Dec. 6th, 2010

blacklilly: (Takoyaki!)
It's 10.27am.  I'm waiting for my rice to cook so I can have breakfast,  It seems to be taking much longer than normal.

Today is one of those 3-day weekend days, though I did work yesterday, covering an IELTS class at the British Council.  It was a rubbish lesson, but that's the point of being a sub-teacher - go in, do the lesson, but don't be too good at it, else the students may get disappointed with their regular teacher.  After that, I stopped off in Takodanababa to get rid of some books at the Blue Parrot second hand book shop.  Much to my delight, they were having a 50% off sale on everybook in the place, so I traded my books in and picked up:  

George Eliot - Silas Marner (possibly my favourite book ever)
Wilkie Collins - The Woman in White 
Charles Dickens - A Tale of Two Cities
Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
Carols Ruiz Zafon - The Shadow of the WInd

I've always struggled with the Victorians.  I think it comes from forcing myself to read "Great Expectations" at a young age and not being able to cope with it.  I avoided them at university too, so I'm still making up for the gap in my reading.  I must admit that going round the bookshop was a little boring.  There were so many books to choose from and not many that I could get excited about.  Must go to Tower Records and pick up some more recent stuff, like David Mitchell's new book.

HahAAAA!  The rice cooker has just chimed!!

Hmmm, rice, poached egg and kimchee and miso soup for breakfast,  Odd, but delicious.

day 11 - overrated and underrated Japan


This goes along with what a few other people have said, but the train system is hugely over-rated.  People in other countries always bang on about the punctuality and regularity of trains in Japan, but what they fail to mention is that sometimes these trains run at well over 200% capacity (capacity being defined by the number of seats and hand-holds in a carriage).  I regularly have to endure  having full body contact with a total stranger in the mornings on my way to school, which I often can only get through by closing my eyes and trying to shut down my brain for a few minutes until we hit the next station.  Getting on and off the train is treacherous as those inside the carriage push and shove their way out, often causing the people at the front, who are doing their best to get out of the carriage anyway, to literally pop onto the platform.  I saw a guy take a tumble out of the train one morning and all people did was step over him as he lay curled up in a ball on the platform until it was safe to move.  An interesting article in The Guardian on this, only the other day.

Last night trains are the worst.  The Yamanote and Chuo-sobu lines run up to nearly 1am out of Shinjuku, but from about 12pm there's only one train every ten minutes and it's very often running late at this point.  Last Friday I was out with two friends in Shibuya and we got the second to last train home (about 12.37 out of Shinjuku).  We got on the train fine, but as successive Yamanote line trains dumped people onto the platform, people kept getting on, and on and on.  My friend Erik started up asking people not to get on anymore because it was getting so uncomfortable.  I had my arms around him and was pressed up into his back so I was at least groping somebody familiar.  Eric's comments were making everyone around us laugh, as it was pretty funny, but some guy took offense and told him to shut up.  Erik asked me why I was laughing and I had to explain that it was just the guy behind who was rammed up next to me laughing.

The only good thing about this situation on late night trains is that people are usually in a good mood and more willing that normal to start up a conversation with you.  I once had a conversation with a really cute guy after he ended up within my kissing zone.  I was with my friend Saradia and commented on his earrings being pretty cool.  She said I should talk to him, but I was too shy.  As we got even more squished he said:  "Gomen nasai" and I replied: "Daijoubu", and then he said: "I hate this fucking train" with a perfect American accent.  So he'd clearly understood all that I had said about him being cute.  We had a really good chat all the way home, swapped numbers, and have never seen each other since.

In my previous post I mentioned Japanese guys being overrated, and I was going to explain why I think this, but just like them, I can't be bothered today.  Maybe another time soon, ne.

Right!  Now for a wash and a walk!!!

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