Eonrider [Mage of Light]
So I noticed some other people doing this. Why not join in?

I suppose I'll begin with a description of me. I was born on New Year's Day, 1997, making me 17 years old for anyone who can't maths. I had the privilege of being born in New Zealand, otherwise known as Australia's safer little brother, and the Land of the Birds.

I'm currently halfway through my final year at High School, with plans to take a gap year, hopefully going to Japan, then returning to study Astronomy at university. Subjects I'm taking at school are Physics, Chemistry, Calculus, IT and Japanese. I have above-average intelligence, pardon my bragging, and as such was one of 39 senior students this year to be awarded with the title of Academic Honours. This doesn't really do anything, it just means I get to wear the same uniform as the Prefects, and a special tie. While my school isn't bad, it's actually quite good, I'm itching to leave at the end of the year, as I'm looking forward to moving onto bigger and better things.

Those who know me know that I am very un-sporty, but despite this I did play soccer/football for a few years, before I grew bored of it and moved onto Karate, which I have been doing for over seven years now. Unfortunately, my Karate sensei, who had been training me for that entire time, suddenly passed away last month. Luckily, thanks to a group of dedicated senior students and black belts, the dojo is still running, and I continue to train there for 3 hours a week.

As for my other interests, I am yet another person who loves to read. I don't have a particular favourite author, but when I discover one I like, I tend to go on a 'binge' of sorts and read everything they've written that I can get my hands on. I don't watch a lot of TV, the only shows I regularly watch are Doctor Who, and more recently, Under the Dome, although I have been watching Hannibal online, and keep an eye out for episodes of Adventure Time I haven't seen yet. I also watch the occasional movie, my current favourite being What We Do In The Shadows, which is a New Zealand made comedy based on the lives of a group of vampires flatting together in Wellington. It's made by the same people as Flight of the Concords, and features many of the same actors.

I also enjoy creative writing, although I've only recently begun taking the numerous ideas floating around in my head and putting them on paper. I generally don't write fanfiction, as I prefer to work with my own characters, but in the future I may write some things set in pre-existing fictional worlds, but with no canon characters. I've even entered some writing competitions, and actually managed to win one of them. Granted, I was still in primary school at the time. I'm currently waiting on the results of another competition, and will probably post the piece I entered here once I get results back, as part of the conditions of entry were that I hadn't put the piece anywhere else.

I got into Pokemon in Gen III, my first game being Ruby, which is now sadly long lost. Ever since then I have been on a quest to catch them all, a quest I finally accomplished in Black. I have now restarted the quest in Y, but it has been made much harder by the fact that I have also lost my Black cartridge, and as of now my 'dex total sits at 710. If you'd be kind enough to trade me, even temporarily, any of Mew, Jirachi, Manaphy, Phione, Darkrai, Shaymin, Arceus, or Victini, then that would be much appreciated. I have also delved into the world of competitive Pokemon recently, building a team to compete in the New Zealand VGC reginals. Alas, victory was not to be had, but I had a great time anyways, and many great battles. I can also be found on Pokemon Showdown, with the username Bard of Eon, so feel free to challenge me to a battle. I'm willing to try any metagame, but currently only have teams for OU, Ubers and VGC.

That's all I have to say for now. This is most likely going to be used for answering any questions you guys have for me, but if I think of anything else I want to say, I'll put it here.
Wow.. that's just wow, Eon. That's all I have to say. o.0 I'm much older than you and I feel shamed somehow. You have, already, so much going for you. You have great skills in things that you love to do and you have a bright path that you have already forged. I'm. . . envious as well, I suppose. I think I'll leave and sit in a corner somewhere. ;_;

Anyway, New Year's is awesome. Much better than my birthday, I think. New Zealand sounds awesome; I regret to say I have little to no knowledge other than its geographical location. What language is native?

I've always wanted to go to Japan, and the fact that you practice/study hours in a week with a form of martial arts and are taking the language as a class (and passing it with flying colors, I'm sure), makes me very jealous indeed.

Now, you say all this wonderful stuff about your intelligence, which I don't doubt for a second, but it leaves me wondering. Do you have any younger siblings, and do you impart any of your knowledge to them or help them in any way in regards to that?

That's all I have; came out way more than I had intended. . . Pardon if any offense was taken, and don't feel obliged to answer any my questions if you feel they are out of bounds. ^^()
Most New Zealanders speak English, which is also my first language. There is a native language, Maori, but it doesn't get used much outside of traditional cultural things and Maori Language week, which we're just finishing. As for Japanese, I've actually come top in my year level for three years running. That said, Japanese isn't a very popular subject at my school, so there hasn't been much competition, and there's never been more than 10 students of my year level in the class, and the class itself is often shared by an adjacent year level.

