blacklilly: (Default)
Oh ye gads, it's the end of the freaking world!!  There's almost no beer left in Asagaya! The only stuff people won't touch is the non-alcohol and calorie free stuff...and Beaujolais Nouveau, but that is entirely understandable. Not only does this tell us what shit even Japanese people won't touch in a crisis, but that should the end come, I won't be able to drink myself to death first!! 

Ha ha ha.  I joke on that last count, of course.  Seriously, though, this beer shortage is a problem.   With the water supply issues at the moment, bottled water is scarce, so beer kinda seemed like an option until a week or so ago when I overheard a discussion between the owner of my local bar and his supplier:

" I've got one keg of Yebisu left.  Do you want it?" the supplier muttered into the bar owner's ear.

" What happens when that runs out?" the bar owner asked.

" We still have the Asahi Super Dry."  Both men looked seriously into space.

" Give me whatever you've got left.  Bottles as well," said the bar owner.  " Hopefully things won't get that bad."

It turns out that one of the Yebisu breweries was knocked out either by the quake or the tsunami, and is out of action until they can safely return gas and power to it.  The Kirin brewery site in Yokohama is subject to blackouts and supply problems, I would assume.  As for Asahi, who knows, but there isn't much of that about at the moment either.  Though it gives you a good indication of its popularity, that it was one of the last beers to still be hanging around in the convenience stores.  I'm well aware that there are other locations in Japan still brewing beer, but they are unlikely to divert their supplies to Kanto when Kansai and Kyushu are also needing to slake their thirsts.  I bought one can of Yebisu in the supermarket earlier, along with a 12 pack of toilet roll - mango-scented - which was a relief.  I was starting to look at which book was going to be the first to be ripped up for bog roll.  Maybe I should request copies of the Daily Mail and Sun newspapers to be shipped over to Japan.  They'd make good bum rags.

Last week I went out to grab some food and wrote this when I got home:  "Ito Yokodo had a massive delivery of water when I popped in earlier.  People were taking them out of the boxes before the staff could get them open properly.  One old lady was trying to fill her basket with bottles until one of the staff reprimanded her and told her she could only have 1 bottle.  She had to put them back.  Ha ha.  Old ladies = wagamama monsters."

I know much has been said of how people in Sendai have been stoic about their situation and haven't resorted to looting or fighting etc etc, but I think people there have a better spirit than those in Tokyo - a better sense of community.  I sometimes feel the fact that Tokyo mostly comprises people from all over the country makes it a rather disconnected place to live, which perhaps results in people immaturely hoarding food, water and other necessities.  Anyway, just a random thought.

So, things have settled down a lot since last week.  Omotesando and Harajuku are their normal heaving selves.  The police in the Omotesdando Dori police box were feeding biscuits to some woman's pet rats dogs on Friday morning, and the street nampa-ing (or whatever it is those guys are up to) is back on.  Curiously the tissue guys were absent this week - possibly they got mobbed for their tissue stashes and are tending to their old lady-shaped bruises at home.  Work is busy with spring intensive courses for the kids.  Thursday, fortunately, is my last day at work until July (not including Peaceboat), so I'm counting the hours until my freedom!

So, I shall leave you with a photo of plum blossom from one of my wanderings from the other week:

blacklilly: (Takoyaki!)

Just when I had settled on a Canon, along come  pictures from the NYE party which get me thinking again.  

Here's one of me taken with an Olympus EP-1.  It's not so obvious in this one, but the colouring and image clarity were spot on.

Here's another one taken with what I think was a Canon DSLR:

It was taken rather suddenly, hence the blurring, but again, I liked the colouring in all the photos.

And, in my hand you will see my Holga, which is now serving as main camera until I figure out what I'm going to do, and which kidney I'm going to sell.  On Thursday a friend of mine will be giving me his 35mm/120mm negative scanner, which will make my Holga life a lot cheaper.  Expect to be hit with plenty of Holga yumminess at the weekend.

