Abroad Programs · Japan

Fukuoka – The first month

It has been one month since the day I reached Fukuoka. Living far from home, I already missed everything in Hanoi. I miss Phở, Bánh mỳ ( Vietnamese bread), Bánh bao (Vietnamese dumpling with pork and eggs) that I ate every morning. I miss my blue scooter that I used to travel to school everyday. I miss my friends who always chatted with me. And I miss my mom and dad. I thought I wouldn’t miss them that much but I did actually. I always wait to talk to them on skype every weekend. Now I understand the feeling people call “homesick”.

I did many things in the past one month. WJC students, including me, had the first field trip to Kirishima and Kumamoto. In Kirishima, we stayed in japanese inn, wore yukata and did onsen (hot spring) for the first time. However, my skin seemed not to be interested in the onsen. It got scratchy after that and I have seen doctor four times so far. We moved to Kumamoto the day after to visit a castle. The castle was nice. We went to the top, took photos and had fun together. Then, we went to pick pears in a local garden. The pear I picked was 1.4 kg and super sweet. The pears were 700 yen per one but we had them for free 😛

Japanese inn

Yukata for the first time

Kumamoto castle

The gang in front ot Kumamoto castle

The surroundings of my dorm is kind of boring (although it’s peaceful) so we often go to Tenjin or Hakata at the weekend. At my first time in Tenjin, my Thai friend took me to a famous bakery. The cakes were super delicious, but kind of expensive. Japanese cakes are great in general actually. I have to say they have brought food appetite back to me.  And at the moment, I’m feeling fat :(((

I also went to Fukuoka Tower, which is the tallest beach tower in Fukuoka. It’s also called Lovers Sanctuary as couples often come here for dating. There are lots of locks with couples’ names and promises on them. From the top of the tower, you can see the entire view of the city. We did and it was amazing. And when we just got out the tower, we saw lots of people dancing flashmob in front of the gate. It turned out that a guy was about to propose a girl. Then we decided to become a part of that special event as flashmobbers. My friends seemed very happy and they kept saying “oh my god”, “i wish someone did the same thing to me”.

View from Fukuoka Tower

Love locks

Fukuoka is a rich cultural city so there are many festivals all year round. One called lantern festival in early October took place in Kira Town ( kira means sparkling in english) and almost WJC students went there.  We were given lighters to lighten hundreds of lanterns in the town. At 6pm, the festival started. People lightened every candle in the lanterns and after 20 or 30 mins, Kira town became very sparkling with fanciful candles.

As I mentioned in the previous post, Vietnamese students quickly got close to Thai students. But sadly, one of them, Hoong, who came here 6 months ago, had to go back to Thailand due to some course’s change in her home university. On the day before she left, we went to Fubar for her farewell party. There was a drink buffet called nomihoudai in japanese, and usually you pay a single entrance fee which is 2000yen for girls and 3000yen for the guys. But we just paid 1000 yen as it was on Friday and we were students. I drank some kinds of cocktails and a shot of tequila and danced a lot. We stayed there till over 2am and got the dorm around 3am. It was a pretty awesome night! The day after I tried to get up early to see Hoong before she went to the airport. It was so sad to see her leaving. We keep in touch with each other on facebook or talk on skype sometimes at the moment but it would be better if she were still here.

Hoong’s leaving party

That crazy night!

Okonomiyaki with cheese and mochi (japanese sticky rice)

Today, I had a first meeting with my host family. It’s a family of five people: the couple called Mr. and Mrs. Shiraishi and 3 kids, but I didn’t meet the husband today as he is in Tokyo at the moment. According to Mrs. Shiraishi, Mr. Shiraishi will be home in December and I’ll see him around that time. But I had a very good time with Mrs. Shiraishi and the kids. I gave the kids snacks and Mrs. Shiraishi a Vietnamese wall carpet and she appeared to like it a lot. We cooked and ate okonomiyaki together. The kids couldn’t speak English but Mrs. Shiraishi could. She even wanted to speak English to me while I tried to speak Japanese as much as I could so we ended up doing both Japanese and English. It was very fun! Around 7pm, the family took me home by car. On the way back we dropped in a convenient store and Mrs.Shiraishi bought me a chocolate cake. I´ll be seeing them again on the 6th November and Mrs. Shiraishi said she would take me to the elementary school where two of her kids are studying. So excited to see them again!

A bit about my classes. Japanese class is very fun. We study very – basic – but – useful things. As people here are not good at english and they don´t even want to speak english, I try to study and speak japanese as much as I can. I make mistakes most of the time but it´s good to study from your mistakes. It´s really cool to talk to people in japanese. In the afternoon I study some subjects in english. Less interesting than japanese class but anyway so far so good!
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