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passion for language May 8, 2013

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in my previous post I mentioned about the book Wild at Heart, about men need to take challenges that can make them feel ‘alive’, men need to find out their true passion. I’ve been thinking about that, what is my true passion? what makes me excited? what kind of adventure I want to be in? I couldn’t get the answer right away. I feel that I’m not the type of person who can get very excited about certain thing. even when you ask my what is my favorite thing (food, book, movie, etc.) honestly I can’t really pick one. I still can’t tell what is my biggest passion, but I realized I do have some things that can make me excited.

these days since I have ‘too much’ free time, I decided to utilize my time to learn something, to gain new skills. at first I thought I would learn some iOS programming which I’ve been wanting to for quite a long time, but apparently I feel I’m still not motivated enough to start that. so I decided to learn languages, French and Chinese Mandarin. I learned them before a bit and I want to be really fluent in both. then I stumbled upon some books and videos in youtube about polyglots, or people who can speak many languages, and somehow it motivates me more. I got really fired up to learn languages, and I feel that this is it. language is one of my passion. I love doing it, and I want to have more adventure with it.


inspired by the book The Polyglot Project I also would like to share a short story about my language learning journey and what I want to do with it.

I grew up in an environment which is surrounded by basically three languages. Indonesia has hundreds of local languages and my parents are from Yogyakarta province where people speak Javanese but before I was born they moved to West Java province where people speak Sundanese. at home most of the time they speak in Javanese and that gave me some understanding in Javanese, although I never try to learn about it or even speak in it. daily I only speak in Indonesian, at home and at school. we learn Sundanese at school also but in my school, as I suppose also happen in most other private school in Indonesia, we never speak fully in Sundanese but only mix some Sundanese words into spoken Indonesian. so I’m never fluent in Sundanese as well.

many people I met often asked me, “do Indonesian people speak English? why all Indonesian people can speak English very well?”. the answer is actually no. we never speak English in daily life. but I guess the environment helps us Indonesian people to learn English. at school we learned English just like in any other school in the world I suppose, with all the grammar rules and vocabularies we need to memorize but so little opportunity to communicate with. however, in university, we don’t have many books or references written in Indonesia, so most of the time we need to use English books. somehow that forces us to learn to understand English as well. so educated people would at least have a fair understanding of English.

the pop culture also influences our people in learning English. when I was a kid, there were so many TV programs in English with Indonesian subtitle. I still remember I watched sesame street on TV a lot. perhaps that’s the first time I learned English. nowadays there are less English TV programs in local TV stations, but more and more people are subscribing to cable TV where they can get access to many English TV programs. american pop songs or movies are also popular. although the degree of fluency for each people is different, but I guess these facts support us Indonesian in learning English. and that’s also how I learned English.

the next foreign language I learned is Japanese. I love comics, I read comics a lot, especially Japanese comics. I think that’s what motivated my brother to take a Japanese course when I was in 3rd year of junior high school. I had no interest in learning the language at that time, but somehow I started to learn hiragana, katakana, and even some simple kanji characters (like the characters for ‘one’, ‘two’, and ‘three’). but it didn’t go further than that.

in 1st year of high school, beside English, we had Japanese and Chinese subjects, although they are only for one hour a week each. I knew hiragana and katakana already so I did pretty well in Japanese. for Chinese, it was my first time learning it but I wasn’t interested at all so I was satisfied just by passing the subject.

around that time, me and some of my friends started to fancy some Korean pop artists, especially a girlband called Fin.K.L. I downloaded and watched many of their videos. I didn’t understand any Korean and I also never thought of learning Korean, but one time, comparing what they said with the Hangul (the Korean alphabet) displayed on the screen (I assumed that’s the transcription of what they are saying), I noticed some kind of pattern in it, and I just thought, I think it’s not difficult, I can learn it. so I looked for some lessons in the internet and indeed it’s basically just combining consonant and vowel like alphabet, not like Japanese or Chinese characters, so there I learned it with some simple Korean phrases.

during my 2nd year of high school, I decided to study more Japanese so I took a course starting from the beginner level. a course level in that Japanese school took 4 months with 2 lessons per week. but due to some circumstances I only finished one level at that time and didn’t continue the study.

