Advice for students choosing a Uni – East Asian Studies?

So I’ve been attending Japanese/East Asian talks at different universities to find out which one is right for me and let me tell you IT’S WORTH IT. Teachers drill it into you (at least mine do) how important it is to look round every uni you’re considering  as a lot of the time you’ll be surprised, and they’re right. Uni’s might teach the same subjects but they are definitely taught differently. In my case I was looking for East Asian Studies specifically Japanese AND Korean because I have still yet to decide which I am really set on. I KEEP SWITCHING OKAY! And my personal statement must be done in a couple of weeks…bloody hell.

So my advice, if it wasn’t obvious enough, is to find out the open days of every uni you’re considering and attend.the.relevant.talks. This applies to all subjects, not only EAS, however, since I’m taking EAS I’m going to refer to it throughout this post now. I attended the talks of both Sheffield and Leeds and I’m going to compare them as an example.

Just to make sure before I start, this is my opinion completely, it isn’t a fact and I shouldn’t need to clarify this but of course, on the internet its necessary to avoid misinterpretations SO:

Uni of Sheffield – teaches both Japanese and Korean (both languages can be paired with other subjects) and the talk was a general EAS talk covering Japanese, Korean and Chinese. The head of the Japanese talk and the head of the Korean talk were present at the time of my talk and they were both fantastic! Yep, they had a power point but knew exactly how to ‘work’ it, not relying on it too much at all, they simply used it as a starter for each section and had no problem talking to us, the small group that was there. I believe H.Dobson is the name of the head of the Japanese department and he led the talk – he ran it beautifully, the presentation, the casual way he delivered the talk and the humor as well. It was all fantastic, great content, great answering of queries, great delivery. His co-presenter, the head of the Korean department also delivered her side of the talk very well. It wasn’t split into two parts, but rather they both delivered together which was really efficient. Sheffield sends their EAS students abroad in their 3rd year.

Not one part of this talk bored me and even afterwards they suggested, if people had more questions, that we talk outside as they talk had finished, however unfortunately I had to meet the friend I was with so I didn’t get the chance. They provided us with literature, info about the talk and email addresses for more questions which I made good use of – I enjoyed the talk so much that I even emailed them with my questions and had to mention that I wanted to sit in there all day and talk about the course. Sheffield sold it to me. Just brilliant.

Uni of Leeds – teaches only Japanese and Chinese for EA but again they can be paired with other subjects for dual honours. I have to admit, I was slightly more bored with this talk. It was specifically for Japanese, not any other language and it was run by a foreign European woman and a native Japanese woman. During the talk the European tutor basically read straight off the slide show, all the information was on there and I didn’t particularly find her delivery of the course very engaging. After which the native Japanese tutor explained her part but admitted most of it had been covered. I got the feeling that despite presenting this every year they probably hadn’t been prepared. I felt like Leeds was trying to sell itself a bit too obviously at this point due to the presentation of statistics and there was a lot of commenting on why they thought their system worked best. However I enjoyed myself quite a bit more when a 4th year student came in to talk to us, she was very social and engaging and we clarified a few questions everyone had with her which was very helpful.

It was mentioned that Leeds actually sends students to Japan in their 2nd year unlike a lot of universities who send their students in the 3rd year. This was was because they felt that students benefited a lot from the rapid expansion of vocab and speaking skills picked up abroad which made it easier for students to come back and finish their second half of uni in England. Apparently, it’s easier to work on future preparations and workloads when you do not have reverse culture shock to deal with which is completely true and well said.

I was expecting Leeds to have a really mind-blowing EAS talk but I admittedly I was a little disappointed. Overall, like I said before, I was in love with Sheffield the minute I stepped into that room. The way they presented was just fantastic and its definitely going to be my first choice no matter what whether I take Japanese or Korean.  So as demonstrated in this post, no talk is going to be the same in one uni as it will be in another! Make sure you do your research first! You do not want to be stuck in a uni you hate.

BOOM! Hope this post helped at least a little! And enjoy your open days!

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Anime! Does anime = cartoon?

So today whilst chatting with my Japanese friend T I started questioning what anime actually is, what it’s defined as in both Japan and non-Japanese countries. He sent  me a link to this Japanese show which, to me, was a cartoon, but to him, was anime. He said; ‘I like this anime hehe’ and I was like ‘Is it animeeeeeeee….?…Really. Is it?!’

