Saturday, December 5, 2009

TOEFL

Finally, I got 100 in TOEFL. This year, I took more than 15 times until now. It was really a long way.

I have several more chances. I want to get 105!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

goal, purpose

Not failure, but low aim, is a crime.

- James Russell Lowell


The secret of success is constancy to purpose.

- Benjamin Disraeli



The most important thing must be to hold and keep high aim.
It is easy to say, but difficult to do.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

GMAT - 3rd try

Total 690

Q 50
V 34

cf. 1st Total 620(Q48, V27), 2nd Total(Q49, V27)

It's a good score for me. I won't take GMAT any more!

Friday, November 6, 2009

the greatest mistake

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.

- Elbert Hubbard


If you fear you will make mistakes, you would fail to do that. It's not easy for me to get rid of fear when I do something, but I should,

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Weed

And what is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not been discovered.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson


There are many weeds in the world. And some of them might be precious. It is the same as we talk about people. An ordinary person might be an extraordinary person. He or she is ordinary just because no one has not realized that he or she has a special feature.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Reunion

I went to a reunion party of my university. It was a tenth anniversary since our graduation. I met many people there. I can't remember some people well even now, but it brought back many memories. I felt somewhat nostalgic.

Next party will be held in five years. I'm looking forward to meeting them again!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Second try - GMAT

Total 640 (20 points improved)

V 27 (the same score as that of the first try)
Q 49 (one point improved)

I got 20 more points than before, but I wanted to get more!!!
I need to take GMAT again next month.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Difficulty is

Difficulty is, for the most part, the daughter of idleness.

- Samuel Johnson


Yew, that's true. But it's also true that getting over idleness is very difficult. So I should try hard to conquer it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Life's failure

Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

- Thomas A.Edison


I was encouraged by this words. When I give up, I can get nothing. But if I do not give up, I might be able to get something important.

Now I'm in a very severe situation. My TOEFL score is still below my goal. And the application deadlines are getting closer. Every day I feel much anxiety.

Sometimes I feel that I want to run away from this situation, although I hate to think like that.

I think it is very important time for me. All I have to do is keep trying hard until I reach to success.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Typhoon

Because of the typhoon, trains didn't move in the morning yesterday. So I had to ride on buses to reach my office. It took one more hour than usual.

Japan has a lot of natural disaster, such as earthquakes, typhoons, and so on. One of my co-worker from China is surprised at these disasters. According to him, Beijing doesn't suffer earthquakes or typhoons.

In that sense, this is Japan.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fighters clinch Pacific League Title

My favorite baseball team, Fighters finally clinched Pacific League Title of 2009 on October 6. This is the third time in four years. I'm very excited with the result. Before the opening game of this year, Fighters was said to be fifth rank in six teams. It was sure that Fighters has fewer star players. But the result is quite different. Fighters got Pacific League Title.

Game does not end. Climax series, which means play-off, starts soon before Japan Series. I believe Fighters will won again.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Faraway Libera



When I was in barber today, I happened to listen to this song on TV. Very beautiful song, isn't it? They must be talented!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes



Her speech is simple and nothing special, but powerful enough to persuade us.

Friday, October 2, 2009

future






Which is the image of my future?

It is sure that I'd like to have brighter one. No one want a future like an arid land.
However, it is true that there are many obstacles in front of us to get a bright future. Someone might deceive me. Or I might make some mistakes. Or I might become serious sick. In that sense, I can't predict my future correctly.

Still, I want to have a bright future. To achieve this, what should I do? First, I should make a goal clearly. And then, I should plan what to do. That must be a tough way. But it's worth a try. In other words, without trying, I will regret it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Falling love makes us more creative

This is a very interesting research!!!

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=does-falling-in-love-make

When you are in love, you think things more creative. According to the article, there are several experiments that support this theory.

I'm looking forward to hearing this following researches report soon!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

refresh

I haven't played tennis these 5 weeks because I go to a library or prep school every weekend. But I realize that without playing tennis, I can't concentrate on studying well. Also, the lower back or the knees are starting to pain as if they want to do some exercise.

Although I take part in a yoga lesson almost every week, it is not enough for my body. Actually, after playing tennis, I felt refreshed. And I can concentrate on studying, maybe.

Tomorrow is Monday. That means another stressful week starts soon. But I'll manage to do that, because I played tennis today.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Action

The great end of life is not knowledge but action.

- Thomas Henry Huxley


Knowledge exists to be used to do something.
Knowledge itself is not the goal of life.

What I'm doing now is accumulating knowledge.
For what?
To do something important for the future.

However, it's too late to get knowledge just before I do something important, because getting knowledge takes a lot of time. In fact, studying English is a long way. Studying English is only one example. If you want to learn world history, it also takes you a lot of time. If you want to learn camera, it also takes you a long time although learning camera is interesting. As the proverb says, Roma was not built in a day.

The most important thing is to clear the goal. Then, accumulate knowledge for that.

Friday, September 25, 2009

the Sound of Nails on a Chalkboard



I found this article at the site of Scientific American.
The title of the article is 'the Sound of Nails on a Chalkboard.'

I suppose that everybody knows this sound. And I believe everybody hates it. Who likes such kind of sound?

But I'm very surprised with the fact that there are people who research this sound. The researchers have to hear this sound during experiments. If I were them, I couldn't bare at all.
Why do they choose to research this sound? There are many things they could choose. Their choices are really mysterious to me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Last September

I clearly remember what I did last September.

First of all, I traveled to Finland and Estonia! I visited Helsinki, Tallinn, Rovaniemi, and Kilpisjarvi. Helsinki was a really beautiful city, with artistic buildings and trams. Tallinn was also a memorable town. It was the first time for me to walk such stone-paved streets. I felt pain in my ankle, though. In Rovaniemi, I met Santa Claus! To my surprise, he spoke Japanese. Honestly speaking, I don't want him to speak Japanese, because I thought he was fake... And in Kilpisjarvi, I trekked all the way to the three-country border. The atmosphere of Kilpisjarvi was so sacred that I thought of myself and many other things very seriously. I can say that it was a precious time.

Second, I visited some rural areas of Tokyo, such as Isumi, Koma, and so on. At that time, I worked hard to prepare for the photo exhibition with my fellows. We went to many places to take photos and also printed photos in the dark room. It was very tough but I'm satisfied with our work.

On the other hand, this year what am I doing?

Well, I took several tests, including TOEFL, TOEIC, and GMAT. I have a TOEFL test this weekend, too. What else? I often go to a library to study. I often go to the prep school to study.

Still, I enjoy something. For example, I met Swiss friend in Tokyo. I found an interesting second-hand bookshop. I eat tasty sweets.

What am I going to do next September? Let me see...

Tokyo Heritage Week 2009

If you're interested in Japanese traditional culture, or old buildings, you have good opportunities to have a look and learn a lot about them. Tokyo Heritage Week 2009 will begin on October 31th and will continue until November 8th.

Unfortunately, this event has no official English homepage. But maybe you can get some information, when you go to a public office near your house. Or if you have some Japanese friends, ask them.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Love is

Today, I bought this book on impulse.



The title of the book is 'Love is walking hand in hand' written by Charles M. Schulz.

What would you say if you are asked what love is for you?

There may be a various of answers.
My favorite song, 'The Rose', says, '...Love, it is a flower(razor etc.).'

In this book, the author shows many answers.
They are all simple, but persuasive.
(When your love becomes complex, that means your love is on the edge.)
For example, 'Love is hating to say good-bye', 'Love is being happy just knowing that she's happy...but that isn't so easy.' When I'm falling in love, I feel like that.

