Haruka's Diary
Chasing After Rainbows: October 2011

31 October 2011

Teary Promise (Part 11)

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Being in a foreign country for the first time, it suddenly occurred to me that reduced food, electricity, and business hours in light of the earthquake back in March, does not apply to here at all. Buying things using a currency I'm not used to has make me feel disoriented on whether the numbers on the price tag of an item is considered cheap or expensive. They said to divide a number by 100 from the yen as a rough guess, but seeing something that costs 800yen back home being labelled as 25 in that currency, which itself after currency conversion, is worth 650yen or US$9, is making me even more confused.

Waking up, having breakfast, preparing things, travelling to school, waiting for everyone to gather and brief, taking the train to the airport, having lunch, waiting for the plane to depart, duration of flight plus delays, timezone differences. All of this has made us tired from travel alone and lost track of how long we have been travelling. The sun had already set when we arrive.

As it seems, even though the airport itself has good transportation links, we were ushered on to the coach buses that would bring us to the hotel. Though it doesn't look like it's at a hidden place, you wouldn't know where the coach bay was unless you explored or were told of where it was as the public buses are located elsewhere. The number of buses, and knowing that each large ones would fit the whole class with some empty seats remaining, easily tells us how many people there are in total.

Due to the layout of the hotel, some had a room to themselves, some shared with another, and others three or more people per room. The hotel may be able to accommodate everyone, but there aren't enough rooms of any one type to accommodate all. Practically all hotels outside Japan are only of the western style.

I don't know what they were thinking, but I was assigned a room for two people. It's common sense that everyone in a shared room should not have anyone of the opposite gender sleeping in the same room, so I can't have the schoolmates that I know, who are guys, to sleep with me. Those guys are sleeping in a large room all to themselves, but they can't invite me simply because I'm a girl.

Rooms that have empty beds would have a teacher sleeping in it. Since male teachers can't sleep with the girls, but with the contradiction of female teachers being able to sleep with the male students (unless there is already a male teacher there), that affected how the students are assigned. Each room could have more than one teacher, or none at all. Of all the people who could have slept with me, it's that girl from the college section of Mizuho Academy sleeping with me. I was hoping for my homeroom teacher or a classmate at least. Oh well, it's not like meeting someone new is a bad thing or if there's anything wrong with her.

Mizuho girl: "You're Inami-san, right? It's been a while since I last saw you. Your mother has been worrying about your safety since she started working at headquarters long before the earthquake. I came along for the trip not because she asked me to, but because I'm the one providing financial assistance. I've also met your brother too, and I could see how similar he is to you in appearance."

Huh? I've met her before, and she knows my mother and brother? From what she said, she's also that "mysterious" sponsor.

Me: "I'm sorry, but how do I know you?"

She took a look around the room and the corridor outside as if making sure that nobody could hear what she's about to tell me.

Mizuho girl: "Remember the computer club president of Kamisugi High two years ago? That was me. My name tag might say otherwise, but my name is Saeko Hisakawa, founder of Powell Research Institute and I work for Hatsuya Research Institute. Although, it's also a fact that I'm a college student at Mizuho, and I think your brother has already explained how difficult it is to take off the uniform. Before you ask, I'm really a girl even while not wearing the uniform, and, except for my hairstyle, my actual appearance is no different from what I look now. I'm actually 6 years older than you, and I was a year 1 Mizuho high school student just last year."

WHAT?! My mother's big boss from work is right in front of me, but me having met her in an unrelated situation, and has the appearance that would misled you from what you would think she does. What she described to me about herself is making me even more confused with things that contradict each other. Founded company A, but working for company B? If she's was a year 1 at Mizuho High last year, how is she in college now or 6 years older than me? It's common knowledge that Powell has been founded almost 10 years ago, but if the founder is still a student now, then...? Huh? Unless she was actually in primary school when the company was founded, something doesn't seem right here.

Hisakawa: "Looking at your face, I think you're confused about what I had just said. Don't worry, I'm even confused as to what I am exactly myself too as I just suddenly woke up one day to be like this. Oh, and please don't tell your mother about what I just said to you, and you don't need to be so formal with me just because I'm more senior than you. I feel lonely when you do."

For a big boss of one of the largest companies I know, she doesn't look and behave like one.

Me: "So how do you know my brother?"

Hisakawa: "Well, your mother showed me a picture of the two of you: both present and during your primary school days, and she said that you looked and behaved like your brother until you entered middle school, when gender-related body growth differences became more obvious. She said that your brother was in the chess club, while you aren't in any. At a chess tournament in Mizuho against your school, I saw what I though was you, but knowing from your mother that you aren't in any clubs, I knew it was your brother."

