Sunday, 9 December 2012

Back to Japan-land!

Who'd have thought it's been 558 days (or 1 year 6 months and 8 days) since I left Japan in 2011. Wesley and I are still happily together! Since I left Japan we've seen each other a lot travelling between the US and UK every 3 months or so (the longest wait was 6 months! Gack!!). BUT very soon it will no longer be long distance as we plan to move in together! Although we have yet to pick a place to settle down in our first plan is Japan.

So before I get onto that I'll give a very quick update of the last year and a half. Besides jumping backwards and forwards between the West coast of the USA and the UK I had my last year of Social Anthropology in Canterbury *sad face* It was a manic year but I had lots of fun with my societies, completed my dissertation on cosplay, got a first class honours, and got my JLPT N3 certificate. Yay~ I worked the summer taking care of international University students and the winter as an administrator. I've even started translating manga for a scanlation group doing shoujo comics! It's lots of fun :) Wes has also been busy with his final year of uni and is in his last week ever!

We've been planning to go back to Japan together since January this year I think. Wes and I both want to become translators (well I want to become an interpreter eventually) but we both needed to improve our Japanese. I looked into various graduate programs, intern-ships and schools and we settled on a school in Fukuoka that was cheap for long term study and intensive JLPT classes (

The plan is that Wes will come here for Christmas before we fly out on the 17th January 2013. Fingers crossed at the end of the 6 months we would have taken (and I hope passed) the JLPT N1 exam and are able to get work translating!

And so I am proud to announce that this blog will re-open as Niffer returns to Japan-land this 2013! ^___^

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The End of the Fairy Tale

And so we finally come to the end of this tale, written a full 7 months after it finished (woops) ^^;

[End of May 27th-1st June 2011]
With the exams finished everyone was in a state of excitement, sorrow, dread. Or at least that's how I felt. The day before graduation was spent hanging out with the girls at the end of the hall and gothic "Rainbow" Sarah swapping clothes with Jessie and running around the dorm scaring people (it's a shock when you saw two completely opposite fashions get switched).

28th May started early as I had planned to meet up with Naho and Mio to get my hair, make-up and yukata done for graduation. They were an amazing help and the end result was...I couldn't keep my smile off my face for the whole day ^-^.

(The amazing girls who...I cannot describe how amazing they are)

Shortly the people started arriving and students in their best suits and dresses, new yukatas and kimonos were turning up and the frantic photographing began. I felt like that was really the last time we'd be together like that, the whole of us in a big group....but that (nor the rain) dampened our moods. The graduation ceremony itself was very formal and tiring sitting straight trying not to crease my yukata. There were speeches before we all got up row by row to pick up an empty folder for our graduation certificates (which were later found in our pigeon holes). After the ceremony we all went to the cafeteria for an all you could eat buffet! SO MUCH FOOD! Japanese students weren't allowed in the ceremony nor the buffet so I snuck out before the others to return to the CIE to talk to Mio and Naho, and Yuka turned up! Saying final goodbyes to her our group then (which prodding from me) headed into town to get purikura photos of us in our nice gear. I didn't care about the rain nor the funny looks we were getting, I was just happy. Everyone's crazy though and we got TONS of purikura (Mio and Naho demanded ones of me and Wes ><). Then had to rush back to pick up my clothes that I'd left in the CIE office before it closed! After changing we said our goodbyes and I went back to the dorm with Wes to drop off things before going to his for tsukiyaki and all night karaoke!!! SO TIRED O_O The follow day I had an appointment with a girl for my dissertation but I was 5am and I was so tired, I sent her a messaging with the typical Japanese excuse that I had a cold and then got the train back and slept!

