It has been over a month since from my last post. I have finished taking the final exam for the October course and preparing for the next course right now. It’s getting very cold in the Stockholm, and it start snowing from these few days. I have never experienced the snow in the November before. In my city, Osaka, Japan, it snows mostly from January. There are even some years which never snows. Thus, I was very astonished that it snows from the beginning of November in here. Which means that I need to bare with colder days in January or in here. All of my Swedish friends told me that it is just the beginning of the Winter in Stockholm, and it will be colder in the January and February. I am currently waiting for the package which contains a lot of winter wears.
(Picture taken at Stockholm University, on November 6th)
Anyway, from the last blog, I have experienced so many things.
First, I got my residence card from the Swedish migration. (Well, I got it during the October, so it was quite long time ago though). I was waiting for this card for couple weeks. Now I don’t need to carry my passport all the time. I am not sure why but everytime I go to Systembloget to buy some alcohol, they ask me to show the ID card, so I was very demanding for this card.
Also, I actually did not noticed, but I had a Swedish personal number. My friends and me could not find out this number since we came to Sweden, but one of my friends finally found it on the paper we received on the first day! With this number, I can register for the student card and membership card for any kind of shops. With the student card, I can have a discount at some shops.
Unfortunately, I already bought many dishes at Åhlens for my mom’s souvenir which I could have get 20% off with the membership card. Well, I can have a discount with Scandinavian Airways, which is very important for me and which I can forgive about the Åhlens.
Second, I started to go to Tumba high school to help a Japanese woman as a volunteer whose teaching Japanese at there. I joined their classes, and sometimes correct their tests and their homeworks. The most surprising thing was that even the first grade students can speak English very fluently. In Japan, we start studying Japanese from Junior high school. As a result for this, we can not speak English as much as Swedish students here. I also surprised with their passion of studying something new. Japanese do learn new things, but because we have entrance exams for the university and so on, they are tend to study as like mandatorily. I’m having fun with taking to the Swedish students, and myself encouraged by them.
Addition to this, I’m going to Japanese language cafe which is held at Stockholm University. We, exchange students, have few chances to meet with Swedish students because some courses are only for the exchange students. I am making a lot of Swedish friends who are interested in Japan and Japanese culture there. It is very interesting to teach them about Japan and also learn about Sweden.
My friends playing Japanese Games at the bar
Next, I have been to so many different music concerts after I came to Stockholm. Basically, this is because of my Swedish friends who loves music. They always invite me for the music concerts and fortunately, I have learned so many things from them. We often go to the music concerts which are hosted by the KMH (Royal College of Music in Stockholm). Because some of the music concerts hosted by them are free charges, it is very easy for us to go and listen to their music. We also went to some of the pipe organ concerts held at Church as well. We even went to the pipe organ concert which were held at the biggest church at Uppsala. I really love the sound of it. Makes me feel relaxed, and can wash away my negative thinkings against my life.
Speaking about the Christianity, we also went to the Skogskyrkogården on the “Alla Helgons Day”. I never heard about this day before. But after I learned the meaning of this day, I realized that we have same kind of day in Japan, which is the day for the deceased. As same as Alla Helgons Day, we go to the grave at the temple, and pray for decedents and the ancestors.
Alla Helgons Day / Picture taken at Skogskyrkogården
I have so many things I want to write on the blog, but this time, I would like to end with here.
Since it’s getting cold, I may keep inside my room more time. Thus, I will have more time to write my blog, and I would like to spend more time writing on this blog.
Hello. こんにちは。 Hur står det till? One month has been passed since I moved to Europe, and three weeks have been passed since I moved to Sweden.
Last week, I went to Swedish Internet cafe with my Korean friends and Swedish friends. It was actually my first time to go to Internet cafe, and I didn’t thought that I can experience it in Sweden. I learned that people who are looped on video games are international thing. Because in Japan, game sometimes makes people crazy. Swedish friend actually told me that it happens in Sweden as well.
I also went to Natural History Museum in Stockholm city. This is my first museum to visit in Sweden. In Japan, those kind of natural museums are mostly related to nature animals. This actually made me thought that exhibits are only about natural animals in Sweden as well. But, it was different from what I imagined. Of course there were animal exhibits, but there were more exhibits which were about environment issues, and human physical system. Because I took a environment economy class when I was in Japan, and I was really familiar with this issues, but I still learned a lot from this museum. This museum actually reminded me the importance of the eco-friendly system. Some of the European countries are working hard for the environment issues. In Sweden, eco-friendly system for example; usage of bicycle, eco-friendly buses, and nature energy system are well developed. These are one of the things which I was surprised. I am thinking to learn more about the environment issues during the study abroad in Sweden. Again and again, this museum reminded me the issues.
Natural history museum
Next, I wrote about my lonely feeling of missing Japanese cuisine on this blog before, and I found the solution for this. I found the Japanese supermarket before at the Stockholm central station. It is quite small supermarket, but I felt really happy to find the Japanese condiments. Also, my Korean friends told me about the Asian supermarket called “oriental market” at the Stockholm central station. It was bigger than the Japanese one, and I bought many of Japanese cuisine. After that, I can finally cook Japanese food for the other international students. For that day, I cooked Japanese noodle called “Udon”.
