September 2010 - Vikingess Voyages

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First school-days!

2:52:00 PM
Hi again from Kyoto!
Now I´ve been here for one week! Yay! I´ve finally bought a new camera, so this time I´ll post some pictures of my surrounding here in Japan.
On Saturday me and my new friend Erica went to the Kyoto Station by bike, and I bought both a new camera and also an electronic dictionary. We were a bit unlucky on the way back and got a bit lost. But Kyoto really isn´t the worst city to get lost in and after asking some of the locals we soon found our way back home.
On Sunday I went to Kyoto Station again to meet another friend; Ikki. We went to the downtown-area I went to with Alex and Maho last week and he showed me some nice shops where they had cheap and nice clothes:)
In the evening there was a welcome-party in the basement of the dormitory, and I arrived just in time for that. I live in the so-called International House 1 (I-House I), and there ar
e people from almost all over the world living here so it´s really nice!

On Monday ( we had our first day at school. First one ordinary class of Japanese where we read some texts and s
o on. Then me and Alex went to the library to study since we both were going to take some classes later that day. First it was the Business Japanese class. Since I got into the A-level classes I´
ve got the chance to choose two classes myself so this was my first choice.
In the end I had a Calligraphy-class, where we basically drew 日本 (the japanese symbols meaning "Japan") in one hour. It was actually quite relaxing, though it is
kinda hard to make the symbols look good enough.

Today I´ve only had one class, which were Japanese again. So now I have to do some cleaning here, and then I´m going to study.

In the end I want to share some pictures I´ve taken from and of my dormitory:)

Right now my room is kind of messy because of unorganized papers, so I´ll post some pictures next time instead..! :)
View from my window (North)
View from my window (South)
The entrance to iHouse I

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Life in Kyoto; tanoshii!

1:35:00 PM
I must say we have had a pretty busy week. There are loads of forms we have to fill out and simply a lot to keep track on.
On Thursday we had a pretty short day though with just a Crime and Safety Seminar, we got to try an Earthquake Simulator and in the end we had a campus tour.
Though earthquakes of course are pretty scary stuff being tossed around in a safe truck isn´t that bad. We were four people sitting around the table in what was supposed to be a dining room (situated in the back of a truck), and then suddenly the whole room started shaking and we had to hide under the fake kitchen table..

After the short campus tour me and Alex went downtown and met up with Maho.
We had a lot of fun, and Maho showed us interesting places around the downtown-area of Kyoto. We even had dinner in a typical Japanese restaurant with a tatami-mat floor, where we ate okonomiyaki and yakisoba.

On Friday I went to fix my so-called "Alien registration" which is obligatory for foreign people living in Japan. Again, loads of paperwork and waiting.
Afterwards all students had to meet at the classroom for a Health Center Guidance Session which felt like it lasted forever considering that we was waiting for the announcement of the placement-test results.
I was quite lucky cause I got into all the Traditional Art courses I had pre-registrated for. But I decided to drop the Tea Ceremony and just stick with Calligraphy and Ceramics instead. If I´m lucky I´ll get the chance to take Tea Ceremony next semester.
The placement-test results were quite alright, I got into the A-level so I´m able to choose some of my Japanese subjects myself. I´ve already decided to go for the Business Japanese and the Japanese grammar courses.
I might want to choose some culture classes as well. Though I don´t think it is really necessary for my degree since I´ve probably got enough subjects already. But it is better to take too many than too few anyway, so..

Anyway, today me and a couple of my dorm-mates are going to go to the Kyoto station! Yay:)
It takes about an hour to get there if we go by bikes but today we´ll probably take the train or something.
Kyoto really is a big city but at the same time it is pretty nice and cozy too. Wherever you go there are small shrines and temples and the view kinda reminds me of my hometown in Norway because of the mountains surrounding the city.

Well, that´s all for today. Have a nice day everybody

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Konnichwa from Japan!

10:30:00 PM
Hello everybody!
Here comes my first update from Kyoto, Japan.
I arrived two days ago on Monday, but it´s been really busy and I haven´t had the chance to write anything until now.
So to begin with Monday my plane landed in Japan almost an hour earlier than planned (In Norway it tends to be the opposite: whether it´s busses, trains or anything else you can´t really expect them to be on time..). Though the Japanese seems to like handing out papers for us "gaijin" (foreigners) to fill in so it still took me quite some time before I could leave the airport.
I went by bus straight to Kyoto, which only took about 90 minutes or so.
After waiting a little while my friend Maho came and picked me up at the station, so that made the day quite easy. She showed me around in the Kyoto station, which is really huge!
Well, at least compared to Norway I guess..

