A Little Respite

It's coming soon

It’s coming soon

I feel like I can take a little bit of a breather now as I’m composing this blog entry. I’ve had assignments due on the 9th, 16th and 23rd of this month. Actually, I’m supposed to hearing about the first assignment soon. I’m always a bit nervous just before learning my marks but I know I put a lot of work into my papers this month and hopefully that will result in good marks.

Meeting up with Seb was the only abnormal thing that happened on my birthday

Meeting up with Seb was the only abnormal thing that happened on my birthday

Anyway, the most exciting thing that should have happened this week was that I turned 33 🙂 My birthday was on Thursday, December 19 and I had some expectations that the day would be fun. Although some of my coursemates had left Leeds to go home for Christmas (as well as other people I wanted to hang out with to celebrate my birthday), I had expectations that my birthday would be a lot of fun.

But for one reason or another, I met up with almost nobody. Just about all of my coursemates who hadn’t left Leeds were busy that night and now that I think of it, I totally wasn’t in the mood to go out that night. Pretty much, the only out-of-the ordinary thing that happened on my birthday was that I met with Seb, a dude in my flat who seems cool. But we’ve never really hung out because he’s so busy with work (he has two jobs) in addition to his studies. However, he made some time to chat with me and enjoy a spliff. I’m so glad he did.

My birthday would’ve been better if I was able to celebrate with my fellow Hyde Park Harriers. Normally, on Thursday nights, we have a training session called the “Hour of Pain,” in which we do all sorts of drills. Although I sometimes feel sore afterwards, I enjoy the Thursday night training sessions. But unfortunately, the “Hour of Pain” was canceled. Not the news I wanted on my birthday.

I forgot how this dude sounded but the night was so fun...

I forgot how this dude sounded but the night was so fun…

Actually, December 18 was more than my birthday. Especially the night of December 18. I went to a bar/community centre in Leeds named Wharf Chambers. A group called No Borders was throwing an event in Wharf Chambers to celebrate International Migrants Day. There was a decent group of people (most of them were asylum seekers), including some folks I saw four days prior at the march to honour Madiba’s memory.

Unfortunately, the first two hours or so I spent in the Wharf Chambers that night were pretty nondescript. I wanted to head back to the flat until Kate (the person who organized the event) convinced me to stay. Or maybe I convinced myself to stay. In any case, Kate said something about “dancing” and well, she was right! After the serious part of the gathering, we all lined up in a circle to started dancing to music with an Arabic, Middle Eastern feel to it. I wish I could describe it better and/or had more pictures of the night. But I was having so much fun with everyone at the Wharf Chambers that night.

The picture is a little blurry but this is where I spent much of Wednesday.

The picture is a little blurry but this is where I spent much of Wednesday.

But before the Wharf Chambers, I spent much of the day doing some fun work – if that’s possible. For one of my modules, I have to visit a heritage site and research how information is presented to visitors. I chose the National Railway Museum in York because York is close to Leeds, entrance to the museum is free (although I made a £3 donation) and I love trains.

Well, to say the least it’s a very impressive museum. Not surprisingly, there is a very British twist to the items on display. But the museum is home to the only Shinkansen (新幹線) outside of 日本, which is awesome. There are several 新幹線-related items in the museum, and I loved the fact the interactive panels were bilingual. Here are some pictures from the museum:

The first thing I saw in the  museum

The first thing I saw in the museum

DSCF9892

DSCF9996

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What people take to get from London to Paris

What people take to get from London to Paris

新幹線

新幹線

I have some happy and sad news from the week. Satoshi returned to Japan this week, but we were able to meet up at the Eldon on Monday, the night before he left the U.K. I had fun chatting with him but I had reached a point when I wanted to go to the library to work on an assignment but I kept waiting long enough for… Kotomi to arrive! I hadn’t seen her in quite awhile so it was great to chat with her. I know I have at least one 日本人 I can hang out with in Leeds as Kotomi will be here for the academic year. Here are some pictures from Monday night:

Me and Satoshi

Me and Satoshi

Satoshi and Kotomi

Satoshi and Kotomi

I need a respite from typing now.

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