But I also think 'Love is to be honest in all you do.' This sentence is derived from my experience. What kind of experience is that? It's a secret.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Novel

I had a fever today, so I studied at home. I couldn't go out.

Before dinner, I looked at my bookshelf, and found a novel, 'Ryusei wagon.' I read this novel when I traveled to Hakodate this February. It has passed 7 months since then. I realized that I haven't read any novel these 7 months. It's quite unusual for me, because reading novels is one of my hobbies and usually I read at least 6 novels in a year.

I wish I had enough time to read novels. The novel I wanted to read most is '1Q84' written by Haruki Murakami. I like his book!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sky


When I'm sad, I look up at the sky.

When I have trouble, I look up at the sky to find something.

When I'm happy, I look up at the sky.


It seems that I always look up at the sky. Maybe it's true.
It's because the sky is so big that I can find something I want in the sky.

The sky of Tokyo, where I live, is not so big because there are many buildings that cover the sky, but still I can see something that is vital for me. I have no idea what it is exactly. But it must exist.

Surely, the skies in the mountains or country sides are more attractive since few things object the skies. Also, in the night I can see a lot of stars, which I can't see well in Tokyo. So when I travel or go to the mountain, I often look up at the night sky. I think of a lot of things while watching stars. That's a precious time.

One day, I'd like to live some town where I can see massive sky all day long.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Serious situation




It seems that I'm in a serious situation on work. Everything doesn't work well this week. What happened to me in the world?

From Monday, my cellphone rings at 6:00 in the morning because the batch of the system fails every morning. I can't find out the cause of this failure. Usually, I can detect bugs or something within one day at most. But this time, it has already passed four days!

I want to study English more. I want to have time to write essays. I want to sleep more in the morning.

There is a more serious problem that was revealed today. This is really a serious problem. I know why this problem happened. But I don't know how to solve it. What should I do? I have to think about seriously, anyway.

But someday I'll solve these problems. Tomorrow is another day...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Depression




Why are they so depressed?
Who doesn't have any worries?
Everybody has his or her own worries.

I have a lot of worries, too.
But worries make me think of myself seriously.
In that sense, we ought to have a few worries.

But it is time to start solving some of the troubles.
I think I have too many troubles now.

Then, I want to be like him!

Is it for a customer?

I opposed my co-worker's questionable proposal. It had no merit for a customer. It might bring only trouble.

He told that we had to propose a change of the business process. But I believe not every change brings a good change. In political world, a lot of changes cause unrest.

Maybe he wants to make a large profit. But customers are not so stupid to accept such a proposal. Why do they pay a lot of money for making trouble?

This ridiculous argument will continue for a while. This means I feel much more frustration in the following few days. I'd like to convince him as soon as possible.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Goal

For what am I studying English now?

To get a good score in TOEFL or GMAT?

Absolutely no!

Then, to be accepted by business schools.

No.

Then, to get MBA?

No.

Then, for what?

To achieve my future goal, and ultimately to contribute to our society.

Sometimes, I tend to forget my real goal, because getting a good score in TOEFL or GMAT is kind of a great wall for me. But, my goal is not such a small thing. To keep this goal in mind must be the most important thing for me now.

Financial crisis

One year has passed since the global financial crisis began. Many people all over the world suffer from this crisis. And many governments insisted that they need strict regulations.

However, things don't work well. Some financial institutions have started money game again. Do they forget what happened a year ago? Does this mean another financial crisis will happen in the near future?

I believe we need something strong regulation to stop this trend. Otherwise, we fail again, and more and more people would suffer from more serious recession.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Invitation from Nicaragua

I got a letter from my foster child in Nicaragua.

In this letter she said,

"I would like to invite you to come to my country again and to my graduation because you are special friend to me..."

She is going to graduate from primary school this year.

I'd like to go and attend the graduation reception, but I haven't finished preparing to study abroad yet. When do I finish? Although I want to finish it as soon as possible, it will take a little more.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where is the most attractive town in Japan?

According to the survey conducted by Brand Research Institute Inc., the most attractive town in Japan is Hakodate, Hokkaido Prefecture. The ranking is below.

No.1 Hakodate(Hokkaido)
No.2 Sapporo(Hokkaido)
No.3 Kyoto(Kyoto)
No.4 Yokohama(Kanagawa)
No.5 Kobe(Hyogo)
No.6 Otaru(Hokkaido)
No.7 Kamakura(Kanagawa)
No.8 Furano(Hokkaido)
No.9 Kanazawa(Ishikawa)
No.10Karuizawa(Nagano)

I'm not sure whether this survey is conducted fairly or not, but at least I agree with the ranking.

Sapporo is one of my favorite towns in Japan. I often visit there. Sometimes I go there to watch baseball games, because Sapporo is hometown of my favorite baseball team, Fighters. Also, Sapporo has a lot of things to see. For example, a zoo, parks, restaurants, and so on.

I like Hakodate, too. It was this February when I visit Hakodate last time. I enjoyed eating delicious food, and walking around the beautiful town.

And Otaru. Otaru is also my favorite town. I went there last October. Otaru is very cozy and nostalgic town. If you haven't visited there, you should.

Other than those Hokkaido towns, I love Yokohama, and Kobe. These two towns are port town. A lot of foreigners live in those towns for a long time. And I have to mention that these two towns have China Towns. I love China Town, because if I go China Town, I definitely eat something delicious. My most favorite food is egg tart.

I'm sure that there are so many attractive towns in Japan. When I finish preparing to study abroad, I want to visit some towns in Japan.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

When I want to relax

This is one of my favorite songs.
The name of this song is Rainbow.



Also, I like this song.
I listened to this song when I first went to America.
It was when I participated our welcome party in New York.
One of the students there sang this song for us.
Very beautiful song it was.



These two songs are what I often listen to when I want to relax.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Nelke?

I got a letter from a company named Nelke Brains & Hearts inc.
I was not familiar with this company's name. Brains? Hearts? Some medical company?

As I opened it, I found this company is a production of GAMARJOBAT.

What's Garmarjobat? This is an explanation from their site.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ketch! -red mohican and HIRO-PON-yellow mohican both performed independently as mime soloists, and in 1999 they formed the duo that was meant to be- GAMARJOBAT, which means Hello in Georgian. Their performance transcends all cultural and language boundaries and they have created a great buzz wherever they performed, including invitations to more than 200 festivals in more than 25 countries around the world.
Their unique performance style is based on a dedication to well-crafted stage theatre works and hilariously energetic street performances.
GAMARJOBAT are highly regarded artists appreciated by audiences around the world and they spend half the year touring overseas. Also in Japan, their performances at events and on commercials and TV shows as well as various festivals and theatre shows have been highly praised and enjoyed by audiences of all generations.
They are selected as one of “100 respected Japanese in the world”from Newsweek Japan.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I saw their performance this spring. It was amazing! And, anyone can understand their performance because they don't speak any language on the stage.

By the way, the letter announced their 10th anniversary event in Tokyo. The event is going to be held 26th of November and 27th of November. I'm surely going to the event. I've already booked the ticket!

First try - GMAT

Today, I took GMAT test for the first time.
The result is below.

Q 48
V 27
AWA 4.5

Not so good, but not so bad as the first try.
But I want to get more score!!!

I should study more and more for the next test.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Preparing for studying abroad is like traveling.

Someone said, 'Life is like traveling.'

I agree with the statement.

But I also think that preparing for studying abroad is like traveling.

