torstai 29. marraskuuta 2012

go go juice

Moikkaa! Lot's has happened lately, so let's get down to business. Things done within the last month or so, excluding the most mundane tasks of studying etc and last weekend, which deserves its own post altogether.

This is really late, I know, but we went to Sendai! Sendai is the capital of the Tohoku region and a city about the size of Helsinki. It was so nice to actually see people running about for a change. Akita is nice and all, but even the city is awfully remote and quiet, especially for Japan. I thought I'd basically be running out of fresh air here with all the 127 million others, but Akita is the perfect spot for a claustrophobic. No complaints though, 365 days in a place like Tokyo and some sort of city version of cabin fever is guaranteed I am afraid.

Sendai's city life was a nice change but personally I enjoyed the school's trip to place called Oyasukyo Gorge even further. On our way there we made a stop at the Akita prefecture amusement park to enjoy all the local fun we can have here in Akita. To be honest, the park was quite silly but definately worth seeing while being slightly hungovered and dead tired made it funny on a whole another level.
Getting to the final destination, Oyasukyo Gorge was breath taking. It's a spot for natural hot springs and even with the distinctive smell of sulfer it would be impossible not to enjoy the view and the atmosphere there. Scroll down to the pics to see what I mean.

In addition to these beautiful trips we've made here, there's also been some partying going on. Halloween came and went with three separate parties, naturally with three opportunities to dress up! FINALLY, we had a proper night out in the city with my home girl Ayami. We hit the club in Akita and enjoyed the Halloween party to the fullest with some real nice people and good drinks. Since uni students never miss out a chance to party, of course this magnificent day was celebrated throuhgout the campus on several occasions as well. Pics are a bit creepy because my outfit, but we definately had some awesome times. Ah, what's wrong with Finland with not celebrating Halloween? Dressing up and free candy (I also took part in the activity of trick or treating for the first time ever as well while doing some voluntary work with local elementary students), what's not to like?

Another nice opportunity to party came with a "Hungry in Akita" event, which was basically student from the campus taking action to ensure an easy way to get to the city and back at reasonable hours (this is usually a struggle when going out with really poor bus services). Eventhough the partying was rather nonexistant we ended up having some good dinner and getting fairly drunk in an all-you-can-drink with whats-his-face ;)

All in all, Japan continues to treat me like a royalty. I will soon post about last weeks and especially the past four days which have been amazing! Travelling to the north island of Hokkaido was an adventure I am going to share with you lovely folks as soon as I get the pics on my laptop.  For now, hope you enjoy my and other people's faces in these ones here!

Sendai city.
Traditional Sendai delicacy; beef tongue.
Our religious leader Loan Loverboy.

From hangry to happy.
Scenery just outside Sendai is supposed to be one the finest in Japan.
Daredevil say whaat.

Pretty yey!
Omnoms at the most magical conveyer belt sushi ever!
Hot springs! Smells bad, looks nice.
Now we're only missing the bathing monkeys.
Teeny tiny waterfalls that made me want to stay there forever.

Partay time! Halloween number uno.

Why so serious? Me and Ayami, second party edition.
Yaasaa-san! Hazy days at the park with the guys.
From hazy days to dizzy evenings. Izakaya for two got us well there.

Love, Sonja

sunnuntai 11. marraskuuta 2012

things that make me happy


So an update with "things done" is coming soon. In the meanwhile, here's a few things that make me happy here in Akita! Yey!

1. Autumn foliage

It's proper autumn again! The whole world around our campus is yellow and red and brown. Ahh, gotta love the crisp morning air and smell of moist ground. Wow, that sounded weird and corny.

 On my way to the library.

2. COS

Community outreach service. Our uni organizes voluntary work possibilities several times a week so that the students of AIU can work with elementary school kids, farmers and all that. The nicest stuff and an amazing way to get to know the locals and the surrounding areas.

 Kids and me cooking some bad ass kiritampo. Oishii desuyo!

3. Thoughts of others

Me thinking of people and people thinking of me. Aww.

 Wall invasion.
 Andrea's gift to the sickling. Worked!

4. Arts and crafts

Due to the increasingly cold weather and dark nights, I find myself spending more and more time eatching classic films, knitting mittens for everyone and drinking tea. When I stop talking and start communiting with Totoro-noises instead, you know that hibernation is not too far from happening.

