May 7, 2014

I feel as I belong to the family

Living the dream, Japan: Part 2 

Language and religion are not a big deal, as long as you have a warm heart to give -Ko chan's father

The special family: Matsuba family

Everything is fabulous. This is where I found my another family. After having a fun visit around Gifu for two days, we were anxiously waiting for our foster families to pick us up. I remembered, watching how nervous everyone was; not sure what to expect -Me too! I was incredibly excited to meet the people who would be my family for the next two days. The only details that I knew were their names, and the ages. Young couple, hehe. Very interesting!

The first few hours was a little terrifying. My Japanese Language was awful (Afaf is a linguistic student, minor in Japanese language. I guess she will have no problem). Me....., how could I communicate with them ? I will never forget our first night dinner. Na chan served us with rice and raw fishes as the main course. It was my first time to try it. Not bad! But, since I 'm not a big fan of sushi..... the meal was just like... not right. haha. Since our ages were no much different. We managed to get along very well! Most of the time that night we talked about our families and Malaysia. It was wonderful to share our different cultures in various ways (Out of sudden, I 'm getting expert with Malaysia maps! whoa!).

Highlight of our special family's activity ? Yuki! When Ko chan told us that they would like to bring us to see yuki in Mount Ontake.. I was like.. WOW!! I have the best foster family in the world! Basically, I have no idea where Mount Ontake is. Again, we studied google maps that night. Huhu, based on what I listened from Ko chan, Mount Ontake is located on the border between Nagano and Gifu prefecture, 4 hours from our house. Departed from our house at 6 a.m., I slept a lot in the car. 

Woke up and noticed that all the roads are in mountains, I could sense that there was something different. The colour, brighter than usual. Subhanallah, snow! I was just amazed with what I saw. Have lived in Malaysia all my life, where there is sun all year.. the only time I have seen anything close to snow was the skating place in Sunway Pyramid and Genting Highlands. haha.

It was really cold. Thanks to Na chan for lending me her winter coat. Every step I took made me felt like I was crunching the snow below my shoes. Even though there was no snowfall (Of course there should not, it was spring season!), the temperature was really low.

We also tried a snow ride with a glosbe- like (I don't know what the specific name is). It was so fun! However, Pity Ko chan; his jeans was soaking wet. haha. We left right after the ride since it was so cold. Plus, we have a lunch date with Ko chan's family. We left Mount Ontake with a big smile on our faces. So, snow experience checked for Afaf and me. Thank you Ko and Na chan!


*flip hair* Hehe. I know, this is soooooo not me! Haha. I also could not believe that I can cook! haha. When Na chan and Ko chan requested us to cook, I was like.. oh my... Well, er.. I mean, I did watched my mother prepares meals daily... but, to cook on my own.... in your dream! haha. So, I decided to make something simple and can be given as a try. Fish with soy sauce and fried vegetables! My taste buds was familiar with them, so with some pictures in my mind, we went to departmental store nearby to buy the ingredients. Since Afaf and I were not experts in cooking, we both were quite nervous to prepare the dinner. 

After one hour, started to give some aroma.. As the smell came out, my mouth started to water (I was very hungry!).. I had no idea whether the food can be eatable or not. In my own calculation, the food seemed ready. I thought both Na & Ko chan also feared to eat... seeing our excitement, pushed the chopsticks in their mouth, and surprisingly, they liked it! Ah, it was a relieved. Cheers to my first experience!  Out of sudden, I guess I 'm all ready for the next phase of my life. haha.

Had fun trying Japanese Purikura with Na chan

Last day was so hard. I was in mess. Saying good bye to my foster family was one of the hardest things I had to do. We had our farewell party at one France restaurant in Gifu city. As the supervisors asked us to line up outside the restaurant, I know it was the time to wave the last good bye to our Na and Ko chan. Right when Na and Ko chan walked outside, I completely lost all of my self- restraint and started bawling my eyes out. I cried a lot that day. My foster family is incredibly awesome. I could not believe that I have a new family in wonderful Gifu town! And it feels like I could have lived here for a life- time, everyone is so nice and welcoming!

Cultural performance by us during the farewell party

I am still in contact with my host family. We even create our family's whatsapp group: Matsuba family. hehe. This program has taught me to be independent, grateful, and open minded. I have also come back to Malaysia wiser., with a brand new mind and broader knowledge! Stepping out of my little Malaysia was a great decision, thank you JENESYS 2.0! :) Ahhh ....I should stop here for now; because otherwise this story would just continue on and on!! be continued again, soon. -I am in campus now, busy preparing for another community service program in Ladang Taku. *tired*

May 2, 2014

Living the dream, Japan.

 (This entry is sincerely made to share my personal experiences as well as a form of gratitude to JICE)

Back in Malaysia, finally!

Ah. I miss blogging. Did any of you remember that I sent my resume for a community work in Japan in my previous entry ? Hehe. I got it! I got it! It was the best news I have ever received during examinations week this semester. 

Basically, it is a student exchange program under the name of Japan East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths version 2.0. This international program is sponsored by the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE), in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism & Culture of Malaysia. This program aims to revitalize the Japanese economy through introduction of Japan's attractions to foreign tourists and consumers by promoting international understanding on the nation's potential strength and values.


To tell you the truth, I am very excited. Well, who will not. Right ? :) Everyone knows, Japan is one of the attractive vacation destinations & I 'm very lucky to come here under this program. The participants were given into several groups including Osaka and Nagoya, and I was placed in Gifu. I know Tokyo, Osaka, & Nagoya, but.. Gifu (Group A) ? .......I know nothing about this place.... until I arrived there. 

So, what's up Gifu ? ...It is amazing! I always think that cities in Japan are all modern, very busy, and crowded (Obviously, since they are all considerably one of the top ones of the world).. but, please come to Gifu, you 'll change your perception. 
Gifu Prefecture is roughly divided into two regions: Hida in the north and Mino in the south. Hida region is defined largely by its grand mountains and the heavy snow it gets during the winter whereas the Mino region is characterized by its clear rivers. This sharp contrast between regions gives Gifu a marvelous variety in scenery and culture. How pleased I am with everything there. 


As Gifu is located in the center of Japan, therefore the central gateway to Gifu is Nagoya's Central Japan International Airport, where many international lines pass through and which is easily accessible from Gifu. But, since our delegation is from Tokyo (we spent three days there), we alternatively taking the Shinkansen Bullet Train, which connects the major cities of Osaka, Nagoya, and Tokyo. 

Talking about the shinkansen, it teaches me the basic Japanese attitude: punctuality. If a train arrives even one minute later than the schedule, Japanese railway companies will keep announcing their apologizes. I am particularly impressed with them. Another interesting fact is Japanese people usually will arrive at any meetings at least, 5 minutes before it started. The simple logic is that it takes about five minutes to get seated and settled for the meeting. Whoa! Double impressed!

Japan has really steal my heart. I fall in love with this country as soon as I landed at Narita Airport. Everything in Japan is so nice (Read Gifu: double nice). Travelling here gives me chance to visit a country that is full of tradition and culture. People here are very friendly too! (The best part of the visit have not written yet, about my visit to one of the universities & regarding my foster family). Later, I 'll write also on how Japan gives impact on my life (Absolutely, I have written one: punctuality). 

To be continued... -my best friend will never like this entry. It 's too long. ha ha


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