28 May 2010

Cultural exchanges

Although I still feel like a foreigner, the gift sharing atmosphere my professors started is so conducive for the family-like bonding my lab mates and I share with each other. It's getting to the point where I am starting to wish that I could spend the next 5+ years of my life as a graduate student in this lab... But eh, that's getting off topic.

Last Thursday my tutors taught me how to cook a common winter Japanese soup during lunch! They surprised me by remembering how one of my goals here is to learn to cook. Actually, I was more amused by the patient and kind way they were showing me how to rinse rice and peel potatoes. It felt like they were giving directions to an 8 year old- which is probably my age when it comes to cooking! Let's just say that both Natsumi and Mika startled me by uttering こわい(!) when I tried to peel carrots and potatoes with a real knife. Turned out, I almost cut part of my left thumb up without even realizing it.

But anywho, the festivities in the kitchen area were so contagious. Even Nishitanisensei and Yokoyamasensei decided to join us for two hours. That is, two whole hours of teasing the girls about their cooking skills :). Or maybe it was me that they were laughing at. Hahah, oh welps.

I took pictures throughout the process just in case I forget a crucial step. Fortunately, the dish turned out to be so simple to make. Even I am confident that I could cook this on my own.

So cheers to potatoes, carrots, onions, peas, pork and rice dish- aka にくじゃが!

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Posted by Amelia Nguyen at 6:56 | Permalink

28 May 2010

Golden week

According to the lonely planet: discover Japan book my friends gave me, the "Northern Honshu (Tohoku in Japanese) is a place of rugged mountains and remote valleys, terminating at the very tip of Japan's main island. The time-honored travelers' route through this region takes you along ancient watercourses that feed fertile rice paddies, and around hulking volcanic massifs that fuel natural onsen (hot springs)."

In many regards, fate played a role in my impulsive decision to escape from Berkeley and O.C. to study (actually vacation) at Tohoku University. From the "rugged mountains and remote valleys [to] rice paddies and natural onsen," I was given a chance to forget the exhaustion I constantly felt to fully appreciate the innate simplicities of nature without worrying about deadlines to meet. During moments like these, I am glad my major is plant biology... It did not take much effort to understand how the natural wonders of Tohoku have taken the breaths of countless travelers over the centuries with its sublime beauty. Mine were no exceptions.

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Posted by Amelia Nguyen at 6:32 | Permalink

18 May 2010

ephemeral stability

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Someone once wrote to me wishing that I, "had a chance to take in the last remains of the cherry blossoms that are falling...that is, before they turn into leaves [and noted how] it's funny [that] those cherry blossoms... are beautiful for a few days, and then, that's it."


This many sound quite out of context and difficult to understand if you haven't observe blooming Japanese cherry trees in April. To be honest, even I did not understand what he meant at that time. What's more ironic, I passed by hundreds of blossoming cherry trees on my way to Tohoku University each morning I biked to school!

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Posted by Amelia Nguyen at 7:03 | Permalink

01 May 2010

Habitat for Humanity

I guess this is technically a plug for my club :), but this has been my first semester as an officer (Fundraising Coord) for Habitat, and I just wanted to reflect on how fun this past semester with Habitat has been. The thing that obviously jumps out at me

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Posted by Katarina Makmuri at 9:39 | Permalink

28 April 2010

It's the Final Countdown!

I've been busy... and that's an understatement. Graduation is in just over two weeks and I have yet to find a job. My days currently consist of finishing up class projects, studying for finals, working, and looking for employment. A friend posted this song as her theme for the week, and I feel that this song expresses many of the sentiments I'm experiencing.

Enjoy!

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Posted by Leighna Baxter at 1:24 | Permalink

26 April 2010

East Bay Vivarium!

When a reptile dies at the East Bay Vivarium, one of the places it goes to is UC Berkeley's Prep Lab! I've prepped a bunch of things from the EBV, but I've never had a chance to visit the vivarium myself until today. There are so many awesome tortoises and snakes! There was this incredible albino snake that had white and pale yellow bands. I forgot to take a picture of it, unfortunately. Here's a tortoise, though!

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This poor guy was trying to go under that huge branch...or maybe he was trying to lift it. Anyways, in both cases, he failed. Twice. Yes, he went around the branch, then doubled back and tried again. Talk about perseverance.

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Posted by Victoria Eng at 2:54 | Permalink

16 April 2010

It's been a year!

