Friday, November 30, 2007

...

"Those who appears to be mentally strong are the
weakest ones deep inside"
What I have been going
through for the last 24 hours
How true I found the quote above is.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Third Ball

This is what I used to have on my table for some time not very long ago.
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It doesn't seem to be anything wrong in the photo, does it? I thought so as well. In case you are wondering why I kept a small plate and a pair of chopsticks in my room, they were used when I had some light snack some time ago. They should not be there after I finished using them, but each time I went to the kitchen, I just tend to forget about returning them to the kitchen. As for the three balls; the one with red stripes is I got from the softball ground during a softball match months ago, and as for the white softball and the yellow smiley ball, I got them from my class. And that is how the story of how all those stuffs ended up on my table. The end.
Well, the ending isn't to be like that. Here is the main story about my third ball. As I have mentioned earlier, I placed them on my table, without having any different thoughts about them. Not until one of my senpai came in and when he looked around my table, the first thing he noticed was the three balls and chopsticks and he said to me something like this:
"Fulamak, sex simbol betul la benda ni. Ada sampai tiga bola ker?
Tak cukup, ada hashi (chopsticks) terpacak keluar lagi! Huhuhuhu..."
(Fuiyo, really sex symbol la this thing. Got until three balls arh?
Not enough, got chopsticks sticking out somemore! Huhuhuhu...)
Honestly, for all the time I placed those stuff there, I never let my imagination run so far until thinking that they looked like three balls with a pair of erected chopstick in the middle. But since that night, I make sure there will not be a second person who enters my room and give such a comment anymore. What I did is very simple.
I made my three balls break-up with the erected chopsticks. Break-up is something painful, but that was the only choice I had.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Japanese Names

There was one entry when I blog about some vulgar words we are so used to in our daily life, especially among the Ah Bengs and Ah Lians; which will translate into a totally different meaning of Japanese words. Now, try figure some characteristics on an individual in any language and try translating them into Japanese. I got this forwarded email in Malay version.
1. Yang pemarah- Keji Cacimaki
2. Yang tak suka barang mahal- Sato Sukamura
3. Yang bisu- Kita Tadasuara
4. Yang suka makan tosai- Nanachi Hitose
5. Yang suka lagu blues- Apo Nadikato
6. Yang suka belajar- Asiko Ulangkaji
7. Yang kerap bikin ribut- Wakasi Huruhara
8. Yang masih bujang- Matimati Tamokasi
And so, I tried writing those names in kanji. When I translated the names from the kanji characters, I got a new set of different meanings in those names.
1. Keji Cacimaki (毛時 茶粽) - Hair time Tea sweet rice cake
2. Sato Sukamura (砂糖 巣か村)- Sugar Nest or village
3. Kita Tadasuara (北 唯巣新)- North Only nest new
4. Nanachi Hitose (七乳 人背) - Seven milk People's back
5. Apo Nadikato (亜歩 ナヂ下等) - Nitrous step Nadi lower
6. Asiko Ulangkaji (足子 ウラン家事) - Foot child Uranium housework
7. Wakasi Huruhara (沸し 古胎) - Boiling Old mole
8. Matimati Tamokasi (町町 他も貸し) - Town town Others also rent
I tried on my name and see what will come out. And I got 狩る瓶 (Karubin) which means "Hunt bottle". I guess the bottle here refers to the normal water bottle and not the milk bottle babies usually use. Anyway, I still prefer hunting pears, instead of going for a bottle hunt.
Try it on your name and see what you get.
P/S: The Japanese names in kanji characters mentioned above do not exist in truth. I just make up all those names.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How True It Was

