London, london

Last weekend I went to visit my all-time favorite physicist (I call anyone who does physics a physicist)/hiphop star (she likes to wear her baseball caps backward-forward, dope!)/great friend (there are different kinds of friends: friends you can show off with because they study quantum computing at imperial college london; friends you better keep them to yourself because they are just pure hot-mess, trolling on internet at 5am, stuck in apartment all day long like a hermit crab) in London! I was also stocked to see LSE in person, which turned out to be a huge disappointment, but more on that topic later.

My trip to London was very troublesome: for whatever reason I bought a transit flight from SF to LA, then LA to London on February 14th. It rained all day long, and my flight to LA was delayed by an hour, which in turn made me miss my flight to London. After one night in LA, which I spent listening to too much Gabriel o Pensador, I boarded on another flight the next day from LA to London. The flight itself was quite smooth, except I was sitting next to a British couple, who turned out were not pissed off by me from the very beginning, only that they, like many other British people, have their eyes grown on top of their heads.

Anyways I arrived in London, surprised by the nice attitude of UK custom officers. I met with my friend Lulu (who has appeared in this blog some two years ago; good memories: she was the one who brought/kidnapped me to Japan and introduced me to wonderful addiction of Snowboarding) and again, was struck by the efficiency of London subway system. We had Mexican food after I arrived in Lulu’s place, I actually thought they were good tacos.

Then off to visit Notting Hill’s long stretching street of antique dealership. Less formal than it sounds like, the Notting Hill markets proved to be a mishmash of hand-made delicacies and jaw-droppingly expensive —- Maps.

I was completely out of battery once we returned from Notting Hill. After two hours of conscious-less nap, Lulu and I went to Chinatown for dinner. Lulu, with her usual humor, commented that the Chinese people can somehow always plant their community in the center of a given metropolitan. Chinatown in London is much more organized. We walked around and had a Chinese crepe for dinner. After that we walked more, with a surprising encounter of a Scottish street-singer. He had such great voice: it’s deep like drums; and proficient skill in playing Guitar. The way he played his guitar, he laid it on his lap and played it like a piano. Lulu, who was also a guitar player, told me that he probably learnt Guitar like that. I was amazed. We also went to a bookstore, ah heaven on earth! I realize I should restrict my visit to bookstores now, I’m like a drug addict in Amsterdam there.

The same night we went out to watch a movie at the Museum of Natural Science. Jokingly we tried to act like a lesbian couple, since it’s an event in celebration of Valentine’s day. Apparently we were really bad at it, the doorman stopped us to check our authenticity as valentines. We got busted, but felt much more relieved to find out that many normal friends also showed up in groups at the viewing. I loved the Humpback whale skeleton sleeping in dead silence right above our head. Have I mentioned they are my favorite marine animals? Lulu was also there when I admired Humpback whales’ penes in Iceland. Alert to male readers: I wouldn’t click/visit if I were you.

Lulu is still the active thinker, with whom I spent many nights figuring out my life back in Berkeley. She has a big heart, keeping updated with many more friends than I do, at the same time providing brand-name high-quality advice. I told her about my frustration in having my life too easy: I became more aware of my privileged family background, and the many conveniences I enjoyed growing up. Would I be tough enough to compete with other people who experienced life the real way? I am also glad to see that she has taken one more step to challenge herself, I simply wish that she knew how great she was already.

The next morning I overslept, and had to arrive at mass late. Lulu came with me to experience holiness in St.Paul’s Cathedral. The mass is longer (1:30 mins), the group much larger, and the environment much more solemn than Newman Hall at Berkeley. One really feels one’s powerlessness and urge to obey in that architecture. We came forward to receive our blessing, a very gentle crossing on our foreheads.

Despite living for almost 1 year away from one another, we still like the same food. Ramen in front of the British museum turned out to be the best Ramen I have had abroad. We talked about “The Rape of Nanjing”, a book Lulu has been reading. Turns out John Rabe, a German businessman and Nazi party member was the founder of safety zone in Nanjing, which sheltered approximately 200,000 Chinese people from slaughter during the massacre. An interesting find.

