yuji: jaeya on livejournal (Default)
2012-05-01 11:55 pm

Best Night Of My Life

L'arc~en~Ciel concert! It was an amazing concert. I've been rewatching my videos all the time. 

:) I went with Kathy. Both of us have been obsessed with the band since 8th grade, and what a coincidence that we were both on break when they came all the way to Paris to play. :3 We only waited in line for around 4 hours, but got an amazing view. There was a VIP section (which we couldn't enter as we didn't have those tickets), but were front row for the none-VIP section. (Although, to be honest, it was pretty far from the actual stage). 

They played all of my favorite songs, which made my life. :)  Hyde looked younger than ever. Ken spoke in French to the audience (though I had a reallllly hard time understanding it). Each member of the Band had their own MC/Solo (except Yuki who never said anything). Tetsu was amazing in his Bass solo! 

yuji: (Downton Abby; Mary)
2012-05-01 11:38 pm


 I'm sorry I've stopped updating! 

This is a picture from last week, a Simple Plan concert. :) I'll stop using initials for people's names because it's getting way too confusing. Recently I've been hanging out a lot with Paul, a guy from L.A. who moved to Bordeaux immediately after high school. He's been living in the city now for almost 2 years, and has been taking classes at the same university as me. We're both enrolled in the same theater class, which is how we've become friends. Since Paul has been here for so long (and since he's very outgoing and social and friendly), I've been introduced to many of his friends. 

Anyway, one of his good friends is David, a native Asian-Frenchie. We've actually met a couple weeks ago, but have been hanging out more lately. He's super cute, ahahaha. ;) We mostly talk in English because he likes to laugh at my French. But anyway, he had 2 tickets to a Simple Plan concert that his friend invited him to, except the same friend (who's a big fan) who invited him ending up bailing on him the day of. So David invited me instead. 

It wasn't a bad concert, We the Kings opened the show. The only thing was that David and I aren't exactly big fans (or um..fans at all) of Simple Plan's music. >> We were both there awkwardly amidst a crowd of screaming fans. But it was still a lot of fun. We mostly chatted throughout the whole thing. I got excited every time I heard a song that I actually knew. (David really only knew one song, the one they sing in French, haha). Also Simple Plan's from Canada, so their French was hard for me to understand because Quebecois is really not French at all...

The weather in Bordeaux has also been really bad lately. It's been rainy and cloudy a lot (which everyone tells me is not natural at all for April in Bordeaux). :( Hopefully it will stop raining soon because David and I are supposed to play tennis on Thursday! 
yuji: (Downton Abby; Mary)
2012-03-19 10:35 pm

Back From The Happiest Place on Earth French Style

So I just came back from Disneyland Paris, an amazing place! I was embarrassed at first to tell my host parents where I was going for the weekend (because, hey, my Disney love is a bit like a guilty pleasure...), but they were really excited for me to go. :) I booked an apartment with R. through airbnb, and we got this amazing place that's only 6 minutes away from the actual park by bus. <3 The park comprised of the main Disneyland (which is very similar to the one in Anaheim), Walt Disney Studios (like California Adventures), and Disney Village (Downtown Disney).Although most of the rides are basically replicas of the ones at Anaheim, there are a couple with some major changes (and even completely different rides). The Indiana Jones, for example, is an actual intense roller coaster in France, complete with inversions and heavy drops. I really liked the roller coaster idea for Indiana Jones, but I still missed the L.A. version with the story. 

They also had Aerosmith (which I rode in Disney World), that's missing from the parks in Anaheim. <3 It's such a fun ride, goes from 0 - 54km in around 5 seconds or so. 

THE BEST RIDE THOUGH WAS CRUSH'S COASTER. Which doesn't exist anywhere in the world. It's based on Finding Nemo, and it's a roller coaster where you get to sit on a "turtle's shell." The coolest part though is that the turtle's shell spins in circles while you are experiencing drops and turns. So there's a lot of times where we'd be lurching forward, but spinning around and going on the next dive completely backwards or so. It's amazing. I loved it. Also, got to practice my French. :3 We met a couple of cool French guys who showed us around the parks (they have annual passes and are regulars), and got us to go on rides past the closing time of the parks (though sweet talking the amusement park workers in French for us~). (Although things got awkward when it was revealed that they were a year younger than us, and wanted to..uh..get more friendly). It was an amazing experience overall though!! 

The castle at Disneyland Paris is supposed to be the most gorgeous out of all the parks, and I can't help but agree. :) 

Big Thunder Mountain! It's not surrounded by stuff like it is in Anaheim, so you can appreciate the mountain in all its glory. 

A dragon hidden inside the Castle. 

My highlight was seeing the Aladdin. So cute. <3 Also I got a picture with Jack Sparrow, but R. has it on her camera. :( 
yuji: jaeya on livejournal (Default)
2012-03-13 11:04 pm

one day the pictures will be here i swear

I'm just a lazy butt who doesn't want to change all my photos from its 2000px sized glory to 500 px glory for this blog. But once  get over that, I will post some pictures on this sad, boring looking blog. Also, my internet is so crappy here that it literally days, I kid you not, DAYS, to upload 80 photos onto facebook. So...it might take a while. 

I just wanted to say that there are 2 Italian high schoolers staying for a week at my home stay. :) I think my home stay parents  are addicted to hosting people, because a month ago there was an Argentinian from Buenos Aires who stayed with us for a week. Anyhow, these two high schoolers are from Bologna (close to Florence!). 