This is the anime he sent me: Episode 2 The Monster-making Machine 

Haha! What a nutjob but anyhoo! This anime, as he called it, doesn’t seem to be drawn in the traditional anime style. It seems to be drawn in the same way (what westerners call) cartoons are drawn.

^ what I call a cartoon character

^ what I call an anime character

The short answer is that anime and cartoons both mean exactly the same thing.

The long answer is that they are different depending on whether you’re Japanese or Western/non-Japanese. 

Obviously I’m going to elaborate on the long answer because, well it’s the long answer so it makes sense hohoho. Short answer is done. BOOM. So long answer:

In the Western world cartoons have many different styles of being drawn but only Japanese cartoons have the distinctive features of ‘anime’. These are features such as the eyes, for example, which is one of the biggest give-aways. The general layout of the movements and the exclamation art that occurs when someone is maybe shouting/fighting or feeling a strong emotion. Anime has it own unique characteristics which, and along with the fact that it does not originate from the Western world but from Japan, is why it is referred to by another word other than ‘cartoon’. We know when something is a Western Cartoon and we know when something is a Japanese Cartoon. We simply use the term ‘anime’ to describe Japanese Cartoons. It’s literally just to distinguish between the two, it’s the same as if you’d say ‘Oh I was watching that German Cartoon the other night’ but instead of saying German you’ll have some word for it. If you say ‘oh I was watching that Japanese Cartoon the other night’ it’s the same as saying ‘oh I was watching that anime the other night’. We have a distinctive term for it so we use it.

Finally, ‘anime’  アニメ is literally just short for ‘animation’ which Japan refers to as any animation Western or Japanese or Korean or Chinese or any cartoon. Cartoons are anime in Japan, they’re the same thing, they’re animations therefore they are anime.

They have this shortened word which means exactly the same thing as cartoon does. To us all cartoons are cartoons, in Japan all animations are anime. There is only one thing that could possibly blow this whole explanation apart which is that in the Western world, yep, we do say cartoon for cartoons however, this seems to only apply to drawn cartoons. Things like Wallace&Gromit however are seen as animations. I’ve just tried to elaborate on this query but it’s made my brain go nuts trying to word it and I’m much too lazy to try and spend time doing so. Bum. OOOOOOOOH. I’ll leave you think on that but anyway sorry if I ruined this whole explanation for you with that HAHA! If you do have a definite answer or if you even just have a suggestion/idea please comment and let me know, I’d love to hear peeps’ thoughts!

P.S. I feel bad for starting this insane thinking cycle all over again, what does animation REALLY mean?!!! Let me put an end to the misery. Anime, for Westeners, is a Japanese Cartoon, any Japanese cartoon, and anime, for Japanese, is any animation at all. (:


What Japan finds attractive facially and why

One of the things a lot of girls in particular (although of course this can be applied to guys as well in the exact same way!) think about and consider, when experiencing an interest in Japan, is the cultures general idea of what is desired facially, what sort of looks are considered beautiful or cute.

The obvious ones are;

Big eyes.

Why? Because bigger eyes are cuter. Simple. You see a cute puppy and it usually has big puppy eyes! You see big eyes on dolls, you see big eyes in anime. Big eyes = cuteness. One more reason why Japan likes big eyes is because the majority of Japanese people don’t have big eyes. East Asians tend to have mono-lids, some have double lids yes, but the epicanthic fold is typical in a lot of East Asians which can restrict the size or how open the eye can seem. Either way, the Japanese naturally have slightly smaller or thinner looking eyes which is why big eyes are very desirable.

Small face.

Why? Because on average, the size of a Japanese head is naturally bigger than the size of a westerners head. Don’t ask me the science behind it all I know is that it is just and it is so! I found this out actually by reading a comment by MyHusbandIsJapanese (search Rachel and Jun) on their Facebook page. Apparently Japanese heads are naturally bigger than Western heads and I will link to their page/profile photo to demonstrate here.

Also apparently Asians (Koreans alot of the time, not just Japanese either!) tend to find that they’re cheekbones or faces in general are wider which is why, in a lot of pictures, they’ll do the little cute gestures with their hands by the side of their face. Like THIS:

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The first picture is of a Japanese girl and the second picture is of a Korean man, if you couldn’t tell. As you can see, Koreans have more concealing-of-the-face-whilst-being-really-cute poses and Japanese tend to just stick with cute. This is most definitely because Korea has a bigger interest in face shapes than Japan.

