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I’m Off to Japan! Envy me!

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Popularity: 7% [?]

I’m assuming it has become customary for animebloggers visiting the Holy Land to announce their upcoming pilgrimage and elicit the envy of their readers.

Therefore, I shall take this opportunity to announce that, HEY I’m going to Japan! The story of how this came to be is pretty strange, and I shall humour you guys by revealing it below. Just keep in mind that at this point, it appears that airfare and lodging are provided and it’s set to be a period of two weeks.

I applied to go on a summer exchange for 6 weeks to UCLA. That, to non-Americans, would be the University of California, Los Angeles. The only impression I have of that place is students riot after winning and losing sports games. Anyway, unlike in the arts faculty, exchange slots are pretty rare for science students and there are interviews where we have to pass. It was a group interview along with 4 random others. We were told that there were 80 applicants and 30 slots.

So the other random girls (they were all girls except me and my guy friend) started talking about their achievements and club activities, which the interviewer asked for. Strangely enough, 3 of them said the exact same thing, that they were conservation ambassadors for the Singapore Zoo. One other girl said she wanted to go to LA as there was good dancing there and she loves dancing and teaches people at the YMCA how to dance. My guy friend said he once participated in a sign language course. Note "once participated", lol.

When it came to my turn, I said I have been a docent for the zoo for 4 years now (the 3 girls joined a similar organisation just recently or something). Since the interviewer was a life sciences professor, he had heard of the zoo docent organisation unlike the other ambassador one. He also found my dedication to conservation a good point, since for the first 2 years of volunteering I was actually in the army as well, so he assumed that I sacrificed my personal free time on army leave to volunteer for the zoo. Technically, that is very true, but as we all know, my free time isn’t as scarce as some of the other real soldiers. Nevertheless, I neglected to correct his assumption of course. More interestingly, I said (this is exactly what I said) "I am also the founder and head of an organisation called the Research Institute for Unicultural Visual Arts, and my employees and I basically write and publish articles and editorials about Japanese culture."

That above line is exactly as I said it. My friend had to stifle his urge to laugh. The interviewer appeared surprised and then asked if I could speak Japanese, to which I answered yes. He then said he would be meeting me the next day at the same location for another interview, one regarding an exchange programme to Japan instead of UCLA.

Now, I showed up the next day without any preparation. There was no information whatsoever about this new exchange programme, except that it was to Waseda University and involved "sustainability and biodiversity". The professor was like "You know Japanese right? You want to go overseas right? OK come for the interview!"

It turned out that the same professor was present, along with another higher ranked life sciences professor. This time, it was all content-based as the other higher-ranked prof did all the asking of questions. The first one he asked was "What do you think of sustainability?"

I can’t remember what I said, I vaguely recall talking about not being an idealist, and that the world needs to work as one (Gundam 00 style of course) for this to succeed. And since everyone is driven by self-interest, sustainability would only be possible if it is driven by economic reasons. I remember saying something about nations being a barrier towards this, and developing ones like India and China spew out lots of pollution and use lots of resources, but how can the developed nations tell them to stop when they themselves did it, just a century or 50 years ago?

He asked me to comment on Singapore’s policies towards sustainability, to which I talked about the vehicle registration system here, which I know quite a lot about thanks to my dad’s company. I mentioned Bolivia, which is dying due to a total lack of vehicle importation restrictions, while Singapore has the spanking new cars since it’s not economically viable to drive cars older than 3 years here. It’s amazing that every car on the road here is spanking new really, which means they are more fuel efficient and produce less emissions. The COE and high price of cars also deters many from buying, keeping our air clean and roads less congested. I said Singapore’s strategy for sustainability should be to showcase policies and technologies that can help in this area, since our small size means any cutbacks on pollution or whatever isn’t going to affect the world at all, so our purpose is mainly educational.

There was some talk on food issues, since the progamme is supposedly for life sciences majors only and I was the only Food Science major on the shortlist. I recall saying that any form of farming here in Singapore is a waste of time and space, since food is such a low value product. Farming here is just for show, to provide some meat to the notion that Singapore can sustain itself without imports. I went with the idea that it’s far better for us to just focus on the high-tech bioindustry of synthesising food with microbes and fungi or cell culture.

