akujunkan: (ajk)
Japanese university courses are generally conducted on the following pattern: the professor assigns a student to outline each week's reading and recite said outline to the class. This means that the amount of work turned into to the professor is pretty low compared to the West; conversely, said presentation pretty much determines at least 50% of one's grade, since the professor has precious little else by which to evaluate one's performance.

Well, I was meant to give a presentation for one of my classes this coming Monday, but the weeklong cancellation in the face of the dreaded Swine Flu means the semester's schedule has been pushed back a week. Thus, my presentation is now on the 15th. That's kind of a problem since I'll be in Seoul that day...for a wedding, no less, which it's not something I can just back out of.And here my troubles begin. )

Luckily, Ando-sensei is infinitely more sensible than the college office. )

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
...have an おばちゃん level up. )

That seemed to solve things for a month.

Until last night, when Japan proved yet again that its logic is not Earth Logic. )

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
Is of: Read more... )



In other words, it is truly alarming how much electronic gadgets hate me. Today my new camera, the camera I have owned for exactly 37 days broke. Read more... )

That will be all.
akujunkan: (kisama)
I did it. I pulled the plug. I just couldn't lie to myself anymore: my refrigerator is dead and never coming back...and one week after its warranty period ran out, I might add. Oh, the lights work. The fans work. Unfortunately, the keeping things cold part does not work.

My fabled inability to coexist with electronics apparently now extends to household appliances as well. Here's hoping my work authorisation comes through, as life is likely to get pretty pricey from here on out...

That will be all.
akujunkan: (pluto)
And I'm the butt. Still, 勘弁してくれよ! )

That will be all.
akujunkan: (kisama)
This is not pretty.

Flashback: 1.5 weeks ago. ) I start carrying my phone with me at all times, sleeping with it in my bed.

Interlude. )

Fast forward to tonight. )

Oh, but it gets *BETTER*. ) Awesome.

ETA: So the whole time I was talking to Drainpipe Feud Lady and Kul and his wife? Massive gobs of Clearasil all over my face. It doesn't get any sweeter.

That will be fucking all.
akujunkan: (kisama)
...Drumroll, please... )

That will be all.
akujunkan: (kisama)
There are some days when I just really need Japanese. "Because a suitable apartment* was not located in time, it has been decided that I will stay with my aunt and uncle." There. Nice and to the point, and best of all, with no blame apportioned to anyone in particular.

I just got off the phone with said aunt and uncle, who are being very helpful and hospitable about the whole thing. Only problem is, while they're family, they aren't intimate family, and I feel very awkward imposing (because I don't feel I know them well enough to justify the intrusion on their lives). I was trying to explain this to my aunt, and to thank her for the help, because I am genuinely grateful. Only problem is, I could not for the life of me get the damn words out in English. Oh, I had plenty I wanted to say: 本当に助かる and お世話になる and 伯母さんに迷惑かけりたくないのに, even freakin' 恩に着る was ready to role of the tip off my tongue, but nothing useful was about to make its way out of my mouth. Which left me "Um.."ing and "Erm..."ing into the phone, sounding like an inarticulate idiot.

Not the kind of person you'd want to be 邪魔しますing your house, right?

Guh. I am not today's winner.

That will be all.

*I would have been fine with HOOD FABULOUS PROJECT LIVING, but since mes parents are the ones cosigning on the lease, that option did not remain on the table for long.
akujunkan: (kisama)
Oh, you laugh *now...* )

Anyway, I'll get around to posting the normal TWIBs and checking regularly as soon as I get my current assignment done.

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Arhats R Us)
Dear AJK... )

Now I'm feeling really guilty for not going with GWU. They like me! They really like me! AU better send me to Ritsumeikan now, or suckas is gonna hurt.

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
...in the form of online graduate school applications. I had completed all the questions, uploaded my CV, statements of purpose, supplemental essays, recommenders, everything they asked of me, months ago.

So dear lord above, why did it take approximately 3.5 hours to submit them? That's 70 minutes per application. My brain is so fried I haven't even realized I'm free to relax now.

Egads.

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
...in the form of the Graduate Records Examination.

Got my highest quantitative score to date (which is good, because my scores on all the practice tests sucked) at the expense of having to guess my way through eleven questions in seven minutes and not being able to even finish them.

This left me rattled for the verbal, where I scored 100 fewer points than I'd done on any of the practice tests, and which has left me sour because I should have damn well been in the 99th percentile and am not, thanks to my test anxiety.

I think the writing when pretty well. Anyway, it's a huge weight off of my chest, and what better way to celebrate than obsessively updating my LibraryThing for 1.5 hours tonight.

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
...that The King's Man (aka King and the Clown) is being released in a country whose language I comprehend (Japan), now, when I am not in that country and thus can neither see it on the big screen, nor partake in the inevitably massive merchandising/media frenzy that is undoubtably accompaning it.