They speak French at around the same level as me, and after dinner I chatted with them, except we switched to ENGLISH because their English is better than their French. I have to say, I felt guilty when Andreas looked at me because it's weird speaking English in my home stay house. :( But I can't help it, I have no personality in French! I make people laugh in English! 

But yeah, just talking to foreigners makes me feel so awkwardly proud to be american. It's weird because so many tourist-y sites (and people in the US in general) always say how you shouldn't broadcast being American. But honestly, everyone who finds out I'm from California or the US are always either excited or at their worst, ambivalent. These two Italians were gushing over what I watched and what I listened to. (They watch and listen to pretty much the same things). It's strange to think of America as the world's modern pop culture center. They wanted to know about my daily life and if it was similar to their tv shows (so wanted to lie and say yes!). And it's just weird, because pretty much most of the Americans I know are so jaded about our country. 

On a better note! I just bought new pens. >> And I have been drawing none stop with them. <3 

On another note! I have been talking more to A. and J. They are both very amusing, especially A., who I know likes the attention. 
yuji: jaeya on livejournal (Default)
2012-03-06 10:04 pm

I'll Make Real Posts Soon, I Swear

I'll make a more detailed post soon-ish on all the places I've visited so far. But here's quick list and their highlights so I don't forget. Pictures and things will come soon! After I upload and edit them. >> Which actually might take a while...


My first trip outside of Bordeaux! The coolest part about this trip was meeting 4 Belgium girls at my hostel. They were all pretty decent at English, but would speak in Flemish to each other. I got to learn a couple of Dutch words while being with them though! They are all currently studying at Antwerp...so when I go to Belgium I'll have tour guides and places to stay. :) 

Porto is known for its port wine, which I tried a bit as well. It's very good, sweeter than red wine. Another good thing about Porto was its weather. I went during one of the coldest weeks in Bordeaux, and it was noticeably 20 degrees warmer (no exaggeration) in Porto. 


Just being in Paris was amazing. It has the same feel as Bordeaux in that the buildings have the same type of architecture (unlike Toulouse), but it feels a lot bigger, in an almost overwhelming kind of way. 

I stayed in an apartment through airbnb that was literally 2 minutes away from the Arc de Triomphe. It's hard to pick a highlight of Paris because I loved every minute of it. I think the Musée d'Orsay made everything better though. I went with J. and M., which was amazing because J. is also an art history major. We were squealing over every painting we've studied together. The whole museum is full of gems, with each significant painting feeling like a mini "celebrity" sighting. <3 

Also seeing the Caravaggios in the Louvre made my day. I totally forgot that Death of a Virgin was at the Louvre! Also saw the Fortune Teller piece. <3 <3 


BILLY ELLIOT! We bought tickets for £18.50 (and got front row seats in the second story!). Billy Elliot is so amazing. I loved it, I'm actually listening to the soundtrack right now. I'm so glad that we ended up watching a musical. There isn't much left to say about London. It's a great city, just really expensive. We got Chipotle there (because the lack of Mexican food, or I mean, the inexistence of Mexican food, in Bordeaux is starting to kill me), and all the prices are the same...just in pounds. So yeah, I really did just eat a burrito for £7.00 D: D: 


Getting to stay with my friend K. from Berkeley! She was such a great hostess. <3 She was also, coincidentally, in the same apartment building as R's boyfriend, so the 4 of us got to hang out together. I also got to party with a couple of German locals, since one of the guys from the program is good friends with a local German. :) So one night I got to hang out with 3 German guys (with everyone else), and learned a couple swear words in German and how to count to ten. 

The best thing about Berlin is how modernized everything is (which is also sad...but let's not think about WWII). We went into 2 museums (Jewish Museum and the Film Museum), and everything is shiny and interactive and very tastefully designed. They were the most modern and interesting museums I've ever been in, complete with many touch screens and things like that. 

Berlin is also the cheapest EU city I've been to so far. We got huge cocktails for €3,50 (think imperial pint sized), and enormous kebabs (also the best tasting kebab I've ever had in EU) for €2,50. By the way, if I haven't mentioned it already, kebabs are huge in EU for some reason. They are everywhere I go. 


Surprisingly quaint. The buildings in Amsterdam are all sweet looking with lots of character. They're colorful and reminiscent of a fairy tale setting. The best part of Amsterdam was...relaxing. We went to the Anne Frank museum which was pretty cool (yet tragic). 


I LOVE EDINBURGH. I NEED TO GO BACK TO SCOTLAND. Edinburgh just feels like it has so much history. All the roads are paved with cobblestone, the buildings are still very old looking, there are almost no modern looking buildings there at all. Great views of everything. It was the best! 

yuji: jaeya on livejournal (Default)
2012-02-21 10:08 pm

I'm Getting So Excited

So pictures of Porto and Paris will not be coming till a bit later. :X Yeah, I know. I suck at uploading stuff. 

This is just a post on how excited I am about everything! 

R. is as big of a Disneyland person as I am, so when we found out about Disneyland Paris we were both itching to go. We've actually already purchased Paris train tickets (68 euros roundtrip!) and have found and rented an apartment that's literally 5 minutes away (walking) from the Disneyland.  

