Life in Ann Arbor, Michigan

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2005年 02月 16日

Why the heck?



by kamakusa | 2005-02-16 16:15 | Junk
2005年 02月 16日

Spring Break → Going to Turkey

I've been forgetting to write about my decision to go to Turkey during spring break, so I guess I'll write about this here.

From Feb. 26 to Mar. 6, I have spring break. It's only 9 days, but I really wanted to go somewhere outside of the United States. This is because I've already been to most of the major cities and siteseeing places within the U.S. with my family when I used to live in Massachusetts.

A little off topic, but I was really lucky cuz my family traveled to so many places when I was in the US. As far as I remember, we went to New York and Boston at least once in 1-2 months (I think, but I remember these 2 cities were the places we went most frequently to go to Japanese groceries). And the other places we went for vacation were: Maine (Acadia National Park), Vermont (don't remember where...), New Hampshire (don't remember where...), Niagara Falls, Florida (Orlando and Palm Beach), Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Las Vegas, Yellow Stone National Park, Colorado Rockies, Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and maybe some more places if I have forgotten.... If I include Canada and countries just outside the U.S.: Toronto, Vancouver, Quebec (don't remember where), Canadian Rockies (Banff National Park), and the Bahamas. Wow, what a long list...

Anyways, as you can see from the list above, if I were to go somewhere I had never been, it was clearly somewhere away from the U.S. and Canada. I was actually trying to go to another country during the Winter break as well, but ended up not going cuz of the unbelievably high ticket prices and cuz I was going to see my friends in New Orleans.

So I narrowed my options to Mexico, London, or Turkey as I wrote earlier. I ended up choosing Turkey (Istanbul) because a Turkish friend whom I met back in Japan (he was a trainee on an AIESEC internship)was telling me that he could accomodate me for my whole stay, and would show me around. I was talking to him over MSN and he kept telling me how cool Istanbul was and even sent me pics of Istanbul, which really started to tempt me. The finishing blow was when he told me that the hostel he was letting me stay at serves free alcohol 24 hours!! Man, I'm gonna party every night when I get there!

As a result, I was immediately buying the tickets online. The tickets were actually pretty expensive, around $650, but considering the free accomodation and the price level in Turkey, I thought it shouldn't be really bad overall.

I depart on Feb. 25 and will come back on Mar. 4th. A real short trip and I could have spent at least till Mar. 5th or the 6th, but if I did that, the airfare discounts wouldn't be in effect and the price would shoot up about another $100. I gotta cope with 5-6days in Istanbul, but I'm sure I will go to Turkey again in the future. I gotta go see Emre and Deniz who live in Ankara, and I really want to visit Cappadocia too... I am pretty sure I will go again, but for now, I just cannot wait until spring break comes....

by kamakusa | 2005-02-16 13:05 | Travel
2005年 02月 15日

Work, drink, eat, and then work again




夜の9時くらいまではがり勉小僧でしたが、その後は聖子の家にいつもの面子で集まって飲みました。この日はこの前聖子邸で会ったシンガポール人のJie Jieと今回新キャラのドイツ人、フリーザ(本当の名前は確かフリーザ・フレーザーみたいな感じだったのですが、個人的にフリーザのほうが覚えやすいので勝手にそうします)もいました。まずはNobuを鬼にして退治しようということで、彼に向けて大豆を投げまくりました。鬱になっていた僕にとっては爽快でした。でも外人に間違った豆まきの方法を教えてしまいました(笑)。


下から時計回りに:オレ、Edem、聖子、ケイスケ、フリーザ(さりげなくJie Jieの肩に手をかけようとしているところに注目)、Jie Jie




by kamakusa | 2005-02-15 15:53 | University Life
2005年 02月 11日


Another week of classes is over again... Can't believe how time is flying by these days... Only 2 months and a half to go.

Even though I got over the accounting exam last week and had a fulfilling superbowl weekend, I felt really stressed out this week. I just didn't feel like my usual self. I was so tired of doing all the assignments and readings that my concentration level was going down significantly. Maybe it was cuz I was forcing myself to do things when I didn't really feel like it. I realized the importance of doing things from free will.

