Good to know

Hi everybody

Here is some information, that will be useful in the coming weeks and months. This article is mostly meant for freshmen starting this fall.

You can get the main textbooks from the university bookstore Bóksala (10.995kr), but you can get them cheaper straight from Japan from here and here. The tax is roughly 1000 kr and the book is around 4000 kr and it´s unused and in brand new condition.

You can get the student card through Ugla for free, which will give you a lot of discounts. You can also apply for a student card upgrade that will grant you after hours access to Háskólatorg.

We recommend that you memorize the basic hiragana and katakana scripts before the semester starts, trust us, It will make the first weeks of schooling so much easier.

You don´t actually need a laptop or a tablet for actual school work and some first year classes prohibit them, but we can recommend a couple of apps and websites. The most useful website is Jisho and WaniKani. These websites have saved literally THOUSUNDS of lives. We also recommend Anki. It is a great flashcard based program for PC, IOS or Android, that is really useful for studying and memorizing new Kanji.

Banzai will hold clubs like a movie club and a study club which will be announced in the beginning of the semester.

If you guys have any questions or if you just want to chat, don´t hesitate to email us at Banzai@hi.is

 

                           Written by Árni Breki Ríkarðsson – secretary of Banzai (2016-2017)                                                        and heavily referenced from Good to know (2015)                                  by Andrea Lind Stephenson – secretary of Banzai (2015-2016)

Interview with Ragnheiður

Picture1Name Ragnheiður Þórðardóttir
School Fukuoka women’s university (福岡女子大学)
Favourite place at school Nan no ki a coffee house with the best chicken doria EVER
Would you rather be able to fly or read minds? Read minds

Questions
1. Upon arrival, did you have to change any classes you chose? How did that go?
Had to change everything, they weren’t chosen in the beginning as I thought it was just an outline I received and chose and from the year before so other classes were also available.

2. Did someone pick you up from the airport?
Yes my JD mate 🙂

3. How was your first week adapting?
My first week I spent with a good friend in Osaka and then I went to Fukuoka, the only thing was the heat hahah I’m a snow child…..

4. How much are you paying a month for rent, food, transport and other necessities?
Rent is 9900 yen, transport is usually a little bit expensive unless I take train (I’m a little bit away from the main city but other wise I just walk). Maybe about 50 thousand or 60 all in all but don’t know 100% differs depending on months and if I go crazy shopping.

5. Did you get into student dorms? If no, where are you staying and how has it worked for you?
Yes,  I’m in a dorm.

6. Did you apply for any scholarships? If yes, which ones did you receive?
All exchange students in my school get 80 thousand a month and get their flight paid back.

7. Did you create a bank account or do you withdraw from ATMs?  If you withdraw from ATMs,  what would be your recommendation in terms of timing and amount? If you created a bank account, which bank did you go to?
Because I get a scholarship the school made me a bank account, but the 7eleven ATM are usually the only ATMs that I can take out money on my Icelandic cards. Usually 20 thousand can last me a long time but Fukuoka is rather cheap I feel … but also depending on what I’m doing.

8. Does your phone work in Japan or did you have to get a new one?
My phone works but I had to get a sim card in an electric store (best to go to electric stores rather than phone stores), which I can only use with Internet, but with line and Facebook and what not, but you can call through Wi-Fi so it is okay.

9. Have you had any funny/embarrassing language miscommunication?
Yes, that happens, the best one I can remember at the moment was when I had a presentation about Iceland for high school kids and I said Iceland was made of glacier and ice.

10. Did you apply for LÍN and advance payment from your bank? If yes, did you encounter any problems/do you have any tips?
Yes, my semester is kind of different from Iceland so I had to let Guðrún know so that she could let Lín know other than that it is okay.

11. Do you miss anything about Iceland?
A lot of stuff, fast food for one :Þ skin care products I know and make up remover. AND MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS, and my small cat.

12. What’s your most interesting/funny experience in Japan?
So many, the most embarrassing was I threw up in the train from too much alcohol … damn you nomuhodai !!!
Went to a public bathhouse and there was a old guy working and had to undress in front of him …
I’m a nature freak so going to Dazaifu was so amazing and pretty …

13. Did you buy travel insurance before you left for Japan? If yes, where from?
No, I got insurance through sjúkra which was free and I also have insurance through my school.

14. Did you bring medicine with you to Japan?
A little bit but not enough.

15. Is there anything you regret bringing with you?
No, maybe my big winter coat, only used it twice and that was in Korea.

16. Is there anything you wish you had brought with you?
Make up remover, skin care products, more tooth burses. Lakkrís reimar [black liquorice] to last me a life time.

17. What’s the weather like? Do you have any tips for keeping cool/warm?
Colder than I expected, just have good warm clothes buy the pocket heaters or what ever it is called and also the heating thing you glue to your clothes that is so good J (wish Iceland had that)

18. How are classes compared to those you took in Iceland, and is it heavier/easier?
Japanese classes are harder but the other classes are easier I think.

19. What’s your favourite Japanese food so far?
Shabu shabu!! And yaki niku.

20. What’s your most disliked Japanese food so far?
Tsukimono, or pickled food.

21. Are there any specific shops that you recommend?
Loft for stationary stuff and just a lot of stuff.
Kaitan sushi.
My favourite shabu shabu place but unfortunately can’t remember the name!