All that's left is getting the tickets! We are most likely going to buy an annual pass (lol) because it's cheaper than getting a 3 day ticket. Also we'll be getting 10% off all stores and restaurants. :D I'm most definitely coming back in May or June, because the Disneyland will be celebrating a 20th Anniversary during those months! <3 Also for my upcoming vacation, I'll be going to Berlin for a couple of days. It turns out that a friend of mine from Berkeley is already there (K.) and so I'll be staying with her during my time in Berlin. :) R's boyfriend is actually in the same program as K. and they both live in the same apartment complex! As it turns out, R. will be in Berlin visiting her boyfriend on the same days that I'm there. :) We'll both be exploring the city together during the times that her boyfriend and my friend have class. I love it when things turn out great like this! 
yuji: jaeya on livejournal (Default)
2012-02-20 04:15 pm
Entry tags:

Toulouse, Toulouse

I went to Toulouse in the end of January with a couple other EAP students. The first night we stayed in an apartment, and for the next two nights we stayed at Hotel des Ambassadors. A relatively cheap hotel for great accommodations.  I would definitely recommend the place to anyone who plans on going to Toulouse. The person who worked behind the desk was very nice and friendly. He actually gave us a map and circled every place that we should go to (and highlighted bus routes to get to said place), gave great food recommendations, and even blacked out areas to NOT go to at night. 

This is me in front of the Gare Saint Jean, the main train station of Bordeaux. Yeah, I have my glasses on (for once). 

R. and I in front of a giant rooster sculpture. 



Landscape shots of Toulouse. I'm not sure if you can tell, but Toulouse is actually more "French" than Bordeaux in terms of architecture. The buildings use a lot of red brick (so sometimes I think it's called the Red City?). Bordeaux was actually under English rule for a bit, so much of its architecture and the styling of the city has a British-French mixed feel to it. To be quite honest, although I liked how Toulouse did feel a bit more "French-y", the buildings at Bordeaux are much nicer looking (and cleaner feeling). <3 This is really a long way of saying that while I had fun at Toulouse, I most definitely prefer Bordeaux. 


A group shot of us in front of our hotel. :) 

We went to the Musée des Beaux Arts at Toulouse (much better than the one at Bordeaux, haha). There was a Greco-Roman section that was pretty interesting. There were also a lot of paintings hung Salon style, that ranged from Baroque to Neoclassicism. The Musée was actually formed from a convent, so there's a small church inside of the museum. 

A hallway of the museum. 

A fountain!

The architecture inside the museum was so beautiful. Here's just a shot of the staircase on one of the levels of the museum. 

A small exhibit on Roman columns. Me and R. being silly.

A tablet. I love the typography on this! I don't know what language this is, it doesn't look French. 

Self explanatory. 

Do we copy the pose correctly?? 

An example of the inside of the museum (with the Salon style paintings!) 


This is the Capitole du Toulouse, in the main square of the city. Right across from this building is a cafe shop that was recommended by the hotel desk manager. :) 

There, I got a café viennois, which looked like this:

Yeah, it tasted as good as it looked. 

Group picture at the café. 

On the ceiling of the awning in front of the café were these amazing modern art pieces. 

Nighttime shot of the Capitole


We actually went inside the Capitole (though you're only allowed into a part of it). 

A staircase inside. :) 


One of the hallways. 

Out in the plaza was a fire dancer. 



In Toulouse we also went to Les Abattoirs, the modern art museum that was recommended by one of my French art student friends and my art professor. They were doing a special exhibition on Vladimir Velickovic. His stuff is pretty disturbing, but I absolutely loved it. He paint strokes have so much movement in them. It's great how he can capture so much with so little lines. Everything just flows and looks fluid when he paints.


Here are a couple of my favorite pieces by him. 


These are all the "tame" pictures that he's done. 



One of my favorites, it's very Francis Bacon-y, which is weird because I hate Francis Bacon. 



My favorite piece, it gave me the chills. 


This is actually a huge Picasso, La dépouille de Minotaure en costume d'Arlequin

Landscape shots of Toulouse:




Too bad it's so dark, but another group shot. 

The photography gallery that we went into. 

The French really like their carousels. 

In action!! 

That's it for Toulouse! I actually also went to their Museum d'Histoire Naturelle (I don't know why they call it Museum instead of Musée), but I don't have any pictures of it. It's very interesting though, filled with many animal bones and dead animal specimens. There were also a couple peacocks in their garden! 

These are all my small edited photos, I actually have a lot more which you can find on my facebook here 
yuji: jaeya on livejournal (Default)
2012-02-20 03:49 pm
Entry tags:

So I'm A Bad Updater

So much has happened. I'm going to try to post everything that's gone on for the past month in the next few days. I finally uploaded the pictures I took from Toulouse, but this has been my travel schedule so far:

1.26 - 1.28: Toulouse, France
2.09 - 2.11: Porto, Portugal
2.17 - 2.19: Paris, France

And then next week it will be:
London, Berlin, Amsterdam (for 24 hours), and Edinburgh.

This is just a general post on things that happened at Bordeaux, and the next few ones will be about the trips I just came back from. :)

So far, all my classes have been amazing. I'm having a lot of fun in them. I'm only taking the minimum amount of units and I only actually have class from Tuesday to Thursday. I still have a bit of work to do though, since my classes are mostly studio classes. So far I've done a ink wash drawing 50 x 65 cm and designed 6 brochures for my classes. I still have to complete a 33x33 cm graphite piece, do a contour line drawing of my living quarters, and design 3 more brochures for design. I might post a couple of things up later.

