Sunday Joy

Feb. 15th, 2009 03:43 pm
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Having turned down snowboarding trip today on the basis that I was still regurgitating lung as of Friday, I awake this morning to discover that the bloody thing has almost cleared up.  Which is a little disappointing, as I feel like I falsely turned it down now.  My knee, however, decided that it would start hurting again on Thursday.  Whenever the subject of snow-based exercise/injury is brought up my knee magically starts twinging.  In fact, it seems to be doing it right now... Weird.

Anyway, yesterday was Valentine's Day, which in Japan involves the setting up of mile upon mile of chocolate and cake stalls throughout every available shopping mall.  There was even a Cosy Corner (best shukurimu - profiterole type goodness- ever) set up outside the subway station in Iidabashi on Friday morning.  February 14th is for girls to give gifts and chocolate to their friends, boyfriends and intendeds.  March 14th, known as "White Day", is for guys to return the favour and continue the oiling of the consumer wheel until Cherry Blossom Season starts in April.  There seemed to be some expectation upon me to provide chocolate to not only the people I work with, but also my students.  Thanks, to an excellently timed package from my mum, I was able to give out Cadbury's Giant Chocolate Buttons and still keep enough for my emergency chocolate stash.

Speaking of which, another package also arrived yesterday, containing my copy of A is for Alien.  I spent my lunch break cooing over the lime-green end papers and sniffing the paper. (Yes, I was getting strange looks.)  Alas, I had to leave it at work, along with the chocolate as I didn't want to cart it arounf Tokyo last night.

Being one of a few singletons I know, we decided to have a little V-day get together, so I hopped over to Hon Atsugi.  Alas, the Peruvian place with shut, so we ended up in a cool little okonomiyaki place called Bochi Bochi (Kansai-ben for so-so in English).  I was messing around with a new film in the Holga, so we'll see how it all turns out.  After, we went to a cool little snack bar called Ray's Aquarium and Liquor, which my friend Kate says sounds like a backwater Texan bar.  The bar itself has leather sofas and the table tops are panes of glass through which you can gaze at tropical fish, including baby blowfish.  Needless to say, all I did all night was coo at the fish and take stupid double exposure shots through the glass.  I dread to think what a waste of film that's going to be.

After a very long train journey home (the station staff were all looking quite jumpy today too), I checked the post to find the results of my Japanese exam waiting for me.  I steeled myself for the grand opening by telling myself that failing the exam was not the end of the world.  As it turned out though, I passed - 93% in writing and vocab, 86% in reading and grammar, and a sad but not unexpected 76% in listening.  So pretty darn good.  I think I might treat myself to a bottle of wine tonight in celebration.  First, though, I need to tidy up.  I'm sure I tidied on Thursday...

TV I'm going to watch today: Dollhouse, QI, The Wire(maybe) and Supernatural (finally I get to understand all the Jensen squeeing).  You see why I always complain of having no time, ne?

blacklilly: (Default)
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???


Mar. 6th, 2007 01:45 pm
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Yesterday's trip to Tokyo was very pleasant. It was actually so warm that I was sweating at some points, which serves to remind me why I will be avoiding Toyko come the summer. I met Noriko at the bus stop in Shinjuku and after a stop at Starbucks (this is an actual treat for me, so starved are we of coffee in Ina) headed over to Harajuku. Noriko was highly amused that I was guiding her, a life-long Tokyo citizen, around her city, though she did admit that Harajuku is not her shopping location of choice.

We hung about in Lush for a while and I resisted the urge to buy everything in sight, coming away with a rather heavy bag full of shampoo, henna (I intend to become a stunning red-head at the weekend) and bath bombs to last me a good eight baths or so. We then wandered about La Foret, a seven storey building full of trendy boutiques (and Topshop, rather worryingly). I found a cool vintage shop but declined to try anything on as it was clearly too small. I tried another top on in another boutique, which looked promising, yet, I struggled to get the thing off once it was on. As is often the case when shopping for clothes, I become despondent and easily distracted by accessories. Such as this rather lovely Swarovski crystal and silver skull necklace I purchased:

I even bought the matching earrings. I've no idea where I'm going to wear it, especially in this town, but it will be a nice addition to the wardrobe. I'm craving fishnet, leather cuffs and my pinstripe corset now, they'd go well with it. Alas, living in the middle of nowhere means that there is little opportunity for such amusements.

Anyway, we met up with Yusuke in Shibuya and went to an okonomiyaki place for lunch. I wish I'd taken a photo of Noriko cooking up this delight for us, but I was too busy yakking to think about it until it was all too late. Okonomiyaki is like a big fried pancake mixed with vegetables, seafood or whatever you want to add to it. We had a particularly yummy one with mochi and cheese which I enjoyed scraping off of the hot plate.

We then headed to Tower Records, where I bought the new NIN live DVD and (inspired by [ profile] greygirlbeast most recent edition of Sirenia Digest, picked up David Bowie's "Outside". I checked out the foreign mags, the tattoo mags, the gossip mags, but found nothing to tempt me, so treated myself to Philosophy in the Boudoir by the Marquis de Sade and "Kwaidan", a collection of Japanese folk tales by Lafcadio Hearn.

Having heard that 109 (ichi-maru-kyu) in Shibuya was worth checking out, if only to see what the teenage girls are wearing, we wandered about for a bit, but after trying on yet another two tops that didn't fit due to my stupendous breasts I gave up. We checked out Seibu, a large department where I found some goat's cheese, however, at £10 for a log of the stuff I figured I could go without a little longer. And then we wandered back from Shibuya to Harajuku, stopping on the way at a rockabilly store, which was blaring proper rock n' roll. The staff even had quiffs and teddy boy outfits. A little pricey though.

