This is sadly the last post I will be writing from Japan. I think I’ve written everything about how I feel, so I’ll end with this post as I ended in 2007. By making a list of “YKYBIJW”. You Know You’ve Been In Japan When… …walking more than 500 meters for a good restaurant is outrageous. …squeezing yourself into a tiny tube with thousands of other people, completely unable to move, is just a way to get somewhere in the morning.

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Today we started getting ready to go back to Sweden. We have another two weeks left now and the return is closing in really fast. [caption id=“attachment_2055” align=“aligncenter” width=“620” caption=“School Material”] [/caption] The picture above is school material (books and paper hand-outs) from one year of study. If you subtract the big dictionary in the middle on the left stack at least. Though what is in the picture is for two people (both mine and Emmas stuff), it’s pretty damn much!

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Japan has a wealth of new exciting products coming out all the time for an ever growing bored market. This makes it really fun to walk around Japanese stores. Though there are some things I can’t try myself. So I bought this product and sent to my dad, we’ll see what he thinks. Watch the video below and you’ll know what it is!

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So it’s been a few weeks since I bought the iPad now. It still feels very early to give a definitive judgement on wether or not it’s worth it. Basically what I use it for so far is still pretty much what I said before. I use it to surf in the morning. I use it to watch videos, though I’ve changed video players and do actually stream most of the content from my computer because it’s less hassle than transferring the files (I can transfer wirelessly if I want to bring the iPad with me or shut down my laptop).

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Hello everyone! When the iPad 2 was announced I decided I wanted one. People all around me said that it was so awesome and they used it for everything. I still remain somewhat hesitant towards it’s use cases but I do believe it has some value. I was going to buy the iPad on the release day here in Tokyo but because of the earthquake the release was postponed. Until today.

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[caption id=“attachment_2035” align=“aligncenter” width=“620” caption=“JLPT Test Application”] [/caption] The time has come for another application to the JLPT, Japanese-Language Proficiency Test. Since I took the test the last time I have had my eyes set on the N2 test. But now as I’ve come closer to the end and (by tomorrow) have to decide which level to take. It seems very, very unlikely that I would be able to pass the N2 level test.

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This morning I had set the alarm and woke up to the idea of going to school. We were still supposed to have a week of school left. Soon thereafter Emma received (or made I’m not sure) a phone call and we found out that the lessons on monday and tuesday were cancelled. I went out and bought bread which was in stock in the stores again and then when I came back I found out the entire weeks lessons were cancelled.

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Today was wonderful sunny spring weather and we decided to take a break from watching the news and browsing the interwebs to go outside. Some nice little pictures of trees. [flickr]photo:5521878251[/flickr] [flickr]photo:5521878591[/flickr] [flickr]photo:5522468596[/flickr] Despite what’s going on people are acting normal and cheery and everything seems to be going on more or less as normal. We sat down in a park for a while and lots of kids playing and normal life going on all around.

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As you might have heard on the news there are some troubles with a nuclear plant in Fukushima. First of all, I live in Tokyo. Tokyo is about 300 kilometers away from Fukushima so we are absolutely at no risk where we are. They have upgraded the evacuation zone in Fukushima to 20 kilometers recently and that is to keep everyone 100% safe. What happened was that because of the earthquake the power plant lost external power.

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We were in class and everything was just going just like normal when I could feel something a bit strange. There’s been several quite large earthquakes here in Japan since I came here and most of them shake the building a little bit for around 30 seconds and then die down. This time, something happened that usually doesn’t; It kept going. The lesson was going on and right after I started feeling something Taru who is a girl sitting next to me in the classroom says “じしん” which means Earthquake to the teacher.

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I have a Panasonic GF1 camera. But I’ve only had the fixed 20mm lens and the Fisheye lens for it. They’re both really good lenses but not very flexible for just walking around and taking random pictures. For that purpose I have bought a new lens! A fantastic 14-140mm lens that has a very wide variety of possibilites. It’s F4-5.8 so it’s not so good after the sun goes down, but it’s very good when it’s up!

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Last monday we had a School Assembly type thing that lasted a full day. It was called a スピーチ大会 or “Speech competition” or “Big speech meeting”. If you remember the speech I did in class a while back that was for the purpose of selecting a couple of students from school to hold their speech in front of the entire school. In my class me and Taru was selected as the best ones and because the teacher basically said Tarus’ speech wasn’t “serious” enough (the content, that is) for the big meeting I was selected in my class.

