blacklilly: (Default)
I have a potty mouth lately. Today's reason is that I am in gross amounts of pain all over my body. Because I did this:

And I did spend most of the day falling on my arse and various other parts of my body, as this photo demonstrates, and as is also demonstrated, I was in no mood to give up (until the concussion headache set in). Well, it seems I can no longer do toe turns on a board, but I did make it down a slope with only two falls, even if I was sidesliding and heel turning most of the way down. Do you like my devil hat? It has a tail.

I got worn out at about 2pm and lurked around until 3pm, then headed down to the spa, did some yoga, had a big boiling hot bath (followed by the freezing cold plunge pool - he he) and then lay down for a while.

Now I am incredible amounts of agony, and I must get off the floor.

Oh, and I've discovered a new phobia - cockroaches. I found one in my bathroom on Sunday night. All kinds of itching and feelings of filthiness and self-loathing overtook me when I found it. Today, I'm going to buy cockroach bombs.
blacklilly: (Default)
Today has been the kind of day I wish I had more of. Got up at 9am and wandered about in a fug until I threw myself in the shower, made a cup of tea and finally woke up. Then, in an uncharacteristic move of both organisation and motivation, I proceeded to do three loads of washing, tidy my living room, kitchen and bathroom, eat breakfast and hoover. And all this in just three hours. Then, I cycled into Kamata to search for the other train station and do some food shopping, came home, went back out into Omori-machi, bought breakfast for tomorrow's shinkansen ride and some flowers. I don't think I've been this proactive...ever. Perhaps it has something to do with this morning's earthquake shaking me awake at 6.30am.

My back has been aching this week. I think it may the combined effects of sitting on the floor and slouching on train journeys. I tried to stretch it out earlier with some yoga but it is having none of it. It especially won't like me tomorrow night, or Tuesday. I'm going snowboarding in Niigata tomorrow with some people from school. I have to get up at 4am to make the 6.30am bullet-train at Tokyo station. I really looking forward to falling repeatedly on my arse and further injuring my knees. Pain aside, it IS the most fun I've had doing anything remotely sport-orientated ever.

I also ordered and downloaded the new NIN "Ghosts I-IV" today as well. I was just thinking to myself only the other day that I should put together an instrumental NIN playlist for my iPod, and now I don't have to. Hurrah!

Last weekend I went to Saitama to meet up with Janan and few other lovely people. While we waited for the others to turn up Janan took me through Kawagoe to see the old Edo-period houses. I must confess to being disappointed. I was anticipating an area of houses to still be in their original condition, and unspoilt by electricity lines and concrete boxes. Alas, it seem I haven't been in Japan long enough to expect the worse. The houses themselves are interesting, however they are thoroughly spoiled by a lack of urban planning, as is much the same all over the rest of Japan. The highlight was finding a street devoted entirely to sweet shops, so I ate fresh taiyaki - chocolate and anko. Scrummy. We went back to Janan's huge apartment for which she pays only £90 a month, drank wine and ate pizza and chatted to Janan's boyfriend in London via Skype. He started eating a sausage roll which made everyone in the room (we were all English, including the honorary Japanese-English Kae) come over all nostalgic. Which made me realise that when I pop back to England at the end of this month it will be rather odd to come across all the little things I've forgotten about, like sausage rolls and limescale.

Okay, I need to get my bedding down from the loft as I will be sleeping downstairs tonight so I don't have to return home crippled tomorrow and find I can't get up the ladder to my bed. Then I must do some Japanese homework and all the other stuff I should be doing when I'm wasting time on the internet.


Feb. 20th, 2007 01:31 am
blacklilly: (Default)
A big notice to those of you who are about to send me letters (I know that are at least two of you).


can you send me some of the pretty sea stamps the Royal Mail is doing. Preferably the one with the Lesser Octopus on, but any sea creature is good.

And also a request to anybody else who feels like it. I'd like you to send me a postcard from England (anywhere is good), and if you get the one with the Camden Punks on that would be grand. I'm trying to persuade the students to take more of an interest in the outside world and I think postcards with interesting messages would be a good idea. I'm quite surprised at how few of them actually want to see the world beyond Japan. I guess that's why I'm here. Why go to the West, when the West can come to you?

I am still in exquisite pain from snowboarding. Despite not being able to get up off the floor once I'm on it, I want to go snowboarding again. Yay!
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.
blacklilly: (Default)
Some words I've taught to students in the last two weeks:

fossil fuels, renewable resources, auto-erotic asphyxiation, shit, quota, massage vs message (pron), "you're pulling my leg", "putting on the Ritz", CPR, sunburn, swollen, limestone caves, harpoon... amongst many more.

We had a lesson last week where the teacher's manual said you could actually teach the students to swear and blaspheme. This caused much merriment as we envisaged shouts of: " Fuck you!", "That's fucking brilliant", or " Jesus Christ on a bike" coming from the classrooms. What children we are. Being in the sticks means you find your pleasures where you can. As it turned out, my class didn't turn up and the other teacher was ill on the day he was meant to teach the class, so there was nothing but the usual giggling emanating from classrooms.

I'm going snowboarding in Hakuba tomorrow. Let's hope I don't break my leg/get buried under an avalanche/ fall off a cliff etc. Or indeed, just get lost on the way.
blacklilly: (Default)
I forgot to mention that I got to see Comet McNaught last Monday on the way to the bowling alley in the next town. It was a rather lovely sight. If you click on [ profile] apod you should be able to catch a rather lovely image of said object in space. I like looking through the piccies of space. I fills me a sense of awe, fear and a sense of beauty I don't get to regularly by looking around the world at me (though there are days). I feel a bit like River in "Bushwacked" when she and Simon are hiding outside on Serenity in their space suits.

Bowling last Monday was fun. I suck at bowling, though there was one very flukey moment when I knocked all ten pins flying. Sam had slightly more luck than me, but Mikio kick our butts, scoring over 200 on the third game. I'm currently looking at places to go for snowboarding lessons next month. I'd also like ot find an ice rink as I haven't been skating in years. I figure, what with all the ice about here, it's an opportunity not to be missed.


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