Categories
日本語

満喫?

お休み、ちゃんと満喫して過ごしていたんですか?

ある日、会社の営業担当の人に会って、三十分ほどの会話があった。それは、だいぶGWのあとのことだった。

満喫。

その体験は本当に久しぶりだ。GW休み期間、彼女を会いに行き、飛行機に乗って台北へ行った。1週間だという短い間だったが、本当に1ヶ月一緒に生活をしていたのような感じだった。それで、満喫した、といえるのだろうか。

いまは「時間を無駄にしたくない」と思って、様々な体験を見送ってきた。どうせ時間や金を無駄にしたのだろう、と自分はそう思っていた。だが、本当にそうだったのか、と私は時に思った。

最近、ゲームを再びやり始めた。夏休みが終わろうとしている間、ずっと箱に置いてあったゲームを再び遊びはじめ、夢中になっていた。時間を忘れたというのは中学校以来、久しぶりだ。

なんか、嬉しくなれる気がする。本当、子供に羨ましい限りだ。

Categories
English

Natural switch

A few years ago, I joined a competition where I had to temporarily leave my college hostel for a few days. As a solo participant, naturally I travelled alone down to Kuala Lumpur, and checked in to the hotel where I was arranged to stay.

Being somewhat familiar with the hotel surroundings, I roamed around aimlessly to seek out for new spots, or spots that I didn’t managed to discover in the past. A glaring difference compared with the previous visit, there was no guardian.

The day of the competition – early morning. I went to the hotel’s restaurant to enjoy my breakfast. I grabbed a plate of mixed foods – Western and Chinese, and a good cup of coffee, and sat at a table not far from the entrance.

The next thing I noticed, was a person (who I shall name as S) who was busy grabbing the plate of breakfast. My first instinct was that S might be a participant in the contest. S sat not far from me (probably a few tables away).

S dressed casually, and at a glance, S might be just another hotel guest who had business to tend to in the capital. The contest was scheduled to be held in the afternoon, but I joined the contest’s discussion/exchange session, which would eventually lead to the afternoon’s contest.

My instinct was right. S was a contestant as well. After the few hours’ contest, I retreated to a public hall where refreshments were served. To kill of some time, I went to a used items corner where it was full of books. S also went to the corner, and we engaged in a simple conversation. It was all simple yet fulfilling, in a way.

I forgot who took the initiative to start engaging the small talk, but I was grateful. We exchanged contact details and left the contest place back to our places (in different location). S, for me, is a unique person that is indescribable. S would probably the person one would like to be with when you want to explore a new experience, travel to a new, unknown place, or even be partners in various occasions.

Fast forward to today, I still maintained contact with S, and managed to meet in special occasions (and still engaging in small talks). Otherwise, we lived on our own ways, just as how life is like. S, for me, is a good friend to have and to learn from.

To wrap up, I include a piece from Lost In Translation, dedicating this to the moment.

Categories
English

Wrapping up July’19

English tests

In this July, I took two TOEIC tests – Listening & Reading (L&R) just a few days ago, and Speaking & Writing (S&W) at the beginning of this month. The TOEIC tests assess one’s English skills in the international communication context. Though optional and probably irrelevant for me, I took those two tests (and paid some fees).

The Japanese companies particularly like the TOEIC tests, probably for one reason — the scores. Depending on the scores achieved, they can measure or determine one’s skill in English, be it proficient, average, or needs more polishing. The L&R test proves to be the most popular test, if compared to S&W and Bridge test (targeted for beginner to intermediate level of English learners).

TOEIC scores are bonus points in Japanese resumes (I think). In the internal company mail, I often receive invitations and discounts for TOEIC L&R tests held in company buildings (usually in groups). Despite the extended invitation, I did not accept it.

Monthly targets

As stressful as it sounds, the targets are aimed to improve, if not, enrich life by forcing oneself to do something. It is something that I began trying this year by setting some targets each month.

The first target was to visit at least one place that I never went to. That sounded easy.

Except it’s not. Apart from procrastination, probably the other factor that hindered me is the uneasiness to explore places that I’m not familiar with. However, that fear not only defeated the purpose of coming to Japan, but also limited the extent of where I can expand my album and todos.

A random station. Unplanned detour. Accepting random plans from friend. Coming up with one day travel plan.

Wrapping up

In just a few moments, July will be coming to an end, and hence stepping forward towards the end of the 2010 decade. What a milestone! 5.. 4.. 3.. the countdown continues.