This is a picture of Mollat, one of the biggest (and coolest!) bookstores in Bordeaux. I've spent so much time here just browsing a couple art books. They have pretty much everything in there, even a section on books in English. :)

Next to Mollat is a gelato place called Amorino. I got yogurt/mango flavored gelato, and it was amazing. Maybe the best gelato I've had so far, the mango flavor tastes just like the fruit when ripe. Also, this gelato place shapes the gelato in the form of a flower when you buy a cone.


Below is just a random collection of pictures I've taken at Bordeaux:

This is me in front of the Musée des Beaux Arts at Bordeaux. It's unfortunately undergoing renovation until the Spring, so there isn't that much artwork to see inside right now, but the outside is still gorgeous. 

This was taken in front of a building at Saint Émilion, a region famous for its wine in Bordeaux. While there, we also visited a huge underground monolithic church (the biggest in Europe), and the cave that the patron saint (Saint Émilion) lived in while he was hermit-ing his days away in a very Shakyamuni kind of way. 

Part of the outside of the church (the part that's above ground, obviously). 

Another angle. 

These are a small section of the wine barrels we saw while visiting one of the vineries. 

Some dead grape vines. 

This is an image of the Grande Théâtre, I actually live 20 minutes by foot from here. :) I really want to see a play, opera, orchestra live here, so I may purchase some tickets soon. Right across from the Grande Théâtre is the Regent, a grand 5 star hotel (and best one in Bordeaux), and Larnicol, an amazing bakery that sells delicious macarons.

Also near the Grande Théâtre is this carousel. You can actually see a bit of the Grande Théâtre in this picture (it's in the background on the left). I love how the carousel lights up in the evening.

This is what it looks like when I'm walking from my homestay toward the Grande Théâtre.  

This is a picture of my washing machine. What do all those things mean? I was so confused when I first used it, because I had no idea what to press. There are actually more buttons on the left side, and the dryer is even MORE confusing. 

yuji: estheticons on livejournal (Final Fantasy XIII; Lightning)
2012-01-29 10:24 pm

Just Got Back From Toulouse, Shall Post Bout It Soon Enough

But! But!

I just watched The Artist! I've been meaning to watch it for the longest time (and wanted to do it in theaters), but it's been taken down in all the theaters in Bordeaux. It just so happened though, that R. and I had 3 hours to kill in Toulouse since we stayed longer than everybody else (and pretty much saw all we wanted to see in the city), and the one theater that was close to use had more showings of it. Lucky! 

The glory of this movie is that it's made in the style of a 1920's silent film, so people of all languages can enjoy it. :) The intertiles were in French, but surprisingly enough (:D), I could understand pretty much 90% of them.

Anyway, back to the movie. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. It's a feel good film that manages to convey so much with so little. Ironically enough, it uses an old-fashioned charm to highlight its theme on the need to accept progress and innovation; and now I can't imagine a better or different way to present such a message. 

There are so many films that get swamped down by their special effects (Transformers anyone?), forgoing good story telling for flashiness. But The Artist really strips everything down to the core, and in its return to simplicity, powerfully does what movies do best: entertain. I'm still amazed at how the movie could make audiences laugh and cry with so little, how it can say so much with no words. It wasn't a deep story by any means, but it was one that made me feel the whole spectrum of emotions. Also Jean Dujardin is just dreamy, his facial expressions are unreal in this. <3

Here he is winning Golden Globe for Best Actor. <3 Rooting for him in the Oscars~ 

yuji: (Phoenix Wright)
2012-01-23 08:16 pm

This Happened a While Ago But I Like Posting Anachronistically Because I Can't Put Things in Order

So last, last weekend (Jan. 15), I was taken to the mountainside by my host parents. 

The grandma, the mom of my host mom, I believe, lives in a chateau near Saint Emilion (vineyards). Actually, I'm not sure if I spoke about this earlier, but the EAP students got to go on an excursion to Saint Emilion that weekend (on Friday) as well. It was pretty cool, we got to learn the history of the patron saint of Saint Emilion. We also went into an underground cathedral/monolithic church (apparently the biggest in EU?). 

It was very cold. Very, very cold. But still really cool looking. We weren't allowed to take any pictures (though, really it's not all that pretty since it's cold and damp underground), but it was really interesting to be there. Afterwards they took us to a vineyard where we got to do some wine tasting. :) I bought back a bottle for 10.50 Euros, though I have yet to try it. 

But anyway, back to my story! 

I'm pretty convinced that my host parents are loaded because we literally went to a chateau in the middle of nowhere near Saint Emilion. I felt like I was in Downton Abbey (not nearly as decorative/big/or pretty), but the atmosphere was about right. They own around 62 acres of vineyards and just open fields. There were 6 horses, a couple of goats, and 2 dogs. 

I had a large meal and met...basically...the whole family which was awkward. I spoke to the grandma a lot, who was very sweet and tried to make me feel at home. Everyone spoke at once, however, and I got lost pretty quickly in the conversation. Also, I'm not very good at conversing to begin with, so it was an awkward family dinner all around. >> 

My host parents are hilarious though. They have a habit of not telling me what's happening and what's going on, so in the morning I basically got stuffed into a car with no idea what was happening. We reached a small farmers market midway (in Libourne?) between our final destination and our home, where the car suddenly stops near a bunch of wooden boxes, and my host mom proceeds to take around 20 and stuff them in the trunk. 

Me: um...what's with the boxes? (in french).
Host Dad: It's for the cheminée
Me: ....I don't understand. 