“How come he would be in China?”

“He worked for Siemens AG at the time.”

“Ah.”

“Now it all makes sense, right?”

The British Museum is huge, but my favorite part is the Ottoman Empire section: such delicate and beautiful civilization. I first developed my love towards Ottoman Empire in a class at Cal, my GSI apparently speaks Turkish and is studying the history of Ottoman Empire. I was intrigued by the Devshirme system and the religious freedom it promised. How come that we as humans achieved tolerance once in the past, but can no longer do it now? I napped in the British Museum, on a bench for 20 mins. The time difference has turned me into a sleeping machine.

Afterwards we went to see LSE. I really had such high expectations towards the school: I had friends who went there, friends who are currently enrolled there, friends who wish to be admitted there. But one had to admit, the campus itself is nothing like campus of Berkeley. I realize that I am finally falling in deep deep love with Berkeley during my last semester here. Nothing seems to match its lovely quirkiness. And to think I found the campus mediocre when I first got admitted!

We had kabab and Turkish yogurt for dinner. Lulu enlightened me again in terms of good restaurants in Berkeley: so many things to try before I graduate! The next morning after one cup of breakfast tea, and several pieces of cornbread, I set off for the airport and said goodbye London, for now.

München log1: Regensburg

On the plane:

I knocked out the moment I was on the plane. This is my first time flying with Lufthansa and I have to say I can’t stop but comparing it with Cathy Pacific in my mind. (Although it’s maybe because I slept through the entire trip; when I woke up the captain was already broadcasting “cabin crew please prepare for landing”.) Although the german broadcasts are interesting and I was reassured that I needed to work harder on my German. Also, landing is extremely soft (as opposed to the time with Air France when they made landing like an entire catastrophe and everyone clapped for their own pure luck when the plane landed safely.) 

I didn’t have any dreams and plus I was sick. Buried inside my blankets ( I brought one of my most trusted and used wool blanket and the one distributed on flight ) , eye covers and a surgical mask, I was only woken up once in the middle of the flight because the lady sitting next to me needed to use the restroom. (She started coughing at the end of the flight so it might be possible that I gave my cold to her… I felt very sad about that.) For the same reason, I totally ignored the foods. I remembered smelling something but that’s it. 

First thing I realized upon arrival in Munich was the awesome time difference of Germany between US and China: I could talk to family and friends from both parts at the same time!

Second thing worth noticing is that the subway from Munich airport to Münch Hbf was late for an entire hour. And everybody looked totally fine with it. I wondered when I could reach that peace of mind. I also realized that people walked slower in comparison to in the States.

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(The inspiring ticket that was supposed to leave at 18:27 that actually left at 19:30)

Regensburg:

My train to Regensburg left at 6:44 am and arrived at 8:11 am. My plan was to arrive early to walk around and got a general feel of the city before everyone got here. But the train was already stuffed with people getting off at different stops along the way. Deutsche Bahn’s inter-city trains kind of reminded me of their counterparts in Japan. Both countries have train stations built into a collection of (fast food) restaurants and sold tiny pocket books.

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(on the way to Regensburg: sun came out at around 7:30am)

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(Haha this is so funny, it’s at a coffee shop called “San Francisco Coffee” on second floor of Regensburg Bahnhof.)

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(And of course I need to get some caffeine here. )

I spent the morning exploring University of Regensburg. The university itself is like a combination of Soda hall and Evans on Berkeley campus. Before I left, I was shown a booklet of pictures from Regensburg so I had high expectations. Needless to say, the university had much more practical design.

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(A 20-mins walk from Regensburg Hbf with the help of Google map)

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(Flags; and winter sun in Regensburg)

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(See what I was talking about?)

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(Philosophie… Moses Hall on Berkeley campus left such a good impression of Philosophy Department on my mind, which translated to confusion when I saw this very direct, practical, black-and-white, simple design of directory)

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(But! It did get a lot better once I ventured onto the main campus.)

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(Not us. Those are just two random human beings.)

