Friday, 21 December 2007

The world as a Local Area Network..

I usually prefer quality of quantity, so I dont post except useful information about Japan in my blog. Since I posted yesterday, I never thought I would be posting today. But they forced me. They forced me very much....


The Internet Service Provider in Japan (ISP). Today I went to register with an ISP to have internet in my new house, which I still did not move into. Since I now have a 42Mbps internet line, I thought 24Mbps would be more than enough. No, 12Mbps would be great even. After several thoughts, I decided that if I got the 8Mbps for a good deal, I will go for it. After all, 8Mbps is still not offered in Jordan and I will be waaay ahead of my friends! (YATTTAAA!!!!) :p

Ohh those bad ISPs in Japan. Very bad ISPs.. They only had one offer. Imagine? ISP with one offer. 1 0 0 Mbps. ONE HUNDRED MEGA BITS PER SECOND. I needed 3 minutes for recovery after hearing the news. 100Mbps for almost 15JDs per month. no, around 18JDs to be honest!!! I had to check again. Did they mean 100Kbps??? No no. Its 100MEGAbps...!!!!!! 18JDs??? OH MY GOD!!!!

Now is a good time to start negotiating the download limit. Since I download alot to my hard-disk, I had to know how much I am allowed to download per month before they cap my bandwidth. In Jordan you are -as a best case scenario- allowed to download 12GB before they cap your bandwidth. I though 100GB would me more than enough in my case. Talking in Japanese, I started the following conversation:
- Execuse me, May I ask about the download limit?
- what?
- the download, how much I can download per month.
- oh oh 100, 100 Mbps.
- no no, how much I am allowed to save on my hard-disk??
- oh, it depends on your hard-disk space!!!
- no, sir. How much bandwidth I am allowed to use for downloading, movies, songs, whatever..
- ????
- download? limit? hello?
- !!!!!

!!!! They dont know whats a download limit!!!! 100Mbps without a download limit!!!!

100Mbps is like connecting to another computer in your house. 100Mbps is whats called a Local Area Network (LAN). But in my case, thats the internet! the world for me is a LAN. I connect to a computer in USA as fast as I connect to my laptop at home! I connect to Jordan, as fast as I connect to Africa!!

With a 42Mbps I used to stream everything I watch. No more hard-disk space usage. What can I do with a 100Mbps??? Stream 720p high-def movies? maybe 1080p?

The joke is becoming for real!! Once I told my boss that when we have 100Mbps connection, it could be easier to access the hard-disk via the local host! the request goes throught the internet and then comes back to access your hard-disk as a remote computer!!! :p

They helped me alot. In writing the contract, in choosing my ISP, and in everything. They were smiling thanking me all the time. VERY polite. At the end, I paid nothing. Nothing at all. I only have to pay the monthly fee, the 18JDs. Oh btw, they gave me a new land line as a gift!!! and I will pay 5JDs per month for that!

Still, dear blog readers, having a faster internet does not mean I will be posting here faster. Remember, quality over quantity ;)

Bye Bye Komaba, Hello Misato!

Amman, the city of seven mountains, does not have rivers -ofcourse except those which are made artificially by the rain in Winter-. Natural water scenes in Amman do not exist.

This introduction can help understanding how I am feeling right now. I am moving out of Komaba, to a place where I will see 2 rivers everyday while sitting in the train. TWO RIVERS! not one, two! not a lake, but a RIVER! This scene is very very beautiful. In the train I jump from window to another just to make sure I do not miss an angle of the scene, up until the train goes underground.

Its almost nine months now. Do you know what nine months mean? It means I am officially not allowed to participate in the Japanese speech contest organized by the Japanese Embassy in Amman. I lost my chances in taking over the world, as the emperor from outer space! =(

Since laws and regulations force me to move out of Komaba International Lodge that belongs to the University of Tokyo, I will need to find a new house. Finding houses in Tokyo is as easy as double clicking your mouse. The problem is to find a house that suits your daily life. Your budget, your university, and where your friends live.

Misato, the area where the Muslim community lives.

I will be living in Shin-Misato (the new misato). Muslims, many of them, live there. When I entered the place I practically felt I am living in an Arabic Muslim country that has all the technological advancements of Japan. I chose Misato because it is a nice neighborhood, on the other side of Tokyo. And eventhough it is practically considered in Saitama, it is still very close to Tokyo in general and the University of Tokyo in specific.