And the fact that I am now faced with a presentation to do on Monday, a paper due on Tuesday, and contributions to the group project for the b-school course due Wednesday makes me feel worse as I get into the weekend... I just gotta get over these things.

At least, it wasn't just bad news this week. Guess what? I got a full score on my accounting exam:) I beat all the other pre-business students, hurray! I also got a very good feedback from my english teacher regarding my writing assignment. She told me that my writing and processing skills were beyond what was required for the course. Well, it was an obvious result since it was a 120 class consisted of mostly freshmen, non-native speakers, but it cheered me up and also helped me believe that my English skills were clearly improving since I got here in Michigan. It makes me think more and more that I want to write my dissertation in English at Todai...

Another cheering incident was that I met one girl who is coming to Todai as an exchange student from Michigan next semester. I heard from her that there were 3 students coming to the AIKOM program this time! I gotta be one of their tutors...

But the bottom line was,,, I was still feeling pretty bad...

Some things I did to alleviate the problem:
I went to the CCRB when I felt really bad yesterday doing too much work. Paradoxically, I try to exercise whenever I feel tired, but it really helps me feel energized and recharged. I also made "mabo-dofu" today and since it was too much to finish by myself, I invited Keisuke over to eat with me. It was a complete Japanese dinner (you can argue that it was chinese...). These things helped me get refreshed a bit.

I hope this weekend turns out enjoyable for me... I gotta stop being bothered by small problems and try to look what's ahead of me.

by kamakusa | 2005-02-11 18:20 | Personal Thoughts
2005年 02月 08日

So many posts at once...


I posted tons of stuff at once, so you better read them!

by kamakusa | 2005-02-08 12:38 | Junk
2005年 02月 08日

Patriots RULE

今日は食いすぎました。まずは昼におきてからまたまたsushi.comeでお寿司食い放題。個人的にはもう5回目くらいでしたが(笑)、明日にはAnn Arborを去ってしまうユウキを連れて行こうということで、毎週通っているEdemとStan(ありえん。。。)と約束をし、さらにNobu, Mai, Nokも誘って大人数で押しかけました。

今日は前回のリベンジを果たすために相当気合を入れました。(cf. Seiko's Birthday)結果は、うれしいことに腹の調子が抜群で相当食いまくれました。最後に抹茶アイス&チーズケーキも食ったし、もう大満足♪



勉強を一通り終えた後はケイスケのクラスメートのTakaraという日本人のハーフの子の招待に乗っかって、Superbowl観戦Partyに参加してまいりました。正確にはTakaraがケイスケを誘ってくれたみたいで、ケイスケがオレを誘ってくれたって感じで、ユウキも含めて三人で乗り込むことにしました。今回のPartyはTakaraが参加しているSmall Group(いまいちよくわからないけど、教会に行った時に、聖書のこととかを一緒に勉強したりキリスト教のことについていろいろ議論する小グループのこと)とその他同じ教会のいくつかのSmall Groupの集まりでした。

ここで少しだけSuper Bowlについて解説しておきます。Super Bowlとはこっちのプロアメフトリーグ(NFL)の全米決勝戦のこと。アメリカではフットボールが相当人気で、シーズン中は毎週末に開催される試合を見るために多くのアメリカンがテレビで試合を観戦します。そして決勝戦のSuper Bowlではこの傾向が特に顕著になる。確かに他の人気競技のバスケや野球の決勝戦(NBA Finals, World Series)の時期もすごく盛り上がってみんながそろって観戦しますが、Super Bowlは格が違います。国民の二人に一人は試合を観戦すると言われています。てことでいたるところで観戦Partyや特別イベントが開催され、単なるスポーツイベントの枠を越え、国民の祭典のような様相を呈することになります。Super Bowlをきちんと堪能できるようになるまではアメリカ文化を体感したとは言えないと思います。そういやSuper Bowlといえば去年のHalftime Showでジャネットジャクソンがぽろりをしたことで有名。。。さらに知りたい人はこちらへ


