Friday, May 29, 2009

Juniors Welcoming Party 2009

The new third year international juniors came to the college early April this year but it took almost two months before the welcoming party was held for them by the school. There are at least two welcoming party for the new juniors every year, by the Yukitsubaki and the school. Besides these two, there are also other party mainly organised among ourselves.
In total, I think this is the 935438th welcoming party I have had since I came to this college.
The event started off with the Assistant College Principal giving his speech on behalf of the Principal who was absent and is still recovering from a heart surgery he underwent recently. Well, the one who gave his speech is no stranger to me as he is my form teacher since my third year and also my research lab lecturer, Kondo Sensei.
Students from other courses who had never been taught by this lecturer might not know have any idea about the way he talks. But after more than two years under him, I have already understand too well about him. A funny guy who will burst into laughter from his own jokes, though most of the time, the students will never be able to spot the humorous part of his joke. We don't want to offend him, so we would usually join him laughing innocently haha. However, the thing that distinguish him from the other lecturers would be his act of pushing his fringe up at random times. This is his trademark which nobody will be able to copy. I guess those from Mechanical Engineering course knows what I'm talking here.
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Introducing the legendary Kondo Sensei haha.
As expected, he gave quite a long speech and that even prompted Muazam who was standing next to me to ask me, "Is this the way he usually talk?". That comment gave me a slight giggle and I just gave a short nod. His ten-minute talk was mainly about the word "konnichiwa" and the usage of the word. I didn't really pay attention to his speech but from what I still remember, konnichiwa is used depending on whether the sun is still shining outside. So, even though it is five in the evening, it will still be relatively bright during spring and summer, hence we use konnichiwa to greet people. On the contrary, when it is winter, the sun would have set and it would get dark even though it is only five and instead of using konnichiwa, we use konbanwa.
Another thing which is a bit confusing is that the "wa" in "konnichiwa" is not the "wa" as in "watashiwa", but the "ha" in the alphabets "ha, hi, hu, he ho". Confused? Just forget about it because I don't really get that as well haha.

Next, all seven of the new international students was introduced to the lecturers and students.
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I already tried adjusting the brightness of this picture but it is still hard to see Arogo's face clearly lol.
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Bai in red shirt on the right, caught red-handed starring at the food ALL the time.
Hong Yao continued his act of mischievous again during the self-introduction session when he took his chance of speaking to reveal the new couple of his batch - Arogo and Carine. Apparently, the Gabonese has fallen in love with the one and only girl in their batch. It would be interesting to get Carine's comment on this matter.
I guess it is not a one sided thing if this picture below is taken into consideration. Carine was smiling and I wonder if that is a smile to signal that she acknowledge that fact.
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See, I'm not bluffing; Bai is still keeping an eye on the food on the table lol.
When it comes to Arogo turn to introduce himself, he made another silly act of his own. He introduced his name and country like others, but when it comes to his hobby, he stopped a while and everybody thought that he was trying to find a Japanese word to describe his hobby.
"趣味は .......... (10秒の休憩) ..... ありません"
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"My hobby is .......... (10 seconds of rest) *cricket's sound* ..... nil"
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Maruyama Sensei then lead everyone for the "kanpai" session.
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And it's time to feast on the food.
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Faiz and Haris with their classmate, Kazama.
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One of the three couples at Nagaoka College, Hafiz and Aniza.
Yamada Sensei then asked for attention from everyone as he wanted to deliver something. If you notice properly, the red sun in the Bangladesh flag is slightly tilted to the left. I didn't notice it until Yamada Sensei mentioned it; I bet most of us didn't notice it as well. Apparently, the reason of having such design is because when the flag is raised on the flag pole, some outer section of the flag will be folded when the wind blows. hence, in order to make the sun looked balance and positioned at the center, they make the sun to be positioned slightly to the left.
As for the Japan flag, the red sun is positioned exactly at the centre point of the flag.

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Yamada Sensei pointing to the Bangladesh flag.