Tall nose.

Why? An Asian nose tends to have a rather flat or dipped nose bridge. Westerners have them too! But it’s very prominent in an Asian nose and is definitely one of the facial features that distinguishes an Asian person from a Western person. The flatter bridge of the Asian nose makes it smaller and shorter, almost as if it starts from the middle of the face below the eyes, giving a button nose effect, whereas a tall western nose appears to start from right between the eyes. I have a very tall nose bridge which, not just according to me but other friends as well, gives me a shark-like-appearance from my profile view.

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Example of a tall western nose, my own to be exact, my roman nose starts right between my eyes in a way and has little to no dip, arghhh no chance of a cute nose in my case…

Whereas button noses are seen as cute and desirable sometimes in the western world, they are in fact not seen the same way in East Asia. Japan likes tall noses as many East Asian countries do because just like everyone else in the world, they want what they can’t have!

These obvious desirable facial features are pretty much the only desirable facial features. Of course everything is subjective and not every single Japanese person will think the same but in general the majority will consider these features to be attractive. This does not however mean that just because you lack these types of features or if you are Asian yourself that Japanese people are not interested in you. It just means that if you happen to have these features they will be most likely noticed. None of my Japanese friends have the exact same preferences, they all like different things but can appreciate these ‘foundation features’.

I hope I gave you some insight as to why these features are seen as attractive and if you have any questions just let me know! (:


L&M gifts from Japan: Japanese sweet erasers!

Now in England we say ‘rubbers’ not ‘erasers’ but for the purpose of this post, and because in America a ‘rubber’ is a condom, I will refer to them as ‘erasers’. Catering for all!!

Now, onto the product, this was also a gift from L&M – a packet of erasers that look like Japanese sweets!

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Inside the packaging, from the top and going left to right; (apologies, I do not know the Japanese names for these sweets nor can I actually identify all of them) leaf wrap, pancake, sweet dumplings (on a stick), green tea and another leaf wrap.

005As you can see, the green tea actually comes with it’s own little saucer!

So that’s just another little gift from our lovely friends whom I hope to speak to soon as I miss them very very much! Sorry again for the lack of posts these days, school starts again tomorrow and I have had to start preparing for my last academic year before uni! I have lots of post topics so I’m not out of material, keep on coming! (:


Yu-Be – Japanese moisturizer review!

Today will be a review! Specifically on the Japanese moisturizer called Yu-Be!

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Firstly, I’ll review the packaging, presentation is important! So it’s a simple white square, box with orange accents, it has various pieces of info on all sides of the box which is nice because you’re immediately drawn to reading it!

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Info on the outside of the box includes the weight and how much product you get, a little background on the history of the moisturizer, brief directions and benefits of using the product and other basic common info (barcode, recycling icons etc) on the bottom!

What’s really cool about the packaging is that it’s actually designed to be opened up and flattened our because there’s extra information on the inside!

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Here you can see how it lays out once you’ve undone the structure, it has a perforated edge down on side so it’s easy to open up. The small flaps advertise the Yu-Be body lotion and also has a basic warning saying you should not use the product if the foil sheet (under the lid) is damaged. On the inside of the lid it advertises the fact that there is extra info on the inside.

Here (below) information includes a bit more background on the product and what each ingredient does, facts and benefits and the fact it’s suitable for all seasons, listed ingredients in French, German, English and Spanish.

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As you can see it’s a good read!

The product comes in a small palm sized tub in white with an orange twist-on/off lid.

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This is by no means difficult to open, it’s nicely contained, not too big, almost travel sized and it’s a pretty thick tub, you could bash it around and it would be fine (I know from experience!)

Now on to the actual product itself!

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The product comes in the form of a yellowy kind of creamy wax! I know!! When I first bought this I definitely did not expect a creamy wax, I expected a liquid-y cream! You do get ALOT of product, you might think it’ll run out. Noooo no no! This has lasted me…hmmmm, about 6 months (I got this in March 2013 for moi birthday) and that is how far it has gone down. You literally need a dab for each part of your face! One dab for each cheek, one dab for forehead, one dab for nose and chin and rub it in baby!! I ALWAYS apply a small dab to my lips as well and I mean a small dab. Like literally touching your finger to the product for a second and then applying whatever is on there, sometimes even that is too much! You do NOT need a lot at all which is why it lasts so long!