22. Do you have any tattoos? If yes, did you encounter any problems?
No.

23. Is there anything one must see or do in your location?
Go to dazaifu and see the tengangu shrine/temple there, it is so beautiful.
Also Miyajidake shrine is very pretty and the sunrise from top of the stairs that lead to the shrine is amazing. So walk up the stairs and watch the sunrise from the top stair!!
Go to a lot of yatai 🙂

24. Did you travel within Japan? Where did you go and how was your experience?
I went to Tokyo, Osaka, past through Kyoto and Nara, Nagasaki (planning to go to other places. Kagoshima, Kumamoto and so on… Every place is good and awesome in its own way but they are amazing and have all been so cool.

25. Do you have anything to add? なんでもいいです。
Don’t drink and train.

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Interview with Friðrik

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 18.48.09Name Friðrik Árni Tryggvason
School Seinan Gakuin University
Favourite place at school Cafeteria
Would you rather be able to fly or read minds? To read minds and I would fart as much as I can to see if people are thinking who farted.

Questions
1. Upon arrival, did you have to change any classes you chose? How did that go? 
Yes, I changed a few classes that the school offered. It was very easy and the school helps you with it. They give you two weeks to test out all the courses you might want to take and within those two weeks, you can change everything about your classes.

2. Did someone pick you up from the airport?
Yes, the school is so nice that they asked me if I wanted a pick-up service from the school. A lovely Seinan  Gakuin student picked me up and helped me get home.

3.How was your first week adapting?
It was very easy. We have a lot of super fun and great students. The international office is also ready to help you with anything if you have any problems. It was a little hard getting used to the heat in the beginning though.

4. How much are you paying a month for rent, food, transport and other necessities?31.000 Yen for rent that includes. Electricity, internet, water and heating. monthly I spend around 30-40.000 Yen on food. Transportation, I don’t really need since I have a bycicle, but I spend about 1.560 Yen on the subway. Other necessities such as laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, toothpaste and more is about 500 yen per month. Social events can go from 2.000 – 5.000 Yen per week or every other week.

5. Did you get into student dorms? If no, where are you staying and how has it worked for you?
Yes, I am in the International dorm that the school offers.

6. Did you apply for any scholarships? If yes, which ones did you receive?
No, I didn’t apply for any.

7. Did you create a bank account or do you withdraw from ATMs?  If you withdraw from ATMs,  what would be your recommendation in terms of timing and amount? If you created a bank account, which bank did you go to?
I usually just spend it on food. From time to time, I will buy a cheap manga or an anime figure. I have not created a bank account, so I always use the Seven eleven ATM. I usually withdraw somewhere between 20 to 50.000 Yen. The seven elevens here are almost always open no matter what time of the day so its easily accessible.

8. Does your phone work in Japan or did you have to get a new one?
My phone works in Japan and I often use it to connect to Wi-fi. I have not done it, but I should be able to buy a Japanese sim card and have 5 gigabytes monthly on internet where ever I am in Japan.

9. Have you had any funny/embarrassing language miscommunication?
Once, a friend who lived with me in the dorm and wanted to ask me if he could say 頭がいい (Atama Ga II) but he said おたまがいい(otama ga ii) which means my testicles are good.

10. Did you apply for LÍN and advance payment from your bank? If yes, did you encounter any problems/do you have any tips?
I applied for LÍN but I did not ask for advance payment. Once all my grades were in, I easily got the loan.

11. Do you miss anything about Iceland?
The food and friends. You might not think you need it, but I recommend taking seasoning or something that might remind you of home and tastes familiar to you.

12. What’s your most interesting/funny experience in Japan?
There are so many that it’s hard to count, like one time I was walking in the rain without an umbrella and this old 70 year old lady stands behind me and puts her umbrella over my head. But the funniest experience would have to be the doctors visit. At first it looks like your walking into a set for a 1980’s horror movie and you kind of have no idea what’s going on but a lot is happening at the same time. I told the doctor I had a problem with my ear because I couldn’t hear properly so he stuck a rod up my nose and out my ear. I will never forget the look on the nurse’s face when she saw the look on my face once I realized what the doctor had done.

13. Did you buy a travel insurance before you left for Japan? If yes, where from?
I bought tickets from Wow Air. I did not get travel insurance from them but then I also bought tickets from student air. Since I had to take 3 different airplanes with them, I thought it would be best to get insurance from them.

14. Did you bring medicine with you to Japan?
I brought my nasal spray if my nose gets stuffy and some tums in case I get heartburn.

15. Is there anything you regret bringing with you?
No, I brought everything I needed and I have put everything to use that I brought.

16. Is there anything you wish you would have brought with you?
Warmer jacket and more food seasoning. Most people in the dorm complain about not having brought more deodorant, tampons, scented shampoo and underwear.

17. What’s the weather like? Do you have any tips for keeping cool/warm?
When I first came, the weather was way too warm it was about 28°C in the pharmacies they sell wet towels that cool you down. Right now its a little bit cold its about 5°C and at one point it got below -5°C. I recommend bringing one nice warm jacket just in case and a nice warm sweater.