What I like about living in Misato that the trip from and to the laboratory needs to ride a JR train. Thats a train ABOVE the ground. Finally I will be able to see the beautiful scenes of Japan everyday, and by that I mean the two rivers, which are not a usual sight for Jordanian people.

I will be posting more details very soon. Details about my new house, the scenes, Misato, and general news. Keep following the blog and Japan lovers will have some Candy! v(^_^)v

Monday, 3 December 2007

Yellow Dreamy Autumn..

Amazing Autumn..

Its the first time in my life to witness such a beautiful scene.
B E A U T I F U L..

I will leave the pictures, and the video to speak for themselves.

By the way, all those pictures are taking from the heart of the University of Tokyo.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Its shinjuku..

Dont make the mistake I made, and think to walk from side to another in Shinjuku. It took us 30min to walk through the station only. A station that needs 30min of walking? hmm, lets see:
- Hussein to Shmesani takes 20min walking.
- Side to Side in the Jordan University takes 10min.

Can you imagine it now? Imagine Alhussein + Shmesani and Al-Abdali to be just a STATION! train station!! thats shinjuku station. According to wikipedia, its the second largest station in the world. 3.3 million people use that station every day!! WOW!!!

I was not really amazed when I first saw shinjuku, the city. I thought shibuya was bigger and more beautiful. Not until I saw the southern exit of the station, where it leads to one of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen. HUGE buildings, WIDE streets, and LOTS of people.

In shinjuku, which means "the new ward", you can find malls, department stores, restaurants, stores and shops. Actually you can find more than one branch of the same shop in shinjuku! Once I planned to meet friends of mine infront of Sakura-ya, the electric shop. After 1 hour of waiting, I discovered they were waiting infront of another Sakura-ya place, that has at least 5 or 6 branches just in Shinjuku.

I wish I can live near that place. But, its too expensive even to dream about it.. :(

Saturday, 20 October 2007

a Lecture about Lectures!

".. so, as you can see scientists are having problems in this side of the equation. If you want you can make this your master thesis and do your research about it. This will help this field alot because we need someone to solve this problem.. "

You can hear the above quote many times in one lecture in Tokyo University. The lecture is actually research oriented. The lecture is there to help you do your research, not to give information. They know information can be known and read from books. So the professor is there to guide you in your research and help you create something new and mark your name in the work. Its amazing how they make use of every minute in the lecture. A flood of new information every lecture are delivered in a way that is very organized and helpful. Great!

Also as a Master student you will have to read lots of papers and official publications and discuss them. That will totally strengthen your knowledge in your field.

They also start from the upfront. They started to talk about 1TB hard-disks to explain about some kind of electronics. Its really fun to connect the lecture to the up-to-date technology so the student can have ideas how to point his research to upgrade the recent technology. I also attended a presentation that talked about processors being developed and will be released in 2011 at least. FANTASTIC!!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Living the future: The class room..

Since I have started my masters, I have been going to my classes regularly. Once I entered the class room, I was amazed. Every class room is equipped with internet. Every student can use internet while listening to the lecture. You can browse, chat, download the slides or do anything you want. Every class room has at least 2 42'' SONY LCD TVs and 2 SONY projectors.

Is that all?

Once the lecture started the 2 TVs turned ON and showed another class room full of students. I noticed there are cameras on the ceiling so I thought ah this is showing the class room on the TV, why?! I was wrong.

That was a class room from another university, in another city! Those students were attending the same lecture I was attending, directly LIVE from another city (Kyoto). The room they were in had 2 huge TVs that showed my room. It also had microphones and speakers to carry voice and sounds bidirectional. The professor asked the students on TV if they can hear him, they all waved their hands confirming a YES.

The lecture started with us, and students on the TV listening carefully. Once the professor started writing on the board, on the TV I saw a student carrying a remote control and start to play with it. Suddenly I felt the camera above my head moves, and focuses on the board! On the TV I saw that now the camera shows to the students a focused image of the board!!! OMG!!

Suddenly, one of the students - on the TV - raised his hand. The professor stopped talking, and the student started to ask questions. We all heard his questions through the speakers, and the professor answered him directly! amazing!

