blacklilly: (Takoyaki!)
Well, finally, some excellent news to tell you about!  I just found out this lunchtime that I have been offered a teaching position on board the 73rd Peace Boat voyage.  What this means is that I will be travelling around the world for 3 months whilst working as an English teacher on-board a cruise ship!  This plan has been in the works for a while - I've been planning it since last summer - and last weekend I went for a full-day teaching demo and interview session.  I came out feeling that I'd cocked it up, and so was hoping that the fact that I called on my friends who've worked on Peaceboat to recommend me would sway the decision.  Well, something worked! 

They've actually got a specific role for me on board.  As a teacher with more exam experience than most, I will be teaching the TOEIC classes on board.  TOEIC is actually my least favourite exam to teach, but I'm going to accept the challenge and try to devise a way to improve people's TOEIC scores without boring myself to death.

I feel like I should be dancing around the place, kicking things and generally shouting a lot, but I just sat on my sofa and felt a bit numb after I finished the phone call with the co-ordinators.  I've been waiting since December to see which way my life is going to be heading this year, and now the decision has been made I guess I've gone a bit blank.  There are now so many things to organise.  Do I keep my apartment while I'm gone?  Do I come back to Japan and stay until my visa runs out in November, or do I move on somewhere else?  Moving to another country could only do wonders to my love life, I suppose...  Anyway, thoughts thoughts and lots of thoughts.



The cough and gravelly voice stuck around until Saturday.  I didn't feel much like getting out of bed for most of Saturday, but I had to get motivated to shoot this bunch of growly, screamy, heavy beasts called Reivier.  They played at AREA in Takadanobaba, which is a mere 15 minutes from Asagaya, so I didn't even have to go very far.

Following on from my musings about Visual Kei in my previous post, I was highly amused to note that the mosh pit at a VK gig is the only place  you will see people hanging out in slippers - only changing into their shoes to go skipping off to the toilet.  It's also the first time I've seen synchronized hand-banging in full force.  I noted that head-banging in Japan is much more fragrant (as it's mostly girls) and you are at a near-statistical impossibility of losing your teeth, owing again to the girls, and the fact that everyone knows what the moves are - there's no miscommunication, as a certain Fox news presenter would say - though I doubt synchronized moshing proves the existence of God.

I was down in the mosh-pit for part of the show, then hung back on the raised section with my zoom lens to catch the encores.  The band were pretty good live, which is good, as their tracks (the ones on Youtube, at any rate) actually suffer from the opposite of my normal gripe -  they don't sound well-produced enough.  They need someone with a good grasp of mixing metal to get their sound spot-on.  If they want to crack the overseas market, which they really could do, they need a good producer.  They were thoroughly entertaining, and certainly seemed to be having a great time themselves.

After the show, the editor of the VK magazine and I interviewed the band.  We slunk through the dressing room and found the guitarist Koh, who had arranged our press-passes. He corralled everyone into a corridor backstage and so we all stood in a circle and talked. They were all quite sweet and friendly, and were much more approachable than the last band I was involved in interviewing.  Mid-way through, the lead singer started de-robing himself, and stood about in his tight underwear and smudged eye make-up. 






Speaking of interviews, tonight I'm actually being interviewed by a magazine about being a vegetarian in Japan.  Three of us vegetarians, plus the owner of a vegan cafe in Kichijoji, will be discussing the trials and tribulations of our dietary choices over a FREE veggie meal.  I hear there will also be a camera there, so I should try to pretty myself up before I go out. 
blacklilly: (Ero ero ero)
I didn't quite manage that daily update thing, did I?  I have a darn good excuse though.  I got a phone call last Friday from a friend who works for a rock magazine in Tokyo.  She needed a photographer for a visual kei fashion show and concert on Saturday.  At first I said no, owing to having private lessons to teach (and also a terrible fear of having to do a photo shoot with a band).  Then I sat about thinking about it, and thinking about it, and thinking about it, and then I rang her back and said I'd do it.

So I met her and the fashion ed. (also an acquaintance) outside LaForet in Harajuku on Saturday afternoon and hung about for a while until the bands and models did the press call photo thing.  I've never done one of these, and I've never had to do one in Japanese, so thank goodness my friend was on the ball on my behalf.  After that we had a little interview and photo shoot with the designers and band members of Sixh.  The light was terrible; they were not a little bit intimidating with their serious faces; and I was bricking it because all my Japanese left my brain.  I felt totally out of my depth and this was reflected in the fact that I totally forgot to get a decent band shot. 

After that was over the fashion show started.  I wish I was pin thin and gorgeous sometimes, as I'd love to get into those clothes (and actually look good in them), but then I wouldn't have amazing boobs, so I guess I just keep the belly that comes with them...and the butt...and the thighs.  Sigh.