To add things more, I went to “Japan Festival” on 9/11 which was organized by the Japanese Association. At there, I ate Japanese Sara Udon. Again, it is one type of Japanese noodle. I was quite surprised that there are many Japanese people or people who are interested in Japan living in Sweden. During my three weeks of stay in Sweden, I actually met with Japanese people only at Japanese supermarket. This made me think that population of Japanese in Sweden are quite little, but actually there were more Japanese than I thought. They were dancing the Japanese traditional dance called “Bon Festival” at the center of this festival. There were also people doing Japanese archery, and tea ceremony. It was small, but there was little Japan at that festival.
Japanese fried noodle Sara Udon
After the Japanese festival, me and my friends went to Old Town by taking the boat. It was our first time to visit to the Old Town in Stockholm. I think Old Town is more beautiful than the new one. I think the town itself is the heritage place for me where I can feel the history of Sweden and the Stockholm. Before I went there, I did not know that Stockholm has like this much of beautiful places. There are so many beautiful places in the cental city, and it is difficult for me to travel all the places. But since because I will study abroad for one year, I would like to try.
This is my second blog, and my first blog after I move to Sweden. I moved to Sweden on 22nd of August from Paris. Right just before moving to here, I was super nervous about my new life in Sweden, but at the same time, again, I was super excited to meet more people from all around the world, and to learn more cultures. I said goodbye to my girlfriend, and went to Sweden with this fidgeting feelings.
First thing I surprised just after I arrived at the Sweden was the train called “Arlanda Express”. I could not been in time with welcome bus which was supported by universities of Stockholm STAF, so I decided to take this train to go to Stockholm central station from Arlanda Airport. It was bit expensive, but super fast train. It reminded me Japanese super express train called “Shinkansen”. It took only 15-20 mins to get to the Stockholm central station. I was also surprised with the purchase system of the train. I thought I need to buy the ticket at the ticket office, but I bought mine at the platform. I thought this is unique thing in Sweden.
Arlanda Express. Picture retrieved from Arlanda Express official website. (n.d.). Retrieved September 1, 2016, from https://www.arlandaexpress.com/history.aspx)
Next, I bought a ticket for the train at central station with a little bit tough time with purchasing. I was surprised that a paper looks like receipt was the ticket for the train. I took me long time to figure out how to use the ticket; which was showing this paper to the station employee.
Arriving to Södertörn University
After I arrived at my Södertörns university, I did my registration, and moved to my dorm. Dorm was quite nice. There are students from many European countries in same floor. After I arrived to my dorm, most biggest culture shock was postal service in Sweden. In Japan, if you send a package to somebody else, Japan post will send it to the home or office directly. But in here, I need to go to quickshop to get my package. My dad send me about 5kg package from Japan for me, so I needed to bring it back to my dorm by myself…This was very cultural shocking experience for me…This was my first day.
After the first day, I joined IKEA tour with other students to buy furnitures. It was quite big one. We have IKEA in Japan as well, so I was used to the selling system at there.
I went to the Stockholm city with all of another exchange students as well. It was very beautiful city. Architectures are really beautiful, atmosphere of the city, and combination with the sea side are really really beautiful. I sended the pictures to my dad and mom as soon as I went to the city, and they liked it as well. Because I had limited time, I could not go inside the museum or see many famous places, but I would love to visit there again soon.
I also found many Japanese restaurants at “Mall of Scandinavia” which is located at Solna. Most interesting thing was there was a restaurant called “Icha Icha Love Nature”. Icha Icha means like “Loving somebody or something deeply, and show this action to others”. I thought the name of this restaurant was quite funny.
Icha Icha Japanese restaurant
After these, days went super fast. After few days later, I realized I stayed at Sweden already one week. Right now, our classes has been started. But I would like to find out more interesting in here!
I’m Ruka Matsushita from Osaka, Japan. My university in Japan is located at Kyoto, so I can write little about there as well. I study international relations at my university in Kyoto, and will study mainly tourism at Södertörns University in Sweden. The reason why I choose Sweden for my study abroad was because of refugee problems, and high quality of welfare system in Sweden. Because I am a student of international relations, I want to keep my study of international issues going on inside the EU. Also, since Japan is getting aging society, I would like to learn the Swedish high quality welfare system.
My university, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto
On this blog, I would like to write my life stories living in Sweden, and inside the EU countries. (I have lived in New York for three years, but this is my first time to live inside the Europe.) I would also like to tell my impression about them from my perspectives. So, my blog will be kind like easygoing. Please feel free to read.
Anyway, I am staying at Paris for a week right now. I will go to Sweden in couple days. I came here to “feel” the Europe before visiting Sweden and to meet my girlfriend who lives in here. Even before visiting Paris, I stayed at London for couple days to see the impact of Brexit, but could not feel any impact of it just staying there for only couple days.
View of Paris from Montparnasse Tower
This is my first time to study abroad only myself. Before going there, I went to many Japanese summer festival called “Matsuri” to feel the Japanese culture. I am very excited to tell our Japanese culture to many other students.
One of the top three famous Matsuri in Japan – Gion Matsuri
I am very excited to live in Sweden, but at the same time, I also feel very nervous about living way far from my home country. I only met up with two Swedish student in my university, and that’s it. It is very difficult to meet up with Swedish people in Japan, and more to communicate. As a result for this, I only know about the Sweden from internet. Most nervous thing is food. As you might know that Japanese food is very special even in the bundle of Asian cuisine. We have IKEA in Japan as well, and I do know the type of Swedish cuisine, but yet, still nervous about it. But, looking forward to have wonderful time at Sweden during my study abroad.
I would like to post more blogs after I move to Sweden.