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(Artistic bridge connecting main campus with the sports facility. Three students were chilling at the end of the bridge.)

I wandered around campus for a while, especially amongst the Physik and Philosophie Departments. There were some interesting talks going on. But I guess my snow boots are instant give-aways of my actual identity: a curious visitor. In order to make myself less noticeable so as not to disturb the students, I tried to blend in with one group of local high school students. That was a harder job as apparently I was the only Asian following at the end of the group.

Then I left the university to visit the actual Regensburg Altstadt. It was another thirty minutes walk. This Thanksgiving break I would like to give my most sincere Thank you to google map.

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(On the Way to Regensburg)

I decided to join a day tour at the visitor’s center. The tour was in German and although I couldn’t understand 100%, I did find some familiar terms from in class. Did I know that Regensburg was the largest city in Bayern in the German Empire? No I didn’t. I also didn’t know that the reason that Regensburg preserved many architectures from middle ages because it didn’t have enough money to build more fashionable buildings. Before the discovery of America, Regensburg was very rich. But once colonialization started, Regensburg lost competitively and could only re-use its previously built buildings over and over again.

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(Bismarkplatz)

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(The most “fashionable” Regensburg could get with a not so full wallet. An Italian design tower)

The church was also interesting in that Regensburg was one of the first cities in Europe with Protestants and catholic population living together peacefully. The solution was two separate churches and the gothic cathedral was left half-undone. In the 1900s when nationalistic values were on the rise the gothic element became valuable and so the rest of the cathedral was finished. Hence, even if the cathedral looked old half of it was only done during the last century.

 

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(die Donau)

And for the first time in my life I had sweet Crepe only with sugar! It tastes so good! I got tired after walking for a while so I went back to München earlier than I expected. But I was so excited that I got to use my German a bit today!

 

Updates: I am feeling lucky

It’s been a long time since my last update. Again, I failed my resolution to write an update every week. Sometimes I wondered if laziness is the ultimate explanation for failing to fulfill my expectations every time, but then I realized that laziness was a symptom, caused by different motives every time. In this particular scenario of me not writing timely blog posts, I guess it’s because I didn’t put writing blog posts high on my to-do list. It’s all about priority, as they said.

Speaking of priorities, I registered for San Francisco Half Marathon on July 23rd!!! I actually registered one last year but due to various circumstances I wasn’t able to attend. However, I will be able to attend this year’s SF Half Marathon. I deliberately selected the route which passes the Golden Gate bridge. My graduating friend Hongling told me that it’s a great view, although I was concerned if I could see anything 5 am in SF’s signature foggy morning. I bought a bart transportation ticket so that I could get pick up at MacArthur station 4:30am on the marathon day. Another option would be to stay overnight in SF and go to start line at around 5:30am in the morning. I will see if I can find anyone to go to SF with me or otherwise I can just use the transportation ticket.

My last (and first) half marathon in Yosemite was great, although it costed me two months to get back on plastic track and started real running again. Currently I am trying to incorporate more strength training into my schedule because I read online that core strength is essential for running. Last year I just let myself run 10 km, without time limit, each day as long as my ankles didn’t hurt. I thought it’s more important to get the feeling of running instead of actually being too technical about everything at the beginning, which I still cared a lot about. But my experience in Yosemite has shown that I am still a rather young and naive runner on the road. I’ve seen so many mature (or at least more mature) runner than I am who take running much more seriously than I do. I want to run seriously but I don’t want to trade my pleasure from running for that. Thus I was debating on training methods and then I had a rather… tight schedule. And so I was like: well, might as well just train more in the gym and try out what google says. Although I do try to run 3 to 4 times per week, the rest of the days I train in gym.