-- and here my host dad tries to explain what a cheminée is, which I finally figured out is a fireplace. But mind you, this is how he explained it.- 

Host Dad: Oh like...we're taking these boxes and setting them on fire. 
Me: O__O fire?? Fire fire? Boxes and FIRE? 
Host Dad: yeah like....it's cold outside. 
Me: ....what. 
Host Dad: Huh...um..like there's a place in the house to burn boxes. 

And yeah, so we finally reached fire place from there. But in the beginning while they were trying to explain it to me, I was just freaked out by the idea of fire and boxes and being near a place with boxes on fire. 
yuji: (Downton Abby; Mary)
2012-01-21 01:17 am

New Goal: Speak English in Public Places

 So today R. and I were going to meet up with some Erasmus (aka, European study abroad students! or people who speak English but are not from America!), but unfortunately, we couldn't seem to find them and we did not have their phone numbers. So, as we were out anyways, we just went into our not-so-favorite English bar to get half-off cocktails, and then decided to head to a movie theater. 

Actually, wait, I suck at telling stories. This isn't relevant to the story, actually, but earlier today, we saw a French movie sans sous-titres, called Intouchables, which is the 2nd highest grossing French movie of all time in France. It's very very good. I highly recommend it. Although my French skills are no way up to par, I had no trouble following the story or seeing what was going on. It was tough understanding a couple of characters and catching the jokes, but all in all, I would say I know what happens and still enjoyed it despite the language barrier. :) I was worried at first, there being no subtitles, and me sucking at French, but yay! I guess my French is actually improving. 
Anyway, back to the story. We decided to head to a movie theater (same one we saw Intouchables at), to catch a movie at 10pm. The movie theater we went to, UGC, is cool in that it has these touch screen movie ticket ordering places, which is cool but sucks for non-French people because they don't accept non-French credit cards. I was just playing with one of them, trying to figure out which movie to watch since it had all the times up, but wasn't actually intending to buy anything because I can't. But slowly, a line started to form behind us. There was a group of 3 guys next to us, and I was worried that we were holding up the line.

Since my native language is English, my natural reaction to things is to respond in English, despite being in a foreign country, thus: 

Me (to the 3 random guys): Ack, sorry, I'm not actually buying anything, here. 
One of the guys: Oh, it's alright, we're just gonna use this machine instead. 

Thus the start of a beautiful friendship. Haha no, not really. We all started chatting however, and discovered that the 3 guys are actually from England and are just abroad. It pretty amazing. R. and I just ended up watching Mission Impossible with them, and then parted ways after the movie. :) Maybe we'll end up seeing them someday. Haha. It was an awesome experience though. Just randomly talking to a bunch of strangers on accident and having a pleasant experience. :) I wish we ended up going to a bar or something after the movie and just chatted though, since I miss talking to people in English / actually sounding like a human because I can properly express myself in a language I know. 
yuji: jaeya on livejournal (Default)
2012-01-19 06:30 pm

Let the Classes Begin

So let's be honest right now, I'm not actually here in Bordeaux to learn. If I wanted to learn, I would be taking classes in a language that I could actually read and write in, as well, that's pretty much all my major is. 

As it turns out, non of the classes I take here will really count for anything toward my major, and I'm pretty much done with my major anyways, so I'm mostly only taking studio classes (aka, slacker-classes-with-no-papers-and-next-to-none-readings) to fulfill stuff for my art minor. Thus, anyone who wants information on how "normal" classes work at Bordeaux will not be finding anything useful, haha. 

My first class was super awesome, right now, I don't have classes on Monday or Friday or Wednesday (until DEFLE classes come out till the 30th), so my first class was actually on a Tuesday. 

I only have 2 studios on Tuesday, which is where I made my first French friend (Marine). In the morning, I have a regular drawing/figure drawing class, and in the afternoon is a plastique graphique class, which really means just a studio of choice, pretty much? It was super awkward in the beginning because I'm pretty much the only person there who's new/foreign (and this is the second semester, so everyone knows everyone, and there are cliques and etc.)

I didn't have any of my art supplies because I didn't want to lug huge amounts of paper, so I came with nothing in hand except for my moleskin and some pens. D: The teacher was like ".. um, you need to find some paper :D" and the girl next to me (my friend~) lent me some, which led to conversations and friend-ness. 

Nobody here speaks english. Haha, just putting it out there. Every university student I've met here has said that they can speak next to no english, so everyone just has to put up with my shitty French. But yeah, everyone has been super sympa and super gentil!

I had two design classes today, theory of design and a design studio class, where I made more friends. Y. says I have a very good clueless face, because people have been awesome. I asked at least 3 different people to explain the assignment today (making an A5 format poster). Haha. It's great befriending people my own age though, because I get to learn some slang, like how the LOL equivalent in French is MDR (literally, morte de rire, which means death by laughing xD). 

Classes in general are very easy. For the most part, I can't really understand all that the prof says, which is typical. If what she says is a paragraph, for example, I always get the main point/thesis, but all the superfluous sentences (jokes), or even supporting sentences just go over my head. I basically just annoy all my new classmates by saying "what? I don't understand?" / just having a clueless face and having people try to tell me what's going on. On a whole though, each professor has been AWESOME and super nice to me, very understanding of how shitty my French is. :) They all seem excited/happy to see me in their classes, which makes me feel fuzzy inside. 