18. How are classes compared to those you took in Iceland, and is it heavier/easier?
Most common classes are easier here than they are at home, but Japanese classes and kanji are on a very similar level.

19. What’s your favourite Japanese food so far?
CHICKEN NANBAN チキン南蛮
Tonkotsu Ramen  豚骨 ラ-メん

20. What’s your most disliked Japanese food so far?
I don’t dislike a lot of the food, but there are other foods that I just don’t care for so much such as natto, tofu and miso soup.

21. Are there any specific shops that you recommend?
Book off, Hard off and mandarake.

22. Do you have any tattoos? If yes, did you encounter any problems?
No I don’t.

23. Is there anything one must see or do in your location?
My location is close to a lot of great places like the Fukuoka tower. It’s a 10 minute walk from my dorm. I recommend checking out other places such as Kumamoto, Beppu (Go to an onsen there) and nagasaki. We have one of the biggest or biggest buddha statues (Not sure if it is the biggest) close to us, and it’s very easy for me to meet up with other people such as the ones from Kyudai and Fukuoka Womens University. We have a lot of great restaurants and my area is known for their Tonkotsu ramen, so if you ever go to our area, you have to try the ramen it’s delicious. We also have themed restaurants such as locked up close to us and owl/cat cafe.

24. Did you travel within Japan? Where did you go and how was your experience?
Yes, our school offered us a trip to Kyoto and they paid a lot of the expenses and we got to stay at a 4 star hotel and we had the time of our lives. From Kyoto, me and a small group of people went over to Nara and saw the Deer there. My friends in the school are also great at planning trips and we have gone to places such as Beppu, Yanagawa, Saga, Kumamoto, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Sapporo(Hokkaido) and we are now planning a trip to Osaka and Okinawa. We also checked alot of festivals close to us and have gone to places such as Daizaifu.

25. Do you have anything to add? なんでもいいです
When you start your school year abroad, don’t be afraid to meet new people and talk to them. The people I have met here on my journey and the places I have been will forever be in my memory, and tha’ts irreplacable. I have had so much fun since I came here. So just remember advice that I got from my aunt Ingileif “There may always be arguments, but don’t let that get in the way of both of you having a fun time”. So go out, meet people, and enjoy every moment. Try and go for a walk and see new things, don’t take naps and improve your Japanese a lot.

Interview with Snorri

Name Snorri Birkir Snorrason
School Kyushu University
Favorite place at school 食堂
Would you rather be able to fly or read minds? Fly

Questions
1. Upon arrival, did you have to change any classes you chose? How did that go?
Had to change some, also had to take placement tests for Japanese courses, was no problem.

2. Did someone pick you up from the airport?
Nobody from my school, though if you come during certain days there is a shuttle bus from Fukuoka airport to the dormitory.

3. How was your first week adapting?
Great, too warm for my taste.

4. How much are you paying a month for rent, food, transport and other necessities?
Rent with internet is 26000 yen, transport is more expensive in Fukuoka than other cities, but food is cheap and good. You can control how much you spend, depends on you.

5. Did you get into student dorms? If no, where are you staying and how has it worked for you?
Have not heard about a case where a student cannot enter the dorm in my university, it’s good for me but fellow students complain about the size.

6. Did you apply for any scholarships? If yes, which ones did you receive?
Got JASSO, every student in JTW program get Jasso, the only case you don’t get one, is when you receive Watanabe.

7. Did you create a bank account or do you withdraw from ATMs?  If you withdraw from ATMs, what would be your recommendation in terms of timing and amount? If you created a bank account, which bank did you go to?
I try to use cash, because I have JASSO I had to create a bank account, the Jasso goes onto that account, which is nice. My bank was 福岡銀行 the other one is 西日本銀行 I do reccomend both if you are in Kyushu, cause you can use ATMs in stores that have E-net ATM, does not cost extra.

8. Does your phone work in Japan or did you have to get a new one?
I have a SIM card contract, got it in Yodabashi camera, cheap there.

9. Have you had any funny/embarrassing language miscommunication?
[no comment].

10. Did you apply for LÍN and advance payment from your bank? If yes, did you encounter any problems/do you have any tips?
No.

11. Do you miss anything about Iceland?
Pizza, candy and ice cream.

12. What’s your most interesting/funny experience in Japan?
Yakiniku tabehoudai.

13. Did you buy a travel insurance before you left for Japan? If yes, where from?
Yes, don’t remember.

14. Did you bring medicine with you to Japan?
Yes.

15. Is there anything you regret bringing with you?
Not really.

16. Is there anything you wish you would have brought with you?
No.

17. What’s the weather like? Do you have any tips for keeping cool/warm?
Winter is cold, real cold, houses are not warm.

18. How are classes compared to those you took in Iceland, and is it heavier/easier?
Japanese classes are more consistent and more homework, but nothing too much. None Japanese are similar.

19. What’s your favourite Japanese food so far?
Yakiniku.

20. What’s your most disliked Japanese food so far?
Horumon, cow’s guts.

21. Are there any specific shops that you recommend?
Izakaya for drinking and eating, as much as you like for two hours.

22. Do you have any tattoos? If yes, did you encounter any problems?
No tattoos, have been with other people in onsen who have tattoos, not a big of a deal.