It is sure that preparing for studying abroad is a part of life. However, it's more than that.
Studying abroad is very important for me. I believe this will be the most vital part of my life.

Then, why is preparing for studying abroad like traveling.

First, it doesn't work out the way I want.
Second, there are a lot of troubles that block me.
Third, I meet a lot of people and we help each other.

Yes, these are the important elements of travel.

Now I feel anxiety because things don't work out the way I want and there are many troubles. But I have to keep trying. Fortunately, many people is trying for the same goal and many people support me. So, I have to stick to it.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Swiss night

Swiss friend came to Tokyo and we had dinner at Shibuya, with his Australian friend(Actually, she was not Australian but Japanese, though).

It was about four years ago that I met him. We stayed a same youth hostel in Sapporo. I was there to see baseball game. My favorite team, Fighters, was in the Japan Series. On the other hand, he was there to meet some Japanese girl.

Now, he is traveling around the world. Before he came to Japan, he visited Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, China, and so on. And he is going to leaver for China next week.

His story was interesting, because he saw many things that I didn't know. I want to travel like him before getting too old.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mobile phone prohibited

Using a mobile phone in the office is prohibited from today, because of security concern. I work for an IT company, so our office has a lot of important data. Maybe our company think that someone will steal some of the data by using cell phones.

These days I think that the more advanced the technologies are, the more bans are made in our daily life. Technology makes our life inconvenient? Prohibition is the best way to avoid trouble?

I don't want 'advanced' life but more comfortable life.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ueno

Ueno has a lot of museums. Today, I went to one of the museums in Ueno. It was TOKYO METROPOLITAN ART MUSEUM. In this museum, the exhibit called Ancient Egypt in Torino is held. We can see the tresures kept in Torino Egypt Museum in Italy.

Because I once visited Egypt, I like exhibitions about Egypt. Last month, I went to the exhibit, which was also about Egypt, in Yokohama.

However, if you go to Ueno, you can see many kinds of exhibits, such as old Japanese arts, arts from Inca, and so on. I want to visit Ueno again, and see some of the exhibits.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Road to Hokusai’s Waterfall

NTT Docomo is the biggest cell phone company in Japan. This company shows us a mobile life in the near future, in 201X. See this video.

NTT Docomo has a vivid dream in the near future.
Although I don't like its cell phones, I like its future dream.

Below is from docomo's homepage.

Mobile phones have evolved to become indispensable tools that have changed the way we lead our lives, and they are certain to continue to evolve and play an even greater role in both business and everyday life.
This video depicts the near future of mobile communications as we at DOCOMO envisage it - a future in which people of all ages can enjoy richer, safer, and more convenient communications lifestyles than ever before.
We hope that you’ll enjoy this, our vision for people-friendly technology that will help to bring us all closer together.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Persistence and determination

Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

- Calvin Coolidge(30th U.S. President)



Unfortunately, I don't have talent. I know a lot of people who have more significant talent than I.
Unfortunately, I'm not genius. If I were genius, I would do my job much easier.
Unfortunately, I don't have good education. Although I had an opportunity to take a good education, I missed it.

Thus, I have to obtain persistence and determination in order to live in this world. And according to Coolidge, nothing is more important than persistence and determination. That means, fortunately, I still have a chance to get the most important things in my life.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

ALF



He came back in DVD!
Today, I bought a DVD of ALF.

I often watched ALF on TV when I was in junior high school and high school.
I love his character, because his way of thinking is somewhat fresh. He taught us what we tend to forget in our daily life.

But if ALF lived with us, it must be awful.
He is loved only in screen.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 23

14th September 2009

I woke up in the morning, and packed my luggage.
When I was eating breakfast, the receptionist told me that because she was going to be out in the afternoon, leave my luggage in the room while you were out in the morning.

I did as she said, and went to Santa Claus Village. The bus for the village left from the train station once an hour. The bus arrived at the village in 20 minutes.

Santa Claus Village is the place where Official Santa Claus are there. And it is the place where there is a border line of the Arctic Circle. That is, this is the entrance of Arctic Circle.

Maybe because it was Sunday and cloudy, not so many visitors were there. First, I went to the central post office to send cards. When you send cards from this post office, you get a special postmark. Also, you can see postcards that were send to the Santa Claus from all over the world.

Next, I went to the Santa Claus Office to see Santa Claus. Entrance fee was free. After entering the office and walking for a while, I reached the place where Santa Claus was greeting. I wait for my turn.

When I met Santa Claus, he asked me where I was from. I said, 'From Japan.' Then, he asked in JAPANESE, 'Where in Japan?'
I was really surprised because he spoke very fluent Japanese. Anyway, I said, 'Tokyo.' He asked again, 'Are you from Setagaya(this is a famous town in Tokyo)? I replied, 'You know well, but no.' He continued speaking Japanese, 'I'll go to Japan in three month. If you have any wish, send me a letter.'

Santa Claus was amazing. He spoke Japanese. But honestly, I don't want him to speak Japanese. I was a little disappointed. I took a photo with him, and said good-bye.

I received the photo at the exit, and bought some souvenirs.
After eating lunch, I went back to the train station. When I reached the guest house, there was nobody as she had said. I hadn't paid money. I stayed this inn for fee as a result. After a while, the airport taxi came to pick me up.

(to be continued)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Heaven and Hell

I received a mail from my friend.
In the mail, there is a story about heaven and hell.
It's worth a look!

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years.. He wondered where the road was leading them..

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked! ! toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, 'Excuse me, where are we?'

'This is Heaven, sir,' the man answered. 'Wow! Would you happen to have some water?' the man asked.

Of course, sir.. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up.'The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

'Can my friend,' gesturing toward his dog, 'come in, too?' the traveler asked.

'I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets.'

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

'Excuse me!' he called to the man. 'Do you have any water?'

'Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in.'

'How about my friend here?' the traveler gestured to the dog.

'There should be a bowl by the pump..'

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

'What do you call this place?' the traveler asked.

'This is Heaven,' he answered.

'Well, that's confusing,' the traveler said. 'The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.'

'Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell.'

'Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?'

'No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind..'

Friday, August 21, 2009

To love life

To love life is to love time. Time is the stuff life is made of.

- Benjamin Franklin


Time is precious because time is limited.
Time is precious because time makes us grow.
Time is precious because time makes our dreams come true.

So, the most important thing is whether we can use time efficiently.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Donkeys in Egypt


I met a lot of donkeys when I stayed in Luxor. They were walking along streets, carrying something. Donkeys play an important role in Luxor. People in Luxor use donkeys rather than cars when they carry something.

By the way, I rode on a donkey when I went to Valley of the Kings. At that time, I joined a local tour which started from Cairo. We started before sunrise, so it was still dark. Each of us rode on a donkey. It was first time for me, like other tour members, to ride on a donkey. I don't know why, but donkeys were competing with each other. So, we had to cling to it.

After a while, the sun started to rise. It was a very beautiful sunrise. I still remember that moment. To be honest, I wanted to take pictures of the sunrise, but I couldn't. That's because the donkey walked so fast that I couldn't take my camera from my backpack. But it was a great experience. I rode on a funny donkey, and saw a beautiful sunrise.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 22

Where I headed was Guesthouse Borealis. I already booked this guesthouse from Japan.

When I finished check-in, a receptionist gave me a map of Rovaniemi, and told me how to go to Santa Claus Village. At the same time, I asked her to book a airport taxi for the next day.

The room was cozy. The fee was 45 euro. It's cheap. I didn't pay at that time, because she said, 'You can pay it when you leave.'