This is another thing Japanese students, in my college at least, will do when exams season is here.
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I actually saw it first time yesterday but this morning, it was written in more detail than the previous day. It seems that it has became a daily routine for the head-of-the-2nd-floor in my hostel to write all those stuff on the white board every morning.
I will just explain some of those stuff written there. The title was "Today's Fortune Telling" and he listed down all his Japanese friends along with their horoscope. Next to them are circled numbers which represent how many stars each individual get for the day. The bigger the number is, the more stars he will get, which means the luckier he will be for the day, particularly in the exams.
At the bottom left, it was written 「12位の人のラッキーメニュー」: 該当者なし (がいとうしゃなし) which literally means "People with lucky menu of 12 stars: No one is suitable for the requirements". It was also so happened that both of our tutors got only one star. However it wasn't the end of the world for both of them. Advice was attached for both of them which says "Forget about the past failures".
And it summed up with "Overall, the test today is expected to be complicated".
I was hoping it will not be the case when I was on the was to take my only paper of the day - 機械要素 (Mechanical Elements) this morning. But when I got the paper, my first thought was "Die liao this time". The questions were almost nothing near the past-year papers (kakomon) that we have been relying on all this while. To make matter worse, the number of the questions in that paper were so minimal that each of the questions will make them carry around five to ten marks. When I got back to my hostel and saw those writings on the white board again, then I knew the predictions was accurate in the first place afterall.
I am not surprised to find myself failing this paper.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I Am No Way A Genius

"カルヴィン、終わった?"
What I was asked
during my English paper this morning
Romanised:
Karubin, owatta?
Translation:
Calvin, (have you) finished?
It was the first paper of my mid-term exam this morning and it was the 50-minute English paper. I was just 15 minutes into doing that paper when the lecturer in-charged came into our classroom and looked to the far corner at the back of the classroom and asked me that. To be honest, I had just barely finished the first few questions of the paper.
I was like "Huh? Don't kid me lah sensei". But of course, I didn't say that to him.
It is true that our level of English is far better than the Japanese in general. I am not trying to look down on them, but it is the reality and you will know that if you are in Japan long enough. This has resulted of them having the tendency of stereotyping us as some genius sent from another world, who knows every single thing when it is related to English at times.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What -Sa Will You Fill In?

Spotted this on the notice board in my hostel this morning.

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Romanised:
Tesuto nante
-sa → kouho (候補)

Translation:
Test...
-ness → candidate


Initially, the word feeling was written in the red box, but later it was replaced with a box and see what word people will fill into the box. I could not make the connection between test and feelingness when I first saw that. Perhaps it was the wrong English word the Japanese had used.
As for me, I will put it as SIEN-NESS. How about you guys? Tesuto nante, nani?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Humpty Dumpty Can Not Eat

I was in Niigata a few weeks back to settle my re-entry visa application at the Immigration near the airport. The journey there took more than an hour, just to settle the application which lasted less than 5 minutes. Clearly we didn't want to make the trip all the way down to Niigata a waste and so, we went to shop a bit. To be fair, it was someone else who wanted to shop, not me.
Anyway, while going through the gift sections in this shop called The Loft, I came across something unusual. How many times will you see stacks of eggs being placed in this kind of section, instead of the grocery section most of the time. Back to the egg, the size, the colour and the texture looked just similar to the egg I have almost every morning. In case you are wondering why I mentioned about the colour, almost all the egg here in Japan are white and I hardly see anyone selling brown-shelled eggs.
But I was pretty sure it is not the normal egg when I tried reading the instructions. It was something more to decorative item. I don't think I have to explain it any further, as they have already made some illustrations on the box. But I just has one thing that kept me wondering until today.
What are the purpose of these eggs?
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I would definitely not hoping to get some eggs that glows in the bathtub together with mine me.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Just Another Day

It is a public holiday here today in Japan as the Japanese celebrated their Labour Day on November 23 annually. Here, it is called 勤労感謝の日 (Kinrō Kansha no hi) or Labour Thanksgiving Day. To be fair, the day has nothing to do with me, as I have yet to start my working days yet. But I am thankful as it means I will be getting an extra day off from the hectic class nowadays, even more so when it is getting colder nowadays.
I checked the weather forecast today and it was expected to be snowing again this morning until noon, at least. But again, it never happened. Weather today has changed between sunny and cloudy sky.
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clear blue sky at one point;
I know I will eventually get bored with the snow at some point later on, but so far I still hope to see the snowman picture at the weather forecast site each time I check it. In fact, I even count to see how many snowman there will be in a day each time. It sounds a bit childish, but I enjoyed it.
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and cloudy the next moment...
My mid-term will start next Monday and I should not be online-ing so much during this period.
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then, all the clouds were gone...
So, signing off here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Masshiro

