Monday, June 17, 2013

Nagasaki at last! (And research is for truth...)

So after five cities in a week, it felt really really good to finally step into my apartment in Nagasaki. And I was shocked at how big it was - by Japanese standards anyway. As something I found last-minute after finals week, I think I probably could have found cheaper if I searched around more, but this place was already well below my fellowship budget and easy to seal online. I could have also opted for a hotel, but then I wouldn't have had a kitchen for cooking cheap meals, and the cleaning lady might come knocking every now and then. The apartment is also centrally located - walkable to Nagasaki Station, the city library, as well as the main shopping arcade (although Nagasaki is a pretty walkable city all around!). The apartment building itself is surrounded by buildings on each side, so it doesn't really heat up at midday. And I live on the fourth floor, so no bugs!

My apartment!

This isn't my first time living in a Japanese apartment, but first time living alone I guess. I thought it might be lonely, but I've been pretty occupied with research, thinking about things for next year, household chores, and studying for the GRE (I somehow managed to lug 5+ pounds of test prep books with me to Japan, and I swore I would study them all to make this hauling around worth it.). Also rented a guitar in Japan since I wasn't sure about Air Canada's carry-on rules and didn't want to risk getting it chucked into the checkin baggage. I was also worried about bothering the neighbors with the noise, but actually, I don't think too many people live in my building; anyways, no complaints yet.

This also isn't my first time to Nagasaki, but the last time was just for a day trip in winter 2011. In terms of living, Nagasaki has been pretty much everything I wanted so far - a city that's convenient enough for everything you need but also quiet enough to do some thinking/studying. Plus I love port cities - the Dejima wharf area is beautiful and there's also a park nearby that I might take more pictures of once I get the chance. There's also a lovely river running through the city crossed with stone bridges and walkways. It was recently decked out with a colorful arrangement of flowers - I took some pictures the day before they took it down. I really want to get to know Nagasaki as a city; it's my goal to search every corner of this place that I can in a month.

Pretty much my backyard - also the three ladies eating ice cream = adorbs

眼鏡橋 "Spectacles Bridge" - can you see it?

I've been going on night runs along the river to avoid the crowds/heat, and it's been pretty good so far - although one night, I ventured down Nagasaki's 寺町 (Teramachi, or "city of temples"), this road lined with a bunch of temples/cemeteries bordering a hillside. I've gone down this road before in the daytime, but I must say, it's pretty creepy at night. Felt like I was running for my life at the end of it lols.

My only real low has been that the camera I rented from the Yale media center now only shows a purplish screen when I try to focus. I looked up what was wrong, and it seems like the CCD needs to be replaced in the model that I'm using. Canon will repair it for free - but ironically, only the American branch. The Japanese one seems to charge upwards of $100 for repairs and the nearest branch is in Fukuoka, so I don't think I'm gonna stop by anytime soon. I still have my camera phone but it definitely doesn't measure up to the quality/zoom of an actual camera. Might just buy one while I'm here...

I checked out a local church yesterday, and I think I'll stick with it. But the reason I'm mentioning this is because there was a doctor there who said something to me that I really want to remember for the summer. Having worked in a lab, he talked about the senior researchers he really respected - not the ones who were trying to have their name published on a report, but the ones who aimed for perfect results - in other words, the truth. I know a lot of Ph.D. students as well as associate professors deal with a lot of pressure to get printed in publications. Butut if I were to go to grad school, I want to always remember his words. Research is not just to find the most creative interpretation, but a search for the truth.

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