Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tada-san's Farewell Party & Final Day In Nagaoka

It was a wet morning in Nagaoka on March 18th, 2010.
Remember that I mentioned in the previous entry that I got a surprise upon reaching Nagaoka? This could be a little anti-climax; anyway, the surprise was actually, well, the super cold temperature that morning. Yes, just that haha! It was extremely chilly that even three layers of thick clothes were not enough for me.
I reached Nagaoka at five in the morning, and I walked into the building of the train station to get some heat and rest, because the earliest bus back to my dormitory is half-past-six. Besides, I had some stuff to do at Nagaoka Civic Centre, regarding the Sekai-ga Sensei program. Hence, I decided to stay at the station until eight, and only return to my dormitory after I settled my stuff at the Civic Centre.
Newly renovated walking way inside the station.
The bus platforms of the Nagaoka Station's East Exit.
Sitting at the bench inside the building didn't help much to keep myself warm as it was still quite cold there. So, once the nearest McDonald's restaurant was opened, I went there to get my breakfast (actually it was more to lending the place and the heat inside the restaurant haha!) and sat there for a good couple of hours.It was my first time ordering the McGriddles and it was not bad at all. The combination of the freshly baked fluffy muffin and the sausage makes it a perfect meal for breakfast.
Too bad it is not available in Malaysia.
Ordered sausage McGriddles and a bottle of Lipton Milk Tea from the convenience store.
At quarter-past eight, I left McDonald's and walked to the Civic Centre to meet up with Miss Ogawa Yuka, who is one of the staff from the International Affairs Division of Nagaoka City Office. Once we were done with the stuff, she handed me an envelope which contains a CD of pictures taken during my visit to the junior high schools in Nagaoka.
That came quite unexpectedly, and I was just too happy to accept the gift.
A traditional-looking post box outside the Civic Centre.
I then took the bus back to my dormitory, and the first place I went was the office to get the keys to my room, and also a heater. Otherwise, I am quite sure I will turn a polar bear (or penguin maybe, 'coz penguin is cuter haha!) on that night.
The corridor of the second floor of the second block of the dormitory, occupied by the international students was really in a mess. But I'm quite sure the office people would understand it, because the fifth graders were on the verge of packing their stuff to move out.
First thing was to turn on my MacBook once I went into my room =.=
During my two nights in Nagaoka, I slept in my former room, which was just as empty like how it was when I left a week earlier. Without a futon, so I borrowed-cum-stole Hong Yao's futon for two nights.
Anyway, I did inform him about it, so, it will not be counted as a crime, right? Haha!
A simple breakfast-cum-farewell party for Tada-san.
Home-made red-bean paste mochi, pineapples, and daikon-tsuke (大根漬け), in which Tada-san made on her own.
The next day - March 19th, was our graduation ceremony. I will blog on that in a couple of entries after this, so stay tuned to that. A day after that, it was the day I was leaving Nagaoka. Tada-san, one of the staff from the dormitory's office, held a simple farewell party for all the international students. Tada-san has been working in that office for twenty-eight years, and she will retire from next year onwards.
The first batch of international students who studied in Nagaoka National College of Technology was back in 1985, and Tada-san has been working with lots of us for the past fifteen years. During this long period, it was only this year that she attended the graduation ceremony for the first and only time, from the invitation she got from the school. Of course, it was a great pleasure to have her at the ceremony. She mentioned how happy and touched she felt, every time a student's name is called and stepped out to received their certificate. It was a proud moment for her personally, because it felt like they were her own children.
Everybody was given a chance to talk on just about anything - a short message, their memories in the dormitory, etc.
Sharing her experience and stories.
A group picture with Tada-san.
One of her favourite past time hobbies is Japanese traditional dance, and there was one time she was selected as a representative from Niigata prefecture in the national dance competition in Nippon Budokan. Only thirty dancers were selected from around the country and she was so elated to be one of them.
A person who had undergone surgery for breast cancer more than ten years ago (we never knew about it all this while, and she only told us on that day), one of the advices for us was that to do whatever stuff we like while we are still capable to do it, because we will not know what will happen tomorrow. Taking her as the best example, although she was diagnosed with that disease, she continued to enjoy her dancing because it's her passion, and didn't let the misfortune stop her from dancing, because she never know when will the day come, when she is no longer able to dance.
高志寮 (Koshiryou), the place I have been living for the past three years.
長岡工業高等専門学校 (Nagaoka National College of Technology).
Took one final picture at the entrance to the school.
The nearest bus stop from the school - 片貝入口 (Katakai-iriguchi), which I have taken for 6348327402 times whenever I go to the town.
Later that evening, it was the time to leave the dormitory, the school and Nagaoka for good. I'm quite a sentimental person, so I thought I would be emoing on my way to board the bus. But no, somehow, that didn't happen. It was just a quiet parting from this place, which I consider my first home in Japan.
The express bus was already waiting in front of New Otani Hotel when I arrived. So, I checked-in with the driver and boarded the bus right away.
Express bus bound for Tokyo.
It was a far better and comfortable one compared to the bus I took a couple of days earlier from Shinjuku to Nagaoka.
But one interesting thing about the seat is that there are covers over the top of your head, which look like umbrellas haha! Damn funny, but cute! Since it wasn't a midnight bus, the lights was turned on throughout the journey and people who wanna sleep would just have to pull the cover to the front to cover our face from the lights.
I bet not many people has seen this stuff, right? I mean the cover on the left, not the guy on the right haha!
Stopped at Echigo-Kawaguchi rest area for twenty minutes.
The bus was from Niigata, bound for Tokyo.
Saw the souvenir shops selling rice. Rice as souvenirs?!
The traffic on the highway was quite bad, as it's a public holiday on Monday. The driver increased the bus speed along the journey several times, just to make up the lost time. To be honest, it was quite scary to see him drove that fast, but still, it was a far cry from the light speed of the bus drivers in Malaysia haha! Despite so, we were told that we gonna reach Shinjuku thirty-minutes from the arrival time set earlier.I don't know why, but it seems that every bus, every train, and whatever vehicles I take tend to reach late, and on every occasion, I'm usually in a rushing situation.
From the driver's announcement, I realised that I had to re-plan my train schedule all over again, so that I will not miss out the last train back to Inage. After some panic moments trying to locate the correct train lines at Shinjuku Station, regarded as the busiest train station in the world, a few train exchanges, and braving the super strong wind on my walk back, I reached home at half-past midnight. Lights were already turned off when I walked into the house, and Cung was already in his dreamland. So I thought.
rice which I got from a supermarket before boarding the bus, and custard-castella as souvenirs.
But when I climbed up the ladder to the loft, he suddenly woke up and that scared the hell out of me! Luckily, my hands were held firm to the ladder. Otherwise, I might get super frightened and had a great fall, like Humpty Dumpty haha wtf!


Kae Vin said...

so nice. took hours of bus to go back to Nagaoka just to bid farewell with Tada-san.

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
haha, is that a sarcastic comment? lol!
i went back to nagaoka for my graduation ceremony-lah! xD