23. Is there anything one must see or do in your location?
Fukuoka is not famous for its sightseeing, but rather its food. Dazaifu is a good place though.

24. Did you travel within Japan? Where did you go and how was your experience?
Went to Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo, plan on going on more trips, it was really nice, but made me realize how great Fukuoka is, Tokyo is way too big, Osaka and Kyoto also.

25. Do you have anything to add? なんでもいいです。
[no comment].

 

Interview with Kolbrún

Picture1
Name
Kolbrún Arna Björnsdóttir
School Iwate University
Favourite place at school The caféteria
Would you rather be able to fly or read minds? If I could fly, you wouldn‘t have to pay for the flight to Japan 🙂

Questions
1. Upon arrival, did you have to change any classes you chose? How did that go?
I had to change my classes because the classes I chose before going to Japan were just for the University of Iceland to have on record. It went very well, it was easy to understand and we had lectures that were in Japanese, Chinese and English, so all international students would be able to understand everything.

2. Did someone pick you up from the airport?
I travelled around Japan before the school started so no. As Morioka does not have an airport (the closest international one is in Sendai) there is no pick-up service at airports but someone can get you at the train station.

3. How was your first week adapting?
I adapted very quickly, thanks to the tutor the school provided me with, and the lectures the school held for international students.

4. How much are you paying a month for rent, food, transport and other necessities?
The rent here is very cheap, around 9000 yen. Then you have to pay water, electricity and gas but the bill for the rent plus all of these never goes above 15000 yen, which is very good for people that don‘t have a lot of money. Food in Japan is very cheap and you can easily have a low food budget while still eating well. Even restaurants here and the caféteria at the school grounds are  very cheap. I don‘t use transportation that much as everything I need is with in walking distance and if it isn‘t I use my bike. Morioka isn‘t that big so it doesn‘t have trains but instead has buses. They aren‘t very expensive if you‘re not going to be on for long, but they charge based on how many stops you pass.

5. Did you get into student dorms? If no, where are you staying and how has it worked for you?
Yes, I‘m staying in the International House on Iwate University campus. It‘s within 5 minutes walk away from where most of the classes take place (good for students that are always last minute;)). The dorm is nice but it has it‘s flaws since the building is quite old. For example the only heater we have is a gas heater that is very expensive to use. If you decide to come here I recommend you buy an electric heater for 5000 yen. It will save you a lot of money.

6. Did you apply for any scholarships? If yes, which ones did you receive?
I applied for 2 scholarships and recieved both of them. The first one is the Jasso scholarship that gives you 80.000 yen per month, and the other one is the Sasakawa scholarship that gave me in total around 317.000 yen.

7. Did you create a bank account or do you withdraw from ATMs?  If you withdraw from ATMs,  what would be your recommendation in terms of timing and amount? If you created a bank account, which bank did you go to?
Within a week of my arrival at the university my tutor took me to make a bank account at JP bank, as it is neccesary to pay your bills and to receive your scholarship. When doing that you get a bank book and a bank card that you can use to withdraw money. As for withdrawing from your creditcard from an ATM I recommend you refrain from doing it too often and if you have to withdraw a lot at a time. The reason is that since you‘re withdrawing in a foreign country, the banks back at home will charge you around 700-1000 krónur for each withdrawal.

8. Does your phone work in Japan or did you have to get a new one?
Well, in some ways it works and in some ways it doesn‘t. I can not call anyone inside or outside the country but I can text. I can also use the internet, which is the most important thing for every young adult J If however you want to be able to call you will most likely have to buy a new phone and get a contract with a phone company for either half a year or a year. A cheap way to get around this is to buy a second hand phone. They are usually very cheap and in very good condition.

9. Have you had any funny/embarrassing language miscommunication?
Not that I can recall.

10. Did you apply for LÍN and advance payment from your bank? If yes, did you encounter any problems/do you have any tips?
No.

11. Do you miss anything about Iceland?
Icelandic milk. All milk in Japan tastes like cream and is way to fatty for my taste and impossible to drink straight. They also aren‘t very good at making good cakes, which is a shame.

12. What’s your most interesting/funny experience in Japan?
Probably that one time that I went to a mountain town and was out walking with some friends when the heaviest rain I have ever experienced started poring and withing a minute all of our clothes were soaked and the street was like a river. Could just as much have jumped into a lake.
Also I accidentally signed up for an advanced Japanese culture and history class, tought in Japanese. Stayed in it the whole semester and took the final. So hard and I asked myself so many times how I could have been that stupid but I passed and afterwards I think it‘s just kind of funny 🙂

13. Did you buy a travel insurance before you left for Japan? If yes, where from?
I got insurance from my credit card.

14. Did you bring medicine with you to Japan?
Just headache medicine.

15. Is there anything you regret bringing with you?
No, I don‘t think so.

16. Is there anything you wish you would have brought with you?
Icelandic chocolate. It‘s just so much better than Japanese chocolate.