Long story short, they were living the same exact experience we were living, except they were in another city!!

I have heard alot about stories of connecting universities together on a network, but never knew this was already applied in Japan. I once attended a 3 days meeting called ICT in Jordan, that discussed this matter with the head of universities in Jordan, but from what they were talking, it felt like a dream! Coz they kept saying its hard and impossible!

My next lecture after this one has started. And guess what?
Vise Versa!!!!! We were to attend it through TVs and cameras, because the professor giving it was in a whole different campus! OMG!!

Amazing! Incredible!! Really really genius!!!

I was living the future, in a small class room!!! WOW!!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

180 Days: Water, Water please!

Time: 2:00am. Place: My small room inside Tokyo.

The left overs from a very hot oily meal are still in the plate. I look around, searching for a glass of water. I am thirsty, very thirsty. No water in the fridge. In two hours, I will start an new fasting day of Ramadan and I desperately need water. How can I drink water in such a place, such a time?

Living inside the dorm of the Univerisyt of Tokyo has given me no choices. My friends in the dorm are asleep, so I have to depend on myself. Convenient stores? Oh I dont think they are THAT convenient! I have to think of something else. Another solution for my dilemma. I looked around my room, under the pile of cards on the bed I grabbed some change. Maybe I would find a store open in this hour. I took my mobile, and went outside my room, challenging the quite atmosphere surrounding the dorm.

I thought of even riding the Metreo to go to Shibuya, but its too late and no Metreo is available at this hour. Shall I ride a Taxi? It would be crazy to pay 10JDs to drink a glass of water! Maybe I should ask any Japanese person I find in the street. I started to gather all my Japanese knowledge I learned so far to build a sentence and find my way through the conversation. But it was very late and no people in the street. Ofcourse! If they are busy all day long, they probably sleep all night long!

Water right now has become one of my dreams in Japan! What should I do?

And there it was. Standing with its best glory. Shining like a piece of gold. Calling my name, come, come. I ran. I was afraid it would disappear. Please, I need you. Light my path to reach you. Light my way. I needed two seconds to take my breathe, before putting my hand in my pocket, and inserting my coins in the vending machine. The sound of the water bottle was like music to my ears. There it was, cold, full, white, shiny and beaufitul in my hand....

Its been 180 days in Tokyo. 6 Months. Half a year. Alot of memories, and yet, more still to come...

Friday, 28 September 2007

Thank you, my Hiroo...

Hiroo. Hiroo. Whenever that name is announced in the train, I feel safe. That means only one thing: Delicious food, fun with friends, and a perfect night praying for god.

In Hiroo, there is an Iranian restaurant that provides free food for Muslims. The chefs in the restaurant are actually Syrians and Lebanese, so basically the food is Arabic. Very delicious food actually and reminds me with food in Jordan. We eat an open buffet, soup, rice, chicken, meat, salads, sweats and other stuff. Its a perfect meal, especially for the Halal food crisis we used to face in Japan. The restaurant in Iftar time is full of arabs. Arabs everywhere from everywhere.

But wait! Before that, we pray in Hiroo mosque. A Saudian mosque actually. So we go there, eat dates and drink water, then pray Maghrib. The mosque is actually in the middle between the station and the restaurant, so its perfect.

After eating, enjoying the food, and enjoying the fact that we enjoyed the food, we head back to the mosque in Hiroo again. Now there, our night starts. A perfect prayer with the perfect Emam sent to Japan by the Saudi government. He has the best reading that I ever heard - live - and that makes the night soooo perfect really. He takes his time in the prayer but you never feel how long it takes. Sometimes I just wish he keeps on and on all night. It takes us about 1.5 hours to pray Esha and Taraweeh.

Today, I enjoyed the view of the Japanese style Hiroo park. Its marvelous! Ill let you enjoy it with the accompanied pictures.

Really, Hiroo, Ramadan with you is RAMADAN. Hiro, "Ramadan ma3na a7la". Thank you, my Hiroo..

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Its TOKYO.. Its the GAME.. Its the SHOW!!

TOKYO GAME SHOW! A dream that has been haunting me since years. TGS, the famous video gaming show, that has most video gaming companies over the world gather to show its latest products and games to the public.

