Back in elementary school I used to think origami (literally “paper folding”) was pretty cool. Then I didn’t do any of it for like 10 years. And now, here I am origami-ing again. I thought we’d be doing the traditional cranes. Instead, it was something much harder. We made a top and a pretty cool box:
For the box, we had to make 12 identical pieces and then fit them together kind of like a puzzle. It was pretty hard, but kind of fun. The origami teacher is a professional origami teacher, and apparently is also a singer with various singles out, though of course they are Japanese. Afterwards, the top was a little simpler, but I think that it’s much cooler. It actually spins fairly well. Now the problem is how to transport these 3-D objects back to America through luggage. Hmm. We’ll see, I’ll think of a way.
Almost the End
So the program is almost over. I did my final speech today, which was just 5 minutes of me speaking, completely in Japanese, about the things we did and how fun they were, etc. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and this trip to Japan is no exception. It’s not the last day of the program, but the last formal class day. Tomorrow we’ll be going to Asuke on a final tour of the area. It’s going to be mostly wilderness, so it’ll be relaxing to walk through the forests on my final day in Japan.
So if I have time, I will do a post while waiting in Seoul/Incheon airport on the way back. They have free wireless internet, and I’ll have a couple hours of time waiting for my plane back. The troublesome thing is the overnight stopover in Seoul. I don’t speak any Korean, so hopefully the people there will know either English, Chinese, or even Japanese would probably be fine. So expect the final post on Friday, where I’ll talk about Asuke and then attempt to wrap everything up. Until then.
By the way, I was in Nagoya the other day, and played that UFO catcher game. Somehow I won something. I have no idea what it is, some doll or figurine of some sort, but at least I can say that I’ve won a legitimate prize through a UFO catcher game.
Starting college can be a big transition. You’re moving to a new place, starting a new school and classes, and faced with making new friends in an unfamiliar environment. And, of course, there’s that whole “becoming an adult” thing. But, you’re also leaving a lot behind. Every new beginning means that an old chapter must come to an end. Leaving behind our friends at home may seem difficult, especially if they’re going to be a long distance away from you during the school year. Something I made sure to do was to spend a lot of time with them during the summer after high school. Of course, going to college doesn’t mean you’ll never see your friends again, or that you will no longer be friends with them. Good friendships will last if you put effort into them. It may seem hard initially. Coming into Caltech, it’s a sharp adjustment and many are caught up in the excitement of Orientation, Rotation, and starting classes. It may be hard to remember to check your phone frequently and to make time for phone calls and such. Rest assured that if you have other friends going to college, they’re probably going to go through similar things you will. In this transition period, it can feel like you’re going to immediately lose touch with people that mean a lot to you.
Let’s face it: the US loves being just a little different from everyone else. The obvious example? Units of measurement. As an international student from Canada, even I have no clue what’s going on half the time when my friends talk to me and use these weird nonsensical units. And I’ve literally lived on the border between Canada and the States for all my life. After a year here, I’ve finally got a sense of how the two systems of measurement compare and how you can more easily get your bearings with these weird units.
After a year spent in “soft-lockdown” at home in Atlanta, and as Caltech students prepared to finally return to campus, I was aboard an eight hour flight towards Edinburgh, Scotland. Since my junior year plans were interrupted by the virus who shall not be named, I’m spending my first term of senior year studying abroad through the Caltech - Edinburgh University International Exchange program. I’ve only been here just over a week yet have been exposed to so many new people, perspectives, foods, and classes.
When the announcement was first made that fall term was going to be online, I started talking to friends and looking for places to live. We were debating locations around the country: California, Florida, New York, etc.. there were plenty of options. Then it suddenly hit me, what is stopping us from going to Hawaii, covid numbers were better and a two week quarentine would ensure that numbers stayed down… I proposed this to my friend and we agreed it would be an amazing experience, but we didn’t want to get out hopes up. A month or so later we still haven’t decided where to live, Hawaii seemed too far and too difficult to plan. But we couldn’t get the idea out of our heads. We spent some time looking into plane tickets, places to stay, etc… and it actually didn’t seem so impossible after all. A couple weeks later and we were arriving here on the big island!