Today in my design class, our prof. gave us 30 minutes to leave and "interview" random Bordeaux university students on their opinion on the definition of "design." Haha, um, that was difficult. Mostly I stayed close to the French ppl I just met, and had them interview people for me. >< It was awkward though, because everyone woud be speaking, and there I would be in the corner being silent. XD 
yuji: sky_magenta on livejournal (Game of Thrones)
2012-01-11 06:53 pm

These Are All Pictures I Took Last Friday

It's been taking me a while to actually upload my pictures. But god, Bordeaux is just so beautiful. Last Friday, we got out relatively early (around 1ish I believe), and I just wandered around the center of the city with a couple other EAP students. We explored the Gironde (the river), who's bridge the Pont de Pierre is just freaking fantastic.

Here's a picture of just a normal sidewalk.

While walking around, we decided to go to the tallest building we could see, which ended up being the Basilique Saint-Michel.

This is really just going to be a picture spam. Here is the Fleche de Saint Michel, a bell tower, I believe.

Err, and no, the sky isn't actually that blue. Haha, I wish! Although, last week it was really nice weather (unlike today, which was foggy as hell and freezing for my standards).

Bordeaux also has a lot of small little plazas and open spaces within certain streets. I don't quite remember which one this Plaza was called, but it's really close to a clock tower.

I have a close up of the aluminum/steel boulders on a group. They are usually children crowding around it, just running and jumping. A little boy waved and yelled out "Au revoir!" when us EAP students left (which was super adorable~)

So that's it for pictures. :)

Today is the Lancement of Les Soldes, a 6 week long, government mandated sale throughout all of France. It only occurs twice a year, and we're lucky enough to be around while it's going on! It started today, and each day prices get lower and lower, though the inventory goes down as well. We got out of class early again today, so almost everyone just headed out to Rue Sainte Catherine, one of the longest pedestrian streets (2km), filled with stores and boutiques, just to shop. :) Almost every store is 50% off, with some going up to 80% off. It was very crazy and very fun, with very very long lines. I didn't buy that much...but I plan on going back a lot seeing as I live in downton. 8D It's pretty difficult finding things, however, due to the swarms of people. It's all very chaotic. I have a big exam tomorrow, but tomorrow is Thirsty Thursday, and on Friday we're going to Saint Émilion for wine tasting as a class.


I just bought plane tickets to Porto from Bordeaux because of some sale, although this was the only place Bordeaux went to that was super cheap. All in all, round trip ticket including all the administrative/web fees was 40 euros. WTF, without the 12 euro charge for "administration," the flight would've been 27. Fucking amazing. I love traveling. Haha, wasn't even thinking about going to Portugal, but who can say no to a round-trip flight that costs cheaper than a one-way ticket to socal. Cheaper than the peacoat I wear to school. Guhhh I love this. I just want to go traveling every weekend. >> 
yuji: estheticons on livejournal (Final Fantasy XIII; Lightning)
2012-01-09 06:46 pm

You Know This is What You Wanna Know

I started writing a post about the Cathedral of Saint Michel that I went to last friday afternoon, but then I started talking to J. and A. and decided that's more interesting to write about for now.Haha, basically we have to make a presentation in class today about French culture somehow, and for the project you need to interview 2 people. I just really used this as an excuse to talk to A. and J. Since I like conversations. Especially awkward ones in languages I can't really speak. 

Well, anyway, I decided to do my project on "Pop Culture," so I joined A. and J. and asked them all about what music they listen to, what's popular on T.V., what films are showing, who are celebrities to know, etc. 

Basically, they listen (and most kids their age, I guess) to American music (think 89.3/94.9) and things like that. Black Eyed Peas was the first band A. said when I asked them. Later we were just looking at J.'s itunes library (I think A. wanted to steal some songs from him?). It was fun just sitting around with them and hanging out, although we don't especially talk. They did teach me how to say masturbate though, hahaha. That's what I get for asking about slang I guess. 

I showed them QWOP in return. >:D 

What I find hilarious is that they don't expect me to know these songs (even though, uh, I'm American?!). Haha, they would play Dido's "White Flag" or Jet "Look What You've Done," or Oasis "Stop Crying Your Heart Out," and keep asking me if I know what song it is. Haha, I KNOW IT. I CAN SING THE LYRICS GUYS. I LISTEN TO THESE SONGS ON THE RADIO ALL DA TIME. I even understand the lyrics! But it's hilarious because every time I hum along to each song they "show" me, they seem so surprised that I know it. D: I don't live under a rock!! 

I have finally seen J. laugh and smile, haha. Also J. showed me E=MC Vagina. T__T And then he cracked up, hahahaha. It was strange seeing him sing along to it. LOL 
yuji: jaeya on livejournal (Default)
2012-01-07 10:00 am

I'm Not Actually Blogging in Chronological Order Because This Happened a While Ago

 So, I've been in Bordeaux for around a week now, and with my host family for around 4 days. The first couple of days (2 days) with my host family was pretty lonely. I would hear all these stories from other people in my ILP classes who talk about how interested in their own lives their host family was, and how willing they are to show them around the city, etc. and how much they want to learn about American culture in return. I think that since my home stay family has hosted so many students before them, they don't care that much about American culture because they've asked questions to their previous host-ees. So, yeah, they don't really talk to me THAT much. Only if I say something first, they haven't tried to engage a conversation. 

