my father visited me

My father was visiting me for a week, about three weeks ago.

I took some days off work and lead him to Paris and Rotterdam. In Paris, we visited Champs-Elyse Street and museums, and took a dinner cruise. At museums, we saw paintings for a long time, seated on benches. We went to see a group of windmills near Rotterdam. The one in operation was open for tourists. When I went under its wings, it was frightening!! They were going around more vigorously than I had imagined.

After that, we came back to the city where I live. During the day, I worked and he visited a city each day. He said he liked Brugge above all, so I will visit the city in near future. His last night in Belgium, we had dinner at a restaurant called "Chez Leon," where we had blue mussels, one of specialties of Belgium. He seemed to have fully enjoyed the trip overall, with which I am content. 

His visit, or his attitude during the trip, reminded me of the fact that traveling abroad by ourselves is something challenging for the ordinary Japanese. I and other Vulcanus program participants are more used to traveling overseas alone. For this, I had forgotten the fact, but the majority of them travel in groups, guided by Japanese attendants. For example, he seemed nervous to buy a train ticket by himself. 

I believe he is less worried about my stay in Belgium, after his trip. This is because he saw me speaking French and English throughout the trip, and also because he saw my everyday life at the very place. They must have shown that I don't have much difficulty in living alone abroad. I'm content with that, too. 

That's all for today.
At work, a reagent we ordered takes long to arrive, and many machines for characterization are to get repaired. What can I do..?


a rough description of my internship

It has passed a month since my internship at a research center began. Perhaps the biggest task I dealt with the past month was to get accustomed to this new environment. That means I have done nothing as output. C'est la vie. = The life is like that.

mug cup with Chinese characters on my desk 

First, what is surprising, even to myself, is that I speak only French at work. Because I had just 4 month to learn French, I expected I would use English to compensate for my poor French. However, I don't need help of English except for the technical terms. 

My internship really resembles a research at university. The motif is on "a new manufacturing process of substance A, utilising a machine B with a conventional process C." A, B, and C are for things that I had better hide for confidentiality.

I spend the month in studying about the motif, to learn the basis of the research and understand its objective. This was largely comprised of:
---application and usage of the substance A
---usage of machine B in combination with process C
---other manufacturing processes of substance A

I also started few experiments. But very few. I'm looking forward to more of them in the comming month,

My supervisor is a Ph.D. researcher. We have discussions on my study a few times a week. It is kind of him to offer me occasions of discussion, without my asking. Additionally, I ask him to discuss summaries of what I have learned about once a week.

The other colleagues are also kind and I appreciate some of them talk to me so friendly. Especially the technicians there are real funny guys! They LOVE jokes. I'm often make fun of. For example, they teach me a nasty word and make me say that to a female technician... This is something universal, isn't it?? :)

That's it.
This is rather a translation of original essay I wrote in Japanese , so I didn't have to think what or how I write. But, even if that's the case, it took much time... I hope it will take less and less time in future.


keep blogging

I could not keep writing this blog. I wrote for one and a half month, but since then I have never written any post for the blog. For this occasion of resuming blogging, I would like to consider how to keep blogging. 

Windmills in Nederland
I believe it is most important to make it a regular habit. For example, I made it a rule to write blog posts about every day. A device here is that it is not "write every day." This helps me to keep the rule, for it is easier than "write every day." 

But a problem is that it was not declared when to post. This means when to write is not clear, either, and writing could not be a habit. So this time, I clarify the posting time: Wednesday nights. (And for the Japanese blog: Monday and Friday night)

One more device I want to add is to keep a stock of posts of a certain number. For this blog, I will keep 3 posts in stock. This allows me to fail to write for 3 weeks, and will make it easier keep the rule. (For the Japanese blog: 7 posts)

Alright, that's it for today. I will make the stocks this week, IF possible... 

French blog?? Je ne le sais paaaas. On va voir...



2010.05.05 Wed

I and Yuto repaired the congested sink in the kitchen of the school, through which I found Yuto is a man of action.

The sink has tended to be congested recently, and it got completely congested today. Since we had no class this afternoon, we tried to repair the congestion. It seemed to me that we needed a tool, which you see in the picture above, to clear the congestion, so I said that. And then, Yuto proposed to go to buy the tool, which I thought represents his energy for action.

Another demonstration of his great activity was seen when we looked for a sports shop. I thought it was hard to find one just by walking around, so I said that we needed to ask someone. However, I was too timid to talk to locals and hesitated to ask for some time. Then, Yuto proposed to ask a shop clerk, and soon he did it.

At the table of diner, the Madame of my host family argued that we should have had talked with her much more. It happened suddenly. Just after we began eating, she started speak in an upset manner. I could not understand at first because of my poor French proficiency, but gradually I understood what she said. She argued that she had been alone before or after diners in the past one month because we, I and a girl staying in the same home, were with her just for the diner time.

I believe she expected us to be with her for longer hours from her experience as a host family. Compared with her expectation, we spend LESS time with her, so she had a fuman. On the other hand, not only for her satisfaction, there is a benefit for us to spend more time with her; we would speak more of French and improve it. From both of the perspectives, I will stay with her for longer hours from now on.


2010.05.04 Tue.

Maybe I ought to do what I should/want to do, not what will make my stay to seem “enjoyed.”

I have wondered what I should do so that I, after this stay, can say with confidence that I will have enjoyed the stay. That has lead to caring how much I am "seen enjoying" the stay from the others’ points of view. I have been affected much by my imagination of how I am seen by others: if I am seen making the most of this stay.

This inevitably interferes with what I genuinely should/want to do. For sure, my own assessment of my stay must be more important than those of others. In conclusion, from now on, I try not to care how well I am seen doing, and concentrate on what I should/want to do.