17. What’s the weather like? Do you have any tips for keeping cool/warm?
Iwate University is in Morioka city in Iwate prefecture, which is in northern Japan. From mid November and through February it can snow and get really cold. However this winter was unusually warm so we almost never had any snow and it wasn‘t that cold. Tips to keep warm is to buy an electric heater (costs about 5000 yen) instead of using the gas heater provided in your dorm room as the gas is expensive and the gas heater doesn‘t work all that well. Otherwise just dress well when you go outside.

18. How are classes compared to those you took in Iceland, and is it heavier/easier?
Over all I don‘t think anything has been that hard, except from the advanced class I took. There is however much more homework here than there is back in Iceland.

19. What’s your favourite Japanese food so far?
I‘d have to say curry.

20. What’s your most disliked Japanese food so far?
Tsukemono (pickled vegetables).

21. Are there any specific shops that you recommend?
Daiso, a 100 yen shop that sells everything you need for your dorm room. Don Quijote, a store that sells literally everything on a pretty good price. All the stores at the station. There are so many and you can find everything there. Also a fun place to walk around.

22. Do you have any tattoos? If yes, did you encounter any problems?
No.

23. Is there anything one must see or do in your location?
There is a daibutsu (a large statue of buddah) here in Morioka. There are also many cool and big shrines in the city that are fun to visit as well as the ruins of Morioka castle.

24. Did you travel within Japan? Where did you go and how was your experience?
I‘ve travelled to quite many places. I stayed in Tokyo for a while and I can tell you that the subway isn‘t as scary as people say it is. It‘s relatively easy to understand if you know where you‘re going. Also so many things to see and do. I also went to Nikko, a small town north of Tokyo that has many World Heritage sites, and the grave of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo period. Sendai is a very nice place to visit, many things to see and it‘s cheap and easy to get there from Morioka.
We went to Appi Kogen for a skii trip and it‘s a nice little mountain town with a skii reserve and we spent 2 days there skiiing. It was very nice.
I spent christmas in an onsen at Hanamaki, and I recommend it, it was very nice.
I‘ve also been to 3 costal towns that were heavily damaged by the 2011 tsunami. Miyako, Yamada and Rikuzentakata. It was a very interesting and an informing experience. For example almost the whole city of Rikuzentakata was gone. When I went there, there were just dirt fields as far as the eye could see (couldn‘t even see the ocean) where before there was a town. It was devastating to see but the towns people are working so hard on rebuilding their city. It‘s so inspirational.
Study hard and if you decided to go as an exchange student to Japan in the future have as much fun as you can, because the time runs so fast once you‘re here. Also don‘t be scared by the application process, it‘s much easier than you think.

 

Interview with Ester

12373172_10153401971371347_2982715592671917666_nName Ester Sif Kvaran
School Osaka Gakuin
Favourite place at school The bakery on school campus
Would you rather be able to fly or read minds? Fly

Questions
1. Upon arrival, did you have to change any classes you chose? How did that go?
Yes, I had to change some classes and it went well.

2. Did someone pick you up from the airport?
Yes, they were from my school.

3. How was your first week adapting?
It was a bit difficult but I thought it was going to be more difficult

4. How much are you paying a month for rent, food, transport and other necessities?
I pay 42.000 for rent every month but other costs can differ if I travel a lot and if I go out to eat.

5. Did you get into student dorms? If no, where are you staying and how has it worked for you?
I am staying at an apartment and I love it.

6. Did you apply for any scholarships? If yes, which ones did you receive?
Yes, I applied for the Sasakawa scholarship and I got that one.

7. Did you create a bank account or do you withdraw from ATMs?  If you withdraw from ATMs,  what would be your recommendation in terms of timing and amount? If you created a bank account, which bank did you go to?
I withdraw from ATMs I don’t have a Japanese bank account.

8. Does your phone work in Japan or did you have to get a new one?
Yes, it works here in Japan I just got a new sim card and it works fine.

9. Have you had any funny/embarrassing language miscommunication?
Not that I can think of.

10. Did you apply for LÍN and advance payment from your bank? If yes, did you encounter any problems/do you have any tips?
Yes, and it was very simple and no problems.

11. Do you miss anything about Iceland?
Family, boyfriend, friends, pets, the water, fast food, toothbrushes.

12. What’s your most interesting/funny experience in Japan?
I was sitting on the train once and it was packed and there was a guy standing in front of me and the train suddenly stopped and I got his crotch in my face

13. Did you buy a travel insurance before you left for Japan? If yes, where from?
No I got it free through the school.

14. Did you bring medicine with you to Japan?
Yes.

15. Is there anything you regret bringing with you?
No.

16. Is there anything you wish you would have brought with you?
More wool clothes.

17. What’s the weather like? Do you have any tips for keeping cool/warm?
It is really cold during winter and the houses are really cold, have enough of wool clothes.

18. How are classes compared to those you took in Iceland, and is it heavier/easier?
They are similar they go over things here a bit faster then at home.

19. What’s your favourite Japanese food so far?
Nabe and yakiniku are my favorite.

20. What’s your most disliked Japanese food so far?
I think miso soup is one of my disliked Japanese foods so far.

21. Are there any specific shops that you recommend?
I love the hyaku en shops and Loft they have everything

22. Do you have any tattoos? If yes, did you encounter any problems?
Not a lot but there are a lot of onsen I can’t go to and public baths.