Well this is embarrassing. It's been nearly a year since I last blogged. And obviously, much has happened about which I should have blogged.

Major things that have occurred:

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Posted by Katarina Makmuri at 2:21 | Permalink

09 April 2010

A Breath of Fresh Air

Hey guys! It's been a while since my last post. My midterms, presentations, and papers are over for now. Finals are just around the corner, though! It's never too early to review! :)

Anyways, wasn't the weather amazing today? The sun was shining and squirrels were scampering everywhere. My dad and my little brother came up to visit us today since it's my brother's spring break. We went out to dinner on Northside and then to Safeway to buy some groceries. It's amazing how much stuff you can buy when you have access to a car. Normally, we only buy as much food as we can carry. So today, my sister and I pretty much stocked up on everything nonperishable. Our plan is to not have to go grocery shopping until after finals, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen. Let's see how long we last.

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Posted by Victoria Eng at 0:02 | Permalink

26 March 2010

Academy of Sciences

I'm so excited to share my experience at this wonderful place in Golden Gate Park! As you may know the Academy of Science is the huge museum with its special features of the planetarium, four story rain forest, and "underground" aquarium. For those 21 and older, you can go Thursday nights for 12 dollars and explore the whole place! I had the opportunity to do that yesterday and it was amazing. The rain forest closed at 7 30 due to animal feeding regimen/sleeping patterns but you just come earlier to check it out! Besides that, I got to see the aquarium and (for those bio 1b students) Galapagos islands! Well, the replica. Not only that,at the aquarium, I saw a seahorse -I think it's called leaf seahorse that can camouflage due to it looking like a twig with leaves! Yes, thanks to bio 1b, I couldn't stop explaining to my friends that this was an evolutionary phenomena! That was by far the most interesting creature in the aquarium.

At another area, there was this pendulum that showed earth rotated and moved via knocking blocks down every 1/2 hour, proving that the pendulum didn't just move back and forth at the same spot! It's amazing!!! It takes I think, 39 hours to knock down the stack of blocks.

I also got to see a huge bird that is now extinct in Madagascar - it looks like a dinosaur! Its egg is 12g!!! It's 4 times the size of the chicken egg. What's sad is that due to human hunting and pollution, most of Madagascar animals( and pretty much in CA too), are becoming and some are, extinct.

Those were some of the things that really leapt out but overall, this is a fantastic place. The museum is also situated beautifully next to other attractions like Tea garden, de Young museum; it's very relaxing and refreshing!

Due to the huge diversity that the museum offers, it's a great way to spend time with friends while sipping on yummy cocktails. With general admission(if you aren't 21), it's still a great opportunity to check it out! I think you get to see more though-feeding, scuba diver lecturing on different fishes, but all in all, it's a great way to spend vacation! I encourage anyone of all ages to check it out!

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Posted by Casey Wang at 4:22 | Permalink

12 March 2010

How was your day? (PLUS replies to comments of my previous post)

My day was just filled with a chain of unfortunate events, most of which I hope will never happen again.

First thing in the morning, I woke up and realized that my alarm clock said 10:57, which meant that I slept through my two cell phone alarms I put next to my bed. Even though Fridays are by far my latest starting day, I still had a 10am French class, which I had missed.

So I got up, got dressed, brushed my teeth, and was out the door in about 5-6 minutes. Even though I was already late for MCB 102 lecture, I decided that instead of going to lecture, I should probably go see my French professor at his office hours. Normally, I would have gone after lecture, but today, my quartet group for U-chorus was meeting 11-12:30, and they told me that they could stay until 1 for me since I had class, and I wasn't about to back out of something I told others that I would do. So I went to my French professor's office hours and talked to him about what I missed.

After leaving his office at around 11:30, I went to my MCB 102 lecture, which was conveniently located in Dwinelle as well. After 25 minutes, we ended the lecture five minutes early. I got an Odwalla strawberry C monster at the GBC and went to the practice rooms underneath Morrison to meet with my quartet.

At 1pm, I went back to Stern, intending to work on my reading response for anthro, but that didn't go so well, and all I ended up doing was rereading my article and writing one key term. I also intended to meet with my major adviser, Melissa Pon, which also didn't happen.

At 2:45, I realized that there were some lecture slides I had to print for my NST 160 lecture that afternoon, and not wanting to spend too much money on printing, I decided to go to the CNR Student Resource Center and print them for free.

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Posted by Jade Liu at 0:33 | Permalink