 Creative corner.

5. Christmas time

Finally, it's here! The cheesy carols, smell of cinnamon everywhere and maybe, just maybe I'll the first Japanese snowflakes soon enough. I guess the proper Finnish way would be to grunt at and disapprove anything christmass-y before two days of the actual holiday, but I'm am consumed by consumerism and proud of it! Love the theme decorations, peppermint candy canes and red nosed animals of any species (they're a bit confused by Rudolf over here in Japan)!

 Christmas omnoms! Glühwein from the foreign food store and a massive package of goods from back home. Made my day, big kisses to the folks at home!
 Ayami and me checking out Starbuck's gingerbread latte, fully approved!

Right at this moment I am retrieving to my bed with a cup of liquarice tea and the newest episode of Grey's anatomy. Thank to the all mighty all this drama only exists in the telly.

Oh, and as for as a bonus round for the list; this face!

 Won't you look at that.

Love, Sonja

tiistai 16. lokakuuta 2012


Helloo guys!
Since it's pretty late I'm not gonna be able to tell you ALL that I've done for the past few weeks (it's a lot) but I decided to dedicate this post to the eatings and drinkings in Japan as well as the amazingly magnificent experience of the AIU FESTIVAL!

Since the eatings and drinkings are pretty self-explanatory (omnoms times hundred so far), let me say just a few words about the school festival.
So apparently in Japan every school does this once a year and it's the single biggest event of the year for each school. Since our Uni is only (what) seven years old, it's absolutely mind-blowing how much popularity the festival has gained in such a short time. During the two days we had more than 7000 visitors from outside the campus. Most of the students I saw at the festival had not been sleeping for at least 48 hours while working on the numerous food stalls, haunted houses, performances and other festive activities. The hard work really paid off and while working myself as well, I enjoyed the school festival tremendously. I'll let the pics tell you why!

Otherwise things have been rather calm for a few days. It's the midterm exam time! Mine are quite easy so my studying pace has been relatively chilled for the past days but I have seen a few pairs of those ever-so-familiar rage eyes I got used to in Aberdeen during essay and/or exam period.

I can feel you get bored while reading this, so let's move on to the pictures. Many stories about our trip to Sendai, lazy days and future plans are to come though!

For the death of me I can not remeber the name of this place (very long and very consonant-y) but I can tell for sure it was delicious! Basically you buy a bowl of ingredients with a sauce, mix it and fry it yourself with the hotplate in the middle of the table. Foodgasm guaranteed.
Embracing myself for greatness (the portion was massive!). Note the fancy girl date-look, went out with mah homegirl Ayami (pic above).
Okay, Finland needs this. Izakaya is what it's called. Basically you pay a certain amount (~15e) and you can drink as much as you can for the following two hours. And yes, it is possible to order six drinks at the same time for yourself.

Alazne enjoying the perks of this wonderful invention (read: the first 500 drinks are kicking in).
Morning coffee! Since this country is seriously lacking in good coffee, Ayami and me decided to start a tradition of having some quality coffee and conversation every morning at hers.
And when you find a proper cuppa, you pay for it (~6e). Loving Danke Cafe though, quality coffee with quality service!
The closest thing to heaven: conveyor belt sushi and soda with ice cream. Mmm me fatty, me happy.

Festival presenting time! Daisuke and me ready to hit the stage.
Debate team rep crew. They say it's "intellectual fun". Ha.
Lunch break at the impressive student run cool food stalls. Oichi!

Okay, normal clothes are cool as well. Especially when hanging out with a gigantic pear? A green M&M? What is this thing?
My debate partner Ikuma doing a solid job at Kanto performance which was the highlight and the ending performance of the festival. Two words: mind blown. Better pics to follow!

All right. After this very culturel post I'm ready to bed. Basically sleeping on the IT lab floor already. Nighty night my friends.

Love, Sonja

sunnuntai 30. syyskuuta 2012

come away with me

We meet again.
Once again, my sincerest apologies for basically sucking ass in this whole keeping a blog thing. Still, the school IT lab treats me like a lover so here we go once more, better late than never.

