Japanese skill that I have and gain some from Yoichi is not enough. Even Japanese people knows that I'm the foreigner, they just keep speak to me in Japanese. I just keep reply "Hai","Gomennasai","Arigato Gosaimasu","Domo" or "Sumimasen" even I don't understand at all. Another problem is an expensive of cost living here. Today, I spent about 4000Yen (3Yen=1THB) for lunch and transportation only (dinner is given for free by Ajarn). However, it is still a big money. For example, in the cheap restaurant where we sit on the bar and everyone comes alone to eat not to chat (I call it "Eating Factory"), the cheapest menu is about 500-600 Yen. Even the ice that we can buy from 7-eleven by only 5-6 Baht, it costs about 194 Yen (approx. 65 THB) in Japan. Actually, 200 Yen looks like we can buy only 10 Baht things. Very Very expensive more than I used to imagine. Let see further how I can survive here.

P.S. Sorry for my poor english and very long story. You may feel bored about this, therefore just skip some passages if you want but surely that you will miss the same feeling as mine. I don't have a digital camera yet, if I have I will take a photos instead of writing long story. "One picture represents million words"