Categories
English

Typhoon comes in threes… and more

Continuing from the devastating Typhoon Faxai last month, Typhoon Hagibis (No. 19) struck Japan at Saturday, October 12, that had created a new record in the Japanese history. Rivaled the Typhoon Kanogawa that wrecked the island nation and caused at least 1000 people dead, Typhoon Hagibis left some parts of Japan paralyzed and disruption for short to medium amount of time in various areas, notably transportation and residential areas. Although Japan is well prepared for natural disasters like these, Typhoon Hagibis’ wrath had definitely cause miserable amount of inconveniences in daily life.

At that Saturday, I was in a friend’s house in western Tokyo. My friends and I were caught off guard when we had a look at the typhoon’s projected path — we were extremely close to it! The typhoon landed Tokyo and continue upwards during the midnight, where it continued to cause havoc, including floods in areas near rivers, and landslides at hilly areas. Lucky for us, my friend’s house was left unharmed (so did mine, a property which was built in the 1970s!). We couldn’t go outside — the wind was so strong that it could take you down, or worse, causing an object to fly at high speed and possibly hit us.

The next Sunday morning, it was like a dream — the sun in western Tokyo shone so bright, and the temperature had quickly risen to the normal autumn temperature — chilly yet warm. However, it was nightmare to people who had evacuated and people who had their homes and properties destroyed. It was only less than a month apart from Faxai.

Yet, two more typhoons, No. 20 and No. 21, are headed to Japan this week. Luckily, typhoon No. 20 brought only strong winds and rains with no devastating consequences. Its arrival also coincided with the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito at Tuesday, October 22. Perhaps it was symbolic — when the emperor proclaimed his accession to the throne, it turned sunny that Tuesday afternoon.

As of now, Typhoon No. 21 (Bualoi) is looming on the horizon as weather alerts and warnings were issued for the weekend — strong winds accompanied by huge rainfalls.

Living here for less than 2 years, I can sense how volatile this nation is due to its geographical location — one would never expect what will happen next. Maybe due to this volatility, many things were put into perspective and priorities reshuffled, I think.

I sincerely hope and wish for the best for the victims — time to brace for another unsettling weekend.

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
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

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.