It's been almost a month since I last updated you people so go figure that happenings during the last month have been multiple. I believe we were left off with the trip to the samurai village the last time. Since there's been a few trips, many adventures and many-er parties here in the land of the rising sun. As usually, I have quite a few pics and explaining trough them is a lot easier than expressing with words.
To make this more clear, here's a short list with a short introduction to the things going down in Japan. Enjoy.

1. I now know Japanese! Thanks to a very high school-y way of studying the language, I can pretty much read and write the two easier alphabets and handle everyday business such as restaurants and asking for directions in Japanese. I guess the old dog can learn new tricks after all.

2. I put these mighty fine Japanese skills of mine to use! The uni had an event in the local mall (Aeon) with AIU student talking English and Japanese to the people hanging around and shopping. I was there, I was hyper and I was extremely popular among the Japanese kids. Planning to do this again next weekend when the people should be coming on campus for the biggest AIU event of the year: AIU festival. I'll fill you guys in on that next week then!

3. Partaaayh! There's been a dance party, a proper fancy ball, several birthdays and i-am-so-mad-at-life-let's-get-drunk-night and a few others I'd say. So yes, we've been out and about having some good time!

4. I miss cooking. The communal kitchen system is really not working at the Komachi Hall. Everytime I want to use the kitchen I need to fill out some papers, everytime I want to use the hot plate I need to pay and everytime I want to eat something after 10p.m I just have to go hungry. Thank god my mother isn't the only one worried so many of the lovely people here (cheers for last night Ayami!) keep feeding me. We'll see what they say when the time comes for the Finnish cooking night in our little cooking buddies circle.

5. Road trip! After some very troublesome application process for a permission to drive in Japan for Andrea, we finally made it! Rented a car, took it to the coast roads of Japan and soon enough found ourselves at Mount Chokai. Indescribable scenery and superb company. Hiking up the mountai was like following Howl's moving castle or chasing little Totoro's in a world utterly different to what I'm used to. Simply put: took my breath away.

6. Chillin'. Little by little is easier to relax here. Culture shock is fading gradually, people are getting more and more familiar and the atmosphere is getting homier. Hmm, good times. Now, to the pictures we go!

Here's an older one; first night in Tokyo! Me, Chris and Tara grabbing something to eat with a backpacker group.

Study mode. Incredibly credible Chris at lecture.

People! Meet my utterly lovely roommate Ryoko.

 Calligraphy class field trip to the near by shrine to do some rubbings.
Mad skillz.

Gates to the shrine.

UMI! Went to beach on the west coast! Freaking good, salty times.

Running late for the train. As per usual.

Surf curls a la Teddy.

Back to campus where even the IT lab is a place to chillax.

Tasha and the hardships of social norms. Tuk disapproving on the background.

Uno night! Alazne and the victory face.

Morning glory at the convenience store.


Haha I have a strong feeling at the end of the year this blog is just gonna be a Teddy cuteness gallery. Anyways, debate society party and some awesome hat action!

Drinks at Tuk's last Friday. Let's just say thank god there's no pictures of me from that night (hopefully?).

Fancy ball night and Michael being aggressive and unloving as always.

Breakfast time at the uni cafe with Loan and Yasser.

The greatest thing I've purchased here so far. It just makes sense.

Study abroad fair, me and Teddy representing Aberdeen Uni! Boo-ayh! Teddy didn't quite nail the scottish accent but look at him, that face will do just fine.

Loan getting ready to hit the road last Saturday!

My entourage for the trip. My annoyed ass is already in the car since I didn't see the need to take hundreds of pictures of the car itself..

Trying to figure out the Japanese GPS. Not too successfully I might add.

Nevertheless, we got on the road! Andrea learning how to drive on the wrong side of the road and how to drive an automatic at the same time. Man, did we feel safe.

Beginning of the hike at Chokaisan.

Swamp roses Japanese style?

 Up, up, up, up, up the stairs we go..
 but didn't came to a tunnel (lotr quotes, anyone?).
 Loan and myself representing.
Yeah. That's how it looked.

Yasser on an adventure.

Looking at the pics now; mind blown all over again.

Yep, that's what's been up lately. I've got so many stories to tell still and I will try and do it as soon as possible. Until then, all my love I will send to you! Dumdidum.

Love, Sonja