since I always have interests in Japan and its culture I joined a Japanese cultural club in my university, and in my 3rd year I took another level of Japanese course with a friend, but again it stopped after finishing one level. after graduating from the university, instead of getting a full-time job I tried to look for some scholarship to continue my study in Japan. basically I had a lot of free time and I had the thought that having more Japanese ability can increase my opportunity to get a scholarship, so I decided to take the Japanese course again. to make the story short, finally I got a scholarship to Japan and before I left for Japan I managed to take two levels of the Japanese course.


during that time, I had the chance to study French as well. the inspiration came from my mom who studied French before and can speak French quite fluently. she always said that she wants to be able to converse in French with one of her children. since I had the time so I tried to give it a go, and I enjoyed it. unfortunately I could only take two beginner levels of French course before leaving for Japan. I could speak a bit, make some simple sentences in French, but slowly I started losing it after coming to Japan.

about my Japanese, the first time I arrived in Japan I couldn’t speak anything. I couldn’t use what I learned before to communicate with people. but after taking an intensive course for one semester, I started to get used to it, listening and speaking in Japanese, but it didn’t improve much afterwards since I used English most of the time to communicate with my friends. it got better after my third year when I started my job hunting, because the condition forced me to have a better Japanese. I need to write my resume and essays in Japanese and I had to conduct interviews in Japanese as well. in the end, I got a job in a Japanese company and I started working last year. I have to use Japanese everyday and as I use it more, I’m also getting more and more fluent at it.

throughout my time in Japan, I met people from different countries, make friends with Thai, Chinese, Italian, Swedish, and many other nationalities. many times I tried to learn their languages but it didn’t get me far because I wasn’t motivated enough. but now I realized that actually I really like learning languages. it’s always in me. naturally I always want to learn new languages. but perhaps because I never set any goals through my language learning, I didn’t get enough motivation to go for it. sometimes I kinda regret how many opportunities I have missed up to now.

after reading so many stories on learning languages, inspired by the methods they use to learn, which I’ve never thought of before, I want to have those kind of eagerness to learn language again. I want to learn more languages so I can communicate with my friends in their native languages, and I want to help other people who are struggling to learn languages. only a simple goal for me at the moment, but I hope this can be my motivation to learn more. starting from French and Mandarin, I hope while I’m having this ‘free time’ at least I can be quite confident speaking both languages even if it’s just on simple conversations.


energy saving – hyouka (省エネ – 氷菓) October 11, 2012

Posted by lumierre9 in chit-chat, life lessons, movies.
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several months ago i started watching an anime called hyouka (氷菓). i’m not gonna write about the story, only about the main character which i found interesting. his name is Oreki Houtarou (折木 奉太郎) and he’s an “energy saving” (省エネ) person. he doesn’t do many things because he doesn’t want to waste his energy for unnecessary things. he studies only to get passing score although actually he’s smart, and he never intended to join any club activities. he doesn’t like troublesome things. his motto is “if it’s ok not to do it i don’t do it, if i have to do it i finish it quickly” 「やらなくてもいいことならやらない、やらなければいけないことなら手短に」

i found this somehow kinda similar with myself. i also don’t want to spend my energy to do things that i don’t think is necessary. when i go up on stairs, i always take two steps at once because i feel it’s less tiring compared to taking every single step. back in tokyo i chose to stay in apartment near to my campus, and now also my apartment is close to my office. although it’s a bit pricey, but i prefer that way because i don’t need to spend much energy to take the train (and some other reasons also). whenever i do some works, i always try to find a fast and efficient way, i don’t like complicated things, i just want them to be done quickly without so much hassle.

in some ways i think it’s good because i can do many things efficiently. but in some other ways it’s not that good. because of that “saving energy” thing, i tend to become lazy. sometimes i don’t want to do things because i think it’s too troublesome, it takes too much effort. but just recently i started to get quite a lot of responsibilities, i was pushed to do things that actually i didn’t intend to do. but after doing it for a while, i started to feel something different. the passion that i once had when i was still in indonesia and gradually disappeared, i feel that i’m getting it back. my vision is getting bigger, i want to do much more things, i want to improve myself, taking challenges and grow as much as i can. to be honest there are still some parts of me inside that feel these things are too troublesome, but i think i have to overcome it. i realized that the laziness will bury down many of my potentials. i should be able to control my laziness, keep getting motivated, release all i have to reach my vision!