I bought a package of protein breakfast cereal home. It tastes really good, really sweet with only 4g sugar. Most of the sweetness comes from artificial sweetness things I guess (which I read online it’s not all that healthy… but whatever I am one of the dumb consumers who actually enjoy being rigged off by two-sided labels. And it has tons of protein)

I started a vegetarian diet last December. I am actually surprised by myself: I thought I couldn’t sustain after two days. But then I have to thank vegan and vegetarian restaurants around Berkeley. Also, my friends and family have been real supportive in my diet. I just finished dinner with my roommates (graduating and I am sad). I am always grateful for the fact that they completely respect my diet choices: I have my vegetables, they have their chicken (which looks sooo good. ) I realize that I probably can’t be an authentic vegetarian in that I will always have my feelings for meat. I grew up eating meats and vegetables at a rather sensible portion. It’s only after I came to US I started to eat way too much meat. I can’t blame US eating culture for this. I was dealing with all kinds of issues from school and personal life, eat healthy and at the right portion wasn’t my first priority. I wanted to incorporate more vegetables in my life, that’s why I asked myself to eat vegetarian for a week in the beginning. To be honest, I have no trust in that I can be vegetarian for life. Life is long, and I am young. But I do like the feeling of knowing that I have enough vegetables and fruits each day.

Last last weekend I went to Chicago (actually Purdue) to visit my cousins and my lovely niece. They oftentimes joked about living in the “rural” area but I actually felt like they live such an ideal life. I guess one doesn’t need to live in between the city lights and car horns to be happy. Plus, the stars are so pretty at Purdue. On our way from Chicago to Purdue, we saw a huge huge moon ascending from the horizon: this is the first time that I’ve seen a moon coming up like the sun. We passed this field of windmill and I thought it’s a herd of Ohmu as in the Miyazaki film “Nausicaa of the valley of the wind”. (I tried to insert pictures of Ohmu here as reference, but then Google only showed me gross pics with weird angles of Ohmu. They actually look pretty in the film) We talked a lot about all kinds of things, including the constellations. I felt extremely lucky to have family near me to spend time with.

The next day I stayed home, had really really delicious rice cakes from Xiamen. I was taken really good care of lol and my niece only got cuter. She rode her little pink bike everywhere and it’s so much fun to see her “park” her little bike. She looked like a little adult. We went to watch a robot show in Purdue University. In the end, a former drummer who lost his right arm in a car accident got a robotic arm that could work with the rest of his body. He said that he was able to hit the drum at a much higher speed than any human being on the planet. I guess this was a great example of how people should work with robots. Then again, in digression, I always felt like robots could only be robots in that they would never develop human emotions like love, hatred, etc and etc. I mean, if human beings can’t figure out the evolution of emotions, how can they create emotions on a bunch of steel?

The third day we went to a child museum in Indianapolis. I love love the little handmade rooms. (alert: many many many pictures starting from here)

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(look at the frame, it is the size of a normal family photo frame. The furnitures are tiny fairy sizes. But look at the details, amazing!)

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( I love the harp, and the tiny pictures)

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(This is a reading room (?) and the bench (?) looks so … hard… to lie on. But everything is so detailed and placed elegantly.)

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(The circus presentation.)

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(why did I take this picture… ?)

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(I wonder, what’s the fabric of the suit. Also, this is so “circus” in that it has a bizarre feeling with it.)

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(This dress is for those crazy brave rope walking ladies. )

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(And I am delighted as well. in 2017)

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(So delighted I had to take a second picture of it. I swear I tried to take detailed pictures of each individuals on the carousel, but my camera wouldn’t do it justice.)

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(glass art, again, camera doesn’t do it justice. Do you know how they implement it? they first build the structure, basically the round supporting piece in the middle, then randomly using artsy instinct to put on the rest colorful glass pieces on the supporting piece. I read it on the notice board. There was also a notice board about how they cleaned it. I didn’t spend time reading it. Now I felt so regret! Please I need to know how they clean this thing! )

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( Chicago Willis Tower, on the professional-international-many flags-huge globe-basically tourists stop side)

 

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(This is kind of a depressing picture to look at.)

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(Chicago skyline, taken at 106 floor )

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(Again, depressing to look at. Or maybe I just have acrophobia.)

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(Definitely acrophobia. )

And that’s my Purdue/Chicago trip!! Also, great foods every day made me super happy and piggy. My flight back to SF got delayed for 3 hours but it was ok. (Sincere Advice: please don’t fly United again future me.)