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For a long time I’ve been wanting to create one page that showcased my history as a developer a bit, but also put focus on some of the development that I do just for fun. I’ve sketched at designs and I’ve even gone so far as to do mockups in HTML. But I’ve never finished one (until now). That is because I always ask myself “Who is this for?” “Why am I doing this?” And I haven’t been able to properly answer any of those questions.

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A few days ago it was snowing in Tokyo, fat snowflakes mixed in with some rain that disappeared as soon as it hit the ground. It started in the evening and the morning after there was no sign of it. When I went to put out the garbage just a few minutes ago it has started snowing again and this time it lay thick on the ground. It’s the first time I see that and it’ll be interesting to see if it’s still there in the morning.

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Last week we got an assignment to make a speech in school. The speech could pretty much be about anything, and should last 2 minutes. I first made the speech in english and then translated it to the best of my ability. I then paid for a professional translation of it and got a real Japanese version of it. It’s quite interesting to see the difference. I’ll show you the original english speech, the professional translation, my translation and then finally I translated from my Japanese version back to English to show you how much was lost.

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A couple of weeks ago I read an article on Hacker News about tea. It was called Hacker’s Guide to Tea and even though there wasn’t much “Hacker” about it, it was a very well-written article and I learned a lot about tea; making me want to know more and making me want to learn to make and drink tea properly. He also has a good article on the good health benefits of green tea.

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During the winter vacation me and Emma went to Nagano. Nagano is about 90 minutes by train from Tokyo, quite a bit above sea level. It’s the place where the winter olympics was held a while back, and you could see that when you got there. In a bunch of places there were old olympics symbols and buildings and stuff that seemed to have faded a bit with time. We stayed at a pretty nice hotel, the Japan Airlines hotel in the centre of town.

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This is just a bit of a picture dump. There’s not much to say here. [caption id=“” align=“alignnone” width=“640” caption=“Marcus in the kitchen again”] [/caption] [caption id=“” align=“alignnone” width=“640” caption=“Snacks”] [/caption] [caption id=“” align=“alignnone” width=“478” caption=“Christmas food”] [/caption] This cake was brought out as the “christmas” cake. I assume that it was one sale or something so that’s why they bought it because even Japanese people can tell the difference between “Happy birthday” and “Merry christmas”.

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Hello everyone and Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas and well-wishes to all! I hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas, I certainly have. Me and Emma went to Tokyo Disney Sea, which is like Disney Land but less about princesses and mickey mouse and more about Disney’s other stuff like Indiana Jones. I think Disneyland is probably the only place in the world (except maybe Las Vegas) where you can be on the French Riviera, eating at a restaurant in Venice, walk around in 50’s New York, be a pirate, in a 16th century castle and an underwater fantasy-world all within 30 minutes.

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There’s an old thing I havent shown here and theres a new one. They’re both pretty much explainable by pictures. The first one is a school-trip to FujiQ amusement park near Mt. Fuji. It was a pretty fun place actually! Very focused on “extreme” rides as opposed to Disney’s more “land of magic” approach to amusement parks. This was the worlds highest roller coaster at the time of building. Now it’s like nr 3 or something.

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[caption id=“” align=“alignnone” width=“640” caption=“A hundred”] [/caption] The last few weeks have seemed uneventful, even if that might not particularly be the case. I have gotten into a bit of a routine making time pass very quickly. I remeber back when we only were here on vacation. A month was such a long time, managed to see so much and do so extremely much. Now a month flies by and I barely know what I’ve done or what I have to show for it.

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We finally did it! We found some cheese! After extensive googling and looking in stores and asking friends we found a store that sold real cheese! And of all the stores we checked, the one who sold it in the end was an american store. It was a CostCo whole-sale store at the outskirts of Tokyo (in Kawasaki). It took pretty much two hours to get there using two trains and a bus, but when we finally got there they had a huge selection of non-japanese food items.

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I made a video the day before yesterday and uploaded to YouTube and then went to bed, I later forgot to put it up here, so I’m doing that now :P Since I made the video I’ve been out running once more (just came back from that). Feels really good when you’re back from it but sort of hesitant before getting out there. If I didn’t have Emma to run with today I probably wouldn’t have gone out.

