Once Upon A Time in Tokyo

I had a dream once. A beautiful dream. I have fallen in love once. At an early age. It was no typical love. Just pure fascination of Nippon, a place I had always dream to visit. And my dream CAME TRUE..last 2004-2005.

Sunday, October 08, 2006



so yeah, after 2 entries, i actually have forgotten one vital part of this magnificent history of my life. silly me..so here it is now...

okay, prolly the most FAQ ppl ask me is this: "ooo wow aishah...so bestlah u get to go there..how in the world did you get selected??" heh, yeah...that would be the question i'd be getting like EVERYTIME i unfolds and shares this history of mine with like ANYBOOODY i know of... rite ppl, before you guys hurt yourself thinking about it, i'll save you the misery..

yeah, i know it can be more baffling to these ppl as i am not like what i would call "the popular chichas" at the faculty..nor was i ever the nerdy ones with soaring CGPA and the fav. pet of all lecturers there...so why me? how me? as the header of this blog reads....LUCK! i was lucky. end of story...ok. not really..jeez, i really should stop belittling myself too much..and start braggin a 'lil.. at least a little. okay, so despite all that, i was, still and will always be a nihongo no enthuthiast...was (and still is) very keen learner on nihongo..and solely for that, i took the nihongo class as my 3rd language requirements..and the rest as they say...is history.

and like they say, when there's passion people will do extraordinary things....i was very much passionate with the language no doubt about that...and so although i did no extraordinary things, i was really the BEST student in the class...and this fact was noted by my sensei, dearest normah sensei. and here is when luck comes into play...so when UiTM for the 1st time held its exchange study abroad program in japan, normah sensei was kind to show me the way and recommended my name for the program..she submitted me name and me score for nihongo..i was shortlisted, and the next thing i knew, i came to interview held by the international relation office of UiTM and was among 10 other gals as eager enough like me to be part of the history.

so for the first time in my dear life, i faced my first ever serious interview and get this, it was handled by a panel of 8 interviewers; 3 from the international office, 2 UiTM 'bigboys', 1 nihonjin, 2 Sime Darby reps....i was 2nd in line for the interview..and i could still vividly remembers like all the other girls was busy rehearsing, busy practising their nihongo! it was scaryyy....and i was the only Mass Communication student....the rest were from Business fac etc. and most of 'em speaks better nihongo than me..yikes! the pressure was on...and i sure was glad i was number 2 to be called in.

was really shacky that time as i am sure most of you folks are during ya first interviews...i couldn't think anything else that moment but to be myself, aswering truthfuly and showing 'em all how much i really want it. until....that nihonjin- prof. kimura, asked me one killin question in JAPANESE.."aishah san, donogurai ninhongo no benkyo shimasu ka" sure i know what this means now..but then, it froze me up! im like...yeah, i know (kinda) what it means except that donogurai shit......and bravely i played it around: "sumimasen sensei, moichido kudasai" ritttte..like that's gonna help me. and when the sensei responded, i aswered blantly: "gomen nasai, shitsumon ga wakarimasen" **phewww** what a relief and continued the interview in english..hehehehhee...

so there...that was it.i thought i was tossed! finished! just becos of the "donogurai" questions i couldn't answer...it haunted me for a week..until......a call came in to my rescue, and i was the 4 shortlisted candidate for the program. and later it was learned that, i am actually the first choice of candidate..i was number one..that was thrilling to know...and just like a pagent, if by any chance i couldn't go, the second candidate will take my place and so on and so forth...so the chaotic week has begun for me that day...i am to received a scholarship from Sime Darby worth RM 40k (well actually that was the plan) until....UiTM "magically" decided that they will send out two candidates and wanted to split the money into 2...forcing those who will go to have their own money ready for the studying expenses.

knowing this, i shivered. by then, i thought...well there goes my dream.. since the money have to divided into 2, which means i have to find another RM 20k to cover my expenses there...i can never do that. and the international office only gave me less than 2 weeks to give in my decisions; whether to go or withdraw from the program. i was devastated. but, indeed this was written for me by Allah, it was later confirmed that the troubling expenses of accomodation was kindly sponsored by japanese university which cost RM 10k and the other RM 10k some company was willing to give out its sponsorhip to us. so i was saved...at least i thought i was then....

but chaos was more to come....then, with time running out, and still there was no confirmation as to when we were supposed to go there (this was solely due to the incompetence of the lecturers involved in conducting this program) i juggle between my academia life and risks of failing my current semester (as it was already close to my final exams, and yet there were no fixed date on when i'll be flying off..) it was really confusing for me...the same time i have to prepare myself for japan and to catch up with studies...but with the japan's preparation it was even troubling to bear as every preparation means money and investment: RM 500 for TOEFL test, RM 500 for international passport, RM 200 for MAS flight tax and etc..

but perseverance was intact, and it was because of that i stood by the choice i made and braved through the obstacles...thus, in less than 2 weeks of heavy, choatic preparation; with my ancient friend sufi who's studying in japan at the mo; of which has helped me a lot from the moment i was selected (giving me out useful pointers) i took off at precisely on the eve of malaysia's independence day; witnessed by me familia, geng from UiTM, and ol pal from UIA...all of which was as estatic as i to see me off and be on my own for the 1st time of my 22 years of life.....and the journey has begun then....

