That's right, I booked my flight to Japan today :):):)!!! Yup, my moving to Japan is getting very real right now! I am flying with Emirates Airlines, it's an airline that is constantly in the top 5 of airlines (lucky me!), and it offered the most convenient and cheapest connection. I am departing from Dusseldorf Airport in Germany, which is even closer than Amsterdam Airport, and there is a stopover in Dubai before I fly to Nagoya in Japan.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Since I started reading blogs (mostly of foreigners in Japan) I kept on stumbling upon a photosharing website called flickr. It is overwhelming how many bloggers use flickr, almost everytime I clicked on a picture I ended up on the blue and pink website of flickr. Flickr, flickr, flickr, again and again and again... I used to be a dotphoto-girl but as flickr appeared on my screen for the gazillionth time today, I thought it may be time to join the flickr-ing crowd instead. And so I did, and here is my shiny new membercard ;)
But don't expect a lot on my brand new flickr site as I am just a newbie, and there is nothing spectacular on display, yet! So far I have only uploaded some old pictures as a test and I am enjoying getting to know the program. But as you can see the flickr-member-card-makers were so friendly to give me a pro status to make me feel right at home ;)!
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Check out the sweet inscription
Later he told me that he decided to give me an iPod because he wanted to make me feel happy! And also he felt a bit bad for having to dissapoint me for not being around on my birthday, and now he wanted to make me happy and do it in a way he was very sure it would not turn out to be a dissapointment. Well, he certainly succeeded! What a wonderful boyfriend do I have?! I am not a material person at all, but I know how careful Yasu is about spending his money, and for him to splurge on a iPod to make me happy really shows me how important I am to him. I love him so much.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Yasu and I met on January 11th, 2004 in SPICE House (our dorm) on the campus of Emory University. The first impression we had of each other was not particularly great. To me he was some Japanese guy that did not make any sense and to him I was a rude Dutch girl. We had no idea that we just met someone very special. The first half of the semester we both did our own seperate things, but halfway through the semester things changed…
SPICE House, 17 Frat Row, Atlanta GA 30322
The 'girly' store in Amagasaki's Carrefour
The package arrived on my day off so unfortunately, I did not discover the package in the mail myself, which would have been very surprising! Instead my coworker called me to tell me about it, and I received the package a day later on January the 11th! So that worked out nicely! Actually, I already owned a brand new daily planner, but Yasu's gift was a much better version than the one I picked out in the store! I immediately started using the new planner which came all the way from Japan from the hands of my sweet boyfriend!
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Friday, January 12, 2007
Inuyama in Japan
Inuyama has an estimated population of 73,247 and the city lies along the edge of Aichi Prefecture, separated from neighboring Gifu Prefecture by the Kiso River. There are a number of famous attractions in and around the city. The most famous attraction is Inuyama castle on a 40m rise overlooking the Kiso river. The Kiso river also has some very picturesque rapids upstream of the castle. These rapids and the rock formations are called the Nihon Rhine after the Rhine river in Germany, and boat tours are available. Cormorant fishing on the Kiso river is also done, although nowadays almost exclusively for tourists. Other things to do during free time: visiting the Urakuen tea garden used for tea ceremonies, or an anthropological open-air museum/amusement park called Little World Museum of Man, containing a large number of buildings built according to the native style of over 22 countries. Another amusement park is the Japan Monkey park, with different species of monkeys and other entertainment.
Check out all the fun things to do in my new hometown (click the pic for more info)
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Guess who found my blog today? My future coworker at the AEON school in Inuyama! This is the comment she left on my blog:
Hey .. Lou? Ok this is going to sound a little weird, but I was doing a search for another blog, and found yours by mistake, and I'm the other foreign teacher at Aeon Inuyama!!! If you want to get in touch, which would be fun please do. Otherwise I guess I'll see you in May!
Naturally, I was very excited when I found her comment on my blog! I knew that she was going to be the other foreign teacher at the school, because the recruiter in NYC talked about an Irish girl and I found her picture on the website of the school. I did not have a way of contacting her yet, so all I could do is wait until I got to Japan. But luckily she stumbled across my blog today :)!