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Today we started school again after a week off. As I mentioned before some people moved up and some moved down in classes and I chose to stay where I was. This meant however that the two “July-starting”-classes that I and Emma was in got smaller as people moved and the result is that they put the two classes together to one. So with the new school start today I am in Emmas’ class!

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Yesterday was my birthday! I usually don’t make a big thing out of birthdays and I didn’t yesterday either, but me and Emma went to a restaurant that’s just around the corner that I’ve been wanting to go to. It was a really nice yaki-niku place. A place where you order in raw meats of different kinds and grill them yourself on a small grill in the middle of the table.

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Mind-clearing incoming. This week we’ve had three tests; listening, speaking and reading tests. I think I’ve done pretty well on them all, they’re basically to assess your level of Japanese and to check that you’re moving at the right pace and such. During the tests we’ve all been “judged” by the teachers in how good we are and about 3 or 4 in my class I think have been offered to move to another class that is further ahead.

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A random assortment of some video I have filmed over the last couple of months, showing off bits and pieces of things I like in Tokyo.

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We have been studying kanjis for 17 days now (excluding the weekends) and have in that time learned 102 Kanjis. As we study 6 new per day. First off maybe I should explain what a Kanji is. Kanjis are the characters in Japanese that are taken from Chinese. They are small pictures that represent words, basically. In Japanese however there really isn’t much focus on what the Kanji actually means by itself (we only learn that for like half of them, the others we have no idea).

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I just wanted to post a small update. School is rolling along, it’s been kind of though week. We had a test on big kanji test on monday, a big “grammar test” on tuesday and then another medium-sized kanji test on wednesday. This says: いつも いつも×100 とてもすばらしいです (^_^) 中国人より漢字がよく分かりますネ ずっといのまま。。。 m( _ _ )m Which means: Always always 100% Very magnificent You understand kanji better than chinese people don't you? [I don't really understand this] We will have learned more than 100 kanji on tuesday next week so I will do a blog-post then to celebrate that!

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I have now gotten a blog in Japanese as well! I felt that I wanted a good way to practice writing/reading and just generally use Japanese more, so I started http://nikkichou.com/. にっきちょう (nikkichou) in Japanese means diary. [caption id=“attachment_1731” align=“aligncenter” width=“620” caption=“フレデリックのにっきちょう”] [/caption] Everything I write in that blog is stuff I have learnt so far. I want to use it as a sort of measuring-device of how much Japanese I know so I will only be using the kanji (Chinese characters) that I have studied and I will not be looking up words to write.

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I finally got it!

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So if you watched my last video you found out I wanted to buy a bike. So… just like 3 days ago or something like that we bought bikes! We found a pair of awesome bikes for 12.000 yen each. I sooo loved my bike for the first.. 30 minutes or so. We biked them home, parked them besides a sign that looked like this: Which we assumed meant something like “bicycle parking to the left of this sign”, because all bikes were parked to the left of that sign and no-one to the right.

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Yesterday we were at Lalaport, a huge, huge shopping mall in Tokyo Bay. My sister could probably spend a year in here without ever leaving or seeing the same thing twice. LaLaport TOKYO-BAY is home to 540 stores, with 8,200 parking spaces. Committed to further development, it aims to be one of the largest shopping centers in Japan, adapting to ever-changing trends and needs and providing new experiences for its customers.

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I can’t stand my 90’s Japanese phone anymore so I’ve ordered an iPhone. Also, we went to Yokohama last week so there’s some video from there as well as a bunch of new pictures on flickr.

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On my previous two trips to Japan I have always found something to be amazed and surprised by, but until last weekend I hadn’t found anything new to be amazed and surprised by yet. However, Asakusa Hanabi (fireworks festival) was truly surprising and amazing. I have never, ever seen so many people gather for this kind of festival. I’m pretty sure there were literally millions of people on the streets, everywhere, watching this thing.

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Sorry about the in focus/out of focus problem. My camera and I don’t really agree on where to focus. Anyhow, this video is basically just for myself. I want to look back at this 11 months from now and see how much better I’ve gotten. I also went to Hanabi today. I will show you what is in the next post, maybe tomorrow. I have some video too! Here is

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I have now been here one month! And yesterday was the first day of our two and a half week long summer holiday! The school “planned” a trip to Disneyland for the first day of the holiday. Or in other words, they gave us a student discount. Of course we had to go along to celebrate the holiday and the fact that we’ve been here a month. The time has gone really, really fast!