We later had a game of Bingo and just like last year, I took an extra card thinking that I would be able to increase my chance of striking Bingo. However, it seemed like I would suffer the same fortune again like last year because the my numbers were scattered so randomly and it didn't look like I was gonna strike a Bingo. Haha, I think my act of greediness had invited bad karma to me. See-lah, who ask me to be so greedy.
However, it took a twist of fortune in the last minute and I managed to strike Bingo in one of the two pieces of cards. It so happened that Tanaka, my tutor also strike Bingo at the same time and we decided to share the prize - kiosk coupon worth 200 yen (RM 8).
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BINGO game.
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Showing off our winning coupon like small kids haha.
To those who wasn't that lucky, they have other ways to deal with their Bingo card. Here is one of the smartest yet witty way.
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It's just too obvious whose work was this, isn't it?
Aki, you have nowhere to run already.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Yukitsubaki Welcoming Party 2009

Yukitsubaki is an voluntary organisation set up in 2004 by the former and current lecturers and staff of Nagaoka National College of Technology. The main objective of this supporting group is to promote and deepen the understanding of Japanese culture and natural environment among the international students in the college. Since Chikyu Lab was set up in late 2007, most activities for the international students have been held collaboratively.
Among the activities were the normal annual ones like the welcoming party for the new 3rd year juniors, farewell party for the leaving 5th year seniors, picnics, trips to places like the tulips farm, pear farm, national park, maple leaves sight-seeing, ski and snow board trips, and the fireworks festival. And I would say we are really lucky to be studying in a college which offers so many activities for us throughout the year.
Back to the welcoming party this year, it was held early this month - May 1st to be precise. Anyway, we actually had an unofficial one already for the Malaysian juniors on the first week of their arrival when we took them to have a taste of Nagaoka's Obake Parfait. This time, it was organised by the Yukitsubaki and the two main person behind this party will be Yamaguchi Sensei and Iwata Sensei, the two lecturers who formerly taught in Nagaoka College.
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From left: Yamaguchi Sensei (ex-President of Yukitsubaki), Iwata Sensei (the new President of Yukitsubaki) and Sato Sensei.
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First meeting with the new juniors; there will be so many events in the coming three years for them.

Yukitsubaki
is actually one of the Camellia species called Japanese Camellia, native to Japan, Korea and China. Just like what the name suggests, "yuki" in Japanese means snow, and that is why Japanese Camellia is sometimes called the "rose of winter". As Nagaoka is well-known for its huge amount of snow-fall every year, they decided to name the organisation as "Yukitsubaki".
To be honest, I didn't know about the meaning of "Yukitsubaki" until recently.

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Yamaguchi Sensei showing the juniors how does yukitsubaki looks like.
After the tossing session and feasting on the food prepared for the party, it was the time for each and every new juniors to introduce themselves. Looking at these juniors introducing themselves while holding to the paper written with their name somehow made me reminisce the time my batch did the same time two years back.
Time really flies and without us noticing it, it will be our graduation very soon.
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The Gabonese junior, Arogo who claimed to have had fought with a gorilla.
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The ex-President of the Interact Club, Matsushima handing a souvenir to the ex-President of Yukitsubaki.
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Kazama (newly elected Interact Club President) with the leaving two ex-Presidents.
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Kazama introducing the Deputy President of Interact Club, Dat from Vietnam.
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Mr Seki (centre in white shirt) who formerly worked as a staff at the dormitory's office for more than thirty years giving his closing speech.
Just like any other similar party, in between the chit chatting and eating session, we took time of to camwhore. I think this is the first time that we managed to take a complete group photos of the international students from each batch.
Oppss, I just remember that two Mongolians was absent from the party - Sodo and Bogi.
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Third Year 2009 - from left: Kazama, Arogo, Bai, Salehin, Haris, Faiz, Hong Yao and Carine.
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Forth Year 2009 - from left: Dat, Hafiz, Aniza, Atiqah, Ming Jing, Wei Shen and Matsushima.
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Fifth Year 2009 - from left: Yan Kuang, Calvin, Shimotori, Muazam, Ulya, Asyraf, Ridzuan, Shah and Joann.
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Kerna nila sehelai, rosak air tembikai sekumpulan haha.
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Despite my attempt to take pictures with tall guys, my height is still quite obvious.
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Mr Haga Ryusuke admiring our RM 1 note; we told him that worth 1 thousand yen (RM 35). So bad of us haha.
But do you know if I were to pick the "Picture of the Day", which picture would I choose? This one!
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"....."
Here is some homework for you guys. Try to caption the last picture and post your answers in the comment box. Looking forward to your creative ideas and answers.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