When I first saw the actual formula I was put off a little because when I think of locking in moisture I like to apply wet creams to my dry/normal skin as it feel more plump but trust me TRUST ME it does do it’s job! It’s does exactly what it says it does! It dries very nicely on the skin and doesn’t leave it oily. It’s suitable in every season? Yep!! That’s true!! Although I have to say in hot summers you may want to apply a little less (than the incredibly small amount you already apply) because once you start sweating your face might feel a little sticky.

Now if you’re someone who, like me, gets very chapped lips quite easily then BUY.THIS.SHIZ.IT.WORKS.

One dab on your lips and use your ring finger to pat it in, don’t rub or swipe, pat. It really plumps up your lips! Your chapped lips will literally VANISH BABY! I recommend, after washing your face, using a towel to gently rub off the dry flakes from your lips while they’re still wet (or use a wet towel) and then pat in some Yu-Be, your lips will not only feel so amazingly plump but they’ll be so soft when the product dries! Ohhhgawwwd, I was so obsessed with the feeling of my lips after applying this product that for about 3 months straight I took my pot of Yu-Be with me to school and applied it multiple times every day, I forced my friends to put some on their lips! Every one of them came back to me, raved about it and then asked how much it cost!

Now I don’t know about Japan but in England at BOOTS it was about £19 something. Not the cheapest but my god it’s worth the money. So much product and it can do so much! I personally only use this product for my face but it states you can use it for your body and cuticles etc etc so use it as much as you want it will still last forever! I’ve never become so attached to a product like this before, it does provide all the benefits it claims it does, this product doesn’t lie. I reeeaaallly recommend this, even if you have oily skin, dry/normal skin it doesn’t matter this stuff works wonders. (: Get it!


What not to do when looking for a Japanese boyfriend – asking opinions online?

So this post is going to be analyzing people’s behaviour online when they’re looking for a Japanese partner. I’m going to be talking specifically about girls (non-Japanese) wanting a Japanese boyfriend and not guys (non-Japanese) wanting a Japanese girlfriend because firstly, I’m a western girl myself and secondly I don’t personally know any non-Japanese guys who are looking for a Japanese girl.

[Warning – this may turn into some kind of cray cray rant!]

I think I’ll start with what I see ALOT online in forums about Japan and that is a large amount of comments and post by girls who constantly ask the same thing every time.

‘I’m *insert name* and I really want to eventually have a Japanese boyfriend because *insert some sort of unnecessary reason*. I’ll study/work/visit in Japan at *insert time or the phrase ‘some point’* so I’d like some opinions on if you think Japanese guys will be interested in me. I’m a *insert race* girl, 1/4 *insert an asian race* and 3/4 *insert any other race*, I have big *insert eye colour* and *insert length* straight *insert hair colour* hair. I have white, very fair skin and I’m pretty skinny, I’ve always been told I was skinny and I don’t tend to put weight on at all. I’m *insert height* and (not always present) *insert BWH vital statistics/dimensions* so I’m quite *insert tall/small/average*. I’ve been told I’m very *list of traits found in Jesus or some sort of Samaritan* and I don’t get angry very easily at all, I’d like to get married some day and start a family in Japan. So do you think any Japanese men will be interested in me? ^.^

Wha-…I can’t even…no, seriously..n-what please, no no no no no! The amount of times I’ve seen this is ridiculous.

Being serious for a moment, firstly, what makes anyone a better catch for someone else because they have a certain percentage of their genes the same as the other person? Not even their genes! Just having some relatives that are the same ethnicity as another person. Does this seriously make someone a better partner? Of course not! It seems like every time I see a paragraph like this it includes the exact same info and additionally some sentence along the lines of ‘yeah so I’m 1/4 Japanese and 3/4 Western’. If you are someone who has mentioned this, stop. It’s not necessary. It doesn’t matter if you have a small amount of Asian genes in you, if you didn’t grow up in their country, you are no closer to being one of them as anyone else.

