A Hopefully Useful Post Regarding Australian to Japanese Travel Adaptors

I’m still packing… or rather, unpacking my room before I go. My floor’s a mess. It’s completely littered with paper, books and high school memorabilia (if I could call the yearly creative works publication that, lawl) as I try to sort out through the things I need and the things I don’t. In fact, the walk last night from the light switch to my bed in the dark – a daunting 3 metres, by the way – was not accomplished without casualties. Sorry, books. I know you deserve better.

One thing I think most people bring with them when they move overseas is a computing device of some sort. As for me, I’ll be bringing both my bamboo ASUS laptop (dude, it’s super sexy. Don’t look at the word bamboo with your doubtful eyes) and my Nexus 7 tablet (I love it and dote on it like a mother does to her spoilt child. Except my Nexus 7 doesn’t actually demand anything of me…).

In any case, this means I’ll also need to bring a travel adapter with me, because it really isn’t practical nor cost-efficient to purchase a completely new charger plug over in Japan. While I did consider it, and looked it up on Rakuten, the brand’s official website and Google, learn from me and don’t waste your time. The cost isn’t justifiable.

Hence, I began my search for an adapter which would allow me to plug my three-prong/earthed Australian plug into two-prong/unearthed Japanese power outlets. Should be an easy task, right? Fairly straightforward? I thought so too.

How I wish I was right.

This is what I have: an Australian plug and wall socket. Also known as the ‘I-type’ socket by international standards.

This is what I want  my I-type plug to go into: a two prong/unearthed Japanese wall socket, aka, the ‘A-type’ socket.

With this in mind, off I went shopping. Being the naive and quality paranoid person I am, I decided to try and stick with local retailers like Officeworks, Ted’s Cameras and Dick Smith.

Unfortunately, most travel adapters sold in local retailers looked like this. See how the third prong is missing here?

This plug would be no issue with my two prong tablet wall charger, but I had a laptop to think about as well. So off a-shopping I went again. This time online.

When I thought I had come by a super godly, finger lickingly amazing three prong adapter for Japan (see the picture below), I looked a little closer and saw that while the two top prongs were indeed the parallel ones used in Japan, there was a third prong surreptitiously there as well!

See how it’s advertised for Japan on the packaging? Although, there are some power outlets in Japan which will have three prongs – the education centre I did my summer language exchange at back in 2009 had three prong sockets – most won’t.

It seems like Australia doesn’t sell adapters for three prong plugs to use in Japan. Not unless you buy a universal  travel adapter. Those all-in-one types.

My face was sad everywhere.

Well, I lie. It was really mad everywhere.

I’ve used them before, universal travel adapters. Unfortunately, I haven’t had many great experiences with them.

  1. I find they sometimes don’t stay in the wall too well.
  2. At other times, it’s my Australian plug that doesn’t stay in the adapter
  3. And on my last trip to Korea, a friend’s universal adapter fell apart at my touch (I swear I didn’t do anything to it out of the ordinary. I was only trying to plug it into the wall, gdi. ;A;;;;;;;;). Traumatising stuff.

So… I have a terrible bias in regards to universal adapters. I’m sorry if you’re an advocate of the universal adapter. I’m sure they like you better than me if that is any consolation.

The GO Travel Worldwide Travel Adapter Set. It’s not quite the all-in-one universal travel adapter, but you’re covered for 99% of the world’s countries – or so the company claims. Awesome stuff. It includes the A-type plug, and is thus declared as BEAUTIFUL. But at a RRP of AU$49.99. Schhhhh, burrrrn. Hole in wallet, hello.

The above set would have been ideal. I don’t doubt I’d be travelling to other countries in the future and this would come in handy, but I’m scrooging in my last two weeks here. So I had to cross this option out.

Long story short (I’m sure my adapter buying adventures must have been riveting), I ended up purchasing a Wonpro Surge Protected ORANGE travel adapter. From eBay. You may want to consider this fashionable travel adapter for yourself; they actually sell Wonpro adaptors at Narita Airport, so it shouldn’t fall apart in a day or so (confirmed with my sister).

NOW THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!


Further reading

And if you haven’t heard enough about travel adapters (really…?)

http://mecchajapan.com/2011/12/13/power-power-everywhere/

18 Days to Lift Off~

This may seem a strange day to count down from – cos most people would start from 60 days, or 30 days, I assume – but ignore the finer details, and freak out with me here for a second, please.

HOW IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO FIT EVERYTHING IN 18 DAYS.

I have started packing. Trying to let go of clothing is hard. I had no idea I was so attached to my clothing (my list is down to 25 items, not including accessories, shoes and underwear!).

I am also finishing off my studies for the CELTA certificate. Even part-time, it’s an intensive course and I still have 4 more practice teaching sessions and 1 assignment to complete.

My room is also a horrid mess. Since I’ll be gone in a year, I’m determined to get rid of those uh, collectibles I really don’t need.

I’m also passing on my bookkeeping skills to my detail-oriented younger sister. Which isn’t an ordeal since she’s really a clever little bee.

These are my priorities, and fingers crossed I manage to do them all.

As for you…

What do you do when you move houses/move overseas?

More importantly, how do you part with your clothing? I keep thinking I need everything! I mean, my floral dress doesn’t match my black and gold wedges… right?

DOCUMENTARY: Children Full of Life – Teaching Life Philosophies

Looking back, my teachers must have really wanted us to be self-aware citizens of the world. In primary school, ‘conscientiousness’ was a a checkbox ticked on our school reports. During my junior years at high school, a couple of my teachers would very enthusiastically instruct the class to fill in sheets which questioned our motivations in life, forcing us to reflect on our own strengths, weaknesses and goals for the year. I disliked this tedious task, to put it mildly. It was kinda heavy stuff for a 14 year old to think about, y’know? This sheet would then be slipped into our ‘Lifelong Learning Portfolio’.