And I am the eldest child in my family, with two younger brothers. I help them with homework and exam study when they ask for it, but for the most part they don't really need my help. Particularly the youngest, who is in his first year of high school, and was placed in the same advanced stream I was placed in when I started. They're also both much more physically oriented than I am, and have that going for them as well.
New Zealand sounds so cool.

I'd like to ask a few questions about your education system. Is it your first time taking Physics, Chemistry, and IT and how in depth has those classes gone? I understand that you're interested in Japanese, but are you required to take a language class?

Also, what are Prefects?
Prefects are older students who help the teachers out with keeping order among the school. Basically, Prefects usually have the power to dock house points/give detentions/etc. to a student who's breaking the rules in some way (loitering in the corridors when they should be outside on break or doing work in a classroom, incorrect uniform, etc.). They're also meant to help lost students if necessary.

I actually was a prefect at one of my schools, so I know quite a bit.
This often catches me out, too, but Xander the Crocoal is female.
Avi by DevArt user DragonA7X, taken from here. Free to use.
'...No matter what you do or what you become: You are nothing less than beautiful.'--SCP-1342
'One voice is small, but the difference between zero and one is as great as one and infinity.'--SCP-1281
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Kathira's pretty spot-on about what Prefects are. There are a few differences at my school, however. House points can only be won through events, usually sporting events, with singing, general knowledge and chess thrown in, and they cannot be lost. I think Prefects are theoretically able to give out detentions, but I've never heard of one doing that. They've mostly just taken an organisational role in the school; they're the main force behind a lot of events during the year, and they also choose guest speakers for assemblies.

As for the NZ education system, I can't really compare it to any others as I have little knowledge of other systems. That said, none of my subjects, except for Calculus, are first time this year. I've been doing Japanese and IT since my first year, although only for two and one semesters respectively, and Physics and Chemistry since last year. General science is compulsory until 4th year, at which point you can split into Physics, Chemistry and/or Biology, or just drop it altogether. Maths is similar, splitting into Calculus and Statistics in the 5th and final year. As for Japanese, first year students are required to take one of Japanese, German, Spanish, Maori or Latin for at least one semester, but besides that it's not compulsory.
Is general science like a combination of the science classes? How in depth do Physics and Chemistry go? Since you're taking Calculus this year, do your science classes now incorporate calculus? Also, were you required to take writing or history classes, or is it just that after a certain year, they're no longer compulsory?
General science is a combination, yeah. As for how in-depth the subjects go, I can't really say for sure. They're as in-depth as I've ever gone, and I'm assuming they are quite in-depth, especially given I'm in the scholarship class for both Physics and Chemistry. Not every student does Calculus, so it's not heavily incorporated into the sciences, although my physics teacher did show us how to use integration to work out simple harmonic motion problems (which I am terrible at). Ironically, that was actually before I'd gone over integration in Calculus.

As for writing, English is compulsory up to 4th year, and was actually one of my favourite subjects. Until, that is, I was cursed with the worst teacher ever for 4th year English. Seriously, he didn't even write his own notes, I found the website he copypasted them from. And then he had the nerve to call out my friend for 'heavily relying on Sparknotes' (another English revision website). That was the class in which I failed my very first exam, and my grades in English had been great up until that point.

When it comes to history, 1st and 2nd year students have to do Social Studies (a combination of Geography and History), and in 3rd year they can pick one or both of those classes, or drop them both. Students in the advanced classes for 2nd year are offered a choice of either Geography or History in place of Social Studies, and they sit their exams for those subjects a year earlier than most other students. In fact, if you're sufficiently advanced in any core subject class in 2nd year, you can sit your 3rd year exams a year early for that subject, and then do more advanced exams the next year.
Alright so I'm posting here again. Last weekend I was part of an annual event hosted by my school, called the LAN for Life. It's a pretty sweet event. It's organised by students, and to go along all you need do is pay $20, which goes directly to charity. Once that's done, you turn up to school on the date given, and play video games with a bunch of people for 24 hours.

This year, because my friends are all senior students, it fell to them to organise the LAN this year. I was less involved, and actually did nothing to help organise since every single person involved was much better than me at the things that needed to be done. That said, I do wish I'd done something to help out, but oh well.