Oh I almost forgot! Last last last weekend we went to snowboard in Tahoe!! Here comes the pics.

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(left to right: Lulu, Hongling, me)

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(In case you didn’t get how cool I am)

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(picture at the front door of literally the worst Japanese restaurant I have ever been to in my entire life. Speaking of Monopolization in snow resorts.)

I think my life is updated now. I just finished my Political Science midterm today and I have another midterm next week, and the week after, and the week after. I hope I can push through, although I know I am probably the luckiest person walking on planet now. I am starting to get this “I am feeling lucky” feeling much more often these days. Not because I am actually very lucky, but because compared to last semester anything, even if it’s midterms or deadlines, would make me feel extremely lucky to be studying in Berkeley now.

The rest of my winterbreak

After I came back from Hakuba, I spent most of my time in bed for two days. Then I was dragged to an internship, shadowing a day trader and hopefully became some sort of a day trade newbie in less than one month. I am using the word “dragged” because honestly I didn’t want to do this internship at first. I later realized that for my own good and future possibility of finding a job (which seems feeble from my current position) I needed, or had to do this. My daily routine at the job involves:

6:20am daily questioning my decision of accepting this freaking internship 😉 crying goodbye to warm bed how can a southern china city be so cold all of a sudden???

1.5 hrs metro ride with sleepy eyes and questioning the meaning of life

8:30am -4:30pm work ( observing my colleagues’ awesome trading techniques, trying to implement them in my mock trading session and failed by losing tons of fake money for the nth time)

4:30pm – 6:00pm talk about my mock session today with one of my colleagues and submit a written file of things I learnt today

1.5 hrs metro ride home

Basically it’s the same ritual happening day after day. Although for one weekend, I got to spend some relaxing and lovely family time at a hot spring place near Huizhou.

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(The bridge leading to the gate of the hotel we are staying at)

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(Gate in the middle of the night. )

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(Room decoration and a lovely elephant lol he/she has a bang)

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(I was using a phone camera so the resolution is not great)

This is also the same weekend my cousin left for college, one week ahead of me. so we took this picture

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(My two younger brothers are growing big and tall. The day they got taller than I was they stopped following orders. But I feel incredibly grateful for the love and support they gave me.)

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I didn’t take pictures about the foods we had in Huizhou. The vegetables were delicious. One of the vegetables were called 观音菜, I was told that it only grew out of rocks, which is kind of an interesting and inspirational fact.

Then we went back to Shenzhen. My home city has grown so much in the four months I was gone. People ride public bikes around town these days.

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(See the bar code below the seat? Just scan it and one can ride public bikes like this for 0.5 yuan per hour. I was told that these bikes were actually pretty high quality. One time I tried to bike all the way from work to home. It didn’t break halfway. I did. )

WechatIMG13.jpeg(#7 and #9 were new to me. On a side note, Bart is disgusting! I thought I got used to the weird smell and stuff… on the ground after two years. I missed the clean (sometimes packed) subway back home.)

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(I saw this lavender ice cream!!! It tastes like lavender!!! Also, apparently people no longer pay with actual money now. )

The next weekend I finished my intern. I had three days left at home and we spent one day in Guangzhou. My brother bought this book

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(??? what why??? )

I spent my last day with my friends from middle school. We’ve been friends for like… 9 or 10 years. Wow how time flies. I love the fact that when we sat together, I felt like that young girl wearing middle school uniform with non-nearsighted eyes. How I missed my eyes back in middle school. I had no problem recognizing people waving at me from far away. Now I have to apologize each time I kept a bare face and just walk past people now.

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(In this cafe we talked about our life and plans. They made fun of me for not watching the new Harry Potter film. I miss them incredibly.)

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(I feel like I should get some kind of a membership card at this restaurant now. It’s the same thing I ordered before flight every single time.)

