First glance at the Japanese bureaucracy

Applying for exchange in Japan has brought some interesting questions along. My friends applying for a different University than me have to send their x-rays as well as other medical information to their University, while Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific, where I am applying, has not asked me anything about my health. My friends have a week’s notice to send all the information needed (which means going to a private doctor, since there is no possibility of getting an x-ray in such a short notice). I have generous two weeks time to wait for my new passport and to figure out all the puzzling stuff, such as port of entry. I have no clue where I’ll be landing, or if I will be landing at all.

If I am just applying for the University, how can I know which scholarships I will use to fund my studies? The application papers include 6 pages dealing funding issues – how much money do I have myself, is someone bringing me money to Japan (and how much), who is my sponsor, how much is his annual income and how much does he have in savings. Of course it is important to be on track with the monetary issues and costs of living while being abroad, but how could I know about my scholarships if I haven’t even been accepted yet?

All this paperwork, waiting in the police office, getting statements from teachers I don’t really know, sending papers to the international office and, well, thinking about money, is interesting, weird and making Japan a bit more closer to me. I am one step closer to Nippon, whether I like it or not – assuming I do get accepted to the school. There also is a few pages about the accommodation, so I take that as a good sign. Why would they want to know how I’d prefer to live, if they were not going to take me?

But before Beppu, there is still another mountain to climb. One I’ve visited before, sometimes dreamed about, too: New York.

There is spring and then there’s…spring

Spring in Japan:

Cherry blossoms in Nakano, Tokyo

Japanese women enjoying their bento lunch in a park

People having a picnic in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo

Spring in Finland:

The view from Ratina bridge, Tampere, on March 22th, 2012

Dog park in Tampere

It snowed last night, which today ended up being white/gray mush and water. It is always surprising to see the myriad of food wrappers, cigarette buds, napkins and other necessities that is revealed when the snow melts. The green is coming!

Where is my home?

The idea for this blog has been on my mind for about…2 years now. The more time has passed by, the harder it has become for me to start writing. Now that I am in the verge of having severe life changes, I figured it would be a good time to start writing. Since I am going to be moving abroad from the oh-so lovely Finland, I thought this would be a good starting point for something new. If not for writing anything special or important, then this blog will exist just to let people know how I am doing on the other side of the world.

The idea of the name for this blog came in one of my walks. Walking is good therapy, it permits the thoughts to get some fresh air and some new perspective. Thinking about home, the world and how easy it is to move from one continent to another, I started wondering about life. When you live somewhere, you should consider that place your home. Otherwise you are just a visitor. Being somewhere doesn’t mean you are fully there – it is also a mindset. So, keeping this in mind, I went to the library and borrowed some books about the best things to do in New York. I also added The Village Voice blog on my bookmarks.

Still few months left here in Tampere, where the view is slowly getting more colorful.

The view from Pyynikki tower