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I was BLANK – As I looked at my examination number printed under the list of successful examinees it’s as if those numbers slowly filled my vision.

Then COMPREHENSION – I’m in! I passed!

Followed by JUBILATION – the world is beautiful again and I can`t stop smiling and calling and talking to anyone who will listen.

Then DISBELIEF – as it sank in that I am truly one of the new students. How can it be? I’m so ordinary. So unexceptional.

Then GRATEFULNESS – for the answered prayers and support of everyone around me.

Then DREAD – for what is ahead. Questions of whether I’ll be able to fulfill what’s expected of me swirled in my mind. Whether I’m qualified for something like this. Am I ready? Will I ever be ready? I wonder…

And finally EXCITEMENT – for the new journey laid in front of me.

All these and more I felt as I beheld the ordinary piece of paper plastered on the glass wall at the entrance of the School of Letters.

I,  apparently got accepted for the PhD program for Linguistics of Nagoya University…

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Nagoya cityscape as seen from my favorite study carrel.

I’m supposed to be finishing up my report instead I keep on taking pictures. I bet the kids practicing baseball below thinks I’m some kind of a stalker (that is if they ever do notice me). Anyway, the view is the only reason why I kept on requesting this study carrel even if the sun does hit it in the afternoon as it sets. The view more than make up for the discomfort.

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What more can one ask?

Yet again, I’m playing paparazzi (evil grin :-)) Took the picture in one of my lunch breaks fall of last year. It was at the amphitheater in front of Meidai’s main library. Sigh, the fall leaves were wonderful! then lo and behold, I heard the pleasant strains of a guitar being played. The best thing was – the guitar player was quite good looking (well from afar anyway. don’t know if the same will be true up close!) hmmm…. and don’t ask me who he is, coz I simply don’t know ;-).

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This is it!

I have barely slept 3-4 hours or so a day for more than a month in preparation for this. Not even when I took my entrance exam for college and NSAT did I study this much.

I’ve just taken the written and oral exams a day ago and yesterday respectively. As usual it was nerve wracking knowing full well that in some instances my Japanese proficiency is still not enough. However, I’m hoping I have convinced them during the interview that I will be able to reach the level of proficiency needed during the 2 years required to finish my Masters. Thus, here I am at school. Waiting for the results to be posted. Needing someone to talk to so much to relieve the stress and not finding anyone.

The written exam itself was really difficult. As usual I just tried to answer the easiest questions first and leave the hardest for later. I was particularly anxious for the translation part of the exam – English to Japanese. I hope my translation was not too weird . Oh well, it can’t be helped. But the area I got in so much trouble with was Question Number Two – semantic analysis of Japanese transitive and intransitive verbs. I was literally squeezing my brains out for whatever dregs of intelligence or information still remaining there – hahaha! Good thing I was still able to answer it although due to time constraints I was unable to finish it.

TRIVIA : It was snowing when I went out of my apartment to go to the University for the interview. 🙂 Any piece of cheeriness is good right. I took heart and went with a smile. I guess it was effective since during the interview although I was a bit nervous I was still able to answer the questions and even bantered with the two professors who were interviewing me – one of which is my adviser and the other is you might call a co-adviser. And they even noticed the parts where I got really excited which is an explanation about the term “lingua franca”. Since I told them its a reality in the Philippines. I wrote a lot about it so I guess at least that one question went well.

February 15, 2008

3:38 PM

At a convenience store (Family Mart) inside the University behind my College

Still waiting and writing this blog. Wanting time to move fast yet at the same time wanting it to slow down. A mixture of emotions which is quite understandable since this is IT! I’m refraining from calling anyone not until I get the results although I talked to Ronel a while ago asking about the results. Told him I’m still waiting for it and will inform everyone the minute I get it.

3:43 PM

I’m feeling this funny thumping of my heart. I can barely breathe and I find myself consciously taking deep breaths just to relieve this constricting feeling. As I write this passage, I am trying to distract myself by eavesdropping on the conversation of the two guys near me. hehehe… I think they are looking at a site written entirely in English and both of them can barely understand it. And they are asking how come it’s this way or that. hahaha! See how pathetic I’ve become? I’ve been reduced to writing about other people’s conversation without their consent.