29th May - I had arrange to go to my speaking partner Haaki's house one last time. Thinking back now I really regret not getting her e-mail address nor her house address! Although her English was poor and she only spoke Osaka-ben she was amazingly nice and I really enjoyed going to her house. I wish I'd gone more. Well this visit was fun, we had tenpura and her parents gave me gifts! Both her mum and dad got me gifts without telling the other and they both ended up getting me fans! Hahaha! One was a western fan and the other a Japanese uchiwa. We just talked about random things as usual, the differences between Japan and England, her dogs, my family. I realised that I'd really gotten a grip of understanding their fast speaking Osaka-ben...almost ^^;;

30th May - Knowing things were coming to an end we were all desperate to spend time together. I went over to Gabes and met with Wes and Alex to hang out in the morning. We riffled through peoples recycling for text books and found a pile of...suspicious magazines, so while Gabe was distracted we slipped one out and put it into his luggage! (He didn't find it til he'd gotten home a few days later!!!) For lunch we made our final trip to Kappa Zushi, I can't remember why but Gabe went another way and so on the way I showed Alex and Wes the wonders of the roller slide that was on the way. But because it had rained the previous week they got absolutely soaked!!! Hehehehe. Similar to the previous term the evening meal was spent at all you can eat yakiniku (grilled meat), and despite being so stuffed (and setting fire to the grill a couple of times) I still insisted on besting people at the number of ice-cream I could eat!

After and hour and a half of meeeaaaat we rolled out onto the streets of Hirakata. I had to say farewell to Shizuka who had joined us for the meal (don't worry, she's in London right now and I met up with her the previous December! People can still meet even if separated by the globe...)
I can't remember who but someone had brought fireworks so we all walked out to besides the river (where I'd never been to before) and lit them in the park. They were only hand held fireworks though, like sparklers but Japanese style. But the fire from the tiny things were not enough to keep the cold away so I was certainly eager to get back and go to karaoke. What else did you expect we'd do? It was one of our last nights together and we all sang until we were about to fall asleep. Laughs were shared and tears were shed and I remember wishing 帰りたくない!

1st June - My last day...Wes came over early to help me pack and send parcels (or rather Wes sitting in my pile of crap while he sang songs and I packed cos I knew what was going where).

Okaasan inspected my room and we vacated to Taylia's where Brad was hanging out too. It was basically waiting for the taxi I'd booked to come take me to the bus stop at 1pm. The wait was heart wrenching, and when it finally arrived...I just had to push on. Push through the over-whelming feeling that...I don't know what it was really. I said my goodbyes, faster then I wanted to but I knew I'd cry if I lingered. No point really. I burst into tears as I tore myself away from Wes, thinking I wouldn't know when I was next going to see him. The taxi driver handed me tissues and I apologised through tears, forcing myself to calm down.
I was happy to see Brad at the bus stop too and we waited together and sat together on the coach to the airport talking. I enjoyed our conversation at that time, feeling nostalgic of our trip to the bar together. He's such a nice guy. All my friends were. I spent a while with him the airport before my gate opened. I couldn't wait before I got home and began to frantically text Wes telling him what I was doing and how he was. Until I had to check in that is. I was worried then about my bag: It was only just under the weight limit and my hand luggage was full of books, I didn't want then to tell me I couldn't take them all on. They let me however and I spent a rather dull and tiring time going through the airport and waiting around for the flight. I kept texting Wes right up to the very moment the plane was about to go off and I wouldn't be able to us it anymore...and with that I left Japan...

And so this poorly written and badly updated story comes to an end. I feel like it was more a diary for myself then anything else, and I'm really glad I did it, even if things were late. I'm glad I finished it.
I've have so many high notes which have outweighed any of the low ones, although low ones were to be had. The exciting and sickening arrival followed by my first encounters of the Americans in my dorm and my first trip to the konbini. I will never forget being in the kitchen for the first time and meeting people that I never knew I'd become incredibly close to. There weren't many not nice people, and those kinds I avoided, which meant I made such a large number of amazingly nice friends. I miss our time in the CIE or going out and exploring Japan. Living the dream. It really was living the dream. An unexpected dream I never knew I'd wished for until it happened. So many unexpected things I was able to do, like Tokyo, Osaka-ben, random shopping, meeting Kagrra, buying stupid amounts of stuff, seeing Takarazuka, learning so much about Korea and Korean culture and now wanting to learn it, being able to research and meet cosplayers and female otaku, the events surrounding the earthquake, meeting Hester and really becoming a better Anthropologist thanks to him, just really feeling Japan and the people I met there change me for the better. I can't express in words how much everyone I met there means to me even now. I know that one day we'll all meet again (and not just over skype which we've done a few times now). The only thing left for us to do now is look to the future but always fondly remember our pasts. I love you guys and I'll miss you and the time we spent together