Sakurajima – 桜島

December 21st, 2014

sakurajima

What are your first thoughts when you hear the words active volcano? Mine used to be: “run away as fast as I can”. But ever since I came to Kagoshima these words have changed to something more calm. Thats right, even though Sakurajima volcano is active and erupts about 3 times a day, it is still fairly safe and there are even people living on the used-to-be island. In 1914 a great eruption happened, and thus Sakurajima was connected to the peninsula and lost its status as an island, but the name remains and literally means Cherry Blossom Island.

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The red leaves of Kirishima – 霧島

November 22nd, 2014

Kirishima

One day, I receive a message from our Turkish gaijin Burak saying that we are going to Kirishima. It was rather spontaneous, but I am not the kind of person to decline an invitation to a trip, especially if I have never been to the place before. The reason for this trip was simple: to see the beautiful red leaves that cover Japanese trees in Autumn. And so we hired a car and drove to the Kirishima Jingu (shrine). Another trip together with the Gaijin Gang.

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Senganen Flowers

November 9th, 2014

Gayjin Gang

Kagoshima city may be small in comparison to Tokyo or Osaka, but because of that you can enjoy traditional Japan much more, than if you were in a metropolis. Todays outing was just that, a trip to the traditional gardens of senganen in the north of Kagoshima, where they are currently holding a chrysanthemum festival.

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Poster Session

October 23rd, 2014

(hover over the image to reveal the controls for viewing the album)

I appologise for the huge delay of this post, but here it is. On the 1st of July Kagoshima University had their annual international students poster session. During this event, a chosen number of students make A0 sized posters and small speeches about their countries. The topics can include anything from just general overview to more in depth explanation of things like: events, festivals, government, education system, etc. Of course I was asked to take part in this as well, and so I prepared a beautiful poster about my hometown Riga. I talked about the geography, population, transport, food, sports and our gorgeous art nouveau buildings.

I had a lot of students and older people come up to me and ask me questions about Riga and Latvia, especially about the food (Japanese people love food). The old guy in glasses listening to my explanations of Riga you see in the photo album is the head of Kagoshima University. He said he went to Estonia about 30 years ago, but has yet to travel to Latvia.

I hope I can participate in more events like this one as not only is it good practice for my Japanese skills, I also really enjoy designing posters or signs, thats why I spent around 4 hours making my poster look that pretty.

Angela Aki live in Kagoshima

July 26th, 2014

AngelaAki

Angela Aki is very popular Japanese singer and composer, who also plays piano and the guitar, and who sings a lot about love, home, dreams, and life. She is only 36 and has been well knows ever since her debut in 2006 in the Budoukan Hall, making history there as the first artist to ever perform in the famous venue solo (with just her piano) — no backup singers, band or opening act. So far she has released 8 albums and has been preforming all over Japan. 

Angela Aki is also a very unique performer for Japan as she is not fully Japanese. Her mother was American and father Japanese, but she was born and brought up in Tokushima, Japan. But nevertheless Japan loves her. And so does my Amy. People say Amy looks a but like Angela, and I can agree, both very pretty girls.

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留学生に図書カードなど贈呈 – NHK鹿児島

June 26th, 2014

鹿児島への理解を深めてもらおうと、鹿児島市に住む外国人留学生に図書カードと市内の路面電車などが利用できる乗車カードが贈られました。

鹿児島市は、市内に住みながら大学や専門学校などで学んでいる留学生を対象に、毎年、図書カードと市内の路面電車やバス、それに桜島フェリーが利用できる乗車カードを贈っています。

今年度は356人に図書カード5万円分と共通乗車カード1万円分が贈られることになり、鹿児島市役所で贈呈式が行われました。

式では、松木園富雄副市長から鹿児島大学や第一工業大学など7つの学校の留学生の代表1人ずつにカードが贈られ、松木園副市長は「このカードを十分活用して、鹿児島の歴史や文化にたくさん触れてほしい」と激励の言葉を贈りました。

鹿児島大学でプログラミングを学ぶラトビア出身の21歳の男性は、「プレゼントしてもらえるのはとてもありがたいので図書カードを使って日本語の勉強ができる本を買いたい」と話していました。

また、県立短期大学で英文学を学んでいるフィンランド出身の女性は、「この共通乗車カードを使って鹿児島のいろんなところを散策したい」と話していました。

「NHK鹿児島06月25日19時15分」

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Climbing Mt.Takachihonomine 高千穂峰登山

April 19th, 2014

Takachihono

Today we went hiking in the mountains, walking up a mountain to be precise. In a car with 5 people we drove to Kirishima National Park and climbed (walked) to the top of Takachihono-mine mountain. After waking up at 8am, gathering at about 8:45, a almost 2 hour drive to the mountain, our walk to the top began. Tip for anyone who wants to go up mountains in Japan, buy these sock things that cover your shoes that prevent pebbles from getting in, by the end of our descent my shoes were completely full with pebbles and that was really annoying a bit painful. Unfortunately it has been really cloudy the past few days in Kagoshima, so we didn’t get any view from the mountain, but when we were going down, we got to see the crater of the volcano (the mountain used to be a volcano), which was at least something! We also visited a farm there, which is apparently really famous for their ice-cream, but we didn’t have any, we just bought some souvenirs (food).

It was definitely a fun thing to do, and I would love to go there again when the sun is out so I can take some amazing pictures! I did take some, so here they are:

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Full moon over Kagoshima

April 16th, 2014

Full Moon over Sakurajima

Today, on the 15th of April, most of world could witness the lunar eclipse. We managed to get some great shots of the full moon in yellow and red colors. It was another great event/gathering organized by our friend Çağcan, thank you for organizing. Looking forward to spending the next 6 months with you, Calvin and other ryuugakusei who will only stay for another semester, and the next year with all the other newbies like me. Also cheers to Enchan for the tripod, without it I would not have been able to take such beautiful photos, which you can find right here:

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In other news, I have almost finished settling in. Just need to receive the credit card from Kagoshima Bank (which they said might take up to 3-4 weeks) and buy myself a phone sim from bmobile as SoftBank does not allow me to use my own phone… Aside from that, I am done. And so my new life in Japan has officially begun!

Final Destination: Kagoshima

April 2nd, 2014

fujisan

(Photo from the window of my plane, you can see Mt. Fuji)

After a whole 4 years in the planing, 2 months worth of packing and preparation, and a 16 hour flight with 2 stopovers, I have finally reached Kagoshima! Here I will be studying as an exchange student for the next 10-11 months. A big big thanks to all my sempais who helped me out to prepare for this and a thank you in advance to the new sempais I have met here today, who will be helping me from now on.

I have settled into my dorm and just finished unpacking all my luggage. Now for some well deserved sleep. Tomorrow will be a long day of shopping and meeting with teachers.