i love my life! October 5, 2012

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it’s been 6 months since i moved to osaka, and i want to thank God for every blessings He provides me. at first when i was looking for a job i wanted to stay in tokyo because i already feel comfortable with the life there. and when i got the job offer, i was kinda reluctant to move to osaka, but i took it anyway and gave it a try. until now, in some way i still like tokyo better than osaka, but i’m not regretting being here.

first i’m thankful of a great workplace. it has always been my plan to work in japan for several years and then go back to indonesia, so i was looking for a japanese company who will allow me to do that. but probably that was the main reason i didn’t pass the interview for other companies, i think. and this job is exactly like what i wanted, being in japan for 3 to 5 years (feel kinda short compared to what i thought though) and then transfered to indonesia.

before entering the company i was a bit worried about what kind of boss and colleagues i would have. and again i’m so thankful for getting into a good team. everyone is very kind, especially when i compare it with another new employee fellow in other team whom i saw a couple of times being scolded by his mentor (and i see that mentor’s unpleasant face quite often). and another good thing in my team is no one smokes, so it’s good for my lungs especially during nomikai where people usually smoke freely.

second i’m also thankful for a great community in church. Jesus Lifehouse Osaka is just awesome! i went to JLH Tokyo back then in tokyo. it was great but i feel that JLHO is even more lively and more fun. maybe because it’s still not so big, still in the growing phase compared to tokyo. i feel that i can get along with people here much easier. more than that, i get more challenges to grow. when i was in tokyo i chose to be not so active, but here i couldn’t do that because everyone is just pushing me to go to the next level all the time. it’s kinda tough but i know it’s good. after i felt stagnant of being in my comfort zone, it’s been a while since i feel this excited again.

well, this is just the start, but i believe things will get even more exciting from now on. i love my life! i love my God!

my bucket list July 15, 2012

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i stumbled upon this site that inspired me to write down my own bucket list, 101 things that i want to do, experience, and achieve before i die (or before the world ends :p).

1. near native fluency of japanese (can understand 90% of the content in a newspaper)
2. get at least 90% score of JLPT N1
3. fluent in chinese (passing at least HSK level 4)
4. fluent in korean (passing at least TOPIK level 4)
5. fluent in french (passing at least DELF B2)
6. learn (american?) sign language
7. learn to speak in british accent
8. learn to read thai characters
9. visit all prefectures in japan (by may 2014: 29/47)

10. visit all provinces in indonesia (by july 2012: 6/33)
11. visit ujung kulon national park
12. visit komodo national park
13. travel to europe
14. travel to US
15. travel to australia
16. travel to new zealand
17. set foot on each of the continents
18. travel to all ASEAN countries (indonesia, thailand, malaysia, singapore, phillipines, vietnam, burma, brunei, cambodia, laos)
19. visit the great wall
20. visit all disney park in the world
21. visit 50 unesco world heritage sites (by oct 2013: 12)
22. ride at least 10 record breaking roller coaster (by aug 2011: 4 – fujiyama, eejanaika, dodonpa, takabisha)
23. obtain a diving license (Jan 2, 2014: officially certified as PADI Open Water Diver)
24. scuba diving in raja ampat
25. try bungee jumping
26. try skydiving
27. take pictures of aurora / northern lights
28. take pictures of solar eclipse
29. go on a cruise vacation
30. fly in hot air balloon
31. design my own house
32. write a book
33. snowboarding
34. fly on a helicopter
35. take pictures from a helicopter
36. fly first class
37. swim with dolphins
38. whale watching
39. ride in a submarine
40. attend the olympic games
41. attend the world cup
42. attend an f1 game
43. attend a motogp game
44. try surfing in hawaii
45. start a movement/NPO for disabled people
46. meet nick vujicic in person
47. build a school
48. start my own business
49. become a CEO of a company
50. invest for my family’s business
51. create my own video game
52. become an apple developer
53. publish an iOS app
54. obtain a professional certification
55. own a canon L series lens
56. become a photo stock contributor
57. win a photography contest
58. own an underwater photography equipment
59. achieve my ideal weight (more than 65 kg)
60. participate in philatelic exhibition again
61. achieve at least vermeil medal in philatelic exhibition
62. achieve large gold medal in philatelic exhibition
63. watch a cirque du soleil show (aug 2014: watched OVO in Osaka)
64. do paintball games
65. be in a flashmob
66. go on a safari in africa
67. stay in an igloo
68. master free style swimming
69. take pictures of a perfect lightning bolt
70. eat fugu
71. eat kobe beef
72. collect a set of figures of all the main characters of one piece
73. go on a road trip
74. learn to fish
75. drive in a convertible with the top down
76. own a beach house
77. donate blood
78. get a free flight from collected flight miles (sept 2013: some of my collected miles is expiring and it’s enough to get a one way domestic flight ticket so i used it to go to kyushu this november)
79. stay in a tree house
80. ride a camel in desert
81. try gokart
82. watch a rocket launch, live
83. see a platypus
84. see a kangaroo crossing a street
85. attend the oktoberfest in germany
86. attend the brazilian carnival
87. attend the songkran festival in bangkok
88. solve rubik’s cube in less than 2 minutes
89. learn to make macarons
90. create a youtube video
91. ride on a ship from japan to korea
92. experience zero gravity
93. upgrade my DSLR to the one with video recording feature (or full-frame one) (sept 2013: got myself a second hand Kiss X5 to replace my Kiss X2)
94. create a compilation of timelapse video
95. swim in dead sea
96. learn to play guitar
97. try horseback riding
98. ride on trans-siberian railway
99. try shooting in a shooting range
100. ride on a limousine
101. ride on a dog sled