The show was in Makuhari Messe, around 1:30 hours outside Tokyo. Eventhough I have been there since almost 10am, the queue line was huge. I estimate the number of 40,000 audience at least. Going in, it was an amazing atmosphere. Gaming companies spread here and there, everywhere, to advertise their latest technologies.

I had so much fun. Playing demos of games are yet to be released, watching trailers for games and enjoying Japanese role playing shows. There were many gaming characters going around the exhibition to attract audience. People were taking photos everywhere. It took me around 2 hours to go through the exhibition, before I discover that this is only hall #1, there is another BIGGER hall just across the street! Another three hours were needed to go around the whole exciting show.

Two things I did not like in this show. One, It wont be a mistake calling this show a Tokyo Girl Show. There were more girls than games actually! There were many games, so you can guess the number of girls yourselves! Every company had a number of girls to stand infront of its booth to advertise for the company. And people gathered around those girls to take photos. There was a queue on taking photos of the girls! I totally wished if there was some gaming machines instead of these girls.

Second, no photos were allowed! Yes, as you have seen above, I took many photos. But not for the games themselves. You are allowed to take photos of the exhibition, the people, the booths, but not the games which is very important. I really felt disappointed.

Overall, this was a very nice and needed trip. I liked it very much. Again, Japan proves to be the dream land, where all my dreams are becoming true. Suddenly I am out of dreams! I already visited TGS, I already saw a soccer match for a famous European team, and I already visited Akihabara! What shall I dream next?! :)

Monday, 17 September 2007

Celebrations in Shibuya..

I was walking around shibuya to discover this festival by chance. It was really nice and I enjoyed it very much. This is a traditional Japanese festival. I would really appreciate more information about it from all Japan lovers out there.

They were dancing, shouting, laughing and running all over shibuya. I have never seen shibuya this crowded, eventhough usually you cannot find a place for you to stand in.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Tokyo is crowded. How crowded?

Amman crowded? Amman in the summer crowded? or Raghdan crowded?

The pics might give you some answers:

So its Iam-lucky-to-have-a-space-to-stand-in crowded!!

Saturday, 8 September 2007



Now I will be back to blogging again. Thanx for your patience everybody :)

Thursday, 16 August 2007

More to come.. after the critical period..

Im sorry for not posting often. I am living a very critical period study wise and a HUGE challenge is up ahead of me so soon.

Enshallah after I finish it -successfully enshallah- Ill be back into posting.

Thank you all.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Phase 1: Mission Accomplished.

Thank god ofcourse. Mission accomplished. I have finished the first Japanese course, which lasted for about 3 months.

Results: Japanese language improved. Listening ability is getting better, understanding is more accurate and long complex sentences are said from time to time. I have finished the course by writing an article about Jordan. Almost an A4 sized article, all in Japanese. I really felt like achieving something.

The course I took was really well planned. They focused on every aspect of the language. Grammar, listening, reading, vocabs and conversation. It was very useful and very enjoyable.

I will join another course after the summer break. Well, what is supposed to be a summer break. You know I have to study very much at this time :)

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

3 basic rules while living in Japan..

Its very simple. 3 rules should be applied while living in Japan, and you will be amazed by such rules.

First: Keep your mobile on silent mode and use headsets
I can say that I rarely hear a mobile phone rings. Either to inform a phone call, or an sms. Japanese people are very -very- concerned about having quite atmospheres, so their mobiles are always on silent mode. If the phone vibrates, they go outside the room to take the call. If they were in the streets, they take a corner to finish the call. If they had to walk while talking, they talk in a very -very- low voice that you would never hear. This way, they guarantee their privacy and their peace, since everybody is doing the same.

Same story with the headsets. If you are playing a portable game (mobile, DS, PSP.. etc) then you have to use a headset. I never saw a Japanese playing a game with a loud sound. That would be very annoying, especially in closed spaces. Its a very smart idea. This way, everybody is happy. Same case for ipods, mp3 players and music devices.

Second: Take your shoes off
You have to be ready for this. Whenever you enter a room, especially in a private place, you have to take your shoes off. I take my shoes off when I enter my lab. This way the lab is always perfectly clean. When we spent a night in a hotel in hakoneh, we took our shoes off before we entered the hotel. When I enter my own room, I have to take my shoes off, eventhough I have no carpet. But this is the Japanese style and way of living. Its a clever idea to keep the room clean.

