Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Graduated!

It was a foggy morning, on our way to the venue for the graduation ceremony.
Finally! After the long-awaited five years (including the two years of studying Japanese in PPKTJ), I have graduated. But make no mistake because I'm now just a diploma holder. Yes, five years in total just to get a diploma, when one of my friend is already doing his PhD. However, different people have different path in their lives, and it doesn't mean I am trying to compare myself to other people.
In fact, there is nothing more I could ask for than getting the opportunity to study abroad, because I know not everybody get this golden chance, although it's their childhood dream to do so.
The 44th Graduation Ceremony of Nagaoka National College of Technology.
Yan Kuang and me, both from the Mechanical Engineering Department.
Minami, Tonsho and Matsuya, the class monitor.
Shah, Yan Kuang and Shimotori, one of the Japanese who is quite close to the international students.
Tanaka, my tutor for the first two years, and Kurashina.
As much as I've blogged about my life in Japan for the past three years, I guess I have never talked much about how I ended up here.
Japan was never my first choice when I made my decision when I applied for the JPA scholarship. I wanted to study in the States; I still remember that during the JPA interview, I told the interviewer that my first choice is to study at MIT. Perhaps that's because the medium of teaching is English, and I will not have to study a new language.
The venue for the ceremony - Concert Hall of Nagaoka Lyric Hall.
The program for the ceremony.
Professors, lecturers, students, and parents taking their seats.
Graduating students who would be receiving their certs.
The rehearsal took place ten minutes before the ceremony started. Simple and time-saving.
VIPs and the principal arrived and the ceremony went underway.
So, to pick up a new language, that is Japanese, never come across my mind. Besides, I wasn't and still not a big fan of Japanese manga, anime, the abundant kawaii stuff they have here, and even the high-tech gadgets in this sakura land. I know by now, some people might think that they have sent the wrong guy to the wrong place. Yes, sometimes, I think in such way too.
However, there is a saying - at times, we tend to get something when we least expect it. I guess this is one of the examples.
After the Japanese national anthem, it was the certificate awarding ceremony. I was waiting for my turn to step up the stage, which Yan Kuang was in his dreamland already haha!
I have no idea why I looked so serious here lol!
Two more people and it would be my turn.
Bowed for the first time.
Took one step forward and received the certificate from the school principal.
Took another step backward and bowed again.
Everyone with their certificates.
The hard-cover of the diploma.
I wonder if I would be able to get a job in Malaysia with this certificate.
Five years ago, the only Japanese words I knew was "arigatou" and "sayonara". So, I doubted myself in the beginning, whether or not everything will go smoothly. But thanks to the dedicated sensei we had in PPKTJ, giving us countless and endless drills and tons of homework every single day, we completed our two years of preparatory program in PPKTJ and started our three years in college.
Three years have passed and I've finally graduated.
School Pincipal, Prof Takada Kouji delivering his speech.
Students giving a bow in unison.
Hoshino Kaoru, the students' representative delivered the valedictory address.
Another student, from the advanced course, delivered his speech.
Everyone in the hall stood up for the school anthem.
Department of Mechanical Engineering 2005-2009.

That's me, just in case you cannot spot me haha!
Honestly speaking, the three years I spent in Nagaoka Kosen was no bed of roses.
Most of the time, it is just hard to tune into their channel during chatting sessions. Blame the age gap. They are two years younger than us and most of the time, we have to act a little childishly to avoid us from being the odd one in the group. We can almost forget about cracking jokes with them, because basically, their joke and ours are just not in the same category. Even the crap king Randy failed.
After the graduation ceremony, it was the thank-you party at Nagaoka New Otani Hotel.
It's the school principal again.

That girl on the left is a 2nd Year student from our course.
Yamazaki, Hasegawa, Tamaki and Minami.
Prof Aoyagi and Yan Kuang.
Kiuchi and Tanaka.
Imitating Prof Kondo's famous hand gesture haha!
Prof Yamada. A strict lecturer at times, but he is a really nice person.
Sodo, Ulya, Joann and Mr Paul, our Canadian English lecturer.
So funny to see Prof Kondo making the "peace" sign in this picture haha!
Here is Prof Kondo again.
The bald Prof Yoshino and Prof Yamagishi, who is a friendly person too, plus the junior.
Kaita, the school basketball team captain, Yan Kuang, Asraf, and Mr Haga.
Yamazoe, who got the most bouquet of flowers on that day. You know why, don't you?
Tada-san, who attended the graduation ceremony as well as the thank-you party for the first time in 28 years.
Prof Honma, who is retiring this year, acknowledging my height lol!
Prof Sasaki and Prof Ooishi.