She is going to be at the Inuyama school at least until July, so she'll be able to show me the ropes once I arrive in Japan. It's fun that we can already get to know eachother now! Her American boyfriend also teaches for AEON in another city, and he lives about 40-60 minutes away by train. Indeed, much closer than Amagasaki (where Yasu lives) which is more than 3 hours away by train. Oh well, it always better than more than 12 hours away by plane!
My mind is constantly overflowing with questions about what to expect in Japan, and now there is someone I can ask those questions to and who has an excellent ability of answering them! She has already given me loads of interesting information and I can't wait to ask her even more questions!
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Yasu with a PSV champions cap (PSV is currently the Dutch champion)
PSV players getting warmed up for the game
Sunday, January 07, 2007
My boyfriend's ambition is to become the Japanese Dr. Phil. Yes, he likes the Dr. Phil show so much, that his dream is to have a similar show in Japan; 'The Dr. Yasu show' :). Well, he is not about to get his PhD anytime soon, but he is studying the field of NLP as much as he can (professionally and privately), so perhaps in the future NHK will host 'The NLP Yasu show'.
Do you see the resemblance?
Thursday, January 04, 2007
The Regent Palace Hotel @ Glasshouse Street
I also visited London in September and during that trip I stayed at the Regent Palace Hotel, they had great rates and the location was even more awesome, just 100 meters away from Piccadilly Circus! Well, that sums up the good points of that hotel, besides that this so-called palace completely sucks. There is so much wrong and dirty with this hotel, with the worst being a 5 cm long cockroach crawling past my feet in the bathroom! Let this be a warning, the low rates and great location are not worth the ick-factor of this hotel!
The Montana Hotel @ Gloucester Road
So on my second trip this year, I was willing to spend trice as much on a ensuite hotelroom just to feel comfortable and well-rested for my job-interviews. After a severe amount of research on tripadvisor.com, I decided to book a room at the Montana Hotel, and I was not dissapointed. It was a nice hotel indeed with free WiFi and I even got an unexpected small breakfast every morning! The only bad point was the staff, which was not very friendly but they were not nearly as rude at the Regent Palace Hotel staff. I really enjoyed my stay at the clean Montana Hotel, and the two Starbucks Coffee stores in the street!
Over the holidays I sent AEON in NYC several things like my Master's degree, lots of passport photos, several signed contracts, a $200 check and more. Everything arrived safely and now they are going to send my stuff off to Japan, and hopefully they will send me back a Certificate of Eligibilty which will enable me to get a working visa at the Japanese Embassy in The Hague. The recruiter told me I am kind of a special case, because I am the first person they hired without a passport from a native English country, and he is not sure what will or will not be a problem for the Japanese immigration service. This all makes me a little nervous, I really want to go to Inuyama, so I just hope everything will go well!
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Our part on the show lasted for about 7 minutes, and as my digital camera only records for 3 consecutive minutes I had to record in three seperate videos. Of course I did put them in the right order here, so start watching the top one! Unfortunately, the show is in Dutch so if you don't speak Dutch it will not make much sense to you, but at least you can still see me acting all giggly on tv!
January 26, 2009 edit: See a great quality video with English subtitles here!
Monday, January 01, 2007
New Year's Eve buffet
Of course, a Dutch New Year's Eve is not complete without fireworks, and at the stroke of midnight all hell broke lose here as hundreds of people started setting of their own fireworks. Of course, the displays aren't as impressive as professional shows organized by big cities or tv shows, but the sum of all parts (so many people in the street and neigborhood shooting arrows into the sky and setting off boxes with colored lights shooting out of them) can be pretty impressive and extremely noisy! But it is a good noisy and very enjoyable to me. Unfortunately my camera wasn't doing what I wanted it to do, it was too confused with the sudden changes in light every second, so I did not get to snap a good-fireworks-shot :(. So I added a small video to give an impression of the noise and the fireworks, so when you see the fireworks in the video imagine that going on everywhere around you and in all the colors of the rainbow, then you might get an idea of the spectacle that went on in our neighborhood!