Start of winter break

Hello everyone!

Now after a very long and restless period, my first real break since the summer has begun. It has been really exhausting and frustrating these last few months with the difficulty and complexity of the grammar increasing by every week. And right after the winter break end, we will start in the 3rd form of speech in Japanese: Keigo.

Keigo is the most polite form you would use in Japanese, mostly used for speaking to high officials, your boss in some situations and just in general you want to be extremely polite. This will be the 3rd way of speech i have heard of so far, First the Casual Form, for people within your inner circles (friends, family and people below you in rank), the Polite form (Anyone that you wouldnt consider close to, or not wanting to act casual with, ex: The form a cashier would speak to you), and now the Honorific Form (Keigo), which we will begin with shortly.
And it is just not changing some small minor things in or change the ending sounds of a sentence, no, it is changing the words completely. From what ive seen so far, most verbs you use in normal conversations, gets replaced with the honorific variant that doesnt sound anything like the Previous forms of the verb. Once ive gotten a better idea of how to use it, and when you change things, i can give a small update here on the blog, if i find the time.

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But now on for some more fun things, like what i have been up to!

So first of: I finally did my Japanese Language Proficiency test two weeks ago (holy Jesus, time goes fast! But i guess when your brain shutsdown after coming home from school everyday, every evening last maby 1 hour of your consciousness, time goes a little faster than normal), and it actually went pretty well. I did only take the easiest level they had, level 5 (5,4,3,2,1. 5 being easiest) and did not have to serious problems with the test other than some simple brain fart where i mixed up some listening or the meaning of a word or kanji.
Although i could have taken the level 4 test, which is the level i am actually at in my studies, i decided to take the test on the levels we have already finished for the reason of me wanting to simply have something official as proof of my studies, and also for the fact i would not be able to study the new grammar in school, while also preparing and practicing the grammar we have learned from the beginning up until now, at the same time.
But because level 5 is such an low tier test to take, i will try to take the level 4 test back in Europe, once i have had time to reread and practice the things i have learned in my own pace. Since with the increased speed we have in school now, i need to take a day or two in my bed back in Sweden and let everything over the past year simply fall in place.
(also fun fact, i completely forgot about the time for the Jlpt test so i almost missed the train to the city where it was held, and i finally made it with just 10 minutes before they closed the door for all students, i honestly have no idea what it is with my life, but i feel mostly i get by just because of pure luck!)

Last week i did something really fun and interesting experience, namely hiking to the top of a 362m tall mountain. With the help of a Japanese friend, we walked just 30 minutes from the closest train station and then took the well hidden and challenging nature path up the mountain. it took us about 2 hours to get up the mountain, if i remember correctly, and it was a pure blast. we had good weather and beautiful view the higher we got. Since i often played in the forest as a child, i felt right at home here. Jumping from rock to rock, refusing to use the helping ropes people had set up for hikers in steep areas, taking my own path up challenging areas and using the nature to my advantage. being in the break-taking mountains and forests of Japan gives me an energy i have not felt in a long time. People who know me, know that i like just relaxing, that i usually want to be lazy and do nothing. And that is very much the truth, to calm myself down, i need to be lazy, although my body sometimes crave adventure, alot of times my mind is not even close to being ready for any kind of activity. But once i feel i have a goal or a clear purpose to my actions, nothing on this planet can stop me.

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I climbed it with the help of my trusted bamboo walking stick (that i decided to bring along after finding it just 10 minutes in) and my Japanese friend. Although i have never (atleast from what my memory recalls) climbed a mountain in any manner like this, but according to her, with my long legs and high energy, i was labeled a pro. She did a good job herself, but i did sometimes walk my own, less claimable paths and from time to time got stuck on a tree or two.

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And at the top of this beautiful mountain, you could almost see the entire Fukuoka and the sea infront of it. I think i was able to see my building from there, but it might have been another one in my neighborhood. And what i also could see from the top of the mountain, was other, taller mountains i really would like to climb aswell. But that adventure would have to be for another time.

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Which Brings me to my next point!
What will i do next, now that my first break in a long time has started? Well sad to say, not to much, because i still got a book with about 100 pages of homework to do during these 2 weeks. But what i am going to do, is to during the first week go to this place on Kyushu, called Sata Misaki (Cape Sata) Which is the most southern point on the Japanese mainland. I plan to make it a 2 day trip simply because the buses on the countryside of Japan can sometimes be less reliable than a normal bus timetable. Eitherway, it is going to be alot of fun to simple experience reaching the bottom of this amazing country. And hopefully taking with me many pictures to share with you all.

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And with that, ill get to the next point!
What could be better than going to the most southern point of Japan?
Going to the most northern and snowy point of course!
On the first week of my winter break, ill go to Sata Misaki, and on the 2nd week ill spend 5 days exploring Hokkaido, the most northern prefecture of Japan, and also reaching Soya Misaki, the most northern point.

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That adventure is going to be amazing. I can not wait to finally reach Hokkaido and see the fantastic combination of Scandinavian climate mixed with Japanese culture. It will be a bit costly and time consuming, but how little i have traveled and explore since i first came here to Japan, i can compensate with the last few months i have, cant i? 😉

 

Now after one whole day of trying to convince my body to actually relax and spend my tine calming my soul, i will leave you all with a delicious picture of todays dinner, and a small description of a thing from Japan i wished we had in Western countries.
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Bento.
A bento is a finished meal that has been cooked and prepared in advance for people to simply buy at their leisure whenever they do not have time to cook for themselves. In western countries you either eat at a restaurant, cook food yourself, or simply buy a frozen meal you heat up. Here in Japan it is very common to simply buy a finished meal at supermarkets, small stalls scattered here and there or even small (less quality) bento’s at convenient stores. They usually always contain rise, meat of somesort, and most of the time some sort of vegetable or lettuce. They are really convenient when you do not know well how to cook yourself, or simply do not have the time. And they are not expensive at all. This meal usually make me full for an entire day after eating it, and this dish costed only 398yes (about 40 Swedish crowns, i think it the conversion is) And in some stores you can even see the staff cooking and setting up the bento’s like the one i went to today.

Really convenient and not lacking in quality like the fast and convenient food options we have in the west. Enough story time from me! now i shall fall take a long nice bath while listening to some great music.

Take care everyone and ill write to you all soon!

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