What mentioned here is from my personal point of view, and perhaps I just sucks in socialising with the Japanese. However, there are some of the Japanese students, whom I refer them as the globalised ones, who are quite open, and not afraid to mix with the international students. Too bad, these group makes not even five percent of the total Japanese students.
However, I have a feeling that once I start my university life, things should get better. Perhaps because the chances of the Japanese students to mix with the international students are more, and hence, they could be more open and not afraid to socialise with us.
Yamaki, Tanaka, Yamazaki, and Mr Sunagisawa, the technical stuff in our department.
Farewell kiss, perhaps? Haha!
Tamaki, Kaita, Hasegawa and Yamazaki.
Hiroki, who sat next to me for one year and either sleeps or play with his phone all the time during lecturers haha!
Joann, Sodo's girlfriend who will enroll into Nagaoka Kosen next year, Sodo, and Miss Kubota, the library staff.
Mario was there too haha!
Mr Paul Edwards, who is married to a Japanese wife and has been living in Nagaoka for almost thirty years.
The tall trio in my class, with the junior.
Tada-san, who looked great in a purple-grayish kimono.
Class photo, including the lecturers too.
The school principal, professors and lecturers.
Chanted banzai for three times, as the finale of the party.
On the other hand, I do not deny that coming to Japan has been a wonderful journey for me. In fact, the name of this blog was picked when I started blogging three years ago, because I wanted to record down the memories I had in Japan. To those who have been following my blog, no matter since years ago or just recently, I'm sure you guys get what I mean here, right?
Most of my entries are about my life in Japan, although I gotta say that sometimes, I post up so many of traveling entries that makes people think that I am holidaying in Japan. Besides having the advantage of being able to converse in an extra language, I get to learn new culture, and lifestyle (I know this sound very cliché, but well...), get to experience how people in developed countries live and do things, and meet new people and friends.
It was during my first year in Japan that my LDR with Michelle started, back in July 2007.
Later that evening, there was another party, which they call it 謝恩会 (syaon-kai), to show our gratitude to the lecturers and friends.
Prof Yoshino, the head of Mechanical Engineering Department, giving his opening speech.
Saisu was one of the best presenter during the graduation research presentation.
Food served on that night.
No nomikai is complete without alcohol.
One of the last nights to take pictures together.
One of my classmates, giving the junior a stalk of red rose lol!
It was on that night that my life as a college student finally ended. It was also during the dinner on that night, that one of my classmate, Sato came to me and suddenly talked about something I didn't expect at all. Normally, he is the serious kind, walking straight like a robot. But on that night, he told me how much he looked highly on the international students in the college, and he regretted it a lot for not taking the opportunity to mingle and talk to us more often.
It is not often to have a Japanese to approach you and just pour everything in his heart to you.
He didn't cry or hug me, like what Randy experienced, but he told me that he appreciated it a lot for getting the chance to meet me and all. Right at that moment, he made me feel as if I was appreciated and accepted in the class. That was one of the nights I shall treasure and remember. But it is always like that. They usually will be opened-up during the last moments. But we all know there is no way we can turn the clock around. Perhaps, I had the image of a serious and unfriendly guy, and they were just afraid to approach me.
Thanks Mom and Daddy!

It's a little too late to regret what's in the past. But I hope, I really hope that there would be a better life awaiting me once I start my life as a university student next month. I just got the feeling it would be another wonderful chapter in my life.


Robinn T said...

congrats!!! hey u know your coursemates have really high tendency to have the same hairstyle as 佐藤健in bloody monday! because of the drama is it? >.<


Anonymous said...

"Perhaps because the chances of the Japanese students to mix with the international students are more, and hence, they could be more open and not afraid to socialise with us."

don't put in too much hope ...

Mattimus said...

Wow, congratulations dude! Don't spend any time regretting the past; focus on having a good time now, and preparing for the future! You've had a journey most of us will never have the chance to experience. If you find yourself in California I'll buy you a graduation beer (we're not afraid to mix with international students here, haha). Congrats!

mg said...

SOOooOOO serious.. but not bad la. lol

their hairstyle all the same one.. haha


Baguette Queen said...

Congratulations ! =)

calvin said...

@ tempus:
yes, perhaps that's the current trend because it's one of the most-talked drama in the town at the moment.

calvin said...

@ scikhong:
i'm not putting that much hope, but just trying to think positively, although i know the bitter reality >.<

calvin said...

@ i am mattimus.:
yes, there is nothing i can do about the past, and what's more important is to treasure the time i have now. haha, if i happen to be in california, i might give you a call. who knows? xD

thanks again for your inspiriting comment :)

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
what's so serious? the tone of the entry?
i think my hairstyle is still the best xD

calvin said...

@ baguette queen:
thank you!

Kae Vin said...


and so much for a diploma! XD

Kae Vin said...

and from the way you describe the Japanese, I somehow feel that they are the immature/childish type.

Frankly, I personally like to mingle with young fellows so that it makes me feel younger :P

and I can always share my own experiences with them.

But I guess things are different in the sakuraland huh?

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
thanks and yeah, five-long years for that piece of diploma.

well, from what i observe, most of my japanese classmates were quite childish when i first came here. childish not like what you mean, but in some other ways. to be honest, i love mingling around with young kids as well, as there is nothing much to worry when we talk and have fun with them.

but after three years, i could see most of them have grown up and they seemed to have the urgency to act in a more matured way ;)