Categories
中文

你是你自己的牢狱

以前我读过许多心理系文章,说明思想和想法是如何塑造一个人。对一个人的认识,甚至是他是怎样的一个人,可谓是从他自己的思想中被塑造出来也说不定。我不时也陷入了这样的一个想法 — 在事情A的处理方面,若选择方法B或C来解决,而不是方法A(平时的解决方式),那么事情肯定有突破性的发展!我这么想着。

确实,采取新的方式来解决一个问题自然会迎来应当的结局 — 毕竟,凡事没有所谓固定的结局。人生也许就是从许多的分岔路口形成出来的?我不禁这样想。

我喜欢挑战新事情,但同时也喜欢维持现状。要说挑战新事情,最有代表性莫非是到日本上班吧。当初没想得太多去进行申请,经过了两次的Skype面试后正式录取,现在回想起那段事件,仿佛是梦(虽然已经实现了!)。要说维持现状,这个可多了。变化和维持,两个都互相排斥。想了想,简单的事情也可以想成得很复杂,复杂的事情也能被分解为简单的事情,人类可谓是个复杂的生物。


我经常想着事情 — 从日常的事物到短,中甚至是长期计划。我开始计划并且想着该如何去实现这几个系列的计划。无意中,我仿佛把自己扔进一个无形的牢狱里。很可笑的是,牢狱的锁是自己上的。到了什么时候就该做A,到了某个里程碑时需要完成B,到了。。。

这系列的“到了”和“就要”变成了一条无形的锁链。

有人说,做人要自由。好好享受了人生之后再慢慢计划,活在当下。有人说,要在最初就好好做计划,以免以后受苦。用一句成语来概括,“先苦后甜”。说实在的,我仍然在一边看着身边友人,一边摸索着自己的路该怎么走。虽然眼前和路上有着许多盏灯照耀着接下来的路该怎么走,但是途中不免有个小路分岔口。我该试看到那个小路走吗?还是别离开那个大道,继续在燈下继续走?

也许生活本来就是一件很简单的事情。也许,我掉进了自己的牢狱。

*好久没写中文博文了,若有犯错,请在留言处给予纠正,谢谢!

Categories
English

Escaping to the city: the weather

Once in a while, I take the train to go to Tokyo. It’s about an hour away, just perfect for a nap in the train (if I found a seat, that is). Since I rarely go to the metropolitan area, my impression towards Tokyo is always refreshed.

Just recently, I travelled to Okachimachi, a town neighboring Ueno and Akihabara to watch the new hit anime movie by Shinkai Makoto, Weathering With You (天気の子). With the cloudy Saturday morning being relatable to the movie theme and its atmosphere, I entered the cinema with high hopes.

Yes, it definitely earned a solid five-stars rating.

Its location is mainly focused in the Tokyo metropolitan area, centered in key areas such as Shinjuku, Kagurazaka, Tabata, Odaiba, Yoyogi, and the likes. I was deeply amazed by the frames drawn; each has its unique characteristics, and certainly make the work itself more interesting.

The building and landmarks, public transportation, and various scenes within the movie certainly bring an extra layer of realism — not only the scenes inside were modeled after the real locations, the background noises and effects also reflected the real Tokyo. How I wished I watched it in Shinjuku.

After I finished watching it at 11am, I decided to walk to Akihabara from the JR Okachimachi Station. It’s a near half an hour walk (~1.5km), but it was satisfying. I’d argue that besides hopping on the train, cycling and walking are definitely some of the ways to enjoy while travelling.

Tokyo, and the neighboring Chiba prefecture (where I stay in) are experiencing the lack of sunshine for weeks. The Marine Day, annually celebrated at the beach (and the likes) under the hot sunshine, for this year is quite cloudy. It was quite odd for the summer season, as it was humid yet cool. Although it was relieving for my house’s electricity bill, I’d sure appreciate more sunshine over the days to come.

Weathering With You touched upon a topic which affected worldwide, that is, climate change. Many parts of Tokyo are built upon reclaimed land. I won’t spoil the contents, but after watching the movie, I’ve grown more appreciation towards the surroundings, which I’ve taken (and I believe many people would have) granted for.

The company I am currently working at right now is taking steps to reduce the global warming footprint, and is working towards a greener environment. Many companies have followed suit, however, still insufficient. The mindset of the masses play critical role in improvising the environment. However, the mindset still requires huge improvement…

Have you watched the movie?