We also participated in the Multiple Intelligence test – multiple times, in fact. I liked this one better. I found it fascinating that a mere questionnaire could tell me that I was strong with words or sounds or even teamwork (I’ve forgotten by now, which intelligence I scored highly on, but I’m fairly sure I scored devastatingly low on Naturalistic and Kinetic Intelligence). Back then, I took the results quite seriously, but that was before I learnt that knowledge was not concrete and theories were always contested. I was also the kind of idiot who wanted to believe in Harry Potter magic, and fortune telling and all that otherworldly jazz.

Today I watched a video linked by a fellow incoming JET called 子ども輝きいのち Children Full of Life. Without spoiling the best parts, I will say that it is a very interesting documentary teaching at elementary school level. The documentary centered around the philosophies of Japanese teacher, Kanamori Toshiro. He’d teach the students kanji, maths and take them on excursions. He also taught them one motto to follow in class: be happy.

By happy, he did not mean the happiness that came from acquiring pleasure through fulfillment of shallow desires, or the crude happiness that is gained by stepping on others to get ahead. The happiness he wanted his students to know, was the happiness that is borne from knowing sadness, compassion and human bonds – empathy. How did he achieve this? Well, scroll to the bottom for the video… or keep reading.

There were a few main themes running through the video: (1) friendship (2) human empathy (3) moving beyond grief.

This documentary will make you think about what a teacher should teach. Is Kanamori the ideal? Are teachers obliged to give life lessons to students, or is this just an added bonus? If we were to follow Kanamori’s philosophy, how would we go about achieving it? Is he a role model, or is he just conscientiously living?

Kanamori himself isn’t perfect. (Which saved the documentary from being one huge, messy ball of unbelievable sap, in my opinion.) In one scene, he had let his temper get the better of him – what was interesting to see was how he and his students dealt with it. As promised, the documentary was a tear-jerker. Get your tissues ready guys; preferably your Mansized Kleenex. You’ll need the extra surface area each piece provides, I assure you.

Obsessive Me

Finding out you’re on JET is exciting. Each time I received correspondence from the consulate, I felt a tingle run through me from my toes. Other consulates may operate differently, but the letter I received from Melbourne to say I’ve passed through the two stages is such tangible proof of the reality; and the long anticipated phone call about placement details… there is something special about hearing the news from a voice rather than words on an email.

I know from my job itself that it is so much easier and quicker to type out an email to all the shortlisted applicants. But we received calls. Our coordinator took the time to call each and every one of us. Regardless of whether this was the intention or not, it really made the situation seem more personalised. And seriously, who doesn’t like personalised?

The elation.

In any case, I have to pull the reigns on my excitement here a bit, and think to myself: what can go wrong when I’m starting out over there. Not being pessimistic per se. I wouldn’t call it being realistic either. I just don’t want to be a naive fool. I’m settling in a foreign country. A new job. I have to be conscious about how I act because I’ll be representing a part of Australia. I’ll face culture shock. I’ll have to adapt. I’ll be living away from my parents and I’ll have to take care of my own household (of one, lawl) now.

So I contemplated: what are my flaws? I have many. I lack tack. I can be stubborn. I hate dealing with passive-aggressives. I can be passive-aggressive myself sometimes. I sometimes choose to wing things when I probably would do better planning it.

Also, I’ve just realised recently that I’m the type to get distracted easily. Or more precisely, I’ve corrected a misconception I had of myself: It’s not that I have too much to do (though that is true, I do want to do EVERYTHING!), but that I have an inability to focus on one thing consistently.

I can’t stand having free time, and so I go find something to do – these somethings usually involve some Japanese language practice, eating… cakes or a craft if I’m feeling highly motivated. Then I get really busy.  So busy that I wish I had more free time. I think to myself that there are not enough hours in a day – why in the world aren’t there enough hours in a day? No groundbreaking, life-changing realisations here, but still kind of whacky and ironic all the same if you try to consider the thought logically.

I get really into these things I do. Kind of obsessive. It begins off like the spluttering of a starting ignition in a car, and driving off isn’t really an ordeal. But the engine hasn’t warmed up yet. The car is still a little strange, a little foreign; we’re both not comfortable to the other. It doesn’t take long though, and soon enough I know just how hard to press down on the accelerator, when to let the car roll, and over time, I begin to enjoy the speed and I just don’t want to stop.

But that is inevitable and we eventually reach a stopping point – it is never the destination, not actually the end, because soon enough the engine will start again, and begin another trip – but when we reach that stopping point, it’s as if the tension that was rising during the journey had suddenly been forced through an outlet. It’s gone. There is no desire to just go any longer. The desire may not be gone forever, but for now, it doesn’t exist.

You, my dear reader, may be wondering what the point of all this was to say. Tl;dr: I’m afraid that my tendency to flit around, my inability to commit to things will really bitch me over this year. Not just me, but the people around me too.

It’s so easy just to tell myself to get my act together, but this isn’t something that can be change through sheer willpower at all.

Well, I’ve taken one step for now. Maybe I’ll read back on this sometime in the future and think, “Why, you’re such a fool, yo.” Maybe this is a really common thing with people and I’m taking myself way too seriously… dude, so sensitive.

Gawd, I’m such a depresso sometimes.

But I think its important to doubt yourself… just a little though. It helps put yourself in perspective with the world. Hopefully I can manage to do that in Japan despite what stress, shock, homesickness or frustration I may encounter. Not doubt myself. Just make sure I stay a pleasant person to be around. Wish me luck, yo.