3:54 PM

Can’t help but review in my mind what was said during the interview. Although I clearly remembered Machida Sensei remarking that overall I did well in my exams. And they asked me how I was able to study and told them by myself mostly and also with the help of my tutor – Akiko and of course the classes I attended which was taught by them. Looking back those classes were a revelation in terms of analyzing Japanese sentence constructions. One of the memorable things I’ve learned and it was the first time I’ve encountered such an analysis, was the way the verbs are analyzed by dividing them into different grammatical categories.

Basically it’s this way:   Verb base + Aspect + Voice + Tense + Modality

Previously I analyze Japanese verbs in terms of the suffix attached to the verb base and looking at the affix as one whole morpheme. Never thinking it can still be divided in even more smaller morphemes.

4:07 PM

Still waiting… I’m thinking of going to the entrance of the College of Letters Building by 5 PM. That should be enough time to post it right? I find that as the time draws near my anxiety escalates. Have I convinced them that I will be able to even more improve my Japanese during the time required to finish my masters here? Have I shown them a comfortable and confident aura that would make them think so? The only thing I remembered was that I was giving them my usual megawatt smile. I find smiling bolsters my spirit and makes me feel I can do anything. I also remembered literally chanting in my head – “Please, Please God! Help me!” – during the written and oral exams.

4:26 PM

My hands are getting cold my heart is still beating a mile a minute and I have come to the realization that the results is about to come. And I can no longer do anything about it but wait and hope. Although whatever miracles that was supposed to have happened must have happened over the past two days and I can only stay here and type and think about it and wait.

4:42 PM

Talking with Ako-san… finally able to calm down. Although there is still the funny feeling in my stomach.

4:54 PM

I am going now, with butterflies in my stomach, I am going to check the results. It feels like I’m about to open a door. I do not know what lies behind it which makes me scared and at the same time excited. There are very few moments in one’s life where one can recognize a turning point at a time when it is happening to them. Win or lose I am facing it.

5:07 PM

I remembered was it Sakuma Sensei or Machida Sensei (?) asking me what will happen to my scholarship if ever I continue my Masters. I told them it will be extended and I have already submitted the application forms for it months ago.  Hearing this they nodded.  EXTENSION – what a nice word to hear. But not in this case. Apparently the results will be posted at 6 PM. So I have yet to endure an extra hour of anxiousness. Just when I though I will finally know the results now this. This is torture!

5:36 PM

I e-mailed Ako-san, telling her the results will not be out until 6 PM. Ah! I’m on tenterhooks. Then Ronel called again asking for the results. Good thing too since I was able to forget my anxiety for the moment. As usual he’s in Sakae and will be going to his favorite store – GAP. He also told me about a good item to buy as omiyage in one of the shops there. Will be checking it out once I get the time. As for now, still waiting, still nervous and there’s still nothing I can do about it. SIGH!

5:56 PM

Finally! This is IT! No more hits and misses. I will finally know the results. My heart is once again beating so fast. My stomach is fluttering. My hands are getting cold (although that I can probably blame on the weather). I can barely breathe. Deep breaths Tayns, deep breaths. I’m about to go and open the door.

6:00 PM

I never knew how much courage it takes to take a step towards a building. How much courage it takes to look at that piece of paper. How much  courage it would take to make sense of it all.

Ah! there it is my examination number. I PASSED!

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NOTO BENE:

To all my friends who have supported and worried about me. Thank you. I would not have made it without any of you. I am truly grateful for the support you have given me.

  • Salve, Sherma and great great (to infinity) grandpuppy – thank you for your support. I am sorry for worrying you guys in the months I have been quiet. Although I found it not reassuring at all that after using both of your brains none of you can come up of ways on how you will cheer me up if ever I fail. 🙂
  • Akiko – Thank you for your endless patience and consideration. Thank you for explaining terms that I am unable to understand. It is without a doubt through your support that I was able to make it.
  • Ako-san – Thank you for being patient when I needed someone to listen. And thank you for sincerely rejoicing with me when I made it.
  • Kaishi-san – I know your support has always been there. Thank you. It looks like will be seeing a lot of each other for the next two years. Maybe will get to visit each others country by then.
  • Renzy, Weena and Ronel – hehehe… What can I say? Thank you. The support of the La Familia has allowed me to be confident and truly work hard for it.
  • To my Family who’s support has always been my strength. I am grateful to have you all.