Today I went to my student's house to play with his cat, Hana (that's Japanese for flower), and eat o-sechi-ryouri, which is traditionally eaten over the New Year to give wives a break from cooking.  I particularly love the kuro-mame, sweet black beans, and the tonnes of vegetables you get to nibble on.  Here's a picture of me and Hana:

Last night, in a bid to be a bit less reclusive and more spontaneous, I decided (after initially turning things down) to meet up with some friends from Nagoya:  Audrey, and Jay who was only up for the evening.  Jay's a nice guy, but when he gets drunk he becomes quite aggressive.  This was actually brought up by both Audrey and I and he seemed rather shocked by the accusation.  Given that this was one of the first things I spotted about him, when meeting him for the first time about two years ago, I too was rather taken aback.  Anyway, Jay was on good form all evening, which is not something that can be said for the  buddy of his who turned up after having been drinking his fiance's family dry all afternoon.  He launched himself into the Irish Bar we found in Shinagawa, spouting various profanities in Japanese, before entertaining a Scottish couple sitting behind us with some slurred discussion about Sheffield.  He then introduced himself to everyone, forgot everyone's name and then insisted on loudly telling the whole bar about the 50yen beer bar he was taking us to.  There were 8 of us in total, and we all agreed that we were only tolerating him because he knew where to find beer for 50yen in Tokyo.  

On the train there, he started talking about the time he got into a fight and was wrongly accused (he says) or pulling the hair out of the skull of one of his four attackers.  Allegedly they tried to sue him for 'emotional harm' to the tune of £20 000, but settled for £2000 when he threatened to leave the country rather than pay up.  All of which sounds like a load of bollocks to me.  While the story was being told, the train around us slowly emptied out as more and more people sidled off into nearby carriages.

So we get to Gotanda and set off to the bar, only to find it closed, which is really no surprise.  We ended up in an izakaya, where Audrey and I gave each other moral support (having two vegetarians is quite glorious when you need to pressure people into ordering salad), and Mr Obnoxious continued to test everyone's patience.  As I bailed out he grabbed my hand and said:  

" You know, despite what people have said about you, you're actually quite cute..."

...which I shrugged off as the ravings of a drunken, obnoxious twat and went home.  It's nice to be reminded why I don't like hanging out with most foreigners.

And just think, if I'd stayed at home, there would have been no story to tell you.  Which is why going out more is worth it.
blacklilly: (Angsty)
Curses!!!  I just wrote a veritable missive about my day today and then I hit delete to correct a typo and the whole bloody thing disappears.  Shit!!!!!!  Bloody hell, that just took me 15 minutes to write.  Can I be bothered to re-write it all again?  Probably.

So last night, craving not the company of my students, who had invited me out for a drink (for which read copious amounts of money spent), I went to my local and sat drinking beer and sake.  I taught everyone how to swear properly, which is another sign, in addition to this morning's sore head, that drinking sake should only be done in moderation.  My friend Gen-chan came up to me just before he left the bar and blurted out "Son of a bitch!" I hasten to add that I didn't teach him that one.

This morning's hangover was miraculously cured by scrambled egg burritos and cups of tea, so I was ready for action by 11am.  In the bar, I had been told about Gen-chan carrying a portable shrine through Umeyashiki, the next train station down from mine.  Given how tiny he is, I was rather concerned that he might end up getting squished, and thus decided that photographic evidence was needed.  So I jumped on my bicycle and took my Holga and Canon EOS out for some exercise.  I haven't used my SLR since January, so it was nice to use it again.  Having the Holga has made me appreciate what my SLR is good, and made me a little more confident in taking more "from the hip" candid shots of things.  We'll see how they turn out.

Tonight I met up with one of the guys from school and we went to see "Star Trek".  We had been listening to the two other guys ar work having a long debate about "Transformers", and turned to each other.  "Geeks," I muttered. 

"So are you coming to see Star Trek?" he asked.

"Of course," I replied.  "We're geeks of a different kind."  I should have offered the Vulcan salute, but I may have been eating at the time.

I honour of how much I liked the movie, I decided to use my icon with the lense flare, which was grossly overused in the film, though I must admit to rather liking it.  It reminded me of "Firefly" in that it was trying to capture a feeling of nostalgia about early Star Trek.

Hmm, surely it must be time for bed now.  My brain thinks otherwise, it seems...

I'll post my first Twonnet tomorrow.
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It's never sunny when I have a day off.  Today it's all windy and grey outside.  The crows have moved back into the neighbourhood the past week or so, and are giving their throats quite the workout.  I recall being on Skype with my parents last year and them asking what the noise was.  So I turned my webcam round and showed them the monster squatting on the phoneline outside my window.  Evil things they are...