The discussion then switched to topics on biodiversity and that got me convinced I wouldn’t make the cut, because I only have elementary knowledge of it. More than most people on the street, but far less than the average biology major. I said something along the likes of Singapore doesn’t really need its biodiversity. It’s just too small to make a difference, all our animals can be found in Malaysia anyway. I said the reason why we shouldn’t just cut away all our forests is to set a good example of how cities can coexist with forests. Singapore has a shit load of trees, mostly planted, these don’t really support much biodiversity though. Our primary forests consist of pretty much just one or two areas. It would be really hypocritical if we were to cut down all our forests for development, and then tell other countries to save their forests and not develop so much. Therefore, to set an example, Singapore should show that it is possible to develop economically and still have forests remaining. Ok basically that’s quite a bunch of crap I made up on the spot, so I thought I wouldn’t get in.

After a week, most of my friends who applied to the UCLA programme made it in, except for the sign language guy. Poor guy. My name wasn’t in the list for UCLA, so I was pretty annoyed that I failed BOTH interviews. Then I received the letter that I got chosen for the Waseda Global College Honours Program 2009.

So whoopie! Then I learnt it was only 2 weeks long, compared to the six weeks my friends were going to the US for. Ugh. Then I learnt that airfare and accomodation was free! Whoopie! Then I realised this means my plan of going a couple of weeks earlier and spending a month in Japan was ruined, since Waseda would have tickets for the whole group.

In the end, I’m really glad I’m going. It’s an academic program, with seminars and conferences and all that I suspect. Details are sketchy. I wonder if we get to eat whale meat. I’m sure some idiot white guy would shout "NO WHALING" only to be killed by the local ninjas. This was a really long and boring post though. I’ll try to ask if I can go early so I can travel around first. Time to hit the soaplands eh?

Popularity: 7% [?]

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28 Responses to “I’m Off to Japan! Envy me!”  

  1. 1 SnooSnoo 172 comments

    “Time to hit the soaplands eh?”
    You tend to post stuff which most other guys with girlfriends wouldn’t dare. She doesn’t read RIUVA or something?

    Also, although this line “I am also the founder and head of an organisation called the Research Institute for Unicultural Visual Arts, and my employees and I basically write and publish articles and editorials about Japanese culture.” is true, it feels so much like a scam when I’m reading through it.

  2. 2 tik 67 comments

    wow congrats, Waseda is a very good uni

    I remember last time back in JC, some guy from the “International faculty” or some sort from Waseda actually come to our school to give a small talk, although very few pple attended…

  3. 3 Setsukyie 34 comments

    woah, awesome!
    Animebloggers have a higher chance to go to Japan after all (I wish)
    But yea..I wonder if you can find enough time to enjoy yourself there.
    Anyway, a chance like this will never come to me, so I envy you (lol)

  4. 4 ... 3 comments

    “I am also the founder and head of an organisation called the Research Institute for Unicultural Visual Arts, and my employees and I basically write and publish articles and editorials about Japanese culture.”
    Way too epic…had I been the interviewer I would have asked more questions and make a note of it to later check for its credibility, considering how shady this organisation sounds but still epic.

  5. 5 IWICSYI 6 comments

    WTF , you didn’t bring along your Shizuoka Shimbun there to show them your handsome picture and tell them about your awesome speech? It will be useless , I know , but since you already spoken about this site , bringing in another useless material won’t do any harm right?

  6. 6 LianYL 778 comments

    So I’m now an employee. Where’s my pay? It’s months overdue since the last food coupon you gave me. Okay fine I haven’t been posting much.

  7. 7 Kenny Liu

    Have fun going! Too bad for the sign language guy lol

  8. 8 schneider 17 comments

    “I can’t remember what I said, I vaguely recall talking about not being an idealist, and that the world needs to work as one (Gundam 00 style of course) for this to succeed.”


  9. 9 Ascaloth 200 comments

    Unlike LianYL I’ve been posting regularly. WHERE’S MY MONTHLY STIPEND LOL.