LV Of Nagaoka

Short note: Hey, it's not AV, okay!
No, LV doesn't stand for Louis Vuitton, but it's the short form of "lameness + vanity" of the fifth year seniors of Nagaoka Kosen.
It started off with Yan Kuang dashing into my room a couple of nights ago, wearing a complete set of formal attire and told me that we were gonna take group pictures together, in formal attire. I was in complete blur and totally taken aback, not having any idea whatsoever about the reason of us doing that. I thought it was just a stupid joke and didn't really bother much until I saw the rest started digging their packed wardrobe in search for their suit.
Seeing them being really into doing this, I followed suit and took out my super huge suit we all made by a Chinese ah pek tailor just before we flew to Japan. As expected, it was way too huge and I tried asking around for a better fitting one and ended up wearing Yan Kuang's suit. Most of the rest didn't have many other neck-ties besides the one that JPA tie that came together with the suit. So, everyone came and rent from me as if I'm a rental shop specialised in renting out neck-tie haha.
Imagine this - the clock was showing that it was past midnight already and there were the six of us, wearing our formal suit and having our very own photography session inside the tv room in our floor. We were posing happily as if all of us had passed our university entrance exam. This is something silly and unusual that we did to release our stress from studying for the exam haha. Thanks to our semi-pro photographer, Hong Yao, here are the results.
Just like how the title suggests, it is gonna be super lame and vain; so just bear with us for once. Anyway, we will always welcome intriguing comments and harsh critiques, though we prefer to get more of the former haha.

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This is just a practice shot to find the right angle; that is why you see the funny expression from Shah in front. Macam Bugs Bunny haha.
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The five of us admiring the suit Ridzuan was wearing which cost more than 100,000 yen (RM 3,000).
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The one and only formal group shot in which every one looked nice in it.
Not enough with those formal shots, we decided to take a few informal ones and in fact, they turned out to look much better than those earlier shots.

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Stripping show lol.

And here is the result.

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Engineering students trying out modelling lol. But I think we look great in this shot.
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I think we look too nice that I made a CD cover for our debut album haha.
101% satisfaction guaranteed. Special offer for this month; buy one get one free. Those interested in buying our album, please place your orders in the comment box. Your satisfication is our pleasure. Thank you very much.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hiking Day

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The poster itself is too cute already. Winnie the Pooh??! LOL!!

There was no classes last Friday, because my college had its annual event - hiking, or more called 遠足 (ensoku) in Japanese. The name suggested that we went for hiking; but as far as I could remember, I didn't enter any jungle and hike up a hill. Instead, I guess I ate more than the amount of calorie I was supposed to burn on this hiking day.
Being the fifth year student this year, it will mark the third and final time we get to join the event. I won some some kiosk coupon worth 500 yen from a treasure hunt game with my tutor, Tanaka when I was in the third year. Last year was a little boring and I didn't do anything much besides helping to finish the food cooked by my classmates lol.
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Students gathered at the school field before starting the journey to the camping site.
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Taking a staircase instead of the slope as a short-cut to the main road.
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Just to remind you again that my college is surrounded by rice fields.
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This is a ski resort located along the way to the camping site. The green track is used for summer ski. Who said you can only ski during the winter?
The walk from the college to the camping site takes around thirty minutes. But due to the talking and fooling around by the students along the way, it took them almost an hour before they reached the place. The camping site is one part of Higashiyama Family Land, which also consists other interesting attractions like a playground, a mini zoo where you get to see sheep, pony and rabbits, and a cow farm, among others.
There is also a huge compound up a hill where they plant rapeseed and they are just too breathtaking when the flowers are at full bloom. From the top of the hill, most part of the city of Nagaoka can be viewed. There is where I went to take the picture for my header.
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The signboard to greet the visitors.
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Almost there.
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The first thing they do upon reaching was to take a bottle of juice from the booth.
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The students would then walk to their cooking pit according to their classes.
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And once the fire was set up, they began cooking their menu they have picked themselves.
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These Japanese chicks were preparing the batter for okonomiyaki.
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Lastly, they will take their place on the sheet and enjoy their food under the tree.
Each class is given a budget of 5,000 yen (RM 180) and it is up to every class to decide what they wanna cook for the day. The most common menu would be yakisoba and okonomiyaki. My class made yakisoba for the last two years. But this year being our final year here, they thought of doing something special. Something which not many people would think is possible to cook at such place. They planned to cook nasi lemak with sambal belacan ikan bilis.
Haha, no-lah; I was kidding only. How can you expect Japanese to cook such dish. So, the menu my class decided to cook was ramen. Yes, you heard that right, ramen. You might be wondering, how to cook ramen at such limited and demanding environment-lah?
I had the same question too, until I went to see my classmates.
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Instead of using the wet noodles and cooking the soup for the ramen, they just used the instant ramen lol. Damn smart, right?
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Oh hi! With my tutor, Tanaka at the far right.
This year however, was busy at elsewhere that I didn't manage to get to taste the ramen my classmates made. It seemed that the international students were given a budget to make any food of our liking among ourselves this time. The rational is because most of the time, the Muslims couldn't get to join their classmates with the dish they cook due to the non-halal meat used. As this is the first time we were given a budget, we decided to make something special.
I didn't join the gathering at the field and walk all the way to the camping site as one of the lecturer was kind enough to send the three of us there much earlier as we need to bring the cooking stuff there and set up the fire there.
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Wei Shen and Yan Kuang taking turns to fan the charcoal.
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At another corner, I played with the fire lol.
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And stealing food before the rest arrived. Haha, I'm so bad.
By now, you should be able to guess what we made for the day. Here it is.
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Satay.
Using four kilograms of boneless chicken, we got almost 100 sticks of satay. It wasn't just satay because Muazam made some nasi himpit and his super delicious kuah kacang. Atiqah brought two tupperware of banana cake, and I made a huge tupperware of fried noodle. Planned to fry it mamak style but ended up becoming some unknown style haha. All the food was eaten up nevertheless.
Well, the decision to make satay this time has other c0-reasons too. Besides getting to eat local food we always crave for, we will also let the Japanese lecturers and students to get a taste of satay. We were very certain they would like it and indirectly, it acts as some introduction to promote one of our main menu which we will later sell at the college festival later this year. Smart marketing strategy, no?
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I continued playing with the fire lol.
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Ridzuan spreading some oil with lemon grass, but Muazam at the back doesn't seem to be happy at all. Maybe he wanted to try doing it too lol.
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I got several of my classmates to try the satay, and they already placed their orders during the college festival - 50 sticks!
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There are two non-Malaysians in this picture. Can you spot the two? Yes, the two in front.


