Posted on: November 17/07

I took my grad photos on Wednesday…

But I have to retake them again!!! >< The reason? They gave me the wrong sash (colour and style) for the graduation gown outfit. This means:

1) I have to rebook a timeslot, and they are SUPER filled already (except for the mornings)
2) I wasted my money for professional make-up last time…well, “half wasted”, since half of my pics were not taken with the gown

My friends all tell me I should argue with Artona until they give me some kind of compensation…ie. tell them to give me money for my make-up AND hair again (although my mom did my hair last time…haha). I’m also wishing to take ALL the shots again, including the ones of me wearing the dress instead of the gown, and then I hope to be able to choose from ALL of those shots taken in the 2 sessions! If they agree to do this, this retake of photos can be a good thing afterall!~ But I really suck at confrontations like this…ugh, I feel horrible to be mad at the person, but I really really want something of value to make up for it, especially when Artona photos are SO expensive already. 😦

Anyway, on a happier note, I finally mailed in my JET application!!! 😀 Now all I can do is wait: first for the confirmation that they’ve received my documents, then for the good news *fingers crossed* that I qualify for an interview! I will update you guys with the news when it comes! But that may not be for another month or two…

When I was filling out my JET application, I got to give a few preferences of where I want to go in Japan. Having this important decision to make (although there are no guarantees of placement), I did my best to research on the different geographies of Japan. Now that I look back, this took waay too long and I feel very nerdy having done this in such detail. 😛 Call me picky, but there are sooo many factors to keep in mind, including (in relatively ranked order):

1. Dialect:
= I want to learn/improve on “standard” Japanese instead of a Japanese dialect, and apparently, there are many different “-ben” in Japan (eg. Kansai ben)
= Kantou region (including Tokyo) is where standard Japanese is based on
= avoid Okinawa, south Kyuushuu region (including Kagoshima), and Touhoku region for sure

2. Urban vs. Rural:
= I want the best of both worlds, so I chose “Semi-urban (Small city/town)” as opposed to “Urban (Large city/designated city)” and “Rural (Small town/village/island) on the application
= I don’t want to live on a rice farm or small towns where I’d get bored within a few weeks
= I don’t want to live in a TOO tourisy or noisy place either
= It’s super hard to end up being placed in the big cities with JET, since most people ONLY know of the big cities and there are more rural areas than urban areas available
= also see next 3 points below

3. Ease of befriending locals:
= I really want to make local Japanese friends more so than fellow exchange workers from all over the world
= the smaller the town, the more the people can get to know you intimately
= I heard Osaka/Kansai people are friendlier than Tokyo/Kantou people

4. Living expenses:
= I hope to save some money if possible
= obviously, big cities in Japan are quite expensive with everything
= the costs outside big cities drop considerably lower

5. Convenience to big(ger) cities:
= Japan is world-known for its big busy cities along with the hotsprings, sakura, and many other things, so being able to visit them again and again (without the travel costs sky-rocketing) is pretty important…and of course, it’s for watching CONCERTS too!!! 😀 😀
= I’m sure you know the major cities already–Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, Osaka…

6. Specialties:
= Anything note-worthy to see (nature, landmarks, buildings, historical stuff), to do (festivals, hot springs), and to eat. This is SUPER hard to make comparisons between different prefectures and cities cuz each is unique…
= I think I’m more of a Kansai food (okonomiyaki, takoyaki, udon) girl than a Kantou food (soba, natto) girl, although I do love sushi too, which is from Kantou
= I also like tonkatsu, gyouza, and miso ^^ (of course, for all these foods, i’ve only had the western samples of it, so I can’t make my final judgment until I try it for myself in Japan!)
= I’m not big on seafood >< (haha, this has turned into a food section instead 😛 )

7. Climate:
= I prefer a place with a different weather as Vancouver, but i’m not sure how successful this will be
= Okinawa is BEAUTIFUL with all those tropical sunny days! But during certain months, it can have crazy typhoons 😦
= Hokkaidou is too cold and has too much snow (although I do love snow, especially for snowboarding, but seeing it for such long periods is not so fun)

8. Ease of meeting up with friends & family:
= I have a couple of friends living in Tokyo and Kyoto right now. It’d be cool to visit them, plus it’ll probably help to break the barrier for making local Japanese friends!
= My parents may come visit me, so somewhere more convenient to get to would be nice~

There are more points for considerations that I can’t quite put a finger on right now (but I can tell you, I did think a bit about the birthplaces of some of the JE boys ^^).