I want March to finish as soon as possible.  I was looking at a post I made from the beginning of the month and though it was only 3 weeks ago, it seems like an age.  Roll on April, which includes two weeks of holidays.

Later today I'm going to Roppongi with a few people to have a celebratory (as in "Yey! You passed your Japanese test!")  Indian lunch.  I can't wait to eat a proper curry.  I plan to eat so much I won't need to eat dinner, which works quite well, as there's nothing for dinner in the fridge...

There was the jazz gig on Friday night where I got a little too tipsy and danced with a 21 year-old trumpet player.  It was a bit like dancing with a tree.  I then had weird dreams which included my sister having  a transparent stomach so we could all see the baby, who had black hair and blue eyes.  Then there were some rather lovely blonde-haired, pierced and tattooed twins who looked a little like Eric Northman, but dammit, my neighbour woke me up before anything interesting happened.  Speaking of the neighbour, his number of OCD door rattlings increased yesterday to 12 repetitions, and then he came back two minutes later and did it all over again.  At 5.30am. 

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There appears so be some contention as to which day exactly is the worst day of the year - January 19th or 24th.  I think I can probably say that mine so far was a mixture of the 24th and 25th.  After a late night on Friday (a friend of mine is being transferred to Sapporo, so we gave him a send off until 2.30am at the local), and a Saturday which was full of its normal stress, I got home and fell into a very very bad mood.  I was in a bad mood when I went to bed and still in a bad mood when I woke up.  In fact, I didn't shift the bad mood until lunchtime when a bowl of miso soup had its usual magical effect upon me.

My friend Rachel called me up yesterday morning and started to tell me that on Sunday morning she also Sunday descended into a slough of despair, and had to sleep it off.  We were trying to find a reason for all this, and there were two factors.  First, we had both been drinking, which is normally enough to make ones headache, though not always enough to highlight the pointlessness of existence.  However, we both than realised that we were almost in exactly the same place in the Murakami novel we've been simultaneously reading (Dance, Dance, Dance).  On Saturday night I was about 80-100 pages from finishing the book, and on Sunday so was Rachel.  Now,  I think reading Murakami is the most important factor here.  His characters do have this tendency to just let things happen to them.  They rarely seem to make decisions, and they don't really react to anything that happens to them; unless it's their wife leaving them, in which case they shut themselves in the house for six months, or got sit down a well.  Anyway, these stories so have a tendency to make you wonder why we're here.

So today's advice:  if you going to read Murakami, do not mix with alcohol. 

In other news, I finally got out of the house on Sunday and went to an art exhibition in Ginza.  Then I had dinner with the artist and a few other people in a heavy metal bar. 

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I've been in a bad mood for about 3 weeks now. Much of it is related to money. I don't really want to go into the whole situation, but I discovered in this month's paycheck that I now have to pay residence tax every month to the tune of about £75. This doesn't seem like a great deal, but when (after various obligations including loans, bills) you end up living on £350 for 5 weeks, you may understand my misery. I'm a bit pissed off that no one saw fit to actually warn me about this, and that after a year and a half working for this company I still haven't got a payrise, even though I'm well aware that other people have, and despite now being at the biggest school in Japan. Apparently, I'm meant to console myself with the thought of earning elusive bonuses by interviewing new students, keeping the old ones and helping the school make its astronomical financial goal every month. Despite having achieved this for the past ten months we didn't do it this month, which meant one of our managers was in tears to her boss on the phone on Wednesday night, and was receiving serious sounding phone calls from Kaicho yesterday. My birthday window-shopping trip with my friend Kazumi was postponed owing to visits from head-office and I had to miss the first 20 minutes of my Japanese class to entertain a time-waster of a visitor in the hope of making some money. I should work as a hostess for all the sweet-talking I do. I'd be better-dressed and better-paid too.

My problem, as Kazumi pointed out to me, is that I'm too nice and am not very good at saying no, as I'm so convinced that everyone will start to hate me if I do. So I get taken advantage of. This may sound like a bit of shock to certain people who think I already am one, but I think it's about time I became a Bitch.