Me: "Back in March before the earthquake... was it you too?"

Hisakawa: "If you are referring to the two girls he met who was throwing away their money and letting by whatever he wants with it and then collecting it on the day of the quake, yes, one of them is me. The other is... my sibling that I'm not close with. Anyway, we should go to sleep now for a long day ahead."

Hisakawa did not remove her shoes or change clothes before she climbed to bed and sleep.

27 October 2011

570th post - Busy

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I currently have an assignment that's to due quite soon, and most likely a test a week after. Also, I'm having a hard time thinking of what to write for it.

I am thinking of writing of part 11 of "Tearful Promise" (6th story), but nothing has actually been planned or written yet. I'll start doing it when I can.

Keep an eye on my twitter profile for updates, and the little things that indirectly affects me writing it. Updates for my blogs should have a #twitter hashtag.

23 October 2011

Teary Promise (Part 10)

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About half a year has passed since the earthquake happened. Everything has started to become normal again, and the mess caused by the tsunami in affected areas mostly cleared up, though there are still shipwrecked ships and empty areas where destroyed houses used to stand. Only the roads, surviving buildings, and some trees, tells us where everything was. Electricity is gradually returning back to normal, though some energy conservation measures implemented since the earthquake are still visibly in place. Sadly, it seems as if the world has stopped caring about the incident itself.

There have been small earthquakes since then that were more frequent than usual, which might be possibly be and aftershock of an aftershock. There was a typhoon that nearly threatened to hit the already-damaged nuclear plant and scatter its radiation just recently, but it became weak enough to be not much of a threat when it arrived.

Some boys in school have started to talk to me often since the start of the academic year than over the previous year, and I sometimes find myself walking with them to train stations. I don't really see them as friends as they never come across my mind, but they are talking to me as if we are. To me honest, my mind is still filled with Tatsuya. I don't know. Maybe I'm just too depressed to notice that I am surrounded by friends that care about me.

These days, my brother doesn't even want to head home together with me. This is partly because he wants to hang out with his friends, and another being that he is in third year of high school and is preparing to enter university. His current grades allows him to enter any average college, but he's aiming for a better one. Even he, like everyone else, wants to enter the top universities in Tokyo. So there's stiff competition there, not only from our school, but the whole county. Chances may seem slim, but he says that if he doesn't even try, there isn't any! At best, at least one that is not the top, but still rated above-average.

Being in the later half of high school second year, this means that excursions would be taking place soon, as the third year is mainly focused on studying for college entrance examinations from around this time of the year until before the exams itself. I also doubt that such things would even happen in college or working life, at least with a large group and not have pay most (or all) of the cost with my own money.

The excursion trip usually brings us to somewhere with all the second years. The committee behind organizing it has been indecisive on choosing between local (Kyoto in particular) and overseas: some argued about knowing "our" culture, and experiencing what it's like to be in a foreign country as almost everyone has never been out of the country before. Since the effects of the earthquake is still being felt with disruptions, and the value of the yen is getting stronger against many currencies, the overseas option was chosen. (Sadly, it's not to Europe or America as everyone was hoping.)

The cost of things at the current exchange rate seem as though everything outside of my country is cheaper, with the exception of the ones made here being sold there. I feel strange seeing things from my country at a place overseas. According to my brother who claimed to have overhead the committee behind it, the country we would be headed to would have expenses, in our currency, be at least two to four times cheaper. I don't know if this is a good or bad thing, but I do know that the school had already used quite an amount of the school funds to help out students and parents of students who were directly affected by the earthquake.

Barely a day after the school announced the initial plans, an anonymous sponsor approached to help finance a large majority of the costs involved and allowed the school to pick a better place to visit and stay using the sponsor's money entirely. There are rumours that the person helping out doesn't want the money they have, which seems quite a lot. This has allowed the school to upgrade to a better place, though they said that since we "already had a lot of exposure of western countries", they picked another country that is in the same region as the initial choice, though the standard of living there is closer to ours.

Except for those who chose not to go for the trip, we were told about what to pack, the necessary documents to prepare, and changing some money of the currency there. Everyone was amazed with the money from how colourful it was and most of them never had a hold of a currency besides the yen before that they are most used to. It appears that some of my classmates have been to overseas before, but only with their family.