I'm very lucky in that while I'm in a home stay, it's independent enough that it feels like an apartment. My host parents are gone till around 8 pm every day, and the 3 other french high schoolers that live here constantly have their room doors shut (thus making me feel like I shouldn't bother them just because I'm...quite...frankly...a...bit...bored sometimes). So basically, a lot of times it feels like I can't/don't interact with anyone in my home stay until dinner time, which is always (though not recently! the fewer people their are at the dinner table, the easer it is to communicate, thus less boredom!) an awkward affair. 

But things got a LOT better after the third day. Which was awesome because I was starting to think that it would be awkward and bleh for a while. I was chatting with the host mom while she was making dinner, and through some questions, she revealed that J. can actually speaks English because he studied abroad in America for a year. Queue me instantly going (WTF, THEN WHY DOESN'T HE TALK TO ME.) Haha, after that revelation, I went up to J's room and asked him if he spoke English (in French), to which he responded with (Yeah, in English). 

Me (in English): WHAT. WAIT WHAT? Then why don't you talk to me?  D: D: D: D:
J (in English): huh? like in English?
Me (English): oh...wait what, we don't even talk in French!
J: ....
Me (in French): will you practice French with me?

-- Queue to awesome first, legit, long conversation (ever really) I've had in French the entire time I've been here to the home stay (so 3 days in). And after that things started getting better. :) J. is a really cool 17 year old in his last year of high school, who wants to go to business school and travel around. Was in Kansas for a year doing a study abroad program, and went to 1934034123480134 states. Likes SF and NY like a boss. Also loves sports, but not basketball.

I still need to get A. to warm up to me, but it's very hard because he speaks no english. At all. And he speaks French at 212343 miles per hour. Or km, I guess now that I'm here and he's French. I can't understand a word he says because he slurs his words together a lot and uses slang. I'm pretty sure my face is in perpetual confusion when he says something to me. We can only interact when he talks to me as if I were an infant. Which, I'm sure, makes him less amicable to want to talk to me. (The other A. lives in another building across the backyard, so I never see her until dinner time, so basically we don't interact). 

Awkward conversations I've had at the dinner table where I embarrass myself in some way:

R (youngest son, ~24, in French): How old is your brother? 
Me: uhhh....vingt-deux, vingt-trois? (22/23?)
R: ?? you don't know the right age?? What year was he born?
Me: UHHH why are you asking me about dates? it's almost the hardest thing to say...mille....mille....huit-cent... quatre-vingt dix-neuf wait what, that is not right at all...
Me: D: D: D: 
(Eventually we hit the right date, but um, yeah, my brother was most definitely not born in the 19th century). 


A: *Tells his WHOLE life story that is around a 45 minute spiel,where the host parents interject with their own thoughts; basically only J. is listening because this is new information to him, and he actually understands it*
Me: Zoning out because I was lost within the first phrase. 
Host Dad (French): Do you understand anything? 
Me: No. 
Everyone: ... 
Me: ....
A: *continues with his story* 

(Seriously, that day, I wanted to just take a nap at the dinner table. His life though is extremely interesting, I caught bits and pieces of bits of sentences, and can place together that there is some sort of sad/tragic/childhood past going on there.)


We're all playing around with the iPad 2
Host Dad (in French): I want the sketchbook app!
A/J: *helps him download it*
Me: oooooohhhh
Application: All the instructions are in English!
A: *reads aloud the English instructions*
Host Dad (in French): He reads it but doesn't understand a word of it!
A: *wide grin* 


Host Dad (French): Where are you going out tonight?
Me: Umm...UM...je sortirai avec des amis! Je vais EXPLORER LA VILLE~

(I thought saying that I will explore the city wasn't that strange of a sentence, but everyone burst into laughter for the longest time and I have no idea. IT'S NOT THAT WEIRD THAT I WANT TO EXPLORE THE CITY!!) 

yuji: estheticons on livejournal (Final Fantasy XIII; Lightning)
2012-01-04 10:26 pm

Desolée, No Pictures This Time

I got picked up today from my home stay by a French student by the name of (which I will reveal despite ~internet anonymity) because his name is too interesting to not reveal, Aubin de Belleroche. When I told my host parents who was picking me up, they immediately started poking fun at his name (oooohh he's a noble! un baron!!) But yeah, apparently anyone with a "de" in their name is a noble.  Anyway, A picked me up from my home stay and showed me how to get to the Université Bordeaux III (a 40-50 min. commute D:) It's all fairly simple, but I still got lost getting home, had to ask 2 people to give me some directions. >< Everyone I asked was extremely nice about it though. 

By the way, off tangent, but my home stay is amazing. By which I mean the apartment is amazing. My host family lives smack down in down town (fairly close-ish to the Grande Théâtré) where they own a printing shop (the Imprimerie). I think they might own that whole building area of the print shop, since the apartment is 2 stories big and lies right on top of the print shop. My own room is pretty big, there's a full sized bed and a shower & sink within the room. It's probably the size of my living room in my Berkeley apartment. 

The strange thing about French people is that their bathrooms are just essentially rooms for toilets. There's nothing there except for a toilet and toilet paper. The sink is pretty far away from the toilet too, since it's in our own rooms (which is down the hall). The third story, where I live, is shared by A. and J. (both French high schoolers), we each get our own room and showers. The second floor is where my host parents sleep, and also where the kitchen and living room is. The whole second floor is probably bigger than my Berkeley apartment in itself. I was expecting a pretty dinky room, so I'm very pleasantly surprised. 

