At the cemetery
Together with my good friend Dennis Sullivan from Kansai Gaidai!
Me and Dennis had a great time together with my homestay mother. We went to the grave of her grandmother and her husband. The way she tenderly cleansed the grave was beautiful to behold. It didn't take long for the experience to become spiritual when a butterfly came and attached itself to me!
Back to Holland for a short stay
I'm travelling back to the Netherlands together with Yuko Osaki to visit my family and friends! Really looking forward to it. The flight is a bit harsh though. First we went to Taipei to refill gas. Then we went to Hongkong. We have to wait here for 8 hours before we can take the plane to Holland! We're in a nice lounge now where we can relax.
Dad and Jennifer showing off their Japanese prezzies
Dad's outfit is a gift to him from my homestay mother
Yuko's culinary and cultural adventure in Holland
|Yuko and Bart
Introducing Yuko to my mother in France
Back to Osaka again to start my internship
End of my trip and moving in to my apartment
My trip with Yuuko was really succesful! We had a lot of fun together and I'm happy so many people like her. After an exhausting 25hour trip I'm back safely in Japan! The trip was largely exhausting because of crying babies. There should be a baby airline out there that accepts babies while all other airlines ban crying babies! But I digress, It was great to see all my friends and many family members in Holland and France. I would have liked to meet more people and done more things but time is just never enough. I really liked being able to talk to all my friends and family because it meant that I don't have to update Facebook. Now that I'm back here I guess I have to write again.
The first two days here were very exhausting. The company where I had to go to get my keys was closed because I arrived very late. I was able to stay over at Jeshua his apartment. I thought he said he lived alone but I found out otherwise when I woke up. I was stabbed by so many mosquito!!
|The bare necessities
The next day I went to the company to get my key. It took a long time signing contracts and letters like "you have hereby received the key please sign here". "You hereby confirm that you confirmed receiving the key". Most of the conversation felt like windows questions when you open a program. "you just put in a CD in the drive is this correct Yes/No?"
After that I looked for my apartment and went shopping to get many necessities to live (picture included).
It was great eating Japanese food again and seeing strange things such as the half-orange vampire crab (I swear that's what it's called!)
Today Yuko will take me somewhere special but I have No idea what we're going to do. All that's left now is to get new shoes and a business suit so I can suit up and start work on the first of July.
On my way to Toyobo company
Just back in Japan and already so busy! I feel really special from the way I've been treated these last few days. Yuuko refused to tell me what she planned for a date and I guessed a lot but I wasn't even close. She took me to Kobe port where we went on a cruise together! It was really romantic. I wanted to do the titanic move at the railing with her but there were too many people there.
On Yuuko's birthday we went to a really expensive restaurant together with Yuuko's mother. It was a really fun evening and I'd love to do something with the three of us again.
Now that work has started I'm too busy to do anything but work so that's a bit lonely. It seems that this internship will be the opposite of my last internship. I'm being treated as a real important person by Toyobo (could it be the suit?) This month I will be going on non-stop business trips! It also seems there is a table tennis tournament organised by Toyobo that I can attend on Friday. I plan to state that I am the European champion in table tennis and that I will win the tournament.
Today I went to Wakayama. I met some important clients of Toyobo and the president of one of these clients promised to take me to an expensive restaurant in 2 weeks (I'm going to be a spoiled brat when I come back). I was allowed in the factory to see how thread is knitted into fabric by using circular knitting machines. Those who know me know that I don't know anything about clothes let alone how they are made so it was very interesting to see how this process is done.
My schedule has so far been getting up at 7:30 so I can be at the company at 8:45 and work till 18:00. Tomorrow's business trip will be an exception as I have to get up at 5 to make the train at 6:19.
When I suggested it might be a bit early they replied favorably with "I understand we can go later". Being not a morning person I was very glad they were so accommodating. We are now leaving at 6:24 so I can sleep in late until 5:05.
DENNIS! -What a joy it was to meet you, and have you in one of my classes this past semester (when you would show up...;] ) You are such a breath of fresh air to talk to, and always have something new and exciting to say! I hope you are enjoying the rest of your time in Japan, I hope we can stay in touch!
Haha I'm doing my internship now in Japan it's so busy! This is a really nice picture I'm really glad I had a chance to meet you and become friends. If there's one thing I regret from my Kansai Gaidai time it's that I couldn't spend more time with my favorite Briana!!
My first week of internship is at an end! The table tennis tournament went really well. We each represented a country for the tournament (with me obviously representing Holland). I won my way to the top before I lost to the Chinese representative in the finals with 9-11. Typical for the Dutch, reaching the finals but not winning.
Tomorrow I will be going to Tokyo on business trip. I'm really looking forward to it! I've already gone to a lot of places but it's really too busy with work and school assignments I have to do in the weekend to be able to update everything I'm doing. I'm keeping a daily log (as part of my schoolwork) about what I am doing. It's in Dutch however. I'll see if I can post this on facebook as well to keep people updated, unfortunately it's too much for me to also translate into English with my current workload ^^;
Drinking my first drink in Tokyo! You can clearly see how people from Osaka and Tokyo want to be different. Orange juice is orange in Osaka and red in Tokyo. People in Osaka stand on the right side of the elevator so people can pass on the left, in Tokyo it's the other way around.