After the fashion show ended the first band DaizyStripper took to the stage.  Looking at those boys photos, I would never have expected to be quite as impressed as I was.  Their first song started with a load of head-banging and gutteral screaming, which nearly had my jaw on the floor with the pure joy of what I was witnessing a mere six feet away.  So, I spent the evening crawling around on my knees, taking photos of the bands, enjoying the music, and again totally forgetting to get band shots, by which I mean shot with the whole band in.  Not one.  Some had two or three members in, at most.  And the poor drummers.  They just don't keep still long enough for me to get a good shot. Entirely my fault.  I shall not blame the equipment, or the drummers (even though I think drummers need to be blamed for more bad things in the world;). 

All in all it was a great night, and I learned a great deal from doing it:  don't freak out or the Japanese will fail you; group shots! groups shots! and drummers!; don't wear the baby-stomping boots when you will be crawling around on the floor (my knees have been complaining ever since).

Day 05 - Which, if any, Japanese mannerisms or expressions have you adopted?

I was having dinner the other week with a guy (oh, alright, I was on a date) who started laughing his head off while we were talking.  He had asked me a question and rather than replying with a "yes" (he's almost perapera (fluent) in English), I had used the Japanese "un" noise instead.  He thought it was funny that I did it so naturally.  My kids also picked up on it the other week when they asked me a question in Japanese, so I must be pretty convincing at it. So that's one thing. 

I sit on the floor alot (I didn't do this England - a house full of animals makes it far too dangerous).

I use "ne" a lot at the end of sentences, even English sentences, despite the fact that I find the overuse of it by aging women in the gym to be one of the most annoying things ever.

I guess the first thing I picked up was bowing, followed by my number 2 bugbear - the "peace sign" in photos.  Ask most Japanese people where this affectation comes from and none of them will give you a decent or consistent answer. I shall just let the mystery remain. I have no idea why I do it, but sometimes I do, even though I refuse do let people do it in the photos I take.  Here I am, at last year's New Year's Eve party, caught off guard by someone.  I think I was standing on the table in the middle of the room at the time.
blacklilly: (Default)
Last night I dreamt that I was going to become a man.

I was in my doctor's surgery in Stoke Poges, and was very much on guard as I didn't want anyone to know why I was there. I went into the doctor's room and sat down. Without even any preliminaries she plonked down on the desk in front of me a tall black flask full of testosterone, a bottle of pills, some pamphlets and a few other things that have only vague shapes. She said: " People will start to notice very soon, but you just have to tell them what happened to you and they'll understand why you want to be a man." At this point I started panicking. I suddenly realised that I didn't want a beard, and that I would have to deal with an unknown amount of abuse from people because of my changing body. In the back of my mind I wanted to ask about when I'd get my cock, but the doctor left the room abruptly. I sat in the chair for what seemed like ages and then and thought about "Hedwig and the Angry Inch". Then I put all my goodies in a black plastic bag and left.

This must come from a reading "Orlando", and an article in "Dreamflesh" about the taboo of female body hair.

In other news, I bought a bicycle this morning. It's a black folding mountain bike, and is extremely heavy - but good to ride. I felt great joy as I cycled off from Watahan in the morning sunshine with the breeze blowing through my hair. I will have to plan some weekend adventures now.

This caps a rather lovely weekend. I went out on Saturday night with Kumi to see a few local bands, all of whom were great - rock n roll, more balladic proggy stuff, and a funk-rock band to finish. I had a peculiar conversation with the bassist of the second band - peculiar because I could actually understand what he was saying, even if I was unable to reply to any great extent with my crap Japanese. We discussed music (as you do with musicians) including Dream Theater's bassist John Myung.

On Sunday we had planned a picnic, but the weather was a bit dodgy so Kumi and I decided we'd go bowling instead. We took Masaya and Makoto with us. I suck at bowling. We ended up in the park having a picnic after all, as we couldn't find anywhere to eat the McDonald's (bad bad Laura!) we'd bought for lunch. Masaya encouraged me and Makoto to talk in our respective second languages, which is always quite amusing, as Makoto's English is as good as my Japanese, so we just end up giggling with embarassment. Meanwhile, Kumi searched for a six-leaf clover, having found a five-leaf clover during the week. After that we played billiards, at which I am a lot better. It was a good day, which I finished off with a long bath and then "The Lost Boys".

I have to go to Tokyo this Friday for a meeting. 4 hours of meeting, 8 hours of travelling. I'm trying to make it more worthwhile by planning a magazine haul in Shinjuku's Tower Records.

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April 2011

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