Osaka train system July 6, 2012

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it has been three months since i moved from tokyo to osaka. when people ask me which is better, tokyo or osaka, i still prefer tokyo. osaka is a nice place, but i feel that tokyo is more convenience, especially the train system.

1. train fare is more expensive
in average the train fare in osaka is more expensive than in tokyo. comparing the subway, we need to pay 200 yen even if we only travel within one station in osaka, while in tokyo it only costs 160 yen.

2. almost all the station don’t display the time of the next train
in tokyo we can see clearly what time the next train will come, so we know how long we should wait. while here, i can hardly find that. if i want to know that information, i have to search in the whole train schedule.

3. we can’t choose the ticket before inserting money
when i need to buy train tickets using the ticket machine, i used to choose the ticket type first and then it will display the amount of money i need to insert, but here i can’t do that. if i don’t insert any money, the ticket type won’t show up.

4. very long name of train line or station
i found it very annoying to see some train line and station names are very long. the subway line that i usually take to go to the city central is 長堀橋鶴見緑地 (nagahoribashitsurumiryokuchi). so difficult to remember. even i had some difficulties to pronounce it the first time. and some station names: 西中島南方 (nishinakajimaminamigata), 太子橋今市 (taishibashiimaichi), 天神橋筋六丁目 (tenjinbashisujirokuchome), or に四天王寺前夕陽ケ丘 (shitennojimaeyuuhigaoka). why don’t they just make it short and easy to remember. i don’t remember any line or station in tokyo that has long name like these.

5. the osaka subway doesn’t have any 回数券 (multiple tickets)
sometimes it’s better to buy multiple tickets to save your expense for train. usually there are several types of multiple tickets: normal multiple tickets which you can use anytime (11 tickets for the price of 10), off-rush-hour multiple tickets that can be used from 10am to 4pm (12 tickets), and weekend multiple tickets that can be used on weekend and holiday (14 tickets). generally i only go out on weekend so the weekend multiple tickets can be quite economical. i can get it in the train line closest from my place, but i can’t find it in the subway. they only have this “multiple ticket card” which only give 10% benefit (3000 yen for 3300 yen worth of card)

6. most people don’t sit squeezedly
i always see people here sit by leaving some space within each other that makes less people can sit, although when the train is quite crowded. as far as i remember, generally in tokyo, when the train is getting crowdy, people who are sitting will just squeeze up to let other people sit also.

invest your time – In Time February 2, 2012

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imagine a world where the real life begins at the age of 25 and technically you are given one year lifetime but you can obtain additional time if you work for it or if you come from a rich family. literally time is money and you do transactions with your time. but the more you spend, the shorter your life will be. the poor are struggling, working very hard to get every single minute to keep alive, while the rich become immortal with a huge amount of time they have.