"Wah lao eh!!"
My first reaction when
I looked out through the windows this morning
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Less than 5 cm thick snow on the bench in the tennis court.
They said it will snow today. But I did not mind much about it, as it was the same thing a couple of days ago which in the end, it didn't snow at all. But this morning, I didn't know what made me woke up so early. That was around 6 something and my roommate told me something like this:
"Eh, lok s'ng la. Wa khao pek kar liao lor"
I am quite sure you must be figuring what language is that. Here is the translation:
"Eh, snowing la. Outside white everything ady lor"
The moment I heard that, I jumped off my bed and take a look outside and the next thing I knew was almost everything was covered in white. The trees, the rooftop, the windscreen of the cars in the parking lot were just covered with snow. Unlike the earthquake incident, I wasn't that blur this time and I immediately opened the window and felt the falling snow flakes. I almost couldn't believe myself that I was experiencing snow that very moment. It is something unusual for me to wake up that early everyday. Not even the seven, I repeat, SEVEN alarms with vibrations I set on my phone every morning have that much effect on me, but the snow this morning just awoken me and my sleepy mood just went off.
I wasn't long before the news spread among the rest of us and we decided to take a walk outside. Yes, walking under the temperature of less than 5 degrees. All went out in complete winter attire. Snow hat, scarf, leather gloves and thick jacket to avoid us being frozen. One thing all of us have in common was the fact that we came from a tropical country and I guess all were not thinking what or how to have fun with snow. So, I started the ball rolling. I got to the nearest car, grab some snow and make it a tennis ball-sized snowball, pressed it as hard as I could and poor Yan Kuang, my roommate became my first victim of the day. The the snowball war begun and all just went crazy throwing each other with snowballs in different sizes and shapes.
For the latecomers, we gave them some surprises. They didn't know about it and we pretend to approach them, with us ready with a few snowballs behind. When we guessed the distance were perfect to launch our attack, then were left shell-shocked for being thrown non-stop with snowballs. The fun of playing with snowballs is much better than water balloons, I can assure you on that. Now I just can't wait for the skiing trip next month. We later went for some skiing. The location wasn't that far from our college. In fact, it was inside the college.
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Aki and Muazam, with Yan Kuang in the background.
The tennis court was covered with snow that the usual green looking court had turned white; where we tried to ski there. Each of us was trying to come out with their own snow art there. Notice the word NAGAOKA in the background in the picture below.
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I climbed onto a 2 meter platform just to take this shot.
As for me, I made a Smiley face who are good in step-overs. Those four footprints were actually left by our birthday boy, Shah who purposely accidentally step over my Smiley, which eventually turned into a not-that-happy-looking Smiley.
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When you have a group of jakun, who never seen snow in their lives before, this is the mess you will get at a tennis court. I just could imagine what the Japanese will say about us if they saw it. I don't dare to even think of it.
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I walked to another corner of my college and the village nearby took a total different look. It was just totally different.
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April 2007

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This morning @ 07:29:16

By the way, it continued snowing periodically throughout the day. Sometimes it was heavy, and it is as fine that you almost won't notice it at times. Snow is just like rain.
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April 2007

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This morning @ 07:29:20

The only difference is that instead of water falling down at you, you get white fine stuff when it snow. So far, the snow which I have gone through looks like ais kacang, just much finer.
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April 2007

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This morning @ 07:29:29

Previously, I used to ask my relatives and friends who had experienced snow before about how it feels when it snows. They said you will hate it after some period. Even the Japanese told me it is boring. But as for me, I am touched.
Just for now, though.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mischievous Japanese