So I've been advertising for private students, which is not something I want to do as I like having weekends. I'm meeting two of them tomorrow for trial lessons. One is an elderly lady and the other is a law student. the former I'm meeting in Yokohama station, the other at Shinagawa (at 10am).

What pisses me off most of all is that I am unable to do the things I want to do. I've been unable to go swimming because I can't afford the gym membership; I can't go to Japanese lessons (I want to take the JLPT test in December and I can't really do it by myself) but I can neither afford them, nor find the time for them since trawling for private students, and I can't go to visit my friends or anywhere in Japan. Moan moan moan.

I've been looking for other jobs but so far there's little on offer with better pay, though the working hours and pressure are a bit better.

Oh, and here's a story about being worked to death.

On a more positive note, and yes I have budgeted for it, I'm visiting the Kirin Beer Factory this afternoon with some students. We're having a factory tour, then a 20 minute "beer-tasting" and finally a trip to the Kirin restaurant, where the food had better be cheap, or it'll be rice and miso soup for the rest of the week. I would like to drown to sorrow, but as I observed in a pub somewhere once, "sorrow knows how to swim".
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It's chucking down with rain outside. There were some rumbles of thunder earlier, which I was quite glad for. I'm heading into Shibuya to meet Lou's sister Catherine for people watching, a bit of shopping, book swapping in Ebisu, and a Vegan-Macrobiotic Dub Cafe (!) for dinner.

The cake above was from school. They tried to find me the blackest cake they could. It was so rich it took me 3 hours to eat it.*

Last night I sat in a bar until 10pm babbling in Japanese and drinking free red wine (it is my birthday after all). Then I came home and watched "Day Watch" and "The Fountain". The former was...OK. I didn't enjoy it as much as "Night Watch", possibly because I've read the book and know the story, and possibly because it didn't have quite the same character that the first one had. The SFX were excellent, as expected, but it just sagged a little. "The Fountain", despite a few flaws, was great. The three-story lines were treated a little messily, I felt, and we didn't really have much opportunity to really get to know the characters. However, it was visually stunning, especially the scenes in space and travelling through the nebula. I'm being bad and ripping it so I can watch it again (he he)!

The rain is gearing back up to full downpour again. I wonder if I'll get to the station without getting soaked??

Thanks to all of you who emailed, Facebooked or sent me birthday wishes in the post. It's nice to know I'm not forgotten. :)

* I hasten to add that I didn't eat the WHOLE thing! It took me three hours to eat one fat slice.
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I was meant to be out of the house by 10am today, but it's a bit slow. Not as slow as yesterday when I did "cock-all", as my friend Rachel would say. My plan had been to spend a restful day hanging around my apartment, tidying up and making some attempt to de-clutter before the move to Yokohama. This was instead of going to Nagoya, which I had to put off sue to injuring my knee somehow last weekend, and with the brain death I've developed from not getting "down time".

Instead I stopped by a Vietnamese cafe on the way home where a bunch of ALTs and JETs were having a birthday party. A nomihodai, until 11.30pm. So I stayed for one, and then another, and beers just kept being put in my hand. I dropped a near empty cup when someone jogged me and before I'd even bent down to pick up the cup a guy called Brett with a devilishly long beard (it was his birthday) had already put a new beer before me. We ended up in up underground bar called "Buen Tiempo" where I started to feel ropey, so Joe and I walked home. It was snowing.

So yesterday was spent in a fug of pain. I watched Strictly Come Dancing, read some "Dracula", [ profile] greygirlbeast's latest "Sirenia Digest", and Lovecraft's "The Shunned House". I watched Twin Peaks S2. And I had a bath, and a nap. Then after cooking risotto, I sat down for the mammoth "Inland Empire". I need to watch it again, and again, and possibly again. It's not my favourite Lynch - that's "Lost Highway".

Right, anyway. Today I must:

eat breakfast
go shopping
buy a hat (and maybe some shoes)
doing my washing
do some Japanese homework
read a book
go out for sushi with Joe
post some letters
pick up party photos

Is there enough time???
blacklilly: (Default)
I was visited by an Incubus on Friday night, and no, it was, in fact, quite frightening.