Third: Be busy, all the time
You can just be doing nothing. You have to do something all the time. Its weird to sit in the train and just look at people around you. When I used to do that, I used to see people reading books, playing videogames, listening to music (with headsets ^-^ ) putting make up (yup, inside the train girls spend time putting make up), or asleep. But you cant just sit there doing nothing, staring out of the window or looking at other people. The train is only one example of many others, everywhere. When I learned that, I installed many games on my mobile to play while on the train.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

AAAAArrrrgggh!!! Its an EARTHQUAKE!!!

Suddenly, I opened my eyes.....

Oh yes, I am not dreaming! The room REALLY is shaking!
And no, this is not something like the little small shakes I have experienced before. This is something new. Something powerful. Something that is making the whole bed shakes, the room shakes and ... AAAAAAAAAA im falling out of my bed!!!!

Ah oh! This is pretty serious! Didnt know what to do, didnt know where to go, didnt know how to act. Drink milk? no thats when im poisoned, not facing an earthquake! Close the windows? No thats the Tayphoon solution! What is the solution for the earthquakes!!!!!!

Before I could answer that, the room became stable again. Oh, thank god. Yes I remember now, in earthquakes, you cut the electricity, open the doors, and sit under a table or something. eh! Too late!

I took a deep breathe..

and nothing! I went back to sleep! Its my vacation after all!!!!! :p

Friday, 13 July 2007

Walking on two wheels..

Its very common here in Tokyo to use bicycles. Everybody are using them, kids, men, women and to my surprise, old people.

Using bicycles comes from the fact that it is very convenient in Japan. Since trains are the most common transportation in Tokyo, people need to reach the station as fast as possible. So they use the bicycles to from to and from the station. This way, if somebody lives 10min away from the station, it can be reached within 2 minutes.

People who ride bicycles here are from every type. School kids, college students, girls, foreigns, business men while wearing a tuxedo, housewives -having their babies in a basket- and old people. the other day, I saw a very old man riding the bicycle and he seemed to be very healthy. I was so surprised.

The other day I used my friend's bicycle to go do some shopping. I did really regret it since it was my first kind of physical sport since almost a year!! But I enjoyed the ride because of the flat roads and the nice weather.

I wish we get over "the look and feel" perspective in Jordan and the arabic world. Bicycles are not only for kids, they can be very convenient at some time. We should even stop looking at what others are doing or wearing. I think we have much more important stuff to do.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Dreams becoming true in Japan.. FC Barcelona..

I could have never imagine this dream would really become true. Watching MESSI, RONY, HENRY, and PYOUL all together face to face. Japan is truely the dream land, that is making my dreams become true one after another.

FC Barcelona is coming to play in Tokyo against Yokohama-Morinos on 7th of August. This means a one in a life time chance to watch barcelona playing live. For a soccer fan -a huge one- like myself, This is a dream becoming true. I had 0% chance of this happening to me in Jordan, and I couldnt afford the tickets to visit spain and watch such a match.

FC Barcelona, live, next month. I am so happy. I used to tell my friends I am sad because I dont have a summer vacation, and I have to study all the time. But now, I consider this one day trip to Yokohama a whole summer vacation for me... :)

I am NOT a barcelona fan. I am a chelsea FC fan. But Barcelona is worth watching anyway, dont u think? :)

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Convenient Store.. How Convenient..

Convenient stores in Japan are very convenient. I really like the idea of such stores and the services they provide.

In convenient stores, beside the fact that you can buy groceries and items, you can also pay your bills, mobile for example. You can also buy telephone cards, magazines, and lots of convenient items.

Plus, you can find them in every area in Japan. There is a branch where ever you go. In my university campus itself there are two.

Very convenient!!

Thursday, 21 June 2007

One peach for 2JDs..

Usually, during this time of the year, I would be sitting behind my desk with a plate full of peaches in my hand..

This year, a small change happened. I am setting behind my desk, with a plate that has only one peach. I cut it with the knife into small pieces, so I can enjoy it as much as it lasts..

I know it will be a long time before eating another piece..
2JDs per peace..

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

How to be fluent in Japanese in 30minutes..

Yes, this is a very powerful method to make you fluent in Japanese in only 30minutes. I tried it yesterday and it worked, powerfully!

