Evita Goze

Life in Japan

Posted in dear diary, Japan, photography studies by evitagoze on June 23, 2012

I could swear that time in Japan goes much faster than in the other side of globe. My most used sentences are not “I don’t understand” and “Weird..” anymore. I recognise more and more faces in university and have even started to remember Japanese personal names. I can understand, hmm .. let me think, maybe about hundred words in Japanese (counting till ten, weekdays and months of the year included. Yes, I’m ashamed!). I live from rice and I’m addicted to japanese sweet daifuku mochi (have to mention green tea kitkats as well. However, they seem to have disappeared from earth since the beginning of May). Japan has the most exciting second hand shops I have ever seen and the loudest frogs.

There are only two weeks left till our exhibition opening and only five till the day when I have to go to airport to fly back to England. I spend most of my days between university and home. Learning, reading, writing, taking pictures, fighting with mosquitos and counting millimeters and struggling with dust in the darkroom.

Unfortunately I can’t share any of my work here yet as it all is on paper, not digital, because I don’t have any possibility to scan my negatives in university, but I’ll work on that when I’m back in Europe. Japan probably is the most expensive country where to do analog photography.

Nagoya University of Arts.

With Margaux on our rooftop.

Rooftop nightime.

Rooftop nighttime. Margaux posing.

Margaux still posing.

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My first days in Nagoya

Posted in dear diary, Japan by evitagoze on April 9, 2012

Nagoya from the 52nd floor

Me, Fionn and Margaux on a golden dolphin

Food shopping

Last week me, Margaux and Fionn, all three of us art students from University of Brighton, arrived in Nagoya, Japan, to spend the next four months as exchange students at Nagoya University of Arts. We left London at nine o’clock in the morning and arrived in Nagoya about the same time, losing eight hours on the way, during which our night turned into day. For the first few days I started to regret that I didn’t take my winter coat and gloves, but now suddenly its about 20 degrees already. It all seems so strange. When I looked at Nagoya last night from the 52nd floor, I still couldn’t believe that we are actually here, it felt like looking at a TV screen. I am still jet-lagged and my body has no recognition of the time. It doesn’t know when it is supposed to wake up, sleep or eat and I constantly feel like I haven’t slept all night long.
In the first few days we went to our new university to have a quick look around, unpacked bags in our new, very basic apartment and applied for japanese identification cards for which, I must say, I got my worst ever picture taken – after not sleeping for like 48 hours I look like a drug addict. We also pretty quickly learned that almost nobody here speaks english and everything is written in japanese. It took like three hours to find a common language with our rice cooker. However, everybody is extremely friendly and we have been introduced basically to every person who has walked past us in our uni. And we also have already gotten a wonderful japanese mother – Tamiko. I don’t how we would be able to do anything without her being so nice and helpful, showing us Nagoya and translating bus schedules and supermarket receipts.
Anyways, each time when I walk in the supermarket, I feel lost and have no idea how to spot a difference between milk and yoghurt. However, thanks to Margaux, we have been dealing quite well with switching from european kitchen to japanese. What we are struggling more with, is japanese recycling. It’s no joke, I have a poster on my kitchen wall with approximately ten different types of garbage compilations. Each of those must go in a separate garbage bag and has a certain collection day and hours. For example, white plastic bag with red letters is for plastic, but pink with black letters – for glassware, fluorescent light, umbrella, ceramic, pocket warmer, thermometer and small electrical equipment. I’m not gonna continue.
This weekend we have been wandering around the city – it’s one of the biggest ones in Japan. All city is in cherry blossoms. Girls, all dressed up like cute dolls. The central train station in Nagoya is the largest one I have ever seen, while the suburban neighborhood where we are living in, is very empty and quiet. Today we walked out on the rooftop. It felt almost apocalyptic. I couldn’t see a single person on the streets, only a few cars. Buildings, tightly packed together, as far as you could see. Laundry on balconies, no green areas, electricity towers, mountains far away by the horizon line, but not a single person. Train station making weird noise that sounds almost like an alarm. Sun hiding behind clouds.
So may people are wearing masks; youtube has japanese advertisements; for washing clothes they use only cold water; the fitting room floor in one of the shops we went in was filled with teddy bears, everything is cuter and tinier, not only water, but also the green tea in uni is for free, japanese kids getting wasted under cherry blossom trees. It is impossible to mention everything.
Tonight we went for a bike ride through a cherry blossom tunnel along the river and suddenly found ourselves in a lively market, full of people, lights, paper lanterns and tasty smelling japanese food, so we had a small picnic by the river and got tipsy from a tiny can of japanese bier.
Tomorrow we are finally going to uni.

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