So a week of disturbed sleep was compounded this morning but being awoken by the town sirens going at 6am. What they were alerting us to, I've no idea. I got out my dictionary to find out what was being said, but had no joy. Half and hour later as I was finally starting to to the edge of my resentful wakefulness the blasted thing went off again. So I gave up, made a cup of tea and read [ profile] greygirlbeast's "Bradbury Weather" instead.

I blame the incubus invasion on red wine and watching Hugh Jackman in a dumbass movie. I had little in the way of expectations when I sat down to watch "Kate and Leopold" (it was showing on the Movie Plus channel and I was bored and not in the mood for anything cerebral). My only point in watching (aside from thinking Hugh Jackman is pretty, though particularly in Wolverine mode) was to see whether the film would tick all the plot boxes for a love story. Which it did. Shame that none of the science behind finding cracks in time wasn't explained, but I guess that's far too much for the target audience to take in.

So last night I went to my favourite bar. I had been requested to go out to karaoke with Joe and few others but have taken a thorough dislike to singing in snack bars lately, so headed for the comfort of Yongo Yongo. It's not that I don't enjoy the singing. I am just quite bored with the number of requests I get to sing songs. People always make suggestions and I feel obliged to acquiesce. In some cases, people don't even ask me, they just give me a microphone when a song comes on and say: "Dozo". My annoyance at this behaviour is furthered by the fact that this is most often done with songs I hate - Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On", Mariah Carey's "Hero". I've come to an agreement with Joe that the next time this happens I will inform the bar of my hatred of these songs, and give the mic to Joe, who will go on to sing on my behalf. That'll learn 'em.

Joe and I went back to Yongo Yongo for a private "mini-mini-live" with Mi-chan, back from a gig last night in Roppongi. Kumi brought her son Koki, who is 9 years old, but not much past a year old in mental terms (I can never keep up with what the "PC" term for this is). He was utterly ecstatic to meet Joe and insisted on crawling across us to get a hug. He was mesmerised by the guitar and enjoyed banging away on the bongos too. He's a very happy, if slightly anxious, kid and is good fun, though I guess extremely tiring to look after as he needs constant attention. So Koki munched on kombu onigiri while Mama cooked up a huge feast - egg and eggplant pizza, nama-haru maki, bagels, salad, accompanied by beer and wine.

As a result I'm been feeling distinctly off-planet this afternoon. However, I'm going to correct the situation with more red wine and a viewing of "Before Sunset", one of my favourite films, which I had the joy of tracking down in Tsutaya today.

Maybe I might get to sleep properly tonight...
blacklilly: (Default)
That cool picture with the eye of the typhoon over Kyushu has now blown itself to bits. The link looks boring now. This morning it's, so far, cool and windy, but then I am sitting in just my knickers writing this so who knows what it's like with clothes on. You really didn't need to know that.

On Thursday night Andrew, myself, and my new area leader (read 'boss'), Bruce, went out for dinner. At 3am Bruce and I called it a night, leaving Andrew with his 3rd bottle of that dirtiest of drinks - Shochu. I came in to work at 11am on Friday and was met by the lady from the mochi shop who informed me that she had found Andrew passed out in front of the school at 6am. His glasses were strewn across the pavement, along with his iPod and phone. (I found his headphones on the step as I was opening up, but thought he had merely dropped them on his way out.) She went on to tell me that he began to vomit profusely and that she had to wash it off the pavement, hence why there was little evidence of this left to be found.

Word got round to the hotel as Bruce walked in calling Andrew a "monkey" after being informed of the same when he awoke. And this is the thing about living in Ina - EVERYONE knows. Not that I should particularly care as it was not me passed out.

Andrew went to the mochi shop yesterday and the guy in there said: " It's okay, you're young. If you were an old man, that would be dangerous."

More later when I get my photos back - not of Andrew being sick, obviously - birthday photos, ne.

Oh, I'm having a private Japanese lesson on Monday. Quite nervous and excited, but I'm hoping it will unstick my mouth, which continues to have trouble when I'm trying to talk. I have the words, my brain and mouth just can't put them together when it's necessary.

And I have to set my keyboard to Japanese. Or get the Japanese option available...
blacklilly: (Default)
On Saturday night I was talking to a cat outside a bar for a good ten minutes. It was very cute, and I was tipsy. I'm not sure what passing pedestrians made of our conversation, but actually I don't care too much. My enduring memory of Saturday is listening to Whitesnake and enjoying it. This has not happened before.