And that(plus the two Hakuba log here and here) is my winter break bridging 2016 and 2017. Now I am back in Berkeley and I’m thinking about writing a blog post talking about my plans for this upcoming semester. I will do so once my classes are finally decided. In the meantime, Chinese New Year is right around the corner. I miss home incredibly. But I guess I have my own life and so do my friends and family back home. I hope I can make this semester a fulfilling one.

Hakuba log 2: Shining and snow monkeys

After we had one awesome Snowboard class with Joey from Hakuba Snow Sports School, we decided to have two more classes with him at 8am each morning, to learn more about the sport. Snowboarding feels so good, although my knees (and butt) say otherwise.

On our way to Hakuba Goryu, where our second lesson was held, we saw snow monkeys having fun in the snow. Snow monkeys are the only monkeys that knows how to  enjoy hot spring, they’re puffy fur balls with a semi-human face capable of making the most genuine expression: e.g. the “Hell-Yea!” expression when they got themselves another hot spring. They kind of remind me of the squirrels we had in Berkeley, both are rather cute and harmless from distance, but sly and “aggressive” when their “rights” of foods or hot spring are threatened. The squirrels literally robbed two packages of nuts from me during Final Week, how pathetic is that! I’ve also heard stories of snow monkeys neglecting human beings who have already occupied the hot spring; the monkeys simply walked straight ahead, stepped into the hot spring and acted as if they are among their own spices. I guess when human beings are around all the time, the animals simply get used to us as well.

The snow in the morning was pure and pristine. The hills just woke up and snow chasers from all around the world had not occupied the hills. We rented our gear and did several warm up rounds. One of the warm up games was to stand right across each other, drop our snowboards and catch the other person’s snowboard before it fell onto the ground. Surprisingly, this game really does the job. Before long, I was sitting on the Lift and nervous about getting off the lift on my snowboard.

Joey told us that normally when snowboarders got off the lift one of their feet were strapped in. I wasn’t confident enough to strap one of my feet in and just slide down the lift. I remembered falling at least 10-15 times before getting a slight hint about how to not embarrass myself in front of the lift officers. Eventually I could land with one foot strapped in, but I still didn’t get how to stop gracefully like Joey did after I slide for a while on the snow.

The same thing goes to my turns. By the end of our lessons, I could slide down and traverse on the hills both on heels and on toes. (which was more than surprising and satisfying to me. I could just slide down the hills like this all day long!) However, I couldn’t make the smooth turns like Joey did, especially on the heel-toe transition. I have to say, on the hills I saw many cool moves on the hills and a small part of me secretly think that I will be able to do them in like, 10, 20 years lol.

I GOT MYSELF A NEW BOARD!!! woohoo

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(cat meme pc google lol)

My board is an 141 cm in length, camber bottom, pink-and-purple-mountainish pattern top, Burton board. Now, before I bought the board, I actually looked up online and saw that there were one Burton store on 4th street at Berkeley. I thought about getting the board after I got back to Berkeley, but then I also thought about the probability of visiting Beijing during my Winter break. Beijing has several nice snow parks and I’d be more than happy to try them out.

After I got my board, I finally decided that I really really needed to get my drivers’ license. Now, just between me and the other two readers of this blog (lol my “gang”) I also found Berkeley’s snowboarding club. Although, they seemed to party more than snowboarding. I will need to check them out next semester to see if really they are just party all night long under the disguise of a snow club.

During our stay at Hakuba, this tiny guy brought us ultimate joy:

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(all pc to Google we forgot to take pics of him)

His name is Victorie Cheval Blanc MURAO III.

I can’t even pronounce the name correctly. It makes him some sort of a white horse prince, while actually it’s just some weird horse dude with a pair of fake wings on his back. Also, what’s wrong with the bang??? Are those cream or hair?

Aside from the name, Lulu said that it looked like Hakuba’s city mayor.

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I think so too.

We watched the Shining and I was so scared. However, I first realized that elements like background music, camera angles, lightnings, etc and etc could have such ambiguous yet profound impact on the viewers. We spent a lot of time talking about different theories on the Shining. My personal favorite is the one saying that little Danny was abused by his father Jack. Although I realized that many people probably wouldn’t agree with me, which is fine, because I got into this idea by a youtube video lol. It’s interesting how a two hour horror film can bring up so many discussions.