TRIVIA: At the time of finding out that I passed I had this uncontrollable feeling of relief and excitement that when I saw Jaja-san (a fellow examiner who incidentally also passed) we just hugged each other and laughed. And in my excitement I do not know who I grabbed, I don’t even know if the person is male or female, I just grabbed him/her and hugged the person. So giddy with excitement I started calling all my friends and family about the results. In my excitement I wandered around the university forgetting where I parked my bicycle. And as I write this passage I am still smiling and thinking this is real. It is truly happening – I passed the entrance exam.

Thank you Lord for hearing my prayers.

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These are the dances performed by the Filipino Students Society of Nagoya (FSSN) for the 2007 Philippine Festival held at Nagoya International Center on May 26, 2007.

  • The first presentation is a modern interpretation of a Muslim traditional dance to the tune of Joey Ayala’s “Magkaugnay.”

  • The second one is La Jota Moncadeña. According to the information I got, the dance is an interpretation of the Spanish La Jota dances during the Spanish Period by the people of  Moncada, Tarlac. Thus, it’s a combination of Spanish and Ilocano dance steps and music and was named after the place where it came from. The performers of this dance adds liveliness and excitement by using bamboo castanets.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6hQW0ctvbI

NOTE: The male dancer in the middle is one of our foreign friends. We assured him no one would question his presence in the dance since there are a lot of mestizos in the Philippines. If all else fails will claim him as insulares or peninsulares – whichever will do the trick. 😉

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Sometimes I ask myself why I subject myself to this. I could have stayed and still be happy. I could have stayed and still grow and learn each day. I could have stayed and be with my friends (although there are some people, colleagues mainly, who I could live without). So many “I could haves,” but the fact remains – I did not stay.

I did not stay because I felt restless. I did not stay because I wanted a new adventure. I did not stay because what I knew then was not enough. Finally, I did not stay stay because I wish to learn more.

So this is my life, for now…

Reading books written in characters I can hardly decipher. Understanding passages, when I can hardly understand the words composing it. Memorizing terms, when just understanding the idea used to suffice. Writing papers in a language I have yet to get used to. Well, there’s nothing I can do about it. For good or bad, this is my life for now. I wanted it and here I am.

Here I am now. Here I am now immersed in a new culture and way of life. Here I am now meeting interesting people and making new friends along the way. Here I am now gaining the knowledge I have sought. Here I am now and I am learning. This is perfect… for now…

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First-days are usually nerve-wracking with moments of katangahan due to unfamiliar circumstances, faces and place… Today tops the katangahan scale… it even tops the freshies blunder of asking where the “TBA” room is located.

Let me share you my class schedule:These are the classes that Machida Sensei told me I should attend. When I looked up the schedule for each of the classes I only bothered to take note of the most pertinent info which are the days,  the time, the rooms and the assigned professors for each classes. Anything else would be information overload. Believe me if you’re not one of those chinky-eyed people who learned kanji since birth you would also be intimidated by a Class Schedule Table all written in kanji!

Now, there was this column with a heading

(read as “gakki” meaning school semester) which of course I did not bother to check thinking it was of no importance – First Mistake! There was this tiny voice inside of me wondering what that column was all about and I ignored it – Second Mistake! Underneath this column was written two extremely important kanji:

(read as “ato” which literally means after) and;

(read as “mae” which literally means before)

My first class according to my schedule is today at 10:30 AM. I dutifully went to the indicated room and waited… Something is odd, so I told myself… why am I the only person in this room? And it was already past the designated time and for a country renowned by its punctuality, this is worrying indeed! After waiting a couple of minutes I finally went to the Admin Office and asked them if there was a change of rooms. It was then that the girl explained to me that “ato” and “mae” under the column I earlier labeled insignificant means 2nd Semester and 1st Semester respectively. Can you now guess my stupidity? At least those freshies asking for room “TBA” were looking for a class that is currently being offered I on the other hand was waiting for a class that will be offered the next semester! I was, to put it politely, 6 months advanced!

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By the way, the crossed-out classes in my schedule are the classes that will be offered in the second semester.

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