11 June 2010

What a day

It was packed.  Class at 11.  Welcome/Farewell lunch at 12:30 for new PhD students and new researchers, and for the short-term researcher who is leaving soon.  PIZZA!  Pizza Hut pizza to be exact.  There were four flavors, carefully chosen to suit the diets of our Indian friends who don't eat pork or beef.  One is vegetarian pizza.  One is like a chicken teriyaki pizza.  One is a seafood pizza (I thought there was some tuna there, and definitely there was shrimp and squid).  One is a shrimp and crab pizza.  Yum.  Yum.  Yum.  Yum.  Both seafood pizzas had broccoli, by the way.  I had at least 5 slices of pizza, but maybe I had 6.  Or 7.  Let's just say, maybe 6. :-D

Aside from pizza, there were plenty of side dishes, I don't know if ordered also from Pizza Hut but maybe not.  There was fried chicken, sausages, burgers, calamari, shrimp, meat balls, chicken nuggets, some veggies and some desserts (mostly candies and cookies).

By the way, I made the mistake (and I think people noticed) of pointing to something with my chopsticks!  Yikes, that is a no-no.  Of course they understand that I "don't know" of such customs, but, actually I know!  And I forgot.  Well, it's not something embedded in my psyche just yet.

After lunch, I had to go to the post office in downtown Atsugi to encash the postal money order I received.  I learned there were two post office branches in downtown Atsugi!  So I was hoping the first one I was going to can process my PMO!  And so it was.

When I got there, there was some problem - mostly between me not being able to speak Nihongo so much, and the guy attending to me not being able to speak English so much.  Fortunately, he had an English-Japanese dictionary and so we were able to communicate.  Apparently he was telling me that because there was a blank field in the PMO, the guy he was talking to on the telephone still had to "investigate."  So finally he told me that it was okay, I just need to write down the missing info.  And then he asked for some proof or certificate.  So I gave him my "gaijin" card, gaijin meaning "foreigner/non-Japanese" but literally it means "outsider/not from here/doesn't belong here?"  Officially the card is called "alien registration card."  Anyways, it was a good thing my address is listed on the card.  I don't usually bring my passport anymore, where I have my address listed as well.  Anyways, the next thing he asked me to do was to copy this sentence that was all in Kanji (Chinese characters).  He asked me to do it by showing me the Japanese word for "to imitate" from his dictionary.  I didn't know what the Kanji sentence meant but what the heck, I just copied it onto my PMO.  After copying, I asked him if what I wrote was okay.  He read it and said it was good.  Cool, I wrote Kanji!  I just didn't know what actually I wrote.  Anyways, after that, everything was fine.  The guy was saying sorry that he made me wait and stuff, by showing me the Japanese word for "to wait" in his dictionary, and by saying "gomenasai" which means "sorry (I did something wrong)."  But yeah, I left TPU maybe 2:30pm.  Got back to TPU a little past 5pm.  Imagine that.  But it's all worth it.  I can really buy a bicycle now, because the cash I have is, by my estimate, good only until my first "paycheck".  But still I don't plan to buy a bicycle just yet - I'll use this bicycle I was able to borrow until I need to return it already.

Then upon arriving at TPU, I went up 3 floors to get my things then went to the gym to play basketball.  We played 3-on-3 this time.  Me, the Korean PhD student, the two Chinese PhD students, and then with us was the more senior Korean researcher.  And then we saw a Japanese guy (probably still an undergraduate) playing in the other court and so we invited him.  It was Korea versus China with imports.  The Korean team had the Japanese guy as import.  The China team had me as import.  As if.  :-D  Anyways, we played two games up to 15 points each, and if I remember correctly, I think we won both games. :-D  My winning shot for the 2nd game was from an alley hoop pass.  Alley... hoop! :-D

And then, Picadillo for dinner.  Ah, I love Pinoy food the most.  Wonderful day, wonderful day.  Thank God for this Friday!

Weather-wise it is great also - 27 degrees max and it is still around 22 degrees at a little past 11pm!  One of the guys said today is going to be the last good day.  Rainy season will (probably) start tomorrow, as it usually does in the middle of June, and will last until middle of July.  Then summer.  Hot & humid summer.  To tell you the truth I'm looking forward to summer.  But I don't know, I can't imagine it yet, how hot it can be here. What I can't imagine further is winter!  I can't imagine how cold it will be.  And what snow fall would be like!  But, I can't wait for these experiences.  And to share these experiences with Mara, soon enough.  :-)

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