This year my friends and I had a challenge planned that we wanted to complete during the LAN. What was this challenge? It was to kill the Ender Dragon in Minecraft in under three hours. In Hardcore mode. So with a team of players numbering around 10, did we accomplish our goal? Hell yes, we did, and with an hour to spare. In fact, only three of us died, and two of those were due to the dragon. Everything was very well co-ordinated, we had three teams. A general survival resources team, a Blaze Rod+Ender Pearl hunting team, and an underground mining team, which was what I was in. Each team had their own TeamSpeak server so they could communicate, and one of my friends who was leading the effort jumped between servers to update everyone on progress. Unfortunately this was less useful for me, as my laptop was having connection issues and kept disconnecting from the server, an issue which would continue to be annoying all night, and my headset ran out of battery halfway through the challenge so I couldn't speak. That said, the challenge was an overwhelming success, and there were even ideas to try taking out the Wither later. Sadly these never came to fruition, as after killing the dragon the players respawned inside blocks, and removing them resulted in the loss of most of our items, namely full iron armour and Looting swords, which caused people to lose heart and abandon the challenge.

While Minecraft was definitely one of the most dominant games at the LAN, I played any others as well. Namely, Garry's Mod (specifically, Trouble in Terrorist Town), Quake 3 Arena, and Mario Kart 8, which my friend had bought along with his WiiU and hooked up to a projector screen. Unfortunately due to a combination of illness and a pesky cat, I hadn't slept very well the night before and spent the latter half of the LAN barely functioning or trying to regain some energy.

Of course, it wouldn't be the LAN for Life without sugary food. I myself bought a bag of candy, a bar of hundreds and thousands chocolate, and a 6-pack of fizzy drink because energy drink is stupidly expensive. Dinner for the night was Pizza Hut ordered online and kindly delivered by a friend's mother. In fact, said friend's pizza was lost in transit, but luckily we're a generous bunch and sacrificed pieces of our own pizzas to make sure he'd had enough.

So after one tiring weekend school takes back over. As I type this mock exams are set to begin next week. These exams are particularly important as if for any reason, be it illness, injury or family issues, I am unable to attend the final exams, my grades from these exams will be used instead. I have yet to begin studying in earnest, and my first exam is on Thursday.
It's been quite some time since I posted here, hasn't it? And as you would expect, a whole bunch of stuff went down. Since I posted here I've had my first heartbreak, graduated from high school, passed two scholarship exams (Physics and Calculus), become a legal adult and I am currently in Japan. In fact, I feel as though so much stuff has happened I'm not even sure where to begin.

I suppose I'll start with Japan, seeing as that's what's freshest in my mind. I'm living with a host family and attending a Japanese High School. School isn't nearly as easy as I thought it would be. I thought I would understand a lot more than I do; currently the only classes I really understand are English and Maths. Thankfully the teachers and students have all done their best to help me out, and I feel as though my Japanese has improved greatly during my time here. I arrived here on March 19th, and I return to New Zealand on August 1st. Time has flown by very quickly so far, and I'll be home again before I know it. I'm not sure how I feel about that, because I really love Japan and have enjoyed my time here, but I'm also looking forward to seeing my friends and family again.

I've also done a fair bit of sightseeing. I've been to Yokohama Pokemon Center (of course), Kakamkura, Enoshima and Nikko, among other places. This is certainly an experience that's going to last a lifetime. And let me tell you, the kindness of Japanese people is extraordinary. Often when I try to pay for something myself my host mother refuses outright and insists on paying herself, and it's impossible to argue against her. There as also an incident where I was trying to make a New Zealand candy for my family, but it wasn't working because I was missing an ingredient. My host mother mentioned this to her children's piano teacher, and a few days later she came home from piano with the missing ingredient, given to her by the piano teacher, who asked only that we let her have some when it was made. As if I wouldn't, after something like that.

So yeah. I know there's a lot more to say about everything that's happened, but the sheer volume makes it hard to organise my thoughts, so I'll let the kind people of Turquoise pry it out of me with questions. Ask away!
I'm heading to Japan in July. Any cool spots that I should definitely check out?
It mostly depends on what area you go to, really, but I recommend Nikko Edomura, or Edo Wonderland. It's an Edo-Period theme park close to Nikko City, and you can really get a sense for how life was in that period. Plus there's a place where you can throw actual shuriken, a ninja training course and you can also dress up in authentic costumes. It's pretty damn neat.
Favorite food(s) you've gotten to try?
[Image: salvage_sworn_metalhead.png]
In which an undead trainer, a bloodthirsty super-clone, and an irascible ex-Rocket grunt set out to rescue an imprisoned Mew--if they don't end up murdering each other first.

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My favorite Japanese food by far is takoyaki, fried balls of octopus. I'm also very fond of the Japanese ramen, not something I ate a lot of before I came here. And sushi, of course. There's actually so much good food over here I can't list it all.

