Friday, September 21, 2012

Time is continuing to approach closer and closer to my departure from the United States to Japan. As of today, I only have one more weekend with my family and friends! It's a sad thought, but it's also nice to know that in a few days I will meeting other family and friends in Fukuoka. I have heard from my cousin, Satomi, that she and another cousin, Hiroto, will meet the first weekend I am in Fukuoka. Hiroto is driving packages to me, and Satomi is going to show me around Fukuoka and help me with setting up phone, internet, etc. They're so kind! I can't believe two people that I have never met, are going so far out of their way to come help me out. Not only that, but some exchange students I befriended in college are going to come see me as well. Taku is meeting me at the airport, and Sachi and Momoyo will be visiting me on the weekend... I have lots of people to meet!

 Speaking of college friends, a whole group came to see me over the past week. I really appreciated them driving all the way to come meet me, as I haven't seen most of them in almost a year and a half! It doesn't seem like college ended too long ago, but people have already started going on their own way... myself included. Over the past weekend a small group came just for the day, so we went to the Parthenon and then I showed them around the Vanderbilt campus nearby. The latter doesn't sound so exciting, but considering the amount of tailgating going on the campus this weekend, it was actually much more lively than I previously intended.

Here are a few photos I took at the Parthenon. One of the girls is a professional photographer, so I should be getting nicer ones from her soon:

It was a lovely day, so thank you Zeus for providing excellent weather for all my guests coming to visit!

Not long after that, my former college room mate came to visit as well.She stayed for two days, so we were able to do a little more around Nashville... though we did go to the Parthenon again. Luckily, it's a fairly neat place to visit so I didn't mind going there twice in one week. She just returned from a year teaching in Korea, so I was able to get some really helpful traveling advice from her. She even gave me her portable DVD player for the long plane ride! How awesome is that? I also got some tasty bread, cream soda, and other Korean food from her. It was a fairly wonderful visit!
After I finished my visit with my roommate, my Mother took a week's worth of vacation to be home with me. It's been nice, even though we are just mostly running errands which involves spending a ton of money. I don't know how traveling anywhere could be cheap, but with the lousy exchange rate in Japan, it's cheaper to buy everything here.

With as much stuff as I've bought, I have no idea how to fit in all in the little amount of suitcases I own. Last week I sent a 2lb box to my cousin Hiroto, and it cost roughly $58 to ship. It's fluffing expensive to mail stuff!!! Since we've discovered this, my Mother decided it would just be cheaper to send another suitcase with me. That is also looking like it will be a problem:
This is just SOME of my fall clothes... no coat, hat, gloves, or some of my shoes. Yeah... this is going to be a challenge considering I also have to pack these presents as well:

 It's going to be a fun weekend of packing! At least, for now, I can worry about this, and not about the crying baby and sick person I will most likely be sitting with on my airplane...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

This is my first ever post on any sort of blogging website. For those of you who don't know me well, I am not the type that enjoys posting personal information on the internet (Sorry I will not be joining facebook...ever). This isn't really for socialization, or to give my ideas about schooling, travel, etc. (though that will inevitably happen), it's more so to let friends, family, and acquaintances know that I doing well in Japan.  Considering this, please know that there will be scant posts containing a lot of grammar, spelling, and typing mistakes.

To let you know what sort of content will be posted here, here are the priorities for most of my life:
1.) Food
2.) Kitties
3.) Science
Sleep is somewhere in there too, but I am not sure where it would be on the ranking scale. Now that I posted that, please know that the vast majority of anything I post as far as photos will probably be related to one of those three things. In fact, the third thing, science, is the main reason why I am going to Fukuoka, Japan. Kyushu University offers a vast variety of english-taught degree programs to International students trying to continue thier education while simulataneously become integrated into a new and fascinating culture. If anyone is interested in doing this (and willing to work arduously both academically and physically), I highly recommend applying to one of these programs:

I applied to the System Life Sciences program, and was one of two international students accepted ( it could have been only two applied, but I still feel lucky). So far, I have recieved some generous scholarships and helpful advisors from my program, and I really look forward to studying Bio-Engineering at Kyushu University. The Japanese have a different work ethic and team approach to their research, so I am extremely curious as to how I will fit into my new research laboratory. Plus, the cutting-edge technology on my school campus (Ito campus) is just amazing (especially in comparison to good old Berea College)! I can only imagine was sort of technology and machines are available to the science departments there.

I think the first few months will be when I post the most, as that's when the novelty of everything really sets in. While I am not really looking forward to culture-shock, I'm sure eventually I'll be so comfortable with everything there, that it will just not be exciting enough for me to write about it.

Thanks for reading~ JT