Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Friends!

Everytime I think about September's trip, I involuntarily say 'Alhamdulillah' again and again. Alhamdulillah for many things. Alhamdulillah, because it was a very smooth trip with very little trouble. I'm a hectic person and this lends to trouble most of the time, but with this trip, everything went magically smooth. Well not everything as in EVERYTHING. Well, actually it's everything except when I set foot in Jordan; one of my check-in bags didn't arrive and the books I sent arrived a month late. But aside from that, almost everything on the way to Japan and in Japan went really smooth and easy.

One of the things that I was very fortunate for was that I met friends everywhere I went to in Japan (okay, except Hiroshima) in addition to some wonderful participants in the program. This really made me feel at home and enjoy the trip to the max.


Osaka (and Kobe):


Before this trip, I knew nothing at all about Osaka. One of my friends in Amman was good friends with an acquintance who studied Arabic in JU, and he told me that he's now in Osaka. So he offered to send our Osaka friend an e-mail telling him about my visit and he did. So, I connected with N-san and we met twice in Osaka after my lectures in Rinkuu town ended.
The first time we met, he offered to take me to Nara or Kobe and I chose Kobe, which then became my favourite place in Japan. In fact, I already miss Kobe. Kobe, can you hear me? I love you. So, anyways, we went to Kobe and it was around sunset we entered Kobe university (where N-san is studying) and there we waited infront of a beautiful view of the city; we waited for N-san's French friend, S-san, who's doing his masters also in Kobe university. Together we had a lot of interesting conversations and learned a lot of things from each other. For example, I learned how bad my Japanese was, N-san how bad his Arabic was, and we both learned how good S-san's English and Japanese were. And I also learned a lot about Osaka and various other things. N-san, I can't stress how thankful I am for taking me to and showing me around Kobe! I hope you can come again to Jordan to return the favour (although, I'm sure you saw almost everything already).

Anybody's got razors, please?

Kyoto:

My knowledge about Kyoto is a little better than Osaka. For example, I know that nature in Kyoto is beautiful and I know that Nintendo is headquartered there. That's all.

In Kyoto I met my dear friend Y-san, who was a JICA Intern researching Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan. We arranged to meet by e-mail while I was in Amman, and my sensei at that time, N-sensei, was going to return to Japan just a week before I went there, so she gladly joined the gang. Last February, before Y-san left Jordan, I invited him for Palestinian food at my home (Msakhan, Mnukhiyeh and Maftool) and at that time two of his friends in Japan were touring the Middle East and they happened to be in Jordan so he brought them along. So, in Kyoto one of them H-san was in Kyoto and she also joined us and brought along another friend. Y-san had a Jordanian friend working in Kyoto who was all too happy to join because someone is visiting from Jordan and he also brought along a colleague from work. It was a much bigger gathering than I expected, but it was a good one, or as they say in Japanese: 「いい集まりでした」

I was really delighted that I could meet Y-san, N-sensei and H-san once again and we had a good time. Although it was raining that night, I felt warm :)

Y-san got me a mamori for my family and H-san got me some delicious Gion festival Maccha cookies, which were so good I had to hide them from my friends (and greedily eat them alone).

Group picture in Shin-miyako hotel, where I was staying the night.

Tokyo:

In Tokyo, fortunately, I was able to meet two of my neighbours in Amman and K-sensei, who taught me Japanese for the better part of her two years stay in Jordan and still supports me in my studies until now. In Tokyo, I stayed in the Japan Foundation's Center in Kita-Urawa, Saitama-ken. T-sensei who was doing his Masters in Japanese language at the time was staying at the very same center and he had already completed his thesis and presentation and getting ready to return to Amman's warm bossom. I arrived to the Urawa center on the night of September 15th, and he left to Amman the 10am the next morning (whew, that was close). I also met my dear neighbour Saqufu-dono (as T-sensei fondly refers to him), better known in JICA as 'Occha no Ahmad' who is doing a Master of Arts in Tokyo and I also met S-san who is doing masters in Electronics Engineering in the best and most famous university in Japan, Tokyo University. The atmosphere in Urawa center, where we all gathered was wonderful, especially after a tiresome trip to Tokyo.

We had dinner in some restaurant and I chatted to my hearts content with Occha, S-san, T and K-sensei. I exchanged gifts with K-sensei: a bottle of Wadi Rum's purest and reddest sand for a popular Japanese picture book. Afterwards, I walked in Urawa a little with T-sensei and he took me to a supermarket to try the much talked about 'Tunamayo-nigiri' and I went into the place were he spent most of the last 365 days in: his room.

On the next day, Occha no Ahmad took me around for "One free day in Tokyo".

Group picture in Urawa with K-sensei, T-sensei, S-san and Occha no Ahmad.

Kishiwada, Osaka (Homestay family)

The following picture is of homestay family's youngest daughter, Hiroko-san. I met her in the homestay family's house only for a few minutes. In a few minutes talk we somehow arrived to Miyazaki and Ghibli and I told her that 'Grave of fireflies' is one of my favourite movies and said I saw a picture on the internet of a large version of Setsuko's 'fruit drops' in some outdoors location in Japan. I thought it was well known but she only recognized the Laputa soldier outside Studio Ghibli. Anyways while I was out, she bought and left home one 'Sakuma drops' and when I first saw it, I was very surprised and affected as I thought it was based on Setsuko's drops, but then I realized that Setsuko's drops were based on Sakuma drops. I know it isn't expensive or not that special in Japan, but I was very delighted when I saw it and I was surprised that a 10 minutes talk caused her to go and buy my this present. It tasted good by the way, when I finished the last drop last week, I understood why Setsuko cried!