I stayed one night at Maho´s place, and then my next destination was the Ritsumeikan University (立命館大学). I went by taxi though, so it was quite easy to get there.
There actually were quite a lot new exchange students this semester. We are only 2 students from Norway though, but still I think that´s quite alright.
Of course we had a lot of information meetings yesterday, plus some placement tests to determine our Japanese levels. I was a bit tired after arriving just one day earlier, so I´m not quite sure if I´m satisfied with it or not.
In the evening we had a welcome dinner where we got a chance to taste a lot of different Japanese food like takoyaki and yakisoba for instance. Afterwards I took a taxi to the dormitory (I still had my luggage with me so it kinda was the easiest way to do it) and I received a warm welcome from the dorm manager and his wife.
Then one of the House Buddies showed me around in the dormitory, and I must say I was happily surprised. It´s really nice here:). They also gave me the opportunity to rent a bike for a year which costed me 3500 yen, or roughly 30 euro. I also have internet in my room:)! Yay!
Before I went to bed I played cards for a while with the other students here and I think everyone seems really nice. So I´m sure my stay here will be good.

Today I woke up early and after an hour or so I went by bike to school with the other students living here. It didn´t take very long to get there actually, perhaps around15-20 minutes..!
We started with another placement-test, and this time it was the oral one. I must say it went pretty easy actually. But then again I haven´t got any results yet so of course it might have been a failure as well...
Rest of the school day was pretty boring though since we got a lot of paperwork we had to fill in and so on. But I guess it has to be done, right.?
I still need to buy a telephone though, foreign phones doesn´t work in Japan, so.. I still have my iPhone here though, it has a lot of practical programs.
Well that´s all for today. I´ll see if I can post some pictures later this week.
Matta ne!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sightseeing in Jordan: Travelling from the Death Sea through Amman to Dubai

4:24:00 AM

So this is probably my last post about Jordan for this time. I spent my last day in Jordan at the Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea's hotel spa called Zara, which indeed was a great way to get rid of some stress before my long flight to Japan. Though I probably should have done some pre-booking yesterday; due to overbooking it wasn´t possible to get the treatment I originally had in mind.
But still thanks to good service from the people working there I got some other good options instead so all in all I was quite lucky.
Taking a taxi from the hotel to the airport in Amman only costed 45 dinars, which is quite cheap considering the distance.
The airport in Amman was truly a mess though. I really felt unsecure there.
One of the guys who worked at the airport took my luggage from me almost by force and took it through the security-check.
But he waited on the other side keeping an eye on my luggage and gave it to me right away. So I thanked him of course but then all he said was "give me money". After all he had looked after the luggage for me so I said I didn´t have dinars but perhaps some euros. I gave him a couple of coins but all he said was "give me 10 euro!"
I really felt uncomfortable and said I didn´t have any more in cash.
Then he pointed at the opposite side of the airport and told me to take out money at the ATM over there.
So I really got upset and said to him that "in my country we don´t do bribes!".
He was gone before I´d even noticed..

The rest of my trip went rather smoothly though. I gave the rest of my dinars (which in fact only was 1 dinar) to a guy I came across who was washing the floor. He seemed like an hard-working guy and I didn´t need the money anyway.
My flight was 10 minutes delayed, but I´ve got about 5 hours until my next plane leaves so I can´t say it matters..
Right now I´m at the airport in Dubai, and I´m pretty happy since I´ve got free internet connection here. The chairs aren´t that bad either.! And compared to the airport in Amman it´s actually nice and quiet as well!

Good night everyone:)

Related blogposts

All blogposts from Jordan
Hi from Jordan!
Sightseeing in 
Last days in Jordan!
Last days in Jordan! The Death Sea & A Day Trip to Israel
Sightseeing in Jordan: Petra & the Desert of Wadi Rum
Sightseeing in Jordan: 
Petra & the Desert of Wadi Rum

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Last days in Jordan! The Death Sea & A Day Trip to Israel

4:51:00 AM
At the boarder to Israel
On Friday (17.09) we had the chance to do whatever we wanted, and after breakfast 6 of us decided we wanted to take a short trip to Israel since the border is pretty close to Aqaba.
So we left by taxi and some minutes later we arrived at the border. Here we first had to pay some departure fees before being able to leave Jordan.
But when arriving in Israel things got a bit worse.

First one of the guards took my passport and started interrogating me about my relations to the other people in our group. He wanted to know how long we had known each other and what our purpose in Israel was.
But finally after some more questions and anxious waiting we could go through the security control.
We thought it had been a funny experience and looked forward to get a glance at the city of Eilat in a couple of hours before returning to Jordan.
But when we came to the place where they gives out the entry permission we faced another problem: In a couple of minutes they were going to close down the Israeli
border due to the celebration Yom Kippur and the border wouldn´t be opened again until Sunday.
So that was the end of our pretty short Israel-ad
venture, haha..
The rest of the day was spent on the beach and on a local market.