23. Is there anything one must see or do in your location?
Universal Studio, Aquarium, Osaka castle, the owl café

24. Did you travel within Japan? Where did you go and how was your experience?
Yes, I have been to Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Hokkaido, Hiroshima and Miyajima I loved all the places but I have to say that Hiroshima was my favorite.

25. Do you have anything to add? なんでもいいです。
[no comment].

 

Interview with Eggert

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Name
Eggert Örn Sigurðsson
School Kyushu University
Favourite place at school Cafeteria
Would you rather be able to fly or read minds? Read minds

Questions
1. Upon arrival, did you have to change any classes you chose? How did that go?
I did not have to change any classes but I did, it went just fine, there was plenty of room in all classes.

2. Did someone pick you up from the airport?
No, I arrived a week earlier, but everyone had the option of using a shuttle bus service to get to campus from the airport.

3. How was your first week adapting?
My first week was spent alone in a hotel. I was a bit scared to go out to restaurants or bars or exploring because I was scared I would get into trouble or get lost or something, so I mostly stayed at my hotel and ate food from the convenience store. However, once I moved into my dorm and met all of these people in the same situation as me, it became a lot easier to learn how to navigate Japan.

4. How much are you paying a month for rent, food, transport and other necessities?
Hard to say, maybe 100.000-120.000 yen, but you can get away with a lot less.

5. Did you get into student dorms? If no, where are you staying and how has it worked for you?
Yes, I did, everyone in my program got in.

6. Did you apply for any scholarships? If yes, which ones did you receive?
I applied for the Watanabe scholarship at the University of Iceland and received it. At the JTW program in Kyushu University we were informed that we were all going to receive the JASSO scholarship but I had to decline because I was not allowed to have both scholarships.

7. Did you create a bank account or do you withdraw from ATMs?  If you withdraw from ATMs,  what would be your recommendation in terms of timing and amount? If you created a bank account, which bank did you go to?
I did create a bank account with Fukuoka Bank. Everyone was required to do so in order to receive their JASSO scholarship payments, but as I am not receiving JASSO then I have not used my bank account much. I only use it to pay my rent bills, but besides that I just withdraw 50.000 yen from the ATMs whenever I need money (it is from my debit card). I think it would probably be better if I was just wiring money from Iceland in to my Japanese bank account because the ATMs have some fees, I am not sure though.

8. Does your phone work in Japan or did you have to get a new one?
I personally did not get a Japanese phone number so I do not know if it would work or not. I know many people had to get a new one because theirs was not compatible with Japanese SIM cards. I currently just use the Wi-Fi on my phone and use Skype if I need to make a phone call. This can be slightly problematic though if you are trying to navigate around the city without Internet to help you find your way, so I do recommend getting Internet service but I have been doing fine without it.

9. Have you had any funny/embarrassing language miscommunication?
Probably lots but I don’t remember any right now 🙂

10. Did you apply for LÍN and advance payment from your bank? If yes, did you encounter any problems/do you have any tips?
I did apply for LÍN, but not advance payment. My first semester did not end until February so LÍN could not see my grades to send me the payment. I had to contact my University to get them to send some type of exemption to LÍN so that I could receive the payment. I had to send them proof of enrollment in Kyushu University to get them to complete the exemption.

11. Do you miss anything about Iceland?
Oh, so many things. Food-wise the big thing was that I find the Japanese milk completely undrinkable. You also can not find many food brands that you know in Japan, except for like Snickers, Kit Kat, Pepsi and Coca Cola. So I missed a lot of Icelandic/Western food but there are also lots of Japanese food that I will miss when I go back home (Ramen).  Culture wise I just miss how laid back everyone is in Iceland with the “Þetta reddast” attitude. Everything feels very strict and tense here sometimes but you do get used to it, and it can be a good thing as well.
“Þetta reddast”: [translation: It’ll sort itself out]

12. What’s your most interesting/funny experience in Japan?
There are so many but I had lots of fun on Halloween. The Japanese people take it very seriously and it was so much fun walking around downtown and seeing all the costumes. There were so many. My favorite moment was when my tall German friend was attacked by a horde of Japanese girls dressed as bloody zombie nurses. They started making weird noises and then ran after him and caught him so they could take a bunch of pictures with him.

13. Did you buy a travel insurance before you left for Japan? If yes, where from?
I did not buy travel insurance no.

14. Did you bring medicine with you to Japan?
No

15. Is there anything you regret bringing with you?
Nothing I can think of.

16. Is there anything you wish you would have brought with you?
I think deodorant is the big one. Even though they have some available here they’ve all been really bad so far. And I haven’t been able to find any Antiperspirant (spray).

17. What’s the weather like? Do you have any tips for keeping cool/warm?
The Weather in Fukuoka has been quite cold recently. It was warm in my first few weeks but then Winter hit. It is not as cold as Iceland but the problem is that my room does not have heating like in Iceland. My only option for heating is the Air Conditioning which makes the air very dry and also raises my electric bill. Therefore I’ve been rather cold, choosing to stay warm with blankets and clothing rather than the Air conditioning. I know some people who just run their AC all the time though, some think it is worth the money. I also know people in other schools that do not need to pay for their electricity separately so I guess it would be less of a problem for those people.