And now for the wonderful websites that fed me information until 4:00 am a few nights because I was super hooked!
1) Wikipedia:
Japanese Dialect
Japanese Prefectures, scroll down to see also the list of Regions and Prefectures, and the MANY links you can go from there! YAY! 😀
Japanese Cuisine, scroll down to see also Regional Cuisine

2) Wikitravel:
Extremely helpful (and rather fun to read ^^) site for planning your next travel to Japan, including TONS of practical tips for everything from transportations to accommodations to restaurants and to sight-seeing locations!
– Click on the links to the Regions to narrow it down to the Prefectures and then to the specific cities! YAY! 🙂
Hitchhiking in Japan…not that I’d really recommend it…

3) Japan-guide:
Homepage, this may look a little overwhelming with info at first, but you can use the top navigations buttons to search around
Japan Geography (zoom into specific locations on the left bar)
Japan Travel, Japan Living, Japan A-Z, and Forum (Dive deeper into the sub-categories of each because they are FILLED with practical and useful info for everything related to going to Japan…although I still haven’t worked through most of it!)

It’s pretty much impossible to read through absolutely EVERYTHING on these sites, but hopefully you get a kick out of the ones I posted! Have fun reading and I hope you learn lots!! I know I sure did~ 😀 Let me know too if any particular pages stick out at you as totally worthy to be read!!

By the way, if you are interested, the location preferences I chose [after MUCH attempts with difficulties to balance out all the factors of considerations] are 1) Chiba Prefecture 2) Chiba City and 3) Saitama Prefecture
If you didn’t know already, Aiba Masaki (Arashi), Yamapi (NewS) and Tanaka Koki (KAT-TUN) are all JE boys from Chiba Prefecture~ ^_^

5 Responses to "日本に行くぞ~2"

Yo, sis…suuup! *HUGS* Just wanted to let u know that I’ve updated my blog stuff to..sort-of. lol Am still working on this massive project I’m gonna post soon. It’s a whole hodge-podge of stuff…random Takki stuff…whatevers.

But, one of the stuff invovlves Takki’s Harukon eroero dance screenies I’ve made and also made screenies of Takkuricon 2005 dvd to his song, ‘Here I Am’. Omgosh, THAT song I swear, is my all-time ULTIMATE favorites of his solo songs. Dunno why but, I find it so *dies*… 😛

But, the way he was dressed…in that silk pants w/red, long emrbroidered long-sleeved jkt..uwaaaah~ @_@ *DIES* Wow. Every time I watch that part on the dvd, Takki takes my breath away. *melts*

Aya…so, you have to retake your grad photos again?? O_O Gave u the wrong sash/color? *BAKA* Ohhh boyyy. How humbug ne? *sigh* Jus gambatte ne… And Omedetou for graduating!! (or, is it soon?) Can I see/have a pic of you if u can scan it 4 me when u get them? (after you’ve taken them, of coz…lolololol :P) Welllll…gotta ask for my copy now b4 u forget. lol Thanks, sis!

OMEDETOU on turning in your JET application!! It won’t be long now and you’ll be on your way to Takkiland! I’m happy for you!
I’ve heard too that the people in the Osaka area are a lot friendlier than the Tokyo area.
I’ve thought of going to Osaka to live myself too. It’s not that far of a train ride to Kyoto, Nara, and all of the really pretty historical areas. That’s my top choice! ^__^
I hope you get your preference. ^^
As for saving…I read on one website that you need enough money to live on for six months or so — just to cushion you until your first paycheck.
Ah, it’s exciting to think about! *dance dance*
(maybe you’ll run into Yamapi while you live in Chiba! I’d die if I ran into Nishikido Ryo while I was in Osaka…because he’s from there! ..and he’s soooooo yum)

Sorry about the mishaps with your senior pics. Don’t feel bad about complaining to the people — you pay all of that money for something great, and when it doesn’t turn out like it’s supposed to, it’s their job to make it right for you! So complain and argue away girl! XD

so when are you taking the photos again?

Wow you’ve certainly done your research!

In regards to your concern about dialect, the only way you can learn 100% standard Japanese is if you learn it from a book. No matter where you go, people are going to speak to you in at least some form of their dialect (many Japanese people don’t even realize that what they speak is in fact their dialect and not standard Japanese). My advice to you is don’t be afraid of speaking in dialect, if you speak the dialect of your area, it will be much much easier to make friends. However, make sure you know what is dialect and what isn’t, as that can get quite confusing. 😀

pick me pick me!

er rather…

take me there too, take me!

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