Anyway, as some of you may have seen me bragging about in the chat, I went to the Japanese Pokemon Nationals on Sunday. It was a pretty awesome experience, I got a good insight into how Japanese players play and also managed to fall in with a group including at least one well-known player which holds occasional tournaments in Tokyo. Not only that, I also got interview by a Japanese YouTube channel, called popchannel. The video should go up in about a week, so check it out if you feel like seeing my face. I'll be the obviously not Japanese person in the Pikachu shirt.
What's the most surprising/unexpected thing you've encountered so far?

So jelly of your Nationals adventure. It sounds epic.
[Image: salvage_sworn_metalhead.png]
In which an undead trainer, a bloodthirsty super-clone, and an irascible ex-Rocket grunt set out to rescue an imprisoned Mew--if they don't end up murdering each other first.

Banner by Sworn Metalhead of Dædric Design
One of the first things I noticed was how simply big the cities here are, especially compared to New Zealand. For example, shortly after I got here I had to catch a train from Tokyo to where I'm currently living, which took roughly an hour and a half. We never left the built-up areas during the entire trip, which just doesn't happen in NZ. This means that cities basically merge into each other. I went cycling with some friends, and at the end of the trip they said 'Okay, let's return to [hometown] now'. I wasn't even aware we'd left.

There's also how ridiculously kind the people here are. I've heard people say that New Zealanders are pretty kind but we've got nothing on Japan.
As you may have heard, Japanese people lead a very busy lifestyle. One of the consequences of this is that exchange students like myself will almost never stay with the same host family for the duration of their exchange. I'm pretty lucky. I only needed to change families once; one of the other exchange students who came with me stayed with a large number of families for only a few days each before finally getting a longer-term one.

That said, changing families isn't easy. My first host family was incredibly kind, and I'm eternally grateful to them. Once I moved and my routine changed, I found myself missing them pretty badly, and sometimes even wishing I hadn't changed at all. Not that my new family is bad, though, they seem like good, kind people, but it's such a sudden change. It's almost like coming to Japan all over again.

Anyway, last weekend was my school's sports festival. The senior classes are divided into 4 blocks, which compete in various events for points. Whichever block gets the most points wins. I competed in three events. First, the Oodama. In that event two long lines if people work together to ferry a giant ball (like an exercise ball but even bigger) to the end of the lines and back again. My block started out pretty strong, but quite literally dropped the ball and lost.

2nd was an event whose Japanese name I don't remember, but it translated to 'centipede relay'. This was a much shorter line of people, with their left and right legs tied together in a line, so they have to run in sync to get anywhere. Add that to your standard relay, and boom. Didn't do too well in this either.

3rd and Final was the Kibasen, or piggyback wars. This consists of teams of 6ish squads. Each squad contains 5 people. Four people join hands, while the 5th person is on top of the other four. This person wears a cap. The goal is to remove as many of the other team's caps as possible. Once a cap has been removed, that squad is out. I took the front position of my squad, and my block managed to pull out a win! Everyone got really happy, and it was super infectious. Out block came last in overall points, but I had a great time. Certainly much better than the Athletics Day at my old New Zealand school.

Did I mention there was dancing? Each of the blocks was assigned a theme, and had to make a dance based around it. My block's theme was Maleficent. The students decided roles among themselves (I was a knight) and even made their own costumes. There were also special, custom-made block T-shirts based on the theme to wear during the sports festival. Even though I never usually dance, I had a lot of fun with this as well.

But my excitement doesn't end here. This Sunday I will be attempting my karate black belt grading. I honestly gave no idea if I can pass, but it'd be a shame to let such a golden opportunity go to waste. There's also the small matter of me going to climb Mt. Fuji in about two weeks, so I have plenty to look forward to.
Well, my time in Japan has ended and I am now back home in New Zealand. This experience was the best part of my life so far, and I highly recommend trying something like it out yourself.

I'll pick up where I left off last time. I attempted my black belt grading, and managed to pass. The grading itself was actually quite tedious. There were about 60 people attempting to grade, and only 3 of them could go up and do their techniques at a time, which resulted in a lot of sitting around. It was all worth it for that feeling when my number was called among those who passed, though. My host family ordered the actual belt without telling me, and presented it to me about a week before I left. It looks really awesome, and it even has my name embroidered on it in Japanese.

With that out of the way it was back to school to focus on the upcoming exams. Thankfully, I only had to deal with English and Maths, and I did fairly well in both of those. On the final day of school, I gave a speech each to the teachers and my year level, both of which went over well. I even received thunderous applause from my year level after I was done, even though I paused a few times. I was also presented with a large number of gifts, including a card decorated like a Pokedex and containing notes from every member of my class. it was all really touching and honestly made me feel a bit bad for leaving them behind.