One of the thing that kept me amazed at those Japanese is how they bring themselves in the class. I know it should be similar to other places, but I will just tell what happened yesterday in my class during the interval between the lectures. As usual, all were busy chatting away, while I was sitting there rushing to finish up my English grammar exercies to be hand –up in the next class. I was practically just copying from the answer sheet as it will be impossible to finish-up 15-pages of grammar exercise in just 20 minutes. Then came some unfamilar sound.
Grrrrrrrrrrrr....Pommmphh!!
One guy, ran from afar towards his friend who were taking a few sips of water, and hit him in the stomach with his head. The result? The water spilled on the table. Worse thing was his friend got his pants wet. It was quite a big mark on that part. Lucky thing that it was just plain water and not some white liquid thing, soya bean water, for instance. Then that guy and the rest stood there laughing, leaving their poor friend looking for some tissue to clean up the mess.
But that guy not that bad afterall. He kindly offered his help by going to the locker outside and came back with a sock which had almost turned black. Just imagine it, a sock! You can't say he is not a bad guy, but at the same time, you can't say he is not a good guy either, can you? He knew he did something wrong, so he tried to make amends for the damage he had inflicted on his friend. But they were actually just fooling around and these scenes are just too common already. You can't blame them. Afterall, they are just 17-years-old kids who I assume have not got matured enough yet.
These kids do not just amaze me through their actions. In fact, they fascinate me through their writings as well. It was a time during an English lesson when one guy was called to answer a comprehension question on the blackboard. The question required him to give his opinion about something which went like this:
Q: What do you think caused the Tunguska explosion?
He did not have to think too far to give his answer. He just wrote there,
A: The fart of God
And the lecturer marked it as correct.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

An Unplanned Trip

This is how it looked like five months ago.
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And now, it has took a complete different look.
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I was on my way to do my groceries the other day, that I thought of taking a different route on my way to the town. It was something unplanned for me to stop at Yukyuzan Park, the nearest park from my college. Unlike my past experience where I did stress out on the importance of pre-planning a trip, this time it was something different, as I did not rely on the train nor the bus. I went there with my ever-so-reliable 'ah pek' bicycle.
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By the time I went there, the sakura leaves had fallen, with only dry branches on the trees. But as for the other trees, Japanese maple for example, it is the perfect time of the year to have the best view of them.
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Although it isn't the right place to have a 紅葉狩り(momiji gari) in this park, but it wasn't that bad. I mean, the view in some part of the park is still better compared to the lake we went weeks ago.
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There are some varieties of colours on the leaves. Remember the set of colours in the rainbow? It starts with red;
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Orange, or should I say reddish brown;
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Then, it was yellow.
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And of course, it stopped there. You don't expect it the leaves to be purple in colour, do you? When I first came to this park for the hanami (looking-at-sakura feast) in April, I did have the thought of taking four different photos in four different time of the year at one same spot in the park.
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And the changes of the view there over the months is evident.
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So far, I have got the third of the full set of four already. One more to go to complete it. That will be in a month or two, I guess.
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I was practically alone there in the park. But when I was on my way back, I realised that I wasn't alone there afterall.
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A spider was enjoying (momiji gari-ing) in the sunny day in the park as well.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's Snowing

"Issit snowing? Cos I din see any snowman pic in dat website..."