Today it´s Saturday (18.09) and the last ordinary
day of our tour.
After an early breakfast we went straight by bus to the Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea hotel which you might already have guessed is situated by the Dead Sea.
And after lunch we went to have a bath in the salty water. But there was a jar containing heathy Dead Sea-mud on the beach which we of course had to try out. I guess we looked pretty funny covered in the black mud..
But it is supposed to be very good for our skin so why not. Haha..
Bathing in the Dead Sea was an experience! I must say I felt like a balloon, floating around in the surface of the water.
Swimming was pretty strange too of course, it didn´t feel like one could move around as easily as in normal water. Still, it was a bit more relaxed somehow.
Our Mövenpick hotel also has a spa-area which previously has been rated the best in the world. So of course me and my grandmother decided to try it out.
We only entered the area though, and tried all the different pools and saunas there.
But I´ve decided to spend some money there tomorrow and pamper myself a little to calm down before the long flight to Japan.

Tonight our group will leave the hotel at 24:00, and I´ll be the only one left here. My plane doesn´t leave until 17:15 tomorrow, so I still have some time left to enjoy Jordan a bit more. It has been a really exciting holiday, and Jordan is a destination I would recommend to anybody.

Well, that´s all for now.
Take care!

Hotel Booking:
Hotels in Aqaba
Hotels in Jordan

Related blogposts

All blogposts from Jordan
Hi from Jordan!
Sightseeing in 
Sightseeing in Jordan: Petra & the Desert of Wadi Rum
Sightseeing in Jordan: 
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Sightseeing in Jordan:  Travelling from Amman to Dubai
Sightseeing in Jordan: Travelling from Amman to Dubai

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links, and I'll get a small commission if you make a booking through these links.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sightseeing in Jordan: Petra & the Desert of Wadi Rum

3:40:00 AM
Here comes another little update from Jordan!
It´s only been a couple of days since my last post, but we experience a lot in short time so I´ve still got some new things to write about.
Yesterday (15.09.) we went to see the old city of Petra. Petra was ranked as number two on the list of the 7 modern World Wonders only beaten by the Great Wall of China, and is currently on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites.
The word Petra literary means "rock", and it´s a village carved in themountains south in Jordan about 300 km from the capital Amman.
Petra has been influenced by many different cultures like the Nabataeans and the Romans which one can see clearly in the buildings and art from the area.
Still, what really strike it´s visitors must be the beautiful sight of el-Kahzne which still remains intact despite the sands of time and various earthquakes which has done heavily damage to the rest of Petra.
Walking though the narrow siq valley and getting your first glance at this monument is truly amazing and well worth the long way to get there.
After our trip to Petra we really didn´t do that much. But that is a part of being on holiday, right? At least the trip to the hotel´s swimming pool was nice and refreshing after a hot day under the sun.

Today (16.09) we left our hotel again heading for Aqaba. Our first stop was the so-called "little Petra". This place got its name because it´s kind of a miniature version of Petra with the same sort of buildings carved in the mountains but of course not to the same extent as Petra. Though there weren´t as much to see as yesterday the atmosphere was nice and we felt more relaxed because of the lack of big tourist groups.
After a short stop here we continued to the desert of Wadi Rum where we had an exciting trip by jeep through the vast landscape.
We had lunch in the desert and after that we continued our trip and reached Aqaba in the afternoon. We are staying at the Mövenpick hotel here, an excellent 5-star resort. Everything is superb.!

I'll be back later with more posts from our trip!

Related blogposts

All blogposts from Jordan
Hi from Jordan!
Sightseeing in 
Last days in Jordan!
Last days in Jordan! The Death Sea & A Day Trip to Israel
Sightseeing in Jordan:  Travelling from Amman to Dubai
Sightseeing in Jordan: Travelling from Amman to Dubai

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links, and I'll get a small commission if you make a booking through these links.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sightseeing in Jordan: Amman

8:28:00 AM
Here comes my first update from Jordan!
It´s been 3 days since we arrived at the international airport situated just outside the capital Amman.
I´m traveling with a group consisting of 14 people including my grandparents and our guide, and though the groups average age is slightly higher than that of my own I´m still having a great time here.!
The two first days were spent in or near the capital Amman, starting with a sightseeing touron the 12th of September going to the Roman city of Jerash.
Jerash is situated just about an hours drive outside of the city Amman and is actually often being compared with Italy´s Pompei for some reason or another..! I´ve never been to Pompei though, but anyways.. Unfortunately the remains has been heavily damaged by the flow of time including the great earthquake of 746 AD and today we can only imagine the greatness this place must have had.
Lunch was also quite exciting, seeing the local families dressed up for a nice Ramadan-dinner.
A really exciting day, though I have to admit I spent a lot of the afternoon sleeping due to the long and tiering flight on the 11th September.