Simply, just enter a shop that has salesmen who only speak Japanese, and ask them about what you need. Yup, as simple as it sounds, this is a really powerful method to make you -make you, despite your own will- speak Japanese.

Yesterday I went to the post office to make a credit card. After being 10min inside, I found myself surrounded by 2 saleswomen and 5 customers, all looking at me with a weird look, one of them had a smile on her face. I tried to explain to them what I want, Japanese, English, Arabic, Hindi, everything. Nope, Couldnt do it. Saying "credit card" or "Kuredetto Caado" many times will NOT do the job, in opposite to what I have expected.

I entered the post office in a hope of getting a credit card. Since I have a post office account already, I thought this would be easy. I entered and took a number. When my turn came, I headed to the counter and said I wanted a credit card, in Japanese. The employee girl offered me 5 choices, so I asked for the one that can help me buy online. Here, she started saying long sentences in Japanese. No problem so far.

She handed me the application form, and here the problem started. Since I am still a beginner in Kanji reading (the complex Japanese characters) I didnt know what to write. I told her that, so she offered to help me by saying the fields in Japanese. We reached a field, where I had to write something I did not know what it is. Not my name, not my address, not my data. She tried to explain, I couldnt understand. She tried again, I couldnt. Then, she called her employee friend, who tried to explain it again to me. Yet, negative. There was 1min of silence in the post office, the employees dont know what to say, Me, doesnt understand, and the customers are watching.

Here, I really felt embarrassed, I felt light headed and regretted even entering this place. I regretted even my desire of having a credit card!! Believe me people, it is really embarrassing and uncomfortable situation. I thank god I didnt have a samurai sword at that moment, or else I would have killed myself the traditional samurai way!

At that moment, I collected all my powers. I felt like all the Japanese lessons I learned for the past two years went through my head in a second. I asked her to repeat her sentence more slowly, - motto yokkori itte, onegaishimasu -. She repeated her words slowly. AAAH!! now it clicked. I swear I felt I understood everything she said. I smiled, and replied back. Then we continued throughout all the application, smoothly, with no problems.

Really, I felt like a life or death situation. But honestly, I did learn alot from this experience.

Am I willing to repeat that again? well, definitely, but not in the near future!! :)

Sunday, 17 June 2007

A reminder..

This is just a reminder, from me to myself.

You are here in Japan to study, not to have fun all the time.
You are here to get a masters degree, not to visit akiba everyday.
Your goal is to graduate from Tokyo University, not tour all Tokyo within 3 months.

aah, I just needed to remind myself with that. Sometimes I feel I am here on a vacation. But, when I remember the huge load of studied I have to do, I get depressed. So, I need to remind myself that my 1st goal here is to study, THEN tour Japan and have fun.

OK? study, study, then study. After that, you can tour as much as you want.

Anyway, having a little fun while studying wont do any harm, will it?! :)

Sunday, 10 June 2007

You pay me ----> I respect u..

Oh guess what? It seems that when you pay someone money, he has got to respect you. While living 23 years in Jordan, I always thought its the total opposite.

By entering a restaurant in Tokyo, I feel like a king entering my kingdom because of all the respect I get. The waiters never stop saying thank you, thank you very much all the time. After eating dinner at a restaurant, finishing at about 12:00am, I couldnt believe how much respect we had from the waiter. I would totally accept to have the worst food quality in a change for such respect, but guess what? the food was extremely perfect! I may have been shot with a shotgun if I entered a restaurant after 11pm in Amman and I complained about the low quality of food.

One time, I asked the Egyption worker to change the falafel for a hotter one. I believe his reaction would have been more respectful if I told him that I killed his father. And that all happened while the owner of the restaurant was looking at us. For seconds, I thought its me who doesnt deserve respect. But after seeing the same reaction from him to another 3 or 4 customers, I figured the policy in such resturants.

In 23 years, I thought when you pay someone, that means you need them. So that gives them the right to be rude, disrespectful and take advantage of you. Just like when taxi drivers dont accept to take you where you want. You pay them, so you have to respect them. Just like when you ask the bus control for the change. You pay him, you HAVE to respect him. The same goes shawerma workers, you pay them, so dont you dare to ask for more pickles in your sandwitch. Well ofcourse, you have to thank them because they are letting you pay them :)

Oh.. It turned out I was wrong. The truth is, when you pay someone, he HAS to respect you, because you are the source of his income. You are the reason why he lives and your are his way to provide for his kids and family. In Tokyo, you get respect in resturants, streets, trains, university, shops, and everywhere you interact with another human being.