I went to the center of Rovaniemi. Guesthouse was a bit far away from the center. Only 1.5 km, though. I was about to lost my way a few times, but managed to arrived at the center. But it was Saturday. As I mentioned before, few shops were open on Saturday and Sunday in Finland. Rovaniemi was not the exception.

I looked for the shop to eat dinner. At first, I went to McDonald, which is the northernmost one in the world. However, the shop didn't have a good atmosphere. A lot of rogues gathered there. So, I gave up eating here and went another fast food shop. That was Hesburger. It was already 6:30 when I entered the shop, and the shop would close at 7:00. I was afraid if I was refused, but the shop clerk was so kind. When she found that I was confused reading a Finnish menu, she handed me an English menu, and explained it in English. I ordered Double Burger Combo. It was not bad, and big enough.

It was 7:00 when I left the shop, but the sun hadn't set yet.

I returned to the guesthouse, and checked e-mails for the fist time in Finland. In this guesthouse, guests could use the Internet with no charge!!! There were plenty of spam mails...

After checking e-mails, I went to the room and read the novel.

(to be continued)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 21

9th September 2009

When I woke up in the morning, almost nothing can be seen outside. I thought I was half asleep, but I was not. Actually, that's' because of fog. I was astonished because before I went to bed the previous night, it was so clear.



Despite this thick fog, I went to the restaurant to eat breakfast. This was the last meal I ate in this restaurant. I enjoyed every meal hear. I love delicious food, and restaurants that serve delicious food.

After dropping by my room, I walked around the hotel. Walking in a heavy fog was somewhat interesting. It was visionary.

The bus to Rovaniemi was to depart at 11:10. Until then, I was reading a novel. By the time the bus departed, a heavy fog almost disappeared. The moment when the fog dispersed was worth a look.

The bus to Rovaniemi was different from that from Rovaniemi. This time, the bus was operated by Lapin Linjet. The bus came almost on time. The driver seemed to unable to speak English. And he even didn't try to speak English. On the way to Rovaniemi, we had to move another bus. If some kind lady who spoke English hadn't teached me, I would have left alone.

A Lapin Linjet's bus was faster because this bus didn't deliver newspapers or mails. But that means I didn't have chance to meat local people. I wanted to see local people.

When we passed Levi, some running event was held. Our bus was caught up in this event, so we arrived at Rovaniemi later. I walked to an inn where I was going to stay.

(to be continued)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Egyptian Railways

Have you ever ridden on trains of Egyptian Railways?

I've ridden on many trains in many countries, such as those in Australia, those in New Zealand, or those in England. However, trains in Egypt were the most impressive in some way.

First, it was the dirtiest restroom. When I traveled from Luxor to Cairo, it is very difficult to use the restroom, because the restroom was soggy. I managed to use it, but my tour mate especially women complained about it. Maybe women put up with going to the toilet until we reached Cairo. It took almost 9 hours from Luxor to Cairo.


(This train was a local one.)


(trains were not punctual in Egypt, so we waited for a long time.)

Second, I couldn't feel relaxed while riding on the trains. I rode on the trains for foreigners. Trains for foreigners were much better than those for local people. They had air conditioners, windows, and relatively good seats. That's why fares were a bit higher. So, local people are unable to get reserved seats. But they rode on the trains, and searched for vacant seats. When they found vacant seats, they sat on the seats. Because they went back and forth in the train, I didn't feel relaxed.

But the scenery from the window was great. Especially sunrise. I still remember that moment when I saw a beautiful sunrise. Although it was a tough travel, I'd like to try again.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

the anniversary of the end of the Pacific War

August 15th is the anniversary of the end of the Pacific War. It has passed 64 years since then.

How do you think of wars?

Abraham Lincoln said, 'There's no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war. Except its ending.'

That's true. There's nothing good in war. There are a lot of conflicts around the world. And those living in a war zone suffer from unstable situation. They may be dead tomorrow, or get injured at best.

I hope every war ends and everyone has a peaceful life.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dorayaki

Dorayaki is a type of Japanese confection which consists of two small pancake-like patties made from kasutera wrapped around a filling of sweet red bean paste. Maybe many foreigners know dorayaki, because of Doraemon. His favorite food is dorayaki.



By the way, dorayaki has many kinds types. It depends on who make it. My favorite dorayaki is the one made by Sougetsu, which is a Japanese confection shop in Tokyo. This dorayaki, called 'Kuromatsu', is quite different from the one that Doraemon loves. So when I saw it for the first time, I was dissapointed. But this dorayaki is much more tasty than normal one.





Do you want to eat Kuromatsu? Then come to Tokyo and visit Sougetsu. For more information, go to this page.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

taiyaki

Do you know taiyaki?



Taiyaki is a Japanese fish-shaped cake. The most common filling is red bean paste that is made from sweetened azuki beans. Taiyaki is made using regular pancake or waffle batter. The batter is poured into a fish-shaped mold for each side. The filling is then put on one side and the mold is closed. It is then cooked on both sides until golden brown.

There are a lot of taiyaki shops in Tokyo. But personally, I like taiyaki of Wakaba the best. Wakaba is in Yotsuya, 5 minutes by train from Shinjuku. Wakaba's taiyaki is quite different from others' in terms of azuki beans. They have strong taste, but are not too sweet.

By the way, how do you eat taiyaki? From the head or from the tail?
According to the brochure of Wakaba, men eat them from the head while women eat them from the tail? But I don't think it's always so. You can eat them as you want!

herbivorous men - soshokukei danshi?

I read an article about herbivorous men, in Japanese soshokukei danshi.

What does herbivorous men mean?
Herbivorous men are who favor cosmetics over deluxe cars and enjoy eating sweets with their parents at home rather than treating their girlfriends to fancy eateries. Also, according to the article, herbivorous men are not interested in drinking alcohol or smoking, but live in a clean, neatly kept room.



The opposite is carnivorous men, in Japanese nikushokukei danshi.

This distinction is ridiculous!!!
Men are divided into just two categories?
Who comes up with such definitions?

Which group do I belong to?
I like eating sweets. But I also like alcohol.
I'm not interested in smoking. But I don't live in a clean neatly kept room.
I'm not interested in deluxe cars. But I'm very interested in bikes.

It's not so easy to categorize human beings.
Our personalities vary from person to person.
Furthermore, this categorization might cause a misunderstanding.

Think of this example.
I like eating sweets. Someone thinks of me as herbivorous men judging from only one example.
Then he or she assumes I do not like alcohol.
At the drinking party, someone brings me a soft drink, though I want to drink alcohol.
This is just a false assumption.

Herbivorous or carnivorous is one of examples.
Our society likes to categorize phenomena too simply.
This is dangerous and ridiculous.

Then, who am I?
I am panda. This is the only answer.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Yoga

What's the best way to relax in my daily life? That's Yoga.

Almost every Monday, I join a Yoga program in the gym.
Yoga heals our bodies and minds.
In the lesson, I can let everything go. Focusing on my breathing and finding the quiet and stillness in and around me allows for relaxation.

Yoga is also good for my work. Yoga helps me be more productive, because I can concentrate on what I do.

Next lesson? Next Monday night.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

MIT

I went to the an information session of MIT sloan business school.
It was not an official one. This session was presented by alumni and current students.

Although I was already interested in MIT, I'm now more interested in MIT than before.
Today, I found another goal for MBA. It is a very long-long-term goal, but I'd like to accomplish it.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A card from Narita Airport

Yesterday, I received a card sent from Narita Airport, which is the biggest international airport in Japan. The card was sent by my friend. She got married last month.

