Last Saturday was a wonderfully sunny and very windy day. Together with a friend I visited Aoba castle (青葉城). It was originally built by Date Masamune, around the same time when he founded the city, and later extended by his successors. Getting up the mountain to the castle takes a bit of work, which is obviously why it was built just there. 😉 After the climb we were rewarded with a magnificent view over Sendai. While there is nothing left of the original castle buildings, the walls are huge. I was surprised to learn that they were completely taken apart for repair, research and reconstruction a few years ago and then rebuilt using the old stones as far as possible. As you might have guessed, the wind was even stronger up there. Maybe I’ll go to the castle again on New Year’s Day to see the sunrise.
I already knew that a lot of roadwork in Japan is done by night to minimize the disturbance to traffic. In the evening I finally managed to get a good photo of what it looks like. Construction sites in Japan are friendlier than in Germany: They tend to be a lot smaller, even for equally sized buildings, clean and nicely decorated with flower shaped lights to warn cars and the bigger, longer existing ones even with real flowers. One Japanese particularity are the men (only very rarely women) with the “lightsabers”: They’re standing wherever work and traffic get close and guide people around by pointing with something that looks like a red toy lightsaber. If there are six people working on the road, two of them might be doing only that.
Wednesday is one of the days where I get to speak a lot of Japanese: Kanji class after lunch, the @home café オレンジ (Orange) in the afternoon and the Group Mori conversation class in the evening. オレンジ is a place for Japanese and international students to drink tea and generally hang out together – very good to make friends and practice Japanese. This week we could finally pick up our pottery from the Yamagata trip at the Student Exchange Division, so I did that before going to オレンジ.
In the conversation class we got a little book called “マンガでNIPPON”. I know that there are probably a million books that explain Japanese culture with manga, but this one is actually from my university and it also looks nice next to the bowl I made in Yamagata. 😉 The text parts in the book are bilingual (Japanese/English), the manga parts are exclusively Japanese and therefore good to practice.
The weather became colder over the last few days, so I was surprised on Thursday after lunch when I took a slightly different way to the bus stop and found something I didn’t expect: a nice and quiet spot with blossoming flowers! For those of you who know Kawauchi campus: Go towards the health center’s main entrance and take the little path to the left.
Concerning my studies, I’m still learning about CPU design. Yesterday I finally got my multi-cycle CPU to work, today I studied pipelining. I hope that I’ll be able to test my designs with a FPGA next week instead of just simulating (simply put: get my design into a chip instead of letting my computer calculate what it would do).