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: (Default)
Day 3 in Osaka!  I was sitting in bed last night and thought the hostel was shaking, but yet again, it turned out to be me.  I hope I can keep myself from going nuts when I go home tomorrow.  No word of any big events or changes on the news this evening, other than that power is soon be restored to the coolers at the nuclear plant (fingers crossed).  Japanese TV has cancelled all advertising and so is running the same four or five public service announcements.  One is about strokes, one about cancer, one about having good manners on the train, and the other (curiously) about being friendly to people. Talking to strangers is the best way to make friends.  I'd like to see that work in reality.  Or maybe that's just me.

I thought I'd show you a couple of pictures from last week:

            

The one on the left is my kitchen.  As you can see, stuff was thrown around, but apart from that not unlike the state of my kitchen on a Saturday morning - though I am less prone to hurling the microwave around.  The picture on the left is my friend's apartment.  He lives on the 4th floor and came home to find all his bookcases tossed about.  He didn't go home for 2 days, as he couldn't face dealing with the mess, only for it be tossed about again if another big one hit.

So, continuing from yesterday, reports in the Kansai region say that there are 90% more foreigners around than usual. Being the most conspicuous, it's an easy observation to make, but there are a fair few Japanese escapees too.  Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe hostels and hostels are fully booked for this weekend, and restaurants are packed out.  I was walking through Shinsaibashi yesterday with a friend, who spotted a group of people she knows vaguely from Tokyo, and I'm fairly certain I've seen a few familiar faces.

There have been some comments made by people in Tokyo saying that it the behaviour of people who left Tokyo is shameful.  I recall watching people leaving messages on Facebook last weekend saying they were moving to Osaka, and thinking that it was a bit of an over-reaction.  I can only say for myself that I waited until it became obvious I was going to get sick if I didn't leave. I admit to feeling a little ashamed of the idea of leaving, and certainly felt it when I was taking the train to Tokyo station on Friday morning, but the masses of (mostly Japanese) people at the shinkansen gates reassured me that this behaviour is not confined to just the foreign community.  So far as I can tell, and this is purely form observation, but the majority of people who left the country fall into two categories - those who are in their early 20s, and those with young families.  For both, I can appreciate their reasons.  Something hugely stressful like this is bound to have you heading home if you have responsibilites to your family, or a family who are desperate about your safety.  I certainly received a lot of messages from people asking me if I'm leaving, and some even offering to buy me a place ticket out.  A friend, who lives out here with his brother, posted a message saying he didn't want to leave Tokyo but was heading to Osaka purely for the peace of mind of his family.

The family pressure comes from the overblown coverage provided by the British press.  The Sun and the The Daily (hate)Mail are most guilty of this, but even the BBC seems to me to be over-egging things.  I appreciate they need the ratings, but the news they were providing was out of date, sometimes inaccurate, and came in such a bombardment that it was difficult for people not to get hysterical. I also felt that the focus on the nuclear plant was way out of proportion when there were thousands of people elsewhere in Tohoku who need that media attention more.

OK.  Dinner time. 

Here's a picture of an octopus.

 








blacklilly: (moody)
It appears I still have the miseries.


Anyway, words I use:

genki (energetic/bouncy/all the things I don't feel right now)
hanami (cherry blossom viewing time)
momiji (autumn leaves - esp maple leaves)
sakura (cherry)
shinkansen (bullet train)
onigiri (rice ball)
sugoi (wow!)
yokatta (that's great!)
cha (tea) - as in uron-cha, soba-cha, o-cha, ko-cha etc

There must be more, but I can't quite remember at the moment.



The upside of being pissed off (and I was given even more reason today by the dumbass gynacologist I have to put up with) is that it gave me enough energy to complete Week 3 of the Couch to 5K thing I started.  I was so full of hate that I pushed myself to a 4 minute run to finish things off.  Sounds sad - a mere 4 minutes - but progress none the less!!  I figure for as long as I'm grumpy, I'm just going to hurl myself into the gym and attempt to burn off the hate.

Oct 28th -

natsukashi - nostalgic
mochi - soft sticky rice cakes
anko - red adzuki bean paste
blacklilly: (Amelie)
Right now is my favourite kind of time.  It's pouring down with rain outside, with occasional bursts of thunder and lightning. I'm listening to Late Junction on Radio 3, and my house is filled with the smell of cooking chickpeas.  After the 36 degree heat of yesterday, today is a much welcomed relief for me.  All I need now is some hot chocolate and a good book or movie and my day in made.

I was awoken this morning at 9am or so by thumping of rain on my apartment, and then through my sleepy fug rejoiced as the storm passed over and shook the whole place as it crashed by.  My showa glass doors were quivering on their runners and the floor was vibrating.  I haven't heard thunder that loud for a couple of years, not since a summer storm in Omori when myself and the neighbours thought a bomb had gone off when a storm unexpectedly cracked by.

Last weekend I went to my friend Brent's wedding.  It was a lovely place called the QED Club in Ebisu, with a sloping garden and a huge patio upon which we had dinner.  Here are a couple of photos:



Nana, Brent, Hiromi, Shintaku, Nayoun, Kazumi and me.
 
 
     The bride and groom descend the stairs in a lovely set of new threads.
 
My favourite picture of the day was of my friend Nayoun.
 
On Monday night I went on a cruise around Tokyo Bay - not the most picturesque of places by day, but at night and with nomihodai, it's a different story.   Afterwards, there were some mutterings about checking out a host club in Kabukicho, but as we had a guy with us, we couldn't go.  I'm intrigued to go, but I can pretty much tell you now that paying to be fawned over by a guy who spends a hour teasing his hair to perfection is probably not my idea of the best time ever, but I'll do anything once.
 
The Tokyo Bay Bridge


Tokyo Tower

Last night I went out for a drink at 10pm (today being a National Holiday), and I didn't get back until 6.30m.  I met some friends at the bar, and then we all decided (or indeed, I may have planted the idea in everyone's heads - most out of character as I usually only do karaoke when I have no other choice) to go to karaoke.  Most enjoyable bit of the evening is when we chose songs in other languages and made up the lyrics.  My friend Miho chose a Korean punk song, which we sang a duet to, in which I told of my lust for Miho in high school uniform and wanting to get into her tights.  Hey, it rhymed, and that's the most important thing.  My other friend Koh chose a Korean song and then sang the whole thing in Thai - some sort of love song to Eric, who chose a Phillipino song and made up a nonsense duet with me.  We went back to Eric's house where I flung myself upon his king-size bed and fell asleep until 6.30am.  He has a 9th floor apartment, so it's the perfect place to see in the morning. 

And so now, I must brave the weather.  I was going to go to Shinjuku to look at books on Bali (I've booked a holiday), but the trains aren't running well by the look of things (I can see the train line from my house).  I'll go tomorrow.  However, I must pay the cash for my flights and buy a lemon for making hummous, so into the storm I shall go.  Thank goodness for my skull-print rainboots!!

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