Friday, 22 August 2008

They are all identical!!!

How can 127 million people be so identical??? Wherever you turn your face in Japan, you see the same exact identical behavior acted by the Japanese people!

1. When they use automatic stairs, everybody stands in one line one by one on the left side so that if someone comes in a hurry he takes the right side and keeps walking!! I have never seen two people standing beside each other on the stairs or standing on the right (wrong!) side!!

2. When you just pass by ANY employee in ANY mall (even if this employee was really busy holding so many stuff), they tell u IRASHAIMASE~ which is a way to show respect and say you are welcome!

3. They enter the train in a very organized queue with no messy crowds, speaking quietly, if any, and putting their mobiles on silent mode. I just can’t imagine this happening in Jordan!! Can you imagine how quiet the trains are? If not, check the following video..

4. They all sleep in the train in the same way, closing their eyes and sleeping peacefully without a move. When the train arrives to their station they simply wake up and leave. They never miss the station!! I really tried to do like them, I could not. Either I keep moving my head or I keep opening my eyes to see if I arrived to the desired station and I think if I slept deeply like them I would definitely miss my station! The following video shows two sleeping Japanese in the train. Not DEAD! Only sleeping..!!!

5. Same facial expressions especially when they are shocked or when they forget something.

6. On sunny days, all futons are put out in order to be aired and u can hear all the neighbors beating them with something like a stick.

7. No one crosses the street on a red sign even if the street was only 2 meters wide and there were no cars at all!

There are many examples but those all what I remember at the moment..
Very identical! Sometimes I even wonder if they are taught all this in schools..!

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Failed in Monbukagakusho Selection.. Whats next?

In the previous two months I have received several emails from students applying for the Monbukagakusho scholarship in Jordan. Monbukagakusho is the scholarship gifted by the Japanese government to four or five Jordanian students every year to pursue their studies in Japan. Its the same scholarship that gave me a once in a life time chance of studying in Japan..

Given that being selected is hard due to the large number of application, students were asking for help and guidance about filling their application. I tried to help as much as I could wishing them all the best..

Unfortunately a while later I have received emails from the same students saying they were not selected. Some were mad, some were sad, some felt they were unlucky. Some were asking me if the selection is fair, or if there are other external factors affect the selection..

I couldnt answer by email due to lack of time, so I will answer all of them here.

I would definitely say yes, the selection is fair. There are certain criteria that they look for in your application or during the interview. They first scan your appliction and add the points you deserve on what you have written there, then you do an exam (or two, depends on the regulation that year), then an interview. On my year from 100s of students only 4 were selected and travelled together to Japan.

In your application the advice I can say is be as honest as possible. Do not exaggerate in your feelings toward your major nor toward Japan. Do not write poems, just write whats inside your head. Be direct, say I want the scholarship so I can do 1 2 3 in Japan or after the graduation. Be honest, ofcourse. If you have never learnt Japanese, say so. Describe the main idea of your field and show why its important to continue researching in such an area. One important advice is, stick to the rules and guidelines of the scholarship. Read them once, twice, ten times, until you memorize them and understand them all. Its essential that you submit an application restricted to the guidelines of the embassy.

Whats not to do?
Do not give your application to someone else to write it for you.
Do not exaggerate or lie to show yourself better than your real self.
Do not copy previous applications from people who already got the scholarship.
Do not ask people you know in important positions to help you win the scholarship (wasta!).

So whats next?

I can tell you that if you deserve the scholarship you will get it, at least eventually. Yes, if you fail you can apply again. Do not lose hope. Check your application and choose what you think is your weakest point, and work on improving yourself there. You still have a year to apply again so plenty of time to submit a better application.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Aaargh!!! a very noisy summer!!!

I just cant take it! 24h noise all around you where ever you go will definitely drive you crazy. So noisy, so annoying you can not even sleep at night.

This is how it goes in Japan. This insect, named "Cicadas" or "Semi" exists every where. This insect has a very loud non-stop noise, all day, all night long.

Insects in Japan get very lively during the summer. Many kind of them. They can be found on the streets, between the trees or even inside the houses. Thats why usually shops start selling anti-insects products before Summer, so people can be prepared to face the armies of insects either inside or outside the house.

But this specific insect I am talking about, the Semi, has no solution. They travel in large numbers, they live on the streets and they produce a very annoying noise. They sometimes even come knocking your door! Yup! Because they cannot see, they might hit your door while flying here and there. And the sound is not low, because they have a big size compared to other insects.

I am blogging now out of anger, I have not had quite sleep since days because of this noisy bug! Check the youtube video below to have an idea what I am talking about..

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Trash separation and Disposal in Japan..

One of the things that amazed me here in Japan is how the people are dedicated to follow the rules, and how the government is also dedicated to make following the rules easy despite how strict the rules are.

From my perspective as an Environmental Engineer, I can notice a clear example for what I’ve stated above which is Trash separation and Disposal.
Once you rent an apartment, you receive a list of rules concerning trash disposal in the area, where you should throw your trash NEATLY categorized according to the rules. So you have many categories: combustible (burnable) trash such as kitchen trash, incombustible such as glass trash and recyclable trash such as bottles and cans, beside magazines and newspapers which are a separate category. Once you follow these categories and try them several times you will get used to them, and you only accept nothing but applying them.

What makes doing this great is the fact that you have the facilities to do it right. For example, the trash disposal area is also categorized, so all u have to do is to place every trash bag in the right place, also you can use trash cans inside your own house that are separated. Even on the streets you also have categorized trash cans.

Another interesting point to know is collecting the trash after you dispose it also follows specific schedule, so each type of trash is collected on a specific day knowing that the maximum frequent collection for one category is twice a week!!!

People here follow these rules willingly and in my opinion the environmental awareness among the society members towards environmental issues plays an essential role in making them follow these rules.

For me I am really glad to be part of this process and I don’t find it hard to follow such rules because I deeply believe that stepping towards a greener world needs an environmental-friendly lifestyle that is followed willingly by every individual in the community.