So, attention Jordanians, its You pay me ---> I respect you. Not the other way around :)

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

NTT? Can you help me learn Japanese?

For a start, NTT is not a japanese language school, its a big telephone company in Japan!

Last week we had the most interesting conversation challenge in my japanese language class. After learning a new set of grammar, we were asked to perform this conversation challenge to make sure we understood the idea very well.

The challenge was calling NTT the telephone company, and ask the operator to provide me with a telephone number of a company or a convenient store in Tokyo. When I get the number, I will have to call that store and ask it about its working hours, holidays in general and holidays next month.

It was sooo funny!!! Because talking to someone who doesnt know that you are learning Japanese is something really stressful and not easy. Some of my friends hung up on the operator because they didnt know what to say, and others stayed silent for soo long that the operator did hang up in their faces!!!

Since the teacher was recording all our phone calls so we can listen to it and correct our mistakes, when we heard the tape we laughed like crazy. It was really educational and interesting. We also felt bad because we were using NTT to learn Japanese!

When my turn came up I did pretty good. I only couldnt hear one digit from the number so I had to call the operator twice.

I am totally amazed by the way we are taught Japanese. Its really good.. :)

Garbage, the Japanese way!!

In Jordan we categorize items into either garbage, or eatable! Here in Japan garbage is categorized to at least five groups. In my Japanese language school we have 5 groups for the garbage, which me up until now couldnt figure what all those for!

I know there is the plastic garbage, metalic, paper, and the "normal" garbage. What else? Anybody can help me with this?!

Eventhough its time consuming to seperate garbage every time, but I think its worth it.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Its a new era: 60 days.

60 days have passed since the dream has started: Living in Tokyo.

What I miss in Amman:
- Family
- Friends

What I dont miss in Amman:
- Transportation system
- The 2Mbps max ADSL speed.
- Computer Prices.
- Lack of options regarding where to go or what to buy.

60 days have passed. Thank you everybody for those who supported me in this blog. And thank you for those who encouraged me to continue blogging about Japan... :)

Monday, 28 May 2007

My name is Akiba... Yodobashi Akiba...

Spending 40minutes in trains to reach Akihabara is NEVER a waste. I always think of that while walking in the streets of Akiba, the technology capital of the whole world.

As always, on sundays no cars are allowed. People were walking in the middle of the streets visting shops here and there. You can imagine how big Akiba is when you look at the two pictures down. The buildings on each side of this wide street are ALL technology related and all to show and sell technology products.

Yet, this street only a part of Akihabara. If you go left or right from that street you will start to find shops all around you and they become more as you go deeper. Still, all that I mentioned is only a PART of Akihabara.

The other part is known for Yodobashi-Akiba. Now thats another tale by itself. It is a mall that shows ONLY technology related products. The mall is 8 floors, each floor is as wide as carefour's floors of Amman. But dont forget, ONLY technology prodcuts. No food and no clothes :)

Yodobashi-Akiba is arranged such that technology is separated by floors. Mobiles, laptops, computers, ipods, music and subwoofers, cameras, printers, games, home electronics. This is ofcourse all I can remember now. Ofcourse I wont forget the 103'' screen that I saw. Perfect screen is the only word to describe, picture below.

Yesterday, I spent from 3pm to 7pm just to check the first three floors. I went back only because I got very hungry and tired from walking and jumping from a corner to a corner...

Its totally the dream place for technology lover. You should probably "pay" a visit ;)

Friday, 25 May 2007

How am I studying Japanese in Tokyo?

I am totally amazed by how I am taught Japanese here. Teachers are really very good and know what to do due to a prior plan.

About 10 teachers teach me Japanese in my intensive course. Each day is about 3 to 5 hours of Japanese grammar, conversation and exercises. Each teacher has an hour and a half of class everyday, then teachers change to complete what has been done.