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Linear function in terms of height and colour lol.
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Guess whose shadows are these two people. Correct guess indicates that you have an IQ above 120.
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With my class teacher-cum-research lab lecturer, Kondo sensei who claimed that he has never missed this event for the last thirty years. Michelle said that we look alike =.=

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Mr Haga, the nurse at my college's clinic and one of the dormitory's office guy.
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A group picture of the international team.
Besides just cooking at the camping site, there were other side activities as well. The "Stamp Rally" or treasure hunt was held again as usual but I didn't join it this time. It would look funny and weird for such an old senior to join the event which is mainly held for the younger juniors.
However, there are still other events like tennis and baseball, in which the students can play freely among themselves.
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Notice how the two guys are holding on the rope which acts as the net.
Futsal and volleyball for the girls were held as well and I joined the futsal, playing for my class. It was an eventful journey even from the first match. We progressed to the quarter-final before crashing out, losing on penalty-kicks. But the funny thing is that in all three matches, including the quarter-final match, we didn't scored a single goal. Chances were there, but lady luck just wasn't smiling at us on the day. So, it wasn't a surprised we got kicked out haha.
First match against the Electrical Engineering 3rd Year was won by the penalty-shootout with me taking the final and winning kick. Second match, where we played against Mechanical Engineering 2nd Year was decided with rock-paper-scissors game after everyone missed their penalty kicks. Here, they do not drag the penalty shoot-out to sudden death to save time and to make sure matches are held according to the schedule. It hurts to lose a match through penalty shoot-out, but it hurts even more when you lose out on that children game.
In the third match, we lost to the Chemical Engineering 3rd Year on penalty kicks after all three of us missed our kick. I came close to keep my team alive during the shoot-out but too bad my kick hit the top right corner. Sigh, so close yet so far.
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Me in action! If only the result is decided by the size of the players.
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Here is our team with the blur-faced coach in the middle.
Before the hiking day ended, there was a drawing lot session and prize-giving ceremony for the winners of the events held during the day. Too bad I didn't get my number that every students were given at the field earlier that morning. And I also missed the group photo session with my classmates, which was also done at the field. Double sigh.
Other classes had already told their classmates to remain until the end of the event because they will take their class group photo there. But for my class, the opposite thing happened. There were only three of us, including me from my class remaining at the end of the ceremony. How to take class group picture like that-lah?
Here is the way to do it.
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Only three? Never a problem!
I think we can submit our photo to the Guinness World of Record as the "Least Number Students In A Class Photo" category haha.
While walking back to the college, we passed the camping site again and we saw another classmate of ours and we were excited and touched that we managed to find another person to join our group photo, which made it four of us. Haha, damn pathetic, I know.
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Notice the guy on the right always pose the same way. And by the way, don't you think he looks like Suneo in Doraemon?
I hope I will get a much better class group picture next time, before I graduate.