Today I went shopping and bought t-shirts. Yay! And I joined Tsutaya, which means I can now watch as much horror as I can lay my blood-soaked hands on. And I can find Whitesnake and rip it onto iTunes. Why has no one but libraries ever thought of renting music in England? It's a fabulous idea.

So yeah, Whitesnake. I blame Bruce Dickinson's rock show, which I've been listening to for the past few weeks. Not that he's played ANY Whitesnake. But, why not blame a god of rock?

Anyway, here are some photos from the past few weeks I wanted to show:

The meishi of some guy I met in Yongo Yongo on Saturday night. Think I should call him?

Last week Atsuko brought cool cakes for dessert.

I particularly liked this guy.

Gentian? I want to say Scabious, but I think that's wrong.

Bearded irises. These grow on the side of the road and, unlike England, no one steals them.
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This weekend, so far, has been a particularly productive one.

Saturday night saw us go out with a group of students for what they called the "High Calorie Party". This involved going to one of the more expensive yaki-niku restaurants in town, eating meat and drinking beer. Well, I ate, vegetables, salad, tofu and kimchi, and drank beer. Afterwards we went to a huge snack bar where I avoided being the first one to sing karaoke for once (the night's songs included: S.O.S -ABBA, Angel - Eurythmics, and Stay - Lisa Loeb). During my rendition of Angel I was brought to near hysterics by the sight of one of the my students and the other NET grooving along to the song in an Austin Powers stylee.

On Sunday morning I got up at 9am, made tea and toast for Saori, who had stayed over, and then staggered back to bed until 1pm. Then, after waking myself up and eating, I sat down and wrote a short story. It's been popping into my head repeatedly recently and I started making further notes on it last week. Yesterday it wanted to come out, so down I sat and it wrote itself. I have the final section to work on today and then that's the first draft done. It's quite an interesting story for me as it is written in the present tense, not something I usually do, and it's written backwards, so the start is at the end, again, not something I usually do. I found that I automatically slip into writing in the past tense so I very often had to stop myself and change sentences. It gives the story much more sense of immediacy, which is what I want for this one - a sense of confusion, that you don't understand what is happening until the very end. Then to work on the next draft and type it up.

After that I watched the "Devil's Rejects" and started downloading "Pan's Labyrinth".

[On an aside, I blasted my way through all 18 episodes of "Heroes" and and now can't wait to see the next ones. Why, oh why didn't I pace myself, as I was warned about the season break! Next to download is the second series of "Life on Mars" which is about the only show I've been missing from England.]

So far today I've been swimming, after having to shake off dreams about flying around England in a Mini Cooper (which was excellent fun) and watching motorcycle races across the Arctic. I now need to do some shopping, work on the story, do some Japanese practice and head out to meet my private student. And may I add that my student and I meet in family restaurants and cafes, NOT his apartment, and that he was passed on to me by his previous teacher who vouched for his sanity. So don't worry.


Mar. 25th, 2007 08:02 am
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This week has gone quite quickly and I’m left at the end of it feeling rather exhausted and little lost. My eyes hurt and I feel a little out of it. I have all these plans for things to do this weekend but whether I will get round to them remains to be seen.
1500 words plus photos )
blacklilly: (Default)
Or: " I should never have let you near me!"

Tomorrow I am having my hair cut. This is what it looks like now (excuse the smirk):

I'm hoping it will be shorter at the front (almost a fringe, ne?) and looking a little less unruly than it does lately. Today it's looking pretty good as I found the hair-dryers at the pool. Then at some point this weekend I'll dye it with the henna I picked up. I'll give you blow by blow images of the whole affair, just in case I lose my hair somewhere along the way. Still, henna can't be as disastrous as peroxiding your hair, having a hoot, and finding your luscious locks have turned to glass as a result. Regardless, I'd do it all again.

I'm currently downloading Lisa's copy of The Sugarcubes' "Life's Too Good" album (thank 'eee). I was doing this while listening to David Bowie's "Outside". My iTunes disliked this arrangement and has now changed to Chris Thile's "Deceiver" without any prompting on my part.