18. How are classes compared to those you took in Iceland, and is it heavier/easier?
Currently I have half my classes as Japanese language classes, taught by Japanese people and then the other half is JTW courses, aimed at exchange students. The language courses are intensive, with a lot of homework, and are definitely more demanding than our courses back home. They are also way more strict, a small amount of absences will result in you failing the class. Being sick is not an excuse unless it’s the Flu, and then you will need a note from the doctor to prove it is the Flu.
The JTW courses that I have taken so far have not been all that challenging in comparison and I would probably say they are similar to our culture classes back home, perhaps slightly easier.

19. What’s your favourite Japanese food so far?
Ramen is my all time favourite. Tonkotsu Ramen to be exact, it is one of the specialties of the Kyushu region.

20. What’s your most disliked Japanese food so far?
I am not very fond of the squid 😛

21. Are there any specific shops that you recommend?
I recommend going to a Book-Off. They are shops that sell secondhand items. You can find anything from books, Manga, toys, computer games, clothes, wallets, etc. pretty much anything you can think of. I bought myself a cheap secondhand guitar there and it’s great. I’ve also bough lots of computer games for the common room in there, it is my favorite shop to look around in. They can be found pretty much anywhere in Japan I believe.
22. Do you have any tattoos? If yes, did you encounter any problems?
I don’t have tattoos.

23. Is there anything one must see or do in your location?
In the Kyushu region I recommend going to the Dazaifu shrine, going to the Onsen and Nagasaki was also very fun. I just recommend you take any chance you get to look around, there will be plenty of opportunities to go on trips and such.

24. Did you travel within Japan? Where did you go and how was your experience?Unfortunately I still have not traveled outside of the Kyushu region. There is plenty of things to see within the Kyushu region though, but I really want to go to Kansai / Tokyo / Hokkaido. I have been to places like Nagasaki, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, the Aso volcano and many others. Had lots of fun and great experiences. I definitely recommend trying to go to festivals when you have the opportunity, they are lots of fun.

25. Do you have anything to add? なんでもいいです。
Coming to Japan can be very scary at first but you will probably be surrounded by people in similar circumstances so I just recommend making friends and not being afraid to go outside your comfort zone and trying new things. Navigating Japan can be very difficult if you do not speak very good Japanese as it is very hard to communicate with them in English most of the time. All I can say is work hard at learning Japanese and don’t be afraid to speak it even if you’re still not very good or are making mistakes, the only way to improve is to try. And for those times when you can’t do it on your own, don’t be afraid to seek help from your friends, they are your greatest resource.

Interview with Áróra

Picture1Name Áróra
School Kwansei Gakuin (Kangaku)
Favourite place at schoolGlobal Lounge,where all the most awesome people hang out;)
Would you rather be able to fly or read minds? Fly, for sure!

Questions
1. Upon arrival, did you have to change any classes you chose? How did that go?
Some of the classes offered weren’t the same as thise I found online, plus Kangaku needed me to officially sign up for the classes so I changed many of them. It was no problem at all, I just emailed Gunnella with the class names and credit amount, got a green light from her and signed up for the classes 🙂

2. Did someone pick you up from the airport?
I arrived 2 weeks before school in Tokyo rather than Osaka (cuz travel) so no, but those who arrived on the right day were picked up by someone from the school.

3. How was your first week adapting?
It was all a bit scary at first, moving into a new place in a new country where I didn’t know anybody, but since everyone of the other ryugakusei (exchange students) felt the same way I quickly made friends. School orientation also kept me busy for the first week.

4. How much are you paying a month for rent, food, transport and other necessities?
I pay for my dorm in bulk, 1 semester at a time, but I think the rent is roughly 30.000yen a month. My electricity bill varies on how much I use the heater (if not much 150yen, if a lot 700yen). I got lucky with my dorm location as it is right next to school (less than 5 minutes walking, whoop whoop!) so the transport fees are low for me, probably around 3000yen a month. Other stuff… I’m pretty sure I spend about 30.000yen or so on food, snacks, laundry, showers (my dorm is one of the few where you have to pay for showers x.x) and whatever else I want, not counting random shopping spree money 😉

5. Did you get into student dorms? If no, where are you staying and how has it worked for you?
Yup, I live in a dorm!

6. Did you apply for any scholarships? If yes, which ones did you receive?
Nope.

7. Did you create a bank account or do you withdraw from ATMs?  If you withdraw from ATMs,  what would be your recommendation in terms of timing and amount? If you created a bank account, which bank did you go to?
Kangaku requires all students to make a Japanese bank account and they help us with making one but since it’s troublesome to transfer money there (I don’t even know which bank it is, to be honest, and the school office is literally no help with anything besides making the account) I just use ATMs and my Icelandic bank account. I always use an ATM at 7-11 or a post office since those accept all cards and offer an English option (and 7-11 is open 24/7 if you suddenly find yourself in need of money) and I normally take out 30.000 yen at a time. That amount 1-2 times a month is generally enough for me, although of course it depends on what I’m doing (traveling costs more, etc).

8. Does your phone work in Japan or did you have to get a new one?
My phone worked fine but I got a Japanese sim card since using it here would cost a fortune. I went for a sim card that only has internet since you can call/message people through LINE and most regular Japanese sim cards require a 2 year contract. I pay about 1500yen a month for 2GB which I find is plenty.