Categories
日本語

あと何回の夏が過ごせるのか

初めて日本語でブログポストを書いている。日本にいて、1年過ぎが経った。まだ梅雨が続いている今、時には家にいるしかなくてどこへも行けず、ちょっと退屈だと思っている。

ある夜、たまにYouTubeを開き、音楽を聴き始めた。Keyの有名な曲が流れ始めた。作業中の手が止まった。歌詞と曲をよく聞き、その深みを味わっていた。気づけば、いま自分が日本にいると改めて認識した。

ここにいられる間はビザの有効期間によるものだ。あと何回の夏が過ごせるのか、時にそう思う。まだ来日する前に、ずっと四季に憧れていた(マレーシアは365日夏。蒸し暑いし、よく雨が降る。)。春ってどんな風景だろう、冬の日の雪ってどんな景色だろう…と、私はそう思った。

やっと日本で暮らすことができて、ずっと憧れた四季を味わうこともできた。いまはちょっど夏。去年のことを思い出した。一人であっちこっちを歩き回って、行ってみたかった場所を訪ねた。

東京。

中学校のころ、うちのパソコンの壁紙が東京の様々な景色だった。とある駅名標、赤い東京タワーの景色。時には田舎の写真、ある高速道路の写真、渋谷のスクランブル交差点の写真も載せた。これらは私にとって、日本へ行くためのモチベーションだろう。

平成30年のGW明け。ちょっと不安でわくわくした気持ちで成田国際空港を着陸。スカイライナーに乗って新宿へ。すべてが新鮮だった、と私はそう思った。本当に毎日、日本語を身に着けないといけないの?と不安が自分の中に広がった。ただの趣味ではなく、本当にコミュニケーション ツールとして使わないといけないぞ、と覚悟を決めた。それはわずかの12時間で。

ビザの期限切れまではまだ遠いが、日本にいる毎日を大切しなくちゃ。

あと何回の夏を過ごすことができるのか。

※初めて日本語で書いた文章でした。言語での誤りやミス、不適切な言い方などが見つかりましたら、コメントで書いていただけますよう、今後ともよろしくお願いいたします。

Categories
English

Tanabata wishes

It is Tanabata (Star Festival) today in Japan. In contrast with the desired weather, which is sunny and clear, it rained throughout the day and throughout Japan due to the rainy season, otherwise known as 梅雨 (つゆ;tsuyu). I went out this morning to attend an English exam. It rained lightly and had strong winds — definitely not an ideal day to go out and enjoy this Sunday.

I didn’t write wishes on a paper and hang it on a bamboo branch, so I decided to write here instead!

I wish the world, my family and friends, and my loved ones be in a healthy and peaceful manner. I hope I can close the chapters of 2019 and the 2010 decade in a well-ordered, memorable manner.

This year’s Tanabata wishes

What are your wishes for this year’s tanabata? Whatever it is, I hope it realizes in a way that is beneficial to you.

Categories
English

A note on a small story

Today, I revisited a movie (which claimed its first broadcast in Japanese terrestrial TV) that reminded me of a story in the past. Remarkably, this day marked an important milestone in that story as well.

That story was a short one yet it was full with memorable moments. The movie quite emphasized on time and logic, yet the former is visibly significant, in my opinion. As I liked to put it, time is the only resource that one cannot earn again.

Things that happened were preserved in the memory archives, never be rewritten. As much as I would like to kick myself for letting incidents happen, it remained as a solid not-to-do in the present and the future. I am deeply sorry, to this day. I kept on thinking, had the incidents do not happen, would it change how the story ended? At times, I doubted. Sometimes, I cheerfully thought it might change the course of the future. It was indeed a thorny past. In the amidst of thorns lied a gem that briefly shone… and dimmed.

I wish you good luck and happy always.

Categories
English

The tunes of the dusk

Everyday, a tune lasted for 1 minute is played through a huge speaker set outside the company building. Even though the windows were tightly shut and people were talking, a certain broadcast still can be heard faintly (it can be heard louder when it is autumn or winter — the windows were opened to allow cool air to flow in).

The first tune, an instrumental version of Yuuyake koyake 「夕焼け小焼け」 (“Sunset”, a Japanese kids song, shown below), is played at 4:45 p.m.. A broadcast is also included by the local municipal council while the tune is being broadcast, announcing that it is almost 5 p.m., and urging kids to go back home as well as asking the locals to look over the kids as they went home.