In relation to that point, why would your boyfriend ever want you to be somebody you’re not? Why would you WANT to be with someone who wanted you to be someone you’re not?! You are not Japanese and trust me, when you find the right person they will accept that. In fact it won’t even need to be accepted. Because it shouldn’t even be a problem! Don’t think about ethnicity, just think about personality. That is what will sell you trust me I know.

Moving onto that list of physical features that apparently EVERY GIRL ON THESE FORUMS HAS! Ohohohoho. They all sound exactly the same but if they were lined up next to one another they’d look nothing alike. The one thing that annoys me about this particular part of their post is the fact that they basically all describe themselves as having features that are considered, across the whole of Japan, to be pretty/cute/beautiful whatever you want to call it. Yes, having big eyes, a small face, being skinny, nice hair, these features may be largely approved of, but you’re not showing any individuality. Some advice for people who do this? You’re clearly trying to fit into somewhere you’re not meant to fit in to. I’ll say this again. You’re not Japanese. Even if you do have these features, don’t dwell on it. People might look at you and say you’re kawaii but it’s not going to help you actually gain a real, trustworthy Japanese boyfriend. It’s basically the same as people in the Western world trying to get a boyfriend or girlfriend based on their appearance alone. You know very well what people think about those types. Shallow. What makes it any different in the Asian world? Nothing.

Finally, listing all the best personality traits you have is not going to be very beneficial unless you balance it with every negative trait you posses and since that’s not exactly going to happen, you may as well stop post about your personality at all. Who the heck enters into a relationship with someone not knowing what their personality is fully like? If all you do is tell someone or show someone you’ve got a lot of patience, you’re kind and caring, you’re willing to look after them and you’re funny and good at cooking and all these wonderful traits you are not being honest with someone and that’s only going to slap you in the face with a wet fish later. Imagine living with your boyfee and one day he snaps and starts being nasty because he had a crap day at work and he didn’t see any food on the table when he got home. What if one day he’s too lazy to find a job or look after your dog or post something important for you. Know.your.partner.

I literally have crap all to say about the ‘I one day want to get married in Japan’ part. It’s probably the only decent section!

Anyway, so this is one major major MAJOR thing that should be avoided, asking questions about how your appearance and (parts of) your personality will heighten or lower your chances of getting a Japanese boyfriend. It’s just not necessary whatsoever. See you later guys!


L&M presents from Japan! (money money moneyyyy…holder)

Bit of background – my mum is a qualified private gardener and so she has worked her way to gardening in some rather nice and big houses (owned by people who are pretty well-off) and early in 2012 she gained some clients in the town next door called Linda and Masat (Masato). Obviously Masat is a Japanese man and they lived together in Tokyo for 10 years before coming back to Leeds. My mum worked on their garden for months and due to her people skills she makes very good friends with clients. Linda and Masat got to know me and my sister as well as my mum and we had a great few months together while my mum was working there. During this time, and knowing we love Japan,  Linda and Masat have sent me and my sister various gifts, usually items from Japan they have kept but have no use for anymore or just haven’t used. I’m going to make this a little series of posts showing you gradually all of the things they have given us (mainly because my camera has run out of battery and I can’t take any more photos on it till I’ve charged it).

Without further-ado, here are some items I’ve received from Linda and Masat!

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From left to right & downwards, this is a paper purse. Above is the packaging which I thought was really pretty! Like a little envelope! I also loved the Japanese writing on the front but since I can’t read Japanese  I encourage anyone who can to please enlighten me as to what it says! Much appreciated! (:

008 009 010    It has two wide sections inside enough for a lot of notes, cards and some change. Decorated with red, cream, green and pastel blue flowers, I found this purse extremely beautiful and seriously, I did NOT want to throw away the packaging, Although this purse can hold money I would definitely save it for special occasions rather than daily use because it may crease or get easily damaged and the flap that closes it has no lock or tie to stay closed.

011So this is a small quilted purse, the top picture is the back and the bottom one is the front. It’s actually got a little velcro piece inside the flap so it can stay shut easily. Much more secure and fun to touch (teehee)! You can keep folded notes and spare change in here as well as cards!

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So these two items were given to me along with lots of other pressies which I will be posting about in my next L&M (Linda & Masat) post! (I’ll probably do these little posts once after every 2-3 other posts depending!)

Ba-byeee!