Here’s What’s Going On
Well, I went back to NZ for the interview. On the plane Monday night, arriving at my destination Tuesday night, sleeping, tests and interviews Wednesday, dinner with mother and grandfather, a little sleep, then back up at 4am to get on the plane, arriving back at my house after midnight that night, going to work the next morning.
Hectic, expensive, but not too bad. The interview seemed to go OK, up until when I had to speak in Japanese, when the first question was, "So what kind of relationship do you think Japan and New Zealand have with each other?". I was expecting something a little simpler to start out with, or at least something related to my intended course, or why I wanted to study in Japan…. things which I had mentally prepared to answer. I wasn't ready to talk politics. I stumbled through a bit of an answer. Mentioned that "the whale-hunting issue" was probably what alot of New Zealanders thought of when they thought of Japan. So, he quickly asked me what my take on the issue was.
The guy decided I'd embarrassed myself in Japanese long enough, and switched back to English for the easier questions. I hear back at the end of July if I make the NZ cut, at which point my application will go to Tokyo, who will make the final decision around December, apparently.
But, I enjoyed my time in NZ, however brief. NZ really is a nice, friendly country. I flew into Auckland at 11am on Tuesday morning, and had a few hours until my connection on to Wellington. My friend in the area took the afternoon off work (no worries, mate), picked me up, took me back to his place. We went to the supermarket, got some sausages and drinks, headed back to his place and cooked up a BBQ in the sun in his backyard. A good old-fashioned barbie. Sausages, hash browns, and fresh mussels, hand-plucked from the ocean. No steak, which was a bit of an oversight, but forgiven. It got darker and a wind sprung up, so we headed inside for a bit of a beer and a crack at killing each other on the Xbox. Then out to a bar for a couple of drinks before taking me back to the airport, where I met another friend briefly before flying down to Wellington.
The flight down to Wellington was largely NZ passengers, and NZ crew. Before take-off, the crew were hanging out, having a bit of a chat and a laugh with the passengers. Arrived in Wellington, and jumped on a shuttle into the city, along with a handful of other people. A group I got on with struck up a conversation with me, and we chatted all the way into the city, at which point they invited me out for some drinks. Due to exhaustion, and an interview in the morning, I had to decline, but it was nice. I checked into the hotel and the hotel girl asked me all about what I was up to and about Japan and wished me well for the interview.
I got up in the morning, suited up (taking ages to get my tie just right), and wandered down the road to the Japanese Embassy. The security guard was a good guy who I talked to all about Japan, and what I was doing back here, and he wished me the best of luck. During the lunch break after the tests, he told me where I could get a great little muffin, so I went and picked one up from the friendly guy in a beanie selling them down the road. My mother picked me up after the interview (also after having had a chat to the security guy), and we walked down to catch the train out to the suburbs where she was parked. Had dinner with her and granddad.
The next day, I caught the ridiculously early flight to Auckland. The woman at the check-in counter helpfully told me how to juggle my luggage to cheat the weight restriction. On the plane again, the staff were good and friendly all the way to landing back in Auckland. On the shuttle bus between terminals, a guy and a woman saw the Farmbake Cookies I had bought as presents for people back in Japan, and commented on how great those cookies were, asked me about Japan, told me about their experiences, and wished me luck. At the check-in counter for the international flight, they were happily forgiving about my poor preparation for check-in time.
As the plane took off, I looked out the window at the first glow of the sun coming over the horizon on a gorgeous cloudless morning. The folds of green hills below stood out sharply in the low light, and I didn't feel tired at all after my mad three almost-sleepless days. I just felt relaxed and peaceful after the witnessing the friendliness and the beauty of my home country. Will definitely be going back.
Aside from that, my computer is still fucked. I updated to Vista again, to try and get my TV card working. It doesn't work. And lately, it's been telling me that Windows failed to Activate, whatever that means. Just earlier, all the windows and the taskbar and everything disappeared, leaing me with no choice but to restart.
My camera's broken. I bought it just before going to Italy, but suddenly during a Noh performance I went to the day before I left for New Zealand, it started over-exposing all the photos to the extent that they all come out as basically pure white. Also, with lines.
I broke up with my last girlfriend for several reasons. I hardly saw her, and she seemed kinda… too passive? Immature? At any rate, it's not like I really stopped liking her, but felt I should end it. My new girlfriend (as of about 3 weeks ago) is coming to show all the same problems. Only, she's even more passive. Conversely, I've started seeing more of my ex. And things are getting a little cosy there, too (see Mie). Am I going to change back? Is that really a good idea? Don't know!