Tokyo vs Osaka
First of all I would like to apologize to everyone who reads my status and does not speak Dutch. I am back in Japan but I work extremely late from 8:30 in the morning and I usually don't get back until 9 or 10 in the evening. I really need my sleep so I am unable to do anything else then but work. In the weekends I focus on the work that my university has left me with. This is a substantional amount and I was supposed to this at work on a friday, but things don't always roll the way you want so I have no choice but to do it in the weekend. I also want to make some time for my wonderful girlfriend Yuuko so even my weekends are too busy to write anything.
As part of an assignment for school I have been instructed to keep a diary on what I do during my internship at Toyobo. Unfortunately this has to be in Dutch and seeing as I'm pressed for time I am unable to translate this into a special English version. This is why I am apologizing to my non-Dutch speaking friends and fans around the world. I promise I will try to write some interesting stories again in English for you all soon! So much has happened I want to talk about, my epic battle with the first cockroach I ever saw in my life, my dates with Yuuko who comes here faithfully every saturday to help me with my life, living all by myself in a small apartment in a strange country for the first time and much more! But it will have to wait another day. Now to all those that can read Dutch I present to you my diary. Considering it's written as part of a school assignment it might lack some of the wit you usually find in my writing. For which I also apologize in advance.
(Apply to webmaster for access)
Last saturday I went to Yukie-san and Masahiro-san with Yuko. They made delicious takoyaki for us! it was a great evening.
After dinner I taught them the "big two" game. It was a lot of fun until they learned the rules and started winning....
I hope I can meet them again soon! Thanks for a great evening =] - with Yukie Watada and Yuko Osaki.
The Uber Bug
Since I am normally the one that goes looking for and capturing bugs, I must admit I am a bit uncomfortable in dealing with the opposite situation. As I prepare to enter my abode at night something draws me out of my thoughts and back to the material plane we live in. I feel a change in the air currents, something is approaching. As I look around I am greeted by the sound of bass notes coming from the apartment next to me. How fitting for someone to watch the Jaws movie, and for the “jaws” theme to play at this moment.
As I turn my head back around I realize that I no longer feel a disturbance in the air. Feeling more relaxed I drop my guard and ease my muscles. This must mean that whatever was here is gone now. I turn back around to my door and as I reach to my pockets to grab my keys I am struck by a memory. All those people that die in horror movies in moments such as these. When the music stops…does that mean that the danger is gone? No it means that it is already there…waiting.
I peak over my shoulder carefully, and swipe my gaze over the walls to the left and right of me. I see nothing, this must mean that I’m imagi….a cold chill creeps up my spine. They always come from the ceiling…. I ever so slowly look up at the ceiling, expecting something to happen at any moment. All that greets me is a white ceiling and silence.
Well there may not have been anything this time but there could have been! Always better to be prepared and made a fool of a Took off than to not be prepared when needed. So where did I leave those key….JEZUS CHRIST IT’S GOT MY LEG!!!! And lo and behold there it was! Sitting absentmindedly on my leg, knowing it could deliver the final blow whenever it felt the need to, it was in no hurry to make a move on its prey.
Now since I’m also a fan of computer games I would like to think that I am somewhat trained at meeting strange and new monsters and that I learned on how to deal with such creatures. The problem is that just like in a game where you meet a new creature for the same time, here too I had no idea what kind of attack patterns this insect vampire had.
I mean does it bite or does it sting? Does it inject poison or spray acid? Does it adhere itself to its victim and explodes after a set time limit? Maybe this creature is not even from Earth. It’s size, daring and amazing ugliness surely seem to indicate so. Would it be able to establish a brain link between me and it, so it can make me see visions and it has all the time in the world to put a straw trough my ear and suck out my brains?
I decided that leaving it was out of the question and a first attempt had to be made. If it will sting me it will either come from its behind, from its legs/claws, or from its mouth. As such picking it up at the very side above the wings should allow me to stay safe. The moment I touch the creature my eyes swim with pain as it lets out an ear splitting shriek that rips trough the night and my brain. This must surely be the creature that Peter Jackson used to voice his Nazgûl ring wraiths.
As the sound it emits builds up I release it after a few seconds….or was it hours? Time was hard to tell. Even without the sound defense it would have been nigh impossible to remove this hell spawn. It had diamond pick axes for claws and it has embedded these firmly into my pants.
While thinking of a plan to remove the creature I see that I can ill afford myself such luxury as the creature slowly crawls upwards towards my body part-that-must-not-be-named. I slowly begin to panic now as I have no idea what its intentions are. It probably also didn’t help that I saw the movie “Alien” with my dad before I came here.
