January 29, 2010

Sayonara Nihon, Yokoso Finland!

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So, my exchange year has finally come to an end. I had lots of ups and downs, but I don’t regret coming here at all (even falling off a slide didn’t make it any worse). I think this year has changed me a lot in a good way, even though I still struggle with some of my old bad habits. But I certainly tried my best!


I guess I just wanted to thank everyone. It’s been lots (heaps) of fun! I wish I could see everyone again someday, but maybe it is just a dream.


I hope for everyone the best for the future and please remember to visit Finland!


Thanks for the memories.
- Ella

January 29, 2010

My winter vacation

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For my whole new year/winter vacation, I was playing basketball with the entire 成立学園 (Seiritsu Gakuen) basketball team. For a couple of days, December 25th to December 28th, the basketball team had a “sleep over” at school, but I would have rather gone home than sleep in a cold classroom.


During those days we trained from 9 am to 12 am, had a 3 hour break and then trained until 7 pm. On the last day everyone had a nice lunch after an incredibly early practice, that started at 6:30 am. We talked about the last four days, school life, and exams. The lunch lasted for an hour and then everybody could finally go home and have a nice rest for the rest of the day, before training started again the next day.


-Wei

January 29, 2010

Coming of Age Day

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On the twentieth year of a Japanese person's life they attend a "Coming of Age" celebration at the town hall of their place of birth. This occasion is on the second Monday of every January in Japan. Twenty is quite a big age for Japanese people as they're now considered adults. It entitles them to make adult decisions such as to vote, smoke (a big cultural habit in Japan), drink, or gamble (even though Casino's are illegal in Japan). I'm sure there are more benefits with being 20 but I am not quite sure what they are.


On the day, as I said, people go to their town hall and have a kind of ceremony celebrating the day. The Japanese 20 year olds attending the event dress up in Kimonos (both boy and girl kimonos are available). However in recent years many men have traded in the Kimono for a suit. This is obviously from the Western influence on Japan.


The picture attached to this blog is myself with 5 Kimono clad girls who generously allowed me to have a photo with them, all the girls on the day were dressed up really beautifully.

January 21, 2010

The New Years Day Walk

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Every New Years Day my family and I embark on a walk which is normally down to a beach near our beach house in New Zealand. However, this year as we were in Japan, we decided to go to the Meiji forest which is right next to Harajuku for a casual stroll as an escape from urban Tokyo life.


Little did we know that most of the Tokyo inhabitants would also choose to visit the Meiji forest on New Years Day as well. I would assume most of the Japanese went because of the temple that is there whereas we went for a nice stroll. Although our walk wasn’t quite as we expected, we still enjoyed the many food stalls that were out on display down the main street of Omotesando which neighbors the Meiji forest.


Liam

January 21, 2010

Snow? In Seoul?!?

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Hello everyone, How was your winter vacation?


I had a special vacation in South Korea with my family.
it was only for 2 weeks because of the school vacation period but I was glad to see my family for the first time in 9 months. It was also the first time I saw my cousins in 2 years! I also spent one week in the countryside seeing my grandparents and one week in the capital city of Seoul.


I was also really surprised that I got to see snow because it doesn't snow in New Zealand (where I used to live) at all. It snowed in Korea, and the news said that it hadn't snowed like this in 103 years. Aren't I just lucky...


Anyway, I only have about 3 weeks left in Japan and I want to do as much as possible before I leave.

January 21, 2010

A disney New Years

On New Year’s Day I didn’t do anything that was traditional in Japan. However I did go to Disneyland with my sister. It was cold but we were more into the Disney spirit than most people.

Something funny happened when we got into the Monsters inc. ride, because it suddenly stopped. To be honest at that time it wasn’t funny at all because we waited in line to ride it for nearly two hours. At first we thought it was supposed to stop, but then the workers came and we had to go out. Everyone got a fast-pass ticket for another ride so it was fine in the end.

After Disneyland we went to Utsunomiya to my sister’s place and we started to watch videos. When it turned to midnight we made jokes about how we’ve been watching this video since last year and still haven’t finished it!

I can’t decide if I missed the traditional finnish New Year’s Day or not. It has lots of fireworks and junk food, but its no secret that I’m scared of those flashy lights in the night sky.

- Ella

January 21, 2010

A disney New Years

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On New Year’s Day I didn’t do anything that was traditional in Japan. However I did go to Disneyland with my sister. It was cold but we were more into the Disney spirit than most people.


Something funny happened when we got into the Monsters inc. ride, because it suddenly stopped. To be honest at that time it wasn’t funny at all because we waited in line to ride it for nearly two hours. At first we thought it was supposed to stop, but then the workers came and we had to go out. Everyone got a fast-pass ticket for another ride so it was fine in the end.


After Disneyland we went to Utsunomiya to my sister’s place and we started to watch videos. When it turned to midnight we made jokes about how we’ve been watching this video since last year and still haven’t finished it!


I can’t decide if I missed the traditional finnish New Year’s Day or not. It has lots of fireworks and junk food, but its no secret that I’m scared of those flashy lights in the night sky.


- Ella

about Seiritsu

Seiritsu Gakuen is a private co-educational high school created in 1925 and it is located in Tokyo, Japan.

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