On the second day we had the opportunity to take a better look at the capital itself. We entered the grounds of the old citadel in the middle of the town where we had an astonishing view over the so-called seven hills of Amman.
So from the top we had a good view of all over the city, where we could see everything from our hotel to what is considered to be one of the highest flagpoles (126,8 m) in the world.
The citadel Jabal al-Qal'a dating back to ancient times was of course a view in itself. Not to mention the national museum there, housing the famous Death Sea Scrolls which were found by shepherds in caves located near the Dead Sea in the years between 1947 and 1956 and supposedly dates back to between 150 BC and 70 AD.
Today it´s Tuesday the 13th, and today our travel company UnikTravel really got the chance to live up to it´s name.
First stop was the mountain of Nebo which is the place where, according to the Bible, Moses got to see his Promised Land for the first time.
From Mount Nebo our travel continued down the King's Highway to the city and crusader castle of Karak, which again led us to a beautiful sight of the Dead Sea.
After viewing the castle we had hoped for a smooth passing through the rest of the desert landscape. But on the road from Karak to Petra the engine in our bus got overheated and we had to stop in the middle of nowhere. Quite the charm..!
Still we arrived safe and sound in time for dinner and we also got to see the sunset over the mountains where the second world wonder Petra is situated.
All in all I´ve had another great day here. We are supposed to get a new and better bus tomorrow, so.. Fingers crossed;)!

Related blogposts

All blogposts from Jordan
Sightseeing in Jordan: Petra & the Desert of Wadi Rum
Sightseeing in Jordan: 
Petra & the Desert of Wadi Rum
Last days in Jordan!
Last days in Jordan! The Death Sea & A Day Trip to Israel
Sightseeing in Jordan:  Travelling from Amman to Dubai
Sightseeing in Jordan: Travelling from Amman to Dubai

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links, and I'll get a small commission if you make a booking through these links.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


6:36:00 AM
Hi and welcome to my blog Adventures of Anette, which mainly concentrates upon my studentlife and tralevs throughout the world.

So.. It´s only a couple of days left till I leave my home country Norway. After a little side-trip to Jordan (which I also might be able to blog about if I have the time as well as internet connection) I am going to study for a year at the Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto to finish my bachelor degree in Japanese.
Originally my plan was to make a blog about my year in Japan, but then I realized I have so many and varied plans for the close future, so I renamed my blogpage to something that can also include other future projects.
A friend of mine made me realize how lucky I am to have so many opportunities in my life. It really made me want to reach out for any possible adventures that might be out there and just do my best to succeed with whatever I might want to do in the future. Oh well..

As previously mentioned I´ll be leaving soon, and for the occasion I´ve invested in a new suitcase which is very big and silver-coloured, to avoid the irritation of not recognizing my own suitcase between all the others on the conveyor belt at the airport and of course to be able to bring with me all the things I would need for a year in Japan.
Further, the passport with my Nihon-visa has arrived and I´ve also invested in Lonely Planets Japan guide!
I couldn´t be more ready. Haha. My suitcase still remains unpacked though. The last days has been really busy, there are a lot of things I need to do and a lot of people I want to see before I leave.

Talking about busy: This weekend has been really eventful! Sensei Masaaki Ueki (8th dan) were in Norway among other things to teach at a karate gathering in Fana, and I got the honor of being his translator for the weekend!
A great chance for me to practice a bit extra japanese, and not to mention keigo! I had a lot of fun, it´s been so long since I practiced karate and now I´m really eager to start training again in Japan!..

Anyway, a little tip to my dear readers: Did you know that Norwegian people living abroad can get tax-refund even though their nationality is Norwegian? It´s because it´s your address, and not your nationality that determines whether you are qualified for tax-free refunds or not (I´m not sure if the same rules applies for other countries as well though..).
That´s really nice..! When you buy an item you actually pay 25% taxes, no wondering why Norway is so expensive.. I´ve been collecting a few tax-free receipts the last week (on the suitcase for instance) and when I leave Norway I´ll get some money back from my purchases!
But remember that you need to be able to prove that you do in fact live abroad, if you are an exchange student you probably have some letter from your school stating that you´ll be studying there for a year. And also, the things you want tax on has to be taken out of the country with you, preferably in your hand luggage so that you can show the things when you claim the tax at the airport.

Well, that´s all for today!
Matta ne;)

About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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