  10. 10 jinyamato 110 comments


  11. 11 Steven Den Beste 66 comments

    Re “RIUVA”, apparently the interviewer didn’t get the Genshiken reference.

  12. 12 one 135 comments


    Remember to stand up for Singapore (in the female dorms…)

  13. 13 nutcase23 34 comments

    I now know what to say for my next exchange program inter view ^^

  14. 14 Crest 49 comments

    I don’t post often, but I make them LONG! so i want some form of remuneration please >_>

  15. 15 jinyamato 110 comments


  16. 16 TJ 17 comments

    Lol congrats on the exchange.

    Yeah I’ll rknow what to mention in my next interview :)

  17. 17 double 43 comments

    Man, you have no idea how envious I am of you! I’m so hoping for such a chance, but all I got was a 9 day exchange program where I only interacted with 3 university students…

  18. 18 omo 137 comments

    Not going to ask if you can go for longer?

    >> Re “RIUVA”, apparently the interviewer didn’t get the Genshiken reference.

    Not so sure about this. Likely, but who knows.

  19. 19 tj_han 1440 comments

    Omo: Seriously, these are normal people. How many normal people have heard of Genshiken? I think the answer is zero. Once you’ve heard of it, you aren’t normal already.

    Double: Someday when you come to uni, you’ll find that exchanges are very common, at least in certain faculties. Lian is going to fucking Stanford and Silicon Valley for ONE YEARRRRRRRRRR!!

    TJ: You need a different nickname man.

    Jin: You just went there, you don’t need stuff.

    Crest: I always give you positive reinforcement, you ungrateful scum. I shall now proceed onto negative reinforcement.

    One: You heard of the Waseda gang rape club?

    Ascaloth: You qualify for the positive reinforcement scheme as well.

    IWIC: Lol, nobody cares about newspaper appearances except Impz.

    tik: Going there full-time is a totally different story man. I would, but would them want me? Unlikely.

    Snoo: Dude, I fear for my life.

  20. 20 ETERNAL 29 comments

    I guess the name of the site actually came in handy 0_o

    On another note, though, why is your JList banner advertising tasteful eroge? And what happened to the Artificial Vaginas?!

  21. 21 TheBigN 75 comments

    “I’m assuming it has become customary for animebloggers visiting the Holy Land to announce their upcoming pilgrimage and elicit the envy of their readers.”


    Epic post. Though it would be good to get a little more information on things like biodiversity and sustainability before you go, but I assume you’d get that covered.

    But the things you never know that can help you out or bust open new doors for you. Life is sorta awesome sometimes. :P

  22. 22 The Sojourner 112 comments

    lol. This is better than going to Japan just for a vacation imo. You are there for academic purposes.

  23. 23 jinyamato 110 comments

    tj_han : i can never get enough of stuff over there…. some stuff that i want just can’t be found in SG

  24. 24 Kesenaitsumi 20 comments

    Wow. Good job on finding yourself a free ticket and accomodation at japan. ^.^
    I heard from my teacher that Waseda(早稲田) is a private university (私立大学) so the study fees is really expensive. Then, every year at Malaysia, there got Waseda Brass Band come and perform at Penang,Malaysia. Maybe you will have chance see their performance.hehe

    By the way, when will you going? 

  25. 25 tj_han 1440 comments

    I don’t really care about the brass band, you know when you reach uni level, club activities aren’t as appealing as before. But yeah, Waseda is a good school and GTO’s girlfriend Azusa is from there.

    I’m going in July.

    TheBigN: Indeed, that’s why we shouldn’t just sit at home and do stuff that can’t be put on resumes. Hence your blog name shouldn’t be something like “Cruel Angel Theses” or whatever, which is just embarrassing.

  26. 26 Anonymous 21 comments

    For something you made up on the spot, you certainly have a point there with the pollution and food production.

  27. 27 Hinano 13 comments

    I hope your girlfriend doesn’t read this blog :lol:

  28. 28 Hynavian 28 comments

    Congratulations boss, have fun over there! (:

Do not use any < and > for your own sake. It will end the comment there and then. Also, there is an automatic IQ filter which weeds out comments made by those who accidentally got transported from the stone age.

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