Sunday, October 01, 2006

the journey begins


i know it's almost 2 years since i'm back from nippon..and none of this will help me get me arse back soon to that wonderful land of civilization..anywho, like the sole purpose on why i have started this very pinky page of my memoirs in japan, i'll try to make a steady recollection of those memories i had experienced last 2 years..

so for starters...some picture to feed the eyes....

apart frm having forced to forked out RM500 for an international TOEFL test of which if i failed to get to the minimun standards allowed to study in the university i'm exchanging me arse to; i won't be going and i that money just burned for nothing..of course; that wasn't the case, as i managed to scored quite well although not exceptionally wonderful (hey i'm not english) but at least i do did great and this statement was verified by the lectrer in charge for this exchanging program at my uni. so with that cash well spent, i had to forked out yet another RM500 for passports (as i never had any on my own) so, in between the chaotic mangement by the international office of UiTM and the personnel in-charge for the first ever exchanging program ever held in UiTM; i did my passport in JPN shah alam and head to japanese embassy in K.L. to request for valid VISA. of course this is needed if any of malaysians wanted to visit/go japan...although i'm actually going to be there for educational purposes; my VISA read for cultural activities instead. why is this so? as i remembered it, it was due to the duration of my stay..as usually an educational stay would extand to a minimum of a year, but in case i was just gonna stay for about 6 months or so..thus; can't be going as a student. although i'm very confused with this, i'd go with the flow...and in 2 days my VISA was ready to be collected. it was printed on a colored glossy paper and what i like most about it was my picture. lame? perhaps...but i think i looked pretty classic in it because it's in black&white..hehe.

anywhooo.....i'm gonna skipped a few weeks here...and on my second month in japan; mrs. mimura the head of international office of bunkyo gakuin daigaku; asked me to change our VISA and request for a permit of change of stay in japan as...STUDENT! talk about doing things twice..reason for this; as I was asked to buy a health insurance for the last 3 months stay..and as everything in japan is expensive and no doubt the insurance gonna cost a fortune of which i don't have.....mrs mimura insisted i change the status to college students..in hopes for discounts for insurance and everything else that has discounts for college students! so; the first trip ever i took with mother-figure-mrs mimura in japan was to a japanese "JPN" somewhere in the tokyo. i can't recall the name of the city or prefectures as they were called in japan, but what i do recalled, it was quite far from my uni and we switch from namboku-sen to a tokyo train. and arrived in a very hugggge train station and had to take a bus ride of 20 mins to be there. i think it was somewhere in tokyo bay..which means it was as far as odaiba city...that as far as i can recall.

this was no doubt my first official trip around tokyo..the earlier trips i had was to my old pal's house-sufi norhany in chiba, just outside tokyo. so this japanese "JPN" building was very dull in color like most of the buildings in japan..very concretyy (^_^) no glasses-made facade, nothing extravagant on the exterior part of the building..i guess this is to minimalized the costs of rebuilding it if it's crumbled down during earthquakes..but the interior..was spacious and very..um clean! i am no doubt in japan. what i like about japanese offices such as this 'JPN' or banks or any offices that relates with the public, its counter is an open space with a moderate height of divider like section between the officers and the customers..and although they were not always smiling on very occasion but they were always polite..and would greet you with "irrashaimase" and just before that, when your number is called; there's the recorded phrase of "omatese shimashita" meaning sorry to keep you waiting...thus in a way, although you are just on the verge of losing it because having to wait for zillion year; once you hear those greetings and expressions, it keeps your temper down. soooo much different than us here..no smiless, long wait, very insufficient and what worse not only their usually not competent in handling customer related services, they tampered you down even further with their impoliteness!

so with all that, mrs mimura, hazrina and i went back to BGU before mrs mimura kindly treated us some japanese cuisine for lunch at a restaurant in the grand sentral train station. and in 2 weeks, the permit will be ready and i will be labelled as student officially in japan.

okay. enuff with the 'JPN' thingy. again me gonna skipped the storyline. so here's the picture of what my student card or 'matric card' as UiTMians called it; looked like. it doesn't get any more japanese than this i must say! with the official BGU stamp in red ink and all..the only thing that gets computed fastly in my brain is my name and numbers.the rest of it just falls slowly with the kana's and almost nothing with the kanji's. although in BGU we weren't required to flashed off the card to verified our existent in the uni compound as students, this card tho is very crucial everytime i visits the BGU library or toshokan as japanese called it.

don't get me wrong, i'm no bookworm nor am i literate in japanese (heck, like 99% of the books there is in japanese) but i must say (and the librarians said this too) i am by far the most regular international students there. not for the books..but for the ENTERTAINMENT of course! i'm like in euphoria everytime i'm in the "media" section of the library..it has the complete collections of so many popular tv series, a variety of DVD movies both local and international( hollywood, korean and hongkong only) of course i'm was purely there for some enlightment on "FRIENDS", "SEX&THE CITY", "DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES"and all the uncut version of hollywood movies!! sooooo not getting that here....haha..oooh, and the pc, the photocopy facilities, the dictionaries borrowing and some books (rarely) and of course making friends with the nerdy Bunkyo girls. hehe. me visit to hub of stored knowledge has never been happier and frequent than anytime i had in my life...definitely not uitm's library.