According to the card, she was about to leave for America for honeymoon. Maybe this honeymoon will be a long vacation, because both she and her husband love traveling.

I want to travel again!!! These days, I'm busy for preparing for studying abroad, so I don't have time to travel. It was February when I traveled last time. It has been almost half a year since then.

I'd like to finish this preparation as early as possible, and visit somewhere. Where? A lot of places are in my mind. I'd like to travel to Hokkaido, Onomichi, Oirase, or some South Asian countries.

To do that, I have to study more and more.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 20-3

After stopping by the toilet, I started going down at 12:15.
Scenery was quite different from that I saw on the way to the top.
Although it was not mysterious, it was beyond words.

Because I took a lot of photos while going down, it took more time to go down.
I arrived at the starting point at 14:00.



Before going back to the hotel, I went to the Visitor Centre.
I saw exhibits about the culture and the nature of Kilpisjarvi.
According to the exhibits, the average yearly temperature in Kilpisjarvi is -3 degrees.
And only 90 days in a year, Kilpisjarvi doesn't have snow.
The nature of northern latitude of 69 degrees is very harsh.

At the hotel, I took a shower and went for a walk.
The dinner was as delicious as that of yesterday.
I love this restaurant!



After dinner, I went to the lake to see the beautiful sunset.
It was really beautiful sunset.
(to be continued)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 20-2

I met several people, climbing by stages. These steps were really challenging.

Since I didn't take a break, there was no one in front of me.
Sight was getting worse.
I relied on the marks when climbing, but it was getting more difficult to find them.
Only sometime I could see the blue sky.

The path was gradually getting flat. Maybe I was approaching the peak.
Also, the light of the sun was getting stronger, although I couldn't still see anything below my steps.



Around 10:30, I maybe reached the top.
However, I was not sure, because I couldn't find the mark of the peak. So I was strolling for a while.
Later I realized that I was walking around a tip of the cliff.
Due to the heavy fog, I was not able to realize where I was walking.
If I had known where I was walking, I surely felt frightened.

Finally, I found the mark of the peak.
The fog gradually dispersed.
When I finish talking with the men who came from Oulu, the fog completely dispersed and a superb view was spread in front of me.
I was so impressed that I took a lot of photos.







(to be continued)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 20-1

12th September 2009

I woke up at 6 in the morning. But I was careless to fall asleep again until 7:20. When I went to the restaurant, a lot of people were waiting in a queue. Anyway, I had scrambled egg, Vienna sausage, coffee, milk, and so on. They were all delicious!

The weather was not so good, though the weather report said that it would be fine. However, I could see some sunshine a mile off.

I went to the reception to rent a bike. The woman in the reception said, 'It will become fine. The view is very beautiful even if you climb only a little.' At that time, I couldn't see the top of Saana Fell because of heavy fog. I left for Saana Fell at 8.

I arrived at the start point around 9 and began climbing at 9:05. I could possibly see surroundings in spite of fog. After 15 minutes walk, I found a very long steps. It was really long. I wonder how long I walked these steps.

As the woman said, the view from here was magnificent. I met a few climbers. They were all climbing by easy stages. But I climbed so fast that I left other climbers behind. The sight was getting worse. I relied on the marks when climbing, but it was very difficult to find marks. Sometimes I could see a fraction of blue sky. But not a long time.

(to be continued)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 19

I rode a bike for 5 km again. It was a tough way, because I was really tired. But I wanted to go to the supermarket which closed 5 o'clock.

I was exhausted when I reached the supermarket. I bought some sweets, pieces of muffin for lunch next day, 2-liter water, and Red Bull(total 8.37 euro). Someone asked me, 'Did you went to three countries border on foot?' I replied, 'Yes. It was fun.' Maybe I met somewhere on the trail. Was he the man I met at the 2k point? Unfortunately, I didn't remember at all.

When I drank Red Bull, I felt better! Red Bull gave me energy.

I went back to the hotel, and took a shower. After organizing my belongings, I headed for the restaurant for dinner. I chose Grilled Beef Steak(18.90 euro) and a glass of wine(6 euro), because this menu included the name 'Saana.' I planned to go to Saana Fell next day. The steak was delicious. The food this restaurant serve is really something.



I asked the way to Sanna Fell at the reception. I was told that there is only one way to get there. This was good information.

By the way, this is the map I used in Kilpisjarvi.



(to be continued)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 18

I met that three girls when I started to go back.
I asked them, 'Aren't you cold?'
One of three replied, 'No. Why don't you?'
It must be a lie. I ran away, because I thought they might make me try.

The way to Kilpisjarvi was quite different from the way from Kilpisjarvi. Because of the weather, the scenery changed absolutely. I like both. The mysterious one and this blue sky.



Sometimes I was anxious about whether I was on the right way, since the scenery was awesomely different. Walking the trail and taking a lot of photos, I thought of various things - especially, my way of life, my goal, and ...... Compared with immense nature, I was nothing, just a small one. So, I might be much more supple than usual. It was a really precious time.

Wind was getting to blow strongly after 2 o'clock, and I felt a bit cold. When I walked along wide spread land, feeling temperature got chilly because there was nothing that blocked wind. I arrived at the start point at 4 o'clock. Although it was a long way, I felt better because I spent a precious time.

(to be continued)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 17

I ate Soy Joy and Amino Vital Jelly, which are popular energy food in Japan, near the hut. Since I kept walking three hours, energy sank into my body. The landscape from here was marvelous. I was really happy. This is a picture I took when I took rest near the hut.



After I stopped by a rest room, I looked for the three country border. I couldn't return until I found it. I asked someone who was eating sausage for the way to the border. According to him, it was only 300m to the border.

I found a place where barbed wires were opened. I met husband and wife who stayed next to my room. I confirmed them that I was on the right way. Moreover, I met three girl's party. One of them was soaking wet. As I was surprised and wondering why she was all wet, she said to me, 'It wasn't so cold.' I couldn't say anything. She jumped in the water? It must be cold, because the temperature is only 10 degree C. She was crazy!

By the way, I enjoyed the lovely view at the three country border. It was much more beautiful than I expected. This beauty was brought by this strict nature, I guess. I was very impressed this fragile but majestic nature! It was a long way from Kilpisjarvi. I walked more than 3 hours. However, if I could see this nature, it's nothing.



(to be continued)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 16

11th September 2009

I woke up at 6 in the morning. After I packed what I needed for trekking in my backpack, I went to the restaurant to eat breakfast at 7. A lot of elderly people were in line at the restaurant. Maybe they were in same group. I drank two cups of coffee and ate a lot.

When I passed the reception, a lady asked the receptionist for something with her bottle. So, I brought my bottle from my room and did same thing. Then, the receptionist poured hot water into my bottle.

At 8:50, I rented a bike and left the hotel.



It was cloudy and very cold. After 30 minutes ride, I reached the start point, which was 5 km away from the hotel. It was getting much colder, so I put on rain wear pants. I thought I should have bring more clothe. Actually, I wore warm ski wears, though. When I saw cameras in my backpack, I couldn't help think that clothes were more important than cameras.

Anyway, I started trekking. The beginning of the trail was a little bit difficult. After a few minutes from the start point, there were several ways, and all the paths looked safe. However, I chose the driest path. After a while, I felt a little relieved when I found the sign.

