blacklilly: (Default)
I was down by the river taking a walk this morning and saw a few things that set Japan aside from others:
  • a woman running along the path wearing a t-shirt that read " I am not a virgin"
  • a guy sitting on a park bench, headphones on, cigarette in mouth,  doing stretches
  • three women hugging a tree
  • a guy walking down the street misting his hair with a plant spray bottle
Dubiously en-sloganed clothing is everywhere in Japan, and I'm always surprised that no one actually checks the meaning of whatever's on their t-shirt or bag, or jacket.  Some of the best ones I've seen include - "I came here to fuck your ass", "I LOVE SEX" a la Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Frankie says RELAX" t-shirt, posters on classroom walls that say "Let's Fuck" and a guy in Harajuku with "Fuck You" written in gothic script across his back.  Not, that this doesn't happen outside of Japan.  I translated the kanji on a friend's t-shirt which he thought looked really cool, but when he discovered that it said "Punk Rock Girl" he decided that maybe he didn't like it so much any more.  I think I should invest in more clothes containing dodgy language.

if it's one thing about Japan that I love, it's the odd eccentricities that people have, which seem to be tolerated.  I just don't see anything of these things happening back in England (well, tree-hugging and bench stretching are not too unrealistic, I guess).  I'm not making fun of these people at all.  I'm always on the look-out for the unusual, and Japan just brings me something everyday that gives me a smile...or the creeps.
*           *           *
I held a vegetarian Thanksgiving party at my house today (I know - an English vegetarian holding Thanksgiving - odd). We'd actually been invited to another party, but it was too far, and there was a baby there (why would I want to go to a party where I wasn't the centre of attention;)), so two of us were not up for it.  I like an excuse for a vegetarian get-together so we all brought something different:  mashed potatoes, green beans, cheese and potato bake, devilled eggs, veggie lasagna and I made pumpkin samosas.  The guys brought booze and snacks and we had chocolates for dessert.  it was a good afternoon/evening and now I'm beginning to think I may have drunk a little too much. 

I feel like another break from drinking is in order soon, as I seem to be having a few too many parties of late.  In fact, I have another party tomorrow night, and some gigs next weekend.... when am I going to get this done???

One month until I go to Bali.  Can't wait to leave the country for a bit!!

Tomorrow I'm heading back to Japanese class for the first time in 6 months.  Am looking forward to getting back into a regular study routine as the past 6 months I've not had any chance to actually study, though I've spent a ridiculous amount of time discussing major issues like ice-cream flavours with small children.

I'm also considering going to try Bikram Yoga, though I'm a little afraid of the amount of flesh on show in those classes - yoga at 100 degrees = bikinis.  I'm still mulling over yoga clothes too - need a top that's not to slide around all the time and pants that don't fall down.  Plus hoodie.  I want that hoodie.  (edit - I was very naughty and bought the hoodie in bright purple, rather than the pink and black I wanted).

Well, bed time for me I think.  Need to give my brain some rest before tomorrow's lesson!  I shall leave you with a picture from a walk last week that I took on my Holga and got x-processed:

blacklilly: (Genki)
It's a sticky, horrible, rainy day.  The only small blessing is that the cloudy, rainy weather has reduced the temperature to 26 degrees, although the 88% humidity is doing little to help matters.

Last night we had a massive leaving dinner for one of my co-workers - about 61 people turned up - and we pretty much took over one half of an izakaya in Yokohama.  Half way through my co-workers' speech the building started swaying.  It wasn't a strong quake, maybe only a 3 or a 4, but when you're on the 25th floor it feels slightly like you've been drinking too much, which most people had, though pleasantly I hadn't.  I think the weird thing was that it lasted for about 2 minutes or so, which is a pretty long time.  If you check the Japan Meterological Agency site  for yesterday at about 8.02pm, you can see that pretty much the whole  Honshu experienced the quake.

Today, after lazing about in bed this morning, I will be packing up my stuff as I'm moving house at the end of the week.  Today is the only day I'm going to get off until next Wednesday as I on the go from 10am to 10pm every day this week with various bits and pieces.  After moving house on Friday, for which I have taken a day off, I will be working Saturday and then taking a a night bus to Niigata and Sado Island for the Earth Celebration festival.  The island is deceptively large, probably about the same size as Tokyo, so my friend Rachel and I have been mulling over how to get to do all the things we want, including taking a tour through a fjord in a glass-bottomed boat.  The Taiko drumming workshops are all fully booked, but as long as the weather holds out I'm certain that we can do whatever we want on bicycles.  As we're camping, we'll have no shower facilities, so we're planning to hit the sea, and the onsen in town, everyday.  An excellent excuse to sit hot baths which are rumoured to be good for gout.  I didn't even know that condition lasted any longer than poor Sir Lester Deadlock in "Bleak House".

