Posts for category 'Personal'

Back again

After another uneventful flight I'm back in Japan. I had a lot of fun in the Netherlands, seeing my family and friends again, but tomorrow it's back to work.

Because I can't really sleep in moving vehicles (aircraft, cars, trains, etc.) unless I'm extremely tired I once again didn't get any sleep on the plane, but since we had personal screens with interactive entertainment on this flight it wasn't so bad. I saw various stuff including The Simpsons Movie, which was okay but not spectacular, but the real surprise was the movie Stardust, which I had never heard of and only picked because the name sounded interesting and because it listed Ian McKellen among the actors (who as it turns out didn't really have a part but only narrates). It was a genuinely fun fantasy movie which I'll probably want to see again sometime (but then not on a 5" screen and without engine noise in the background). If you haven't seen it and like lighthearted fantasy movies (e.g. The Princess Bride) I can definitely recommend Stardust.

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Categories: Personal, Japan
Posted on: 2008-01-06 14:01 UTC. Show comments (4)

Another year over

Or nearly, anyway.

And it's been quite a year for me. A year in which I found out I would go to Japan, went there, and passed the exams so I could stay. Eight months I spent outside the Netherlands, beating my previous record of six weeks by a large margin.

I left behind friends and family, but made a lot of new friends, visited some great places, and generally had a great time. And I got to see my family again in the past week, and tonight I'm having a new years party with a lot of my old friends which is bound to be lots of fun too.

And there was work, dominated first by the Tokyo University entrance exams, then by lectures and the Rinko, and a lot of reading throughout. Looking forward I hope to get a more solid grasp on my research topic soon, and finish the lectures so I can concentrate on research. Work also meant learning Japanese, which I'm still nowhere near as good at as I would like. I have my moments, in which I construct compex sentences that surprise even me, but most of the time I'm still struggling, mainly lacking the necessary vocabulary to express myself, and the experience in building Japanese sentences on the fly.

What will 2008 bring? I can't say. More good times in Japan, I'm sure. Good progress towards my PhD would be nice too. :)

As I post this, 2008 is only 15 minutes away in Japan. Here I have another eight hours to go. But no matter in which time zone you are: happy new year! あけましておめでとうございます! (akemashite omedetou gozaimasu)

Categories: Personal, Japan
Posted on: 2007-12-31 14:45 UTC. Show comments (1)

I'm off

I'm going back to the Netherlands for two weeks starting today. I must say I'm looking forward to eating decent bread again. :P

The disadvantage: I had to get up really early, it's 6:45 in the morning as I'm writing this. But I'll survive. :)

Categories: Personal
Posted on: 2007-12-21 21:45 UTC. Show comments (0)


One of the things I always planned to do in Japan was Aikido. I have done Aikido for several years in the Netherlands, unfortunately a traffic accident almost three years ago permanently injured my foot which means that I've not been able to train properly since then. I'd done several attempts to start again, the latest actually rather successful as long as I didn't overexert my foot. And so I planned to also try to do it here.

But since I had enough new stuff coming at me the first period I was here, I didn't. And the longer you stay away, the harder it is to get started again. Uncertainty about my foot also kept me from actively pursuing it.

But recently I've been thinking about it a lot, and I really do want to try it again, even if I have to take it slow. So, it was time for some decisive action.

As of yesterday, I am a member of the Aikido Aikikai Hombu Dojo, the world headquarters of Aikido, located in Shinjuku. I plan to go training for the first time on Thursday (the earliest I can fit it in my schedule). Naturally, I'm quite nervous; I haven't trained for so long and there's no telling how my foot will hold out. Also it's the first time training in Japan, and at the Hombu Dojo no less. But on the other hand I'm also very much looking forward to standing on the tatami again.

Can't wait till Thursday!

Categories: Personal, Japan
Posted on: 2007-11-13 11:35 UTC. Show comments (1)


It's been a while since I posted pictures so I figured I'd take some pictures around my house and at University so you get an idea of what it's like around here in the non-touristy places.


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Categories: Personal, University, Japan
Posted on: 2007-10-31 11:04 UTC. Show comments (3)

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