“A Love-Hate Letter to First Tundra Semester : Autumn-Winter 2013/2014” – University of Tokyo

I still remembered Professor Miyamoto’s reaction when he knows that Akbolat, a World Bank scholar from Kazakhstan, and I walked 40 minutes everyday to school during three weeks long for September summer preparation classes.

Akbolat stayed in the Sendagi Sakura House, same as me, during that period. In the morning, we had to arrive the class before 9 AM, but we could not manage mutually interest about what time should we leave the house, then we decide to choose separate strategies in the morning, but walked back home together in the evening, almost every evening.

At that time, Akbolat had not found his 2-year contract apartment yet. And along the route that we had to walk pass every evening; there was this empty landscape very near Todai’s unpopular gate, which was in the beginning period of under-construction. We once joked to each other that before the construction would be finished, we should make a deal with the building’s owner, and reserve a room to stay for 2 years.

Then September ended, summer had forgone, and the Autumn-Winter semester has officially started.

Akbolat and I also moved out from Sendagi Sakura House, and separate our routes to school.

He moved to the place in somewhere that I do not know, and commute to school in a method that I neither know.

But I still walk the same route to school, just reduce time from 40 minutes to 30 minutes. And Professor Miyamoto has not been informed about this 10 minutes reduction of time yet. I have still wondered whether he would change the reaction after knowing this info or not. 🙂

Autumn arrived. Cool breeze of weather was all around. And I could see the gradually growth of autumn-winter clothes in my tiny wardrobe. Same as the progressively growth of that building I have to walk pass everyday.

October went by, November and midterm exams were cruel. Other classmates seem to adapt themselves quite well with an intensive schedule. But academic life is not and will never be easy to me.

In my eyes, it is not anything except a long and winding tundra road.

I felt like a fish that was thrown in the sky. There might be a lot of Oxygen in that blue high area, but literally speaking, fish do not need Oxygen.

And then there was a normal morning in December, almost the year-end, I walked pass that building again, but from ‘nothing’ since the beginning of September, the building turn to be almost finished and close to become a beautiful ‘house’.

It is not an apartment. It is a house. I have just realized.

I stopped for a while and did an action once some people have characterized that I always did it quite well; quietly observing.

There were some constructed workers there at that morning, trying to decorate and develop the house to becoming close to a definition of ‘home’.

Frankly, it did not change me. But it just somehow made me realized that if we worked on something everyday, then it could gradually transform; from an empty land to a home.

The New Year knocked at the door in one day. And Heisei 26 brought many home works, essays, and presentations to students’ lives. I had been struggling again. But isn’t there somebody who not experiences this struggle formula of life?

Truth to be told, the week that I had to take ‘Microecon’ and ‘Method of Statistics’ final exams was the week of my best friend’s 32nd birthday. And it also was the same week that she had to take her 3 years old daughter to undergo the heart surgery again too.

Life is tough. Everyone has its own war. We all have lives that we have to construct by ourselves, and maybe with some help of … handful luck.

Before the semester ends, I met Akbolat in the class. I told him a story about the building that turns to be a house. He seemed amazed and wondered how it would look like at the very end.

From the September 2013 to the beginning of February 2014, I have become a witness in this house transformation.

And also, a witness in life transformation of a struggling master student, who is secretly taking a Ph.D. in fangirling, named Tiktok too.

And the first tundra semester has officially ended.

I just hope she is doing normally fine now.





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