But I still felt uneasy. I met only one person until I reached the sign of '2km.' This trail was mysterious. I could see a soft sunlight in the far distance. Though this scenery made me restless, I also felt holy. Come to think of it, the brochures in Kilpisjarvi used pictures in the cloud weather. They don't use those in the sunny weather. Maybe they try to put an emphasis on this holy atmosphere.

After 2km walk, there was a sign and I met husband and wife. I confirmed that the route was right. 45 minutes passed.

The trail after that sign of '2km' was quite different. The fair view continued for a while. Vegetation in red and yellow was spread both sides of the trail. Although sometimes I saw trees, they were very short because the climate around here is very severe.

I met a group of two Finnish at the highest point of this trail. I tried to speak Finnish using Finnish words book. This time I could!

When I saw the sign of '5.8km', it passed 1 hour and half. Here I found two people smoking. I hurried forward. The numbers of people I met was increasing from here. Every time I happened to see a person, I said, 'Hei, Hei.' After a while, I noticed that the weather was getting better. I could even see blue sky! Blue sky was really beautiful. Though the holy weather was good, blue sky was much better for me. That's why I walked with light steps.

The sky was completely blue when I walked along the border line. No clouds any more. The contrast between the blue sky and the yellow vegetation were really something. I had walked 3 hours since I started walking when I arrived at the hut near the three countries border.



(to be continued)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 15

When I got off the bus, the driver showed me announcement of the bus to Rovaniemi. According to him, if I show the stub, I can ride on the bus in discount fare.

I said good-bye to the driver, and checked-in at the reception of Hotel Kilpis. Then, I went to the room, and set down my backpack. My room was a part of the hostel, not a part of the hotel. That's why I didn't have my private toilet and shower. But my room was a private room with 2 beds. The room was bigger than I expected.





I went back to the reception to have a talk about plans in Kilpisjarvi. I was most interested in 3 countries' border trekking. I asked a receptionist, and she explained the root with maps. The start point of that trekking is 5 km away from Hotel Kilpis. It was a bit long way, but I could rent a bike. It was a good help for me. She told me a lot of information about Kilpisjarvi. Those were very useful because some of the information on the Lonely Planet were old.

I felt relieved and went back to my room. On the way to the room, I met two elderly women. I didn't have a Finnish words book by chance, but talking was fun, anyway.

I went to the restaurant in the hotel with a Finnish words book. I ordered Reindeer meat + potato(19 euro), and wine(6 euro). The dish was delicious!!! I used the words book and told 'delicious', since it was really delicious.

I went out around 8 o'clock. It was a beautiful sunset moment. I took photos at the lake shore. 'jarvi' part of Kilpisjarvi means lake in Finnish. And, Hotel Kilpis is by a lake. It was a really glorious place.

(to be continued)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 14

I found out the bus stop relatively easily, since there was a sign which said 'Kilpisjarvi' or 'Levi.' The bus came soon.

When I had my baggage checked, I said to the bus driver, 'To Kilpisjarive.' But his reply was in Finnish, so I couldn't understand. In Helsinki, they spoke English well, but it seemed different here.

I bought a ticket in the bus. It cost 63.70 euro. Because I was not sure whether I could use credit card or not, I got one way ticket this time.

The bus left Rovaniemi Station on time at 8:20. Lapland has numerous nature. If I get off the bus and enter some of paths, I could start hiking. I became excited, though the weather was getting worse.

After 2 hours from departure, the bus stopped at Kittila. It was very cold. Temperature was not changed, but no sunlight. Next stop was Levi. According to the temperature gauge, it said 5 degree C, I felt much colder.

We arrived at Muonio at 12 o'clock, and had a lunch rest for an hour. The thermometer showed 10 degree C. I felt much colder than 4 degree C at Rovaniemi. I had sandwich and coffee. After lunch, I tried to go for a walk. But it was really cold!!! Kilpisjarvi is located 200km north from Muonio. I became worried. How cold would it be in Kilpisjarvi?

However, the weather was getting better since then. At 16:30, we reached Hotel Kilpisjarvi. It took 8 hours 10 minutes from Rovaniemi, in other words, 424km from departure.

Maybe you think strange because it took very long time compared with the distance. It's not because roads in Lapland are punishing ones like Costa Rica, where I visit 2 years ago, but because the bus driver has a special task. That is to deliver newspapers and mails. It seems a very important task for the people living in Lapland. Perhaps this is why the driver is get along with everybody. Thanks to him, we could see the expressions of people in Lapland. This is very valuable for me, for seeing expression of local people is one of my goal when traveling.

By the way, he started delivering newspaper from very early in the morning. But when do people in Kilpisjarvi receive newspaper? The answer is ... in the evening. It is a really long way.

This is a photo of a mail box. These kind of boxes are dotting the road. Are you anxious that there is no key? There is no need to worry. And the driver passes mails by hand. ...This mail is not real mail. Real mails are delivered by Postal Service. Maybe this is a personal one.



(to be continued)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 13

My room in the train was '212', which was a room for double occupancy. At this moment, only I was in the room. This room had a toilet and a shower. All equipments are nice and clean.

It was raining hard outside the train, so I couldn't enjoy the scenary through the window at all. After a while, I went to the buffet car to buy some food for supper. I had Finnish Sandwich(4.20 euro) and coffee(2 euro). The sandwich was very tasty. There were a lot of people in the car, and many of them drank beer. I couldn't drink beer because I was train sickness.

The conductor came to check my ticket when I went back to the room. He said, 'Another passenger will board from Tampere.' I made up my mind to take a shower, since it might be better to take a shower before another person come. However, I couldn't get any hot water! Water is too cold to take a shower. So, I gave up.

I started reading a novel as I lay down on the bed, but I fell in sleep soon. At 21:30, I was waken up when the train stopped at Tampere. The man who had a ticket of the room '212' was unfriendly. There was no conversation between us after all. I fell in sleep again. The man got down somewhere at 6:30 in the morning.

After a little, I woke up and went to the buffet car. I bought a sweet bun and coffee(total 3.50 euro). I packed my luggage and waited for the arrival.

By the way, the train was in Lapland when I woke up in the morning. The scenary through the window was magnificent! The weather was quite difference from yesterday. I found water vapor from ponds and lakes. Maybe the surface of ponds and lakes were warmer than outdoor air. It was really visional!



The train arrived at Rovaniemi station promptly on time at 7:53. Although the temparature was only 4, I didn't feel so cold.

(to be continued)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 12

It rained quite steadily.

I dropped by the convenience store in the central station, but I couldn't find any umbrella. Instead, I bought an energy drink. There were many kinds of energy drinks in Finland. What I had was named 'Battery+.' The name was funny, though it tasted nothing special.

It was not a short way to the hostel, so I asked a woman passing by where I could buy a umbrella around there. She told me that I would find one at a department store named Halonen. I went there, and bought 7 euro one.

I picked up my luggage at the hostel, then I headed to the central station by tram. I said to the driver, 'To the central station.' But he said, 'Airport?.' Maybe he thought I was going to the central station to transfer to the bus for the airport.

After arriving at the station, I waited at one of cafes for the departure time, having croissant and coffee. The cafe was in front of the platform, so it was a best spot to take photos. I took a lot of pictures there.

At 19:10, the Santa Claus Express, which was the train I was going to get on, came in the platform. It has so many cars! My compartment was Car 31. I had to use umbrella to get there, because there was no roof at the part of platform.