I study Structure, the Japanese grammar. This is the main focus in my course and they are totally doing it in a correct way. Because everyday we are learning 2 or 3 sets of grammar and new sentences that each open a whole new door of conversations for us.

In conversation classes, which we take almost everyday, is the most interesting part. We apply what we did learn in the grammar through out conversations, and ofcourse imagining a situation where we need to talk with Japanese only people. Conversation lessons are on three levels:
1. The students talk in pairs which each other to practice the pronunciation.
2. Then each student performs the required conversation with the teacher. By this all students watch and learn from other's mistakes.
3. Conversation Challenge: on which we have to go to the teachers room down the hall and apply the conversation with a random teacher from there.

The third part, the challenge, is the most interesting part. Because at the teachers room there is a video camera ready and they record all conversation. After we finish and return to class the teacher runs the video and starts saying notes on each of us. The notes include everything: grammar, pronunciation, reactions, how to start, how to end, body movements and even where to look while talking. This is totally helpful and makes us learn pretty fast.

Ofcourse, dont forget the laughing part!!! when we watch the video we laugh like crazy on our mistakes and pronunciations!!! it is very very funny and enjoyable which also makes Japanese language more fun.

We also have vocab lessons, Kanji, reading and further practices on grammar. With a test every week to sum everything we took.

I really like it and I am learning very fast. Japanese language is totally fun and I find it pretty easy..

SONY cannot be any more BLUE...

This picture is taken from Sakuraya in Shibuya. It is my first time to see a BlueRay player, and to be honest, they should give it much more credit. I have never seen a more clear picture on a TV in my life.

The BlueRay is priced for 278,000 yen if you want the 500GB player. This is around 1635JDs.

I think i am going to visit Akihabara this weekend to check the stuff again.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

WARNING: Dont mix linear algebra with Tokyo Metro!!

Ah yeah. Be careful...

It appeared to me that studying linear algebra to a very late hour will only result in you sleeping in the train of Tokyo Metro on your way back home next day...

I always see Japanese people sleeping in the trains, but this was the first time for me to actually sleep in there! I totally slept and missed my station, only to wake up at the end of my line. I took the train on the other side to go back.

Actually, it was a nice nap!!!

Friday, 18 May 2007

Oh, Taxi, Taxi...

I rode a taxi in Japan only once, when I first arrived. From Haneda airport to Komaba. But this only once experience is something ill never forget!!!

I was surprised first to discover that the door opens automatically when the driver pushes a button, and closes automatically too. Inside, I thought that I am in a nuclear lab!!!! The taxi has more than 3 LCD screens!! Once I rode the driver entered the address I am intending to go using a keyboard. He only entered the zip code number, and to my surprise one of the screens showed Tokyo map, from above, with a green line that shows the path the driver should go through!!!! Thats probably using the Wi-Max technology - which we will see in Amman in 5 years-.

The map showed our current position, our destination and the path we should take, which is the shortest path ofcourse. While driving, the green line gets shorter the closer we get to the destination. It also dynamically changes if you take another route than the designated on, to show you the shortest path again after the route you took.

We passed through something like a toll. Will the taxi stop, I thought? No it didnt. It just passed through the tall and something like a bill came out from a device inside the taxi. I concluded that it probably connected with it and that was the bill to pay, without even stopping.

The driver doesnt talk with the passenger. He doesnt need to. All what he has to do is to drive, while wearing the clean uniform. Also, smoking is not allowed!

Taxis are pretty expensive in here, I think you can all now understand why :)

Monday, 14 May 2007

FINAL-ly, its my FANTASY...

I couldnt believe my eyes when I was right in the middle of Makuhari Messe, where SquareEnix, the very popular Japanese video gaming compay, held its exhibition, showing Final Fantasy and many more other video games...

I couldnt believe that last year I was reading about gaming exhibitions and now I am watching with my own eyes...

I couldnt believe that last year when I was playing Final Fantasy, it was already written in fate that ill be LIVING my fantasy...

2 hours trip by train was the beginning of my journey, until I reached my destination. In my way I saw Disney Land and Careffour Tokyo. When I went inside I was surprised of the huge crowed all anxiously going around the exhibition. To my surprise, all of them were adults! I was probably the youngest among them!!! If such an exhibition was held in Jordan, probably only kids will show up, since most adults consider this "childish"!!!

Ill leave you with the pictures...