てなわけでTakaraつながりのSmall Groupの人たちが次々と集合して俺らを車でPartyが開催される家まで送ってくれました。実際行ってみるとアジア系の人々だらけでした。そのおかげか、いろんな人とからめた。今日知り合ったのはTakara以外に日本語が結構話せるZeke、Engineering専攻のDavid、村上春樹の原作が舞台化されたElephant Vanishesのことについてオレに質問をしてきたSalley、Small Groupのリーダー的存在のMoses、上智大学からの留学生(Michiganではありませんでしたが)のタロー、あたりですかね。いい人だらけだった上に、たくさん食べ物も提供されて、本当に楽しい時間をすごせました。

さて、肝心の試合の結果は、接戦の末、見事オレのPatriotsが勝利!!賭けには負けましたが(アメリカ人はみんなSuper Bowlの結果を賭けます)、とにかくうれしかったです。


てかこんなサイトを発見した。。。日本にもPatriots fanがいるっぽい。帰国したらからんでみようかな 笑

by kamakusa | 2005-02-08 12:35 | University Life
2005年 02月 08日

24 Hour Party People

After doing some work in a cafe, I watched a movie with Keiuske and Yuki today.

The movie was called 24 Hour Party People. Apparently it was one of Keisuke's favorites, and we sat down with popcorns and sodas to watch it out.

The movie was based on a true story about this guy named Tony Wilson, a TV news reporter who became the owner of Factory Records label and a club called the Hacienda. He was part of this revolution which altered the way people perceived music throughout the late 70s and the 80s.

It was a really cool movie, I would say funky and energetic since there was a lot of cool music and extra effects (graphic-wise as well as story-wise). Most of the time, I enjoy movies based on the truth because I can catch the story of the movie with a sense of reality and in turn accept the movie in a more sensitive way, and this movie was not an exception.

I should keep watching more movies on a regular basis. It helps me get refreshed and also helps me enhance my sensitivity. I used to think that I had watched a good number of movies, but I have realized that there are so many great movies out there that I have been missing and there are so many ppl who have watched far more movies than me. So if anyone has any recommendations, I would be glad if someone could post something on this blog.

by kamakusa | 2005-02-08 11:32 | University Life
2005年 02月 07日

Back to usual life...


そしてようやく金曜日にAccountingの最初の中間試験を乗り切り、Friday Nightを迎えました♪試験に関しては改めて成績が戻ってきてからまた書きたいと思いますが、今週はあまりのストイックな仕事量に耐え切れず、金曜の夜にオレは勝手にいつもの面子を誘って「中華料理で夜飯→Barで飲み明かす」会を企画しました。オレが中間試験が終わったあとだったのでかなり自己中心的な考えに基づいていましたが、実はこの日はケイスケの同じ大学の友達のユウキ君がなんとAnn Arborに遊びに来るということもあって、彼のWelcome会も兼ねようとたくらんで開催を決断いたしました。


既に常連となりつつあるTKWUに行って中華を食したあと、Barに向かいましたがさすがにFriday Nightだったためか、人がいっぱいで入れるところなし。。。結局、女性陣の強い要望によりケーキ屋に入ってだべることになりました。オレって企画力ねー(泣)

その後ようやくケイスケとユウキと合流できたのが12時頃。そこからは三人でFull Moonというプールバーに行って飲みまくりました。ユウキ君は日本からアメリカで二週間ほど旅行しにきていたということだったのですが、アジア以外の国に出るのは初めてということでした。しかもAnn Arborの後はバスのみを利用してNYとLAにいくんだとか。グレハン経験者としてはかなりハードコアなやつだなーと思いました。


うーん、就活かー。そろそろ帰国したあとの予定考えないとな。今のところはやはりもう一度海外に飛び出したいと考えております。But how??

by kamakusa | 2005-02-07 18:06 | University Life
2005年 02月 07日

Model UN Conference @ Montreal -Day 4-


結局二つ目のTopicのWomen's Role in Economic Developmentには差し掛かったものの、セッションの時間が二時間しかなかったので大した議論はできずに臨時でできあがったResolutionをいくつか採択して結局会議は幕を閉じることになりました。