(to be continued)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 11

After eating lunch, I went to the central post office, because there was a museum. But I found more interesting things there. There were a lot of post cards and stamps, including Moomin's ones. The central post office had so many cards and stamps that I could hardly make up my mind what to buy. Finally, I bought several Moomin's cards and stamps to send to my friends. When I paid for those, the cashier woman gave me something. She said, 'It's a sweet.' However, she added, 'Strong.' Yes, the taste was like 'Frisk', very sharp peppermint. She tricked me. (You can buy this sweet 1 euro at convenience stores.)

Then, I went to Kiasm, Museum of Contemporary Art. The entrance fee was 7 euro. I went there because I wanted to see up-front arts. In other words, I wanted to know what was up-front. As I saw those arts, they were really up-front. Unfortunately, I couldn't understand some of them. There were some Post-it prepared. Those Post-it were like this,



'I don't quite get it.' According to the explanation of some of the exhibit, it was an expression of meaningless. Um, it's confusing. But, in a sense, our world is something like that, full of chaos. If I can understand all of the arts in Kiasm, I could understand whole world! Anyway, some of the works were really excellent, and more importantly, the design of the building was inspiring.

At last, I got some souvenirs. I bought post cards again, because I found unique cards. One of them was a photo card describing two men who wore Santa Claus costumes and spent Christmas without girls. Another one was also a photo card of a man who was about to drop from the ladder. I wonder how many times the picture was reshooted. Moreover, I bought this Post-it!



I wanted to visit a cafe introduced in the guide book. But unfortunately, it was already closed.

I went to the central post office again to buy more Moomin's cards and stamps, since I thought I wouldn't buy Moomin's postal goods in other places. In fact, it was true.

When I finished shopping, it was raining hard. I couldn't find anything to kill time, I went back to the hostel.

(to be continued)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 10

I asked the receptionist to keep my luggage, and went out to the city center.

Actually, I went to the convenience store while I was waiting for the dryer. I wanted to buy an umbrella, but they didn't have any.

It rained off and on this time, so I put on my rain wear and headed for the central station. On the way to the station, I stopped by a camera shop. The strap of my camera, KLASSE, was broken in Tallinn the day before. I couldn't find any replacement strap, but the owner was so kind that he made it for me with Olympus's strap and rings! Though it cost 3 euro, it was much better than without a strap.

It stopped raining when I got out of the store. I went to the central station, then I bought a ticket of the overnight train. The destination was Rovaniemi, the capital city of Lapland. The ticket was the one for upper deck of a sleeping car. This train is famous for the newest sleeping cars, so I wanted to ride on one of them. I paid 101.50 euro for the ticket.

After booking the ticket, I went to the food court in the Forum to eat lunch. I had 'kebab with garlic potato and tomato juice.' The reason I ate kebab is that I like kebab very much. If you visit Helsinki, you'll be surprised to find a lot of kebab shops in that town. But the kebab in Helsinki is a little bit different from that in other cities, such as London, Melbourne, Tokyo, and so on.

Then I went to the pharmacy, since I hurt my ankle when I was walking in Old Tallinn. I'm not accustomed to stone pavements. A pharmacy is called 'Apteeke' in Finland. As I told my symptom to one of the pharmacist, she recommended me some backrub. It was 7.70 euro. How expensive it was!

(to be continued)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 9

9th September 2008

It was raining when I got up at 6:30 in the morning. It rained hard, unfortunately.

First of all, I needed to do the laundry, because I didn't have any extra clothe. I went to the basement floor, where there were washing machines. But the machines were occupied.

After quick breakfast, I tried to check whether either of the machines was available. Luckily, at that moment, one machine wasn't used. Yes, I started washing. Since I selected 'quick' mode, it took 40 minutes to complete washing.

But dryers were occupied this time. Occupied by a cleaner of the hostel. He used two machines concurrently. Moreover, he used them repeatedly. I couldn't find any chance to use a dryer. Then, I complained to a receptionist about the situation. He said, 'Get out of the laundry, and use it.'

Although I was told so, I hesitated to do it at once. I checked the dryers several times whether they were still occupied or not. But occupied all the time. Fortunately, I ran into the cleaner, so I told him in English that I had to leave that day and I wanted to use it right away. He seemed like he didn't understand me, though he said, 'in 15 minutes.' That is to say, he was not good at English.

I came up with another solution. I waited in front of the washing machines! I met the cleaner again, and told him the situation with body language. He seemed to understand this time, thanks to body language. I quickly started drying clothes, but it was already 11 o'clock, and the check-out time was 12. Even though the receptionist told me that I could use it after check-out, that was troublesome because the entrance card, which I had to use it to enter the laundry room, became invalid after check-out. I gave up drying at 11:50. Socks were still wet. And I checked-out.

(to be continued)

Travel in Finland - part 8

When I arrived at Tallinn, I was a little bit surprised, because there was no passport check. Is crossing border is so easy? It seems as if Tallinn is in Finland.

But once I stepped out into the road, I realized that Tallinn was not in Finland. For example, the condition of roads in Tallinn is worse than that in Finland. No passport control, only 1 hour and half voyage, but Tallinn is different from cities in Finland.

Anyway, I got to Linnahallsadam, in English 'City hall.' Where I wanted to go was Old town. However, I didn't know how to go there, so I followed other people, since I assumed that everybody head for Old town.

I entered the Old town, and I found it was quite different from the outer world. This was what I had expected as an European old town: Stone-paved road, historical buildings, and labyrinth of streets. Without a map, I couldn't find where I was. Although the weather was not good, I could enjoy myself in old Tallinn.

In the center of old Tallinn, prices were a little higher. But in other parts of old Tallinn, I found prices were much lower. When it started raining, I entered some bakery to get under cover. What I ate in the bakery was really cheap and tasty. This was another part that was different from Helsinki. And I need to mention the Almond I ate there. I couldn't help myself from buying that Almond because of an appetizing smell, though it was expensive a little bit.

However, Old Tallinn is not wide enough for me to spend a lot of time. After four-hour stay, I had nothing to do any more. But my boat was expected to depart at 8, so I had waited for the departure time at the ferry port, reading a novel.

The voyage to Helsinki was terrible. The boat was tossing on the waves. I closed my eyes and fell asleep before getting seasickness. When the boat arrived in Helsinki, someone woke me up.

Streets of Helsinki were wet, and it was cold. I went back to the hostel.

(to be continued)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Travel in Finland - part 7

8th September 2008

I got up at 6 in the morning, and taking a shower. Then I packed what I needed, such as cameras, films, and so on, though I didn't have enough time to prepare.

I had to leave the Youth Hostel for the ferry port at 7, because I was told to arrive there by 7:30, and it was expected to take 30 minutes walk from the hostel to the port.

When I passed the market, which is located in front of the ferry port, people were already preparing for opening stores. The weather was pretty fine. The sun was rising from the sea, and shining bright.

When I arrived at the ferry port, I ate breakfast, an apple pie, and a cup of coffee. Yes, coffee again! I drank coffee every day in Finland!

After eating breakfast, I checked in. Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia. It was a very easy check-in, though I was about to pass across the border. Anyway, I waited the boarding time.

At 7:45 the boarding started. A large amount of people was in the ferry. I wonder they were all traveler. When I sat on the seat, I found that it was getting cloud.

After a 1 hour and 30 minutes voyage, I arrived at Tallinn. The way to Tallinn was not bad.

(to be continued)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Plastic added

I went to the hospital to have my teeth treated.

I had my teeth cut too much by some dentist, and I've been suffering from bad engagement of teeth.
Bad engagement gave me a lot of problems. For example, I have some difficulty to bite food. Moreover, I can't speak words fluently.