It was getting on by then, so Yusuke and I headed back to Shinjuku while Noriko went to meet her husband (who had just flown in from England) in Ginza. We ended up back into Starbucks to kill 20 minutes until my bus left and then I was trundling through the night sitting next to a man who was eating stinky food and took up most of the seat by refusing to put his legs together. Allegedly this inability in the male to close their legs is anatomical, but that's really nothing a bit of rearrangement (which they're always doing anyway) wouldn't solve.

I got back home just after 10pm and took de Sade to bed with me.
blacklilly: (Default)
Hah hah, aren't I just hilarious? I think it's my aching muscles talking.

Well, today I headed up to Hakuba for my first ever attempt at snowboarding. I went to bed early last night (that means midnight) but woke up every 90 minutes or so through nerves and excitement. I was going to catch the train at 7.45am so got up at 6am. At 7am, Yasuko rang to say she had just woken up and would drive up to Hakuba instead. This was grand as when I opened the door I was met with a nice new layer of slush and snow to wade through. Yasuko picked me up at 8am and we headed up to Matsumoto. The weather was not looking good: a mixture of ice, rain and snow, and low cloud. Hakuba is 6000ft above sea-level, so I was worried about being able to see where I was going.

We got to Matsumoto just after 9am and met Saya, a teacher from the Matsumoto school, who had agreed to accompany me on my snowboard adventure. She brought some rather delicious custard and chestnut filled goodies with her, plus green tea, which Yasuko and I munched upon merrily. After getting a little lost, we eventually found the right road to Hakuba and sailed in at 11am, two hours before our lesson was due to start.

We announced ourselves, signed a piece of paper saying that we didn't mind if we died, and proceeded to get kitted up. Snowboard boots are simultaneously very comfy and extremely prohibitive. There's so much ankle support that there is no opportunity to move around once you're in them, which my knees discovered a little later on. We kicked about a little more and then eventually headed over to Happo One with our instructor.

I felt a little nervous about getting on a board, especially when I found out just how much gravity has an effect when you're standing on a slope, strapped to a piece of wood. However, I eventually lost my fear of falling over and managed to get the hang of heel turns, and just about figure out toe turns. Learning this stuff is extremely tiring. Your muscles are not at all used to being treated in such a manner and traipsing back up the hill, digging your board in behind you with each step, is one of the more painful and tedious ways to spend time. However, going downhill is great fun, even when you get scared, or hit an edge and go flying over to eat snow (which is remarkably refreshing to munch on, as I discovered during a little break we had). Whilst I seemed to fall in a particularly unladylike fashion, Saya perfected the art of toppling to the ground gracefully, almost like a ballet dancer with one leg in the air behind her, arms outstretched. All this was done with one foot strapped in. For the last half hour of the lesson we strapped both feet in. Here is where it gets tricky. Shifting your weight from one edge to the other is a little difficult to get the hang off and often results in rather amusing shifts from standing to sprawling. Still, it's merely a matter of practice, something which I definitely want to get more of before the snows disappear.

I came away from Happo One glowing with the exhilaration of having done something I've wanted to do for ages, having throughly enjoyed myself in the process. My glow was further enhanced when Saya and I decided to ease our aching muscles with a trip to an onsen in a nearby hotel. I've almost got over my issues with public nakedness, which is good as this onsen was busy with people doing exactly the same as us. I curled up in an extremely hot bath for about 10-15 minutes until my heart started pounding and I felt light-headed. Onsens are "subarashii".

Afterwards, Yasuko met us outside the hotel and we got takoyaki, something my students recommended to me before I came here. My friend Janan has also made it clear that she loves the stuff, so in order to make her England-bound self jealous, I took photos of me and some octopus balls.

You can check out my photos of today's events here.

I'm going to bed now, and when I wake up tomorrow, I expect to be unable to move. I will be taking to bed with me a copy of [ profile] greygirlbeast's Tales From The Woeful Platypus, so that I spend the day reading weirdness and saying "itai!" alot.
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I am sad to report that I have not left my apartment all day. I did poke my head out the window at about 1pm, but it was windy and snowing in that peculiarly British way it snows, except this is Japan and has no excuse for it.

I woke up and sat in bed watching V for Vendetta, which I enjoyed; Natalie Portman gets an A- for the English accent. Since then I've made some food, had my head in my Japanese books, done my accounts for the month, written some cards for New Year and somehow wasted most of the day flitting between LJ and various other websites as they have taken my fancy. Oh, and I finished a short story. Go me.

I've got a couple of downloads to check out, then I'm going to make myself finish "The Whisperer in Darkness". I decided to re-read all the HPL I haven't read in a while, and am coming to remember why I don't read some of it a great deal - it's just not up to the standard of my favourites - "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", " Call of Cthulhu", "The Colour Out of Space" etc etc. At least "...Innsmouth" is next, though I may take a break for a while. I've also been re-reading all of [ profile] greygirlbeast's Sirenia Digests. I'm up to No. 4 and am glad that I have subscribed to this monthly delight since last December. I recommend you do so that you too can experience the anticipation of receiving something which is guaranteed to take you by surprise every time.

That's it now. No more internet today, or until the New Year as I'm off to Nagano to get naked in a hot spring (!) and enjoy real snow, and the Zenkoji temple. Back on the 1st.


May. 8th, 2002 09:15 pm
blacklilly: (Default)
Have been reading Caitlin R Kiernan's Low Red Moon journal. Am glad to see that even published authors have difficulty getting down more than 200 words a day!


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