Fri Dec 23 10:11

I’m back at Shenzhen now. Slept pretty well last night, got waken up by music from the primary school (which was my primary school) nearby. Had tons of breakfast. Now heading to my high school to meet my friends. I guess this blog wrap up my trip in Hakuba. I really enjoyed it and hopefully I will be back next year.

Hakuba log 1: I am loving Snowboarding!

Mon Dec 19 20:12

We (Lulu and I) finally arrived in Japan yesterday! Now I am writing this log in a ryokan in Hakuba Happo (a city near Happo One, the best snow resort in Japan; it also hosted skiing related events for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano). Our journey from Berkeley to this warm and comfy room in Japan took more than 20 hours. But I have to say, in general, we were hella lucky.

First of all, when we got to the airport on the 17th of December, for some reasons SFO was stuffed with people. The lines were absurdly long and seven out of the eight self-service check-in machine were not functioning correctly. Then, just like God was really watching over us (cause our flight was leaving in 1.5 hours and we were still at #100000000000 in line) a woman was asking if anyone on UA875 (our flight to Tokyo) was still trying to get themselves checked in. We were then helped to get our check-in sorted out and passed the security checkpoint.

Our flight to Tokyo was ok. It was like one of the many (sadly) long flights from Hong Kong to SF. We talked a bit on the plane but most of the time Lulu was working on her lab report. I finished watching two mediocre Hollywood movies and started to think about the meaning of long flights: the flights were so long that they nearly killed my excitement and interest towards my destination. What’s the point then, to fly long hours to get to a place whose mysteries were beaten by the tiredness in the middle of the Pacific ocean?

After we arrived at Tokyo, we took one single-track railway, one underground railway, then a two-hour Shinkansen (bullet train) then one-hour Bus drive to get to our clean and soft tatami, and most importantly, open-air hot spring!!

I can’t stress enough my obsession with hot springs. The only reason (at first) that I wanted to come to a ski trip in Japan with Lulu was because Lulu told me there would be hot spring. Especially in winter, the deep blue coldness creeps into my body silently but keenly through my limbs. When I stepped into that hot spring, and the warmness quickly fills my body, I was finally satisfied and consoled. All the brutal harm I have taken academically in Berkeley this semester was not in vain.

Our last skiing trip to Tahoe was awesome, in a spiritual way, because I didn’t even ski for like 10 minutes. I was falling down, tripping over, dropping my ass into pieces, then all over again. But all that was before I discovered Snowboard today. The excitement soon drove me to ride snowboards until my legs cramped and didn’t notice that my fingers were cut by sharp ice. I have to say, I might never be a natural at snowboarding, but I really like it. I did have to force stop several times by sitting into the snow (which was like sitting onto a marble floor instantly and my butt is the only buffer I got). Once I fell forward and rolled several seconds down the hill. I was a bad lift rider. The officers had to stop the lift to wait for me to get down.  I was ashamed by my shameless actions causing jokes and troubles, but at the same time I wanted to get onto another lift, snowboard one more time down the hill.

We had a private lesson on snowboarding today and our instructor was awesome. (@Hakuba Snow Sports School, highly recommended for newbies like me). Now my back hurts, my legs scream, but my spirit happy and grateful.

(tl;dr Hot spring and snowboarding cure a broken bear’s soul.)

Btw, food wise our breakfast was shitting on Stanfurd per usual. We had a yummy and full dinner at an Indian cuisine (weird, the chief is really Indian). Since we are both over 20 yrs old, we ordered two beer, one sake (with soda lol) and we both discovered that sake (with soda…) was our favorite. Beer just tasted bad. like, really bad. I also believe that beer in general tastes bad. I’ve given it several chances, by trying out beer from China, Japan, South Korea, America, Germany and came to the conclusion that beer, or alcohol in general, tastes bad internationally.

“I don’t understand, why do people drink beer? If they’re looking for the bubbles, why can’t they just drink soda?” –Lulu

Well said.