an SMS from her this afternoon
Image034
This morning in Hakodate, Hokkaido (picture courtesy of Chang Yuan)
Among the things I am looking forward to before coming to Japan was earthquake, typhoon and snow. I have had my fair share of experienceing earthquake on that day. As winter is just going to begin and as I've mentioned in my previous entry that it will snow starting from last night, it happened as forecasted. It started late evening last night. Living in one of the northern hemisphere country like Japan, it gets dark really early during this time of the year. I was checking out the window just past 6pm as they said it should be snowing by then.
*** the rest of this entry is about a jakun from Bolehland experiencing snow for the first time in his life ***
Nothing could be seen. I didn't know what hit me, but about an hour later I felt like looking out again and this time, there was something different.
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m3 w1nd0w @ 19:44
I am not sure what you call this but the moment I saw this, I already got excited and called the others about it. But it didn't continue for long as it stopped for some time after that. Not surprisingly, it was really cold, especially when the wind blows through the window. A couple of hours later, I checked the condition outside again and this time, it was really happening. The snow was getting more and it was falling non-stop.
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m3 w1nd0w @ 00:40
It wasn't long before most of the guys in my batch gathered in my room and started looking outside. They came to my room as my room is at the corner-lot of the hostel block and it is easier to look outside, compared to their rooms which are mainly blocked by trees and buildings.
To be honest, I was touched when I saw those snow started falling through my window and I put both of my hands out for some time, ignoring the fact that my hands have to go through the freezing temperature outside. For my 20 years living on this planet, the closest I have gone to spotting snow is through photos. Same applies to everyone in my batch here. Their reaction when realising it is really happening is sometimes too funny, or more to jakun-ism. Take Joann for example. She actually shouted from the room of opposite of my block when she saw it's snowing outside. As for me, I have started practising making ais kacang from the snow balls last night, although it wasn't really successful.
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Snow is starting to be visible at the mountain range.
Me, of course didn't stay up through the night looking at the snow. In fact, it didn't snow continously. It is more like a periodical thing. Snow for a few minutes, then it stopped and later it continued again. This morning when I was on my way to my class, I spotted some snow on the windscreen of the cars and although my walk was just less than 3 minutes, I was trying to walk as slow as possible as it was snowing that time. The feeling walking under the falling snow was just undescribable.
When I asked my Japanese tutor whether it is snowing, he said it is more in between sleet and snow. Sleet is 霙 (mizore) in Japanese; a mixture between rain and snow, in case you have no idea what sleet is all about. So I asked him if there is any term to call something in between sleet and snow and he said there is no such thing. I suggested it to be Tanaka mizore. Okay, it is lame.
It continued throughout the afternoon, but then by evening, it had stopped snowing. From the weather forecast I checked, it will not be snowing again for the rest of the week. Perhaps I should wait a little bit more but from what I had been through for the past 18 hours, it was something new and it was really exciting. I can assure you of that.
By the way, I over-heard my tutor telling some of his Japanese friends something about us, the foreign student this morning. I didn't hear it clearly but I expected it to be something like this:
Tutor: Ei, you know arh, last night hor, my tutee came to my room. Then you guess la what happened.
Friend: Dunno wor. You tell la.
Tutor: They damn ulu I tell you. Asked me to look outside.
Friend: Then ler?
Tutor: What else? Kept on shouting SNOW!! SNOW!! SNOW!! -.-ll
So what? We memang jakun ma!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

How Accurate Will It Be?

Spot the difference between this photo;

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And this one.

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Well, those two photos above were taken at the entrance to my hostel. It is certainly not a tough task of spotting the difference between the two, right? The most obvious thing must be of course the colour scheme of both of the photos. Notice how fast the leaves of the rows of Ginkgo trees have changed in just one week.
I still remember when I first came here in early April, it was still spring and there wasn't even a single leave on those trees. But come autumn, it is as if they have made a colour transformation on their leaves. Even the Japanese maple tree in the background had turned from green to reddish brown. As for the mountain in the background, there are some slight changes in colour, though they are not as obvious as the Ginkgo leaves.
Anyway, that is not the main thing for this entry. Going back to the main point, remember I was ranting about the cold weather for the past few days in a couple of post back? I went out yesterday and on the ride in the train, I noticed that there were already some snow at the top of some mountains miles away. It is not my first time seeing snowy mountains with my own eyes, but from what I saw, it means that it will snow very soon.
My senpai were tellling us that it will snow tomorrow. It was expected that it will only snow in a couple of weeks time, but from the latest news I got, this must be something that came rather soon and it surprised me, to be frank. So I went and check the weather forecast in the internet and instead of tomorrow, it will actually start snowing tonight and temperature will drop to as low as 3 degrees. How can it be? The sun was shining so brightly yesterday, although the temperature still stayed low; and now they are expecting it to snow tonight? And it is forecasted that it will snow until tomorrow evening, at least. Interesting...
I am wondering how accurate this forecast will be. This sounds a bit jakun, but will I finally see snow flakes falling down through my window tonight? We shall see ^.-

