28. sep. 2014

♔Arriving in Fukuoka♔

I've now been in Fukuoka for five days, and figured I would share how I'm doing and what I'm up to. Which is a lot - I'm super busy! But I want to write down my first impressions of life here before I forget.

Sunday my family followed me to the airport. It was extremely difficult and emotional getting up the stairs to the security check in. But I know I won't be gone forever, and I will try to Skype with everyone as much as possible♥

The flight to London took off at 2PM and I knew I had to use a whole day on traveling, so it was quite dreadful. Especially since I don't like flying... Luckily, I was traveling with Line from my class, who's also going to be studying at Fukuoka Women's University! From Heathrow airport I had to get on a 12 hour flight to Hong Kong. It sucked. Also, a lady got sick on the plane and the staff had to request help from passengers with medical experience. It's weird how they don't bring doctors on a flight that long. But I think she was alright when we finally landed :)

Hong Kong airport

It was a relief to get out of the plane after that long. It also got me an opportunity to check out Hong Kong airport. I've never been to another Asian country beside Japan, so I tried to take in as much as I could of the airport alone. But since Fukuoka is actually closer to Seoul than Tokyo, I might go to Korea too during my stay in Japan, so hopefully I will be able to see more of Asia. 

We had to land in Taipei too, but we didn't have to change planes. At that point, I just wanted to get the plane rides over with! Me and Line finally arrived at Fukuoka Airport around 10PM Monday evening. Two JD-mates (students at the university who will help if we have a problem or there's something we need to know ^-^) welcomed us at the airport and took us to the university by taxi. We had to get some information and fill out  some documents before we could finally go to our rooms and sleep.

I haven't taken any pictures of my room yet, but I did sneak two photos from the 5th floor! During the first day, I notided that I was able to hear a woman's voice when I had my balcony door open, talking loudly through a microphone, together with laughing kids. Turns out I have an amusement park really close to my dorm, called Kashii-kaen :D It means Kashii flowergarden (Kashii is the area I live in). As you can see, the university is also very close to the ocean. I can't see it from my room, as my room is on the 1st floor of the building, but I did walk around the coast line down by the sea.

Tuesday was a national holiday in Japan, so I had that day off to settle in and buy important stuff that I had forgotten back in Denmark. One of the JD-mates, Yuu, took me to a big electronics store called Yamada Denki, a 20 minutes walk from the dorm. I bought an adapter (because I forgotten about it when packing...) and a router for wireless Wi-Fi. She also showed me to a 100 yen shop, Daiso, in the building's basement. Oh, have I missed 100 yen shops♥ They have such a wide range of cheap items.
Afterwards, me and Line went to a small restaurant and had gyoza and fried chicken and rice. I was so tired though... I wonder if there will ever come such a day when I will look rested in Japan. Not during the first couple of weeks, I figure.

Wednesday was the day of my Japanese placement test. I was worried because I didn't feel like I had studied enough - Tuesday pretty much went by with me learning about practical stuff and shopping for things I needed. The University of Copenhagen uses the Minna no Nihongo books, but I think they learn you the kanji in a very strange order. If I remember correctly, you don't learn the kanji for "I" until one of the last chapters in kanji book two! But it didn't end up affecting my score, it seems like I landed at the approbiate level. We are not going to use the same books as the university in Denmark, so I hope we will learn a lot of the same things anyway!

Thursday, the exchange students had to take a trip down to the Higashi ward office, to order a residence card and national health insurance. It took some time, since they had to process all of our papers (and I think we're about 27 international students).
Afterwards we split up, with half of the students going out to eat ramen and the rest heading home. Or so I thought. We actually walked down to Hakozaki shrine!

(Photo by Freya Terryn)

The purification fountain of Hakozaki shrine. You have to wash both hands and mouth/ lips before heading over to the main hall.

(Photo by Freya Terryn)

It was really beautiful and peaceful. Sadly, I wasn't feeling so well. I was really tired and my feet had been swollen since the day before (or maybe even Tuesday). When we got back to the dorm, I went to the international center at the university, to ask what to do in case my feet got worse. I figured they were just swollen because of the long flight, the heat and because I had been walking around a lot. But to be sure, two JD-mates, Shiho and Kei, took me to Kieikai hospital to see a doctor. It was interesting to experience how a hospital in Japan was like, but it was definitely not how I had imagined spending my day... I got checked for blood clots and had a blood sample taken. Everything seemed fine though, so I got sent back home. I might have to go back on Monday, to talk about the blood samples and get some money back from my insurance. But my feet are back now to normal! :D

Friday was a long day. Long - but fun! It started out at 9AM with the international students' fall semester opening ceremony. First there was a speech by the university president, Tisato Kajiyama. After that, the international students got called onto the stage in groups from the same countries. We had to say a few words ourselves and bow a couple of times, before we could sit back down. I really hate talking in front of a crowd. But all the students had some really awesome things to say, so I was happy to be a part of it.

After the speeches, we had to pose for some photos with the university staff. There were so many cameras that I didn't know where to look! Line's JD-mate Yuri took some pictures for us to use♥ Lastly, we had photos taken with all the exchange students together. That will be a nice memory to take home. 

We had to attend a lot of orientation about the school, courses, living in Fukuoka and so on. It was really great to get to know a little more about how everything works! We also got a tour of their brand new library, which is really cool and cozy. I look forward to spending some time there this week, borrowing books and watching movies (if I have the time... I probably won't, though).

At 7:30PM we all went to the welcoming reception at the university's cafe, Nan no Ki. JD-mates, exchange students, school staff and teachers were all there. Beside more speeches, we also enjoyed a lovely buffet (they also had a cake buffet afterwards♥). Once more, we were asked to stand up and say a few words. I hadn't known about it, so it came as quite a surprise. Maybe, when I return to Denmark, it will be a breeze talking in front of a crowd!

At the reception. So cozy!

I was tired after the long day before, but there was no time to rest, as I had to meet up with the international students and JD-mates at 9 o'clock Saturday morning. In early November, the university will hold a festival, Kasumi-sai. The exchange students will have a booth, selling food. We had to decide which kind of dishes we wanted to make, so each country came up with a dish and a dessert. I think we settled on Sri Lankan curry and German baked goods.
The university will provide us with hoodies to wear at the festival, and we also had to make a small design that could be on the front of the hoodie. Turns out they are going to use my design, I'm so excited♥ Especially since there were so many great designs and ideas, I sense that a lot of the students are good at drawing. I'll show off what I drew when I get the hoodie!

Afterwards, my JD-mate Miu took me and Line to a mall called AEON. It was about 40 minutes on foot from the dorm, but we had to walk by the coast line a lot of the way. It was really pretty and relaxing, and the weather was amazing. I'm wearing short sleeved shirts and showing off my legs here, and it's almost October! I'm in love with this weather

We were really hungry, so we got something to eat as soon as we arrived at AEON. I ate a delicious katsu curry, Lina had ebi fry and Miu got tempura soba. It left us with some energy to go check out the mall. I want to go again at a time when I'm more rested, I didn't end up buying anything and wasn't really in the mood to either. Even though there are still things that I need to buy :)

Before heading back home, we took some purikura (photo stickers). I feel really out of touch with what looks good on those, haha! But I have five months to practice, so I ought to get them right at some point. 

Too many things are happening for me to write about it all. But I will try to write updates whenever I have the time. And post some pictures on facebook. 

I miss everyone in Denmark so, so much♥ So take care of youselves until I get back!