now imagine if you are in that kind of world. if you are one of the poor, how will you use every single minute of your life? or if you are one the rich, will you keep all the time for yourself or will you share it with others?

even in this real world, we admit that time is valuable, which is why people can say that “time is money”. many people always wants to have more than 24 hours in a day. we think that if we have more time then we can do more things. but if we really had more time, would we really use it optimally? or would we just take it for granted, think that time is not that valuable anymore since we have too much of it?

as in the movie, there are always people who need “time”, they need us to give our time for them. it reminds me of someone said “if you want to invest something, invest your time on people, because it is eternal.” you may only give one minute of your time to help someone, but for that person that moment might be so precious that he/she won’t ever forget it.

take a moment for yourself, see on how you spend every single time of your life. are you keeping all of your time just for yourself just to do your stuffs? did you ever stop for a while from your busyness to see around you if there is someone is in need of time and give that small part of time that you have? did you ever have someone asking a bit of your time but you just said that you are too busy?

no matter how much work you have, how busy you are, i think you must’ve had at least some small amount of “free” time. try to invest that small part on people around you, your family, your friend. even if it’s just to send a short message, saying hi to people you haven’t met for some time, that small investment of yours might make their days better…

gratefulness January 31, 2012

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source: http://www.ted.com/talks/louie_schwartzberg_nature_beauty_gratitude.html

you think this is just another day in your life
it’s not just another day
it’s the one day that is given to you today
it’s given to you
it’s a gift
it’s the only gift that you have right now
and the only appropriate response is gratefulness

if you do nothing else but to cultivate that response
to the great gift that this unique day is
if you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life and the very last day
then you would have spent this day very well

begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open
that incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment

look at the sky
we so rarely look at the sky
we so rarely know how different it is from moment to moment basically
how it is coming and going
we just think of the weather
and if not the weather we don’t think of all the many nuances in weather
we just think of good weather and bad weather
this day right now
as unique weather
maybe a kind that will never exactly that form come again
the formation of clouds in the sky
never be the same that it’s right now
open your eyes
look at that

look at the faces of people whom you meet
each one has a incredible story behind their face
a story that you could never fully fathom
not only their own story but the story of their ancestors
we all go back so far
and in this present moment
on this day
all the people you meet
all that life from generations and from many places all over the world
flows together and meets you here
like a life-giving water
if you only open your heart and drink

open your heart to incredible gifts that civilization gives to us
you flip a switch and there is electric light
you turn a faucet and there is warm water and cold water and drinkable water
it’s a gift that millions and millions in the world will never experience

these are just a few of an enormous number of gifts to which we can open your heart
so i wish you that you will open your heart to all these blessings
and let them flows through you
that everyone you will meet on this day will be blessed by you
just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch
just by your presence
let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you
then it will really be a good day

2012 wishes and targets January 5, 2012

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another routine in this blog for new year, putting up targets for the year…some are still a continuation from previous year(s) which are still not achieved, hopefully it can be fulfilled this year…these are my main wishes and targets of this year, there are some others that are undisclosed…

1. finish my master’s degree well, including finishing these 2 papers and thesis i’m writing right now and doing well in the presentations…actually my professor asked me to write another paper for an international conference and i don’t really care anymore, but well, if i really have to write it, hopefully it will go smoothly and can get accepted (would be better if i can go to the conference as well)…
2. hope that there will be no problem when moving to osaka…wish i can find a good apartment (without any noisy neighbour :p), quite spacious room with reasonably cheap rent, also everything will go well for moving out my things there…
3. start working, will have to do things excellently…learn a lot of things…hopefully there won’t be so many overtime working…
4. improve my japanese skill more and more…try to read more japanese text everyday…hopefully i get good result on my N1 exam last december…
5. still want to learn iOS programming, hopefully i have enough time and motivation to do it…also want to gain more programming skills…
6. want to learn new languages…maybe relearn french again, chinese or korean…
7. again, need to do more sports or exercise…hopefully even after start working i can still have time to do it…
8. again, want to use my time more effectively…this will be affecting whether or not i will achieve the previous ones…
9. travel to okinawa and kyushu as i’ve always been wanting to…