We have another party this weekend. I'm filled with a slight sense of dread about the whole thing, but maybe that's good, as it will deter me from getting too wasted. Then again, maybe it will spur me on. Sod it, there's nowt else to do here but drink, and it more often than not results in hilarity of some sort. And, just in case you're worried, I haven't started drinking before I get out of bed.


Feb. 25th, 2007 10:52 am
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This week has been one of pain. Recovering from snowboarding took about three days. I had a very uncomfortable yoga session on Wednesday, but it did the trick. By Friday I felt quite normal so I went swimming. I wasn't even going that hard yet I still managed to pull my inner-thigh muscle. It's still a bit tight so I won't be going crazy with it. And then I woke up this morning and found my leg like this:

I fell over last night. Being a little squiffy I didn't pay any attention to it until I was sitting in a bar and found my hand covered in blood where I'd been playing with the hole it had made in my tights. I'm not sure who put the plasters on me. Anyway, it's not a particularly bad wound, but it looks ugly. The bruise is the colour of egg-yolk. And it stings. Boo hoo.


I've been trying to keep this gripe at bay for some time now, but it just keeps hanging around. I can't stand people who don't know how to spell. Not because they don't know how to, but because they're bloody lazy. Things like writing "I'm havin a grate time". It's only one more hit of the key to put a 'g' in there and as for 'grate', you should be chained to the OED and strung up until the weight of words dismembers you.

I'm not perfect, I make typos and errors all the time, but I at least try to be coherent and observe a few rules of writing. It's getting to the point where if I read something (usually on the internet) that is illiterate I immediately stop reading and have to sigh loudly. I'm a little concerned that this is getting to me. Becoming an English teacher has made me rather pedantic.
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I was rudely awoken at 11am by a man who I thought might be the postman. The intercom is at the end of my bed so I was launched from sleep doubled over, half in, half-out of bed with my earplugs rolling into the duvet.
" Hello?" Of course the reply was in Japanese and so I met it with a barrage of apologies and "wagarimasens" - I don't understand. He wandered off then. Given that I had got home at 5.30am and was still quite drunk it took me a few minutes to figure out where and who I was. For some reason I got out of bed, put on my coat and then stood in the middle of my apartment before realising that it was Sunday and therefore I had no need to do anything but sleep. Three hours later I got up and have been pottering about my apartment since.

Whenever I'm drunk, hungover or just feeling weird I drink miso soup. Miso soup is the cure for all ills, I have discovered, and has quite stunning curative properties when it comes to sore heads and dodgy alcohol bellies. Don't buy the nasty stuff in Sainsburys, it's not the same. Get thee to a asian supermarket, or the Japan Centre in Piccadilly and stock up. Miso soup is the new... well, it's darn fine stuff. I particularly enjoy chomping on the wakame pieces.

Last night was the usual Saturday night routine, kicking off in Genghis, then the Korean bar where one of bar staff made it glaringly clear that she doesn't like Sam's singing voice, then a snack bar at 4am where people kept saying I was "kawaii" - that means cute. I'm not sure what last night's karoke included. Sam keeps making me sing new songs, and actually has good taste in choosing them for me. Last night though I do recall singing Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn", The Carpenter's " Mr Postman" and a duet with Sam, though I really can't recall it at the moment. There was some other songs in the early hours but whatever they were, they're staying in the depths of drunken mindlessness.

Over the course of today I have: watched an episode of "Hellsing" (I was not impressed, maybe I'll try "Vampire Hunter D" next), the first episode of "The Lost Room" and downloaded the second (more on that when my brain functions), mooched about the internet, looked at tattoo flash, listened to X-Japan and learnt a bit more about Visual-K bands, discovered that Goteki released another album in 2005 and came to an end in 2006, looked at Emilie Autumn's website, found a supplier of goth, metal and other music in Japan; found a second-hand English bookshop in Tokyo (which I hope to visit on Tuesday), Skyped my mum, made a pasta-gratin thing with salmon and broccoli, washed my clothes, washed my dishes, eaten popcorn and toast, drunk a glass of wine (which put my head right), read a chapter in a Chaos Magick book about Gnosis and considered creating a sigil for my own "magickal workings".

I'm going to Tokyo for two days this week for training. I'm going to Isetan to stock up on MAC make-up and will also try to get into Tower Records to get some magazines and a few CDs.