The school told us some things that almost caught us off-guard: we would also need to get an adaptor for electrical devices to fit into the wall socket there and check if it supports a voltage used there, which is different from the one here. We were also told that, except for some particular models, our mobile phones might not work. Even if it does work, steep fees might be faced. They suggested getting a prepaid card with a compatible phone there, use pay-phones (if there is anyone who could be called on top of being uncommon these days), or use online services.

The day of the school trip has come. Unexpectedly, a girl in a uniform of the college at Mizuho Academy was seen together with the teachers. On her name tag, "羽田 奏" was written, which tells us that her name is Haneda Kanade. Her uniform looks almost like a formal business outfit, but in a different colour and texture. Not sure if the shoes and stockings she's wearing are part of it too.
[Author's note: Students of Japanese schools wear their school uniform during school excursions, including overseas trips.]

She's might be attracting attention when we are over there. I don't know why a girl from that elite school came along for. Her uniform alone stands out from those from my school, and I have this odd feeling that I've seen her more than once before. Except for what students aren't allowed to wear, with more specifics for the course they take, students of normal colleges could wear practically anything while studying there, but the college at Mizuho is the only one I know of that actually has a standardized uniform like those in middle and high schools. What is she doing here with us anyway? Kobayagawa High has no relations with Mizuho Academy at all.

When the plane took off from the ground, it felt like I was riding a roller coaster, but in an enclosed space and infinitely going up without ever heading down. My ears felt funny too.

The duration of the flight takes just as long from the start to the end of a school day to get to, according to the flight info. Since I'm mostly confined to my seat since boarding it, my body has started to feel funny. I have my friends around to kill my boredom, but I'm not the kind of person who likes to sit in a chair the whole time.

On landing, the first thing I noticed are that the license plates of vehicles are completely different, but the ads on the bridge that links the plane to the terminal is from the very same bank as where we left! I don't feel any different from being in a foreign land, but seeing things that I'm used to, but in a different style, feels as if I am looking at a new thing I've never used before.

Being in a foreign land and how things here work and look are different. Wait... Doesn't that make me a foreigner here?

17 October 2011

Disorientated Feelings (Part 41)

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Since I am quite close to Saeko's company, I could drop by there to ask for help, but the level of rivalry of Powell staff with Hatsuya is so great that the former would refuse to corporate with the latter. Me wearing an outfit with Hatsuya's logo on it being glaringly obvious and not knowing how to take it off kind of rules out heading there for help. They probably don't even give me a chance to explain myself.

Either way, I contacted Saeko to see if she's not busy. From the voices I heard in the background, Saeko seemed glad to use me as an excuse to get out of the situation she was in at the time I called her, though Saeko didn't say what she was doing at that time. Oddly, she said not to tell my husband about it yet.

When she saw me, she knew immediately knew that I had went to Mizuho and my discomfort with the clothes I couldn't take off. Apparently, I was wearing the rarely-seen Hatsuya Research uniform that non-Mizuho based staff would wear, which has a separate version. The adjustments that my principal did to all Mizuho girls was not reflected on Saeko as she wasn't there today.

Saeko: "I can see that you had been Mizuho just as I suspected... I wasn't able to warn you about this earlier because you had never been in there before, but Yuko and I were suffering with the strange happenings that nobody is able to talk about or be able to take action to stop it."

You are indirectly saying that it is normal?!

10 October 2011

Alternate Dimension (Part 78)

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The closer I brought the friend to Takagi, the more nervous I got about how Takagi would react to it even though I have no involvement on how the friend became what he is like now that has the body to keep changing quite frequently without control. He currently looks and sounds like an office lady, and is unknown when the next transformation is, but an hour with an even number in it would be approaching soon.

Transformations frequencies varies between 2 to 100 hours, with the lower end being more common, always happens at the top of the hour, and the number of hours of these frequencies are always dividable by 2 without a remainder. That makes it easier to prepare for it, but preparing for a transformation that could happen between every 2 to 100 hours without knowing when exactly it would be can be quite stressful. Knowing exactly when it would be or, even better, not worrying about it at all, is less stressful.

07 October 2011

In Memory of Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs
1955 - 2011

One of the greatest pioneers in shaping the world of information technology, Steve Jobs had helped changed the world that had span many decades.

He envisioned having computers that were user-friendly to people that have little knowledge on computers, and also have one that is small enough that would fit into people's homes. He also reinvented the music and mobile industry.

May he rest in peace.

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帰国子女 英語能力は堪能。趣味はアニメや漫画やプログラムコードを編集。通常、あたしの小説を英語で書いてです。Grew up abroad &travelled to different countries. I write my own fictional novel on my blog.