After school finished I had two weeks of summer holidays to enjoy before going home. I went to explore the lava caves around Mt. Fuji, and saw the most beautiful waterfall I've ever seen. I also took a trip to Kyoto, and saw the palace where the Shogun once lived, as well as the Golden Pavilion. I was even lucky enough to witness the Gion Festival, an ancient festival held every summer in Kyoto. From Kyoto, I took a day trip to Hiroshima and saw the Peace Park and the reconstructed Hiroshima Castle, where I learned about Hiroshima's beginnings as a city.

From there on it was mostly day trips. I visited another cat cafe, an aquarium which even had a dolphin show, and went swimming at the beach. On my last day with my host family, we went to a museum in Tokyo which just so happened to be holding an interactive exhibit on Pokemon. On entry to the exhibit, I was presented with a Pokeball, and told to use four of the twelve machines in the room to figure out what Pokemon was in the ball I'd been given. The machines gave out info on the Pokemon, like their height, weight, cry and even their silhouette seen from above. I had a Munna, if anyone was wondering.

After that it was off to Tokyo Station to meet up with the other exchange students also leaving Japan, and a last farewell to my host families, both of whom had come to see me off. I stayed the night at a hotel, then departed the airport for New Zealand the following night. I have to say being back home feels kind of surreal, after so long away. The entire exchange feels simultaneously like it only just started and like it began a long time ago. As I like to put it, the exchange has become the distant memories of recent past.

So that's it for now. If anyone has any questions about my time in Japan, or anything really, feel free to ask.
I Really wish I could do something like what you did, Eon. But, I'm all tied down already... *sigh* Trips like what you had usually do make everything feel surreal; I've had that happen to me before as well. I don't think I really have any questions, just a whole lot of longing to do the same thing. x3
Alright, I'm posting here partially because I felt like it, and partially to let you guys know I haven't abandoned good old Turquoise just yet.

I've also gone and changed the thread title from Bandwagon, seeing as there aren't many active blogs anymore, to Mage of Light. Those of you who read Homestuck will immediately get the reference, but for those who don't, a brief explanation. Most characters in Homestuck have an assigned class (such as Mage) and an aspect (Light). These not only designate the flashy powers they get, but also show what kind of person they are. I see the Mage as the 'knowing' class. The job of a Mage is to 'know' their aspect, and use that knowledge to act. Light represents information, importance, and luck. I think of myself as someone who loves learning and gaining information for its own sake, hence I am the Mage of Light.

With that out of the way, an update on what I've been doing. Almost immediately after I got back from Japan I began to job hunt, and luckily I was almost immediately successful. I got a job at one of the MacDonald's in my city. I don't have any set hours, but thanks to my near 24/7 availability I get a fair amount of work. It's mostly pretty simple stuff, nice and easy to remember. I'll be working there for at least a year, seeing as my plans for university have changed.

I'll still be studying Astronomy, just a bit later. Sadly I can't afford to go away to the far off place where I can do that just yet, but I always wanted to do a double major in Astronomy and Physics, so I'll do a year of Physics at my local uni, and transfer that over when I change. It's not what I wanted to do next year, but it's what must be done, and at least it's another year in which I can gain work experience and money, and hang around with my friends in this city.

But now for the real exciting stuff. I went and done broke my nose real good last Wednesday. My karate dojo took a trip to a trampoline place for an end-of-term fun time, and I decided to see how many somersaults I could do into the foam pit before I landed. Stupidly, I had my knees tucked in all the way, and when I landed momentum brought my face smashing into my right knee. I then had to spend the rest of the hour watching the rest of my class have fun after getting myself cleaned up. At least they gave me a free access voucher so I can come back and have a proper fun time.

Although I thought I'd just had a bit of a blood nose and that I'd be fine after a night's sleep, a trip to A&E told me I needed to see a specialist, and the specialist told me I had a blood clot in my nose that was cutting off blood supply to the cartilage and that I needed to go to hospital and get it drained or risk my nose collapsing. I needed surgery, for the first time I can remember. It all went well, though, and afterwards the surgeon described to me just how badly I had screwed up my schnoz. I'd actually managed to break the septum cartilage both horizontally and vertically, as well as break the actual bone. They put it all back in its place though, but now I'm stuck with some dissolvable pads up my nose which prevent me from breathing through it, smelling, and tasting. Thankfully those should be coming out tomorrow.

So that's it from me for now. I'm not letting my injury slow me down, and I'm looking forward to the future. My next update will be whenever I feel like it, probably when something kinda sorta interesting goes down. Until next time!

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