Yesterday, I went to a big hospital, and the doctor added plastic to canine tooth.
It didn't fit me well for a while.

But, I could eat donut naturally in two hours. Also, I could speak words more fluently than before. I'm very glad about this change.

Biting food or speaking words are not special things. However, these things are the fundamental of our life.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Where am I from?



I once participated 'The Genographic Project.' This project is operated by National Geographic and IBM.

Here is the aim of this project excerpted from the website.

Where do you really come from? And how did you get to where you live today? DNA studies suggest that all humans today descend from a group of African ancestors who—about 60,000 years ago—began a remarkable journey.

The Genographic Project is seeking to chart new knowledge about the migratory history of the human species by using sophisticated laboratory and computer analysis of DNA contributed by hundreds of thousands of people from around the world. In this unprecedented and of real-time research effort, the Genographic Project is closing the gaps of what science knows today about humankind's ancient migration stories.


The image above is the result of my case.
To summarize my DNA history,

* The ancestors of contemporary human were born an estimated 200,000 years ago.
* They left Africa about 50,000 years ago.
* Before arriving in Japan, they had passed the Arabian Peninsula, South Asia, and South East Asia
* Some headed for Australia, instead of going to Japan.
* After arriving in Japan, my ancestors remained, but some of them proceeded to Siberia, Alaska, and North America.

My DNA has experienced really a long, long journey. I am excited about the result, because this means I have companions not only in Japan, but also in a lot of places where my ancestors have traveled. What an amazing fact it is!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chiyoda Library

On Monday, I went to the Chiyoda Library, since all the libraries in my neighborhood were closed.
This library is open except the fourth Sunday each month.

It was the first time to go there, but I found this library is very good place to study. The facilities are nice and new, I can concentrate on studying.

By the way, I arrived at the library 40 minutes after opening time. However, almost ever seats were occupied. Luckily, I was able to find a seat, I should go there much earlier. Everybody knows that this library is excellent place.

Information:
Chiyoda Library is located in Kudanshita, and 5 minutes walk from Kudanshita station. This library is open from 10 to 22 on weekdays, from 10 to 19 on Saturdays, and from 10 to 17 on Sundays and public holidays.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

limitation

I don't afford to travel these days, since I need to prepare for studying abroad.

But I sometimes remember the places I've ever visited. For example, Finland, Egypt, Australia. Certainly, those places are not only abroad but also in Japan.

One of the place I often remember these days is Nagano. It was just 4 years ago when I took part in the adventure program of OBS. I challenged my limit through various activities, such as rock climbing, mountain biking, running. I learned a lot of important things at that time. I learned group work, leadership, and so on.

Most important thing was, however, I can do much more than I think. We usually set our limit lower than actual point, because we don't have to try hard to reach the limitation. But we can do more, in other words, our limitation is higher. Although it requires a lot of effort to reach the real limit, it is possible for us to do. I learned this fact through the program.

Now, I'm challenging very high goal. But I believe I can do it, since my limitation is not where it is now. It sure is much higher.

Artist file 2009

I went to The National Art Center Tokyo, which is in Roppongi, to see the exhibition 'Artist File 2009.'
This exhibition is the show of contemporary art.

Contemporary art sometimes tends to be difficult to understand. In fact, I couldn't understand some of them this time. However, others were fantastic. I enjoyed the artists' perspectives how they see the world.

These days, I study and study everyday to prepare for studying abroad. So, I need this kind of experience to keep my viewpoint for the world.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

When I was walking in my neighborhood

Last Wednesday, when I was walking in my neighborhood, I found someone waving to me. At first, I was not sure who he was, but next moment, I realized that he was my classmate in junior high school!

I was really surprised to meet him again. It has been 16 years since I last met him. According to him, I haven't changed at all, so he could realize easily. In fact, he hasn't changed so much, although he was with his new wife. Yes, he got married.

It is really pleasant to see old friends again. I remember many things in my old days.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Brick wall

But remember, the brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They're there to stop the other people.

- Randy Pausch's Last Lecture


This is a message for me.

Although suddenly, I found the brick wall standing in front of me, this must be 'a chance to show how badly I want to study abroad.'
I don't want to be 'the other people.'

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Strong man

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson


I can't progress if I judge the result only from the luck.
However, I will progress if I realize cause and effect of the result.

Cause and effect is much more important than just the result itself.

So, I want to be a strong man.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

wisdom tooth

I had my wisdom tooth pulled out at the dentist's.


That wisdom tooth had been aching since last Monday. That's why I went to the dentist on Friday.
Checking the X-ray, the dentist said, 'It seems easy to pull out.'
I trusted his words.

But it was NOT an easy operation.
As soon as he started to pull out my wisdom tooth, I felt something wrong.
My wisdom tooth didn't move easily.
Although he tried several ways, he couldn't.

It passed more than 20 min and he put me under anesthesia again.
Then he divided my wisdom tooth into two.
And finally he could pull out my wisdom tooth half and half.

Thanks to this difficult operation, I still have dull pain.
It is difficult for me to eat food now.
I hope this pain will be removed soon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

friend

Friends are precious. When you are in trouble or in bad situation and you don't know what to do, friends give you some advice or encourage you somehow.

They don't give you special words but simple ones. However, those words strike your heart and you feel comfortable.

I was in such a situation. At that moment, one of my friend gave me some words. Those words encouraged me so much that I feel really energetic about what I'm working on.

Friends are definitively precious. That's for sure.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Don't judge each day by harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant

Don't judge each day by harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.

- Robert Louis Stevenson


When something happy happens or I get a reward, I feel it is a good day.
On the other hand, when something unhappy happens or I lose, I feel it is a bad day.

Although I think that it might be true in the short-term, it is a big misunderstanding in the long-term.
Because whether I get a reward or not is the result of the accumulation of what I have done.
It is not the result of the day.

So what I do today is the most important of all.
I may feel it is a bad day if I had a bad result even though I studied hard.
But I shouldn't give up, because it is not a real result. It is only a process.

Keep trying hard whatever happens today!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

try hard

When you want to succeed, you try hard.
If you're trying hard, you should be proud of yourself.

- Charo Episode 13


I'll keep these phrases in mind importantly.

What I'm trying hard now is passing the MBA schools entrance exams.
The gap between my English level and required level is so big that I need to study English hard.
Studying hard -this is the only way to achieve.

I'll try hard, and I'd like to feel proud of myself to do such a big thing.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

make a decision

If you ever have to make a decision, a big decision, and can't make up your mind, ask yourself:
What is it that you really want? Follow your heart and it will lead you to the right answer.

- Charo Episode 46


I believe it is important to follow my heart.
I have regretted acting against my heart many many times.
Certainly I might regret acting to follow my heart.
But I regretted acting against my heart much more and much more deeply than acting for my heart.

So if I have choice, I will choose 'Follow my heart.'

care for each other

Nobody lives alone. That's why we need to care for each other, help each other when the time calls for it.

- Charo Episode 46


Nobody is strong enough to live alone. We are not perfect as an individual, because we all have some kind of weakness. But we can do much more if we have someone's help.

But how can we make up for each other to do much more?
We need to care for each other. To do so, we can truly help each other.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Spring?

It has been really warm since yesterday. Spring has come?
It couldn't be!

It is warm winter this year, same as recent years.
I don't need to use hand gloves in Tokyo, though I used those almost every day when I was a boy.

I don't want to have a strange winter any more!!!
I want winter to be winter.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year



Happy New Year!

I'll do what I believe boldly this year!