Right now I guess I should get to bed, what with it being nearly 1am.
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This was the view from my front door on Saturday morning. I've never seen snow flakes so HUGE! I had to trudge to work through the snow in the wellies someone had very kindly left in my apartment, but I did get to have a snowball fight at 3am. On Sunday it was still snowing so I hibernated, and on Monday it was still snowing but I had to leave the house to get wine, bread and milk. And then I left the house again to go drinking, and proceeded to slip over 3 times on the way back home (I was quite shockingly merry, given that I didn't actually drink that much). Sam said he followed my arse-prints back into town this morning, and remarked on just how far I skidded on one them.

I had intended to go out and get some photos, but the weather was bad, and now it's just freezing cold and bloody dangerous. I think this is yet again part of the Culture Shock manifesting itself - no blogging, no photos. It's a shame because the last time I remember snow of this ilk in England was maybe 12 years ago. I'm extremely concerned about the life-threatening nature of the ice on the roads and found myself cursing loudly on the way home tonight as my "road" (read single-track bordered by what look like rice paddies) is unlit and covered in inch-thick ice. Plus I've got a stinking headache which is why I'm now going to go to bed. In the gap left by my own lack of anything to say read this. This has become the school motto and I will be applying said methods in tomorrow's lesson with the crazy hippos.
blacklilly: (Default)
As it's Xmas today, I decided to get up and clean my apartment before opening my presents. Okay, I did the main room. The kitchen is too painful a thought. After opening the presents (sweeties, a calendar, a CD) I had a bath and then went for a walk. I've had my eye on this group of trees I can see from my apartment over the other side of town. There's a red bridge spanning the valley leading down the hill. So today I went to find it.

On the way there I found a set of steps leading up to a temple. The place was deserted - clearly only used in the summer. I took some more photos with my camera phone, but they weren't that great, so I'll take the big camera next time. I then headed further up the hill and found a path leading to a flat area at the top which was full of what seem to be cherry trees. I wandered around checking out the trees and then had a seat in the sun overlooking the '"city" and the mountains beyond. Again, the photos weren't so great so more next time. I was lovely to sit up there with the sun warming my face, the breeze blowing the trees about and the birds squealing in the nearby firs. Best of all, I didn't see anyone the whole time I was up there.

I found a little path cutting under the bridge and found myself traipsing through the back of a hotel on the hill side. I looked up and saw the signs I can see from my apartment.

Today is a lovely sunny one, so much so that I have been able to hang my washing out and leave the window open for the sun to shine directly through. It's nice to have some real air in the apartment for once, not just the aircon. I've seen the eagle hawks flying about and the crows 'cawing', found a bottle of one of my favourite wines, and made a very nice lunch. Tonight I'm going out and suspect that a respectable evening could well turn into drunken debauchery.

Oh, one last picture for you.

blacklilly: (Default)
Last night I ate Octopus for the first time. I was in Genghis Khan after work (it was 10.30pm and I wasn't about to go home and cook) and Miki-san rustled up something for me to eat. Octopus tentacles in a nice crispy batter, along with some very rubbery fried fish...things. I can't recall the name. The octopus was actually quite good, just like squid in fact.

However, I was on the National Geographic website last week watching footage of a giant octopus battling a shark, amongst other octopus footage. This has again left me with the feeling that these creatures are going to take over the earth. ( "Somebody's been reading too much Lovecraft," you may say. And yes, I have been re-reading good old HPL recently.) Therefore should I be eating them?

I decided that when I came to Japan I would have to eat a little more fish than I normally do, as a concession to the fact that vegetarianism isn't really recognised out here (a bit like the north of England). However, I was having thoughts on the way home about how intelligent octopuses (yes, that is the plural - I checked) are, and also about something I read about how octopuses are exempt from animal testing because it has been proven that they feel pain (how about every other animal then? - but that's another issue). The feelings of guilt returned.

This is an etiquette versus morals issue, and at the moment the etiquette is winning.

Miki also gave me a six-pack of Kirin beer as a present, and mentioned that Sam has been trying to set me up with one of the restuarant staff. I foresee me punching the big ex-Marine very hard. I wonder if he's ticklish, that might induce a suitable amount of humiliation.


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April 2011

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