The other abiding irony is the dratted Border's Rewards coupons. I am able to go Sit With The Books once a week. I would happily exercise my option to purchase the books were I able to get to the bookstore at any time between Thursday and Sunday, when the Rewards coupons are valid. Alas, this is not within the realm of possibility. You may therefore imagine my happiness when, upon checking my email this morning, I discovered a 40% rewards coupon in the inbox...for tomorrow. >.<

And for the final irony, I've got everything in order for my applications, except for the dreaded professor's recommendation. I really do not see how grad schools can, with apparently no intended irony on their parts, state that they favor applicants with strong career experience while simultaneously requiring at least one letter of recommendation from a former professor. I doubt very many people keep in close contact with their former profs while building up that impressive employment history. Again, >.<

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
Let me start by saying that a certain widely popular travel guide franchise desperately needs to update its Laos title. Given their description, I'd expected net connectivity here to consist of someone on a rotary telephone dictating zeros and ones to me, yet here I am on broadband connection that's faster than the ones I used in Thailand. For shame, Lonely Planet!

Yesterday was truly surreal. Went to sleep at about two o'clock to the sounds of the roosters crowing in the powerlines (yes, they can apparently get up there. Who knew?) after a futile attempt to figure out whether or not the airport would be open tomorrow.

Ironically, it was the foreign population of Bangkok who knew about the coup first, given the fact that we all tend to be up at midnight. My driver to the airport (who I'd hired the day before), was pretty stunned--he hadn't found out till he'd woken up and got out onto the streets.

Which were pretty much deserted--pretty unnerving when you're used to the insane round the clock bustle of Bangkok. Had a really charming conversation with him about how to say 'coup' in English, and the meaning of the word. (He thought, for instance, that d'etat was some sort of abbreviation of demonstration, and wanted to know what the "etat" meant.)

Of course, had to drive right past--or rather, around--all the avenues blocked off by soldiers and tanks. The soldiers actually looked quite festive (disregarding the automatic weapons), as they were decked out in jasmine garlands and yellow ribbons and carnations (the colors of the Thai royalty).

"Take pictures, take pictures!" gleeful Mr. Driver kept urging me; I however, felt that photographing tanks from the back of a taxi during the early stages of a coup might not be such a great idea. I did get a quick shot of a couple of grunts standing on a street corner, though.

Seeing that that tack had failed, Mr. Driver then rolled down the window so that I could shake hands with the soldiers. I chickend out and settled for waving.

Anyway, that was the fun bit. The not so fun bit was the part that every bank and business was (understandably) closed, which meant that I could neither eat breakfast nor exchange money.

Am a bit worried about the fact that the military dude apparently heading the coup says that democracy won't be established for a year, as I've got some more time in Bangkok before flying to Korea. Who knows? I may just end up stranded in Laos with it's vastly superior Internet connections.

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
That's French for HOLY FUCK! )

I attempted to call the U.S. Embassy and ask for advice, and was put on hold for so long that my money ran out. I then decided to head to ye olde Internet cafe to see what the Embassy website has to say about the situation. Which is...nothing, although they've got several useless links to the shit bush has spewn from his mouth recently. Way to lose at life, embassy.

Thus I find myself refreshing the NYTimes homepage and reading what the Japanese news media has to say about the situation over the shoulder of the woman next to me.

All I can say is, I better get out of here tomorrow, because I don't have enough money to buy another $1,100 ticket back home.

That will be all.

PS: I should have known something was up when I stopped into the Tourist Information Bureau this evening and found it full of police in full riot gear. Unfortunately, I've spent too much time in South Korea.
akujunkan: (kisama)
Fucking unbelievable. FUCKING UNBELIEVABLE

ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY UNBELIEVABLE )

I mean, seriously, what are the odds?

That will be all.

PS: I still have to access lj through proxy servers, and I can't read the flist at all.
akujunkan: (Default)
Marched my butt up to the Vietnamese embassy today to get my visa sorted. The hostel map was completely useless in the manner of most hostel maps. While I did manage to find the correct street on my first run, I also walked right past the embassy and back down the other side of the mountain on which it's situated. Oops.

Interesting thing--the Japanese cultural center here is guarded by five armed cops, but there aren't even any watchmen outside of the Vietnamese embassy. Its sign is also small and inconspicuous; about the size of a dinner plate. The embassy itself is not much bigger; it could easily fit into an American construction site trailer, and packs about the equivalent in creature comforts. I handed my passport to the harried dude behind the desk and was told to come back an hour later for the visa.

I arrived to find the harried dude even more harried, and to discover that my visa, far from being finished, hadn't even been processed yet. I was told to wait another fifteen minutes (which became an hour), thus causing me to miss my tour of a nearby palace. Oh well.

When I finally did receive the visa, I realised that it was for the wrong dates, in fact, it expired on the day I was due to enter the country. So back to the beginning went I. Meanwhile, I paid Mr. Harried, who then began to bitch in a sort of resigned fashion about the fact that I gave him two coins. "I know money is money," he said, "but coins!" thus making him the first person in the history of my life who has ever bitched at me for giving them correct change while they were horrendously overworked.

From there, on to Insadong--the "traditional Korean crafts and art gallery area of Seoul" where "traditional Korean crafts area" is apparently synonymous with "made in China but sold for 3-5 times more than it is there." Literally, it was the exact same stuff I'd passed over at the Silk Market in Beijing. Did find one place selling awesome bal though. I just have to decide if I want to pay the equivalent of $300 US for the one that I really like. Will probably check out the actual folk art superstores tomorrow to see if I can't find any others.

Wrapped up by stumbling onto the main temple of Korea's largest Buddhist sect in time for a service, which I recorded with my mp3 player and then probably accidentally recorded over. Still, it was an amazing experience.

That will be all.

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