Monday, February 28, 2011

Why you shouldn't get your art design degree in Japan

My students admired me to have a chance to study in Japan and I used to have this dream of coming here to pursue an education in comics and animation. But after actually attending the Japanese language school here, I now know that dream and reality is totally different.


-為何不該來日本修美術設計-
我的學生之前都很羨慕我有機會來日本唸書。我從青少年時代也很嚮往來日唸動漫的課程。不過在這裡上完一年的日語課程以後,發現夢想和現實是完全不同的。
(中文版在下)



Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rental nightmare in Tokyo 東京的恐怖房租經驗

Passing JLPT level 1 was not difficult. Passing my MBA entrance examination was also not a problem. But renting an ideal apartment in Japan, which fits your budget and requirements is a huge big problem, especially if you're a gaijin (foreigner)!
日語能力考試一級合格並不困難。MBA入學考試也沒問題。但是要在日本租到合適,又在預算之內的理想房子,卻是一件非常非常大的問題!特別是對於外國人簡直是困難$$$重重。

Everything here costs money, money, and more money$$$

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

JLPT level 1 Results 日本語能力試驗一級成績

Finally after 8 years since my last failed attempt to pass level 1, I managed to pass it without much problem :P It seems that as long as you don't get any grade C in any of the sections, plus your score is above 100/180, you'll get to pass! This makes the percentage passing score at just 55.5%, compared with the previous old 60% benchmark. Sayonara JLPT1!

沒想到我一級不合格的8年後,居然可以通過新格式的一級合格!原來只要不要在任何項目拿到C級,再加上總分在100/180以上的話,就能過關!所以新合格率只需55.5%,比以前的60%來得輕鬆。再見啦一級!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Snow can't do us apart 連雪也抵擋不住的熱情

Tokyo today was freezing cold as it snowed for the whole day for the first time this year. I was gazing outside my window to rest my eyes and admire the snow (because there's no where else interesting to look at in my tiny 9sqm room), when I spotted these 2 cute parrot lovebirds on the tree in front of my veranda. Aww, I thought, one pair. Were they hiding out from the snow? But the withered tree provided no shelter... or were they dating?
今天東京第一次下了整天的白雪。我為了讓眼睛休息,眺望了一下窗外的雪景。突然看見2隻可愛的愛情鳥在陽台前的大樹上休息。我心想是不是在避雪啊?但是枯樹沒什麼用啊。還是它們在拍拖?

Then I got my shocking answer:
然後我得到了驚人的答案:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chinese New Year in Yokohama 橫濱新年

First day of Chinese New Year at Yokohama Chinatown wasn't as crowded as I'd thought. The area was brightly lit with chinois decorations and dotted with restaurants offering buffet.
橫濱的唐人街在新年的初一時並沒想像中的那麼擁擠。到處都有濃濃的中華燈飾,街邊也有很多吃到飽的餐廳。

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

Why many artists are still poor 為什麼藝術家還是窮的

Well, because I am the only artist in residence, I was asked by an office lady to help her with some simple drawings for her friend's wedding. I agreed without hesitation, because it is an artist's joy that someone requests an artwork from you. So I spent over an hour and whipped out some drawings over the night despite my busy schedule.

I thought that this job would be out of goodwill because I'd received some help from the office, e.g. to fix crappy things in the dorm. To my surprise, she seemed extremely satisfied and offered me an "orei" (gift) in return on Monday. I didn't expect it, but I was sure happy. But unfortunately, the gift never came. Maybe she didn't like them after all? I don't know. But this reminded me that this is exactly why many artists are still poor, because we draw for free and didn't know how to market or negotiate a deal for ourselves.

This also brings about the same old problem of many Singapore companies that want free artwork for their promotion materials, bargaining with artists that their names will be credited with the artwork, hence helping us to promote ourselves. Well, that's nice, but what do they expect the artists to eat for a living? only AIR!? Even HDB's air (government housing with 99year lease) commands a lot of money. In short, it's time to stop doing artwork for free, even if you must accept, make sure the other party at least treat you with some chocolates!

因為我是唯一在府畫家,所以事務所的一名OL就請我幫她的朋友的婚禮畫幾張圖。因為畫家的才藝被欣賞是一件蠻開心的事,所以我毫無猶豫就答應了。百忙之中抽了超過一小時來畫她的畫。

由於事務所常常幫忙修爛宿舍,所以我覺得出自好意,免費幫忙畫就好了。但是意外地,她似乎很滿意作品,並答應禮拜一會回禮。沒想到會有報酬的我,心中暗爽了一下。不過很可惜的是,她似乎忘了這回事,回禮根本就沒下文。可能她其實不喜歡我的畫呢?這理由不明。所以為什麼很多畫家還是很窮的呢?是因為我們不會促銷自己或替自己爭取合理的合同。

這也讓我想起了很多新加坡公司,為了可以在他們的促銷材料上使用免費的圖案,就和畫家們理論說因為促銷廣告上會印上畫家的名字,所以這也是在替我們做促銷。喔~好好喔~。但是他們覺得畫家是吃什麼過活的啊?難道只吃空氣就行了嗎!?就連我們政府房屋的空氣(99年地契)也是很貴的!所以讓我們停止替別人免費畫畫吧!至少接受之前也要對方請你吃巧克力才接受!

Kyushu 8: Mt. Unzen Disaster Memorial Hall 雲仙災難館

I was thinking of skipping this review, but I thought the museum's effort to raise awareness about volcanic eruption was rather well done. This small theater show made use of anime and puppet to narrate about what happened 200 years ago, called the "Shimabara Disaster". I was grateful that they had English guides :)
本來不要寫這篇的,但是因為我欣賞災難館為了提高大家對火山災害的意識,所以還是寫了。這小小的劇場使用了動畫和木偶來講述200年前,稱"島原大災害" 的故事。我很感謝他們有英文說明器 :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kyushu 7: Dejima 出島

Dejima, located in Nagasaki, was a man-made small island completed in 1636. The purpose was for Japanese to conduct trade with Portugals, but it was soon isolated due to rebellion to lift the  Christianity ban. It later became a major trading port between Netherlands and Japan. However, the island's surrounding was later reclaimed and thus the whole area had to be rebuilt to restore its previous glory.
位於長崎的出島是建於1636年的一座全人工小島。目的就是為了促進日本和葡萄牙之間的貿易,但是因為基督教禁令,所以完成沒多久就被隔離了。之後,變成了荷蘭和日本之間的主要貿易港口。可是現在的出島周圍已被填海,所以政府得重新重建。

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gotemba Premium Outlet Bargain Sale 2011

This was my 3rd time to the Gotemba Premium Outlet for the bargain sale. My shopping friend was down with Influenza type A, now a rampage in Japan and Singapore, so I took the Premium Outlet Odakyu coach outside Shinjuku station that took me directly to the holy ground.

Thankfully with no red leaves, the journey was much smoother than the previous trip and shorter than 90mins. A magnificent view of Mt. Fuji can be seen from far, even with a clear view of its foothill.

WARNING: Lots of shopping blabbering ahead.

這是我第三次去御馬場outlet!為了就是正在舉行的冬季清貨大減價。我的朋友因為染上了在日本和新加坡肆虐的A型流感,所以我只好自己座小田急高速快車,直接從新宿到outlet。

幸好這次沒有紅葉,所以路途比上次的順暢,路程也少過90分鐘。從遠方可以眺望到美麗的富士山,連山底也能看得清清楚楚。

警告:繼續閱讀會有很多購物的閒聊。

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