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Yesterday Marcus, a classmate, hade made some onigiris (rice-balls with stuff in it) at home and it looked pretty good so I tried to make some myself! I fried up some chicken with some pepper and some extra salt to counter the rice (according to Marcus instructions), then I put some cellophane wrap in a cup and put the rice in there, made a sort of cup out of the rice and then put the chicken in the middle.

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This is the school that I go to and in this video are some excerpts from one 50 minute lesson. This is basically how most lessons go, we practice dialogue, repeat after the teacher and read from the textbook.

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We got ourselves a rice-cooker today. It’s sort of a must-have thing in Japan. I already love it and am probably going to eat even more rice from now on. It’s awesome. Today we made this:

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For those of you who questioned the reason to get 8GB of memory in my new computer I give you: “Using all the memory” [caption id=“attachment_1673” align=“aligncenter” width=“580” caption=“Memory usage”] [/caption] This little feat was accomplished by simultaneously running Safari with YouTube, rendering HD video in iMovie and processing images with Lightroom, under no time did the computer seem slow or stall or anything like that. So yes, it is worth getting 8GB of memory in a computer.

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I was out walking in Nakano today and came across a cat on a wall. We took some pictures of it and it wasn’t scared at all so I put my tripod on the wall and the cat started nicely posing for the camera so I got this awesome shot. Probably the best picture I’ve ever taken. Check out more pics on my flickr.

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I was going to talk about the cellphone, the camera and school. But I didn’t really have anything useful to say about the camera so I skipped it. I find it a lot harder to make vlogs right now than writing regular blog-posts. When I write I can get in exactly how much information I want and the reader can choose to read as much of it as he wants, it’s easy to school to see where interesting parts are and such.

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Today we just chilled out. I recorded a bunch of stuff for a vlog to explain the phone thing, showed my new camera and talked a bit about school. However, it turns out I am extraordinarily boring when I talk, so I need to learn how to talk more concise and a lot faster. I’m going to make another attempt tomorrow, if that doesn’t work I’ll just write what I want to say instead of making a video.

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I just got a new camera! Yay! It’s a Lumix GF1 and I’ll talk more about it later. Here’s some random test-stuff for now! Pictures:

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I just counted all the words I’ve learned so far and have come to the conclusion that we are learning new words at a rate of 23 words per day. We’ve been studying 9 days and gone through 5 chapters in the book and learned ~211 words. Just wanted to let you know that. Tomorrow I’ll hopefully be buying a camera so you’ll get some pictures and nice videos and stuff in the future.

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Today I got a Japanese cellphone. I wanted to get an iPhone 4 but it didn’t turn out that way. I think I’ll make a video tomorrow explaining and talking a bit more about the phone I got. It feels a bit like I’m back in the 90’s :P It also took like 2 hours to go through the whole process of buying it. Buying a phone in Japan is pretty insane, I hope it doesn’t normally take that long for regular Japanese people.

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A video showing off the new apartment. It is soo nice to have somewhere real to live. I can barely describe it. Make sure to also check out Emmas video, it’s much better!

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Today we got to look at an apartment. The one we went to look at got reserved 2 hours before we got there, but we got to look at another one instead and that basically seemed just as good. The apartment isn’t as I would put it “fucking golden”, but it is definitely livable, and it’s like 15 minutes from school. We probably staying there for a couple of months at least, but will keep our eyes open for better stuff.

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I haven’t written because since we started school we’ve been very busy. The tempo is quite high in school and all the education is in Japanese, so it’s sort of weird (I’ll try to write more about that later). There are people with quite different pre-requisite knowledge so for some it’s sort of easy and for some (like me) it’s quite hard to follow along in class because there’s so much Japanese going on everywhere.

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We went to an introduction at the school yesterday, got some basic information and got placed in the beginner class and stuff like that. Seems like a very nice school actually! Today (Friday) we got the day off, so it’s a 3-day weekend to help settle in. On monday the real studies begin. I’ve gotten a bit more accustomed to the dorm here, the room is still very small and I don’t like to have to share a shower (that isn’t even on the same floor as my room) with 90 other people.

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