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Okutadami Dam

One thing that makes the life in my college interesting is that there is usually one trip every month for the foreign students here. I am not very sure about other colleges, but I guess we people here in Nagaoka Kosen have one of the most, if not the most number of trips throughout the year. So, there was another trip last week where we were taken to a place called 奥只見(Okutadami), about 2 hours drive from Nagaoka.

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We were enjoying the scenic view of the autumn leaves on the mountain along the way, but it was almost impossible to take any pictures of them in the fast moving car. When we were nearing the location, there were tunnels - 19 of them in total, which unfortunately covered the view of the breathtaking mountains.
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It wasn't long before we finally reached the destination and to my surprised, it wasn't as cold as they were telling us earlier on. It was cold, but not until the stage that you will be shivering. There is a dam here, which is dubbed to be the largest in Japan.
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They provide a ropeway service to get to the dam but as expected, it wasn't a free service.
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So, we took an alternative route.
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It wasn't a sunny day when we were there that day, but it was still possible to have some shots on the dam and the surroundings.
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The dam was completed in 1957 measuring 157 meters tall by 475 meters wide.
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The highest power it can generate is 560,000 kW and the man-made lake from this dam is the largest in Japan.
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I know I will slowly turned into a typical Japanese if I go on talking about figures. Who will even bother to care about those things.
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After spending our time looking at the dam, we were supposed to take a ride on a boat around the lake. But before that, some people just need to camwhore, even it was just a dam area.
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Tiga Perempuan Malaysia Terakhir
Which made me join the fun as well.
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But having fun alone won't be that fun, no? Like they say, the more, the merrier.
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Okay, I am just being crappy. So, upon reaching the lake and forked out 700 yen (RM23) for the boat ticket, off we go for the ride of our lives.
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This trip were suppose to be held several weeks earlier, but since it clashes with other programmes, it was postponed until last week.
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To be fair, it was already a bit too late to fully enjoy the autumn scenery around the lake.

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Most of the leaves had dried off. For some, they have fallen down.
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So the view surely would be no where when compared to places like Nikko. I am planning to pay a visit there one day while I am still in Japan.
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Next autumn, perhaps.
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Instead of enjoying the panoramic view of the trees, most of us were more busy camwhoring during the 30-minute ride. Yes, me included. It was quite windy during the ride until we reach some point when we almost went shivering.
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When it comes to camwhoring, nobody beats my senpai, Zulhelmi. That day, he went Mickey.
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We were fortunate that when the boat set off, the sky had slowly become clear.
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But on the way back, it started to drizzle. However, no casualties reported.
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We later went to the museum just next to the dam, but nothing much there. Anyway, the location of the dam is actually between two prefectures - Niigata and Fukushima. There was a board placed on the floor indicating the border line of the two prefectures.
It wasn't long before we headed to the restaurant to have our lunch, where I went for Yakiniku set. It was not bad, but still I guess the one I had in Hokkaido some time ago is still the best.
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After lunch, some opted for some souvenirs (me included) while hanging around chatting away before we head back. It was during that time when someone patted me from behind and when I looked back, it turned out to be one Malaysian family who currently settled down in Nagaoka. The couple has a little son, which looked nowhere like his both of his parents.
They say he looks like Harry Potter, from his specs he is wearing. What say you?
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Harry Potter Jr.
And just like any other trip, it will usually end up with a group photo.
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But personally, I think nothing beats this photo below. I asked my senpai, Fong Zyin to take photo with me on the boat, but she rejected me.
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Why am I rejected so often?