I didn't take pictures of Hiroko-san and her little Takuto, so she sent me this picture by E-mail. This is infront of the Amanohashidate (天橋立 Heaven's bridge) one of the three scenic views that represent Japan. It is a natural bridge covered pine trees connecting two opposite sides of a bay. By the way, I visited another one of the scenic three: The huge torii in Miyajima (pictured in the 'beautiful scenery of Japan' post)

Everywhere else (The participants):


In this program, there were 61 participants from 59 countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South America (Sorry North America and Europe, you can come with your own pockets!!). There were people of all colours and languages and from countries I never heard of and while some weren't very friendly and quite introverted, others were extremely friendly and outgoing. Naturally, people clustered according to their continents and languages mostly, South Americans were together most of the time, Western Europeans, Africans and even the Arabs (ahem)..

Me and my Egyptian and Yemeni friends (and my backpack to the far left) in Miyajima.

Also in Miyajima with Chile, Turkey, Madagascar and Vietnam-san

Two participants who were always together and interacted a lot with me, Egypt-san and Yemen-san are Madagascar-san and Vietnam-san. Madagascar-san was really kind and silent most of the time, but she picked the wrong company (Vietnam-san). Vietnam-san is the one I talked about in the awkward moments post. At first, we all thought that she was acting crazy, but in the end we agreed that she might be indeed crazy! As for Madagascar-san, she kept coming to me and telling me "anaaaa bahebak, anaaaa bahebak".. yoroshiku habeebti!!

All participants in the program during the farewell party

Last but not least are the Japan Foundation program organizers. They all were so helpful and understanding. Always trying their best to help us with our troubles and special needs.

In addition to being a very nice person, M-san helped me a lot during the program.

So in the end, all I can say is thank you to everybody who took care of me and Alhamdulillah for such good friends, teachers and people.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

my dear gakusei, samer san,
thanks for your final comments for your trip in japan at september.
i found that your still have more then some impressions about japan and it made me happy as japanese.

K-s

ps: nara is also very nice place. please visit there next time, ne!

Saemon said...

arigatou K-sensei,

Although it sounded like it, this is not my last post actually. Please check this post again, I added some more pictures and paragraphs.

I feel very fortunate. Even though A-san and H-san went on this program, I think I got a lot more out of it because I met a lot of friends who took care of me.

I'm particularly glad because I reached Tokyo on T-sensei's last night there.

If I go to Japan again, I will try to go to Nara and Okinawa and Hokkaido and....

Kanji_chan said...

Interesting!^^ I'm the worst when it comes to listing details ^^;
It was joyful to read this post. 39!
..And that Madagascar-san part was awesome! wwwww

k-s, ohisashiburi desu ne~~! ^^

momiji said...

very nice! ^^
and as we say in Arabic
"الجنة بدون ناس ما بتنداس"
nice to have friends all around japan !!

漢字のアハマド said...

ずっと忘れられない思い出をたくさん作れたようだね ^^
詳しいところは、その印だ。
また日本に行けるといいね サーメル君
がんばってください >O <

そして、 K-先生 お久しぶりです
こうやってみんなの体験をシェアできることはすごいことだと思いますね^^b

漢字のアハマド said...

おっとっ
言い忘れたことがあるんだけど・・・

"كـــل عـــام وأنـــتنم بخيـــر"
”アドハー おめでとう ございます”

ですね ;)

Saemon said...

そうか?詳しいところは、お喋りな質だと思ったんだけど..

イードの祝いをありがとう、

T先生言うとおり「嬉しい繰り返し」(!!)

アマーニさん、紅葉さん、コメントありがとう。ブログを楽しんでください

紅葉さんは日本へ行くように!

momiji said...

saemon san: oinori wo arigatou!
"nihon de mangaka ni narimasu youni" mo onegaishimasu^^
k-sensei, hontou ni ohisashiburi desu:),sakki email wo dashitandesuga, henji ga nai node shinbaishite imasu:(

k no A san mo ohisashiburi desu ne^^ benkyou wa dou desu ka? ganbatte kudasai:)

Kanji_chan said...

「次のポスト」がありますか?(´・ω・`)

Saemon said...

あると言われています。

確認して来ます!

次のポストをもう決めたから、時間があれば、必ずポストをします。

もみじさん、
漫画家って面白っ!
k先生は今大忙しだと思います。モロッコに着いたばかりで、用事がたくさんあるし新しい顔に会うし、結構忙しくなったはずです。メールを全部返事できないぐらい..

漢字のアハマド said...

今度は何を話題にするだろうな~
楽しみだ ^^

今までサーメル君が得た日本語勉強体験をを利用して、サーメル君みたいな中上級日本語学習者向けの新しい日本語の勉強の対策とかポストの対象にしたらいいんじゃないかと思うんだけど・・

私は、サーメル君からもらったイスラームの本を読んで、日本語をもっと身につけようと思っている
テストが終わったらね

Saemon said...

旅行以外の話を期待しないでよ

このブログは旅行のためだけだ。旅行の話が終わったら、ブログの終わりだと思う。

試験頑張ってね