So, anyway. Packing...


Jul. 9th, 2007 10:42 pm
blacklilly: (Default)
My birthday weekend has been pretty nice. On Saturday night Kumi organised a little party at a place called Bar-7 - or Bar Nana - where we drank lots of beer, ate birthday cake and played darts. Then we wandered off into the night to karaoke, where I serenaded everyone with "Wuthering Heights". Then off to Dei-ai for further drinking until 5am.

On my actual birthday I woke up far too early. Andrew and I went to West Village where we met up with a couple of my students and had lunch followed by Crazy Parfait - 18 inches of ice cream. Tabezukare deshita! I had a brief chat with Gideon by phone, which was nice. Then Yasuko picked me up and took me to her place for sushi.

Today Mikio took me to Okaya to see Pirates of the Caribbean. It was dubbed. In Japanese. But I still thoroughly enjoyed it, even though I only understood about 10% of what was said. Then we stopped off at a restuarant where a friend of his works. I was flagging by 6.30pm so he dropped me home. I'm still flagging but I'm too hot to sleep yet.

Pictures to follow next week!

blacklilly: (Default)
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.


Apr. 2nd, 2007 04:14 am
blacklilly: (Default)
You can see some of my photos from New Year at Flickr. A little late, but it has taken me that long to get the film developed.

In addition, here are some of the photos from the party we had a few weeks ago: )
blacklilly: (Default)
It dawned on me, an hour or so after I woke up this morning, that I would have to go shopping today. I had temporarily forgotten that the contents of my fridge consisted of a grapefruit, a knob of butter, some cheese, and an old lime. Thus was the end of my half-awake languishing in bed.
Let's Go Shopping )
blacklilly: (Default)
Hell yeah! Three weeks to go and I am outta here and fleeing down south to the house of hell! At least the home front has seven cats to cuddle - well, OK four, as only that many enjoy it.

The party went well, a few unexpected faces turned up too which was good. People said they enjoyed themselves, though I always find it hard to believe, I think mainly coz I get a bit anxious at my own parties. I always enjoy other people's parties more as I don't have to worry about their house getting trashed. In any case, everyone was very well behaved and apparently we were very quiet. Not sure what that is a measure of.

I haven't eaten a real vegetable for a few days - perhaps it was last Monday or Tuesday? I have been to Sainsbury's though and bought lots of veggies - I can feel my body breathing a sigh of relief - "AHHH NUTRIENTS!"

Bank Holidays are good as it's another wonderful excuse to veg about and not do anything. I like nothing more than sitting about on my own reading. Having to cope with humanity for eight hours a day puts me off humans - I prefer my own company, and that of the chosen few. In fact, working has made me more misanthropic than I already was because I end up hating the world by the end of the day - stupid people always phoning and asking stupid questions. I need to write this damned novel and then I can spend hours by myself and appreciate human scum a bit more.

DO I SOUND ODD? There's a bottle of flat champagne in the fridge - I think I'll make a flat Bucks Fizz.
blacklilly: (Default)
How very exciting the next two days are going to be!!

Tomorrow I have a rather short notice interview at The Poetry Book Society in London. I received the invitation to interview yesterday and became so excited/panicked that I left my keys at home and couldn't lock my bike up when I went into town to get my train tickets! The journey I think may be a little hairy time-wise as the interview has now moved forward half an hour leaving me about an hour to get to Wandsworth from Kings Cross! I hope it goes well as I think this job could be exactly what I've been needing - at least it's going to be more interesting that reading about naughty members of the armed forces and photocopying. Should I wear a scarf tomorrow - you know, for the poetic look?

Friday is going to be equally exciting as I have my motorbike CBT in the morning - I'll be learning to ride and going out on the roads for a bit. It means that I'll be able to ride a 125cc, or move onto bigger things after a further test!!

Saturday we're having a party - it was originally going to be a cocktail thing but now it could be more of a shindig than anything - no Breafast at Tiffany's style mayhem - or perhaps so after Hilary and I start on the Absinthe!

What else? The cowboys left the living room in a state and I had to hoover it when I got home. NOT impressed at all. I think they looked a little inbred - maybe they were from Market Weighton...


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