Yuuyake koyake (“Sunset”)

I also noticed that the time the tune played changes over season. As night fell earlier in the autumn and winter, the Yuuyake koyake tune is played at 4:30 p.m. during autumn , and 4:15 p.m. during winter.

Whenever the tune is being played, it is also an indication that it’s almost time to go home (not quite so in the winter). I felt relaxed and became slightly energetic as I continue pounding the keyboard throughout the afternoon. When the need for overtime work arose, it essentially became my motivation for the dusk.

Gaijinpot blogged that Yuuyake koyake is a tune being broadcast everyday through the speaker systems being set up. The purpose of the speaker systems is to convey disaster information to the residents, but when there is no disaster (thankfully), the relaxed tune will be played instead.

This system is widely applied across country, and the period of the tune being broadcast varies between region, typically between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m..

At 5 p.m., another tune unique to the region where I worked at, Yuube hoshi 「夕べ星」 (“Evening stars”, shown below) played. The atmosphere and the tune in its entirety was very relaxing; as if the stars in the sky can be brightly seen. Nevertheless, it marked the last 20 minutes before calling it a day. Update: noteworthy – this tune only plays at Wednesday.

Yuube hoshi (“Evening star”)

At days other than Wednesday, the Narashino city song (orgel version) is played instead in the 5 p.m. slot (shown below). Nevertheless, its unique variation also appealed me.

The Narashino city song in orgel version

In the place where I stay, the tune played at 5 p.m., titled No bara 「野ばら」(“Wild rose”, shown below). I found it amusing that different places and regions have their own variation, like the train jingles.

No bara (“Wild rose”)

When these tunes were broadcast in the weekends, it signified that the day is almost over. Depending on the day and context, either I happily pack up for the day, or quietly prepare for the new day ahead.

Categories
English

Reflecting 10 years

10 years ago today, I attended my first Japanese class in secondary school. It was at class 1A, where the Chinese class for students from different classes were gathered at to be attended. In that fateful year, a Chinese teacher who was transferred from other place opened the school’s first Japanese class. At first, it was opened as a trial class where students can join by just filling the names onto a piece of paper which was passed around in the class.

I didn’t know about the Japanese language in general. The naive me thought that it was a language mixed with Chinese (due to the use of kanji), and even a corrupted version of Chinese (again, I was naive back then). “Since it’s free of charge, why not give it a try?”, the 13 year old me thought as I filled my name in the form.

The first class

The first Japanese class started in Monday afternoon, 15 June 2019. As I recalled, it started with aisatsu (greetings). We weren’t taught the writing systems immediately, but the first contact in regards to communications in the classroom.

Sensei, konnichiwa! (Good afternoon, teacher) and Sensei, sayonara! (Goodbye, teacher) were the phrases we say when we began and ended the class that day. The experience of learning a new language was unique to me – stepping into an unknown territory.

I nearly gave up of learning Japanese in my second year of learning – I nearly failed one of the tests and struggled to understand them. Learning new things definitely were not easy.

Setting up targets

In 2011, a Japanese language assistant teacher who hailed from Osaka, Japan, was stationed in my school for 1 year. Ms. Nishikawa, a sweet, helpful, and approachable person taught us about the Japanese culture in general. Under her guidance, I mustered my courage to dance on stage performing soran bushi, a traditional songs and dance in Japan (even now, I can listen to the music being played automatically in my head…).

She left after a year, leaving myself to continue wading across the course as I continually absorbed the required knowledge. In 2012, I joined a national Japanese speech contest held in Kuala Lumpur as a secondary school student under the appropriate category. Although I didn’t obtained the coveted prize which allowed the contestants to travel to Japan, I did leave with strong determination to try again sometime in the future. Three years later, I joined the national Japanese speech contest again, this time, as a college student.

Reflecting the past and looking forward

Fast forward to today, I am working as a software developer in Greater Tokyo, Japan. It has been a “kill two birds with one stone” approach for me, as I am able to utilize languages in both linguistic and technical aspect. I had never thought that I could achieve this 10 years ago.

On this day, I received my gift in the form of helping hands from everyone over the past 10 years. It is not an overstatement to say that I wouldn’t be what I am today without the people in the past. I owed deeply to the kind, helping hands offered by my friends, mentor, and my family. My girlfriend had also played a huge role in this as well, to which I remain grateful to this day.

What would the second decade be like in the 21st century? That, I had yet to set.

It is hard to detail everything in the span of 10 years, but I will always be grateful to all the experiences I had; be it sweet or bitter. Dozo yoroshiku onegaishimasu!