9. Have you had any funny/embarrassing language miscommunication?
Weirdly enough, no. My friend did manage to accidentally say だいてinstead of だいたい once though… does not mean the same thing at all xD

10. Did you apply for LÍN and advance payment from your bank? If yes, did you encounter any problems/do you have any tips?
Nope, got none of that.

11. Do you miss anything about Iceland?
Of course! I miss free and delicious water, I miss snow, I miss houses that aren’t colder on the inside than the outside temperature (seriously Japan why do you not insulate your houses properly?), I miss spicy food, I miss liquorice, I miss my cats… I could go on for a while.

12. What’s your most interesting/funny experience in Japan?
My trip to Tokyo, for sure. It’s a really long story but let’s just say it started with “Shasshin Time”, became “Homeless in Tokyo” and ended in “Korea Town.” You can read all about it on my rarely updated travel blog、http://avikinginjapan.tumblr.com/
(not all the parts are there yet but they’ll come)

13. Did you buy a travel insurance before you left for Japan? If yes, where from?
I don’t remember buying any specific insurance, although I bought my plane ticket with a credit card that gives you automatic travel insurance.

14. Did you bring medicine with you to Japan?
I brought a box of loretine and a small jar of ibuprofine. No problems encountered.

15. Is there anything you regret bringing with you?
No. I was a bit worried about bringing too many clothes but now I’m glad I brought a lot since you really need both summer and winter clothes and having enough clothes means I have a smaller urge to go shopping for new ones.

16. Is there anything you wish you would have brought with you?
More liquorice. I got informed by friends beforehand what would be troublesome to get though so I for example brought 2 giant tubes of toothpaste and 4 cans of deodorant (and yes, I am very very glad I brought those things).

17. What’s the weather like? Do you have any tips for keeping cool/warm?
Summer = crazy hot, winter = crazy cold (In Kansai, at least).For summer, just keep your windows open a lot and always have water/some sort of liquid on you. For winter, keeping your curtains closed helps keep the warmth inside and if you are like me and need to pay a lot for using your heater I recommend many warm blankets and full on Icelandic warm clothes (wool socks to sleep in save my poor toes from freezing, for real).

18. How are classes compared to those you took in Iceland, and is it heavier/easier?
The non-Japanese classes vary between classes but mostly they are similar to back home. In Kangaku you choose between a regular or an intensive track for your Japanese classes and since I’m regular I feel like the Japanese classes themselves are a lot easier than back home and honestly don’t teach me all that much (I’m learning plenty from other classes/speaking with Japanese friends though) but my friends in intensive have a lot of homework all the time and seem to be learning more (they have fewer non-Japanese classes though). Depends on which course you take I suppose.

19. What’s your favourite Japanese food so far?
Okonomiyaki is the bomb!

20. What’s your most disliked Japanese food so far?
I’m not overly fond of gyoza.

21. Are there any specific shops that you recommend?
Book Off is the best place for cheap books/manga and they even have used DS’s and games for cheap.

22. Do you have any tattoos? If yes, did you encounter any problems?
I don’t have any.

23. Is there anything one must see or do in your location?
If anyone is in my specific area (between Osaka and Kobe) I would recommend looking at my campus (Kangaku is literally one of the prettiest schools in Japan). Some people might also enjoy the fact that the author of Suzumiya Haruhi went to my school and that whole story takes place in Nishinomiya (where I live) so you can find some places that are directly from the story around here.
The mountain behind Kangaku is also a rather nice, easy hike and there’s a pretty park there, a cute temple and a beautiful view of everything from here to Osaka.
Next town over is Takarazuka where the Takarazuka Revue all female kabuki group is from and their theater is pretty impressive. Takarazuka also has the Osamu Tesuka museum, which is a cool place if you’re into anime/manga.
Lastly, there’s a small city named Mino relatively close which has a festival called Tengu Matsuri in early October and I seriously recommend this to everyone who can go. It’s a crazy experience and something you can only get here.

24. Did you travel within Japan? Where did you go and how was your experience?
I’ve traveled a lot within Kansai and also been up to Tokyo. Everything has been pretty great so far, there’s so much stuff to see and do everywhere and even when things go wrong they just make for great stories later J

25. Do you have anything to add? なんでもいいです。
[no comment].

Annual Party – Árshátíð

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facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/949138668489567/

こんにちは、ヽ(・∀・)ノ the Annual Party is on the 4th of March and we are now accepting payments until 12:00(noon) on the 1st of March(tuesday). We wont accept any payments during the Annual Party.

Everyone is allowed to bring one guest, so if you want to bring a friend or a special someone with you to enjoy the celebration with us, please feel free to do so. Guests pay the same price as non Banzai members.

There will be gourmet Chinese food, dessert, some booze but you are welcome to bring your own, especially if you want to get tipsy.

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Admission
For Banzai members: 3800 kr.
Non Banzai members: 4300 kr.

Account details
0137-26-004620
kt. 681004-4240

To Japanese exchange students who do not have an Icelandic bank account, pair with someone who has an account and get them to transfer the money for you, お願いします。٩(◕‿◕)۶