Even though it’s very late and there are only a few people out on the street I talk to every local that I see and ask for their help with my plight. Perhaps it’s the strange way in which I am walking and pointing at my body part-that-must-not-be-named, or perhaps it’s because it is late at night, but the few locals I find flee at the first side of me. Only one girl was brave enough to listen to my plea for help. However as I touch the devil bird to show her what I mean, it lets out another chilling cry. At which point the girl drops her umbrella and keeps running ( I believe she is still running).
It’s a bit of a shame but I had no choice. In the end I had to go to a hospital to have it surgically removed.
As many of you might know, I’ve always been interested in nature and in little bugs. I’m not afraid to pick them up and I can handle being around them. Now I know what many of you are thinking:”Oh god he’s going to bug us with a story about insects” and you would be correct in thinking this. But I believe I can make the story insecteresting!
Japan is a country very far away from Holland. The climate is also completely different. This had made it possible for creatures here to grow to enormous sizes (think of Godzilla for instance). I’ve already met a praying mantis and a cockroach, neither of which I had seen in Holland. But from what I heard later there was another legendary insect that I had not yet met. They are called “Semi” in Japan and are known as Cicadas in English. Both words mean nothing to me as I had never before seen or heard of one in my life.
Souvenir from Holland
Dennis asked for some original souvenirs from Holland. They were a smash hit in Australia, so, soon to be dispatched to Japan, 120 wooden shoe key rings!
I've been diagnosed with acute colitis. Looks like I shouldn't have eaten that meat last Friday after all. Or it could be something else entirely.
I'm about to get an IV-drip and some antibiotics. Will have to keep my body properly hydrated! Yuuko-chan took care of me all day Yesterday so I feel a bit better. Better to take the necessary precautions though!
In general hospital Osaka
Time for an update on my illness! I'm really sorry for worrying everybody. I'm not in the hospital anymore and the medication is working. I don't have any of the symptoms anymore so it seems like it's heading in the right direction! I feel bad about taking the day off from my internship again today, they are also really worried about me. But the aftermath of the illness has really left me exhausted. I have hardly eaten anything in the last 5 days and I slept mostly and hardly moved.
It doesn't help either that the medication I'm taking until Friday has the side-effect of making me tired. Since I finally recovered I plan on eating well today and regaining some strength so I can go back to work tomorrow and life will resume as usual.
Out of general hospital Osaka
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!
A big presentation for Toyobo company
This Friday I had a big presentation for my company. For 3 months I have worked hard at my internship at Toyobo STC and met wonderful people and had great experiences. This presentation was the accumulation of those three months. I held it in front of the president, the vice-president and many managers and important people. The presentation was around 20 minutes and it required high-level and polite Japanese so it was quite difficult.
I had plenty of time to prepare however so it went really well. I talked about everything I learned, the cultural experiences I had, the places I went and I gave them advice on what we might have done better in the future if they would like to accept another intern.
I also gave the special Belgium Chocolate to the president and everyone seemed most pleased (thanks Dad!)
I'll finish my internship in one more month at 31/10. I'm going to a completely different department now (logistics) but I'll still try to visit everyone if I can (it's so hard to say goodbye!)
Daytrip to Kyoto
I went with two of my managers and a colleague to Kyoto on the 27th of September.
We went many places, had some traditional Japanese green tea, and we ended it with some table tennis!
View on my home from Harukas 300, tallest building in Japan
||Nieuwe LED Neon
||Bubba Gump Restaurant
|met Yukie Watada en Masahiro Matsushita
Today was my last day at Toyobo's internship. It has been a long four months and I can't believe how much I learned in this time or how fast the time went by. I'm really grateful to Toyobo for giving me this chance and for taking me to see many places.
I had another big presentation in front of everyone today before we officially wrapped things up. After today I'll have two more weeks in Japan before I'm going back on the 13th of November. I'm going to meet with Yuko Osaki as much as I can!
My last day at Toyobo's internship
My Surprise farewell Party
Tonight I had a farewell party organized by some of my co-workers from Toyobo. They arranged this all by themselves and paid for the whole event! They knew I love Japanese "maguro" so they took me to a big restaurant!
My time in Japan has come to an end ( for now at least). I spent the last week saying goodbye to so many wonderful people! Yuko Osaki took me with her to Kyoto where we are staying right now. We went to a professional photo shoot which took around 6 hours! We had an official make-up artist, we got dressed in traditional Japanese clothing and a professional photographer had some great locations prepared to take some nice professional shots. In short....it was pretty professional.
Tomorrow I will be taking the plane back to Holland. So this was a great way to end my time in Japan by making some more wonderful memories. I definitely plan on coming back here in the future and to meet all my friends again! I also have to really thank Yuko Osaki for preparing this wonderful event for us.
Time to say goodbye, Romantic Photoshoot with Yuko in Kyoto
This is Dennis Kalkhoven, my student, on the last day of his internship at a Japanese company in Osaka. He followed the Japanese lessons for 3 hours in a week, during 2,5 years in Rotterdam before he went to Osaka for a semester study at Kansai Gaidai, and this 4 months internship.
He has learned a lot!
My nose has been getting higher and higher......