そして閉会式直後にバスに乗り込み、早速Ann Arborまで移動開始。また長旅が始まりました。途中何度も休憩があったのでお菓子を食ったり、バスの中で宿題をやったり、映画を二本も見たりして(Best in ShowとEmpire Records)暇をつぶしつつ、結局到着したのは夜中の一時くらい。。。




③遊ぶことは非常に大事!特にクラブやバーは飲酒や踊りを通していろんな人と知り合える非常に有効なツールなので、今後は金がある限り通いたいなーと思いました。アメリカンやカナディアンは遊びなれていますので、彼らに追いつきたいと思います 笑

帰りの途中休憩に寄ったマックで、ミシガン大学内のメンバー同士で内輪ネタの賞を与え合うイベントが催されたのですがこのイベントで僕が授賞したのはなんと"The most normal person in the group Award"。日本語に訳すと:「一番普通な人賞」。相当味気ない響きですが、アメリカ人から見てオレは普通の人だと思われているんだーと思うとちょっとだけうれしかったです。しかもあるメンバーからは"And he was the most American out of all of us too"とも言われました。。。え、それはちゃうやろ。。。



by kamakusa | 2005-02-07 17:42 | Travel
2005年 02月 06日

Model UN Conference @ Montreal -Day 3-

I was really tired after dancing the night out on the day before, but I managed to wake myself up and attend the first committee session on this day from 10am. But when I got to the conference room, I noticed that a lot of the delegates were absent... Maybe they were too tired from partying last night... I guess some ppl just came here to enjoy all the bars and dancing...

The session went on as it did the day before, with ppl speaking in front of the committee most of the time and occasionally having informal interactions during short period sessions called "unmoderated caucus". We started seeing many resolutions being written up by some parties but there was too much quarreling over minor issues. So we were still discussng the first topic of urbanization... I was pretty sure at this point that we would never get over all the 3 topics during this entire conference... Somehow we had to move on though...

The problem for me was that since I was really tired from last night, I wasn't as motivated as the day before to participate in the committee... This lack of commitment was also probably due the fact that I wasn't really interested in the topics that were to be covered in our committee (SOCHUM)... I would rather be thinking about issues like international security or aid toward developing countries. Then you might be asking: "Then why did you choose to be in your committee?"... Well, the reason I chose this committee representing such a small country like Bhutan is cuz this was my first time attending the model UN and since I didn't have a clue at first how things went on at the conference, I didn't want to be responsible for being assigned to a committee that discussed substansive issues... So that is why I chose a committee that was regarded as the "minor and easy" committees.

Well, but at least I finally managed to be courageous enough to speak out in front of the big committee. Though what I said was not really something that captured the core of discussion, I was just satisfied that I was able to gain such an experience. Self satisfication might not be so important but it does give you some kind of motivation and relief... I was just satisfied, what's bad about that?

On this day, we had two sessions and finally managed to move on to the next topic which was "women's role in economic development". Although we had more than 10 draft resolutions submitted, only 2 passed with a majority.... What was all that discussing for???

Don't we look like business men?


Anyways, we were finally over with the second day of committee sessions and it was time for night life again:) On this day, all the delegates headed to a party called McParte, where we had one whole club floor to use for ourselves! So off we went as we did the day before riding a bus to where the party took place. The place we went to was actually a part of a gay bar/club and it was interesting seeing all the gay ppl on the first floor when heading up to the floor where our party was going to take place... I thought gay ppl were way better than straight men at dancing, am I not wrong?

It was a huge party, although not so much exciting as the day before, partly due to the lack of alcohol for myself and also to the fact that the dj and the music was rather stinky compared to the club we went the day before. But I danced with all the other Michigan members anyways, and I guess I had fun. One thing to note was that Keisuke got hooked up with a few girls (not one but a FEW) and was reported to be seen making out with one of them lol No wonder he was awarded the Michigan "In da Club award" in an informal award event on the way back to Ann Arbor, haha.

Man, so how could I have ever imagined that I would go clubbing two straight days on a trip to attend the model UN conference?.... Well, let's face it, I had tons of fun. So maybe we should just party our time out occasionally.

Just like the day before, the sleeping time was past 4am in the morning. We had one last committee session to go on the next day...

by kamakusa | 2005-02-06 19:12