time goes by – the year of 2011 January 4, 2012

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passing another year, it might always be the best time to count the blessings we have received throughout the year. even though things are not always going smoothly as we expected, i still believe that things happen for a purpose. from human being’s point of view, maybe they don’t look so good, but if we can have faith that they are parts of God’s plan for us, we can always learn to be thankful for everything…

looking back to my goals of the year, only a few are somewhat achieved:
1. finally i got a job in a good company and as i’ve been wanting for, to work in japan for several years and then go back to indonesia…not really the “ideal” job that i expected before, but i’m still thankful for it…
2. my research just got “significant” thing by the end of the year so i couldn’t make it to any conference last year…still need to continue some more by this month, but at least my professor is already “a bit satisfied”…
3. i could barely read any book…i get bored easily when i read books so i couldn’t finish any book i started reading…
4. i think last year i spent too much money on lots of things, travelling and buying stuffs so in the end i couldn’t save money…
5. the job hunting process improved my japanese skill quite significantly, by writing the entry sheets and having interviews in japanese with my limited japanese…still need to improve it more though…oh yeah, i passed the JLPT N2 early last year…hopefully the N1 result will be good also…
6. related to no.3, i tried to learn the iOS programming but i just stopped after only a while…
7. maybe my skill in photography improved a bit, but maybe still not enough to be a photo stock contributor…didn’t spend enough time to take pictures either…
8. after going to hokkaido, i visited osaka-kobe-hiroshima again for the second time after the earthquake…couldn’t make it to okinawa on summer, but i went to shirakawago and nagano on winter holiday…
9. still difficult to change this bad habit…just recently when i started writing papers and thesis i could stay working for long time…
10. i couldn’t make it to do exercise regularly…i was just going swimming when i felt like to, sometimes could go twice a week, sometimes just once, and sometimes not going up to several months…well, maybe something is better than nothing…

maybe the biggest thing that happened during the year, also for most people in japan i guess, was the tohoku huge earthquake and tsunami…for me personally, since that time my leg was injured, it was quite depressing that i can’t do things, even i didn’t know if i should be afraid or not…thankfully some friends were helping me out…another positive thing from it is that the job hunting period for most companies were extended, so i got more time to find a job and to learn more, although it was actually already kinda late anyway…

there are also several lessons God tried to teach me through unpleasant experiences…i just tried to be faithful toward everything He wants me to do…

well, overall, last year felt passing so quickly…i feel like still wanting to do a lot of things during the year but so soon it already ended…all i can do is again being thankful to God for everything, for the things i’ve achieved, for the new job i will start this year, for new friends i made, and for every life lessons i had…

goals of 2011 January 12, 2011

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since the past few years i tried to decide my goals to begin the year with…however, in the end only a few were achieved…but here i am now, writing again my own goals for this year, but i hope this year could be better, i hope i can achieve more of my goals this year…i’m trying to write in a more detailed way with a quite measurable level of target so i can see how well i did by the end of the year…

1. it’s job hunting time for the current M1 students here in Japan, so it is for me as well since i’ve decided to work in Japan after i graduate next year (at least for several years)…so i wish i can get accepted in a good company (quite reputable one) with a good job (that i will really enjoy doing) with good working hours (reasonable overtime) and good salary (a lot to save)…
2. for my research, i want to have some significant result by the middle of the year and i can start writing some papers to submit to at least one international conference by that time…and i want my main research focus is done by the end of spring semester so in the autumn semester i can focus on writing my thesis and maybe developing a demo application for it…
3. improving my knowledge and skills by reading at least two books per month, either computer books or academic books, and making something out of it, real application or summary of the book (depending on the type of the book)
4. save more money per month, by reducing unnecessary expenses, and also try to have a part-time job starting next semester
5. improving my japanese skill by any means necessary…need more practice to improve my conversation skill at least…
6. want to try to become an iphone app developer and submit some apps (at least two?) to the app store…
7. want to improve my photography skill as well (and buy more decent lenses), and try to become a photo stock contributor
8. travel to more places around japan…after hokkaido, hope i can also go to kyushu, tohoku area, and okinawa…
9. use my time more effectively, reduce my idle-time, on work days at least 6 hours have to be used for academic purpose every day…
10. do sports or exercise more frequently…at least twice a week either swimming or training in the gym…

    i think these are enough for my main goals for this year…i have some more goals actually, but it’s rather personal so i don’t share it here… :p