My family is pretty big, there's 3 other students who live with me (all are French, however, and speak next to no English, sad to say), and last night, their youngest son (R) and his fiancé came over for dinner as well. Needless to say, dinner was extremely awkward for me as I could do nothing but politely nod. It lasted around 1 to 2 hours, but it felt like I was in the middle of a foreign movie with no subtitles. I couldn't follow the conversation at all. Also there was an embarrassing situation where they asked me about my siblings, of which I responded that I had one, who's age could or could not be 22-23. They wanted to know for sure so they asked me when he was born, but as all French learners would know, saying dates is actually...quite...difficult. >> Well, let's just say the table was laughing for quite a bit, before we got down to the actual date that my brother was born in. At least it was amusing for a while! I have to say that it was a bit lonely at first (without internet of course! since the password they gave me didn't work for the longest time, which was again an awkward conversation with one of the guys), but it's gotten slightly better. My host mom is gone till 8pm working, and when she comes back she just makes dinner (which is served at 9pm). My host dad is gone from work (at 8am) until dinner time. And A & J. have their doors shut every minute they are indoors. Which kinda sucks because I would love to interact with them more. But alas, doors shut and language barriers make it a teensy bit hard. We are all "tutoyer-ing" though which is good. 

Today was an improvement though, as after dinner the guys and my host dad started playing around with the new iPad 2 that they bought. Where upon they showed me Rémi Gaillard, a French comedian/humorist who plays pranks on people (like recreating Mario Kart on a real road in France). And also we talked about Gray's Anatomy, and how I like House better (called Doctor House in French, and also a very popular show). Mostly, I chat with my host mom while she makes dinner. She corrects my shitty grammar, and we got on the topic of politics and Mitt Romney and how he may or may not be a Mormon, and how that could help him win because Mormon's are wealthy.   
yuji: in_brilliance on livejournal (Kingdom Hearts)
2012-01-03 12:38 am
Entry tags:

Wow, Everything Here Really Is Tall and Skinny

So all those stereotypes about French people being tall and skinny are true.  And by people I don't just mean actual people, even the image on crosswalk signals are stick-thin (no really, I'm being completely serious; on an entirely different note, crosswalk signals change depending on what part of France/country you are in. Apparently in one area of France the signal to stop walking is posed with his hands on his hips, in a very ~sassy way). Even drinks are tall and skinny. Okay I'll stop now about that. 

Anyway, I have now been in France for ~24 hours now. Got scammed by the taxi driver (why am I not surprised by this...), but got to Y's place all in one place. She's staying with an old land lady, and the apartment is appropriately and stereotypically very old, european-lady-ish. Actually, now that I think about it, if Umbridge lived in an apartment in Bordeaux, it would be furnished and decorated just like this (with all the pink, floral accents and everything). 

Read more... )

yuji: jaeya on livejournal (curiosity)
2011-12-30 10:09 pm

Let the Journey Begin

So it's 10pm, and I'm finally done packing everything. I have both a love and hate relationship with packing. I like the mindless activity of neatly stuffing everything into a suitcase, but I hate thinking about everything that I need to bring. I'm just really nervous that I'll forget to bring something Incredibly Important. 

I remember that when I packed for my freshman year of college, I routinely forget v. necessary items, thus requiring me to Bart back to Fremont the first few weeks to bring things like contact solution (how sad is it that I forgot that?). Alas, I won't have the luxury of coming back home whenever I want.

As excited I am for exploration and traveling (and studying...I guess), the idea that I won't have a comfort zone to return to for six months is a bit daunting. This will be the furthest away from home I've ever been for such an extended amount of time. Also, taking 4 semesters of French means nothing in college. I'm nowhere near fluent. I am hopefully mildly comprehensible when I speak. And um...let's not get into my listening skills. But, we all have to start somewhere I guess. All my classes will be taught in French, so we'll see how that works out. (I am both happy and sad that nothing I take will probably count toward my major). 

I'm actually going a bit earlier than I need to, since my program (University of Bordeaux; Spring) doesn't officially start till the 3rd. But I'll be spending two days with Y. at her apartment. <3 

Anyway, to anyone who is thinking about or preparing to study abroad:
  • Think about getting your ticket from STA Travel. They have incredible deals for students. :) I was scouring online looking for the cheapest deals, and I think STA has some of the best ones. Also, you can get an International Student ID card from them, super helpful if you plan on traveling a lot during your stay abroad.
  • Do some research on your bank! I actually primarily use Wells Fargo for banking, but had to start an account at Bank of America because Wells Fargo doesn't have an international presence. I did some research on other banks, but I think BoA has the best deals for college students. Also, BoA has partnerships with BNP Paribas (France), Barclays (UK), Deutsche Bank (Germany), and BNL d'Italia (Italy), so you can withdraw money from their ATM's without the ~$5 service charge (though there will still be an exchange rate, I believe). Also, don't forget to call your banks to set up a travel advisory, so they don't think you're getting scammed when charges show up overseas. :) 

yuji: jaeya on livejournal (GAME: FFXIII)
2011-12-30 09:55 pm

Moving to Dreamwidth

I've decided to jump on the bandwagon and switch over to Dreamwidth. I'll be cross-posting everything though, so I won't be completely dead on Livejournal, although to be honest, I wasn't quite alive here either. 

Just a small heads up, nonetheless. I don't want to get rid of this account simply because I've had it for so long!

But yeah, please follow me on yuji.dreamwidth.org