Wrapping up 2008...

2008 is about to enter it's end and welcoming 2009. At the same time a welcome to the new Islamic year 1430AH (After Hijrah) which took place on 29th December 2008. Now in the lab performing fatigue stress test on dental composite material for my final year thesis. Still need to produce a lot of results and proper experiments only begun not more than 2 months ago due to unavailable material to produce the specimen.

January has been an interesting month as I remembered 2nd January when I met two wonderful Japanese Muslimahs at the Mosque. Both became Muslim on Eid Adha in two different part of the world and their story was captivating and inspiring even for a born Muslim like me. Somehow it makes me think, am I doing a good job as a Muslim ? It shivers me as someone who is in a conflict between material crave and mission to be successful in the hereafter.

At the same time, I met Abir who is from Jordan, but working in Miyazaki. Someone from the Middle East whom I can enjoy talking to. Quite an extrovert but also a lot of things I've learned through conversations with her.

Exams kicked in and time flew so fast that after the last paper, it is time to visit Miyazaki. With a wonderful Jordanian-Circassian hospitality, I had a great stay in Miyazaki although there were some misunderstandings between Abir and I. Things like this happen between cultures, but we got along pretty well.

The trip around Miyazaki was breathtaking and if it weren't because of Abir's kind invitation, I would have never thought of going there. I thought to myself again, God willing,I shall go there again next year...We learnt from one another about photography and talked about cultures and food and lastly... Shisha... 1st try on shisha and that was memorable...

It was mid February when Itou-san, a good looking middle age man invited me, Mr and Mrs Nakabayashi, Ms Fukuda, and the rest for a Crab feasting trip. Yes, winter is the season of crab harvesting and it's famous in the Kansai region. It was my 1st visit to the Japan Sea in Winter. The crab was delicious, Onsen in winter was enjoyable, and the trip to Izushi town was memorable. Sadly someone couldn't come as she had an urgent work to do, instead we bought something for her.

After the trip, I took a driving license test so that I could drive my parents around and to help ferrying OIT Team Regalia to the circuit and back. Took a few hours of driving lessons and thank God I passed my driving test on the 2nd trial. The driving test itself isn't difficult but the detail oriented examiner will eventually fail you for little details that you didn't do. It was costly for the lessons but looking back, there are people who took the test more than 10 times yet they still fail them. Osaka is the 2nd hardest place in Japan to pass the driving test, so that's one achievement if someone could pass it for the 1st time.

When I got my license, Abir came over and I rented a Toyota ist to familiarise driving around Osaka. What I was told that Osaka is the most notorious place to drive in Japan as road manners are terrible by Japanese standards. So I decided to take the plunge and drive through the so called "madness". Surprisingly, it is still way below my standard of "madness". I think notorious Osaka drivers will turn out to be an innocent little pup when they meet the drivers in KL, Rome, Jakarta, Egypt and the rest of the world...

Then when my parents came to Japan in March, we went to Hiroshima by car and back. The journey was pretty breathtaking, not to mention having to pass through 200 tunnels back and forth and my dad observing the cleanliness of Japanese trucks. It is pretty unusual to rent a car in Japan as Japan boasts it's public transportation. Yes I agree they are efficient and convenient, but there are times that we need to have a little more freedom and see things our own way.

Then April kicked in, sakura flowers blooming across Japan and school season have started. Nothing much for me as I'm more attached to my lab than the classroom. However I have to take a few subjects to meet the 132 credits minimum in order to graduate. Got to know one of the muslima better and we got to know each other more.

Then May kicked in, first time going to Tokyo and back in a day.There was a Job fair for Malaysian students in Japan, so I decided to participate and see how things work. I was there to look around but not immediately to find a job as my plan was to graduate and stay in Japan till my Visa ends. Why ? Mainly making up what I haven't been doing for the past 4 years and to help improvise Team Regalia that many of my friends and I established.

My cousin came in for a week and took a break and brought him around Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. On the last day I decided to send him to the airport by car and then off to Kobe to meet the muslima friend of mine. However after wrapping up that day, I went back home but slapped with a speeding ticket. My 1st ticket in 7 years of driving life.

June was rather busy as we were rushing to build our 2nd car. The situation was bleak as there weren't any proper plans to build the car and design problems arose especially on the front suspension. Then I was told that the plan was cut short - i.e. to complete the car by this year's race. It is impossible to start a new concept in less than a year. Pushrod suspension, new materials, etc is just not feasible in a year. Designing a car alone takes more than a year. However, with all the frustration there is relief as I rented a Nissan Skyline over the weekend. That was one of the most memorable drive ever. It has been my dream car (especially the GTR version) of driving one, and finally took a chance of driving the sedan. Despite not being the GTR, it was one of the best cars driven.

July, the exam month kicked in and I took a few papers as usual. After that in August, the DreamCup Solarcar Challenge 2008 event was held at Suzuka Circuit and this time 20 of us turned up for the race. Unfortunately the Iris Zero Two didn't make it and Iris Type One was still Iris Type One without any much improvement. The only improvement was that we have more members to do the job and well equipped. The muslima I met, things didn't work out well and we parted ourselves. I realised the 2 months getting to know her taxed me a lot, financially to the extend that my phone bills were like 18,000 yen / month.

In August, the week after the race was the trip to the white sand beach in Mie with my labmates. The first impression about white sand beach in Japan.....yeah ! you know what I mean...In the end I spent the whole day in the lodge playing Daifugo, Nintendo DS and watching TV as the beach was a little too sinful for me. It made me think, I wish I could have a wife who would wear a Bikini / G-string and just both of us in a white sand beach without other people around....hahahahaha... in my dreams...

The stress built up in me was tremendous and the following day after I got back from the trip, I decided to release it all in a Nissan Fairlady Z. It was a good way of stress relief and at the same time get to taste something I might not be able to taste it in Malaysia - i.e. to drive such powerful car. It was a great car in terms of performance, but realised it burned my wallet deep.

On Thursday I rented a Mazda MX-5 Roadster as I was curious on my dad's glorious old days having the Triumph Spitfire. Decided to drive to Tokushima with the open top and that was a breathtaking experience. I did turn on the aircond a little to keep my legs warm but otherwise, the breeze would just cool me down - apart from messing up my hair. That too was one of the most memorable drive.

Then in September ramadhan kicked in and had the worst headache on the 1st day of ramadhan. Since then, I had to take care of my activities during the fast. And finally for the first time in 5 years Eid al-Fitri with my family back in Malaysia. Seems a lot of changes over the years as many elders have passed away. It was a little more quiet and I hope ties won't be broken in the future.

Then in November went out momiji with friends on a car, so it was a memorable one as we drove through the hill roads of Mino. And at the same time made a number of Malaysian friends compared to the years before as the new batch seems to be more an interesting one.

And Finally till today, I have been performing a number of experiment on my graduating thesis and till 31st December 2008, I've done all the calculations needed for every experiment I made till today. Except for one because it was a failure due to the internal defect of the stuff.

2008 was a year full of adventure for me. It was more than what I expected the year to be, boring and lonely. But through different new tasks, adventures, and opportunities I took taught me a number of valuable lessons. It is also the final year of me being in Japan for one full year as I will be departing off in April next year (hopefully).

I'd like to apologise to all whose heart I have hurt till this far. I hope we could just make things better in the times to come.


Popular Posts